What do you worry about?

I should ask, what don’t you worry about? It seems like everyone of us, from kids to retired people, are on an out-of-control merry-go-round, or a treadmill that’s moving too fast. Just the sheer amount of what we must accomplish on any given day can lead us to become overwhelmed.

I think that one of the biggest problems Christians have is the difficulty in giving up control. When it comes right down to it, there are times we think we are in control and “life is good,” but as a Christian, we really have to consider, did I make everything turn out right, or did God?

No matter what is going on, both in the world and in our lives, God is in control. Your spouse leaves you. God is in control. Your house is robbed. God is in control. Your best friend has a terminal illness. God is in control. Your child is rebelling against God. God is in control. No matter what, we have to wrap our brains around the idea that unless we trust Him, we really aren’t doing what God has instructed us to do, and we are sinning.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7.

Pray about everything. Worry about nothing. (When it comes right down to it, worrying never fixed anything. Worrying doesn’t help!) Talk to and teach your children to trust the Lord with every decision, even the little ones. Share the answers you get from God with your kids, and vice versa. (“And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”)  Amen!

Talk, talk, talk!

Is that all we ever do is talk? Well, yes! I am a strong advocate for communicating with kids, and Bringing Jesus Home is all about communication. I ask my grandkids a lot of questions, because I want to know not only what is going on in their lives, with school and their friends, etc., but also I want to know what is going on in their heads. Jesus Himself was an advocate for kids when he told his disciples not to shoo the kids away from Him. I don’t believe that sitting around Jesus was all they did, either. The kids wouldn’t have wanted to hang around if Jesus wasn’t giving them attention. He probably taught and spoke to them just like he did the adults that gathered around Him.

Talk to your kids. Get off the electronics, drop the chores for awhile, and talk to them, then be willing to listen. I believe in the long run it will be a huge blessing to both you and them.

Mark 10:13-16, And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.

Are you a buddy to your kids?

Imagine having to play a game, but no one tells you the rules. Every once in a while your team gets mad at you for not doing something right, and sends you off the field. After some time passes they let you back on, only to send you off again because you aren’t following rules that you don’t know. Wow, would that be frustrating!!

I know this is a strange analogy, but I would compare a parent trying to be a “buddy” or “best friend” to their kids, to not teaching them the rules of life. I know too many former students who told me they “hated” their parent(s). When I asked them why, or if their parents were “strict,” the kids who seemed to hate their parents the most were the ones who had no rules, or limits, and could do whatever they wanted.

Now, I know that kids will be prone to exaggerate, especially in front of their peers, but I have also known these kids well enough to believe what they were saying.

Parents can not afford to be a buddy or best friend to their kids. They must be the ones to set and enforce the limits, and especially when those limits are pushed or ignored by their kids.

Kids need limits. They need rules. They will try to break them, yes, but that is because they want to make sure those rules are really the rules. I have read child psychologist’ statements that knowing the rules actually makes it easier for a child to be happier, because they don’t need to constantly test to find the guidelines.

The Bible has a lot to say about raising up our kids. In most verses about child rearing, the Bible uses the term “rod.” I know not everyone believes in spanking, (although it is not illegal, contrary to popular opinion). I believe that if you replace that word with “discipline,” the verses still make sense. I could go on about this for far too long, so I wanted to put in one set of verses.

Ephesians 6: 1-4, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

 

Are your kids ready for school?

Well, believe it or not, the heat is still here but for kids summer’s almost over. Are your kids ready? How about praying a special blessing on your kids and their school materials?

The pastors at Sonrise teach about anointing our homes for the Lord, and praying a blessing over everything in our home. This school blessing could be similar, but without the anointing oil, which might cause problems on school materials.

Gather everything your kids need for school (or not, your choice). Sit with your kids’ materials around you, and them, and pray for each object, as well as your childrens’ teacher(s), and school room.

I was guided by God to write this prayer, but pray over your kids and materials as you wish:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please bless each object here that my child needs for school.  Put your hand on my child (name), and bless him/her each time they use these things. Help them listen attentively, and remember what they have learned. Help them use these materials wisely, and grow in knowledge and wisdom. Most importantly, help them to remember to seek you to guide them in their learning and help them grow, as students, and as Christians.   Bless their school room, and make it a place where concentration and work can happen. Bless their teacher. Grant her/him wisdom and a strong desire to teach and reach every student.    In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

 

Can you keep a secret?

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When you are a parent, you hope and pray that the secrets your kids keep from you are minor issues, not major ones, right? And we, as our kids’ parents/grandparents, try to be the role models for how we want our kids to behave and live as adults, correct?

That doesn’t mean we tell our kids every detail of our lives though. There will be things we have done, and that have happened in our lives, that we may never tell them, or not until they are mature enough to handle or understand the information.

Someone we can’t keep a secret from, however, even though we may want to, is Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 4:13 it states, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Just as we need to be “real” to our kids, which means sharing some of our weaknesses with them, we need to be completely real to our Lord Jesus. It doesn’t matter if we feel like we want to hide secrets from Him or not, He knows everything about us, and loves us anyway. Continuing with Ephesians 4:14, “For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He did not sin.”

Jesus knows, really knows, you. We hide things from friends, coworkers, even our spouse once in awhile, but we can’t hide anything, from what we think, to what we do, from Christ. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Our best role model is Jesus Christ. He is also our kids best role model, but they are going to look to you to lead them and help them grow as Christians. Be the role model your kids need, by closely following your ultimate role model, Jesus. He loves us despite our doubts and weaknesses. His love for us is unending and complete.

Keep the secrets that must be kept from your kids; hide nothing from Jesus.

Psalm 136:26 – “Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

Are you a teacher?

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One of the biggest reasons many parents don’t spend much time teaching their kids about Christ, or how to grow as a Christian, how to pray, etc., is they just don’t have the time. I totally understand. I see my adult kids trying to fit everything they need to do, both for themselves, and their kids, into their daily routine, and it is tough to get everything done.

But I think there is another way to achieve everything you need to do in a typical day, AS WELL AS spending time teaching your kids about Jesus, God, the Bible, praying, and so on.

The Bible tells us that time spent with and for God will be rewarded (blessed). Matthew 6:33 states: “But seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” By “all these things,” Matthew was talking about what you will eat, wear and drink. Your necessities will be taken care of when you put Jesus first. This includes having to go to work, wash the car, clean the house, and all the other “fun” (ha, ha) things parents have to do besides helping their kids grow as Christians.

Romans 8:28 states: “And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Again, God wants to bless you, when you put Him first.

It takes faith to make time to teach your kids about God. But He states in these and many other verses about both the importance and blessing He will give you if you do make Him your priority.

You may see you have more time in your day than you anticipated. You may get a break at work you weren’t expecting. You never know exactly how God will bless you, but He will, if you put Him first, and allow time to teach your children about Him.

Hebrews 11:6: Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Summer Family Fun, Week 6

I all. I hope you and your family are able to use some of the ideas I have shared for spending time together.  Family time is so important!  Please make it something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what time of year.

Mind-Discussion:

I thought I’d throw this discussion question into our summer ideas because I just did this with my grandkids for my post on faith.

“What is faith?” Even younger kids brought up in the church may have ideas about this. (Maybe 6 or 7 years old).  If they can’t find the words to define it, they might be able to give you an example.

For young kids: “What is praying?” “Why do we pray?”

Don’t expect this discussion to be long, just let it go as long as the kids are comfortable.

Body:

Turn on your favorite music, and DANCE! Kids love to dance, no matter what age they are. Actually, I love watching very young kids moving to the music, because they are so spontaneous and natural.

If you give yourself and your kids 20-30 minutes of dancing, you have done your exercising for the day! And you will have had fun doing it!

Soul:

Check your family prayer journal, or start one. I really believe that our kids need to see Jesus at work through the Holy Spirit. See if you can find prayers in your journal that have been answered, and how.

Another thing I think is super-special to do with kids, is to pray individually  with them and hold both of their hands when you pray. I believe that the kids see this as you giving them one-on-one undivided attention, and shows them the importance and “specialness” of prayer.

Summer Family Fun: Week 5

Hi all! Hope your summer is going well! I know being with the kids all day can have you stretching your imagination to come up with things to do…but one thing that helped me when my kids were growing up, was to have a weekly routine. We didn’t have all our weekdays planned, but we did have things we did weekly, such as: we went to the beach one day a week, and we went to whichever museum was free on Tuesday for that week. That took care of two days, with no effort at all!

Mind, Body and Soul: 

This one covers all the bases, and really is meant for grandparents, although parents can do this as well.   Sleep over! (Slumber party!!)  Last week one of my grandsons who is still nervous about being away from his parents over night, was going to have to stay with my husband and I. Instead of dreading it, we decided to invite all the grandkids to stay over, and made it a slumber party! I had several things planned, all of which were free or available at low cost.

I thought about several different options, like miniature golf, playing arcade games, or going to a drive in movie. I decided that we would have one of my grandkids’ favorite dinners (Taco Salad), go night swimming in our pool (something they rarely do), and go out for frozen yogurt. I let them stay up later than usual watching a video, (about 10:00), and by the time they went to bed, they were tired enough to fall asleep easily.  I also had the opportunity to pray with each one individually, holding their hands, which I thought was absolutely special.

Because I planned things that they don’t do all the time, there was no arguing, or complaining. They cooperated, and enjoyed the time we had together, I think, because I know I did!

In the morning my husband made pancakes for them, and we went to church.  When we came home, their parents were with them, so our time as the guardians was over. I have already planned on having a slumber party once a year. Next time, I will have more time to plan, and I intend to keep our plans a secret until the actual day of the sleep over. I think the kids are absolutely going to love doing this every year!       TRY IT!

If you are a parent, try inviting several of your kids’ cousins over, and have a sleep over.

What would Jesus do?

Do you remember this question from a few years ago? “What would Jesus do?” “(WWJD?)” I have found myself coming back to this question several times, recently. The question isn’t in the Bible, as far as I know, but as Christian parents/grandparents we are to be “Christ like.” Meaning, we are to act in the same manner as Jesus would.

This needs to drive everything we do, especially when it comes to our kids and grandkids. They need to see us as Christ does. What does Christ see? We need to be about our Father’s business. Nothing more, nothing less. We need to remember who Jesus is,  and what He sacrificed for us. WWJD?

I Corinthians 13:1-7, 13 –  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. And If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3. If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5. or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6. it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

13. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The world isn’t THAT bad, is it?

I have a difficult time when someone tells me they are a strong Christian, but just don’t go to church. If Christ says we need to “assemble together,” we need to be in church!

I recently read Day 173: Evening, of my Sonrise Daily Devotional Bible, written by our founding Pastor, Tony Foglio, Sr. It touched my heart, so I thought I would share it with you.

“Once a week is not enough. A one hour worship service is not a good balance between the onslaught of the world and the teaching and preaching of the gospel. Compare the number of hours spent watching television (or being on electronics) with the combined time spent in fellowship, worship, praying, Bible study, and service. Unfortunately, statistics say that TV (and electronics) win. I am not advocating a boycott of television; I am, however, advocating that a greater amount of time be given to that which brings eternal dividends. May I encourage you to not only attend a weekly worship service, but also a Sunday school class, a mid-week prayer service, and a small group fellowship. These combined equate to no more than the amount of television (or electronics) many folks watch in one day. I can promise that your life will be richer for it. Will it be easy? No, it will at first take a fair amount of discipline.There will have to be some priority changes. It will require some sacrifice. However, the fruit that will be produced will be more than worthwhile.”   (Parentheses are mine.)

Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching.