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!

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.

 

Summer Family Fun: Week 8

Hi all! We’re already into August, can you believe it? Pretty soon we’ll be buying Christmas presents! (I know…DON’T say that!)

Soul: 

  • Keep up your family prayer journal. Are you seeing answers? Record them.
  • Also: Memorize 1 verse this week. Young kids learn easy verses, older kids and adults get the more “meaty” verses.
  • Compete to see who can remember the most verses off the top of their head. (Without going back through the Bible to remember them, or practicing first)
  • Make this kid vs. kid and adult vs. adult to be more fair.

Mind:

  • Another “Big Word” game: Use the word “alphabetical” as your big word, write down how many words you can make from it.
  • For older kids, don’t tell them the big word, see if they can figure it out.

Body:

  • Do a family evening walk
  • Could be around your neighborhood, or around your high school track.                   (Remember, don’t do any physical exertion if it is hot outside, or you have compromised health. Check with your physician first, if you aren’t sure about the outside conditions, or your health)

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.”

Summer Family Fun, Week 7

Hi all! I hope this has been a wonderful, rewarding summer for you. I am honestly running out of ideas for the Summer Family Fun lists, but I am using my compilation of things to do that I published on June 10th. (“Ways to Bring Jesus Home, Compilation”). If you can’t think of things to do with your kids on these last days before school restarts, take a look at the compilation of ideas. Hopefully, it will spark some ideas and creativity!

Mind and Soul: 

Eat dinner together (that means at the same time, hopefully at the same table), at least 1 to 2 times this week.

  • Put the dates on your calendar, so you have an “appointment” to have dinner together.
  • Make dinner something that everyone (or most of you) love to eat, or do something different, like having a picnic for dinner.
  • Pray before you eat.
  • NO ELECTRONICS are allowed while anyone is eating!
  • You might pick a topic for discussion before your “dinner date,” but make it something that your family won’t argue about.

Mind:  Game: “Two truths and a lie”

(If you have very young kids, you may want to play a different game {look below})

For “Two truths and a lie”:  This is a very simple game.

(Beforehand…give everyone time to come up with the two truths and one lie about themselves. This can often take some time.)

  • Each person in the family has to think of 2 true facts about themselves, and 1 lie.
  • Usually people come up with things they have done, or something they like, or dislike, that not everyone would know about.
  • Each person takes a turn telling their truths and a lie, and everyone else needs to decide which fact is indeed, a lie.
  • The person who is able to identify the most “lies” is the winner.

Example:

My two truths: I taught Lamaze childbirth for 10 years, and, I have been on TV before.

My lie: I got straight A’s in college.

Most of my grandkids thought that the lie was that I really haven’t been on TV.

For Younger Kids: “I spy with my little eyes, something  (state a color)”

My family plays this when we are on a road trip, but it can be played at home, as well.

  • The object of the game is to locate an object that the person who is “it” has chosen.
  • “It” answers questions about it, without being able to name the object.
  • The person who can identify the object wins.
    • EXAMPLE:
  • To PLAY: The person who is it says, “I spy with my little eyes something blue.”
    • Players look around for something that is blue.
    • First player, “Is it hard or soft?”
    • Next player, “Is it alive or dead?” and so on, until the object can be identified by the answers that the person who is “it” gives.
    • Suggestion: Have the person who is “It” keep their object choice in one room or area that all people have agreed on.

Body: 

Running through the sprinklers with your kids!!! Have you ever actually done that with your kids? Try it this week.

 

Do you have a daily quiet time? Do your kids?

Do your kids have a daily quiet time? I am all about parents/grandparents being role models. I know quiet time is usually adult time for individual, quiet, one-on-one with God – but creating a specific time when kids know to pray and read their Bibles can be a wonderful habit for them.

Most kids have time they use for doing homework, right? You, as their parent, have time set aside when your kids know you expect them to complete whatever homework they have brought home.

I know this might be hard to establish, but a morning quiet time can be as simple as reading a Bible verse on a topic, then praying for their day. Since it is still summer, now would be a fantastic time to set aside 10 minutes in the morning to pray for the requests in your family prayer journal, and read one or two verses on a topic you have chosen.

No matter what age, even small kids can learn how to fold their hands, bow their heads and listen while their parents say very short prayers.

To tell the truth, I did devotions with my kids in the evening for about 15 years almost every night, but I never tried to have them do a morning quiet time. It could be difficult during the school year, unless you are doing this with small children, or they have a later school start time, but it could be scheduled into weekends, holidays and summer mornings. Let me know if you try this…I’d like to know how it goes!

Ephesians 6:4,  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

More activities for week three!

Hard to believe we are already several weeks into summer! I have some challenging activities for this week. I like “challenges” because I think having competitions between family members, or having activities that family members have to share, makes them more accountable. Plus, it’s FUN!

Mind: Research:

  • What is a “Segway?” Have you ever ridden one? Find out all about them (Google it).
  • When were they created? Why? What are they used for mostly?
  • Also, would you try to ride one if you haven’t done so before?
  • SMALL KIDS: Draw a picture of your family riding segways on vacation.
  • OLDER KIDS: Create a newspaper article on segways, answering the above questions.  (Who, what, when, where, why and how).
  • ALL: Share the results of your investigations.

Body: Crunches:

  • (Remember, be careful if you are very out of shape or have a health condition. Check with your doctor first, and follow his/her advise.) This should be fun, not fatal!
  • How many crunches can your family members do?
  • Give your family a one or two minute time limit to do as many crunches as possible.
  • Must follow good form (hands under head, raise head and shoulders only, not trunk, face must be looking at the ceiling).
  • Alternate activity: Push ups! Can be “knee” or traditional, but all family members must do them the same way.

Soul: Memorizing a verse:

  • Agree on one verse to memorize
  • Must be able to say it without reading it after two days,  to call it “memorized.”
  • Younger kids: Choose a very short verse
  • Older kids: Choose a verse that has at least 10 words in it.
  • Who can remember their verse after a week?!

 

More ways to bring Jesus home? Part 2

This is a continuation of the list I posted last time. It is a compilation of ways to “bring Jesus home.” Next time, I will have a list focused on parents/grandparents.

D. Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
    1. Find a time that works, and stick with it! (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  2.  Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  3. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  4. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  5. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc.
    1. (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  6. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  7. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!
    1. Play board games as a family.
    2. Have a family night out and do something together.
    3. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.
    4. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
    5. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.
      1. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
    6. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.
      1. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
    7. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.

 

Do you know the ways to bring Jesus home?

Over the past seven months or so, I have been posting about things that parents might want to make a priority, when raising Christian kids. Last week I went over all the posts I have written so far, collected and prioritized these, in order to have one “document” that lists what I think God has given me as important things that help families incorporate Jesus into their everyday lives.

I am going to make this a downloadable document, so it can be printed out and won’t look like a blog post, but it doesn’t exist yet. I’ll let you know when it is available.

I have sub-divided this list into things to can do for yourself, and things to do with your family.

With your family…

A. Make sure your kids are Christian.

  1. I know this seems silly, but many kids believe that people are born into whatever religion their parents are.
  2. Help your kids realize that being a Christian means having a relationship with Jesus, and that it is much more than just a “religion”.
  3. If your child is not sure, or you are not sure they have accepting Jesus into their heart as their Savior, share the gospel with them, and ask them if they want to ask Jesus into their heart.

B. Trust your kids into God’s hands.

  1. Let Him control what you do and say to them about Him.
  2. Believe that God will have a hand in how you raise them, if you want Him to.

C. Pray, pray, pray!

  1. Discuss with your kids on when during the day you should pray, both as a family, and individually.
  2. Share with them the things you are praying about (unless it shouldn’t be shared, of course).
  3. Create a prayer journal, and review it to show your kids how Jesus has answered their prayers.
    1. (Remember, “wait” and “no” are also answers to prayer!)
  4. Encourage your kids to pray for the Holy Spirit to take away their desire to get mad, or get even with other kids, and also, to take away temptations to gossip, and complain.
  5. Have your kids hold you accountable to pray everyday, as you hold them accountable as well.

 

Can you picture this?

Picture this: Mom and two kids in a car waiting to pick up their sibling from school. The kids are bored with waiting, and are constantly squabbling and doing things they shouldn’t be. Mom is on her smart phone, head down, and never lifts her head or even her eyes. Mom is constantly yelling and threatening the kids with punishment. This goes on for about 25 minutes. Sound ridiculous? I observed this while waiting to pick up my granddaughter at school. And, I have seen the same thing several times, in different settings, with parents and kids.

When did electronics become more important than our kids?

I love having discussions with my grandbabies. They love talking to me (for the most part). When they know we really care about what is going on in their world, they tend to be more comfortable opening up to us.

I am all about being able to talk to my kids, and I know most parents/grandparents want the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with their children. Yes, I know there are times when the electronics have to be taken care of, with texts sent, etc., and I have been as guilty as anyone else looking at my phone when I could have been talking to the kids. But I try to remind myself that they come first, not my smartphone.

Our electronics are definitely a blessing, but Satan also loves them, and works to use them against us and our families, if he can. Don’t let him.

There is a time and a place for everything. When you are “trapped” with your kids in a car, use at least some of the time to talk to them. Use the time wisely. They will only be kids for a few short years, then they will be gone.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Deuteronomy 11:19, Teach them (God’s word) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Colossians 3:20, Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.