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 “religious” person?

Well, are you a religious person? Have you ever had anyone ask you that, or state: “Well, I’m not a very religious person.” Chances are good that our kids/grandkids will hear that at some point in their lives. How will they respond? Will they know how to answer?

First, I think a review of the definition of “religious” is in order here. As a former teacher (Yay, teachers!!!), I used to teach word “families.” Kids with special needs, and kids whose first language is not English, often get confused about different word forms, such as religious and religion (i.e. “I am a religion person” instead of, religious person).

“Religious” is an adjective, and describes a noun. “Religion” is a thing, and therefore a noun. Oddly, we never use religious to describe religion! A religion is: “a particular system of faith and worship of a superhuman controlling power.” But, being religious, although usually referring to a religion, can also mean: “being scrupulously and conscientiously faithful.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

So…people can be “religious” at anything. You can be a religious dieter, a religious scholar, even a religious video game player! You can exercise religiously, don’t you think?

When people say, “I’m not very religious,” tell your kids to ask them what they mean. Most people are religious at something. Then see if they would ask them if that means they don’t believe in Jesus. Talk about an open door!! If your child is being brought up as a Christian, this could be the opportunity for them to share what they believe. Even if it means only saying “Well, I believe in Jesus, but I believe I have a relationship to Him. It’s way more than just being religious.” If that is all they get the chance to say, they have planted that seed, and our Saviour Jesus Christ can then help it to grow.

Mark 12:33, Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.

1 John 4:16b, God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

What makes a prayer “precious?”

One of the most precious things we can do with our kids/grandkids, is pray with them. I don’t mean the regular meal-time or bed-time prayers, but the special prayers that will help build up our kids when things are going on that make them anxious. These are one-on-one prayers when you either hug them, hold both of their hands, or even pray with them over the phone. These are the “precious” prayers.

Especially when a family’s focus is on trying to incorporate Jesus into their kid’s everyday life, praying with a child when they are nervous, or scared about something is truly, “Where the rubber (Jesus), meets the road” (is requested to help a child with a need). It shows your child that you depend on Jesus. It reveals your heart and love for Jesus to him/her. We teach our kids more by how we live, than what we say, and praying shows our kids it is ok not to be able to fix everything, and it is good to depend on Jesus to help us through our problems.

I’m not just talking about bad problems, either. I have prayed and held hands with my oldest granddaughter before she has auditioned for plays. I have also recently prayed with my 11 year old granddaughter, who is struggling to adjust to middle school as a 6th grader.

Showing your kids/grandkids that you trust Jesus and they can, too, is one of the most powerful lessons your kids can learn.

Philippians 4:6-7, 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.

1 John 5:15, And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.

What do you do when you can’t DO anything?

This question is more for parents of older, adult kids. What do you do when all you can do is offer suggestions to your kids? Especially as Christian parents? When you’ve tried to raise your kids according to the “discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but they aren’t following that with their own kids?

What do you do, parents? We live in a crazy world, and it is so easy to see how our grandkids need to have strong, living faith in Jesus Christ, but our adult kids really aren’t “bringing Jesus home,” so the only Jesus they ever learn about is the one hour on Sunday they spend at church? (If they go to church?)

What Bible verses do you read? How do you pray about this subject? Does this situation bother anyone besides me? I pray for my kids and grandkids all the time, but wondered if other parents of adult kids get frustrated like I do. I know I need to give it to God, but then a few days ago, I tried to pray with one of my grandsons, who told me we aren’t supposed to talk about Jesus anywhere but in church. I corrected that, but he has mentioned it to my other grandkids as well. What Bible verses do you lean on? How do you pray?

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

Why is it so hard to forgive?

When it comes to forgiving, we think with the heart of man instead of the heart of God. But what does the Bible say we are to do when we have been hurt (figuratively and/or physically)? Forgive 70 X 7, which means, every time.

My granddaughter is currently struggling with this issue. She was hurt by her best friend, and refuses to forgive her. Perhaps it has to do with being prideful, and not appearing weak, or appearing willing to “allow” the behavior that hurt her, I don’t know. But even though she and I have talked about what God says about forgiveness, she refuses to forgive her BF(F). The only thing I could share, after telling her what God expects, is that if God forgives us, we should be able to forgive each other, and for her to pray about the issue. I will check with her later to see if she has.

Matthew 18:21-22, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered,  “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times!” (Or, seventy times seven, depending on the Bible version.)

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.

 

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)

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.