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.

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.

Can you identify “fake” news?

Have you ever had your child come home at the end of a day, make a statement to you that they believe is true, and you can’t help but respond, “Where did you hear that?”

Having been an English teacher, I have spent time trying to teach students how  to tell good information from bad information when doing research. But, because of the prevalence of highly biased information these days, I actually went to an expert I just happened to work with at El Cajon Valley High School (ECVHS), to find out how he teaches kids to identify false from real information.

Before Mr. Trump ran for President, I didn’t realize there was any such thing as “fake” news. Sounds rather naive, now, doesn’t it? But since he became President, I have found more and more information that wants you to believe it is real, when it is more often than not either partially or completely false.  (Doesn’t this sound rather biased? It is. I am blaming Trump for the increase in “fake” news, and he really can’t be blamed for it. I am also not showing other possible reasons for “fake” news.)

Anthony Devine is the librarian at ECVHS. He has also spent much time learning about how information can be presented to make people want to believe it.  I asked him to show me what he teaches students about how to tell a good source from a bad source (good information from bad).  It really comes down to a few die hard rules.

  • Read the information. Does it balance one side with the “other” side, or just give one side of the story?
  • Who wrote what you are reading? Could they be part of a political group? Does the writer have an “agenda?”  Is it written by a trained journalist?
  • Are the claims the article or post makes backed up with evidence?
  • All information has a bias, BUT…it must also be willing to discuss opposing views on the subject.

What you see above is just a small part of what kids are taught at ECV. Kids must be able to discern good from bad information, because they will make life decisions based on what they believe to be true!  As a parent and grandparent, we can help our schools teach this to our kids. I am sure Anthony, as well as hundreds of teachers and librarians, would be quite happy if we could reinforce what they try to teach at school.

Look at this link for an interesting and informative article on identifying good from bad information, and why we are drawn to certain information:

http://time.com/5362183/the-real-fake-news-crisis/.

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

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)

Can you keep a secret?

(If you think this blog is worth your time, please subscribe. I will be losing the linking ability from my blog to FB as of Aug. 1st, so you won’t see it on FB, unless I find another way to automatically link it. Thanks!)

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.