Archive | April 2017

God has no grandchildren.

If you’ve raised your kids in a Christian home, this is for you.

If you’ve raised your kids in a Christian home and you are hurting, this is for you.

We all know parents typically pass on their values and traditions to their children. We model what is important to us. We live, breathe, and eat what is valuable to us.

I have been very strong in my faith in terms of taking the scripture literally: Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

The events of my life brought me to needing certainty in which to build my life upon. Maybe I was more needy than most. It doesn’t matter. The scripture stands true for all of us not matter what our story is.

Needless to say, I was determined to pass on to my children “the map” to guide them through life. I was not alone. Most of my church community were first generation Christians. This means church wasn’t just for Sundays, Easter, and Christmas. It was a lifestyle for us of embracing what God gave us, the Bible, to be the light guiding our path. Not in a legalistic, micro managing sense, but a nurturing environment whereby they could grow healthier and stronger than we ever did.

And avoiding the mistakes we made.

I worked hard at this. I raised and home-schooled 8 children. They will never know what I went without in order to give them all they needed. And I don’t really want them to know in order to get their eternal gratitude. That’s not the point.

I made mistakes along the way.  I lost my temper. I could have hugged them more. I could have been more encouraging. I could have given more individual time.

As one friend said during this time of raising our children, “you know, we are just one step ahead of them”, meaning, we are learning along with them.

But my main goal was they would love God the way I had come to love him. And we all know teaching is not so much what we say but how we live.

That didn’t mean rituals and reciting prayers. It meant loving God and doing what he says – not the letter of the law as if to receive good points or salvation – but out of love and knowing his ways are to bless us not harm us.

We knew it worked. We experienced it first hand.

The part I forgot was they had to experience it first hand, too.

One thing we were reminded as we raised our families, “God has no grandchildren”.

This means God only has sons and daughters. In other words, no one comes to God through another. It’s not automatic. There has to be a personal response to the salvation provided for you (Don’t we stand in awe of the guy who sacrificed his life by taking the bullet on the front lines, saving his platoon? Like that.). And there has to be a personal, ongoing relationship with God to know him, his ways, and all he provides to help us throughout life.

As our church community raised our children, I think most of us thought input – output. I know I did. I remember reminding my friends we can’t look for the results too quickly. We could be impatient. I mean, that’s how the world was conditioning us already in the early 80s and we’d have to be careful we weren’t looking for the “fruit” too soon. It’s like planting a garden, right?

It seemed simple enough. Practical. Of course, they would hear and see and automatically follow.  They would see how their parents invested in them in such sacrificial ways. At the very least, they would understand what we didn’t know when we were their age.

Then the years unfolded. We were naive enough to believe the teenage years would not be as tumultuous because we had provided and protected and kept the words of life visible in thought, words, and deed. Certainly the struggles were not going to hit them as hard as they did us when we didn’t have the map.

They did.

These unique, God-given, children who received Christ and were baptized, you know .. the ones God had a purpose and destiny for .. struggled, tripped, and fell just like we did.

And worse.

Then I remembered, God has no grandchildren.

That doesn’t mean only when they are 8, 10, 12 years old.

It means when they are 16, 18, 20 ..

.. 30, 40, or 50.

Dear parent, don’t look for the fruit too soon. They have enough of the word of God in them. It’s in there. And we know what God says- It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Remember? … the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

God’s ways, his time, is not like ours.

That doesn’t mean at age 12 or 18 all will be well.

It might.

But it might not.

That’s because our lives are a series of situations and events which cause us to choose which way we will go. And each one of us has to choose accordingly.

Each one of our children have to personally respond to what their decisions will be. It is between them and God.

It’s important to me that my kids, no matter what age, that they will see God’s word is true and can be trusted. That each one of us, no matter who we are or where we came from, are broken with weaknesses and faults and sin. We are vulnerable and frail. God knows this. He wants to help us.

If only we would listen.

I’ve learned something very important about myself, too. I know how I feel if my kids don’t choose God’s ways. It hurts because I know the personal sacrifice.

Now I know how God feels when I don’t choose his ways. Because He knows his personal sacrifice.

And now I have a greater understanding of how it makes him feel.

God loves us no matter how far away we stray from him. That is incredible to think about! He never, ever lets go.

If you are hurting because you’ve paid a price of raising your children with Christian values and principles, and perhaps even were mocked in the way you chose to have a Christian home, don’t despair.

You did not fail. You dedicated him or her to God, remember?

God knows all the details.

 

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limping along.

We all know what it’s like to have a bad day.

But how about a bad month? Or months? Or year?

There are difficult times in life I like to call seasons. Because just like seasons, they go on for awhile. The good part is a new season is always coming, and with it, hope for brighter days.

And eventually, everyone gets brighter days.

I’ve been feeling like I’m limping along for awhile now with many situations beyond my control.

How we feel (emotions) are real. But they are unpredictable, not always accurate, and can consume us if we don’t have something to anchor ourselves to. Beyond the days of heavy, dark clouds, the sun is shining. What you are feeling is real, just like the clouds are real. But you don’t always see beyond them.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know my anchor is God and the Bible.

Now before you start getting riled up with the oh-so-common opposition you feel welling up inside, let me ask you this: what anchors you? What keeps you from being overwhelmed? You are turning to something in order to cope. What is it?

Even though I am limping, I am steady.

I cry, I am angry, I am discouraged, I am weary.

But just like the small, unseen pilot light that keeps the pot on your stove constant without burning or boiling over, just like the steady glow of the lighthouse guiding ships to safety, God provides us with something to steady us through difficulty and even tragedy.

It’s called grace.

And God says grace helps in time of need.

And God says it is sufficient no matter what we’re facing.

It’s called peace.

And God says it’s not the kind of peace the world gives.

And God says it protects your heart and mind.

And it’s called joy.

And God says this joy is our strength.

And God says when we believe we will have joy.

I didn’t get here overnight. No one does. It has been a series of situations leaving me floundering in a sea of doubt, discouragement, and despair. I navigated through life not turning to other things, but believing and trusting God meant what he said. Through it, I became stronger and stronger.

God has “hard wired” us to depend on him. The fact anyone would resist is proof enough. We are pretty independent and God does not want us to be independent from him. He wants to help us and he outlines the way he will help us – if we want it.

I’m not saying if you haven’t developed a lifetime of building your life the way I did that you can’t do it now. He tells us he hears and answers … anyone at anytime.

So, great news! You can start your “lifetime” today.

Am I happy? Not really. I’ve had better days of happiness.

But I have discovered the real deal is when so much is wrong, you feel the grace, peace, and joy only God can give.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

All the more reason to know it’s from God.

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the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

“Christianity is unique among world religions, and Christ’s true uniqueness is the centerpiece of Christianity. The truth about Christ is based primarily on the New Testament documents which have been shown elsewhere to be authentic. The New Testament record, especially the Gospels, is one of the most reliable documents from the ancient world. From these documents we learn that numerous facets of Christ are absolutely unique.”

Christ offers a better way of salvation. Unlike the God of Islam, the God of the Bible reached out to us by sending his Son to earth to die for our sins. Muhammad offered no sure hope for salvation, only guidelines for working oneself into Allah’s favor. Christ provided all that is needed to get us to heaven in his death, ‘For Christ also died once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18).

Christ teaches a better way of salvation. The Hindu is lost in the karmic cycle of reincarnation until he reaches moksha and is left to work the way out of this maze alone. Jesus promised that we would be saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–7), and that we could know that our salvation is guaranteed (Ephesians 1:13–14; 1 John 5:13).

Christ offers a better way of salvation. The Buddhist also teaches reincarnation as the means of salvation. However, in this form the self or individuality of the soul is eradicated at the end of each life. So even though you live on, it is not you as an individual who has any hope of attaining nirvana. Jesus promised hope to each man and woman as an individual (John 14:3) and said to the thief on the cross beside him, ‘Today you shall be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43).

Read more here.

Has any founder of a religion died for you? Without any more for you to do except open your hands and take the gift of salvation?

Or do you have to work to follow all kinds of rules and such?

Do you work for a gift someone gives you? Or do you receive it with gratitude?

What follows is what God wants to give you.

What you give him is your love.

It is finished.

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Photo credit: abcdz2000 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-S

social media and grief.

Social media is a 2 edged sword.

It’s “one stop shopping” for so many of us. In 5 minutes, we can touch base with 10 people without getting off the couch.

There are some downsides, too. And we pretty much know what they are.

One obscure downside is how we handle death. Below is a link to an article worth reading. It will help if you have been a frustrated recipient. And it will help you if you did not know how the timing of posting a comment could be hurtful.

Remember, it’s the immediate family who comes first. It’s been said others are hurting, too, and it’s just their way of grieving when they comment on a social media site.

I understand that. But as the article points out, there is a hierarchy of grief. If you really want to help, don’t add more stress to the immediate family.

“Please read this before you post another RIP on social media

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Photo credit: http://foter.com/re/c5eb93″>Foter.com

the lesser of two evils.

The following is an excerpt from Questions Asked by Teens About Suicide & Ideas for Appropriate Responses:

What is an appropriate memorial to a suicide victim?

“The most appropriate memorial is a living one such as contributions to support suicide prevention. The American Association of Suicidology cautions that permanent markers or memorials such as plaques or trees planted in memory of the deceased dramatize and glorify their actions. Special pages in yearbooks or or school activities dedicated to the suicide victim are also not recommended.”

I completely understand the concern here. Anyone who is vulnerable may take their life, too. It’s called “copy cat suicide”.

Yet, I think it’s important to allow people to grieve in a way that helps. Especially teenagers. They are still here and the memory of their friend or classmate will be with them forever.

Additionally, the family of the one who took their life is already suffering. To take this approach isolates the family and they suffer more.

I know suicide is a very, very difficult situation. Everyone is hurting.

I also know allowing people to grieve through remembering the one who died is important.

We try to control what we don’t understand. Sometimes, we make it worse.

Which is the lesser of two evils: another suicide or the remaining loved ones feeling isolated and shunned? Does one person have more value than the other?

I see nothing wrong with a yearbook page or plaque. It’s a simple gesture to remember a valuable life.  Without allowing something tangible to remember, it makes that life unimportant.

People who took their life were either hurting and unable to see beyond the moment and/or there was a physical imbalance creating mental illness.

How can we not have compassion for that? It is not compassionate to try and sweep it under the rug. And that is what it is when you deny someone the ability to create a memorial.

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kathymoulton