Have You Ever Felt Like a Failure as a Parent?

4 03 2019

There is a truth revealed concerning child rearing in I Samuel chapter eight in the Old Testament. Samuel was growing quite old so he appointed his sons as judges over Israel.  “But his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”  (I Samuel 8:3) It was after this that Israel desired a king rather than being ruled by a judge.

 

So often blame is placed upon Samuel for how his sons carried out their new-found power.  Had Samuel failed as a father?  The scripture does not indicate that he did.  Samuel’s sons made their own choice and Samuel was not faulted for those choices.

 

I have seen difficult children come from great families and great children come from difficult families. We like to think there is a guarantee, but at the same time, I have never met a parent with adult children that said there is a guarantee our children will walk as we’ve trained them to.

 

Our children, given the truth of God’s word, still live with freedom of choice and free will.  Can we as parents be good enough parents that somehow God is beholden to, indebted to go against their own will?  As well, the opposite is also true.  We, as parents can mess up and yet our Father is generously compassionate and merciful beyond anything deserved.

 

If your children are not walking as you expected then pray, ask God and do not walk in condemnation and failure.  Rather, walk in faith.

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What a Group of Married Couples Recommend for Your Marriage

25 02 2019

Recently my wife and I had the privilege of spending a weekend with some young married couples on a retreat. Amidst our time together, we desired to ask them a question.  That question went something like this: If you were given the chance to share with a younger couple just entering into marriage, what advice would you pass on to them?  What follows is some of the excellent input we were given.

 

  • Pick your battles by asking yourself if it’s worth the possibility of an argument?
  • Pray about the area that is bothering you before jumping into it with your spouse.
  • Lay down your single routines in order to pick up your couple routines.
  • Communicate your expectations in multiple ways.
  • Give one another extra measures of grace, knowing you both need it.
  • Learn one another’s communication style by learning one another’s love languages.
  • Over communicate.
  • Engage in some form of mentorship.
  • Keep dealing with the areas of needed change in your life and take ownership for your issues.
  • Forgive quickly.
  • Get into the habit of praying together.
  • And always, each and every day, put God first.

 

Pretty sound advice from those with a few years of marriage under their belt.





We’re Better Together

18 02 2019

Marriage, being God’s design from the beginning, is an amazingly creative design.  Every time I am on an airplane sitting shoulder to shoulder with a stranger, I wish it were my wife.  It’s just so odd to be that physically close to someone you do not know and have never met.  Marriage is as close and intimate as an earthly relationship can become.  And the fact of the matter is, over time, it becomes even closer.

 

The primary ingredient to the beauty of our wives is a husband’s unconditional love, honor toward her, serving her and cherishing her.  The most beautiful women I know are those who are treated and cared for in this way. The security and significance of our husbands is directly related to a wife’s affirmation and praise of him as a man, a provider and a lover.  His wife, without critical judgment, loves him in this way and he is secure in that love.

 

We’re better together. The book of Ecclesiastes says it this way, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up.”  How many times has your friend, your spouse, helped you up?  Thank you, Father, for Your amazing design!





The House That God Built

11 02 2019

Whenever we have a first-time visitor to our home, given the chance, we tell them a story.  I’ll tell you that story too.

 

Mary and I were married for twelve years before we owned our own home.  To be perfectly honest, while serving in missions, we didn’t think we’d ever own a home and we really weren’t concerned about it.

 

We had just moved back to our home area after serving in missions for eight years.  We left the work that we were doing out of obedience to God to start a new child welfare agency.  We rented a small apartment from my in-laws and were quite happy there.  In time, we began looking for real estate only to be told by the bank that without any savings and a better paying job, we could not secure a loan.  We really frustrated real estate agents because what we thought God had for us was always different from what they were showing us.

 

Then one morning in my devotional time, God highlighted this verse out of I Chronicles, “I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you.”  That was it.  That was all we needed.  We began to proclaim and to speak the Lord’s favor; we would have a house and God would be the builder.

 

One day an older friend of my wife came to visit us.  She announced she was selling her farm located just a mile from where our apartment was.  She looked directly at us and said these words, “I want you to go out to the farm and see where you would like to build a house.”  We were shocked…speechless.  Wondering how much this lot would cost us she then said, “It is going to be a tithe of my farm; it’s yours free and clear.”  She left and missed seeing Mary and I dancing around our kitchen, shouting loudly in thanksgiving to our Provider.

 

With the commitment of a very dear friend, he and I built that house from foundation up, nailing every stud, pulling every wire, plumbing and painting.  Now almost 32 years ago, we still tell the story.  We can’t stop telling the story because it’s the house that God built.

 

Even when man (or bank) says it can’t be done…   Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.





Long-Term Marriage Pays (In more ways than one!)

4 02 2019

Did you know those who are blessed to experience long-term marriage tend to accumulate twice as much wealth than those who are single or divorced?  Yep, it’s true.

 

Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research studied over 9,000 people concerning their marriage and finances.  Over a fifteen-year period they discovered some astounding facts.  For one, those who married and stayed married over that study period increased their wealth 93%. *

 

What about those who married and divorced in that same time period?  Their wealth decreased by 77%.  Why? The answer is partly because there are now two households with double the expenses, double the payments, not to mention the cost of the divorce itself with lawyer fees, etc.  Breaking up a marriage is costly in so many ways.

 

Too many people see only the end, being rid of this person they are no longer getting along with. But the truth is, especially if you have children, you are never rid of this person.   And that cost of breaking up a marriage is far more costly than repairing one.

 

Some wise words from a wife who was cheated on by her husband that we recently heard went something like this:  “He (her husband) spent a lot of money on cheating and it cost us in so many ways. We are now going to spend a lot of money on healing. “

 

Money spent on healing goes much farther than money spent on divorce.

 

* From Love Talk, by Les and Leslie Parrot





Voting Has a Direct Effect Upon Life In The Womb

28 01 2019

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body: all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139: 13-16

 

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

 

If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it?

 

Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?  Proverbs 24: 11, 12

 

Today we see the direct result of how we cast our votes.  Is your allegiance, is your passion to Jesus and the lives He created for life?  If the godly do not care, who will?  Thank you New York state elected officials for this reminder.

 

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

 

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

 

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  Psalm 127: 3-5

“Father, forgive us for this sin of selfishness and the sacrifice of innocent blood.”





John Wesley’s 21 Accountability Questions to Start Out 2019

14 01 2019

On a recent prayer time away from my office, I carried John Wesley’s 21 accountability questions with me.  I have gone through these numerous times and really enjoy doing so.  I thought that if you were not familiar with them, you just might like to consider a look as well.  On that note, here they are:

 

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
  3. Can I be trusted?
  4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  6. Did the Bible live in me today?
  7. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
  8. Am I enjoying prayer?
  9. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  12. Do I disobey God in anything?
  13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  16. How do I spend my spare time?
  17. Am I proud?
  18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  20. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  21. Is Christ real to me?

And, one more we might add to these: Have I told myself the truth as I answered these questions?








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