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Friday, February 23, 2018

Family Friday: Training Future Spouses




            When listening to my class of small children play “house” at recess, I was struck with the wide variety of how they treated each other.  Some of the boys were so kind and thoughtful of the girls, and some were just rude.  Some of the girls let the boys make the decisions, and some just told the boys exactly what they thought of the ideas.  Children come up with the craziest things to say all on their own, but it could be that they are learning how to treat their future spouse by what they are observing at home.
            It has been said that girls often marry men like their dads, and boys often marry women like their mom.  That may be true to an extent, but perhaps the greater truth is that men treat their wives the way their mother was treated, and ladies treat their husband the way their father was treated.  Dads, your sons learn how to treat a lady from you!  Are your words and actions thoughtful and preferential, or are they selfish and demanding?  Moms, your daughters learn how to treat their husband from you!  Do you respond to your husband in love and submission, or do you assert your opinion and desires over his?
            Early training can help instill many of the qualities we look for in a spouse.  How you allow your children to treat each other is often training for how they will treat their spouse.  I know brothers and sisters do not always agree or get along!  Our job as parents is to help them learn to work through the disagreement and respond correctly to each other; this will help them learn to handle disagreements when they are married.
            This is by no means a study on teaching manners and kindness to children, but hopefully it will help someone think about training their children to treat their spouse correctly.  Children catch more from your actions than your words.  “Your walk  talks, and your talk  talks; but your walk  talks louder than your talk  talks.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

Family Friday: I Choose Love




I Choose Love
          Around this time of year, many people talk about love and its effects on people.  Cards with sweet sentiments are exchanged, and sometimes flowers are delivered to a loved one.  You may hear phrases such as “fall in love”, “can’t help loving you”, “a feeling bigger than both of us”, etc.  These ideas are romantic, but not necessarily true.
        Love is a choice!  True love does not depend on circumstance or receiver.  The greatest love comes from Christ who gave Himself to die for us that we might live for eternity.  If His love depended on circumstance, then He could have stopped before going to the cross.  If love depended on the receiver, then no one would ever be worthy of His love.  Christ demonstrated true love when He gave His all for those not doing anything to show love for Him.
        This should make us ponder our love for our spouses.  Our loving them should not depend on circumstances or receiver.  Life does not always present the best circumstances; choose to love anyway.  Our spouses are not always lovable; choose to love anyway.  Besides, we are not always loveable, either! 
        Of course there are things you can do for each other to strengthen your relationship.  You should invest time, effort, and even money into each other as often as you can.  Cards and gifts are a tangible way to help you express your love.  However, do not depend on these things to keep you loving each other.  Realize it is a choice to love, then choose love every day.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We Pray Wednesday: Spiritual Security




Spiritual Security
We love to be safe.  Whether in our cars, homes, or work, we like knowing that we won’t have to worry about things happening to us that can injure or harm us.  We make sure we lock our doors and set our security systems before going to bed at night, because we do not want to worry about anything while we are sleeping.  When we get in our cars, we buckle our seat belts for safety in case an accident occurs.  We have metal detectors in airports, stadiums, and government buildings because we want to know that we will be secure inside.  Some businesses even have armed guards to deter incidents from occurring with their customers.  All of these can be titled under one word: SECURITY. 
How often do we think about having spiritual security?  Do we protect ourselves from the spiritual warfare that is happening around us daily, that we cannot see?One of the ways to have spiritual security is to pray daily for God’s protection from the enemy.  The devil has a daily plan for us.  He wants to put traps and temptation in our daily path to cause us to sin and to destroy our lives.  We need to have our spiritual security measures in place daily to keep us safe from his temptations.
1.  Pray for the strength to flee from temptation.
God put into everyone of our bodies a chemical known as adrenalin.  This is sometimes called the “fight or flight instinct”.  Many times, after someone has used part of their adrenalin in a stressful situation, they become very tired from the extra energy that they have expended.  We need to pray for the strength to continue to flee the temptations that came in our lives.  It’s unusual that we as Christians want to use only half of our spiritual adrenalin: the part that says to stand and fight.  We need to realize that fleeing from the dangers of sin does not make us less of a Christian.  In I Corinthians 10:13 the Bible says “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  We need to realize that we cannot always handle the temptations, but we can pray for the strength to help us flee.
2.  Pray for a spiritual wall of protection from the enemy.
In the book of Nehemiah, the city of Jerusalem had the wall torn down and the gates burned with fire.  The enemy was able to go into the city at any time and do whatever the wanted to do to the people.  When Nehemiah went to rebuild the wall, the enemy began to be upset with him because he was building up protection from them.  This is what we should do for ourselves and our loved ones.  We should daily pray that God would give us spiritual protection from the enemy’s attack.  The devil will use other’s words and actions to get in and begin to destroy us.
3.  Pray that the devil will never get a place in your life.
The best security measures are used to keep those that should not be inside, out.  Security plans are not usually started with, “Okay, after the intruder has been here for a while, then we will try to figure out how to make him leave.”  That is very poor security plan!  Anyone who would use that plan in the security world, would not be useful.  Many Christians try this spiritual security measure with the enemy and cannot figure out why it doesn’t work.  We need to daily pray for the Holy Spirit to show us where we have a weak spot in our spiritual security.  If the Holy Spirit shows this to us, we need to call out to God to help us get the intruder out of our lives before it becomes almost impossible to make him leave.  If we give the devil a foothold in our lives, he will not be content until he has built a stronghold.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Family Friday: My Reflection






My Reflection

Looking in the mirror, all I see is me: nothing exceptional, but I am special.
No matter what age, I will always be a child, for I am a child of God.
I do not desire to be the one who turns heads, nor do I desire to be the one who         gets ahead.
But I do desire to be the one drawn to Thee, for I do desire that others see         Christ in me.
I am just flesh and bones, a body that will soon waste away. But I gaze  at           myself, and Lord I do pray..
 That You will fill me with Your gentle Spirit, so that I may show others that You          are the only Way.
I pray You place many on my daily path and give words that reflect a humble      heart.
May I plant seeds of faith that allow them to see You, Lord, who has loved them          from the start.
Oh, let me be a reflection of Your love, Lord! Open their eyes so they may see
I desire nothing more than to allow You to glorify Yourself through me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We Pray Wednesday: How to pray for your Children




                Psalms 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 
                When my children were just babies, my wife and I took turns praying with them every night before they went to bed.  We still continue this tradition now and my children are now 15,13, and 6.  We began to pray for some specific things that God would do in their lives.  These are a few things that all parents should pray for their children on a daily basis that God will do in their lives.  This is not an exhaustive list by any means.  Every situation is different, but we should go to God for our children daily.  There have also been times in their lives that they were dealing with some specific issues that we prayed about until God has answered our prayers in these matters. 

1.  SALVATION
                It is my hope that every Godly parent would pray this for their child until God answers the prayer.  This is the most important thing that can happen in a person's life.  It's a matter of eternal life and death.  After they have been saved, you can begin to thank God for answering the prayer.

2.  SPOUSE
                The second most important decision that a child makes in their life is whothey marry.  This means that we should pray that God brings the right person into their life at the right time for them to marry.  We should also pray that their spouse is saved and trusting God to bring along the right person for them to marry.

3.  WILL OF GOD FOR THEM
                We as parents should pray daily that our children would do God's will no matter what God wants them to do.  We should be careful not to direct them toward something that we think they would enjoy, or that would make them secure financially.  We should show them that God always has the best for them if they will believe and follow His leading.

4.  WISDOM
                The best way for a child to be wise is not by school or book knowledge, but by reading and receiving knowledge from THE BOOK every day.  The wisdom of God is far better than any piece of paper that they receive from a school.  This does not mean education is unimportant, but the wisdom of God is the most important.

5.  PURITY
                We should pray daily for the purity ofour children.  Purity is not just being pure of body, but also of mind and spirit.  This will not happen by accident.  We must be vigilant of what they are seeing, doing and listening to on a daily basis.

6.  PROTECTION
                We should daily pray that God will protect our children physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  In this world that we live in, we cannot know everything that may happen to them on a daily basis.  God, however, does know what is coming, and our daily prayers for them could mean the difference between a tragedy and a miracle.

7.  LOVE FOR GOD AND HIS WORD
                If we as parents will love God and His Word, our children will have a taste also.  We must also ask God to give them a desire for it so that they will love it, follow it, and obey it their entire life.

8.  HATE SIN AND BE CAUGHT WHEN THEY DO SIN
                This is hard to pray for because your child may get in more trouble than others.  This will, however, keep them from having a lot of the guilt and baggage later on in life.  If they also hate sin, they will see it as sin, stay away from it, and go in the right direction.