Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

How Can I Get My Student to Focus?

In Life and Culture, Parenting on October 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm

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This is a picture of today’s double date!  Everyone is so glued to their devices that it is hard to get to know people in a real and lasting way.  Sure, we know them by what they post or tweet, but is that who they are?  While it may be who they are, it still lacks communication beyond emoticons and enigmatic posts.

  • Doug was tired of watching his son isolate and basically refuse to communicate with the world around.
  • Serena noticed that it had been weeks since she had a meaningful conversation with her daughter.
  • Matt stood in the store trying to decide what to get for his phone.  He wanted his first smart phone.  Little did Ben, his dad, know what was ahead.

I find it hard to separate myself from the phone.  My wife constantly reminds me to leave it in the other room during supper and family times.  If forget to turn it down I hear that “ding” and wonder what is happening.  How much harder is it for the hormone overloaded!  Self-control, let’s face it, is not the strong suit of the modern teenager.  How can we help them focus?  On what, or whom, are we to help them focus?  Here are 3 focal points.

Grades > Messaging

Before they have “jobs”, school is really their job.  Focusing on grades is critical to moving forward.  However, it is hard to study and focus on homework when the phone is constantly buzzing or beeping.  We must help our students understand the importance of grades.  For me, grades were critical for scholarships.  Without them, I was not going to college.  Grades, for some, are very hard to keep up.  Some people are “A” students.  Some are “B ” students.  Some are neither.  As  parent we must know our child’s limits and help them stretch without breaking them.  If you have a “B” student and you make the hard play for straight “A’s” you might actually have that blow up in your face.  Know your student.  Stretch your student.  Be reasonable.  Grade are more important than the messages they might miss.

Growth > Leveling Up

Trying to raise students to love Jesus and live for Jesus publicly can be treacherous some days.  Putting a device in their hands presents positive and negative opportunities.  They could download The Bible App, but will they read it?  They could download a Memory Verse App, but will they use it.  Undeniably, Candy Crush and Clash of Clans are more inviting.  Do I even need to mention how easy it is to find free porn on the device you’ve purchased for them to help them socialize?  No…I do not.  Before you praise them for, or play with them to, leveling up, let’s consider their need for Jesus and a relationship with God as primary.  I personally use Net Nanny to control the access on their devices.  On the fly I can block or allow apps.  Let’s us consider how they can grow in Christ before growing their clans.

Gathering > Isolating

No matter what you might be told, there is nothing like gathering personally with friends.  Social interaction cannot happen on the devices.  Communication cannot really be made honestly isolated.  I believe we are one generation away from major neck problems!  The next HUGE profession will be neurology and spinal issues.  While I do say that tongue-in-cheek, the picture above is seen everywhere.  People sit and tables together but say nothing.  Families are in the same house but text from room to room.  Families eat together but the glow of the screen beckons us to stay a while longer.  We must encourage our students to engage in “analog” relationships.

Final Thoughts

Both of mine have phone and tablets.  Before you go and rip the device from your students sweaty palms, take a breath.  Leverage your authority and power through the ownership of the device itself.  Help them see the need for grades, growth, and gathering through the limitation of device time.  Reduce access to apps.  Remove the device overnight.  If needed, remove the device from their possession altogether.  Don’t forget, as parents, we are supposed to model and train them to be followers of Christ more than our Candy Crush score.  Be gentle. Be firm.  Love them through these days!

Casual Sex or Broken Bottles? 5 Things Every Parent Must Start Today

In Parenting on September 3, 2014 at 9:22 am

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The bottle started spinning.

The group had gathered while the parents were busy doing other things.  They found a quiet spot and now sat there cross-legged, hormone infused, and anxious as the emptied bottle spun around and around.  Billy had spun the bottle and desperately hoped that it would fall on Amy.  He, with his shaggy hair, strong chin, and tanned skin after the Summer spent at the lake and she with her long auburn hair, green eyes, and sweet…lips.  This was all he could think about!  How sweet her lips appeared.  He wanted to kiss those lips.  He wanted to touch her body.

The bottle kept spinning.

The group was seated boy/girl/boy/girl so that it created fairness in play.  Palms were sweaty, the room was humid, and everyone was nervous.  To whom would the bottle point?  Who would go in the closet with Billy?  They had no defined any rules.  They were no boundaries spoken, though surely there were unspoken ones.

The bottle stopped.

Many of us might remember playing “Spin the Bottle” or “7 in Heaven” growing up.  It seems these days there is not even that pretense.  The most we might ever do, because we did not really know better is a heavy make-out session.  Today, I hear of Junior High kids sneaking off before school, during lunch, and after school for casual sex.  I wish they knew there is, and never was, anything casual about sex.  Apart from the obvious, why is there such desire?  I am not saying desires have changed.  I was young…once.  I remember.  Reports today suggest that half of the High School population has engaged in sexual activity, which does not include anything outside of intercourse.  Strikingly, 1 of 5 14 year olds are engaged!

A broken bottle.

Casual sex, whether in the classroom, playground, car, or bedroom leads to broken bottles.  The term “casual sex” is being used to denote an all-encompassing understanding.  I believe whether vaginal or oral, sex is sex.  A president might not want to believe this, but it is true.  While hooking up may be overplayed in the media as I suspect it is, there are still high numbers of children engaging inactivity for which they are ill-prepared.  Having knowledge of a subject does not mean you should act.  Broken psyches and lives are a constant result of unpreparedness and improper orders of events.  God has brought light and power into the fragile bottles of our lives.  As the father of a teen and tween, I am daily praying that the bottles in my care stay intact.

Kids are curious creatures!  Out of this curiosity, they explore.  Exploration can lead to infatuation that can lead to involvement.  How can we curb their enthusiasm?

Talk.  Parents tend to talk to their girls more than boys.  Both need education, awareness, and boundaries.  Also, twice as many parents feel they have talked with their kids than claimed by the kids.  We must make sure we are heard and understood.  Helping them see the reasons why waiting is healthy and encouraging them to discuss options with you will certainly help.

Honesty.  Parents who believe their children are saints need to have a reality check.  Everyone knows mine are the only two angels still living on the Earth!  😉  Being honest means to accept that our kids are not the angels we want them to be.  Being honest also means, in careful measures, sharing your life story too.

Openness.  Parents must work very hard to keep lines open for kids to approach them.  We, as parents, say we are open, but we must present that way too.  Our body language ALWAYS says more than we think it does.  If we cringe, faint, scream, or judge we are closing off the doors of communication.  Once the door is closed, they WILL find someone else to be an influence.

Boundaries.  Mediums such as phones and tablets are providing vast arrays of access to our kids.  From image searches to Snap-chat we must stay on the offensive.  Setting boundaries for kids on their web time and TV time is critical.  Confiscating electronics after a certain time of night is tough but healthy.  Taking time off from electronics will also be of value from time to time.

Modesty.  Teaching our children, both boys and girls, to dress and relate modestly will assist.  It is not just the clothes someone wears that is the problem.  Often the way we talk to each other is immodest and creates a culture of disrespect.  If we can teach our kids modesty we raise self-respect and self-esteem both of which are pillars of strength that undergird their spirit, mind, and body.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Why You Must Fact Check Personal Decisions

In Decisions on July 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

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President Obama recently stated that the GOP has blocked every serious idea about building up middle class America.  The Washington Post had this to say in response.  It seems that we, in America, are yet again at a standstill when it comes to getting anything accomplished in Congress.  The fact-checker of the Washington Post gave Obama 3 Pinocchios for that claim.  Much more can be found on their fact checker site.   What comes to mind for me, is that, while I don’t swallow in whole anything either side ever says about the other, it is interesting to note that someone is fact-checking the situation.

We do this at home too, right?  I have two children: a boy and a girl.  The rhetoric that ensues at times is comical, albeit very frustrating in the heat of the moment.  Usually there are lavish claims being shot back and forth much like Congress.  Each climbs onto their platform and tries to hijack the conversation.  Often we must fact-check the situation and try to understand exactly what happened, when, and to whom.

While we certainly understand the need for fact-checking in politics and parenting, we often forgo the attempt when it comes to personal decisions.  Whether it is because of lack of energy or inflated view of self-knowledge, we often make decisions, of a personal nature, off-the-cuff.  Why?  Why are we so enthralled in making sure the leadership of a country are absolute and that our family is too, but choose to live in a relative state personally?  In reality, our frustrated lives, battered pride, stress, and anxiety might all stem from a lack of personal fact-checking before making decisions.  As followers of Christ, why are we not engaging in a conversation with God before making certain decisions?

But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins.  So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.  Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.    Joshua 9

We get into difficult situations often on our own.  Let us learn to engage the Lord in order to not live in regret.  Fact-check your decisions and you will soon shed the robes of regret that are so heavy.

3 Reasons Why I Spank My Kids

In Parenting on July 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

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I was asked to weigh in the other day amid a group of religious leaders on the issue of discipline.  The concept up for discussion was the phrase “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”  Does it mean:

1.  If you do not discipline your child you will spoil him/her.

2.  Spoil the child with love so you can spare the rod.

The scripture that best suits this discussion is found in Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Because this is in Proverbs it is hard to find context as you would with other passages.  Proverbs is written as wise statements to be taken on their own merit and value.  With that said, this has two statements which relate to each other.  Discipline is designed to be a loving, caring, guiding principle for raising our children.  If we do not discipline our children the Bible is clear that it is as if we hated them.  In the same vein, if we love our children we care enough to provide the necessary discipline.

When it comes to discipline I believe there are a few considerations to make.

1.  Love – We should never discipline out of hate and anger.  Especially if you choose to use physical discipline.  I have chosen to use this with my children.  The caution we must take as parents is to do so without the angry energy.  Our patience runs thin.  Our coping mechanism fail us too.  However, if we punish from hate and anger then we are not helping our children see the love.  This does not, however, mean it cannot hurt.  While I do not use the phrase “This hurts me more than you”, I do tell them that while I do not like to punish them, I must because the boundaries must be established.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.  Col 3:21

2.  Redemption – The reason we use discipline is to achieve redemption.  Because we love our children, we seek to keep them safe.  The rules we establish are there to teach them where the line is of obedience/disobedience as well as reward/punishment.  Both are of equal value.  If nothing ever happens with regard to a child’s behavior then there is no development of respect for authority or understanding of boundaries.  They will believe anything is OK because nothing was ever done to them.  In essence, we discipline in order to bring them back into right standing with us and with the rules established.  God established this process in Leviticus through blessing/cursing and the sacrificial system.  Something had to be done with the sin in order to maintain a right relationship with God.  Disciplining our children actually helps to express the Gospel and provide understanding later.  If we never discipline, then another generation will grow up not understanding the need for Jesus.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 6:23

3.  Relationship – Know your children well enough to understand the type of discipline to which they will respond.  One child might need a swat on the behind.  Another child will need a stern talk.  Another child needs restrictions.  Each child is different in their triggers.  Additionally, as the child develops a different style might be necessary.  There is no one style fits all rule about discipline.  As parents, we must understand our children enough to know what works at the age/stage they are in life.  Discipline out of the relationship you have.

In some ways to spank or not to spank is the question.  However whether to discipline or not is a moot point.  We must discipline.  Howe we go about it is the real question.  What have you found that works with your children?

Parenting Putin

In Life and Culture on March 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

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I drove the bus after church last night to get a load of kids home.  As I drove I heard a children’s leader make this standing agreement with the kids: If you do not get up before bus stops you get a blow pop.  This was not the first time this agreement had been made.  In fact this agreement has been made for a month now and the kids were asked if they understood and agreed.

They all said they did.

After the 2nd or 3rd stop I noticed the leader get up and walk to the back (No candy for her! ;-)).  She told a few of them they would not get the treat because they did not follow the terms of the agreement.  They whined.  Then they asked if they could earn it back.  I was very proud of her to not back down.  She said “No, not tonight.” They griped about this response.  She told them that they could try again next week but this time they would not get a treat.  They did not get the treat.

Why is this important?

1.  People need to know the boundaries.  Whether you are a child or Putin, boundaries need to be established.  Scripture teaches that before time began God set boundaries up for the angels. In Genesis, God set boundaries for Adam and Eve.  In Exodus, God set boundaries for His people.  In Leviticus, God set boundaries on worship.  God set boundaries for the Monarchy.  Paul sets boundaries for the church.  It is quite evident that boundaries need to be established so everyone knows the game.  The Budapest Memorandum of 1994 set the boundaries for the current strife in Crimea.

2.  Boundaries need to be enforced.  Our children’s leader stood up and reminded everyone what the agreement was, what happened, who crossed the line, and exacted the consequence of no treat.  In answer to questions from the crowd, she remarked that they had agreed to this before and also tonight and they were old enough to understand and obey.  No treat was given.  Putin needs to understand that while stealing a NFL Superbowl ring is poor judgment, breaking this agreement has dire consequences.  Jesus said, “Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.”  If everyone agreed to this, enforce the boundary.

3.  Punishment is harder on the parent than the child.  I have often been heard saying that we should not play big brother to the world when 1 out of 6 kids go hungry in our own country.  The context of those statements come when we seem to desire to get involved where we have not been asked or engaged before.  This current struggle is different.  We have an agreement on the table.  Integrity, which we often lack in the USA, is at stake.  For those who, though wrong, believe that everyone in America is a Christian, we have a problem.  While we may not be a “Christian nation” must anymore, we still have a rich history of Judeo-Christian values.  If we have already committed, we are committed.  Backing out now could cause missiological repercussions.  If we cannot be trusted, then our missionaries could have a more difficult time sharing the Gospel.

Our Foreign Policy often is awkward.  The agreement has not been ratified and is not “absolutely” legally binding.  Putin is on the extreme side of pushing that boundary.  The U.S. is not sure what to do.  Parenting Putin is something that must be done.  Would you agree?

26 Ways To Train Up A Child

In Parenting on March 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

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My friend Mark Jones will be creating a resource to be made available on Mr Mark’s Classroom soon.  The original blog only contained the first four and were more defined.  I later wrote this blog and am republishing it today.  This is just a “reminder list” for us as parents and/or disciplers.  Enjoy!

Our hope for a better future depends on what is done with the next generation.  Parenting and discipleship are seemingly unrelated items, but they are essentially the same.

 Train up a child in the way he should go… Proverbs 22:6

We gravitate toward parenting when we read this.  However, Paul will state that he is a spiritual parent to Timothy and takes it upon himself to train him in the way he should go also.  In honor of teaching the ABC’s to my children, here they are as helpful reminders of how to train up a physical child or spiritual one.  Can you think of others?

Accept them as they are.
Believe God has a purpose
Calibrate to meet their needs
Develop them patiently
Engage them with the Gospel
Failure allows learning
Grace as they develop
Hope for a better future
Initiate conversations
Journal their progress
Keep them on track
Love sacrificially
Meaningful touch
Note milestones in their life
Ongoing evaluation
Pray Pray Pray
Quick to listen
Remind them of the higher purpose
Set boundaries
Teach them scripture
Unleash them into service
Vocalize feelings and needs
Words of affirmation
eXpect and eXamine
Yield to the Spirit’s plan, nor yours
Zero in on God’s specific purpose

4 Critical Needs For The Dad Life (Mom’s Too) From Nanny McPhee

In Parenting on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

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When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay.
When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.

Raising children has never been easy.  God has placed within them imagination, strength of will, and emotional immaturity. We have placed within them a sinful nature which makes for a dangerous concoction.  There are, have been, and certainly will be moments each day when I feel the truth of Nanny McPhee.  I am but 6 months from being a Dad of a teenager. In some ways, my daughter (10) is already trying out teenage responses.

When they were little, their need for us was so overwhelming.  They could do nothing on their own.  They could not eat or dress on their own.  For a time they could not even use the bathroom on their own.  Now of course, fights ensue over how long they are in the mirror, how much hot water was used, and who did not turn on the fan!  I digress.  Now they are becoming so independent.  The growth chart on the wall attempts to reveal young adults when their faces and emotions betray.  We are now in the midst of this McPhee truth.

They need hugs and kisses though they do not want them.  Children need affection regardless of what they tell you.  They also need to see affection between parents.  The way I treat Dulcie will likely be how my son treats a wife.  The way I train him to treat his mother will further develop how he treats a wife.  The way I love my daughter will directly affect the kind of man she will marry.  They need the affection though the adolescent in them will act like it kills them!

They need sleep though they do not think they want it.  We have attempted to keep a fairly structured bedtime.  Some nights do not allow, such as Sunday and Wednesday nights due to church related activities.  However, we try to get them in bed early.  Though they are a little older, 8pm is still a goal we have.  Healing and brain development occurs during sleep.  If children do not get the right amount of sleep everyone pays the price.  In addition, Dulcie and I need time to ourselves.  One of the greatest ways to be better parents is to be better spouses.  We need the time together as well.

They need guidance though they don’t always want it.  My kids are like yours.  They have an independent streak in them that they nurture and produce at the most inopportune moments!  This seems to be the year of the attitude, though I vaguely remember last year was also.  Guiding how they react and respond to influence both inside and out is critical to success in life.  Trust me, they do not always want this guidance, but they need it.  They need to know the boundaries.  They need to know the consequences.  They need endure consequences at times also.

They need encouragement in measured doses.  Every person needs encouragement.  However, we can encourage in an embarrassing way if not careful.  Coaching from the stands may feel encouraging to you but not to them.  Coach them up at home in love and kindness.  I am reminded often by Dulcie that God has given me a big voice that can sound mean at times.  I have to work on sounding loving and kind while getting their attention.  One of the easiest ways is to just have those conversations privately rather than publicly.  If YOU need to release your guilt of un-involvement, don’t embarrass them!  Make the time to text, call, message, or speak to them away from the action and noise of friends.  A little every day is more important than a lot on Saturday.

The Bible teaches that we are not to exasperate our children.  If we believe that to mean never make them mad then I have failed miserably.  However, I understand it to mean to provide for their needs even when they don’t see it.  We are to be there when they need us even if they do not want us.  As they grow and mature they will not need us as often but will want us and we can invest in a rich friendship for years to come.

5 Actions That Will Lengthen Your Career

In Leadership on September 9, 2013 at 5:30 am

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The first few days of a child’s life for the parent can be absolutely draining.  I have been there twice!  The overnight feedings, diaper changes, and seemingly incessant crying can drive any normal God-fearing person to insanity.  The sleepless nights incur the chronic fatigue after the second day home.  In those moments we beg God for relief.  We ask for mercy on our souls.  When grandma shows up the Hallelujah chorus erupts out of sheer excitement from within our hearts.  The help is greatly needed and appreciated.

Moses had been chosen by God to lead the people out of Egypt.  The people hated being slaves.  Yet they were not too happy about how things were going even before leaving Egypt.  After the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, one would wonder what their problem is.  If God can do all that, then He can handle their needs.  How easy it is for us to talk smack about a people unable to defend themselves.  Let us not forget that for an entire year they had the same thing to eat 3 meals a day.  It is no wonder that frustration and aggravation came.

10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry; Moses was also provoked. 11 So Moses asked the Lord, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to [give] their fathers? 13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If You are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now. If You are pleased with me, don’t let me see my misery [anymore].”

Number 11

The Lord was angry and Moses was provoked.  Did you notice?  The families were whining that they had it better in Egypt.  They craved the fish and other delights. The aggravation is heavy on Moses.  He cannot carry the burden.  He needs help.  Leadership can be rewarding.  Leadership can also be aggravating.  The principle we learn from this passage is that we are not designed to do this alone.  Moses was instructed to find 70 people who are well-known as leaders and officers.  They would be set apart and put in charge.

24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought 70 men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed [the Spirit] on the 70 elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they never did it again.

Number 11

The fact that some of the Spirit would be passed to them reveals the importance God was placing on them in their assistance.  We can learn an incredible lesson here:  We cannot bear the burden alone.  Leadership can be a lonely experience.  Lack of delegation leads to insanity.  Constantly keeping the plates spinning is a game that cannot be maintained.  What God did is exactly what we are to do no matter the size of company or church: get help.  God provided 70 extra people to do what Moses was doing.  Let’s not forget that Moses already had an organized hierarchy of those who listened to 1000, 100, or 10 depending on skill.  Here are 5 actions that will extend your career and keep you happy in the process.

1.  Evaluate – always be on the lookout for the next person who can help.  Both the young and old have so much to offer if you are looking for it.  The young have the energy and technology.  The older have time and wisdom.  Evaluate their sphere of interest in relation to your  needs.

2.  Engage – after the analysis of needs and evaluation of those around, spend some time building a relationship with them.  Caution must be employed at this point to make sure that people don’t get used and abused.  God’s blessing is dispensed in accordance to service.  We engage them because we see God’s potential with them and wish to see God’s Kingdom develop.  Love, beyond measure, must be involved authentically.

3.  Express – the needs of your organization must be publicized.  The analysis has been done so share the results.

4.  Enlist – there will be a few who will step out and desire to provide their skill to fulfill the needs.  More often I find that people need to have personal invitations.  Go to those whom who have evaluated and share with them how they can help to fulfill God’s desires for them and for the organization.

5.  Rinse and Repeat.

Leadership is a lot like parenting.  The beginning is quite stressful and tiring, but you learn to manage.  Once they start developing skills you can channel those skills to the entire household’s benefit.  Leadership does not have to be a short-lived, stressful experience.  Just because you are a leader does not mean you have to lose your mind!

 

The Devil Doesn’t Care About You

In Humor, Parenting, Trust on May 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

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I was at a youth camp as a kid when the “trust falls” were starting to be used often. You remember those? There were several variations:

  •  The group would make two lines and lock arms across the gap between. The idea was that one “chosen” person would step up on a stump or ledge fairly high and turn their back to the group. After crossing their arms across the chest a deep breath was taken. On the count of 3 they would stiffen and fall back. The group was supposed to catch you.
  •  The gentler version was to simply have them stand on the same level and fall back into the arms of the group.
  •  The kiddie version was to blindfold them and take them on a walk using only the voice.

These three activities all have the same theme: trust. You trusted the group/person to take care of you.  What if they didn’t? What if they didn’t care? What if they just let the person fall? Serious injury to occur!  So often, I hear people talk about how the devil was out to get them. Of course, 1 Peter 5:8 is quoted.

The devil is a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour.

That is true. He is. Satan wants to devour. He is roaming the Earth hungry and looking for prey. How many of you think that is you? Of course you do. I did for a long time. The stresses of life are huge!

  • when salaries get cut
  • relationships stumble
  • health issues rise
  • miscarriages
  • misconduct
  • addictions
  • obsessions

All of these make us think that Satan is after us. We bow up and get courageous and say “It’s on like Donkey Kong Satan!”.

Here’s the problem: he doesn’t care about you. Please pause and consider that for a second. Satan does not care about you. He is not concerned with you to the degree you believe. He is not after you. He does not stroll through the deserts of Hell thinking up means of getting you.  You know what he wants?  You want to know why you face stress?  You want to know why temptations come in person and virtually?  You want to know why the cold one becomes 12?

Because he wants your kids. It is not about the job, the money, or the marriage. It is not the addictions, obsessions, and passions. Stop focusing on getting better for you.

Make the necessary adjustments because it is for your kids.

Psalm 46

In Chrisian Life, Family, Grief, Parenting on May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

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I felt like I had lost my son.

I sat in the home of a good friend when I received the text message telling me I was needed at home immediately.  My son had gone off the deep end.  For several weeks, he has dealt with severe abdominal pain for which we have no cure to this point.  We have been in and out of ER’s and doctor’s offices with plans and prognostications, but no pain relief.  Most days he sits on the floor in his room building with Lego’s to distract from the pain.  If  he lies down he hurts.  If he eats or doesn’t he hurts.  If does nothing or everything he hurts.  I have argued with doctors.  I have sat up overnight in the ER.  I have held his hand and hugged his neck.

His face was wrinkled up in a mixture of pain, emotion, and tears.  He yelled and screamed uncontrollably as the pain washed over him.  The ability to filter was gone.  Like a liver that is shutting down the toxicity rises.  His emotions are raw, laid open because of the pain.  His face withdrawn and the light in his eyes gone, he balled himself up as tight as possible.  His body seemed so small, wracked by the pain.

Have I lost the boy who laughed and played?  Have I lost the boy whom I could never fill with enough food?  Have I lost the one who was sweet, tender, kind, and strong? Have I lost the blue-eyed, blonde, light-up-a-room kid?

As I write this, I am reminded of Psalm 46.

1 God is our refuge and strength,a helper who is always found in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not be afraid,though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil.

God is our refuge.  In Him we can place our trust.  In Him we can find safety and security.  I remember being chased as a child by some older boys.  I raced back on my bike as fast as I could.  Skidding into the front yard I was ecstatic to see Dad standing out there.  I dropped the bike and ran over behind him.  I sat down in his shadow and peeked around.  The other boys had stopped short of the yard.  Seeing my Dad, they decided it was not worth it.  I had found my refuge.  I can find refuge today in my Heavenly Father and so can you.  Whatever you are dealing with today, God can be your refuge.

God is our strength.  God bears our burdens.  He is strong when I am weak.  He is bold when I am fearful.  He is positive when I am hopeless.  As I  prepared to build a small deck behind the house, I researched what to do.  I found out that the ground work and foundation blocks were as critical as the deck planks themselves.  The blocks and beams were what held up the deck that everyone saw.  God is like those blocks and beams.  He bears the weight often in ways no one sees.  He is our blocks and beams so that our lives can shine with beauty and stability.

In true Psalmist fashion, I began with a pitiful position and will end in a praise posture.  Though our lives seem dark now I look to God’s creation and see that it is always darkest before the dawn.  God is able to do that which I cannot understand.  I run to Him as my refuge and strength.  Hope comes from those who trust in God!

My hope is in you Lord.  My strength is in you Lord.  Praise God!

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

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