Friday, March 31, 2017

Investment & Return

Strong families that are connected teach their children the fundamental principles of Christianity. They teach these in everyday interaction, and they live out these values. The transmission of these values from parents to children takes place when the children see the authenticity of the parents’ values. When they do, certain positive outcomes are produced. I have listed the principles and the outcomes below.

Principles Responsible Parents Teach Their Children
Forgiveness is God’s gift to help us to manage and repair shameful mistakes in our lives.   
Self-control of powerful emotions, even ones like anger, frustration, rejection and discouragement. 
Respect is being respectful to others—beginning with our parents and those in authority.
Responsibility forgives, shares, helps, corrects, doesn’t blame, and makes right the wrong in our actions.
Accountability teaches us that we are answerable to someone.
Humility means having a modest estimate of our own importance.
Kindness is being gentle and considerate of others.
Generosity is sharing with others in an unselfish manner.
Industry is diligence in a pursuit or task.
Faith is a visible relationship with God, and that puts him First in our lives. 

Teaching the Principles Produces These Outcomes
Accessibility is the closeness that we feel with our parents while we are growing up.
Clarity means making meaning out of chaos.  
Balance is dealing with both negative and positive emotion in constructive ways. 
Connection makes relationships enjoyable and meaningful.
Acceptance is God’s way of freeing us from our chains of shame. 
Authenticity is the quality of character that says I am real. 
Resolution is the hard work of working out conflict with others in our lives. 
Modeling personifies for the child what it means to be a husband, wife, mother or father.
Resiliency is the ability to overcome disappointment. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Responsibility is a crucial concept essential for a child to learn if they hope to arrive to adulthood with a good foundation. The earlier we learn responsibility, the earlier we start being responsible for our own actions. It is responsible to take responsibility to forgive, to share, to help, to not blame, to correct, to improve and to make right what is wrong in our actions. That’s who we are, people who make mistakes, but we have to learn to take responsibility for them. If we are raised in a home where people do not take responsibility for their actions and attitudes, we will do the same, and when there is a problem, we will blame it on someone else. This inability to face up to our own mistakes will wreak havoc on future relationships and especially marriage. It will greatly hinder us in our ability to be good parents.
When a parent teaches a child to be responsible, they are saying to the child, I am responsible for you. Watch me, and you will learn how to be responsible. When I make a mistake, I will admit it and make it right. Growing up in a home like that clears away the chaos and brings clarity. Growing up in a home where parents don’t take responsibility for their actions causes a child to be emotionally out of control. The emotions of anger, frustration, impatience, irritation or resentment all are emotional statements that are being made inside of us. If we don’t have help to understand why we feel this way, we will only become more confused. Those emotions can be like a wild team of horses pulling us in reckless directions. Responsibility pulls those emotions back and learns to control them by doing right by them.
This is precisely why good parenting teaches and models the concept of responsibility. Very early on parents help their children identify their emotions and help them understand where that emotion is coming from. However, they do something else that is essential, and that is they teach their children to own their own emotions and be responsible for them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Never Give Up

Never give up! That is what Jesus says to us in a parable he told his disciples, “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Jesus knew when we face discouragement, we confront the possibility of seeing our faith fail. Discouragement, when we give in to it, causes us to stop trusting and believing God is right here with us. It also causes us to doubt whether he is in charge and whether or not we will be able to overcome our adversity.

The parable is meant to help us understand prayer and what is really happening when we pray. In the parable there is widow who is in dire need. Her only option is to rigorously pursue a wicked judge for justice in her case. The contrast between this wicked judge and our good God couldn’t be greater. God is everything this judge is not. God is loving, kind and just. While this wicked judge put the woman off, God does not ignore us. This is what the scriptures say about God: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13).

Unlike the troubled widow, we know God hears us and will immediately respond as Jesus says, “I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:8). In the parable the woman has no clout and is at the mercy of the arrogant judge. But we who are God’s chosen ones receive a response from a merciful God who is always just. But what about the silence when our prayers are not answered?

Sometimes the silence means that God's answer is a loving no. God sometimes says no for our own good. This is exactly what happened in Paul’s case when he asked for the removal of his thorn. He learned that God's grace was ever suffi­cient and that he was better off with the thorn.

The most important decision we make each day is whether or not we will completely depend on God.
When there is only silence, he is not ignoring us. Sometimes the prayer is delayed and other times God is granting the request, but we cannot see the results yet.

Daniel was told by Gabriel the angel that, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given” (Daniel 9:23). Later, he was told by the Lord himself “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.  (Daniel 10:12-13).

When the supernatural curtain is rolled back as it is here in the book of Daniel, we see there are many different things happening beyond our human understanding. What we can be sure of is that God loves us and is responding to our prayers, so we should never give up regardless of what we can see.