How to Teach Your Children To Be A Good Friend

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God Has Secrets

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. (NLT) -Deuteronomy 29:29
It is impossible to wrap our minds around God and His ways. But mystery is what keeps us returning to learn more about Him.  Although there are secrets surrounding Him, we are to honor the Lord in the lessons we have learned.  In addition, we are given the responsibility of passing on these lessons to our children and instilling in them a desire to uncover more of God’s mysteries.
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6/20***DAY 129***Parenting by Design…GOSPEL PRIDE

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. (Romans 1:16 NLT)

If you are reluctant to talk about the gospel with your kids, you are not alone. In this passage, Paul gives us three reasons why he was able to courageously proclaim the message of Christ to a skeptical audience. It is the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God, and the result is salvation to everyone who believes.

The fact that it came directly from Christ gives the gospel authority. It is a message from the King Himself! And, the gospel carries the power of God the very power that raised Christ from the dead. But the best reason to be courageous is that the effect of believing and trusting the gospel is salvation freedom from sin and an eternal inheritance in heaven.

This is my Body…

This is my Body….

I stepped out of the shower this morning and accidentally stepped onto the bathroom scales. I wish i hadn’t. Then i accidentally took a long hard look at myself in the full length mirror. I wish i hadn’t. Uggghhh! After 3 kids, things are just not quite what they used to be – by a long shot.

Then i found these old photos of myself. This is me in my early 20′s before i started having babies:

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I was a babe. A total babe. I WAS THIN.

I don’t look like that any more. Now i look like this:

            

Well, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration – but that is how i feel most of the time. I have put on a stone with each child and try as i might, the stress and the exhaustion just keep getting in the way of the healthy eating and the exercise. Not that my husband minds at all – he says the wobbly bits are the best bits!

While i was staring at my full length reflection I thought about 3 things:

1. “I am turning 35 this year.”

2. “Perhaps i should get one of those mirrors you find at the fairground that make you look really tall and skinny? (Then my head and my feet will be enormous but the bit in the middle will be tiny! – Great idea!)

3. “This is my body.”

Then my perception of myself changed. Hidden within the finger-thick tiger stripes on my big fat belly i found a certain dignity. Those stripes are there because my husband and i created 3 new lives and they grew in my belly. They are a permanent reminder of the 3 most precious things in my life, and of the humbling fact that God asked me to take part in creation along side Him. Then another thought struck me:

There is no pregnancy in Heaven.

Angels do not have the ability to reproduce. And in Matthew 22:30 Jesus tells us that the humans in Heaven do not marry – which would rule out the chance of pregnancy: At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” – Matthew 22:30 It seems that God has reserved creating new life for this world alone. What an honour…

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No. 3 - Angelica

And this is what you get:

Angelica – 30 mins old

Each one  a miracle. I have used my body well. I have taken part in creation. My stripes are that of a tiger! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

I am able to say joyfully to my Husband: “This is my body – which has been given up for you.”

I am able to say joyfully to my children: “This is my body – which has been given up for you.”

And I am able to say joyfully to Jesus: “This is my body – which has been given up for You.”

Funnily enough Jesus says something very similar to me every time I encounter Him at Mass…

I wasn’t ready for marriage

The Matt Walsh Blog

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and…

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Parenting by Design 1/8-1/9

***DAY 8***Parenting by Design… (1/8)

CREATING “MARGIN” IN OUR LIVES

In the early church, it was quickly becoming impossible for the apostles to do everything that was expected of them. They were overwhelmed by the many requests for their service. Recognizing they were being stretched beyond the limit, they delegated some of their responsibilities to Godly men able to handle those demands. They chose Stephen and others to perform day-to-day service, so they could create the “margin” needed in their lives to devote “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

How often do you forsake prayer and ministry to attend to the demands of others? Is there an opportunity to delegate?

Forsaking time with God, even when you spend that time on family, can leave you empty and ineffective. Take care of your spiritual health so you will be strong when difficult times come.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. (Acts 6:2-3 NLT)

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***DAY 9***Parenting by Design… (1/9)

JUST SAY “NO”

Parenting puts tremendous demands on our time and energy. These demands can start before our kids get up in the morning and last long after they’ve fallen asleep. In addition we often find ourselves meeting the needs of others in our family, people at work, and friends.

Jesus knows the extent of your weariness. Many people besieged Him when they discovered He could heal the sick and perform miracles. There was no end to the ingenious ways they devised just to touch Him or get His attention (see Luke 5:18-19). He recognized the huge demand for His time.

But, Jesus also knew the only way He could deal with the demand for His time was to spend time alone with His Father to rest, pray, and recharge His batteries. It wasn’t selfish; it was the most loving thing He could do for His children. It gave Him the energy and strength to deal with their many issues.

Sometimes saying “no” to your kids so you can spend quality time with your Heavenly Father is the most loving thing you can do.

But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of His power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear Him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. (Luke 5:15-16 NLT)

Parenting by Design 01/07

***DAY 7***Parenting by Design… (1/7)

LEARNING TO SAY “NO”

Moses was going to work every day as the sole judge over all the tribes of Israel. The number of people demanding his time was so great he worked from dawn until dusk without making a dent in the workload. His father-in-law, Jethro, saw this and immediately recognized a man who could not say “no” to requests for his time. He suggested Moses focus on only two things — representing the people before God, and handling the most difficult of the disputes. The rest of the work could be delegated to capable men he appointed. Moses listened, delegated, and found himself doing far more than he had ever done before, but in much less time. If this advice worked for Moses, will it not also work for us?

Appropriate boundaries are important for everyone in the family. As the parent, you have the responsibility to set limits for your children and for yourself.

“This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. (Exodus 18:17-18 NLT)

Parenting by Design 01/06

***DAY 6***Parenting by Design… (1/6)

HOPE IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST

The greatest gift you can give your kids is not the newest and best the world has to offer. It is the love of God through Jesus Christ. That is the gift that enables them to resist the creation’s lures and live in the love of the Creator. Your kids are going to be bombarded with messages from the world, and those promises are extraordinarily difficult to resist. In fact, they are impossible to resist without the indwelling Spirit. Introduce your kids to the gift that keeps on giving — grace.

Do you pursue God with the same fervor with which you pursue the things of the world? Your kids are watching!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

Parenting by Design…Jan 1 thru Jan 5, 2014

***DAY 1***Parenting by Design… (1/1)

DISCIPLINE AND LOVE

 As hard as it is to deliver a consequence to a child for a bad choice, the alternative can often be even worse. When I am tempted to forego discipline, I have to ask myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for my child?” In almost every case, the answer is to give the child the consequence he has earned, so he can learn the lesson God has designed for him.

A good consequence, delivered with empathy, demonstrates love and respect for your child’s freedom to choose and his ability to learn from the consequence of a bad decision. The author of Hebrews says it well: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

For the LORD corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)

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***DAY 2***Parenting by Design… (1/2)

 DISCIPLINE, CHARACTER, and HOPE

When our children suffer, whether from their own bad choices or those of someone else, we want so badly to rescue them from the pain or to tell them how to avoid finding themselves in that predicament again. But, God has another plan — to perfect them through their trials. Character-building lessons are rarely learned from the triumphs of life. Rather, it is the trials in our lives that teach us how to persevere despite the pain. Taking trials away from our kids deprives them of the chance to grow, build character, and learn to hope in God.

The best character-building lessons are learned from trials. Don’t inhibit your child’s growth by rescuing them from or taking over difficult situations.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. (Romans 5:3-5 NLT)

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***DAY 3***Parenting by Design… (1/3)

QUICK TO LISTEN, SLOW TO SPEAK

When you are faced with disrespectful, disobedient, or rebellious behavior, it is natural to get angry. Unfortunately the natural response is least likely to uncover the heart issues that lie underneath the child’s bad behavior. This is because the “anger of man” distracts us from a pursuit of righteousness. The anger of a parent confronted with a child’s poor choice shifts the focus from the child’s bad behavior to the parent’s angry response.

These verses tell us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listening carefully, speaking little, and helping your child explore the motives behind his behavior can lead to the sort of insight that points the child toward the righteousness of God. Replace anger with empathy, and see what happens.

Responding to disobedience with empathy rather than anger is difficult, but the reward is great.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20 NLT)

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***DAY 4***Parenting by Design… (1/4)

EMPATHY

“Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.” — John Stott.

The essence of empathy is balancing truth and love. A rescuing parent leans heavily on love, but shies away from truth. A dictating parent leans heavily on truth, but mixes in little love. A counselor parent is able to express his love for the child no matter what they say or do, yet is strong enough to deliver appropriate consequences and to allow his child to struggle so that real learning takes place. It is a difficult balance, and our anxiety or anger often reveals where we fall on the continuum between rescuer and dictator. Is your love too soft, or your truth too hard?

Striking a balance between truth and love models our heavenly Father’s relationship with us.

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)

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***DAY 5***Parenting by Design… (1/5)

HOPE IN THE UNSEEN

As Christians, we know how the story is going to end. Yet, the hope into which we have been saved is unseen. What we can see is the world and its demands. We must keep our minds focused on the unseen, or the pressure to live for today’s culture will swallow us up. The world demands our attention all the time, from every direction. The ever-present media (TV, magazines, newspapers, internet) distracts us from the unseen and lures us with the false hope of instant gratification. Fortunately, God provides a defense: “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).

Demonstrate an eternal perspective for your kids. Talk about the messages the culture is sending and contrast them with the hope we have as followers of Christ.

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (Romans 8:24-25 NLT)

DAY 162***Parenting by Design… (12/29)

DAY 162***Parenting by Design… (12/29)

Living the truth

John 12:9: The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. (NAS).

We spend a lot of time talking about and studying the Word, but we need to be diligent about living it out as well. People, including our kids, are watching us for evidence of what it means to be a believer.

Warren Wiersbe says, “Too many Christians today emphasize guarding the truth, but downplay living the truth. One of the best ways to guard the truth is to put it into practice. It is good to be defenders of the faith, but we must not forget to be demonstrators of the faith. Lazarus did not have to give lectures on the resurrection. People had only to look at him and they believed”.

Demonstrate faith in action to your kids.