Real Life Stories

I love to learn from people. I met a cashier at a c-store. He was in his mid 50’s, well groomed, and pleasant. I was engaging him to get to know him and take the conversation spiritual, if I could. I found out this was his part-time job, but his full-time “job” was playing poker. Poker was the PASSION of his life. (BTW — If he was good at it, he wouldn’t need a part-time job, would he?)

Another man about the same age, with whom I’ve been dialoguing is an alcoholic. Alcohol isn’t his passion, but it is his go-to for comfort. Somehow he can hold a job, but as he put it,  “Life is real hard.” I asked him if life was hard because of bad decisions he had made. He agreed. My heart breaks for both of these men. 

How good it is to stop and take an objective look at our lives. Could some, or many, be headed for trouble just like those two men? One knows he is in trouble. The other doesn’t. They didn’t plan to be where they are now twenty or thirty years ago.  Evaluate the path you are on. If headed in a bad direction, which is not pleasing to the Lord, or is compromising, now is the time to stop. Prune the weeds out of your life. Those weeds may not be gambling or alcohol, but you probably know what it is in your life that isn’t pleasing to the Lord. Sure, it will take courage, but that is what being a man is about. We live for Him Who died for us. 

The fear of the Lord is such a good thing. At the least, it keeps us from doing stupid things. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

Yup Peculiar

Last week we considered the impact of the American male’s idol – football – on the hearts of professing Christian men. As our society spirals and you remain steadfast, be prepared to be considered peculiar if you don’t share the same idols. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14). 

Will we be longing for our Lord’s return and busy about His business or having a great time while our Master is away? He gave Himself for us. Will we give ourselves for Him? The more of the “worldly stuff” we are involved in and has our hearts, the more pulled away from being steadfast in the faith we are likely to be. Paul had just warned them “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Don’t be deceived. Worldly influences will corrupt our hearts and walk. That is why Paul commanded us to be “stedfast, unmoveable,” and to do that we must always abound in the work of the Lord. 

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Not Now!

What is something you look forward to and gladly exchange your precious time for, and if it didn’t happen, you would be MOST disappointed? For many Christians, an example of that occurred on Sunday evening, and I’m not referring to church. I can picture that if the rapture had happened during the big game, many would have exclaimed, “OH NO. Not right now. It isn’t over!” “But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them” (Psalms 106:35-36).

I don’t believe it isn’t because they don’t love Jesus. They would say they do love Jesus. But do they love Jesus enough to truly value and live by His commands to us? If we LOVE Jesus and are grateful for our salvation, everything else this world offers pales (stinks) in comparison. We set our affection (heart) on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, not on things of the earth (Col 3:2). 

Some might say, “Come on. God expects us to have some fun.” Really? “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We will look at this verse in more depth next week. 

Making Disciples

How important is it to you to raise your children to love and serve the Lord? Is that your pressing priority every day? That desire is validated by your daily decisions. Oh my brothers, remind yourselves every day how high the stakes are. Think what a shame to create a child and then for that person to spend eternity in hell.

We read in Deuteronomy 6:6-7a “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” A key aspect is teaching our children the Word. They need to know the Word. It teaches us Who God is, His love for us, what He desires of us, and how we are to live. 

Head knowledge is critical but not enough. We must then model for them how to live what they have learned. They must be our disciples/shadows while we are disciples of Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). 

We model for them being in the Word, personal time in the morning and family Bible time at night. We pray. We serve, and we share our faith. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Leaving Chore Frustration Behind

After becoming successful with chores in our home when we had our eight children and before writing a resource on that topic, we did a survey of a large number of Christian, homeschooling moms. One statistic we garnered from that survey was that about 75% of those women did not feel prepared for their roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers while the other 25% were prepared. Those women said that the presence or absence of chore responsibility growing up made the difference. 

You are preparing your children to become mature, responsible adults so I want to encourage you to invest heavily in a chore system in your home and teaching your children how to do those chores. You can’t tell a child to do something and then expect that he will know what and how to do it. They need to have you demonstrate the chore, talking through it as you go and then letting them try it while you are watching. 

I wonder if practice is one of the major missing pieces that cause many to fail at their chore system. Recently we heard a reading specialist mention in a talk that dyslexic children can learn to read, but it takes repetition and practice and more repetition and practice – not just for a week, but for months and years.

We want to teach our children their chores and then think they will be off and running with them. That formula leads to disappointment and frustration for Mom, and that was certainly part of my failure with chores and my children in the beginning. How much better it is when we teach the chore, put it on the schedule, and practice the chore with the child for several days, until it is clear the child knows what to do and how to do it.

The next major stumbling block with a chore system is expecting that the chores will be done and done the way we want them done. I once heard someone say: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” It takes time to daily inspect chores that are assigned to children. That means not only do the children have chores in their schedules but mom needs a time in her schedule to inspect them. This puts accountability in the chore system. 

If a child isn’t doing his chores or isn’t doing them well, Mom will decide if she needs to go back to teaching the job. Remember the dyslexic reader – repetition. Perhaps more practice with Mom is what will turn it around. On the other hand, it might be that we have moved into a character issue that must be addressed. It could be distractibility, lack of self-discipline, laziness, not paying attention to detail, hurrying, or many others. These are important to work through with your child too. Remember, we are headed for mature, responsible adults – step by step. 

Here’s an encouraging story a teenager’s mom shared with me.

“One of my children, who wishes to remain nameless, just said this – I promise, it is an exact quote . . . ‘I’m glad I have to do chores!’

So there you go. It only took 10 years of reinforcement, toil, sweat, tears etc. (on my part, I mean. 🙂 For those of you just starting in the trenches – don’t give up!  It pays major dividends!  Definitely not easy – what an understatement – but totally worth it!” Sandra

May I encourage you to work on chore system, not just setting it up but teaching, practicing, and inspecting the chores? “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:17). While it may seem daunting, it is worth it, and it is never to late to start. 

If you need any help with a chore system, I suggest you get Managers of Their Chores. It has facilitated so many families in a successful chore system in their home and the positive outcomes that are desired from it.