Every Happen to You?

I asked Teri the other day if she could remember anyone ever engaging her about Christianity while she was out. No, never. I never have either. Is your experience similar? 

Pew Research says that the number of Christians in the US today is around 2/3 but was around 90% in the early 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the number is spiraling down when few are sharing/living their faith. Even if few engage in witnessing while out, we have never had a neighbor ask either. The goal is not to criticize others but to let that be an example to motivate you. 

Think about the fact that the God of creation, Jesus Christ, came to this world to die a cruel death on a cross to purchase us for Himself, not to have our best life now. By His blood, we are owned by Him to bring glory to Him and the Father. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21-22). We have the greatest, most wonderful gift in all creation, and we aren’t telling others? How can that be? People will rave about restaurants and entertainment they like but be mute about Jesus. Oh, God forgive us. 

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28).

But Dad Said

Have you ever heard one of your children say, “But Dad said…” to a sibling? I’m guessing most of us have. It is the automatic “free pass” to whatever the child was demanding. Oh, such power wielded in the name of Dad. The only problem was if they were misrepresenting what you said. 

What about us dads? Have we ever been guilty of misrepresenting our Father’s Word or missed many opportunities to apply it?  

Jesus said in John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” Here Jesus, the God of all creation, is saying that whatever we ask of the Father in His name, the Father may give it to us. 

How often is that misapplied to our prayers? Are we guilty of simply tacking on “in Jesus name” thinking we automatically get what we are asking for? But, is our prayer actually in accordance with what Jesus Himself would ask of the Father?

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).

POWs

Teri and I were shocked to see what seemed like two POW’s within 60 seconds of each other. I have seen photos of POW’s in history books, but I’ve never considered someone to be a possible POW. Then to see two of them within a minute was hard to imagine. These men were walking skeletons due to starvation for some reason. Yet, here they were in Walmart. Their arms and legs were just bones without muscle. How these two guys could even walk was hard to imagine. They both had shorts and tee shirts so their physical condition was obvious. Could they both have been cancer victims or have some other illness? Maybe, but the rest of their appearance indicated most likely otherwise. They broke our hearts. They were possibly prisoners of a cruel master. Satan was winning the war in their lives and likely using addictions to kill them. 

What a contrast to having the God of creation as one’s Lord and Master. The One Who cares for and blesses His children. “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.” (Psalm 128:1). It doesn’t mean we won’t have sickness or problems in life, but we know that everything God allows in our lives will be for good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

Brothers, Satan is crafty, and cruel and wants your family. He’s happy with just an inch. Give him one bad choice, and he will give you another “opportunity.” It may be alcohol, weed, or a spicy movie. That is the beginning. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). If it isn’t glorifying to God, don’t do it.

Helps for Your Productive Summer

Most have noticed the negative effects on today’s youth from spending hours watching TV and movies or playing video games. Laziness, bad worldly attitudes, and an appetite for more entertainment is the consistent downward trend of today’s youth (sadly including Christians). “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). I believe you don’t want that for your children. May I encourage you to redeem these summer hours and turn them into beneficial use of time for your children? “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). I was thinking about how we could help you with that and the resources we have available. Let me briefly share those ideas with you.

What about reading rather than screen time? Here are ways to use the 14 children’s reading books that we offer. Of course, children who can read could simply read them. What about an older child reading them to younger siblings? Maybe you want bonding time and would read them out loud while your children cuddle around you. After that, you might have discussions about the book’s content. You could also look at what is in the book that your children can try themselves – starting personal Bible time, a garage clean-out/organization project, an anniversary date at home for Dad and Mom for the children, or an IJN (In Jesus Name) project. So many are pleased to tell us of the great things their children learn and then emulate from the Moody books. There are multiple options for using these books this summer or at any time.

What about making a chore plan and teaching chores to your children of all ages this summer? I have a delightful story of a mom who invested in her children when they were little, giving them chore responsibility, and the delightful memories a now grown-up daughter has of that. 

“One of my earliest and fondest memories is when I was something like 3 years old. We lived in a small apartment — my parents and my brother. He must have been at kindergarten, because it was always in the morning when my mother tidied up. At that time we had a rug with fringes, and it was my job to straighten the fringes! Just imagine! Straightening the fringes is more or less useless in a family with little children, but I remember how eagerly I tried to do a good job. My mother always pointed out how good we worked together in making our home neat and clean. I guess my mum just wanted to keep me busy so that she could do the cleaning as efficiently as possible. What I remember up to this day is the wonderful feeling of being helpful to my mum. I told her the other day, and we both laughed about this. She also remembers those days as a precious time.”

That mom was doing much more than building memories in her little girl’s heart. She was teaching her to enjoy work and be responsible. She was giving her a sense of worth in contributing to the good of the family and home. She was building a sense of accomplishment in a job well done. What a powerful investment for the future good of her little girl! We have a book called Managers of Their Chores to help you with a chore system.

Finally what about helping your children become good conversationalists this summer? Being able to have a conversation is at the root of relationships – in the family, neighborhood, work, church – wherever your children are and whatever their age. A good conversation might be the forerunner of a beautiful marriage. It might help your child obtain his dream job. It could be the path to leading someone to the Lord. Are you equipping your children with conversation skills for life? Our book Making Great Conversationalists assists you with this task and gives you projects as you work toward this goal.

Be committed to a productive summer with your children, instilling good habits and character in them rather than taking the path of least resistance by letting them be entertained by their devices or TV. Make plans now so that it will happen. If you don’t, school begins before you know it, with disappointment in your heart for nothing of value to show from your summer.