Category Archives: General

Loving Spring

I take great delight in springtime – new life appearing after months of death. The Bradford pear trees are beautiful but ubiquitous. When in full bloom, it is beautiful to the observer, but sadly, it bears no edible fruit. 

What a great time to reflect on the life in Christ that Jesus gives those who have repented and trust Him as payment for their sins. Hopefully, you have been praising the God of creation for the life He gave us in Christ. I marvel and am in awe — our filthy sins for His righteousness. Oh, my Brothers, it must not stop with our praise. We are His workmanship created unto good works. Are we surrendered and living, bearing fruit? “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). If we follow Him, abide in Him, we will bear fruit and not just look good to the observer. 

It Is a Serious Matter

Assuming you have to work for a living, you likely have noticed something at work. It is amazing to me how men generally act around women in the workplace. Regardless of which one initiates it, it is common for there to be interactions between a man and woman much closer and familiar than is appropriate for someone who is married. It has the appearance that one of them might be “fishing” so to speak. No wonder divorce is rampant. Hopefully, that doesn’t describe any Seriously Dads reading this. I pray that we take our marriage vows seriously.

Along a similar thought, could many be courting disaster? Do you know that we are “married to another” —the Lord Jesus? “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4). Our life is bound to His. He bought us with His precious blood. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). 

Surely you have noticed others espoused to the Lord, yet flirting with the world. Some give much more than just inappropriate attention. They have given their heart to another. Keep distance from the world. Set your heart on Him. Be in His Word. Consume it every morning.

The Mission

Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the mission He was on, were always at the front of His thoughts, even when He was young. “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49)? 

Examples:
o “Wither I go, ye cannot come” (John 8:21).
o “But He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him” (John 8:26).
o “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” John 8:28
o “For I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

My Brothers, how would you answer these questions? 
o “What is your driving purpose in life?” 
o “What consumes you?” 

Next even more important, what would your wife, children, and friends say they believe your driving purpose is and what consumes your thoughts? Ask them. 

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (John 16:24). Are we following? If not, as long as we have breath, there is still time.

“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). 

Want a Good Harvest?

How it grieves my heart to observe children in church talking with their friends, playing games, or goofing off when God’s Word is being preached. When children aren’t being taught to pay attention to messages at church, they are being trained to ignore God’s Word.

You can imagine how delighted I was to hear how Nathan and Melanie are teaching their children to listen attentively to messages. Each child who has taken good sermon notes earns one dollar per message. At a Sunday meal notes are submitted, read aloud to be discussed, and reviewed to see if they pass the criteria. 

Here are their $1 note-taking criteria:

  • Name of presenter and date must be at the top of the page. 
  • Handwriting that is readable and accurate. IE. “Children are the future” and not “children are the furniture.” You can see that spelling is important. 
  • Notes on the whole sermon, not just the beginning and ending.

Benefits the children in this family told us they have observed for taking notes on sermons: 

  • Keeps them focused and engaged in the message. 
  • They work hard to understand for their notes because they know the notes will be read to the family. They prefer not to have their siblings laugh at their notes. 
  • They get to listen to other’s notes being read, which reinforces the points of the message and fills in points they might have missed. 
  • Helps them learn Scripture and good note taking skills. 
  • They like the dollar. 

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Posted in: General

The Best Memories

What memories and appetites are you giving your children during the Christmas season? A  Seriously Dad wrote after last week’s email:

“I just wanted to share what my family has done for the past 15 years. We bake some homemade Christmas treats (usually cookies and/or pumpkin bread). We prepare plates for about 10 of our neighbors with treats and a hand-written Christmas card. (Most of our neighbors are “good” people who don’t proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.). We drive around the countryside to our neighbors (We live in a rural area.). We walk up to the door caroling (We choose a Christian song vs a Santa song.).They usually invite us in for a “visit” (often around 30 minutes each). It is definitely something that we enjoy each Christmas!”

One Brother said he thought that these days many are afraid of homemade baked goods. I suppose that is possible, but if you are concerned about it, you can buy small bags of individually wrapped chocolate pieces by Lindt or Andes. Either way, I encourage you not to miss out on an opportunity to be light in your neighborhood. AND it is not only a good example for your children, but also helps develop a love in them for sharing the love of Jesus with others.  

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”
(2 Corinthians 5:9,10)

What a Blessing

As I listened to Evidence Not Seen (by Darlene Deibler Rose) my eyes often filled with tears. Hearing what newly-wed missionaries Russell and Darlene endured to share Christ in New Guinea shredded my heart. They were driven by a fervent love for the Lord Jesus, wanting to be used as light to those in darkness. A few years after arrival on the island, Russell and Darlene were placed in separate POW camps when WW2 began. He died in his, and she somehow lived through it. 

What efforts are we willing to expend to share Christ’s love with those around us? It is by God’s sovereign will that each of us lives where we do. We don’t have to travel thousands of miles to our mission field; we already live there. 

 Would you be willing to discuss with your wife what you might do in the coming days and make a plan to carry it out? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • If your family can sing, carol to your neighbors. We have done that for many years now. We only sing the first verse of an easy carol and then “We wish you a merry Christmas.” We encourage you to keep it short. (Trust me.)
    • If you want to carol and lack voices, invite others to join you. Either a family or two from church or Christian neighbors. We seek to include the “cute factor” — little kids who stand at the front of the caroling group. 
  • If caroling is out of your ability, what about just a casual, short, outside visit to wish them a Merry Christmas?
  • Bring a gift of food whether you carol or not. Food isn’t expensive, and people love tasty treats. Some possibilities are: sweet bread, cookies, or homemade candy. We make poppyseed loaves (Poppyseed Loaf). They are delicious, and our neighbors tell us they look forward to them each year.
  • With the food gift, what about giving them a card with it?
    • In the card, include a personal note if you know them, and it not, a more general one where you express your desire in getting to know them. If they have had health challenges, and you have been praying for them, tell them. Offer to pray for other needs they might have. Include your name and phone number so they know you are serious.

Something done for the first time can be intimidating. However, our lives are full of activities that felt awkward the first time but in time became special. That is the way Christmas caroling to our neighbors began thirty years ago. It is now a rewarding annual family tradition that grew from the ten of us before our children began to marry, to about 30 (on a good year) of us with daughters-in-law and grandchildren. It is a delightful opportunity to show our neighbors we love them and share some encouragement in Christ. 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

Not a Good thing

I wonder how many well-meaning parents are possibly harming, with potentially eternal consequences, their children every week when they take them to church (don’t stop reading now)? Have you noticed them? They bring their children to church (a good thing), but then during the service, the children do every imaginable quiet (mostly) thing, except listen to the message. Instead of teaching their children to sit still and listen to the preaching, so as to obey God’s Word, the children are “taught” how to ignore God’s Word—not on purpose—but isn’t that is the result? While the children occupy themselves, they become skilled at deflecting God’s holy Word from their minds and hearts while they are occupied with “more important” things.

Many times we read where Jesus instructs he that “hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:16, Luke 8:8 and 14:35). That would mean open your mind to what is coming into your ears. It is an intentional, learned process to train the mind to concentrate with the goal of understanding so as to ultimately obey what is coming into the ears.

We listen intently because God’s Word is priceless and not to be treated like background music that is played in a store where we are shopping.“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!

Try Harder?

I expect all of us have reactions of impatience, frustration, or even anger at times that we would rather not have. Here’s what likely happens after the reaction. We are unhappy with ourselves because it isn’t a reaction that is godly and loving. So, we determine that next time we will be more aware, more careful, and avoid that negative reaction. Try, try, try again. The reality is that such a plan simply doesn’t succeed because we are doing it in our own strength.

This scenario might even be upmost on the minds of the homeschooling moms who began their new school year recently and are in the midst of all the time pressure, child craziness, and stress that brings. 

If trying harder isn’t the solution, what might be? 

Really See It As Sin

For me, my wrong reactions had to become more than just something I wished I didn’t do. In my struggle with anger, I minimized it as sin and excused it as normal based on stress, lack of sleep, or perhaps being the other person’s fault. I had to view my sin as an offense against a holy God and another person and stop making excuses. 

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalms 51:4).

The remedy was to ask the Lord’s forgiveness, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And then also ask forgiveness of the person I offended.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

I remember those years when my children were younger, and the Lord was teaching me this path. I asked their forgiveness when my response to them wasn’t right, and every time, the child said, “Yes, Mommy, I forgive you.”

Pray 

Next pray, yielding to Him, acknowledging need and inability, and asking for His help. God tells us His strength is sufficient and that His grace is made perfect in weakness. 

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

He wants to aid us, but if, in our pride, we tackle it on our own, He leaves us to that muddle, “ . . . and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (Peter 5:5b).

Find Scripture

Finally, use your daily time in the Word to find Scripture that applies to the areas you most often find yourself frustrated or angry in. Then write the verses out on a notecard that you can carry around with you. Review them regularly and pray when you do. When you hit one of THE situations, pull it out, read it OUT LOUD, and pray right away. This can become your new, good habit. As you practice, with the Lord’s grace and strength, it will replace your bad habit of the negative reactions. If you do this, you will be amazed at how quickly you memorize the verses you are using. Soon you no longer need to read the card. Instead the verses are there in your mind.

Simple but Powerful

You might tell me that this is simplistic. Perhaps it is, but that’s the beauty of our walk with Christ. In addition, simple isn’t always easy. I personally found these truths from God’s Word to be powerful in my life. They grew me away from those negative reactions. Could I encourage you to try them? 

If you benefited from this month’s Mom’s Corner, we have a couple of resources that will be of additional help.
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit
Sweet Journey

If you would like to read about baby Maddy coming home from the hospital and our recent family news, go to our blog.

Blessings in Christ,

Teri

Empty-Handed

God forewarned Joshua that any remaining nations would affect the Israelites. Their influence would divert the Israelites’ love and worship of God to the other nation’s gods. 

The same is true today as professing Christians fall in love with what the people of our world worship. Few will go to the extreme to deny Christ as they know that would clearly be sin. However, they don’t think about the tears of remorse they will shed when standing before Christ empty-handed. Each will give account for all the wasted hours that were devoted to completely worthless, but exciting, entertainment idols. 

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day” (Joshua 23:7-8).

“That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you;” – We must live in the world, but what we embrace is a choice.

“neither make mention of the name of their gods,” – Seems like the number of idols today are endless. It all becomes the topic of our speech and the love of our hearts.

“nor cause to swear by them,” – They become a person’s identity.

“neither serve them,” – With your precious time

“nor bow yourselves unto them:” – They are devoted to them.

“But cleave unto the LORD your God,” – Be joined with God, and pursue Him hard with all your might.