Saturday, September 30, 2006

Astrological Sign?

Someone asked me a question about my profile, wondering if the “astrological sign” is the same thing as a zodiac sign or a horoscope.

I just want to let everyone know that I did not put that on my profile personally – it must have come with the blog template. I tried another template, and that had the same thing. This time, when I deleted my birthday – hooray! – the astrological sign disappeared!

No, I strongly oppose zodiac, astrological signs, and horoscopes. These things are open doors to the occult, and I am SO GLAD they are off my profile!!

Thank you, anonymous, for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Has Your Son Asked Yet? Part 1

“And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land…that all te people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:20-24

Since we had been driving most of the day, we were all very tired. Most of us were quietly at a missions apartment, enjoying various evening activities. Though I was very busy getting the little ones bathed and ready for bed, I was definitely enjoying not being in the van. It was during this very busy and tired time that one of my sons asked a question I was totally unprepared for: “Why do we do this such-and-such a way? When I was little, you would just tell me that it was bad, but I’m older now, and I would like to know why we do it this way.” Needless to say, I stopped right in my tracks and began to try to explain why we have that particular standard. I soon realized two things: that the explanation would require much more time than I had immediately available, and that my explanation needed to be thought through completely before I could verbalize my beliefs.

You see, standards are like the stones that the children of Israel raised up: they are the outward expression of an important lesson God has taught us. It is an expression of our love for Christ (“if you love me, keep my commandments”) and a practical application of your beliefs (for example, since it is true that God created men and women to be different, then we should dress differently, etc.). Standards are visible “pillars” in our lives that make us different from those who do not know and love the Lord.

But just like the pillar of stone in Israel, one day when our children are old enough, they will wonder why we do things differently. They will one day ask, “why do we do this this way?”

There are two parts to this scenario.

One part shows me that if the parents had been doing their job all along, the son would have no reason to ask – they would already know the answer. In my case, that was part of what shocked me – I thought I had been explaining it to him, but apparently what I have been telling him was just the simple answer I would give a 5 year old. I’ve been saying things like, “we don’t do that, that’s not good. That’s not the way the Lord would have us do it.”

The second part is that your son WILL ask if they don’t already know. They will be curious. They will notice the world around them and wonder why your family does things differently than other families. They may even get to the point where they do not even ask for information, but sometimes as a challenge, “But WHY??

Knowing that they will ask, or at least will be curious even though they may not even verbalize that curiosity, we as parents need to be prepared to answer any question they may have. Many of us have been children of God for awhile, and we sometimes lose touch with the “why” of what we do. We would be wise to regularly refresh ourselves of the way the Lord has led us. As we tell our children step-by-step how we came to the conclusions we came to many years ago, may the Lord help our children to have understanding hearts in these matters.

Believe me, I am doing some heavy-duty remembering and thinking, as well as praying and searching the Scriptures. And maybe it’ll be the topic of a future entry. But in the meantime, I need to find a chunk of time in my schedule to spend some quality time with my son! J

Monday, September 18, 2006

What Can We DO?

Many people are confused about a very important issue when it comes to training their children. They wonder what they can do to put their children on a godly path. They read everything on child training they can get their hands on, attend numerous seminars, and invest in character training curriculum only to experience deep frustration when their children do not seem to be “getting it.” Though these well-meaning parents have put a lot of effort into guiding their children down the right path, their offspring may very well snub their nose at the whole business and go on their own merry way, leaving the parents to wonder what they did wrong.

The key word to that entire previous paragraph was the words “did,” and “do.” I believe with all my heart that, though what we do is vastly important in the eyes of our children, it is what we ARE that makes them into what they will be. It is not so much what we DO that is important, it is what we ARE.

This is an extremely important concept, which many overlook. That means that for any work of eternal value to occur in the lives of our children, it is virtually wholly dependent on what we ARE as parents, not what we DO, though what we do is also important. We want our children to be godly Christians. ARE we godly Christians ourselves? We want our children to be submissive to God and to us – ARE we submissive to God and to our husbands? We want them to read their Bibles and have a vibrant relationship with God – ARE we living as close to God as we should?

You see, it is much harder to BE different than it is to just DO some different things. We are now talking about our flesh – our stony heart of flesh. In our flesh, we are able to put on a good show and work hard, if necessary. We can determine that we will do a certain thing and make sure it gets accomplished. We can do a very good job at lots of things. But to BE is a different matter. To BE loving, to BE patient, to BE kind, to BE joyful, to BE gentle, to BE longsuffering – that requires the Holy Spirit of God. It would be so easy to write about a method to get children to do something, but to write about getting children to BE something for God requires the parents Being something for God.

There are so many child training methods out there, all of them the subject of much debate. Demand feeding or scheduled feeding? Use the rod, or no? Which curriculum is best? How can we teach them to be responsible? Keep a schedule, or not? Unschooling, or classical education? What should we DO????

The world is loaded with literature on the HOW of child training, and yet, it is the state of BEING of the parents that is the crux point. It is so much easier just to do something good – follow a formula, or a prescribed set of rules or regulations – than it is to BE something good. And this is right where it gets difficult – this issue demands every parent to examine herself, searching her own motives and desires. It goes right to the HEART of the matter.

The Bible says we should “keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” It is the heart which is the parent to what we do, and how we deal with our children. Do we want our children to be patient? You know where I’m going with all this – are WE patient?

So they question is not, “DID you use the rod or didn’t you?” The question is now, “ARE you consistent?” It is not, “DO you have a schedule or not?” The question is now, “ARE you seeking to please the Lord with the use of your time?” The question is not, “DID you do school today?” It is now, “ARE you seeking to do God’s Will today?”

Oh, how we desperately need the Spirit of God to guide and help us as we examine ourselves, and to humble ourselves before Him. Though what we do is vastly important, it is not so much what we do, as what we are!