Practical Lessons

Today I have spent time adding a new tab to my blog, Practical Lessons.  It is summertime and rather than allow your children to vegetate in front of some electronic device, find ways to teach them about God.  I had an adult S.S. teacher that called this “I SPY GOD”.  It is good for all of us to constantly see God in all that we do and arm ourselves against satan’s attacks.  There is so much to learn about God, from the kitchen to the shore, to the back deck and more.  (I know, but I love to rhyme).  I hope you enjoy the few lessons I have put up and will add to them from time to time just as I add to Gwen’s Pen and Dinner Time.  ENJOY!

PS: These are excerpts from my book and are copyrighted (sorry, have to throw the legal jargon in – see my copyright notice for blog at bottom as well).


Actions = Reactions

I am amazed at the lack of ability for people to see that their actions affect anyone other than themselves.  Consider the angry driver that speeds out of sight as the two cars they swerved through head for ditches; the over-eating, over-drinking or over-smoking family member that says it only hurts them; or the teenage who swears it is their life to mess up and none of your business. As you are reading those scenarios you can easily find the consequences.  Yet, everyday we act without seeing the long-range effect on those actions.   The ‘lecture’ on consequences is one of my most discussed with students.

Children often need to be reminded that their actions have consequences, good ones and bad ones.  It is important to give them examples of both so they know it is good actions that everyone benefits the most from.  In teaching this concept you can take a  bucket of water, a tub, pool or lake and hand them something  to toss in the water.  Ask them to toss it in so that the water cannot be disturbed.  Impossible.  No matter what they do, they will not be able to pass the object through the water without disturbing the surface.  The bigger the action, the bigger the reaction, or consequence.  Choices, we make them everyday and our actions always have reactions or consequences.   What defines our actions?

  1. What we read, hear, see = our thoughts
  2. What we think = attitude
  3. Our attitude = character
  4. Our character = actions

If someone’s actions are negative they cause negative reactions which means we must change what they read, hear and see.  It is important to show the flip side of the coin by praising positive actions that equaled positive reactions.  For example, studying, doing homework, etc. = better grades.  Or, showing respect and consideration = receiving respect and consideration, which results in more privileges and responsibility.

Unfortunately, we are in a world ruled by sin.  Sin is a huge pebble thrown in the pond and its ripples are the consequences that are far-reaching, even into the next generations.  In 1 Samuel 3 the Bible tells of Eli’s penalty for not stopping his sons’ actions.  Eli paid the price of ‘in-action’ over his sons ‘actions’.

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

Eli’s sin was allowing desecration of the house of the Lord.  He knew about what his sons were doing and did nothing.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  I know parents who have thrown in the towel over their minor children and said, “what can I do?”.  EVERYTHING you can, is what God expects.  God holds mothers and fathers responsible for how their children act, what they read, hear and see.  The problem is, parents allow things to slip by until the children are so out of control it will take a war to win.  Some say they pick their battles, but that usually means they finally exit the war.  Raising children is spiritual warfare and the other side is not sitting idle.

Inaction IS an action.  I recently heard two boys discussing hitting back over a senseless killing.  I could have kept walking the class room and ignored them.  Trust me, it is easier.  However,  1) I knew they saw I heard them, and 2) that ‘feeling’ you get inside when you know you are supposed to speak and want to choose not to was choking me to get out.   So I went back and looked at the young man and asked, ‘What will that do’?  He said, “It will get even, I can’t just do nothing”.  I looked at him and said, “You cannot throw a rock in the water and not expect a splash.”  Blunt statements that seem senseless usually get their attention.  I then asked him, “What if they get even and ‘hit’ you back?”  He said, “We all gotta die sometime.”  Death is not a feared consequence any more.  We have desensitized a whole generation.  I asked him if he thought someone would get even for him, he thought they would.  I then asked him, “What if it’s your grandmother, or your mother, or baby sister they hit next and how will those left behind feel then?”  I had his attention.  First, death is not the end of anything, even if you do not believe in afterlife.  Second, there are those left behind after a shooting, suicide, death or self-inflicted cancer.  Even if you die, someone is forced to live with your action’s consequences.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:16-20 ,

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Your actions define what kind of tree you are.   What will your actions cause today?

Nobody’s Business

No Body's Business

What Are You Telling Your World?

Once a week we try to go to the beach to enjoy peace and quiet and unwind a little.  We choose a beach that is ‘smoke free’, has a life-guard (keeps the noise down of wild partying) and one that has great fishing and shelling.  Yesterday when we arrived there were less than 1/2 dozen people on the beach.  We settled in about 10 feet from shoreline for the view.  The birds were singing, waves lapping and a nice gentle breeze had the trees whispering.  That lasted maybe an hour before a woman settled in between us and the shore.  I never have understood why when there is a whole couple of football fields of beach to choose from, people set right down on top of you.  She not only was blocking the view, but she proceeded to light up (smoke free beach) which meant we had to ask her to put it out.  The signs are everywhere, however, we are the bad guys?   Then her friends showed up to give her some beers.  They did not stay long so she was left with her beer and nothing to do with her hands but use the cell phone.  She  pulled out her cell phone and began to talk and drink her beer.  The more she drank the louder she became.  The beach had added a few more families by this time but, she did not mind her conversations or language around these small children.  Her business became everyone’s as we had no choice but to listen to all her personal calls to her friends.  I do not understand why people forget that when they are in public talking on their phone, others are listening, even if they do not want to.  Her first call began with her congratulating her friend on being added to the list of  ‘his exes’.   Evidently children were involved because she continued to tell her to explain to them they were a ‘dysfunctional family’.   The details she exposed us all to were unbelievable.  She continued down her list of friends to call and went over a myriad of soap opera scenarios.  This woman was probably in her late 50’s or early 60’s.  You would think she would know better than to ‘air the dirty linen’ as our generation was supposedly taught.  I am sure I will be accused of stereotyping, but you can just see this woman in her living room with her beers, cigarettes and tabloids while watching her soaps.  All of these reference materials make her highly qualified to be handing out advice it seems.

There is a time and place to discuss situations and none of those involve strangers.  Talk shows and yellow journalism have done away with any sense of discretion.  They have coined phrases to use as crutches like “dysfunctional” and “ex”.  The generation being raised in the shadows of all these public disclosures are being so conditioned and desensitized to sinful lives that they are not going to know sin when it slaps them.  God says we are to guard our speech and our minds.  (Colossians 3:2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”) As parents we need to teach our children as we raise them about guarding their minds and their speech so that when they are grown it will be automatic.   We have become a world of gossiping and everyone believes they have the right to know each others business as well as share theirs.   The Bible says in Matthew 12:35-37, 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What ‘business’ are you sharing?

One Step At A Time …

I have fond memories of Bill Weston and his father whom we all called “Dad Weston” coming to our church on various occasions while I was growing up.  If memory serves me correct, they worked with the early years of Youth For Christ.  They taught us a song, that I believe they wrote.  I have not been able to find it anywhere but, it went something like this:

One Step At A Time
Only One Step At A Time
That Is The Way The Lord Will Lead You
One Step At A Time

Take That One Step Carefully
Take That One Step Prayerfully
For That Is The Way The Lord Will Lead You
One Step At A Time

Just a simple child’s song, but it has stayed with me my whole life.  Amazing how God brings it to mind during troubled times. 

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” 

Children should be taught the word of the Lord.  By memorizing verses as well as through song.  Most of us raised in the church remember little songs like, “Only A Boy Named David”, “I Will Make You Fishers of Men”, “This Little Light of Mine” and others.  Simple truths taught through simple children’s songs.  The mind, like the body, needs to be filled with healthy food.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

We are what we think on ...

What Goes In

  • What we read, see and hear become our thoughts and what we think on (Video Games, TV, Movies, Books)
  • Our thoughts become our attitudes
  • Our attitudes become our character and
  • Our character becomes our actions (Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”)

Do not allow ‘junk food’ to enter your child’s mind.  Watch what they see, hear and read.

Renee’ Green Copyright 2010

RBGreenDesigns 2020

Got Time?

Make Time For Family!

Family that plays together ...

Today I watched several families at church interact and it brought to mind several years ago when my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.   We had a great view of the ocean in a quiet corner.  There was soft music, candlelight, and good food, everything conducive to paying attention to each other.  Shortly after sitting down a family of seven was seated nearby consisting of two grand-parents, two parents and three children.  The youngest was small enough to need a booster seat and the middle child was about 9 or 10 years old.  The oldest was probably 14 or 15 years old.  Everyone was barely in their seats before all the electronics were pulled out.  The smallest had a portable DVD player with ear phones and was watching the latest Barbie movie.  The middle child, a boy, pulled out a hand-held video game player and was furiously working his thumbs.  The oldest girl had her cell phone out and was texting away.  I watched off and on throughout the dinner.  The children were quiet, it was true, but with three generations sitting together there was no interaction among the different family members.  It was clear that electronics had long been the babysitter, their parent and best friend.

Dinner time.  Brings back so many memories doesn’t it?  You gathered every night at the table, everyone talking at once.  Stories of the day at school, a meeting or work.  Fellowship, camaraderie, socializing … just being a family.   Some of my fondest memories are reunions and church gatherings with plenty of food and places to sit and talk.   But then came the gadgets, the electronics that made our lives simpler so we could spend more time together.  Right?  Sadly, it has not turned out that way.   We have lost the ability to communicate and function.   No one can function without their electronics.  We live and breathe by them.  If we have a power failure we will not know what to do.

The term dysfunctional family is tossed around like seeds to the ground hoping they will take root and grow into something.  The truth is that we need to make our families function again as God intended.  It saddens me to see families ‘together’ without being together.  We are going to have to take action.   Somewhere the keys of control were handed over to the children to the point that no control reaches them.  They all function autonomously.  I doubt that you will be the most popular parent when you take the reins and slow things down.  You must start by taking back the controls so that you can function again as a family.  Saying ‘no’ is harder than allowing them to go their merry way.

I believe that by allowing them to run their lives free of control, parents are setting an example for their spiritual life as well.  There is a place for control in everyone’s life.  We all need to control ourselves, self discipline is so important to turning over our lives to the Lord.  You cannot be successful in a  friendship, relationship, or family until you are successful in your relationship with Christ.   You will have to bring everything to a full STOP.  Control cannot be taken over at 100 miles an hour without a wreck.  STOP.  Look to the Bible and see what God says.  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and ” Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19), are good verses to apply in handing over the reins to God.  Children need to be trained from early on about control, boundaries and self discipline.  For those who started late you simply have to start small with your children.  You will have to teach them control, self discipline and applying the truths of the Word in their life through the example of your own life.

In thinking about meal time I have decided to start another page solely for meals.  My daughters call me from time to time for recipes and hints about shopping and cooking.  So notice my new tab “What’s For Dinner” and let me know what you think!