“Now I Lay Me ….


down to sleep” ; “God is great, God is good….”; “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name…”

      HOW DO YOU PRAY?

"Where two are more are gathered..."

I have noticed through the years that people pray as they have ‘heard others pray’.  We all grow up hearing the children’s prayers.  Some faiths have recited prayers.   Many pray only when in need or after they have tried everything else.

Children are sponges.  They soak up all around them as they grow. both the good habits and the bad.   So many times we inadvertently teach them to PRAY only as a last resort because all the other ‘praying’ is in recitation, not real prayer.   There is the ‘blessing prayers’ … “God is Good, God is Great.  let us thank Him for our food.”   One of my cousins when asked to pray would get to the point with, “Dear God, bless this bunch as we munch our lunch.”   There is the bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep … bless mommy, daddy, the cat … the goldfish …. oh and dear old Aunt ______ (P.S. please stop her from pinching my cheeks.)    As they get older we teach our children The Disciple’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13, ” 9“Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’(NASB)   This prayer was intended to teach us HOW to pray and while it is OK to pray it, it was never intended for us to ‘use it’ as a substitution for PRAYING.    Many people call that portion of scripture  The Lord’s Prayer but, it was the Disciple’s Prayer.  A prayer Jesus used to teach them HOW to pray.   (The Lord’s Prayer is John 17:1-5)

So how do you pray and how do you teach your children to pray?  You use the ‘model’ He gave us in Matthew 6 to teach them to TALK with God in Prayer.  It’s a conversation not a recitation.  Acknowledge WHO He is, praise Him, ask forgiveness, pray for others and THEN ask for your needs.  That is a ‘season’ of prayer. 

There are faiths that pray three times a day.  But, we as Christians are to pray unceasingly.  And we can.  What does that mean?  Well, even though in your morning devotions or night-time devotions you pray as the Lord taught His disciples, throughout the day you pray unceasingly.  You see a wonderful sight in creation and you pray, “thank you Lord … that’s beautiful”.  You see a homeless person on the corner and pray, “Lord be with them, meet their needs.”  A friend calls or is brought to mind, “Lord you know their need right now, meet them.”  You wake in the middle of the night and someone comes to mind, “Lord, I do not know what is going on right now, but I lift them in prayer asking you to guard and protect them, meet them where they are.”  You pray, unceasingly … when the Holy Spirit brings Him to mind or others to mind … you lift up a prayer.   This is intercessory prayer, interceding on the behalf of others as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.  The Lord uses this way to teach you faith and draws you closer to Him through the Holy Spirit.  You learn to listen to Him. 

Sometimes you can close your eyes, other times you silently lift up the prayer.  The Word instructs us to have a daily time of prayer:  “Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  But you can pray at anytime and should.  It gives you peace to be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father.

Many times people live their lives (and this is the only part their children see) sending up ‘quickie prayers’.  Make sure you have a daily time of prayer.  If you only go to Him when you are in trouble, your children will only go to Him when they are in trouble.   People would call my Mom for prayer  because she had “camel knees”.  Everyone knew my Mom spent time in prayer on her knees …they said she had a ‘hot line’ to Heaven.  We all can have that ‘hot line’.  Unfortunately, many of us only use the line in time of need and is it any wonder we feel we are getting a busy number?

 

It’s All About The Fishin’


I love a sunrise or sunset walk along the beach; sun creeping up over the horizon or setting in the west.  The lap of the waves, the call of birds, the peace and beauty of God’s creation is all there at the beach.  I stroll, pickin’ up little treasures along the way; thinking, praying, singing.  At the beach my world is peaceful.  People smile and greet me, sometimes wanting to know what I have found.

A fisherman greets me with, “Find anything good?”  I smile, “not yet … just started … and you?  Catch anything yet?”   He smiles, “No, but it’s not about the catchin’, it’s about the fishin’.”   I continue to walk and think.  Raising kids, working, day-to-day living … it’s about the fishin’ not the catchin’.   God places each of us here for His purpose … the fishin’.  Sometimes we cast nets to get bait.  Other times we  re-bait a simple hook.  Fishin’ takes patience and time.  Sometimes you catch nothin’, sometimes you catch a lot.   Some days are beautiful and others stormy.   Life is a lot like fishin’ and we need to remember it is not about the catchin’.

Some days it seems you are always fishin’ and never catchin’.  Sometimes it seems like stormy days will never end.   Days turn into weeks, weeks to months and months to years.  It is so hard to focus on the fishin’ at these times.  It does not matter if it is struggles with raising kids, working at a job you dread, struggling in a marriage or whatever other difficulty you may be facing.  You have to face the day and focus on the fishin’.

When my husband takes our grandchildren fishing, he knows there will be little catching.  Mainly it will be re-hooking and untangling.  He has to focus on the time he has with them and not the results of the catch.  It’s about the fishin’ … being with them.                                                                                        

In our day-to-day life with others we need to focus on the time we are spending with others.  It may be our children, our spouse or other family members.  The phrase ‘quality time’ is over used, however, it is the best way to describe what God sent Jesus to do … 33 short years on earth, yet the quality of His time with those He came in contact with and the effect on their lives resulted in touching all mankind for all eternity.

Today, you are fishin’.  As a parent, spouse, employee, etc., your daily fishing touches others.  Make sure you spend time in the Word and in prayer (proper preparation for fishin’).  My husband takes our grandchildren through the steps of preparing to fish knowing it may be a long while before they are able to fish on their own, and even longer before they may catch anything.  We also must show others around us by the way we “fish” how to prepare for life.  Maintain your fishin’ equipment so that you are ever ready for the day-to-day fishin’ at home, work, school, the mall… everywhere.  Having dull hooks, broken lines, and a messy tackle box will keep you from being ready to fish.

Jesus never said you were to go out and catch.  Leave the catching to Him.  He simply says to prepare yourself.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

“I’m Becoming My Mom >:-O!”


~ or your dad … or you’re “just like Aunt …’ or maybe you “act like uncle …”

"OMG! You're just like ...."

We all hear it sometime.  I worked in a mall while in college.  During my lunch break I would go out to eat at the Chic-Fil-A.  There were these three ladies that came out every week to eat there.  One was 20ish, one was 40ish and one 60ish.  They looked, dressed and acted like the same woman in three different decades.  The youngest was fast on her way to becoming her mother (and grandmother).

That is not a bad thing, to be like one’s mom or dad … grandmother, etc.  My girls like to tease me about becoming ‘grandmother’.    Many  would love to be 1/2 the person we might be ‘likened’ to by others.  On the flip side though is the negative.  When we’re young we see things in others and say, “I will never do that.”  Yet, the liar begets a liar, the thief a thief, the verbal abuser … the yeller … the drunk … the angry … the impatient … the stubborn ….

Why?  Because it is generational and someone has to break the chain.  As parents we want to set patterns and behaviors, lifestyles and habits that children need to become.  Unfortunately, kids zero in on the negative.  It’s the nature of them?  It’s satan’s* dirty little tricks in life?  It really doesn’t matter, it happens.  Look at toddlers that have picked up cuss words … why one bad word when so many good ones are spoken?  Or pinching, hitting, etc.  The negative sticks out more?  Whatever it is we have to focus on teaching them the positive.  If a child emulates you, if they become you, hopefully it is all the positive and none of the negative.  I know I had negative times I am not proud of that I hope my kids never become.  Frustration, anger, hard times … they come out and those moments stick out in memories and outweigh the good sometimes.

So it is two fold … you work on making positive memories and they work on remembering only the positive when they are older.  The scriptures says in Philippians 4:8 , “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

We guard their ears, eyes and minds from what the world throws at them through the various mediums, yet our own mouths sometimes does more damage.   Ephesians 4: 29 “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” (NCV)  You know yourself that in your memory the harsh words spoken stand out more.  ALWAYS, go and undo what you say in anger or frustration … when you’re too tired, etc.  Don’t let that apology and that ‘rebuilding’ go undone.

Passing on the bad from generation to generation will happen if someone does not make an effort to stop the chain.  If you have  alcoholics, liars … suicides, etc.  Don’t pass it on … stop the cycle.  It is not a heritage you want.  When children are old enough to know about what was in their family’s history is when they are grounded in why it is wrong.  I cannot tell you the number of young people I have counseled that say, “well what can I do, I’m just like … and you know I was always told they did ….”.  Your kids do not need to know the details of your past until they are young adults (if ever).   We had a youth pastor come through once that told of his wild and sinful days … laughingly … almost with … “yeah it was fun … but, then I had to settled down so I got saved.”  This teaches that you can have your fun and repent later.  No one has a ‘later’ promised to them.

You have no later … work on what needs changing today.  Teach your children the positive part of you they need to become and forget the negative part of your own past that your parents were … forget and forgive.  Decide today that you want to be the good part of that person and pass along only the good part of them and the good part of you.

Always go back to the Beatitudes … attitudes to be.  Then you are passing on a heritage of being Christ like.

“I’m becoming ….the good part of…”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

♪♫♫♪TRADITIONS! ♪♫TRADITIONS!♫♪♪♫


Ahhh…Mother’s Day!  Brings back so many memories.  Raised in the South meant following traditions.

Happy Mother's Day!

On Mother’s Day all five of us would go out to the rose bushes and select a red rose.  My brothers would get buds and my sister and I would pick open blooms.  Mother would select a white rose for herself and a white bud for my father.   You wore a red rose to honor your mother who was alive, and a white one for a mother in Heaven.  You simply would not go to church on Mother’s Day without a rose on your shoulder to honor your mother any more than you would go to church without your gloves and hat on Easter.  In fact, many (including my mother) would take extras roses and pins for those who did not have roses in their yards.  Flowers and their colors were non-verbal traditions of deep beliefs.  The practice was carried out on Father’s Day, at funerals and of course  in weddings.  It was a way of saying what you could not necessarily say to everyone.

My youngest daughter was married 18 months ago and I made all the silk flowers.  The grandmothers had two white roses to symbolize the two families they were bringing into the union of their grandchildren.   The groom’s mother wore a corsage of two red roses, symbolic of the two grandmothers she and her husband represented.  I wore a corsage of one white rose and one red rose since my mother is in Heaven and Phil’s mother is alive.  No one ever wore black to weddings as that was a symbol of rejection of the bride or groom’s choice in life mate.  Guests could simply look at flowers and know that grandmothers and mothers were alive even if they were unable to attend; and that by the attire of all those present in the family, that it was a happy and accepted union.

Symbolism … traditions.  Things we pass on as a heritage to our children.  Unfortunately, many points of traditions and heritage are being scoffed at in modern times and legacies are disappearing.   All the world went gaga over a royal wedding of a couple that had lived together for two years and were already  married in God’s eyes.  The girl wore a white dress and full veil, a slap to the meaning of purity they have stood for all these years.   The last royal wedding was not sanctioned until the bride-to-be proved her purity.   Yet so many Christians got caught up in the fan-fare and glamor of a royal wedding, missing the sad part of how they desecrated marriage and the church.   The church sold out the sanctity of marriage for the sake of royalty.  With so little value placed on marriage is it any wonder that motherhood and the value of an unborn child’s life is also devalued.  The morality level of the world slips each time Christians get caught up in the world’s ways.

Sadly, Spiritual traditions are fading with this trend and children are not the spiritual legacies of their former generations.  Grandmothers are not bouncing children on their knees singing to them songs like,  “Only A Boy Named David”, or “Build Your House Upon A Rock”.    Everyone’s lost time for what matters.    So many feel we have to ‘keep up with the times’ which leaves little time for traditions of Spiritual guidance.  In reality, the times have not changed.  There is nothing new under Heaven.  God has not changed.

The scriptures have not changed:

Deuteronomy 5:16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

God’s Word sets the standard for the traditions that lead to a legacy in Christ.   Honor your parents … honor your mother.  Your children are watching to see if you honor your parents.  They will treat and honor you as they see you treat and honor your parents.  Create a legacy in your children by being your parents legacy. 

♪♫♫♪TRADITIONS! ♪♫TRADITIONS!♫♪♪♫

I hope each of you gave your Mother’s a great Mother’s Day if she’s alive and that you were given one by your children in turn.

Running around … and around … and


Hurry, hurry, hurry ... running around in circles

Every one is running around … like chickens with their heads cut off … hurry, hurry, hurry … get out of my way I’m coming through …

We are always out of time it seems.  As a result everything is done at the last-minute … in a rush, with little thought sometimes.  I have customers daily that run in and need a gift in a hurry; or they are attending a Bible study at their church that night and “What?  You don’t have a members book?”  I guess they thought they could walk in and catch up later.  How about the ‘leader’ that comes in the day of a meeting needing something to present?  And what of the parent with the out of control teen that they need a book on what to do?  And then sadly the marriage in the courts that they want a book on how to deal with the results? All of these examples I see daily … they’ve waited too late, ran out of time because they “did not have time when it mattered”.  Of course when we are out of time we make others pay for it rather then admit we are at fault.  The sad part is that our children are watching always … and learning patterns for their lives.

We seem to rush around doing things that do not matter, neglecting what really matters until it is too late and we are all out of time.  It is the times we live in … right?   No, it is the decisions we make on our priorities.   We CAN slow down … at a sacrifice.  Usually, we do not want to accept the cost.

Good news!  God’s GOT TIME!  Always.  He is never short of it and He never runs out of it … He takes HIS time with us (sometimes to our chagrin).  Maybe if we took our time with Him each day, setting the pace and the structure for the day, then we would find time to prevent the disasters we cause when we hurry through life with no time for Him.  That toddler won’t become a wayward teenager if you are investing living time in them like God does in you.

Stop and take time today … for your love ones… slow down …allow patience and compassion to be part of your day … with family, friends, sales clerks, strangers ….

God is taking His time with you.

Hurry up and wait!


I cannot tell you how many times my mother would say the phrase, “hurry up, and wait”.

Hurry UP! AND Wait!

It’s an oxymoron.  We are always in a hurry only to find ourselves having to wait.  It was my mom’s way of telling us that everything has it’s time.  Funny how we do not listen to mom any better than we listen to God.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

No, that was not written by the Byrds … love the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” though.

More and more as we go day in, day out … week in, week out … month in, month out … year in and year out (sigh – get the picture :-D), family and friends ‘hurt for us’ waiting for Phil to get a job.  Three and a half years seems like an eternity to them and they cannot understand.  Trust me I know.  They wonder what is the delay and why?  I would be lying if I said I had not wondered from time to time myself.

Why does Jesus delay?  In answering prayers?  In coming back?  Why?  You know you ask yourself why and sometimes you ask Him why from time to time.   Why did someone have to die?  Why did someone get sick?  Why?  Why? Why?   You know how you hate it when your kids keep asking WHY?  God doesn’t.  Trust me, He DOES NOT MIND!  What He minds is if you stay in the ‘why’ mode and do not grow.  He knows why but, it may not be time for you to know why.  Maybe it is He knows you have a harder road to travel that will require the strengths you are learning, the patience you are acquiring.  (I just heard a loud groan from some of you … “you mean, it could get worse?”   Sure it can and might.   Maybe it is because He knows you will be able to help someone who is going to go through the exact same thing you are going through or something similar and that you will be able to help them because of your experience.  Maybe He wants to reveal something to you, a truth, that you cannot learn any other way.  Sometimes we are so stubborn and we cause the delay.  Sometimes He has others watching and learning so they can grow in their faith.

There is always an answer to why?  Asking why is not a problem.  When you do not get an immediate answer and you allow the waiting on Him to discourage you and lose faith, THAT is the problem.

 

Why?  Because … there is a time to ‘wait’ … so you can have times of joy after times of tears; sunshine after storms and mountains after valleys.

For everything … there is a season … AND a reason … wait upon the Lord…“In His Time, In His Time … He makes all things beautiful, In His Time.”

Failing Our Kids


The research is piling up.  In an age when we are more technologically advanced than ever before; when technical advantages exist to enhance educating our children at every age level, the children are becoming less educated.  A short Bing.com or Google.com of dumbing down in American schools will provide you with books and articles that will shock you when you see what is happening.  But, you may already know these facts from shopping.  People cannot ring registers, count back change or help you figure pricing on a sale.  I have friends that would starve without a microwave or drive through window.   They seriously cannot even boil water (Bless Their Hearts – all you Southerners know what that means :-D.)  Guys grew up in years gone by tinkering on cars.  Other than filling their gas tanks, many cannot take care of their car.  Change a flat tire?  HOW?

Electronics and time-saving services and devices are not bad in themselves.  However, they have slowly taken over and replaced cognitive learning skills and even parenting.   Electronics should not be the parents.  We have devices for everything from a quick meal, tooth brushing and singing the baby to sleep.   There is nothing wrong with any of them until we rely solely on them for raising our children.  They couldn’t make something to tie their shoes for us so Velcro was invented.  Using these devices are great time savers but what do we do with the time we save?

Children become dependent on electronics from the cradle on.  Take back your parenting, take back your children, give them their childhood.   Bake with them, draw chalk drawings and hopscotch on the sidewalks.  Get them OUTDOORS in un-organized activities … it’s called playing.

REALITY CHECK:  How many hours are your children (or you) on iPod’s, cell phones, in front of a computer, a DVD or video game.    If your schools are using so many electronic devices that your children cannot read, write, add or spell then it is your responsibility to see they learn.   As parents God expects US to teach our children by example as well as teaching them directly.  Children are not even learning how to write because of texting and emails.  I would have my children practice printing and/or cursive writing.   I would have them make flash cards then play games with them.   AND I would make sure and take time to teach them the Bible.   The Bible says:

Isaiah 54:13 “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children“.

Are your children being taught “of” the Lord, “by” the Lord and “for” the Lord?  The school year has just started.  Put into place hands on learning in all subjects including His Word!