Even if you could be the perfect parent, bad things are going to happen in your child’s life. Not because God is punishing your child, but because we live in a fallen world. As much as we would love to spare our children any pain, we can’t. Your kids will have disappointments, heartbreaks, illnesses, injuries and other painful experiences during their lives. How they handle the pain though, can mean the difference between living a godly, productive life and being stuck in the pain forever.
Having had a tough year personally, I was excited to get a chance to read Nick Vujicic’s latest book, Unstoppable. (Click to read the first chapter for free.) If you are unfamiliar with Nick Vujicic, he is an Australian Christian speaker who was born without any arms and legs. Evidently, his first book told his story in depth. In this book, he chooses to address issues people in pain may face, giving them hope and practical godly advice.
Have you been to five different toy stores in search of that present your child “must have” this year? Were you trampled in the mad rush for the latest gadget? Are you wondering what happened to the days when children were thrilled to receive a homemade rag doll and an orange for Christmas?
I have a controversial theory about Christmas consumer madness. Yes, commercials and marketing appeal to our children, but I think it may just be something more. Is it possible our children are asking for “things” to substitute for what they really want from us? Maybe they don’t know how to ask or maybe they just know the answer will be no. They have learned adults are often willing to give them plenty of stuff to compensate for not giving them what they really want. Our future business leaders have learned to work the system in their favor. And who can blame them?
I have a secret about my Bible reading which I rarely share with anyone. Mainly, because it generally causes eye rolling and groaning. Since I can’t see or hear you, I am going to take the risk – I secretly enjoy reading the “begats” in the Bible. Partially, it is because I love the little nuggets God hid within some of those passages. Mainly though, I love reading the connections between the generations over thousands of years. It is comforting to think of God touching the lives of generation after generation of His people.
A legacy of faith is one of the most important gifts we can give our families. Even if you are the first generation of believers in your family, you are starting a legacy for any future generations after you. There is a creative way you can add to that legacy for your children, grandchildren and beyond.
Sometimes to teens it must sound like the only Christians who have testimonies worthy of sharing are those who have been addicts, teen parents or have been to prison. Ministers tell our teens over and over, children are expected to abandon the church when they leave home and live a period where they experiment with sin and reject God. A Protestant Rumspringa of sorts.(An Amish rite of passage when Amish teens enter the world for a time to confirm whether they want to remain Amish or prefer excommunication.)
While I understand statistics confirm many teens do reject God when they leave home, I don’t like it presented as the default option for our children. Teens who are struggling with sin may actually be convinced that it will be fine for them to experiment with a sinful lifestyle, in spite of their doubts and concerns. They assume they will have plenty of time to repent later. Unfortunately, some teens do not survive experimentation.
Want to add a fun twist to your Thanksgiving celebration? Take a large jar and place beside it scraps of recycled paper and pens. Put the jar in a prominent place. Throughout the year, whenever someone is thankful for something, they write it on a slip of paper and throw it in the bowl. While you are waiting for that extra room to appear in your stomach so you can eat dessert Thanksgiving Day, pull out the bowl and start reading the slips.
Sometimes it is hard to remember to be thankful through your growling stomach. The chaos created just by getting everyone to the table may make people go blank if asked to share what they are grateful for this year. The jar not only reminds us of the things we are currently grateful for, but how much God has blessed us over the past year. The slips may bring back fun memories or help your family process the difficult times from the previous year.