The real gift giver

For obvious reasons a lot of tags with “To:” and “From:” are getting filled out at this time of the year.

With that fact in mind, I believe it’s important for children to know who the real gift-giver is, because when we receive a gift from above, the chimney isn’t the real source.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV)

#children, #christmas, #parenting

One word description of the ocean

I, my family and some friends recently went on vacation to a beach in South Carolina.

My daughter has been to the beach before, but she was too young to remember the experience. This was her opportunity to get reacquainted.

We arrived very early in the morning (middle of the night basically), so she was able to hear the waves but not able to see anything. I don’t know what she saw in her imagination but I know her imagination didn’t prepare her for reality.

When “we” woke up that morning (with a little prodding of, “Do you want to go see the ocean?”) we walked out on to the balcony (which was approximately 150 yards from the shore), and the first word out of her mouth was, “Whoa!” She didn’t need to say anything else.

Her anticipation was not disappointed. Her hope became reality. Her joy overflowed.

So why am I including this story on a religiously themed site? Because you should be able to get at least two or three spiritual analogies out of it.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”” (Genesis 28:16-17 NKJV)

#children, #experience, #spiritual-analogies

Dear Abby and Baptism

I read in a “Dear Abby” letter (1.3.2017) of a woman who desired to have her niece’s son baptized, but without the consent of the parents. Evidently, the parents are not religious, and the family heritage is to have each new-born baptized some short time after birth (the child is 1-year old). Abby replied that such an action without the consent of the parents is unwise. This is obvious on its own, but it brings up another point that needs some consideration.

Exactly how should one look at God’s command to be baptized? That it is a command of God makes it essential to be pleasing to God, but as it was indicated in the inquiry of Abby, is it the one act/command/ceremony that assures one’s entrance into heaven? The way some people look at the word and command of baptism, those same ones are convinced of such. They regard it as God’s “stamp” of approval before entrance is made; some Christians look at it the same way.

Baptism, as a command of God to be obeyed, is for one who believes, understands what he (she) believes, is willing to repent (change his way of thinking), and put his hand to the plow, having the ground already plowed for him by Jesus following that path. Baptism is for one who has decided to not look behind, but long for the new life promised. This person has made a conscience choice to leave behind the ways of the world (Luke 9:62).

I am afraid many have not done this. A great many have been baptized, but the life lived after that baptism is a reflection, not of God, but of this world (and the god of this world; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, many people who were baptized really did nothing more than get wet, and this includes children. In submitting to the Lord’s authority, one is submitting to the Lord’s way of living and thinking. This way of living is completely different than what the world presents. In fact, the Lord said those who love Him will not love the world or the things in the world (cf. 1 John 2:15-17).

Baptism is not for one who does not understand that which I wrote above. Through the years, I have seen children baptized without understanding this. I am afraid many of these same children, now turned adults, are just as lost as if they had not been baptized; their “lostness” is the result of a life of unfaithfulness to the Lord, which brings to mind a question: did they understand what they said they did?

No doubt, many (if not all) who were baptized because of a genuine belief and desire to obey God – but was there (is there) a proper understanding about what this entailed? Some have doubted and, consequently, for many, a “rebaptism” soon followed. Along this line, it is worth notice in the New Testament, Acts especially, those baptized are men and women. There is a reason for this.

Baptism is a point of entry, but in that entry, it is simply the culmination, the completion of a process of the heart’s desire to please God. In that point of entry, there is a releasing (sins forgiven). Nothing in baptism (in and of itself) will release one’s sins from “clinging” to the one immersed in water, who is brought up from the plunging in water. Unless it is coupled with faith and a penitent heart, in submission to the Lord’s authority, baptism is an empty ritual; it has no value. RT

#baptism, #children, #dear-abby, #empty-ritual

Out of the mouth of babes

Not too long ago my four-year-old child (with absolutely no prodding whatsoever) was watching cartoons when she asked, “Dad, why are we alive?”

I responded in a testing sort of way by saying, “Because we’re not dead.”

Well, to that semi-sarcastic answer she replied, with a serious tone, Continue reading

#children, #philosophy, #purpose-in-life

Children need to be taught they are worth something

If you teach a child they’re no more than an evolved animal, then don’t be surprised when they act like nothing more than an animal.

Children need to be taught they’re life is valuable. Children need to be taught they’re more than an animal. Children need to be taught they have a soul that distinguishes them from the animal world.

When these things are taught, then, and only then can we expect them to see other people in the same light.

Until then, children who continue to grow older (which is different from growing-up/maturing) in an amoral home, culture and society will do no more than what an animal naturally does…prey on the weak, take what can be taken, kill for the fun of it, and create offspring instead of a family.

But perhaps, at the end of the day, acting like an animal is the right and natural thing to do. Because after all, “survival of the fittest” is what got people to where we are right?

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

#children, #culture, #evolution, #self-worth

Investing our time in our children

If I’m flying solo, I can mow our lawn in about 40 minutes.

If I have a “co-pilot” (my daughter), the same job takes me about an hour.

I think the extra 20 minutes will yield plenty of compound interest as I use it to create memories that will last the rest of my child’s life.

Time is the most valuable thing a parent can spend on his or her child. While our culture is currently stressing to the max the importance of investing in/saving up for a child’s future education, I still believe, due to the fact that we cannot get it back, the simplest investment, when it comes to our children, is the most important one that affects the right now – our time!

For us mortals, our time can start getting spread pretty thin if we’re not careful. There are only so many hours in a day after-all. And because of this, often times our children end up getting the short end of the stick … or maybe I should say the sort-hand on the clock, when it comes to the time we have available. I’m sure parents with multiple children and multiple obligations understand this very well. But the fact that we’re mortals stresses the importance even more so when it comes prioritizing the things we do in life; especially when it comes to the way we spend our time, and who we invest it in.

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

#children, #family, #parenting, #time

June 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (Strengthening Families)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Why Strong Families are Important (Ben Moseley)
  • A Solid, Spiritual Foundation (Cody Westbrook)
  • How to Create a Distinctly Christian Family (Glenn Colley)
  • Husbands, Be Husbands (Jon McCormack)
  • Wives, Be Wives (Luanne Rogers)
  • Training Our Children (Matthew Gibson)
  • Serve the Lord Together (Michael Bonner)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#children, #christian-couples, #christian-family, #christian-worker, #christianity, #family, #husbands, #marriage, #parenting, #raising-faithful-children, #wives

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3-14-2016 Herding Children

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations” (Proverbs 27:23-24 NKJV). “Riches” and power (“crown”) can leave as quickly as they came, but “flocks” and “herds” are renewable resources. In the next three verses (Proverbs 27:25-27NKJV), Solomon shows that by feeding them, in return, they provide clothing, milk, and goats sold to buy more land. These animals deserve proper care and feeding because they can provide much in return. Isn’t it tragic that some are more “diligent” in caring for their animals than they are their children? They never seem to realize how much children can provide in return for their diligence. “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3 NKJV).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#children, #flocks, #fruit-of-the-womb, #herds

When Jesus dealt with 12 angry men

Jesus faced his own version of 12 angry men one time. And the kicker is, the angry men were his own disciples!

Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

I don’t know exactly what made the disciples feel so miffed, but one thing that I know for sure was that the only person more unhappy than the twelve was the one who desired to receive the children.

God forbid that God’s own people would set up roadblocks in the path that leads to God’s kingdom. And God forbid even more that the roadblocks come in the form of spiritual baby-gates that hinder a child from coming to the arms that were spread out on a cross for them.

Jesus indeed faced his own version of 12 angry men, but the verdict of the case could not have been clearer.

#challenges-of-discipleship, #children, #jesus

Explaining in vivid detail

I ran across this story on the Internet:

Today, when I went to pick-up my daughter from preschool she was sitting on the ground in the corner of the after-care area with three blind students. All of them had smiles on their faces. The after-care instructor told me my daughter has been spending time with these three students every afternoon this week, answering questions and explaining to them in vivid detail what different objects, people and animals look like.

The story, which I assume to be true, reminded me a bit of what the people of God do for those who are spiritually blind.

#children, #mission, #stories

Out of the mouth of babes

Last night, as we were taxiing home some kids from VBS, I asked about the topics that were studied since each kid had gone to a different class.

The oldest said that they had studied how God cleanses us through the blood of Jesus, which was illustrated with a dirty cup and some cleanser.

The middle-aged girl of the three, and the sister to the oldest girl who came along for the ride, said that they had studied how God was the Creator of the Earth.

The youngest girl, who happened to be my three-year-old daughter, didn’t say anything after the other two had finished talking, so my wife decided to prod her a little and asked what she had learned, to which, in the simplest but obvious implication that her mother must had not listened very well in class, she replied, “You were there.”

#children, #humor, #sincerity

Video clip worth watching

You may have already seen this video as it begins to make its major rounds in the media and on the Internet, but in case you haven’t seen it, it’s one worth watching.

There are so many spiritual applications that could be made in connection to this “caught-on-camera-moment” that most people should be able to immediately think of a few points and scriptures. On top of that, a video like this can pull at the heart-strings of any parent worth his or her salt. And taking the reality of the moment for what’s it worth is something that shouldn’t be missed – that being how wonderful the little, and often taken for granted, blessings of life really are.

 

#blessings, #children, #video

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6-10-2015 Real “Child Abuse”

Jesus Christ said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14 NKJV). When children were brought to Jesus “He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:16 NKJV). If “child abuse” is doing something wrong to children, then what about parents who abuse their child’s heart and soul by setting bad examples of: drug & alcohol abuse, disregarding marriage with their dating and divorce, smoking and spitting tobacco, filthy language, and immoral television programs and movies? If “child neglect” is not doing what is right to children, then what about parents who keep their children from Jesus Christ and His Christian followers? “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#child-abuse, #child-neglect, #children, #parents, #youth

Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening

I was pulling out left-overs from the fridge when I spotted a bowl with green beans in it. It reminded me of when Art, our son, was a little-bitty boy standing on the pew beside me in worship at Cedar Grove, Andalusia, AL. His Daddy was preaching and said, “Jesus is the Bread of Life.” Art picked right up with it and said loudly, …”And green beeaaannns.” Isn’t it amazing how seeing things can bring back such fond memories from long ago? Just a reminder that little eyes are watching, and little ears are listening.

#children

Kid's Movie Review

I’m not the biggest fan of Disney animated movies (along with a couple of other animated movie makers whose target is children) for multiple reasons, of which are the adult themed comments that get sprinkled in from beginning to end, but I believe when it comes to Disney’s “Big Hero 6” there is almost a big exception to the last couple of decades worth of rules. When it comes to this movie in particular, you can count me in.

“Big Hero 6” contains a number of opportunistic teaching moments…particularly when it comes to biblical concepts! To me, this is a shocker when you consider that Disney was behind the film. The movie gives parents an opportunity to talk about redemptive and enduring qualities like love and friendship, as well as opportunities to talk about the dangers of anger, hate and revenge; especially the often unintended cost of revenge. And for those of you who are old enough to get what I’m about to say, the end of the movie definitely has an “Ole’ Yeller” feel to it.

The only questionable part, to me, as far as memory goes and as far as a young child is concerned, is a moment towards the beginning when the story gets rolling and the robot begins to illustrate the “hairy effects” of puberty on a young person. This moment pushes the envelope without actually opening it; which is unfortunately something that most, if not all, major animated movie makers seem to enjoy doing. There are several other moments of “childish” humor, but nothing that’s really out of line. The movie is quite clean, even for animated movie standards of late.

In my opinion, on a scale of the famous five stars, “Big Hero 6” gets five out of five stars. If you haven’t seen it, take advantage of this kid targeted movie for some family time on the couch.

If you have seen the movie, share your thoughts about it with other readers.

#children, #entertainment, #family, #movie-review