Hope

Wednesday Wisdom: Mrs. Hildebrandt’s Christmas

For the Christmas Season, I am going to dedicate Wednesday Wisdom to sharing some beautiful short stories. The first story I would like to share is from Joe Wheeler’s Christmas in My Heart, Volume 19. It is called “Mrs. Hildebrandt’s Christmas.”  It was written by Robert Smith many years ago.

It is a great reminder that there are many lonely, heartbroken people who could use some encouragement during the holidays. We can not only bless them by reaching out but also be blessed. There is such tremendous joy when we give of ourselves to others. And, oh, what an important lesson this is to teach our children! I hope you enjoy this story–

            It’s been 30 years since I last saw her, but in memory she’s still there every holiday season. I especially feel her presence when I receive my first Christmas card.
            I was twelve years old, and Christmas was only two days away. This season’s first blanket of white magnified the excitement.
            I dressed hurriedly, for the snow was waiting. What would I do first – build a snowman, slide down the hill, or just throw the flakes in the air and watch them flutter down?
            Our station wagon pulled into the driveway, and Mom called me over to help with the groceries. When we finished carrying in the bags, she said, “Bob, here are Mrs. Hildebrandt’s groceries.”
            No other instructions were necessary. As far back as I could remember, my mom shopped for Mrs. Hildebrandt’s food and I delivered it. Our ninety-five-year-old neighbor, who lived alone, was crippled from arthritis and could take only a few steps with her cane.
            Even though she was old, crippled, and didn’t play baseball, I liked Mrs. Hildebrandt. I enjoyed talking with her; more accurately, I enjoyed listening to her. She told wonderful stories of her life – about a steepled church in the woods, horse and buggy rides on Sunday afternoons, and her family farm without running water or electricity.
            She always gave me a dime for bringing her groceries. It got so that I would refuse only halfheartedly, knowing she would insist. Five minutes later, I’d be across the street in Beyer’s candy store.
            As I headed over with the bags, I decided this time would be different, though. I wouldn’t accept any money. This would be my Christmas present to her.
            Impatiently, I rang Mrs. Hildebrand’s doorbell. Almost inaudible at first were the slow, weary shuffles of her feet and the slower thump of her cane. The chain on the door rattled and the door creaked open. Two shiny eyes peered from the crack.
            “Hello, Mrs. Hildebrandt,” I said. “It’s me, Bob. I have your groceries. “
            “Oh, yes, come in, come in, “she said cheerfully. “Put that bag on the table.” I did so more hurriedly than usual, because I could almost hear the snow calling me back outside,.
            As we talked, I began to realize how lonely she was. Her husband had died more than 20 years before, she had no children, and her only living relative with a nephew in Philadelphia who never visited. Nobody ever called on her at Christmas. There would be no tree, no presents, no stocking.
            She offered me a cup of tea, which she did every time I brought the groceries. Well, maybe the snow could wait.
            We sat and talked about what Christmas was like when she was a child. We traveled far away and long ago, and an hour passed before I knew it.
            “Well, Bob, you must be wanting to play outside in the snow, ” she said as she reached for her purse.
            “No, Mrs. Hildebrandt, I can’t take your money this time. You can use it for more important things,” I resisted.
            She looked at me and smiled. “What more important thing could I use this money for, if not to give it to a friend at Christmas?” she asked, and then placed a whole quarter in my hand.
            I tried to give it back, but she would have none of it.
            I hurried out the door and ran over to Beyer’s candy store with my fortune. I had no idea what to buy–comic books, chocolate, soda, ice cream. Then I spotted something–a Christmas card with an old country church in the woods on the cover. It was just like the one she’d described.
            I handed Mr. Beyer my quarter for the card and borrowed a pen to sign my name.
            “For your girlfriend?” he asked. I started to say “no,” but quickly changed my mind. “Well, yeah, I guess so.”
            As I walked back across the street with my gift, I was so proud of myself I felt like I had just hit a home run to win the World Series. No, I felt better than that!
            I rang Mrs. Hildebrandt’s doorbell. The almost inaudible sounds of shuffling again reached my ears. The chain rattled and the door creaked open. Two shiny eyes peered from within.
            “Hello, Mrs. Hildebrandt, ” I said as I handed her the card. “Merry Christmas.”
            Her hand trembled as she slowly opened the envelope, studied the card, and began to cry. “Thank you very much, ” she said almost in a whisper. “Merry Christmas.”     
           
 
            On a cold and windy afternoon a few weeks later, the ambulance arrived next door. My mom said they found her in bed; she had died peacefully in her sleep. Her night table light was still on, illuminating a solitary Christmas card. 

 

Keeping My Eye on Polaris

Polaris is the North Star. It has been incredibly helpful through the ages because it doesn’t move. While the rest of the northern sky is filled with stars that move constantly, Polaris is consistently in the same place. Through the centuries, sailors and travelers of all kinds would use this star to find their way home.

Did you know we Christians have our own “North Star”? It is the Word of God. People change, cultures change, but the Word of God is always the same, providing us desperately needed direction in a world full of moving morals and vacillating values.

Sometimes, I just can’t believe how different my world is than when I grew up. Oh, not so much the worldly world–that’s always been bad, but I am referring to the Christian world. Christianity today has become much more about what makes me happy than what makes God happy. It amazes me what has become the norm in the church today.  There is blanket permission on sin of almost every sort within the church.  Gambling and cursing aren’t only allowed, they are actually promoted by some pastors. And I am amazed at the violent and sex-filled DVDs that fill the shelves of Christians.  Be gay, have an abortion, get divorced. Do what you need to do to make you happy. And it is all okay.

But the Word of God tells us it is not okay. The Word of God still says that we are to put good things before our eyes (Psalm 101:3), to be good stewards (Matthew 25:19-29), to value children (Matthew 18:6; Psalm 139:13-16),  to stay married, if at all possible (Matthew 19), and that homosexuality is not normal (Romans 1:26-27). We are still to keep our Christian brothers from stumbling (I Corinthians 8:9-13) and to please God by living a pure and holy life (I Peter 1:13-16), separate from the world (James 1:27). Yes, we are to be in the world to share the good news, but we are not to be part of the world.  In fact, John 15:18-25 tells us in no uncertain terms that we should quite expect to be hated by the world.

This hasn’t changed through the ages, no matter what the modern day church is telling us.

I remember seeing John MacArthur on Larry King Live after 911, the terrible tragedy of 2001.  While the New Ager and the Muslim and the Jewish rabbi kept giving their “learned opinions”, John did one thing and one thing only. He humbly pointed people to what the Word of God says.  You see, it doesn’t really matter what you and I think. It only matters what the Bible says. And, contrary to modern day opinion, the interpretation does not lay in a puddle of ambiguity and uncertainty. But that’s a topic for another day.

And so I am so very thankful for God’s Word. It has and will continue to be my North Star in a world full of chaos, hypocrisy, and deception. It is the only thing that truly remains consistent. And I thank God for His foreknowledge and wisdom in providing the Bible for us. He knew we would need it!

Read more about Polaris here. It’s actually quite interesting!

How do we keep love from fading?

We met the man and his family while they were going through a personal tragedy. His wife had just had a miscarriage in the last couple of days and it was a rough time. They already had a couple of young children and seemed like a very nice Christian family with whom we could enjoy a friendship. Alas, circumstances often dictate who you truly get to know in life and so we were never able to develop a relationship with them.

Fast forward a couple of years.

Eric is giving an estimate to a lady who has a lot of time to talk. She tells him about the couple across the street who are going through a nasty divorce. Words like prostitution and pornography come up.  Eric tries to be polite but he is really there to give an estimate. But the more she talks, the more he starts to suspect that he may know who this couple is.

When Eric arrived home we did a little investigating. Oh, how sad. The couple getting the nasty divorce is the couple we met a few years earlier. Our hearts ached for them. What in the world had happened?

This story is not a strange one to any of us. All too frequently, a husband or wife is trapped in sexual sin, marriages break up, and life changes drastically for the entire family.

But why? How does this happen?

I do not even begin to presume I have the answer to this. But I can think of a few ways to protect ourselves from being “that” couple. Of course, you are only one half of the equation, so that is what makes it tricky, isn’t it?? But, for what it’s worth, here are a few suggestions–

1.  Get to know God by faithfully reading His Word, praying, and listening to godly {doctrinally-sound} men expound His word via church and podcast. How can we even know what pleases God if we don’t know His Word? Conviction can be conveniently bypassed if we aren’t in tune with God.

2.  Talk, talk, and talk some more with your spouse. No secrets.  Keep communicating even when it is really hard. And, trust me, it is really hard sometimes.

3.  Forgive and move on. I know it sounds so basic, but it is so critical. Forgiveness holds the key to many of our relationships, quite honestly.

4.  Protect your spouse. Don’t downgrade your spouse to your co-workers or on the sidelines of the soccer field. Sure he may be a jerk or she may be lazy, but that doesn’t give us the right to talk negatively about them. If you are really struggling, pick one or two godly counselors or friends who can encourage you to make biblical choices and keep your mouth shut around everyone else.

5.  Be the same person at home as you are at church.  Who are we really?  You have heard it said that true character is who you are when no one is around. There is a lot of truth in that.  Do you make the choice to do what’s right even when no one is looking?  We need to be same person no matter where we are. By the way, this is key in keeping your children’s hearts, as well. No one respects a hypocrite.

6.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Sometimes the problems are so big, you know that your marriage will not survive without some help. Be very careful to choose a godly counselor. I heard a story many years ago of a couple who went for Christian marriage counseling and a few sessions in they were told they should get a divorce. Come again?  That is not Christian marriage counseling.  Just because someone says they are a Christian counselor doesn’t mean they are. Get references and mission statements before entrusting your entire life in their hands.

7.  And, last but not least, have fun together!  Nothing is better for Eric and I than doing something fun and outside routine together. It is a great reminder of why we fell in love in the first place.  I know how tough it is to make time for this. Our schedules are so busy with soccer games and piano lessons and homework and church commitments and work functions and…the list could go on and on. However, it is critical that we make this a priority. It helps us stay connected as married couples.

These are seven tips, but I am not so naive to think that it is that simple. I know that so many struggles and problems that arise in marriages stem back to childhood issues never resolved or affairs never discussed. There are many cases of abuse and pride and addictions. Christian marriages are facing an explosion of darts from the enemy. However, I do believe that if we could put these seven tips in place in our own marriages, we’d have a new beginning on a great marriage! And we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is God’s will for us to love each other and stay married ’til death do us part.

As much as it is up to us personally, let’s keep our marriages strong and healthy.

 

This is linked up here :)

Wednesday Wisdom: The Power of a Habit

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?

I am a HABIT!

I could not find the author of this profound bit of writing, but when I heard it the other day it struck a chord with me. How many consequences could we avoid by simply changing a habit?  It is so simple, but yet it is so difficult. I can think of several small habits that, if I could change them, would yield tremendous rewards in my life. How about you? 

 

Intentional Christmas

Thanksgiving has come and gone and that can only mean one thing–it’s time to enjoy Christmas!  But do we truly enjoy it? Or do we often end up enduring it? And if we are only enduring Christmas, how do we move from endure to enjoy?  I know lots of people have a variety of thoughts on this.  Some will tell you to just stop sending Christmas cards or to only buy three gifts for your children.  Others talk of not making cookies or of cutting down on their decorations.  But what works for someone else may not work for you. Here are five basic ways that will help anyone enjoy– rather than endure– the Christmas season.

1.  Worry most about what God thinks. Family comes second.  Co-workers, cousins, and others come a distant third. This makes a choice between a work dinner and your child’s program so much easier. It also helps to clarify when choosing between Christmas Eve service at church or a get-together with friends. Oh, I know it’s not that simple and sometimes circumstances dictate certain choices. But this principle can be a helpful starting point.

2.  Examine which traditions you enjoy most and keep doing them. Do you love to bake Christmas cookies? Or perhaps you receive tremendous joy from seeing your house lit up on a dark winter’s night? Others enjoy sending out Christmas cards and making homemade ornaments and shopping for others.  Whatever it is, choose what you love and keep doing it!  Some of you are truly energized by doing it all and there is no detriment to your family life. If that’s the case, good for you!  But if there is something that just isn’t important to you or your family–well, then consider not doing it. The world will not end if you don’t bake Christmas cookies or hang Christmas lights outside.

3.  Ignore the voices around you and mind your own business. You will hear people this time of year start complaining about how much money is spent on gifts or how many lights so-and-so put up or how much food Mrs.______ makes or –you name it–people always find things to criticize. The glorious fact is that the there are truly only a couple of opinions that matter. They are God’s and your family’s. When criticism comes your way, contemplate it for just a moment. If it makes sense, do something about it. But if it doesn’t, just ignore it. On the flip side, provide the same courtesy to others around you. If your neighbor chooses to put up the most beautiful, homemade garland around her door, don’t mutter about the waste of time but, instead, be sure to tell her how amazing it looks! And if the neighbor on the other side chooses not to put out one single decoration, then leave them to make that decision without any criticism from you.

4.  Keep the focus on Jesus. Jesus truly is the reason for the season if we are Christians. But, more and more increasingly, Jesus is not part of the world’s Christmas, where they instead turn their attention to Santa, elves, and occasionally talking animals or angels.  But we have a responsibility to keep Jesus the center of our season.  Whether we are buying gifts or making Christmas cookies or choosing what entertainment to include in our Christmas season, we must remember that we are celebrating because Jesus came to earth to provide a way for us to be saved from our sins. We, of all people, have a true and incredible reason to celebrate!

5. Don’t throw real life routine completely out the window.  We have to be careful we don’t get so busy that we stop having our devotions.  We are not at our best if we are not spending time each day with the Lord. And we need to continue to exercise and eat properly and stick to our budgets. Life doesn’t stop for a month, and if we pretend like it does, we will have consequences to pay on January 1.

So there you have it–a few simple ways to make sure that we enjoy this Christmas season, rather than endure it.  Merry Christmas!

Loving the Unlovely

I’d pick her, too!

The little girl’s eyes searched the faces of the waiting adults. She made a move towards me and then saw my young, beautiful daughter standing behind me.  Her eyes lit up and she made a beeline for her.  I watched several girls come out and do the same thing–always moving towards the young, beautiful girls in our group and always passing me by.

We were in Guatemala and we were ministering to orphans. I didn’t think they would care how I looked.  But, of course, while they loved any attention they received from anyone, the young and pretty girls were a definite favorite among the little girls there.

I don’t blame them, quite honestly. I would rather hold the hand of one of them, too, if I was a child.  But I have to admit, I felt hurt and rejected. Oh, I know they didn’t mean it intentionally. Not even a bit. But it hurt, nevertheless.

Thankfully, my daughter had been looking most forward to spending time holding the babies and so I spent most of my time in the baby house cradling little ones and playing with 2 year olds, who really don’t care what you look like as long as you are fun!

But what had happened to me with the little girls got me to thinking about the people that it happens to all of the time. The disabled, the ones that make us feel uncomfortable, the unlovely ones. Do they grow used to being passed by? Does it still hurt after it happens so often?

In the baby house where we spent most of our time, they have a few special needs kids. For the first few days, I felt uncomfortable and avoided all of them. But as I watched a lady from our team love on one of these little guys, I grew braver. What could it hurt to talk to them? The turning point came when I watched one of the “special moms” (this is what the caregivers are called) play peek-a-boo with a severely disabled 15 year-old boy named Alex.  I watched his eyes light up as a big smile came over his face. And I realized that locked inside that boy was a real live person.  He would laugh and tease his “special mom” by moving his head so that she would have to lift it up again. All the while, I could see by his expression that he was having a ball.

I reflected back on what had happened to me earlier that week. How was I any different than those little girls? I would make a beeline for the beautiful babies and the cute toddlers, barely glancing towards the special needs kids.

But I was given a gift that day. An important reminder of something we should never forget: every person has value, no matter what they look like or how unlovely (inside or out) they are.  It is our job to love them, just like Jesus loves us.

After that day, I would always spend a little time with those three special needs boys. Oh, I was still a little uncomfortable– that did not just disappear–but I did it, anyway.  And, little by little, it grew more natural for me to give a big smile and say hello.

I guess it will always be our human nature to run towards the lovely. But, while we are running, may we not forget that there is a person with feelings who knows we didn’t choose them…who stands there forlorn and broken as they get passed by one more time.

 

John 13:34 A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. 

John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. 

John 15:12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 

John 15:17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Wednesday Wisdom: Believers are the true realists

During these uncertain days, I can’t help but turn to A.W. Tozer and read a few thoughts that he has to say on the arrogance of man and the plans of God, as written down in Revelation. I hope you enjoy these words from his book entitled “Jesus is Victor!” Let’s not forget that we know the ending of the story!

Living in this generation, we are fully aware that the competitive world and our selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can empathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world’s store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty of God! I, too, would not sleep well if I could not trust moment by moment in God’s sovereignty and omnipotence and in His grace, mercy and faithfulness.

The prevailing attitudes of fear, distrust and unrest permeating our world are known to all of us. But in God’s plan some of us also know a beautiful opposite: the faith and assurance found in the church of Jesus Christ. God still has a restful “family” in His church. As believers we gladly place our confidence in God’s revelation of Himself. Although the material world has never understood our faith, it is well placed in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us many things we could learn in no other way.

This amazing Revelation—the final section of the holy Scriptures—tells us plainly that no human being and no world government or power will have any control or any say in that fiery day of judgment yet to come upon the earth. John’s vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time the direction and administration of this world will be taken away from men and women and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and power to rightly govern. That Man is the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation describes the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior is universally acknowledged to be King of kings and Lord of lords. All will acclaim Him victor. God’s Revelation leaves us with no doubt about that.

In our present period of time, however, there is little recognition of God’s sovereignty or of His plan for His redeemed people. Go into the marketplace, into our educational institutions and—yes—even into our popular religious circles, and you will find a growing tendency to make mankind large and to make God small. Human society is now taking it for granted that if God indeed exists, He has become our servant, meekly waiting upon us for our will.

In the face of this kind of human thinking, I want to make a case for the committed Christians in this world. We are the true realists. We confess that we do not hold the powers of life and death in our own hands. We have sensed the importance of John’s vision in the Revelation. We are assured that God is alive and well and that He has never abdicated His throne. While others may wonder and speculate concerning God’s place in the universe, we are assured that He has never yielded to any of His creatures His divine rights as Lord of man and nature.

It is for this reason that the Christian believer, related to God by faith, is assured of final victory. Even in the midst of earthly trials, he or she is joyful.

—Jesus Is Victor!

 

Find this book on Amazon here.

 

Where are we placing our trust?

This week is going to be very indicative of the direction the majority of Americans want to take this country.  They will show this by voting for one of two very different men. Will we move towards Socialism or will we continue in the tradition of Capitalism? It is of huge concern to many and there is a tremendous divide between the two camps.  The question hangs in the air today: which direction will it be?

As I wait with nervous anticipation the outcome of Tuesday’s results – the 2012 United States presidential election – I  have to ask myself the question: Where am I placing my trust?

Is it in the man who runs this great land? Is it in the system of Democracy? Is it in the judicial system or in Congress?

Or is it in Someone who is so much greater than any of these?

When I stop and turn my eyes to the Word of God, I find there that God is the maker of the earth and heavens (Genesis 1:1).  He is the One who controls the comings and goings of Kings and Presidents (Daniel 2:21).  God watches over even the lilies of the fields and the tiniest sparrows (Matthew 6:25-30).

This would lead me to believe that God knows exactly what is going on in this country. He is not unaware of our concerns and fears. Isn’t that a comfort? I know it is for me. You see, if we aren’t careful we can find ourselves all upset about something over which we have very little control.  But what does that reaction show the world?

I would submit that it shows them that really, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of living, we don’t quite trust God to know best.

Of course, we don’t always understand. Of course, it doesn’t always look best to us. But there is a huge tapestry that encompasses all of history. We are but a small part. We can’t see the whole thing.

As I write this, I feel like I am just writing clichès — the stuff we have all heard a million times. But does that make it any less true?

Perhaps we need to be reminded that God holds Tuesday’s outcome in His hand, no matter what it is.  Yes, we need to vote. Yes, we need to pray. But, after we have done all we can do, then we need to trust.  Let’s show the world that our trust in God is greater than our fear of man.  We know personally the One who controls the universe and nothing should make us waver!

Will you join me in showing the world that our hope is in the Lord?

When the rains come rushing down

As I lay in my bed last night trying to figure out what I should write this morning, my daughter came in to say goodnight. We are expecting a major storm here today and so we are all a little nervous.  Before she left my room, she spent a few minutes saying goodnight to Belle, our little white dog. And then she said, “When the winds start to blow and the rain comes rushing down, hug Belle extra hard, ’cause she’s scared of the storms!” She was being silly, but her words struck a chord inside. I knew that God had hugged our family extra hard this year and it was time to tell you about it.

Nine months ago, almost to the day, we made the decision to leave the church we had attended for twenty-five years. I am not going to go into why we made that decision, as we love the people at that church very much and certainly wish them no ill will.  But we both knew that God had made it clear: we were to move on. We had poured our hearts and souls into that church and it is probably the hardest decision we have ever made.  And around us, the winds started to howl and the rains came rushing down. We felt alone and adrift.

We ended up settling in at a large church and decided to just sit back and take in the teaching of Pastor B. He is a godly man who teaches in such a way that all of us not only learn a lot, but also enjoy it. But each Sunday, we would go to church and sit down to listen. After the service, we would get up and we would look around. No one cared that we were there. We didn’t matter. And, lest I give the wrong idea here, let me be clear: our new church was very friendly. They really were. It was just we went from being surrounded by what felt like a comfortable family to being surrounded by strangers.

But then God did something amazing. He brought a family into our lives that truly wrapped their love and care around us. I am not sure they will ever know how much God used them in our tumultuous year. When we were in our loneliest hours, we clung to them. They probably got sick of us always making a beeline for them after any church service, being so thankful not to stand so conspicuously alone.

And slowly, but surely, God did amazing things that came out of our obedience to Him.  I would like to share just a few with you.

When we left our church, one of our secretaries for our business was our old pastor’s wife. We knew when we made our decision to leave, that we were probably going to put our business into an upheaval, as well as our lives. And, a few weeks after we left the church, she handed in her resignation. We had a crazy, terrible month and then God, as He often will, stepped up and provided a wonderful woman who we heard about through a family in our new church. The story of how she came to us and how the situation was perfect for her, as well, is almost…well, miraculous. It could have only been a God thing. She has been such a blessing to us. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, God gave us an extra blessing by bringing her hard-working nephew (also a member of our new church) to work for our company a few months ago. We would have never met either of these employees if we hadn’t switched churches.

Another really cool thing God did was orchestrate an almost instant friendship. I had spoken at a Moms’ Group at a local church last spring. As I spoke I talked about some hard things and mentioned that I had recently switched churches. After I was done, a lady came up to me and told me how much she had appreciated what I had said and we chatted for awhile. I had a feeling we could be friends. And then we realized that we now were going to the same church. Over the course of a few months, our friendship has grown and she has introduced me to several other ladies at the church.  All because I “happened” to speak where she “happened” to be.

I also have a dear friend who has supported my blogging for awhile now. She is such an encouragement to me. Her husband and mine have become friends, as they both are in the same business. We knew this family because our kids go to school together and lo and behold, this family goes to our new church, too. We have so enjoyed getting to know them better.

And, finally, I want to share with you how I have prayed for my children. That, by far, was my biggest concern in switching churches. And so I prayed. A lot. And God has answered in big ways. Oh, it is taking time, as all friendships do, but I can see friendships that are starting to blossom for each one of them.

I am humbled and oh, so thankful.

And, so, God has stepped up to provide for us in ways we could never have foreseen. The rain came rushing down and He hugged us extra hard. He provided for our needs, and even a few wants, as we stepped out in obedience into the unknown.

God is so faithful!

And, so, may I leave you with this? Don’t ever let fear keep you from obeying the Lord. Yes, you may end up in the middle of the field with the wind howling about you and the rain rushing down in a torrent, but that is when God hugs you extra hard.

Lamentations 3:22-24

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Wednesday Wisdom: 12 Ways to Ruin Your Children

My parents are moving and while going through some things, my mom found this short article she had cut from a local newspaper dated November 23, 1959. It makes you realize just how far we have strayed from common sense parenting.

Here it is, in its entirety:

The Police Department of Houston, Tex., is distributing a leaflet entitled “Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children.” The New Era is reprinting the article in full, as a public service:

1.  Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.

2.  When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter” phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.

3.  Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him ‘decide for himself’.

4.  Avoid use of the word ‘wrong’. It may develop a guilt complex.  This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5.  Pick up everything he leaves lying around–books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.

6.  Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7.  Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.

8.  Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

9.  Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11.  When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I could never do anything with him.”

12.  Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

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