Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crying Out To Our Father

Stephanie gave birth to our precious son Caleb a week and a half ago, and as many of you know we have had a rough start of things. (That is not a picture of him by the way)....Things are looking up though, and we are happy to report that Caleb might be able to come home tomorrow!

I've been in a funk of sorts when it comes to spending time faithfully in the Word during this span of time. The times I have spent have been extremely helpful in calming my heart and teaching me to trust my Creator--the One who is overseeing all things.

I am a firm believer that God speaks to us most clearly through Scripture, but I also think that the Bible indicates that we can be reminded of truths through experiences as well. And holding my son has taught me so much...

I see myself in him. I have a Father who is holding me, who cares for me, who is always there to provide for me and protect me. Yet far too often I am like Caleb--screaming (inside), worrying, having anxiety after anxiety because to me things seem so uncertain and uneasy. You see, Caleb has a dad--and a mom--who are there to feed him, to change him, to hold him, to love him. Yet in his experience of things, he seems to have such great fears at times. I sit there telling him, "everything is okay. Everything is okay Caleb." But he is blinded to reality.

I am just like my son. I have a loving Father who is there to care, yet I am so uneasy. Unlike Caleb, I have no excuse to persist in this worry and anxiety. Caleb simply can NOT understand the security he has or the love that we have for him. But I CAN understand (not fully, but at least in part) God's love for me, because He's demonstrated it through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son--for my forgiveness and my salvation (Romans 5:8).

God, teach me to find calmness in my heart as I remind myself that I have a loving Father in heaven.

This text has come to mind a lot in recent days. "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” -Luke 11:11-13

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Good Article on Parenting Teenagers

You can find it by clicking here. It's an article called "Standing Firm With Your Teenager," springing from Philippians 1:27, where Christians are called to live "worthy of the gospel" in all things--which would include parenting in difficult times.

Here are a few quotes if you don't have time to read it all:

"Despite your own poor and rebellious behavior, God, who is rich in mercy, lavished his grace upon you (Ephesians 1:6-8)....(B)ecause you have been brought into the kingdom of God, you must represent him in all you do, especially with your family. So the natural thoughts that come quickly to mind--like how could you do this to me?--are replaced by the mercy and grace of Christ. Instead of reacting in frustration, or even anger, to poor and rebellious performance by your teen, you respond with love and compassion for his battle."

"This means that you offer the gospel, not alternative solutions, to behavioral problems."

"Rejoice with your teenager that God does not treat us as our sins deserve, and don't treat him as his sins deserve, either. You can assure your teenager that you need the grace of the gospel every bit as much as he does."

"You should offer to them the call to stand with you under the banner of the gospel. This call must be practical and heartfelt. If your teenagers have not embraced the faith of the gospel, you do not want them to think that their 'good' performance around the house can become an acceptable alternative to following Christ. For example, if an offense has occurred, you still correct them, but you also remind them Christ is the real solution."