Avoiding The Pitfalls!

Avoiding The Pitfalls!

Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company;for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths. Proverbs 24:1-7 NIV

There are some snares and pitfalls we can avoid in life, IF we simply take the time to think about what we do–BEFORE we do it. This is not a one-time lesson in life, but an on-going life lesson we must learn, if we are to survive to share our testimonies of how we overcame.

For teenagers–the path to adulthood is an obstacle course–at every turn, they must watch for the snares and pitfalls that are waiting to keep them from enjoying success as an adult. Those snares and pitfalls come in the form of “wrong” friends and giving into the influence that peers force upon others–if they want to be “cool.”

Being “cool” is not always the best route to take to navigate high school or in some cases–middle school. For the peer pressure comes earlier and earlier and even in some elementary schools–kids are pressured to join in or be square.

I’ve been there, but I was considered square because I wasn’t interested in doing anything that could get me in trouble with my mother. “Back in the day” as some would say, at 14 years-old, I had the responsibility of taking care of my brothers and sister after school. It was my responsibility to make sure dinner was cooked (meat, vegetables and a starch), everyone ate, and kitchen cleaned before my mother got home from work. When things went wrong at home and she wasn’t there, I handled it–from the ninth–through eleventh grades–I ran the house. My mother worked two jobs to support us and even though she wasn’t around much, she had instilled a fear in us that made sure we didn’t get into trouble. But then, I was raised in a community of less than 200 people and everyone knew everyone’s business, so there was little chance of getting away with anything.

That’s not the case today. Kids have greater obstacles to withstand if they’re strong enough and wise enough to stand up to their peers. The experimentation with drugs and sex can be overwhelming and the temptation to great to resist, but we must teach them how and show them by example–how to win in life. It’s not easy, but it is necessary. The first obstacle we must teach them to overcome is how to survive in a drug-culture in the schools. Drugs are prevalent everywhere–and it doesn’t matter if it is an affluent or an impoverished community–the more access to money kids have, the greater the likelihood that kids will move from the cheap drugs to the more expensive ones.  But illegal drugs–are bad news–for everyone and we see the results from the crime in the streets, to the overdoses in the hospitals.

So, while we’re praying for them to successfully navigate the murky waters of temptation, we must also teach–and re-teach  them how to be confident enough in who God has called them to be, that they can resist the temptation of the evil set before them, and not be concerned about what others think.

Lord, be merciful unto us as leaders in churches, parents, and school administrators and give us wisdom–abundantly–so we can help our children live and succeed as You would have them to do.

Let The Lord Guide!

Let The Lord Guide!

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. Proverbs 16:1-4 NIV

Everything happens for a reason–even when we may not understand what the reason is. A lesson should be learned from everything we do and one of the lessons learned should be–unless we do things the way God guides us to do them--chances–we won’t see what we planned to happen.

One of the reasons we are often disappointed with people and with self is that we won’t trust The Lord.  We hem and haw about things instead of seeking Him, hearing Him, and obeying Him, and then some even get mad at Him–when they don’t obey.

We are told to not lean on our own understanding, but to trust God. Do we do that? Most of the time we don’t and instead of admitting it, we keep going down a merry garden path that leads nowhere.

How do we know when we’re trusting God? If we do all things according to His Word, we can see how everything lines up with His promises. For example: The Word tells us to honor parents so we’ll have long life. This means we obey–Godly parents who won’t tell us to do the wrong thing–and respect their judgment as they guide us through life. When we don’t–we run into our own self-destructive obstacle courses and then wonder what happened. For some–their lives are cut short and for many others–they end up living beneath the promises of God–simply because of their disobedience.

Parents are the authority in our lives until we develop that right relationship with God. If we cannot obey the authority we see–right in front of us–how can we ever hope to obey God? The role of parents is to guide children–teaching them right from wrong and correcting behavior that needs adjusting and living life as an example to them. When we fail to do this–we leave ourselves open to seeing rebellion and having no foundation by which to make adjustments–other than God’s Word. To think we can expect children to simply “do as we say and not as we do” is the biggest mistake any parent can make. We must be a “living example of appropriate Godly behavior” so our children can and will see God in us.

Do we make mistakes as parents? Absolutely–but most of us are quick to acknowledge the mistake and move forward.  I don’t know of any perfect parents because they’re all human beings–subject to falling short. But that doesn’t mean they should keep falling. For as long as live–we should learn from our mistakes and when we don’t–we keep doing the same thing over and over again–expecting a different result–which is the definition of insanity.

The simplest solution for correcting or adjusting what we do to align with The Word–is to trust God and live according to His Word–no ifs or buts, just doing it. Let Him guide us into the place of excellence He desires and then wait for the victory to manifest itself!

Listen!

Now therefore, listen to me, my children;
Pay attention to the words of my mouth: Proverbs 7:24 NKJV

How many ways must it be said? Watch over our children before they are dead! Is no one listening, do we not hear, how the predators are seeking all we hold dear?

Children are a precious commodity in our society and everyone should treat them as such, for if they cease to exist, so does our society as we know it.

Parents! Teach your children the dangers that exist in the minds of the depraved. Don’t sugarcoat the truth and leave them open to the enticing ways of those who seek to destroy them. Pay attention to what they do and to those with whom they spend time. Get to know the parents of the children they play with and what kind of homes they visit. Pay attention to what your child is doing!

A 13 year-old male is missing, abducted from a neighborhood store parking lot at 11:00 p.m. Why was he out of the house at that time of night?

An 11 year-old female is missing, seemingly having been enticed by some man through a chatroom with her access on her tablet.

People will devise any method they can to entice children out of their homes or forcefully take them away. No child should be out at night without an adult accompanying them. Parents should be aware of who their children are communicating with over the Internet.

The warnings are out there and yet, we still hear about missing children! The depraved do not care about the feelings of a parent–they only care about what they want. Whether it is for personal gratification, revenge or greed, they take, use and abuse those who are precious to those who love them.

When are we going to get it? When all of our children are gone or have been so traumatized by horrendous experiences they will never be productive citizens? We must do better in protecting our children from those who are sick–the predators–must be stopped and the best way to stop them is to teach our children the truth about the predators, guard them and love them.

T N T was written as a warning to all parents about the dangers of Internet predators and how they manipulate the innocent into doing what they want. They entice them to leave home–without cell phones–so they cannot be tracked. It would appear that this is the method used by whoever is responsible for the missing 11 year-old girl.

Please, please, please parents and guardians–watch over the children and teach them truth–God’s truth and the truth about those who will trick them into doing things they really don’t want to do.

Lord, speak to the hearts of those who know where these children are and lead them to safety.

Discipline Saves From Death!

“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:18, 20 NIV)

Considering how the government attempts to intervene when parents discipline their children, it’s no wonder we see foolishness that leads to violence and death–the death of children and of others.

We see such stupidity as the “knock-out” activity--where gangs of idiotic males find vulnerable older citizens to just “knock them out” just because. When young people have no respect for the elderly, it is a strong indicator that no discipline was ever employed in their homes. If they don’t respect their parents, they are certainly not going to respect others. And every time the idiots are caught–their parents try to defend their action and the worst excuse in the world is–there was no father in the home.

Why was there no father in the home? Because someone forgot to discipline them when they were younger and many are locked behind bars or in morgues or cemeteries. The lack of discipline has a domino effect on many in our society and it tends to be a generational problem. However, even if a father is not in the home, mothers can and have been strong leaders in the home, when they care enough to teach their children right from wrong and live it as an example in front of them.

But there is another reason why discipline is lacking in so many homes. Many parents are afraid to discipline their children because of laws pertaining to corporal punishment. Children have been encouraged to “report” any act of corporal punishment because we have adult idiots who decided that if we spank a child, we damage their “emotional growth”. Well, I’m against child abuse, but I’m a strong advocate for corporal punishment–as prescribed by God–using the rod (figuratively) of correction when needed.

There is a difference between beating a child and abusing them–breaking bones, putting them hospitals and causing death. I would never advocate abuse as a method of discipline. And I would never advocate using any method of scarring a child or doing anything that leads to death or disfigurement–ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN UNDER THREE YEARS-OLD. Tapping a child’s hand lightly when they’re doing something wrong usually gets their attention. But before anyone can try to discipline a child, they must take the time to teach the child–if after being taught right from wrong a child persists on doing wrong, then disciplinary measures must be established and used repeatedly to deter the negative behavior.

Generally speaking, most children who are disciplined at home before they start school, are wiser academically and never cause a teacher a problem (except for the transition years of puberty). When schools are limited in doling out consequences for misbehavior, students tend to try to rule the schools, and when they are tossed out the door, drop-out rates increase and the potential for poverty-stricken individuals increases. More poverty, more crime–more crime more jails and the cycle never ends–and it won’t until we understand the necessity for appropriate discipline.

The wages of sin–the payment and end result is death. Though we don’t often call misbehavior in kids, sin, it is and we should treat it as such, disciplining them to keep them from experiencing–unnecessary deaths.

We must teach them to accept responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences that ensue so they might live and others won’t have to fear for their lives at the hands of undisciplined, out-of-control, people in this society. When we learn to obey God, we are wise; if we don’t–we set ourselves up for failure.

God loves us enough to provide us instruction and consequences for actions. We need to love kids enough to provide them with sound, Godly instruction, and consequences for their actions and see them live to the full potential God has designed for them.

Strengthened By Faithfulness In Our Obedience to God!

“He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” (I Samuel 2:9,10 NIV)

Those who are faithful–obedient out of reverence for The Lord–have no need to fear judgment at the end--for The Lord will judge them according to their faithfulness to Him.

At the same time, those who have not acknowledged God and not obeyed Him, will be silenced in the midst of their wickedness and at the end, they shall appear before God, trembling and shaking and rightfully so.

When children are obedient to their parents, they have nothing to fear from their parents, but can look forward to receiving the just reward of their behavior. Obedient children quickly respond to questions parents may have and own up to any mistakes made, accepting responsibility for anything they did that caused a problem.

On the other hand, disobedient children will deliberately do whatever they “feel” like doing, allowing their emotions to rule over them and then they will lie or blame everyone else for the negative things that happen in their lives. When they are caught in a lie, they become defiant, arrogant and unruly. When punishment is meted out, they become resentful and instead of owning up to their behavior, they blame others for the predicament they find themselves in.

Good parents–parents who are observant and know their children–always know which child did what in their absence. They even know that older, more mature children, will often take the blame for younger, immature children to keep them from suffering a punishment. Parents know who did what when they have paid attention to their children and know their personalities–who’s mature and who’s not. They know, but sometimes they don’t say anything and judge according to the information presented to them.

Those older children who take the blame for the things the younger ones, only exacerbate the problem since the younger ones seldom learn to take responsibility for their actions. Then they go through life, never willing to own what they do, but always willing to blame others.

God knows His children–the good and the bad–and His judgment will be based on the works we do out of obedience and since those who are disobedient don’t accomplish much (based upon His plans), they will get their just reward from Him.

Don’t get weary doing what is right even though it appears that those who never do what’s right seem to get ahead of you in life. They haven’t gotten ahead and in the end, they’ll discover just how are far behind you they really are. Do good and know your reward is secure because of His love for us and He is faithful to those who are obedient to Him.

Near Enough to Hear and Respond!

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV)

Depending upon the sleeping arrangements in one’s home, most parents hear a child cry because they are near them–especially a baby. And when a parent (mother or father) hears a child cry, they respond immediately–addressing the need–to comfort, to feed, to dry–whatever that need is–they fulfill it.

Even when a child is not near a mother, when a child cries–a mother knows that cry and will rush to their assistance. I remember an incident many years ago when my daughter got away from her aunts and uncles. She was 18 months old at the time and we were in a shopping mall with my stepmother, my two brothers and sisters who were between the ages of 14-18. The girls wanted to take my daughter with them while we were looking around the store. Everyone thought my daughter was with someone else, but when I heard a child cry, before I heard the announcement about a lost child, I knew it was my daughter and ran to retrieve her. She was so upset that it took her years (about twenty-five) to get over being alone or going anywhere alone.

If we, as naturally loving parents, will heed the voice of our children in distress, how much more can we count on God to hear and respond to us? He knows before we cry out what we need and because He loves us–He hears and when we obey--He responds and provides our request. When our cries are wrought out of anguish for living according to His Word (Truth), we can expect an immediate response. If we only cry unto Him because of our disobedience, we won’t immediately recognize His response because of our own insincerity.

Let’s face it. God is not mocked, nor is He fooled by all the trappings we attempt to use to subvert His Truth. If we think we’re fooling anyone, it is only ourselves.

Holy Spirit in us is certainly near us and when we abide by His directions, He hears and responds. If He is not an integral part of our lives, we have no need to expect anything from Him–He is far from those who oppose Him. And further in this passage, He reminds us that He will destroy the wicked.

I don’t know about you, but I love it when I know He will hear me when I speak to Him, cry unto Him when I see the world turning upside down and know that no matter what men may do, He is able to preserve me unto Himself until His return. Hallelujah!

So live–according to His truth and know that when you cry unto Him, He’s near enough to hear and respond.

Don’t Let Him Cut You Off!

“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11:22 NIV)

Like any good parent, God is more than a one-dimensional parent. He can stern, but also kind. His sternness appears when we disobedient children won’t conform to His ways. For those who are quick to obey, they receive the benefits of His kindness.

If we remember when we were kids, most of us wanted to receive the benefits from being a good kid. Kind words from parents, privileges, and even special treats–the benefits of being obedient. Few of us–if normal–ever wanted to be on the receiving end of a parent whose anger was directed at us because of disobedience. There is no pleasure in the benefits of disobedience if the result was a loss of privileges, being grounded or severely punished (not abused).

What makes us think that God does not operate in the same manner? He does. The benefits He has for us are immeasurable when we are obedient, but the punishment for disobedience, could be a little difficult to handle. But in the midst of His sternness, grace abides–providing us room to improve our attitudes and behavior, becoming obedient and being brought back into a position to receive His benefits.

However, if we continue to disobey, He will cut us off and leave us to fend for ourselves. He told the prophet Jeremiah to stop praying for people because He would not hear his prayers. I don’t know about you, but I never want to think He is not hearing my prayers because I’ve been disobedient. I do not want Him to cut me off!

Walking through this journey called life leaves us in position to make many choices. We can choose to follow the straight and narrow path and receive His guidance and benefits or we can take the broad path, depending upon the guidance and counseling of man and get cut off from God’s benefits. Which will it be for you?

Following the crowd–going along to get along will get a person cut off from receiving God’s best in their lives. Don’t let Him cut you off!

Disciplined by Love!

“For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?” (Hebrews 12:6,7 NLT)

I remember thinking back a little while ago about my mother’s discipline. Those memories were triggered by the Adrian Peterson incident–when he used a “switch” to discipline his child. I remember having to get a switch and if I chose one that was too thin, I’d have to go back to that tree and get another one. If my mother went to get one, I would really be in trouble.

While the “whipping” hurt, it concluded in the desired effect–I didn’t get into trouble very often because I did not like the sting of that switch. She did not beat me with a tree branch; she disciplined me with a method that got my attention and she did it out of love–to teach me to be obedient. That’s what she had learned and it worked!

Now, to revisit history for a moment–I find it amazing that people who think whipping a child with a switch is such a crime, but no one thought much about “the slave masters beating people with a horsewhip” scarring and maiming them for life, sometimes unto death. Where was the outrage then? Adults and children were beaten at a whim and often because they simply didn’t understand what was being told to them. People were starved, but expected to work the land on empty stomachs and beaten when they could no longer stand. Where is the outrage for that time in history? These beatings did not occur out of love–but to instill fear and submission, and no one was decrying this injustice.

But because a father dared to discipline his child, out of love, he has lost his source of income and is being tried as an abusive parent. Why weren’t any of those people who beat slaves brought to court and tried for treating people worst than their did their animals (they fed the animals sufficiently)?

God’s idea of discipline–out of love–is designed to make sure we have long life and that more abundantly. He does not “beat us down to get us into shape,” but He allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions. We will reap, what we sow in life and when God allows the consequence–it is because He loves us enough to want us to learn from our mistakes.

Good parents discipline their children so they will learn to be obedient and have long life. No parent wants to see a child beaten down by life simply because they never knew discipline.

One of the reasons that our society is so out of order now–with total chaos reigning–is because the same government that allowed people to be beaten into submission, now wants to interfere with parental discipline–and children never learn discipline and often end up in jails or the morgue. I’d rather see a loving parent discipline their child and then see that child as a successful adult–knowing what it means to love enough to discipline.

I’m thanking and praising God for His love and correction and for the mother He gave me, who loved me enough to discipline me when I needed–and that has led to my being a disciplined parent and successful adult. Love–never wants to see a child go astray, but when they are undisciplined–we see the results, everyday in the media.

Great Compassion!

In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.(Isaiah 54:8 NIV)

Anger–emotional turbulence that sometimes leads to regrets–at least on our part, should never negate love of someone. God shows us here that even though, in a surge–electric turbulence generating strong emotion–of anger, He chose not to respond to us, but never stopped loving us.

How many times have we as parents allowed anger to generate turbulent emotional responses from us towards our children? Did we stop loving them simply because we were angry with them? Did we make sure they knew how to not ignite turbulent emotions within us, again? When we are angry, do we not ignore those with whom we are angry for a time? Our response to those with whom we get angry is genetic–we got it from Our Father–and yet do we love as Our Father loves or do we allow the turbulence to continue unabated and lose a right relationship with others?

Parents who get angry with children with whom they never remind the children they forgive them and love them breed angry children. Those angry children continue to allow their turbulent emotions to run rampant, unchecked and hatred for others grows and extends beyond the household where it began, but creeps into an unsuspecting society, spreading like the plague. Angry kindergarten children graduate to being angry middle-schoolers and then angry high-schoolers who body-slam security guards, rape classmates, taunt and kill teachers, and then become a statistic which sociologists study, but can find no solution to the problem–no way to break the cyclic-curse.

All of this stems from a society of people who disown God and know not how He operates--though He gets angry and ignores us for a moment, His mercy is everlasting and His compassion endures forever. We ignore Him and have not compassion or love for Him and it is evident with all those in prisons, morgues, and cemeteries. It is evident with all of the misguided unwed mothers and all of those caught up in rebellious behavior, including sexual immorality.

We must become more like Him if we are see the curse broken and all of the earth in position to receive God’s mercy and compassion–all benefits of being His children.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to become more like You and show great compassion for people when we get angry. For Your Word allows us the emotional turbulence of being angry, but that anger should not cause us to sin against You or others. Give us, O God, a heart of flesh that hears You and desires to obey You.

 

Love Corrects!

“because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:12 NIV).

A loving parent disciplines their children when discipline is needed.

A neglectful parent, allows their children to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it.

Society is plagued with the outcome of neglectful parenting–people doing whatever they want to do, without guidance or direction, and certainly no evidence of any discipline in their lives. The evidence of neglectful parenting is in the number of inmates serving time, in the number of young people being shot and killed and those who treat senior citizens with total disdain and disrespect. The evidence is in the parents who scream and cry with their children are killed because they are in the wrong place, doing the wrong things. The evidence is those who think they have a right to say what God has said is wrong and they are right. The evidence is in those who end up with diseases which lead to death because of their conduct. The evidence of neglectful parenting abounds in the news on a regular basis and it is not always about young people, but about the older people who were never disciplined as children.

God loves us and when we are wrong–He corrects, disciplines us–and keeps loving us. When God chastens us for doing those things we should not do, we should love Him enough to understand–He allows things to happen because of our disobedience, but He never stops loving us.

Now is the time–for all of us to see and understand the benefits of having a loving parent in our lives–God is a loving Father and wants only the best for His children. We need to stop rebelling against God, receive His correction, and enjoy His many benefits.

Why are we waiting?

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to see that what happens in our lives has a direct correlation to our relationship with You. Mold our hearts so we can hear and obey, receiving correction in the spirit You give it–with love.