Human Effort!

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 NLT)

For those who do all they can to make life bearable for themselves and others, I commend you. For those who do nothing but seek self-comfort–I wonder about you. For those who walk not after the flesh, but allow Holy Spirit to guide all you do, I thank God for you. If what we do is not by the leading of Holy Spirit–our efforts will amount to nothing, short of temporary solution.

The old adage that is better to “teach a man to fish than to give him one” is still relevant today. Now, I know there are some who do not believe God or that He exists and they think that what they do is more important than what most Believers do. If acknowledgment from man is all a person wants, then–it is enough. However, if one wants to please God, then one must things the way God wants them done–this ensures eternal life, beyond the temporary life here on earth.

Does that mean people should stop giving and assisting others? No! What this means is that before we do anything, we should seek Him for direction and then do what He says.

We know from all the documented sources about “giving people a helping hand” and then watch those same people end up in the same condition in which we found them, If we’re going to really help people, we must begin with “wisdom and knowledge” so they will be able to do for themselves.

In Michigan, there are thousands of jobs available, but people do not have the skills to get the jobs. Why? Too many people, here, do not have the literacy skills or technology skills needed for the jobs.

As an educator, I am appalled at the attitude of those who think education is a waste of their time and yet, we still have the highest unemployment rates in the country. And now, many who are receiving benefits from the state are crying foul because their cash assistance will not be available for long. Their protests are pointless since the state has been saying for over five years that people had “five years” to get an education or job skills and most–didn’t believe it and just sat around on their hind parts, waiting for the handout.

If they had been forced to demonstrate sufficient literacy skills in order to get the assistance, they would be in a much better place than they are in right now. The assistance received, should have been based upon their ability to get an education or job skills training as a condition of receiving the benefits. Sometimes, as seen in Michigan, waiting for the mailman becomes a career that requires little effort. Well, the mailman’s job just got a little lighter (figuratively speaking) and many will find themselves wishing they had paid attention to “the last letter” they received.

I’m sure the conditions mentioned about Michigan may be true of other states as well, and what we must do–is to educate people about how to do things–especially in giving. We must remember that it is not by human effort that we accomplish anything, but by the direction of Holy Spirit that we can accomplish all things.

Which Way Are We Going?

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).

When we are reminded  through The Word that “every parent is responsible” for the behavior of their children, we really need to revisit parenting skills.

The Word admonishes us to “start children”–from the time they are able to comprehend language–train them.  Teach them what hot and cold are by placing their hands in warm and then cool water. Don’t scald or burn them or cause them to have freezer burn. I’ve been appalled by people who teach their children what hot is by burning them with a cigarette lighter. How cruel is that? And what does that say about those who “parented” them?

Talk to children from the time they are born (some believe even before then) so they will get used to hearing language.  Forget the “baby talk” that does nothing but confuse.  In fact, I’m beginning to believe that some parents never learned anything beyond baby talk themselves. Not speaking to children in normal, conversant language could lead to delayed development and a subsequent diagnosis of being special needs, when they are not.

Demonstrate–in front of children and even when they are not in front of you–how they should conduct themselves in any situation.  Provide structured play time–when they have to sit still for a prolonged time.  Teach to share and not be selfish. Encourage them talking to you–not yelling or cussing at them, but in actual conversation–about their toys, their dreams, their future careers, their favorite story–anything; just talk to them and allow them to respond.

Let them see you reading a book and not just sitting in front of a television set. Read to them–from a children’s bible or other stories–just read to them. Allow them to turn pages and follow your finger while reading to them. This gets them prepared for school and structured learning.

Teach them selflessness. Telling a child “no” prepares them to understand they cannot have everything they want.  Establish means for children to “earn” things; don’t just give them things. One of the reasons we have a problem with invasions and robberies is that people have not been taught that they cannot have what they have not earned. Children can earn privileges by doing chores and maintaining good grades.

When children see parents steal and hear them plot how they’re going to steal, or destroy the property of others, they learn to do the same thing. Most of what is wrong with our society right now is that very few people have understood how to parent and they keep having kids and can teach them absolutely nothing.

The saddest commentary in our society today is to see the realities of a lack of parenting skills–babies have babies and the grandparents (sometimes as young as 28)–who did not finish school or learn a skill by which they could earn a living–think it is cute. Generational delusions about parenting and self respect result in societal ills that may never be fixed and we all become the victims of “no one having trained children in the way they should go.”

We cannot go backwards, but we can start where we are to seriously look at what may become of us and our society.  Parents need to train their children to respect self and others. When children lack understanding of respect–their lack of respect mushrooms into the societal nightmare we now see. Be people of integrity and obedient to God’s Word–train your children in the righteousness of God and even if they stray for a moment, they will remember it when they get older and return to it. Plant the seed now and water it until it grows into the fruit of goodness. If we don’t take the time to teach them, our children will do the time–within institutions of society’s choice–the justice system.

Lord, help us today to see where we are going wrong in the training of children and help us to get it right.