4 Parenting Goals to Savor in 2017

What would you pay for a bowl of soup?

A hundred dollars? A thousand?

If not money, how about your home, your marriage, maybe even your children?

Of course not, you think. Who would do something crazy like that? Who would trade everything for a bowl a soup?  That’s ridiculous!

In the Book of Genesis, Esau did, and so often, we do too.

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew (soup), Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”  31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew (soup). He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.”‘ –Genesis 25: 29-34

He should have calculated the cost.

But, he didn’t. Many times, we don’t either.

Over and over in his mind was one thought—I want that soup!

An estate for a bowl, a moment of weakness left a desperate man wrestling with his soul.

And in that impulsive decision, Esau lost sight of his goals.  Instead of thinking of his future, he lived for the moment; he never once considered the consequences of his selfishness until he was full with regret.

Life didn’t seem fair to Esau, but he made the choice;

“Soup!  It was just soup!”

If he could go back, he would pass on the soup. He would walk away, fight the hunger pains one more day.  It would be easy for him the second time around, but he didn’t get another chance.  For him, it was a defining moment, a time in history that would forever change his life.

How could he do such a thing?  A bowl of soup for a large estate…..  how could he not wait?

Obviously, he didn’t recognize the soup for what it was… just that—soup!

Don’t we do the same?

Even today, Christian parents are trading their families for a “bowl of soup!”

Today’s soup isn’t the kind that you find warming on the stove, but a modern version of it. Soup is anything that we take in exchange for what matters most in our lives.  It is giving away God’s incredible plan for our families for temporary happiness.  According to Ecclesiastes, it usually comes in 5 varieties:  materialism, selfish ambition, pleasure, beauty, and secularism.

When our day becomes a constant struggle for more stuff, titles, fun, vanity or worldly wisdom, we are craving “soup.” When we find ourselves too busy to spend time with the Lord, we are wanting “soup.”  When we look at the blessings that God has given us and still need more, we are hungering for “soup.”  It is always something that never lasts, and like Esau, we can find ourselves regretting that we ever gave it a second thought.

Are you finding yourself today exhausted, famished and returning to a chef who keeps asking, “Would you like more soup?”

If so, now is the time to skip on the appetizer and claim the entrée that only Christ can give.  4 Ways Christian Parents Can Skip the Soup & Enjoy the Entrée-

    • Identify your purpose as a Christian parent. For a season, you have been entrusted with your children to teach, lead, & encourage their faith. It is imperative that you seek Biblical Wisdom for successful decision making.
    • Expect temptations to come. The enemy will seek to destroy you and your family. He recognizes that your eternity is secure as a Christian, but he will still work to distract you from your most significant and meaningful ministry, raising children who know and love Jesus. It isn’t a matter of if, but how he will seek to tempt you.  He strategizes in the area of your greatest weakness.
    • Be Accountable to others. Prayerfully select others who will encourage you as a Christian parent. Spend time with those who are actively leading their families in Christ. Do not be tolerant of friendships where boundaries are pushed against your moral compass.
    • Record your “why” for Christian Parenting. As you plan for a new year, invest time to reevaluate your reason for standing strong as a Christian parent. Ask the Lord to help you model His love in your home. Write your “why” on a paper and place where you can see it daily. This will help you to remember your goal to raise godly children when the enemy wants you to forget it. Why is it important to you to raise your children in a Christian home? What difference does it make? Imagine your children at the age of eighteen. What are goals that you want to reach with them? Maybe read the Bible together. Perhaps, go on a mission trip together. Plan now for the memories that you want to have.

Let’s not settle for what the world has to offer, but instead, let’s patiently pass on “the soup” and celebrate the feast of Christian parenting the next generation.  What are your parenting goals for 2017?

5 Truths That Will Refresh Your Parenting Soul

Parenting mom daughter pink skirt

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing –Just Stop!

Take a moment, and then another, and choose to be still.

Instead of playing the roles of shopper, teacher, cleaner, financial planner, gift wrapper, mother, father, and whatever other…. you get the message—

JUST STOP!

Don’t even slow down, but actually sit down, prop your feet, and rest in His presence.

…. Ahhh, so much better, isn’t it?

Like the psalmist, you will find rejuvenation in the presence of the Lord, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7

As Christian parents raising our children in a secular society, it is important that we remember who we are in Christ. God’s gentle reminder will revive a fresh wind to love our children as He loves us.

Can you hear His still, small voice whispering a knowing that:

    1. God will never love you more nor less than He does right now; He loves you unconditionally with His perfect love. Perfection is not an option for parents, but starting again is. When you mess up, forgive yourself as Christ forgives and move forward. “I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky.” Psalm 89:2
    2. You are perfectly designed on purpose, with purpose, and for His purpose. God is doing something new and exciting in your life, and it begins right where you are. No longer like a leaf attached to its limb, you have been catapulted from comfort to adventure. Your child takes you to people and places where you never would have gone to do things you never would have done. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
    3.  You are called to parent this generation to change this nation for Christ. Christian parenting is intentional, never accidental. Committed and perseverant, you can leave this world a better place through your child. “He commanded our fathers (mothers) to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments…” Psalm 78:5-7
    4. You are equipped for the call, and your children are your assignment. Anointed, gifted, talented—You have yet to see the strength and wisdom packaged in your parental DNA to teach your children truth. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
    5. You will finish your parenting race successfully with God on your side. Raising godly children is a marathon race, not a track sprint. We succeed only by relying on Christ. There will be moments of frustration and anticipation coupled with emotions of absolute exhilaration, but through it all, let His Word be your guide, and you will finish well. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

In the midst of the laundry and dirty dishes, beneath the deadlines and bills, He whispers, I have assigned you a calling. Your mission field identifies you,

“Mommy.”  “Daddy.”

And you rise to the title greater than any corporate one given.  A place of the heart, a stirring within the soul—a knowing that you are exactly where you need to be to do exactly what has been assigned to you.

Congratulations, you have been given the gift of parenting—

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Psalm 127:3

Blessings! Michelle  🙂

 

 

 

 

2 Chronicles 16:9 / God’s All-Seeing Eyes

Image result for 2 Chronicles 16:92 Chronicles 16:9

Assignment:  Compare / Contrast Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s All-Seeing Eyes with that of the Lord’s All-Seeing Eyes.  Note the difference between the billboard eyes when judging sin and the Lord’s eyes when forgiving sin.  (This is an analysis response.  Please write accordingly.)

Question:  What is this Bible passage suggesting to the reader?

**Submit Assignment, please.

Italics, Quotation Marks–Which One Do I Use?

Reference Page:  When to Use Italics for a Title

Italics are used in the titles of

  • Books
  • Full-length plays
  • Long poems
  • Music albums
  • Anything that has sections, like anthologies or collections
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Movies
  • Television and radio shows
  • Ships (With ships and other craft, the USS or the HMS is not italicized.)
  • Airplanes
  • Spacecrafts
  • Trains
  • Some scientific names
  • Court cases
  • Works of art
  • Musical works like operas and musicals
  • Computer and video games

Of course, italicizing is easy on the computer, but what about if you are hand writing something? In such cases, underlining is still used and is the same as writing a title in italics. However, you should not both italicize and underline a title.

When to Use Quotation Marks

Quotation marks enclose the titles of:

  • Short works
  • Sections of long works including chapters, articles, songs, short stories, essays, poems, short films, and any other time a long work is included in an anthology or collection
  • Technically, television shows and movies are to be italicized because individual scenes or episodes would be put in quotation marks.  However, many times these titles are put in quotation marks and you will find this done quite often, especially in reviews.

When Not to Use Italics or Quotation Marks

Titles of things that should not be in italics or quotation marks are:

  • Scriptures of major religions (italicize the title of the published version)
  • Constitutional documents
  • Legal documents
  • Traditional games (such as leapfrog)
  • Software
  • Commercial products (such as Cocoa Puffs)

Help! Inside or Outside Quotation Marks?

What is the rule for periods inside of quotation marks?  Well, it depends on whether you are American or British.  For the ACT, I will share with you the American rules:

,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .   ,   .

Rule 1:  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, –did I write….  ALWAYS place a period and comma inside quotation marks in a sentence.

Example:  Margaret shared great advice with the audience, “It is important to do your best and trust God with the rest.”

Example:  Margaret shared great advice with the audience, “It is important to do your best and trust God with the rest,” and then she closed in prayer.

 

However, the rule changes when we use ! and ? (exclamation marks and question marks)

!   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?

Rule 2:  Exactly the same as the British, you need to look at the sentence to see if the quotation is part of the entire sentence OR if the quotation is extra in the sentence.

A.  If the quotation is part of the entire sentence, place ! or ? OUTSIDE “(quotation marks).

Example:  Have you ever heard Mercy Me’s song, “I Can Only Imagine”?

B.  If the quotation by itself is an exclamation or question, place ! or ? INSIDE of ” (quotation marks).

Example:  Casting Crowns produced a wonderful song, “Who Am I?”

 

;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —   ;   :   *   —

Rule 3:  Semicolons, colons, asterisks, dashes ALWAYS, ALWAYS, –did I write… ALWAYS place OUTSIDE quotation marks in a sentence.

Example semicolon:  Casting Crowns produced a wonderful song, “Who Am I?“; I listen to it often.

Example colon:  You may want to purchase the following songs:  “Breathe,” “Be One,” and “Who Am I?”

Example asterisk:  Shirley Jackson uses irony to develop her story in “The Lottery.”*

Example dash:  Poetry titles should be written in quotation marks–“The Road Not Taken,” “Still I Rise,” and “Aspiration,” for example.

Noah Webster

Image result for Webster Dictionary

“Education is useless without the Bible” –Noah Webster

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.” -History of United States by Noah Webster.

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” -Wrote in the preface to The American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828

Assignment:

  1. What was Noah Webster?  Background – birth / death, family, education
  2. What was his American Dream?  (What was he bothered by with Great Britain in regards to children and learning?)
  3. How long did he write his dictionary?
  4. How many words were in his original dictionary?
  5. What impact did his life make on the shaping of America and Christian values?
  6. Why was it important to have a dictionary in early America?  What was happening with the English language?
  7. How old is America?  How long has his book been shaping its culture?
  8. Summarize the above passages and quote.

***Submit, please, for grading.  🙂

The All-Seeing Eyes

Image result for the great gatsby dr tj eckleburg eyesIn the novel, Dr. T. J. Eckleburg symbolizes the eyes of God.  For the following assignment, you will need your Bible.

  1.  Define omniscient.
  2.  Locate 7 scripture verses that refer to God as omniscient.
  3. Of the verses, which one, if any appeals to you the most?
  4. What is conviction?
  5. What is condemnation?
  6. Locate a scripture verse that refers to condemnation.  Explain its meaning.
  7. What is Fitzgerald hinting to the reader about his religious life, possibly, and that of the characters in the  novel? Perhaps, he is not hinting anything.  If so, provide analysis that proves that point as well.

Submit for grading, please:-)

 

 

You Are Here ON Purpose!

The mathematical probability of a single cell, YOURS, transforming into a living, breathing, thinking body is 1/10,340,000,000…(340 million zeros)scientifically speaking, of course.  Based on science, you defeated the odds; you are the ultimate survivor.  However, with God, there never was a chance that you could NOT exist. 

In other words, You ARE HERE ON PURPOSE, WITH PURPOSE, FOR GOD’S PURPOSE!

According to God’s word, you were always a part of His plan.  You were planned, hand-picked, and designed by God to live the life which you now have.  Your life did not begin at conception, although you were fully alive at that point; rather, your life began the moment God thought of you.  Even with the miracle of your beating heart within 22 days after fertilization, you were God’s dream before Adam and Eve ever jogged the Garden of Eden. Precisely carved and painted, you are God’s greatest masterpiece, a work of art, an original.  Every paint stroke of the Master’s hand is evident in your beautiful display.  Splashed in color– your eyes, hair, and skin are the result of God’s creativity.  Even the time and location of your everyday life are part of His plan for your purpose.

Your purpose doesn’t start later in your life; it starts today.  Besides, if your purpose is not today, but always somewhere in your future, then you would never arrive; tomorrow always becomes today.  Purpose is never a matter of time, it’s always a matter of intention.  Your meaningful life begins with today as you intentionally live to serve.  Your ministry is exactly where you are with the people standing in front of you.  Every situation that you meet today is an opportunity for you to live with purpose.

It took an act of God to get us into our lives.  How could we not live them purposeful?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”