Daddy’s Girl

When I was a teenager my daddy was the pastor in a small Mississippi community where we lived. I was raised with strict rules not to drink alcohol. But of course I had some friends that did drink and in my effort to try to be in the cool crowd I wanted to hang out with them. But I had a quandary. See, I didn’t want to hurt my daddy. I loved my daddy more than anything and I respected him. Because I loved him I wanted to honor his reputation in the community and if the Pastor’s daughter of the Assembly of God Church would of been seen underage drinking or worst yet been arrested, that would of just killed him and his reputation. But…… I also wanted to be cool, So I devised a plan of how I could save my daddy’s reputation and still be cool.

See,  I knew my friends would hang out in front of the arcade in the small town I went to school in (9 miles away from where I lived) For those of you that don’t know what an arcade is, it is a building full of video games, foosball machines and pool tables. They were much more popular in the 80’s before Nintendo and X Boxes came to our homes. As a teenager the Arcade was the place to hang out, and meet up with friends. Today we just know the Arcade as a place, maybe in a room at the Movie Theater or the Pizza Parlor.

Since the Arcade was the place to be, after I got my drivers license I would drive the 9 miles over to the next town where the arcade was and would hang out with my friends,  now not all of my friends drank in fact my best friends didn’t.  But, I wanted more, As many schools, towns, and even work places are today there were clicks in my school there was a pecking order and I wanted to move up in the pecking order and it seemed to me at the time to do that I needed to drink, but how could I do that and not break my dads heart. I knew it would kill him if I ever took a drink and I respected my dad to much to want to hurt him. So I devised a plan.

See I knew that the I.B.C Root-beer bottle looked an awful lot like the beer bottles my friends carried around. So I figured I could just pick up a bottle of I.B.C Root-beer on my way to the Arcade, I mean after all we usually got something to drink before going over there anyway, and if I just happen to have that bottle in my hand and hid the label with my hand when I walked up to my friends drinking, maybe just maybe this new crowd would accept me. So I did, and I felt pretty good until one of my other friends who didn’t drink and knowing the horror it would be to my family if I did drink, walked up to me in shock and asked “Alesa, are you drinking?” As I looked innocently at her and said, yea, Root-beer!

I couldn’t help but remember this story this  past week because it was my daddy’s birthday and even though he has spent the last 28 years celebrating his birthday in heaven, what I remembered most about him is that I loved and respected him so much, I never wanted to do anything that would hurt him. This got me thinking how many of us feel like that about our Heavenly Father?

Do we love our Heavenly Father so much that we don’t want to do anything to hurt him. Now the truth is, if my daddy had seen the compromised I made that day.  Even pretending to drink but acting like it was just an accident when it was really a conscious decision to disobey,would of been a terribly disappointed in me.

I don’t think he even knew about this story before he died but I still remember it because I think it was one of the times that I consciously choose to disobey. But how many times have we blow off something that God’s word says not to do just because we wanted to. How many times do we just ignore what we have been taught is right just because it isn’t convenient for us. Because we want more and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. How do you think your Heavenly Father feels about that? I guess I can relate to my Heavenly Father because I had an amazing daddy. He was my rock, my provider, my protector, He loved me with an everlasting love and there was absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. Why, because all that He had done for me. See my daddy didn’t have to love me, he didn’t even have to take care of me. But he choose to, see I am adopted. So He didn’t have to love me.

You know what? You have been adopted too! If you choose to follow after Christ the bible says that you are adopted into His family. In Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) the bible tells us God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Now, I don’t know about you but after all Christ as done for me I don’t want to disappoint Him either. So, I don’t live the life I live striving each day to please Him (and yes there are still plenty of times I mess up) because I don’t want to go to Hell. No, I live this life to please Him because of the gratitude I feel toward Him.

The same kind of gratitude I felt for my earthly father. Because of what my daddy had done for me I knew He loved me and trusted me. He disciplined me too. plenty of times.  But I knew when my earthly father did it, it was because He loved me and wanted the best for me. When my earthly father told me to not to walk across the street before looking both ways. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me to cross the street it is because he wanted to protect me. That is the same thing with God’s word, When He tells us not to do something in it He is telling us because He loves us and wants to protect us. 

So this week Let’s seek to please our Heavenly Father, Let’s consciously choose to please Him, Remember if He tells us no about something,  it is because He loves, not because He wants to harm us.

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Homeschool or NOT! You still have to be a responsible parent.

It won’t be long now and our children will be returning back to school. For over 20 years I homeschooled all 3  of my kids and not because they were dumb and it took that long for them to graduate but more because there is a 12 yr span between our first and our last.  As you can imagine, in all those years, I have seen a lot of different things happen in the homeschooling world. But there is one comment I have often heard, from new homeschoolers, ” I am scared of failing my kids, having my child’s future in my hands is really scary.” to which I want to reply……. REALLY?

Where in any part of the universe would a parent think they are NOT responsible for child’s future? I don’t care if you send your kids to public school or you choose to keep them home.  Either way, you are still the parent and still responsible. I mean call me old fashioned, but I feel like I see a lot of lazy parenting these days, we drop our kids off at school or church and let someone else deal with them. I actually knew one parent who was having a disciple problem with their child at home and they called the school to take care of it when, the disciple problem had nothing to do with anything going on at the school. Time after time I have heard parents say ” I can’t wait till summer is over I am so tired of these kids, they are driving me crazy! I can’t wait to send them back to school”

I feel all to often, that we as parents take the easy way out and choose to allow someone else, or worst yet just allow our kids to raise themselves. Call me crazy, but I still believe what the bible says that we are to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Deut 6:6-8 NIV says  6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts, Impress them on your children. 7 Talks about when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

You know what commandments God is talking about impressing on our children in this passage?  The answer is found in verse 5 it is,   5″Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. Now, I am pretty sure if I asked most reading this article today “Do you love God?”  very few, if none of you would come out right and say “No! I Hate God! I don’t want anything to do with Him”. I think the opposite is true, I think most of us would say “No! I love God!” But if we say we love God, why are we not following what His word says to do? Worst yet, Why are we not teaching our children what His word says?

If you love someone you do things that please them.  If we say we love Christ and we really mean it. Why are we not in His house each week desiring to learn more of what He desires of us? Why are we not studying His word at home during the week so we are ready to engage in worship and study when we get to church?

How can we be preparing our children for their future if we are not teaching them about God’s word and how to apply it to their everyday life? If we are allowing someone else to have more influence over our child then we do, how can we guarantee their influence will be pointing our children to Christ?  See, I believe God choose you out of all the people in the universe to raise your children He placed them in your womb and His word says He knew them before they were born and He knew the plans He had for them. (Jer 29:11) Are we pointing them to that plan or just allowing our children to wander around like a blind person in a home they have never been in before, Hoping they will find the way?

I believe out of all the people in the universe, God choose you to be the parent of that child and with that decision comes responsibility on your part that is a lifetime commitment.

Yes, the roles slowly change and hopefully by the time they are adults you can be more of a friend than a parent. But that is only when they are much older and living out on their own. When they are young you have to be 100% the parent and 0% their friend. I mean lets face it. When they are infants you can’t just let them put anything they want in their mouths or when they are toddlers you can’t just let them walk around putting screwdrivers in light sockets. Why?  Because something might hurt them. You have to love them enough to keep them from harm.

Most people will tie up their dogs at night but let their children run wild. We need to remember when we embark on this parenting adventures it is a commitment of a lifetime and we answer to the Heavenly Father for what we have done; Parenting is a calling not a hobby that you get to pick and choose, what you want to do, when you want to do it. We have a responsibility by God as parents to lead children in the correct path, it is up to the kids to stay on that path but if we have done what God’s word says to do we can trust His word that, does not return void and when that child is old they will not depart from it.  So as we are preparing for this next year of school. Make sure they get the most important part of their education and that should be learning God’s word from you. Get involved in a church somewhere that supports this mission you have and I promise you, as you grow in God so will your children. God’s not looking for perfect parents, He is looking for obedient ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Got This! (my bodyguard)

If you have seen our family, you know the men in my immediate family consists of 2 sons and 1 husband. You also know that 2 out of 3 of those men are not average size, in fact they range in the 6 foot 2 inches plus,  tall range and lets just say in the 300 pound area, and the other is not wimpy either. So needless to say, when my 5ft 2in frame stands besides these guys they tower over me. In fact I have actually been asked, “Are these your body guards?” (because with their sun glasses on and a stern look on their face they an kind of look that way).

I remember one time when there was a severe thunderstorm happening in our area, at the time we lived about 30 minutes from our church. I had went to the church for a meeting and when my oldest son (about age 16 at the time) heard how bad the weather was going to be he asked his father to get in the car and take him to the church just so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me to drive alone in that weather.

Countless times my 2 big guys have been right there by my side in a crowd or whenever we are out. It isn’t uncommon for them to take my arm, and direct me in a different path because they can see over the crowd and realize there is a better direction I can go or they detour me from danger they see ahead, yet I am blind to, because I can’t see what they can see. They have a much larger perspective than I do.

I can’t tell you the times I have felt comforted when walking down a long narrow scary hall or alley. Just knowing that “My body guards” were with me I didn’t worry. In fact, I walk with my head a little higher and maybe even a little strut in my step.  See, I know these guys will do anything for me. I even believe they would die for me, so know, I have nothing to fear when I am with them. Because I know my guys are watching out for me.

This got me thinking………

How many times do we walk in fear? We come against challenges in our lives or have to step out and do something for God and hesitate because we are scare. When our heavenly body guard is always walking with us.

I think all to often we forget that Christ walks with us wherever we go. He is our body guard and promises to be our ever present help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46)

What could we do for God if we really believed that? If we really took God at His word and when the bill came that we couldn’t pay,  or the call from the doctor came with bad news? Instead of freaking out and being upset.

What if we trusted Him? I think if we really believed what He said, we would simply turn to our “body guard” or fall on our knees and rely on Him to take care of it.

You may be asking what does it mean to trust God?  How can I control the fear and anxiety I feel when it comes over me? You may even believe you can’t do anything different. I want to suggest to you, that next time this happens, begin to quote scriptures of the promises God has given us  (you can google them or look in the back of your bible) when those negative thoughts and feeling of fear overcome you. Turn on some good praise and worship music and sometimes you just need to turn that music up loud and dance through the house and sing it like you believe it. See if satan can keep our thoughts on the negative and everything that is going wrong in our lives, he can keep us in fear and worry.

My dad use to say, you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop him from making a nest in your hair.  What that means is you can’t stop those thoughts from coming to you but you can refuse to dwell on it. So replace those thoughts of fear and insecurities with encouraging words and music from what God has promised us because, after all He is your body guard.

So this week as you go about your day, and something happens that causes you to be afraid. Remember your heavenly body guard is with you. He cares about you and wants nothing but the best for you. Trust Him to walk with you in this journey because He can see what is ahead and know He has already given His life for you. Once you have done that, then walk with your head a little higher with a strut in your step! Because, God’s Got This!

 

Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

 As I was unloading the dishwasher the other day I looked at the probably 30 or more forks, knives and spoons I have. I recalled the 4 -9×13 casserole dishes up in my cabinet,  and the 5 or so iron skillets I have on my stove, then I recalled some recent conversations I have had over the last several months.
For some people, they seem to think having 4 plates, 4 sets of silverware and 1 skillet and 1 casserole dish for a family of 4 is enough. I have literately known people who think, if they have more then 1 skillet and one pot it is to much. People like that confuse me.
Maybe it is the fact that, I was raised in a ministers home where we had to always be ready for guest, or maybe it was just the generation but when I was growing up, if we were looking for a home, one of the first things my parents looked for was “is there a guest room” and if there wasn’t how could we make room if company came, so we could entertain. I mean we now are living more in a minimalists society where it is cool to live with less and the smaller the house the better. But, that really has me wondering, is less best?
I mean if you limit the amount of plates you have in your cabinet doesn’t that limit the amount of guest you can have over, and if you only have 1 skillet and 1 pot how many people can you really cook for? If you have a tiny house that can only sleep 2 people how do you have family or over night guest over? When we limit ourselves of the ability to entertain others we begin to isolate ourselves.
I don’t see anywhere in the bible where Christ isolated himself from others on a regular basis. His life was centered around community and fellowship. The feeding of the 5,000 for instance. What would of happened if Christ would of said. Oh! That is way to many people, I don’t want be around that many people. Most theologians believe that He lived with Lazarus and his sisters when He wasn’t on the road ministering. Then, remember the time He left his family to go hang out in the temple and teach. The bible even talks about the fact that He was accused of being a drunkard and glutton because He was always hanging out with people who ate and drank. (Matt 11:19)
The bible talks about hospitality in several different places. It reminds us in Hebrew 13:2, Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. It also tells us to “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” in 1 Peter 4:9.
See to me, all this minimalist stuff portrays its self, as a way to gain control and be happier. Now don’t get me wrong. I think you need to live within your means, but having some extra silverware or pots and pans never broke anyone. But limiting yourself on who you can help and give a meal to is just selfishness. I believe that minimalist stuff is simply a mask in most cases for us to be selfish. Now, I am sure this isn’t the case for everyone one and I understand for some this is an opportunity to live debt free so you can do more for others, Which is great if that is really the case. But for many it is simply a curtain to disguises our selfishness of having to entertain others. For some it is a way to try to conform to what everyone else is doing.
But there is another trick that satan likes to use on those of us who are blessed enough to have a big enough house with more than 4  forks & plates for our family of 4.  Satan has us convinced we are to busy to entertain guests in our home and fellowship with others. Often satan wants to distract us by keeping us busy.  We are all to often so focused on our own survival of working so hard to pay our bills we don’t make time to even consider socializing with others.
There is a saying that says “Isolation Brings Devastation” Doctors confirm that ” When a person experiences too much solitude or feels socially isolated from others, he or she may develop feelings of loneliness, social anxiety, helplessness, or depression, among others.” (goodtherapy.com) Proverbs 18:1 tells us “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;..”
So who’s desire are you seeking today? Are you living a life that reflects Christ’s life? Are you entertaining others in your home?  Who is in your sphere of influence? Have you isolated yourself to a select few or worst yet, none at all?
I hope this week you won’t just continue to do the same old thing you have been doing for years.  I hope you will reach out to those around you that, you normally wouldn’t reach out to. So your life, like Christ’s will reflect a since of community and fellowship. Ask yourself today, Who have I shown Christ love to recently? What have I been willing to sacrifice for others, because Christ sacrificed everything for me. Remember we can sacrifice a little (at least) for others because Christ gave His ALL for us. I sure am glad Christ wasn’t a minimalist with His love or else you or I might not be here today. So let’s show His love to all!