7 Meaningful Touches Every Husband Should Use When Reaching for His Wife (Re-Blog)

Standard

7TouchesOne more for today! Here is a great article for husbands! Short, to the point and good stuff. 7 meaningful touches…

CLICK HERE to READ at charismamag.com

Here are 3 of the 7 …

2. Throughout the day, a text or quick phone call is a great touch of affection. A simple “I love you” or “Just thinking about you and looking forward to the evening” will go a long way in letting her know she is on your mind.

3. Write a note the old-fashioned way. We’re so tech-savvy these days that sometimes an old-fashioned approach is more meaningful.

6. Hold her hand at random times —while driving, walking or just sitting at home.

About these ads

Letting go and Letting Jesus …

Image

stormy_sea_painting-wallpaper-960x600This morning as I was praying the Lord gave me a picture … a picture to impress on me the need to let go of CONTROL and focus on being WITH JESUS.

In the picture, I was in a rowboat rising and falling on large waves. Jesus was rowing and assuring me that he “had it”. I could rest and be sure He was watching over it “all”.

I felt the challenge to let go of certain things I tend to carry. Plans for my family, plans for the church, plans for the coming days and months … shift my focus from “getting it done” to “being with Jesus” while he guides me in each area. I hope I’ve gotten the drift, and can walk in His peace today.

Immediately after this time with the Lord, I read the following tweets:

@chuckswindoll: Worry is assuming responsibility for things that are out of our control. That’s pretty much everything.”

 

@DailyKeller: “The life of faith is not the perfect life; it is the life which clings on to what God has said he will do.”

I think the Lord was trying to tell me something…and it continued when I read an article from Charisma Magazine. (Ok, let’s be honest, it was in the “Spiritled Woman” section … for some reason my RSS fead sent me there??)

The article was written by “Fenelon” (Francious de Fenelon) who was the Archbishop of Cambrai, France in the late 1600′s. (I know, I know … amazing that he’s writing for Charisma now.)

Title of the article?

Let God’s Presence Overshadow Your Life

I think God is trying to tell me something …

He begins by saying,

The heart of your life as a Christian is contained in God’s words to Abraham, “Walk in My presence, and you will be perfect.”

I encourage you to click the link above and read through the wisdom shared! Those “old guys” can really nail it!

Two more quotes for you to think about (for those of you unwilling/unable to click the link and take the time to read the full article.)

Whenever you notice that you want anything too much, then stop yourself immediately. God does not dwell in the midst of chaos and disorder.

And

An excellent way to maintain a quiet spirit is to let go of every action just as soon as you complete it. Don’t keep thinking about what you have or haven’t done! And don’t blame yourself for forgetting something or for doing something you regret.

I think the Lord was trying to tell me something. And perhaps, just perhaps he would like you to know it today as well.

Let go of control and stay close to Jesus! This is the way to peace and joy in the journey of life! Will you let HIM have control today?

Raising Pagan kids in a Christian Home … or NOT!

Standard

In November of last year, an article was posted on the site infoforfamilies.com made the rounds of social media with a viral article entitled, “How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home.

In the post, the author laid out a challenge for Christian parents. Are we merely teaching moralism to our kids (always do the good/right thing) rather than leading them to the awareness of their need of the Gospel of Jesus? I found it a thoughtful and challenging read appropriate for every parent to consider. (If you haven’t read it, you can read it here.) The article addresses the great concern I believe every Christian parent ought to have. “AM I GETTING THIS RIGHT?”, when it comes to raising my children to a life of relationship with Jesus Christ.

In December, in response to the viral reading and comments on the original post, the author returned with an article addressing the “Five Keys to Guiding Your Kids to Faith that Lasts.” While pointing out the danger in the first post, the author left off where too many preachers perhaps leave off … sharing the problem with little/no real steps for overcoming the same. As I tend toward a “taking it home” approach to teaching/preaching, I was glad to see the second article. In it we are given the author’s take on some practical steps toward overcoming the “Pagan kid in a Christian home” scenario.

Before sharing two of the keys here, I want to say two things. First, I always preface any article or message on Christian parenting with the fact that we MUST be dependent on God’s grace and we MUST engage in ongoing prayer for God to move in our children’s hearts. Every child, Every human being has the capacity to choose a path OTHER than God … and we are always reminded that our efforts must be bathed in humble prayer that God will draw our kids to him. Having said that, I also believe the #1 key to raising Christian kids in a Christian home is that of authenticity. Our children MUST see that Jesus has made all of the difference in our lives. Our kids live with us. They see EVERYTHING, and I believe their hearts are especially tuned to notice when we are living something outside of the Gospel in our own lives. (Moralism, False front for others, External show …)

Authenticity with our kids includes honesty about our own failures, willingness to apologize when we’ve blown it, and a basic dependency on the grace of God for every day of our lives. On top of that, I believe it is impossible to pass on something we, ourselves have not embraced. THEREFORE … before checking off the list of things to DO for our kids … we ought to evaluate our own “Christianity” to be sure we’re living out an authentic, grace filled, deep love of Jesus, dependent on HIS grace … genuine Christianity to be sure!

With those two personal additions and perhaps caveats, I will say again that appreciated both of the articles, and am particularly drawn to the third and  fifth “key” given in the second article.  Here is his third point:

3. Help Your Kids to Fall in Love with Jesus

The foundation of a God-driven life is found by living daily in the Spirit. The common theme I hear from the parents of kids who have walked away from the faith is this: “We regularly brought our kids to church. They were very involved when they were growing up.” Here’s the problem: too may of our kids fall in love with the church (and all it’s activity) instead of falling in love with Jesus. They like the trips and the group and the experience they have. But they don’t personally get to know Christ. We must teach our kids to walk in a relationship with Him, where they listen to His voice, find Him to be altogether satisfying, and get caught up in His plan for their lives. This all happens because of love, not because of religion.

The best way for them to learn this? By watching you. They will learn what Christianity looks like by seeing your Christian life in action. If your life doesn’t regularly reflect joy in your relationship with Jesus, your kids will have a hard time embracing Him themselves.

It has been a concern of mine from day one, that my kids learn how to KNOW God in a personal way. Hearing his voice. Sensitive to the movement and prodding of the Spirit. Deep understanding of the WORD he has revealed to us.

And now point #5:

5. Teach Your Kids to Daily Submit Themselves to God

Perhaps the thing that is missing in most of our Christian homes is a fundamental realization that our lives are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price, so our daily pledge must be: “He died for me. I will live for Him.”

That means helping your kids to lay down their wants in order to serve and bless the people with whom they live, work and play. It means training your kids to see that there is a lot more going on in the spiritual world than just what they can see with their own eyes. It means you asking them,“How does God want to use your life for His purposes?” instead of the standard, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That subtle change in your wording has huge significance.

It’s not about them. It’s about Jesus and making His name great in the world.

Great points each, and you can read them all here. By God’s grace, let’s keep up the hard work and joyful task of leading our children to a life-long faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

Random thoughts during an election season …

Standard

Some things I believe and have been wanting to say …

(I sent this to my friend Dr. Rob Buchanan for his review … some of this comes up in our weekly get togethers.  His comments are included)

  • I believe Jesus is the King of Kings and that His kingdom will continue no matter what happens in elections.
  • I believe Mormonism is a cult (definition: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents) … in other words, I believe it is a religion that has embraced SOME, but strayed in too many ways from the orthodox tenants of Christianity… and that anyone who is, or has been a bishop in Mormonism is deceived about spiritual things.
  • I believe that someone who is not a Christian can be president of the U.S. and that God can still accomplish his purposes.  (We have surely had MANY men in the white house who were not in a personal relationship with Jesus!)
  • I believe that it was wrong for BGEA to remove their list of cults for he sake of politics or “the greater good”.
  • I believe that the United States of America is NOT now a “Christian nation” (even though we were clearly founded by men who believed in God and founded our nation on the basis of His word.)
    • Thoughts from Robre a Christian nation, I think I understand what you mean, we certainly are not a Christian nation, but I think the underpinnings of our Judeo-Christian heritage are still there (I know you agree with this as well) – I think the real concern should be, first of all how the Christians are living for Christ, or not – and how we can share the love of Jesus with those in our nation who don’t know the Lord (again, I think this is what you mean in that point).
  • I believe Christians should vote! (As should all U.S. Citizens)
  • I believe God is grieved when we (Especially evangelical Christians) put so much energy and concern into politics.
    • Suddenly, so many have a prophetic word.
    • Suddenly, preachers are preaching “political sermons” and sending them to the IRS?
    • Suddenly, everyone is calling prayer gatherings (Our own church is currently in a 21 day prayer period)
    • Suddenly, everyone is fasting and declaring THIS IS THE TIME …
    • I believe the church gets too worked up during election cycles … as if it is in the elections that we REALLY make a difference.
    • Thoughts from Rob on the urgencies of this election:
      • 1 – economic, we are truly hurting and headed for disaster, evangelical Christians are voting for a better economic approach (would we vote for a wicken, a satanist if it meant a better economy?  maybe not, BUT…
      • 2) culturally, ideologically Obama is so far left liberal that it’s scary… (Mormonism is a cult, but it’s one that promotes/teaches good moral ethical behavior.  I think one of the real ironies in all of this is that the mormon has better morals than the vast majority of “Christian” politicians out there…the motivation, albeit, may simply be their belief system that is works based, BUT still, good morals…_)
  • I believe people are hurting every day of every year and are in need of their savior, Jesus.
  • I believe that some genuine Christians will vote for each candidate.
  • I believe that God can sort through it all and does not need us to define which vote is truly Christian.
  • I believe that God’s story is going to continue to HIS purposes no matter who’s in the White House
  • I believe that Christians should ALWAYS be active in the political process.
  • I believe that God is able, and I put my eternal hope and trust in Him, in His Son, and in His plan for America, for the Church and for our Families!

God, I pray that in all of this, you will be glorified … that men, women, boys and girls will turn our hearts to You and many will receive you as Lord and Savior!

P.S.  IF there are any comments … I probably won’t respond here … I also happen to believe that “conversations” held through blog “comments” are rarely fruitful and I believe it is just fine for you to not hold the same beliefs I have … just needed to get these off my chest.

My Learning Curve: Never Give in… (Re-post from “A Bushel and a Peck”)

Standard

I wrote this post months ago, and it sat in my “Drafts” folder as I contemplated whether I should post it.  I read it again last week and the timing was perfect because I was discouraged at the moment, and weary, and feeling like life was just harder than I could manage.  My own words smacked me right in the face. I must have been very fired up when I wrote this – that’s all I can say.  If you think you are ready, read on.

When we adopt children from “hard places,” we are willingly devoting our lives to a challenge.  We must prepare ourselves for battle, not with our child, but for our child.  We may find ourselves fighting for her physical health, emotional health, and mental health. Without a doubt we will be fighting a spiritual battle like none other.

This is not a battle against flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle for our children’s healing and wholeness.  But you and I both know who will win this battle – who has already won it – the Lord Jesus.  He placed your children in your family and my children in mine, and He does not make mistakes.  I don’t mean that in a trite “greeting card” way – He is the Lord of the universe and He is sovereign and good.  He loves us and He loves our children who come to us with broken hearts and bodies.

We may be hurt in the process.  Our hearts will be wounded by burdens we never imagined we would face.  Our bodies may be hurt as we love a raging child.  Our minds will be easily led down a road of anxiety over the future.  Sadly, our other children may also suffer and we will need to protect them and heal their wounds as the home they once knew is changed before their eyes.

But, this is it, this is the battle we have been called to fight and we cannot fight it alone; we need to gather people around us.  We need friends who love us and our children and who understand the significance of this hard work .  We need fellow adoptive parents to encourage us and remind us of the value of our calling. We need friends who will not only pray but bring dinner on long therapy days; friends who will support us when we feel we cannot go on.  And we need the Church, the Body of Christ, to shelter us and be our “safe place,” the place where we can always go when there is nowhere else to turn.

When our days are very challenging, we may cry out to God and ask him, “How long? How long will we struggle?”  I don’t know the answer, but I can tell you that our first adopted children arrived home over 4 ½ years ago.  Dimples is making significant progress, but it has been 54 months, two weeks and 3 days of working toward her healing, which we are seeing slowly happen.  There is no quick fix, and if we are hoping there is we will be sorely disappointed.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.

When I am weary, familiar phrases from God’s Word bring me encouragement.  We are running a race.  This world is not my home.  God heals the brokenhearted. But today, the words that come to me time and time again are those of Winston Churchill,

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

This is what I need to hear today.  Never give in – never yield to force or to what may appear to be the overwhelming might of the enemy.  When we wake in the morning unsure if we can make it through another day of parenting our special children, we must remember that the Lord will give us the strength to do the work He has called us to do. When we are tempted to give up the fight, we must stay in the battle believing the promises of our God who will strengthen us.

To our children we must say, “I will fight for you.  I will never give in –  never, never, never, never.  You are mine, you are precious.  You are of such great worth that Jesus died for you.  You are worth weeping  for, praying for, sacrificing for; I love you and I will not let you go.”

After all, there is One who has fought for us, wept for us, prayed for us, and even died for us.  He loves us and He will not let us go.

Note: Are there times when “convictions of honor and good sense”  bring us to a place where we cannot continue the fight for our child?  Yes. This not a message to those parents and is in no way meant to judge them.  If you have been released by God to seek other options for your child – I pray for grace for your family in this difficult journey.

#481 – 490 giving thanks

Noah taking the girls to school so Russ can keep working and I can stay home

birds flocking to our birdfeeder

Eby lying on his bed during Quiet Hour watching the birds from his window

Rusty helping me with a creative Christmas project

the sun coming up as I write – orange, pink, deep blue

three candles lit on the kitchen counter

Samuel working with the youth at church

Ladybug’s amazing good attitude

medications that keep my children alive – a miracle of medical science

a new week, just beginning, and all that it will hold

(p.s. One more thing – my apologies for the Deepak Chopra ad that keeps appearing in my sidebar.  I have emailed BlogHer three times asking them to remove it.  This is the first time they have not responded when I’ve made a request regarding removing an ad.  I will contact them again today.)

Encourage one another,

Lisa

The Nitty Gritty of Adoption (Repost from ‘We Are Grafted In”)

Standard

The Nitty Gritty of Adoption

When we first announced our plans to adopt, many (though not all) of the responses we received were…shall we say…less than ecstatic. We weren’t expecting the same thrills and cheers that people receive when they announce when they’re pregnant. But, when sharing something that has begun to consume your heart receives a negative response, it stings a little bit.

This pic was our initial announcement.

To those who have never thought about adoption and have only been educated about it through the nightly news, it can be a foreign concept that stirs up feelings of risk, danger, impracticality, and fear. Why would you adopt when you can have biological children of your own? What if your adopted child is mean to your biological child? Why would you put your family at risk for something difficult when your life is so easy right now? You’re adopting from Africa, does your adopted child have a communicable illness? Are you sure having an interracial family is a good idea? (Just look at a current family picture for the answer to that one.) How can you love an adopted child the same as a biological child? You’re going to have all girls…doesn’t your husband want a biological son to carry on his name?

We’ve spent a lot of time defending our decision to adopt and will probably continue to do so. We realize it’s not something that everyone does and the unknown can be very scary for some. Not only is adoption changing our lives, but it’s changing the lives of our friends and family. Even though we are the ones who made the choice to adopt, our decision impacts many people. That can take awhile to come to terms with.

So why are we doing it?

To sum it up, we’re adopting because Christ loved us first and has adopted us into His family and kingdom. He has been to those dark, sick, nitty gritty places over and over and over again. I’m not talking about orphanages. I’m talking about places like my own heart. Had I seen the depths of my heart before I was rescued by Christ, I would have considered myself unadoptable because of the sickness in me. But Christ fought for me because I am worth it to Him. Love hopes and believes all things. We know that adoption won’t be easy. This will very likely be the most difficult thing we will ever do in our lives, but we are not afraid because the greatest glory and treasure often comes out of the greatest struggle. There will be challenges, sleepless nights, rebellion, bitterness, feelings of not belonging, doctor’s visits, inappropriate questions from strangers and friends, bad hairdos, delayed milestones, and much more. There will also be cuddles, laughter, new traditions, milestones reached, birthdays, “gotcha day” celebrations, 3 cultures to honor, shared clothing, sleepovers, and unconditional love and commitment.

We are not afraid.

We are not looking for easy lives.

We are looking for glory, hope, redemption, and love in every corner and crevice because our Creator God has placed it there. We’re not about the practical. We’re about the impractical, incomprehensible, wild and ridiculous love of our great Redeemer who has led us from brokenness and pain into His restored and delivered heavenly family.

To get to the point, we’re adopting, not in order to avoid challenges and risks, but to call out love and hope in the dark and difficult places. It’s there and we will not give up, because we were not given up on.

________________________________________

Sarah Pascual

Sarah Pascual lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Jonathan and sweet 16 month old daughter, Aurora. Sarah works for a non-profit and Jonathan is the best stay-at-home dad ever. They began their adoption adventure in March 2011 when God opened their eyes to the millions of African children needing a family. Their initial plan was to adopt one child under age 2, but God enlivened their hearts to a set of 3 1/2 year old twin girls they are hoping to bring home within the next few months. Their journey is a road of grace, thankfulness, adventure, and love. You can follow their adoption journey here.

Confessions of a Sorry Father (Re-post)

Standard

And another excellent post from someone else’s blog today.  I find the information at “Empowered to Connect” to be excellent, biblical, sound parenting advice for all those desiring to stay connected with their children.  Today, “Confessions of a Sorry Father” speaks of the times when we blow it and simply say things, or do things that disconnect us from our kids.  Fathers especially, I encourage you to take a moment to read the post and ask the Lord to speak to our hearts.  Then watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis explains why it is important for parents to repair their mistakes, and how repair can actually encourage growth and strengthen the relationship between parent and child.

I want to be a good father. I even like to think I work pretty hard at it – certainly much harder than I ever imagined I would. But despite my best intentions and in spite of all of my efforts, I am still a pretty sorry father at times. Sorry as in bad, rotten and no good. I can think of some other ways to say it, but I think you get the picture.

Take this morning for example. Mornings before school can be dicey in general, but for the most part we have our routine down and we’ve learned – parents and kids alike – how to make things run smoothly. Every once in a while, however, someone decides to mix things up. Maybe it’s because the kids went to bed late or one of them isn’t feeling well. Or maybe it’s for no reason at all, as was the case today. Whatever the reason, my kids need a father that can handle whatever they throw his way. I want to be that kind of father. Not some of the time; all of the time. But today I wasn’t. Today, I was the problem.

It started simply enough – Amy asked Grant (our 9 year old) to take his medicine. It happens every morning. It’s no big deal. But today he didn’t want to – and he made that clear. That happens. I know it shouldn’t, but it does. So I heard what was going on and decided to get involved to “help out.” But somewhere along the way I lost my focus…and then my perspective…and then my way.

In my response I wounded my son’s spirit and damaged our connection. In my attempt to stop disrespect, I was disrespectful. In my attempt to respond to a fear-driven response, I responded in a way that brought about more fear. In my attempt to thwart my son’s bid for control, I was controlling. In my attempt to stop the yelling, I raised my voice. Who am I kidding – I yelled. In my attempt to keep things moving forward, I caused us all (as the other kids watched on) to take a huge step backward.

There is no doubt my son was wrong, but that’s really not the point at all. My litany of wrongs didn’t make his wrong right. Instead, my behavior made everything worse. I was the problem today – and if I am honest, this wasn’t the first time and, sadly, it won’t be the last.

And I know I’m not alone. None other than the Apostle Paul had this very same problem – no, not as a parent, but my real issue is not limited merely to being a sorry father. My issue is that I am imperfect, woefully so at times, and I live in a world that is imperfect and made up other imperfect people. It is the age old problem of sin and the brokenness that sin has created.

Paul talked about this very plainly in his letter to the church in Rome: “I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?” (Romans 7:14-25, The Message).

But Paul was not without hope – and neither am I. He continues, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, The Message).

The hope of this truth is that by God’s Spirit I can be empowered to become the kind of father that I long to be…the kind of father my kids need me to be. Because of what Christ has done and is doing, I have access to the source of strength and power that can equip and enable me to handle this and every situation in a way that shows love, builds connection and leads my children in the way of the Master. So this is the hope that I find comfort in today, even as I wrestle with the guilt and shame that rolls over me like waves.

Once we both calmed down, Grant and I were able to begin to repair our connection before he left for school. And frankly, I cannot wait to get home today to continue that healing process. I think maybe we will take a walk after baseball practice and I will explain to him (again) that I love him deeply, even though I make mistakes and don’t always show it like I should. I think I will ask him again to forgive me for each offense – my anger, my yelling, my frustration and disrespect – and ask him if we can start over. And I know what he’ll say. After all, we have lots of experience with second chances and trying again in our family.