Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Kids Are Alright. Or Are They?

"When I was a kid my parents moved alot, but I always found them."
- Rodney Dangerfield
For every unsettling story about kids there's always a feel good story,too. And we need those good stories to compensate for all the unfortunate tragedy we see in kids lives today. 
Just recently an eleven year-old named Lucy Li made the US Open Women's golf tournament as an amateur. Although she didn't make it past the first round, her presence made a difference within the seriousness surrounding children in today's society. I loved her response when a journalist asked her if she could beat her dad in golf, she just giggled.

Our children are so precious and yet it is very disturbing to see what they have to go through and face each and every day,even in America. You see it in the news on a regular basis: children killing children within the confines of their own school, kids being pawned off in human trafficking, and in Chicago, the murder capital of our country again, we have innocent kids being shot every weekend in front of their own homes.
It's good to remind ourselves each day that our children are not only precious in our sight, but in God's sight as well. And so it is our job to train them up in the Lord so they can be that shining light within the darkness that surrounds them.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. 
(Proverbs 22:6)

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

As an old classic movie guru, I recently watched the original Cheaper by the Dozen made in 1950. It's the true story of an American family in the 1920's who had 12 children. Frank Gilbreth, Sr., was a pioneer in the field of motion study, and often used his family as guinea pigs (with amusing and sometimes embarrassing results). One funny scene was when he decided to record his children's tonsillectomy's in hopes of coming up with a better, efficient way of doing the surgery.

What's so interesting about this story is the father's persistence in training his children up for when they became adults. This would pay off in later years when the father suddenly passes away of a heart attack.
His wife Lillian would take over the family business while all of the children would tend to the household duties. Two of the eldest daughters even chose to for-go college to help raise the younger one's.

Lillian Gilbreth went on to become Time Magazine's Woman of the Year in 1948 for becoming the world's leading efficiency expert. In 1984 the US Post Office created a stamp with her image.
Along with training up our children we also need to pray for them daily before they leave the house. It's unfortunate that this is the way society is today, but that is also what's expected of us. Those of us who don't have children, but have plenty of kids within our family and church family, praying for them is also our responsibility.
Children are precious, let's keep it that way.
If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shock the World: Forgiveness

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Two years ago Ady Guzman- DeJesus lost her daughter in an accidental shooting by a classmate. Her daughter's friend thought the gun was unloaded. In a courtroom last week, DeJesus forgave her daughter's killer and gave him a hug, to which the judge responded,

"In 20 years, I've watched human tragedy unfold in this courtroom. Today, I never would have imagined a victim's mother embracing her child's killer." 

DeJesus pleaded with the judge for a lighter sentence for the young man; he received one year community service along with having to travel to high schools within the state of Florida to talk about the dangers of handguns.

What made this story go viral?  The simple act of forgiveness that is not often seen today.

The grieving mother chose to forgive rather than bring more darkness into the situation. She chose to be a light within that darkness.

Sometimes in certain situations that we find ourselves in we want to fight fire with fire. We let our emotions get the best of us and want to add to the darkness.

When you enter a darkened room in the house the first thing you reach for is the light switch. Without any light you can't find your way through. And so, those who live in darkness need light to direct their path.

In Mathew 5, Jesus asks us to be the salt of the earth, to not hide our light, but let it shine before men.

The best way to acknowledge forgiveness is by asking yourself, "How can God forgive our mistakes, if we can't forgive others mistakes?"

Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God. (Mathew 5:8)

A pure heart is one that forgives; one that chooses to be a light in a darkened world.

Forgiveness, just one of many lights that beacons through the darkness.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heart vs. Eyes

"Sometimes the fans see with their heart and not their eyes." - Doc Emerik

During a recent Stanley Cup playoff hockey game, the home town fans did not like the referee's penalty call, so naturally they booed. But instant replay shows it was a legitimate penalty, hence the above remark from the announcer.

The hometown fans desperately wanted a victory, dang, who doesn't want their favorite team to win?
When it comes to championships of all sports, it's the die hard fans who have put their heart and soul into each play that makes watching sports interesting.

These hockey fans were so into winning that they let their heart oversee what their eyes were actually seeing.
Their hearts were eyeing the prize.

When you think of faith, most Christians associate faith with the Father of our faith Abraham.

Abraham was not perfect; he was an ordinary man with faults and shortcomings. However, he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief.

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully convinced that what He (God) had promised He was able to perform.
(Romans 4:20,21)

For ten years Abraham continued to believe God's promise that he would have a child through Sarah. Even though the physical circumstances looked impossible, Abraham's faith grew stronger rather than weaker.
Abraham saw things with his heart, he had faith, he called those things that weren't as though they were and the promise was fulfilled.

God asks us to do the same. Sometimes I even find myself at fault for seeing things the way they are and not choosing to use my faith and claim victory before it actually happens. I don't lack in faith, but I do have a tendency to fall into a momentary lapse of faith at times. I need to be bold and proclaim those promises that God has instore for me. My daily reading of scripture builds up my strength and trust, but sometimes we do get busy and fall short of what we should be doing on a consistent basis, which is reading His Word.

Sometimes it's good to be reminded of how we should act in faith. Who knew for me all it would take was a hockey game.

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oh Deer! and Jesus Saves!

"I believe God was with me the whole time- He protected me, He preserved me for a reason."

Imagine your driving down the expressway at 70 mph and out of nowhere a deer flies through the sky and smashes through your windshield. Not exactly an everyday occurrence I would have to say. And when Heidi called 911, the operator was naturally skeptic of her call.

Last week in a northern suburb of Chicago, Heidi was driving her 4 kids to an outing, just before reaching an overpass, a deer had jump from the overpass. The deer went through her windshield and landed on the seat between Heidi and her son. The only injury was to Heidi's shoulder; if the deer had landed atop of her she would've lost control of the car. It was ironic that Heidi was wearing a Jesus Saves inscription on her t-shirt.
Within the multiple interviews Heidi received, she expressed her gratitude to God for not only sparing her life, but her children as well. Her story went viral, which means God will use any means necessary to show his grace, protection, and love. God is there for you when you need Him most.

 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” 
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word.