Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Wall Of Protection

In ancient times many cities were surrounded by a wall. Citizens did not feel imprisoned, but rather enjoyed the safety within the wall. The completeness and strength of the wall was important to its ability to protect those inside from the enemy. A gap in the fortress would provide access to those wishing to harm those inside. The same is true for the spiritual wall of protection placed around our children.

Satan is always seeking entrance to a young persons heart. Sometimes it is through the wrong music, TV, Internet, video games, other kids, or a combination of any of these. He has more avenues today than ever. We parents need to stand in the gaps. Just like with the walled cities, it is not about confinement but protection. It is about the necessary safety for these young hearts.

This brings me to another thought. What about those kids that lack the Biblical authority? Who will stand in the gap for them? As difficult as it is for some people to put their own children first, it is even more rare for people to think outside of their own biological family. I am not only referring to foster care. What about our daily opportunities to mentor to young ones we cross paths with? What about the ones in our neighborhood that don't have the ideal home life? As a former bus kid, I have always had a burden for the little ones in Sunday School whose parents won't come to church with them.

We all know how difficult raising kids are in the best circumstances. There are few things as valuable as the investment in the life of a child. A small investment goes a long way for many kids. Imagine the impact when they spend time with a family who prays and opens the Word of God. It could have eternal results. There are so many little ways to make a big difference. You can prepare one extra plate at the dinner table or just spend a little time listening to the concerns of someone that no one else will. It is amazing the instant change when a child picks up on the fact that you really care for them. Christ was drawn to the weak. Shouldn't we be Christ-like?

At the end of the day we need to extend our love and kindness beyond our immediate family. God places other kids in our life for a reason. We are to help be the hedge of safety and stand in the spiritual gaps. The ancient city walls were made up of many stones. The wall of protection for kids today requires the God placed authorities to all do their part for complete protection from the enemy. Are you willing to be part of the much needed protection?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Some Gave All

Memorial Day has almost arrived. The public pools are open and you don't have to go far to smell a barbecue. Many kids are out of school. Vacations are starting and the weather is beautiful. Campfires, fireflies, and of course fireworks are common. The fellowship of family and friends makes this a great time to reconnect.

As wonderful as all these things are, I pray we take time to reflect on the purpose of Memorial Day. Let us honor and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The kind of sacrifice that allows us to enjoy the benefits of our freedom. We all know freedom isn't free. I was fortunate to not have to go to war during my military service. I can remember when I reported to my first duty station. So many soldiers just returned from Desert Storm the previous year. I could sit and listen to their stories for hours. I often wondered if I could be as brave as these heroes. One of these soldiers gave his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom when his vehicle was struck by a RPG. I have so much respect for those who have volunteered in the past decade. These men and women stepped up knowing they were very likely to see the battlefield. That says so much about their character.

The sacrifice of these outstanding service members reminds me of another price someone paid for me. It was a debt I owed and could not pay. It is the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. I can know him personally and with the acceptance of His gift my forever is changed.

Let's not forget, this weekend or ever, the ones who went in our place to protect the greatest country on earth. Pray for families who mom or dad never came home. As the flags are flown from our front porches we need to recognize it is not just decoration or the start of cookouts. It is about shed blood and those who gave all. May God bless the great United States of America and especially those who protect her.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Spiritual Widow

Our churches are full of faithful women. Some are single moms, while others have unsaved husbands. Many are married to believers who have strayed from God. I trully believe God will one day reward the faithfulness of these "spiritual widows".

I guess I am burdened for these Godly women since I was raised in this type of home. I can remember my mom ensuring we were in Gods house pretty much everytime the doors were open. My father was an alcoholic and was not very involved. So many mothers, just like mine, are basically doing it alone. They just keep on moving forward through the pain.

I know today it is difficult to maintain a strong Christian family, even with two like-minded parents. Our homes are under a spiritual attack. Even in the best situations challenges arise. Imagine the struggles for the ones flying solo. This is why the church family is meant to strengthen each other. The spiritual widows need our compassion. They also need our support, but mostly they need our prayers. I can't imagine the pain of some just hoping and praying, year after year, that their mate will step up and fulfill their role.

So many of our problems today are not always from the bad things people do. It is often from the things that are not done. The failure to act among men is destroying our families. The combination of Satan's easy access through modern technology and sideline fathers not standing in the gaps, creates a difficult atmosphere for our children to be victorious. Let's encourage and pray for these families. God can fix any family with willing participants.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I have heard a lot of talk lately about the dangers of social media. The convenience of modern day communication devices has a down side. While we stay in contact with friends all around the world, our minds are a million miles away from those in the same room. Satan never misses an opportunity to encourage family fragmentation. It is one of those things in itself is not sin until it keeps us from fulfilling our Christian roles as father, mother, husband, or wife.

I can remember when my wife and I moved in our first home together. It was a run down single-wide trailer way out in the country. We were an hour from everything. Many times we only had one vehicle and rode to and from work together. We were getting ready to have our first child. It was such an exciting time. At this point in our lives we had little money. Looking back, that was more of a blessing than a curse. We could not afford luxuries like cable, phone, internet, or even a second vehicle. We were in our own world, away from distractions and God blessed our family. What seemed like hard times was actually the start of a strong foundation for us. We argued as most young couples, but most of our disagreements were settled during our commute time. The long drives really served us well and helped keep our relationship healthy. Our evenings generally included dinner conversation around the table and quality time with our new baby.

Looking back, I realize sometimes we can learn so much from where we began. A successful marriage has nothing to do with how much money we have or how many things we acquire. A strong family is not determined by how many activities our kids participate in. God's design for the family is about close fellowship and a nurturing environment. We are to be growing together in His grace. All the advances in technology are great until it keeps us from being what we are meant to be. I don't think it is necessary to fully disconnect from it all, but where our time is spent tells us a lot about ourselves. Our heart is where our treasure is.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Who Cares?

We now live in a me first society. There are so many parents who won't even put their own children's needs ahead of their pleasures. Think of how many kids today are raised by grandparents. Consider the number of kids in foster care. Some days I am ashamed to be part of this generation. My wife and I often talk about how nice it would have been to grow up in the 1950's. Although I truly enjoy the comforts of today's technology, I would love to raise my kids in a more wholesome time.

Today there is no sense of community. No one sits on their front porch and talks with their neighbor. We are a bunch of zombies glued to our smart phones. Our communication is text messages and emails. Our poor communication conveys little compassion or concern for others. When I was a kid there was always 15 or 20 of us out nearly every summer night playing spotlight. Today's kids are nowhere to be found, unless you find their television, computer, or video games. Just like with adults, most children today are having less and less interaction. I think this is a big reason we tend to care less about each other these days. We fail to invest time in one another.

This is especially a tremendous down fall for Christians. Imagine how powerful our influence of sharing Christ would be if lost people around us knew we really cared for them. What if our hearts were broken for these souls and our actions displayed it. I think this holds true with leadership as well with fathers. If our wife and kids can see it hurts us when they hurt, that is so powerful. Us dads need to take ownership of our family problems. We all spend so much time today trying to stay connected. All the while we are pushing ourselves further and further away. Perhaps it is time to unplug from these convienences more often and focus back on relationships.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Than ABC's

May 8 is teacher appreciation day. We decided to honor my wife a few days early with some home-made cards, cake, and a gift. The small gesture does not describe the magnitude of our gratefullness. A homeschool mom has one of the most difficult jobs in the world. New challenges arise daily along the stress of disapproving family and friends.

Many times we take for granted the huge blessings of homeschool. A homeschool dad once told me academics was low on his priority list. That statement seemed really odd at the time. Today it makes a lot more sense. Is spelling, math, and science important? Absolutely! It's not nearly as important as the values and life lessons my kids learn daily. It is so much more than ABC's. It is the bond my children have with their mother through the commitment of her being there all day every day. What an awesome gift to give your kids, your time.

After three years I have seen so much growth in my family. I truly believe my daughters will become strong, loving mothers and wifes one day. I expect my boys will be kind Christian leaders. We pray this will be the case and we work hard expecting our dedication to be honored. So today I realize the time my children spend in their insulated atmosphere is about a lot more than learning to read. It is about being in an environment that is conducive to finding God's will for their life. It is about an eternal investment and changing our family tree for generations. It is of real value and I am grateful for our homeschool Mommy who is so willing and capable.