We Don’t Have a Gun Problem- We Have a Parent Problem

Once again our nation is wrestling with devastating news, this time out of Texas. Another school shooting. And once again people immediately start demanding more gun control, more legislation, more security measures, more mental-health screenings. All these knee-jerk reactions are common in the wake of a tragedy such as this. But sadly, this type of horrible event is going to happen again. Why? Because we have a generation of parents who have relinquished the responsibility of raising their children to others.

We have a generation of parents who are convinced that their children need more things rather than more of their parents’ time in order to be content—and as a result, we have children who are ungrateful and believe they are entitled to whatever they want.

We have a generation of parents who have been told by a consumer-driven culture that in order to be successful, they need a bigger house, a newer car, and the most up-to-date phones. With that comes larger debt, strained schedules, and two parents working outside the home just to make ends meet.

We have a generation of mothers who are no longer content to stay home and raise their children. They have believed the lie that being a stay-at-home mom is not a noble and fulfilling occupation. As a result, children are farmed out to daycares and public schools, raised by strangers just so parents can pursue equality and self-worth through a career or position.

We have a generation of fathers who have decided it’s ok to leave their families in order to follow their own lusts and desires; all because sometimes family life is hard and the pressure is too much.

We have a generation of parents who are so tired and stressed out that they allow devices to babysit their kids.

We have a generation of parents who insist God be taken out of their everyday lives, but then want to blame Him during times of crisis.

We have a generation of parents who believe their teenagers want nothing to do with them, when the reality is they need them more than ever.

We have a generation of parents who are ignorant of the dangers of social media and the depth of their children’s involvement in it. “All the kids do it,” they say. “It’s no big deal.” Parents fail to see that oftentimes social media becomes an outlet for their kids because it’s somewhat anonymous, a place where our kids don’t have to face reality. Children find belonging and family among strangers rather than the people in their own homes.

We have a generation of parents who are content with the average of thirty-four minutes of meaningful conversation per week they have with their children. Yes, you read that right—thirty-four minutes per week!

 We have a generation of parents who sit in churches all over America being taught that it’s ok to fit in with the culture; that biblical parenting is now old fashioned, irrelevant and offensive.

We have a generation of parents who are overweight, tired, and unhealthy,  who simply do not have the energy to get out of their chairs and engage in activities with their children. Instead, they over-schedule their kids with activities so they don’t have to deal.

We have a generation of drive-through parents who don’t have time to cook meals, sit at the table, and connect with their children.

We have a generation of parents who have bought into the lie that they should be friends with their children instead of parents. Discipline has become abuse, and punishment is seen as an infringement on children’s rights. So children are being raised with no boundaries or limits, and as such, they are unable to handle disappointment or hardship. It’s nonsense!

We have a generation of parents who are so concerned with selfies, status updates, and sports scores that they don’t take the time to look up from their phones on the odd occasion that their children do try to engage them. I’m preaching to the choir here, folks!

Parents, we have to do better. We can no longer push the blame onto guns, schools, organizations, politicians.

Newsflash: our children are our responsibility. It is our responsibility to be intimately involved in their lives. We have to do whatever it takes to connect with them.

If it means downgrading our cars and our houses to lessen our debt, so be it.

If it means saying no to our children’s wants or activities so we can spend more time engaging in conversation as a family, then we need to say no.

If it means sacrificing material desires so Mom can stay home, we have to do it.

If it means pulling our kids out of school to teach them at home, we need to get over ourselves and do it!

If it means turning off our phones and placing them in a drawer so we can’t see them, then we need to turn them off!

If it means looking at your teenagers social media, email and texts, look at it! You pay the bills, don’t you?

We are losing a generation, and it isn’t anything’s or anybody’s fault but ours. Rise up, parents! We need to stop pointing the finger and do our jobs!

Lord, we need You so desperately as we raise our children in this day and age. Help us rise up and take responsibility. Help us put aside our own needs and wants, and live sacrificially for the children You have placed in our care. Forgive us for pointing the finger of blame at others, and help us do whatever it takes to engage with our children—love them, discipline them, and nurture them so they can grow to be the people You designed them to be. Amen.

Be This Mom

In the United States, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. To some this is a blessed and happy day—a day when we celebrate being mothers and spoil our own mothers. To others it is a painful reminder of broken and lost relationships or of mothers who are no longer on this earth. There are also those who long to be mothers but for some reason have not been able to have children of their own. Regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, one thing I know for sure is that the role of motherhood, be it physical or spiritual, is dear to God’s heart and vital in our world today.

Unfortunately, in our culture the role of the mother is oftentimes cheapened and devalued. Women are deciding that they don’t want to be mothers and disposing of their babies because they are a “mistake” or an inconvenience. However, God holds the role of mother in high esteem. Behind every great man and woman who has walked this earth, most of the time you will find mothers who have prayed, encouraged, supported, and sacrificed for them, often without the recognition they so rightly deserve.

One such mother is Jochebed. Have you ever heard of her? I hadn’t either, until my dad (who was also my pastor) mentioned her in a sermon a few years back. Since then I have had the utmost admiration and respect for her. She is mentioned by name just twice in the Bible, and only in genealogies (see Exod. 6:20; Num. 26:59). Even so, Jochebed gave birth to one of the greatest men in history—a man who changed the world and was a hero of the faith: Moses.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Moses, right? The little baby that was placed in a basket in the river and saved by the Pharaoh’s daughter. We’ve heard it over and over. But what do we know about the woman who was responsible for placing him in the river in the first place?

First, Jochebed was aware of what was going on in her culture. She knew that Pharaoh had decreed that all Hebrew baby boys should be killed at birth. Knowing this, she took action by hiding Moses after he was born. When it comes to things happening in our society, how often have I said things like, “Oh, I’m a Christian; that doesn’t apply to me,” or, “I homeschool, so my kids aren’t at risk”? Unfortunately, we can no longer put our heads in the sand and ignore the culture. People are seeking to dispose of our children, and we need to be proactive in protecting them.

Second, Jochebed was brave. She risked her life by hiding Moses. Can you imagine the stress of trying to quiet a screaming baby in the middle of the night, knowing that if you are discovered, that baby will be killed? Jochebed did what she needed to do, and when she could no longer keep her baby a secret, she was, like any mom would be, resourceful and came up with a plan.

Third, Jochebed trusted God and let go of her son. This part of the story just makes my stomach turn. Can you imagine putting your child in a basket on the water and letting him go, not knowing what the outcome would be? But Jochebed did it. Hebrews 11:23 says, “They [Moses’ parents] saw he [Moses] was no ordinary child” (NIV). Jochebed knew her baby was special, so she trusted God with his life. How often do we hold on to our children when God is calling us to give them and their futures to Him? It was no easy task, but Jochebed released control and put the future of her son completely in God’s hands.

Last, God blessed her sacrifice and gave Jochebed’s son back to her. Jochebed was not only asked to nurse and care for Moses by the Pharaoh’s daughter, but she was paid to do so! We will never be able to out-give God. If we are willing to release our children into His hands, He will always honor our giving. Because of the decision Jochebed made as a mom, her son was spared and raised up to eventually lead the Israelites to freedom. Do you think Jochebed knew what Moses’ future would look like? I highly doubt it. But she knew her God!

Ladies, we have so much to learn from Jochebed. God loves our children more than we ever could. Just think, we may be raising giants who one day will change history; we may be raising future moms and dads who will reshape the culture and bring it back to where it should be; we may be raising missionaries who will win countries for Jesus; and while some of us may not have been able to have children of our own, we all have the opportunity to be spiritual mothers to others whom God has placed in our lives. Whatever the case, we can rejoice in the opportunities we have. Just like Jochebed, we may never be lauded or acknowledged publically, but our reward is in heaven, and we will one day hear from God Himself, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:23, NIV).

Raising Boys Amidst the War on Men

To My Sons,

As I sit here writing this to you, you are in the midst of a cultural war against manhood. The message that is being shouted into our society is not one I want you to hear or listen to. What I want you to hear is this message from me: you were created in God’s image. He has a purpose for you. You were born to lead, provide, love, and serve. That is how your dad and I have raised you. So walk forward and grow to be men, my sons, and don’t be ashamed of who God has designed you to be.

Go ahead and blaze the trail through the woods with your machete, my sons. Because one day you may lead a nation.

Go ahead and learn to responsibly and respectfully use that gun, my sons. Because one day you may need to protect your own families.

Go ahead and love your country and those who have served for your freedom, my sons. Because one day you might have to fight for them.

Go ahead and climb that tree, my sons. Because one day you may need to rescue your daughter’s kitty or save your son’s kite.

Go ahead and hunt those deer and snag those fish, my sons. Because one day you may need to provide food for your families.

Go ahead and learn how to build a fire, my sons. Because one day your own children will learn that sometimes they need to go back to basics and be content with simple entertainment.

Go ahead and knock down that bully, my sons. Because one day you may have to defend the weak and helpless.

Go ahead and dig in the dirt, my sons. Because one day you might have to toil to make ends meet.

Go ahead and lift those weights, my sons. Because one day you might carry someone to safety.

Go ahead and love others, my sons. Because one day you will have to show the world that real men can be kind and compassionate.

Go ahead and dive into God’s Word and get to know Jesus well, my sons. Because one day the world will look to you for the answer to its problems.

Go ahead, my sons. Be real men, my sons. Your world needs you.

Love,
Mom xxxxxx

Raising Esthers in a Jezebel World

Have you ever felt weary from the fight? Does the state of our society ever weigh so heavily upon you that you just want to throw your hands in the air and give up? I will be the first to raise my hand and say yes!

Day after day we wake up to news of violence, scandal, disaster, immorality, and death. At times I have found myself in fear for my children, who are growing up, and will possibly be raising their own children, in this day. I wonder how things will look for them as they become adults and seek to live out their faith in the midst of growing opposition to the things of God. It’s pretty discouraging when young people tell you that they question even having kids when they get older simply because of the way the world is going.

In light of all this, it is very easy for us to get discouraged. We think back to the good ole days and wish we and our children had been born in better times. But if we allow ourselves to be overcome with fear and discouragement, we will become ineffective and unable to do what God has called us to.

It is no accident that you and I and our children and grandchildren were born at this time in history. As we look to God’s Word for answers regarding our society, we find Esther. Esther lived in a culture similar to ours. The nation she lived in was morally bankrupt, the region was under the rule of godless leadership, and there was seemingly no prophetic voice anywhere to be found. This is why I love and relate to her so much. She was just like me, just like you! Yet even in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, God used Esther to save her nation.

Can we really save a nation like Esther did? Esther was just a regular person. There was nothing particularly special about her; in fact, her parents had both died, leaving her an orphan and at a disadvantage in life. We are told that she was young, beautiful, and won the favor of everyone around her; other than that she was ordinary. But Esther was willing, and through that willingness, she changed the course of history.

How did one young girl take on a kingdom?

She denied herself. Esther asked for nothing before she approached the king. She came before him as she really was, not pretending to be anyone else (see Esther 2:15).

She held to her beliefs when she could easily have compromised. Esther knew what was right and stood her ground (see Esther 2:20).

She was proactive and patriotic. Esther loved her people and was willing to sacrifice everything in order to mediate for them. She instructed her people to pray and then stepped out to be their spokeswoman (see Esther 4:15–16).

She was obedient. Esther submitted herself to her Mordacai, her adoptive Father, who had ultimately challenged her to rise up. He put the fate of the Jewish nation upon her shoulders, and she rose to the occasion (see Esther 4:14).

She was courageous. Esther defied custom, put on her robes, and, risking death, approached the king (see Esther 5:1–8).

She spoke up. Esther didn’t care what the consequences were. She petitioned for what she wanted and called out the evil that was being plotted against her people (Esther 7:1–6).

She brought deliverance. Because of Esther’s courage, the Jews defeated their enemies and were granted a powerful victory over them. The king ultimately bestowed great honor upon them and granted high position within his kingdom to Mordecai, Esther’s cousin.

As we look at the days in which we live, may the story of Esther give us courage to raise our children to be the spokespeople of our day. The responsibility rests on our shoulders. If we do not rise up and challenge the culture and teach our children to become “Esthers” in their world, then we have failed and will see a generation perish. The calling we have is not for the faint of heart, but it’s the one God has given us.

Lord, help us to be Esthers is the day in which we live. When the culture has plans to annihilate Your truth, help us to be bold and unapologetic in our stand. Help us to recognize the responsibility we have and to know that we and our children have been placed here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Amen.

Whatever!

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My heart is stirred by these words. As I sit and consider the things I spend my time thinking about, pondering, dwelling on.  Is God pleased? Is He comfortable in my thoughts?

As I examine my own heart, I also have to question myself regarding my children. What do I allow and encourage THEM to dwell on? What do I permit them to listen to or to watch?

Matthew 6:22 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

As a mother I have to ask the question, am I being the covering for their minds that God has called me to be? Am I being a blinder for their eyes when it’s necessary? The minds of our children can either be a place where the Holy Spirit resides, or they can be a play ground for the devil and his schemes. What they see, hear and ponder as children will take root and grow with them into adulthood. What type of seeds are being planted?

We hear a lot of talk in Christian circles about shaping our children’s hearts, their characters, their wills. How often do we talk about protecting their minds? You see, what goes into the mind will ultimately affect their hearts, which in turn will affect their wills, which leads to the shaping of their characters.

When are we going to fully grasp that the culture of our day seeks to steal our children, not only from us, but from God.

My heart is saddened by what is being allowed and invited into Christian homes all over our nation. The movies we watch, the music we allow, the internet access that’s given so freely. Parents now decide if their children should watch a movie based on how many curse words it has. “It only has 3 or 4 bad words.” they say “It’s not TOO bad!!” – Are you kidding me?

What offends God should offend us! When His most precious name is cursed and taken in vain, it should repulse us. It should cause us to become angry. It should affect us so deeply that we are unable to watch, listen to, or look at those things.

Remember, the eyes are the lamp of the body! When light enters, light dwells. When darkness enters, darkness dwells. What fellowship can light have with darkness? NONE! With each curse word, inappropriate picture and act of violence our children are exposed to, pieces of their hearts are being torn away, and a new seeds are being planted.

Moms, I beg of you. Do not be complacent. Be a guard for the hearts and minds of your children. Just as Noah built an ark to shield his family from judgment, we should also be making a safe place out of our homes; an ‘ark’ so to speak. If we are not willing to step up, be proactive and be a shield for their eyes and minds, then we should not be surprised when our child walks away from the God we raised them to serve. It doesn’t happen overnight. The seeds that are planted in childhood will grow into weeds, and eventually choke out their faith, right under your nose.

As mothers we can show our children the value of dwelling on righteous things. Things that are true, lovely, noble, right, praiseworthy and excellent. Those good seeds planted in our own, and our children’s hearts will produce good fruit, sweet fruit, fruit that will last.

“Lord, help us to use wisdom when influencing our children. Help us to be a guard for their minds and a protector for their souls. Amen.”

Wickedness Abounds

This morning I am angry! Once again this country has shoved it’s fist in Gods face and said “we don’t want you!” Once again, we see a major retailer jumping on the bandwagon with so many others, drawing a line in the sand and setting themselves up against you; even celebrating their decision.

While the majority of our society is caving to the whims of the culture, I have to believe that there is a remnant of people who desire to put Gods word first, to stand for truth even if it means facing persecution and hatred. Today I am standing up and declaring ‘Here I am Lord, send me!”

I feel a little like Habakkuk when he cried out to You in Habakkuk 1:3-4

“Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.

These are the days we are living in! As Moms I think sometimes we tend to freak out. We panic, “Lord, what do we do? It’s just not right!” As Gods people, do we stand by, or do we rise up?

I believe we are to be angry at what angers God. I believe we are to call sin for what it is. I don’t believe the answer is in boycotting or protesting. They do make a temporary difference, but they are not lasting. The answer is in Gods people, the church. Sin abounds and unfortunately the church is asleep.

As we see the day fast approaching when lawlessness abounds, and the righteous are hemmed in. May this be our prayer.

“Lord, help us to wake up! Help us to not be overwhelmed by the depravity of our culture. Help us to be a called out people. Help us to teach our children, not to be accepting of those things You despise. Help us to love people and guide them to Your truth, the truth that sets people free. Help us to diligently seek You. Help us to realize that the only change will be brought by a move of Your spirit. Help us, as Habakkuk did, to pray, to trust You, and ultimately rejoice in You, because You are in control. – Amen”