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Archive for July, 2011

Train up a Child

Proverbs 22:6 says this:  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  (NIV)

Now, for some reason, many folks believe this verse means that if a child is taken to church from birth on, that they will grow up to be Christians.  Wrong!  I know many well-intending parents who faithfully drag their children to church from the day they are born, only to have those same children grow up wanting nothing whatever to do with the church or with God either for that matter.  But…did that family pray together at home?  Did the father teach his children daily the truths of scripture and how to apply them to their lives?  Did he take to heart the commands in Deut. 5 and 6 about teaching his own children day and night, wherever they are and whatever they are doing?  Usually in these cases the life lived out in the home is far from the teachings of scripture.  Is it any wonder at all that the children grow up to have no use for the church or the Church? (Those are two totally different entities.)  In some cases the parents are so busy being involved in the church or even in missions that they do not fulfill their requirements as godly parents at all.

However, the truth of the Proverb with which I began this narrative is this:  Whatever we teach our children (by our very life) about priorities and God and life in general is exactly what they will follow for their lifetime.

Unfortunately, much of today’s society wants us to believe that to be good parents we must dote on our children and our lives should be totally focused on them.  I am firmly disagreeing with this philosophy.  I believe with my whole heart that we are raising a generation of warped children that have the misconception that the world around them is there to serve them—because that’s what their parents did for all their lives.  Their lives are all about THEM–not how they can serve others, what they can contribute to society, or where they fit into God’s plan for the world.  It’s all about having a good time, making memories that they can cherish, and getting their own way.  Maybe even about being someone ‘important’.  Where is that in scripture?

Sadly, even churches often support this way of thinking and behaving.  Big bucks are spent on having youth activities to keep the kids entertained and off the streets.  But how much does that same church spend on teaching those children the importance of living sacrificially and serving others?  Our churches today spend a large portion of the church budget not only on entertaining the youth, but on a pastor that is paid full time to do just that!  A youth pastor!  WHERE are the parents?

I know I’m really stepping on some toes here, but I beg you to give this some serious thought and prayer.  Do you have children at home?  TEACH THEM!  SHOW them!  Let them see Christ in you and a willing heart to serve others—others that are not your children!  Get your children involved in ministry opportunities within your neighborhood and community.  Are there elderly in your neighborhood to whom your children can minister?  (Mowing lawns?  Shoveling snow?  Running errands?  Simply visiting with them?  For free—not a paid job.)  Are there hurting families that you know that perhaps your family as a whole could minister to?  Does your family have worship together AT HOME on a daily basis?  Do you dig in and find answers for them in scripture?  Are they learning from you to pray?  To find answers in God’s Word?  To apply the teachings of Scripture to their lives?

Let me challenge you, my friend, to take a serious look at your own household.  Are you teaching your children and youth with your mouth as well as your example to serve the Lord your God with your whole heart?  I want to challenge you with this thought:  Of course there is nothing wrong with taking your children to church (in fact it is important), but it is NOT as important as teaching them yourself and setting the example of godliness before them.

If you still have children at home, it’s probably not too late my friend.  It takes some time and decided effort.  But God will bless you for it.  Of that I am very, VERY certain!

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An Apple a Day

Do you remember the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?”  Well, it may be an old wives tale in some ways – there’s never a guarantee against illness.  But there is much nutritional value in a simple little apple.  I’ve been adhering to this for many years, and in many ways I do believe it has benefited me.

First of all, I always try to have an apple late in the afternoon when I’m starting to be a bit hungry and tempted to start pinching and snitching and tasting as I make dinner (which would be the equivalent of having a serving before dinner as an appetizer, then another when we sit down to eat).

Also, by late afternoon my legs and back are getting tired of the chores of the day and I treat myself to a break to eat my apple.  Sometimes I check email or write a blog (as I’m doing now) or sit in the porch swing and enjoy some peace and quiet accompanied by whatever breeze I can create with the movement of the swing in the late afternoon.  Many times dinner is cooking when I take my break; sometimes I have the apple before I begin the meal prep.  At any rate, it’s good to take a little break and just enjoy the day along with the juicy apple.

Apples are filled with good vitamins and nutrients as well as fiber (especially if you eat the skin which I do).  My favorites are fuji apples—firm and crisp; a little sweet and a little tart—enough tartness to make them juicy.  YUM!  There is no fat in an apple and yet it is sweet enough to fill that late afternoon sweet craving as well as taking the edge off of the late afternoon hungry feeling.

There’s a lot of good in the little red ball.  Could my habit truly have anything to do with my rare doctor visits?  Well, I for one, think it certainly doesn’t hurt!  And besides, they are just plain yummy!  God does give such good gifts!

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Good Reads for Summer

 “Katia” – by Bruce Judisch

If you enjoy fun fiction based on fact, “Katia” by Bruce Judisch is a must read for you!  This is the fascinating story of a young would-be journalist doing a summer internship who discovers much more about herself than her writing ability.  It is also a fun way to learn some of the history of Berlin without having to discipline yourself to read a history book.  Because Mr. Judisch was actually there when the wall came down, you can experience a bit of the emotion and mystery of the two halves becoming one whole; of families being reunited; of finding lost loved ones from a realistic perspective through this story.  And if you like realistic happy endings…well, get ready to smile!

 

 “Journey to Judah” – by Eileen Hinkle Rife

This is a fun little story of a young missionary woman who fulfills a commitment to the Lord, and finds that, in so doing, the Lord supplies the longing of her heart.  It is a fun read with a not-so-subtle message of God’s faithfulness.  It is an introduction to the ‘Born for India’ trilogy; another quick read for the ‘happy ending’ lovers!

 

 “Restored Hearts” – by Eileen Hinkle Rife

This is the second in the ‘Born for India’ trilogy and is a graceful way of dealing with a ‘touchy’ subject.  This book is a fiction story that deals openly and honestly with the issue of homosexuality and the Christian (Biblical) perspective.  It gives hope, but does not ‘beat around the bush’ with honest issues.  Even though this is not a ‘fun’ issue, this is a good book for all Christians to read.  I highly encourage all believers to read this book.  We can’t live with our heads in the sand forever.  Homosexuality is a reality and is more and more invading our lives.  What should we think?  How should we feel?  What’s right?  Where is God on this issue?  What can we do?  I strongly urge you to grab this book (whether or not you’re a fiction lover) and ask God to speak to your heart.  Remember, God may hate the sin, but He loves the sinner.

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Surprise Friend

Why am I always surprised when God drops yet another sweet little gift into my lap?  It seems like in my lifetime, when I’ve needed it most and expected it least, my loving Father hands me a sweet surprise that completely takes my breath away and humbles me in yet another new and fresh way.  And He’s done it again!

A while back I received an email from another OakTara author who said she’d discovered that we live in the same town—well, adjoining towns, but within minutes of one another all the same.  She asked if I’d like to get together.  Well, of course I was excited at first so accepted, and then followed my typical shyness.  What will she think when she sees what a dunce I am?  What does she expect of me?  What if I can’t meet up to her expectations?  And a million other self-doubts until I finally prayed that God would simply manage the whole situation and give me peace.  Of course He did immediately.

Yesterday was the day.  As the time drew near I hovered near the window.  As she got out of her car and I beheld this gorgeous little petite woman, of course I felt clumsy and awkward and huge and homely and…then I felt the Holy Spirit whispering as always:  “How DARE you criticize what I have made and honored with my presence?”  And so, together we pushed Satan out of sight and hearing and I chose to simply enjoy getting to know this lovely creature.

Once my guard was down I discovered a precious gift:  a kindred writer’s heart!  First and foremost we both enjoy a strong walk with our Lord, loving our wonderful husbands, delighting in the grown children and grandchildren with whom we’ve been blessed, and a love for writing.  Needless to say, the chatter lasted all afternoon and before we knew what time it was, my husband was walking in the door.

Eileen has also had her first three books published by OakTara.  To see them go to   oaktara.com/EileenHinkleRife and click on each book title, or to order go to Amazon.com and do a search for Eileen Hinkle Rife.

And as for me…well, I can hardly wait for the next time we get together.  And I’m thanking God for the gift of another friend!  God is SO good!!!

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Fun Morning!

This morning as I checked my email early I had an email from my publisher saying that my book ‘The Long Road Home’ had been reviewed by Bruce Judisch on their website.  If you care to see his review, the web address is:  http://blogs.christianpost.com/bindings/2011/07/a-heartwarming-novella-the-long-road-home-07/.

He gives a wonderful review and, being timid me, I can use all the help I can get!  I appreciate his kind words very much.  If you care to visit his own website, go to: http://www.brucejudisch.blogspot.com/ and enjoy!  Myself?  I’m off to buy ‘Katia’!

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Sometimes I have to smile at the way God works.  No, let me correct that statement.  Sometimes I have to sigh at my reaction to the things God is doing in my life.  Something happens that was not part of my plan and suddenly I find myself sighing or complaining, or (gasp!) actually whining.

Don’t you really think I’d be past that at this age?  Well, I’d think so too, but I’m not and I am truly ashamed to admit it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t.

This weekend I received an email asking me to ‘fill in’ another Sunday in the nursery at church for someone who couldn’t take their turn due to illness, and I admit I quickly tried to think of a good way out before I scolded myself and agreed (albeit somewhat reluctantly in my heart).  Now, I ask you, wouldn’t you think at my age that I’d positively KNOW God was going to make something good come out of it?  (My slowness amazes even me sometimes!)

But, in spite of me, God did make good come of it.  I met a new friend!  I’d heard her name before, and when we met, I realized I had wondered more than once what her name was when I’d seen her go forward for communion, but I’d never had opportunity to actually meet the young lady before.  And today we had not only the opportunity to meet, but a whole hour of chatting (as we cared for toddlers) to get to know one another!  I enjoyed our chat tremendously, and look forward to many more.

And tonight I sit and shake my head as I think of the many, many times I have sighed and yet God has blessed.  Does He never tire of me?

Romans 8:28 says:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  And all I can say is, “Yes indeed!  He certainly does!”

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