Category Archives: Family

Something Every Parent Needs to Read

Rarely do we not have a full post for you. However, sometimes something comes across that we just want to share with you.

That is the case with today’s article. Instead of us writing something, we want to send you over to another site, for the family, for a great article. Those who are married and raising children absolutely must read this article.

Is Parenting Threatening Your Marriage?

It’s Also Time to #ShoutYourAbortionForgiveness

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In recent days, a sensation has made waves online that has so many people up in arms, and rightly so. A movement started on Twitter and quickly moved to other social media platforms. It was a chance for women who had aborted a child to no longer whisper about it, but to proudly bring that out in the open.

It was given the social treatment with a hashtag: #ShoutYourAbortion.

Some “shouted” about their experience and wanted to do it again. Some did so, and were just thankful that someone had given them an outlet to share that they were not sorry for their abortion. They felt liberated by the viral nature of how this spread.

Others began to speak out against the movement. Of course, some started a competing hashtag that also made waves: #ShoutYourAdoption. Others simply made a statement about how sad it is that we are just not sorry about abortion any longer as a society, but now we are willing to shout it in pride for “health” and “life decisions.”

Of course, I side with those who would shout an adoption. Being an adoptive parent myself, our heart goes out to those babies who need a home.

Also, abortion is wrong. Murder, no matter what we might want to call it, is wrong. We must stand up for the life of the unborn and never back down.

All that said…

I think there is another hashtag that needs to be making the rounds, as well.

Abortion is wrong, and it is a sin. However, it is not an unforgivable sin. As awful as abortion is, just as the alcoholic can repent and be forgiven by the Lord, so, too, can the person who has had an abortion be forgiven. If one is willing to repent, God will forgive, and that includes the one who has ended a pregnancy through abortion.

So, today, I am asking you to help start another movement. It is for those who feel shame for their actions, and are willing to turn to God. It is for those who are willing to repent and live for Him.

It is time to #ShoutYourAbortionForgiveness.

While some women feel liberated by shouting about an abortion, when we are forgiven by the Lord, that is true liberation. We are set free from the worst master: selfishness. We are liberated from the bonds of sin. We are free to be who God created us to be through His Son.

In reality, everyone who is a Christian can remove the word “abortion” from that hashtag and replace it with a myriad of sins. #ShoutYourLustForgiveness. #ShoutYourCursingForgiveness. #ShoutYourBitternessForgiveness. #ShoutYourCoveteousnessForgiveness. #ShoutYourLyingForgiveness. #ShoutYourPornographyForgiveness. #ShoutYourPrideForgiveness.

Because as God’s people, we all have something from which we needed to be saved. Thankfully, through His mercy, grace, and love, God forgave us. He set us free. He liberated us.

And that’s something worth shouting!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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Playing with Fire

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“Burn the trash.” Those were the words my mother said to me. 

When I was a child, probably eight or nine years old, I was taught to do chores. They included things like dusting, helping with laundry, running the vacuum, and other jobs mom deemed me capable of doing. I can’t remember ever getting the job of burning the trash, but she must have thought I was ready for it. 

We had a burning barrel out on the alley behind our house and I had often seen my father, mother, and brother burn trash in that barrel, but on that particular day she handed me the matches and a bag of trash and told me to “burn the trash.” I felt grown up and important as I headed out there, put the trash in the barrel, struck that match and lit the trash on fire. I loved watching the flames as they darted up above the top of the barrel and quickly got rid of that trash.

Everything would have been fine if I had just headed back into the house. But there was dry grass in the middle of the alley and I thought it would be fun to build just a little fire there. I piled up the grass, lit it on fire, and began to add a few twigs. 

The fire grew. 

It began to move out of my little circle. A puff of wind quickly sent it up the middle of the alley and it grew as it went. I stood there in fear as it quickly made its way to the neighbors wooden shed and began burning it to the ground. 

I looked toward our house and saw my mother running toward the fire with the water hose and I ran toward her. As she passed me she simply said, “You get in the house.” I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what happened to me when the fire at the shed was put out. Just suffice it to say, that a part of my anatomy was set on fire and there were other consequences for what I had done.

I’ve thought about that event many times through the years. I’ve thought about the consequences of playing with fire. So often it isn’t just the fire that is lit by a match that brings terrible consequences. 

Ask the young wife whose husband has become addicted to pornography after he simply started looking at a few pictures on the internet. Ask the young person who is addicted to drugs when he/she was only going to try it once and simply wanted to fit in with their friends. Ask the bewildered parents of a child who is totally out of control when all they wanted to do was make that child feel loved, and so they began giving in to every want and demand. Ask the alcoholic who began with just a social drink.

Our congregations even suffer when we “play with fire.” In an attempt to keep our members happy and faithful in attendance, many congregations have implemented programs and policies that are worldly or denominational. In an effort to keep our youth groups “happy,” they are often taken to events which weaken their faith rather than strengthen their faith. Because we are an entertainment-oriented society, we feel as though we have to entertain our young people. We are playing with fire.

And let’s not forget what James taught about the use of the tongue. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he called the tongue a fire. How many families, friendships, or congregations have been divided or destroyed because of misuse of the tongue? (James 3)

Fire is useful when used with caution and responsibility. But fire can be so destructive when it is out of control. It is not something to be “played with.”

When you play with fire you might burn down the neighbors’ shed…

…or destroy a relationship, a home, a family or a congregation.

“…three things are never satisfied; four never say, ‘Enough:’  Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never say, ‘Enough.” (Proverbs 30:15-16)

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What I Learned While Re-Styling Our Playset

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It was past time. The wooden playset/swingset we bought 2 houses ago has moved with us and provided hours of fun for our three children. However, time and weather had taken their toll and the original redwood finish was looking pretty dull. Not only that, but a couple of structural pieces had been damaged and needed repair or replacement.

Now, many parents would just get out there and fix up this special place of childhood joy for their little angels. Not this mean mom. I decided this was a project we could all do together! You know: make memories, learn work ethic, have fun together … in short, end our summer break with a great mom and kids project.

So what did I learn?

First, I learned that when given a voice, children can and do make decisions together. After all, this is their playset, so I let them pick the colors, knowing the whole time that Luke would pick red; Daniel, green; and Lyssa, her current favorite of light blue. No one said their voice would be quiet or reserved! But because they were given a voice, they had a buy-in to the project.

Next I learned that given a common goal, even siblings who are often at cross purposes can pull together and have fun. My two youngest are often at odds. The way I describe it is this: one is a button pusher and the other walks around with buttons extended out for everyone to see. Not a good combo. However, I put them in close proximity and told them to paint. That is all – just paint. Work together and get that section painted. And guess what … they painted! And they helped each other. And they laughed and had fun. And when they got frustrated with each other, they worked it out. There was a job to be done.

I also learned that hard work truly doesn’t kill anyone. My kids are pretty spoiled. Any sweating they do usually involves yard chores done under duress. But the week we (I) chose for our playset reno was HOT. Did I hear complaining? A little. But I also saw siblings take breaks together, get drinks for each other and sweat together. And it didn’t kill them. I’d like to think it taught them.

Finally, I learned that those old fashioned ideals of working together to make memories can still be realized today. We put on old clothes, turned on some Disney tunes, got some cheap paint brushes and bright colors and we: sweated together, sang together, got paint in our hair together, laughed together and ACCOMPLISHED something together. Mom let go of some control and let the kids have an active part in realizing a goal.

The end result was a pretty spiffy looking playset. However, I think there will be longer lasting results. I know I will never forget the time spent with my sweet kids working, laughing, singing and painting in the summer sun. And I hope they won’t either.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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In Case You Forgot How Much God Loves You

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When our son Luke was five years old he suffered a severe break in his right arm. While running through our sunroom, he tripped over a toy and landed awkwardly, instantly breaking his radius and ulna bones. I was about 30 minutes away driving to the hospital to visit an ailing church member. My wife was in another room in our house when she heard the bones snap. She somehow gathered up Luke and our infant son and put them in the van and got to the hospital. I received the call. I turned around. I did not stop until I joined them there.

The break was too bad to be dealt with in our local small town hospital. They put Luke in a sling and made an appointment that day at the bone and joint clinic 45 minutes away. He broke his arm at about 8:30 a.m. The appointment was not until that afternoon. We had to sit and watch him suffer while he waited. After an extra hour of waiting at the clinic for him to be seen, it was determined that he would be taken to the emergency room across the street. The doctor was going to give him some type of gas and attempt to maneuver his arm and reset it in place. They were trying to avoid surgery. So we gathered Luke up again and went across the street.

When we arrived the doctor told us we were going to have to leave while he dealt with our son’s arm. This manipulation was going to take skill and strength to accomplish and we didn’t need to see it and we didn’t need to be a distraction. So we walked about 50 feet away from his bed to the outside but open entrance to that part of the hospital. A few minutes later I heard his cries. “Daddy! Daddy! No! Stop hurting me! Stop doing that! Daddy! Daddy!” I cannot express it exactly; I can only say that to this point in my life those were the worst screams I had ever heard. I was about to break through that hospital and knock down anyone who stood between me and my innocent son. I was crying. I was in distress. I was hurt. I was helpless. The only thing that kept me from stopping the whole ordeal was the fact that I knew that this was the necessary thing to do.

After all of that, the bone-setting was unsuccessful. Luke had to be put into a room and later that evening, about 12 hours after he first broke his arm, his bones were finally reset under heavy manipulation while he was completely sedated. It was the hardest day my wife and I have ever experienced in our young lives.

Since that day, I have often thought about how much our Father in heaven loves us. He experienced a similar episode which was so much worse it is probably not right for the two to be compared. He allowed His innocent Son to suffer. He waited and watched it. When His Son cried out He did not stop the process. The difference is that the people who were hurting His Son were doing so maliciously, hatefully, and they were murdering Him in the most brutal fashion the world has ever known. But if the sin-sick world could ever be saved, the process was necessary. It was the only way that a world broken and displaced by sin could ever be straightened again and healed.

I will never understand why He didn’t instantly destroy the world and save His Son when He could have justly done so. But what I do understand is that heavenly love cannot be described by human words, whether by tongue or pen or any other method. The love our Father has for us resides high above any other love that exists. And it is a love that we can absolutely never do without.  Just in case you forgot…

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” – Romans 11:33

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How We Do Family Movie Night [Video]

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We love our family tradition of having a family movie night. To share how this family tradition got started, we (of course) recorded a video! We hope this shows you how we have this tradition, despite busy schedules and how we make it a relaxed and inexpensive evening that our kids love!

(Video not playing? Click here to view on YouTube.)

BONUS: Tonight, we are going to be on Periscope ( @faughn4 ) recording a broadcast on which we will share our favorite family movie night films. We will also talk about our process for selecting the movies we show. Join in the broadcast and leave comments to interact with Adam and Leah this evening!

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It’s Not “Marriage Equality” — It’s Just Marriage

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Words are powerful. Words express ideas and opinions. Words communicate thoughts and direct lives and steer the world. So it is no wonder that Satan uses words. In the garden, he used words to cause Adam and Eve to sin. When Jesus was tempted, the Devil tried his best to challenge the allegiance of Jesus with words. Today, Satan is still working to ruin the world with words.

One of the words or phrases he has recently been using is “Marriage Equality.” How sinister! There is a group that is promoting the homosexual agenda with these terrible, lying, deceptive words. I have seen this term used on several occasions and it makes me cringe. They don’t want to call it what it is, and that is the word “abomination.” In fact, they instead want to take a holy, God-ordained institution and make it unholy, yet pretend it is still holy. They have already attempted to monopolize the rainbow, the symbol of God’s heavenly promise of mercy and forgiveness. So now they will take marriage.

The deception is simple. They want to unbalance the scales by promoting the idea that God’s standard for marriage is unfair–or unequal–because it does not include the union of two people of the same sex. Let’s face it, things are so broken down morally in our country, that the university in the town where I live will not use the terms “male” and “female” anymore because they are supposedly discriminatory. The final goal is for people with this agenda to rub out every line that distinguishes between good and evil so that any person can do whatever they want, love whomever they want, and marry whomever they want. They believe that society and life in general will work best if there are absolutely no standards or rules.

Well, it is not going to work. God did not create marriage equality. He simply created marriage. He defined it as a union between a man and a woman. He made them male and female. He is still making them that way. He is still recognizing marriage that way. A court can make a ruling. People can be forced to offer up licenses in accordance with human laws. But make no mistake: God is sovereign. He reigns from heaven. He knows what we are. He knows what marriage is. He created them both.

I am interested in equality. But not how man defines it. I am interested in every person having the same opportunity to know Jesus. I am interested in every person knowing God’s will and serving equally in society to be useful and to promote the eternal best interest of others. I am interested in everyone being treated the same regardless of their background or their current situation. But “Marriage Equality”? This is a man-made term that does not originate from above, but from beneath. There is only marriage. And marriage is beautiful, needing no human adjustments.

“And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” – Matthew 19:4-5

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Don’t Follow the Dog!

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He usually played in the back yard or in the field that adjoined it, but on this day, he found himself being lured into the front yard. His attention had been drawn to a cute little dog he hadn’t seen before. 

He was only allowed to cross the gravel road for one reason. If one of his parents gave him permission to retrieve the mail from the mailbox on the other side of the road, he could do so, but only after hearing the familiar, “Be sure you look both ways!”

But on this day, he crossed the road without looking both ways and without permission. He couldn’t waste that much time. His new friend was already well ahead of him. 

Before he knew it, he was in the woods across the road from his house. Yes, those woods. The woods his parents had made sound so terrible. His new friend apparently hadn’t seen any danger, though, so he had happily followed him into the “forbidden forest.”

Before long, a new realization dawned on him. He had no idea where he was. He also had no idea where his new friend was. He was surrounded by briars. He was all alone. He was scared. He wanted to go home, but he did not know how to get there.

He was very glad to hear his dad’s voice calling his name!

He knew he might be in trouble for doing what his parents had told him repeatedly not to do, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He had no desire to ever be in those woods again. He didn’t care if he ever saw that dog again (which he didn’t). 

Later, he discovered why his parents had warned him so sternly about those woods. There was an old abandoned well in those woods. He learned that his dad’s heart sank when he saw the evidence that his only child had been dangerously close to that well. The well was so obscured with leaves, limbs, etc. that the father feared that there was a chance that his son’s body would never be found if, indeed, his son had fallen into the well.

The little boy never knew he was in that much danger. He just knew that his “adventure” wasn’t as exciting or rewarding as he had thought it might be and that he was more than ready for the comfort and security of home.

About sixty years later, that “little boy” has five grandchildren, all of whom are older than he was when his carelessness could have cost him his life. In those sixty or so years, he’s seen his story repeated countless numbers of times.

He’s seen far too many people follow a person, a lifestyle, a philosophy, and any number of other things so far “into the woods” that they become totally disoriented and estranged from the people who really love them. More importantly, they have become so confused and entangled that they don’t think they can find their way back to God.

For more than thirty of those sixty years, He has attempted to warn people about the dangers of being lured in and/or lured away by improper influences. He’s also spent quite a bit of time trying to reclaim those who have become ensnared by Satan and his devices (cf. 2 Cor. 2:11).

He has shed tears of joy when a precious soul has returned home. He has also shed tears of sadness when one has gone into eternity without ever returning home.

You have a Father who loves you, a Savior who died for you, and brothers and sisters in the Lord who care deeply for you. You’ve got way too much to lose in an unguarded and reckless moment.

Please take it from one who has been there — Don’t follow the dog!

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Moving is Hard Work!

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Jim and I have just moved, and it was hard work. We moved from a 5-bedroom house with 3 bathrooms to a 3-bedroom house with 2 bathrooms all within the same city. The old house had a huge walk-in attic and it was full. It also had a large shed and a two car garage with a storage room off of it. We now have a small attic, no shed and no storage room off of our garage. 

Downsizing seemed like a very logical thing to do at our age (and it was), but little did we know that it would be so difficult. Deciding what furniture to move and what to sell was the least of our worries. My biggest worry was trying to figure out how we ended up with so much stuff! I guess after 45 years of marriage most people have accumulated quite a bit, but what we were sorting through seemed excessive.

I learned some lessons during this process:

We all have too many possessions. I remembered a story Jim told me after he returned from doing mission work in India several years ago. He told of a family who had a tarp over their meager space out in the open – and that was their home. They didn’t complain, but seemed happy to have a covering over their heads. As I sorted and unpacked boxes of items I hadn’t used in years to determine if I needed to keep them, I felt ashamed that we had accumulated so many things. Those things had become a burden to me. They were unnecessary.

I remember Jesus talking about a young man we refer to as “the rich young ruler.” He was interested in obtaining eternal life. He knew the Law and had kept the commandments from his youth. However, he had accumulated many things and when Jesus told him to go and sell what he had and give to the poor, he “went away sorrowful because he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:16-22).

Happiness and contentment in life have nothing to do with the possessions you have. If I thought that the happiness and contentment Jim and I have in our marriage was based solely upon the “things” we possessed, I would be most miserable. Houses, cars, furniture, clothes, jewelry, and anything else you may have are worthless when it comes to happiness and contentment. Relationships are what really matter – with God, with your spouse, with your children, with your church family, and with others with whom you may come in contact.

Success in life is not measured by what you have accumulated. The world measures success by how much money you make and by how many things you are able to accumulate. Sometimes it takes years for us to learn that we are measuring our success in this life by those around whom we live. Hopefully, at some point we learn that God measures success by our faithful service to Him. When we live our lives being faithful Christians and remembering that our citizenship is in heaven and not on this earth, we are successful.

Houses and possessions are temporary. Thousands and sometimes millions of dollars are spent to build dwelling places and to fill those dwelling places with finery. Storms, fires, and floods can wipe all of that away in an instant. When we become so attached to earthly possessions, any disaster will devastate us. But when we realize that this world is not our home, we are just passing through and our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, life here on earth becomes our temporary home.

Hard work is good for you. Jim and I (along with our children and many wonderful members of our church family) packed, toted, sorted, lifted, and moved what seemed like enough possessions for several families. Jim said often that he was looking forward to the day when he could just go somewhere without a box in his hands. We have made it to the smaller house, with fewer possessions, and more peace of mind. The work was hard, but so educational. I’m so grateful to God for what we have. He has blessed us beyond measure. I love the “lightness” I feel of having less to keep up with and clean. I’m grateful for all of the helping hands we had during this process. But I am most grateful for a loving heavenly Father who moves with us wherever we go.

“…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  Philippians 4:11

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An Important Tip from An Eight-Year-Old

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Some sermons are heard and some sermons are seen. Human behavior can be extraordinarily moving and thought provoking. There were even times in the life of the Son of God when He marveled at the actions of certain individuals. He marveled at the faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:10). He marveled at the unbelief of His own countrymen (Mark. 6:6). And I believe He marveled when He saw the widow give all her livelihood at the Jerusalem temple (Luke 21:1-4).

It is with this in mind that I recall last Wednesday evening. Returning home from Bible class my young daughter traveled with me as we stopped to get a smoothie. We went inside and as they were preparing what we had ordered she saw the tip jar on the counter. Seeing a host of one dollar bills in the transparent container she asked me if this is how people paid for their drinks. I explained to her that tips are something given as a courtesy to say “thank you” for a service that has been provided. I told her it was just like when we go to the restaurant and leave cash on the table.

Before the words were out of my mouth she was already opening her change purse. My daughter always has at least one purse of some kind that has something in it. And she probably has a book or two, and a doll, and a stuffed animal, and the kitchen sink. She said, “I am going to give them a dollar.” I told her that would be very nice. She was so happy to give it. She knew it was an extra, that it was not required. She knew it was an open expression of thanksgiving. She knew it was an opportunity to bring joy to someone else. She gave it so freely and openly. I know her well enough that if it had been her last dollar, or if I had told her that people usually give a twenty, it would have been the same story.

As we left I had a similar feeling to the feeling I believe our Savior experienced with the widow and her two mites. My daughter had made no comparable sacrifice to the poor widow, but there was a resemblance according to the level of their faith. What makes a widow give her last penny? What makes a child give everything she has only minutes after she receives it?

Faith.

Faith in God that he will provide. Faith that the giving of something does not determine that we are losing anything. Faith that understands the importance of doing the right thing and not worrying about the end result. Faith that says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

While my heart was overflowing with warmth for my daughter, there was also a part of me that felt ashamed. I wish I could find within myself the simplicity that exists within the heart of an eight-year-old. We grow up and we begin to think that we actually own things. But we don’t. And then one day we will leave this place and find that the only thing we ever owned was the opportunity to make a daily choice concerning the stewardship with which we had been entrusted. And it will be in those moments, the moments of our decisions, that we will determine the success of our existence. Our earthly impact, and our eternal destiny, may be defined in essence by something as basic as our attitude toward transparent containers filled with a few one dollar bills.

“…Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

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