Category Archives: Family

The One Word that Gives Children Authority Over Parents

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Parenting is hard. Communication is hard. Put them together and you have something that can feel virtually impossible. At best, it can feel like a completely uphill task.

One reason communicating with children is so difficult is because every word means something, and we often say things that we don’t think much about, but that can communicate so much.

Today, I want to share one word that I am striving to reduce in my vocabulary with my children. At the very least, I am trying to change one specific way in which I catch myself using it. The reason is simple: whether I mean it this way or not, this one word gives my children authority over me, instead of the way it is supposed to be.

What is the word?

Okay.

Now, it’s not that “okay” is a bad word. It is how I have found myself using it so often that makes all the difference. See if some of these sentences sound like what you say to your kids:

“You need to clean your room, okay?”

“Your mommy needs help with the dishes, okay?”

“Finish your math work, okay?”

Do you see how that one little word at the end of the sentence changes them dramatically? Instead of stating what is expected, and then knowing it will get done, we have put the child in charge of the situation. Rather than saying, “Clean your room,” what you are doing is giving your child the option to clean his/her room…if it’s okay with them.

I am not suggesting a parenting style where we just give out orders like a drill sergeant. There are times to put the ball in the court of our children and let them decide certain things.

That said, when we give a direction, we should expect for it to be followed. Parents, we must remember that part of our work is to build within our children an understanding of authority. God, being the ultimate authority, does not tell us, “believe in me, okay?” Instead, He simply states what is expected and we are to obey.

We may not think too much about adding “okay” to the end of our sentences, and we may think it is nothing more than just a “filler” word that does not really mean anything (sort of like “um”). But to a kid, “okay,” when phrased as a question, puts the authority with them. While that is fine sometimes, it is not fine all the time.

Instead, we need to build the type of relationship where we can state an expectation and know it will be completed. That’s not cruel parenting. It is teaching children to respect authority, which is something our society desperately needs.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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Who Are the Real Heroes?

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Ask a young person who they consider to be a hero. What do you think they will say? Chances are, they will pick a well-known individual from the past or present who made a name for themselves because of something they achieved. It may have been they excelled in politics, athletics, music, or some other interest. People who are recognized as heroes are usually extraordinary people who became popular because of something they did or something that happened that was largely due to their influence.

With that in mind, I met a real hero just the other day. I met him in the place where I have learned most of our living heroes still reside. I met him while I was going to visit two of our elderly ladies who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. These ladies currently live in a nursing home not far from our town. To protect privacy and to not call attention to the facility I am not going to mention any names. But as I was there in the hall with one of the ladies I had intended to see, I met a man who immediately got my attention. He was wearing a very interesting hat.

He was sitting in a chair, not speaking but seemingly looking to start a conversation with his eyes. So I spoke to him, “I really like your hat.” He took it off and looked at it. “Yep,” he said, “That was a long time ago.” The cap he had on simply stated, “World War II Veteran.” I asked him if he had been in the war. He told me he had fought in Germany and had also spent part of his time afterward in Russia. He stayed in the military for most of his life after the war. He had survived the front lines of an ugly and bloody battle.

But now, in his 90’s, he is just living out his days quietly. I don’t know if he has a lot of visitors. I don’t know about his family and friends. We exchanged names, had a nice conversation, and I thanked him for everything he had done for me. I thanked him for everything he had done for us! He seemed at peace with himself about it. I recall him saying, “Well I hoped what we tried to do over there made a difference, made things better.” I assured him so. I let him know he was a hero.

The real heroes in our world do not wear capes and masks. They do not swim in money. They are not on television or in the movies. They will not be known in history by name. Many of them never even came home. Real heroes are people who sacrificed everything for a cause that was bigger than themselves. They believed in something worth giving their lives for, and that’s exactly what they gave.

At the end of time, every history book will be destroyed, every trophy demolished, and every museum brought to ruin. But there are people, who by faith are building a residence yet unseen that will stand forever inside the gates of heaven. These are the people we should follow. These are the people who will rest from the labors, and whose works follow them.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” – Heb. 11:13

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The Pasta Plan

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Before an athletic contest starts, there is a game plan.

Leaders of corporations who want the corporation to be successful have a business plan.

Construction companies have a site plan.

Before one travels, there is usually a travel plan.

Teachers are encouraged (or required) to have a lesson plan.

People who hope to retire with sufficient funds to live somewhat comfortably are encouraged to have a financial plan.

However, all too often in families, churches, and our individual lives, there is something I’ve chosen to call the pasta plan. You may have been in meetings and/or in family conversations where the pasta plan has been employed. 

Here is a test. 

Have you ever heard (or said), “Let’s just throw something against the wall and see what sticks?” If so, you’ve been introduced to what I’m calling the pasta plan.

I am told that one way to check to see if pasta is adequately prepared is to actually throw it against a wall. If it sticks, it is ready.

What works for pasta may not work too well in other areas of our lives. In fact, I am convinced that it is a long way from being the best way to live our lives.

I am well aware of James 4:13-16. Contrary to what some might think about that passage, it does not forbid any planning whatsoever. These verses warn against leaving God out of our plans.

Please consider the following who definitely did not follow the pasta plan:

Read the book of Nehemiah carefully. When you do, you will find that this great leader was successful due to the blessings of God. He was also successful because of his “prayer-peration” and his preparation. He did not merely throw something against a wall to see what would stick.

Our Lord did not “throw something against a wall” when it came to carrying out what we often call “The Great Commission.” Luke 24:47 informs us that the plan was to have it “…beginning at Jerusalem.”

As Luke continues his inspired writing in the book of Acts, we learn that Jesus told His apostles, “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Those who are unfamiliar with geography may not be aware of the fact that the plan involved the gospel “emanating” from Jerusalem. 

The Lord had a plan. It was definitely not the pasta plan.

Our last example is pretty comprehensive. We will close this discussion with one passage of scripture and a prayer that all will see that God has a plan for all of mankind and for each of us as individuals.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5)

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Two Professors; Two Education Models; (Possibly) Two Destinies

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I have no idea how many different professors and instructors I had during my four years at Southern Illinois University, but I can only recall the names of two of them. Both of them taught in my major field of study (government) and both had me in more than one class (three for one and two for the other). 

I can still remember making an appointment with one of them to ask if I could use him as a reference in order to get into graduate school. I figured that he would be a good reference since he was reputed to be one of the (if not the) most difficult professor(s) in the department and since I had received an “A” in both of his classes. 

He did not even remember who I was!   

After he looked up my grades, he wrote a perfunctory letter of recommendation. I am sure he did that for many other faceless, nameless people who had occupied a seat in one of his classes.

Years after their college years, our two children have no trouble recalling the names those who taught them at Freed-Hardeman University. It is interesting that, in their conversations, they do not talk about Dr. ________ and Dr. ________.  They were talking about Gary, Billy, Ralph, Sam, Janine, Bobby, John, Karen, Sharon, Earl, David, Roy, and a host of others. They were, to be sure, talking about people who have earned a terminal degree and who had been some of their professors and instructors at FHU. 

At the same time, they were talking about more than instructors. They were talking about people who were, and continue to be in many ways, a part of their lives. While they may have instructed them in different fields of academic studies, they also guided them in their lives and in their goal of honoring our Lord and spending eternity with Him.

During a conversation a few years ago, our children were surprised to learn that I could only think of the two professors I have already mentioned. They reacted as if I was talking about a world entirely foreign to them. 

I was!

I was talking about a world where the Bible was ridiculed, morals meant nothing, partying was the norm for the majority, and faith was all too often destroyed. I am grateful that our children had a much different experience than the one I had. 

As young people and their parents make choices concerning higher education, I pray that they realize that there are things more important than dollars and/or how close an institution is to home. I pray that they think of memories they will have for a lifetime and relationships they will have in eternity.

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Do We Really Understand Commitment

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She had waited for this day for several months. They had been dating for a couple of years and had a serious relationship that they both knew would end in marriage. On this particular night, her months of waiting finally came to an end. After a wonderful dinner, and a walk by the river, he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.  She accepted the beautiful ring and answered with a “yes.”  Did she really know the commitment she was making?

This young man loved the game of basketball. As a freshmen in high school, he tried out for the team and was selected to be one of the ten members of that team. He attended every practice and worked as hard as everyone else on the team, but the coach didn’t use him much in any of the games. It seemed as though the coach just didn’t like this young man, and seemed to take every opportunity to ridicule and poke fun at him. He often rode the bench during the game, even though his team might be many points ahead on the scoreboard. After observing this abuse for several weeks, his parents urged him to quit the team. That young man asked his parents a question: “Aren’t you the people who taught me that once you sign up for something you finish it?” Did he really understand what commitment was all about?

That dream job was finally open. The one he had applied for and had been waiting for–the opportunity of his dreams. He interviewed well and was told the job was his. He had signed his name to a contract at his current job, and the contract still had six more months to go. What would he do with this commitment he had made?

They were close to forty years old and had never had children. Their names had been on adoption lists for several years, but nothing had materialized for them and they were being told that their names were being removed from the lists because of their age. Their preacher was contacted by a member of the church who needed a set of parents for a child being born out of wedlock. Arrangements were made and when that child was born, it went to the home of this couple. After a couple of months of caring for a newborn, the preacher’s wife received a call. The adoptive mother was complaining about how difficult it was to care for a newborn. Their home wasn’t quiet and organized like it had been before. Had they not thought about the commitment they were making?

These and many other scenarios like them all have something to do with commitment.

Commitment. It’s a word we all would say we understand and a word for which we could probably give a definition. But do we truly understand what commitment is all about? More importantly, does our definition of commitment, and our will to be committed to the right things, measure up to what God would have us do?

When I look, even briefly, at some of the people in the Bible I see an understanding of commitment that far exceeds the understanding of commitment today.

Noah committed to the building of a vessel he had had no need for up to this point in his life.

Abraham and Sarai committed to travel to a land they knew nothing about.

Abraham committed to the sacrifice of his son of promise; something he most definitely could not understand.

Ruth, the young Moabite woman, committed to living in a land that was foreign to her because she had committed to the family of her husband.

Esther committed to going before the King on a mission in an effort to save the Jews from annihilation.

Jesus committed to living on this earth to set an example for all of mankind.

Jesus committed to death on the cross, so that I might have a home in heaven.

In all of these brief examples, the commitment was carried out because they were based upon trust. 

How much better would our marriages, our homes, our congregations, our work places, and our lives be if we just truly understood commitment to God and His Word?

Are you committed to your spouse?

Are you committed to rearing godly children?

Are you committed to the church; in particular, your local congregation?

Are you committed to doing your best at work?

Are you committed to letting your light shine before others?

Are you committed to God for life?

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.”  Psalm 37:5

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Laughter

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The late comedian Victor Borge once said that “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” People need to enjoy life. I have often said that one of the greatest lessons having cancer teaches a person is that it is important to rejoice more. Life is a wonderful gift. Too many people are wasting it being negative or unhappy.

Researchers have noted that the average child laughs 150 times a day. The average adult only laughs 15 times a day. We are losing our smiles, and a laugh is really nothing more than a smile that finally bursts.

The presence of laughter improves virtually every situation. I recently read a suggestion from a marriage and family therapist who said that we should tell jokes at the dinner table to our family members. First, of course, we need to sit down long enough to actually enjoy being with our family. Once we do that, some night allow each family member to bring 5 jokes with them to the table on a piece of paper. Then take turns telling them. See if you enjoy your supper time more.

Laughter also blesses mankind with inner peace. Actor Alan Alda once said that “When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other.” It takes a willing heart to open up enough with another person so as to laugh with them. Laughter builds relationships. It rewards with memories. It is positive reinforcement. It reminds us that life is great!

The Bible pictures the Son of God as one who was full of joy. Children do not flock to grumpy people. As Jesus took the young people into his arms, I believe there were wonderful smiles and amazing laughter. It was the most natural thing for our Savior to rejoice. He loved people. He enjoyed being with them. He experienced every emotion a man could experience. The people who are the closest to God are those who are the happiest. How close was Jesus to the Father? His closeness must have made him a man who usually wore a smile.

The promise Jesus gives the faithful servant at the end of time is “…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Heaven is going to be a place where laughter abounds. There will be nothing to prohibit eternal rejoicing there. Laughter, then, is a momentary taste of divine blessings. It is a prelude to a greater time when we will all be in the presence of God.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” ~ Philippians 4:4

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Episode 35 : Five Devotional Ideas for Busy Families [Podcast]

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Many families feel as if they need to have family devotionals, but are so busy. Others feel as if they lack creativity to come up with ideas for family devotionals. In this episode of the podcast, Adam is joined by five busy moms–Erin Wells, Rebecca Stewart, Connie Rader, Kathy Pollard, and Amber Tatum–who share simple and valuable family devotional ideas that any busy family can do.

LOFpodcast

RESOURCES

Kaio Publications’ “Family Devotional” Object Lessons

[Video] Rebecca Stewart’s son singing “This is My Father’s World” (Facebook)

“Life and Favor” (Kathy Pollard’s blog)

“Training for Worship” devotional ideas [pdf]

[Blog post] “8 Tips for Family Devotionals

More from A Legacy of Faith

To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free (and get a free eBook) click here.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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Visit the show archives

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

3 Ways a Wife Can Strengthen Her Marriage

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Here at A Legacy of Faith, we are dedicated to strengthening marriages. We are saddened by the weakened state of the family, but we believe there is hope. There is hope for strong, committed marriages. There is hope for thriving families built on the kind of faith that is passed on for generations. Today’s post is for any woman who would like a stronger marriage. Let me share three things that a wife can and must do to strengthen her marriage.

  1. Respect your husband. Ephesians 5:33 says, “…let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Our husbands need respect. Moreover, husbands don’t have to earn the respect any more than a wife has to earn her husband’s love. As wives, we expect our husbands to love us even at our worst. If he ever told us, “I’ll love you when you earn my love,” we would be crushed. How many wives, though, think that we’ll respect our husband only when he does something worthy of respect? Respect should be offered freely because of who he is – your husband. He will love you better. (Although, that is not the reason we ought to give the respect.) Even if he doesn’t love you better, you still need to give him respect because he is the man you made a covenant with. He is the man you agreed to love and honor above all other men. That should mean something!
  2. Don’t belittle your husband. Sometimes wives think that complaining, making fun of, and talking negatively about their husbands is just the thing to do – especially around other women. On the Building Godly Family video series, our brother in Christ, Steve Higginbotham, made a very radical challenge to married folks. He said that he and his wife had made an agreement to never speak negatively about each other. Can you imagine that? Imagine never making a sly remark about what your husband does or doesn’t do around the house. Imagine never joining in with the girls when they start talking about how clueless their husbands are. Every time we belittle our husbands we are taking away a part of him. If we have an issue with our husband, we ought to discuss it with him (in a respectful manner). If the issue isn’t resolved, there is still no benefit to our marriage to talk about it to other people. Truly, belittling your husband is just a way of making ourselves look a little better than him when we are around other people. Never belittle him and when someone makes a snarky remark about him or any other husband, respond with a positive remark. That will stop the “husbands-aren’t-worth-anything” bandwagon in its tracks!
  3. Honor marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all…” Marriage is an honorable institution, but you would not know that by listening to society. Sadly, you wouldn’t even know that by listening to some Christians. It just seems that there are so many jokes and negative comments about marriage in general. We have all heard about the “ball and chain.” We have all heard about “having fun before you are tied down.” Frankly, some people make it seem as though your life is over once you are married. How sad! The Bible teaches that it is honorable to be married. Everything that comes with marriage is honorable – the sexual relationship, the children that follow, the years of commitment ahead.  We should not only honor our own marriage, but we should honor other marriages. If more women had a “hands off” attitude about other women’s husbands, marriage would not be in the sad state of rampant divorce that is today! Marriage as an institutional whole and individual marriages should be held in “honor among all.”

We can have stronger marriages. Implementing these three simple, albeit hard behaviors will help us to strengthen our own marriages and also strengthen the marriages of others.

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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

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An Adopted Treasure

Her birthday is Wednesday. It doesn’t seem possible, but she will be ten years old. It is not true that she has been a part of our family for a decade. She’s been a part of our family and our hearts since we first learned that there would be an addition to our family. 

I’m sure that is the case with most families. As soon as it is discovered that a child will be born, the love already starts. There are months of prayer and preparation. Both anticipation and excitement build.

However, it was not quite that way with her. Unlike most families, we only found out that she would be our granddaughter seven weeks before she was born. One Friday night, we learned about two unmarried people who were about to have their third child. They literally could not afford to take care of this child. Our oldest granddaughter was born a mere seven weeks from that evening. As she made her grand entrance into this world, she was handed to our daughter-in-law who was in an adjacent room. She has been “ours” ever since. 

Her daddy (our son) got it exactly right recently when we were able to hear him preach. She cried, he choked up, and Grammy and Grampy tried to wipe away the tears when he referred to her as “our adopted treasure.”

She is, indeed, that–and so much more–to us.

We have five grandchildren. Each one of them is special to us in his or her own unique way. I am not writing these words in order to leave the impression that our adopted treasure is more special to us than any of the others. Each of them is a treasure. She is the only one who happens to be adopted. 

The reason I’m writing these words is to try to help all of us (including me) get some semblance of a grasp on how important we are to God. You see, our son and daughter-in-law had to make some serious decisions in order to provide a home for an infant who really had nothing to “bring to the table.” 

Sacrifices were made in terms of time, energy, and financial resources. Our granddaughter is a part of our family because of their selfless demonstration of the kind of love we may read about in the Bible, but may rarely see “in real life.”

In a somewhat (but much more significant) way, my Father decided that my salvation was worth the ultimate sacrifice. He was/is willing to provide a home and identity for me, even though I had/have nothing to “bring to the table.” As the song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”

I will never fully understand God’s love for me. I can, however, be eternally grateful for the purpose of our Lord’s mission.  Paul was inspired to write that He came

…to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God (Gal. 4:5-7).

Even though he made me cry, I’m glad that our son used the expression our adopted treasure when talking about his daughter. I’m praying that my Father looks at me in the same way.

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Episode 34 : A Short Social Media Reminder for Parents [Podcast]

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Social media is everywhere. It is part of almost all our lives, whether we want it to be or not. From news reporters telling us to “tweet in” updates to virtually every business asking us to “like us” on Facebook, it is all around us.

However, social media can teach our children some things that need to be discussed. This week, Adam comes to you with a solo program and shares some thoughts on social media. This shorter episode is based upon this article, which shares some talking points parents need to have with their kids about social media.

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RESOURCE

What Social Media is Offering Our Kids (And What to Do About It)” [We are THAT Family]

More from A Legacy of Faith

To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free (and get a free eBook) click here.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Subscribe via rss

Find us on Stitcher Radio

Visit the show archives

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward