Archive for July, 2011
Have you grown lazy in monitoring your kids media intake?
“Why was my burden so heavy?” I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered. I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence.
“Oh God,” I cried, “let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!”
With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me.
Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: The figure of a man standing before a cross.
“My child,” the person asked, “why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?”
“Lord, I’m sorry. It’s just that… I can’t go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can’t carry it anymore.”
“But haven’t I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
“I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?”
“My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would like to
try a different one?”
“I can do that?”
He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. “You may try any of these.”
All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled with a name.
“There’s Joan’s,” I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman. She lived in a sprawling estate and dresssed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when
my car was broken.
“Let me try that one.” How difficult could her burden be? I thought.
The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan’s on my shoulders. I sank my knees beneath its weight. “Take it off!” I said. “”What makes it so heavy?”
I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak.
“Joan, you’ll never be good enough for my son,” it began. “He never should have married you. You’re a terrrible mother to my grandchildren…”
I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan’s youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was Joan’s brother.
Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer.
“I see why her burden is so heavy, Lord. But she’s always smiling and
helping others. I didn’t realize….”
“Would you like to try another?” He asked quietly.
I tested several. Paula’s felt heavy: She was raising four small boys without a father. Debra’s did too: A childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse. When I Came to Ruth’s burden, I didn’t even
try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home.
“They’re all too heavy, Lord” I said. “”Give back my own.”
As I lifted the familiar load once again, It seemed much lighter than the others.
“Lets look inside” He said.
I turned away, holding it close. “That’s not a good idea,” I said.
“There’s a lot of junk in there.”
“Let Me see.”
The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden.
He pulled out a brick.
“Tell me about this one.”
“Lord, You know. It’s money. I know we don’t suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can’t always take them to the doctor. They’ve never been to a dentist. And I’m tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs.”
“My child, I will supply all of your needs… and your children’s. I’ve given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn’t make a person valuable in My sight.”
Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. “And this?” He asked.
“Andrew…” I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. “But, Lord, he’s hyperactive. He’s not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He’s always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him….”
“My child,” He said, “If you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience.”
Then He took some pebbles from my burden.
“Yes, Lord,” I said with a sigh. “Those are small. But they’re important. I hate my hair. It’s thin, and I can’t make it look nice. I can’t afford to go to the beauty shop. I’m overweight and can’t stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!”
“My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight. But your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight.”
My burden now seemed lighter than before.
“I guess I can handle it now” I said.
“There is more,” He said. “Hand Me that last brick.”
“Oh, You don’t have to take that. I can handle it.”
“My child, give it to Me.” Again His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly wound.
“But, Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so…..Lord! What happened to Your hands? They’re so scarred!”
No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars-as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh.
“Lord,” I whispered. “What happened to You?”
His loving eyes reached into my soul.
“My child, you know. Hand Me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it.”
“With My blood.”
“But why, Lord?”
“Because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me.”
I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the cross and hurled my brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple.
“Now, My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now.”
“Yes, Lord, I will call on You.”
I reached to pick up my burden.
“You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan’s, Paula’s, Debra’s, Ruth’s….. When you leave your burden here, I carry it with you. Remember, My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
A peace flooded my soul.
Because of this, I’ve compiled a list of my own personal suggestions for consideration. While I am not specifically ‘endorsing’ these products as “the one to buy” in each area, these are all resources I am familiar with and have used in the past. They are good books or resources and are excellent for kids and families.
So, without further ado, for your consideration, I present my list of recommended resources!
Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations. The Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way. With hundreds of fun, memorable activities (A Do-It activity in EVERY feature!) and the full New Living Translation text, the Hands-On Bible is packed with activities and experiences that invite kids to crawl inside the Scriptures and “do” God’s Word! New Living Translation (NLT) Recommended for Elementary aged kids
A unique devotional Bible designed to encourage parent-child interaction, My First Message introduces children to God’s Word through the best-selling Message Bible text, lively illustrations, short lessons and a format that considers a small attention span. Recommend for preschool aged kids
You’ve had those moments in parenting: a golden opportunity that just seemed perfect to teach your child something spiritually significant. Weidmann and Hering invite you to discover how simple and natural it can be to recognize those everyday experiences and show you how to turn them into lasting impressions your child will carry into the future.
The Family Reading Bible is designed to help parents use the Bible itself as their family devotional tool to engage and understand the Bible together as a family. A reading system with three easy-to-use tracks allows parents to accommodate children of various ages and stages. Readings of manageable length along with age-appropriate, engaging questions will encourage and maintain your kids’ interest in God’s Word.
The Family Reading Bible is the perfect tool for parents in their role as the spiritual leaders of their home.
Our responses to “sticky situations” can get us into trouble or glorify God. What should I do when my best friend cheats on a test? How about when Sarah asks me to lie to her parents? Together, parents and kids can discuss a year’s worth of realistic Sticky Situations!
Get your family into the Gabbit habit and grow closer to each other and to God! Building a strong Christian family is easy with this handy electronic game. Just choose from hundreds of stimulating questions, push the button, and let the lively conversations about God, faith, and life begin! Great for dinnertime, bedtime, long car trips, and more.
Hybels’s classic guidebook on prayer has reached a milestone—20 years of helping Christians draw near to God! Using the ACTS formula (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication), this updated edition offers Hybels’s time-tested advice and insights, plus a new introduction and a chapter on prayer and justice.
Stormie Omartian revisits her bestselling book for parents—now with a new cover—by adding new material and the wisdom gleaned from even more years of being a mom. In 30 easy-to-read chapters, Stormie shares from personal experience as to how parents can pray for their children’s safety, character, adolescence, peer pressure, school experiences, friends, and relationship with God. Now adults, Stormie’s grown-up children also reflect on the way their praying parents raised them—and what a difference it made.
A prayer saturated kid is one who is prayed for, prayed with, and taught to pray. Prayer saturated kids change the world and the people around them. No matter what your role is with kids and teens, you can intercede to God for the next generation. Each chapter in Prayer Saturated Kids offers inspiration, instruction, and insight on a different aspect of how prayer can impact the children in your life. At the end of the book are study questions that make this book adaptable as a study course for individuals, couples, small groups, and homeschooling families
Because a husband and wife often have different communication styles, it is common for a spouse to not feel or recognize the love given to them. In his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Chapman identifies and explains five unique communication methods.
The title expresses a radical thought for today’s marriages! Chapter by chapter, discover how marriage works to develop Christlike character – forgiveness, love, respect, perseverance – in each of you. This book will enrich your marriage in unexpected ways.
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs, is based on the biblical passage from Ephesians 5:33. His premise is that communication between a husband and wife is often frustrated because of the vastly different ways in which men and women perceive love. Women are wired to need unconditional love and men need to feel unconditionally respected.