"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We are family

Protection: the act of protecting or the state of being protected; preservation from injury or harm.

Over the past four weeks our pastor, Ken Murphy, at Cypress Wesleyan Church has been leading us in a series entitled "The Cleavers vs. the Kardashians" that outlines the dynamics and differences in family life across our country. He shared with us through his research and prayerful consideration what he believes that will, and can, make a difference in each of our families. The simple answer is that God makes the difference, the only true difference... the ultimate difference, in families lives.

I have been married when God hasn't been present in our relationship and I have been married with God being present, and I must say unequivocally that it is better with God as the foundation of our relationship than without.

Like I said, the message is that God makes a difference.

This is a great message, but that would be a short sermon. There is more that I would like to share with you if you don't mind that our pastor shared with us, the congregation, this morning.

For those keeping score at home Pastor Ken delved into the topic of "blended families" and the fact that they are the biggest representation of American family life in our country today during week one. He also covered during week one the "single parent family" life and how that being a single mother is the most difficult responsibility and job in America today. I couldn't agree more. The second week of series on family life he visited the ever popular topic of "husband & wife". The point that was paramount last week was that the married life is the life that is centered on sacrifice. In the end, love cannot be present nor operate without sacrifice.

And this morning we learned a few Biblical principles concerning the ever challenging dynamic, and responsibility, we call "parenting".

But before I share some of the notes that I took this morning I always like to hear from other dignitaries and scholars on certain topics.

Today is no different.

Below are some quotes I came across concerning parenting. I must say that I found them amusing and very truthful.

Allow me to share.

William Tammeus wrote: "You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back."  

The legendary Phyllis Diller, who is neither a scholar nor a dignitary, poignantly suggested that "it would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge."

I wholeheartedly agree.

And finally Elizabeth Stone reminded us that "making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." 

I have to admit that each person's words are very touching and very true.

As pastor Ken said this morning "parenting is more art than science."

So with that lets try to discover the art, understand the science and increase our faith in what God shares with us in his word concerning the greatest challenge and greatest reward in one's life; the challenge and reward of being a parent and raising our children.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 states:

 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts."

The principle here is that you can't teach what you don't know. Parents do right when they know right. It's very difficult to know right when all we trust and depend on is how we were, or were not, raised and what we believe to be the best way to bring up our children. Every parent needs help because often we can be very inconsistent, and hypocritical, individuals. God's word and direction is never hypocritical or inconsistent. Never. In the end more will be caught than taught when it comes to our children. If we don't know God chances are they will not know him either during their childhood. Parents that accept God into your lives increase their child's chances of knowing the Almighty at a young age. It will change the dynamics of your family for the better for a lifetime... it really will. Remember, you are not losing anything by accepting Christ into your heart; you're actually gaining everything. Love God with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 6:7 shares with us:

"Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

The second principle is to raise our children in a way that they will learn to relate God's word (truth) to daily living and invite him into their daily lives. God truly loves us, and our children, and he wants the best for them, as well as, us. He created us... either you believe that truth or you don't. The primary responsibility that falls upon a parent is to raise their children with the knowledge of God. I know that is a very powerful statement and it is not my intention to offend anyone. I just believe it to be true. I also believe that in order to raise our children the correct way we must be willing to discipline our children, not punish them. Discipline is about the child; punishment is about the parent. Discipline helps the child; punishment hurts the child. Finally, Proverbs 22:6 commands us to "teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older they will remain upon it." Within that command there is a promise; if we raise them with the knowledge of God that even if they stray they will back. I'm living proof of that. With every command in God's word there is a promise. Either you believe that or you don't.

Deuteronomy 6:8-9 brings home the final point:

"Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates."

The third principle shines light on the fact that we are to teach our children the right way. Even though we raise our children by the way we behave on a daily basis we still need to be committed to "teaching" our children the correct biblical principles that will aid them, and protect, them as they grow older. One of the biggest things we have to teach our children is self control. Proverbs 5:23 states; "He will die for a lack of self control; he will be lost because of his incredible folly." We owe it to our children to reinforce the importance of self discipline, self control and the value in making good decisions. Remember, children are wet clay; it's up to us to "aid" in shaping their future and their destiny. In the end, we as parents, teach our children how to live, how to think and how to process life. And as we teach them our main goal should be to teach, and discipline, in a way that creates loving boundaries that are designed to help, and aid, our children soar. Our discipline, not punishment, as parents must not be an event; it must be a way of life.

Being a parent is a big deal and it is something we will do the rest of our lives once we are blessed with children. 

We never really stop being parents.

We as parents have five different stages of parenting that we have to accept and adapt to; they are the birth stage, the terrible two stage, the childhood stage, the teen stage and the adult stage.

  • The birth stage is relational based. Our children depend on us for their very existence
  • At "two" we begin to set into motion and teach our children the difference between right and wrong.
  • During the childhood stage we begin to teach how to process life.
  • When our children begin to enter their teenage years our main focus should be on developing a "safe zone" of responsibility and privilege.
  • If we are fortunate and blessed our children will become adults. I say that because tomorrow is never promised and far too many parents have suffered the unthinkable and unbearable circumstance of losing a child. My dad has always said that it is not the nature progression of things to bury your own. I agree. The biggest things we can do for our adult children is to:
    • Pray for them... be their biggest supporter through prayer.
    • Be their sounding board. Everyone a favor and listen more than you talk.
    • Become their biggest cheerleader. Everyone needs a fan or two... our children are no different.

We are family... Reese wasn't here yet!

Finally, inside the front cover of my Bible these words are written:

"The health of my family starts with me"

"My children, my plan"
  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Father first so I can be a friend later.
  • Pray with them & pray over them... give "them" to God.

 "Knowledge is the knowing; discipline is the doing."

Those words were written sometime ago, but are still very relevant today. 

As a parent, and the leader of my family, the health of my clan does start, and end, with me. I wish I knew, and understood, that with my earlier family and wife. I really do. Too many people become hurt and disappointed when the man of the house doesn't realize this truth. The collateral damage in this type of situation is an enormous.

Secondly, raise them the right way, be a father before being a friend and pray with them, and over them, for a lifetime. 

And finally, knowing isn't enough. Knowledge is only part of the equation. We as parents, and as people, need to put into motion what we know is right. When we as people do right we get right; when we do bad we get bad.

It's really that simple.

But hey, don't listen to me, before I had children I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.

Well, actually one theory.

God please protect these children and bless me, and my wife, with the common sense to raise them right. 

sbb 20.2.11

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