Friday, April 22, 2011

Growing Humans God's Way

God is our Father. So, Easter is the day which shows us the ultimate truth of how God parents us. Therefore, it should show us how we are to parent our own kids. And, this is an exciting thing! We all wanna know how to be better parents, don't we? And, the cross is the perfect example to us. It's better than any child-rearing book out there!!!

What did Jesus do on the cross? What was its end result? LIFE. Eternal life for God's children. Therefore, makes sense that if you want your own children to find LIFE you need to follow His example. Some child-rearing books offer you as your prize for your parenting, "the baby will sleep"...but God's way of parenting offers your child abundant LIFE!
What kind of parent was God?

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For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

God looked into the darkness that the world was living in, and saw that mankind was helpless…sort of like a human baby at night lying helpless and alone in a dark room in a crib. And, He didn't decide to leave us to "handle it on our own". He didn't ignore our cries to train us to ignore our discomfort and "tune it out" and "go to sleep".

And, He didn't put His relationship with the godhead above the relationship with us. He didn't consider His own relationship as MORE important than the one He has with us.

Philippians 2:5-7
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

What about the fellowship of the godhead? Some child-rearing manuals warn parents against allowing too much focus to be on the child. But, what about Jesus coming here to earth? This almost sounds like "the baby" got between them? There is a popular book that will tell you the most precious relationship that's to be guarded above all the parental relationship. That it is dangerous to let the child get "in between" the parents. But, is that true? Was that true for the godhead?

Jesus didn't just spend the night for a few months or years sleeping with the baby between Him and the Father…no…Jesus spent 33 years "sleeping with the baby". And, God looked at what Jesus was doing and was PLEASED. And, Jesus said He only does what He sees the Father doing.

Every minute of every day God is with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. That popular book would tell you that to parent that way makes you "child-centered"...but it would appear that that is exactly what God is...and His parenting does not produce egomaniacs who do not care for others! His "child-centered" parenting produces LIFE and fills us with LOVE!

And, what if Jesus and the Father would block off certain times a day that they were impenetrable and inaccessible because they were having "alone time?" Or, what if for 8 hours a day, during the darkest parts of our lives (like babies at night) the godhead would not respond to us as they enjoyed each other? Would we look on them and feel "wow" and comforted by their "strength" as a couple? Or, would we feel left out and alienated?

What if we overheard Jesus sighing, "Oh GOD! I neeeed a break from them! They pray and pray and they pray! At 3am sometimes they're praying about the lamest stuff! I just wish they'd LEAVE ME ALONE SOMETIMES! UGH!!!" and then hear Jesus all giddy and excited about going out "without us" for the He could have some quality "Me time" without us!!!!!

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What did God do when He heard helpless mankind crying out from the darkness?

God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.

So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 26
And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;
So the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
The people cried out and the Lord did not leave them alone to handle it themselves but He responded to His children according to their cry and not according to a schedule...and stepped in and saved them from their pain. God had empathy for His children!

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Human parents seem to have one prime objective when they have a new baby: to get that child to SLEEP! How does God look at that? Does He want us "awake" or does He do everything in His power to get us to "sleep"…so that we won't bother Him?

Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

Laziness casts into a deep sleep,And an idle man will suffer hunger.

"Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep."

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?

and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation."

[ Be Ready for His Coming ] "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

" Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

"Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.

Mark 13:34" It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.

"Therefore, be on the alert--for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning--

"What I say to you I say to all, ' Be on the alert!'"

"Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

"But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

"Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

Human parents do not like to have their lives disrupted. But, God wants His children to be "on the alert". Why?

1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

What about our vulnerable babies alone in the dark? Wouldn't it be a good idea for human parents to remember this verse at 3am with regard to their helpless baby? God is alert and by our sides at 3am.

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps...

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What about God's "routines"? What about His "plans"? Does God change His plans for us based on our cues and needs and wants?

Exodus 32:14
(When God found the Israelites worshiping the golden calf He decided what to do about it.)
"They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.
"Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation." Then Moses entreated the LORD his God So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

"Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves."

The LORD changed His mind about this."It shall not be," said the LORD.

What? Did God make a decision and then give His kids "their own way"? Isn't that supposed to turn children into egomaniacs when they grow up?! Funny, how God giving Moses his own way did not turn Moses into some self-centered monster...That's how God parented Moses.

There is a child-rearing manual which even refer to their program as an "infant management" system. Imagine! But, the Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is...there is LIBERTY. There is freedom to being able to "roll with the punches" and deal with your relationship with your child according to what happens in your daily life...

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What about being "friends" (a synonym for the word "buddy") with our children? Isn't that bad? That's what some books will warn you of...but what does the Bible say?

"I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do."

John 15:15
"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

Jesus calls us His friends. We are His children…but He calls us His friends. 

And, this concept was important enough for Jesus to bring it up. It was important enough for Him to tell us. Which, I imagine why it is a central focus of the type of teaching about parenting that results in children with "Reactive Attachment Disorder"...children who are characterized by a lack of expressiveness, eye contact, and often have an "empty" look in their eyes...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..."

Someone does not want you to understand this. Treating your child purposely in a way so as to NOT be their friend steals, kills, and destroys an important biological process that is supposed to lead to life, joy, and peace.

The rest of that verse says that Jesus came to give us LIFE ABUNDANTLY! Someone wants to rob us of that and so does not want us to understand that we are to be our children's friends.

If you understand that:
God is our Father

we are His children
He is our best friend
God is our example as to how to parent
God never leaves us or forsakes us
God never separates us from Himself
His "life" is for us
His life is focused on us
He was willing to give up all of "His" fellowship to come to us 
He was willing to sacrifice His everything...for us!

If you understand that relationship we have with will not parent the way most Westernized culture people do. 

Easter is the day we see what true godly parenting looks like...and there is FREEDOM and joy and peace and all that in parenting like Jesus!!!

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

We are His friends. He has laid down His life for us and has given us not self-centered attitudes as a result of it! His laying down HIS life for us has given us LIFE through it. Jesus knows that. And, that it was what motivated Him to endure the cross..."for the joy set before Him." The life His sacrifice was going to give us was the joy that motivated His sacrifice.

What motivates the Westernized mom as she lies in bed with her baby monitor off while her child cries in the dark alone?

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If you have listened to teaching or read a book which focuses on separating you and your children…you have been misled.

Remember what hell is? It is PERMANENT separation from God. It is why babies cry when you leave them alone in their cribs because for them it is a little taste of hell.

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.

No two friends could be more intimate than a human mother and her baby.

We are God's friends.

We sing that praise, "I am a friend of God He calls me FRIEND!"

If you are growing your kids God's way…your children should desire to be in your presence…should feel joy in your presence…and they should feel like singing, "I am a friend of my parents they call me FRIEND!"

Volumes of studies have been conducted that all conclude that parenting the way Westernized culture people separating mom and baby and following first and foremost a "routine" and not the cues of your child...result in pathology in the human brain.  

The human baby brain will have to "adapt". They will "survive" your parenting but not "thrive". They will grow up and be hyperactive...naughty...angry...have OCD's and addictions...they will have health issues...they will struggle with their relationships...parenting UNLIKE God results in the opposite of an abundant life...Just look at the US? The most violent country in the world...with the most medicated children...most medicated adults...and a 50% divorce rate. And, this is all because they took Bibles out of schools? I don't think so. It is sadly, MAINLY people who read their Bibles who do not parent as God does...all in the name of God...

This weekend as you consider the picture of Jesus on the cross for His children...THAT is your example of how to parent... It's never too late to change...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Missing the obvious answers

I had an experience with my son's school that I think describes a lot of our problems in life...and I wanna share...

As you can see the task in the page is to make your way thru this maze to be figuring out how much spit we make in a day.
My 9-year old son thought it was about a cup. I thought he was probably right. And, so, he proceeded to try to make his way thru the maze to the "1 cup" answer. And, it just wasn't working!

I got into it then. So, I was tracing paths from the "start" with different colored lines to try to get to the "1 cup" answer. You can see how many paths we tried to go thru. We covered like pretty much almost all of the maze!!!

And, THEN you can see I tried going BACKWARDS from the "1 cup" answer to the beginning.

No matter what I could not get it to the answer!!!

I am thinking, "There is something wrong with this maze! Maybe it's a defective page!"

THEN I saw it! Just RIGHT NEXT TO THE BEGINNING...was the obvious answer...the "exit" to the maze...right there...right almost next to the start! Navigating thru the maze wasn't even necessary to get to the answer!!! But, the answer was not the answer either one of us expected...the answer was the answer we were not looking for so we didn't even see it...even though it was obvious!!!

And, so, how often does that happen in life?

We groan and suffer struggling thru the maze trying to get to the answer to something in our lives...but because we've presumed an answer...we miss the obvious "out" of the maze...

Just a thought...worth thinking about...

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