A Stranger Taken In, Part II
This week’s story is the continuation of a previous story that I’ve shared entitled “A Stranger Taken In”. A few weeks ago my sister walked into Wednesday night church with a homeless gentleman named Ricky. At church, we were able to get Ricky some clothes, some food, and he even came to the church service.
A couple weeks later, after Sunday morning service, our family decided to go to a near by Wendy’s for lunch, something we rarely do. When my sister walked in, lo and behold, she just happened to have Ricky with her once again. So, we bought his lunch and all sat down to eat. After our meal, Ricky began telling us something amazing. He explained that just a few day before we first met him, he had desperately asked The Lord to bring a change in his life, that he was tired of his ways and wanted to start doing things God’s way. Then, we showed up in his life one Wednesday night! Ever since then, he had spent all his spare time reading the Bible in his tent. This man was beginning to blossom!
Listen to this week’s segment to hear the rest of the story of how God answers Ricky, the homeless man’s prayer.
A Third Generation Missionary
When asked why she became a missionary, Esther Marsh said there were two things her missionary parents did….1)they lived what they believed and 2) they involved their children in their ministry.
For more information about the Marsh family, go to www.gospel2africa.org
Honor Your Father and Mother and Your Children
God says in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother…” Many years ago my sons, ages five and seven said, “We celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” God said, “Honor your fathers and your mothers.” Why didn’t he say, “Honor your children?” So today, I’m starting with 7 ways you can honor and affirm your children. Expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it’s important. Here is a checklist which gives you 7 ways to affirm your children:
Hug your kids every day. Hugs build bonds and foster a sense of security and comfort. Research says there are health benefits to hugs too! If you don’t live with your kids full-time, make sure they get hugs every time you see them.
Say “I love you” every day. Sure, your kids know, hopefully, you love them. You demonstrate it every day by what you do for them. But hearing the words makes a difference. Say it when you praise them or after disciplining them; but say it! And say it often!
Compliment your kids at least three times each week. Think of three things to complement each child on. Maybe it’s their appearance, improvement in a certain area, their interaction with a sibling or praising a character trait they demonstrate.
Ask your kids one way you can improve as a parent. They’ll appreciate you valuing their opinion and you’ll set an example of humility. Then, if the suggestion is accurate, act on their feedback.
Say “thanks” often even in the busyness of juggling the family’s schedule and daily needs. Find things to say thanks to your kids. Thank them for doing their chores, sharing with their siblings or just being awesome in general.
Show excitement to see your kids when you come home. Make coming home a big deal. Intentionally greet your kids. Seeing them is the highlight of your day – show it!
Surprise them. Do something nice or give them a gift/treat. You don’t have to wait for birthdays or special occasions to surprise your kids. It doesn’t have to be pricey. Pick up ice cream for dessert or leave a funny note on their bed.
For more ways to affirm you children, click on the following links:
101 Words of Affirmation Every Child Wants to Hear
Listen to these 2-minute podcasts to review the 7 ways you can affirm your child:
Affirm Your Child – Part One Affirm Your child – Part Two
Now let’s focus on the commandment “to honor our fathers and our mothers.” When I hear this commandment, I always think of a story with the title, The Wooden Bowl. What does this story tell us about honoring our fathers and our mothers?
THE WOODEN BOWL
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about father,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
Honor your father and your mother and your children by remembering that Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12
In my last post I wrote about what I believe is the greatest fear for most of us. In this post, I’ll talk about the antidote to that poison.
In Fear Part 1: The Greatest Fear, I shared that I believe the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown, or uncertainty. I believe that we have an antidote to this fear: our faith in God.
Hebrews 11:1 says this:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
When we’re dealing with the unknown and with uncertainty, we still have certainty in our faith: our faith in God, our faith in ourselves, and our faith in our friends and family.
I experienced some of this uncertainty and the antidote faith can be when I first considered doing the Coach’s Corner radio spot on Mission Magazine Radio (which then grew into this blog). I didn’t know if I had the time or competence to do something so new. I wondered what people would think. I had a lot of uncertainty around this project, but my faith acted as an antidote. I believed that God wanted me to try it. I had faith that even if I failed, I’d be fine. God is God and my friends would still be my friends. My faith reduced my anxiety around this opportunity.
A friend of mine also recently experienced how faith can act as an antidote to fear. She was facing some medical issues and was afraid that she might have a very serious medical condition. The uncertainty of it was causing her a lot of deep anxiety. After some very good time of listening to her concerns and anxiety, I asked,
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
I ask this question often in coaching because I believe that a problem named is a problem tamed. Every time I ask this, whether in a coaching session or not, I can sense anxiety fading away, taking the wind out of the sails of fear. My friend said that the worst thing that could happen in that situation was that she might die and not be able to invest heavily in her grandchildren’s growth. I asked if she could handle that. She replied that she would hate it, but could handle it because God is God, and God is good. She knew she was in God’s hands. Her faith in God blew away the wind of anxiety and uncertainty.
I received two messages recently that related to the topic or fear, worry, and faith. One came from a friend of mine, a pastor in Miami. He periodically sends texts to his flock and his friends. His text for me that day was titled: “The answer to your worrying—Philippians 4:6,19.” Take a minute to read Philippians 4:6 and Philippians 4:19. Thank you, Newton, for that timely message.
The other text I received was from a friend who heard the Fear Part 1 radio show and offered this quote for the Fear Part 2: The Antidote to Fear radio show:
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.
How cool is that? Thank you friend, for that message.
Chuck Swindoll says that the most common message in the Bible is “fear not.” I believe him, because it seems to be everywhere in the Word. I believe our level of faith determines our level of anxiety and fear. Feed our faith and starve our fear. I like that!
My experience with God is that when I do take the time and effort to feed my faith, God leads me to unexpected places. If I find myself fearing for my job and I choose instead to feed my faith—in God, in my friends and family—I become secure, whether or not my job is secure. Maybe God will allow this terrible thing that I fear to happen to me, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My faith takes away my worry and my need to control the outcome.
What a huge blessing this is! I suspect Paul felt this when he was in chains in prison. He showed a joy that couldn’t be taken away and a peace that passes all understanding.Imagine how rich life would be if we had no fear, and how much we could accomplish!
In part 3 of this series, I’ll write about why this antidote so often escapes us and why fear so easily gets a grip on us. I’ll also write about courage and the role it plays in all of this.Until then, feed your faith and watch it grow. Watch it starve your fear to death!