“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Parents, if we want our teens to emulate the character traits reflected in this verse, we need to live them out at home. Focus on the Family has some insights on some of those traits:
As parents, let’s make our wrongs right by saying, “I’m sorry.” Our sons and daughters will more easily forgive others when they’ve experienced forgiveness at home.
Teens need to hear us say, “Thank you,” Especially thank them if they choose to confide in you about their secrets and struggles
When you do give advice, talk about how to handle temptation. Tell them you trust them to make wise choices.
Preach the Gospel
Encourage your teen to live a life that emulates the faith, hope and love of Christ so anyone who’s watching will be attracted to Jesus.
Whenever issues arise try to remember that God’s unconditional love for us isn’t based on our behavior. There ARE times when strict discipline is needed. But there are also times our kids desperately need grace. The Bible says mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
If we show our teens compassion, they learn to be compassionate. When people are hurting, they need a safe place and understanding — not judgment. Inspire your teens to be that place for someone in need.
In a me-focused world, we need to challenge our youth to see beyond themselves. Our Christ-like examples are the most powerful influence to persuade our teens to be Christ’s disciples. We can equip our teens to offer the world something better — something of eternal value.
Rangers lost again. It’s now to the point that we look for the fun wherever we can in baseball. Like the “intentional walk”. What is that? You can’t find a more defeatist attitude anywhere in sports. Does Football have the intentional dropped pass? Is there a “I meant to miss” free throw in basketball? But in baseball, we have, “Well I doubt we could get this guy out…might as well let him have first base…” What is Eeyore pitching? So they intentionally throw the ball way outside 4 times and let the guy walk to first. If it was me I’d at least have fun with it and throw it way over the catcher’s head. Or throw it AT the guy. Or roll it in. “Intentional walk”. Sheesh...
I will always treasure the memory of my daughter Kristin when she a 2-year-old hearing us talk about being Christians. She shouted, excitedly, “I’m a Christian!” We thought it was because of her name. But, I believe God had a hand on her from that early time in her life. Well, Max Lucado shares a similar memory: He writes in “When God Whispers Your Name,” “When my daughter Jenna was six years old, I discovered her standing in front of a full-length mirror looking down her throat. I asked her what she was doing and she answered, “I’m looking to see if God is in my heart.” I chuckled and turned. Then I overheard her ask Him, “Are you in there?” She was asking the right question. “Are you in there?” It wasn’t enough for you to appear in a bush or dwell in the temple? It wasn’t enough for you to become human flesh and walk on the earth? You had to go further? You had to take up residence in us? Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (I Corinthians 6:19). Perhaps you didn’t. If not, thanks for letting me remind you. The world says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find God.
From Kristin’s certainty that she was a child of God (she accepted Christ at age 4) to Jenna’s curiosity whether God lived in her heart, we can learn from the innocence of a child. The boldness, the excitement, the curiosity to ask the right question. To seek God and fall into his arms and make your heart his home.
David Martin admits his excuse for not sharing the Gospel with individuals one-on-one used to be because he was an introvert and it was not his “wiring” to engage with strangers. However, he reached a point in his life where he realized he had a “gospel integrity gap” which prompted him to begin spreading God’s message in an unconventional way.
The San Antonio native started going to a waiting room at Methodist Hospital, once a month, at 6:30 a.m., armed with a jug of Starbucks coffee in one hand and healthy dose of fear in the other.” He’d nervously ask those waiting, as their loved ones underwent life-threatening surgeries, if they wanted coffee.” During his visits to the hospital he had the opportunity to pray for people and engage in spiritual conversations which led a few people to commit their lives to Christ.
He says, “Evangelizing is not about methodology as much as it is about intentionality because there is always an opportunity to share the Gospel with people. There are very few things in my life that bring a greater sense of feeling alive than having the opportunity to open the Bible and communicate its truth.”
Martin is the director of student initiatives for I Am Second, a ministry that posts a series of web videos featuring personalities and their testimonies about God. Will you follow his example?
There’s a praise report in the news today. A victory for religious freedom in the Meriam Ibrahim case. The American Center for Law & Justice reports Meriam and her American family are now safe and free in Italy. Miriam Ibrahim is the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. It is believed that Meriam, Martin, and Maya will be traveling to the U.S. in a a few days. The ACLJ is thanking the Italian government for its critical role in this case.
I’ve been trying to find ways to drink more water and stay hydrated. If you are too or you’re just out enjoying the hot summer day and need a refreshing hydrating drink, here’s a delicious idea:
Watermelon Mint Smoothie from Urban Fitopia
2 Persian cucumbers
1 1/2 cups watermelon
6 sprigs mint – de-stemmed
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup water
1/2 cup ice cubes
Watermelon is a whopping 91 percent water by weight. Paired with the refreshing mint and the cooling cucumber, this smoothie will leave you feeling rejuvenated even during the hottest heat wave.
She passed him on the highway about 2:00 in the afternoon. He was pushing a bicycle loaded down like a pack horse with seemingly all of his meager belongings. Her thought, was how could he push that bike with all that stuff? She thought about him for a few more minutes and turned up the radio and sped on. She had to get to work. There, she played the songs and shared the verses and offered inspiration and even gave some tips on ways to do random acts of kindness. He didn’t cross her mind again that afternoon.
On her way home, she cranked the radio again and thought about her family, her life, what she’d make for dinner that night and what her schedule looked like for the coming week. Then her heart leaped out of her chest when she saw the man again! Five hours later, he was still on his journey down that two-lane highway, cars passing him by at 60 miles per hour. It was an unusually cool day in July, but he had a jacket to keep the chill away. He was nearing the intersection of two highways, now riding the bike with determined purpose. She heard God’s voice in the words she had shared, the verses that He had pointed out to her that day. He said, “Share my love with him.”
At the next road she made a U-turn to find a place to buy him some food for the night. Loading her arms with a couple of sandwiches, snacks and nutritious drinks, she laid it all on the counter, planning to stop and give it to him out on the road, but then she spied him in the store looking at the soda case. She told the clerk, this is for that man over there. The clerk’s smile lit up the store at her gesture of kindness, but not as bright as when the woman handed the sack to the man, now standing in line behind her with just a Dr. Pepper in hand.
She said, “This is for you. God loves you.” His response was, “I know!” His tanned, leathery skin, tousled hair and huge grin that showed some teeth missing made her think of how God’s love washing over people makes them more beautiful than diamonds. God had given her an opportunity to bless him and he had blessed her even more than she had imagined. God showed her something beautiful in this highway traveler.
What’s the difference in God answering your prayers and God giving you what you ask for?
There are so many times in my life when I really thought I understood what I needed or was convinced that what I wanted was the right thing to want. There are also so many times when I didn’t get what I’d begged for…what I’d requested God to grant in my life. ‘Been there?
Let me just say this, I’ve also had so many times in my life when I’ve been able to look back at what I didn’t get and have been able to see that NOT getting what I’d requested was truly the answer to my prayers! I know, that sounds confusing, but, here’s what I’m thinking….
My deepest prayer to God is that He will be able to use me for bettering His kingdom, that I will be the child that He wants me to be. I pray that He will be able to grow me to be more like Jesus. My prayer is that my children will become women of God and better the world and families that God is entrusting to them. My prayer is that my life and heart will always reflect Him.
My requests are sometimes different…I want someone to share my life with on earth, I want to have enough money not to worry about things, I want to be close to my children and grandchildren. I want to be active, I want the light to stay green so I’m on time….I want to wake up in the morning and be miraculously thin, and then I’ll maintain that perfect weight, I promise! ….notice that so often we begin our prayer “requests” with “I want, I need” … but God knows the deepest of wants and needs for us and He answers our prayers according to that knowing. God knows that sometimes our “requests” won’t line up with our true needs and wants. So, He answers the “requests” accordingly.
How many times have we been able to look back on the “requests” of the past and thanked God that He did NOT give us what we were sure we wanted or needed back then!?
Thinking about this today, I asked myself this question – and now I’m asking you too- When was the last time I sat down to thank God for saying no to me. When was the last time that I asked Him to forgive me for being hurt/angry/frustrated because He didn’t give me my request!? When was the last time I stopped being a petulant child and simply bowed to the fact that my Daddy God is answering the best prayers for me and my life.
What’s the difference in God answering your prayers and God giving you what you ask for? You can only see this little tiny piece of the puzzle and what you think it looks like – But God knows all of it and how it will really all fit together for your good/best. The difference is that God is always do what is the best for you, not what you think would be good for you!
I hope that makes sense to you, because I have to go in the other room and apologize to God for being a big whiney baby about “unanswered” prayer requests and thank Him that He has not always given me what I wanted. While I’m gone, maybe you want to think back and see if He has done you a favor by NOT giving you what you “requested
Your kids are out of school! How can you keep them entertained when you have a tight budget? Here’s some great ideas compliments of KaixinFun.com that will cost you under $10:
-Exploding paint bags can be a messy, fun art project for your kids.
-Make roads for toy cars by using colored tape on carpet.
-Turn your driveway into a fun target game using chalk and sponges.
-Have extra bubble wrap? Make stomp paintings.
-Cut up a tarp with scissors to make a cheap throwing game.
-Create a quiet, safe game of Jenga by using cut-up sponges.
-Go camping indoors and let your kids’ imaginations run wild.
-Make a mini bowling game with pencil erasers and marbles.
-Make soap clouds by putting a bar of soap into the microwave.
-Balloon ping pong – make the paddles with paper plates and popscicle sticks.
-Hang Strands of painter’s tape across the doorway to make a fun, sticky spiderweb.
-Cut up a rectangle shaped box to make a stair slide.
-Cut a pool noodle in half to make a marble race track.
-Or use those pool noodles and chairs to create a backyard obstacle course.
Check out the whole list on their Website and make some great memories with your kids this summer!
Shannon is a nationally known author and speaker on marital and spiritual intimacy and joined us for morning show merriment!
If I can just get through the morning without saying anything embarrassing we’ll be good. ~ Mike
Learn more about Shannon’s ministry at www.shannonethridge.com