Tag Archives: teens

Sowing and Reaping

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My son and I had a little chat about the topic of sowing and reaping yesterday.  He’ll turn 15 next month, which is very hard to fathom.  My baby’s almost grown!  He has expressed some personal concerns lately, which led to this discussion.  I explained to him that if you desire a different harvest, you have to plant different seeds.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” ~ Genesis 1:11

If you want a life of peace, love and joy, you must plant those kinds of seeds.  If you plant seeds of anger, hatred and violence, you cannot expect to reap a harvest of peace, love and joy.  It’s a kingdom principle: Everything reproduces after its own kind.  I explained to my son that you can’t plant tomato seeds and expect to harvest a pumpkin.  It’s not going to happen.  I asked a rhetorical question that I really wanted him to ponder:  “What kind of life do you want to live … 5, 10 or even 15 years from now?”  The seeds you plant today will dictate the type of harvests you will reap in the future.  If you want a successful future, you need to plant seeds of responsibility, punctuality, hard work, prayer and studying the Word of God today.  This applies to all of us.

“My son, attend to my words;
incline thine ear unto my sayings.
 Let them not depart from thine eyes;
keep them in the midst of thine heart.
 For they are life unto those that find them,
and health to all their flesh.

 Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:20-23

What goes into the mind comes out in a life.  We must be careful what we place before our eyes and into our ears.  Before long, we will begin to express those very things.  As Proverbs says, we must guard our heart will all diligence.  With every ounce of self control, we must not conform to the evils of this world but follow Christ’s example in all things.  We will only know what it means to follow Christ if we engage in His Word on a regular basis.  We must make steady deposits of the Word of God into our souls so when temptations, tests and trials come (and they will come), that we are able to withstand them.  Conversely, when the tests and trials come and our account has a zero balance of God’s Word, how then will we ward off the evil one?  God’s will is not that we live defeated lives, but rather that we are able, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to conquer sin in our lives.

What seeds are you planting today?

If you desire to have positive, uplifting and encouraging thoughts, you cannot constantly dwell on negative, contentious and pessimistic lines of thinking.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever thingsare just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  ~ Philippians 4:8

We must be deliberate and intentional regarding the influences in our lives.  In the end, they will produce a harvest.

The question is – Is it the harvest you planned?

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Counter Culture

I was recently pondering the plight of our youth as a mother of two teens and a twenty something.  (Not to mention as a Jesus follower, who is concerned with the fact that many die every day without making Jesus their personal Lord and Savior…)

Teenagers … You see them all around us.  They used to be us.  So many grow up without proper role models, morals, manners or the ability to become responsible, independent adults.  The Bible says, “A child left to himself brings destruction.”  (Proverbs 29:15)

The thought occurred to me that – “You cannot lead where you have not been.”  As a society and particularly as believers, we must be the examples and mentors of our youth.  The need is great for all believers to remain counter culture, follow Jesus’ teachings with our whole hearts and model Christ’s love at all times.  The standards are high.  But, with God’s grace and strength we can do all things!  The standards are high, and so are the stakes.  You see, eternity hangs in the balance for many.  We must be that city set on a hill, that shining light for all to see Christ’s love through us.  (Matthew 5:14)  No, there is nothing good in ourselves, but when we allow God’s love to flow through us, we become an awesome vessel that God can use!  We have a high calling to lead others to Jesus.  “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  (John 14:6)

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 “Once you had no identity as a people;
    now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
    now you have received God’s mercy.”

 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.” ~ I Peter 2:9-11

What exactly does it mean to be counter culture?  It means that we have a different set of standards, lifestyle and desires than that of those who do not follow Jesus.  It means we remember daily that this world is not our home and do not set our affections on the things here.  We should fill up our souls with the Word of God in such a way that we naturally walk in God’s love and share it with others.

What holds your affections today?  Don’t hold too tightly to the temporary.  For, you see, one day it will all vanish.  There is coming a day when what is seen will be no more.  One day, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  (Philippians 2:10)

Our witness as Christians can only be as effective to the degree we follow Christ’s commands.  If we live our lives parallel to the world, our testimony becomes dilluted and of no effect.  “And if the salt has lost its flavor, it is no good, but to be trampled on.”  (Matthew 5:13)  We are the salt of the earth, folks!  We must be the difference makers.  We must reflect Christ in all we do and say.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” ~ I Corinthians 13:11

It’s time to grow up spiritually.  Stop acting like those who have not heard the Good News.  Stop walking in the paths that were never meant for you as a believer.  It’s time to rise up and walk with God.  Let Him lead you into the amazing future He has for you.  He has only good things planned for you.  It’s up to us line our lives up with the Word of God and put ourselves in position for the blessings of God.  He cannot bless sin.  So, we must submit ourselves to God.  Blessings follow obedience.  (Deuteronomy 28 — one of my favorite chapters!)

God’s laws are not to siphon all the fun and enjoyment out of life, but to steer us clear of sin and its torment.  “The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and in the end destruction comes.”

If we, as believers, conduct our lives with utmost integrity and in alignment with the Word of God, think of how great our influence for the kingdom of God could be?

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Brag on my Kids

Is it okay if I just take a moment and share how very proud I am of my kids?  You know, as a parent, you spend years pouring into their lives — teaching, correcting, imploring, scolding, modeling, and, most of all, praying!  And when you begin to see real character forming when they do things out of the goodness of their hearts and not because they’re told, it is satisfying, yes; but more importantly, rewarding and encouraging that your investment is paying off!!  My “kids” are growing up on me!  My daughter is 16 and will turn 17 in November.  My son is 14 and will turn 15 in July.  They’re still kids to me, of course.  Allow me to share two recent occasions that they really blessed my husband and I:

  1.)  Easter   ~   We gave them Easter baskets as usual.  But this year, they surprised us with Easter baskets.  My daughter made homemade dark chocolate truffles for my husband and I.  She also made an adorable pin cushion for me!  She got the pattern from a sewing book she checked out from the library.  She’s so creative!  She made the cutest, little Easter baskets – one out of a decorative tissue box and cut out a cardboard cross on the front of it.  The other was made out of a cardboard box, complete with a handle and all covered with pretty scrapbooking paper.  She’s really gifted.

Our son took pictures of a couple of our wedding pictures and also printed out some he recently took to make a photo collage.  One of the pictures was of my husband and I holding hands on a recent walk in the neighborhood.  (just our hands clasped together)  He has a good eye for these things.  Then he stapled cut out rose petals all around the border.  Very sweet.  Maybe that’s his way of saying how our loving relationship makes him feel secure.  I don’t know, but what I do know is, that our kids are super thoughtful and creative!  That deeply touched my husband and I.  

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 2.)  Yard Work  ~  If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you have heard me drone on about home improvements and spring purging, etc.  Well, we are continuing on this trek and yesterday my daughter took it upon herself (and enlisted the help of her brother) to rake out a flower bed.  This was quite an undertaking and required dumping at least 3 wheelbarrows full of leaves and sticks.  Her brother jumped ship midway through, but I was outside to offer moral support.  The important thing is that she took the initiative to spruce up the yard!  Her goal is to clean up one flower bed each day.  This is quite a goal considering she doesn’t normally do yardwork.  Although, in her defense, I have to say that she did mow the backyard on the John Deere over the weekend.  She says she wanted to practice her driving skills.  She said she even practiced parallel parking with the mower!  Haha!  She’s a nut.  But you know what they say about nuts, right?  … They usually don’t fall far from the tree.  Haha!  I digress…  

The common denominator in both of these instances is initiative.  That is one of the first steps toward personal responsibility.  I often preach, “If you see something that needs to be done (whether or not you made the mess or created the situation), take it upon yourself to fix it!”  What a blessing it is to see the kids practicing what I’ve preached all these years!  Love my kids!  

*P.S.  I handwrote my kids a special thank you note for the Easter baskets and gifts, not only thanking them for their thoughtfulness, but also reminding them that we pray for them daily.  We pray that they will serve Jesus every day of their lives and that they will make good choices.  And also reminded them of our love for them… My son read his note again later and he said it really touched him.  I thought that was so special.  I plan on writing the kids more notes in the future as it is something they can reflect on way into the future.  

 *P.P.S.  We also mailed an Easter basket to our grown son, who is 25 with a special Easter card enclosed.  He may not be all that interested in the basket or the candy, but that’s not why I sent it.  I paid $8 for shipping to mail him a basket of love from mom and dad!  I always want our kids to know they are loved beyond words and daily prayed for!

Bonus:

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Beautiful Easter flowers from my best friend!  (aka husband!)  🙂

 

 

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Made in His Image

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“So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them male and female he created them.”  ~ Genesis 1:27  NLT

I’ve heard it said that every little girl wants to know if she’s pretty enough and every little boy wants to know if he has what it takes to be a man.  On the surface, every little girl’s question seems superficial, but, at the heart of the matter rests her confidence and self-worth.  And, really, so does every little boy’s question.

We’ve raised one strong, young man and he’s flown the nest.  We’re in the process of raising two teenagers now.  It’s incredible the challenges teens face just in our everyday culture.  We all were teens once and faced our own battles, but it seems the fierceness of the war has greatly increased with the epidemic of cutting, culture of death, eating disorders and “everything goes” mentality.  One reason I believe things have escalated to the degree they have is because we’re living in the end times and the enemy knows his time is short.

What I’d love to remind each little girl or young lady is that you are absolutely beautiful!  Stunning even!  No, you don’t need to emulate the air brushed cover of that magazine nor starve yourself to look like a certain celebrity.  Just be yourself, hon.  If you’re so busy trying to be like someone else, who will be you, the person God created you to be?  Accept yourself as the masterpiece that God created because when He creates something, it’s truly gorgeous!  Smile.  Smile because you’re even more beautiful when you spread joy.  You see, true and lasting beauty resides on the inside anyway.  And those emotions you’re riding like a roller coaster, dear one, they will ease.  Just remember, this too shall pass.  Don’t make any decision based on how you’re feeling.  Seek out wise counsel and all will be well, my friend.  Your future is so bright!  Don’t let anything discourage you or stand in your way.  God has great plans for you!  The best is yet to come!

What I’d love to remind each little boy or young man is that you are made in the image of God and you totally have what it takes to be a man!  A man full of wisdom, strength, courage, leadership and, yes, even compassion.  Wise because wisdom avoids the folly of this world and needless pitfalls.  Strength because it’s needed to walk out God’s plan for your life.  Courage because it will take all you’ve got to say no to anything less than God’s best for you. Leadership because that is the mantle God has placed on you, your place in this world.  Compassion because we don’t travel alone.  It’s our duty to take as many to heaven as we can and lead by example.  For, you see, character is what it takes to be a real man.

Young men, seek out godly mentors and their wise counsel.  Be teachable.  It will serve you well.  Learn from those who have walked this road ahead of you, so you don’t make the same mistakes they’ve made.  Be accountable.  Sin doesn’t live long out in the open, but usually in the dark, quiet recesses of our hearts.  Expose it.  Turn the light on and watch it flee.  Submit.  Surrender your heart to God wholly and watch what He will do with your life!  Seeds of greatness are on the inside of you, son!  We’re all waiting and watching for you to soar with the eagles, man of God!

And, to both young ladies and young men, I leave you this:

Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

 

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I Found It!!!

Have you ever misplaced something and looked everywhere to no avail?  I mean, for about a year?!  I thought I was losing my marbles when redemption appeared to me today!!

I have earnestly prayed that I would find it.  I have believed I would.  But when I actually laid my eyes on it today, I could hardly believe the answer was finally granted!

I was putting away some of my winter clothes and sorting through a dresser drawer when I felt something inside a fuschia summer shirt of mine.  I curiously and slowly unfolded the shirt and to my surprise…there it was!!!  I thought my heart was going to drop.  I nearly had to sit down to take in the miracle of it all!

You see, I hid my daughter’s $400 iPod Touch last May because she was grounded from using it.  The only problem was… I also hid it from myself!  And, try as I might, I could not rack my brain enough to figure out what I had done with it!  I detest when I outsmart myself.  Haha!  I remember thinking at the time, ‘She’ll never find it here’.  Little did I know, neither would I.  At least for nearly a year.  Do you know how much mental space has been freed up as a result of finding this little electronic device?!  Now, I can move on to solving life’s other great mysteries that perplex me!  Haha!

Her iPod has more storage space than she will likely ever need, but it’s there if she does.  We went in half with her and gave it to her as a gift several years ago.  It’s a handy little thing as she can text me if she has access to Wi-fi.  I like that since she doesn’t have a cell phone yet.  She has taken some fantastic pictures on it as well, especially while on a missions trip to Spain a couple years ago.

I just had to shout it from the rooftops that I am officially in total custody of all my marbles!  I’ve got it all together!   At least for today …

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A New Favorite $ Saving Site

So, my 14 year old son is growing out of just about everything he owns!  Fortunately, we shop at a great thrift store and can stock up on clothes for him there.  He recently grew out of his tennis shoes also.  I decided to check:

http://www.6pm.com/

My son and I perused the website and found a pair of size 12 Reebok running shoes that he likes for $36.99!  That is an awesome price for running shoes, I thought.  He’s hitting that stage of growth spurts I remember my older son going through a decade ago.  He’ll be 15 in a few months and is closing in on 6′ fast!  I always knew he would be tall.  At 9lbs. 10oz. and 22 1/2 inches, he had no where to go but up, up, up!  🙂

6pm.com not only sells shoes, but clothing and accessories.  I’m most impressed with their shoe prices.  I detest paying full price for anything, especially for items my son will quickly outgrow!  It seems that clothes and shoes are merely disposable items these days, so why pay more when it’s unnecessary?

My lovely sister-in-love told me about that website a while back and I’m so glad she did!  She’s a savvy bargain hunter herself!

So, I just thought I’d toss it out to you all.

Here’s to saving a few $$ today!

Do you have a favorite $ saving website?  Care to share?  Of course, there’s ebay, Amazon, half…  What else?

 

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