How much should you plan your child’s future?

What should the extent of your role be in shaping your child’s future? I know that debate has always existed about picking your child’s profession and even their eventual spouse. Let me share some biblical perspective in response to my own questions to express what I think should be part of the foundation of your parenting.

I’m just trying to figure out my own life! Don’t they just figure things out? Do I have to actually specifically plan for my children?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

Sounds like a no-brainer. I think most parents have dreams and hopes for their kids even before they are still in the womb. God has specific plans for us. Parents should have actual plans for their children’s future. Part of your own personal plans for your future include plans for your children.

To what extent should I plan?

“Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” ~Psalm 127:4 NLT.

You have been given the authority by God to choose the direction of your children the same way a warrior points an arrow towards its target. Start by choosing the direction. Even though higher education is changing rapidly nowadays, I am planning for my children to get as much education as possible after high school to give them a number of options in life to find their own career path. 

Where do I point my arrow?

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6 NIV.

You decide where to point your arrow. My opinion is to start with God’s way as outlined in the Bible. That may sound too broad or ambiguous, but for those who consistently read the Bible know that the ways of the Lord are very clear and defined. I believe that the words in the Bible are not just mere words and wise sayings. Yes, in a practical sense, the Bible is the manual for living.  More than that, Scriptures are words from the Almighty Himself. His words supernaturally give life to those who find it. Start your children off the way they should go.

What if I choose the wrong direction?

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9 NKJV.

The list of decisions you make seem endless. School? Which school? Should I pay for private education? College? And what about dating? When? Sports? Dance? Music? Friends?  You make the plans. Don’t get stuck at every fork in the road. God will shape your decisions when you make them. Are you willing to let Him? Pray. Pray a lot. Pray for your children. Pray with your children. They have desires and talents. It’s your job to find out what those are dreams and gifting are and help guide them with the decisions. Ask them. Watch them. I have twin daughters. Their big brother played soccer for years and was good at it. I thought that it would make sense for my daughters to play soccer too. The girls hated soccer. They lasted one season.  Now one does ballet while the other does MMA. My adult son works in his art department at work designing their web. It started over ten years ago when he asked for an notebook and pencils to draw.

What about the money? How much money?

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” ~ Proverbs 13:22 NKJV.

Lastly, you need financial resources for your children’s future. You’re providing now, but go beyond the current needs. God says to leave and inheritance to your children, and it  should extend to the grandchildren. That requires planning.

I won’t be picking out my children’s spouses nor their career paths, but I can help them get meet their goals.

I appreciate your thoughts and comments below. Happy planning!

 

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564An encouragement to you if you are in a storm of your life or even battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. Trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. They end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to have your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back if you have to have a bigger perspective. That helps you thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. Remember that there is God who sees you and knows you by name.

If you’ve never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the win lasts way after the storm is done.

Respect the Lord. His blessing includes your family.

A verse and a short commentary before I do my churchy duties.
I found this verse to share at a baby dedication yesterday,
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD-
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the LORD’s blessing
for those who fear him.” ~Psalm 128:1-4

God is worthy of respect and reverence. He is after all God. However, he is a God who always looks to bless. Think of the blessings in this short passage you just read: joyful, prosperous, fruitful, vigorous. I love that part of the family. Wife and grapes? That’s a win. Children around my table like healthy trees? That’s another win. I encourage you to look to engage with God like this and be ready for Him to bless you and your family.

Remember the Cross

One of my pastors preached a simple yet powerful message at church this weekend about remembering the cross. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and foretold that because he loved us, he would have to sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world. Then he did just that. For those who believe that Jesus came back to life and choose to wholeheartedly follow him, they are free from their past and can move forward in life into eternity with God.
As a husband, father, son, brother, co-worker, friend, or whatever roles you have in relationship with others, it is too easy to live with guilt of all the failures in the life and all the damage that resulted. That doesn’t have to be the case. If you believe in the message of the cross then remember that today is a new day, forgiven and free from being trapped by the past. Walk forward with God like when you first believed. If you don’t believe in the message of the cross, then carefully examine why you don’t. It is the very thing that matters most in this life and the one after.

A new morning means new mercy


The Book of Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “… His mercies never stop. They are new every morning…” (NCV)

A few times during the week, I’ll get up before dawn to surf with a few friends. When I get a moment I take a picture of the sunrise.  I’ll keep doing this to remind myself to keep thanking and trusting in God even as this world keeps getting darker. One more morning means more mercy-filled day to live out. Ray, Rich, and Dave, thanks for being my surf homies. Have a great weekend everyone.

It’s time to add wisdom to your knowledge

I think I know more now at almost a half-century of life than I did a couple of decades ago. I foolishly thought that I knew it all when I was out of college at 24, but the more I know now, the more I realize I don’t know much. Growing in wisdom is the key to our journey. There is a Jewish proverb that says that wisdom is better than gold, and that is definitely proving itself out in my life, and I bet it is in yours as well.

I think that’s how most good movies play out. Our main character has an enemy he has to defeat or a mountain he has to overcome. Somewhere in the story he gets wisdom that helps him win.

Wisdom is not the amount of knowledge you have but applying the knowledge you have. You can know how to make money, but the wisdom is in how you use that money. You can be an expert at driving, but if you are constantly getting traffic tickets then that knowledge is not being maximized to your own benefit; let alone any good for anyone else.

Wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. Many times, wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Wisdom is selectively choosing relationships and endeavors that are usually not popular. Wisdom is the voice that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Many times, wisdom requires courage to see it in action. Wisdom requires courage because the decisions you make influence others linked to you.

The sign in the picture says, “You know more than you think you do,” and let me add that the greater challenge is to apply what you already know to benefit yourself and those connected to you.

Your children are living in a world that is moving a whole lot faster than we were kids. They are being bombarded with so much information that parents have to “compete” with. It is crucial to be an active and intentional voice in their lives. And by the way,”Do what I say and not what I do,” is about the laziest and most ineffective way of parenting.

Parenting requires wisdom. Show your children over their lifetime how wisdom works. Teach them that wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. You will have to repeat yourself countless times over many years, but keep reminding them that wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Keep modeling for them how you are using wisdom to choose relationships and endeavors that may not seem popular nor easy.

We can all be students of the school of hard knocks, but have the heart of someone who wants to graduate. You and your children can apply that wisdom that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Growing in wisdom requires courage, time, and patience. When we grow wiser those connected to us benefit.

Lastly, if you don’t have wisdom, then ask for it. The writer in the book of James said that if you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. That doesn’t work if you don’t read your Bible because that’s where the wisdom is.

Proverbs 14:1 was written thousands of years ago, yet applies to our families today, ““A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
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Let’s continue to use wisdom to build our homes.

Lead Your Family Above the Noise

We get bombarded all day and night with messages. We are pounded with billboards, website banners, pop ups, commercials on tv, and jingles to name a few. I don’t have a long commute but do listen to sports radio while running errands. My kids and I sing 1-877 Cars 4 Kids. Why? Because it’s stuck in my head! And yes, I sing it with a heavy twang like the singer in the commercial.

I don’t know the exact formula of marketing, but I do know it’s powerful. Kids programming is about 10 minutes or less of the actual show before the kids are hammered with a commercial. Of course they are going to ask you for to buy stuff all day. Did you know by the way, Sea Monkeys are still around? Yeah, the same Sea Monkeys that we read in the comic backs back in the day?

So much of the tv shows and radio programming out there is just noise, and we have to rise above the noise ourselves as individuals and bring our families with us.

Get clarity for yourself first. You are in control of the screen door to your mind. What are you allowing to influence your mind? What are you screening out? My email inbox is at least in the hundreds daily. Twice a day, I do a mass delete of emails and save the bill reminders and the handful of emails I will actually read. One of those is a Bible-verse-a-day. Here’s what was in this morning’s inbox, “There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.” Proverbs 16:25. My purpose for getting that daily verse emailed to me is to entice me to read the entire proverb to get the full context. I will meditate on that like chewing on some beef jerky and set the course of for the day. It will show up in my speech and what and how I talk with my family.

Next thing, is just to turn it off. Turn off the news. Turn off the reruns. Put the tablet running YouTube videos down. Get outside. If you stay inside do something else. The main thing is to turn off the noise when you have the ability to do so.

What do you instead of watching tv all day or having a device in your face? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and we will continue on in a couple of days. Make it a great Monday above the noise!

The 2 Questions Of Life 

 
I was writing a lesson for elementary-aged children at my church and thought of Paul’s 2 questions he asked Jesus after Jesus interrupted his trip to Damscus. Paul asked, “Who are you?” and “What do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6)

Aren’t those the two questions we all have to ask?

Morning Light

“But I have hope when I think of this: The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, Your loyalty is great. I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who hope in Him, to those who seek Him. It is good to wait quietly for the Lord to save.” Lamentations 3:21-26