A Coat Just For You

When I was about nine years old, my best friend got a new blue winter jacket. When I saw Laurie’s new jacket, I wanted one just like it. I needed a new winter coat, but nothing would do. It had to be like Laurie’s.Cold, Person, Winter, Clothing, Blue

There was nothing special about her jacket. It was dark, plain, and at most, functional. It certainly didn’t have any pizazz or sparkle. Looking back now, it wasn’t a coat for me, but that didn’t stop me from begging my mother to buy me one just like it. In the end, my poor mother bought me the best replica she could find. But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t what Laurie had.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house…nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20 (KJV)

Porsche, Porsche 911, Auto, 1965

Why was I so desperate for what my friend had? Why do we want what others have? That shiny boat. Beautiful house. Fancy car. When will we ever be satisfied with what we’ve been given?

Psalm 145:16  You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Here’s the truth. We’ll never be satisfied with what we have. Unless. Yes, unless we realize that what God has bestowed on another isn’t meant for us. It’s a simple realization. We can walk around in a stupor, being jealous of those who have. Or we can be grateful for what we have and—this is key—see that God holds special things in store for us.Christmas Girls, Girls, Snowy, Snow

Proverbs 30: 8-9 Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”

If you pray and meditate on His word, He will give you your own coat. It may not be the one you wanted, but it’ll be the one God chose for you, which is far greater than any coat you could hope for.

1 Chronicles 16:10  Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

Woman, Girl, Coat, Dress, Fashion

At the time, I didn’t understand that the blue coat wasn’t for me. It wasn’t meant for my body, my personality, my spirit. But God knew. I look back now and see it so clearly. God had a special coat designed for me. One that would bring me closer to Him, one I could wear with sheer joy, one that was meant only for me.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. Psalm 63

Confraternization, End Of Year

Don’t waste your life desperate for all the things you don’t have. Become desperate for God and see where that leads. Every one of us has a special coat to put on. My prayer for you is that you come to know God your Heavenly Father and that He blesses you with a beautiful coat—one that’s perfect for you!

 

1 Chronicles 16:25 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.

5 Tips: Teaching Kids To Do Right

 

Years ago, I sat in a meeting with a new mayor while interviewing to become the police chief. The interview went great and I knew the position was mine.

Because of the highly political nature of the position, I wanted to make clear that leading the police department was my priority, and not playing an elected official’s surrogate.

“What are your expectations of me as the chief of police.”

His reply sealed the deal, “Do the right thing.”

If I had to ask or he had to explain what the “right thing” was, then this wasn’t the place for me.

But how do we know what is the right thing? God makes it clear that we’re all sinners.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

We recently addressed an issue with one our kids. We presented the problematic behavior, the offending actions and laid down the consequences. We then built the kid up with encouragement to do good from that point forward, and to do the right thing.

The kid agreed, and left the room with a new lease on the teen-aged years. We high-fived over a problem solved. Or was it?

Doing the right thing is not an intrinsic trait. We’re rebellious by nature. So, in reality, we’d set the kid up for failure.

Here are 5 tips to help our kids to do the right thing.

  1. Engagement – It’s easy to become disconnected from our kids. Our busy schedules, their school and after-school commitments, and the reality that as kids grow older, they seek independence. This results in less time spent with parents. Investing time with them not only allows the kids to witness you doing the right thing, but they get to practice making the decision to do the right thing while seeking approval in your presence.
  2. Boundaries – Doing the right thing requires operating within reasonable limits and expectations. Kids must have a clear understanding of the rules. Too often, the rules are arbitrary and shift based on the parent’s attitude or tolerance. If you expect your kids to do the right thing, you must express it, explain it, and limit it within boundaries that are attainable.
  3. Encouragement – Once you’ve set the rules and boundaries, it’s your duty to help the kid follow them or accomplish the task. It may first require the parent to teach the kid how to do the task, and then integrity checks on their tasks to ensure they’ve chosen to do the right thing. It’s also important for the parents to follow-up on correct actions with supporting words. It takes 30 days to create a life-time habit. Invest 30 days of this process to help mentor the kid’s potential for developing a life pattern for doing the right thing.
  4. Restoration – A great way to teach the child to do the right thing is to have them actively repair or offer restoration for damages done by not doing the right thing. Whether it’s causing emotional hurt or breaking a sibling’s toy, kids must actively participate in fixing the problem they created. Say, “I’m sorry,” is a start but it takes more than words to create an impact of doing the right thing the next time.
  5. Emotional – Kids who have yet to get a grip on their emotions often fail to make the right decision. Help kids to understand and process their emotions. Don’t force kids to suppress feelings. Show them you understand, and that while their emotions are valid, emotions should not control their actions.

These principles apply in both traditional and blended families. First, we must do right, model doing the right thing, teach the right thing, and ensure kids embrace doing what’s right as a lifestyle.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Lead from the front,

Scott

A Permissive Society Resembled in Permissive Parenting

Our daughter was home recently for her final winter break from year two at university. She said friends asked how Christianity could claim to be the correct faith or religion.

We’re instructed to be prepared to give an answer for the faith we hold (1 Peter 3:15). So I reminded her of some things she’d learned before.

The ultimate example came from C.S. Lewis. He emphasized that grace makes Christianity unique. All other faiths require specific actions and measures to earn rewards or salvation, whereas Christ paid it all for us in dying as a sacrifice for our sins to be forgiven.

I repeated earlier teachings about our God coming to earth to live among his creatures, existing sinless and perfect. Although a few religions also have stories of earthly gods, the difference with our God is that He is the God of relationships, knowing what it was like to live in unity and diversity in eternity past (as taught often by Ravi Zacharias).

Christianity’s “triune” God may have mysterious aspects, but the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit living in community timelessly is without comparison.

The Bible even claims that no one is without excuse for not accepting these truths. The coherence of Christianity is fully evident with sincere, rigorous study of special revelation in Scripture. General revelation of God is obvious in nature:

Romans 1:20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Psalms 14:1a.  Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”

So What?

Even with solid answers, and possibly open-minded questioners, why is it much harder for our young adults to defend and MAINTAIN a faith they acquired in childhood and youth?

Ravi Zacharias comments that a “rabid skepticism” is prevalent amongst young people. Why?

This isn’t the venue for debating whether we still live in a postmodern society, and what postmodernism even means. However we must agree that we continue to live amongst highly “relativistic” attitudes, which generally characterize postmodern thought. The Encarta Dictionary defines relativism as:

the belief that concepts such as right and wrong, goodness and badness, or truth and falsehood are not absolute but change from culture to culture and situation to situation.

The prevailing attitude continues to be that whatever is right for you is right for you and therefore fine with me. Anyone who wants to identify wrong, badness, or falsehood is considered to be intolerant, bigoted, hypocritical, and unloving, even if they are identifying a behavior and not an individual, and even if their intentions are to save others from lives of delusion, bondage, or disaster.

Here’s where simple and rational thought can illustrate our present human condition. Most would agree that permissive parenting is unloving because of its consequences. Consistent permissive parenting produces children that are hopelessly lazy, self-entitled, self-absorbed, selfish, self-centered, self-delusional…I suppose narcissistic would cover it.

However, a consistently loving parent displays the heart and tenacity to set wise standards, identify right and wrong, provide strict guidance, stay true to his/her word (although able to admit being wrong and to say sorry), convey traditions and heritage, deny oneself, do the hard things, and deliver consistent consequences. A little deprivation and denial would also go a long way.

This produces children who are hard-working, disciplined, confident, generous, selfless, modest, respectful, ethical, and loving.

Do we see any parallels between parenting and society?

It should be obvious that truly loving people are willing to courageously proclaim truth and right and wrong. They truly show love by seeking what is best for humanity, not by being permissive. They are the furthest example from being intolerant or hypocritical.

They’re actually the consistent, the loving, and the concerned. On the other hand, it’s easy and unloving to say anything goes. Permissiveness breeds a narcissistic and lost society.

No wonder it’s difficult for young people to hold onto their faith. We’re living in a society that’s an illusion of the life that God intends for His people.

Children of faith are judged harshly and called hypocrites and bigots if they hold to certain truths and ethics (where’s the tolerance there by the way?). It’s a twisted and delusional society where the courageous, upstanding, tolerant, and loving are called hypocrites, and the permissive, loud, irrational, and illogical are considered loving, tolerant, and enlightened.

I once had a professor state that postmodernism is just a blip. That it’s too ridiculous to sustain itself. That having no absolute truths is just so irrational and illogical that civilization will collapse.

There seems to be no stopping the momentum of relativism. Hold on tight to your faith and ethical standards. Pray for your children to hold theirs…or that collapse might be near.

It might be a necessary collapse that truly and authentically brings people to God (unlike the 9-1-1 Trade Tower disaster that briefly sent many people on a spiritual search). The stuff and flimsy foundations of today would prove to be inconsequential and grave miscalculations.

 

As a parent, deliver truth and standards in a loving and firm manner. Pray that your children follow your wise lead and counsel. Hold to your convictions in a society that struggles to have any, other than allowing everything.
  • What are your observations regarding parenting and society?
  • What do you see as the answer to the narcissistic human condition? Or do you disagree?