My house is a mess. Every room looks like a war zone. There are no bullets, tanks, or soldiers. The house is instead filled with toys, dolls, and dirty dishes. I had to laugh the other day at lunch time. Three different cups were spilled by my children. A cup of water fell. A cup of milk followed. Then my wife’s diet coke found its way onto the floor. The dishes are cleaned everyday, but they magically reappear. Every day the laundry is cleaned and put away, but it seems to hurry right back to the hamper. My poor wife seems to change a diaper every 15 seconds. It is so easy for me to get discouraged at the mess surrounding me. I need to remember that my house is full of blessings. I am so blessed to have clothes to clean and dishes to wash. I am so blessed my children are healthy, healthy enough to demolish the place! I am blessed to have a roof over my head. This is the good life. God is good. Whatever your home is like, take a deep breath, relax, and thank God for it.
No one wants to have the talk. My parents never had a talk with me. I do remember the talk they had with my older sister. I heard things I really didn’t want to! Things are so different these days. We live in a sex saturated world. The average age for the first exposure to pornography is around 8 years old. I have three daughters. Two of them are still babies, but the oldest is 10. This is how my wife and I approach the sex talk with our daughter:
1. It is more than one talk
It is a an ongoing conversation. Do not just sit down, tell your child about the birds and bees, and think you have done all that is needed. One talk is not sufficient. It is an ongoing conversation, a dialogue.
2. Better too early rather than too late
If you wait until your child is a teenager and interested in sex, you are way too late. Talk about it before it gets to this. I don’t want to suggest a specific age. Every child is different. We started with our daughter when she was 8 or so. Kids hear far more about sex than you realize. I would rather them hear it from me first than from their friend or a television show. If you have waited too long, start the conversation anyway. Maybe your child has questions, and is ashamed or afraid to ask. At the least, your child needs to hear the truth about sex, not what is portrayed on YouTube or Instagram.
3. Stress that sex is from God
The temptation is to make sex gross. It is a good thing because it is a God thing. Stress that sex is a gift from God, but it is only for the context of marriage. You also need to tell them the dark side to that. Bad choices can ruin a life and a marriage.
4. Use some good resources
If your child has access to a smart phone or I-pad, put a filter on it. Monitor their activity. Above all, make sure you are setting a good example in the home. Speak of sex and treat sex in a healthy way that honors God.
Do you believe in the power of prayer? Someone prayed for me yesterday. It was powerful. God definitely answered that prayer. It was a great reminder of the power of prayer. James reminds us, in James 5:16, that the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much. It is not that the person is powerful, but the person is tapping into God’s power. I think we miss out on so much because we fail to pray.One of the greatest needs for our nation is prayer. One of the greatest needs for our churches is prayer. Prayer is perhaps the greatest need for families. Yet, we fail to pray. No wonder our lives are powerless. No wonder we feel defeated and discouraged. If you are facing a tough situation, pray. If you are discouraged about something, pray. Does your community or family have a glaring need? Pray. As a great old song reminds us, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit. O what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
What are your goals for 2017? Perhaps you have a resolution. Maybe you don’t. My goal for this year is to be more like John the Baptist. My ultimate goal is to be like Jesus, but it is good to have others inspire you to be like Jesus. How do I want to be like JTB?
1. I want to be set apart for God – John wore camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey. He also served in the desert. Why? To be set apart and different than all the other so called religious leaders.
2. I want to stand for the truth – John was a man who spoke the truth whether popular or not.
3. I want to serve God faithfully – John prepared the way for the Lord, baptized Jesus, and called people to repent. He was faithful till death.
4. I want to show others who Jesus is. John said, in John 3:30, “He must become greater. I must become less.” His goal in life was to point others to Jesus and not to himself.
We need more people to be like John the Baptist. Perhaps you need to be more like John too. Make these your resolutions for the New Year!