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Dear Friends,

I’m sharing info below from Focus on the Family with tips for building spiritual values in our kids.  I confess that even though I love sharing God’s Word with others (usually with adults), doing it at home with my kids doesn’t always come easily for me.  I appreciate all the help and tips I can get!  Additionally, since our sons study Bible verses and lessons at church and school, I tend to let that be enough, but there should never be ‘enough’ when it comes to raising our kids with Christian values.  I’m not saying we should constantly be beating them over the head with Bible verses and obsessing over ‘teaching’ moments at home, but I am saying it’s good to be aware the various ways we can be spiritual leaders for our children and strive to do our best.  Following are good suggestions from Focus on the Family.

Build strong spiritual values in your kids 
Struggling to instill spiritual values in your kids? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you approach this critical task:

1. Make sure you know what you believe and why. Without a clear understanding of your own beliefs about God and your relationship with Him, you won’t be able to pass along anything to anyone.
2. Are you and your spouse on the same page spiritually? Communicating regularly about your individual and mutual spiritual journeys is vital if you want to give your kids the gift of a vibrant spiritual heritage.
3. Immerse your family in Scripture. In addition to your own personal study, read with your kids, and help them gain a love for the Bible.
4. Pray regularly for each of your children. Acknowledging our lack of control over their physical and spiritual future, and our dependence upon the One who holds it in His hands, is the beginning of wisdom.
5. Stay flexible and open to the daily guidance of God’s Spirit. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to raising children to love the Lord.

For more on this topic, be sure to visit  www.FocusOnTheFamily.com _______________________________________________________________

In response to #4, I’d like to suggest the following books: 

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian (also Power of a Praying Woman, and Praying Wife)

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenager by Jodie Berndt

Do you have related tips or suggestions?  If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please respond with your comments! 

God bless you!   – Renee

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After hearing from my friend, Mary, yesterday about what happened when she was following a white truck (see my previous post, “Who Are You Following?”), I later noticed a white truck in my rear view mirror that was following me too closely.  He could have gone around me, but stayed right on my bumper down a major road until I turned off.  Being followed reminded me of Mary’s message yesterday and made me realize we need to not only think about Who (or who) we’re following, but also about who is following us!

Whether we realize it or not, we’re being watched, observed, evaluated and ‘followed’ every day.  Who is following you?

If I’m a parent or I’m around children, then children are following, and they take in everything!  They notice  details about the physical things they see and behaviors they observe.   They notice who smiles or frowns; who has friendly eyes and who looks mean, grumpy or scary; who is respectful and who is rude; who makes them feel good and who doesn’t.  If children are following, what do they see? What kind of example is being set? I don’t want to lead them astray!  “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone around the neck.” (Matthew 18:5-6)

Co-workers or peers might be following.  Are they seeking a role-model or someone to look up to?

The person following could be a neighbor, an acquaintance, or someone from a distance.

When we first started attending our church we were still relatively new in Charlotte and didn’t know many people.  I didn’t know any of the people who sat around us in church, but I started recognizing familiar faces each week.  Soon I found myself ‘following’ some of those people.  I didn’t know their names and hadn’t met them.   I just observed them from a distance.  In their own ways they inspired me so I ‘followed’ them.

We do that, don’t we?  We look at people around us – other parents, people we work with,  our neighbors, people we observe while they’re doing their jobs, and even strangers we encounter through our day.  So doesn’t it make sense that if we ‘follow’ others, that others might be ‘following’ us, too?  If so, how are we leading them?

Are we setting a good example?  More importantly, as Christians, are we Christ-like in our words and deeds?  What kind of behavior are we modeling for others?  Remember…children are watching, so are co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers.

Am I a large white truck that knowingly runs red lights and, consequently, might lead others into dangerous or deadly situations?  (Referencing the situation  in yesterday’s post.)  Or do I drive responsibly and respectfully, considering the well-being of others and myself?  What’s at risk for those who are following me?  What responsibilities does that put on me?    Jesus warns against tempting others in sinful ways…How terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin.  Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but how terrible it will be for the person who does the tempting.”  (Matthew 18:7)   Am I leading in the Way?

These thoughts take me back to Mary’s message yesterday, for if others are following me, Who (or who) am I following?

Father God, Please help me keep in step with You and to follow You closely, for others might be following me.   Some might follow right on my bumper.  Others might follow from a distance and I might not even know they’re there.   You are the Way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)  I want to follow in Your Ways.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

Dear Friends,

Please visit www.marybarbeedunngoude.blogspot.com   and see the post titled” Follow Me”, inspired by an incredible experience the author had this morning that led to a convicting moment with God.

Mary (the author) is a dear friend and sister-in-Christ who is open and transparent in her walk with the Lord.  Be sure to read her prayer at the end of the post.

Blessings to all,

Renee

The topic of women in the news today made me realize that I know a LOT of women and I’m proud of ALL the women I know!   I know women from family, church, school, neighborhood, old friendships, new friendships, facebook friends, and even women I’ve met through online involvements.  The women I know are single, married, mothers, grandmothers, mothers-to-be, aunts, sisters, daughters, cousins and friends.

They’re full-time workers, part-time workers, and home-based moms (I don’t think there’s any such thing as a ‘stay-at-home’ mom.  lol) and women who are retired.  Some have chosen careers for themselves.  Others have made careers as wives and mothers.  They’re bankers, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, farm wives, teachers, volunteers, lawyers, accountants, women in the medical field, fitness experts, writers, speakers, singers, radio personalities, salespeople, pastors, public servants, decorators, designers, corporate assistants, business owners (my list could go on)…and you know what?  The women who bear those titles are both the ‘working’ women AND home-based women!  Yes, home-based women wear lots of  proverbial hats, too!

Additionally, all these women are loving, kind, nurturing, intelligent, humorous, funny, fun, interesting, inspiring, giving, helping, and all-around awesome women to know.  Every woman I know, regardless of her economic situation is concerned about the well-being of loved ones, religion, economics, education, politics, world peace, violence, etc.   They work hard, play hard, and like to have fun.

Some women have chosen professional lives over motherhood.  Others chose to become moms.  Some moms gave up careers and jobs to raise their children.  Others chose to keep their jobs and careers.  Others would like to work, but can’t afford child care.  Others would like to give up their job, but their families need their income and/or benefits.

Regardless of your situations and the choices you’ve made in life, YOU’RE AWESOME WOMEN, AWESOME MOMS, and I’m awesomely blessed and grateful to know you and call you my friends!     Hugs to all!

A wonderful gift was given.  A tremendous price was paid.

An investment for your salvation was sacrificially made.

Christ gave His life, shed His blood for our sins.  On the cross He was crucified.

Like a criminal He was led to death,  but as our Savior He died.

Yet, with His death came life anew, and victory over sin!

The debt He paid said, “I love you.  Now your sins are forgiven.”

Forgiveness, a word oft misunderstood, means to pardon or excuse,

It means giving God’s grace and receiving His grace, that grudges are refused.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be punishment, or consequences to be paid,

But in response to Christ’s gift of Easter, offerings from our hearts have been made.

For the Bible says to us be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, too;

Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. *

The Bible also says Christ’s forgiveness, will make us clean and white as snow,

That in Christ we’ll live forever, shame and evil will rule us no more.

Let’s rejoice in the gift of  forgiveness!  Let’s rejoice that Christ overcame sin!

Let’s rejoice in Christ’s victory over death, and for eternal life with Him!

Renee Myers, 4-9-12                                        * Ephesians 4:32

He who pursues righteousness and love (or love for one’s passion) finds life, prosperity and honor.   – Proverbs 21:21

Two nights ago my 11-year old son and I were trying to enjoy my older son’s lacrosse game, but it was hard because of the mouthy teen who sat behind us. He came with fans for other team and criticized everyone and everything about the game.  Apparently he knew it all and no one else knew anything.  He criticized the players, the plays, the refs, and the calls.  He criticized their coach for not playing their best varsity players.  “I know this is a start-up team (referring to our team), but they’re varsity so he should play our varsity players!  He has freshmen out there!”  To that I thought, “Smart coach.  This is a good opportunity to save his better players and give his freshmen experience playing in a game.  He must also be a respectable coach who doesn’t feel the need to bully us by running up the score with his best players.”

Then the teen started making comments about our coach and said, “Why would a coach like that coach a team like this?”  With that remark I finally turned around, looked the teen in the eyes,  and with pride in my voice and a smile on my face I said, “You know, this coach has a passion for starting up new teams and teaching new players how to play the game.”  The teen just nodded in response.  I turned my attention back to the game.  Shortly after that, we scored our first goal!   Yay!  Our fans went crazy!  While cheering I turned back to the teen and excitedly added, “Just a few weeks ago, some of the kids on our team didn’t even know how to use a lacrosse stick.  Our coach has really helped us!”

It was true.  This coach and those who coach with him have brought our team a long way in a short time.  I was proud of the coaches and proud of our team.  However, I understood what the teen was thinking when he commented about our coach.  Our coach is recognized nationally and considered to be the best by many.  He works with elite players and teams.  When I learned of his background and established reputation, I’d also wondered why he’d want to come to our small school and help us start a new team.  I learned that despite his other involvements, our coach has a passion for starting up new lacrosse programs, teaching kids who have never played the game, and helping everyone rise to a better level of play.

I hope that someday the teen who sat behind me will come to realize that success isn’t always measured by wins and losses.  Sometimes it’s measured by how you share the game.   

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