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Archive for Spiritual Growth Articles

Sep
16

Dad the Fashion Guru

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI’m taking a total departure from some of my usual topics to focus on something that is a big ingredient in being an interactive Dad AND something that has surprisingly become ‘close to my heart.’

Being a fashion Guru.

First of all, to clarify:  I’m colorblind.  So if I can enter the fashion realm as a Dad, then you DEFINITELY can.  I’m not so good at matching clothes.  In fact, when I was in college dating this hot girl that ended up becoming my wife; I’d put on some clothes and ask my roommates if I was matching.

“Yup.”

“Yeah, you look great.”

“Lookin’ good.”

 . . . so you can probably imagine my lack of surprise when I’d meetup with my girlfriend and she’d say, “Good God, what are you wearing?!  That doesn’t match at all.”

My roommates didn’t often have ‘my back’ in the fashion department.

But after I had kids, and after those kids started caring about what they wore . . . I needed to connect with them with my limited fashion abilities.

When the boys were younger, they’d throw on anything that was available and comfortable, which I’d still advocate as some of the main goals of fashion.  They’d make any strange combination of outfits ‘cool’ because they had the confidence of not caring.  But, as they grew older, they started caring.  So they wanted to ‘match’ and ‘wear shoes’ (we lived in Florida), and buy brand names.

I didn’t want to be one of those ‘fuddy-duddy’ Dads, that didn’t understand style or the fashion dynamics of kids, because how you look is a BIG DEAL to preteens/teens.   To connect with them, I had to learn fashion.

Below is a list of things that helped me and things I tried.  There were failures of course; these are the wins that I can share on this topic.  What about you?  You can probably see color and have some good ideas to share as well.  Drop me an e-mail or comment.

Oh, and before I do the list.  You’re probably wondering what the Biblical or Spiritual tie-in is for anything regarding fashion.  Usually I have a quick Bible answer for questions, even if it’s a corny Bible joke, but in this case I had to do some research.

[Brad surfs the net with his theology hat on]

 . . .  well, actually the Bible doesn’t have a lot of positive to say about adornment or clothes or looks being important.  In fact, there is a lot of the opposite.  BUT, in doing the research I discovered that the negative part about fashion, adornment, and looks, is that they shouldn’t become a focus to detract you from what’s really important.

So, don’t let that happen.  Keep your focus on what’s important in life.

I did find a plethora (a.k.a. ‘a bunch’) of information about how much God cares about creating beauty and aesthetics on the Earth.  It seems like God is the ultimate fashion designer.  God even made the first clothes (read Genesis) out of leaves – I’ve never seen that done, even on Project Runway.  Here is an example of how much attention God gives to creating beauty upon the Earth . . . almost like tailoring the best outfits for us.

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
. . .

He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

I also found some pretty good articles related to the God/Fashion topic:

https://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/jesus-christ-fashion-icon.aspx

https://lifeloveandgod.com/god/is-it-okay-to-love-fashion/

Ok, now back to the list of practical Dad fashion tips.  Don’t forget to e-mail me or comment with your own:

Retro is always good:  You grew up in an era that will cycle into being ‘cool’ at some point.  I grew up in the 80’s and Stranger ThingsDark, and popular sitcoms highlight some of the fashion that is now becoming popular again.  Thank God that some things never came back in style as far as hairstyles like the mullet or the 5ft-tall Aquanet tower of hair that some of my female friends had.  But clothes; clothes come back to popularity.  Fashion from 10 years in the past can always be used as a retro fashion statement.

Use the terms:  Find out what joggers are.  And jeggers.  And jorgers.—ok, I made that last one up.  But find out what your kids are calling rolling their jeans legs, or what a ‘snapback’ is, or how Gucci plays a role in fashion.  Also, learn how to pronounce ‘Gucci’ correctly.

Shape is important.  Boys are shooting for the overall shape of a ‘T’ and girls are trying to look like the general shape of a number ‘8.’  So, give any feedback or insight on the clothes that do well with bringing out your kids’ qualities. Read More→

Feb
04

Absolutes, Absolutely

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerIf I haven’t mentioned before that I’m a geek, this article will surely prove it.

I’d like to start out by mentioning one of my great Star Wars quotes from the Bible.

“From the Bible,” you ask?  Yes.  And it has a great implication for Dads – especially as your kids enter middle and high school.

Some of you still aren’t convinced that Star Wars quotes the Bible.  If you’d like to stop reading right now and leave a comment as your guess what it is; then do it.  It’s the only way people will believe you if you’re geeky enough to get it right.

That was your chance.

Here’s what Jesus said (in Matthew 12:30):

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, andwhoever does not gather with me scatters.

It’s a pretty plain, direct statement.  Some might even consider it a statement of absolute.  There is no grey area.  You’re either for Jesus, or you are against him . . .  and if you’re against him then you’re going to lose.

Here’s the quote from Star Wars Revenge of the Sith:

Anakin Skywalker: If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.

Anakin Skywalker: You will try.

So, obviously the director was trying to make some sort of statement . . . probably against God.  But that’s Hollywood.

My concern as a Dad is that there are many venues for our kids where absolutes are shunned.  If I went to the local high school and said, “There are only two genders.” There would be drama.  Same thing if I made the statement, “3rd trimester abortion is murder.”  Or “You have to believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for your sins in order to go to heaven.”  Or “Homosexuality is a sin.”

Any one of those statements at a public school would get my kids disciplined or ostracized.  Same thing if they were said in a social setting – there would be an immediate issue with some people.  Unfortunately, even at many churches there would be the same level of drama if any of the above statements were said; especially from the pulpit.

The good thing is, very few people need to go around publically stating absolutes.  But, as Dads, we really need to make sure that our kids know the truth and know that there isn’t a grey area with most things God says in the Bible.

Much of our society has become a dichotomy (two parts) of people groups; the loud, and the quietly virtuous.  It pretty clear that there is a lot of stigma against absolute virtue from the media these days.  So I wouldn’t ever post on Facebook:  “Sex outside of marriage is wrong.” because my feed would immediately erupt in drama.  So, like most people, I share truth with people that aren’t going to turn into a Darth Vader when they hear an absolute.

Your kids are those people.  We’re not raising Dark Lords of the Sith (for you non-geeks, that means ‘villains’).  We want to make sure that our kids know right from wrong; they need to know the absolutes.  And of course we’ll temper the knowledge with how to live according to the truth . . . and how to avoid drama along the way. Read More→

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Dec
10

Putting First Things First

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by Nancy Twigg

If ever there was a woman who lost control of her priorities, it was Martha, whose story is recorded in Luke 10. Poor Martha. Too bad she will forever be remembered as the one who was more concerned about making dinner than making Jesus feel welcome in her home!

What separates Martha from her sister Mary is that Martha did not order her time by her priorities. She may have sincerely thought that welcoming Jesus was most important, but her behavior did not reflect that. It’s as if she had a choice of visiting with Jesus or vacuuming, and she chose the vacuum. It’s not that Mary didn’t help out with the chores. I believe she did—perhaps she did the dishes before Jesus arrived. But once Jesus set foot in their home, Mary dropped the busy work in favor of what really mattered—spending quality time with her Lord.

Jesus’ response to Martha is just as applicable to us as it was to her: “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41, 42, CEV).

Let’s be honest. Don’t we all make Martha’s mistake? We mean well. We want to help out in our children’s school and be active in our communities and do our part at church. As with Martha’s cooking and cleaning, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these activities. The problem is when they become a hindrance and keep us from doing what really matters—spending quality time with our Lord and the people He puts in our path.

Learning to live our priorities actually encompasses all three parts of the Clarity Principle found in Hebrews 12:1-2. Getting rid of extraneous obligations and expectations is one of the ways we “throw off everything that hinders.” Not letting the trivial supersede the vital is an example of how we “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” And ordering our lives around what God wants is part of how we “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Read More→

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May
14

Yes, Mom You Should Set Goals

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by Alyssa Dees Avant

Sometimes as moms, we get the crazy idea that because we have become responsible for the lives of precious little children, that we should focus solely on them and leave our own thoughts and ideas for ourselves behind. This should not be the case. We as moms should be true to ourselves, use the passions and gifts that God has given us and set some goals for ourselves.

These goals will not only benefit us, as people, but also our families as well. Its kind of like the old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Naturally, our children, husbands, families and others around us will benefit from us taking care of ourselves and doing things that will help us to feel more productive and successful.

The Lord also expects us to use the gifts that he has given us. He tells us in Scripture that without every part of the body of Christ functioning at its best it will not work. If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Read More→

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Apr
10

How do we run?

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Stress - business woman running lateAlways running. My mom tells me that since I was a girl I have woken up everyday ready to go 100 miles an hour. Focused. Driven. Feeling the need to accomplish. To move forward. To run through each day.

Success from the world’s point of view is based on how much we accomplish. Vast accomplishments bring praise and accolade. In business success means financial gain, good references and return clients. As mothers success mean well-behaved children, food on the table for super, and laundry put away each night. When we appear successful people look on us with admiration.

But are we successful or are we driven? Is business or motherhood driving us? Are we constantly striving for perfection, trying to get just a little more done every day, pushing our limits and never finding rest for our weary hearts?

And does this focused inner drive carry over into our spiritual lives as well. After all we are told to run the race set before us. With our natural eyes we see this race as that of works: how much we accomplish in the church, how many good deeds we do, or how frequently we read the Bible. But is this what Scripture meant in Hebrews 12:1?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,(NIV)

I want to run my race and run well. I’m sure you do as well. We want to reach the end and hear our master say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

It reminds me of my years of jogging and cross country races. I was never good; never the fastest. I just ran for the fun of it. I am not an award winning runner. But I run, not giving up.

Reflecting on my spiritual race I don’t think God cares about the speed, or our accomplishments. He cares about our faithfulness and our fellowship with Him.

Run to Jesus not parallel to Him

Run to Him not for Him

To Him for strength

To Him for grace

To Him for direction

Desperate for Him. Running.

To Him for the peace my heart so desperately needs

To Him to hear His voice calm my anxious thoughts

To Him for all that I need

Run to Jesus.

 

Is not this the epitome of our Christian race? Running to Jesus.

How can you change the focus of your days to run to Him rather than for Him? When we run to Him He fills our hearts with peace and strength to accomplish His purposes, when we try to run for Him all that we achieve is a lot of inner stress, and high expectations of ourselves.

With problems of business, family and Christian service….Run to Jesus. Don’t try your best to put on a good front, to make it look like you have this Christian life altogether. Just run to Him.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi Fata is a small business owner, operating a sewing business, Love Stitches by Naomi, out of her home. She is passionate about encouraging other moms who are looking for home based employment. Naomi is also the author of Beyond Head Knowledge; Knowing Christ who Satisfies our Hearts. In all things, whether through writing, business or homemaking, her vision is that God’s love would shine through. She is married with three children, and will begin her homeschooling journey in the fall of 2015 as her oldest begins kindergarten. You can connect with Naomi at her blogfacebook, and twitter.

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Jan
22

Take Away the Panic

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerTwo autumns ago, my family vacationed in Disney World. Day two we spent in Epcot visiting various countries including the Mexican Pyramid. Our clan of five plus my dad, stepmother, and two young sisters lined up for the boat ride. Mexico teamed with people visiting booths, activities, and the same line we endured. One, two, three, four, five little heads I counted several times while waiting for thirty minutes for a two-minute ride. Two pink shirts, one blue, a purple, and an orange. I must have counted the wrong pink shirt because when I glanced over, my daughter Alex was gone. 

Blinders covered my eyes as I rushed out of line on the hunt for my baby. Calling her name I weaved in and out of the crowd pushing people out of my way until another mom stopped me. Was I looking for a little blond girl in a pink shirt? I was. She knew where my baby was and took me to the vendor where my five-year-old princess waited as my throat slowly released the choked panic and fear. Alex chattered away to an employee as I approached ready to kiss all over her and never let her out of the safety of my arms again. The world was no longer black and grim, but brimming with color and hope again. 

Alex, upon finding she had lost her family in a strange place, did not panic. She found a mother who took her to a booth or store and more specifically, to a person with a name tag, where she asked for help finding her mama. Alex was fine. Apologizing over and over again, Alex calmed me with her peaceful happy-go-lucky attitude telling me she was fine she knew just what to do when lost. I had prepared my children for worse case scenarios on the twenty hour drive to Disney. 

If the kids got lost, they were to find a mom or an employee with a name tag. That was exactly what Alex did. She took charge of the situation and got herself to relative safety until I could get to her location. Alex chatted with the employee as they were about to announce a missing child to the throng of faces. My little one scoped out souvenirs and bubbled over with five-year-old chatter, not a hint of alarm or trepidation spoiling her day in the world of magic. 

Communication about potential threats was only one security measure in my arsenal. Every day after my children and sisters dressed for the day, including shoes on, I would take a picture of them in their daily outfit. The drive over also included quizzing my children about mine and my husband’s phone numbers, our names, and other distinguishing factors they may need to give under bad circumstances. This was our families typical car discussion. We talked about possible scenarios and how to handle them if they happen. I am very thankful now that we tell our children what to do in potentially scary situations as it saved us tons of panic at Disney. 

We have gone over situations such as what to do when:

– A stranger offers you candy or anything else to get into their vehicle or go with them somewhere.

– If they get separated from us anywhere. 

– They come home and we are not there and they cannot get into the house. 

– How to figure out if someone is safe to approach for help.

– What to do if they come home and the doors are open, our wallets, purse, shoes, and phones are there but we are not.

– If there is a fire, tornado, or other disasters. 

– Someone comes into the house uninvited. 

– What to do if we run out of coffee (okay, this one is a joke, but also kind of real).  Read More→

Jan
11

Back in the Saddle Again…and Again

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis is Smile Post-itnot my first rodeo when it comes to New Years. I have ridden this Bronco so many times I cannot remember how many. Well, I can remember, but I am not going to let that slip. Something to do with a New Year’s Resolution.

Back in the days of youth, I used to stay up to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Now, I see so many people drop the ball during the year that I don’t want to see another one on New Year’s Eve. I’ve seen enough of that.

At my stage in life, health is more important than watching something I have seen a thousand times before.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage agrees with me on this issue. It is one of the few issues that we agree on so why should I mess with it.

One thing about starting over again is trying not to make the same mistakes you made last year. It is good to sit down and think about all the mistakes you have made last year and mine came to one.

When I got to that issue, I proudly shared it with my spouse. I was so excited that I could only think of one mistake I made last year and I really wanted to share it with her.

“What do you mean,” she said rather suspiciously, “you only made one mistake last year?”

With a great deal of excitement, I nodded enthusiastically and said, “Yes, I only made one mistake last year and my resolution is not to make the same mistake this year.”

“What was that mistake?”

“My biggest mistake last year was that I forgot to give you a birthday card.” Read More→

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Dec
28

Why read the Bible?

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Learning timeAs women who long for Christ to be glorified in our lives Bible reading is probably part of our daily and weekly lives. It is one of those things deeply impressed on every believer soon after they come to Christ.

For me a daily quiet time has been a part of each morning since I was about 10. My mom used to get me a yearly kid’s devotional put out by Word of Life Bible Institute. This helped me begin a life-long habit of journaling and time with the Lord.

However, I also approached my Bible reading with a quest to find something new, to learn a something. This sounds good but instead of growing a deeper relationship with God it mostly fed my mind knowledge. I knew the Bible stories. I had read the Bible through many times but yet felt like the Bible was not real to me.

I didn’t know why this was and spent a great deal of time praying about it. God answered my prayer and revealed to me how I treated the Bible more like a textbook than the living Word.

The Bible is a book. I have always loved books. From them I learn about people from centuries past, enjoy a good story or learn spiritual lessons from great Christian leaders. All books can have an impact on my life and thinking. Reading the Bible can help me to be more aware of how to become morally upright and it will give me a solid understanding of the creation of the world and God’s plan for humanity.

But is that it?

Is the Bible simply another book that will fill my mind with knowledge, or is it a book whose message of who God is, will birth within our hearts a hopeful expectancy of what He longs to do in my life? Is it merely to read about what God has done, confining Him to what He did for people in the past or through reading it do we see a God who works on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4)?

Think of the well known accounts recorded in the book and what it tells you about the character of God.

  • God’s servant Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and God shut their mouths. God saved Daniel’s life in a miraculous way. He can do the same for me.
  • King David, a man after God’s own heart, was an adulterer and murderer. God forgave him. And so He longs to forgive me.
  • God led the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land with a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). He longs to lead me into the plans He has for me and has given us the Holy Spirit as a counselor and guide.
  • While Jesus was on earth He fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish because He had compassion on them (Mark 6:30-44). In the same way He has compassion on me and longs to supply all of my needs according to His glorious riches. Read More→
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Nov
28

Work as Worship

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Is your Monday different than your Sunday? Or, in other words, are you worshiping God through the week the same way you do at church on Sunday morning?

It can be hard at times to see our work as a form of worship, but Dorothy Sayers, in her Essay “Why Work,” says just that:

“Let the church remember this: that every maker and every worker is called to serve God in his profession on trade – not outside it … The only Christian work is good work well done.”

Isn’t that freeing? It isn’t supposed to be God OR work. We are called to worship God through our work. Every beautiful thing we create, every item we sell, every customer we interact with … it’s all meant to be well done – to the best of our abilities as an offer to God.

For many years I struggled with the pressure I felt running CWAHM. I felt that it was somehow “not good enough” no matter where I looked. In the eyes of the business world, I’m certainly small potatoes – not to mention that I have a Biblical Counseling degree, not a business degree. And in the eyes of the Christian world I wasn’t “Christian enough” because I talk about selling and marketing and business.

But, God has brought me to a place where I can see that by living out my calling – the calling that HE has given me – I am glorifying Him. I may never be “enough” in anyone else’s eyes, but I’m working for an audience of One and He is the only opinion that counts. Read More→

Aug
22

How Unqualified Are You?

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The world is full of people in positions they are totally unqualified for.

 

Well, that is to the untrained eye.

 

You see God enjoys using people who most of us would consider unqualified. Let’s unpack this a bit, shall we?

 

When God steps in and grabs ahold of people who would identify as unqualified we witness such greatness.

 

God is great, powerful, wise, strong, capable, and all-knowing. He knows our beginning and our end all while He knits us together in our mother’s womb.

 

When Jesus takes the wheel our weakness no longer limit us because God works through those. We see that indeed nothing is impossible with God. We become freed from worldly beliefs, excessive people pleasing, limited mindset’s, corporate thinking, and all of our worldly limitations. We become freed from the shame of our past, failures, embarrassments and guilt because God can and will use all of that to help others in their life right where they are! What a beautiful thing this is!

 

I want to talk to you ladies today about feeling unqualified. If you noticed I didn’t say being unqualified I said feeling unqualified. There is a difference, a big one I believe.

 

According to Google dictionary being means existence, reality, actuality.

 

Feeling means an emotional state or reaction.

 

Just because we feel a certain way doesn’t mean it’s reality or actuality.

 

Unqualified means:

  1. Not officially recognized as a practitioner of a particular profession or activity through having satisfied the relevant conditions or requirements.
  2. Not competent or sufficiently knowledgeable to do something.

 

So you may not be officially recognized as far as worldly standards go but God is far greater. He is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end.

 

Therefore when He calls us into something the worldly definition of qualified no longer matters. It is obsolete. What God has put together no man can stop. That my friends is a promise we can stand on.

 

Not feeling qualified isn’t the same as being unqualified. When God leads you into something know that He has qualified you for that.

 

Does this mean it’ll be easy for you? No, the truth is it won’t always be easy. But when God is on your side you already know you are going to make it.

 

Philippians 1:6 tells us, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

So what can you do when you are feeling unqualified?

 

Go back to who God says you are in scripture. Look for specific scripture where God talks about how He’s created you, given each specific gifts, created a plan for you, and has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. If you need assistance getting started you can grab a free list of scripture I’ve compiled by clicking here. (no opt-in required)

 

 

Personalize the scripture when possible. Add in your name and repeat these to yourself randomly throughout your day. Bonus Tip: Set them as reminders on your phone so you can read them more often to help your subconscious absorb them as truth. Read More→

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