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May
29

Finding “Good” In Our World Is Challenging

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itIn our world today, it is difficult to find anything good, let alone anything good to say about anything or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is that she can find some good in just about everything. Sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation of “Good” because she has been right more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when she has been wrong, for that would be a very delicate subject and I am not a very delicate person.

One area of life I have a very difficult time finding anything good is politics. I stay completely away from politics as much as possible. Oh yes, there have been those times that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do have a little bit of common sense still lurking around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you put all the politicians together in one room could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps the cost of being a politician is to give up all those tiny little gray cells that make the rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because I cannot trust myself once I get started on the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail he was never going to give up. There were times when I lost him for several hours while he was running that rabbit trail. He did not know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any problem.

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I were watching the news and the whole thing was about politics. As for me, when they say Washington is broken, I know they really mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I was getting a little ticked. I was grumbling about everything I was hearing, knowing a politician will say one thing today and the complete opposite tomorrow. That is because there is nothing in their brain cavity to create stability.

For some reason, I started grouching out loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when I grouch out loud because my wife can hear me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion about anything. That includes politics and politicians. I was trying to process this idea of being grateful about politicians. I could not come up with one idea that would lead me to a point of being grateful about politicians.

I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at this point. If I would express any ideas along this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have the last word. Read More→

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May
28

MOPS is Going to the Dogs

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI got fired by MOPS.

The local Mothers OPreschoolers group that meets at our church asked me to speak this week about technology regarding kids.  Then, I was told that a local female psychologist asked to speak on the topic this week . . . so I got bumped.

I was replaced by a female.  Gender discrimination is REAL people.

This is just online kidding.  They were really nice about it and I understand that I am, in fact, a dude.  I have a great respect for the MOPS organization. After our first son was born, we moved to a new area.  My wife was in a new community with no real family connection. She was depressed. The local MOPS group gave her hope.  They gave her connection. They gave her a reason to take a shower and put on pants each week.

Anyway, I had prepared a whole talk on technology for kids, so I really don’t want it to go to waste; so you guys get to be the MOPS group today — and the information is definitely good for Dads too (technology doesn’t just apply to Moms).

I was going to start out the talk highlighting the overall negative reputation of kids having technology — but my goal isn’t to land there.  We can gripe and complain, and lock our kids away in Amish communes, but technology is a reality that we have to face. But here are some of the negative statistics related to kids and ‘screen time.’

·         Tweens spend less time outside than prisoners

–Kids spend twice as long playing on screens as they do playing outside.

–3-in-4 kids spend less than 60 minutes playing outside each day.

–1-in-5 kids don’t play outside at all on a typical day.

–3-in-4 parents said their kids often refuse to play games without some form of technology.

  • Teens are expressing higher rates of depression and loneliness the more time they spend on their phones, despite claims by 81 percent of teens that phones make them “feel” more connected.
  • There is mounting evidence linking screen time to with obesity.

So . . .  Technology = Bad. –But I’m not going to beat that drum.   Instead I’m going to prompt you to ask yourselves, ‘Have you ever met at kid that didn’t interact with technology?’  That’s right; think about it for a moment. A kid that didn’t know about technology would be a social outcast and pariah among their peers.

Social interaction and peer pressure aren’t a great reason to embrace technology.  However, I could give statistics on how there is a benefit to different forms of tech and educational value on a worldwide scale is available to all genders and socioeconomic groups . . . but my main argument is that technology is a reality that is not going away.

I think the way you treat technology related to your kids is important.  This might call for an analogy . . .

Let’s imagine that your family adopted a wild timber wolf from the forests of Yellowstone.  Food has been scarce in the area, so the wolf comes to you already malnourished and hungry. It needs to be kept in your house until the environment improves.

Yikes! What would you do?  Well, you’d need a plan.

And that’s pretty much the summary of all my technology advice for your family; make a plan and make a goal.

Just like having a wolf in your home, safety would be the number one priority.  For media and technology use, this is no different. Internet safety is a popular topic and there are lots of good ideas to google.

Instead of safety, I’m going to focus on training your wolf (i.e. technology) so that it’s well-behaved and works for you.

Read More→

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May
24

Lazy Does Have Its Advantages

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs a young boy, my father tried drilling into my brain that laziness was not acceptable in his house. If I wanted to be lazy, I had to go outside. He provided a wonderful role model for me because if my father was anything, he was not lazy. He tried to encourage me not to be lazy.

Laziness, according to him, was an attack on common decency and energy. After all these years, I have tried to live up to his standard. And yet, I must confess that I have found that laziness may have an advantage or two. I’m leaning towards the two.

It was my fortune to marry a young lady who did not have an inkling of laziness in any of her bones. I thought when I first married her; she was trying to impress me with how active she was and how much she could get done. I have discovered, however, that that certainly was not the case. Laziness and she have never met as far as I understand it.

I have tried not to be lazy and to a certain extent, I have succeeded. However, as I get older I begin to appreciate the opportunity of laziness. It does not have the bad connotation I was taught down through the years.

Everything has its good side and its bad side. The great joy of life is trying to find the good side in everything. This includes laziness. Anybody can point out the bad side to laziness, but it takes a genius to discover the good side of laziness. I am not pretending to be that genius, but I can say that I have discovered a good side to laziness.

The good side of laziness occurred to me recently. My wife loves to put together “Honey-Do-Lists” for her husband. That would be me, of course.

Let me say that just because it’s called a “Honey-Do-Lists” does not mean that there is any sweetness to it. In fact, from my own personal experience I have yet to find any sweetness in that activity. I call it an activity because I am supposed to actively do everything on that list.

It was a Monday morning and as usual, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage handed to me her weekly “Honey-Do-List.” As usual, the list was quite long and in great detail.

“Make sure,” she said rather seriously, “that you do everything on that list as soon as possible.”

One of the things I have often wanted to ask my wife is what is her meaning of “as soon as possible”? It seems that I have not the faintest idea of what it really means. As a well-seasoned husband, I smile most graciously as she hands me that list and say, “Yes, dear.” Her list comes as close to a novel as anything she does.

It takes several days for me to read that list and try to understand what I am supposed to do with it. But, with my experience, I do the best I can and there have been several times, not many, that I have finished her list to the last point.

It was about Thursday when I was going over the list and saw several things that had not been checked off. I sighed very deeply, and with determination planned to get back in the saddle again. I find it very hard to juggle what I want to do with her “Honey-Do-List.” It is always a struggle because I know I have to do her list, but in my mind, I really want to do my list.

I was drinking some coffee and looking over this list to see what my next assignment was. At that time, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into the room and said, “Did you do the 12th item on my list?”

At the time, I was a little startled because I did not know what she was getting at. I did not know if this was a quiz or if I was being evaluated by my work. I was a little concerned because there were some little nuggets of lazy that had peppered my week up to this point.

Looking at her I said, “No, I haven’t got to number 12 yet. I’m still working on number 10.”

She sighed such a deep sigh of relief that it frightened me a little. I was afraid if I said I had not accomplished number 12 I would be in serious trouble. After all, it was on the list and I was supposed to do everything on the list.

“I’m so glad you didn’t do that. It was my mistake and I would’ve been in serious trouble had you done it.” Read More→

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May
01

The Inner Parent Voice

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerPrepare to be metaphysical!

Sometimes adults will come in for marriage counseling or to work on an individual issue.  I’ll quickly figure out that their ‘backstory’ includes some really horrible or absent parents; and as a result, they have some . . . ‘issues.’  I’ve had guys come in with low self-esteem, and women come in with fears and anxiety, and husbands that don’t know how to treat ladies and ladies that have no confidence – or any variation of such.

Many times part of the solution is to develop that inner parenting voice.   That voice to parent themselves in the attributes they missed growing up.

Now here’s where I throw in the metaphysical:

In session I’ll ask people to imagine:

Imagine that we are going to adopt a kid and raise it to have great self-esteem.  What will you do so that this imaginary kid will have great self-esteem?  How can you get your spouse (if applicable) to help you?

So, then the person starts brainstorming on how to help this little fictional kid develop self-esteem.    Then, of course I turn around all those great ideas as something the person can do to themselves to develop great self-esteem.

The idea is that all of us have a little child version of ourselves inside us.  Many times it’s what gives us our passion and motivation.  This little person, this younger version of you, sometimes needs some inner parenting talk.

If I had a kid that needed some encouragement, I’d start out telling them how important they are to God – that if you were the ONLY person left on Earth, Jesus would still die for you.  That God considered each of us, and planned our whole lives before we were even born.  That we are “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

Then I’d tell them how much they mean to me, and how their identity isn’t based on success, but that they have learned a lot in life and the only failure is when you quit trying.

I’d point out their successes and how they’ve learned from their failures, and that the failures are never that bad.

. . .  and that’s all great stuff that our inner selves need to hear too.

Not just that, but I’d do some things for any fictional child that needed encouragement.  I’d send them to bed a little early one night so that they catch up on sleep when they were sleep deprived.  I’d limit their use of electronics to give their mind and their eyes a break.  I’d take that kid out for a walk outside in nature so that they could clear their head.   I’d play their favorite music, I’d lay out their special underwear, and I’d buy them a drink at the local gas station.

. . . and that’s all great stuff that our inner selves need to experience also.

If I were skeptical . . . and I actually am quite skeptical; I’d wonder how an adult is supposed to come up with a great inner parent voice when they’ve had horrible parents growing up.  That is a good question. Read More→

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Mar
12

I Miss My Good Friend, Tom Foolery

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were having a conversation. Of course, it was more like a monologue, but you know how that works.

We were thinking back over the years of our life together and reminding ourselves of some of the great and wonderful times we have had. The friends we have made. The activities we have enjoyed together. Of course, there were the grandchildren and my wife had a great time talking about the grandchildren and I chuckling along with her.

After a moment of quietness, my wife said rather seriously, “Who is the friend you miss the most?”

Boy, was that a question!

I had to really think about that, then I mention somebody she knew and we moved on to another subject.

However, thinking about that a little bit later I did acknowledge that the friend I missed the most was Tom Foolery. I guess, as you get older you more or less outgrow that friendship. But I certainly do miss him.

Being older now, and supposedly wiser, I am expected to have a certain serious decorum. I am to take everything very seriously and professionally. I suppose I am seriously a professional geezer.

Why is it when you get older people expect different things out of you?

I do have fond memories of my high school years when I was not expected to be serious minded or professional. The great expectation back then was to enjoy yourself and have fun. Do not take life too seriously, was the motto of my younger years.

Now that I am older, I have to take life seriously. Who came up with that rule? I would like to send him to the principal’s office.

Someone once said in my hearing that 60 was the new 40. I do not know what that means, but I like to lean in that direction. Too many people, including my wife, take things way too serious. Where is the fun in that though?

I do remember quite fondly my friend Tom Foolery. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed each other’s company totally.

I think, even at my age that a little bit of Tom Foolery is not going to hurt me in the least. Of course, my ribs might ache because of all the laughter involved. That it is a small price to pay.

I was thinking about my friend, Tom, when I was at the post office this past week. Every once in a while I have to take a package to the post office to have it mailed.

This day the line was quite long and the service people were working as hard and fast as they could. However, too many people had problems that could not be solved in a moment.

The line got longer and longer, the people inhabiting the line grew a little grouchy and grumpy, and I could hear some of the complaining behind me.

I notice loads of problems in life, but if standing in line for a long period is the worst of my problems, I certainly have a wonderful life. Not everybody goes along with that idea. Especially, the people standing behind me.

Pretty soon, one of the lady managers from the back came out to try to assist in the service. She said, “Is anybody here for pick up?”

I do not offer any logical excuse or explanation for what I said. Just that, the noodle soup upstairs was boiling and my mouth was unlocked at the moment.

I said to the lady, “Are you handling the pickup?”

“Yes I am,” she said very professionally as she walked over towards me.

“Are you available?”

Walking towards me, she said, “Yes.”

Quite seriously, I extended my hand and responded to her, “Where would you like to go?”

She stopped in her tracks and looked at me and immediately behind me the customers began laughing and clapping their hands. Read More→

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Mar
08

Teenagers – the brain thang

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerWhen my kids were little, we used to make fun of the disrespectful, lazy, reprobate teenagers that frequented the neighborhood. We’d see them riding their bike the wrong way in traffic, saying bad words, or damaging property. I’d look at my boys, shake my head disapprovingly, and say, “Teenagers.”

Soon they started doing it too. When a group of drunk teens tried to pull an alligator out of the sewer in front of our house (hey, it was Florida), one of my kids looked and me and said, “teenagers, right dad?”

Right.

Except now I have two teenagers.

We live in West Virginia now, so there are less alligators, but there is still property to damage, bad decisions to make, and lots and lots of drugs (drugs are West Virginia’s state bird).

My wife and I commiserate a lot about our two teens. “How did this happen?” we frequently ask each other. We are good parents. I even write a parenting blog.

There are many factors involved in teenagers turning into teenagers. We might explore some of them in a future article. But today I’m going to share one fact that helps my wife and I deal with the times when we see our kids making immature or poorly conceived decisions:

Their brains are not done developing.

I’ve heard about it on TV before, how teens make impulsive decisions because of their prefrontal cortex still developing. On a CSI drama, one character remarked that they don’t finish brain development until age 25ish.

25? Is that really true!?!

Yes, in this case television didn’t let us down. The front of teenagers’ brains, the part where they make logical, informed decisions, is still developing. So instead of using it, they default to the part of the brain called the amygdala (try spelling that for a spelling bee). The amygdala is the part of the brain that reacts with instinct, aggression, and emotion. So teenagers are primarily using a brain that has them make poorly conceived, emotional decisions; usually impulsively.

So, my wife and I have to enjoy this state of unformed brain development for a few more years. Sometimes we talk about the Bible and how teenagers were already living on their own, frequently married, and working in full-time occupations. We lament that times have changed. Just trying to imagine our boys out living in their own house, being responsible for a wife or finances, and holding down a job, is a thought that is both scary and pleasant.

We’d love it if they faced some of the challenges that they think they can manage. But at the same time we don’t want them to make life-altering disaster decisions. But also at the same time we are tired of their attitude.

We can see why teenage kids of Bible times were out on their own; because they knew everything!

Sometimes when i feel like a bad parent, I read the parable of the Prodigal Son from the Bible. Here is a clip from it in case you are unfamiliar.

(Luke 15:11 – 24 NIV Bible) “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Reading this story gives me hope. My teens will probably make bad decisions, but I will watch out for them and provide a forgiving and accepting home base and family for them when they start to think reasonably again.

Or, in other words, they are going to make dumb decisions while they are teens and their brains are still developing. We dads will be there for them when they start using their developed brains.

This also gives me two pieces of advice that I think apply to all parents, especially Dads:

Don’t judge harshly: the Prodigal Son parable above is a metaphor for us (the kid in the story) and God (the father in the story) — if God is the BEST parent and unruly teenage kids (us) still make bad decisions . .

Which means don’t be too hard on yourself
Which also means don’t be too hard on other parents either — I’ve seen way too many parents with kids that used to ‘walk on water’ when they were younger and now have turned into little demon harlots. It’s sad when parents feel that they are all alone because they don’t want to admit that their kid isn’t perfect.
Give them grace through relationship: I did and said some horrible things when I was a teen. Some of it, as an adult, I am ashamed of. I suggest that you decide right now that you will love your kids — even teens — and accept them as people no matter what they say or do. Because it gets hard.

I heard a kid recently. . a kid that may or may not be the fruit of my loins . . say that he wanted to graduate high school, try lots of drugs, live with his female manager at the fast-food job, and make enough money to drink and have fun on weekends.

NONE OF THAT IS OK! However, there is still brain development occurring (thank God!) and I’m pretty sure most of that was said out of shock-value anyway. I hope.

Teenagers.

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Mar
06

Have Mouth, Will Stutter

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI pride myself with the ability to express myself with the proper wording. I enjoy words and seeing how they relate one to another. Unfortunately, it has not always the case.

I have found through the years that I have developed quite the art of stuttering. It happens at the most inconvenient moments.

It is like the story of Honest Abe Lincoln and his wife. The story is not true of course, but it is very interesting. Mrs. Lincoln asks Honest Abe, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

Known as “Honest Abe” we all chuckle at that moment of stuttering for him.

I have had such moments of my own.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I might be sitting in the living room watching TV and all the time the person on the other couch is chattering. Me, I am not listening, just smiling and nodding my head in agreement. That has cost me quite a bit throughout the years.

The wife was chattering and then she stopped and said, “I want to know what you think about that? And please be honest with me.”

Now the stuttering syndrome begins. I had no idea what she was talking about. Now I am backed into the proverbial corner with nowhere to go. How I answer that question, may determine my health.

“Well,” my dear, I stuttered, “if you think it’s a good idea I just want you to know that I support you 100%.” Getting that out gives me a great sigh of relief. While saying this I am looking at her smiling very graciously.

“Oh,” my wife says rather sarcastically, which should have been a warning to me, “you want broccoli for supper tonight. Right?”

How you get out of a situation like that is something I have yet to learn. Sometimes, or maybe I should say, all the time, it is crucial to listen to what your wife is saying particularly the questions.

One morning after finishing breakfast, she looked at me smilingly and said, “Ya wanna take a ride with me this morning?”

The first time she asked me this question I was startled because I could not remember the previous conversation as to where she wanted to go that morning. Trying to be the gracious husband that I sometimes think I am, which is a solo opinion, I smiled, nodded and said, “Yes, of course, I want to go with you this morning.” Read More→

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Feb
06

Now, Do You Feel like a Big Boy?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerbeach vacationVacations mean different things to different people. For me, the vacation means I am vacating one place and going to another place to do nothing.

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me vacated the parsonage to go to some place where we could major on doing nothing. We have mastered this over the years.

My definition of “nothing” is quite different from my wife’s definition.

My definition is simply that I spend the day doing nothing.

My wife’s definition is simply that she will spend the day doing nothing but thrift store shopping.

At this point, I am not quite sure who has mastered their “nothing.” We might be equal at this point. As long as each of our “nothing” activity does not collide with each other.

One of the aspects of getting to that “nothing” point is travel. The older I get, the less fond I am of traveling especially long distances. But if we are going to get to our destination, travel is part of the activity.

A long time ago, I made the decision, that on our vacations would use my wife’s van. Henceforth, she does all the driving.

How I got to this point was simply that if she is going to go thrift shopping she will need space to put the stuff that she buys. Hence, she needs to take her van, and consequently, she needs to do all the driving.

I have long ago come to my point of manhood that I do not have to do all the driving. My father was quite different. He felt that because he was the man in the house, he should do all the driving. I am not my father’s son. At least, in that respect.

If my wife is going to go thrift store shopping, she will need her van and so this problem has been worked out quite nicely, if you ask me.

On our travel I can either do some reading or log sawing, at which I am pretty good.

She’s a very good driver; after all, I trained her. I remember the time training her to drive a car, I would not say anything now, but there were some very anxious moments. So, there is nothing she could do now that would in any way cause me to be anxious.

This past vacation time I did see something that startled me to no end. We were driving down the main street in St. Augustine when we passed an old man riding his bicycle. That in itself is not an unusual sight, after all a lot of people ride bicycles. As we passed him, I noticed his trousers were down to his knees and I saw something that I am not supposed to see under any circumstance. My eyes burned for the next two days.

Then, the next day as we were driving and I saw this large Cadillac coming in our direction and there was nobody in the driver’s seat. Believe me, I was a little excited about that for sure. When we passed this car, I looked over and behind the steering wheel, barely able to see through the steering wheel, was a little old lady sitting.

Where do people get their driver’s license? Who gives them their driver’s license?

The next day we were driving home and I had just about fallen asleep. The Sandman had just started his activity and I was fast approaching dreamland. Then I heard a noise…“Bah room boom boom boom boom boom. Bah room boom boom boom boom boom.”

I jumped out of my sleep and looked over at my wife and she was looking at me. At first, I thought we were entering the apocalypse and was tempted to get down and start praying. Read More→

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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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Jan
30

The end of all nonsense and other practical jokes

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWhen it comes to practical jokes, Yours Truly is always on the ready. Throughout my earthly passage, I have perpetuated my share of practical jokes. I will not enumerate them here, the simple reason being, I might want to bring one out of retirement.

I must say that most practical jokes are neither practical nor funny. However, I operate on the biblical premise, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). With the high cost of medicine these days, I will take a merry heart every time. Just call me Dr. Merry Heart, and I will dispense some good medicine to everybody who needs it.

Now, the practical joke I am thinking of has to do with New Year’s Resolutions. I always look forward to the last week in January for this very reason. For the first several weeks of January, I am nervous and sweating over those lousy New Year’s Resolutions I am forced to make. Pardon my French.

Somewhere there is someone laughing at all of those stupid enough to make New Year’s Resolutions. It is probably the quintessential practical joke played on all humanity. Is there a culture anywhere in our world today that does not fall for this practical joke? If there is, I want to move there.

The first week in January is probably the worst week when it comes to these New Year’s Resolutions. They are fresh in our mind not to mention fresh on our lips. A New Year’s Resolution would not be so bad if nobody knew that we made one. The problem comes when somebody knows what our resolution is and constantly reminds us, “How’re your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?” Read More→

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