Joe's Jabbers

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Amazing Body

I’m amazed again. This time at the structure that makes up the rib cage. Did you know that the true ribs (located on the upper part of the rib cage and attached to the sternum) of a pitcher, can withstand the force of a softball hit on a line drive, by a 200 lb. (estimated, maybe more) man, when impacted from the front. It’s true. The ball just bounces off. Of course, it leaves a mark, about the size of a softball, almost instantaneously. You can’t breathe for a bit, but you can still move well enough to grab the ball and make the throw to get the runner out at first. I was really glad that it wasn’t hit 8 inches higher. My teeth aren’t in the greatest of shape already. That would have really made a mess. I couldn’t see it coming until it was about 3 feet in front of me because the sun was in my eyes. By that time, it was too late to move. That was Monday. This is Wednesday, and I’m feeling great. A little tender where the bruise is, but that’s it. When God put us together, He sure knew what he was doing. Is it any wonder that Paul compares the church to the body? (1 Cor. 12) You know, come to think of it, sometimes the body of Christ takes a blow in the chest from a line drive hit by Satan. Often times, we don’t even see it coming. But don’t you worry. God made this body too. It’s stronger than anything Satan can throw our way. He truly is amazing. I Love you Lord!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today, my youngest (of six) turns 13. Wow!!!! Where does time go? What a year! First my second to the youngest turns 16 and gets his drivers license, and now my youngest becomes a teen ager, and at the same time, my youngest daughter finishes her first year of college. Oh, and the eye doctor tells me I need glasses or contacts and makes the statement, “Most people don’t make it too ‘your age’ before they need these.” Dear Lord, what are you trying to tell me? Yep, the signs of time are beginning to show.
It’s a good thing though. I guess. Because, God has been very good to me through the years! My life has been filled with blessings, pressed down, and overflowing. The best parents in the whole world, great brothers and sisters, the best, most wonderful, loving, great looking, etc…, wife I could ever ask for, awesome, talented, terrific children, and a church family that is out of this world, are just a few of the blessings that would top my list. So,,,,,,, why me Lord? (should be a song title) What makes me so special that You would be so kind?
My guess is, that I’m not the only one that has had so many blessings showered upon him. In fact, maybe you should take a few moments and count yours. Oh, you say, “A few moments aren’t enough?” Imagine that! So what would your life have been like if you didn’t have the Lord as your Savior, your hope, and your guide? Look around you. You don’t have to look far to find someone, who doesn’t feel they have been as blessed as you. Why is that? Doesn’t He love them as much as you? I assure you, He does!!! They just don’t know it. You need to tell them. Serve them like Jesus would. Invite them to be a part of His family. Bless someone today. Develop a system, or pattern, or habit that includes reaching out daily to those who don’t know and trust Him.
Dear Lord, don’t let me be selfish with the blessings you have showered on me. Show me how I might share them with those around me. Thank you for all the wonderful years you have given me. I want to give you credit for all you have and are doing for me.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Children Learn What They Live

As a follow up to the previous post, I would like to share this poem by Dorothy Law Nolte.

"Children Learn What They Live"
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Very well put, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For children, today is all about tomorrow!

For children, today is all about tomorrow. By nature, they look to the future, since so very little of life lies behind them. Everything worthwhile is “in front.” The future is waiting to happen for them.
How a child feels about his or her future has everything to do with what is going on in life today. In their mysterious and wonderful minds, children observe, absorb, and apply a tremendous amount of information from their earliest moments. They are busy discovering their world, finding their place in it, figuring out what they might do. It is a delicate and formative span of time.
(From “Too Small To Ignore” by Dr. Wess Stafford)

I find great enjoyment and satisfaction in watching children. Maybe that’s why I love my job so much. Maybe that’s why, most of the time, my job doesn’t seem like a job. Maybe that’s why I find myself asking the question, “How long will God choose to have me here, doing this?” Maybe that’s why I’m enjoying the book, “Too Small To Ignore” by Dr. Wess Stafford so much. Children are fun to study.

When Kadence and Brayden or Joey (3 of our 4 grandchildren) come to visit, I’ll find myself just watching and listening to them instead of doing the things I had set out to do around the house. It’s fun to try to place myself inside their little heads to try to follow their reasoning. The quote above truly caught my attention when I read it. It’s true.

Today is all about tomorrow for a child. What they learn today will help them through tomorrow. God planted within them the desire to learn as much as they can every waking moment. I think that’s why they often don’t want to go to sleep when they should. “I might miss something.”

Even though many parents or grand parents might dread the time when their little one becomes mobile, I look forward to it. Their little minds are like sponges, soaking in everything they come in contact with. Their senses are alert, and in tune with everything around them. They may hear something across the room that needs investigating, and as they crawl across the floor towards the sound they are stopping to check out every piece of string or plastic of mud with their eyes, nose and mouth. They file that information away for future use, without even knowing that they are doing this.

Joey gets to come visit Papa and Nana quite often, as they live close to us, so I get to watch him often. Now that he’s walking, barricades have been placed in strategic places around the house to keep him from exploring too far and falling down the stairs, or opening cupboards with dangerous chemicals in them. Breakable things have been moved up to protect him. We make these adjustments to his and our surroundings because we love him very much, and don’t want anything to harm him. Doesn’t our heavenly father do the same for you and me? Yet, Joey has the freedom to go almost everywhere he wants. We want him to learn what he can or cannot do, and how that might affect his life later. He has to learn how to make the right choices. (side note – Rick (Joey’s dad) has taught him to close doors that are open, instead of opening them to pull things out. Isn’t that a great idea? It will be fun to see how long that works.)

I still find myself learning from the little ones. I suppose that the moment I quit trying to learn from them, my heavenly father will remove me from this position. I pray that never happens.

Thank you Lord, for giving us children. Thank you, for the spirit you’ve placed within them. Thank you, for the lessons we can learn from them. Thank you, for the love they unselfishly give to us. May we always provide for them an environment that encourages them to experience your presence.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Priceless moments

The first time you see HER; The first date; The first kiss; Every kiss after that; Hearing those words, "I do", The birth of the first child (Miranda); 5 more after that (Bethany, Cody, Kayla, Shane & Austin); each child's first words, steps, day of school, date, graduation......... You get the picture.

All of these are priceless moments, important moments, and moments I would never want to miss. Thank you God for letting me be there. All of these moments require a bit of investment. Not so much monetarily, as time. Is it worth it? YES!!!!!!

Never underestimate the value of investing time with your children. The more you invest, the more rewards/blessing you, and they, will receive. For example, reading a book with your child. In the 13 years that I was principal and teacher in a small Christian School, and the 8 years I've been a children's pastor, I've observed that a very high percent of children whose parents invested the time to read to them, have a head start in their learning skills and their social skills. This leads to greater confidence in the Sunday School class room and School room.

The child has already learned how to sit still and listen, and often times has developed an active imagination. These children will often grasp the point of a lesson quicker and earlier than those who haven't had the opportunity to have their parents read to them. Whether they should or not, teachers will tend to give these more mature children, special attention because they are easier to teach and seem hungry to learn. Of course, as in most all things, there are exceptions to the rule.

One of the largest benefits to reading with your children, is the special bond that it creates between you. Notice also that I said reading WITH your children. Some of my fondest memories with my children are when they read to me, before they really knew how to read. They would tell me the story as I turned the pages or they would gleefully inform me when I would make up something other than the way it was written just to see if they were paying attention.

Priceless moments. Moments that I hope to relive with my Grandchildren. Moments that I pray my children will pass on to their children, and they on to theirs. For an example, I encourage you to go to this blog and look at the video of Miranda reading with Brayden. It's priceless.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cultural Swamp

Consider this excerpt from chapter one of the book Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century with me.

In a postmodern world, cultural change is fluid. The trends that once took years to come and go, rise and fall in weeks and days. Culture tends toward the extreme. Sexuality, violence, and profanity mark the television landscape. The Internet is flooded with pornography, gambling, and danger.
In this polluted cultural swamp, children grow.
(emphasis mine)

The writers continue in the chapter to talk about how Christians, or at least Christianity, is often questioned politically, educationally, and philosophically. They point out that the church historically responded to this cultural sewage through separation and/or isolation. The belief is that, “separation from the world insulates and provides understandable security.” On the other hand, they point out, some parents adopt cultural immersion. These homes allow questionable television shows, music, and books. The statement is made, “Consequently, neither isolation nor immersion is ultimately healthy.” They ask a question that I would like to pass on to you. “What’s the solution to the cultural swamp?”

I’ve begun sharing with the children in Elementary Children’s Church a series of lessons about Moses, and I noticed that Pharaoh decided that the way to take care of the problem that the Israelites presented to him was to destroy the male children. In other words, to get rid of the strength of the people and take away their ability to reproduce. When his plan to kill the babies when they were born was foiled, he gave the command to throw all the baby boys into the Nile River (Exodus chapter 1). I believe that Satan is using this same strategy today. The Nile River of today is actually a cultural swamp, not filled with alligators and crocodiles, but filled with alcohol, violence, sexual activity, lying and cheating, etc. The media of today is filled with innuendo that encourages all of this. Our children are or will be surrounded by it.

So I’ll ask again, “What’s the solution to the cultural swamp?” In the case of the Children of Israel, God called a leader, some one to follow His instructions and lead the children out of Egypt. Moses was to be that leader, yet he could only give direction. He went to God and received instruction which he then passed on to the people, and it was up to the heads of each family to carry out those instructions, telling them to their children and them to their children and so forth. I believe that God still gives us instruction, and it’s up to us to carry out those instructions and tell them to our children and them to their children and so forth. If we don’t, our children will be filled with disease and die from the polluted cultural swamp that they’ve been thrown into. The question I must answer and I challenge you to ask yourself is, “What am I doing to clean up this cultural swamp?” Maybe you’re like Moses in that you can find all kinds of excuses not to answer the call. I want to remind you of what God told Moses. He said, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:12 The same promise was made to us disciples when Jesus said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.” Matthew 28:18-20 NIRV (emphasis mine)

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last week I picked up a virus on Face Book. This particular virus was attached to a message I received from a very trusted relative, and she had no idea that she was sending it. You see, the same virus had attached to her Face Book and was sending things to all the friends she had on her list. When I opened one of those, it attached to my Face Book and began doing the same.

It made me think, "Isn't that the way Satan works?" He loves to mess up our communication with each other, and take what is well meaning and good and turn it into frustration and hardship. Often times this happens when we are not even aware that it is happening. He may hurt many people down the line without your even knowing it.

When those messages began going out to my friends, I began to get messages back, some of them stating, "That didn't sound like you, so I ignored it." Praise God!!!!! That stopped the virus for that person. We should do the same in the church. When you here something that's being passed on about another, ignore it and tell the one who passed it to you, that they should do the same. If it's something that causes concern, contact the individual it is about, and make sure it's not true. Then if you find that it is true, in love, help them deal with the situation.

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5