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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Are Your Kids Stressed?

 

ImageI am officially old and boring. I have a very exciting routine. Every morning after dragging myself out of bed (while wondering if it is really morning already) I make a cup of coffee and begin reading the morning paper. A few days ago one article in particular caught my eye. the article was entitled “Study: Teens just as stressed as adults.” That caught my attention. I made several assumptions before reading it. I thought to myself “What in the world do teens have to stress about?” Then of course I began thinking of all of the stresses of being a teenager such as boyfriend/girlfriend drama, homework, sports schedules, and of course parents. This article however, was a little more serious in nature than I assumed it would be.

The American Psychological Association spent a great deal of time studying the amount of stress that many teens are facing today. as a matter of fact, they not only point out that our teens are stressed, they claim that our teens are more stressed than adults. The average teen reports that their stress level is at a 5.8 where as most adults range at 5.1. This peaked my interest slightly more. Then the article began to identify what the research says is to blame for the stress level of the teens. What is to blame? Parents. Parents are to blame.

The research shows that teens today have the normal teen stresses like I mentioned above along with many other “normal stresses” for teenagers. However the recent increase in teen stress can largely be attributed to the parents. More and more teens begin to feel as though they are taking on the stress of mom and dad. When mom and dad fight, the teens feel the stress. When mom and dad complain that money is running too low, teens feel the stress. When mom and dad worry about politics, teens feel the stress. When mom and dad take out their stress on the kids, obviously the teens feel that as well.

Some of you are reading this and thinking, “Duh! I could have told you all of this.” Maybe you could have. I am not shocked by the fact that these things contribute to stress. It did shock me that our teens who typically do not have to work to provide, and live in their parents homes, and attend school are significantly more stressed than their parents. The high teen stress levels obviously are not helping in a positive way with the high teen suicide rate in recent years. While I am not a researcher, nor psychologist, nor a licensed counselor, allow me to ask one question for our christian homes. Do these statistics and research reflect negatively upon our faith?

Jesus told those who would listen to Him in that great sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:25-30 (ESV) 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [7] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Notice the command. “Do not be anxious about your life” This is not just a wise statement, or suggestion. It is a command. When you and I as Christians spend the better part of our life stressed out and worried about so many things, it really is an indication of our lack of faith. Jesus promised that all who seek Him first will have all the things that they need (Matthew 6:33.) 

I am not saying that we live in a world in which it is easy to be care free. quite the opposite! I am married, have children, have a job, and currently have 3 family members and friends in the hospital for various reasons. We live in a high stress world. Let me ask you to consider with me for just a moment how much of an impact it would have on all of our friends and family if they saw us in stressful situations, yet we did not seem stressed? Would it be weird? Would it stand out? Would it be… a light in the world?

There are so many reasons for us to stress. There are many more reasons to be joyful. Phil 4:8 tells us to think on the good things. Parents, how would it impact your children if instead of them hearing you talk about the concerns over money they heard you talk about how God will provide? How will it impact your children if instead of hearing you worry about the future, they hear you talk about heaven? How will it impact your children if instead of expressing fear, concern, and anxiety, you showed them that we can have confidence because of Jesus? How will it impact your children if they see their parents concerning themselves more with eternity than they do the temporary things of this life?

I realize that those words are much easier to write or read, than they are to practice. However, they are not impossible. We have a great God. We have a Savior that has paid the penalty for our sins. We have a God who has promised to provide for His children. We have a God who has established a support system for His children (the church.) We have a God that is preparing us an eternal home. We have a God that has blessed us with many earthly things to go along with the spiritual abundance. Let us challenge ourselves this week, to focus more on God and His word, making an effort to eliminate some unnecessary stress from our lives. Do it for you, do it for your sanity, do it for your spouse, do it for your children. 

Phil 4:7- And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians  (ESV)

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Spiritual Monsters

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My sweet daughter is at that wonderful age where she gets scared… A lot. She used to not seem to be bothered by anything, now she is. She is shy around strangers, she is scared of the dark, and yes, she is scared of monsters.

A couple of nights ago after saying a prayer with her at bedtime I switched on her nightlight and began to leave her room. She began crying hysterically. She then told me about all of the monsters that were under her bed, in her closet, outside the window, on her ceiling, and the monsters that were hiding in her shoes (yes, I thought that was weird as well.) I did what every parent does and showed her that there were no monsters and that they could not hurt her. Then she said “They can’t hurt me because you are my daddy, and if they try to hurt me, you will give them a spankin!”

It warmed my heart that she finally took comfort in the fact that monsters were not going to get her because her daddy would protect her.

I wonder if all of us as parents spent as much time and effort protecting our children from spiritual monsters as we do from the ones that hide in the closets, if our homes would look any different?

What would happen if parents spent time keeping spiritual monsters away from their children by making sure that there weren’t any monsters in the Tv before leaving our children with it unattended. What if parents made sure that the monsters could attack their children through their computers or smartphones? What if parents made sure that the monsters would not be allowed in their home because they love their children.

Obviously the spiritual monsters don’t look like green goblins with sharp teeth and snot running out of their noses. They look attractive, they sound pleasing, they are enticing, they are dangerous. Monsters are everywhere. Parents, let’s make sure we protect our children from these monsters.

1 Peter 5:8- Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Humble Pie is Disgusting”

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I like pie. A lot. Admittedly, I like pie too much. I love pecan pie more than most, but I’m not sure that I have had a pie that I really don’t like, except for one. Humble Pie.

I have always heard those stories about people who are so arrogant and they end up setting themselves up for extreme embarrassment. I decided long ago that I would strive to not be that person. I would say that I want to be the most humble person on earth, but I don’t think that sounds very humble.

There is an issue that I have been asked about a lot throughout the years. It is one of those issues that the Bible doesn’t address directly. One of those issues that we can gather some cultural information about and maybe be able to get a picture of how we believe God would view this subject. The specific subject is not important. Here is what is important.

I have been asked about this issue for years. And my answer never changed. I studied and studied and studied. I asked many others that I respect, I prayed, I prayed a lot. I finally reached my conclusion on the matter. Every time someone would ask my opinion, I would tell them. I taught Bible classes on the subject, I even preached sermons on the subject.

Recently while doing some more study it became painfully obvious to me that in this particular subject, I was wrong. I have been wrong for years. As I just finished typing that last sentence, I was reminded again of how much I dislike the taste of humble pie. However, there is one positive that I see from having to eat a slice from time to time. When we realize that we are wrong, more importantly, when we admit that we are wrong, we begin to realize once again that we need help.

It doesn’t matter who we are or how together we appear. We are flawed sinners (Romans 3:23) it doesn’t matter how much we study, we are still capable of being wrong in our understanding (look at Saul). May we never become too confident in our own understanding that we forget to lean upon God’s (Proverbs 3:5)

I am reminded of a very humble man in scripture. We know him as the Centurion. In Matthew chapter 8 he approached Jesus about one of his servants. He asked that Jesus would “say the word” and his servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at the faith that this man had. While this centurion did display incredible faith by not thinking that Jesus had to come to the servant to heal him. I believe equally as impressive was his humility.

A centurion was in charge of roughly 100 soldiers. He was a man of great status and power. However the reason he asked Jesus to “say the word” rather than come to his house, had nothing to do with the immediacy of the servants needs. Rather, he said that he was not worthy for Jesus to visit his house.

May we always keep a humble spirit in dealing with others. Recognizing our own shortcomings will help us not be arrogant, while also remembering how much we need our savior.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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