Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It Really is the Sincerest Form of Flattery - Imitation

Imitation...Ahhh the Flattery!

It's flu season, and you can tell from all the commercials for flu shots, hand sanitizing, cold remedies and vitamin C that we are all not wanting to catch it.  It seems like we are aware of germs and bacteria, more than ever these days.  We simply don't want to catch the latest whatever that is going around.  

There seems to be an even bigger epidemic than the flu going around families in America today.  It's called disrespect.  And, evidently it's even more contagious, and harmful than even the worst case of the flu.  Unfortunately, this one is usually not "caught" at day care, or even in school.  In most cases, it's caught at home.

We've all seen it, back-talking, interrupting, the losing of a temper, and even yelling...And I'm not talking about the kids...

Where'd this come from?

So we all know that no one had to teach our kids how to disobey, or lie, or even take things that don't belong to them, right?  And please, don't let me hear a "Not my little johnny"...Yes even your little Johnny has lied, disobeyed, AND probably lifted something from a friends toy box, the daycare, or maybe even a piece of candy from the supermarket.  How do I know this?  I have a couple of little angels, too.  

Plus, I know that it is our nature...thanks to a couple named Adam.

But that's natural behavior.  What about the interrupting?  The back-talking?  The Big Ol' case of Disrespect?  Where'd that come from?

Let me ask you this...Where'd you learn it?

It may just be that it comes from dear old mom and dad.  You see we began to notice in our boys that they modeled a lot of behavior.  And since they were around us most of the time...especially when they were young, the behavior that they seemed to model was ours.  Ouch!

We were able to look at each one of them and say, "I know where he got that", or "that sounded a lot like me".  Why was it that I had to continually say to the boys, "not another word"...?  It's because they had seen how Mom and Dad talked to each other, and how we, on those rare occasions when we would argue, would always try and get in the last word.  Hint: truth is we argued enough that it became learned behavior...And then to make it worse, we interrupt and back-talk, and disrespect our children, without even knowing it.

So here's the deal...those little bundles of joy are going to imitate just about everything you do.  So if Mom is an interrupter, then guess what?  Little Suzy most likely will be too.  What if Dad is a back-talker?  You guessed it, Little Johnny will probably be one too.  If Mom and Dad are disrespectful?  Yep, there's a good chance the kids will be too.

So What Do We Do About It?

It's easy...Change everything about yourself...

1st - Realize:  What I would do, or did, is to take a look at myself, and say to the Lord, "those behaviors that I see in my kids that I don't like, please let me realized them when I see them in me, and give me strength to change them in me."  

2nd - Think:  Next I would slow down, and think, is the behavior that I am about to exhibit, something I want the boys to do?  So, in my mind I would be thinking, "Don't Interrupt, Don't Interrupt, Don't Interrupt, DON'T INTERRUPT!!!!" or "Don't raise your voice, Don't Raise you're voice....STOP YELLING!"

3rd - Don't be afraid to apologize: When I fail, I have tried to make it a point to say, "I'm sorry, my behavior was wrong.  I shouldn't have said that to you, or I should have let you finish what you were saying, or even, I should have been more respectful of your feelings, thoughts, etc."

And now, I have modeled for them, the behavior that I want them to display, to their Mom, to me, to friends, family, and to their wife and kids someday.

It's a sad thought, but I would guess that for most of the bad behavior, the disrespect, back talking, interrupting, etc., that we see in a child, there is more than likely a couple of parents who, unknowingly aid by modeling similar behavior in the home.

Your challenge for today is simply this, today, try treating family members the way that you wish to be treated.  Sounds easy, I know.  But, pay attention and let me know how it goes.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is for mild behavior issues only...I still believe in introducing the twins (Rod and Reproof) in order to correct behavior issues when necessary.  (stop by next week when we talk about the twins that God gave us).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do You Believe? Then Prove It?

Do You Believe?  Then Prove it.

Today, we are talking life...Simplified.  Do you ever wonder why some people seem to be more successful than others?  Do you ever stop and think, "That guy sure is good at selling"?  or "She seems to be really good at making friends"?  Or perhaps you have a friend who it seems is really good in business.  What about this, have you ever seen people, or known someone who is really good at witnessing?  Maybe, you've thought to yourself, "How do I tell others?"  or "What should I say?".  Maybe you find yourself wondering how to share the gospel.

I'm gonna make it really simple for you this morning.

A person's commitment level (to anything) is a direct correlation to their level of belief.

I will give you a simple example.  We've all seen a good movie, or been to a good restaurant and quickly thereafter, shared with a friend what a wonderful meal we had, or how great the movie was, right?  So our level of belief in the product (the movie, or meal) was high, so we were able to easily share this with a friend. Easy, right?

Now let's take it up a notch...

Same scenario, but now we are in a room with some of the best chef's in town, or the best movie critics of all time...Now we are a little nervous about sharing the good news of the great hamburger we had at the Greasy Spoon...What happened?  Our level of belief in the product was still high.  I mean that was A GREAT BURGER!  It's simple...While our level of belief in the product was high, our level of belief in ourselves went down.  Therefore, in direct correlation, our commitment to share went down as well.

It's the same with sharing the gospel...Remember, our level of commitment is a direct correlation to our level of belief.  Do you believe in Jesus?  Then prove it.  How many people have we shared the gospel with this week, this month, this year?

So I ask you this, "Do you believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be?  Do you believe that Jesus can do what He said He could do (Save you from your sins)?  Have you called upon Him to do so?"  Great! Belief level high, right!

So here's the problem...It's not our belief in Jesus, in most cases, that's the problem with our lack of sharing the gospel...It's our belief in ourselves...just like the silly example of sharing the movie review with the world renown movie critics...suddenly we have more belief that they know more about what we are talking about than we do...

So...We need to work on us...you need to work on you...I need to work on me, and so forth...

Your mission this week, should you choose to accept it is...

1. DAILY study the scriptures known as the Romans Road...Rom. 3:10, 3:23, 5:8, 5:12, 6:23, 10:9-13
2. DAILY Read OUT LOUD the verses (you'll have to find them) where God tells us that we "are fearfully and wonderfully made", and that "God is no repector of persons", and that we are "Joint heirs with Christ", "Children of the King", and that "no weapon formed against you shall prosper", and finally that "you can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you"...We have to build your belief in you!
3.  Practice...Out Loud as your driving in your car go through scenarios of you sharing Christ with someone else...in other words, put it in the forefront of your mind.
4.  Lastly, pray, that God would build your belief in yourself and give you the confidence to know that you are worthy, that you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.

Remember, your belief level is a direct correlation to your level of commitment as well...The greater your commitment becomes, the greater your belief will become as well!

Now go forth and share the amazing story of the Christ who died for you!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Electronic-less Date

Electronic-less Dating

So last week my husband posted a pic of me on our "electronic-less date".  This stirred a bit of "controversy".  The question of "How'd you post that picture if you were electronic-less?" surfaced. Valid question, and I'll answer that shortly.

We've all read the articles, blog posts, etc.  about how we are too attached to our smart phones, how we need to lift our eyes and heads up out of our 'electronic unconsciousness' and give those we love and live with our FULL 100%  UNDIVIDED attention.  Easier said than done, I know.  I love my phone and am amazed and thrilled at the technological advances in which I am able to participate.  But, I will admit, often it becomes a chore to be constantly connected.  We feel the 'technology peer-pressure' to socially keep up, to check the latest updates, and to always know the breaking news story.  Sometimes it's just plain tiresome and I just have to reply, "No, I have not seen the latest drama status update. Nor do I want to!"  In reality, how life changing is that information?

My husband and I spend a lot of time apart.  We both work separate jobs full time and he travels a lot.  So I know how ridiculous it is for us to spend the precious time we do have together with our noses in our phones! I'd much rather look at that "intoxicatingly" handsome face of his, AND I'd much rather him gaze into my baby blue eyes! SERIOUSLY!

Now last Friday night wasn't a pre-planned electronic-less date.  It just kind of happened out of necessity because I had to charge my phone. So, I boldly made the proclamation that I wasn't going to take my phone on our date.  I was going to be electronic-less.  Yes, I could have charged my phone a bit in the car on the way to dinner, but I decided to leave it at home and deal with not being able to electronically "check in" at our favorite sushi place, or be able to post a car "selfie" of us on date night (our family has a LOT of car selfies, thanks to yours truly).  I was actually looking forward to it!

My husband has a work cell phone and a personal cell phone.  He only took the personal cell with him in case the boys needed us, and it stayed in his pocket the entire date with the exception of snapping a picture of me at the ice cream parlor.  (It wasn't posted til the following day, contrary to what some believe - that time and date stamp you saw was the time and date stamp of when the picture was snapped - just sayin'!)

I have to honestly say it was so freeing and RELAXING not to have my phone with me, not to be checking it every few minutes!  I loved the experience and will do again and again.  (And this is coming from a girl who will take her cell phone over her wallet when she leaves the house!)

So let me challenge you to be a little bit more "electronic-less". (No, I'm not going to say every time you are out with your spouse  leave all electronics at home.  I'm realistic and will most likely have my device (a.k.a. vice) with me this weekend.)

Here is your challenge, should you choose to accept it:

In the next week, go on an electronic-less date with your spouse, even if it's just for a cup of coffee.  And please report back to us that you did and how it went.  We would love to hear from you!  Now for some of you, it might feel a little awkward to stare into your love's eyes for so long, but you'll both get used to it, and, with practice, come to really enjoy it.  It's a simple way to show your spouse they are THAT IMPORTANT.  As for a daily challenge, spend some time, at least once a day, with your spouse WITHOUT checking your phone, tablet, email, etc.  Just spend 15 minutes reconnecting with your spouse and it just may, very well, become your favorite part of the day.