Training Our Children for Spiritual Warfare

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My nephew turned six in June, and for his birthday he requested to fly to Florida to see his cousins. Accompanied by my sister and mother, he flew to Tampa to celebrate with our family. That beautiful Monday morning with the palm trees towering just under the sunshine, we loaded up the car and drove to LEGOLAND in Kissimmee, Florida to celebrate. While my sister and I waited with three of our kids for the Flight Lessons roller coaster, I did what all parents do at some point: I worried about the safety of the ride. The what if’s seemed to flutter in my mind.

As we climbed aboard the flight coaster, our feet dangling beneath our seats, I asked the worker, this doesn’t go upside down right? He assured me that this roller coaster didn’t. All the same, as the coaster began, I reached over and grabbed my son’s arm and held on tight. Let go mama! he politely squealed with excitement. No! I am holding on, buddy. As he wriggled his arm away for the second time with the biggest grin on his face, I acquiesced…but then later grabbed on again. In the event that something did malfunction, I am quite certain my arm would most likely have been a futile safety net. But it did wonders for my conscience.

Isn’t your child’s first (or maybe 200th) time on a roller coaster a bit of a foreshadowing of the rush of feelings we as parents have when our children approach adolescence and then soon after head out the door to college? We work to ensure that every precaution is taken, instructions given and followed, or restated, reinforced, and tried again. Then we send them out the door with friends, off in the car for the first time alone, or out the door to make their own way in life most hopefully in the will and admonition of the Lord Jesus. We watch with baited breath as they are given more liberty and freedom, subsequently tempted, and then wait to see how they will respond. Will they stay the narrow course? Will they detour? Will they fall?

To continue reading and for Five Ways to Equip Your Children for Spiritual Warfare, head over to iBelieve.

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That’s What Summer’s Made Of

Summer Days

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT

Watermelon slices, later evenings riding bicycles and digging in dirt. Swimming all day and going to bed exhausted. Getting our work done earlier so we can play later. Vacation Bible School and road trips. Popsicles and homemade ice cream. Good books and popcorn movie nights. Worms and fishing holes. Sandy shoes and car floorboards.

These are the things of summer.

We are enjoying our summer break already. Last night, I found my son sound asleep in his Spiderman costume. Our daughter recently learned to ride her bike all by herself and doesn’t want to come inside…or stay inside too long.

So the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short.

These are the joyful activities of summer. How are you spending your summer? How are you making memories with those you love?

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The Meanderings of Motherhood

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The anticipated birth-day of each of our children come. Then as we are wheeled out to the car with our new little bundles in hand it is strange the feeling of surprise that there are no oaths to take or more papers to sign to take our child home and raise them. After all, foster care and adoption require nearly a left arm and two quarts of blood. Furthermore, many of us depart from the hospital with thoughts like are we ready for this?

I think those are feelings shared by most responsible parents when their children first arrive into the world from the safe confines of the womb. We count the days, weeks, then months of our children’s age to find that the years add up before we grasp the time with our minds, much less our hands.

As the years pass, the diaper bags are placed in the Goodwill or yard-sale pile. Next, the pack-and-play too finds a new home and the toys that we once tripped over have been replaced with big-kid toys we continue to trip over.

That’s the season of life we are in now. Legos have replaced teething-toys, and baby dolls and books have replaced boppy pillows and burp cloths.

I don’t carry a diaper bag anymore, but I rarely leave the house without a few snacks and a water bottle. Even though my children are five and seven, I think they still equate sight of me with hunger. Just ask my husband or the grandparents. The kids could have eaten minutes before I arrive home and one of the first sentences out of their mouths is, “Mom, I’m hungry.” Really?! It’s quite laughable.

Like the meandering path of a river, winding, bending, and curving its way to the sea, so too parenting is not a straight course. Sometimes our children will seem to be independent and free of their need for us in certain categories of life, only to need us greatly in similar categories once again. Occasionally, our well-developed children will hit a bump in the road and need us more than we anticipated at different points throughout our lives together.

I think about the choices my children will make as they grow. These are the easy years–I’ve been told, and I agree. The decisions they make at five and seven are far less reaching than at 12, 16, 18, 21, and even 35. Jesus wisely knows that as the course of our lives wind and bend to our final destination, that we will be prone to worry–not about the bend in front of us, but about the possibility of a twist in the rivers flow a few yards, or even a mile, down. He guides our worry with these words:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34, KJV

Prayer and praises to Jesus today, and prayer and praises to Jesus in the morrow. So the saying goes, and is good advice based on Matthew 6:34, One day at a time, sweet Jesus.

Prayerfully, our faithfulness in this day reaps rewards in the days to come. Therefore, we need not face this day with worry for the next that has not dawned.

The most precious gifts I have been given in this life are a result of one of the best choices I made in marrying their daddy. I am so grateful for the choices that led me to Ron and for the gift of being a mom to two of the most remarkable people I have ever met.

Happy Mother’s Day to each woman with children of your own and to all women of spiritual children in which you have invested love, prayers, and guidance. May this be a blessed Mother’s Day for you.

Take heart and fear not the morrow,

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The Salt and Light of Fostering

Salt and Light of Fostering

We continue to pour into the life that God has allowed to grow and flourish within our home for the last year. We, and those in our sphere, have sought to be the salt and light of Jesus to our child.  Today we await yet another decision on reunification with his biological parents. In the waiting, I would like to pause and remember our foster care journey as documented at This Temporary Home, and invite you to join me over at iBelieve to read my confessions as a first time foster mom. Click here to read this post.

Thank you for your prayers for our Little E. and thank you to the over twenty-five new e-mail subscribers of This Temporary Home in the last weekend. Your presence is an honor and a trust. Enjoy this look back with us at our foster journey from the earliest days to the present.

  • Tomorrow’s Race (here)
  • Pour Another Cup (here)
  • Simple Addition (here)
  • Lessons for Everyday (here)
  • Moments Bathed in Thanksgiving (here)
  • Who Is Accountable? (here)
  • Lord Give Me Eyes to See (here)
  • Glimpses of Our Everyday and Thoughts on Rest (here)
  • I Must Remember This (here)
  • The Changing of Seasons (here)
  • Confessions of  A First-Time Foster Mom (here)

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To See Jesus

A little picture post here today. I invite you to hop over to IBelieve and check out my featured article, When Our Children Reflect the Gospel (click here). Sometimes to see Jesus, we must simply look to the actions of children…

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“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:34-40, NLT)

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Cup-Bearers for the King

My mom and dad paid for over 16 years of dance lessons. They started because I was initially clumsy and couldn’t alternate my feet when walking upstairs at the age of two.  My love for dance continued and for this reason I like to watch So You Think You Can Dance on a fairly regular basis during the season.

Wednesday night I tuned into the last 20 or so minutes of the show and was disheartened. There on the screen was a beautiful young woman. However, her audition costume was one resembling what a bride should wear in the marriage bed the first night of married life. I think you know what I mean.

In an interview with the contestant she told how as a young girl she was shy and withdrawn. Her parents put her in dance. Now,  20 years later, she is auditioning in front of an audience of millions, scantly clad and performing a burlesque jazz number.

I have to ask, Is this the result her parents were hoping to gain when they put their precious preschooler in dance?

I am of the thought the more skin revealed, the more sexual behaviors portrayed, the more loudly the heart cries, “See me? Am I enough? Can you tell me I am enough and I am beautiful? Can you tell me I am worth dying for and fighting for? Do you notice me?”

Let me just say that I did not watch this young woman’s dance. I fast forwarded through her performance. Although I am a woman myself I wanted to uphold these words:

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.  ~Luke 11:34

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. ~ Psalm 119:37

You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. ~ Matthew 5:27-29

Please know that I was not tempted by this beautiful young woman. However, I know that the dance she was doing was not meant for my eyes nor the eyes of anyone but her husband.

Now back to those questions from earlier especially as they relate to Father’s Day. Dad’s are meant to present the cup of Living Water to their children. They are to be the cup-bearers of their Father telling God’s little girls and boys whose they are and that for which they should hunger and thirst.

A guest pastor on Sunday, Dr. Charles Lowery, put it this way, “We should be telling our children, ‘You are God’s little boy. You are God’s little girl.'” In this way we are imparting the knowledge of whose they are and portraying the practices of how they should act.

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In being a cup-bearer of the Living Water of Christ Jesus parents are filling that void in children’s hearts that say, “Am I enough? What is my purpose? Is there more to this life than my own fleeting pleasures? Isn’t it all about me?”

I am so thankful for a father and a mother who trained me in the way that I should go at an early age. I remember in particular one evening where I was sitting inches from the television screen pointing to a long line of beautiful majorettes and saying, “I want to look like her, and her, and her, and her.” Then shaking my head and adding, “Not like her.”

My dad pulled me aside and told me that it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside; it is what is on the inside that counts. He continued that we shouldn’t make fun of people because of their size or looks. These words combined with my mother’s constant, “Pretty is as pretty does,” resonated in my young heart… although I only truly understood what my mom was communicating when I was a mother myself.

To those dad’s, like the one my children have, who present the cup of Living Water to God’s children they have been entrusted with, Happy Father’s Day. Continue to do well God’s good and faithful servants. Press on and press in and look out for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

To those fathers who have misplaced or replaced the Living Water in their life, I offer the words of your Father in Heaven of Isaiah 55.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. ~Isaiah 55:1

Father’s, as soldiers of the Living God and cup-bearers for the King, once you drink the cup the Lord extends to you, turn and pour a cup for the children He has entrusted to you. Walk in the way of the Lord’s commands and watch as a nation will rise up and praise His Holy Name.

It isn’t too late for the young woman on the dance show. Why not join me now in praying that a full cup of the Living Water would be served up in her presence?

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