Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

It’s history repeating itself once again. The first was during the time of Moses, when the Jews or the Children of Israel were persecuted by the Egyptians, driven to the desert to suffer for 40 years. Then, the persecution of the Jews during the time of the Nazis, and now another round of suffering under the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Islamic State or ISIS.  Christian persecution is alive and real today.

Such incidents can lead to certain doubts and questions about the Christian faith. Are these signs to convert? Forsake Christianity to escape persecution? If there’s anything that the Bible tells us, however, it is the fact that God promised his followers that they would experience persecution, but also that Christ is victorious in the end.

Isaiah 49:16

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

The Lord will remember us in Christian persecution

Despite everything that’s happened to Christians in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world, there’s still hope. God will never forsake His people.

Thanks to the Bible, fear need not strip Christians of their faith. Give your children this sword of Truth by reading the Bible and Bible Stories to them daily. To know more about Bible heroes, including Moses, who delivered the God’s people out of Egypt, their faith will be strengthened. Of course, for children to truly appreciate the word of God, they should be given a source that they can relate to. The Moses Bible story app can provide the great teachings at a level that they can understand.

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

Children learn quickly and easily through stories. Accompanied by songs, puzzles and coloring games, they will be able to absorb what a story is all about. Moses’ life, his childhood and the burning bush are just some of the stories included in the Bible stories app.

So make it a habit to read the Bible and instill the same to your children. When they become familiar with the word of God, their faith will not waver, regardless of the adversity they face. Make this task easier on your part by using a Bible story app that’s fun and engaging, yet profound.

Guest Post: Re-embracing Motherhood

Guest Post: Re embracing MotherhoodWe are happy to share a guest post from one of our Faith & Family Bloggers, Cindy Dudas from Whatever Works. Cindy shares how she finds herself re-embracing motherhood. 

One of the things I’ve learned while dabbling in the social media field is that people like to read statisics.  Well, here’s one for ya: I’ve been a mom for more than 1/4 of my entire life.

For the past 10 of my 39 years here on this earth, I’ve spent a lot of time changing diapers, fixing lunches, arguing the importance of completing the before-school ritual prior to playing video games, making beds (ok, not really so much on the “making beds” part because I do hold to that theory that Hey, you’re just going to get back in it in a couple hours so why make it), BUT I digress…

Bottom line: I’m a mom.

Out of those 10 years ( minus time spent completing all the motherly tasks and sometimes sleeping), I think I have spent the majority of my time playing with my kids.  After about year 8, I got tired of it.

Yes, you read that right.  I didn’t want to play anymore.

I got tired of Candyland.  I didn’t want to make forts.  I completely stopped enjoying the swing set.

I just wanted to sit back and observe.

I started to get annoyed when my kids would ask me to join them in every single thing they did.

No, I don’t want to ride bikes.

No, I don’t want to jump in the sprinklers.

No, I don’t want to play.

Then one day I heard myself say that out loud.  And it sounded so incredibly horrible that I wanted to jump out a window.  I felt like Mommy Dearest.  What was wrong with me?  Why couldn’t I just play?

All I could think of was the catch phrase “Seven Year Itch”, but in my case it was about motherhood.  At the same time my kids craved my attention, I craved to go off to foreign lands…like any store other than Target, Justice or Five Below.  My kids wanted another teammate for a pick up game of tag, and I wanted to sit in the sun.  I wanted quiet.

Was I becoming a horrible person?  Was I really done with all the fun of motherhood?  Did I give up on my kids?

No.  To all of that self-depricating talk. . .  Just no.

When I was playing all the time and not enjoying it, I was feeling down on myself.  I wasn’t really playing; I was fake playing.  And how is that good for anyone?  The kids might have an extra body to complete their basketball team, but that’s it.  I wasn’t teaching them anything.  I wasn’t smiling.  I was actually quite childish when I forced myself into their games.  I’m not proud of it by any means.

I felt very selfish about wanting to be alone for a while.  But I realize that I must have needed it.  In some way, God was telling me to step back and reevaluate the situation.

So I said no when my kids asked me to race them in MarioKart.  I declined their invitation to a dance party.  I chose to talk with my friend on the bench instead of climbing the equipment at the playground.

I needed to show my kids that I am a person outside of being Mom.  They needed to see me doing things that I like.   And to be honest, I needed to remind myself what activities and things I actually do like!

As weird as it may sound, it made me feel strong again. Once I re-embraced my own self, I was able to re-embrace motherhood, too.  Now I feel like I can do anything.

…Even play a game of Monopoly all the way through.

 

Guest Post: Re embracing MotherhoodMeet Cindy

Cindy Dudas is a work-at-home mom who started blogging as a way to get her feelings out there.  She is a freelance writer currently writing for the Parental Guidance section of NJ.com and her own blogs Whatever Works and What the heck’s a bonbon?  

Follow Cindy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Five things to do with your Palm Sunday Palms

Five things to do with your Palm Sunday PalmsHappy Palm Sunday! Today marks the beginning of Holy Week and the journey of Christ to the cross, death and ultimately, the miracle of the resurrection.

Every Palm Sunday, my family comes home with arm loads of palms. I like to keep my palms in a prominent location to remind me of the sacrifice God made for me.  When I was a kid, my mother used to tuck the palms behind her vanity mirror as a reminder everyday of the sovereign Christ and his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Here are five things you can do with your Palm Sunday palms to keep the spirit of the day fresh in your hearts all year long.

1. Make the classic Palm Cross from your branch. Tuck the Palm Cross in your Bible, place on your desk or like my mom, tuck behind your vanity mirror.  Here is a great tutorial on Youtube.

2. Include your palm branches in your Easter centerpiece. Tuck your palm fronds in your Easter flower arrangement as a reminder of Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week.

3. Have a family Palm Sunday parade. Get our kids in the spirit and march around your backyard joyously shouting “Hosanna.” Afterwards, share the story of Christ and Palm Sunday from Sproutville!

4. Return your palms to your church for Ash Wednesday next year. Some churches still follow the tradition of burning last year’s palms to use as the ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Ask if your church follows this tradition and if they do not, they may be able to direct you to a local church that does.

5. Offer your palm to a friend or neighbor or stranger. Offering the palm branch can be a way of sharing God’s love, the miracle of Christ’s resurrection and the Good News of the life everlasting.

Want to know more about Palm Sunday and how to share the Good News with your children? Read our Palm Sunday and Easter Guide. 

John 21:6-9

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna  in the highest heaven!”

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

In preparation for Easter Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville! Which is made available for FREE to everyone between now and Easter Sunday 4/20/14

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

Three chapters of the Easter story from Gethsemane to the cross to the resurrection on Sproutville!

Parent Devotional

Why do you believe that Jesus is alive? Luke 23:46—24:12 reports Jesus’ victory over the grave as historical fact. Other eyewitness accounts in the Bible as well as Old Testament prophecy support Luke’s account. But the women who went to the tomb did not go expecting to find Christ alive. They went because they had known the love of Jesus. They wanted to honor their memories of Him.

When the 11 disciples were told what the women had seen, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive. Even though Jesus had told them it would happen, they didn’t believe. Did Peter run to the tomb expecting to find Christ alive? He went away wondering what had happened (Luke 24:12). What did it take for Peter and the other disciples to believe that Jesus is alive?

The women, Peter, and the other disciples believed that Jesus is alive when they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Not until we encounter the risen Lord can we truly believe that Jesus is alive.

As you celebrate that Jesus is alive, thank Him for what His death does for you. Prepare your heart to worship our risen Lord. Then let that excitement overflow as you worship with the children.

Tips for Discussing this with your Children

Children this age are eager to embrace the wonder of Bible stories that teach about God’s power. They don’t need to understand how God does a miracle in order to accept the fact that He can do miracles. This lesson is an opportunity for you to encourage their natural sense of wonder about God.

  • Children are very trusting. Don’t assume that they, like Peter and the disciples, will doubt that Jesus is alive. They will believe the Bible. Encourage their faith by confidently stating that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive.
  • Share with the children your own joy and wonder over the Resurrection. Share what is meaningful to you about the ways your family/church celebrates that Jesus is alive. Point out to them special decorations, traditions, or music that show the joy of this occasion.
  • Give the children time and opportunity to respond to the lesson. Each part of the lesson is designed to help you interact with the children and what they believe about Jesus being alive.

 

Activity: True or Not?

This activity will teach children they can believe Jesus is alive. The activity will get children thinking about things they believe.

Instructions to children: Listen to some sentences I read. If you think what I say is true, show a thumbs-up. If you don’t believe it’s true, show a thumbs-down.

Read each statement below one at a time. After each one, let the children show what they think. All of the statements are true. The information following the statements gives details on why they are true. 

  • It snows in the middle of summer. The snowflakes almost always melt into raindrops before they reach the ground, except in very cold places like the North Pole. 
  • Your fingernails and your hair are made of the same stuff. Both are made of keratin. A bird’s feathers are also made of keratin. 
  • A little frog in South America is the most dangerous animal in the world. The skin of just one poison arrow frog contains enough poison to kill hundreds of people. People put the poison on the tips of arrows. Lions and poisonous snakes are dangerous, but it would be hard for one lion or snake to kill hundreds of people. 
  • The humps of a camel do not hold water. The humps are fat. Fat gives food energy so camels can go a long time without food. Their stomachs hold a lot of water. 
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward. Hummingbirds can rotate their wings similar to the way we can rotate our shoulders. This allows them to push backward just as we can swim in a backward direction. 
  • Sponges are animals. Sponges are like sea anemones. They are animals that attach to rocks. They don’t have eyes. 
  • Glass is made from rock. Sand, lime, and soda, which come from rocks, are melted together to make glass.

All these statements are true. You should have believed every one and given it a thumbs-up. Let’s talk about what you believe.

Sharing Time

  • What is something you know is true? Let the children tell their ideas. Some children might tell things you are certain are not true. This is okay. Simply acknowledge what they say.
  • What does it mean to believe something? Believe means we accept something is true. We believe things we are completely sure of. Make sure your children understands what it means to believe something. Give an example, such as: The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
  • What are some things you believe? They might talk about believing people love them, the day of the week, their name, God’s love, the Bible is God’s Word, and so on

 

Bible Story Review Questions

Q: Who died on a cross?
A: Jesus died on a cross. 

Q: What is a tomb?
A: A tomb is a cave for burying dead people.

Q: Why did the women go back to the tomb?
A: They wanted to put spices and perfume on Jesus’ body.

Q: What surprised the women at the tomb?
A: The tomb was open. The stone was already moved away.

Q: Who suddenly stood beside the women?
A: Two angels.

Q: What did the angels tell the women?
A: Jesus is alive.

Q: What did the women do?
A: They remembered what Jesus said. They went to tell the disciples what they saw and heard.

Q: Who believed that Jesus is alive?
A: Peter, the disciples, and the women believed Jesus is alive.

Q: What can we believe about Jesus?
A: We can believe that Jesus is alive.

Prayer Time

Let’s use our prayer time to talk with Jesus about what we believe. You might want to tell Jesus that you believe He is alive and thank Him for rising from the dead. Begin a time of silent individual prayer, then close your prayer time.

Here is a suggested close.

“Dear Jesus, thank You for rising from the dead and that You are alive. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

In preparation for Palm Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville!

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

Comment below to let us know if you’d like to see more resources like this and how you’ve used it to engage your child during this season!

Parent Devotional:

There are all kinds of people, influences, and powers that want us to treat them as our king. Jobs, family, hobbies, bill collectors, and so on want our attention. At times it’s like they all want to be our kings. They want us to give them more and more of our energy
and attention.

Of all the ones who seek to gain our attention, Jesus alone is worthy of praise as our King. God has crowned Him with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). We glorify Jesus for all He has done for us.  He has shown us the Father (John 14:9). By His death He forgives our sins (Acts 10:43). He gives us abundant life (John 10:10) and our hope of eternal life in
glory. Declare Jesus is your King in word and deed.

The Gospel passages for this Bible lesson teach us how the people in Jerusalem praised Jesus as their King.  You can learn from their enthusiasm to help you teach your children to make their own ways to praise Jesus their King. Ask Jesus to show you meaningful and engaging ways for your class to praise Him.

Take time now to exalt the Lord of lords, and King of kings in your own way.

 
Tips for Discussion with Your Child:
Children this age might think kings and queens lived long ago or only in make-believe stories.
Today’s lesson will teach the children that they have a King who may be very different from the way they think about kings. Here are some ideas to help your children to begin thinking about Jesus as their King.
— Long ago and in storybooks kings sat on thrones and wore fancy clothes. But thrones and fancy clothes don’t make someone a king. Jesus is King because He is God’s Son. He has always been King.
— Different kings rule over different things. Some rule over lands and people. Others rule over the hearts and minds of people. Jesus wants to rule over the hearts of your children to help them do what is right.
— Jesus is King even if we don’t listen to or obey Him. When we choose to praise Him as our King we learn that He is the greatest King we will ever have because of His great love and power to save us from our sins.
Suggested Discussion Questions
1 What do kings do? 
Children might say kings tell people what to do; they wear robes and crowns, and sit on thrones; they make 
rules; they lead countries; they’re rich; they live in palaces, etc.
2 How do people treat kings?
They might say people bow to kings, follow their directions, serve them food, and so on.
3 Who is your king?
They might name government leaders, Jesus, or people. They might not have an answer. This question will help children consider the possibility that they do have a king. You
don’t need to tell them now that Jesus is our King. The fun of this lesson will be discovering that fact.
Bible Story Review Questions
1 Where was Jesus going?
A: Jesus was going to Jerusalem.
2 How did Jesus go into Jerusalem?
A: He rode a donkey.
3 How did the people treat Jesus?
A: They treated Him like their King. They praised Him by laying down their coats, waving palm branches.
4 What did the people shout to Jesus?
A: “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel.
5 Why did the people praise Jesus?
A: The people praised Him because of all the things He had done and because they saw Him as the King.
6. Who can we praise?
A: We can praise Jesus our King.

Applications for the Week
1. How will you praise Jesus our King during the week?
Encourage your child to tell you an idea. S/he might suggest ideas from the pictures they put on their paper palm branch (see downloadable activities #3).
2 When will you praise Jesus our King?
Let the children suggest some times. They could say right now, during family devotional
times, at school, at home, and any time! Tell the children they will honor Jesus by praising Him as our King.
Prayer Time
Pray with your child to praise Jesus our King. You might encourage him/her to pray aloud his/her own prayers of praise to Jesus.
Here is one suggestion if time is short
“Dear Jesus, I praise You for being my King. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Discussion Guide courtesy of David C Cook. 

What can you learn from Joseph’s brothers?

In the Bible Heroes: Joseph app, children around the world read about God’s faithfulness to his promises and to Joseph. But what can we learn from Joseph’s story about his brothers?

What can you learn from Josephs brothers?

One of the key lessons is not making rash decisions in anger. Joseph’s brothers were angry at him because of three reasons:
1) he tattled on him (Gen 37:2)
2) he was the favorite of his father Israel /Jacob (Gen 37:3)
3) he shared his dream that his brothers will bow to him (Gen 37:5-11).
Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they wanted to kill him (Gen 37:18)!

Why does the Bible teach so strongly against anger, and equates it to murder (Matthew 5:21-26)? Anger is the enemy of reason. Men do in the heat of passion what their reason, in a moment of objectivity, abhors. You are never in greater danger than when you let anger take its hold on you.

After all, if in fact Joseph’s dream really came from God, then his brothers should not resist God’s perfect will, and if not, they could have dismissed it and chuckled at Joseph’s arrogance.

Prayer for all of us (parents, children, and parents to set a good example for their children): Help me Lord to have self control and quickly forgive. Help me to not do things out of anger, lest I regret what I do and say.

Today, we released the pre-K version of our Joseph story, appropriate for children 3-5, with even more games and activities, in addition to our original Joseph release better fit for children 6-8.  I hope these apps will be helpful in teaching your children about this and other lessons from the story.

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

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ToA Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrathday’s post comes at the suggestion of a friend and home school mom, Tammy, and is from Sally Clarkson’s blog I Take Joy.  Sally describes herself as a Christian woman, wife, mother, writer, author, blogger, dreamer.  I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Sally’s husband and son who is doing a film about the Prodigan SonThis message hits home not only for parents, but also for how we interact with our spouses in the heat of frustration, or seemingly unreasonable people!
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Here’s Sally’s post:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath. But harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1

Standing in the hallway of the hotel where we were hosting our mom’s conference, I noticed a sweet mama who looked as though she was at the end of her rope. Holding a several months old baby, who was arching his little back and crying as though his heart would break, she looked beside herself.

Offering to hold her little one so she could get some rest. Sure enough he would begin to quiet and then something, probably a little girgly tummy would cause him to begin to wail once again. I held him up, check to cheek, his to mine, with my mouth aimed toward his little ear.

Softly I began to talk to him and then I would sing the song so often sung to my children, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” very softly, very gently. He would quiet down. Then another cry would begin, and I would talk to him very softly, “You are not alone, you are so very precious, you are a darling boy,” lyrically, holding his soft cheek so he could feel mine. Each time my voice started, his little eyes got big and he would quiet.

Suddenly, he fell fast asleep.

Whether my children were young and tiny or old, and if they were in a snit, if I wrapped my demeanor, by my will, in softness and gentleness and answered their anger in a gentle voice, non-accusing eyes, they were more likely than not to listen to me and to respond.

“I understand you are feeling frustrated or angry, but I want to listen to you and understand what you are saying so that I can help you.”

Angry words answered with loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart, and soothes the frustrated feelings.. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.

There is no absolute solution or formula to calming an angry quarrel. Yet, wisdom from proverbs has often saved the moment for my family.

A hormonal teen, an exhausted toddler, a school-aged child, or a husband who is angry—all of these, long to be treated with focused attention, an understanding heart and a loving response.

As we all know, it is natural to react in like—anger to anger. However, it is from the Spirit of Him who is love that leads us to react in love. And yet, as the Spirit lives through us, we will see His power and fruit drawing others to Him in us, when we choose to remember bits of truth he has left for us to follow. A gentle answer, turns away anger.

Gentleness grows stronger with practice. It comes with humility. It grows as wisdom and takes root in the heart that values the ones she loves. May God grant us to become gentle in our love, that others may see Him through us.

- See more at: http://www.itakejoy.com/a-gentle-answer-turns-away-wrath/#sthash.ceyNctyE.dpuf

Rain Rescue – The Power of a Loving Thing

Today we bring you a story that warmed our heart, we hope that it warms yours too

Rain Rescue   The Power of a Loving Thing

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny raise their brood of five boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. She home teaches her youngest three sons. Shawnelle contributes regularly to Guideposts Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her stories and articles have also been published by Marriage Partnership, MomSense Magazine,  Thriving Family Magazine, Woman’s World, Angels on Earth, PLUS Magazine, Cup of Comfort books and other anthologies.

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Rain Rescue – The Power of a Loving Thing

The boys and I are driving home after an afternoon of errands. As we cross the bridge that spans the Mississippi, I notice the clouds. They’re broody and dark and the sky that’s visible in between is a deep blue gash.

By the time we’re home, they’ve knit together to a ominous mass and then there is a wild torrent of rain.

We pull in the drive and sit. The back door is down the steps and across the patio.

“I’m going to run in,” Gabe says. I turn around and see he’s watching the digital clock. It’s three. Time for the boys’ half-hour of coveted PBS. It’s a powerful thing.

“Just wait,” I say. “It will slow. If you make a run for it, you’ll still be soaked.”

Rain Rescue   The Power of a Loving Thing

“Please,” he asks.

I pop the locks and he’s out the door. Down the steps. Then he’s fumbling at the door to find the right key.

And he’s in.

And the rain hits the windshield in hard, angry pelts.

A bit like my mood these days, I recognize. Things with our struggling son have left me a little stripped. The raw, inside me can be as dark as the day.

I sit for a moment and listen to the chatter from the back seat. I watch the rain flow like a river down the side of the drive.

And then I see the umbrella.

It’s a Fighting Illini umbrella. And it’s huge. Wide slices of blue and orange are moving across the patio. I see small legs and feet underneath.

Gabe.

The umbrella bobs up the stairs, it stops for a moment as the gate, and then it pauses outside my van door.

It tips and there is Gabe’s smile.

Rain Rescue   The Power of a Loving Thing

I throw the door open.

“I came to rescue you, Mom,” he says.

There he is, this small sprig of a boy, holding this canopy of nylon. He’s holding it out to me, wanting to walk me in.

I’ve been rescued from the rain.

I hold the umbrella and it covers us both. We move fast and Gabe delivers me to the porch. I step inside and I watch him run back to the van for his brothers.

The struggle, the sadness, hasn’t gone away. But the edges have been soothed with a sweet salve. The sweet salve of a loving thing.

Before long the boys are all in and the house is full. There’s a thunder of boyness moving toward the family room upstairs. But as Gabe rushes past I reach out and snag him. I pull him close. I whisper in his small, warm ear.

“Thanks,” I say. “For rescuing me.”

“You’re welcome,” he says. And he smiles.

But he really has no idea at all.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…  Hebrews 10:23-24

More articles by Shawnelle can be found on her blog at: http://shawnellewrites.blogspot.com

How To Make Parenting Eas(ier)

Parenting is a tough but high calling.  We know that parenting is never easy, but Judy shares some tips on how to make it a bit easier.

Judy BarrettHow To Make Parenting Eas(ier) is a former physical therapist, now author, who began home schooling shortly after adopting a family group of three bringing the total to seven children under the age of ten. With only three children still at home Judy now writes Christian commentaries and home school materials. She also blogs at www.judybarrettblog.com.

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How To Make Parenting Easy

1. Take care of problems early.
Do not just “hope” things go away. And, sitting around complaining never solved anything. When you see a problem, work to fix it. And keep working. Inconsistent parenting is just as bad as negligent parenting. This does not mean the solution is always punishment and more punishment. Get to the root of the problem. Poor grades may require tutoring, or finding a way to engage the child so they learn. Sudden disrespect can mean, ‘I’m growing and need so much more sleep I cannot currently function.’ Pay attention and help your child appropriately and early.

2. Don’t make stupid rules.
Children become frustrated and rebel when life seems unfair. One of the things I have never understood is limits on TV and video games. Why? Because free time is free time. It is time to do what you want. Arbitrary limits on things they enjoy just confuse them. (They should confuse you too. Do you place the same limits on yourself?) If the chores are done well, their homework is complete and they have nothing else to do why are you micromanaging them? If you want them to go play outside, say, “Go play outside.” If you want them to exercise more, set aside a time for it, or enroll them in a sport. If you want them to read, reward it. But to subtly tell them they can do whatever they want, and then limit what they can want seems foolish. It also teaches them to place arbitrary limits on their own lives, which is a hindrance to success. (Go through your own inner monologue and see how many ‘rules’ you have for yourself that make no sense. Get rid of them and see if your life improves!)

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Keep life in perspective. If your child is getting straight A’s, is kind to others, and generally does what is expected of them, then an unmade bed is not the end of the world. (Unless he is planning on enlisting in the military.) Do not continually harp on some little aspect and let that be all he hears when overall he is a good kid. This is not to say that you never address it, it is just not the most important thing in life. Talk to him about it and try a new approach. When I talk to my boys about their messes, now that they are older, I typically focus on how their future wife will view things. It works for them. Find what works for you. (Hint: Nagging, repeating the same thing over, and over and over, never works.)

4. Make time to talk.
You cannot build a relationship with your children without mutual respect. True they may obey out of fear of punishment, but fear only lasts so long. Children who respect their parents behave better than those who don’t, and the key to earning respect is time. (It is also by behaving yourself, but I am assuming that, if you are reading an article on how to be a better parent, you already understand that.) You need to spend time with your child, and watching him play sports is not it. This is time where you can talk. You talk about what’s important to you, and he talks about what is going on in his life. Don’t think you know it all. Chances are the things your children are focused on and worried about will surprise you. Prioritize. Missing one season of sports, or other activity will not affect their lives and relationships as much as never getting to know their parents. And make it fun. Sitting down with them in such a way that they feel like they’re being grilled will not garner the same results.

5. Take your kids places.
Too many parents leave the children home when they go grocery shopping, or out for coffee. Why? Because their children do not behave. Do you realize that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you do not take the children, and teach them to behave, they will never learn to behave, so you will never be able to take them. Instead teach them young, if possible. (I adopted a few of mine older, so we went on ‘practice’ shopping trips to catch up.) By the time they were older I could take seven kids anywhere. To the opera, museums, grocery stores- you name it- without trouble. It was hard work in the beginning, but it paid off in the end. So, when I needed a cup of coffee, and felt like sitting for a few minutes, that’s what we did. In the beginning, when my adopted children still did not know how to behave at this level, we took breaks and had a date-night, because it was needed. But the date-night did not make up for the tension in the house. We worked on the things that caused tension, and the date-night became something we do for fun, rather than a needed time to get away. You can see how life would be more enjoyable this way…

6. Do things that make sense.
Do not have rules, or ways of doing things that are based solely on what others do. Do things in a way that makes sense for your family. Let me give you an example. My daughter is home schooled, and has a youth group full of good kids that she loves attending. I do not work outside the home and my other children are old enough to stay home alone. When I show up in the parking lot I wait in the car, usually with a book, until she is done. Her friends have pointed out that it is rude of her to leave her mother waiting like that. (I told you they were good kids.) She talked to me about it (notice that we have established a pattern where she communicates, and does not just do what seems right). What I told her is that her friends would be rude if they left their mothers waiting. Some have small children who get cranky in the car, while others have to go to work in the morning. Our family is different, and my priority right now is to give her as much time as she would like with her friends, while not leaving her as the last one to be picked up, wondering when mom is going to get there. So I sit and read, and it is okay. If I go grocery shopping and there is ice cream in the car, I go in and tell her we have to go, and she goes. The situation changed, and she respects that. Rules should not be black and white. They should make sense. She also does not become upset because I decided to do something productive that would limit her enjoyment. Why? Because she knows I balance my priorities (because we talk, and I often explain why I do what I do), and she knows that most of the time this results in better things for her.

7. Teach purposefully.
The ancient rabbis had their students follow them around as they went about their daily lives. The rabbis would then explain why they did things the way they did. This is important. Your children should know why you make the choices you make, or they may misunderstand your motives. When your children begin to understand that you actually think about them when making decisions, they learn to accept that sometimes they cannot have what they want, but it is not because you did not think about their wishes as well. They also learn how to make proper decisions, using the values and principles you find important.

8. Grow up.
The saddest thing I see is when a child is more mature than their parents. Many times it is because the child has had to assume adult responsibilities, or has had to become an emotional support system for the parent because the parent does not behave. This should never happen, and, even though it seems like the child is doing well, the emotional baggage they carry into adulthood is just not worth it. Get your own life under control before trying to ‘fix’ your kids. (Some of their problems could be because they are copying, or reacting to, you!) Think about why you do what you do, get your emotions in check, start to avoid people who are not good to you and actually obey all of those rules you teach your kids. Immature parents cannot raise well-adjusted children. And they make it difficult for the child to have a relationship with them later in life.

Now these tips will make parenting easier in the long run, but if you have issues you need to address the hard work starts now. You must put in the time to reap the rewards. The irony is that if you avoid putting in the time, you will have less time since you will have more messes to clean up, and the stress and anxiety are just not worth it. Will your family be perfect? No, but children can be manageable and enjoyable most of the time. Think of it this way: There is a Chinese restaurant that called us ‘The Happy Family.’ Why? Because I did not have to yell at my children to sit down, stopping touching your brother, eat your food etc every five minutes. Wouldn’t you like this to be you?

More articles by Judy can be found on her blog at: http://judybarrettblog.com

Prayer – Power and Honor

How often do you pray for your child?  Hear from April and her husband on how important prayer has been to their parenting journey.

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Prayer   Power and HonorPraises of a Wife and Mommywas created in 2011 while April was pregnant with her second child.  She is a pastor’s wife and could not be more proud of her husband and excited to see God use him and this whole family.  She also has an amazing 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son.  The verse that started the blog is Proverbs 31:25-26: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

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Prayer   Power and HonorPrayer – Power and Honor

Prayer   Power and Honor

In prayer we honor God in relationship, and then in power we honor His revealed vision and shared dreams. Today we take a look at Hannah in 1 Samuel 1.

This message is from my husbands message on Mother’s Day at our new church in Iowa.
“I remember my mother’s prayers, they have always followed me. they have clung to me all my life.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Prayer is awesome and I am thankful for each prayer my other prayed when she was alive. I have been blessed to find some prayers for me that she wrote in her bible.  :)  I think she knew I would marry a preacher!!!  :)
AMEN- God wants to honor you!  :) In prayer we honor God in relationship, and then in power we Honor His revealed vision and shared dreams.
Three things happen when we approach God.
1. We are ruined. But you can’t stay there
2. We are cleansed and qualified. But you can’t be afraid to mess up
3. We hear and respond. But with all we are.
I hope you all take 30 minutes to listen to this message on prayer.  I pray that you will learn more about prayer but a new passion would come over you to pray to our daddy God.
What are you praying for? Who are you praying for?  Are you being bold in your prayers?  I encourage you if you are a mother to pray daily for your children and their future.
More articles by April can be found on her blog at: http://www.praisesofawifeandmommy.com