Archive | January 2016


Do you remember the magic you felt as a young teen, thinking about “growing up”–to at least 21?? Years ago I KNEW I would never live until I was 21, it would just be too wonderful. To be on your own, without your folks (or others) telling you what to do, when to get up, when to go to bed,when to go to school, how to act.. and five hundred million other highly original thoughts that can go through the teen mind. You don’t factor in things like a boss, a wife, children–just freedom. But I was wrong. I made it to twenty-one.

More years went by. But I was POSITIVE I’d never make it to the year 2000—that was an eternity away. Good grief, my children (or any I might have) would be grown, I’d be old, sitting in a rocking chair, not able to do anything at all, because I would be sooo ancient! That year came, too. Drat, wrong again.

Recently I knew an apartment room was full of boys who thought like this: boys in their late teens, boys who thought being almost 21 was better than it had ever been. Boys who thought their age somehow gave them immunity from any harm, who could live and defy odds of being the one driving drunk, or getting cancer from smoking, or destroying their brain on drugs—or even playing Russian Roulette. Boys whose parents knew they were “rooming” together, but after all, these boys were friends, whom the parents knew. And friends don’t let friends… play Russian Roulette. The parents were wrong.

These kids were not city slickers, but country boys: raised by dads or granddads or uncles who took them hunting at four, serious shooting by 9, had them in gun safety classes, and taught them the dangers and value of a firearm. They weren’t ignorant of the rules, but they were ignorant of life and death. Christianity was for their folks; they’d take God seriously when they got older. It wasn’t needed right now because–after all–they were young and it was time for fun! And it didn’t occur to them that they had an enemy who is in the world to steal, kill and destroy. Because if he (Satan) can destroy these kids, they can’t turn their lives around and change the world for other kids. They mocked God, because He wasn’t–in their minds–going to step in and stop their good times. He was going to turn His head while they drunk, did some drugs, sex, and played their games, and had their time of rebellion to the rules the parents had had in the home. They were sure God would go ‘tsk, tsk,’ with His tongue, saying “Boys will be boys.” They were wrong.

This group of close friends had a .44 Magnum in the apartment. It was brought there by the boy whose father had bought it for him, who believed his son to be mature enough to own a gun. He believed him to be mature enough to use it for protection, not to play games like four-year olds. That dad was wrong.

Looking Down a Barrel

“Let’s play Russian Roulette!” Who wanted to be the one who said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea”? No one wanted to be the ‘parent’ in the room. So everyone shouted “Yea!” One, a younger brother to another in the room, handed the gun to his older brother, whom he looked up to. The older took the gun, spun the clip and said, “It’s not going to go off!” He was wrong.

The bullet went through his head. In an instant the friends had a tsunami of emotions: shock, denial, terror, fear, and more. Someone, somewhere, called 911 for the gunshot. The police, the EMT’s, and others arrived. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was already standing in front of the Judge, the Creator. He had been wrong once too often. God didn’t say “Boys will be boys.”

Why are our children not listening to what we say? Were we gone so much in their youth that our words bounce off their brains, or were they so filled with garbage from being babysat by a television that they lost the ability to reason? I don’t know. But I do know a mom not far away buried her “baby” because he thought he could outwit God. Oh my, was he wrong.

Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.


© Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Serving Two Masters….

Hispanic Boy6

Attitude is everything.

The child climbed into the car’s back door, but refused to get in his car seat. Usually this wasn’t a problem, but this particular day he decided he wanted to stand right behind Dad, holding on to the head rest. “Sit down!” Dad raised his voice at this second warning. The look of rebellion on the child’s face told the father that it was not going to happen today. Is there anything that exerts more will power than a 3-year-old who doesn’t want to do something? His chin jutted out, and he stayed standing.

Dad put the car into park, got out, took hold of his son, and with necessary movements put him in the car seat, snapped the buckles and got back into the driver’s seat. As he pulled out of the parking space his son yelled, “I may be sittin’ down on the outside, but I’m still standin’ up on the inside!!”

It seems to meet that I’ve been standing up on the inside a lot lately. Christmas has come and gone (but will be here again soon, for sure), and I morph into Scrooge during that time. I fight the materialism with everything I am, but it does no good against all those sweet faces turned toward me. My attitude needs a major overhaul after the holidays. I probably wrote the same thing last year.

But in the midst of all the bad attitudes, the chaos, the trials (already!), the crises (already, note the plural!), and the hurt feelings, God spoke to my heart. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the Creator Who “spoke” the world into being (John 1). As I turned to my Bible this morning, I began reading and verses I’ve read hundreds of times “lit up.” That’s God, speaking.

These were the verses that were prepared for me to be reading , the next set of verses on a morning “ritual”—not one of those “put your finger in a passage and read it” type thing. But as I read the verses “You cannot serve two masters; for either you will … love the one and hate the other…You cannot serve God and [the world]. Matt. 6:24).” Years of teaching came across my mind, God and the world… God and money… and then suddenly God shone His light directly upon those verses into my heart, and I knew He was telling me these verses can go much deeper than what I have heard all my life, and how much I needed to hear Him alone.

You see, it’s been a struggling week, one of those Stress Level Ten weeks, one where I felt caught in a conflict between an adult child and my husband. Nothing–nothing!–comes between a momma and her child (or should) no matter how old they get. A momma bear and her cub is a great analogy. Another–which I experienced a lot of years ago–is a cow and her newborn calf. I have been torn, taking up the offense of my child, and mad (as only a wife can be) that my husband would have allowed this situation. But then, God spoke to my heart.

He turned the light bulb in my mind onto the passage, and I saw, a Mother cannot serve her adult child and her husband if there is conflict. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. The truth is, the situation is out of my control and I can’t make them both happy. I can’t change anything, can’t go back and re-do the offense, can’t “fix it.” But if I keep on with my warring attitude, I will end up “hating” one and “serving” the other. But that isn’t God’s best. He made us one in marriage, and to split that unity and go against my husband is wrong, and becomes sin, and He made my child “leave the parent” when they became one with their spouse. Yuk. Yikes. Double yikes.

I also saw that “two masters” could easily be me–with all my desires to control the situation, to control what had happened, to make everything okay again (because I hate confrontation, and disunity)–and my husband, who had done what he thought to be best in a situation where, he felt, there would be no winning. He knew ahead of time it was going to cause friction, and he wisely chose to do what was best for me, rather than for our child. I needed to CHOOSE to love him. Lesson Two.

Two masters, He spoke to my heart, is always a potential in a marriage: if you and your spouse are not dedicated to seeing that you are in agreement with discipline (one of the areas where the most combat is initiated), you are causing your child/children to choose which of you to “love/serve” and which to hate. Lesson Three.

This dredged up a long-ago illustration when we four–dad, mom, son, daughter–got in the car to leave church. Our son turned to me, asking if we could stop by the local ice cream shop and get cones. I said “No.” He got a tragic look on his face and said, “Mom! I didn’t mean to ask you, I meant to ask Dad!” We went. They had learned which questions to ask which parent. To food, I usually said no; Dad said yes. After this we also made (and stuck to) rule #783: if they asked one of us, the answer was set in stone (unless extenuating circumstances dictated otherwise), and they could not ask the other parent. Good rule, even for today.

Be sure you are not serving two masters: yourself and your spouse. Or, your child and your spouse. Or… anyone but God.  Even then, you have to be vigilant that you do not present a second master to yourself. God only is the First and Last in our lives, and He only holds the keys to family unity, love and working out stressful problems when we look to Him to watch our backs. He alone is holy, praise His Name.

Has the situation gone away? No, but my attitude is adjusting, and I see both sides. I also have confessed, and am sorry for the “tantrum” I threw when I first found out. God is in control, I have no doubt at all about that, and my repentant heart can now be worked on. It will be okay. This hasn’t come to stay, but has “come–to pass.” I’ll be grateful when it’s passed!

 © Andrew Taylor | Dreamstime Stock Photos