God moves in the life of a 6 year old….

Shared by Michael Wood

My son Charlie is 6 ½ and is all boy!  He is full of energy and is seldom still. Yet he is one of the most thoughtful, compassionate, caring, and loving boys I know.  He never fails to tell his mother and sisters that they look pretty.  I should take lessons from him!

On Monday he and his older sisters were having a rough day of homeschooling.  They had been in trouble a few times and their mother had sent them all to their rooms.  This was to separate them for a few minutes, and let them think about how they were acting.  Charlie did just that.  He sat in his room and realized he had been making some bad choices.  He decided he could not change on his own.  In his room, on his own, he prayed for Jesus to come into his heart and to help him make better choices!  Yes, my young son accepted Jesus this week!  WOW! 

He called his mom in to his room and told her what he had done.  I was home for lunch at this point and Sheri called me in and had him tell me.  My first reaction was joy and tears.  Then when I had time to think, I was completely taken aback by his ability to process this on his own.

Here is what I mean.  Men, my son of 6 realized something that many of us struggle with as adults.  He realized that he was powerless to change on his own.  He could not “try to do better” or “work harder to change” or “get a handle on his struggle”.  He realized the only one who could change him was Jesus!  Charlie prayed with a heart of pure surrender. 

I know I try to do many things in my own strength and fail.  How about you?  We all could learn something from Charlie.  We are powerless to change ourselves.  Jesus is the only way we can truly be changed.

Thank you Charlie for one of the greatest lessons I have ever been shown. 

Jesus, I am powerless to change, I am not strong enough to face the enemy alone, I need your strength to be able to…  LiveUP.

Parenting – doing the hard work

Discipline is no fun.  It is no fun to hand out and no fun to receive.  And yet, we see time after time the results of young men and young women raised in a home without discipline.  Many parents opt out to just be their kid’s friends instead of their parents.  If they party, the parent ends up saying, “I made my fair share of mistakes too when I was young.”  If they are young and unruly and out of control (been in a restaurant lately with one of these near you?), they’ll say, “I don’t want to crush his spirit by coming down on him…”

You’ve seen this.  You know.  The inmates run the asylum.  It doesn’t work.  It does your kid no good to let them live a life where they don’t have rules, don’t have boundaries and are not accountable.

Read this from Dear Abby today…

“Dear Abby: I am a 15-year old girl who has never been in trouble, but my mom treats me like a criminal.  She makes me go to church every Sunday.  She makes me go to Catholic School, and I have to wear an ugly uniform.  She won’t help me with my homework.  She says, “I already did 10th grade.”  I can’t wear halter tops, short shorts, a bikini or much makeup.  If I tell her it is the style, she says, “Modesty is always in style”.

When I go out with my friends, she wants to know where I’m going, who I’ll be with, what we’ll be doing, when we’ll be back and their phone numbers.  If I have a date with a new boy, she makes him come into the house and tell her what school he goes to.  Then she makes him show her his driver’s license and car registration.

I can’t keep my computer in my room.  When I’m using it in the den, she looks over my shoulder and won’t let me go into chat rooms.  I have to set the table even if we don’t have company and sit down and have dinner with her EVERY night.

If I can’t afford something, she tells me to save up or budget better.  She won’t let me drive until I can pay for my own insurance.  It’s not like my mom’s poor – we travel to Hawaii and Lake Tahoe and we’ve been to Europe and on cruises.  But she won’t even pay for cable TV.  She says it is an idiot box and I should read a book instead.

She also makes me do my own laundry and keep my room and bathroom clean.  She makes me do unfair chores like cleaning the guest bathroom even though I never use it.  She wants to teach me to sew and cook, but I have no interest in those things.

She makes me visit dad every week, and i I complain about anything she says (very calmly and quietly, which I hate more than if she’d yell), “You can always go live with your father.”

She told me as long as I live under her roof, I have to abide by her rules even if I’m over 18.  And I have to go to college, and if I don’t, I’ll have to get a job and support myself.

I could go on and on.  Have you ever heard of  a mother so unreasonable?  I’m afraid to run away but I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

Signed, EMOTIONALLY ABUSED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Who knows if this is a “real” letter or if the Mom herself wrote it but it is striking.  Men…are you willing to do the hard work to raise your kids?  All of these things listed – the chores, the homework, the rules about dating, budgeting money, etc. are hard to follow through with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “give up” and let them eat pizza when they won’t eat what Mama cooked.  Sometimes it is just easier to let her go out with her friends and not do the investigating to make sure who she is hanging with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “do it myself” than train her/him how to do the chore.

But look at the power in this woman’s love and discipline for her daughter! 

Listen to Abby’s reply –

“Wow! your letter should be posted on every refrigerator in the country.  Rarely do I hear about a parent who tries as hard as your mom does to do a diligent job.  One day you will look back and thank her.”

Amen Abby!

This is part of the call to Live UP!  It is doing the hard things.  It is going to battle daily for our wives and our children.  It is caring enough to do the homework (and the hard work) to make sure your child is where they said they would be and to know exactly what they are doing.  It is calling your children up to a higher standard“No honey, I’m sorry none of your friends have to empty the dishwasher or clean the bathrooms – but your Mom works incredibly hard and I want you to pitch in to help her like I am doing simply because it is the right thing to do.”

It is a higher standard.  It is a better life.  It is equipping our children and training them up and giving them the skills and discipline they need to succeed in life.  The coddled and pampered child will not be able to cope the first time a professor or boss tells them to do something they don’t want to.  Part of the secret to life is doing the hard things.  The hard things make us strong and help us build our homes on rock.  The easy path makes us weak and builds our house on sand.

Live UP!

A father’s gift to his son

Shared by Michael Wood…

My dad is lying in a hospital bed in tremendous pain.  He is 82 years old and has had rheumatoid arthritis for about 35 years.   It has racked his body, twisting his fingers and toes into almost unusable, angled, swollen features.  His once beautiful, fluid handwriting is gone, replaced by semi-legible pain inducing letters.  His strong hands that remodeled a civil war era home and built bunk beds, are lying still at his side.

About a week ago, while washing down their patio, his feet got tangled in the hose and he fell.  Not a bad fall, so we thought, but a fall none-the-less.  After a few days he started having severe pain in his right shoulder and elbow.  After a very restless night on Monday he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  His pain has been so severe that he still moaned and groaned while on morphine.  An MRI revealed several disks are damaged and pinching his spinal cord.  With surgery not an option, 2 of my 4 sisters and I had to make the painful decision to move him to the Hospice House for “Pain Management”. 

I grew up knowing that my dad loved me!  How did I know?  He told meA lot!  Also, he was proud of me!  How did I know?  He told me.  A lot!  He also told me the things I was good at doing.  These were gifts he gave me my entire life.  But this is not the gift I am talking about.

For the last two days he has been in and out of sleep because of the pain medicine.  When he was awake, he was lucid but in intense pain.  He would speak in short phrases but would grimace in pain.  When the medicine would take over, he would sleep fairly peacefully but was completely unaware of our presence.

The Gift…  Friday at lunch I was not going to go to the hospital because it was just too painful to see him in such pain.  With 2 of my sisters here and at the hospital, I figured I could wait until after work.  However, my beautiful and loving wife asked me to stop by and see him.  When I arrived he was mostly out of it and I really wanted to leave.  I stayed and he gave me the best gift he ever gave me!!  He stirred and became fairly lucid.  He recognized me and said “Hey Bud, How are you?”  Just like him to be concerned about others more than himself.  Then before I left, I told him goodbye and that I loved him.  He looked up at me and softly said “I love you too, see you later.”

Later may be in another lucid moment, or when we are reunited in Heaven.  Either way, I will see him later and I know my father loves me!

Fathers – Tell your children!!  Tell them you love them!  Tell them you are proud of them!  Tell them that they are good at what they are good at!!  Time is short.  Start now.  It is never too late.  I do not care if your children are 6 or 60.  Tell them!!

It will be the greatest gift you will ever give them!  God gave me a gift in my dad.  My dad gave me the gift of knowing that he loved me!!

My father was moved to the hospice house on Friday evening.  We were told that he had signs that his death was “imminent”.   On Saturday at about 4:25 in the afternoon, his pain stopped and he got to see his Lord and Savior!!

He gave me many gifts over the 46 years that I had him with me.  But far and away, the best gift that he gave me was the last words that he spoke to me!  “I love you too, see you later.”  I already miss him, but I know where he is and that he is no longer in pain.  He is walking and running with feet that have straight toes.  He is fingers are no longer gnarled and painful.  He can stand straight.  He can hear the singing saints without his hearing aids.  And he can see the face of his savior without his glasses!   

He gave me a great example to live up too.  He gave me a higher standard.  I pray that I can…

Live UP 

How the world pictures men…

In this first ad, we see several men and the voice over sounds half-dead listing all the things he will do (for her)…the man is “dutiful”.  “I will say yes when you want me to say yes”… “I will listen to your opinions of my friends”… “I will be civil to your mother”… “I will put the seat down, I will seperate the recycling”… “I will carry your lip balm” … “I will watch your vampire TV shows with you” … “I will put my underwear in the basket”…

And because I do this… I will drive the car I want to drive.

Do you see it?  Man is dutiful.  Man is really a little boy – cleaning up and doing the things Mommie tells him to do.  Man is emasculated.  But man is also “dumb” —  I will do all of this just so I can drive the car I want to drive (and thus, this is all I really care about)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RyPamyWotM

And then…there is the follow up ad…this one from the woman’s point of view…

“I will wash your underwear.  I will prepare meals for you.  I will clean the kitchen.  I will let you keep that power tool you bought (this one is really a slap!).  I will raise your children.  I will continue to do the household chores by a factor of 3 to 1.  I will be the prime bread winner.  I will start 70% of all new businesses.  I will be responsible for making the major financial decisions in 95% of US households…

And because of that, I will stop payment on your gas guzzling, ego stroking, macho mobile…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkBWhrGa9gc&feature=related

And there it is…Woman is in control.  She does all the work at home.  She will let you keep that power tool you bought (like a Mama letting her little boy keep his toy).  She will be the primary bread winner and she will decide if you can keep that car.

I’m not attacking women here – so if you are a lady reading this, don’t get mad.  I’m trying to point out that this is the picture of manhood today in America.  Man has been emasculated.  Man has been rendered “helpless” and really almost pitiful.  Man can’t lead.  Man can’t make financial decisions. 

This is dangerous.  It subverts God’s design.  It has become a given in America that men are weak and almost useless.

This is the result of the breakdown of fatherhood in America.  40% of all households in America are fatherless and up to 70% of African American homes are fatherless.  In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, Dads checked out.  They went into the factory or hit the road as traveling salesmen and left Mom in charge.  Divorce rates soared and now many women now don’t even want a husband or even a man living with them – they just want the baby and then they can do the rest.  It is a lie.

Our culture flounders.  We have a sense of hopelessness spreading across our nation.  There seems to be a real lack of leadership in our society.  Why?  What is missing?

We’ll go deeper into this in the posts to come…

Keep living UP.