You Took Your Son Where?!

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Now, I have your attention I will happily answer that question. I took my son to a men’s Bible study. Every monday night (well most) for the last four or so years my wife knew where I would be. I was going to be with a group of guys who invest into me and I into them. There is a solidarity which takes place with this group of men I have never experienced anywhere else.

Over the last several months my youngest son Richard has been wanting to go with me to these meetings. At first I was rather hesitant, I mean come on he’s only six. Then I realized he’s only six and he still wants to spend time with his dad. He wants to do things like his dad does them. I am starting to appreciate that fact. There is going to come a time when he may not want to hang out with me as much and I will need to prepare myself for it.

When he first started wanting to go he was around four and he was just way too young. He has ADHD and has a hard time not getting into things. As he has gotten older he has gotten a bit better and I allow him to bring his Kindle Fire to occupy him while we have our study. Sure I would love to go back to when it was just me getting away from the family and having some alone time. But, I would be missing out on so much. This young man loves me dearly and wants to be around me.

He is seeing what male bonding can and should look like. He is getting a picture of brotherhood inside of Christ. As we get together around food and celebrate the Word of God. I will one day have the time to myself again but I will never be able to regain time spent with my son as a chid. By me taking him it is teaching me how to be less selfish and more of a role model.

While I long to take my oldest son, he has not desire to go and I am not going to force it upon him. I will take the opportunities the Lord is placing before me, to grow and nurture my little one the best I can.

Questions: What are somethings you can be doing with your child(ren) you have been avoiding? Is there a special way you spend time with your little ones?

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Doing What You Least Want to Do

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There is a section of Scripture that speaks directly to this matter. Just maybe not the way you are thinking. It is dealing with sin, not some job or chore you don’t want to mess with.

In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul tells us,he ends up doing the things he doesn’t want to do and the things he wants to do he does not do. To be exact this is what he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 bFor I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. “ (Romans 7:18-20, ESV).

There is no way in our day and age we are any better than the Apostle Paul was. It seems Paul longed to do good things but struggled deep within himself. As a Christian we should all feel in a similar fashion. One of the biggest places I struggle in life is in my home. I long to be a good husband, and father. I feel as though I fail daily.

My boys and I have a hard time relating to one another, at least my oldest son and I. It is a difficulty that brings the struggle of what may be sin. I want to love on them the same way God loves me, but I know for a fact I don’t. There is more yelling going on than I ever imagined would happen in my home. Whether it is between the boys at each other or me telling them to stop.

Something I always thought was oxymoronic was when my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I never understood what they meant until I became a parent myself. The act of disciplining my children can be more psychically challenging to me, than the act of disciplining them physically. However it is required to be a good parent. Hebrews 12:11 tells us”For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So in reality I am doing the best thing for them even though they cannot see it yet. God in His infinite wisdom disciplines us His children as well. It is an act which we do not find comfortable, but it is for our good in the end. There are many things in life we are going to do which we do not want to do. Not all of them are going to fall in to the category that Paul is talking about. The good news is for those of us in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin, it does not have the right to control us. It merely has a residence in us.

While we cannot fully evict it we no longer have to listen to what it tells us. We are indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit. With this person residing in us we can achieve much. A question I have for you is, “Is it better to have the Spirit inside of you or Jesus beside you? Where do you derive more strength?” As we grow and mature we grow in humble reliance on the Spirit.

May we all learn to do the things we least want to do, so we can become masters of the things we want to do. It will take a life time to learn this so we better start paying attention now.

Question: What are things you don’t want to do, but need to learn to do?

Some Help for Doing Family Devotions

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What can I say about family devotions? Depends really, on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a how to guide? I can offer you that. Or maybe you want to hear the truth about family devotions. They aren’t always easy or glamorous like TV, movies and books can make them out to be.

For instance in our house trying to get our boys to sit down for a quick (supposed to take 10minutes) study, turns into a 45 minute ordeal. But when these boys are into it, it is a sight to behold. They start asking questions and giving answers to other questions. It really is quite marvelous.

We have chosen to use a book called Old Story New it is a family devotional book that lays everything out there for you so you are not having to just read the Bible and try and explain everything. It gives you things to ask the kids. It also suggest things to pray for after you have done the study. I would recommend this book or its sibling Long Story Short; if you are like me pressed for time or just want the help to lead family devotions.

There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are told to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. I am thinking right now of the proverb “Train up a child in the ways in which he should go and when he gets older he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

There are countless OT passages speaking to the same thing, about teaching your children as you go and as you come. Teach them while you walk in the day. The list goes on and on. So there has to be some importance to what is being said for it to be repeated. So if you are not doing it which we have not been the best at. Give it try. They offer both of these books on kindle, and you don’t have to buy the book you can get a sample before you buy it to see if it’s a fit.

Just start something with your family, especially dad, get involved show the kids your faith it will pay dividends in the end. I am not perfect we have tried in the past and given up. One of our goals this year is to have family devotions 4x a week. We will strive to meet that goal, even if we fall short at least we are spending time in God’s word as a family.

Question: What do you do for family devotions?

Seeing Your Family As A Community

picket-fences-349713_640Don’t ask how I got the title it just sort of came to me. But as I think about it, it makes sense. We should see our families as small communities made up of different people with different interest. It is hard to do most of the time, at least in the Horne household.

 

I like most parents still see my children as little and not as growing into their own person’s with their own ideas and understandings. Just like a regular community would be made up of people who think and live differently. As I learn these things I have to wonder what the Bible says, and it says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It therefore reminds me to love my children the same way I would want to be loved.

 

You would think it’d be easy to remember to love your children or your spouse. Not so much though. So how can we learn to see our children as growing adults? The best answer I have come up with is to give more responsibility to them and see how they handle it.

 

By proving they can handle the pressure of more responsibility they are then showing me, they can be productive members of society/a community.What we want is for our kids to grow into great adults other people can trust and want to be around.

 

It has been an interesting journey thus far because my ten year old thinks he has it so much harder than his six year old brother. We have had to try and explain to him, yes his chores and responsibilities look different because he is older and should be able to handle more.

 

That answer does not often suffice enough for him. It is hard to please him because of his nature, due to his Aspergers. We (my wife and I) are learning how to work with him and his brother. While we don’t give in to his every whim we are learning what battles to fight. Letting the ones that need to subside just drift off into obscurity.

 

Just like in a regular community not everyone is always going to be happy with the decisions made, it is going to be similar in a family. Take dinner time for an example. Our rule is if we make it you eat it, or you don’t eat that night. This is a rule we govern our house by, just the same way there are rules that govern society.

 

I want to see my boys grow into Godly men who love Jesus and others well. By becoming such men they will be valuable to their homes, communities and society in general. It may require going through some hardships at home. It requires being disciplined when they’re disobedient.

 

Once we learn how to be valuable to our homes we can be of value to the rest of society. I have learned while I want my boys to grow, it’s hard to let them do it. I struggle with trust, always have. They haven’t done anything for me to distrust them. I have to learn to let them make mistakes, my fear of them failing is going to hurt them in the long run.

 

This is where me giving them over to God and trusting Him as their eternal father. He will not sit idly by. Once I realize their value in our home/community and stop fearing them making mistakes life will begin to flourish and grow.

 

What do you think, can you see how families are like their own little communities? 

Holiday Time: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

 

 Is it just me or is the most wonderful time of the year one of the most stressful times of year also? I have noticed that over the last seven years of marriage that the holidays tend to be more anwry than any other time of the year. When we were first married we had a huge fight our first Christmas because of something our son did to his cousin, it didn’t help that my wife was pregnant at the time. Then going back 20 years my father passed away just before the holiday season really got started on November 4, 1994. So that makes this a tough time of year for me. I do however remember one of the last presents that I ever got from my dad and i still have it to this day.  It was a stuffed teddy bear that was brown with a bow tie on we named it “Brownie” I know not super creative but it was the best I could do I was eleven at the time. This makes me sad thinking about it,  but it also makes me happy because I can still recall that last Christmas with my dad. 

     However, the holidays are not all bad. I have two sons who love Christmas and I know that one of them loves Jesus still not sure about the other. While one believes in Santa Claus and the other does not. That makes things a challenge around here trying to keep the oldest from spilling the beans. But each year we all get a new ornament from someone, usually the boys are getting the ornament from their grandparents along with my wife who gets one from her grandmother, and my wife buys me a new National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ornament (that is my favorite Christmas movie). During Christmas break we will make cookies and generally watch a  lot of Christmas movies. The last several years we have gone caroling with members of our church through different neighborhoods. We are trying to instill in the boys the true meaning of Christmas that it is to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While I personally don’t believe this is the day he was born on, it is the day we choose to celebrate it with the rest of the Christians around the globe. 
     The sad thing is not every Christian gets to celebrate Christmas like those of us here in the United States, there are countries that being a Christian is agains the law and you could go to jail or even die for your faith. I hope that my boys will never have to experience that kind of persecution in their lives, but if they do I pray they stand up for what they believe in.  This is also a hard season because not everyone can afford to do for their families like others can and it makes people feel less than. While it is not intentional it still happens. What we have to hope and hold on to is the day when the New Heaven and New Earth will appear and we no longer have to worry about this type of celebration because we will be enjoying the presence of Christ. I now that this post was a little more personal than some of my others and I hope you don’t mind. If you enjoyed this post will you comment and let me know. Because my goal is to create content you enjoy not just for me to be spewing words on the screen. 
I leave you with this: What are some fond memories you have of the holiday season?