“Thank God for Forgetfulness We have To Move On”


Jack And Ann Exum

Jack And Ann Exum

When I was a boy of twelve, I was saved. My Dad baptized me and I heard the congregation sing, “O Happy Day, which fixed my heart on thee my Savior and my God…” I knew nothing about what being a Christian was like. That was 69 years ago and I’m still learning.
When I was nineteen, I married my sweetheart Ann. I knew even less of what being a husband was like. Now sixty one years later, I am still learning. My precious Ann is in the nursing home and I still don’t understand or fully grasp the meaning of it all.
I was reading a book (502 pages) called “Dead Center,” and I ran across this saying, “Thank God for forgetfulness – we have to move on.” It was an unusual string of words and I made a note of them. I just thought they would make a good column. Hear what the apostle Paul says, “Once I was alive apart from the law, but then the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died… Did that which is good then become death to me? We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do, but what I hate I do… As it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me… I have a desire to do good, but I cannot carry it out (Romans 7).
Paul was holding the garments of those who stoned Stephen and later declared… Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man… but for that very reason I was shown mercy, that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life (Acts 7.58; I Timothy 1.12-16).
“THANK GOD FOR FORGETFULNESS – WE HAVE TO MOVE ON.” So it is with you and me and most who will read this article. The black deeds, terrible acts, the knowingly ungrateful sins were recorded in my life as with many of yours. I had to learn love, patience and forgiveness. But what about all the baggage of sin in your past? Hear again the Apostle Paul who wrote, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.12-14)(ESV).
If I could interview Paul, I would ask, “Do you remember the stoning of Stephen?” “No” He would reply. “I remember the name but not the circumstances.” “Tell us a bit about the days when you were persecuting those “believers of the Way.” “I can’t recall those days and events anymore. You see I believe we ought to shut the door on those things that are evil behind us, and press on to the prize of the high calling in Christ.”
“Were you not afraid when you were condemned to death by Nero in Rome?” “No, because while I was there I spent time in prayer, and singing, and sharing my faith in Jesus… and I also wrote a number of letters to Timothy and Titus encouraging and instructing them on carrying on. I also had Timothy bring some parchments and books which kept me busy reading. In fact I did say this to Timothy, “and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (I Timothy 6.5-8; II Timothy 4.6-8)(ESV).
Paul did not live to see the “Fall of the Roman Empire,” but he realized Jesus was in control. His life was one focused on what lay ahead, not on what lay in the past. Our lives cannot “move on” while spending untold hours, and energy on dwelling on the past. The Hebrew writer says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7.25).
Thank God for forgetfulness – We have to move on!”
Grow in grace!


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Rudy Snores!

RudyRudy is not my dog! He came “in the baggage” with my brother who recently (within the last 6 months) came to live with my wife and I (and our dogs and cat).
Now at first, Rudy stuck pretty close to Bob and sometimes still does, however, he has become quite adept at sleeping in our bedroom, and “yips” or barks to get into bed with us. When he does, he tries to dig in under the blankets to get warm. Sometimes he meets with opposition with Little Bit (our 20 pound weeny dog), who promptly lets him know “who’s boss!”
The problem is that Rudy snores! I don’t mean a little bit (no pun intended), he snores loud and continuously. Try sleeping with that in your ear! He gets restless about every five minutes for the first half hour, so he is continually moving about seeking a new spot or position. It usually takes me about five minutes to get the idea, HE HAS TO GO! So, off the bed he goes. Then he finds some pants or shirt or towel on the floor, and wallows out a sleeping place and goes to sleep. THE SNORING CONTINUES!
I have thought of getting a C-Pap for Rudy. I wonder if they make C-Paps for little dogs. Probably not. Trying to imagine getting a mask on the little snorer(?), and then try and get the right settings so “the poor wee dog” doesn’t “blow up” like a balloon. This is more than I can handle, so I am thinking of getting some ear plugs.
Now Rudy is in my office, on a special chair, with cushions, SNORING and he has precipitated this article.
An application:
Usually when we get married, we don’t see all the faults etc… “We’re in love!” Over time, the faults seem to get a bit annoying… “Honey, would you mind…”
Since marriage is a covenant, and you promise to God, and your spouse DIVORCE is not on the table. Then you have to work through the little and the big things. (Even snoring!)
Relationships bring many blessings, but they bring many challenges as well. Tolerating and learning to “love above the fault line,” is so important, in relation to church as well.
Jesus knew what it was like to “be stuck” with someone like I am “stuck” with Rudy. His disciples were not bargains for sure. He chose them, worked with them, taught them, corrected them, loved them… to the end (and beyond).
The best example was Jesus giving his life for them, but a good example is when he was eating the Passover with them just before His crucifixion, and since no one wanted to do the honors, He gets up from his place at the table, lays aside his garments, and girds himself with a towel, and gets a basin of water and begins washing their feet. We know the story well… but we don’t like the implications. John 13 records it all, as he goes from one pair of smelly feet to the next, and He even washed Judas’ feet! Hard to imagine, right? If it were me I would be tempted to break a toe or something… But he washed his feet just as gently and tenderly as he did the others.
Then he came to Peter’s feet.  Peter pulls back, and refuses. “No Lord, you’re not washing mine!” What’s the matter Peter… you got six toes on your foot? Are you too good to have your feet washed? Jesus tells Peter, this is an “either – or” situation… Either you allow me to wash your feet or else YOU HAVE NO PART IN ME. What does that mean? It must be pretty important, right?
Sometimes we are not very consistent. We insist on doing or not doing because, “that’s what it says!” We want to be exactly correct on “what is” and “what is not commanded,” because we want to be saved, thinking “perfect performance means we’re heaven bound.” Wrong! Heaven is a grace thing.. not a perfect performance thing. When we come to things like washing feet… we say, “Oops, this is figurative.” “This is cultural” “Jesus didn’t literally mean “wash feet.” Well what did He mean? Was it their culture? Yes. Why did they do this? They wore sandals, and walked dusty roads.  Yet he says “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). If we lived in a culture where this was done, we would do it… but not to be saved. The question then is, why is this so vital that He said what He said to Peter? My opinion is that He is addressing the underlying problem of Peter (and many of us today)… PRIDE! This is something so vital both to family, and church, that He says “”If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” If we were in a culture similar to that of Jesus time, and foot washing was the norm of hospitality, What would you think about someone who would say, “You ain’t washing my feet!” Got a problem right? In the family, and in church, we got a problem when PRIDE rears its head.
How do you love someone (or something) like Rudy? Learn the lesson of HUMILITY! Learn to SERVE! Get self out of the way, and GROW in this not so easy attitude or mind set. Yet Jesus learned… Jesus let go of… He was willing to “take on” and even to wash feet, because he loved.
Getting a basin of “God’s grace,” and washing the dirtiest feet, is not a matter of bragging, but just learning to love someone (or something) “anyway.”


Grow in grace brethren…

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“The Home: Problems and Solutions” (Post Script)

This article is part 6 of 6 in the series Christian Home

Looking through Dad’s Bible, I found these notes, hand written October 1, 2000. Evidently he was taking notes from Neale Pryor. Here are his notes…
(Forgiveness – Three parts love and seven parts forgiveness.)
1.) PARENTS: Forgive your children – (e.g. Absalom)
2.) CHILDREN: Forgive your parents
3.) BROTHERS AND SISTER: Forgive each other
4.) HUNSBAND/WIFE: Forgive each other
5.) YOU: Forgive yourself.
The importance of forgiving one another cannot be over-stated when dealing with relationships. If you parallel the church family and the home, the need for FORGIVENESS in both are easy to see.
What is “forgiveness?” Dad had this definition, “To grant free pardon, and cease to feel resentment.” He preached this all across the brotherhood, and finally, after a lesson on “Dealing with bitterness,” a lady met him at the door and told him she disagreed with him. She and Dad sat and talked, and she explained that in her opinion his idea was over simplified… and that “ceasing to feel resentment” takes time. The healing of the heart and emotions doesn’t just happen over night (although it can). Forgiveness opens the door or begins the healing process. From that time, Dad changed his message to be more balanced.
The reason for adding this to the short series on the home, is that nothing takes the place of forgiveness! A home without a forgiving spirit will not last. Too many hurts, short comings, and faults (whether innocent or on purpose) just seem to pile up in the heart. Paul says, “Love does not keep a record of wrongs…” and yet that is exactly what happens in many a heart. Finally the “pile” gets too big, the pain and emotional distress gets too hard to handle, and divorce is pursued as the only way out, and while this is not an article on the DRM question, we need to try and help before relationships in the family, and in church (divisions), get to the point of no repair. Just preaching “agin it,” doesn’t help. People need some PRACTICAL ADVISE AND HELP. Congregations need some PRACTICAL help and advice.
When a family experiences divorce.. it is because the marriage has died long before. Often the result of a lack in humility and mercy. Humility asks for forgiveness (free pardon,) and mercy (not getting what you deserve) grants it. It is much like God’s grace, right?
When a congregation “divorces” (divides), it is usually due to a lack of humility (and an abundance of pride), and a lack in mercy towards each other. Given the fact that a congregation is composed of people from different backgrounds, carrying different baggage from the past, means there must be a lot of patience and wisdom in dealing with this. Romans 14-15 deals with this idea at length, where the “weak” and “strong” must “stay in the struggle.”
Loving your wife, and loving brethren, demand an understanding and practice of always being ready to forgive.
There is something more we need to add… “put up with one another.” Fact is “you ain’t gonna change each other,” and probably “you aren’t a bargain to live with either.” Everyone has “baggage” and things which need corrected… No, you won’t change other people, at least not always, on everything. Begin with yourself. In the home or in a congregation, there are things you just need to accept, or at least give time to grow.
Here is something I picked up from Dad which applies both to ALL families and congregations.
1. YOU ARE NUMBER ONE IN MY LIFE. (Putting others before yourself is extremely important, because selfishness, or thinking everything revolves around you will destroy relationships.)
2. I ACCEPT YOU AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE FREE TO BE YOURSELF. (Just think about it… when a person becomes a Christian, God has accepted him/her. The first thing we begin to do is tell them, “You gotta change this or that.” Before long they het the idea that THEY ARE NEVER GOOD ENOUGH! Growth comes more by observance than coercion. Just imagine yourself in their place. How do you react when change is being pushed on you? Not so well I imagine. ACCEPT THEM! LET THEM GROW AND CHANGE OVER TIME! TEACH AND ENCOURAGE WITH THE LOVE YOU SHOULD HAVE FOR A HUSBAND OR WIFE.
3. MAKE NO MORAL JUDGMENTS. Dad told Mom, “I will not make any moral judgments about you.” Well, he failed in this. He tried though. Making moral judgments is a touchy area. CAUTION should be used, CARE AND LOVE should be evident. Listen friends, you can correct someone on almost anything, if they are certain it is coming from a heart of love!
4. YOU ARE FREE TO HAVE YOUR FEELINGS. Feelings aren’t right or wrong… they just are! You need to understand this. When someone is upset, the worst thing you can say is, “you shouldn’t feel that way.” Again, put yourself in their shoes. Try saying, “You have a right to your feelings…” Just listen! This is hard for preachers… I know this first hand. Dad was a great preacher… his problem (in his words), “I just have a hard time listening.”
5. NO DIVORCE! You say, “What if I have been through divorce?” Are you a believer, washed in the blood of Jesus? “Yes.” Have you repented sincerely of the (divorce) past? “Yes.” Then begin where you are in God’s forgiveness and grace, and promise your spouse DIVORCE IS OUT OF OUR PICTURE. WE ARE IN THIS FOR LIFE!” You may say “Well I haven’t been through divorce.” Then you need to tell your spouse the same thing! NO DIVORCE!
Congregations and families need to stop the sin of quitting on each other (divorce). God hates it! Instead learn how to forgive. Don’t preach against “divorce” and push for “division” in a congregation. It is hypocritical to say the least.
Husbands, wives, (especially children,) congregations, need to know… WE WILL NOT HAVE ANY PART IN “QUITTING ON EACH OTHER.” Mark and avoid the one who spreads division wherever they go. Keep the unity of the Spirit. Build and encourage the home and congregation you are part of.
Grow in grace!

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“Five Hurtles To Radical Faith”

Hurdling is an exciting part of the Olympics. The idea is to run a distance of say 110 yards, and overcome the hurdles that are evenly set and must be cleared without knocking them over or falling, and be the fastest one to finish.
I don’t know where Dad got this outline, but evidently he was listening to a speaker and taking notes. Using a play on words, instead of “hurdles” he used “HURTLES.”
The story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter
Text: Mark 5.21-end
“And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet…”
1. DIGNITY: He was a ruler of the Jewish synagogue. While many rulers hated and despised Jesus… while Jairus did not. Jairus was a hurting, disturbed, broken man. Life happens, and when sickness and death comes, it shakes all concerned, even this ruler of the synagogue. In great humility, he falls on his face before the Lord. He did not care what others thought about him. He cared not what other “rulers” thought of him. “Dear Lord, I beg you, please come, I need you now,” was the only thing he could say. Dignity was “out the window” as he approached his only Hope for his daughter. Pride is gone, the hurt and pain humbles the greatest. Dignity disappears in His presence.
2. DELAY: “Hurry up!” “Let’s go right now!” The panic of his voice is easy to hear as you read the text. Yet there are interruptions that always seem to come challenging our patience and faith. In vv 25-34 there is a woman who has trouble of her own. She was bleeding, and not just for a day… this had gone on for twelve years! Doctors could not help… and again Jesus was her only Hope. She interrupts His journey to help Jairus, not meaning to, because she just wanted to touch his garment and be healed and disappear into the crowd. Question: What do you do when God makes you wait? We get angry because we want help NOW! “I’ll go and get another God if you can’t put my needs first!” In our time, we demand fast food, ATMs, Quick Lubes, and Drive-Thru dining. We just don’t want to wait. Even the Lord’s Supper is timed down to five minutes so as to keep us on schedule to get thru services on time to “beat the Baptists” to lunch. What a shame. Remember how Abraham was made to “wait” for the promised son, Isaac. Recall what happened when he didn’t. Remember how Moses had to wait 40 years to be ready to serve. When he was 80 years old, God says, “Ok Moses, it’s time to go see Pharaoh!” Then you have Elijah, Jesus, Paul and others… who experienced this “waiting” period, or call it “the wilderness.” This is a tough “hurtle” when we are hurting.
3. DESPAIR: Men came and told Jairus, “Your daughter has died.” “It’s too late… even Jesus can’t help you now.” “Don’t bother the Lord anymore.” The words of men are full of despair as all hope seems lost. Yet the words of the Son of Man quietly say, “Do not be afraid… only believe.” “JUST BELIEVE!” We get nervous with these words. We are ready for some doctrinal battle. Why does Jesus say this? What if we change this to “JUST TRUST ME!” That’s all He is saying. So many times I see in my life this is what is lacking. In times of trouble, in times of despair, when all seems lost, “JUST TRUST ME.” Jairus saw what GOD was doing.
4. DERISION: Professional mourners were already “doing their job.” The girl was dead inside the house, and everyone knew she was dead. It was now time to mourn the loss of something wonderful in this couple’s life… their daughter. While they cry out and mourn, Jesus tells Jairus, “She is not dead, she is just sleeping.” Everyone laughs and mocks Him. “Are you crazy… she is dead!” The Creator is mocked! The source of life is derided! The world is no different now as it was then when Paul says, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (I Corinthians 1.23). Jesus simply says, “JUST BELIEVE IN ME!”
5. DEATH: “It’s over, she is gone.” When Dad passed away, we were there. My sweet wife saw him take his last breath. She lay across him and cried. It still brings tears to recall. He was so much to us all. BUT…”I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4.13-18).
Jesus breathed his last, was taken from the cross, buried… BUT “death could not keep its prey.” He arose!

1. Does your faith separate you from the crowd?
2. Does your faith operate in the face of trials?
3. Is your faith evident in your home? At work?
“You can trust god to save ALL THOSE IN JESUS”

Grow in grace brethren.

Those of you who are searching for meaning in life, why not explore JESUS. My little study on www.jackexum.com is called “Redeemed,” and is especially for those who are searching for hope in life, in Jesus. Take the opportunity to study. These are short concise lessons that take you through the Bible. Well worth the time. God bless you.





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The Home: Problems And Solutions (Part Three)

This article is part 3 of 6 in the series Christian Home

mom and dad collage 1Children that grow up without respect and understanding of parental authority, not knowing the meaning of a (definite) “yes” or “no,” are going to have problems. The family is the foundation of society, and when there are “fifty shades of grey” between right and wrong, then “right” and “wrong” seem to disappear. Children are in need of clear guidance, and a knowledge of right and wrong. This begins in the home where parents are the authority. Government is good to an extent, but never has been a good substitute for raising children.
1. Parental authority is LAW. “Law” is basically a rule of action. It must be established – accepted – administered God’s way and must never be in doubt. Parental authority is not up for auction. When a man and woman are married and have children, they are in charge. Responsible for feeding, caring, clothing, rearing, teaching, disciplining, loving, nurturing, and protecting their children. Much like the old example which Jesus used in John 10 of the shepherd caring for his sheep. Much of the “shepherd and sheep” idea can be a good illustration of parenting children.
2. Take a look at some passages here:
Ephesians 6.1-3 “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” Point: IT IS WRONG FOR A CHILD TO DISOBEY AND DISHONOR PARENTS, AND WRONG FOR PARENTS TO ALLOW CHILDREN TO DO THIS.
Hebrews 5.8-9 “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by things which he suffered; And being made perfect , he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Point: LEARNING OBEDIENCE IS NOT EASY, BUT LEADS TO PERFECTION (MATURITY), ITS UP TO PARENTS TO TEACH.
I Samuel 3.13 “For I told him that I would judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile and he restrains them not.” Point: PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RAISING THEIR CHILDREN RIGHT. WHEN THEIR CHILDREN GO THE WAY ELI’S SONS DID, THEY MUST ACT TO RESTRAIN (STOP-DISCIPLINE) THEM.
Today, employees run the business, students run the school, minority groups run everybody (political correctness), children run the home! Old Chinese proverb says, “HE THAT RESPECTS NOT HIS MOTHER AND FATHER RESPECTS NO ONE ON EARTH.”
3. LAW does several things, it provides, prohibits, protects, and promises. Law is a rule of action, the basis of habits formed, the foundation of independence earned and learned, the father of understanding and provider of liberty. For example: Mom and Dad were our “supreme court,” what they said was law for us. Dad would say, “Jack, play here (and then he would lay the boundaries.) As long as I played within the boundaries provided, I was okay. I was free, to play to run, to hide or seek, to jump and laugh… I was obeying Dad’s law. I felt good about that. Its when I got too close, or crossed the line, that something happened. What happened? I was guilty, dirty, wrong INSIDE. Whether or not I was caught, I WAS WRONG. Similar to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed, “I was afraid… and I hid myself.” The innocence, the communion, the freedom and feeling of “rightness” was gone!
What if Dad had (as he did many times) caught me. Instead of getting a whipping or whatever the discipline required, if he had said, “Aw, it’s okay son… nobody going to whip you. nobody gonna touch you. Don’t worry son, I’ll protect you from everyone and everything.” As Dad said in his lesson, “You may as well give him a gun. He is not going to respect any authority.” Authority respected begins in the home, not in church or school! Surrendering parental authority to church or school is WRONG.
Want to solve some problems at home? Lovingly but firmly (re)establish parental authority. Lay out the rules and draw the lines, and the consequences for crossing them, and hold to it, “For this is right…”

Grow in grace!

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The Home: Problems And Solutions (Conclusion)

This article is part 5 of 6 in the series Christian Home

mom and dad collage 1 Make up your mind… one way or the other! CONSISTENCY is a jewel in the crown of parents. It gives meaning and force to ones words when raising children. Just a “look” from mom was often enough to stop us before “crossing the line.” We knew Mom and Dad said what they meant, and meant what they said. Parenting requires “perseverance,” and “stick-toit-tiveness.” It is the hardest job, and can yield the most rewards.
Let’s consider some Scriptures:
1.) Deuteronomy 6.6-7 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” There is a reason why the Lord commanded this of His people. Passing on the teachings of the Lord takes time, determination, and consistency. We have a problem doing this for ourselves much less for our kids. If we want to reap the good harvest, we have to plant the good seed (Galatians 6:7). Take the time. Make following the Lord a habit not only for yourself, but your children.
2.) Proverbs 22.6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” “Well, I taught mine and they didn’t stick to it.” I will speak from experience, that even though a child may grow up and “abandon” his teachings at times, they always remember, and often come back, if you don’t give up. The door of the parents should always have a “welcome home,” mat not just for visitors, but for children. (Not to move back in.)(Smile!). Training’s success often depends on how the parent goes about the training, and the life (example) of the parent.
3.) II Timothy 1.5 ” When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” It’s hard to explain, and hard if not impossible to cover all that needs to be covered in this. However, the CONSISTENT EXAMPLE AND TEACHING of parents is the best “Bible translation” for children.
1.) Partiality is a “no-no.” Remember the struggle of Jacob with his sons. A child doesn’t like to feel he/she is being treated differently from the siblings. Bob is handicapped… has been since he was two years old. His handicap changed the dynamics of the home 100%. He went through many surgeries and rehabilitations. Casts, braces, crutches, wheel-chairs, bed-pans… but he got his share of the whippings. Mom and Dad often cried in their bedroom I was told, after these hard times. Yet the raising of children demands much of parents.
2.) “And it came to pass.” If you don’t give up, and grow in God’s grace(s), and let His love and teachings be center in your life and home, then “it will come to pass.”
3.) A CONSISTENT HOME is orderly and runs smooth, changes come slow, there is peace, strength and endurance, patience, and it is grounded and firm.
Don’t tell all your ups and downs, speak of your direction
1.) Let them be kids!
2.) Teach them true values (of family, love, money, work etc…)
3.) Teach them simple obedience and the importance of just doing it to BE RIGHT.
4.) Teach them to “finish what you start.”
5.) Bear kids burdens but not their responsibilities.

1.) Tell me what happened
2.) Do you think this is right or wrong?
3.) What should we do about it?
4.) What could/should you have done?
5.) What will you do next time?
6.) What would you recommend for your own boy? (For teenagers)

Grow in grace brethren!

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The Home: Problems And Solutions (Part Four)

This article is part 4 of 6 in the series Christian Home

mom and dad collage 1

With this article I am trying to bring some balance into the picture. “Law” is not a flexible topic… black or white, right or wrong. However to bring some balance I suggest that LAW MUST BE JUST, and CONSEQUENCES SHOULD BE CONSISTENT. The end of LAW should not be just be cold, heartless punishment for the offender. Use all the examples you want, but when you are the offender in a traffic situation, the only thing you are hoping for is MERCY. In the home situation, when the “law” is broken, there should be consequences. However, the consequences should not bring into question the love between a parent and a child, and should be considerate of circumstances, and maintain the goal of proper direction for the child, (cf. Hebrews 12.5-10).
Discipline involves several things: 1.) TEACHING GIVEN, 2.) LAW (Boundaries and consequences), 3. CONSISTENCY EMPLOYED (Can’t be one way when you feel good, and another way when you feel bad.) 4.) DISCIPLINE CAN BE ADMINISTERED (This doesn’t always mean a spanking.)
Let’s consider some Scriptures:
1.) Proverbs 22.15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Now I’m not an expert of Jewish society or culture, but I don’t think the “rod” was used for every infraction. Godly parents have the understanding of what is the right time for the “rod.” Today we might just use a switch. We grew up with it, we didn’t die, and always knew we were loved. Some parents have no idea how to be a parent… They know the “how” of having one, but not the “how” of raising one. A few have made “parenting” suspect, and “discipline” downright scary. Spock has spooked many a parent.
2.) Proverbs 19.18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Balance is needed in all discipline whether it is “corporal” or not. Parents need to always allow themselves time to COOL OFF! A parent who says, “Do you want a whipping?!” Never gets the answer back, “Yes Daddy, give me a whipping.” Of course they want no punishment, but sometimes, even when there are tears, the discipline is necessary, or else respect for parental authority is diminished, and important lessons are lacking in enforcement. Do it while there is time. The wife says, “Whip him!” Husband says, “You whip him, he’s six feet tall!” Train him before it’s too late!
3.) Proverbs 13.24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” It’s weird isn’t it? The political correctness group sees “the rod,” “discipline,” as a negative… The child of course doesn’t enjoy it. Yet when a parent loves a child, and disciplines out of love and concern, later the child says, “THANK YOU!”
4.) Hebrews 12.5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Read the above Scriptures carefully, and read with parental eyes as well as with brotherly eyes. Loving, caring for, and disciplining your child, and a brother who strays, is not too different. The source is a heart of love, the discipline is meant to bring them back to the right path, the fruit is good.
My brother Ed, (sorry to pick on him so much) once told Dad when he was about to get a whipping, “It ain’t gonna do no good Dad.” Now I would never have said this, but Ed was cut from a different cloth. He was more of a free-thinking-challenging sort. Dad looked at Ed, and said, “Let’s try.” Dad never backed off from doing what was NEEDED. Yet he never whipped us when he was angry…
Principles we learned and now pass on:
1.) Never threaten. Do what you say, or don’t say it.
2.) Keep teaching simple and clear.
3.) Softly and Firmly
4.) Never be vengeful
5.) No embarrassment. It doesn’t help a child to embarrass them (cf. Eph. 6.1-4).
6.) Afterwards – The goal is always “afterwards,” and while children don’t recognize this… the parent most assuredly needs to have this in mind. What is your end game? What is your goal in discipline? Same when dealing with brethren who fall. What is your end game?

exum1014 “Grandma’s glasses” (Article from www. jackexum.com)
They were stair-cased kids, just old enough to be in school. Bad boys – really not, but mischievous would be a better word for it. With both parents working, it was an open door of opportunity, and the daily ‘rap’ sheet was continually being filled with bad reports. The parents had to have some relief.
Vacation time came and arrangement had to be made for someone to ‘keep the kids’. The word was out and all refused the job at any price. From the parents view, two weeks away from them was an absolute necessity. Without this ‘time of recovery’ the parents would be permanently enrolled in the “Ha-Ha Hotel”.
Even professional ‘baby-sitters’ knew about the boys and were conveniently booked for the dates they needed. Taking the boys with them was out of the question.
At the last resort, Grandma said, “I’ll take em!” This possibility had already been discussed and quickly dismissed. Grandpa had died in recent years, and Grandma was still living alone. The small but comfortable farm house had been her home for nearly sixty years. She was old and frail and would be no match for the challenge of two kids that were clearly out of control.
She insisted and assured her son and daughter-in-law that things would be fine. After all, she had experience having raising her own family. Having no alternative they packed the bags for them and made the drive to the country.
It was a beautiful old house that was nestled under three large Oaks. With thirty acres to roam the boys would know true freedom for the first time.. They had never been to Grandma’s before. This would be a real learning experience. It was a glorious day. The air was clean and crisp and the leaves had already begin to turn. The white picket fence that bordered the house was a lovely invitation to bring people in, not to keep them out. The room, the space, the open spaces was something altogether different from city life. At home it was “Stay in the yard” which meant a 50 by 200 piece of ground, hardly big enough to occupy the energies of two growing boys. The car door swung open and the kids hit the ground running, whooping and hollowing. Years of being bottled up were suddenly turned loose on the acreage that lay before them.
The parents kissed their sons goodbye and left with the simple instructions, “You boys try to be good and help Grandma around the house”. As they drove away the mother said a silent prayer as the father looked at Grandma in the rear view mirror. She was holding hands with her grandsons, one on each side.
Things were different at Grandma’s house. She laid down some simple rules and expected them to be followed. The meals were cooked on an old black wood burning stove, but the food was fresh and good, different from the take out food that was brought in at home. When they lied or disobeyed, Grandma always seemed to have a small switch from the peach tree handy and didn’t hesitate to use it. “Don’t do that again,” was her simple reminder.
As they lay in their bed the first night the older boy said, “Grandma is strange. She seems to know everything we plan to do even before we do it”. His brother observed, “Yeah, and she’s strong”. They heard Grandma praying nightly through the paper thin walls, and one night they had to go help Grandma get up off her knees. She said it was the change in the weather that caused it.
Beginning the second week, the older brother turned into a miniature Sherlock Holmes, and the younger brother had nothing but the mantle of a fat headed Watson to fall on his shoulders. As Grandma was taking her afternoon nap, ‘Sherlock’ snitched her glasses. They found they’re favorite spot in the barn, and with a bit of reverence and care, the older brother carefully removed the old beady looking pair of Grandma’s glasses.
“Them’s is the answer,” he said ” I been thinking about it all night”. The younger brother looked on with special interest. “What do you mean, them’s is the answer?” he replied. “Those ain’t nothing but a pair of old glasses”.
They looked the glasses over very carefully, and then the older brother said, “Did you ever know how much she was see through these things? Every time we were cold, or hot or hungry or tired out, she looked through these things and knew all about it.” The younger brother looked up and added, “and each time we told a lie, or snitch something from the kitchen or poked the pigs, she looked right through these old wired up things and that was it”. They held the glasses carefully in their hands and thought of what great power there was in them. “Last night she told us about heaven” the older boy whispered. “I know”, came the uneasy reply. “I think she’s been there and come back!” “No, she ain’t” came the stern rebuke. “She told me she sees heaven through these glasses.” They moved to the corner of the barn where there was a window, and as they lifted the glasses toward the sky you could hear them murmur, “Wonder if we see heaven through these glasses?”
Solomon wrote, “By humility and the fear of God are riches, and honor, and (Grandma’s Glasses) life”.  – (Proverbs 22:4)
The prodigal son in Luke 15 is a prime example of love and discipline and grace… read and learn!
Grow in grace brethren!

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The Home: Problems And Solutions (Part One)

This article is part 1 of 6 in the series Christian Home

Writing about “the home,” is challenging. Some may say, “You don’t have the right to write on this since you’ve been through divorce!” Simply put, I disagree. That being said, I will proceed. Here are several simple points to begin with.
1. Normal children are born normal. There are exceptional children, those with deformities such as blindness, crippled, retarded and there are many more “deformities,” both mental and physical. Normal children are born normal. Suffice it to just say here, that not one is born a homosexual or a lesbian. Children are born with brains, but not with “mind.” There is a difference.
2. Children come into a home pathetic and helpless. They come with one desire, to grow, mature and fulfill a purpose. They are like soft clay… pliable, moldable, teachable, changeable, moveable. All depends on the ones entrusted with molding, teaching, changing, and moving them.
3. Early years of a child are the most important since these are the most impressionable years. By the time a child is six months old he knows (senses) a mother’s love. Sixty percent of the broad concepts of life are realized by age six. Eighty percent of one’s vocabulary is fixed by age twelve.
1. The concept (definitions) of life are TAUGHT by parents.
Words spoken: Much is conveyed by how loud or soft, harsh or loving, hasty or slow, words are spoken.
Attitudes: Outlooks- dispositions and how life is to be lived, whether it is to be enjoyed and positive in its outlook or negative and to be dreaded and filled with sorrows, are conveyed early in life. “Mama, can we go to the park for a walk?” “NO! You will fall, or fall into the pond and drown, or be snatched by some twisted pervert!” “Daddy, can I sleep on the couch tonight?” “NO! Beds are made to be slept on, only slobs sleep on the couch!” “Can I have my friends over to play?” “NO! Our house is a mess, and the furniture is bad, and they will go home and tell their parents how poor we are. Besides, I’m tired!” “No!” “No! “No!”
Fears: Often parents pass fears on to children without even realizing it or meaning to do so. Anxieties, worries, frustrations can be planted, nurtured, cultivated, encouraged, fertilized, and harvested. “You can’t!” “Look out!” “You’ll fall!” “You’ll never make it!” We threaten and bribe to get what we want from them. “If you don’t go to sleep I’ll turn out the lights in the hall!” “If you don’t do your chores, eat your food, do your homework, take a bath, clean your teeth, etc., and the treats (which we never intend on following through on) flow.
Attitudes: Attitudes towards people, neighbors and friends, enemies, elders, deacons, preachers… we often teach our children and they take hold of our thoughts and make them their own. “Dirty crooks!” Trying to rob you” “Dog eat dog world” “Rat race” “All hypocrites” “They just want your money” We just don’t think of all the things we do and say which pour into the minds of children during the first six years, and wonder why they later end up the way they are.
Spiritual concepts: What about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, church, missions and missionaries? “Hide your wallet, the missionary is in town!” What do we teach our children about these things. How many children hear parents using Jesus’ name in crude, rude, and just nasty ways? “God this!” “God that!” Enough! It is time for parents to wake up to what is happening to children.
Perfect parents just don’t exist! The “Christian home” is made of human beings that struggle through life and try to do the right thing at the right time, but just don’t always do it. Many problems that come, just come and are unexpected. What are we saying in this part of this study??? Pay attention to your most important role… PARENTING.
Parenting is not easy, and having struggled through having children and watching them grow up, and seeing some do great and some not, my thought is always, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP ON THEM. Like the stork standing in the swamp that has caught a frog and has it almost gobbled down but the frog hasn’t given up! Its hands or paws, are wrapped around the neck of the stork and squeezing as hard as possible. What’s the frog thinking? “It ain’t over yet!”

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