Welcome, Joshua Taylor Raub!

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Little Joshua Taylor arrived today after 1pm, weighing in at 7 lbs, 12 oz, and was 20 1/2 inches long! Labor was short and uneventful(?)!

Our son Jonathan and his wife Brooke are thrilled, as we all are!

We thank the Lord for His goodness to us!

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Everyone is really excited to see him after what seems like a long time! I got a text from Brooke telling me that Jon can’t stop holding him! 😀

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He has plenty of aunts and uncles to keep him busy!

Thank you all for your prayers for a healthy and safe delivery!!

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True Confessions

Note: in my last post, I used the word “unraveling” to describe the devil’s actions toward my family. It was a poor choice of words, seeing that we’re not really coming apart at the seams, just experiencing some growing pains that most families go through. It’s new ground for me, however, and ground I never wanted to walk on.

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This is true confessions, folks. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m in the middle of a whitewater rafting trip, and I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t think I want to go whitewater rafting!”

Life has its ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like there are more downs than ups. Someone in the family gets sick, we cut ourselves preparing dinner, homeschooling is more like dentistry, and the house looks like a typhoon came through. And it’s only Monday.

The Christian life is full of challenges. Whoever said it was easy being a Christian never tried accomplishing anything worthwhile for the Lord. It’s easy to get discouraged, tired, and burned out as we give and give and give.

It’s like a whitewater rafting trip that we never intended on going on.

The events in my life lately got me thinking about living by faith. Often we think of “living by faith” as something done only by missionaries, pastors, or evangelists. But each of us are to live by faith, and as ladies, if we follow our husbands, we are living by faith, just like Sarah who followed Abraham.

1. Sometimes those that live by faith have a wild ride.
I’ve heard it likened to riding on the back of a motorcycle: we are not in charge of the destination or the speed; we’re along for what sometimes can be a rough ride.

2. Sometimes those that live by faith have restrictions that they’re not fond of.
Recently I’ve made some very difficult decisions, and it seems like most things are things I’m NOT doing, so that I can focus more time and energy on my family. It reminds me of the essay “Others May, You May Not.”

3. Sometimes those that live by faith never see the fruition of their labors.
This is the bit one that gets me lately. Life is full of uncertainty: what if the economy collapses? What if persecution starts? and worst of all, What if I pour my life into my children, only to have them grow up and blow off Christianity?

Much as we would like it, the Christian life does not come with a guarentee that all will be great in this life. In fact, there’s a section in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 dedicated to just those people who have sacrificed greatly as they lived for God. However, their lives provided fertile ground for the gospel to grow in future generations. Though they did not see the benefit of their sacrifice, it was there nonetheless. And, Lord willing, so will be mine.

Personally, I know I can waste a lot of energy wondering and agonizing over the “whys” of life. It’s better for me to accept the whys, and use my energy to change the current path to a better one.

Sometimes we may find ourselves on a “whitewater rafting trip;” it’s time to live by faith throughthe pounding waves!

My Three Choices

The enemy is real.

Satan hates God, seeking to steal the glory that He would get from our lives, when we are like His Son. And he hates families.

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It sounds like I’m writing another part of the Lionproof series.

But I’m not.

I’m not, although I really, really wish I could.

It’s not surprising that, while I have been writing about the Devil prowling about, he has been unraveling my own family. He knows how to hit someone right where it hurts the most.

These past few weeks have been extremely difficult ones for me, as I’ve been trying to sort out some things and make some changes. Some changes were easy to make, while others were more difficult.

When we’re faced with the wicked one doing his awful work in our midst, we have three choices:

1. Put our head in the sand, to become apathetic and pretend he’s not there,

2. Surrender to his lies, temptations, and destruction (to just go with the flow,)

3. Or to engage him – to have our loins girt about with truth, have the breastplate of righteousness, and having done all, to stand.


I choose to stand.
I choose to engage, not put my head in the sand, or surrender.

That being the case, I am rearranging my life to wholly devote myself and my energies to my family, and thus will be spending far less time on the blog and my other writing. As the Lord allows, I will write.

I may, if the Lord allows, take the book I have written about second generation Christians, and offer it in Kindle format. My plan was to actually publish a hard copy, but this would require a lot of attention to many details that I am unable to attend to. When the book becomes available, I will let everyone know here.

You have all been a real blessing and an encouragement to me, and I covet your prayers as I make some changes and invest myself in my family.

Lionproof Part 11: Barriers to Obtaining Your Most Valuable Weapon

 

This Lionproof Series is a compilation of the things I’ve learned by talking to many second-generation Christians who are living for the Lord.  Many have taken surveys to determine why young folks leave church when they turn 18, but I wanted to find out why some stay, and continue to live for God.  If you want to see the other parts of the series, look here.

 

Have you ever wondered if there was a missing element in most parenting philosophies?  Maybe you’ve seen families that seem to do everything just right, and yet their children still go to the world.  Could there be something, some insidious practice or philosophy that has crept into these families to steal away their children?

I believe it is entirely possible.  There are Barriers to Having Your Child’s Heart that are almost completely neglected.

Here are two ways my respondents told me that were possible Barriers to Having Your Child’s Heart:

1.  Criticizing Authority – especially spiritual authorities.

Almost every one of the Overcomers agreed energetically that it is detrimental to a child’s spiritual growth to criticize a spiritual leader in front of the children.  Many of them told about friends whose parents complained about something or someone in the church or a Christian leader.  In every case, it was damaging to the young person.

Dianne, a dear missionary wife who is also a second-generation Christian, told me about her older brother.  “My brother’s slip away from God actually started in junior high,” she observed, “probably as a result of a split in our church.  Some of the deacons were saying damaging things about the church, and it was nasty.  To this day, my mother thinks that all the complaints and criticism caused the church to lose ground in my brother’s mind.  He felt that my dad had been treated unjustly, and maybe he was.  Then to top it off, we went through difficult financial times because of the split, and I think my brother ended up with some bitterness through that whole ordeal.  He doesn’t serve the Lord at all today.”

God’s way of dealing with a problem with anyone is to use the pattern given us in Matthew 18, but when we deal with our authorities, we must be careful to be respectful of their position, regardless of their behavior.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.   Romans 13:7

What can we do if our authorities are not living in a godly manner?  Pray, pray, pray!!!  And if action is required, do it quietly, privately, and respectfully

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.   Galatians 6:1

I am not advocating blind obedience to a dictatorial leader; I am advocating sane and rational responses to difficulties as they arise.  We are well able to take control of our tongues, thereby taking control of our children’s futures.

2.  Anger + Pride!  We all get angry and say or do things we shouldn’t sometimes, but we should all be quick to apologize for our error.

Even in secular circles, parental anger is well known to cause troubles in the family.  It comes as no surprise that Satan uses it as a platform for attack.   “Anger is very destructive to a child,” one of my respondents, Steve, explains.  “There are two kinds of anger, good and bad.  When we as parents are angry in a good way, it is when we are angry at sin and bad things.  But when we become angry toward the young people themselves, it causes a wrong discipline and a wrong atmosphere.  The spirit of the young person gets hurt, and their pain turns to bitterness.”

 

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But sometimes we as parents blow it.  Perhaps we got up on the wrong side of the bed, stubbed our toe, tripped over the cat, and spilled our coffee.  That just happens to be the time when Junior comes out of the bedroom with lipstick smeared all over his body!  It’s the perfect recipe for a violent explosion!  It happens to all of us.  Our sin natures combined with circumstances beyond our control sometimes get the best of the best of us!

What did the parents of these godly people do after they lost their temper?  Did they pretend it didn’t happen and just hope the child understands?  No, they faced up to their wrongdoing and were willing to seek forgiveness of the one they wronged . . . no matter what their age was.

Always be mindful of the dangers of criticizing authorities, and recognize that anger mixed with pride is equally toxic.  These Barriers to a Child’s Heart may be just two points, but I think with the Lord’s help, we can use these encouraging words to turn our parenting – and even our lives – around so that Satan will not take our children and destroy them in his jaws.

We must do whatever is necessary to help to make them LIONPROOF.