Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time for a TIME OUT

I’m a father. I’ve been a father now for about 9 years. I have three kids. I love them deeply. I admit its kinda fun seeing the role of the father from the other side of the fence…well, its fun most of the time. I was thinking about the “parenting” stage of life today, and I came to one conclusion: This is a recipe for disaster. Allow me to elaborate.

Learning the necessary lessons of childhood isn’t exactly easy; I mean we have a lot of developmental ground to cover from birth to 18 years old. There’s a lot of important stuff in there that, lets face it, we just have to know. Some of the lessons of childhood we must become experts at in order to be successful adults. Therefore, we spend most of our time growing up attempting to conquer the developmental phases of childhood (some of us become good at it, some never do). Ironically, right about the time we start to understand the expectations the world, society, parents, and God places on the youngster, an unfair thing happens…childhood ends and we become the other thing…an adult. So all of the sudden the tables turn, the coin flips, and the shoe slips onto the other foot. The expectations placed on us are different, we are viewed in a different light, and responsibilities increase exponentially. Because of this drastic shift, we pretty much restart the learning curve. Hopefully childhood has prepared us for adulthood, but in reality, much of the adult life simply has to be learned on the fly. Then, to make matters worse, (or if your as lucky as I am) right about the time adulthood begins…and long before we grasp what adulthood entails…we become parents. Do you see the problem here? Let me put it to you in a different way…
The young-adult parent is an individual that just barely got the hang of childhood before, just recently, attempting adulthood, and yet has taken on the arduous task of teaching a brand new human how to be a successful child so that it can develop into a successful adult, which is something that the young-adult parent hasn’t personally figured out yet.

Go ahead; read that last paragraph a few more times…I really want you to get a good grasp on what it says.

To be honest, I do not fully understand everything it really means either…accept that I may not the best choice for offering parental advice…not yet anyhow.

However, there is one thing that I do know. I can tell you about one invention that resulted from us “shortcutting” the process from childhood to parenthood. You ready? This is deep. One result of this crisis is…TIME OUTS. That’s right, TIME OUTS. You know what I’m talking about, the disciplinary technique that swept across America in the early 90’s. The TIME OUT! You want me to tell you where TIME OUTS came from? This is my opinion, but I think they were invented by young-adult parents who needed a break in the action so that they could figure out what the heck was going on. I know I have to take a minute now and then to contemplate what in the world my wonderful, beautiful child just did…then figure out how I’m supposed to react to it. The TIME OUT was invented for the parents…not the kids (again, my sarcastic opinion). But somehow or another, TIME OUTS went from a moment of parental contemplation to a wide spread form of discipline. And to be honest, the whole idea just blows me away.

Most child psychologists will tell you that TIME OUTS will work for children as young as 18 months old. My kids are older than that, but the concept still makes me shake my head. A TIME OUT means that when my daughter, Reagen, steals a toy from her brother's room, runs through the living room, purposefully whacks the 7 year old on the head as she passes by, sneaks out the front door, and is found running down the driveway with the stolen property in her hands… I, as a good father, am supposed to say…
“Alright, that’s it young lady….TIME OUT!”

Then I should sit her down in the designated “TIME OUT” chair and have her thoughtfully consider the wrongs that she has done and the negative effect it has had on her life, as well as the toll it has taken on the other people coexisting in the environment in which she committed the undesirable acts.

Come on, give me a break! We have adult time outs called PRISON TIME...and somehow I dont think that works very well either. Very few people adults or children actually benefit from forced self contemplation.

But you know, come to think of it, I don’t really know why I’m against TIME OUTS, because my father believed strongly in TIME OUTS… and see, I turned out alright. Yes, I can recall several times that good ole Dad would take “TIME OUT” of his busy day to whip my tail. On the other hand, perhaps that was just his modified version of a TIME OUT.

Okay, okay, I hear what you’re thinking…”where is all this going David?” Alright, I’ll get to the point. I want to talk to you about another age-old parenting technique…one that is promised to work… thats right, and this foolproof technique is called…the TIME OUT.
(No, I have not lost my marbles…just keep reading.)

You see this is a different kind of TIME OUT. Even though this parenting technique also involves sitting still and thinking, there are some major differences that you must understand. You see, this is not a technique that earthly parents can offer their earthly children. No this TIME OUT can only be administered by the Heavenly Father, to His earthly children. In addition, it’s not used for discipline, not at all; this TIME OUT is used for comforting and for reassuring. Let me take you to the Word…and you’ll quickly see what I’m referring too.

  • Lets start in Exodus 14:13…And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will give to you today.

  • Now flip to 2 Chronicles 20:17…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you.
  • Okay, now turn to Psalms 4:3-4…But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

  • One more, this one is my favorite, Psalms 46:10-11…Be still, and know that I am God: The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Now do you see where I’m coming from? Like I said, this is an age-old parenting technique. Its one that God has used for His children since the beginning of time. Even Adam would spend some quiet moments with God every day. So, when things get tough, when circumstances get confusing, when you feel the weight of the world crushing down…take a TIME OUT. Get away from the rat race, from the family, from the noise, and be still.

This is for you child. This is for you adult. This is for you parent. From the very heart of our Heavenly Father to the very middle of your biggest problem. He is calling us to stop, be still, and remember that He has not changed, He is still in control, and He is still working for you. So, take a deep breath, close your eyes, put your heart back into the hands of Almighty God, and take a TIME OUT.

The Personnel Journal reported this incredible statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8000 peace treaties were made—and broken.

How about this, lets stop trying to do it the world’s way…and start trying it God’s way…the more I try Him, the more I believe He knows what He is talking about.

I’m going to take a TIME OUT!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Everything is Everything

Everything is Everything

There are very few man-made things in the world, present and/or past, that can be considered perfect. In fact, maybe only one (in my humble opinion). No, I’m not referring to the Great Pyramids, Solomon’s Temple, or my wife’s banana pudding…those are close, but not perfect. After long contemplation, I’ve decided that the only man-made object that deserves to be dubbed “perfect” is… (and I’m sure you will all agree) …the first five seasons of the Andy Griffith Show.

Okay, okay, I can hear some of you chuckling. Well, it ain’t funny. We snicker at the things we do not understand (sarcasm, sarcasm). So obviously you have never been fully exposed to the divine-like conglomeration of philosophic depth and comedic charm that is “Andy and Barney”. Fortunately, I’ve been around long enough to know that some people have to touch the fire before they believe it’s hot. Therefore, with God as my inspiration, I’m going to use an excerpt of the Andy Griffith Show to draw us closer to the Lord, and in turn to see Him draw closer to us.

Allow me to set the scene. Andy and Barney are hanging out in the Court House, waiting for some undesirable news from Gomer, the attendant at Wally’s Filling Station. Barney is in a very depressed state because it appears that he has recently been scammed out of his life savings, after buying a “lemon” of a car from a tricky, not-so-sweet old widow. The following exchange ensues…

Gomer:  (Gomer enters the Court house) Hey Andy, hey Barn!

Andy:    Did Wally check the car over?

Gomer:  He went through her with as fine a tooth comb as you can imagine.

Barney:  (in a dispirited voice) Alright, let’s have the bad news.

Gomer:  Well, he got her runnin and I brought her over here with me, but she’s gonna

need…plugs, points, barrings, valves, rings, starter switch, ignition valves, water pump, fuel pump, oil pump, clutch, clutch barrings, clutch plate, brake lining, break shoes, break drums, radiator hose, and radiator hose cuffs….and I’d give ‘er a good wash too Barn.

Unfortunately, most of us can relate to the position Barney found himself in…you know how the vehicle ownership thing goes, a beautiful car on the outside, a bucket of rust and frustration under the hood.

(Pause…can you sense the segue?)

What’s even more unfortunate is that the spiritual condition of most Christians today resembles Barn’s car. On the surface we are a classic, the text book definition of “Christ-like”, but under the hood we are rust and frustration. What happened to all that “the old things are past away, behold all things are new” stuff. I mean, I thought we were supposed to be “more than conquerors” with this “more than abundant life”. What’s the deal? Its like we get this divine overhaul at the point of salvation and then opt to replace God’s new engine with the old broke down parts. Most of us spend most of our time crying out like Paul, “What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Rom 7:15). It’s even more obvious in the way we pray. You know, you can really assess the condition of a Christian’s walk by what they pray for…it’s a great litmus test. If your like me, you spend most of your time asking God to download spiritual pick-me-ups to help boost you out of the current hole your in.

For example,…”Lord, I need your peace. I’m just a wreck God and I need your peace to help me make it through.”

Or try this one,…”Heavenly Father, I can’t do this anymore, give me the strength I need.”

See if this sounds familiar,… “I don’t know how to handle this one God, please give me the wisdom to know what to do.”

Now don’t jump ship on me, I spend a lot of time praying these type things too. I’m not saying we are all wrong for asking God for things in a time of need…Jesus has been there, He understands. However, there’s another side of this coin that you may not have looked at yet…so…Listen up, I’ve got good news. This is for every churched-up clunker that deeply desires to be a Christian Cadillac…you ready…read this….

2 Peter 1: 3 – His divine power has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

Here’s the bottom line. What do you need Christian? What parts are you missing? What parts need to be replaced? ANSWER: God has already given you EVERYTHING necessary to be a success in this life. You have it all, because you have Him. If God is living with in you, if you are in Christ and Christ is in you, if you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit…then you already possess every power and promise you need for “life and godliness.”

So you can continue to pray and ask for peace, strength, wisdom if you so desire. The truth is you already have it! We just need to learn how to use what we already possess. Can’t you just hear the loving, long suffering voice of our Abba Father when we ask…

“Lord, I need your strength.”

”David, my spirit is within you.”

“Lord, I need patience.”

”David, my spirit is within you.”

“Lord, I need: plugs, points, barrings, valves, rings, starter switch, ignition valves, water pump, fuel pump, oil pump, clutch, clutch barrings, clutch plate, brake lining, break shoes, break drums, radiator hose, and radiator hose cuffs.”

”David, I knew that you would, that’s why I placed my spirit within you.”