Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Price You Pay for the Good Life

A young woman posted a video on Facebook of her little daughter taking her first steps. But the mother wasn't there to see it. She was at work and the video was taken by the babysitter.
  How sad--to miss your child's first steps; or first word; or all the many firsts in your little one's life. To miss the cute ways preschoolers say words. To not be there to kiss the bumps and bruises or to take them to the doctor when they're injured. To not be there when they get home from school or to read and sing to them before bed. To not be there for their games and special events.
  I'm sorry if you have to work outside the home; or if you are a divorced or single parent; if you have no choice. But there are so many who do have a choice and choose work or a career over raising their children.
  I had a day care business for many years. I would estimate that about 65% of my clients did not have to work outside the home for financial reasons. They worked for a large home (of course each child must have their own room), nice cars, adult "toys", and a yearly vacation to Disney World. Those are all nice things, and we are blessed if we can afford them. But they often come with a price not paid with money -- time with our children; time with our families; time to build and nurture a good marriage.
  My husband and I raised four children. For most of that time I was able to be home when the children were home. I had the day care business in my home. Most of our cars during that time were used and we continued to use them until they were no longer worth repairing. We lived in a small three-bedroom ranch with one bath. We rarely spent vacations away from home. I clipped coupons, looked for sales, and cooked economical meals. My children's birthday parties were small house parties I planned myself with as many guests as the age of the child.
  Today most young couples would not be willing to live the way my husband and I did while raising our children. But it was worth the sacrifice. All four of our children graduated college and are good, productive citizens. All four married and three of them have children (so far). My husband and I have been complimented many times on what nice people our children are. I wouldn't trade that for anything the world has to offer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Do Good Parents Produce Good Children?

Do good mothers and fathers produce good children? Yes and no.
  Some children who have gone astray came from very good families. I remember reading about Franklin Graham, one of the sons of the famous Rev. Bill Graham. He rebelled against his good and decent parents and went astray for some time. He later repented, turned back to God, and is now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  Then there are some children whose parents were absent or neglectful who turned out to be good, responsible citizens. Jim Daly, President of the Focus On the Family ministry, grew up in foster homes. Dr. Ben Carson grew up poor, in a single parent home, but became a renowned neurosurgeon due to the love and nurturing of his mother and the grace of God.
  So I think that although it's more likely that good mothers and fathers will  produce good children, it's not guaranteed.  After all, we are all created by our Heavenly Father, who is perfect in every way, and yet we rebel against Him and His Will for us.
  People compliment parents when they have polite, well-behaved children, and rightly so. But it's good to remember that when children go astray, it's not necessarily the fault of their parents. And children can't blame their poor upbringing for the problems in their lives. We all have been given the gift of free will and with God's grace can become good, responsible adults despite our upbringing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Answer to the Problem of Terrorism

People hope and pray for peace in the world. The Sandra Bullock movie "Miss Congeniality" poked fun at the Miss America pageant contestants always saying what they most wanted was "world peace." But as we see day after day in the news reports, our world is far from peaceful.
  The scourge of terrorism throughout the world has caused people to focus even more on the problem of evil in our world. Most people look to our governments to protect us and solve the problem. But governments don't have the answer because it's a spiritual problem. The remedy for terrorism in the world is for people to turn back to God, return to church and pray for peace.
  Yes, we need to disarm and defeat those who commit these heinous acts against innocent men, women and children. But that has to be combined with turning back to God.
  It's not that God is punishing us for our lack of faith by allowing terrorism to reign. It's that the lack of faith throughout the world has removed us from God's blessing and protection. That fact was aptly illustrated by the author Jonathan Cahn in his riveting book The Harbinger where he showed how the Islamic terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 was the result of so many Americans turning away from faith in God.
  The answer to the problem of terrorism is we have to fight for peace, work for peace, but most of all turn back to God and pray for peace. May all our churches be filled, as they were after 9-11 in the U.S., not just after a terrorist attack but each and every day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Wisdom of Fr. Benedict Groeschel

The following is one of my favorite teachings from Fr. Benedict Groeschel and very appropriate after celebrating Pentecost:
“Realize more and more that the spiritual life is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our participation, although it may appear to be a very active struggle to do good—to ‘press on,’ in the words of St. Paul—is ultimately a cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Our essential task is not to do things for God, but rather not to resist God’s trying to do good things for us.
Holiness is his work. Our task is to avoid resisting Him.
Many people waste a great deal of time and effort doing what they want on the spiritual road instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead:  they must do this, they must be there, they must learn some other things.
This is not really following Christ; it is walking beside Him and making suggestions.”
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Priest, psychology professor, speaker, writer, servant of the poor