Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers [Book Review] (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

Forgiveness is something we all struggle with. For many of us, the struggle began early.

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers does an excellent job of connecting with someone whose parents have blown it (which, on some level, is all of us). But more importantly, this helpful volume walks readers through the morass of pain, shows them how to process it through a scriptural filter, and releases them into the freedom of their future made possible by God’s grace in Christ.

How Your Marriage is Like the Death Star

Your marriage is like the Death Star. Oh, I don’t mean it’s a large instrument of destruction and devastation. It’s something else. See if you can spot it in this clip.

Did you see it? Perhaps this quote by Plato will help:

The life of the nation is the life of the family written large. —Plato

Still stumped? The foundation of a nation is the family, and the foundation of the family is the marriage. If you can destroy marriage, you have begun a chain reaction that will dissolve the family, and eventually, the nation.

The key word is vulnerability.

Here’s how your marriage is like the Death Star—and more importantly, how you can protect it from what makes it vulnerable.

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

A couple of months ago I noticed the “maintenance” light come on in my car. That meant the oil and filter needed changing. I thought, Yeah, I’ll do that soon. Right.

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

(Photo by Photodune)

About a month went by and I thought: You know, I need to deal with that. I forgot again. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I finally got it changed. I put it off because I’m a busy guy—and hey, oil and filters can always wait another day.

But then another warning light went off. This one was serious.

How to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren

We all pray for our children. We want them to do well in school, or to get a good job, or to stay healthy. But their greatest need for prayer is their spiritual lives.

The longer I am a parent, the more I see the truth in the Apostle John’s words:

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. —3 John 4

How to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren

(Photo by Photodune)

If our children have a genuine walk with God, they will be better equipped to make wise choices throughout their lives. Our challenge, then, is how to pray for our children in this way.

When our daughters were only toddlers, Cathy and I participated an excellent parenting class that gave us a handout called: “How to Pray for Your Children.” We prayed through this list for years. In fact, as I read through each point today, I can remember specific instances in which God answered the prayers. He is still answering them.

I have edited the list and added some verses to it. I have also made a PDF you can download and print to keep in your Bible or prayer journal.

It’s never too late to begin praying for your children—and your grandchildren.

It is one of the greatest investments you will ever make into their lives.

I Call Shotgun [Book Review]

All godly fathers want to pass on a love for godly truths to their children.

I Call Shotgun is a collection of 64 “letters” from authors and fathers Tommy Newberry and Curt Beavers to their sons.

I Call Shotgun [Book Review]There are plenty of imitation sources of wisdom that are ready to offer ungodly alternatives to our children. By design, fathers are essential to impart godliness in their words and their actions.

This book purposes to impart wisdom through words.

“You only get one shot at life, son.” That’s a great summary of the book’s goal: to equip a son for life.

The introduction is necessary reading in order to make sense of the book. For example, without the introduction the text messages suggestions appear as pull quotes and don’t always relate to the content surrounding it.

Although the book is written from fathers to sons, the authors address other fathers in the introduction this way:

We are confident that you want to equip your son with the understanding and wisdom to succeed in the world today. We wrote this book with you [fathers] in mind.

Some Great Navigation

The letters serve as a catalyst for fathers to write their own letters to their sons, in order to help pass on a godly heritage.

The book’s title, I Call Shotgun, probably refers to the common phrase that requests someone who’ll ride beside the driver—perhaps as a navigator. The subtitle reflects this implication: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life.

Here are a few parts of the book I liked that offer helpful navigation for life:

Tuesdays with Morrie [Book Review]

I’ve heard for years that I should read, Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. My wife and I picked it up at an estate sale recently and read it aloud.

Tuesdays with Morrie

The greatest takeaway from this touching account of the slow death of Mitch Albom’s friend, Morrie Schwartz, is that you’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.

Over the course of many Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch visits with Morrie about “life’s greatest lesson,” discussing issues of life such as self-pity, regrets, death, family, emotions, aging, love, marriage, and forgiveness.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand that you’re going to die, and that you live better because of it.”

Everyone reads a book through the filter of his or her own world view. And although I can appreciate the truth and wisdom of each chapter as it relates to life, I couldn’t help but think the book overlooks the potential insight this life offers to the next life.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die . . .”

Yeah, but you can’t sidestep the negative. It’s the most-certain event of anyone’s life.

I totally understand that the book isn’t about the afterlife. I get it. Nevertheless, it seems strange to read a book about a dying man sharing distilled wisdom about life and death with no discussion about life after death.

Tuesdays with Morrie does a great job highlighting how death brings clarity to life.

Okay, so you apply those lessons and have a great life.

Then what?

Question: Have you read the book? What did you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

You can live better than your parents did. Or you can live worse. It’s true.

Growing up in a godly home is no guarantee you’ll follow God. But it’s also true that a godless home doesn’t doom you to a failed life.

Being Better than Your Parents is the Wrong Goal

(Photo by Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

I know of one young man who had as his goal to be a better father than his father was to him. And he did it.

But then he realized that wasn’t enough.

Being better than your parents is doable, sure, but it’s the wrong goal.

Twas the Night AFTER Christmas Poem

I’ve decided that during the holiday season we should change the mall’s name to “maul.”

I’ve never seen such mayhem—kids running, parents screaming, angry people in long lines—all to the music of “Joy to the World” in the background. Good grief!

Twas the Night AFTER Christmas

(Photo by Stephane Bidouze, via Vivozoom)

If you decide to head to the “maul” the night after Christmas, you’ll see more of the same chaos—a rush of returns in exchange for . . . even more . . . stuff.

So in honor of these days after Christmas, I’ve decided to try my hand at rewriting Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic.

Here she goes. (Ahem.)

Dealing with Lonely Holidays

For many people, the holidays draw up painful memories. Sore spots from childhood or the loss of loved ones hit hard during this sentimental season.

While many people celebrate the joys of Christmastime, others suffer lonely holidays.

Dealing with Holiday Loneliness

(Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

During one of the most desperate times of King David’s life, the anointed future king of Israel found himself running from two separate enemies—hardly a time to celebrate. With the Philistines to the west and King Saul to the east, a distressed David sought refuge in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1–2).

David felt very alone.

His situation offers encouragement to us during lonely holidays.

Chorazin—Sitting in the Seat but Missing the Message

From a distance, the place seems as if it’s hiding. I don’t blame it for trying. After all, it remains one of the three cities in Galilee that Jesus rebuked for failing to respond to His message and miracles.

Chorazin—Sitting in the Seat but Missing the Message

(Photo: Chorazin’s ruins hide at center left. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The basalt ruins of Chorazin appear little more than a pile of rocks among so many thousands of others. Clumps of grass and volcanic rock offer a variegated green and gray to the hillside above the Sea of Galilee.

Unless you look carefully, you may not even see the city.

But Jesus saw it. So should we.