Dear Salvation Army Officer’s Kids: 5 Survival Tips For Officer Kids Who Are Moving…

Hey fellow ponderers, please allow me this moment to be a little selfish…actually I want to specifically think of my children, and other officer kids out there on the cusp of moving (perhaps once again).   I know that this blog post will not speak to everyone, and not everyone will relate, but please recognize that I have a heart for the kids that these moves effect…because I was once one of them.  I know the hurt of moving, and hopefully, in some small way, I desire to help other Officer kids out there going through another move…

Dear Officer’s Kids: 
I remember vividly the day my parents broke the news to my sister and me that we were being fare-welled.   It struck my heart, my friends, my school, my corps family…everything was about to be uprooted, dislodged and, in my adolescent mind, ruined.  Life as I had known it sucked!  That’s what I thought.  That’s how I felt…and, in some small way, I was angry about it.

My family had spent eight years of our life overseas as missionaries to three separate locations in Southern Africa.  Then when we moved back to America, I had this thought that perhaps we would stay in our “American” appointment for a whole lot longer…but that was not to be, and at that time, I was very sad about the prospects of moving once again.

So we packed up our things, and began the long goodbye that is the farewell process in The Salvation Army.

Let’s face it, moving is never easy.  Your parents can get stressed out, frazzled and downright difficult to live with during this time; But how we view these kinds of transitions can make all the difference in how we face the next place we live.

Here are 5 Survival Tips For Officers Kids Who Are Moving:
(Perhaps, if you can practice these tips, it will be less survival and more thriving in a new opportunity!)

  1. Talk To Your Parents/Parents Talk To Your Child! 
    Mother and Daughter TalkingAsk as many questions as you can about where your parents are being sent.  Start to be inquisitive, and ask about your new school, corps, summer camp?  When we actually talk about the new appointment, or place you’re moving to, it becomes less of an unknown, scary thing, and more of an absolute, tangible ‘new home’.   Keep in mind that talking won’t always be easy.  There will be times when your parents will be stressed or upset too about the move, but keep in mind that families need to stick together and talk about the transition.  Parents: this is SO vital!  As soon as you can, tell your children.  Get them ready for the move.  Also please remember that how you view this move will positively or negatively impact how your child will view this move.  Discuss the pros and cons of moving…don’t neglect that both adults and children will feel a sense of loss, especially if the the current appointment is a place that you’ve been in for a long time!  Talk about what you’re going to miss and also talk about what you’re not going to miss – be honest and sensitive to what your child/children are saying.
  2. View Moving As An Adventure & Use What’s Familiar!
    Young Man Traveler with backpack relaxing outdoorMy parents helped my sister and me in this important topic by showing us the adventure that awaited us.  Now I know that there are some who are reading this and may be thinking to yourself, ‘It’s not always so joyful when we move’, and you’re right; but the more we can begin to view moving as an adventure, the more we can begin (and help our children begin) to adjust to a semi-transitory lifestyle.I recall knowing people who have lived in one place for their entire life, and I can’t even begin to understand that, but I don’t envy it either.  As I look back at the ‘Army’ life that I have lived, both growing up and now as an adult, I see all of the life lessons that I’ve had the opportunity to learn.  I also have experienced a broader world view than if my family had just stayed in one location for my whole life.  This adventure has taken me to live in different cultural places, I have learned different local customs of many regions, and because of it I feel like my life is more rounded.O the places you will go…and the places you will see as an Officer’s Kid!

    To Parents and Kids:  Start talking about the adventure…then live the adventure!  It can be easy to always look back and miss where you once lived, but if you look back the whole time, you will miss the adventure that you’re about to step through in the next appointment.  Find the fun in life.  View the new place that you’re about to live with a sense of fun and adventure.  Coupled with the new adventure, set up your rooms and homes with the familiar so that where ever you go, Home looks and feels the same – this is the ‘safe ground’, the sanctuary, the ‘fortress of solitude’ and the family first environment!  Bring your familiar blankets, pillows, posters, decorations…etc.

  3. Research, Explore & Google Places To See In Your New Home Townexplore
    We all have smart phones, computers and tablets, so use them to not only check out your new home, but all of the fun places around your new home.  Check out apps like Google, TripAdvisor, Zomato Yelp…etc to find new and exciting places to eat, explore and visit when you arrive at your new appointment.  Make plans to check out those places – and then do it!It can be fun to use your google maps to literally view the street your house is on and then go for an interactive ‘drive’ down the street through that app.  As you do this, you will start to envision yourself there.  It will never take the place of where you are living right now, or the places you’ve been, but it will certainly add to your life’s adventure!  Think of it as the next chapter, but you will never, ever replace the last chapter…it just becomes a wonderful part of your life’s book!
  4. Find Activities To Get Involved In Right Away In Your New School!
    activitiesWhen you move to your new home, (and here’s the BIG, frightening step of faith you should take:)  find activities that you are interested at your new school and/or community that you can become involved in.  Don’t wait for a year to jump into it, do it right away…trust me on this!I know some of you might be introverts at heart and you’ll want to stick close to home and ‘play it safe’, but try to push yourself to get out get involved!

    When I was a kid, I loved sports, and so when we moved I joined the soccer team and the track team.  By the time school actually started, I already knew people at my new school because they were friends from soccer.  I made it a point to get involved.  It wasn’t easy…and there were days that my stomach just churned with anxiety about being the ‘new guy’, but I pushed myself, and my parents gently pushed me too.

    That’s the key too parents:  your kids are stronger that we sometimes think they are.  They will thrive if we get them out there and involved in activities.  I’m not saying don’t allow them their down time at home, but don’t let them settle into unhealthy – isolating cocoons either!   Help them find activities that they are interested in within your new appointment and plug them into those activities.  When we can help our children find these healthy sources, they will develop friendships and become invested in this new adventure!

  5. Stay Positivepositive
    I’m not going to lie to you.  There will be days when you will sorely miss the place that you just came from.  There will be days that you will be tempted to withdraw from your new place and quit…don’t.  Families need to stick together during this ‘mourning’ phase of moving.  Emphasize the positives…look for the bright side and the opportunities.They say that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to things – so attitude is VERY important in these transitions!If your new school stinks, then perhaps you can find one friend to enjoy the stink with at that school.

    If your corps is not the best place to be, then perhaps you can find a small corner of it to make it your own despite the circumstances.

    Officers Kids and Parents:  How we act towards one another matters.  Be an encourager to each other.  Don’t go negative and only focus on what you hate about this new place.  Sure, talk about those things, but don’t stay there – find the silver lining and when you do, you will find hope and joy despite the ups and downs of these transitory circumstances.

Kids:  You got this!
You are resilient, smart, amazing people!  Help your parents, and remember we aren’t alone in this!  Officers kids are band of brothers and sisters and we can do anything we set our minds to!  Let’s stick together!

Parents:  Keep speaking truth, love and joy into your kids.  Be patient with them…and at times go easy on them!  Encourage them to be active, and show them what it means to live this Officer life…live the adventure with them!

Something more for This Army world to ponder!
May God richly bless on your move!

Dear Church, Dear Salvation Army – Give Special Needs Kids A Break!!

Let me be vulnerable with you for a moment.
We have a son who struggles with disabilities.
He has some severe educational challenges coupled with ADHD.
One might say, “oh, well they have medication for that kind of thing”…and you’re right, but did you know that usually when providing medications for ADHD it’s a crap-shoot as to what will ACTUALLY work?  Did you also know that there are some severe side-effects to these medications?  Some even have long term effects that only exhibit themselves later in life through health problems.  Our son has always been extremely sensitive to medication.  We tried some of the ADHD medications, one made our son as high as a kite.  Another led our son to have extreme bouts of anxiety that forced us to consult a counselor.

He’s a great kid.  He’s extremely creative, and he’s also very sensitive about it even if he doesn’t let on that he is. He also privately suffers from anxiety and depression because of it.
I don’t say this to make you feel sorry for us, I just want you to understand what I’m about to say.

kid1One moment in particular still strikes the protective parent chord in me.  We were attending a required army event.    We were all at this meeting including our son.  You have to understand that children with ADHD have difficulty sitting still for prolonged periods of time…it gets better with age, but it does take a. lot. of. time.   Anyway, back to the meeting.  There wasn’t a youth track for this event, and so all of the families were to sit through a three hour meeting…in ADHD time this is the equivalent of a year sitting in an uncomfortable chair.
Our son became rowdy and restless even with various distractions provided for him.  Finally, after another restless shuffle in a metal chair and a very loud exhale of frustrated breath, a soldier seated in front of us turns around and looked at us and our son with daggers in her eyes and a dirty look on her face.  Not a word was said, but words weren’t needed, we knew what she wanted to convey to us and we weren’t all too happy about the situation either.  It was at this point that we took our son out of the meeting despite the “required” attendance.  I wish I could say that this was the first time this has happened…it wasn’t.  I also wish I could say that it will never happened again…I can’t.  We struggle.  It’s not easy.  Perhaps some of you out there with kids who struggle with ADHD and/or other special circumstances can relate and understand.

Give Special Needs Kids A Break! kid2
Churches and Corps should be sensitive to families who have children with special needs.  Don’t just assume anything.  Please don’t judge or condemn.  If you happen to have new families come and visit your corps building who have kids who seem disruptive please don’t automatically judge them and assume that their parents don’t know how to control them.  Please respond with compassion and care.  Perhaps help if you can.  Some parents would really welcome the help…trust me on this.  Please don’t lecture us either, we are trying, we really are!

Our current corps has a child who attends with his family who is autistic.
His father really, really tries.  He’s a single father…and he needs a break.
This child might not fully understand what he does, but he knows that he is loved in our corps.
He might be disruptive from time to time, but our corps members help out with this child.
Are there any churches who are completely capable to handle special needs children?  I doubt there are many…but there are many patient, and compassionate soldiers and church members out there who could help, and usually do help.

So What?
Why do I write this today?
What’s my point?
My point is this:
Don’t judge or presume to know what parents with special needs kids are going through if you yourself haven’t been there.  Perhaps instead of judging, which takes much less of a concerted effort, you could help.  Try to be compassionate and understanding.  Yes, we go to church to listen to the message and get blessed but so do these parents who have special needs kids, and most of the time they only get half of a service.  Church is not only about the message and “getting blessed” it’s also about being the hands and feet of Christ.  It’s also about being a united community helping one another along in the faith.

So I guess what I’m saying is be aware of kids who might have special needs.
Don’t just pigeon hole them and label them as disruptive, disrespectful children.
They need our understanding…and so do their parents.

Give them a break!
Something more to ponder today!

Here are some links to check out:

Church helps Special needs
Additional Helps

I Don’t Want A “Grown-up” Kind Of Faith!

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:1-5)

When I look back at my childhood, it is with a sense of joy and regret.  Joy in the fact that I live it, regret in the fact that I grew up.  How simpler life seemed as a child.  Children aren’t weighed down by the complications of life.  Have you ever noticed how much harder it is to have friends as you grow older?  As a child you could be in a new neighborhood and make friends all in the same afternoon…but now it could take months even years to gravitate to a few close friendships.  As a child, everything seemed possible, tangible realistic..as an adult things are much more complicated, some things have become impossible, immovable and life has its boundaries.

knewwI believe the same can be said about our faith as well.
As a child, faith is as vast as the galaxy around us.  Everything is possible.
There are no limits to it.  Child-like faith breathes life everlasting into our lungs.
Child-like faith returns the impossible into the possible, the unrealistic into the realistic.  Child-like faith turns the up close view of our problems back into the grand scheme of God’s plan and assures us that we are not alone!   With child-like faith, the God of the Universe IS capable of ALL things once more…and He cares for you and for me.

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want a “grown-up” kind of faith any longer.
Grown-up faith has to boil everything down.
Grown-up faith has to see before believing.
Grown-up faith has to complicate everything more than it was ever meant to be.
Grown-up faith comes with its own set of filters, ambiguities and personal discrimination.
Grown-up faith places self into the equation when selflessness is really what is needed.

Grown-up faith shouldn’t be confused with “maturity” of our faith, rather it is the over complication of this thing we call faith.

Photo Apr 16, 11 26 12 AMI regret losing that child-like faith when I grew up.
I regret allowing the world around to seep into my perception of God and His relationship to me.
I regret taking that child-like faith for granted.
I regret…regretting what used to be.

BUT…
I know that it is not too late.
I…
We…
can begin again with Child-like faith, but first we have to release all of those Grown-up complications that we have associated with our faith.  We have to release the baggage of guilt and regret.  We have to let go of the wrongs this world has inflicted upon us.  We have to move past ourselves as we embrace Christ for all He is in and through us.  When we can begin to live only for Him instead of us, so too begins this path of Child-like faith once more.

FaithSomething more to ponder today.
May we run with child-like abandon after Christ and in so doing embrace that child-like faith once more.
To God be the glory!

Dear Salvation Army, “Raised by the Corps”

Dear Salvation Army, 
You have a purpose and reason to exist.  Don’t ever forget that!
You will never be a mega-church, nor truly ever fit the “church” model…we are more than that.
We serve within brokenness.  There are countless families, children and people who come to us bent and broken by life and sin.  We cannot shirk these responsibilities.  It is like a Lighthouse to many.  Turn off the light and the jagged rocks will capture these souls.  Do not let your lights go out!  Do not take these great responsibilities to the bent and broken for granted!
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Christian Orphans…
It’s not so much a physical orphan than it is a spiritual one.  Many parents drop their children off or have them picked up by the Army van on Sundays or for certain programs in the week.  These Christian orphans do not have a rich soil of faith at home and are left to figure out this relationship with Christ on their own…but are the corps raising them up to be strong children of faith?  What an amazing opportunity we have with these young people!

I have heard many of these such stories.  Even my Grandmother came to the Army and was raised by the Corps in her faith.  I would imagine many out there who are reading this can relate, either by having taught a Sunday school class to such children or having been an orphan Christian.

soldiers5Dear Corps…
Never stop teaching these children!  You might be the only light of Christ that they experience in this world.
It might become burdensome to pick them up every Sunday.  It might grind against you that their parents show absolutely no interest in the spiritual nourishment of their children…but don’t give up on the child!  Keep feeding them breakfast on Sundays.  Keep teaching them the principles of this faith.  Keep striving to improve their daily lives.  Don’t give up!  What an awesome responsibility for not only the future of this Army, but the future Saints of the next generation!  The seeds you plant, or water now could blossom and grow into a future leader or preacher of the gospel.  Take this seriously!  Heed these words:  What you do with the young people who come into your corps MATTERS!

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
-Jim Henson.

Be something that these future saints will aspire to!
Be their hope!
Be consistent in your faith!
Be the evidence of Christ’s love for their lives!

Dear Salvation Army,
What a great honor and power you wield in the formation of these priceless children of God!
Keep on keeping on…and don’t you ever quit on them!

Something more for our Army world to ponder today!

4 Steps To Godly Parenting

godly parenting

 

“…Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:4

Definitions: 

I’ve always been curious of this word “exasperate”…what does it mean?  Here are some synonyms – 

agitate, annoy, enrage, rile, inflame, aggravate, “drive up a wall”, disturb

You get the point.  

Questions to consider: 

I think it only fitting this week that we look at the healthy attributes of a father.  How can we be better parents, teachers and leaders of the children that we’ve been given?  What do we want our children to remember us by?  

It is crucial that we instruct, lead and love our children on godly principles and holy living.  Does it always work?  No.  Will we make mistakes along the way?  You bet we will.  Does that mean that we don’t try despite our propensity for mistakes?  Absolutely not! 

4 Steps to Godly Parenting: 

1.  Honesty with Self: 

 

First we must tackle honesty within our conversation today.  Be honest with yourself, you’re not perfect.  You were not perfect growing up, and you’re not perfect now.  That isn’t an excuse to not try, or to abdicate your responsibilities as parents.  Just understand that sometimes the expectations that we put on our children stem from our own shortcomings and inadequacies in ourselves.  We long to push our children harder and we set the bar higher because we look back at our own life and wished we had made other decisions or worked harder at specific moments in our past.  

Be honest with yourself.  You are the parent of a precious life, and when we push too hard out of personal unfulfilled dreams and goals, we will exasperate our child(ren).  Take a long hard look at your expectations for your child.  Goals aren’t bad to have, but if you find yourself pushing your child in a direction that resembles your own shortcomings and disappointments just to live vicariously through them perhaps you must stop and realign your motives and intentions!  Godly parenting wants to impress Godly principles, but doesn’t try to force children into molds that do not fit their personalities and temperaments.

2. Beware of the Anger trap:

 I find myself struggling with this one.  It is one thing to appropriately discipline children, it is another to lose your temper and rage at them.  Be careful how your discipline your child.  Children model themselves after their parents.  If you resemble a grumbling bear all of the time your children will eventually resemble this too.  If you rage, scream and shout your child will rage, scream and shout because this is a learned trait.  Similarly to growing up with an alcoholic parent, a child who grows up with a raging parent will be inclined to resemble that upbringing.  This isn’t absolute, but the propensity for modeled behavior such as anger can be passed on from generation to generation.  

Discipline, but don’t allow your anger to rage and fume and create a fire within your children.  These flames can burn long after they have left home.  

3.  Show up.

Your child’s interests may not always be the same as yours.  They may find a love for art or sports that perhaps you never had.  Invest in your child.  Spend time encouraging healthy interests.  Show up to events that your child will be participating in.  Also, actively find additional helps within your child’s likes.  If they enjoy sports, sign them up for that soccer team in the summer.  If they enjoy art, sign them up for a community art class.  Take the time to show up as the guide for your child.  Invest your time and encourage them in their interests.  A parent who shows up and invests in their child’s interests displays to that child that they matter and they are worthwhile and valuable.  

4.  Share the Word and Pray.

You don’t have to do this rigidly, but “devotion” time with the family is important. Carve out intentional spiritual teaching moments with your child.  Don’t make a big show of it, but let it be a part of who you are as a person and as a parent.  Don’t teach from a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality either.  The Word of God is vital to godly living, practice what you preach and teach through your example. You don’t have to purchase curriculum to teach your child about God.  Read a passage of scripture at night after dinner or perhaps pray before bedtime.  Living as a godly example to your child has to begin with a daily dose of personal time with the Lord as well.  Are we spending our time in the Word of God?  Do we pray diligently for our families?  From this stems our desire to spiritually instruct our children in the principles of Godly living.  

 

These are just a few suggestions to aid us as parents who long to raise our child up right.  Take time to pray for your child.  Ask God for guidance and wisdom as you teach and love your family.  

-Just something else to ponder today.   

My Tribute to Moms

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We shouldn’t need a “special” day to thank Mom.  Every day should be a “special” day.  Moms have a way of knowing just when to call or tell you something that no one else has the guts to say to you.  Moms have been with us through the good, the bad, and the ugly (sometimes there has been a lot of “ugly”).  

Moms Get it

It is more than just Mother’s “intuition”, Moms seem to have a supernatural/extra-sensory connection with their children.  I’m not some sort of crackpot here, it’s just that I’ve seen it in person and I know there is more to a Mother-child connection than meets the eye.  Moms know what to say and sometimes more importantly what not to say but just to provide a hug or an expression of compassion, love and support.  

Don’t Mess with Mama

As a kid I remember saying something I shouldn’t have.  My mouth ran briskly while my brain was too slow to catch it.  What happened next is still vivid in my mind.  I nearly lost my nose, because the words I had said were directed at my mother.  They were bad words.  Words I should never have said.  Hurtful, razor sharp daggers of lingo…and I was wrong.  My mother slapped me on my face and I thought my nose was going to fly off.  I deserved it – lesson learned. 

But watch out world…

If you ever mess with Mama’s kids…you’re going to get a smack down like no other.  Some say World War 3 will be caused by Superpowers and nuclear war.  I beg to differ.  If you mess with Mama’s kids, you might as well hang a sign around your neck that reads “I caused World War 3.”  Image

 

 

Not only does Mom know what to say to help her kids and how to correct her kids, but she will defend her kids at all cost.  You deserve to be warned should you pick a fight with her children…you might just have taken your life in your own hands.  

To My Mom –

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My Mom and Dad

I love you and I am so proud of you!  You have helped me through a lot of things.  You have always been there (I know I’m lucky, some never had it as good as we did growing up).  You sacrificed a lot for us kids.  There were times that I know you and Dad went without things just to make sure Sherry and I didn’t.  I can never repay that kind of love except to replicate that example in how I love my children and in how I love you.  

As we all grow older I am learning how to cherish and treasure you as my Mother.  I am so thankful to God for providing you to my life. The decisions I have made in this life were because I had the instruction of two godly people growing up – Mom and Dad.  This is worth so much more than earthly treasures and riches.  This, as I am slowly beginning to realize more and more, is what life is all about.  

To my Wife – Shanais Strissel

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My Mom and Shanais on our Wedding Day (September 12th, 1998)

I am the luckiest man alive!  I married my best friend and life long companion.  She is an amazing Mom, and she personifies Christ to our children!  I consider myself blessed because She said “Yes” almost 16 years ago when I proposed.  Since then, through the good, the bad and the ugly, She has been a rock and a light to me and these four crazy blessings we call kids.   Wow…I still can’t find the words to express how much I love her and what she means to me.  That being said, I plan on spending the rest of my life trying to collect those verbs, adjectives and everything in between to try and bring to light how important and loved she is to me.  

For You, the Reader – 

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Hug your Moms.  Cherish who they are.  Life, this temporal thing, is short.  Take time to appreciate all that your mother has taught you.  Make sure you take the time to tell her how much she has done to shape you as a person.  

Don’t lose any opportunity to appreciate your Mom.  She deserves your respect and love…so show it.

-Just something more to ponder on this Mother’s day weekend.

 

A Blessing and Bane (A poem)

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this slurping, soupy arrangement 
stays my amused satisfaction.
cars skidding and skirting
orbiting each other
a cacophony of incompetent
unorganized Ice Skaters.
It spills out, splashes down
drowning sashes of sorrow
in the middle of my selfish parade…
after all this circus act
cut from blistering fingers
ripe with sweat and hardened calloused hands
this stampede of interruptance
has caused ME to suppress my de-testment  of 
these frosted inconvenient deposits underfoot.
I will trample them
trump their self worth into the soles of my 
black leather shoes…
Howling madly at their existence 
here on the eve of smiling spring
on the prowl
like a careful cat at the door

I store my response,
predator ready,
fist clenched and half raised
yet frozen in traction
taking aim to wandering eyes
peering back at me. 
my son, snow suited and 
prepared
joyfully standing at the ready
for me to take him out into it
and catch a glimpse of
my childhood again.

 

Bury your head in the sand?

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Contrary to the notion that Ostriches burying their heads in the sand…this is simply not true.  When faced with fear, their first instinct is to run.  And since an Ostrich can run at a sustained speed of up to 40 miles an hour/ 65 km their first instinct is probably their best instinct.

So where did this fallacy of buried heads in the sand come from?  Traditionally Ostriches do not make nests like a traditional bird, since they are so big and most trees couldn’t hold them they will bury their eggs in the sand.  From a distance it can appear that an Ostrich is putting its head in the sand when in fact they are simply checking or turning their eggs.

So what they do in fear is actually out of necessity for the survival of their young.  If they didn’t run very fast and distract other predators from their nests, the Ostrich would cease to exist and suffer extinction.

Isn’t it interest that what we thought was cowardice is really a parent protecting their young?  Perhaps there is something to learn from this huge, fast birds…are we protective of our youth today?  Instead of being fearful of the world around us are we protecting our youth by nurturing them and not really caring how it would appear from the outside world?

Our youth needs us!  They need people of God who will instruct them and protect them from the predators in our world.  Perhaps there is something to learn from the Ostrich, perhaps we might even reconsider what it means to bury our heads in the sand.

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By Faith – Memorial Day Thought

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Hebrews 11:1-16 (NIV)
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.  12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

 These 16 verses and more make up the ‘Faith’ chapter in Hebrews.  The author evokes for us the necessity of faith in a world so wrought with uncertainties.  He recalls pillars of the faith who took leaps of faith and landed on their feet because of God.  Faith is important in this life.  Faith helps us get through many situations and if we persevere, God will provide the means for our survival.   Do you have faith? 

On this weekend throughout the United States, this country celebrates and looks back at those who have gone on before us.  Our generations who have given their lives for this country…but we too should consider our family members, church members and pillars of our faith who have paved…no blazed the way for us!  The too lived by faith and every time we recall them in our hearts my it spur us on to keep going in our lives!  Their testimonies still live on in our remembering and we ought to not only honor them in our memories but consider the trails we too are blazing in this life at this very moment.

You are an inspiration to others!

Did  you know that?  Little one, children and others will eventually look up to you and in how you conducted your life…will you be an inspiration or a tell tale of how not to live this life?  I want my kids to remember me for being a loving father and godly man…I want my children’s children to consider me when they make crucial decisions.  I don’t say this to be prideful or arrogant but rather I want to live in a such a way that I please the Lord and by the faith provide a long term role model for others to follow as well.

By Faith I Want to Live…do you? 

Just a thought for today!

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