Remembering Our Purpose As Parents Amidst Quarantine and COVID-19

“7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ[a]—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”

Philippians 3:7-11 (CSB)

 

As many parents scramble to find ways to entertain their children all day, amidst schools, restaurants and parks are closed—and even play dates are discouraged globally; may we, as Christians, breathe deep … in the peace that only Jesus can give.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

Rather than viewing this time of quarantine with great fear, during the spread of a virus without a known cure, may we thank God for this precious time with our children and families.

 

16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

COVID-19 will be something our children will remember for the rest of their lives and share with their own children and their children’s children. And along with the memories of hand sanitizers, deep cleanings around the home to wipe out potential germs and daddy and mommy having unexpected time off of work—all while not being advised to leave the home, the children will remember how daddy and mommy reacted. Did we, as parents, react and function out of a heart of panic or a heart filled with praise and trust in the God who holds all things together?

 

16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17 (NASB)

 

This pandemic is still globally on the move. And as parents, we can still allow our children to remember this time as one spent in family prayer, Bible crafts (ideas linked below) and a home atmosphere of trust in God rather than allowing our mood and outlook to be continually swayed by the latest newsfeed.

 

 

Mamas, may I appeal to you in absolute love—don’t miss out on this blessing of these next few weeks! Rather than following the trends of either allowing the children to self-govern their unexpected days at home, may we use this time to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home! If you have never had a conversation about eternity with your children; what a beautiful and natural segue in the midst of a pandemic that is claiming the lives of those ranging from elderly to elementary. Life is uncertain, but the Good News of the Bible is that our hope is certain. In fact, because of the empty tomb of Jesus Christ on the third day, we have a Living Hope. 

 

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB)

 

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White, Brown, Black, Yellow or Red: Jesus Came For All—And That’s Exactly What HE Said…

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.” Romans 6:1-7 (NASB)

 

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world: red, brown, yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” As the well-known Christian children’s song declares, Jesus indeed loves the children of the entire world. Yet, in a political climate that seems so polarized by race, this statement may seem difficult for some. The words of Jesus may even seem ridiculous to others. Yet, Jesus proved time and time again that He did not just come for one race or one people group, but indeed for all the world (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10).

 

Take for example the account of Jesus speaking with the woman at the well (John 4:1-45). While returning to Galilee, Jesus and His disciples passed through Samaria. While in the Samaritan town of Sychar, Jesus shocked His disciples by chatting with a woman with a scandalous past (and present). He had also shocked the woman herself, who knowing that Jews did not speak to “half-breeds” (Jews in these cities had been forced to intermarry with those of the Assyrian empire…and thus, were now only half-Jews). Yet, Jesus blew this clear out of the proverbial water by not only greeting the woman, but asking her for a drink. In doing so, it opened up a genuine conversation that resulted in Jesus exposing her choices of  living with a man that was not her husband and the fact that the woman had five previous husbands. Jesus then shared with her that He was the Messiah (John 4:25-26). And as a result of the disciples walking back from getting food in town to witness this exchange, they were forever changed.

 

“ 39From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41Many more believed because of His word; 42and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42 (NASB)

 

Jesus always valued people over protocol and even perceived importance of function and age. Jesus strongly corrected His disciples who were trying to keep people with their little children from getting near to Jesus for Him to bless their children. The disciples just didn’t get it. They missed the point that Jesus saw value in the heart; not in the outward appearance of success and being worthy of being seen only once an adult. No, Jesus loved young and old the same; perfectly and with warm blessing.

 

13And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” Mark 10:13-16 (NASB)

 

I remember being in Norfolk, Virginia as the race riots were taking place in 2017 around the country, but most notably, the terrible tragedy of Charlottesville, Virginia. I remember vividly the staff, whom had become our friends, being terrified of bodily harm to their bus due to the riots—simply because they were African American. I will never forget praying alongside our children with these amazing women in Jesus’ name and offering for my children and I to drive them to their homes after they had been given the day off from cleaning on-base hotels by their employer due to the lethal tone of riots at that time. These ladies, specifically one, could not believe that we would care about their well being—we were white, after all. I could not believe that they would assume that we would not care—they each possessed dignity, value and eternal worth no matter what the color of their hair, fingernails or skin. The bottom line…and every line above itall are valuable in the sight of Almighty God and ALL are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). If we are not actively teaching our children these truths, we are cheapening their impact for the Gospel of Jesus Christ—for those of any given cultural heritage will only be able to experience the time and attention we are willing to invest in them.

 

Thus, may we teach our children to LOVE DEEPLY in Jesus’ name for we are all of one race…the race of ADAM…that being marred by SIN. And no matter what shade or variation of rebellion against God we paint atop our sinful souls, we all come from the same root of Adam (Genesis 3 & Romans 3:23). And where there is sin, the Bible is very clear to state, death will always follow (Genesis 5 & Romans 6:26).

 

But!!! PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, regardless of what each of us have done—there is forgiveness and a fresh start offered to all through Jesus Christ the Risen Lord (Isaiah 53:5)! May we love intentional—engage cross-culturally with purpose—and further the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people as the Lord Jesus Christ instructed us.

VLOG: Christian Apologetics in light of Islam (part 2 of 5)

The Holy Spirit has laid it upon my heart to share of conversations over the past near decade with dear friends from the Islamic faith regarding Christian doctrine. In this five part series, we will explore why Jesus had to die, if there is really only one God, which apostles should we follow, what the Christian church believes regarding other creeds and how does one decide what is right and what is ultimately wrong. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified and draw hearts to Himself for He alone is worthy.

Halloween: Sweet Reflections

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

 

Well, after a night that nearly left me praising the Lord to the point of tears, I must encourage each one reading what the Lord did on Halloween night!!!

As a background, in previous years, we have ignored the pagan holiday all together and wanted to have no part of it. Yet, this year the Lord moved on our hearts in a different way. Rather than seeing it as a night to dread or even leave home to avoid, the Lord Jesus allowed our spiritual eyes to be opened. As a result, for the first time we saw Halloween through the eyes of missions! We were going to be able to witness about the truths of Jesus Christ right from our own front door!!! The people of our city were literally coming to us!!! What would the Lord have us do with this incredibly unique opportunity? A very simple, yet profound exercise of sharing the love of God with those in our community.

The Lord had spurred my heart to ask our church for Gospel tracts (a tiny booklet which guides people to think about eternity and honestly assess where they are with God). At the end of the four points presented within this tiny booklet, there is a prayer each can pray to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (1 John 1:9, 1 John 4:9). The church was more than happy to supply the tracts. The Lord then brought to mind that this pagan tradition is surrounded by candies. Well, seeing as Jesus is the sweetest treat for the soul, it was only fitting to attach a tract to each piece of candy to be passed out Halloween night!

Our children helped us to tape a candy onto each tract and we prayed for the Lord to use these simple papers to further the reality that Jesus Christ came to rescue and redeem all people–regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, social bias or sports team preference (Psalm 8:2, Matthew 11:25, John 3:16). And as Halloween night arrived, I was so excited!!!

 

” 21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 (NASB)

 

Our front porch light was on and the candy bowls with tracts securely taped onto each piece were all in place. And then, the first sound of the door bell rang! My daughter ran to the door and opened it gladly. With candy in her hand, she listened as the face painted child shouted “trick or treat!” With a smile, our daughter placed a piece of candy with a the Gospel tract into the child’s bag. And as the child left, we declared with a smile, “Jesus Loves You”. It seemed to caught the girl off guard and she thanked us as she walked to the next house. What had just happened?! My heart was racing and tears began to well in my eyes. And all at once I heart these words in my heart, “you are taking back the night in My name.”

And with each group of children that would come to our door, some dressed as the living dead, others princesses, taxi drivers and ghosts, we would declare the same message as we dropped candy into each individual bag: JESUS LOVES YOU. It seemed to take the children off guard. One mother left our house saying, “God bless.” It was absolutely astonishing to me to see the visible posture of the children change–both preschoolers and those of junior high–once they heard it said that Jesus loves them–individually.

Sound simple? Well, it is…and that is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not how complex and sophisticated our approach or presentation is. No. Rather, it is about presenting the reality that the God who made all things, cared enough to step into this fallen world and see through each of our own masks and costumes to wash us clean through rescuing us from the punishment we each deserve–due to our disobedience to Him–and rather receive right standing with God Almighty through accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:17-18 (NASB)

 

The time is now Church…opportunities to speak of the LOVE of Jesus Christ are all around…let’s get to it.