Turn off the technology, tune in to your family

“I know! We’ll all snuggle in bed, and you can read the Bible, and it’ll be fun!” Our daughter, Estellah Eve, had our nighttime all figured out the other day. What a joy – that this is what thrills our children: family time, snuggle time, Bible time.
 
Amid all the gadgetry and near-unavoidable technology of our day (and this upcoming Holiday Season), do your best to intentionally emphasize some simple things – without electronic interruptions. Read together. Play a board game. Put a puzzle together. Pop some popcorn.
 
Look your children in the eye and let them know they matter to you. They crave your affirmation and your presence – no matter their age. Let them know they are deserving of your time and attention – even more than the phone in your hand (or the ball game on TV).
 
Ten years from now, none of us will remember who won the football game on Sunday. However, your family could likely remember it as the one time Dad spent 3 uninterrupted hours just playing Uno and eating popcorn with us – without once looking at his phone. Give it a try.
 
As someone urged me the other day from an upcoming Ministry Visit next month, “Please, Robert, when you come – encourage parents to put their phones down and pay attention to their children!” Amen.
 
Turn off the technology and tune in to your family – while you can. These minutes and moments are precious. They’ll be gone before you know it. You’ll never regret it.
 
[KNOW GOD – no regrets]
-Robert

Cheese and Cheerios – between my toes…

Cheese and Cheerios – stuck to my socks and in-between my toes. With 4 young children in our household, you can likely relate. Often times, those little things can add up enough to drive you bananas.

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Ephesians 5:20)

Consider trying, as I finally did…catching myself, to use it as another opportunity to thank Almighty God for the gifts of life and family. Cherish your children intentionally, daily. Thank God for their lives, their messes, their spilt milk, their dirty diapers, and yes, even the seemingly endless cheese and Cheerios on the floor.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Every day is a gift. Every life is a gift. Yes, as parents, the days and nights are long. But, eternity is longer. You are sowing seeds of eternity into your family daily through your actions and words. Make them count. Today counts.

Live a Life of No Regrets.

-Robert

[KNOW GOD – no regrets]

Don’t Miss the Moment

“Daddy, when can we ride on your feet?” Our daughter, Estellah Eve, asked me that this morning – right in the middle of a flurry in the kitchen. In the busyness of the day, it would have been easy to ignore her request. Instead, I indulged with great delight.

“Right now, sweetheart!”

She got on my right foot and Leo on my left. I “trudged” around the house as if I had “mud on my boots” – but with the joy of our precious children wrapped around my legs. Then, Estellah and Lola Elizabeth took turns and switched places. What an honor to do this…to have children…to have the health and means to savor this moment. I’m humbled beyond measure by God’s blessings.

Don’t ever pass up those little moments that God presents us throughout the day to behold His wonder – in our spouses, our children, our parents, our families, etc. They are all around us, if we just look.

Our children won’t always want to “ride on my feet”. Soon they’ll be too big! I would have regretted it if I had passed up this opportunity…and perhaps never had it again.

After my exhausted legs wearily had enough, I tried to say, “Okay, that’s all everybody.” But, I was quickly cut off by Estellah exclaiming, “I’m never going to let you go, Daddy!”

I pray not, Estellah. I love all of our children to Heaven and back.

Hold their hearts close every moment you have the chance. You’ll never regret it.

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert

Turn off the gadgetry. Turn on your Family.

“I don’t ever want to leave you guys. Can I just stay little and not grow up?” Our daughter, Estellah Eve (age 6), said this recently, after her older brother, Ezekiel Thomas, just turned 8. She was fast-forwarding a few birthdays, and truly didn’t want to grow old enough to have to leave our “nest.”

My first reaction to myself was, “I couldn’t agree more! I wish you never had to grow up, leave us, or face this harsh world.” I love our children little, particularly as our world, country, and laws decline and decay before our very eyes. I wish they’d never have to venture out.

Yet, every parent must ultimately surrender our children’s lives. They aren’t our own. They are on loan to us from God. We have to let them go into God’s Hands, whether it’s too early in life from a flash-flood, a tragedy, a sickness, or whether it’s after high-school as they enter adulthood.

Estellah’s remark reminded me of something my daughter, Makenah, said in 2003. Shortly before the Kansas flash-flood, Melissa and I had decided to home-educate our children. We set up the classroom in the basement, bought the materials, and attended a conference and all. Actually, it was Makenah who asked to be home-schooled for the 2nd grade (after completing Kindergarten and 1st grade at the public school). When I asked Makenah why she wanted to be home-schooled, she simply responded, “Because I just like you guys.” (Boy, that just punctured my heart!) She just wanted to be with us. She loved her family. Thank God!

Hold your children’s hearts close to yours, close to their siblings, and mostly close to God’s.

My wife, Inga, and I are striving our best now to “Direct our children onto the right path, so when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6) We pray together multiple times daily. We live out “No Bible – no breakfast; No Bible – no bed”. We have “Bible Time” with them almost every day, where they learn timeless Bible songs, learn true Biblical accounts, and memorize Scripture (over 33 verses already, thank God!).

Do all you can to pour into your children while they are young. Turn off the electronic gadgetry. Turn off the TV, and turn on your family. Cherish them intentionally. Make a memory. You can always make more money. You can’t always make more memories. They need you…now.

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

My eyes filled with tears recently in church as our Pastor referenced the shocking, unspeakable revelations of those who seek to profit from harvesting the organs of viable, unborn children. How calloused, brutal, and barbaric have we become? How does God continue to have mercy on us, when we don’t cherish life from God – from conception to natural death?

Jesus’ Body was broken – that we might have life. He sacrificed His life for our sake. How can anyone sacrifice children for their own sake? How can anyone break the bodies of those most innocent and helpless, all for selfish gain? It’s utterly incomprehensible.

News like this shocks the conscience of our nation, and rips at the core of my heart. Having endured 3 miscarriages and 5 deaths in my immediate family, I cherish life and family beyond what words can express. When Inga and I miscarried a little baby boy in 2009 (nearly 5 months along and 5 inches long), we solemnly held his frail frame in our hands in the hospital ICU, and later buried our “little Dale”. Those moments ingrained the miracle and sanctity of life even more deeply within me than ever before.

Jesus’ Blood was shed that we might have forgiveness. Please pray for His mercy upon our land, and forgiveness upon us all.

Please God, restore, heal, and transform our land. Remove our stony hearts and give us hearts that thirst for You. (Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26) Forgive us for the millions of precious lives lost to chemical & surgical abortion. You are the Author of Life. Be Lord over our lives. Compel us to permit You to be the Divine Planner of our Parenthood, trusting you absolutely to provide every life, and to provide for every life – by Your grace and sovereign Hand. Lord have mercy on us all.

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Please kneel and pray today. Seek God.
Cherish your family intentionally…every single one.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” ― Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert

Nourish your Marriage Covenant

An article my mother just mailed me described how Dietrich Bonhoeffer would preach at marriage ceremonies and give this counsel to young couples:

“Today you are much in love, and you feel that love will sustain your marriage.  It wouldn’t.  But marriage can sustain your love.”

I think his point was that merely “feeling” in love won’t sustain a marriage.  Committing yourself to your marriage covenant as a holy sacrament will sustain you, even during those difficult & “dry” times, even beyond the emotions, circumstances, and feelings of the moment.

Continue those small yet vital daily “rituals” of marriage.  They are essential.  Say “I love you” every day (even if you may not feel like it.)  Say, “I forgive you.”   Complement each other.  Show consideration for your spouse before yourself.  Consider your spouse first.  Serve your spouse sacrificially.

If you activate your words and actions for one another out of sacrificial love, then the “feelings” and fruitfulness of love will eventually follow.

My parents celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2012.  This Thursday (Aug 13) would have marked 63 years.  (My father died in December 2012).  I thank God and my parents for their example of a Godly marriage.

Now, more than ever, our country and our world needs your example of a Godly, Genesis:1 marriage that not only stays intact, but thrives and displays God’s love for us through His Son, Jesus.  Marriage is more than a mere document.  It’s a sacrament and a holy covenant.  Guard it and nourish it, daily.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.”  (Ephesians 5:1-2, 25-26)

Live a Life of No Regrets.
Live a Marriage of No Regrets.
Love your spouse sacrificially.

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert

Hold Your Children’s Hearts Close

“I don’t ever want to leave you guys. Can I just stay little and not grow up?” Our daughter, Estellah Eve (age 6), said this recently, after her older brother, Ezekiel Thomas, just turned 8. She was fast-forwarding a few birthdays, and truly didn’t want to grow old enough to have to leave our “nest.”

My first reaction to myself was, “I couldn’t agree more! I wish you never had to grow up, leave, and face this harsh world.” I love our children little, particularly as our world, country, and laws decline and decay before our very eyes. I wish they’d never have to venture out.

Yet, every parent must ultimately surrender our children’s lives. They aren’t our own. They are on loan to us from God. We have to let them go into God’s Hands, whether it’s too early in life from a flash-flood, a tragedy, a sickness, or whether it’s after high-school as they enter adulthood.

Estellah’s remark reminded me of something my daughter, Makenah, said in 2003. Shortly before the Kansas flash-flood, Melissa and I had decided to home-educate our children. We set up the classroom in the basement, bought the materials, and attended a conference and all. Actually, it was Makenah who asked to be home-schooled for the 2nd grade (after completing Kindergarten and 1st grade at the public school). When I asked Makenah why she wanted to be home-schooled, she simply responded, “Because I just like you guys.” (Boy, that just punctured my heart!) She just wanted to be with us. She loved her family. Thank God!

Hold your children’s hearts close to yours, to their siblings, and mostly to God’s.

My wife, Inga, and I are striving our best now to “Direct our children onto the right path, so when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6) We pray together multiple times daily. We live out “No Bible – no breakfast; No Bible – no bed”. We have “Bible Time” with them almost every day, where they learn timeless Bible songs, learn true Biblical accounts, and memorize Scripture (over 33 verses already, thank God!).

Do all you can to pour into your children while they are young. Turn off the electronic gadgetry. Turn off the TV, and turn on your family. Cherish them intentionally. Make a memory. You can always make more money. You can’t always make more memories. They need you…now.

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert