No Jesus AND _______ – You Just Need Jesus

I see a lot of memes, posts, and shirts about “Coffee + Jesus = Great Day!” “All I need is Jesus and Chocolate.” Jesus and donuts, sugar, essential oils, and your favorite Facebook group, friend, and more (!) will help me do this/that to make it through the day.

I’m gonna be a big fat party pooper and just say, “You just need Jesus.” I know sister, how hard it is to feel like a normal human being in the morning, keep the house clean, deal with situation after situation with your kids and your schedule and then add in being a sweet wife, concentrating on your health, or ministry work, fulfilling personal goals, etc. etc. etc. But you don’t need sugar or coffee mixed with Jesus to make your life better when it’s hard. You just need Him. You just need to pray and wait in the moment of prayer for peace.

Unhealthy associations and “needs” for specific things lead to addictions and consuming things upon our lusts. I know all about going to a closet to chomp on a snack and hide from the kids or extra-long bathroom breaks to get a moment of quiet and sanity while taking a scroll through social media. Those moments can be useful to take a breather. The food stuff may make us feel better in the moment (uh–sugar high!), it may be what we like to help bring us happiness. But be careful not to share a wrong type of doctrine or belief in your mind that you NEED Jesus AND something else. No, you need Christ alone. No friend, no sugar rush, or happy smelling oil will wash away your struggles if God is trying to grow you through difficulty.

I heard a sermon once about trials and how if we are always running through the situation trying to get away then we miss the nuggets of wisdom God has for us there. We have so many band-aids in our culture to keep us from really plugging in to being strengthened when life is hard. How many of you feel like sometimes life is just hard every day? Yeah, sometimes I do too.

Yes health needs are real and you should be supporting your body and mind with healthy things and they do effect your overall well-being — your outlook and your thought life. Yes, do things in your day that you enjoy (coffee, tea, diffuser, connecting) but don’t substitute them for Christ. Keep your body and mind in subjection so you can be in obedient unity with the Holy Spirit when those wild moments of life happen to you and He speaks. You don’t have to be a slave to the ideaology of Jesus AND ______.

Just Jesus, that’s all.

His grace is sufficient. His Word is undeniably relevant to every day living. His shoulder big enough for tears and ear sensitive enough to your heart’s desires and complaints. His love deep enough to sustain you. He is the bread, the honey, the sweet smell, the beautiful song, the love that reaches around and holds you close. HE is enough!

I Like Sin & Combating It with Hebrews

Years ago I saw the saddest bumper sticker. It said “I like sin.” I got to thinking about it though, I think that most people do, they just aren’t bold enough to put a bumper sticker on their car that says it outright.

We watch fellow believers more and more walk down a path toward doing what is right in their own eyes away from Biblical truths and sin. It can be heart wrenching to watch people justify their choices and like it.

What can prevent us from becoming an “I like sin” bumper sticker wearer? Read Hebrews. It speaks of unbelief and hardness of heart causing people to depart from the faith (3:12-19). It mentions slothfulness in spiritual matters (6:10-12). And it refers to those who should be mature believers being spiritual babes unable to handle the strong meat of the Word (5:11-14).

When we begin to shirk from doing hard spiritual things in obedience we have begun to creep away. I think it begins with notwithstanding temptation because Hebrews refers so many times to Christ being tempted, yet without sin (2:17,18; 3:14-16) and His ability to help us.

Hebrews then speaks of the importance of faith (chapter 11), and the damage of faithlessness, provoking others unto good works, and not avoiding church gatherings(10:24-25). Chapters 12 & 13 lead us again to Christ our example who never changes and urges us to push forward in Biblical living and following our spiritual authorities, pleading for people to be restored.

Little things and little thoughts begin to pull people away. Guard your hearts dear friends and get into the Word and live there. Grow in grace and stick to the old paths of Bible living so you won’t become a casualty of accepting sin.

Training Children in Character

Here are some of my favorite resources for Training Children in Character:

  1. Godly preaching and seminars will help encourage you using God’s Word to listen and tweak or overhaul those weak spots in your parenting. They also help you see those areas you should continue in doing right. When we were new parents a free parenting seminar offered in our church by a local pastor over a weekend sparked our hearts for knowing we needed to have a godly aim in training our children. We enjoyed it so much we bought the CDs from our church bookstore and we still listen to them. (White CDs on book).
  2. The Child Training Bible helps us use God’s Word in preventing and dealing with problems. You can see one of the cards from the set sitting on the Bible. A friend sent this to us and we love it! It can be used as a more organized system of tabbing your Bible with color-coded tabs that match the colors on the card, but we prefer to keep the cards in the front of a Bible that stays on our bookshelf. The usefulness of this tool is easy access to Bible verses when you need them in a teaching moment. The card pictured covers the topics of: anger, complaining, defiance, discouraged, disobedience, fear, and fighting. It can easily be used as “preventative” devotional type teaching as much as it helps when you need to address a heart issue in parenting counseling. The cost is $9 (plus shipping) is a great deal for the time it saves you from individually looking up verses from a concordance.
  3. Bible-based Parenting Books by Christian people can be as good as direct one-on-one parental counseling because you can refer to them again and again. You have to be wise concerning advice often evaluating the spiritual background of the author, it is best to find authors who share the same Biblical beliefs as you do. The book God has directed me to pick up again, Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young (book on the far bottom left of the photo). Their conservative viewpoint of helping parents build up boys to be masculine defenders who protect women and become godly leaders is helping me focus on our 11 year old and 10 year old sons’ needs. You can find their book at their website. *Note: Most of their Biblical references do not come from the KJV Bible and I use my Bible to read the verses.
  4. Reading the book of Proverbs is a regular way of helping children see and understand God’s view of the wise, simple, and scorners. Some people suggest reading a proverb a day to help gain wisdom. For our children we may only read 1-6 verses at a time and describe them in depth. S.M. Davis former pastor and creator of Solving Family Problems preached regular family revivals at our former church and we picked up a copy of the Picture Proverbs Deluxe DVD set he produces (DVD set seen on left middle of photo). On the DVD you view narrated slides of each Proverb complete with sound effects and many Biblical story pictures that can help the children learn a real application of the proverb being taught. He suggests watching one proverb a day with your family and looking up the Bible stories together as a family. There are some other free resources on his website that can be a blessing to you.
  5. Doorposts Resources are excellent for training children. In the photo you can view the Go to the Ant Chart and their book called “Plants Grown Up” which is a project book for helping sons grow into men. We also use their If-Then Chart in our home for rules and direct consequences. Go to the Ant Chart quickly refers you to common character problems that come up when children are supposed to be working and decide to come up with excuses or laziness. Just bring your child to the chart and point to the character issue and ask them to answer the question and then see a section of scripture that instructs them to do right. Plants Grown Up and its’ companion book for girls, Polished Cornerstones, contain projects on specific types of character to build on including memorizing scripture and community and home service. The topics include: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity each with sub-topics to practically apply them. *Note: Not all of her resources are from the KJV Bible you have to do the job of checking the references. We have adjusted our charts to have a piece of paper cover the verses and have them written in KJV.
  6. Institute in Basic Life Principles Character Booklets are resources to use for family Bible time, individual study, or referencing when you see your child needs growth in an area. We currently have the first 6 booklets which cover: attentiveness, obedience, gratefulness, truthfulness, orderliness, and diligence. Each book highlights a specific animal God created and how its personal characteristics display the character trait being taught. My favorite part of each book is how it highlights how Jesus displayed the character trait when He lived on the earth. Then, each book teaches “how” you are truthful to different authorities in your life, your parents, your boss, civil authorities, etc. If you really want to go all out and make the character teaching really fun they have calendars, collector cards, coloring books, posters and hardback copies of the book sets.

What we have found is these character building resources really help us counsel our children in Biblical answers for character and sin problems. Many times our use of these resources is preventative, we believe in teaching before expecting specific behaviors. They are also corrective helping guides as we show the children when they have done wrong and help them see the problem from God’s perspective.

We also firmly believe the aim is to help our children train the heart to love God and understand His Word, have a good relationship with Him, and learn to reconcile with others they have sinned against. We spend a hefty amount of time counseling, more than I ever expected, coming back to the Word over and over again (betimes) to reinforce our expectations have a root in God’s truths.

The biggest and best part of character training and having good resources is seeing the investment come out of our children into their every day living. When they respond or do right in a temptation circumstance it is a blessing. Honestly it has also helped us be more consistent as parents and grow in our faith, helping us to be faithful and try to avoid hypocrisy as our parenting is open before all their eyes.

I pray and hope if you are focusing on building the inward person of your child you will remember to encourage them and instruct them to salvation in Christ. Unsaved children will struggle in character issues because the Holy Spirit is not naturally guiding them. Keep encouraging them to see their heart problems are sin related and they need the help of the Saviour.

When and if they are saved remember the Christian life is a step-by-step process. Children will excel in many areas and fall back, they will react to life each differently and sometimes forget your instruction. Faithfulness in training and counseling will help you. Our sin and Christian life as parents can also have a profound effect in their attitude and success in character growth. Guard your heart and keep it tender as you teach others for yourself.

May the Lord bless you and help you in your parenting and guide you to the resources that will best fit your family.

(No affiliate links or anything throughout this post, just great helps and information for YOU!)