Teach Your Children

What a year 2018 has been.  I realized that my last post was nearly a year ago.  I have no regrets, I’ve kept pretty busy this year with things of much greater importance.

Randy has kept us all pretty busy and rightfully so.  2017 was quite a year seeing Randy go from a newborn to a baby that could crawl, smile, and make little sounds.  2018 of course I saw even more changes to that little boy. It’s been a joy to watch.

He’s walking now. He’s also running when he’s grabbed the remote/iPhone.  I was wrong when I used to think that life would be over when he learned to walk and became mobile.  Life was actually over when he figured out how to climb. There’s no safe counter/shelf in the house!

Of course with the time that’s passed, Randy is now saying a few words.  His favorite words are “Yeh”, “Dada”, “Mama”, “Hockey”, “Uncle”, “Poppa”, and “Aimee”.  He’s picked up “no” and “gone” here recently. The closest thing to a sentence is when we get him to say “Oh yeah!”.

Honestly if you can think of a greater earthly joy than to coming home to a beautiful wife and a little boy that smiles and says “Dada” when you walk in the door…let me know… because I’m quite enjoying this one.

He doesn’t quite understand “Yeh” and “No” like he might lead you to believe.  We’ve been testing him on this….

We’ll ask him questions: “Do you want chocolate milk?”, “Do you want a biscuit?”, “DoIMG_3716 you want to go to grandma’s?”, “Do you want to go to Bible class?”, etc.  To all those he gives an enthusiastic “Yeh!!”

Granted, sometimes we’ll follow up with questions like: “Do you want to take bath?”, “Do you want to eat asparagus?”, “Do you want to give me all your toys?”, etc. to get the same “Yeh!” response.

Either Randy is obviously too trusting of the questions we ask him, or he doesn’t quite yet understand what we’re asking him all the time.  Either way…it’s pretty cute.

IMG_0138I think he’s definitely starting to get the concept of “No” at least as far as when he says it.  He seems to be able to pretty well block it out when we tell him “no”. For example, if he’s playing with his toys, sitting in a place he wants to be but shouldn’t be, or pretty much anytime he doesn’t want to be kept from doing whatever it is he’s doing….he will give a cute “no, no” shaking his head side to side letting us know he doesn’t want to be moved.

IMG_4350We had a 1st birthday this year for Randy.  This was a sobering thought. That first year went by so quickly and here I am about three months away from celebrating my little boy’s 2nd birthday Lord willing.  I tell you, the pure elation on his face when he dove into that birthday cupcake said it all…he’s his mother’s child when it comes to dessert.

IMG_3281Shortly after he turned one, Randy got to start going to Bible class.  This was a good thing of course yet it made me sad realizing that he was getting bigger.  I’ll have more to say about this in a different post.

Karen and I did better with our exercise this year.  I think this was particularly good for Randy to see because hopefully he’ll pick up the habit and not go years without taking care of himself when he’s older like I have.

In addition to that, Randy got to go to the beach for the first time in his life this year! We took a family trip to Orange Beach, AL and had a great time.  Usually when I travel I don’t do a lot of talking to strangers.  However, Randy is way more friendly than I am.  It seemed every day we went to sit on the beach Randy would find himself wandering over to an older couple only to come back to us with snacks they had given him.  I think his favorite part was being excited for the picture of the dog on the back of the elevator door when we went out each day.

IMG_3644

For Halloween this year, we all dressed up as DC characters. I was Batman, Randy was my sidekick Robin.  Karen was of course the villain Catwoman.  Since Halloween fell on a Wednesday night this year, we were able to trick-or-treat at one house…my in-laws.  Randy hated the mask but he enjoyed the candy.

Christmas was a lot of fun this year.  It was fun to watch him run into the living room where all his new toys were sitting beside the tree only to see him immediately run over to his old toys that we had moved across the room.  Once he realized the new things in the room, he adapted…but it was still funny.48404059_679420260167_3380541446984564736_n

IMG_0896Frankly, I think his favorite new gift was a toddler sized vacuum cleaner with real sounds!  He’s been all over the house with that thing. Now if I can only find him a toy for taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn! In that regard, recently we observed Randy run to the clothes dryer when it dinged to complete the dry cycle.  He put the laundry basket under the dryer door, pulled the clothes out, and pushed the full basket to the bedroom. If he learns to fold we are in business!

I’ve been blessed this year to have multiple opportunities to preach the Gospel in North Alabama.  This is important to me for multiple reasons. First, I’m thankful for the open doors of opportunity as I’ve been charged to preach the Gospel as a Christian.  I pray that I can encourage my brethren with these opportunities and lead others to Christ. I’m also thankful to have the opportunity to be an example to Randy.  Whether he preaches from the pulpit as an adult one day like I do from time to time, I hope and pray that he will grow to understand how important it is to share the Gospel with others.

IMG_0800

My wife Karen has been working really hard with Randy on being a good example in regards to benevolence and prayer…two of the most important aspects of being Christ-like that aren’t seen by others.  From her good example, he’s learned the word “Amen” and consistently says it at the end of a prayer. I can’t wait until he gets a good understanding of what prayer is and why it is important.

The last few months what has taken up a lot of my time (and perhaps part of the reason for my lack of posting) was that I have been allowed to teach a young adult study at our local congregation.  We’ve studied through the books of Joshua and Judges in this past quarter and it was eye-opening for me. I can’t remember studying those books as an adult.

Leading up to the period of time where the children of Israel invaded the Promised Land in Joshua, Moses provided a good deal of encouragement and admonition in the book of Deuteronomy.  He talked about several things they should remember as they went into the land of Canaan and possessed it. He told them about the importance of loving God (Deut. 6:5), remembering Him (Deut. 6:12), and obeying Him (Deut. 4:39-40).

Moses also warned about the importance of teaching our children about the Lord.  When he was talking about God’s commandments, he said “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:7)

God’s words, His truths, His commands were supposed to be not only taught…but they were to be evident within the home and everyday life. It wasn’t just to be a situation where children would be taken to worship or a private class to learn about God’s word…they saw it demonstrated in their own homes with their parents. Parents wouldn’t just trust their children’s spiritual training to their Bible class teachers and preachers. They made it their own responsibility! Children were to see their parents believing in God, teaching about Him, and practicing His Law.

As you get into the book of Judges, you see just how nasty the world becomes when people forsake the Lord.  They get involved in immorality and do horrible unspeakable acts of violence. As we look out into the world today you see that people as a whole are becoming increasingly wicked due to us failing to remember God.  I pray that future generations can change this trend and move away from the direction we’re currently headed. Teaching our children to not forget about God and live a righteous life is so very important to impacting this.

I hope and pray that we can teach Randy as we ought to.  I hope that he sees Christ living in his parents and that will eventually help him make that decision to serve the Lord too.

Lord willing I pray that you’ve had an excellent 2018 and that 2019 will be even better!

44802444_676325038017_3610616827782103040_n

Advertisements

Star Wars, Christmas, and Resolutions

Happy New Year! I can honestly look back at 2017 and say that it was a year full of blessings.  This year went by so quickly too.  I guess I’ve been having so much fun that the weeks and months felt so short.

The last time you heard from me was on Thanksgiving.  Since then we’ve had a lot of good fun and created a lot of memories.

IMG_3581
Randy watching the Huntsville Havoc on Star Wars night!

For Thanksgiving we spent most of the day in Albertville, AL at my wife’s extended family’s house.  They always put on a good spread.  Her uncle Donnie showed us his Amazon Echo which is a voice activated speaker that responds to voice commands.  I ended up having a lot of fun the last month when I picked one up on sale.  I’ve set up different smart home devices in the house.  Of particular use has been the smart light bulbs that respond to voice commands.  That’s super helpful when you have a 20 lb little boy in your arms.

One big event this month that didn’t involve Randy that I feel is important enough to

IMG_3579
Randy (Little Darth Vader) met a Stormtrooper @ Star Wars night

mention briefly was the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Karen and I were able to go with a full row (yes, I preordered a whole row the second they went on sale) of our friends to see the movie.  The fan reaction has been split.  I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but I’ll give you my generalized reactions coming out of the movie:

  1. I don’t believe anything they’re trying to make me believe about the storyline.  There’s a lot of misdirection in The Last Jedi and they’re saving the big reveal for Episode 9.  I kind of dig that.
  2. If you didn’t like The Last Jedi, I have a feeling it’ll end up one of your favorite when things come full circle in Episode 9.
IMG_3683
Randy went to the eye doctor for the 1st time

I really hope that Randy will be big enough to go see Star Wars with me soon, but for sake of the other fans in the theater – I’ll be waiting a while.  Randy did watch all of the other movies with me in preparation for me to go to the theater.  He didn’t seem too interested except when Jar Jar Binks was on the screen.  Hopefully he’ll learn better.

Randy’s been starting to eat a lot more real food this last month.  We’ve started giving him really small pieces of adult food with fullsizeoutput_a4fcaution.  When he tried his first french fry he had nothing but pure joy on his face.  In addition to that he’s tried potatoes, buffalo chicken dip (I had to apologize for that one), lemon, sausage cheese muffins, cheesecake, Demos’ soup, alfredo pasta, and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.  Randy’s mama also let him lick the spoon at Christmas with melted white chocolate.  He’s really interested in anything that he perceives can be eaten.

IMG_3679IMG_3665Randy isn’t walking on his own yet.  He’s crawling everywhere and will pull himself up on anything,  One night I even heard Karen scream in the living room to come in and find Randy had climbed about four steps before we caught him.  Baby gates are on order.  He’ll take a few steps holding on to his walker.  I know when he takes those first steps life will get even more fun.  I’m not in a hurry but I don’t guess it matters what my feelings are on the matter.

IMG_3746Christmas is a lot more fun with a little boy.  I’ve never disliked the holidays, but I was definitely more excited this year.  I was excited to see what Randy would do when we put up the tree and what he’d think about the lights and the presents.  He liked to pat the tree and grab the ornaments.

Christmas morning was a lot of fun.  Randy eventually got the idea of ripping the paper off the boxes.  Most of what we got him was the kid versions of our things that he likes to grab.  He got a baby TV remote, a baby sized video game controller, and other little toys.  The funny thing was though, he just liked the boxes and the wrapping paper.  I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas at the end of 2018 when Randy is a little older and is more aware of what’s going on.

With the New Year we naturally consider this somewhat of a fresh start or a new beginning.  We try and reflect on things that went well during 2017 and make resolutions to improve on some of our failings of the previous year.

Here’s the thing about resolutions, any time you want to change something for the better is a good time to do so.  It might not be as trendy, but you never have to wait for a new year.  A New Year does provide some manner of additional motivation and one’s mindset is perhaps more able to resolve to change for the better.

In 2018, I certainly hope to do a lot of things better.

I want to spend more time in God’s word.  There’s not really anyone who couldn’t benefit from additional time spent meditating on God’s will for us.  While I do study the Bible, I certainly can improve on this.  It will only help to strengthen my faith.  In particular I hope to spend some time focusing on the period of time when the children of Israel were going in to the land of Canaan and also the period of the Judges.

I want to improve my prayer life.  This year our elders at church have tried to help us focus on prayer.  We’ve had lessons and discussion on how to prayer and improve our prayers.  I hope to take some of these lessons into 2018 and apply them.  I want to do better about praying with Randy and teaching him the importance of a good relationship with God.

I want to love my wife even more.  I love my wife now and always have.  I don’t consider this something that I’ve failed at in 2017.  However, I can resolve to set a good example in this regard in 2018.  My son is going to learn a lot from me how to treat his future wife.  I need to make that lesson one that’d be pleasing to God.

I want to give my son more attention. This isn’t to say that I haven’t paid attention to him this year.  I most definitely have.  However, I know this next year he’s going to really grow a lot and learn a ton of new things.  He needs to learn a lot of those things from his father.  This may require me to spend less time playing video games and other things that I spend too much time doing, but this is important to me.

I want to better manage my finances.  This year has been a little tougher financially with the added expenses of a newborn.  Formula and diapers are EXPENSIVE.  I want to do well managing the income that I’ve been blessed with so I can be good example for my son in that regard.  This may mean not upgrading my iPhone (1st world problems right?) or buying a lot of video games (I’ll leave the door open for one or two).  More realistically, this may mean eating out less.

I want to lose some weight.  Who saw this coming?  Before we found out Randy was coming along you may remember that I lost a lot of weight, about fifty pounds.  Since Randy has come along I’ve gained about half of that back.  Eating healthy and exercise is something that’s only going to be effective if it’s a habit.  Randy’s about to start picking up on habits.  A lot of his habits he’s going to pick up from me, whether good or bad.  With that as my motivation, I hope to set a good example for my son this year.

Will I look back this time next year and find that I was successful in my plans?  Likely I will fall short in some areas but if I can make some progress in any of the areas mentioned it will certainly make a positive impact.

What are you planning to work on in 2018?  Now is as good a time as any to make a change for the better.  If I can make a suggestion to you, resolve to improve your relationship God.  That kind of resolution will have a positive impact not just in 2018, but for eternity.

Thanksgiving

No doubt one of my favorite holidays of the year is Thanksgiving.  I look forward to it every year and always have.

When I was little I remember getting to visit my Grandma’s brother’s house for the holidays.  I always looked forward to that when I was little because they had a pool table in the basement.  I didn’t care as much about the food as much as I did getting to play pool.

As I got older I started to look forward to the good food that my grandma would cook.  It doesn’t get much better than turkey, chicken and dressing, and macaroni and cheese.  My aunt also makes one of the best pecan pies there is.  Aside from the food, it was always good to get together with my larger family that we didn’t see all that much.  We would play ping-pong like we did when we were younger while my grandparents lived in Alabama and had a table in their basement.  We had a good time.

When I first met my wife in college I also started getting to visit her extended family.  This year being the first Thanksgiving we’ll have with Randy I’m a little sad knowing that Karen’s Pawpaw Gordon will not be there to see Randy.  He enjoyed children a lot and would have enjoyed Randy at the holidays.  I’ll always remember how he gave all of us Christmas presents at Thanksgiving because he was too excited to wait until Christmas.  He was a very good man.

Those are a few Thanksgiving memories that come to my mind and if you know me and my family perhaps you’ll get a little chuckle out of some of those things.

Being a new dad, I certainly have an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness for the ways that the Lord has blessed me in 2017.

What more could a man ask for?

  1. I have a good job that helps to pay for the things I need.
  2. I have a lot friends that I enjoy spending time with.
  3. My family loves me. (Or at least tolerates me…)
  4. I have a kind, beautiful, and loving wife.
  5. And of course this year I’m thankful to be a father to my son Randy.

There is no doubt that God has blessed me beyond what I deserve.  There are times that I grumble and complain and don’t have the sense of contentment I should.  However, there are days like today that encourage me when I consider how truly blessed I am.

For many on Thanksgiving we tend to focus on the physical things that we’re blessed with just as I’ve mentioned as coming to mind above.  I remember the food, the memories, and the people in my life that give me joy.

However, as a Christian I know that I’m blessed in such greater ways than the physical things of this life.  I also recognize that all the blessings I do have in this life are because of God who loves me so much.

There are a great number of passages in the Bible that teach us to give thanks.  As example that comes to mind is where Paul tells the Ephesians about “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Ephesians 5:20)

There are also a great number Bible characters who were excellent examples of thankfulness.

Paul constantly alluded to his thankfulness to God and others that had blessed and encouraged him.  In fact, a good portion of his epistle to the Ephesians is dedicated to him writing about things he was thankful to God for.

  1. He was thankful for the blessings that God had provided through Christ.
  2. He was thankful for the brethren who encouraged him.
  3. He was thankful for the grace of God which allowed them to be brought near to Him.

I want to Randy to grow up and have a lot of the good memories like I have had growing up.  I want him to enjoy time with family and enjoy the food we share.  I also want him to be thankful for the ways that he is blessed physically.

However, above all I hope that he grows up to recognize the ways that we’ve been blessed by our Creator both physically but especially spiritually.

I pray that everyone has a great holiday weekend!

Now before I forget, here are some new pictures of Randy:

Be Watchful

I tell you what, sometimes you just get busy and don’t get to do the things that you usually are able to.  It’s been a good bit since I last posted.  In fact, you didn’t hear from me the entire month of September.  I do most of my writing early on Saturday morning and for the last few weeks I’ve been unable to dedicate time on a Saturday to write.

Over the last month or so we’ve done a little traveling, had family visit, etc.  I also had a few opportunities to teach classes at our local congregation which required a lot of time spent in preparation.  Spending time with God’s word and my family trumps a personal blog…so that’s my justification for a long time gap.

IMG_3085

Since you last heard from me, football season has begun.  Being in the south, that’s a big deal.  We enjoy the Alabama games on Saturdays and have enjoyed mooching off my in-laws cable subscription to catch the games.  They don’t seem to mind as long as we bring Randy.

As much as I enjoy football, having a little boy has caused me to take sports a little less seriously.  To be honest with you, the more seriously others take sports…the less interested I find 

 

myself.  I’m learning that things I used to think were important just aren’t at all.  I have my favorite team and maybe my little boy will like the team I like, but he might not either.  Frankly, I’ll probably find myself trying to take interest in the things he likes whether it be sports or something else as long it’s righteous.  My wife and I also joke sometimes that we’ll gladly change our team loyalty to whatever school will offer our son a scholarship.

My mom and dad came to visit a few weeks back for Randy’s half birthday.  For his half birthday, they gave Randy his first Bible.  Some of my readers probably know that I’m somewhat of a translation snob, so my mom went the extra mile to find an English Standard Version in a baby size.  While Randy can’t read yet, I want him to know how important and valuable the Bible is.  I surely hope that he will read it and find the same hope that I have in Christ.

IMG_3251.JPG
My family and I @ the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddler’s Convention
My sister and brother-in-law also came to visit during the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddler’s Convention.  We had a lot of fun hanging out on campus with my family and some friends from church.  Randy slept a good bit during the event, but he enjoyed getting to hang out with his aunt and uncle that weekend.  Randy usually sits in the back seat by himself so he really enjoyed all the attention he was getting with his aunt and uncle in the backseat with him.

Since you last heard from me, Randy has really taken to his walker.  We’ve also noticed that he likes to be a part of what’s going on.  It’s hard to do that in a Pack N Play or a baby swing.  He’s also really enjoyed sitting in the high chairs at restaurants and in the grocery cart seat in lieu of his infant carrier.  He wants to be where the action is.  A side benefit is that I’m no longer throwing my back out trying to carry him around in an infant carrier.

IMG_3205

Randy really keeps my on my toes as he’s grown a little bigger, especially with him being somewhat mobile now.

When he started rolling over more regularly, he slept so well…but I didn’t.  My wife really didn’t like me at night because every time I could hear him move at night I’d ask her to make sure he wasn’t sleeping on his face.  I’m still that way to an extent. On the note of rolling, Randy will very quickly roll to the edge of our bed even if we just lay him there for a second.

IMG_3099

We’ve also noticed that Randy is now at the age and has the capability to reach thepower outlets on the wall if he’s in his walker.  We put in outlet covers on most all of the downstairs power outlets except for those being used by electronics.  On one outlet in particular, we put a nightlight in to cover it up.  With that in mind, one morning not long ago I walked into the living room to find Randy reaching his little hand toward that power outlet.  Then I realized there was no nightlight blocking the socket and was confused.  Then I looked in Randy’s opposite hand and saw him holding the previously mentioned night light.

That little booger – you really can’t leave him alone.

Before Randy was born, a friend of ours who has both boys and girls told me that in regards to having children… you just do what you can to keep them alive.  He then explained that for boys that is harder to do than it is for girls.  I get that now.

As parents, we have to be watchful.  We don’t want our little boy to get himself into trouble and get hurt.  Being watchful though means we can’t let up.  While I try not to worry, I still am alert and tuned in to my environment to make sure that my son is safe.  We have to be alert at all times.  My wife has somehow figured out how to do this in her sleep; I think she has a superpower or something.

img_3143.jpg

The apostle Peter also talks about the idea of being watchful, but in a different sense.  He says: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

Peter here in this passage warns us about the ultimate predator.  He is a cunning hunter that constantly looking for prey.  He’s a being that wants nothing more than to separate man from the Lord by convincing him to sin.

Perhaps the scariest reality I face as a parent is that I know that my son is not going to be exempt from Satan’s awareness.  While I want my son to grow up to be a righteous man, he’s going to be tempted otherwise.

Right now, it’s my responsibility to watch out for danger.  My son isn’t old enough to understand the dangers of this world.  Over time, I’ll teach my son about different things that can cause pain and injury such as a power outlet, a hot stove, etc.  Then as he gets older, he’ll have to watch out for dangers to avoid problems.

Spiritually, it’s not that much different.  If Randy isn’t old enough to understand the basic physical dangers of this world, there’s no way he understands the spiritual dangers we face.  I’ll be responsible for training him to be watchful for the dangers presented by our spiritual predator: Satan.

Satan is crafty.  Frankly, awareness of him makes his job harder.  He’s much more dangerous when you don’t realize he’s there.

Can I encourage you to watch out for danger?  Not just from physical danger, but from spiritual danger too.

If you have children, keep a watch out for them because they haven’t developed that awareness for danger yet.  Teach them to watch for danger so that they won’t be caught off guard due to a lack of awareness.

Be watchful; there’s a predator out there to get you and those that you love.

Longing for the Milk

It’s been a little while since I last posted.  Please forgive me for the time gap in updating.  We’ve had family emergency after family emergency.

We’ve been back and forth to my hometown to visit my side of the family a few weekends over the last month.  My dad is recovering from a double bypass surgery he had in July.  My mother is preparing for surgery to remove her thyroid due to cancer.  The outlook is good for both of them.  If you read this and are a person of faith, prayers would certainly be appreciated.

IMG_2593
Four Generations!

We also lost my wife’s grandmother here recently.  She was 98 years old.  She was also a Christian for 86 of those years.  For most of the time I knew her, she had a great quality of life.  She consistently woke up to make coffee at 6 AM.  She was quite mobile although she had poor eyesight.  She went to the beauty shop every Friday and church every Sunday until she was too weak.  I was thankful that Randy came in time for her to get to meet him.  I pray that we’ll not neglect to share with him the strong example she was as a servant of Christ.

These different life events have put us on the road much more than is typical for us.

Randy is a mediocre traveler.

IMG_2979Expanding on this I’d say that Randy is an excellent sleeper.  That little man will sleep and sleep and sleep.  He’ll go 8-10 hours at night.  When Randy is asleep in the car, he’s an EXCELLENT traveler.  In fact, he slept about 75% of the way back home from Indiana.

The remaining 25% is a different story though.  There’s really nothing like having your little boy waking up in rush hour traffic in Nashville.  My wife will tell you that traffic drives me nuts.  Apparently Randy has inherited this trait.

I joke to people that Randy looks like his daddy but has his mom’s personality.  In other words, he’s real nice and sweat the majority of the time…until he gets hungry.  Then he’s grumpy until he gets that milk that satisfies him so much.  He’ll also get grumpy when you try and take the bottle away just for a moment if he knows that it still has some left.

IMG_2903
Here recently he’s beginning to try and hold his bottle.  I think when he did that I became a little sad.  He’s getting bigger…and fast. I think it hit me that eventually he won’t need us to feed him, clothe him, etc.  Eventually, he won’t even need us to provide those things.  While I want him to grow and mature, it makes me sad to realize how all this will be gone so quickly.

I get a little bit of joy after he’s been crying because he wants to eat and finally gets that bottle.  He vigorously consumes it as if it could be taken away at any moment.  He looks up with eyes that say, “thank you daddy for giving me what I want”.  He also makes sounds as if he’s pleased to get that nourishment.

He’s also begun eating his first baby food.  We started with squash (what I consider the worst tasting) and then tried green beans.  The little guy is a fan of food.  Frankly, he’ll attempt to consume anything that comes near his face.

 

He’s not there yet, but I seriously can’t wait to give him his first french fry.

Randy’s love for eating, milk in particular, reminds me of a passage from the apostle Peter:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (I Peter 2:2)

When Randy’s hungry….he craves it and wants it so badly that he’ll cry until he gets it.  If he needs that milk to fill his empty belly, he’ll cry regardless of what else you try and distract him with.  He’s focused on that milk.

That milk also helps him grow.  In 5 months, Randy has about doubled his birth weight.  Why? It’s like I jokingly tell people who comment on his growth: “It’s because he won’t stop eating.” I’m thankful for this, because if Randy wasn’t such a good eater…he wouldn’t have grown to be so healthy.

There are many ways that the inspired writers drew comparisons between the Christian walk and the character/behavior of little ones.  No doubt, Peter’s parallel here is perfect.  Everyone knows how an infant acts when he craves that milk.  He wants it so bad!

Spiritually speaking, we’re no different.  If we desire to grow spiritually and attain maturity, we too must crave that “pure spiritual milk”.  The NASB and KJV add in the phrase ‘of the word’.  The immediate application indicates that if we desire growth, we must feed our self with the word of God.

Your desire for the pure spiritual milk of the word has a direct impact on how well you grow.  If you long for spiritual things and seek to fill your figuratively empty belly with those things as opposed to junk, you’re going to much more likely to grow up to be healthy spiritually.

How is your spiritual life? Are you growing? If not, consider what you crave and make adjustments accordingly.

Fingernails and Forgiveness

 

IMG_2887
Randy and me on my 31st birthday

Randy is 4 months old today! I’m actually turning 372 months today. (That’s 31 years if you were thinking too hard about that.)

Randy also seems to be a pretty good sleeper compared to a lot of the horror stories I hear.  When folks ask if he gets up at night and I respond usually “no more than once”…the immediate reaction I get is …”that isn’t bad at all”.

 

Randy doesn’t seem to show any partiality as of yet.  While he certainly will choose to look at his daddy or his mommy if they’re in view, he doesn’t mind being held by just about anyone.

While Randy hasn’t been able to say an understandable word, he does like to “talk” to us.  This is the nice change of pace from the screaming and crying that he normally communicates to us with.

IMG_2852
Randy and his buddy Eliana

Randy has made a friend in our friends’ little girl Eliana.  She likes to call him “Ranny”.  I think they’re going to be good buddies.

While we do everything we can to keep Randy from being upset or getting hurt, naturally there’s going to be sometimes where we slip up.  Anytime we accidentally bump him up against something, surprise him, etc. he let’s out a scream that let’s us know he didn’t like it.

I think one of the worst feelings my wife had was the first time she cut his fingernails and accidentally cut a little too short.  I don’t recall if there was blood or not, but needless to say Randy was not a fan.  However she held him, rocked him, sang to him, tried to get him to calm….and shortly he had forgotten about the pain that was brought on him and was smiling right back at his momma.

Randy, being a little guy, easily forgets when someone has hurt him or done him wrong.  Randy doesn’t hold a grudge.  Frankly, if you give that kid a bottle he seems to completely forget about whatever happened just moments before.

If there’s anyone thankful that my little boy is forgiving it’s me.  I’m not perfect.  I’m certainly never going to be perfect towards my son as badly as I’d like to be.  Even so, the nature of a child makes it easy to forget.

I know as he gets older that he’ll get mad at me at times, he’ll probably even tell me “I hate you daddy”… but I’m thankful that kids can forgive more easily.

On the flip side, adults are really bad at the whole forgiveness thing.  Personally, I’m able to hold a grudge for a really long time.  I’m not alone in this either.  I know a lot of folks struggle with forgiveness.

In Matthew 18, the apostle Peter once asked Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

In other words, Peter was saying …at what point can I just keep that grudge with my brother who wrongs me?  I imagine if we had a brother who had wronged us once, forgiveness would be mostly easy.  However, a brother who wronged us seven times… our nature wouldn’t allow us to be as easy to forgive.

Jesus told Peter, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

In other words Jesus told Peter… you keep on forgiving.  We have to control our human nature to hold a grudge and be Christ-like instead.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if in regards to forgiveness we were all more like little babies like Randy?  We may have some pain when we’re wronged and be upset for a short while.  However, we move on and continue to love those that may have hurt us.

Being Loved: A Father’s Desire

My son Randy is growing, Growing, GROWING!  Frankly, I understand the stress now of seeing your kids beginning to age and the urgency that a lot of parents must feel to try and do so much with their kids.  Time is going so fast.  I can only imagine when I get into the later stages in life how time really will fly by.

IMG_2846
Randy likes to smile.  He’ll also giggle if you can convince him.  See Randy giggle here.

There’s a lot I want to do with my son while he’s growing up.  There’s a lot I want to teach him about, there’s a lot of places I want to take him, and certainly there is a lot of fun things I want to let him experience too!

At this stage my son is about 3 ½ months old.  I’m really enjoying this stage.  He’s been smiling for a while, but now it’s getting more consistent.  He’s also giggling and trust me when I say that there is no more sweeter sound than when your kid smiles and giggles.

When Randy was just a few weeks old, he loved to be held.  Unfortunately now, he’s just getting a little squirmy.

IMG_2669
I definitely wanted him to feel protected after his first shots.  Ouch!

I remember holding him one night in bed and telling my wife, “I just want to hold him, do stuff with him, and do a good job when he’s really young because I want him to always remember that his daddy loves him.”  I want him to remember that his father 

was one that would hold him when he felt bad, would feed him when he was hungry, and protect him from danger to make him feel safe.

Even more importantly, I also remember going on to think, “I want him to be used to me loving him so that he’ll return that love for his daddy.”

I understand there are going to be times where I am required to discipline my son. In those moment he might not be my biggest fan.  However, I don’t want my son to be a decent person, respectful of others, and obedient to his parents just because of a fear of discipline.

I want him to have love for us and love for others and let love that be what motivates his behavior.

You know, if you study the Old Testament and you see the history of God’s people… I’m pretty confident that our Father in heaven has a similar mindset for us.

When God told Moses He was going to deliver the people from Egyptian slavery, He was demonstrating love toward them.  Why?  He wanted those people to be His people.  He wanted them to know that He was their God.

God would do so much for them to demonstrate His love for them.

God demonstrated that He would certainly deliver on His promises and protect them.

For example, I’m almost certain that the plagues God brought down to punish Pharaoh were not just to demonstrate who God was to the Egyptians…but also to His people.

When the people left Egypt, God continued to demonstrate His love when He protected them from the Egyptians were were tracking them down.  He parted the waters of the Red Sea to help them escape while also crushing the Egyptian forces.

It’s almost as if God was telling them by His actions, “This is what lengths I’m willing to go to in order to deliver on my promises to you and protect you.”

God demonstrated His willingness to provide.

Just as I should be willing and able to provide for my son’s needs, God proved His ability to do this for His children too.  This was no small feat when you’re talking about a group of people with around 603k adult men along with the women and the children.

When they were thirsty and had no water, God provided it. (Exodus 15,17) When they were hungry, God provided food for them. (Exodus 16)

God had promised to provide for their needs.  They just had to trust Him.  Jesus has made us a similar promise in Matthew 6:25-34.

God also demonstrated His benevolent nature through His discipline.

God didn’t just let them run wild so that they would like Him.  Some parents take this approach with their kids and I can only assume that these kids will not be as likely to make a positive impact on their society. There was discipline for God’s children just like there will be for Randy.  However, the point was not just to bring them into submission…He was demonstrating His character to them.

When God gave the law at Mt. Sinai, the people just saw a mass of commandments.  They didn’t get what God was trying to show them.

God was showing them His nature through His discipline.  God is just, honest, benevolent, honorable, devoted, etc.  God wanted His people to follow the law so they’d be like Him, their father.  He wanted them to see His character, love Him for it, and let that motivate their actions.

God tried to show His children that because of His love for them He’d deliver them, provide for them, and discipline them to demonstrate His nature.  One goal of this was for them to obey Him but that it be motivated by love for Him.  Unfortunately, the children of Israel failed to love God as He so desired.

My hope and prayer is that I can be a loving father just as our Heavenly Father is to His children.  That’s my responsibility and privilege.  I can only hope that as Randy grows up that he will love his dad knowing that his father loves him.