Kristen and Abby were fascinated by a special visitor at the hospital.
We'll have some new pics and video to share this week about
this wonderful meeting Abby had with...
Answers by Brent...
Hi - we struggle with whether to bring the *Easter Bunny* in our house with the kids. They are 4 and 2 and this is the first year the 4 year old has really been influenced by peers. What are your thoughts? Does your family recognize it in some way? Thanks!
As with most things, we think there is an extreme on both ends. One extreme is just going with the flow and treating what used to be Christian holidays (ie. Christmas, Easter, etc as practiced for centuries by Christians) as commercial holidays where we fall for all the marketing hype, spend lots of money on needless stuff and candy, and just have yet another day to line the pockets of Madison Avenue while taking a day to indulge ourselves.
The other extreme is to see paganism and Satanism in every symbol of the holidays and throw out all holidays as holdovers of Roman influence from the days of Constantine (much of which is true by the way but that doesn’t in essence make our celebrations of holiday inherently and automatically “worshipping devils”.) It is a question for us much like the question of “eating meat sacrificed to idols” was for early Christians. Some Christians saw it as wrong, and some did not. Paul said to follow your conscience, and the strong in faith should not be a stumbling block to those weaker in the faith.
We see ANY celebration or time set aside to remember something about God as GOOD. No, Jesus was not actually born on Dec 25th, nor does most of what we not see publicly for Easter anymore have anything to do with Jesus' resurrection. But if we can set aside days to think about these events and celebrate them, then those are good celebrations. To the degree we commercialize them and leave God out is the degree to which they become useless as “Christian” holidays.
Now, having said that, IDEALLY we would simply weave the celebration of all things Christian into our ongoing life, and well, we should. But for those who focus on Jesus during Christmas, there is hardly anything wrong with honoring the Savior any time, whether a “Biblical holiday” or not. It is a matter of liberty. To the degree that the world and Madison Ave and political correctness have hijacked and bastardized our Christian holidays, is the degree to which they become worthless to society as a whole (detrimental in fact).
But in the end, it is a matter of Christian liberty because there IS NO DIRECT COMMAND in Scripture telling us “thou shall” or “thou shalt not” about Easter or Christmas, bunnies or Santa.
Brent - My husband is Muslim and I am Christian. His faith goes as far as just observing the holidays. He doesn’t pray 5 times a day or any of the other things. We have been talking about the differences in Muslim vs Christian. He says the Bible was altered. Do you have anything of Scripture that I can give him?
No. I have no specific verses for you. Just the Bible as whole which your husband as a good Muslim will belief is corrupt and inferior to the Quran. In truth, neither he nor you have been true to either belief. You have ignored the Bible’s teaching not to be unequally yoked (married) to an unbeliever, especially one diametrically opposed to any belief in salvation through Jesus Christ. And your husband has ignored his faith by marrying an "infidel", which you are, according to Islamic teaching.
The only advice I have for you now is that you need to get serious about learning and living Christianity so that through your example, your husband MIGHT see the truth and come to know the True and Living God of the Bible which means he will face a choice concerning the teachings of Islam.
You could be the light by which your husband finds Jesus, but only if you get serious yourself about your own faith so that you can live it, demonstrate and if needed, give up your own personal happiness or life for it to be a living example for him. But flashing a few Bible verses in front of him is unlikely to have any effect on him until he can see and “hear” the Word of God being lived seriously in your life. If he is truly interested in exploring the evidence that proves either the Bible or the Quran to be the real “book” from God, there are plenty of authors he can check into: Dave Hunt, Chuck Missler, James Kennedy, Ray Comfort to name a few.
Slightly out of season, but what are your opinions on telling kids about Santa? Do you feel it is telling lies? What do your kids think about Santa?
I think it is a LIE if you present the “tale” as anything but a “tale” based loosely on the real life of person who lived long ago. Santa is a “tradition” to be presented (if you want) as a fun tradition. As the kids get older, they need to understand that some stories are actually true (Bible stories for example), and some stories are just “fun” but not true. But to call it a “lie” to “make believe” with a three year old that “Santa” came and left presents last night is simply to foist our adult hang ups on to the care free world of a child.
As they grow, appropriate to their age (and that’s a fairly young age in my opinion), kids need to know that Santa, elves, and Rudolph are just a fun holiday tradition while Noah, David & Goliath, and Jesus are REAL, true, actual characters and stories. They “get it”. Don’t underestimate them. I knew Santa wasn’t “real” by the time I was four or five and no one even had to tell me.
This kind of relates to your post on anger - how do you feel about being angry at God? I certainly feel that He is our Father, Provider, Healer, and sooooo many things...that part of having a close relationship is the ability to say “Hey God, I’m really mad”. And then you work through it. My parents disagree completely. What are your thoughts?
Saying “hey, God, I’m really mad” and knowing WE are the cause and source of anger is fine. Saying “hey God, I have a right to be mad at YOU” just betrays a lack of understanding about God’s perfection and goodness.
We have lost a LOT of the respect and reverence for God that we should have by decades of OVER emphasis on God as “Father Daddy” a term I myself am reluctant to ever use even though many do while praying. I think it is just TOO casual to address the Almighty Creator of the Universe as "Dad".
Do I believe God is “Father”? Of course. Do I believe He is as intimate, close and loving as “Daddy”? Of course, in it's purest essence. But I’m careful not to then think of the True and Living God on the same human terms as I think of my own human father. I think of God with ALL of the best and perfect qualities of a human father AND, AND, AND all the qualities of the All Powerful & Awesome Mighty God. Combining those two, it keeps me from casually approaching His Throne and declaring “hey Pops, I’m angry at you.”
When I am angry, I have to first acknowledge that my anger cannot actually be AT GOD, or ABOUT GOD because this would imply that God has done something for which a frail and sinful human has the right to be “mad” which of course I know as a mature Christian is completely ludicrous. I can approach God with humility and awe, tell Him honestly “I am angry” and ask Him to reveal in MY HEART the flaw, weakness, sin, lack of knowledge or misunderstanding that is causing my anger. But we should never be “angry at God” because this implies HE let us down, did something wrong, made a wrong choice, etc which can NEVER be true, ever.
You are right that we can, in great humility, approach God in honesty and tell Him, “God I’m angry”. But your parents are right if they mean you, as a Believer, should never dare to affront the Almighty Creator with such an grievous error as saying “God I’m mad at YOU.”
Mandi from Montana asked:
How is sex education handled in your home? When did your older kids start dating? What are your views of premarital sex? Do you guard (for lack of a better word) your older daughter more closely with relationships and dating? Just wondering because I know I was treated different than by brother in our house growing up in relation to sex and dating even though I grew up in a very Christian house hold.
We teach our children about sex and relationships. Often we have to counteract what they have learned from friends or at school. It’s just a part of parenting. The whole world strives every day to teach our kids WRONG about sex, so in this day and age parents should be making a monumental and extra special effort to combat that by talking and teaching their kids often and comprehensively the right information and attitudes about sex according to our Christian faith. Both boys and girls are to be equally guarded and taught. To think that a reckless boy is less in danger simply because they cannot get pregnant or raped, is folly.
The Knitting Basics asked:
Do you guys have a garden? Do you like to grow your own veggies? We save about 300 to 500 dollars each summer growing our own food.
We do not have a garden at this time but want one. We have rabbits, birds, squirrels, armadillos, possums, raccoons, skunks and guineas that make it almost impossible to keep a garden unless it is well fenced off.
Me again...can you please explain Gods Will vs Free Will? I often see you saying everything is in Gods hands, he knows what will happen etc. But obviously you also believe in free will - the ability to sin, make choices etc. So...if God has a plan and he controls everything, and you choose to do something wrong...was that his will or yours...oh the confusion! What do you think Brent?
God’s will comes in two forms: His written Will (the Bible) and His ongoing Will (whatever else He desires). Free will is the quality God (according to His Will) instilled in humans as the ability to choose from a human viewpoint, which direction, desire or action they want. (Note: not going to argue about Calvinism here. Just see my answer as addressing what we experience humanly as “choice” or “free will” and we’ll leave the deep theological discussions for another time.)
God is sovereign which means He knows all and is in control of all. From a human perspective, and from our vantage point, part of God’s sovereignty includes giving us the ability to “choose” on a daily basis pretty much everything about our life: what we do, what we eat, whether we believe in God or not, what our life is about. Of course, our circumstances and social positions appear to give us MORE choice to exercise our free will. Money appears to give us more choice. Freedom appears to give us more choice. And it is our “free will”, our mind, our ability to think and make a choice, that gives us our human experience as persons, not robots.
We could ramble around and discuss philosophy, Calvinism and other religions all day but on a purely human level, the basic experience of “free will” is the universal characteristic of our existence that makes us “human” and not “animals”.
God's Will is whatever God desires. Our free will as Christians is the ability to choose our desires within the framework of God's Will.
Do your older children follow your faith as strongly as you do? What would you do if any of your kids chose to follow another religion, or none at all?
It would be unreasonable to think that teenagers or twenty-somethings would follow the Christian faith as strongly as their spiritually mature parents who have been following God for decades.
Each of our children follow God with their own understanding, commitment and maturity appropriate to their age and spiritual development. I quit worrying about whether they were “faithful enough” a long time ago. That’s in God’s hands, and He is much more able than I am (understatement) to take care of them spiritually. We help, but God is in charge.
We have some kids who appear to be more interested in God than others, but all we can do for each of them is teach them and be an example. They will eventually have to grow into their faith on their own terms being drawn by God just as we were.
God does not call parents to be RESPONSIBLE for the children’s salvation. He calls us to be examples of it and to teach them. It is hard to watch any of our children appear to be disinterested in God, or at times, even question Christianity completely but there is no need to be anxious or worry because their salvation is squarely on God’s shoulders, not ours, even if we are terrible parents who neglect our children spiritually.
And thank the Lord it’s NOT our ultimate responsibility... what guilt and worry would crush us if we thought WE could fail our kids eternally.
Brent Riggs asked:
Why are you the way you are? Can’t you be the way you should be? Or is it impossible to change the possible?
I am the way I am because I’m that way. I would be the way I should be if I could but I can’t so I shan’t. I’ve never found it possible to change the impossible even when the impossible is possible though we believe impossibly that it’s possible. So what you see is what you get even if what you see is not what you want to see or get even if you aren’t looking.
I am the way I am because you see what you see even if you should see what is impossible to see or not see. See?