living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Raising Mission Minded Kids

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I have many things I want to teach my children.  One of the most important things I want to teach them is to be mission minded.  We live in a very selfish society.  Life seems to be all about “me” and “my family”.  Sometimes in the busyness of life we lose sight of the world around us.  We lose sight of our main purpose – which is to glorify God.  One of the ways we serve God is by impacting others for Christ.

God has graciously allowed my family to serve Him full-time in the area of missions.  Because of this, God has given me a great desire and burden to raise my kids to be mission minded.  The Bible teaches that Christians should be involved in missions these three ways:  Telling others about Christ, giving towards missions, and praying for missionaries and lost souls.  How can you teach your kids to have a burden for missions?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Be a witness yourself–  This is not always easy.  I know that I fail at this many times, but I want my kids to see me being a witness for Christ.  We should be giving out gospel tracts to the store clerks and other people we see.  When we have a chance, we should try to talk to people about the Lord.  You might say, “what can I do as a stay at home mom?” You can bake cookies for the neighbors and insert a gospel booklet.  You can take the kids to the park and give out tracts to people you see.  If you ask the Lord, you will be surprised at how many opportunities He gives you.  How will my kids remember me?  Will they remember me as someone who was an ambassador for Christ?  If we have a burden it will translate over to our kids.
  • Teach your kids about other places in the world and pray for those places – Our ministry puts out a world prayer map which you can get for free at www.wingsbearingpreciousseed.org.  It has been a great tool for us to pray for other countries of the world.  It also tells the population of each country and the percentage of Christians.  Did you know that 60 countries in the world have  a Christian population of only 1%?  These countries need prayer and they need missionaries!  In Luke 10:2, we are told to pray for laborers.  Many times we fail to do that.
  • Pray for missionaries together –  A good idea is to put missionary prayer cards in a photo album and pray for a few of them at devotion time.  Something we used to do when the kids were small was to have Monday Missionary Night:  We put a sticker with a fun activity listed on each prayer card.  We put the cards in a decorated shoe box and we would draw one card out that night.  We would pray for the missionary family and then do the activity on the card (like play a game, go to the park, etc.)  Does your family know the missionaries your church supports?  You should at least pray for them.  Our church has book markers made up with the missionaries we support listed on them.  This is a good way to have those names handy to pray for. 
  • Read missionary biographies with your kids –  Doing this has greatly impacted my life, as well as my kids. Reading those stories increases your faith!  I remember reading the biography of Mary Slessor when the kids were small.  We would get under the table which was made into a tent.  We would have soft jungle sounds playing in the background as we read (Mary Slessor was a missionary in the African jungle).  Now that my kids are older, I find myself wishing I would have done more of this!  YWAM publishes great missionary biographies at a good price.  They are called “Christian Heroes Then & Now”.  They have a good variety. 
  • Teach your kids to start giving to missions when they are young –  I once heard the story of a little girl who gave a visiting missionary a penny.  It is all she had but she gave it to the missionary proudly.  He kept that penny and wanted to do something special with it so he bought a gospel tract.  When he went back to the field, he took that tract with him and gave it to a chief of a tribe there.  The chief ended up trusting Christ and eventually the whole tribe got saved.  Little is much when God is in it!
  • Visit the mission field together – I know that this is not really possible for everyone.  I have seen how visiting the mission field has impacted lives for eternity.  We take groups to the mission field every year and each time I see the tremendous impact it makes on those who go.  My daughter is 15 and visiting the mission field has changed her life.  It has changed my life.  The eye affects the heart.  We don’t realize how good we have it here in America.  I urge anyone that can to go on a missions trip, if at all possible.

Hope this is a blessing!  May we all be more mission minded!

Dema Johnson

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Protecting our Kids from Predators

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Psalm 127:3  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Protecting our kids from predators – this topic is a rather heavy, difficult one. It is one that I really would rather avoid, one that is rarely discussed in Christian circles.  Perhaps, as Christians, we feel that our family is exempt from being a victim of sexual abuse.  However, the statistics are staggering:  1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.  It is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today, and perhaps you are one.  These are the saddest statistics I have read and I want to see these children protected.

As a mom, I’m one of those super protective types, always have been.  Why?  Because I’m one of those 60 million and I don’t want what happened to me to ever happen to one of my kids.  I have rarely talked about my experience, but I was molested by a family relative when I was 11 years old.  In fact, 93% of this type of abuse is by someone the family knows.  My intent is not to tell my story but to help parents and children avoid this, if at all possible.  I have forgiven my perpetrator and God has given me complete peace and I pray he uses it in my life to help others also.  I believe that God used this in my life to bring me to Christ.  I was a hurting teen and God showed me his pure love through Christ’s death on the cross.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the answer to all sin that is in this world.  I believe that a child molester cannot be healed or really helped apart from trusting Christ.  Sexual predators seem to often be repeat offenders.  The man in my case went on to do much worse to other kids, and my parents regretted not pressing charges.  When I told my parents, they confronted the man.  He confessed but they agreed not to press charges if he moved away.  He did move across the country but wasn’t changed.  20 years ago I wrote him a letter telling him I forgave him and the forgiveness he could find in Christ.  He later wrote me and said that he did trust Christ.  I pray that is true.

How can we protect our children from these predators?  Is it possible?  Yes, I believe it is to a great degree.  I know we can’t put our kids in a bubble (though that would be nice), but we can be diligent and not passive.  Too many parents are passive in the rearing of their children.  Frankly, parents are too busy to really concentrate on their kids.  Our children are the greatest blessing God has given us.  God has entrusted their care to us!   I believe that we have to be very diligent in our parenting.  Here are a few basic things to help us in protecting our kids:

1.  Know where your kids are  –  I know this seems basic, but I’m astonished to see parents just let their kids roam the stores, play outside alone, or even be at church roaming around by their self.  It takes just a minute for something to happen to them.  My nine year old plays outside, but only with friends, and I check on him constantly.  When he was younger, he only was out if I sat on the porch.  Don’t be lazy and let your kids be out of sight.  I have watched people in churches so engrossed in conversation that they have no idea where their children are.  I know church should seem safe (that’s not always the case, though), but you should know where they are and what they’re doing.

2.  Know who they are with – Do you really know your kids’ friends or their friends’ family?  Our children rarely sleepover at someone’s house, we have to know them very well!  If your child is nervous or doesn’t feel comfortable around a person don’t have them babysit or around your child.  What about those influencing your kids, do you really know them?  Sometimes we think we know them, but we really don’t.  I homeschool my kids for several reasons, one of which is I know who their teacher is!  She’s not great but she has the best of intentions towards them and loves them more than anyone elseJ  I think it is a good rule for adults not to ever be alone with a child or teen of the opposite sex.

3.  Know what they’re doing online – The internet is a tool that predators use to lure children.  1 out of 5 teens have been solicited sexually online and only 25% tell their parents.  My daughter doesn’t have a Facebook account but if she did I would want to know who her friends are and such.  My daughter has a blog and I check it all of the time.  We talk about the dangers of the internet and she is very careful not to give personal information.

4.  Know your surroundings – Whenever we have moved, I have always checked the online database of registered sex offenders to be sure we weren’t moving next to someone on the list.  I remember when we lived in Florida and the authorities informed us that a sex offender had moved to our neighborhood.  I printed his picture off and showed it to my kids.

I hope this helps.  I don’t think we should be “paranoid parents” and hope I didn’t sound that way!  I do however believe we should be “praying parents”.  We should pray for so many things for our children. One of those things should be for God to protect them and for us to have wisdom in raising them!

I think I will write next month or so on “helping those who have been sexually abused.”  Think of it this way:  what if I was a Sunday school teacher for a class of 15 teen girls?  Statistically speaking, 5 of them may have been a victim of sexual abuse.  What could I do to be a help to them.  Actually, years ago my husband was a youth leader and I counseled several girls who had been abused.  We really aren’t doing enough to reach out to these who have been abused.  We will cover that subject next time.

Dema Johnson


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Being Wise With Our Words

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Today I thought I would write about the importance of our words.  A few months ago I came across the above poem.  This poem was quoted by Rockeffeler in the early 1900’s and was used in schools to teach the children the virtue of being quiet!   Even the world equated silence with wisdom back in those days.  Of course, this really correlates with what the Bible says about the subject of words.

The Bible has a lot to say about our words.  Proverbs 21:23 says that “whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”   I ask the Lord everyday to guide my tongue.  I like to talk and sometimes it gets me in trouble!

The Bible says this of a wise woman : She opens her mouth in wisdom and her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26) .
Are the words I speak  to my husband and to my children kind?   How about to my friends and even to strangers?   The Proverbs 31 woman had the law of kindness on her tongue.  A kind word can be such an encouragement to another person!  A kind word can help us point others to Christ!  In 1st Corinthians it talks about how evil communication corrupts good manners.   Our whole testimony can be ruined by just a few wrong words.

Also, A wise woman is swift to hear but slow to speak (James 1:19).  In contrast, the book of Proverbs talks about the angry and contentious woman.  It says it would be better to dwell in the wilderness than with her!   Sometimes it seems easier to just “speak our mind”, but it’s not God’s way.   We need to learn to “bite our tongue” and pray for the Lord’s help.  It’s not wrong to share our feelings of course, but as women we tend to be so emotional and that comes out in our words.

Ladies, we really are the thermostat of our homes.  We set the tone more than we realize.   If we are are unkind or angry then our children will be the same way.  However, if we are kind and loving with our words it will make a difference in our whole family.  Let’s be like the Proverbs 31 woman and have the law of kindness on our lips!  Our homes should be a place of kindness and love.  May God be glorified in everything we say and do!

Dema Johnson