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Sad Teenager Girl Depressed Sitting In A Bridge At Sunset
Oct 29, 2015

The Weightiness of Life

“Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30


It is not a mystery to you that life is a weighty matter. How could it not be with what life expects from you? The normal demands of life are seldom a cakewalk. We joke about Murphy’s Law as little things go wrong, but the big things are not a joke. And many of the big things are not a two day worry; some are a lifetime worry. Many learn to roll with the punches. “That’s life is the common refrain. But the statistics tell us that not everyone is able to just “roll with the punches indefinitely; the house of our own psyche can and will come tumbling down in one form or another. The human mind and body is remarkable in its construct to withstand pain and to repair itself over and over, but there are those who fall by the wayside or do not recover completely.
Life is weighty in two ways: It is a proposition of great seriousness and glory (the weight of glory), yet its very nature places heavy psychological, physical, and/or spiritual burdens on your back. You bear responsibilities for others and others bear responsibilities for you; no man is an island. Though 48% of us by poll say we are very stressed, it is more likely that all of us feel the burden of stress in one fashion or another. Every 16 seconds, one of your American neighbors will take their life because the burdens of living are too great. The use of antidepressants has grown by 400% over the last fifteen years. The social causes for which people protest as alleged victims of some injustice or discrimination have proliferated astronomically to the point that all of society is adversely impacted. Additionally, all of us bear on our backs the burdens of the circumstances of our lives, whether physical, economical, relational, or spiritual. The burdens are real, and they are unrelentingly wearying to the body and soul.
In many of our lives, there are oases of comfort, solace, and rest, but they do not pretend to be a condition of the whole. No man is care-free in his sojourn; even those who have experienced the freeing grace of the forgiveness of sins through a relationship with Jesus Christ are faced with the battlefield that is raging in this world, as well as the tests to their faith, purposed to purify them in the crucible of affliction.  Half a millennium ago, John Bunyan wrote an allegory of life’s pilgrimage concerning a man, Pilgrim, who left his home with a heavy burden on his back. It was a burden that all of us bear from birth until, at the foot of the cross, the burden of sin fell off. Still, as Christian (Pilgrim) continued his journey through life, he had to battle the continuous attackers who incessantly tried to divert him from the path that led to his eternal home. (John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is one of the most read books in English literature, second to the Bible.) The burdens of this life are undeniable, so Jesus has a universal audience when he addresses those who are weary and burdened, and he says, “Come unto me.
The promise of relief and rest is not a promise of the removal of the yoke of this life’s responsibilities incumbent upon you, but it is the exchange of yokes from yours to his. Yours is heavy to the point of exhaustion; his is in comparison easy, and his burden is a light one. The one who guides his yoke on you is gentle and humble. Before exchanging for his, your yoke is proud and irascible; it is harsh and unforgiving; it is wearying to the point of breakdown; it is, in a word, “unbearable!
The exchange of yokes is a matter of faith, genuine and earnest, not flippant or “take it or leave it, which essentially is no faith at all. Still, the offer of Jesus is a serious one; it is an authentic, open-arms offer with transformational power. You have to taste it to see it and believe it. It is no trial and error concern; rather, it is “all or nothing. Your burdens are no laughing matter; neither is his offer.  It is the most serious thing you have to do within your life, and it needs to be treated as such. Your lack of commitment to such an offer from the true God shows you place no weight in his free offer. The verse prior to Jesus’ offer of relief from your burdens reads, “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Will he choose to reveal God the Father to you? The answer to that is simple: Will you take him at his word and commit your whole life into his hands? This is what faith is.


“If I ask him to receive me, will he say me nay? Not till earth and not till heaven pass away.
“Finding, following, keeping, struggling is he sure to bless? Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs answer ‘Yes!’
(Last two verses of John Mason Neale’s hymn, “Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid, 1862)


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Man Fustrated
Oct 28, 2015

Being a Man in the Middle

What can I tell you about my journey to becoming a middle-aged man?  Well, it has not been marked by the stereotypical crisis that leads to purchasing a new car, though I have been eyeing a new bike (the type you pedal) for a while now.  And sure, it can be a red bike.
From the moment of conception, we go through various stages of transition.  These physical changes are far more obvious in our younger and older years.  The emotional changes are more subtle, particularly as we become more socially adept and learn to mask our behaviors based on the social expectations and cultural norms. But the one universal marker of aging is change in all areas of our life.
I have always heard people say that change is hard.  But let me clarify what I think that really means.    Changing habits and patterns of behavior is hard; changing others is hard; but change, well, it is a natural part of life.  It is our responses to it that make it difficult.  The reality is that many of my middle-aged male brethren do not respond particularly well.  We are not simply losing our muscle tone, hearing, and hair.
Unfortunately, too many men between the ages of 35-64 respond to this stage of life by getting divorced, changing jobs, having an affair, abusing substances, going into debt, and increasingly, committing suicide.  In fact, 56% of the yearly 40,000 suicides in the United States are from this group.  So, every hour, over 61 middle-aged men take their lives.  As always, in tragic events such as these, the question is, “Why?
Initial studies are targeting where men are most comfortable: home, work, and online.  Researchers are also seeking to address the problems often associated with suicide: relationship, financial, and substance abuse problems, along with the attitudes men have towards seeking professional behavioral health services.
Midlife is a part of the process of aging.  This time of life is seen as an exit from our youth and early adulthood and an entrance into a time of contemplation and reflection.  The energy of youth is still there, though dissipating, and the wisdom and experience of those older is valued.  It is what I like to term, particularly because I am in it, “the sweet spot. For many of us men though, it is not seen as a sweet transition in life.  Questions of value and reflection on the meaning of our lives cause a great deal of uncertainty.  Have we made the right choices?  Did I choose the right job?  Who is this that I am married to, and why are they not the same person anymore?
Reflecting on where you have been and where you are going, coupled with ever-increasing responsibilities, worries, and concerns can create a crisis in our identity and worth.  It is fairly obvious, then, that all of this takes a toll on marriage, raising children, maintaining friendships, and our work performance.  As human beings, separating the issues and tensions within life is essentially impossible.  Anxiety is a natural response to our physical, emotional, and mental worries.
The solution for anxiety does not have to be radical.  Anxiety is rooted in where we find our identity and worth. Buying a car, quitting your job, using drugs, or taking your life does not solve any problem.  It simply digs us deeper into the holes we are in.  That is the nature of depression and angst.  When we are in the midst of struggling, we do not see clearly, and so we need an outside perspective.  We need people who will help.  We need voices that will help us center our identity on something that is permanent and real, not on any form of accomplishment we think is necessary or circumstances we think define us.
For none of us is our true identity and meaning found in our jobs; no job can adequately fill that need.  For none of us is it found in our marriage; no spouse can adequately fill that need.  For none of us is it found in our children; no child can adequately fill that need.  That is too much responsibility for any job or marriage or child to carry.
As a middle-aged man who is a follower of Christ, it can be easy to be weighed down by worries.  Am I good enough, do I measure up, does my life have value?  Those worries or points of anxiety, however, are only rooted in me.  That is not where my real identity truly comes from, and therefore, it cannot be the source of my value as a person.  Identity is found in relationship, which I find in Christ.  If you are struggling with your identity and value, seek counsel from someone who will help you anchor to something permanent and true.  Our responses to the points of crisis in our lives will always make an impact, for the good or the bad.
If you are seeking help or advice, please contact Paul Anderson Family Strong Center at 912-535-2128 or visit www.familystrongcenter.org.


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Newsletter
Oct 22, 2015

2015 Fall Newsletter

So often we see people around us hurting, yet we feel there is no way to help them. We watch statistics worsening (pg. 3), but read how change can start with just one.  Read and download Fall 2015 Newsletter below.


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The last book of the Bible - Revelations
Oct 22, 2015

Ears to Hear

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against his saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. Revelation 13:5-10


One of the absolute greatest blessings of this life is to have godly parents through the gracious providence of God. This is God’s first line of offense in calling future saints to believe. My 98-year-old father just went home to his reward on September 21, twelve years after my mother. His visiting pastor from the church he founded asked him a short time before his death what his favorite passage was in both the Old and New Testaments. Dad had many favorite passages, but now he answered, “Psalm 121 (very understandable for one who lived sixty-two years in Colorado) and in the New Testament, “Revelation 13, powerfully relevant for a saint today. Dad was an able scholar of the whole Bible, but, particularly in his latter years, of what the Bible had to say of the “last times and the Lord’s return. He was a faithful exegete of the Books of Daniel and Revelation, as well as many other passages from both the Old and New Testaments. His prayer for much of his life was that God would allow him to see the Lord’s return; he will, just from a different vantage point.
Recently, presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson used the term “the last days in a public statement. What a hullaballoo this raised from the liberal press. He was lambasted as a “kook, as many evangelicals are commonly referred to today. Carson is simply a courageous believer who does not shy away from truth, nor try to “nuance or “vanilla-ize prophetic warnings from God’s Word. We may well be living in or quite near to the time described in Revelation 13; a good reason why, for this time, my father chose it as a favorite passage because of its timeliness of warning for our day. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
The differentiation of genuine believers from false professors and outright blasphemers of God and the Lord Jesus Christ is taking place throughout the world even as I write. Martyrs are proliferating in the world (crucifixions, beheadings, rape, torture, oppression), even as a largely silent press and unconcerned secular populace go about their trivialized lives in the West, claiming climate change is the biggest threat to civilization in our time. If you want to see the promise of real climate change in the last days, get busy reading Revelation. Restricting carbon and CO2 while further impoverishing the poor of the world will do absolutely nothing to curtail the promised actions of God on the world’s environment as proclaimed in the Book of Revelation. “The One enthroned in heaven laughs, the Lord scoffs at them (Psalm 2:4).
If you have ears to hear, what can you do to strengthen yourself with an antidote for what is coming on the world as surely as the sun is going to rise tomorrow (for a while more anyway)? What does it take to be numbered among those described in Revelation 13:10? “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. What does this require of you?
First of all, trust in the Savior to preserve your salvation through anything and everything, a trust which obviously includes the love of His Word, for it comes from the mouth of the Triune God. Jesus is inseparable from His Word! His Word is truth, and Jesus himself is “the way, the truth, and the life (Matthew 7:21-27). Study, meditate, and obey His Word on a consistent, habitual basis. It is your food and sustenance.
Second, rest secure in His promises to you and your fellow believers through all of the devastation that is going to come on the world. Do not succumb to victimhood in the midst of tribulation. “Playing the victim characterizes this age in nearly all of its social movements. In contrast, such does not characterize patient endurance and faithfulness of a saint. The Scripture never describes saints as victims; it describes them as “overcomers! Read again the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3. Be an overcomer, not a victim. We serve and are led by the Victor over sin (including sin’s products of poverty, racism, oppression, and injustice), over death, and over the grave. Act victorious in the midst of persecution because in Christ you are and will be. Encourage fellow believers to follow your lead.
Third, become acquainted with the message of the Book of Revelation. Read the first three verses and see whether this was written for you or not. How can you say it is not after reading this introduction? God was gracious enough to give this insight in advance to every believer and to promise that you are blessed if you read it, hear it, and take it to heart. I fear there are many professing Christians who are blissfully ignorant of the message of Revelation. I fear they may be among those described in Matthew 7:21-23: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!’ But I trust that is not your testimony. You have a great Savior. He will carry you through the deep waters!
This “day of which the Lord speaks so often is closer than you may think. As the famous line from the movie Shawshank Redemption put it so well, “Either get busy living [in the light as Jesus is in the light], or get busy dying.


“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
(4th verse, “How Firm a Foundation, 1787)


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Yoido full gospel church the World's Largest Megachurch on Yeouido island Seoul South Korea
Oct 19, 2015

Christian Index writes PAUL ANDERSON: THE GOSPEL GIANT OF GEORGIA

 

 


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Millennium Cross on a top of the Vodno mountain hill above Skopje, Macedonia
Oct 17, 2015

Today in Georgia History Highlights the Life of Paul Anderson

 

Paul Anderson

October 17, 1932 – Toccoa map_mountains 

He was billed as the world’s strongest man and, during the Cold War, a convenient symbol of American power.
Paul Anderson was born in Toccoa, Georgia and overcame Bright’s disease as a child.   A football scholarship got him to Furman University, but he quit and began lifting weights instead.
Anderson discovered that he had extraordinary leg strength.  He could squat more than 400 pounds.  He used a safe filled with concrete for training.
In the 1952 Tennessee state meet, he broke all heavyweight records in the press, snatch, and clean and jerk. At a competition in Moscow, he became the first man in history to press more than 400 pounds. The Russians called him “a wonder of nature” — a symbolic American victory in the trenches of the Cold War.
The 5-foot-9, 350-pound Anderson won the World Championship in 1955 and an Olympic gold medal at the Melbourne Games in 1956. The man known as “the Dixie Derrick returned as a conquering hero to Toccoa, where he was born on October 17, 1932, Today in Georgia History.
 
View original article here.
 

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Black and white image of a man yelling with a violent face
Oct 15, 2015

Like Father, Like Son, for Good or Evil

“Please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now. Then the Lord said, ‘I have pardoned, according to your word. But truly, as I live, and as all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these TEN times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers.  And none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant, Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land, and his descendants shall possess it.’” Numbers 14:17-24


A recent public interview with Houston Texan NFL running back, Arian Foster, emphasized his agnosticism over many NFL players who publicly and repeatedly acknowledge faith in God. Foster grew up in a Muslim home, where his father was constantly and violently physically abusive, despite being the head of a “practicing” Muslim home. Foster talked about sometimes speaking to “God” in private, but “God” never spoke back to him. These memories and experiences built Foster’s view of “God.” Though he has good friends in football who are devout believers and are loving and kind to him in his search for God, winsomely witnessing to him, he still does not believe there is any convincing proof God is. I remember well a conversation many years ago with a neighbor, a liberal and unbelieving journalist for a local newspaper where we then lived. His young eight-year-old daughter wanted terribly to come to our church’s Vacation Bible School with her other neighborhood friends, including my children; the church was less than a block from their house. His response was, “Absolutely not.” He said he wanted her to make her own decision about religion when she was eighteen or older. My response was, “You are most probably making the decision for her today, as you have been doing her first eight years, and will her next ten; all the formative years, deciding for the rest of her life.
The natural, instinctive power of a parent’s behavior, character, and proclivities upon their child’s own personal development and being is irrefutable. This natural power is not always totally dominant in every situation; God’s grace can pierce the stranglehold of the poor example of parents, but this lifeline should not be relied upon to escape the results of continuing, unrepentant, bad parenting. There are many examples of children who have been “brands plucked from the fire” of their home life by God’s grace, whose coming to faith foiled the devil’s plans for them resulting from poor parenting. But the truth of “like parent, like child” is borne out by repeated experience throughout history, and the Scripture warns every parent who has ears to hear about it. There are serious consequences to unrepentant living in rebellion to God and spurning His sole prescription for how life is lived successfully; all other self-prescriptions are “sinking sand.” God sent His Son to make sick people well; every human being is born sick. Only those who earnestly seek the Great Physician will find healing from the universal fatal disease of sin. It is sin that is the common germ in unsuccessful parenting. The ultimate gauge of success is whether your children and their children will experience eternal life.
Being right with God is preeminently the best preparation for becoming a parent and sustaining godly parenting. In the midst of parenting, it is the only way to rectify what has proceeded in the life of your child. The grace of God can do wonders in healing what has been previously done poorly. Never think it is too late. Even as a rebellious teenager, your child can be salvaged by God’s grace through his parents becoming “sold out” to God through His Son. The principle of “like parent, like child” is still definitive during the first five years, and through the next five, and the next. Yet the spiritual transformation of parents even after the “deed is done” is all you can really do now to rectify what was done poorly in years past. Your new example and earnest prayer for your teenage or adult children may well do wonders for their own transformation, even if belatedly. The worst thing you can do is become despondent that it is too late. Nothing is “too late” for God before the Lord returns. Take hope and example in the actions of the widow in Luke 18:1-8.
The text for today tells us that our own sinful life affects the lives of the generations that proceed from us. It tells us the power of our own rebellion; our children will be rebellious as we were, as will their children, your grandchildren. But the power of sin can be broken and reversed; this is the whole point of this text. Loving God is more powerful than the generational power of rebellion against God. The impact of loving God in your own life proceeds to thousands after who are impacted by your example. Your spiritual legacy extends by God’s promise to generations by your faithful following of Jesus Christ in your life. You can influence for good and eternity the life of your great-great-granddaughter or -grandson. This is what God is saying here. Do not let this truth go in one ear and out the other as just vaporous words. God tells you and me, “My word will not return unto me void. It will accomplish the purpose for which I sent it.” Cling to Him, His words, and His promises. He and they are the ONLY firm anchor in the constant hurricane of this life.


“Troubles almost ‘whelm the soul, tempters seek to lure astray, storms obscure the light of day; but in Christ I can be bold, I’ve an anchor that shall hold.
And it holds, my anchor holds. Blow your wildest, then O gale, on my bark so small and frail; by His grace I shall not fail, for my anchor holds, my anchor holds.”
(4th verse of William Martin’s hymn, “My Anchor Holds”, 1902)


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bigstock-Child-with-many-question-marks-40193056
Oct 07, 2015

Is That Really True?

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Matthew 7:24-27


We receive news of our world in a number of ways: newspapers, other print media, TV, radio, internet, speeches, and conversation. Is that really true? Do you believe what you read, hear, and see? And if your response is “sometimes, then how do you discern what you believe and what you discount as a lie? C.S. Lewis, one of the most brilliant Christian writers and scholars of the twentieth century, once shared his opinion of newspapers: “I never read the papers. Why does anyone? They’re nearly all lies, and one has to wade through such reams of verbiage to find out even what they are saying. That was 1955. I can only imagine what he would think today. He also wrote, “To abstain from reading—and…from buying—a paper which you have once caught telling lies seems a very moderate form of asceticism. Yet how few practice it. The most prominent newspaper in America today is constantly caught telling lies, yet people still buy and read it…and most unfortunately, in too many cases, believe what they read.
Every day in our technologically advanced world we receive (it might be more accurate to say we are flooded with) information which we will accept, filter, or reject. There doesn’t even have to be an immediate decision about what you do with it; information purposefully sifted and tucked away or not even dealt with when heard can still influence your thinking somewhere down the road, framing your perceptions rightly or wrongly. This is especially true of the person who is not constantly sharpening and maturing his or her worldview, empowering a capacity to discern good from evil. Being a professing Christian is obviously in itself not enough to guard you from wrongly discerning the truth or lie of information, since the author of Hebrews bluntly said to an audience of Christians that some of them had become dull of hearing, needed to learn the basics all over again, and in regards to the knowledge and discernment of truth, were still “babes in the woods who could not handle a diet of “meat. This evaluation had nothing to do with how long they had been Christians; it had to do with how skilled they were in the Word of righteousness. This skill will not be gained or improved by spending more time in the newspaper or before the TV than you do in the Word. It’s fairly simple logic. Lewis wasn’t dumb.
Living as we do in an information world, more so than all of our predecessors, a trained and practiced worldview is absolutely essential to every Christian who desires, in Christ’s words, to overcome the world instead of being overcome by it. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Hear what? “What the Spirit says to the churches. And where does the Spirit speak to the churches, to individual Christians, and to the world that has an ear to hear? God’s Word. The message of the Word is not politically correct, nor inoffensive or tolerant. In fact, it is an offensive stumbling block to those who are dying. It declares a worldview (a God-view) concerning matters of controversy contrary to the now-accepted norm of the culture no longer condemned. Rather, those who hold to the teaching of God’s Word are themselves condemned in the public square, becoming the prey of those who call evil good (Isaiah 59:15). Numerous attempts to acculturate the Scriptures to allegedly “bring them into the modern age fulfill the prophetic warnings of Paul, Peter, Jude, John, and the Lord Himself.
Will your Christian worldview meet the test? Because the waters are rising fast, the winds are blowing into a gale, and your foundation is being exposed.


“Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.”
(“Voice of Truth”, Casting Crowns)
 


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travis
Oct 05, 2015

Moms! Here Are 8 Things Your Children Need to See You Doing

Rise to the challenge – It’s only eight things.  You can do it.

Whether you’re a mom with one or many, girls or boys, toddlers or teenagers, your children are watching you.  And that’s a good thing; you have a captive audience who are like sponges absorbing all they hear, touch, and see.  This is your time to fill those sponges with things that will help them develop into strong, confident, and loving people.  You have a profound responsibility, and you shouldn’t take it lightly.  Here are eight things your children need to see their mom doing:
#1  Loving them: “Hold me, hold me,” “mama, mama” – as moms, we lead very busy lives. Our list grows as the day goes on. It’s easy for us to hear those words and think “interruption” instead of “opportunity.” Our children are growing up in a culture that moves quickly and communicates with as little interaction as possible. Our children need to know we love them. Moms have the power to show their children how to express love. Children need to learn by example. Give them your time, attention, and physical affection.
#2  Being a person, not just a mom: We get caught up in “mommyhood” and often times let that dictate our schedules and priorities. Take a minute to think back: Who were you before you were a mom? I’m sure you found time for hobbies, friends, and relaxation. I did. Before we can take care of all the ones around us, we have to take care of ourselves. Besides, your kids would love to see what you’re “really” like.  
We have to keep our bodies strong spiritually, mentally, and physically. Let your children see you reading your Bible and praying so they know you are dependent on Christ. Make time for hobbies and friends. Children need to see what we like to do and who we choose to spend our time with. Let them watch you socialize outside of your “mommy environment.” They also need to see you prioritize time for rest (lose the guilt – it’s okay to sit for a minute). They’re watching…show them what a balanced diet looks like and the importance of taking care of your body.
#3  Asking for forgiveness: This is the hardest of all for anyone to do, and moms are no different.  We are not perfect.  We don’t do everything right.  We don’t know everything.  And we can’t be everywhere at one time.  We have to be okay with that. Once you come to terms with it, you should know that everyone around you already knows it. Now, show them how you handle your imperfections and your mistakes.  Own it.  Take responsibility for your actions; don’t blame anyone else.  Ask for forgiveness.  
I can’t count the times I have let life get too busy or over-committed myself.  Consequently, my family sees the frazzled, frustrated, impatient side of me (not a pretty side, I promise).  It is in those moments that I make mistakes.  I speak harshly or react too quickly.  Does that ever happen to you?  Tell them how sorry you are, and ask them to forgive you.  A co-worker of mine, Matthew Hendley, recently asked a question that I loved.  When speaking about things we could do within our homes and with our children, he said, “Why don’t we create a culture of confession?”  I challenge you to create this culture within your family.  Let it start with you.
#4 Being confident:  I was not created by mistake or by chance, and you weren’t either.  Embrace it. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  Let those words fill you with strength and confidence.  You are unique.  Your personality, appearance, thoughts, strengths, weaknesses…These are all things that are specific to you.  How many times have you spoken these or similar words to your child?  Don’t forget to say them to yourself.  You are like no other woman.  Don’t compare yourself to other moms.  Keep your eyes on the One who created you.  Confidence is not a bad thing.  Focus on your strengths while recognizing your weaknesses and work to improve those areas.
#5 Praying for them and with them: Bedtime prayers are a great way to help your kids wind down, and it certainly creates a nice bedtime routine. But don’t let prayer be just that – an item checked off the to-do list.  Say the one sentence prayers thanking God for a beautiful day or asking for His light to shine through your children while in the carpool line.  Teach them to pray out loud at any time.  Instruct them to praise God in the good times instead of only asking Him for help in times of struggle.  Let your guard down and allow your children to see how simple our conversations can be with our Creator.  You will be very surprised to see how this will transform your relationship with your children.  Praying with them will create a sense of intimacy and openness, not just with God, but with you.
#6 Doing what you say you will do: I can still hear my dad saying, “Do what you say you’re going to do.  Your word is the only thing you can give away and still keep.  Again, it’s in the little things.  If you say you will be there, be there.  If you say you will pick up their favorite snack from the grocery store, get it.  Those are the obvious things.  Staying true to your word also applies in the “You can’t or “I won’t statements.  Don’t apologize for losing it and snapping at them then say you will never do it again.  Can you really commit to that?  Don’t tell them they can’t go to the party, and then when they get loud enough or ask too many times, change your mind and let them go.  If you say it, stick to it and be consistent.  They will respect you for it and remember it.  I didn’t always like it when my dad stuck to it, but I certainly remember and am thankful for it today.
#7 Letting Loose: Being a mom is a HUGE responsibility.  Everywhere we look, there is something to clean, pick up, or cook.  We analyze every decision, punishment, and conversation.  We fear if we put little Johnny in time out too long, he will need therapy for a lifetime.  We say “yes, “no, and then “yes again because we are filled with so much self-doubt.  Come on, ladies, give the kids what they really want and really need sometimes…you letting loose.  Wahoo!  Get dirty, and get on their level.  Run, play, bake, and let flour and sprinkles fall on the floor.  Laugh, smile, and make a fool of yourself.  The dishes can wait, the laundry can pile up — so what?!  Be a mom!
#8 Being their biggest fan: Let it rip.  Don’t be timid.  Scream, shout, and let them know you are their #1 fan.  If it’s a spelling bee, ballet recital, baseball game, or whatever they love, you should love it too.  We don’t want to create clones of us.  We want to embrace their talents and individuality.  Be on the front row, smiling the biggest and clapping the loudest.  Assure them that mom’s got their back.
I say all of this knowing that we are all different, and therefore, we won’t look like the moms next to us.  Trust yourself and be confident knowing that God created you and gave you some amazing children.  Enjoy them.


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Oct 01, 2015

The Abundance of Good in Your Life

“He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. Psalm (107:35-38)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)


Many people live their lives with the perspective that the glass is half empty, not half full. Others simply take for granted the goodness of God, doing so by generally ignoring him as the source of beauty, goodness, and mercy in their lives; the idea of continual thanksgiving to the provider of abundant good never crosses their minds. Of course the world is beautiful; of course I ate three meals today; of course the sunset was spectacular; of course I am not starving; of course I finished the day in the safety of my bed. No, our focus is not on the good we enjoy; we are often distracted from thanksgiving for the good by what we perceive as the bad, which, as a consequence, gnaws at our peace.
The self-revelation of God is that he is good, abundantly so. God is good to all in the common grace he bestows on all mankind, for all live on the same earth, magnificently arrayed in beauty; all possess a body of immense capabilities; all enjoy sunshine, rain, food, and drink; all have the opportunity to worship the one true Creator of themselves and their universe. Yet many are dissatisfied; the good isn’t good enough or abundant enough. A spirit of contempt rules the heart instead of repentance and a thankful spirit, or a spirit of humility, patience, and kindness toward God and others (Romans 2:4). Contempt is manifested from various quarters and in varying ways, but no matter how, even in ignorance, it is contempt for God and contempt for the riches of his kindness when what he has provided does not produce genuine thanksgiving and humble contentment.
A manifestation, which can come even from his own children, those redeemed by his grace, is the contempt of being unthankful and unwilling to accept as sufficient what he has provided, and desiring more.  Do you rejoice in what he has created for your constant joy, in the creation, in relationships, in calling, in assurance of his presence? Do you recognize that what is yours daily comes from his hand? Do you receive it as something you deserve by natural right, or as a gift from a loving Father? Do you understand and appreciate the truth that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)?  Of course, those who have never acknowledged him or his Son would never offer thanks to the one responsible for the air they breathe, the sustainer of their very lives. But those who confess him as their God and the Father of their Master and Lord should never be found without thankfulness on their lips and a spirit of contentment in their hearts for the riches of his kindness which leads them to repentance (Romans 2:4).
We exhibit thankfulness when we delight in his creation, are content with all he has provided, treat his family members with humble kindness, relish the fellowship of the saints, and worship him with the honor due to him alone. It is not just the words of thanks, but the character of the life described above. With such a perspective, even the poorest among us see the abundance of good they possess; for having the assurance that you are in God’s hands and recognizing his promised goodness toward you, you are rich beyond all comprehension. God is not only good, he is abundantly so. It is time to see and acknowledge it. This ought to be your worldview, even in the midst of dire straits. It is the way to live in the last days, for God truly is good, and his love endures forever.


“Good is the Lord and full of kind compassion, most slow to anger, plenteous in love; rich is his grace to all that humbly seek him, boundless and endless as the heavens above. Bless him forever, wondrous in might, bless him his servants that in his will delight.
(Psalm 103 from the Psalter, 1913)


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