Monday, May 31, 2010

Make Someone Happy...

Help out your Ubuntu challenged neighbors by giving the gift of technology. Spread the word, donate your old computer and make someone happy and if it helps you justify buying a new one for yourself, so be it.

Make Someone Happy!!
There are lots of people around Westlock that would LOVE to have YOUR OLD COMPUTER to use. It may be old and slow for you, but with Ubuntu it can be fantastic, brilliant and magical for a less fortunate person. This is where you can make a difference today! You can recycle your old working Pentium class PC and MAKE SOMEONE REALLY HAPPY just by contacting Pastor Steve at WestlockNaz [at] gmail [dot] com
Go Green!! Help SAVE the Environment! Did you know that there are landfills around the world full of unused and unloved computer equipment, some of it even leeching toxic chemicals into the ground and none of it biodegrading?! You can recycle your old working Pentium class PC and KEEP IT FROM THE LANDFILL just by contacting Pastor Steve at WestlockNaz [at] gmail [dot] com

Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to reload your old machine with Ubuntu, you can still participate. Contact Pastor Steve and we will do our best to find someone to take care of that for you! Just e-mail WestlockNaz [at] gmail [dot] com and let us know how we can help!

3 Things To Do When You’re Panicked About Your Financial Situation

a guest post by John from "thechristiandollar"

When you’re concerned about your financial situation, everything can be overwhelming to a point where you shut down. Whatever you do, don’t give up. There is hope.

Here are three things to do if you’re panicked about your financial situation:

  1. Don’t make any major financial decisions. Stressed people make rash decisions. Sometimes these decisions can take years of undoing to get them back where they belong. Whatever you do, put the major financial decisions on hold. You can always come back to them later, when your blood pressure is a tad bit lower and you’re not trigger happy. Breathe in, breathe out, everything will be okay.
  2. Talk with a trusted friend or financial professional about the situation. Find someone you can sit down with to talk about your concerns. If they truly care, they will listen and help you talk through the situation. It also helps if this person knows something about personal finance. Educated financial professionals are the ultimate help, but don’t give an arm and a leg to get their services.
  3. Create a game plan to systematically eliminate the financial problem. Only after you have taken the time to calm down and chat with a trusted counselor should you begin designing your short-term and long-term plans. Start by objectively looking at your situation and focusing on the essentials first. Differentiate between a want and a need. Meet the needs first and then your wants. Soon, you’ll have a prioritized list of goals that will start you off on the right track.

Don’t panic. You’ll be okay! Throughout the process, don’t forget to pray and seek the Lord’s will. He’ll be with you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Helping Your Child's Self-Esteem

Many children whose parents separate or divorce develop a low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can occur in a child for different reasons: (1) the child may believe he or she caused the divorce, (2) the child may struggle with feelings of failure because he or she cannot seem to bring the parents back together, or (3) the child may have feelings of abandonment when a parent remarries. There are several ways you can help your child's self-esteem:

"The parent needs to interact in that child's life. The parent needs to sit on the side of the bed and listen to the child's fears. You prove your love by giving time," says Dr. Bob Barnes. "Give your children chores. Many times single parents do not take the time to teach chores, or they think, It's easier for me to fold the laundry than to go behind them and fix it. Children know that, so they'll make a mess of the chore so they don't have to do it again. If you train your children to do chores, then they have the sense of being a valuable, contributing member of the family."

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents" (Ephesians 5:1 Msg).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It All Started With a Lie

Posted by kpprobst

It was paradise in the garden God had made. There is nothing on earth to compare it to. Not only did Adam and Eve live in paradise but paradise lived in their hearts. Their walk with God was perfect, unaffected by sin because their hearts were perfect. But then there appeared one in the garden who hated God. And he whispered lies in the ear of Eve. “Did God really say you couldn’t eat from that tree? Surely, you will not die, he doesn’t want you to eat from that tree because he doesn’t want you to be like him! You will have power and pleasure you’ve never dreamed of, go ahead and eat.”

So, Eve ate. She gave to Adam and he ate and their act of blatant, selfish disobedience was completed. Thus, we learned to lie from the Father of Lies. We lie to God, we lie to others but the greatest lies we’ve learned to tell are the lies we tell ourselves. Why write an article about telling lies? Aren’t there more important or more interesting things to write about?

I write these words because my hope is that others might escape the pain that comes from telling and living lies. I wasted nearly two decades of my life pursuing my own self-interests. I rationalized by behavior. I ran away from God’s call. I believed the lie that I was happy and that I was fulfilling my obligations as a husband and father. I believed I was a good husband, a good father and a good teacher but there was no goodness in me.

During those years God followed after me like a bloodhound. He would not let me go. I finally threw in the towel of my resistance and gave my heart to Christ. I then felt the freedom of his forgiveness but I also felt like the world’s greatest failure because of the years wasted.

Now I’m trying to make up for lost time. I often reach for the verse God gave me when I reconciled with him, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” – (Joel 2:25) When I was backslidden and in pursuit of worldly pleasure I thought I was happy. I thought I was fooling God and fooling everyone else but I was only fooling myself. Satan lied to me!! He is cruel and horrible in his hatred for us. When we resist the will of God it is inevitably going to lead to indescribable misery and unbelievable sorrow.

A month ago a blown out oil well forty miles off the shore in the Gulf of Mexico began an uncontrollable spew of oil into the ocean waters. They tried to cover it up but it could not be hidden. They’ve tried to stop the flow of oil but the dark, black liquid continues to pollute the waters. Now, the oil has reached the shores of our southern states and they are beginning to smell the stench of death as thousands of fish and birds perish in the crud.

There lies a deep, black corruption in every soul. This blackness seeps out of the soul continuously and no man can stop its eruption. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Many try to hide it but it cannot be hidden. “None of these things are hidden from him.” (Acts 26:26) Finally others began to cringe as they smell the stench of our attitudes, the stench of our behavior, the stench of our deception. There is only One who can stop the horrible eruption in the deep recesses of our blackened souls.

Don’t believe the lie. Don’t waste the years. Don’t live the short life you’ve been given in indescribable misery and unbelievable sorrow. Reject the lies and embrace the truth because Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8:12)

Philosophy of Life

A key job for you as a parent is to help your children develop a philosophy of life.

"Everybody has a philosophy of life," says Dr. Bob Barnes. "A philosophy of life is what you're counting on to get you through in life. So, if you want to help your child develop a philosophy of life, consider carefully what philosophy you are modeling in your home each day. Is it 'If we can just get to the next paycheck, we'll be fine'? Or is it 'All we need is a car that actually runs'? Perhaps your philosophy is 'If I can get married again, then everything will be okay.'

"Your philosophy of life needs to be a faith in Jesus Christ, where you are counting on the Lord whether or not you understand the circumstances. Your children need to see that your philosophy of life is your faith in Christ. They will walk out of your home with some kind of philosophy, and it needs to be God."

If you think that your philosophy of life is your faith in Christ, are you sure that your children see it that way? Be open with your children about your faith and your reliance on God instead of on material things or circumstances. You will want to make a conscious effort to express to your children how Jesus Christ is a solid foundation that they can live their lives on.

"He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken" (Psalm 62:2).

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Four E's

Dr. Bob Barnes names the four "E's" of child rearing: example, exposure, experience, and encouragement. Along with setting a good example, it is important to expose your children to the responsibilities and the lessons of life.

"Exposure is walking with them through life," says Dr. Barnes, "helping them, for instance, as they figure out how to spend their money. Exposure is reading them books about their sexuality. So you first set an example, and then you expose them to the things they need to learn."

Another step in training your children is to let them experience things, to learn by doing. Dr. Barnes says, "That means you get out of the way and let your children make their own decisions sometimes. You may be thinking, Do you mean I should let my child buy that cheap toy that's going to break in a week when I know it's a waste of money? Yes, there are times when a child needs to learn the lesson that 'Sometimes you may waste your money, and it hurts, doesn't it?'"

The fourth E is to encourage your children. When they're doing a good job, you need to say, "I am very proud of you."
Follow Jesus' example with your children:

"And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them" (Mark 10:16).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Being a Good Example

The first step in training your child is to set a good example.

"If you want to teach your child how to handle money," says Dr. Bob Barnes, "you need to set an example in that yourself. If you want to teach your child how to handle sexuality, then as a single parent you can teach that lesson better than anybody else. You need to stay pure."

Your children are watching how you handle problems, how you react to new situations, how you communicate with other people, and how you show love. Your example in their lives is crucial for their development. Ask God to help you to recognize where you are having difficulties and to help you change for the better.

Sometimes you will have to humble yourself and apologize to your children or to other people. This is difficult, but so important. God wants adults to become like little children by following their example of humility, love, sincerity, and joy.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me'" (Matthew 18:1-5).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nine phrases women use...

Posted by zenichka ... from the biggest country in Europe (no, not Russia - that’s second biggest - the main part of Russia is located in Asia)...

Someone has sent me this as one of those standard forward e-mails. Granted, this actually made me laugh.

This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

Five Minutes
If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

Go Ahead
This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!

Loud Sigh
This isn’t actually a word, but it’s a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

That’s Okay
This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you’re welcome.

Uh oh… Better run. Fast!

Don’t worry about it, I got it
Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking, “What’s wrong?” For the woman’s response refer to #3.

Comment by Uncle B on Re-Lifing Computers...

Retired recently, read Microsoft’s warning on my machine at home, realized my company was no longer paying license fees, being law abiding, shut my computers off, got a friend to download Ubuntu for free, installed it, sweat bullets a bit, it worked fine!

Still using Ubuntu after many years. I simply do not buy products not supporting Ubuntu – their loss, not mine! For an older guy with limited resources, the old box works much better with Ubuntu, no more trips to the M$ dealer to get hard drive speeded up every few months, no more ‘blue screen of death’ episodes with data losses, no more virus problems, smooth trouble free computing and great happiness, Thank You to Ubuntu who ever you are!

Poor kids at my church switching to Ubuntu on older cheaper second-hand boxes. The Great Depression is upon us, give generously to the folks at the food banks, send old clothing to churches, we need it desperately and the future doesn’t look too bright for the poorest among us either.

Older computers with Ubuntu on them are good for homework for the kids with less at home. Don’t forget them, they may become the programmers of the future, so donate your old boxes, but stay legal, load them with Ubuntu first! Love our country and respect its laws, If you didn’t pay for your OS, switch to the free and legal one, Ubuntu, and stay legal!

Amber Graner: Goat Festival – Ubuntu For All!

The American Dairy Goat Association raises goats to send to Africa. Why send goats to Africa, it’s a way to help some to learn the skill of husbandry, and have a trade skill. When the Association folks learned about the connection that Ubuntu has to South Africa, the Ubuntu Philosophy and what “ubuntu” means they said we could give out information on Ubuntu.

There were somewhere between 1000-1500 people who passed through the event on Saturday. People drove in from South Carolina, Tennessee, and other places across North Carolina. There were small business owners who talked to me about migrating to Ubuntu, the Libraries are looking into Open Source alternatives, and I even spoke to people who were wondering what using Open Source alternatives could do for the local government.

All in all it was an event where I handed out the least amount of CD’s and stuff, but an event where I got to talk and introduce people to Ubuntu and Open Source for the 1st time.

There was excitement from people who use Ubuntu that people who contribute to Ubuntu were there at the Local Goat Festival, and that if they wanted they too could get involved. It was great to see the excitement in their eyes as we talked and shared how we all came to become users of Ubuntu.

If it’s a goat festival or a tractor pull, computers are everywhere and letting people know they have a choice about what operating system they use on their computers is important ... people have a choice!

Training Your Children

"Single parents need to get their hands on resources that will help them learn. There are some things a child needs to know," says Dr. Bob Barnes.

But, he warns, "Don't try to do everything at once. You can make yourself feel horribly guilty if you read a book and think, 'Man, there are lots of things my child needs to know, and I'm not teaching any of them.' And then you do nothing because you can't do them all. Just do one thing at a time."

Train up your children one step at a time and with clearly defined goals. List some specific things that you would like your children to learn, to accomplish, and to take with them into their adult lives; think of spiritual, emotional, physical, educational, relational, and financial goals. After you have listed these areas to work on, prioritize your list and come up with practical steps to help you and your children achieve each goal. For example, if you would like to help your children grow spiritually, you could decide to read the Bible with your child. Plan these devotions to occur at a regular time each week or month. What is important is that you stick with it once you begin.

"Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 NASB).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Long-Term Stability for Your Family

Some children who seem to adjust well to the immediate problems of divorce experience deep problems later in life. Therefore, after you have helped your children achieve a sense of stability in their current life situation, you need to take steps to help them avoid the long-term effects of divorce. There are many things you can do to help minimize and eliminate the effects of divorce on their emotional health, future relationships, and spiritual lives. We will discuss these over the next few days.

It can be disheartening to think that your children will be affected by the divorce even into adulthood, but with God's guidance, your children can learn to live healthy and victorious lives. Entrust your children to Him and be a model of godly love to them every day. Keep in mind that you won't be able to help your children stabilize their lives if you aren't modeling for them what a stabilized life looks like. Take heart, though, if you have a relationship with Jesus and are seeking to serve Him, you are in God's hands and He will be there for you. Psalm 121:5-8 is a promise from God to you and your children that He will never fail to watch over you and to keep you from harm.

"The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (Psalm 121:5-8).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Can Kids Recover from Divorce?

Here's a little encouragement for you: Children can and do heal from the experience of divorce and turn out well.

Laura Petherbridge says, "I often meet parents who think, If my children don't have both parents, they are going to grow up very dysfunctional. If the custodial parent is emotionally healthy, spiritually stable, and walks closely with God, the children can grow up to be really wonderful, secure kids."

God loves you and your children so much. He is willing and able to help you and your children every day and every moment of your lives. Turn to God for help, and trust Him to guide you in making the right decisions for your child.

"He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge" (Proverbs 14:26).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Would Jesus have an emergency fund?

a guest post from CPF...

I talk a lot about the importance of having an emergency fund and how it is a necessary ingredient to a sound financial plan. But, I thought we should step back and ask the necessary question, “Would Jesus have an emergency fund?”

In trying to answer this question, the first verse that came to mind was Proverbs 27:12 (NLT)A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

The whole purpose of having an emergency fund is to be prepared for when the inevitable “trials of life” hit. Christians are not exempt these trials and struggles that seem to pop up unexpectedly.

This reminds me of the parable of the foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. From what I can tell, the foolish virgins brought enough oil for their lamps had the bridegroom showed up on time. Well the bridegroom was probably playing football with some friends and showed up a little late. (And he didn’t even call to say he was going to be late!!)

What separated the foolish from the wise was their preparation for the unexpected. The virgins forever known as foolish, didn’t plan for the unexpected by bringing extra oil. Those who were labeled wise brought extra oil in preparation for the unexpected.

Jesus knew the balance of what part He played and what He should rely on God to do. We have a part to play, but it is foolish of us to think higher of ourselves than we ought and think that we have a more important role than we actually do. Ultimately God is the one who supplies all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).

But Jesus also said “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6.

I get convicted by this verse when I have a temptation to think that if I can save enough money, I can insulate myself from any and all problems; thus not needing God. I have to fight against the tendency to trust in myself and depend on my abilities rather than God. The truth is that we can never make enough smart financial decisions or do enough things right that we will not need Him. He designed it that way. We are imperfect beings who are dependent on God.

So, as far as Jesus’ emergency fund goes, if He were walking the earth today, I think He would have one, but He would still trust God for His daily bread (Matthew 6:11).

Non-custodial Parents

As a non-custodial parent, you may sometimes be confused about what your role is. Be aware that you still have a strong influence on your children, regardless of how often you see them. Your children are very aware of your actions and decisions regarding their lives. Be involved, and consistently reassure them of your love.

Another important suggestion is that you provide your children with a sense of continuity. It is comforting and reassuring for your children to know when they will see you; to be able to contact you in between through telephone, e-mail, or letters; and to know that you will be contacting them. Always remember that you are still the parent, an authority figure, role model, and disciplinarian, and not a best buddy.

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (Psalm 127:3-5).

"My child, don't ignore it when the LORD disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where Can You Find Help?

Right now you may feel you do not have the energy to deal with all of the issues regarding your children. This is a natural feeling. God never intended you to parent your children alone.

With help, you can be successful at single parenting.

Dr. Bob Barnes says it is crucial that single parents get involved in a local church that has the resources to help. Find opportunities in your church to establish relationships with people who will be good role models for your children.

Connect with a healthy, functioning, two-parent family in your church that has a child the same age as your child. Ask that family to help you parent your child. This will allow you to have another person to talk with regarding various school projects, church activities, and other parenting issues that come up.

Cindy shares, "I was fortunate enough that I have a sister-in-law who is a social worker at a women's center. When all of this was happening, she said, 'You need to get help, and you need to make sure that those kids are taken care of first. Focus on the kids. If you focus on the family and your children, everything else is going to be okay.'"

"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed" (Psalm 37:25--26).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Parenting or Providing?

Sometimes in the effort to make ends meet and support your family, you may lose sight of your parenting responsibilities.

Dr. Bob Barnes says: "Establish daily: 'What's the priority, parenting or providing?' You need to decide to sit at your children's bedside and talk with them tonight and do the laundry later—even though you are exhausted. Then, you need to make the decision to choose parenting first again tomorrow night, or there may be nightmares later on when the kids are out of control because there was no nurturing parent; there was just a provider.'"

Trying to be "supermom" or "superdad" as well as "superworker" can be draining and discouraging. Remember how great and mighty God is. He does not expect you to do this on your own strength.

Pray about ways you can change your day to be less stressful and more parenting-friendly. Perhaps you could go to work earlier in order to be home when the children get off the bus. Consider asking the church for teenage volunteers to come once a week for an hour to do housework or yard work. Perhaps you could share responsibilities with another single parent, such as cooking healthy meals, grocery shopping, or running errands.

"GOD's love is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children" (Psalm 103:17 Msg)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Loss of Structure

It is important that your home have rules, boundaries, a basic schedule, and an authority figure for the children at all times. They should be clear about their responsibilities. They should know the rules and the consequences. Communicate with your child care provider and make sure he or she knows what your expectations are for your children.

A loss of structure at home can be devastating for a child. "Children need consistent routines they can count on," says Linda Jacobs. "When one parent leaves, schedules and routines change. Children feel more secure when they know what is going to happen next. Routines bring a sense of security and safety to the home. Each parent needs to develop a set of rules and routines. Children can then adapt to both homes."

"I had a lot of unsupervised time," says Loren, whose parents divorced. "Do not let your children be unsupervised, especially between the hours of three and six. I got in the most trouble in the afternoon when I got home from school, doing things I didn't have any business doing."

Dr. Bob Barnes says, "If there is no structure, if it's just up for grabs, then everybody is wondering, 'Who's in charge here? What's happening here?' The relationships will be strained; there will be anger, and the child who is prone toward withdrawal will really withdraw."

"Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them" (Proverbs 19:18 Msg).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Custody Battle

A messy custody battle is one of the most damaging aspects of divorce on children. Do everything you can to keep your children from becoming directly involved in the legal proceedings.

If you have any choice in the matter, keep your children as far removed from a court battle as you can. If your state allows mediation, try that route first and keep it between the adults. Children are not ready to make decisions against either parent. If you do not have a choice and your children are subpoenaed, be sure to have a strong support system who will pray with you.

Your children will be hurt, anxious, and confused. They need to see you drawing on the Lord's strength and seeking His peace during this time. Children will learn how to handle situations like this by watching you. Be very careful that your behavior is godly and peaceable.

In the Bible, Ephesians 6 explains the importance of putting on the "armor of God" each day so that you will be strong enough to withstand any trials that you face. Read these verses with a prayerful attitude. Make a decision to put on this armor every day, whether you are going to court, trying to keep your children out of court, or if you are just facing another difficult day.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:11).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Issues facing the Church

Posted by kpprobst

· Contemporary vs. traditional music

· Segregating services by age

· Emerging Church

I think the issue of contemporary vs. traditional music must be one of the most divisive issues in the church. There is a desire for unity but there is also a sincere dislike for the music embraced by the ‘other’ generation. Can the older generation accept contemporary Christian music without fear of a secular cultural invasion. I like what Ron Hunter said in his article regarding our trend toward legalism, “The assumption was natural that one who was stricter than the founding fathers could not be less religious.” Certain of the old ways we must not abandon but there is no virtue in hanging onto an old tradition that is non-essential to the doctrinal integrity of the church. Most churches go the ‘blended’ route but there must be a tolerance for ‘other’ music. We must not allow ourselves to be alienated or divided by non-essentials. The question must be: Can God be glorified by the music we play? Can people be blessed by the words we sing?

The music issue tends to segregate us by age. Generally, a church that is large enough to have two morning services observes their older people attending the early service and the younger people attending the later service or the reverse. Is it not practical to believe that the older people need to draw on the energy of youth and do the youth not need to draw on the wisdom of the elders? In an attempt to satisfy all age groups we separate them, thus, depriving each group of many benefits the other can offer.

At the front of the charge to adapt to our culture is the Emerging Church. Traditional Nazarenes are wary of Emergent types because they perceive them as corrupting the doctrine and traditional beliefs of the church. Brian McClaren has pretty much shredded the scriptural and traditional dogmas of the Nazarene Manual. The Emergent movement may be a serious threat to the orthodoxy of the church but the question they are asking seems to be the right question: How do we reach the 20 to 30 year old age group?

Premature New Relationships

Another common mistake a parent can make is to enter into a new relationship too soon—before healing has occurred for both the parent and the children. As an adult you realize that life will go on. You understand that one day you may remarry and have another spouse. Children don't see things this way, and they don't have the option of choosing another parent; their parents will be their parents forever.

Most children harbor the idea that their parents will eventually get back together again. They are not ready for someone else to enter the picture. When they see their parent in a new relationship, it can be scary. They may worry that they are losing a parent again, that they will receive less attention with a new person around, or that things will change again in their already-changed lives.

"When my mom started dating, it bothered me," shares Melissa. "Every time she would get a boyfriend, I would always try to make him not want to be with us. Even if he had been the nicest guy in the world, I would not have liked him. Maybe I just didn't want to lose her since I already lost my dad."

Do not consider dating until you know that you are healed and content with your single status. When you do begin dating, go slow; do not bring the children into the picture until you know where things are going.

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:14).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Making Promises You Can't Keep

Children have many requests and demands concerning things they would like to have, places they'd like to go, and what they would like to do. Sometimes parents make the mistake of saying "yes" to their children without thinking it through, perhaps to put the child off or because they feel bad saying "no." Practice saying "Let me think about that." This will give you time to consider all the possibilities so you can make a wise decision, and it will help your children learn patience while they wait for your decision. Be sure to show your children that their requests are important to you by remembering to give them an answer. "Let me think about it" does not mean "Hopefully you'll forget."

If your child wants something you can't afford, then discuss what alternatives are available. Include your child in the discussion. If your child wants to go visit someone or go somewhere special, check out all of the possibilities first before making a decision.

"Your children depend on you to be truthful," says Linda Jacobs. "They would rather be told the truth than a lie. To children, a broken promise is a lie. Children will remember those broken promises and their trust of you will be diminished."

When your children are older, they will remember they were important and that you took time to evaluate their requests. You will have built a solid foundation for them to be able to trust others.

"Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No,' no, or you will be condemned" (James 5:12).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Forcing Kids to Choose

Children do not need to be put in the position of having to choose which parent to live with, which parent to spend holidays with, or which parent to go out with Saturday night. Having to make those choices can be devastating for a child, and some children will try to please both parents.

"I remember one experience that to this day brings hurt," says Kennie, whose parents divorced. "My sister and I were with my dad, and my dad had called my mom on the phone. He wanted us to do something with him. My dad said to me, 'Well, you choose. Do you want to come do something with me, or do you want to go back with your mom and play Putt-Putt.'

"I didn't know how to read him. I thought, 'Does he want me to stay? Does he want me to go? What should I do?' So I said, 'Well, we'll go back.' Then he put on his sunglasses, and as he was driving us back, I could see the tears just coming down his face. That was real devastating to feel that pull and have to make choices."

Help your children to know that your love for them is not based on the choices they make or their words or behaviors. Show them that you love them unconditionally.

Unconditional love is what the heavenly Father has for you and your children. His love never fades, no matter what you do or say.

"The LORD appeared to us . . . saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness'" (Jeremiah 31:3).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Making Too Many Changes

Another mistake often made by parents of divorce is to make too many changes in the lives of your children too soon.

"Making changes too fast is a big mistake," states Dr. Archibald Hart. "Children need time to make adjustments, depending to some extent on the age of the child, but particularly children between ages five and fourteen."

Dr. Bob Barnes says, "Many times amidst the anger and the pain, the custodial parent yanks the family's support system in one sudden move and says, 'We're out of here. We're going to move.' The children desperately need that support system. There needs to be a time of trying to calm down before big decisions are made."

Are you planning any changes that might be disruptive to your children? Could they be postponed?

"Another mistake that parents make is not realizing the loss of rituals," says Linda Jacobs. "Children have rituals that adults don't realize are rituals. A high-five every morning from a parent becomes a point of connection for the child, or a 'ritual.' When the parent leaves, the ritual leaves too. The remaining parent cannot replace the parent but he or she can develop new rituals. If parents don't develop healthy rituals for the children, the children may develop unhealthy rituals."

"Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind" (Proverbs 21:5 Msg).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Restricting Visitation

A parent with custody will often try to restrict visitation to the other spouse. That's a mistake that can hurt your children.

"He will always be their dad; she will always be their mom. There's no divorce taking place there," says Dr. Bob Barnes.

Linda Jacobs says, "Children will automatically have divided loyalties. They may look like one parent but act like the other. They may exhibit some talents from Mom's side of the family and have interests or hobbies from Dad's side of the family. Children need an opportunity to know both parents. They deserve to be able to explore both family heritages."

When you and your former spouse separated or divorced, it was a process that occurred between the two of you and not your children. They are still the children of both parents—100 percent each. That percentage does not change when the children only see one parent on weekends or holidays.

By restricting visitation, you may be inadvertently forcing your children to choose which parent they will be loyal to, which parent they will side with. Don't burden your children with this. They desperately need to have regular contact with both parents. They have enough anxiety and insecurity as it is.

"Do not irritate and provoke your children to anger, do not exasperate them to resentment, but rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4 AMP).

Using Children as Messengers

Another mistake parents of divorce often make is to put kids in the middle by using them as messengers. "For the most part," says Linda Jacobs, "children know when they are being used, and they resent being placed in this role. It will only serve to build a barrier between you and your children." Your children need you as a strong parent they can depend on and trust to be there for them. Children don't want to see their parent as weak and not capable of taking care of adult issues.

"I hate being in the middle," says Melissa, whose parents divorced. "Why can't my parents just talk?"

Dr. Archibald Hart says, "Don't use children to communicate messages from you to the other party. Children resent having to carry messages back and forth."

If you have something to say to your former spouse, find a way to relay the message without using your child as a go-between. There are several ways to communicate that do not involve your child: telephoning, e-mailing, writing a letter, or arranging to meet together at a neutral location when the child is not present. All of this can be done without putting your child in a stressful position.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Using Children as Spies

Parents of divorce often use their children to find out what is going on in their former spouse's life. You might not even realize you are doing it, or you might think you should do it to protect the children. It is important that you do not use your children as spies.

Dr. Bob Barnes says, "That's not fair to a child, and eventually it will cause more anger. When a parent uses a child as a little snoop, it will cause the child to manipulate to get his or her own way and manipulate even the things that are going on. The child needs to be permitted to be a child."

You may not like the way your former spouse conducts his or her time with the children. You may feel that your former spouse is not being a good influence on the children or is not making wise decisions about food, entertainment, rest time, or discipline. If you have concerns, you must not bring the children into the middle of it. If the children want to talk about their time with their dad or mom, let them know you are open to listen without judgment, but that you understand if they would rather not talk about it.

"Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ubuntu ... a European review

Every six months, GNU/Linux inches closer toward breaking the monopoly of Microsoft Windows and competing with the polish and elegance of Apple/Mac.

For a long time, GNU/Linux was touted as an operating system for geeks and developers. A company called Canonical took this challenge and came out with Ubuntu. Although there is also a Server Edition, the primary focus of Ubuntu is home users. Founder Mark Shuttleworth is living up to his promises. In the last three years that I have been using Ubuntu, I have never seen any other product evolve so drastically.

Ubuntu: Free Software Philosophy. Ubuntu offers an operating system based on GNU/Linux, which follows the Free Software philosophy and makes sure you get the best. GNU/Linux and Free Software are perfect example of a pro-people business model and not an anti-people business model where companies strip users of most of their rights.

It's for you and for me. Ubuntu is a perfect operating system for home users, businessmen, students as well as big enterprises. Installation of Ubuntu is graphical. You can download and burn a CD and use the entire operating system from the CD without installing anything. Installation is quite easy and fast. One of the biggest advantages of using Gnu/Linux or Ubuntu is software. Unlike the Microsoft/Windows environment where one would have to search the web for software, pay a fee and also take the risk of getting a virus; with Ubuntu, there are thousands of free software packages in the Ubuntu repository.

When you download and install Ubuntu, you get an entire bundle of necessary software pre-installed. The software packages include: word processor, spreadsheet; presentation; movie player, music player, Internet browser; IM chat client which allows you to connect to your friends on networks including Yahoo! MSN, Facebook, Google Talk and many more through this one software.

Ubuntu has emerged as the best GNU/Linux operating system ever. With looks that can kill, Software that makes Mac OS X and Windows look like Nincompoops, and a rock solid Operating System at the bottom, it’s the creme-de-la-crème of Operating Systems.

Do you want the best OS? Try Ubuntu!

Criticizing Former Spouse

Many parents make the mistake of saying negative things about their former spouse in front of their children. There are several reasons you might be tempted to do this, but for the sake of your children, it is best to refrain.

"It can be harmful when parents openly say things against the other parent," says Lynda. "At times in anger or hurt I would express that I was upset. I know that bothered my children and hurt them. I think that's a mistake."

Wayne Hudson explains, "What the parent really wants here is an ally. You want your children on your side. Because of that, you have a tendency to tell them things they shouldn't hear and to expose them to things they should never be aware of. You need to fight the overwhelming urge to do that. Understand that these are just children and they're not emotionally equipped to cope with such stress."

Think about recent instances where you said something critical about your former spouse. What were your motivations for saying it? How did your children react? Did you think before you spoke?

If critical words have become a habit for you, do not despair. You can work on developing a new habit, one day at a time. The next time a negative word is about to come out of your mouth, wait. Consider your words, your motivation, and consider how it might affect your children.

The Lord promises to help us in our weakness.

"Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mistakes Parents Make

Divorce is tough for you as a parent. You are feeling weak and emotionally drained, yet you need to be strong for your children. The purpose of discussing common mistakes parents make is to help you avoid making these mistakes and to alert you to things you might not have realized were potential problems.

"I'm rebuilding my relationship with my son," says Harriet. "He had to take on a role that was much older than what his twelve years should have had to handle. For almost a year he looked after me. Now I'm trying to get the roles back the way they're supposed to be. I've tried not to put him in difficult places in this whole ugly business. Most of the time I've succeeded. A lot of the time I've failed.

"I remember one time when I was being critical about the other woman, and I told my son, 'Honey, I don't want you to hate her because I don't want hate to be part of your life.' He looked at me with all the directness of a twelve year old, and he said, 'Oh Mom, yes you do.' The reality of that was so strong it forced me to look deeply at who I was showing up as to my son."

You will make mistakes and it's okay. Walk forward, and seek to try again where you have failed before. Keep trying and keep walking with God.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber" (Psalm 121:1-3).

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Children can go through periods of deep depression as they grieve the losses that accompany divorce. The following symptoms of depression are common in children:

* withdraws from others
* prefers isolation
* does not want to talk
* appears sad
* has no energy and just sits around
* has no interest in hobbies or other activities that used to be of interest
* cries often
* is sensitive and easily offended

Dr. Archibald Hart says, "Research has shown that children as long as ten years after the divorce are still depressed. What is at the root of the depression is the loss they have experienced. Not only the loss of a parent, but the loss of dreams, the loss of ideals, the loss of the intact home. God has designed us to respond to loss with depression, which can be damaging to children if they do not learn how to recognize and cope with it. Of all the emotional consequences of divorce, that is the one emotion that parents pay least attention to."

Pay attention to your children and their emotions. Even if it seems impossible with work and other responsibilities, take the time to notice changes in their behavior and talk with them about it. If they are sad because they miss the other parent, let the children know your feelings will not be hurt if they want to talk about it. Teach them how to acknowledge and grieve their losses, and teach them about the comfort of God.

"God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us" (2 Corinthians 7:6 AMP).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Loss of Self-Esteem

Another effect of divorce on children is a loss of self-esteem. A loss of self-esteem is a loss of confidence in one's value. Children feel powerless because their world is falling apart and they feel incapable of keeping things together.

Parents can help rebuild the loss of self-esteem by giving children back some of their power. Building self-esteem can be accomplished through giving children choices and allowing them to make their own decisions when applicable. This can be as simple as allowing a preschooler to choose his or her own clothes, permitting an elementary-age child to select what the family will eat for dinner, and allowing a teen to choose an appropriate bedtime. Start with easy decisions and gradually increase the importance of the decisions as the child grows and matures.

Linda Jacobs says, "You may not be able to bring the other parent home, but you can help the children realize they have a choice to love both parents. They have a choice to love and honor God. When children have some control over their lives, they will feel better about themselves. You will feel better about yourself as a parent when you realize your children are becoming independent."

Continue to build up their self-worth by loving them unconditionally, helping them understand they can't be perfect at everything, teaching them to accept the disappointments, and teaching them to accept themselves for who they are. In God's eyes, your child is beautiful and special and wonderfully made.

"It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special" (1 Thessalonians 1:4 Msg).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Expressing Anger Appropriately

"Children rarely know how to express their anger in appropriate ways," says Linda Jacobs. "Most children express their anger through lashing out and using disruptive behaviors. They may scream, kick, hit, cry uncontrollably, throw things, and resort to temper tantrums. Many times their expression of anger only serves to get them in trouble.

"Some children will experience a tremendous amount of energy when they are angry. Give them constructive ideas about what to do with the energy they feel when they are angry. Teach them to vacuum floors, practice soccer, run, wash walls, or play a musical instrument. If a child is screaming and shouting insults, that is not the time to approach the child. Explain to the child that when he or she is calm, you will be more than happy to sit down and discuss things. This may mean putting space between you and your child."

As a parent, you can model appropriate ways to express your anger. Children will learn by watching what you do more than by hearing what you say. Teach your children what you will accept in your home.
Encourage your children to get to the place where they can talk about their anger. Give them permission to say "I am mad" without you getting upset. Encourage your children to think of ways to deal with their anger the next time it arises.

You may not understand why your children have to experience all of this anger. It says in the Bible you don't have to understand, just rely on God.

"I want you to know me, to trust me, and understand that I alone am God. I have always been God" (Isaiah 43:10 CEV).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

She lived a very difficult life

She was the last of 25 children living in England in the 16th century. She was brilliant but had little education. She married an older man and bore him 16 children. Nine of her children died. At one point, as her home was burning to the ground she counted her children to be sure they were all safe but found one missing. John was dramatically rescued from a window in the second story of the house. Her health was failing. Her name was Susanna.

Susanna’s husband was Samuel. He was a preacher who made barely enough money to sustain his family. He was not good at managing what little money he had and was eventually thrown into debtor’s prison for awhile. Susanna and Charles were strong-willed and argued often. Susanna gave birth to a daughter during the election of 1705. A nurse who was caring for the child rolled over on her in the night and smothered the child to death. Susanna was grief-stricken. She was bed-ridden much of the time having to delegate responsibilities to her older children.

Her brother promised to give her a sizeable gift of money to ease the hardship in her life but he mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again. In 1731, Samuel had an accident. The horses stampeded, he fell from the wagon and he never regained his health.

What good could possibly come from such a difficult life? Susanna was the mother of two children who would one day be instrumental in changing all of England. Who can ever measure the amount of success John and Charles Wesley owed to the prayers of their godly mother? What was it that gave John Wesley the confidence to preach truth in the face of severe opposition and possible death? He had a mother who convinced him that he could do all things through Christ. He had a mother who loved him anyway when few others could muster any love for him. He had a mother who prayed for him aggressively, like a victor going off to war. He had a mother who patiently laid out the concepts that would construct his mind and develop his character like patiently placing bricks on a sturdy wall.

None were aware, perhaps not even John and Charles, that they were trumpeting the thoughts and words of their dear mother when John preached the word of God and Charles wrote some of the greatest hymns known to man. One woman invested in two sons. Two men founded the Methodist church and touched the lives of millions.

Be prayerful and careful, dear mothers. You have no idea how powerful your influence might be!!


Dr. Archibald Hart says you must first understand the purposes of anger in order to help your children through it.

Purposes of anger:

* to force your system to protect itself from hurt and fear
* to help you overcome obstacles
* to put right what has been wronged
* to let you know that something is threatening to you

Have your children responded in anger because they might feel threatened by a new development in the home? Do you have a child who might be attempting to right a perceived wrong? Are your children covering up hurt and fears?

Dr. Hart and Dr. Les Carter offer advice on how to respond to your children's anger:

1. Understand the purpose of the anger.
2. Respond to the anger with tremendous empathy.
3. Avoid becoming defensive.
4. Give your children permission to talk about it.
5. Be willing to use the word divorce.
6. Let them know that you are struggling with feelings and adjustments too.
7. Do not feel you have to solve their problems or give an immediate answer.

Adults may not realize anger can be scary to a child when the child doesn't understand what is happening. Take time to let your children know that being mad is a normal reaction to the breakup of the family. Tell them that while they may be hurting on the inside, it is not okay to hurt others.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Emotional Responses

You and your children will experience some of the same emotions as you process the divorce. Anger, low self-esteem, sadness, and loneliness are just a few feelings that each of you may go through. Be aware that you and your children may experience these emotions at different times and at different levels.

"Children will experience a different set of feelings as well, such as split loyalties to each parent, guilt, and the feeling that everything is their fault," says Linda Jacobs. "These feelings are natural and to be expected. You can help your children by letting them know their feelings are normal. Teach them how to deal with and overcome these difficult emotions."

"All I could do was be the best dad I could be," says Jerry. "I tried to minister to my children in every way that I could. There were deep hurts and anger that had to be worked through. Since I was the custodial parent, I was the beneficiary of a lot of their feelings. I had to deal with that and kindly take it into consideration because I knew they were venting a lot of their anger toward me because I was the most available."

If you are the custodial parent, you are likely the one who gets the brunt of your children's conflicting emotions. Pay attention to their actions and responses, and always ask questions.

"Why do you look so sad?" said King Artaxerxes in the book of Nehemiah. "You're not sick. Something must be bothering you'" (Nehemiah 2:2 CEV).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Children Dream of Bringing Parents Back Together

"If I had one wish in the whole world, it was to get my parents back together," says Melissa.

Almost all children in divorce desire to bring their parents back together again. This is a natural response. God designed families to stay together. He designed marriages to stay together. The children can sense that it is wrong to be apart, and they want to change that.

Another reason children want their parents to reconcile is due to feelings of blame. They may feel responsible for what has happened, and they feel that getting Dad and Mom back together again will relieve the guilt and make everything right again.

A third reason children push reconciliation is because the divorce has caused them to grow up more quickly than they anticipated. They are burdened by the responsibilities in their lives and just want to be kids again with kid-size worries. Allow your children to be kids. Be careful about overburdening them with adult problems and responsibilities.

Teach your children that they can only go forward from here and they must look to the future with excitement and hope. The future may not include marital reconciliation, but life can still be relaxing and fun when you and your children learn to move forward toward healing and recovery.

"Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off" (Proverbs 24:14).

Monday, May 3, 2010

Differences in the Ways Boys and Girls React

Distinct differences have been observed in the ways boys and girls deal with the divorce of their parents. Keep in mind, though, that every child and family is unique.

Lee talks about how his children have reacted to the divorce: "They've all handled it differently. My son is withdrawn and has not said a whole lot about it. My middle daughter, who's very outgoing, was angry with her mother. My oldest daughter is angry and very vocal."

Dr. Bob Barnes says that "in a father-absent home, a girl might go and date a little earlier and get more sexually active than other girls. In the father-absent home, the boy might become sullen and rebellious; there is no male role model."

Linda Jacobs says, "Boys in a fatherless home may try to be extra macho or manly. They may want to enroll in weight lifting and body building classes. Girls in a home without the mother may tend to be exceptionally feminine and want to dress too grown up for their age. Each gender may try to overcompensate for the absent parent."

Encourage people in your church to be role models for your children. Ask a strong Christian couple, whose children are the same age as your children, to invite your children to spend time with their family. It is good for your children to be exposed to a healthy, two-parent family.

"How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings" (Psalm 36:7 AMP).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Helping Your Children After High School

Bob's children were in junior high and high school when his divorce occurred. He lived over a thousand miles away from them after the divorce, but kept in constant communication with them, continued to pray for them, and made sure they were financially provided for.

"The time after high school was an important period in their lives," says Bob. "It was a time when they were separated physically from both houses and parents. They began to establish their own lifestyles and their own value systems, and that is when they came to Christ. They began to try to make some sense out of what happened.

"I can remember walking with my oldest daughter one summer evening, and she just sobbed her heart out as she began to realize what had happened regarding the divorce." His other daughter and his son had similar, heartfelt conversations with him.

"It was late teens, early twenties, when they began to come to grips with what happened," says Bob. "I think it's a matter of timing, and we need to stand pat and be available for our children to work through these issues so they become adjusted and have productive lives."

God loves your children even more than you do! He will not fail them, and He won't fail you.

"GOD, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children's hearts, freeing you to love GOD, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live" (Deuteronomy 30:6 Msg).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Teenagers React

"I had three teenagers at the time of my separation and divorce, fourteen, sixteen, and eighteen," shares Cindy. "One was very angry. Another one went into a depression. Another one acted out with her behavior. Everybody handled the divorce and the separation differently."

Teenage children can be profoundly affected by divorce. Some parents think their teenage children are old enough to understand the situation and that they are coping without any major difficulty. Do not be fooled into thinking this. Take time for regular, honest discussions with your children.

Plan these talks to take place at a consistent location, somewhere free from distractions. Your teenager will know immediately if you are not giving him or her your full attention and may resent it. These talks can develop into opportunities where he or she feels safe enough to express fears, hurts, and disappointments that would otherwise be kept inside or come out as a torrent of angry words. Know what is going on inside your child; don't make assumptions based on outward appearance or based on first responses to your questions.

If your teenage children refuse to open up to you, then encourage them to talk with a third party, someone you can trust to give godly counsel and love. Tell them you hope they will be able to talk with you at some point as well, and continue to provide one-on-one time and to build up the relationship.

"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you" (Deuteronomy 31:6 Msg).

How Children Ages 9-12 React

Children ages nine through twelve suffer a wide range of effects. One of the most devastating is the development of a poor self-esteem.

"That's the age when they begin to try to define who they are," says Dr. Bob Barnes. "That's the critical age for self-esteem, the age when they wonder how valuable they are, when they start to place blame and they look for somebody to blame this divorce on.

"That's the age when they may step into behaviors that are way beyond them—when the preteen boy thinks he's the man of the house and the preteen girl gets a little distant from Mom and is even sexually precocious.

"That's the age of dreams. They dream the other parent is coming home one day, and they wonder how they can make that happen. That's the age when they say they want to live with the other parent, partly to spark a reaction from the custodial parent and partly to see if the other parent will take them in."

Perhaps your children are exhibiting some of the behaviors Dr. Barnes describes above. Always persevere in love, giving them your time and positive attention. Before you react to things they say and do, think about their possible motivations and underlying fears. Listen to your children. Model for them how to love, how to forgive, and how to rely on God when life becomes overwhelming. God is a constant presence and strength for both you and your children.

"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:6).