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What Could Your Child Become In The Game Of Life?

What Could Your Child Become

In The Game Of Life?

Joey & Carla Link

May 8, 2019

Do you help your kids dream about growing up?

  • What could your child do when he sets out on his own?
  • What could he/she become?

 

I had a newspaper route when I was growing up in Southern California. When I was around 14, I was collecting money from a customer. As she was paying her bill, she asked me, “Joey, what do you think you could become one day?” She didn’t ask me what I wanted to do in life, but what I wanted to become.

 

Many boys would have answered they wanted to be a fireman, or a professional ball player and girls would have said they wanted to get married and have kids or be a teacher or nurse. But those are things you do. Who you become has to do with your inner self.

 

This lady’s question sticks with me even to this day because it keeps me looking ahead, thinking I can still work towards becoming more Christ-like versus looking backwards to what I might have missed out on in life or second guessing my career choices.

 

It can be difficult for Moms to keep looking forward when another week whizzes by and you have barely gotten started on your week’s to-do list. We encourage you to keep your sights on the most important goal. What is it?

 

Your kids will get through school. They will get the flu and break a bone or two, making the doctor’s office or ER room seem like your home away from home. They will find other things to do instead of their chores and forget to do their homework on a regular basis, but grow up they will, and they will become young adults ready to begin the game of life.

 

So, ultimately, in the eternal picture of life, what really matters? I think the apostle John tells us in his 3rdletter. Verse 4 says,

 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

 

John is talking about his spiritual children who are walking in faith despite difficult circumstances, but the goal is the same for us. When your kids are grown and have left home, you will have no greater joy than to know your children are going to church and walking in the faith, reading their bibles, praying and seeking how they can serve their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Our children are grown and both of us often ask them what they learned in church that week or how they are growing through their Quiet Times with God. Are they surprised that as adults they are getting these questions from us? No, they aren’t. In fact they expect us to ask. Why? Because we have asked them the same questions their entire lives.

 

We recently spent a few days with our grandchildren. Joey had Bible Time with them in the mornings. It is always a joy to see the three oldest sitting on the arms of the recliner or in his lap as he reads from the Bible. He asks them many questions about the story he read and ends the time with this statement that each of them answers.

 

“Tell me one thing you can do today to use what we just learned.”

 

When Joey talks to anyone, asking about their faith is a part of who he is. He has a gift for sharing who God is and how He wants us to live with kids and teens. That served him well during his many years serving as a youth pastor before moving into family ministry. Last night I (Carla) got a message from a gal who was in our youth group over 35 years ago. Imagine that! She said,

 

“I always think of you and Joey fondly, and how God used both of you to bring me closer to Him

to this very day.  It is difficult to put into words my love and gratitude to you for

all the time and love you poured into my life.

 

Are you wondering how to help your children grow in Jesus? Ask them often, “Tell me one thing you can do today with what you learned in your devotions/Quiet Time.”This statement makes them think about what they could do and decide how to do it. If you do this on a regular basis, your kids will grow in living the way Jesus wants them to and when they are adults it will be a part of who they are becoming.

Don’t Look Behind

Don’t Look Behind

Joey & Carla Link

May 1, 2019

 

Teaching a child to drive can be a fearful experience for a parent. I remember teaching one of our kids who was eager to drive. I was concerned she wouldn’t keep her eyes on the road as she was driving instead of looking at everything else. She would turn her head to look at you when she talked to you. Panic attacks? Oh yes. I (Joey) had many with this daughter. I am sure I wore thefloorboard out on the passenger side of our van as I continuously slammed my foot on the brake I wished was there.

 

As your pre-teen/teens are learning how to live their lives, they have two choices. They can look forward through the windshield of their soul towards the life God wants them to live or they can keep their foot on the gas pedal racing towards what they think is best. Either way, they have the rear view mirror revealing to them their past actions and beliefs. Can they look back without feeling guilt and shame or do they avoid looking at the mirror not wanting it to reflect their unwise choices?

 

When kids with the Sanguine and Melancholy temperaments make mistakes, they often beat themselves up, constantly looking at what they have done wrong because they refuse to accept the forgiveness of God and their parents because they won’t forgive themselves.

 

Sometimes our minds can play terrible tricks on us thinking God could never forgive us for what we did even though He says He does “by separating our sins as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalms 103:12)When Jesus gave His last words of encouragement to His disciples as He was preparing to leave this earth, He said, “I will never leave you, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20) God may be disappointed in us for our sin, but He never stops loving us, no matter what we do. That is what He gave every human being parents for, to teach their kids what the unconditional love of God looks like.

 

With our grandchildren, I (Carla) always whisper in their ear when they are going to bed or they have been corrected for something they did that their Mom and Dad, Papa and Grammy and Jesus loves them whether they are good or bad, happy or sad.

 

Do your kids have the assurance that no matter what they do or don’t do, you love them and you always will love them?Or are they constantly feeling they aren’t good enough or they don’t measure up to what a sibling does and therefore they end up misreading your love? When this happens they become focused and obsessed with looking in the rear-view mirror, dealing with past faults versus moving forward, looking through their windshield without guilt or shame, knowing they are loved which gives them confidence and God’s perspective on life?

 

We know this is tough, especially when our kids have the propensity to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. But God expects us as parents to be mirrors of who He is and to be able to love and forgive them just as He does us.

 

Forgiving someone who keeps offending you can be tough, but forgiving yourself can be the hardest thing for us to do. Helping your children learn to forgive themselves can be one of the greatest blessings you can give your child.

 

A great biblical example of this is Peter. Think about how high the mountain was for Peter to climb to forgive himself for lying that he knew Jesus. Jesus had warned him he would deny him and he said “NEVER!” Before morning, he denied him 3 times!

 

Even though Peter saw Jesus alive and raised from the dead, he still struggled with his guilt. Instead of looking through the windshield of what God had for him to do, he was looking in the rearview mirror of how he failed Jesus, wondering how Jesus would want him to be a disciple anymore.

 

Jesus set the perfect example when He went to Peter in John 21 and helped him get over himself by:

  1. Going to Peter. We need to go to our kids when they can’t get over themselves and have a life-giving talk with them about God’s grace and mercy.
  2. Jesus showed Peter His love. Think of your child’s love language. Find a way to fill his/her tank.
  3. Jesus showed Peter He believed in him. He did this by asking him to do something valuable that he didn’t think he could do. Likewise you can show trust in your kids by letting them do something your head knows they can do even if your heart isn’t ready to agree.

 

Do you have a guilt-ridden child who beats themselves up inside because they have lost faith in themselves? If your child has the Melancholy temperament we guarantee you that you do. One of the best things you can do is help this child “fix his/her eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).Be a mirror that reflects Jesus to your kids and show them how to climb over themselves and do what God created them to do.

 

What a heart-wrenching example Jesus gave to all of us when Peter, his beloved disciple denied him not once, not twice, but three times! If Jesus can forgive Peter and show him love, He can surely forgive us for all our wrong-doing, and your children too.

 

Do Your Kids Know What Forgiveness Is?

Do Your Kids Know What Forgiveness Is?

Jesus forgave us, so we can forgive others!

Joey & Carla Link
April 24, 2019

 

Forgiving someone who has wronged you is one of the most difficult things to do in life. Whether it’s a sibling who took your 3 yr. old’s toy, your 7 yr. old whose 9 yr. old sibling purposefully got her in trouble; they are all offenses that are hard to get over and let go of.

 

Do you know the story of Louis Zamperini? It was made into a very graphic movie in 2018 called “Unbroken”. He was a runnerdestined for greatness in the 1940 Olympic Games when his dream vanished when he was drafted into the armed services during WWII. His B-24 plane he was serving on crashed in the ocean. Everyone on board was killed except for Louis and two others. After 47 days at sea living off of a bird or fish they could catch with their bare hands, they were rescued by an enemy Japanese war ship.

 

Months of starvation, disease, psychological trauma and torture, unimaginable living conditions, and daily abuse at the hands of brutal prison guards reduced Louis to a shell of the once great athlete he was. The movie shows the ongoing abusive assaults and physical abuse Louis endured. It was hard to watch. He says he stayed sane by dreaming about killing his captors.

 

As the war ended Louis went back home to California and he got married. He moved into a new prison however, the entrapment of PTSD, that turned him to alcoholism. PTSD wasn’t identified back then much less given a diagnosis or treatment. So those who came back from traumas coped the best they could.

 

Few people, let alone our kids can fathom living like this without striking back at those who have hurt us. What happened to Louis and how he responded is a great illustration of a normal human response to someone who has hurt us. Parents, if your response to those who hurt you is a “normal” one instead of a “Godly one”, your kids see this and will follow your lead.

 

Louis went to a Billy Graham crusade 9 years later in Los Angeles, CA where he accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ as his Savior and his nightmares ended. He was cured from alcohol and in his heart he forgave his captors, the biggest change of all.

 

But that was not enough for Louis. He traveled back to Japan to meet face-to-face with his captors to tell those who physically and mentally abused him that he forgave them and he shared the story of Jesus Christ with them. However, the Captain of the guard unit who was responsible for most of Louis’ abuse would not meet with him. He was filled with guilt and shame that we will talk more about in the next blog. Louis left him a letter that said “…I committed my life to Jesus Christ. Love replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, ‘Forgive your enemies and pray for them and this I have done for you.’” 

 

What an amazing story of victory parents can use to share with their kids on how to forgive those who hurt them because that is what the presence of Jesus Christ can do in their lives. If they don’t learn to do this, they will become victims filled with hate and bitterness filling them with a distrust of people in general.

 

Louis not only understood, but practiced what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:14-15:

 

”For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

Louis is a great testimony of what Paul said in Ephesians 4:31-32:

 

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

 

Questions to think through and evaluate with your kids:

  1. How well do your kids forgive their siblings when they do something against them?
  2. Is there a difference in how they forgive one sibling over another? Between how they forgive their siblings and their friends?
  3. Do they really forgive them or do they hold it in account to use against them later? In other words, do they understand that forgiving is wiping the slate clean, never to come back again?
  4. True forgiveness is seen in how they treat the person that offended them. Are your kids kind to them? Once they say “I forgive you”, there shouldn’t be a reason they aren’t.

 

All of our children accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior at age 7 yrs. What 7 yr. old understands why Jesus died on the cross? Too many parents think it is a slam dunk; their child asked Jesus into his heart and now he is saved and will go to heaven when he dies and he will learn what else he needs to know at church.

 

That is NOT the way it works. It is up to you to continue to teach him and show him what salvation is and what living for Jesus looks like in his life. The Repentance, Forgiveness and Restoration process should be reviewed in your family as your kids grow at least 2x a year. A good Bible story to read with them is Matthew 18:21-35 about the unforgiving servant.

 

The Rest of the Story:

48 years later in 1998, Louis Zamperini went back to Japan to carry the Olympic torch for the winter Olympic Games. The path he ran took him past the prison he suffered in. For most people this would have sent them back into PTSD, but because he learned to truly forgive he had only memories and love for those who hurt him.

 

A person’s wisdom yields patience;

it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 19:11

 

How will you help your kids learn to forgive others so God can forgive them

and use their lives for his Glory?

 

Why don’t you watch the movie “Unbroken” and see if your kids are old and mature enough to see it. If so, ask them these questions after it.

 

  • If God allowed this to happen to you, how would you respond?
  • Are there people in your life you need to forgive like Louis forgave?
  • How much freedom would you experience if you forgave people like Jesus forgave you?
  • What should you do if they won’t forgive you?

 

The stories of Louis Zamperini and that of Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Nate Saint, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian are sad. To see or watch the story of what they went through to share the story of Jesus with others hurts although they are completely different. The 5 missionaries made a decision to go to a people no one had ever gone to before to tell them about Jesus. Louis Zamperini went through incredible abuse and when he became a Christian, he had the opportunity to proclaim God’s truth to the world. It is good to remember these people because they should inspire us to be willing to spend our lives in a spirit of forgiveness and love.

 

“I think the hardest thing in life is to forgive. Hate is self-destructive. If you hate somebody, you’re not hurting the person you hate, you’re hurting yourself. It’s a healing, actually, it’s a real healing…forgiveness.” ― Louis Zamperini

 

The Power of Forgiveness

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.


The Power of Forgiveness

Joey and Carla Link

April 17, 2019

 

I will never forget the day I attended a church camp as a teen and I heard an ex- pro football player talk about what Jesus went through when He died on the cross for us. He spoke from the text in John 19 about the last days of Jesus. He was flogged, meaning they used a whip on His back, they made him a halo of thorns and jammed it on His head and put a purple robe on His bloody back and mocked Him by bowing and saying “Hail, King of the Jews.”

 

Pilate, the governor of the region announced Jesus was innocent of any crime and released Him, but the Jews would not be satisfied until He was crucified. Jesus was forced to carry His heavy wooden cross on His bloody back the long walk to the place He would be crucified. He did this for me, for you and for all who believe in Him.

 

Middle school kids and teens need to know and understand what Jesus actually went through for them so they will have a greater reason to commit to living their lives for Jesus all their lives.  It’s like soldiers going into war. When they understand why this was necessary, the stronger their commitment will be for the fight ahead of them.

 

You are developing soldiers starting with teaching your little warriors how to obey you. Being characterized by obedience sets them apart from most kids even in the church. As your kids grow, they will become soldiers who will “fight the good fight for the faith” as Paul told his young prodigy Asha in I Timothy 6:12 to do.

 

Easter is the greatest time of celebration for Christians, as it rejoices in the event that cemented our faith. It is a great time to remind your kids what Christ did for them, and to challenge them to live their life for Christ.

 

Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian and their families went to the jungles of Ecuador in 1956 toshare the Gospel story of Jesus Christ with people who had never heard of Him. The Auca tribe was known to be violent but they went because God called them to. On one of their trips, landing their plane near the village, all 5 men were violently killed. They were all in their late twenties and early thirties.

 

Can you imagine being one of those wives or children, knowing God wanted you to forgive those warriors? That is what forgiveness is – being willing to forgive those who hurt you the most.

 

Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel and Jim Elliot’s wife, Elisabeth went back to that jungle and worked amongst the very tribe that took their husband and brothers lives, showing them the true power of forgiveness so they could understand why Jesus would die for them. Pete Fleming’s wife, Olive, went back to the jungle 33 years after the massacre to find out if any good came from their sacrifice. She found that because of that fateful day, a whole people group came to faith in Jesus Christ because of 5 men who said “Yes” to God.

 

This quote was found in Jim Elliot’s journal:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

 

Our questions this week are:

  • What are your kids chasing after?
  • What is most important to them?
  • How much have they taken hold of to follow Jesus Christ?
  • Have they truly committed their lives to following Jesus or have they only learned to believe because you believe?
  • Are they confident in the facts of their faith?
  • Can they defend their faith?
  • Do they truly understand the power of forgiveness?

 

The death of these 5 men was reported worldwide. They set out to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and they ended up proclaiming the gospel to the whole world.

 

These men were living out Philippians 3:10:

I want to know Christyes, to know the power of his resurrection

and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

 

As Easter approaches,

 

I would recommend a family movie night for older elementary and teens to watch. It’s on Netflix titled “The Case for Christ” It’s a true life story of a man who tried to prove Christ did not rise from the grave so he could disprove his wife’s faith. They show his pursuit of the facts (where your kids will learn the facts too) and ultimately he comes to the conclusion like the soldier guarding Jesus crucifixion on the cross who said, “Truly this is the son of God.” This family night will be a helpful confidence booster to your kids’ faith and hopefully challenge some of them to increase it in their hearts.

 

It truly saddens our hearts when we read statistics of over 86% of kids that grow up in Christian homes and go to church regularly end up walking away from their faith in the teen years. We write this to challenge and encourage Christian parents to not only help your kids develop sports and musical skills, but ultimately help them want to know Christ and pursue Him with their lives.

Forgiveness, Confidence and Love

Forgiveness, Confidence and Love

Joey & Carla Link

April 10, 2019
It took 24 men working 24 straight hours with Thomas Edison to create one of his crazy ideas we are grateful to have today, the lightbulb. When Edison created his first lightbulb, he gave it to a young helper who nervously carried it up some stairs to be lit. Each step he took he cautiously watched his hands, frightened of dropping this delicate new creation. As he reached the top of thestairs he dropped the bulb. OH NO! As a parent, you have likely entrusted a special treasure to a child who wasn’t as careful as he could have been and he broke your prized possession.
It took all 24 men another 24 hours to make another bulb. With the new bulb finished, Thomas Edison did the unthinkable; he gave it to the young lad again to carry it up the stairs. Most of us would not trust it to this lad again, but Thomas Edison, who had failed over 1000 times at successfully creating a lightbulb, knew what failure was, and in wanting to teach his young prodigy a confidence lesson, he forgave him for breaking the first bulb and turned and asked him to carry this one up the stairs. He did so successfully.
Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do!
Jesus was in a similar situation in John 13, only he knew Judas would betray him, yet when Judas came through the door, Jesus knelt to wash his feet.
 Question:
  • How trusting and kind are your kids with someone that has hurt them after that person has genuinely apologized?
  • How trusting and kind are you with your kids after they have failed you?
Every child is going to disappoint and embarrass their parent at one time or another. How do you respond to them when they embarrass you and you know they know better? When they disappoint you at home? In public?
These are key moments for the development of your child’s confidence. When you respond positively you are giving them hope for the future which strengthens their emotional and spiritual core.
Jesus tried doing the same thing with his disciples in John 13 when Judas was preparing to betray Him, turning him over to be killed. After Judas left, Jesus gave his disciples a very powerful teaching that is for us as well. He said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35
Personally I think the disciples missed the point of what Jesus was saying as they started asking about where Jesus was going. He was telling them to love each in a way their peers would never understand. He gave them an example of this when He washed Judas’ feet even though He knew Judas would betray Him. Washing feet was a servant’s job. There was no such thing as paved roads and everyone wore sandals. Their feet were filthy. Yet Jesus knelt at the feet of this man, showing true power lies in being humble.
This a powerful teaching to share with your kids, that you love them and you can forgive and trust them over and over and over again.
Yes, we believe trust must be earned, and I am sure Thomas Edison’s helper had that kind of attitude after he dropped the first bulb or else Edison would not have given him a second chance.
When your kids apologize after choosing to do something wrong, can you see in them a remorseful heart? How do you know if their heart is remorseful? They will truly try to do what they can to restore the relationship and make right their wrong with a good attitude.
Jesus realized He had lost one disciple but He still had eleven more! Mom and Dad, your kids may fail you, but there were probably obedient eleven times to that one. Encourage them with that and then give them the challenge like Jesus gave His disciples, to try again.
I think Jesus was challenging his disciples to still go and love Judas when they saw him, and to love each other when they failed.
How well have your kids learned to:
  • Love siblings, friends and other adults who fail or disappoint them?
  • Are they quick to forgive them and look past their faults even when they have been hurt by them?
  • Do your kids truly know how to love others who don’t deserve it so that people will know they are a follower of Christ?
  • Are your kids pursuing following Christ by following Jesus’ command to “love each other” by showing others they are important to them?
“Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs 19:11