Amber Frank: Out of the Ashes
As I write this, it’s the 21st anniversary of our wedding day. It is also the 13 anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America. You might say that celebrating on this day isn’t always the easiest. The TV is full of reminders of what happened on that tragic day in American history. The countless lives lost, the grieving loved ones left behind. The thought of the long war that was, and still is ahead of us. The memories of where we were.
I will never forget. That was the morning of our 8th wedding anniversary. We had plans for a romantic dinner alone, my parents were going to keep the kids. My baby girl had just turned 6 months old, and my son was 3. I was getting ready to head out to my first M.O.P.S. meeting. It was a beautiful late summer day. The morning was sunny, bright, and full of promise.… continue reading
By Wil O’Dell
Worship With Spirit
How do we get to a place in worship that is humble and real? How can we know the difference between humble worship and showing off? Is it even necessary to worship? It is basic questions like these that make me believe that the sins of our past (long ago or recent) are some of Satan’s most efficient tools in preventing worship. He will discourage the meek or taunt the proud to come up with a logical excuse as to why we do not have to worship God publicly.
I have pondered those questions a lot in my years as a worship leader. When I’m worshiping on stage or off, I have a few criteria that help me determine what is pure worship between me and my God.… continue reading
By Amy Joob, On Emotions Column
Have you ever felt like God was not even there when you needed Him most? Or that maybe He was there but was completely silent? You go through a major family crisis, a financial setback, a health scare, a job loss, or a major strain in a family relationship and it feels like God has left the building and even the stratosphere for that matter.
I think God allows these times of testing to make us stronger and it gives us the opportunity to reach out in faith and believe Him even when we don’t sense His presence near. As a younger Christian I felt abandoned and even angry at God for allowing difficult circumstances and seemingly leaving me when I needed Him most. Now I realize He does not leave us in those precarious and difficult times. He promises us that in Joshua 1:5 and in Hebrews 13:5.… continue reading
By Steve Repak, the On Family Money Matters Column
Galatians 6:9-10(NLT) “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone-especially to those in the family of faith.”
Happy National Neighborhood Day
You are most likely thinking “what is National Neighborhood Day and how can it transform your finances?” First, I do not have any affiliation with National Neighborhood Day. I found out about it while researching this article. National Neighborhood Day is celebrated in neighborhoods across the country and takes place on the third Sunday in September. It is a day where people come together to make a difference in the lives of other individuals in their neighborhood. I really like the idea of welcoming new neighbors, being involved in other families’ lives, fellowshipping and helping with the needs of others.… continue reading
A topic that may cause more eye-rolling, back-sassing, and parental frustration than any other would be figuring out an appropriate curfew for teens. Becoming a parent causes a perspective shift: the things that caused excitement for us when we were teens are now frightening dangers. There are many factors to consider when determining what time your child should be home, especially when your teen is out with a significant other.
The Company They Keep
Get to know your teen’s friends, especially the person they are dating. Work and life schedules permitting, make inviting their friends on outings with you a priority. While you may trust your teen explicitly, you should also trust that their friends would make similar choices to your family’s values.
The more often your teen’s boyfriend or girlfriend spends time with you and your family, the more obvious any problems become.… continue reading
By Lyn Parker, On Mentoring Teens Column
For the past two weeks, I have been helping my sister and brother-in-law pack up their house of eight years to move locally. My three younger teens never missed a beat when it came to helping, but my two older teens weren’t as eager. I would awaken all of them and ask, “Who wants to go help pack at Aunt Lori’s with me?” Without fail, my 18-year-old would ask, “Do we have to?” And here is where I was faced with a decision. Since the younger teens are not adults, I could still “make” them help. My 17-year-old son was often working, so he did indeed have a viable excuse for not helping. But my daughter was another story. Since she was 18, I decided to let her make the decision herself.
My daughter did not help. And as much as I wanted to be able to tell her she had to, I needed to let her test these waters and make the choice herself.… continue reading
By Sherri Wilson Johnson, On Inspiring Purity column
This month marks the 21st anniversary of my mom’s death. I was a young mom when she passed away and had only been married five years. There was a lot I still needed to learn from her about parenting and marriage, but unfortunately, I no longer had that opportunity available to me. Although her loss devastated me, fortunately, I was blessed to have a great relationship with her. But it wasn’t always that way. During my teenage years, we had quite a few tumultuous times. But in the end, there were no regrets.
When my mother was trying to have children, she lost four babies. She lost two before my sister and two before me. And I almost wasn’t born. So as a result, she was very protective and proactive in her mothering. She rarely let us out of her sight in the early days.… continue reading