Does Your Teenager Have a “Drug” Problem?

When our daughter turned sixteen, the signs were pretty easy to spot. We had begun to notice some changes in her behavior. Sunday mornings were the worst. There were biting words exchanged, angry glances, and heavy-footed stomping. For years we had joyously attended church together as a family. Now, this awful attitude of hers was our unwanted guest. We never thought this could happen to us, to our family. Our teenager had a drug problem. You see, we drug her to church for months. You may be one of the lucky ones. Your child is drug-free. You don’t have to drag them into church each week. They stand beside you every Sunday singing "Amazing Grace" at the top of their lungs and you couldn't be prouder. But, if you're anything like me, you've experienced quite a few difficult Sunday mornings. After a teaching from the book of Proverbs I had my light bulb moment. “Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NKJV, was the verse that kept coming back to me. As I dug a little deeper I discovered that the English word “train” comes from the French word “trainor”, which means to pull or drag. The example used is the dragging of a stubborn mule, pulling and tugging in protest on the reins. I took God's promise to heart. The Lord had given me His permission to pull hard on those reins. I didn't believe I could make my teenager love Jesus like I do. That is a working of the Holy...

Teaching My Children To Rest

“Look both ways before crossing the street. Eat all of your carrots. Did you say thank you?” Every loving parent has said these words more than they’d care to admit. We are faithful to teach our little ones the importance of safety, good health and good manners. What about their spiritual health? How often do I encourage my children to keep God’s commandments? What parent doesn’t want their children to learn what God says about honoring their mother and father or His rules about stealing and lying? But, what about honoring the Sabbath? What about that one? It sounds easy enough. Go to church and you can check that one off your list. At least, that’s what I used to believe.  Honoring Sundays as a family has now become the best part of our week. God created our bodies with a Sabbath DNA. He has placed this spiritual genetic matter within each cell that makes up our miraculous body. We can’t help it, it is how we are wired. There is no possible way for the human body to keep busy for days and weeks at a time. Resting is part of our bodies’ routine maintenance. While teaching my Sunday school class a lesson on the ten commandments, I asked the children if they knew what a commandment was. Immediately one little boy’s hand shot right up. “A commandment is what a king gives!” I thought that was the perfect answer.  God’s commandments are rules with benefits. Yet, one of the easiest commandments to keep, Honor the Sabbath, was the one our family was having the hardest time honoring....

Bible Studies to Do with Your Teen

It’s January, the time of year when resolutions are made and three weeks later…broken. I don’t keep resolutions anymore. Instead, I write down my goals for the year. Spend more one on one time with my children. Organize each room in my house. Throw out LOTS of junk in my house. Eat more vegetables and less sugar. Read through my Bible cover to cover. Do a Bible study with my teenager. It’s been a few years since I’ve read through my Bible, cover to cover. So, this year, I’m making that my goal for 2011. As much as I enjoy my weekly woman’s Bible study, the Bible studies my husband and I have done with our children are even more special. In case you and I share the same “Do a Bible study with your teen” goal, I’ve included a few to choose from below. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:6-9 NLT You don’t have to have a theological degree to read through the Bible together. Start with the book of John, or Esther if you have a daughter. Our youngest daughter Grace (11) LOVES the story of Esther. Our son Samuel (9) reads the story of King David...

Probability

Last Sunday morning, I was flipping through the TV channels before leaving for church. I was saddened by what I heard a pastor from a very large church say about the gospel of Matthew. He told his congregation, “The first chapter of Matthew is pretty boring, all of those begots and all…Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers, And Judah begot Pharez and Zarah of Tamar, and Pharez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Aram…” He went on to say, “If you can hang in there long enough you will get to the good stuff.” It grieved me to hear that. This pastor had missed out on a great opportunity to teach his church. When I was a new Christian I had no idea what this list of names in the beginning of the New Testament was all about. Now I know differently. This list of names is the genealogy of Jesus. Just as God began the book of Genesis with the words, “In the beginning…” He does the same thing here in the New Testament. He starts in the beginning by fulfilling the prophecy of the coming Messiah being from the line of David (Heir to the throne of David. Isaiah 9:6-7). He gives every single name of every relative of Jesus. He not only proves for us that Mary was from the line of David, but that Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father was also from the line of David. What an AWESOME way to begin the New Testament! My daughter Meghan is taking a math class this year called, ‘Probability and Statistics’....

Cell Phones and Teenagers

At a restaurant this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the family at the table beside ours. While mom and dad talked with their young son; their teenager furiously tapped away at her cell phone—texting. Their daughter was no part of the dinner conversation; her focus was on the credit card-sized electronic device in her hand. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day with media—TV, iPods, and the Web—plus another two hours on their cell phones…heavy media users reported lower grades and happiness levels.” My husband and I love slaying the media giants in our home. The cell phone is one of the easiest to kill, in our opinion. We aren’t victim to the media feeding frenzy of this generation—because we know as parents, we hold all the cards. “Mom, can I get a cell phone?” our oldest daughter came home one day and asked. At fifteen years old, I didn’t understand her need for one. I completely understood her want, but not her need. “Why do you want one?” I asked. “Everyone has one Mom. I’m the only teenager on the face of the earth who doesn’t have a cell phone. It’s embarrassing,” she whined. My daughter didn’t realize I’d used the everyone-has-one logic twenty-five years earlier when I’d asked my parents for a Sony walkman, acid wash jeans and my very own pager. As she rambled off the reasons why she believed she needed a cell phone, I had a flashback; standing in my childhood kitchen debating my Mother. “But, Mom, I need a pager. Everyone has...

Where would your child leave your note?

Sitting in Mrs. Bagai’s second grade class, I raised my hand to ask the date, “Today is March 2nd, 1976,” she answered. Then turning back to me again, she bent down and whispered “The only March 2nd, 1976 in your lifetime.” Her eyes smiled behind her large-rimmed 70’s glasses. Her words stopped my number two pencil in midair. It was my very first thought about the gift of time. The Bible is filled with lessons on time. The word alone is listed six hundred and twenty times. So, why did God inspire the apostle Paul to write about redeeming time? Redeem means to purchase back, to ransom, to buy up, or {my favorite} to rescue from captivity or bondage. The Lord warned us to be careful with this precious gift. If I use His gift of time deliberately, with precision and purpose – not wasting it foolishly, then I am using my time wisely. Only when I use time to the best of my ability, taking advantage of every opportunity He has purposed for my life, am I redeeming the time. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time (redeeming the time), because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 NASB I once had the pleasure of listening to author, Elizabeth George, speak at a women’s conference. One of the things she said has never left me. “If your children needed to leave you an urgent note, where would they put it?” What better way to see how I use my gift of time than by asking my children...

Five Truths That Add Grace to Your Marriage Debates

Good marriages can be weakened by poor parenting. It’s important to be on the same page with your spouse and standing together as a team as you raise your children. Jesus was filled with grace and truth, both elements needed to parent and to love one another.

Joanne Kraft

Joanne Kraft is one of God’s girls.  Her four children would tell you she laughs too loud, kisses them too much, and makes a mean apple cobbler. She’s currently working on her first nonfiction book, The Radical Sabbatical – How to Journey from Busy to Blessing, with Beacon Hill Press. Her work has been published in P31 Woman, In Touch, Today’s Christian Woman, and ParentLife magazines. Joanne and her husband Paul encourage parents through their ministry Grace and Truth Living (www.GraceandTruthLiving.com). They believe transparency and a great sense of humor are key ingredients for raising children to be “in the world but not of the world.” Joanne also enjoys inspiring women to remember who they are and whose they are in Christ.  Her home is in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Make sure to visit her personal blog Blessed…...