Thursday, May 25, 2017

Being in Awe of God

"Look at that one! And that one! Look at that Gamera!" Every picture to me is just like the last one. They all are pictures of Gamera. All pictures of no interest to me, other than for the fact that they bring much excitement to my son. It's funny seeing him flip through the pictures, as maybe one in ten might impress me for the color and the effects, and that it looks as real as real can be in the world of monsters.

This illustrations reminds me of how we can be in awe of God. It's not clear from an outsiders perspective, but as a Christian, we can see how God is at work in all of our lives. We can see the detail that makes one story different from the next. We can see that there is much to be excited about when the rest of the world is confused and unimpressed. We can see how the pieces of our lives fit together just right. We can see how the big pictures just makes sense.

It's funny how the rest of the world can be so unimpressed. But, just as I was watching my son flip through the pictures of Gamera, I was not paying attention to the details. I don't even know who Gamera is, besides that he looks like a flying turtle!

If people get to understand the God of the Bible, they will begin to be impressed by his creation. The finest doctors around can learn to fix the human body and bring patients to a state of healing. But, I can guarantee that none of them could have figured out how to link the heart and lungs so that they work together to allow us to run, and to sleep, and to swim. Doctors can fix our vision through corrective lenses, but I can guarantee they could have never created an eye to see. Who can even fathom how we see, how our sight is such an amazing necessity?

Who can fathom how our brains can comprehend language? According to Merriam-Webster, there are about 470,000 words in the Webster dictionary. Just how kids can speak fluently at such a young age will always amaze me.

When we lose the awe of God, that is when we are taking his work for granted. Chuck Swindoll teaches that this is the result of overexposure. Let's not let overexposure to God's greatness limit our ability to appreciate his work. Be in awe of his creation today.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Friday, May 19, 2017

Great Men, Godly Men in our World!

I just got done listening to a sermon on men. The pastor spoke on how men became real men at the age of about 15 years old just a few decades ago. Men had jobs, took care of their families, explored the wilderness, fought in war. Times were tough. Men were even tougher.

I think men are powerful. They can change a whole culture. When you see a good man taking care of his family, bringing stability and protection to his homeland, it gives you a sense of peace and comfort. It is pretty amazing to see the strength that only a man can bring to his family.

According to many sermons I have heard, guys are too busy playing video games, that they don't become real men. That may be true, but I think men are waiting to become men, as they are held back by society's teachings. What is society teaching us that keeps these good men from becoming the great men that we all need around us?

Well, society teaches us that men are not necessary. Women can do it all. Life was not easy for women years ago, with no washing machines, no dish washers, no fast food options. My mother remembers milk delivered to their door step growing up. That seems like ancient times when you see it in the movies. But to my mother, it is just like yesterday. They cooked all their meals, washed dishes as a family, had one ball to play with, and one tire swing. Life was different. Women definitely needed men to work outside the home.

The traditional ways of life are claimed to be sexist these days. However, they can actually display mutual respect. Men respect women for their ability to do such a great job taking care of the home. Women greatly respect men for their eagerness to work for the benefit of loved ones. The family becomes a team, and when the cord has three strands (with God in the mix), it is not easily broken. Due to finances and women's desires to work hard outside the home, the family dynamics have changed. The problem is not the family dynamics, but the belief that men need not be men.

It is viewed that real men are of the past, only to be held as icons in famous films. But, what would this county look like if we were promoting great men to rise up and to lead? I know some great men, and they create stability and peace like none other.

We are blessed in this country beyond what we can even realize. But, we still need men. Our families have become weak, our values even weaker. We need to let great men rise up as leaders. Great men, Godly men give us hope and a picture of the tough guy, full of love, that Jesus really is. Great men are like Jesus to the world.

Giving Your Kids Some Slack

Kids are unpredictable. They can be emotional, energetic, compassionate, and kind all in the same few moments. One minute they are upset, the next they are excited about the new adventures that await. Kids at all ages encounter new experiences and learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about life, all while we, as parents, get showered in their emotions of the time. At one moment, kids may be excited about losing a tooth, and the next they are screaming in pain, or completely weirded out that something so solid just came falling out of their mouth. Kids may be roudy and unbearable and, within seconds, they have fallen sound asleep, leaving you to a peaceful house.

I find that these changing emotions and new experiences require us to give our kids some slack. We need to not get caught up in the emotions, and use our brains, instead. If our children are throwing a fit, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Are they hungry? Was I too caught up in what I was doing that I forgot to get them a snack? Are they tired? Do they feel neglected? Have I been so busy that I have not paid much attention to them today?

These questions are not for the purpose of excusing our children from misbehavior. They are meant to recognize if our children are in need of food/water/rest/comfort and care. We can address the behavior after we have provided the basic needs. Our hearts and our bodies tell us when we are in need. We were created that way. So, instead of getting upset at your children, use they emotions to help you recognize when they are in need.

My husband and I agree that we cannot excuse bad behavior; however, it would be counter-productive to ignore your children's outcries for attention. When you show compassion to them, they will learn to show compassion for others. If they feel that they are heard, their emotional roller coasters will become more like a train ride through the park. You will be on the journey together, headed in the same direction.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Fear of the Lord: Why Should We Fear Our God?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7).

This passage in scripture has been troubling to me since the first time I read it, probably twenty years ago. It is strange to say that I have been reading the Bible for twenty years. But, nonetheless, the idea of fearing the one true God - the God who created us and loves us, the God that wants us to live with him in eternity - has troubled me quite a bit. Why would he want us to fear him?

The only explanations I could come up with was that God was not all that good because he wanted us to live in fear of him or that he was just insecure. Both of these ideas contradict the contents of the entire Bible; so, I knew I needed to dismiss these assertions. I know that God is good.

Sitting up late last night reading the scriptures, I came to a conclusion. It was dark, my family was sound asleep, and I realized something profound. Evil is in the world. I have heard many great pastors speak about this evil lurking around us. The Bible talks about it as a thief that wants to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). Pastors speak about this topic only to give us warning that we need to not get lazy on our spiritual walk. We need to pursue following Christ with purpose. We must not get weary, or fall asleep. There is an enemy out there. We must stay close to our Creator.

Last night, I realized that when it is dark, and the fear of the enemy is in our hearts, it would be easy to give in to the enemy. We do not want to be devoured by this power source, so it sometimes seems that if we just do as he says, he will not harm us. We fear Satan's power.

This is exactly why we are to fear God, instead! We do not want to give in to the enemy. If he tries to lure us into action, by getting us to fear him, he wins. If we listen to the enemy, he does not protect us. He destroys his prey. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but feared God instead. What a powerful lesson. That is why we are to fear God and not the enemy! What we fear is what we follow. If we fear the enemy, we give in to him. If we fear God, we follow Him. I pray that you fear God, love God, and know that it is He who wants the best for you.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Giving Your Husband Some Slack

(Re-posted from 5-17-17)
Just the other day, I had a revelation that I want to share with you. It was a busy day, and my husband and I were getting a lot of work done around the house. He was so helpful, as always, and I was very thankful for his work. He had helped me with the laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, yard work, and taking care of our two boys. We work almost like we are running a relay race, to tell you the truth. I entertain our kids and ask my husband to do certain tasks. Then, after a little bit, I hand our 5-month-old off to him, and I continue with the work to be done. Running around, handing the baton back and forth, seems to be a very effective method for getting things done.

Well, the day was finally slowing down, and an interesting thought came to my mind. I know this sounds crazy, but I realized something life-changing (possibly, for my husband, that is!). I realized that not once in all of those 24 hours did my husband ask me to do anything! ... I was in awe. That whole day I had been giving him instructions and asking him for help, and not once did he ask me to do anything for him.

I told my husband what I had realized, and he just gave me a smile and laughed. I listen to talks on marriage, but this was a new revelation. One expert in the area of relationships is Mark Gungor. His wisdom and originality brings helpful teaching to the world of marriage. I remember him saying the laundry can be in the center of the room, blocking the television, blocking a direct route to the kitchen, but unless you ask (twice!), he will not even realize the room looks any different. He taught that he could go to the grocery store completely confident in what he is buying for his wife. He will be so confident that he does not even bring a list. He buys what he needs, comes home, and realizes, through his wife's expressions, that he totally forgot what she needed.

Until now, I thought men were just forgetful by nature, confidently forgetful. You see your husband look like a million bucks as he strides out the door, eager  to go run some errands to make you, his beloved wife, happy. Thanks to cell phones, you can call him half-way through to check up on him and make sure he is doing okay. After realizing that he has forgotten what he is looking for, we ask ourselves, once again, are our husbands just that forgetful?

You may be surprised to find that my answer is no. I learned recently that women sometimes speak at least three times as much as men, meaning the rate that the words just come out of our mouth is way too much for our husbands to hear, let alone remember. That does not mean we have to necessarily slow down when we are talking, but it does mean we should give our husbands some slack. We should listen to ourselves, and ask, "If someone were giving me those instructions, would I remember them?" "If someone gave me those directions, could I follow them?" "Would I forget things from time to time, if I were receiving instructions all day long?" Give your husband some slack.

The encouragement I want to give to you comes from my husband. When I asked him about this revelation, after apologizing for all of my orders that day, he said to me, "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is in charge of the affairs of the house." God can use women in taking care of the home, and we must, at times, instruct others in these matters. When we pair our gifts with kindness and patience, it brings peace to everyone in the home.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng