Saturday, June 30, 2018

America, The Land of the Free!

Happy 4th of July Weekend! It's a great time to celebrate and be thankful to be an American. We live in the greatest country in the world. We live in a nation where we can pursue what can only be called the American Dream.

What is the American Dream? James Truslow Adams popularized the term in 1931 when he said that "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." Life can be better, richer, and fuller for all of us.

I want to address two questions that might come to mind. First, what does the American Dream look like? Second, is it a Christian pursuit?

First, what does it look like? It's not having what you want in life; it's earning what you want in life. If you want a small house on a farm, with some animals and a barn, it's having just that. If you want a big house with a swimming pool, and a sports car, and the ability to send your 5 kids to a private school for their education, its having just that. If it's becoming a doctor and going on vacation twice a year with your family, it's earning that degree and doing just that. If it's going on mission trips to help others or giving to one of the many non-profit organizations that do so much good for people all over the world, you are able to do that.

Second, is the American Dream a Christian pursuit? When we try to give our "humble opinion," we try to tell ourselves that we should not have anything good in this life and that only God's plan is of any significance. But, you are part of God's plan, and you can do many good things when you are in line with Him. God created us and said, "It is very good (Genesis 1:31)." He gave us the grass of the fields to enjoy, the animals to appreciate, and the food that was good to eat. And he gave family to reflect all that is good in Him. The American Dream can be a way of recognizing Jeremiah 29:11: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

God has blessed us is by creating a nation where the people are "One nation under God," and where we see blessings that come through faithfulness to His Word, in the form of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I love Neil Diamonds song America. He sings about our ancestors coming to this great country, "without a home, but not without a star." I think about that star as hope in Jesus and direction from God, and I am thankful for our ancestors dream and pursuit to come to America.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cheering Your Husband On This Father's Day

Father's Day is a few days away. It's the day that many fathers feel like they are just not good enough. Well, I want to encourage you in this blog to appreciate fathers a little more this Father's Day.

To the Fathers:

Fathers, you are amazing! Just being there for your kids is huge for helping them grow with confidence, security, and good character. Dr. James Dobson says in his book Bringing Up Boys that fathers being absent is the biggest contributor to criminal behavior in kids as they enter adulthood (2001). So, if you are present and spending time with your kids, you can take the pressure off of yourself. You are already making a positive impact on your family.

Dr. Dobson says that fathers need to be the leader, protector, and provider. As you, fathers, fill these roles you are giving your family the stability and structure that God desires for us to have.

To the Wives:

As women, we tend to think that we have to be eveything to everyone. When we are at home with our family, we just want to go out and change the world. When we are making a difference in the world, all we want to do is go home and be with our family. It's a tough battle. But, often times we just need to be the cheerleaders. We cannot be everything to everyone. Instead, we can provide encouragement to the ones closest to us, so that together, we can make a difference.

Keeping that in mind, we need to know that our husband can be a great influence in the world. Strong, courageous, and Godly men can put the world more at peace. We need to encourage them and be grateful for their strength in character and integrity. We need to know that they can have influence and we, too, can have influence. We impart wisdom, discipline, love, and care to our children. Those gifts will shine through them to thousands of people they will meet in their lifetime.

To All:

We aren't to compete with, but to compliment one another. As John C. Maxwell says on Minute with Maxwell, "It's a fact that we can do more together, but it's also a fact that we can be more together."

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Dobson, James C. (2001). Bringing Up Boys. Tyndale House Publishers.