I Don’t Need This

The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!

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School Logo“I Don’t Need This!” How many times have I uttered those words? Probably more than I can count, certainly more often than I recall. The chapter of the old year has closed, and a new chapter in our lives is just beginning. Many of us tend to look back at the past year, either rejoicing, or thanking God it is over. I am no exception. As I look back at the year, I too am glad, in a sense, that it is done. In truth, some chapters are darker, scarier, or less cheerful than others, to say the least. In my own case, the second half of the year was definitely in the trials category.

James tell us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

To be honest, I struggle with verses like these at times, particularly those hard times. But in light of God’s Word, I have to conclude that my opening question does indeed have an answer. That answer is, “Apparently, I do.” If I truly believe that my Father is in control, is sovereign, and has a perfect plan for my life; and if I trust that, like Job, nothing can come my way that hasn’t been okayed by Him first, then I must conclude that my trials, however unpleasant, weighty, or dark they may seem, have been allowed by Him for some reason, likely more than one. I can only conclude one thing from this: God uses trials to work on me.

God has a LOT of work to do in me, so maybe that is why I seem to have so many trials? Back to James. It says to “count it all joy… knowing that the testing produces patience…” My first inclination, whenever things get difficult, is to immediately cry out for relief, strength, and praise to God for His wonderful sustaining grace… NOT!! Sadly, my first inclination is to complain, bemoan my circumstances, and wonder, “When will this end?”

I am not, by nature, a very patient man, just ask my wife and kids. My Father, however, is working on that. His ultimate goal is not my creature comforts, but that I may, personally, be complete, lacking nothing. In order for that to happen, I need to learn patience, because, at least according to James, patience has a work to accomplish. That work cannot be accomplished quickly, easily, or without trial, because patience is only needed when one has to wait. If all of my trials ended in a split second, when would patience be built up?

According to Paul, I am supposed to rejoice in the Lord always. (Php. 4:4) James said to count it all joy. This does not mean that I am supposed to enjoy the trials, there is nothing pleasant about what we are enduring, but I am supposed to rejoice in Him during it. The fact that He is working on me is a joy, because He is working toward a perfect end, and the fact that He is working on me at all proves that I am His.

Not only am I impatient, but my natural tendency is also to wander, roam, and get distracted. I am like the little boy whose father is constantly saying, “Come here, stay close to me.” Every time a trial comes along, I run back to my Father because, like that little boy, I am afraid, overwhelmed, intimidated, or perhaps simply had some sense knocked into me. This being the case, I can also conclude that God uses these trials to keep me close to Him, which is where I need to be.

In the words of a contemporary Christian artist: “Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero, ’cause it’s God alone that my hope is in, but I’m not gonna run from the very things that would drive me closer to Him; so bring it on.” (Steven Curtis Chapman, “Bring It On”)

As I put this all together, I am coming to understand a key fact: It is one thing to praise God during a trial… it’s not always easy, in fact, it rarely is… but it’s another thing entirely to praise Him for the trial, which is where I need to go if I am to count it a joy when I fall into one. May the blessing of the Lord abound in this new (learning) year as you stay close to Him.

Your Turn!: During your summer break, in what ways are you being purposeful in drawing closer to the Lord so that you might be refreshed for the coming adventures in learning?

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The Princess & The Kiss

The Princess & The KissYears ago, my family was introduced to a wonderful book. It was girlie, it was cute, and it helped instill the value of keeping oneself pure.

The Princess & The Kiss is a delightful book which has entertained my girls ever since we were given this beautiful gift and it continues to minister to them even today.

The Princess & The Kiss tells the story of a young princess who is courted by many men. Each seeks to show her how wonderful he is, only to prove how unworthy a suitor stands before her.

With each passing man, the princess reaffirms her kiss be saved. Through much prayer and seeking, the princess finally finds the man who is deserving of her kiss and in the most  unlikely of places!

There is so much I appreciate about this lovely story. I respect the author’s careful observation of those men who were wrong for the princess and what specifically she should look for. I valued the constant reminders that her kiss was of utmost value and should be saved. I was thankful the princess and her parents had such a close bond; a loving relationship was showed and appreciated.

My girls enjoy having their pop read this story to them. He is hilarious when he does voices for each character. He makes it a fun read, while keeping the focus where it belongs.

When my girls were very little, we were content with merely reading the story. I think it must have been read at least once a night for the first few months and, even now, it is pulled down from its place on the shelf to delight us again and again.

Now that a few of my girls are maturing into young ladies, I think we are ready for the next step. The Princess & The Kiss has a life lessons booklet which accompanies the story; guiding both mother and daughter in helpful conversations which reaffirm the foundational principle of purity.

I am excited to be able to share this time with my daughters, helping them better understand why they should respect themselves and the gift of their first “kiss”. I am excited to share with them the blessings of a rightly chosen spouse and a Godly marriage.

While being courted and thinking about marriage might seem a long way off, it is never too early to start teaching the principle of purity. Even the littlest of girls can begin by knowing which characteristics make a good man and which should be shunned.

How in-depth we choose to take the conversation will depend on the Lord’s leading and each child’s maturity, but on some level each child can still be taught the foundations.

I admire how one group of ladies took the idea of life lessons and created a Princess & The Kiss club! Each young lady was accompanied by her mother. In group, they discussed various topics about how the Lord wanted them to view not only their bodies, but the idea of marriage.

Upon completion of the life lessons, each young lady was presented with a certificate and necklace, complete with charm box. In each box was a diamond, given by her parents. The diamond represented her kiss. The ideal was for her to keep her diamond sealed in the charm box until she should become engaged. Then, and only then, would the diamond be removed from the necklace and given to her fiance to be used in her wedding ring.

Isn’t that a beautiful idea?! Not only will that little lady remember her special time with her mother, but be given a special gift which is a visual reminder of her lessons.

I think I will begin these lessons with my oldest girl this summer and see how things progress. I look forward to the time we will spend together and the lessons we will share.

At what age did you start discussing purity with your children?