Do We Tell Our Kids the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth?

by Sally Matheny
Telling the Whole Truth
     When testifying in court, people say an oath, an affirmation, or a promise to tell the whole truth. Some lay a hand on what they consider their holy book while others will only pledge on an ordinary book with a black cover. 

     No matter what the beliefs of the witness are, he is expected to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
     We clearly understand courtroom expectations. However, do we tell our kids the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
     Most parents understand how much of the truth a child can handle. For instance, we know we dare not tell our young children of some of the evil in the world lest they worry and not sleep at night.
     Also, many parents understand the delicacy of honesty. When our child asks us if we like Grandma’s new purple hair, we know how to hedge with, “Grandma loves purple.  It matches the purple flowers on her dress, doesn’t it? Let’s go see what Dad is doing.”

     However, wise parents tell their children the truth when it concerns life-and-death situations.

     We teach them the truths of life preservation from the moment we know they can understand. 

     We tell them the dangers of mixing water with electricity, running through a parking lot, or playing near the road.  Don’t play tug-o-war on the stairs. Don’t stick metal tongs in the toaster. Don’t double-dog dare your brother to put his hand down the garbage disposal.
     We do not hesitate to tell them the truth about the consequences of unsafe behaviors.
     It is second nature to teach life-saving truths to our children. However, the spiritual truths sometimes get lost in the hustle of everyday life. Or do we simply choose to avoid them?
     Should we not be just as concerned, if not more so, about the spiritual truths? Don’t they ultimately have the potential to save our children’s lives?
     Of course, we need to take into account what is age-appropriate. All children mature differently.

Are we sugarcoating God's judgment?
     However, at times, do we find ourselves sugarcoating God’s judgment and practically eliminating his wrath in conversations with our kids?

     Do we try to rationalize or rectify things we should not?

     Do we exempt or embellish parts of His Holy Word?

     Are we clinging more to worldly traditions than godly Truth?
     God help us.

     Lord, thank you for sending us your Son who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
     Please give us a keen awareness of your Truth concerning all things. God, teach us so we may teach our children.
     Forgive us if we have distorted your Truth in any way. Help us to stand firm and not run carelessly on the world’s easy route.
     Please, O Lord, help us be courageous parents who seek the Truth, apply the Truth, and teach the Truth.  Amen.

Help us be courageous parents who
seek, apply, and teach the Truth.

     Will you pledge to tell your children and grandchildren God’s Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth? 


Lost and Found--From Cell Phones to Souls

After leaving a hotel, my husband realized he had left his cell phone charger plugged in the room. Thirty minutes later, we returned to the hotel to retrieve it. The room had been cleaned and no charger was in sight. The manager said not to worry it was probably in the lost and found room. My husband followed the man down to a storage room. When the door was opened, my husband was astounded by the magnitude of items. Shelves and shelves of cords and chargers were displayed.
My husband was overwhelmed. The manager pointed him to a specific area in the middle of the chaos. So the search began until he finally found a charger that fit his phone. He told the manager he wasn’t sure if it was the one that belonged to him or not. The manager didn’t     mind. He was just happy one had found a home.

My husband could not stop talking about this room chocked full of lost items and finding a charger in the midst of the sea of cords. It reminded me of all the “finding” I read in John 1.

There was a man named Andrew who found Jesus and asked him where he was staying because he wanted to hear more of what Jesus was saying. Jesus told Andrew, “Come and you will see.”

After Andrew found Jesus, the next thing Andrew did was go and find his own brother Simon (Peter) and he took him to Jesus.
The next day, Jesus found Philip. Jesus told Philip to follow him.
Philip went and found Nathanael. He told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth—the son of Joseph.”
Nathanael was a little surprised and asked if anything good could come from Nazareth.
Philip simply said, “Come and see.” 
That’s a great deal of “finding” in just ten verses. Jesus came to where Andrew was first. Then Andrew found Jesus. He then shared his enthusiasm with his brother. The next day Jesus found Philip. Philip shared the good news with Nathanael. There’s as much sharing in this story as there is finding!


However, how often do we share our salvation experience, our joy and hope with others?  Quite often we get stuck on the “Me and Mine” path. We want our children and our family to be saved. Our goal becomes to get me and mine to heaven. 
Understandably, like Andrew, the first people we share our joy with are family members. Yes, we should train and aim our children towards Christ. We pray earnestly for family members to see their need for Christ and that God will draw them to Him.


But what about the little girl that lives in the undesirable neighborhood around the corner? What about the quiet co-worker who keeps to himself, or the loud, obnoxious student we avoid in the hallway? Or the old man with ragged clothes who sits at the gas station every day? What about those who already have their own god? Or those who have faith enough to believe there isn’t One?

Who will find them?

I was unworthy of the King of Kings coming to find me. But He did. Not only did He love me enough to find me, He loved me enough to die for me. How can I not allow Jesus to use me to show others the way to Him? Yes, I want me and mine to be saved but there’s a world chockfull of people who have gone astray. It’s overwhelming how many are lost in the entanglement of sin.

Who will I go find this week to tell about Jesus? Who will you go and find?

It's not always an easy task. But if you ask Him, the Manager will point the way.
He and all His angels rejoice when each one is found.



The Big Girl Chair, the Spaceship, and the Future

by Sally Matheny
When I began writing in 2010, I waited for the whim to pass. I thought it would be like most of my other hobbies that were tossed aside—cross-stitch, latch hook rugs, even piano. As I learned the writing craft, I made do with an old computer desk, a T.V. tray, and a very uncomfortable desk chair. The chair was my daughter’s, when she was younger. My family encouraged me to get a better chair—a comfortable, adult-size chair.

My response was always that if my work were ever published by one certain publisher, then I would buy myself a “Big Girl” chair. A new chair would be a reward for sticking with it, rather than giving up after the first few snags (a.k.a. rejections). So, I set to work.

Rejections came, and several times I thought perhaps writing was not for me. Every time I thought about quitting, God sent something to encourage me to keep working at it. A few acceptances filtered in but not from the specific publisher I had set as my big goal. My aching back and neck really wanted to meet that goal!
Finally, finally, finally…I received that long-awaited email. I sang out to my family, “I’m going to get my Big Girl chair!”

Like Goldilocks, I skipped into Staples and tested all their chairs.
“Too hard.”
“Too soft.”
“Too expensive!”

Sadly, I left without a chair. Not one of them was just right. I liked the high back chairs better than the low back ones. But the ones I saw were a bit more than what I had expected to pay. I decided to wait, and left empty-handed.  

Staples must have had their eye on me testing out all their chairs. A few days later I got an email:
“HOT DAILY SPECIAL! Save $90 today only!”

I opened the email and behold, it advertised a high back office chair! They didn’t have this one on the floor at my Staples. The price was fantastic and they guaranteed free delivery and free return if I didn’t like it. What did I have to lose?  

I clicked the Staples’ “buy” button. Now, that was easy. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) J

Two days later, my chair, well the box with the chair in it, was delivered. My sweet hubby happily began assembling it for me. He loves to put things together (preferably without my help). Standing nearby, I eagerly waited on the chair's assembly.

Our son enjoys creating things as well. Z-man called dibs on the box before we could even get the pieces out of it. While his dad worked on the chair, Z-man wanted to make a spaceship. Z-man, however, likes my assistance.


  Under his direction, I cut out wings 
  and a door.

We ran out of duct tape so electrical tape was retrieved. Nothing holds a candle to duct tape. It was quickly added to the next day’s grocery list.
Z-man didn’t want to wait though, so he forged onward.


Snags popped up. Hubby put an arm handle on backwards. I mentioned something about reading directions and was quickly dismissed from his work area. Which was fine, because my help was in great demand from the budding astronaut, oops, I mean Galactic Spaceship Commander.

The Spaceship

We added firepower.
To show his appreciation for all my hard work, Z-man tested his firepower on me.

Then he installed an awesome control panel that does amazing things, but that’s classified information.

Soon, we were also testing out my new, Big Girl chair! Z-man and I were having fun rolling down the hallway until we were told we might be scratching the floors. (This came from the man who worked so hard to install them).
The chair was carried upstairs to the study (a.k.a. Z-man’s homeschool room). I tested it out and loved the high back. Remembering something we had tucked in the attic three years ago, I jumped up to go look for it.

The Big Girl Chair
I found the electronic back massager, strapped it on the chair, and plugged it in. Smiling, I told my hubby, “As Phil Robertson says, ‘Now, we’re cooking in peanut oil.” (I don’t know why peanut oil is so special, but this phrase has latched on at our house!)
I sit down and write for a bit, thanking God all the while for the more comfortable chair. Later, I head downstairs. After dodging incoming fire from the Blue Raider spaceship, I find my husband and thank him again for his help with the chair.
“You got your Big Girl chair. What’s your next goal?”

“Hmmm…how about a Big Girl desk? I’m almost ready to get rid of the T.V. tray,” I said, grinning.

Here's to the Future


Z-man chimes in, “Whatever you do, we’re never going to get rid of this spaceship, ever, okay?” 

Knowing one day he’ll outgrow it (and possibly upgrade his current ship to one that is desk size), I simply shout, “To the future and beyond!”




Are You Stretched to a Numbing Ineffectiveness?

by Sally Matheny

Embarrassing ineffectiveness

The day I sashayed into the church with the back corner of my dress firmly tucked inside my pantyhose ranks in the top five of my most embarrassing moments.

Before the morning worship service, I corralled my two toddlers and I into the restroom. Anyone with toddlers knows this is no easy feat.

After chasing the youngest down the sanctuary aisle, we finally settled into a pew. 

Immediately, a sweet teenage girl quietly slipped in the pew behind me informing me of my predicament. If I could crawl under the pew and slither out, I would have. 

My four-year-old daughter's squeaky voice pelted, "Whatcha' gonna to do, Mama? Whatcha' gonna to do?"

One option was to slither to the floor and roll under two pews until I reached the side door. It was only fifteen or twenty feet away but I didn't suppose it would look favorably upon me to leave the kids. Especially, since I determined I would never return. This called for an immediate change in church membership. Plus, I'd have to stand up again to open the door.  No way was I going to expose my backside again.

My only option was to remain seated, laugh it off, and yank the dress out as discreetly as possible.
Afterwards, my husband asked, “Could you not feel the dress stuck in there?”
I assured him with all the control top undergarments, everything felt stuffed in there! Due to the numbing tightness, I was totally unaware the dress had gone astray.

That incident happened over fifteen years ago. Women don't wear sheer nylon hose like they used to, and many opt for solid colors or no hose at all now. Nonetheless, not one Sunday has gone by since then that I have not triple-checked the location of my hemline. Needless to say—lesson learned.
All too often, I rush around in life, never really seeking God’s direction. Sometimes my day is jam-packed with so much stuff. Stuff of which I haphazardly agreed to mandate, participate, and coordinate. Often, I'm so busy running around that I fail to realize something is amiss.
It’s easy for my heart to become calloused to God’s purpose for my life. Even if all my activities are good ones, I can allow myself to become stretched to a numbing ineffectiveness.
God wants me 100%. He wants to be the first thing on my mind and then, let the other things fall into place. When I choose to keep my primary focus on Him, amazing things come to pass.
When hardships burden you because you rushed ahead and did not seek God’s counsel … slow down.
Choose not the controlling pressures of the world, but rejoice in the freedom Christ offers. Pray. Seek God’s wisdom and guidance in all things, including the use of your time. Tust and obey when He says, “Be still.” Any afflictions along the way will soften your heart, making you sensitive again to His voice and His will for your life

Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Psalm 119:70-71 NIV
How are YOU doing today?


Are You on a Lovely Island or a Lonely One?

by Sally Matheny
Does an island get-away sound lovely to you?
Would it be lovely if you were deserted there?

What if there were many people, yet you are still left alone? What if your only company were the demons tagging along inside of you?
There are many lonely people in the world. Learn from this man’s success story:
  “When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.”

Did this demon-possessed man hear Jesus was coming? Did he have enough of his own senses to run and seek out Jesus?  
Whatever the case, Jesus knew exactly where he wanted to land his boat. He took the first step towards the man in need.

 “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet…
 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man.”

Whether it was the man, or the demons inside of him, they fell at the feet of Jesus Christ. The impure spirit was commanded to come out. Jesus has the authority. Jesus is Ruler of all.

“Many times… [the man] had been driven by the demons into solitary places.”

Solitary places can sometimes be lovely—for a while--but, not for very long. Succumbing to live in the cold desolation of a cemetery; this man's only companions were graves and demons.

 “Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’

 ‘Legion,’ he replied, because many demons had gone into him.

And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.”
Jesus knows everything. So why did he ask the man his name?


Other people gathered, curious about the man landing on their shore . When the demon-possessed man stated his name aloud, there would be no questions later, if this was truly the same man whose life Jesus changed.

The demons begged Jesus. Why?
Because even the demons know who is the Master of all.

It’s ironic that the demons tortured the man into a dark and lonely existence yet, they begged Jesus to spare them from such a place.
 “A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them his permission.”

Again, Jesus is in control. He knew what the pigs would do. The pigs were so crazed by the demons they ran off a cliff and drowned in a lake.
Those who witnessed the event ran off to tell others of this startling event. More people came. They stared at the changed man who was now dressed, and in his right mind.

They found him sitting at Jesus’ feet--probably kissing and hugging them. 
Wouldn’t you drop to the ground, faint with amazement, if you were set free from such an evil and lonely existence? 
The bystanders were astonished, too. They wondered how this transformation was possible.
And where there is no faith, there is fear.

“Then all the people…asked Jesus to leave… so he got into the boat and left.”

Even now, Jesus takes a step toward the lost and the lonely. People ignore Him. They tell Him to leave; choosing to live in fear and bondage rather than live in the freedom of faith. One day, Jesus may turn to leave; never to seek their hearts again.

Some people choose to live in the dark abyss. But not everyone… 

“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him,
but Jesus sent him away, saying,
‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’”

The saved man desperately wanted to go with Jesus—to fellowship with His other followers.

Standing on the shore, his tear-filled eyes fix on Jesus and the boat slowly drifts away.

His heart pounding in his chest, he wipes his eyes so he can see more clearly. He wants to go and leave this forsaken place!

Then, he notices the compassion in Jesus’ eyes--and he understands.
When he can no longer see Jesus, he turns to face the crowd of people. The crowd who sent his Healer and Savior away.   

Some stand with their arms crossed, eyes glaring. Others are murmuring and laughing as they walk away. Concerned parents hurriedly gather their children toward the path back to town; back to the life of which they are accustomed.

The man realizes not one of them understands God’s love.

He is the only one.

However, this time he does not feel alone. Jesus did not abandon him. He feels His Presence within him. The joy inside is as miraculous as his healing. It is amazing, and Jesus asked him to stay and share it. 

So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”  (from Luke 8:27-39)


Are you in a lonely place?

Call out to Jesus. He heals and comforts. He freely gives wisdom and peace. He loves. He saves and He stays.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
Psalm 73:23 

Christian, do you sometimes feel like you’re in the battle alone?

Call out to Jesus. He is in control. He is the captain of the winning team (of which you are a member!) He restores and strengthens. Remember your first love and your reason for joy.

You are never alone.

“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I  always do what pleases him.”    
John 8:29 (NIV)

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”   
Philippians 4:7-9 (NIV)

Take your thoughts captive. Remind yourself of God’s love and blessings.
Rest assured you are in a lovely place.

Share with us. Are there times when you feel like you're the only Christian around? How do you stay strong in your faith?