The Marriage Reminder

Spotted and stained
And aged over time
Is The Art of Marriage,
Wilfred Peterson’s rhyme.

Before we married,
It seems long ago,
This poem was a wedding gift
To help a young couple grow.

Always on our refrigerator door
For over 38 years has been,
This simple reminder of love
And the need for self discipline.

Sometimes we need
Simple things to remind us.
Of how the Lord has both
Blessed and called us.

The poem’s admonitions are clear,
Plain spoken and true.
They have helped me in my marriage,
And they can help in yours, too.

Marriage is not about
the things we have or can get;
It is the simple daily commitment
To love and serve, we must never forget.

Creating a good marriage
Is never simple nor easy,
But when you succeed,
It is a thing of rare beauty.

So cherish your spouse each and every day,
And tell them often that you love them so –
And you will reap more blessings
Than you can ever imagine or know.

©️ Robin Robbins House 01/21/2021

Let’s have some P’s please!

1. Pause and pray for our nation, its citizens, and our duly elected leaders.
2. Place your confidence in Christ.
3. Pledge your loyalty to God and no other.
4. Plan to do what is right, even if no one else does.
5. Prepare promptly in place to provide and protect your family and friends.
6. Promote peace in all conversations and activities as you pursue and point out what is true and right.
7. Pick your friends carefully.
8. Pray for your enemies.
9. Prevent dissension at home and work during tumultuous times. Don’t go into crowds or around anyone demonstrating about anything as many have no self-control or sense of right and wrong in their behavior within crowds.
10. Persuade those who don’t know God to seek Him through your godly behavior and love. John 13:35
11. Produce the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
12. Pursue what is true, honorable, ethical, and right.
13. Prohibit yourself from negative thinking, self-talk, and talk. Think and speak positively.
14. Persist in studying the Word of God and the hope within found in a relationship with Christ.
15. Present your bodies every day as living sacrifices in the service of the one true God and only King of kings and Lord of lords.
16. Praise God at all times.

RRH 01-18-2021

Train up a child in the way he should go… A Dozen Ideas or so.

How do you get your children to do what you want and need them to do?

For many parents, this is a daily challenge. Here are a few ideas and tips for parents that I hope will make your lives better and easier.

1. Know what you want. If you don’t know what you want of them and your family, they can’t even begin to fathom how to obey you or please you. God set up parents to lead and direct their children’s care and training. It is best if both parents get and stay on the same page about their goals for their children and family.
2. Remember that your children do want to please you. Sometimes it is deep, DEEP, DEEEEEP down. Most of us at a base level want what we want because we have a sinful nature of self-gratification, but we also know deep down that isn’t good for us. Children ultimately want to be loved, accepted, and appreciated. When children are respected and respectful as well as obedient to the authority and leadership of their parents, life is so much better and often easier.
3. Once you and your spouse decide what you want and expect for your children. Stand your ground and stick to your plan. Your children will challenge you to see if you really mean it. This requires perseverance, patience, and often a lot of prayer. Parents can’t do what they need to do by being wishy washy with their children. Children are more healthy and stable both mentally and physically and feel more safe and sheltered emotionally when the borders of behavior and boundaries of family expectations are consistent, strong and in tact.
4. Explain and let your children know what you both expect of them. Sometimes it is as simple as saying, “Mommy and daddy want you to eat your beans.” Or, it can be a formal as a family meeting together with a discussion and a designed family plan, goals, and rules written out and signed by all as a family contract that all (parents and children) agree to abide by together.
5. It is not a bad idea and can be important to let your children know the ‘why’ of what you ask of them. Saying, “Because I said so.” can be enough, but not always. Other times, explaining that eating the beans helps the child be well-nourished to grow healthy and strong to do the things they like to do. Giving a child the ‘reason to your rhyme’ can be helpful. If a parent is capricious in their demands, children will often rebel and reject their authority. Sometimes the child doesn’t get to decide. A parent knows that their child sometimes needs an injection of medicine to get well. The child may absolutely not want the medicine, but it is the parent’s job to do what is right for their child in spite of how the child “feels” about getting the injection.
6. This brings me to why parents do what they do. Most parents deeply love and care for their children. We give them rules and instructions to help them have safe, healthy, and productive lives towards becoming independent, skilled, competent, and self-sufficient adults who contribute to family and society in a positive manner. So don’t forget and always keep in mind the ultimate goal. Most parents want to launch their children into adulthood. To prepare them for that time, it is easier if parents begin these steps when children are very small. Do you want your child to have a faith? How will you pass that on to them? Do you want your child to make their bed? How will you teach them? Do you want your child to have appropriate appetites for food, work, pleasure, rest, and recreation? You must show them and teach them. Do you want them to have manners, values, and ethics? Parents must teach all these things. Another HUGE thing to remember is what you do SHOUTS and SHOWS your child so much louder than what you may say. In most cases, your child will end up and look a lot like you. Go to the mirror. Take a long look, and see if you like what you see. How do we, as parents, look in the mirrors of our children’s eyes? If it’s not a pretty sight, no problem. We can always make changes for the better in ourselves anytime and anywhere. We just need the will to start and keep trying to become our best selves.
7. Next, realize that your children are smarter and more capable and imaginative than you really know. The statement, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way.’ has proven true over and over again. This applies to both your will and theirs. Help them choose to do what you want and believe they should do. Make it easy for them to choose to do right and choose the better option of behaviors and consequences. For example: If you want your child to make their bed, say, “It’s time to make your bed.” Don’t ask them if they “want” to make their bed. Many of us don’t want to make our beds or do the work we should do. Children are no different. Training them to have a good work ethic, however, is an important part of preparing children for adulthood. Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as you let them know your requests and appreciation for doing what you want and expect. If the child doesn’t want to make their bed when asked, offer the child a choice of two good options you are willing to stand up for that will still result in their bed getting made. For example, if a child initially refuses to do what they are asked, parents can offer their child a choice between making their bed or staying in their room and delaying breakfast or playing or whatever else the parent thinks the child may wish to do UNTIL they make their bed. Don’t argue with the child about it. Let them know that they have a choice. Children like adults like having a choice. It helps them feel empowered. Selecting, even between two unattractive options, is often more palatable than only one unattractive choice. Children will usually pick the right thing in these situations and be more cheerful too.
8. Hold your children to the behaviors and standards you set and establish in your family including consequences for disobedience and disrespect. James Dobson said many years ago that the only time to hand out disciplinary punishment is for one of two reasons. One is deliberate disrespect and the second was for deliberate disobedience. Once a child knows the “family rules and expectations,” and deliberately disobeys or disrespects a parent, you are now dealing with rebellion. Rebellion in the family must not be tolerated or allowed. It goes to the core of what is wrong in this world. When a child or society believes “anything goes” and that they can do what they want because it is what they want, you have chaos, treason, and anarchy. This is not God’s plan. This is not right. Rebellion against authority is not good for any child or any family and is ultimately the demise of all civil societies. Children will make mistakes. Children will have accidents, spill the milk, or break a precious treasure. They will also break the rules when they don’t know what the rules are. All these require attention, explanation, love, training, and care, but they do not call for punishing discipline. It is appropriate for children to help clean up a mess they made or even repair or replace an item they break or damage, but these accidents and sins of ignorance do not require punishing/penalizing consequences. In contrast, both deliberate disobedience and disrespect DO require immediate attention and action to curb and eliminate these behaviors. God’s word teaches in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” God commands children to be obedient to parents. When children disobey their parents they sin and are not doing what is right. When our children were small, we taught them that God gave us, as parents, the responsibility to raise our children up in the Lord’s will and training. (Proverbs 22:6). We explained that we were responsible and under the authority of God to raise and care for them as He directed. In the same way we explained that children are responsible and under the authority of their parents to obey them. Our conduct results in consequences, just like with our rights come responsibilities. Some consequences of our actions are tough and unpleasant when we don’t act rightly. We often incur additional requirements, responsibilities and restrictions when we are disobedient and disrespectful. This is an important lesson that every child needs to learn. If a child does not respect and obey a parent, they won’t obey a teacher, a public official or police officer, or anyone else in a position of authority up to and including God Almighty.
9. So what do you do with a child who doesn’t want to obey or is disrespectful? First you need to be prepared for your children to be disobedient and disrespectful. We all were disobedient and disrespectful as children (and sometimes we still are as adults now) so your children will be disobedient and disrespectful too. Don’t be surprised. Be prepared. Only Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life. I don’t know how He did it – except to say, “He is God. And we aren’t.” We will mess up and so will our children on purpose and also not on purpose. On that note, it is right and a humble thing for parents to apologize to their children when wrong, if disrespectful to their children, or are disobedient in what we should be obedient to in life. Once a parent decides a child has been deliberately disobedient or disrespectful, only offer solutions and consequences that you and your spouse are personally willing to carry out and stick to enforcing. If you promise they will be grounded in their room day and night for weeks, be ready to follow through and monitor that penalty. Sometimes the consequences parents hand out are more inconvenient to the parent than the child. Remember the goals. Discipline with discernment and to do what works best for the child and to promote what you want and your family plan and goals. Even Jesus learned obedience. (Hebrews 5:8)
10. Never negatively discipline children in anger. This almost never works out well and causes anger and resentment. Remember, the goal is for the child to learn and remember to obey and follow the parents’ lead. It is not to hurt them, but it is to help them be the best person they can be.
11. Teach that children that it is okay for them to be angry even with their parents, but it is not okay to sin in their anger. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Children will not always agree with the leadership of their parents. It is okay for children to dislike or disagree with their parents and how they are parenting. It is not acceptable for children to disrespect or disobey parents. Ephesians 6:1 makes this clear.
12. Lastly and most importantly, teach the children that everyone needs Jesus. Children need to know that everyone falls short and sins in their behavior and even their expectations of themselves. We have all rejected and rebelled against God. Fortunately, God’s Son, Jesus, took upon Himself the penalty and punishment we each deserved for our disrespect and disobedience to God. When we accept Jesus’ free gift, we have hope, redemption, and reconciliation with God. Parents are a ‘type’ of God in the eyes of their children. As such parents teach and show by their actions hope, grace, and mercy. No matter how bad we may be or may think we are, we all need to know that there is hope, grace and mercy. So many are hopeless and feel discouraged and defeated. It is because they don’t know or have a relationship with the heavenly Father. I’m glad that I haven’t always received the penalties and punishments I have deserved for my bad behaviors. It would be discouraging. I’m so glad there is hope in Christ. Children need to know there is always hope and a graceful and merciful God who loves and will help them through all the trials of life. Our children really need to know that.

Robin House 1/14/2021

Football, Politics, Polls and Fair Play

angry voters

Do you know who won the football game last Sunday? Did you see it? Though the Dallas Cowboys are not “my” team, no one can dispute the successes and quality of the Dallas Cowboy team play since Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and others banded their team together to complete one of the best Cowboys football seasons in recent history. Since Dak Prescott is from my hometown, I have enjoyed seeing his success. Watching a great athlete compete with skill and perseverance while calling his mind and body to perform at an elite level is a beautiful thing – no matter what team a player is on. I saw only the last seconds of the game Sunday night, but it was in those final moments that it became clear that Green Bay’s kicker, by the narrowest of margins, kicked the football between the uprights to give the Green Bay Packers a winning score of 34 to 31 over Dallas. The scoreboard numbers and the celebrations by the Packers team and fans showed the television audience that Green Bay would move on to the final playoff game before the Superbowl. Dallas Cowboy fans were stunned, shaken, and sad. What happened?

What happened was that the Packers won and the Cowboys lost. But wait just a minute. On Monday I heard a story that said Green Bay won the scoring vote but that the Cowboys won the popular vote. The Cowboys had been ahead during the game and let’s face it — the Cowboys are America’s team. According to the story, the Cowboys deserved to win. The final score just couldn’t be the “be all and end all” outcome of the competition. Could it? Should someone send a note to the Green Bay Packers and fans to tell them that the final scoreboard score just didn’t count? Would someone actually say that a popular vote of public sentiment and rankings trumped the actual game played and score?

Of course not! Green Bay just like Clemson in the College Championship game beat Alabama in the final seconds because they scored more points than the other team. Yes, Alabama like Dallas, was favored to win, but they didn’t. They didn’t win because they didn’t score more points than the other team. That’s the way the game is played. Yes, some will be disappointed that their team did not win, but that is what happens in a contest. One wins, and one looses. The contest and the rules are clear to all before the competition begins, and then the game is played. For 60 minutes the football teams competed and each did their best to win.

In the recent presidential election, the candidates entered the contest, knew the rules, and competed fiercely for victory. One won, and one lost. Since the infancy of our nation and for over 240 years, we have held the same system of electing a president. On several occasions the presidential candidate that won the popular vote did not win the majority vote in the electoral college. The first incident of this kind was in 1824 with Andrew Jackson winning the popular vote by over 10% but losing to John Quincy Adams in the electoral college. Yet in the 193 years since that first contentious election where John Quincy Adams became our sixth President, our citizens, and as a result our elected officials, have not voted to change the electoral college system or rules by which U S Presidents are elected each and every 4 years. I’m not giving an opinion on the electoral college system, but simply stating that it is the current system and provides the rules for the election of all of our presidents.

Our government is not a true democracy, but a representative republic by which each citizen (unless they are a felon or live in a U S territory) has the right to vote to elect representatives to vote their will. Unlike most governments in our world, the United States of America has a system of government that is of, by and for the people. Too often I think our citizens have abdicated their rights to control the government by being inattentive, ignorant and apathetic. In most elections only a small percentage of citizens even show up to the polls to cast their votes. As a result, the small majority that do vote or do push their agenda in the halls of our state legislatures and in Congress often get their way in a manner that is many times not “fair” or good for the citizenry as a whole.

Like the Clemson/Alabama game the week before and the Cowboys/Packers game this past Sunday, the presidential team with the popular vote, poles and rankings did not win. The final score was Hillary Clinton 232 and Donald Trump 306. Mr. Trump seemed to trail most of the game, and the popular opinion and poles were not favorable for him. But, in the end and at the end of the election, Donald Trump had the winning score.

In less than 24 hours, our nation is set to inaugurate the 45th President of the United States. This man was elected by the rules of candidacy and competition set forth in our laws to serve our nation and its people. Like the 44 Presidents before him and as required by the U S Constitution in Article II, Section One, Clause 8, Donald J. Trump is scheduled to take the same oath his 44 predecessors did. The oath says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” George Washington, our first President, was recorded to have concluded his oath of office with the statement, “So help me God.” requesting the help of the Almighty as he served. Washington set a precedent that has continued for over 200 years, including both swearing in ceremonies for Barak Obama.

Our national motto says “In God we trust.” But do we? Our Pledge of Allegiance says “… One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” But is it? I see a great rift in our nation today. What once was clearly an indivisible citizenry is divisive. Those promoting freedom and tolerance are often the most restrictive and intolerant. Justice seems to apply to some more equally than others. Have you read Animal Farm? Any look at our history, its monuments and the words engraved on many of our government buildings clearly shows that our nation was based and built on Christian values and freedoms. Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker and historian who came to America in 1831 and wrote Democracy in America, said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” Revisionist historians and teachers are working diligently to rewrite, revise and remove all semblance of this truth from our documents, monuments, buildings and culture. As a result, many today have no knowledge or appreciation for the work done and the price paid by our founding fathers for the freedoms we enjoy. In no other country in the world are people dying to “break in” to join our society. In no other country in the world do its citizens hold as many rights and freedoms. No other country has the opportunity and the great responsibility to self-govern as we, the citizens of the United States, do.

In watching the recent events and outbursts designed to disrupt, dismantle, and delegitimize our society and government, I am sad to see the disunity in these United States. This is not good for our nation. The spirit of anarchy should not be allowed to fester and grow. I hope that you will join me to pray and to work for our nation’s best interests and unity. I believe the answer to what ails us lies in developing a more godly, patriotic, informed, critical thinking and intentional voting citizenry that seeks not their own good, but the good of the nation as a whole. A citizenry that loves their neighbor as their self. Towards that end, here are some lessons that I learned as a child from my parents, teachers, and mentors about sportsmanship and life. Some in the younger generations may not have seen these teachings before, so I hope you will enjoy them, take note and let them guide and enrich your life.

LESSONS OF SPORTSMANSHIP AND LIFE FROM A LOUISIANA LADY

1. Life isn’t always fair. I just hated hearing my mom tell me that over and over, but it’s true.

2. You have to play the game to have a chance to win. Get in the game.

3. In almost every case, the more skilled or competitive player or team will win.

4. You won’t always win, even if you work and try hard.

5. There are no awards for just showing up and participating.

6. Opponents will often work and fight just as hard, or harder, to win as you did. Life’s tough.

7. When you give your best efforts and still lose, there’s no shame in that.

8. Competing by the rules with integrity and fairness is expected.

9. Cheating is wrong.

10. It is important to be a “good sport.” Otherwise, you are a bad loser.

11. You don’t argue about the rules of the game after the game is over.

12. You may not have a hissy fit if you lose. You’ll be disciplined if you do.

13. Be gracious in loss and victory. Learn to sincerely show respect and congratulate an opponent.

14. Learn to “follow the leader” elected or selected even when he/she wasn’t your preference.

15. Know that there might be a next time, or there might not be a next time for a rematch. Sometimes you just get one chance at something.

16. Remember that President Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” from Matthew 12:25 (NIV)

17. It is often beneficial if you can get along with those with which you disagree. We know that Galatians 5:15 (ESV) says, “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” So, don’t burn your bridges and boats.

18. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” I John 4:20-21 (NIV) Love is the greatest commandment.

19. About authority, remember Romans 13:1-7 (NIV) which says “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience…” Respect those in authority, whether you like them or not because they are under authority too.

20. Don’t forget that “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Proverbs 16:4 (ESV)

21. Winning doesn’t make us better than others.

22. Losing is not the end of the world, and God is in charge of the end of the world too. (See Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32)

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you. May God bless you and yours.

Robin House