Clean Up, Clean Up!

tuesday tips logoClean up, clean up!

Everybody everywhere,

Clean up, clean up!

Everybody do your share.

How many times have I sung that little song?  Sometimes I catch myself singing it as a motivation to myself.  Don’t call the Funny Farm Folks.  I am okay.

It is just that after 20 years of parenting, I have sung it a few times.

So, how do I keep my house clean with all these kids?  Not very well.

I do have someone to come help me once a week.  Praise the Lord for that sweet woman!  I apologize every time she walks in the door.  Unfortunately, her good help does not last very long, so the rest of the week, I am on my own.

We all have to help.  Now, my older kids will hurry and clean up just so they don’t have to hear me sing the song.  It is fun to get on their nerves every now and then.

My Tuesday Tip is to have one point in everyday that the house is straight.  I usually pick up first thing in the morning, and then again mid afternoon.  By late afternoon I want to sit down for a few minutes with a cup of coffee and it doesn’t taste near as good if my house is a mess.

I usually assign different rooms to different family members.  I have explained what my expectations are (my standards are not very high, I have to confess), and I give them only a certain amount of time to get it done.  When they say they are done, I go “inspect” and usually try to pry 5 more minutes of work out of them and then we are done for the time being until the next round.

I remember when I was in college I went to a Bible Study led by James Loftin.  He talked of cleaning up our hearts.  He said we must ask ourselves if we are striving for barn clean or hospital clean.  A barn may be clean when the dirt floor is swept and the haystacks are tidy.  A hospital clean is a different standard.

I would rather have a hospital clean heart, even if my house is only barn clean.

How do you keep your house clean?  Advice is welcome!

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Hebrews 10:22-25 (The Message)

Pray for the Contacts in Your Phone

tuesday tips logoSometimes a feeling of intercession rises up in me.  I want to pray and I want to pray specifically for the needs of many friends and family members.  I have been convicted that if I am not careful, all of my prayers will center around me and mine.  My kids, my health, my work, my, my, my….  It’s not right.  God calls us to intercede for others, not just me and mine.

A great prayer list lies in the palm of our hands.  I have found a great method of praying for others by going through my contact list on my phone.  Sometimes, it is a simple, “Lord, bless this person today.”  And sometimes, the Lord will bring specific prayers to my mind and heart for the many people in that list.  It is also a great thing to do when you are waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting in car line, or simply bored.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

                                                                                    James 5:16

Make Your Home a Safe Place

tuesday tips logoMake your home a safe place for your teenagers.  Make it easier for them to resist temptation.  Here are some of our tips.

  • Don’t allow friends of opposite sex to enter the house unless a parent is there.
  • Keep conversation open and easy.  Don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff.  And don’t freak out or over-react.  At least, not where they can see it.
  • Put filters on all computers.
  • Make sure they can’t get cable in their rooms.
  • Remove the doors to the rec room.
  • Get to know their friends. Make it harder for their friends to lead them astray because of their relationship with you.
  • Let them know that you own their cell phone.  And because it is bought and paid for by you, you have the right to randomly check their text messages.
  • Install a filter on their IPhones.  Safe Eyes is a good one for cell phones that can get internet access.
  • Give them grace in all things.  All kids are going make mistakes sometimes.  They are going to deal with temptations of every kind.  Let your home be a safe place for them to learn and grow and fall and get back up again.

 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

                                                                        I Corinthians 10:13

Keep a well-stocked pantry, ‘cause you just never know!

tuesday tips logoI admit it.  I read too many Y2K books.  I didn’t really think terrible things would happen when the clocks turned to the year 2000, but I sure didn’t want to suffer if something bad did happen.  So, I had a well-stocked pantry, just in case.  Not only that, but I also cleaned out another closet in our playroom and stocked up more stuff.  Of course, when absolutely nothing happened on 1-1-00, none of us preppers wanted to admit that we prepped.

A couple of months later, a prominent city leader was visiting my home.  I had to leave the room to get something and left my guest in the playroom in the company of my very talkative five-year-old daughter, Katie.  My guest sweetly tried to make conversation with Katie by asking her questions such as “Is that your room?” pointing to the door on the right.

Then, “Is that your sister’s room?” pointing to the door on the left.

Then, I heard her say, “What’s in there?”

My heart pounded and silently I pleaded, “No, Katie!  Don’t go there!”

And of course, she did.

“That’s our Y2K closet.  You know, cause of the Millenium.  It’s got food and stuff in there.”  I re-entered the room red-faced and embarrassed.

Thus, began my habit of keeping a well-stocked pantry.  Well, that and the fact that I am pretty lazy about going to the grocery store and I want to do it as little as possible.

We are Sam’s people.  Having a large family means we consume a lot of food.  I hate running to the grocery store every other day, so I usually make 1-2 huge trips a month, and then add consumable trips (milk, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.) as needed.

So, my Tuesday Tip is to keep a well-stocked pantry, not because the world as we know it is going to end soon, but because… well, you just never know!

A wife of noble character who can find?…

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come…

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

                                                            Proverbs 31:10,25,27

Pray Without Ceasing

tuesday tips logoPray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Other translations say it this way:

Never stop praying.

Pray continually.

Be unceasing in prayer.

This verse sounds a bit far-fetched doesn’t it?

Pray without ceasing? Really?  I have a lot of other things to do in a day’s time.

And yet, as I grow closer to Him, I find that my thoughts turn more and more to Him and to prayer.

I once heard the story of two pastors at a conference who roomed together.  At night, each pastor knelt beside his bed to say his prayers.  The younger pastor knelt for a long time, remembering all the things on his prayer list.  The older pastor knelt for just a few minutes and then got into bed, falling into a sound sleep.  After two nights of this routine, the young pastor got up the nerve to ask the older pastor about his brief times in prayer.  The old pastor chuckled and said, “Why, son, I was just telling the Lord good night.  I’ve been praying all day!”

A couple of years ago, I was convicted to pray more for my friends and family.

I thought of those who I had promised to pray for and I examined whether I had kept that promise.  Sometimes I had, sometimes I had not.

So, I learned that when someone asks me to pray for them, I must pray for them immediately, and then ask God to bring it to my mind again and again.

And He does–in the quiet of my morning devotion, in the car line, when I am driving, or when I am cleaning up my house.  If we take the time to listen, He can use us to stand in the gap for others.