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Dear Pastor Eric,

GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. My name is Sharon. I am a Christian, but everyday I am drifting from the Lord. Sometimes I try reaching to the place where I was with God, but every time I try, I fail. I don't know what to do. I would like to know what to do.


Dear Sharon,

What you are experiencing is what many sincere Christians feel at different times in their life. As Christians we are in a constant struggle against the world, the flesh and Satan. Paul talks about the struggle that we have in Romans 7:14-23.

In this passage, he talks about his desire to do what he knows is right, yet he continually finds himself doing things that he actually hates. He realizes that there is a law inside of him that fights against the good that he wants to do. We call this our flesh or old nature.

When you became a Christian, God made you a new creation. However, your old self still exists and resists the new you. This is the on-going struggle that rages within a Christian. During certain times in our life we seem victorious. Other times we feel defeated.

The truth is that we are victorious because Jesus Christ has won the victory over the power and dominion of sin in our life (Romans 7:24-8:4.) God sees us as victors because of Jesus Christ. Embrace this truth.

However, we need to submit to the power of the Holy Spirit in our day to day life. Jesus has won the war, but we need His power to win the daily battles. To do this we must keep our minds on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5-9). We need to cry out to God for deliverance when we find ourselves in situations that we are not strong enough to handle.

Here are some simple steps to help you.

1. Find a good church and attend regularly.
2. Find a good Christian friend to talk and pray with regarding your struggles.
3. Continue to read God’s Word daily.
4. Know that Jesus Christ has won the victory
5. Rest in the fact that Jesus will see you through this period of your life.

Pastor Eric

Pastor Eric is pastor of Tree of Life Bible Fellowship Church in Southfield, Michigan, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, and the Registrar at Michigan Theological Seminary. For more info on Pastor Eric or Tree of Life, click here to go to Pastor Eric's bio. E-mail Pastor Eric with your questions at:

Anthony HowardDetroit Gospel Lifestyle Articles from Contributing Writer, Anthony Howard

Click Here To Read Past Articles

This Month's Article:
" What Do You Do When The Seasons Change? "

As with everything else it seems I’ve taken something else for granted. When I moved to Florida for Film School I didn’t realize how much I appreciated the change of seasons. I know some of you will call me crazy but I became greatly depressed during Thanksgiving and Christmas when I saw people swimming and Christmas lights on palm trees. I don’t even know why they had a meteorologist on the news because all they had to say was, “it’s going to be another sunny day!” 

The word of God even says that there’s a season for everything. There is a season to laugh and a season to cry. There is a season to live and a season to die.  I think we’re so fortunate to be living in the Midwest because we’re able to see the changing of the seasons. From spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and then winter back to spring. For me the changing (seasons) gives me time to prepare throughout the year. I even group my friend’s birthdays and anniversaries according to what time of year it is. When it’s hot outside you don’t cook so heavy in the house. Instead you go out and cook on the grill. When it’s cold outside you tend to have chili and the big Sunday dinners. Summer clothes are on sale in the fall and winter clothes are on sale in the spring. You tend to look forward to the next season, no matter the pros or cons it may bring.

I’ve never heard a child of God say, “I can’t wait for my season to not be noticed” or “my season to sit still,” or “my season to not provide but be at the mercy of other people’s kindness.”  I never hear Christians say, “when is my season to be sick?” or “when is it my season to cry, hurt, and feel like you’re not near me?”  How about hearing the saints say something like, “when is it my season to watch everyone else be blessed although I’m being obedient?”

There is a change of seasons in a Christian’s life. That’s what the whole idea behind sowing and reaping. And when you’re sowing it isn’t easy but the job has to be done. There’s the turning of the soil, pulling out unwanted grass and weeds, getting blisters, being bit by bugs, being out in the sun and burning up, and even missing out on something fun to do. But when it’s harvest time, when the seasons change you’re ready to reap. Hallelujah!

This is also something we don’t talk about. What do you do when the seasons change, especially in your favor? Do you get haughty and think it’s about time? Do you brag under the guise of giving God praise? Or do you let your light so shine before men that people come to you because they see the glory of God in your life and then you testify of His goodness. There is a difference. Some of us are in “Florida” and not because it’s a good place but because God can’t trust you in any other seasons. He won’t get the glory in the end. It’ll be all about you or because you don’t want to grow up. You want to be as a child on milk forever instead of going through some things that season change brings like chastisement, challenges, commitment, courage, and the big one - patience!

I moved back to Detroit as soon as I could. Not because I wasn’t doing well in Florida, but because my season there in Florida was over. What do you do when the seasons change?

Anthony Howard, a single, writer, director, and producer of film, television, and stage, also serves as a freelance writer for "London Falls Quarterly" and "Feed Magazine." You Can Check out Anthony's "Detroit's Talented Extravaganza" Website at http://www.freewebs.com/detalex

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Christian Parenting

Past Articles (Click Titles To Read):

"When Did We Lose Control?"
Submitted by: Sherryl Hooks

In February, 1988, the Lord placed a burden in my spirit in reference to today’s young people. What I saw, at that time, was a generation being raised with little to no spiritual guidance. Inappropriate behavior met with little to no consequences. Even the more in this day. Oh we are in church, religiously. Our children are there too; but somehow, somewhere the application of the gospel was lost. Something happened from the pew to the parlor of homes across this nation. Over the years, great Men of God have risen and birthed great ministries. Many have wonderful Youth Outreach programs; but we’re still not where we should be! The church is not the training ground for our young people – training still begins at home.

17 years later, this article is yet relevant; even more so with the onslaught of cell phones, designer clothes, hootchie videos, television, that has systematically lowered its’ standards over time—and aah yes, the Internet. Many of these conveniences were not around in 1988, at least not to the magnitude they are today; and we as parents, have let the enemy slowly manipulate his way inside our homes, and into the hearts and minds of our children. Purposefully? I think not, but his presence is there just the same. I could give you “lack of knowledge” scriptures and “satan’s devices” scriptures, but you already know those, in your head.

As difficult a job as parenting is, we have a tendency to want to appease our children, to not offend or upset them, we want to be their friend. We want to show that we’re cool. But all the “cool” in the world won’t help if they hip hop their behinds straight to hell!

So after a bit of editing and updating, 17 years later I once again, pose the question:

When Did we Lose Control?

Often, the decision to have a child is not given much thought. Sure, we may wonder about the expense involved and the sleepless nights. Will I have a son with his father’s eyes or a daughter with my smile? Naturally, every mom wonders if she will be the fortunate one who doesn’t end up with stretch marks. Yet, very little consideration is given to the type of parent we will be. However, once we become a parent, a lifelong job of awesome responsibility begins.

Being a parent is complicated in a society in which working outside of the home is the norm for, both, single and married parents. Thus, the task to improve parenting skills has become increasingly difficult. Parenthood, however, is the most important responsibility we will have in our lives. It must be entered with a willing heart and a prayerful spirit, for the attitudes we project to our children are the foundational building blocks in forming a generation to come.

While great emphasis is placed on our home, cars, wardrobe, and furthering our careers, many of us neglect to realize that the time and values we invest in our children far outweigh the material gains we acquire, for our legacy lies in the future of our children. The problems, which exist among today’s children and in our families, have reached epidemic proportions. Yes, they stem from a variety of circumstances, but the nucleus of the problem remains the same: lack of discipline, supervision, Christian guidance and foundation. And the need for a solution is long overdue.

Our children are being raised in an environment of hate, poverty, low self-esteem, jealousy, envy and unappreciative greed. Aggression and hostility are on the rise. Recent studies indicate (1988), today’s youth are more violent, than in any period of American History. Unfortunately, the school systems, television media, or any media typically chosen blameworthy, are not the problem. Before a child reaches the school, or the remote control, the pattern of ambiguous behavior has already been set -- by the parent.

We are under siege by a plague of spiritual and emotional maladjustment. Our local and national newspapers are filled daily with family related tragedies: Father knifes Daughter, Son bludgeons Mother, Sister strangles Brother, Brother shoots Sister, Husband poisons Wife, Wife dismembers Husband. I think you get the picture.

And it’s happened again! Another senseless school massacre. Generally, when a parent is questioned , if they’re still alive, about their child’s behavioral pattern, academic achievements, daily routine, or how he possibly obtained a gun and ammunition the reply will usually be, “Well….,He’s always been a good boy . . . smart, quiet, kept to himself . . . we had no idea our child was involved in something like this.” Then we witness a woeful sigh and tears of sorrow. But if you ask the neighbors, they seem to have a bit more insight, yet have no clue what’s going on in their own home. Hmmmm.

These incidents are not the results of someone’s morbid imagination—these are true accounts, events occurring daily! Children are killing children, parents are killing children, parents are killing each other, children are killing…. – Oh it’s just insane! But don’t bother to look for the pattern to explain this type of madness—there is none. A plague such as this has no barrier of race, culture, or geographical location, and many of us are deceived, believing problems like this can’t or won’t present themselves in our own families.

When did we lose control?

Control was lost when we stopped fearing God, and forgot about love and respect for our fellow man. We lost control when the phrase “I need” turned to “I’ve got to have.” We’ve been out of control since the phrase “look out for number 1” and “you got it I want it “became the new golden rule; reinforced by a value system that’s simply vanished from the midst of our families, replaced with a hip hop culture that glorifies violence and the thug life, and is infamous for the lack of respect toward “females”.

Where does it end?

It doesn’t, until we begin to right the wrongs established by ineffective parenting practices in our own homes—with our own children. Today, children are literally raising themselves without the guidance and appropriate training of their parents. Why? Maybe the parent wasn’t properly corrected through discipline as a child, or perhaps an oath was taken “ I promise, once I have kids, I will not make the same “mistakes” my parents made with me.” Whatever the reason, the adversity in leadership surrounding our children must cease.

Proverbs 13:24 admonishes, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him, chasteneth him early. Now how did we get that mixed up! The Bible is clear on this scripture but somehow we’ve changed the meaning. Today’s society has made us afraid to invoke the necessary discipline required to raise children to become healthy, well-rounded, and spiritually strong individuals. Simply put, the inadequacy of authority in our homes, is the breeding ground for the disrespectful attitudes children develop toward authority outside of the home.

The fifth Commandment clearly states, “ Honor thy Father and thy Mother that thy days may be long upon this earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. This is the first commandment with promise. However, there is a condition which must be met. If the child does not honor the father and the mother their days will not be long. When we allow our children to disrespect and disobey our God-given authority, we are actually handing them a death sentence, by contributing to the shortening of their lives. The Bible said it, I’m just rephrasing it.

We’re spoiling our children with materialism and permissiveness. Webster defines spoil: to damage seriously; to decay or waste away. And it’s Quite AParent, from the headlines we read today, that our children and our families are seriously damaged, decaying, wasting away . . . dying. Our children must be taught the distinct difference between quality of living (standards), and quality of life. But it’s a lesson we, as parents, first must learn. Dr. James Dobson, author of several books on the family and host of the radio program “Focus on the Family” points out “All human behavior is learned, whether it is desirable or undesirable.” The behavior we’re teaching our children will follow them throughout life.

The presence or lack of self-control in an adult’s life can usually be traced to the home in which they were raised. Little wonder some boys grow up to be men unable to fulfill the responsibility of providing for their families, and be not surprised when you hear of a woman who can’t handle the duties of her household. Probable cause: there was no positive pattern developed during childhood. Just as we “drill” our children in learning their ABC’s, counting to 10 and beyond, or any of the other foundational things we teach them, the same unwavering efforts must be applied in setting the spiritual standards for their lives.

A lot of parents think it’s entertaining when their 2 year old daughter is mimicking a music video, dancing, prancing, “jerking and sherking.” No harm, no foul? I don’t think so; and not so cute when she’s pregnant at the age of 12 (true occurrence).

It’s time we do away with the old double standard, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This indicates the lack of discipline and self-control in our own lives, is transmitted to the child, thereby negating all possibility of establishing and maintaining firm control. Parents have an odd way of “explaining” away their child’s smart alecky behavior. If you tolerate little Johnny using words he shouldn’t, accept back talk from little Jane, or soothe little Mikey’s tantrums with a snack, it will be difficult for these children to understand why they shouldn’t behave in this manner in church, on your next shopping trip, or if Bishop Pastor comes to visit.

We blush and say things like: “He’s so grown; he must have been here before,” or “She’s just going through a phase,” And how many times have you said, “He’s o.k. he’ll grow out of it.” Let me share something with you, if you feel bright, 3 year old Johnny is grown enough to form, understand, and say bad words, then he’s grown enough to understand not to do it! The talking back phase exhibited by little Jane will not pass, but will become a defense mechanism and her way of dealing with others in life. And no, little Mikey won’t grow out of “taking bribes,” but will grow into years of inherent confusion believing wrong is right and right is wrong.

“Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying”. (Proverbs 19:18)

There are various translations to help us understand this potent verse of scripture, but I believe the Criswell Study Bible interprets it best: “Leaving a child to himself is to show cruel indifference to the precious life committed to parental care. It is better for the child to cry under the rod of loving and consistent correction than that the parent should later cry over their permissive and neglectful discipline.”

It’s time we grasp the revelation that defiant and unacceptable behavior from our children should not be rewarded and is not cute. It must be dealt with early, very early, and in a manner where it will not repeat itself—immediately—while there is hope.

Children seek strong and positive role models. Before they look elsewhere, they will look to us; and, we must show strength and stability in character. They need to learn and understand basic Christian morals and how to apply them to their lives daily. God’s word says, “If you bring up a child in the way that he should go he will not depart from it when he is old”. (Proverbs 22:6.)

At Quite AParent, we understand the significance in establishing commitment and discipline in our children, eradicating complacency and dissent.
Children are a vital part of our lives, present and future, and we are currently developing a number of teaching series on The Spiritually Well Family Ô as well as, The Spiritually Well BabyÔ to assist parents and parents-to-be, equipping them with the necessary tools to guide their children towards a peaceful, meaningful and productive life.

God has provided a blueprint for our lives—the Bible. The Word teaches us the proper way to raise our children. But it’s up to us to first read, then apply His directions to our children’s lives. Raising a child is not child’s play, and we’re genuinely concerned with the mental, emotional, and spiritual development of today’s children—tomorrow’s adults. For the schools, nor the streets, not even the church, will train our children in the things which are morally and spiritually correct. That job requires – Quite AParent!

© 1988 – 2005 Quite AParent All Rights Reserved

We welcome your comments and opinions, on this, or related subjects contact SHOCompassion@LuvyaMom.com


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