The things that kids will try to get away with in their bedrooms might shock you. Especially if a group of teenagers is involved. And MOST especially if someone posted a picture on social media.
Before I get to sharing that story (and the picture), let me welcome you to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me, I hope you know that you’re always welcome here. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend! Join our email list to get a free copy of my book COUNT TO ONE, get Mornings with Bishop Robert sent directly to your inbox each morning, and lots of other great benefits. Click the link in the description.
If you’re a parent, know one or want to be one someday – I’m about to share a story that will rock your world. Ben is an alcoholic. And an addict. And he knows it. (Just ask him, he’ll tell you.) And while he’s definitely an addict/alcoholic veteran in recovery, that’s far from what defines him. Jesus defines him – brilliantly. The light of Christ shines through the darkness of his past and illuminates his future. Ben’s a man who was once lost, and is now found; who was broken and is now whole. But what kind of impact can a reborn addict have on his family? I’m glad you asked.
Overnight Ben sent me a photo that could have replaced the one I had already selected a few weeks ago for this teaching, which is a young boy reading a very well-used and worn bible as he lies upon a bed. The photo Ben shared had five kids gathered together on and around a bed, they were praying. Laid aside phones were on the bed, the headphones and iPad were off the head, hands were folded in prayer. What they were praying for will touch your heart. What they WEREN’T praying for will blow your mind. Ben describes the scene better than I ever could, so here’s his description of the event.
“Ava (the two year old in Jess’s lap, far right) will NOT go to bed until we do prayers with every sibling in the house. We’re missing the three teenagers tonight, but we’ve got five here for prayer time. I may not be home a lot lately, I’m off trying to save my soul and the world at the same time…but my kids are my gauge for how I’m doing.
I didn’t hear anybody praying for themselves, nobody asking God to provide them with anything. I heard kids ranging from 6 to 12 pray for our friends still stuck in Afghanistan, for all those in our safe houses. I heard them pray for our friends risking life and limb to make battlefields safer in Ukraine. I heard them pray for the broken on the streets, for all those in our sober living houses in Memphis. I heard them pray for those we’re trying to save. And I heard them ask God to give mommy and daddy strength to do what we do.
None of that is made up. I heard my kids praying for things I’ve not talked to them about and don’t remember discussing around them. Kids pay attention to a lot more than we realize and if we allow them to be, they are the picture of innocence.
Lead your family by example, if doing what God has called you to do keeps you away from home more than you want, pay attention when you’re home because He’ll show you that He’s running the show if you follow His lead.”
In today’s verse we’re told to LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER’S INSTRUCTION, AND DON’T FORSAKE YOUR MOTHER’S TEACHING
Your earthly father may not be the best example of good living. He may even be an addict and an alcoholic, plagued by violence and anger. But God can use even that situation as an example of how NOT to live your life. And when God changes the lives of addicts, as you’ve seen. Your Heavenly Father has instruction for you to listen to and, young or old, you need to hear it. And follow it. If you make His instruction a part of your life you too will be a bright light in a very dark world. God’s in the business of restoring lives. And as He does, He often restores relationships, as well.
Your earthly mother is not perfect, to be sure. But whether she was a devoted and caring example of loving nurture, entirely absent or anything in between, God can use our mothers to provide valuable lessons. Interestingly enough, the Church has often been referred to as an illustration of our mother. I don’t know of any perfect churches either, by the way. Like mothers, some are healthier and more loving than others. The early church had no shortage of issues, but through the teaching first of the Apostles and then of the Bishops they appointed a very solid and clear foundation was laid. The bible describes it as “the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” Lots of churches are abandoning that faith today, but there are still plenty who are contending for the historic faith, the one that was entrusted to us.
We need to listen up. Listen UP, as in listening to the voice from heaven. We need to let God lead, guide and direct, and we need to do what we’re told. Life works better that way.
One of the best examples of humbly accepting direction in life comes from NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. He led his team to four Super Bowls in eleven years, winning the championship twice. When Staubach retired from football he held the highest career passer rating in NFL history at the time. What you may not know is that Staubach didn’t call his own plays. He took his orders from football genius and legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry, and initially that bothered him quite a bit. Coach Landry sent in every play of every game. Landry told Roger when to pass and when to run.
Roger had a decision to make. He could allow pride to rule his life and ignore his coach, which would cost him his position on the team. Or he could listen to the coach, benefit from his immense experience and skill, do as he was instructed and become a champion. Staubach said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.”
We, too, need to learn to LISTEN UP and embrace the lessons of obedience. God speaks. He shares His wisdom, His direction, His provision, His gifts, His grace. He is the one who leads us; and He is the one who enables us to serve Him. Running our own plays may bring some personal satisfaction; but listening to Him and slowing down long enough to get His instruction will make champions of all who follow Him well.
So today’s lessons are simple, really —
Listen Up – Not only to God, but also those around us.
Follow Orders – Let God call the plays, life works better that way.
If you want to see the picture Ben shared with me, I’ve set up a quick link. It’s https://tinyurl.com/seethepost.