All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God By Jo Russell

All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God

“Dad,” Janet requested, “Denise and I want to go to the show on Saturday. I’ve got all my chores done. I’m paying with my own allowance. Can I go?”

“What are you going to see?”

The teen told him.

“No on that one. It’s rated R,” Daddy Keith responded.

As he watched his family grow, Keith had proved to be an involved father.  He appreciated that in the rural community where he lived, friends and neighbors helped be extra eyes and ears when it came to all their kids.

Keith reminded his daughter. “There are plenty of other films to choose from at an eight-plex.”

“Well, all right then!” she stormed back with anger. “We’ll go see some baby flick instead. You know, like G. Would that make you happy? We’ll be miserable, though.”

“That won’t be necessary. PG would be fine, but only if you improve your attitude,” he told her.

“All right, Dad,” Janet remembered her manners, “Thanks for letting us go. I’ll tell Denise.”

But fifteen minutes after the film started, Keith got a call at home from his friend, Roger, who worked at the theatre.

“Did you know that your daughter and her friend bought a ticket for one movie, but went into the one that is R rated?”

“I’ll take care of it. Thanks for the tip, Roger.”

Daddy Keith high-tailed it down to the theatre, stepped inside and let his eyes adjust to the dark. He found the teen girls engrossed in the film while giggling and crunching two large buttered popcorns.
At first, they didn’t notice the newcomer. Without saying anything, Dad chose a seat. They  stopped. The girls stared. In the darkness, they blushed.

How could they help but notice that Janet’s dad, Keith, had taken a seat right next to his daughter and her friend? He stayed beside them through the end of the film.

So it appeared Daddy Keith was all knowing and all seeing. But that was thanks to Roger.

God, our creator, does it without any help. His omniscience – or knowing all – Is it a bad thing?

God knew Moses, raised as an Egyptian prince, would be a great leader to walk hundreds of thousands of people out of slavery in Egypt. He knew beforehand that Moses’ successor, Joshua, would conquer Jericho without raising weapons. It was a miraculous show of God’s power.

When Jesus was followed by large crowds who were far from any marketplace, Jesus might have smiled when he asked Philip, “’Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” [John 6:5-6].  And you know the rest of the miracle of God: Two fish, five loaves, and a blessing gave everyone food enough until they were full.

David writes, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” [Psalm 139:1-4.]

Wow! Someone who knows us completely and cares enough for us to guide our lives and choices—even at the movies. What could you say about such a Father? He’s even better than Daddy Keith.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Mothers Change the World with Love, God and Cookies By Jo Russell

From the baking smells that flowed into the chapel, there was no guesswork in why the visitors dreamed of chocolate chip cookies instead of listening to the clergyman at the podium. The children’s class, headed up by teacher and mom Jan, had baked dozens of cookies for Mother’s Day. Jan stood guard over the warm sweets.

One deacon complained, “I tried to sneak some cookies, but Jan stood at the kitchen door with a knife in her hand!”

When it comes to influencing children and plying them with food, mothers have the market cornered. Grandma Brenda showed up to be construction supervisor over her grandsons, who had staged a sit-down strike. Work started up again as soon as the teens saw the praline-filled cookies tucked under her arm. She needed no other tools.

When Rene and her sons returned home from a three-day camp-out, one teen announced, “I don’t need a shower and you can’t make me take one.”
“That’s too bad,” she countered, “Because there are fifteen pieces of hot French toast and you won’t be eating any of them.” She heard him running the shower right away.

Food and moms are blended together like bread and butter. In Proverbs 31: “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family….” [Proverbs 31: 14-15] NIV. She may also be up late making lunches or prepping a meal for the next day.

But Moms do much more than ply the generations with food. They teach. They model. They shape the future. Paul writes of Timothy, chosen as a pastor, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” [2 Timothy 1:15] NIV. From wise King Solomon, “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” [Proverbs 1:8] NIV.

Mothers that you and I know have altered the future with love, God, and cookies. That’s just the way God planned it should be.

Honor the women in your life with words and actions that give them a high-five of appreciation. Each deserves it.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website and Amazon. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog. Remember the free e-book download of Which Button on Amazon today for Mother’s Day!]

Not Enough Allowance, But Plenty of Love By Jo Russell

“No fair!” seven-year-old Billy protested. “Tom got more money than I did!” Then the tears began to flow. His dry-eyed older brother, Tom, smiled, clutching bills that made him the richest kid under ten in the county.
“I told you that your allowance is based on how hard you work,” their mom calmly explained. “Let’s check the list.”

Billy and his mom compared the two lists of home and ranch chores. One was longer than the bi-monthly grocery list for trips to town. The shorter list, Billy’s, still had lots of space around the chores done after being scribbled on a sticky note. Still, Billy hadn’t yet seen the connection between work and pay.

“I hate my brother! He always gets everything!” cried Billy as he turned to Tom. “You can’t come in my room anymore. I won’t let you play with my toys!”
His mom sent Billy to his room to think and cool down.

But a few days later when the weekend came, affection and love resurfaced as the two brothers were head-to-head hatching a plan that required teamwork.

“I’m sorry. I don’t really hate you. You’re my best friend,” Billy admitted.

“You’re mine, too. Billy, I have an idea that if we put out money together, we can buy that truck we want. It works out for both of us!”

So they did. Alone, neither could have bought the toy truck of their dreams. Bonded together in forgiveness and love, they became an unstoppable team.

Remember this promise: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” [1 Peter 4:8 NIV]

Besides fights between siblings, that verse is useful to remember when having issues with family, coworkers, friends, and anyone who hurts us. Smother the world with love? Why, isn’t that the best way to prove we’re set apart from it?

Grown now, Billy and Tom think so. So do I.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com ande Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Need more time, joy and love as well as a funny bone?

 

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Americana comes alive in author Jo Russell’s humorous stories with Biblical concepts that make this study fun and helpful. Men, don’t feel left out! Laughter is good medicine for all. Read and enjoy!!  

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Don’t Get No Respect? By Jo Russell April 1, 2012

“Someday my teens will show some respect!” I mumbled to myself. Whatever happened to them after thirteen? What about my secret wish to be honored by my offspring? Was it ever going to happen again?

Though my sons had been close to graduating from high school, there was still time! In church a couple of times a year, our pastor allowed the flock to share and honor their mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

But it didn’t seem likely. My teen offspring had moved as far from me as possible at church without perching on the flagpole. The two had me drop them off a couple of blocks from their destinations. I could count on their and always wearing sunglasses and a disguise when forced to accompany me.

Turning to see my tall sons standing among the seated crowd in the balcony, I nearly fell out of my seat when I heard one familiar voice begin, “We want to honor our….”

Before I had a chance to get excited about appreciation, the other filled in, “to honor our grandmother…who was another parent to us. She introduced us to music, bought us instruments, and taught us to play them. She let us eat seconds and thirds and tried out a whole cookbook of recipes on us.”

As for me, where was the honor? It went out the window with unpopular directives like chores, family rules, grades, and dress code. Grandma was all fun, love, and appreciation.

I knew about disrespect myself. For a decadent decade, I had treated God with callous indifference. In thoughts, words, and deeds, I had distanced myself as far away from God as possible. In the same way that my teens from seventh grade on denied any blood connection with me, I had denied the existence of a loving Jesus, son of God. Coming the back way to God through a church-sponsored family help group, I learned to love, honor, and respect God and Jesus as never before – in a relationship as a friend, confidant, and helper in all circumstances. I had deserved an “It’s about time” from God, but He didn’t say it. He just forgave and loved me, as He does you.

Today marks Palm Sunday, a day that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey colt. The crowd lay palms on the road before him as a sign of respect – something usually reserved for those in places of the highest honor. The crowd began to praise God, as they had seen His miracles, such as recently bringing Lazarus back to life. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” [Luke 19:38 NIV]. Our Savior deserves the highest honor. How are you honoring God today?

As for my teen sons and my wish? “I still have my key to the house,” one adult-teen reminded me in a long distance call from his grueling second week in military boot camp.

“I guess I gave you a really hard time,” the other teen remarked in another long distance phone call after a few weeks at a full-time job far away. Then he chuckled. “But I…..love you, Mom.”

It just keeps getting better. Honor and respect at last! No foolin’!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

 

The “God Loves You” House by Jo Russell

Someone soaped our front windows and it wasn’t even close to Halloween!
Spurred to action, I cleaned the scribbles off first, then took a thick orange bar and wrote “God Loves You!” across the front picture windows.

I asked my teen sons to clean the windows later in the month, but by that time, window washing would have been smearing ice over the glass because of the winter temperatures. Also the word “windows” was not in their vocabulary nor their agenda. They simply don’t do suds and glass.

The prominent message turned out to be useful. “Turn left on Center, then find the ‘God Loves You’ house on the corner!” Or, “Our house has bright accent colors and a ‘God Loves You’ message on the front windows.”

As weeks went by and winter turned to spring, my sons walked by the message daily, failing to notice. Wholesome outdoor activities continued in the front yard with friends while I was still at work. Soon I found a film clip starring my teens. One son had been jumping a bicycle over four other young men lying in the front yard like sardines. The “God Loves You” message was bright in the background. Soon after, I heard from angry, wet neighbors who had been squirted with a hose through their car window. I lectured about the “God loves you” mission statement at our house.

One of my sons brought up the topic of the windows.

“When are you going to clean them off?”

“Remember, I asked you to do it. Actually, I thought it was a great message in the neighborhood. Did you notice no one has tried to soap the windows since?”

“Yeah, but no one has washed them, either.”

“I wasn’t planning to wash them until summer. I am growing to like it very much!”

“Geez, Mom! You’re embarrassing us!” The two teens disappeared inside and came out with rags and the window cleaner. They worked until the picture windows shined like crystal.

Soon after, I was headed out the door to the dusty truck with an orange bar of soap. One of my sons stopped me to demand, “Where are you going with that?”

“I thought many in the community could benefit from a ‘God loves you’ message on the back window of the truck! Don’t you?”

I didn’t get a chance to soap my message on the vehicle. My young men washed the truck and shined all the windows, too. God surely does work in mysterious ways!

Motherhood is a job that deserves, but never gets a nomination for the Presidential Motherhood Medal of Honor. Moms are in the line of fire in enemy territory. Women learn that to stay steadfast in raising children is like trying to keep a car steady as when you just had a tire blow out. In Proverbs 20:11, Solomon penned these words: “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”

Moms, stick to your agenda and your standards. The troops will come around.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, check her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]