Choose Words Choose Life: 51 Dates That Change Lives

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9780982666531: Choose Words Choose Life: 51 Dates That Change Lives
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The goal of this book is to examine some very specific things that we can do in the lives of our children to teach them truths - truths that transform. It's not enough to simply protect our kids. A sapling must be protected until it's strong enough to be transplanted outside in a garden. Eventually, though, that sapling must be moved outside or it will become root bound and die. It would be a foolish gardener who would move the sapling outside without first making sure he had done everything to get the tree ready for the "outside" world. So it is with our children. Protecting is appropriate for a season; then we must begin to prepare them to be strong and thrive. The wind that would destroy a sapling causes the young tree to grow deeper roots and stronger limbs. How do we capture the hearts and minds of the next generation as we both protect and prepare them to thrive? How do we avoid becoming simply "talking heads" to our kids while their eyes glaze over and they tune us out? The answer is found in these 51 easy, yet life changing dates to take with your kids.

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About the Author:

Lynelle Zandstra believes in the transforming power of God's Word. She is passionate about taking God's Word and practically applying it in a way that is life changing. Speaking with candor and humor, she addresses key issues regarding Christian living, marriage and parenting. Lynelle speaks nationally for FamilyLife, at church retreats and at conferences. Married to Mario Zandstra, President & Ceo of Pine Cove, a Christian Camp ministry, Lynelle is the mother of 3 boys and 4 girls, ranging from grade school to grad school. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of SMU and a certified lay member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, she resides in Tyler, Texas.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One
Score: Mountain Lion 1, Kitten 0

It was a gorgeous spring day. White fluffy clouds danced across a deep blue sky and an orchestra of birds sang a symphony just for us. Our family had moved just weeks before from a huge metropolitan area to the Piney Woods of East Texas. We had gone from houses that were one driveway’s width apart to the middle of 750 acres of a pine tree forest.
Our children, in their own words, had “moved to heaven on earth.” It was safe. Secure. Peaceful. It was the kind of place where people want to raise their children. All was well.
The calls started coming about three weeks later. Small dogs and cats were disappearing from a nearby residential area. The disappearances continued every other night or so for a few weeks. Heart-broken pet owners and their neighbors wondered aloud about the cause of this mysterious phenomenon. It didn’t take long until the cause was revealed. A woman in the area, responding to her barking dog’s plea to go outside, flung open the sliding glass door to her deck. Imagine her horror and surprise upon finding herself face to face with a full-grown male mountain lion. Mystery solved! Now we knew why the aforementioned small dogs and cats had been disappearing.
The neighborhood went into a sort of “pet lock-down” for the next few weeks as area officials tried unsuccessfully to trap the carnivorous newcomer. At our house, a full-scale investigation was launched into the habits and habitats of a mountain lion by my 8- and 10-year-old sons. I learned more about mountain lions than I ever wanted to know. Like the fact that they are nocturnal and will roam 25 miles in search of prey. I learned their preferred diet (small dogs, cats, and anything else they can catch!) and that mountain lions are, indeed, indigenous to this part of the country (surprise!).
But as we watched with interest the search for the ever-elusive mountain lion, it had no personal affect on us at all. We lived 15 minutes away from all the activity, and across two fairly large highways. Although it was a great source of nature study for my boys and of dinner table conversation for our family, it neither affected our lives nor changed the way we did anything.
That is, until one week later. My daughter called her beloved kitten all day long, but it never came running eagerly like it had every time before. For three days we called “Tiger” and searched the surrounding area to no avail. On the fourth day, my boys came roaring, wide-eyed and out of breath, into the house.
“Mom, we were out hiking and we found Tiger!” they shouted.
Delighted, I responded, “Thanks, boys! Your little sister will be so pleased!”
With a downcast look, Will, the eldest, replied, “No, I don’t think so, Mom. We followed huge tracks down the sandy path to the pond. When we got there we found a big scuffed up area where there had been some sort of a fight, and in the middle of that area, we found this. It’s all that’s left, Mom.” And with that, he pulled the last two inches of our kitten’s tail out of his pocket. We all stared in horror at the evidence of the mountain lion’s carnage.
I knew there was a mountain lion out there on the loose. But it was too far away, too removed, too isolated, to affect me personally. It was someone else’s problem. Until it was too late.
I sacrificed our kitten by my presumed assumption that we were safe and secure. By not taking deliberate steps to protect it, I made it easy prey for the lion.
There is a roaring lion that desires to devour our children - the children of sweet, well-meaning Christian homes. And, unless we take deliberate, intentional steps to prepare and protect them, we make them easier game for him. I Peter 5:8 warns us: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He’s not “out there,” so far away in age or distance as to be someone else’s problem.
The goal of this book is to examine some very specific things that we can do in the lives of our children to teach them truths ― truths that transform. It’s not enough to simply protect our kids. A sapling must be protected until it’s strong enough to be transplanted outside in a garden. Eventually, that sapling must be moved outside or it will become root bound and die. It would be a foolish gardener who would move the sapling outside without first making sure he had done everything to get the tree ready for the “outside” world.
So it is with our children. Protecting is appropriate for a season; then we must begin to prepare them to be strong and thrive. The wind that would destroy a sapling causes the young tree to grow deeper roots and stronger limbs. A failure to expose and equip our kids only makes them “safe” in the sense that our kitten was “safe.” It just meant we weren’t really dealing with the danger.
How do we begin to prepare our children? What we want for them is a total paradigm shift, a different perspective from what the world offers. Let’s look at why.

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