• Lucas and Kristah delve into the rigors and rewards of raising kids as they talk about a chapter from Lucas' book THINGS ABOVE. The chapter is entitled Obey. There is also a video for that chapter you can see here. Kristah shares about an article soon to be released that will be entitled Don't Be Yourself. Lucas shares two interviews he did with some very special people, and they finish the episode by listening to a new(ish) song called lost at sea.

  • Lucas and Kristah talk about a few articles, some videos, and an infographic on the FGI site. Here are the links for each item discussed.

    Is That True? Article | 10 Reasons not to ask Jesus into your heart Infographic | Seven reasons not to ask Jesus into your heart to be saved video | Naked Grace Book by Lucas Kitchen

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  • How it doesn't fit

    First, here is how the Russian Invasion DOES NOT fit, into End Times Prophecy. Contrary to a lot of teachers of Bible prophecy (especially contemporary ones), this invasion is not a precursor to the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. There are several reasons for this (and I have included them in this paper on Ezekiel 38 and 39), but one key indicator is that, in Rev 20:7-10, the Apostle John seems to link Ezekiel 38 with the invasion of Israel which occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (the thousand-year reign of Jesus, following His return to the earth). 

    How It Might Fit

    Here is how I see the invasion of Russia into Ukraine possibly fitting into Bible prophecy. Russia currently has a toe-hold in the Middle East via links with Syria and Iran; in fact, Russia currently has military troops in Syria which is a threat to Israel. If Russia’s invasion into Ukraine puts too much strain on Russia’s economy, on Russia’s military, and on Putin’s standing as the dictator of Russia, Russia may be forced to pull its forces out of the Middle East. That would leave Syria, which is being propped up by Iran, and Iran as two nations standing alone against the rest of the Middle East states. 

    Then, if (perhaps “when,” not “if”) Israel finally launches a necessary preemptive attack upon Iran, one that the Lord uses to bring down the current Iranian regime (perhaps the Iranian Green Movement would use the resulting chaos of that attack to launch a government coup), then, in all likelihood, the current Syrian regime would also collapse. This result would open up the Middle East for negotiations on the Dan 9:27 treaty, the treaty that starts the clock ticking on the seven-year tribulation period.

    In my view, ten national leaders will be involved in confirming that seven-year treaty with Israel. [These are the ten kings of Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12.] I believe five of these will be leaders of Middle East states, while five will be leaders from European nations.

    In addition, the Biden administration is planning to use Russia as a prime negotiator in the Iran deal, which would enhance Iran’s ability to access nuclear weapons, enrich Iran financially, and provide Russia a backdoor to escape economic sanctions. This deal would threaten Israel and the entire Middle East, as well as the United States, and would threaten a future Middle East treaty with Israel. 

    Thus, I believe God may use the Russian invasion of Ukraine to overly stretch Russia, which could likely result in Russia pulling out of the Middle East and threaten its part in the U.S.-Iran deal, thus cratering that deal. This, in turn, could be one part of the recipe for preparing the Middle East for the Daniel 9:27 treaty. 

  • 5. Watch Your Kids Not Your Screen

    Kids are good at reminding us what they want. We constantly hear, “Daddy, watch this,” or “Mommy, Look what I can do.” This is a reminder of what a young child wants. They want your attention. They want you to look at them, not at a screen. They want your eyes. Don’t ma ke them compete with your phone, TV, or Computer. Giving more attention to a device than you give to them is a stellar way to send them off looking for someone else that will pay attention to them. You can’t control who they’ll find to do so. 

    Here’s what I do: The main time I get to spend with my kids is after I get off work up until their bedtime (5:00-8:00 pm). I consider those hours to be time that belongs to my family. On week days/nights we keep the TV off, and I dogmatically avoid using my phone during that family time. I focus on being present with them. On weekends we do Movie nights from 5:00-8:00. We try to pick movies that we can watch together. 

    Be diligent to find ways to turn off the screens and pay attention to your kids. They need it. 

    4. Raise Your Body Not Your Voice

    I’ve often said 90% of raising children (especially young children) is just getting up and getting close. You have so much more interpersonal leverage when you’ve made an investment of movement. I have much more positive influence with my four year old when I’m kneeling right next to him and calmly reminding him of how I expect him to act, rather than blasting him with angry words from across the room. People who are in control don’t need to shout. A calm voice demonstrates that you are in control of yourself and the situation. We shout because we’re losing control, and we don’t want to get up from the recliner. 

    The good news is that the get-up-requirement diminishes over time. If we make this investment of endless movement when our kids are young, then as they grow older a gentle word from across the room will be all that is needed. While, they’re young you’ve got to be willing to get up and get close, or your parenting results will be mixed. 

    What I do: I let my proximity communicate the severity of the situation. If I’m giving a light correction, I’ll do that from my chair. If I need to raise the intensity, I stand up and make eye contact, while doing my best to keep my voice calm. If I need to take it up a notch I walk over to the child and speak in direct short sentences, communicating my expectations very clearly. If we need to raise the stakes, and take it to defcon five, I lean down and whisper in my child’s ear (more about that in a second). Notice how it was not the volume of my voice that communicated the intensity but my proximity? I get closer to them as the stakes rise. 

    3. Whisper Warnings 

    We were in the mall the other day, and there was a family unit consisting of a few matriarchal figures (possibly a grandmother, aunt, and mother) and a bunch of out-of-control children. The main method for correcting their children was to shout profanity-laced threats. I was pretty certain that these threats were not really meant to correct the kid’s behavior, but instead were intended to be heard by all the other parents who were sharing the public space. The children were used to doing whatever they wanted. But these matriarchs sensed that their children were getting on everyone else’s nerves so they screamed at them, to prove to everyone around them that they were in control. Though, their screaming actually communicated the exact opposite. 

    Do you ever loudly correct your kids in public for the purpose of letting other people hear? I get it. It’s tempting, but don’t do it. It makes the correction about you and the peer-pressure you’re receiving, rather than about actually correcting your kids. It also comes at the cost of humiliating your kids. Allowing an outside pressure to determine how you correct your child makes the correction inconsistent, unpredictable, and humiliating, and children can feel it. You don’t want them to obey because they’re humiliated, but because they respect your authority.

    What I do: In most cases I try to make my public correction of my kids as private as possible. When they’re really young this means carrying them to another room or outside to have a calm talk about their behavior. If they need a spanking. It happens in private, with just me and them. If it’s a minor correction I’ll lean over and whisper instructions in their ear. This allows them to retain their dignity, and avoids humiliating them. I’ve found very good success with this method. 

    2. Give Direct Instructions Not Reasoned Implication

    I see this all the time with kind-hearted parents speaking to young kids. Instead of saying, “Clean your room,” they may say, “Your room is really messy.” Instead of saying, “Stop jumping on the couch,” they may say, “You’re going to crack your head on the floor.” 

    It happens with me all the time. “Daddy, can I have a candy,” my son might say. I’m tempted to not directly answer his question, but to jump right to a list of reasons why it’s a bad idea and leave the answer unspoken. Rather than directly saying “no,” I often find myself saying, “Well, Buddy, we haven’t had dinner yet, and candy isn’t good for your teeth, and if you have one then your sister will want one.” 

    Notice what I’ve done. I’ve given only reasons which supports an implied but unspoken answer. It leaves the answer unstated, and leaves the reasons arguable. This is a mistake. 

    First it communicates that the answer, whatever it is, is negotiable. If I cite reasoning, rather than give direct inalienable instructions, what I’m inviting him to do is demolish my reasons and argue the case. He could say, “I promise to eat dinner, I’ll brush my teeth afterward, and I’ll get a piece for sister too.” Suddenly we’re in a negotiation. In this situation I feel like he’s arguing, but in reality I’ve invited him into the decision making process by citing my reasons. I’ve invited him to consider and countermand my rational, since I didn’t really give him an answer. It’s not fair for me to get mad at him for logically answering my reservations, but nonetheless I’m suddenly mad because he’s “arguing.” 

    Why do we do this?  We’re afraid to say the real reason. The real reason why he can’t have candy is because I say so. I’m in charge and he’s not. Under a different daddy he could be allowed to eat guilt-free candy all day long, and that would be fine, but not under me. The reason he can’t is because I’ve decided. But we’re afraid to say that aren’t we? It sounds harsh. It sounds authoritarian. All the same, it’s the truth and we ought to be courageous enough to say it. Every time I give reasons with no direction answer, I’m being cowardly, I suspect you are too. 

    I know this is hard. I know that it sounds harsh, but give direct answers, and direct instructions and wait to give reasons until after they have obeyed, especially when they’re young. Here’s how that conversation could have gone. 

    “Daddy, can I have a piece of candy?” 

    “No, Buddy.” 

    “But why not?” 

    “Because that’s what I’ve decided.”

    “But I want it.” 

    “I understand, Buddy, but Daddy’s decided no candy right now.”

    If more questions follow, just keep repeating the same line with some form of, “I’ve decided” or “because I say so.” The reason why this is important is it gets right to the heart of the matter without confusing the issue with unimportant reasons. The heart of the issue is parental authority, and whether or not your child will challenge that position. If your child throws a fit, then you can deal with it as a separate incident, rather than it being mixed in with the candy issue.  

    What I do: I Give simple direct answer and direct instructions. They sound harsh sometimes, but kids are amazingly good at adapting to the communication style. I allow them to question my reasons only after the situation has passed and only after they’ve obeyed the instructions. This approach has brought about good results. 

    1. Set Your Mind On Things Above

     Sometimes parenting feels like you’ve been dropped onto a snowy-triple-black-diamond ski slope and you’re picking up speed. You’re going to want all the help you can get. Two through five on this list could be used to improve parenting by anyone, even unbelievers. However, number one is unique to believers. If you’ve believed in Jesus, there’s good news for you.

    There are books, seminars, and parenting programs out there that all claim to fix whatever ails your parenting approach. All those are fine, but they don’t hold a candle to a parenting super power that lives inside you (if you’re a believer). 

    Of course, you could choose to respond to your children in the flesh, and parent in the power of your own mind and body. But why wouldn’t you draw from the help God has already offered you? Believers have been gifted an immeasurable advantage in raising their kids. But just like last years Christmas gift, it’s only useful if you use it. That is to say, it’s not automatic. There is something you have to do to access that power. 

    Believers are indwelled with the same all-powerful Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 8:11). That bunker-busting, monster-slaying, universe-creating Spirit can handle your need for patience, peace, and self-control. In fact, those spiritual super powers are the Spirit’s specialty (Gal 5:22-23). All you have to do to get access to that parenting powers is set your mind on things above (Col 3:2). 

    It’s no secret that parents who have a Godly mindset while raising their children experience more patience, joy, peace, love, and self-control. If you’re a believer you can improve your parenting immediately by simply setting your mind on things above.

    I’m not talking about a general Godly mindset, like we go to church. I mean an acute, in-the-moment, situation-by-situation, God-focused, mindset. 

    What I do: When my kids are driving me crazy and I’m about to explode, I take a second to get my mind aligned with a Godly perspective. For me it’s usually most effective to say a quick, silent prayer like, “Lord, give me patience in how I respond to her,” or “Lord, help me to see this situation from your viewpoint,” or just “Lord, help me.” There are plenty of times I fail to do this, and in those situations I often fail as a decent dad. However, every time I say a quiet prayer, take a second to get my mind in a Godly place, and then faced the problem, I always come away from that interaction feeling good about how it went down. My kids do too. 

    All you have to do is get your mind in the right place, and God has promised to allow His Spirit to grow the fruit of patience, peace, and self-control right from your branches. Those are fruits your kids will love, and branches they can swing freely from. 

    If you’re a believer, you can start employing this method right away. See how it changes the dynamic in your home. If you’re not a believer, but you’d like to know more send me a message through our website, or take a look at some of the content we have in our Salvation collection. 

  • When Russia invaded Ukraine The phrase "Is Russia Gog and Magog" suddenly became a trending topic on google. This is probably because during the 70's, and 80's there were Bible teachers who speculated that the Soviet Union was Gog and Magog (Rev 20:8, Ez 38:2). This was a popular teaching among End Times enthusiasts until... the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Now no one is claiming that the Soviet Union is Gog of Magog.

    But—Could it be Russia?

    Most of those who try to answer the question, "Is Russia Gog of Magog?" have long complicated answers. We'd like to keep this simple. Then give you reference material if you'd like to do some further reading.

    Modern Russia is not Gog of Magog.

    Gog of the land of Magog is associated with Revelation 20:8. When you consider the context to which that verse belongs, it makes the modern Russia theory impossible. That's because Gog of the land of Magog will rise to power and make war against the Holy land AT THE END of the thousand-year reign of Christ. The verse says:

    When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle...

    Revelation 20:7-8

    Whether or not there will be a land called "Russia" in the millennial kingdom, we don't know. What we do know is that the war of Magog is at least a thousand years in the future. So, modern Russia is not Magog.

    If you would like more information on this topic you can take a look at this episode of End Times Today With John Claeys. He discussed this during the question and answer segment that begins around minute 22.

    You might also find this Paper by John Claeys on the subject enlightening. It dives in much deeper to this particular incident.