Frederic GrayFrederic Gray Biblical Solutions for Life and the Family Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:56:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Children Are Now Getting High Blood Pressure??? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:56:50 +0000 Frederic Gray

I have come across a trend with children recently…and it alarms me.

Blood pressure is rising in children under 18, to the tune of 1-1.7 million more than ‘normal.’

There has been a historic and consistent 1-2% rate of high blood pressure in children under 18. This has been primarily found in infants and toddlers who have rare medical conditions, and teenagers who have hypertension.

The increase in high blood pressure appears to be mostly an increase in hypertension in the 13-18 age group. And that is why I am alarmed.

While hypertension is sometimes unavoidable, most forms of it are affected, at least in part, by lifestyle choices. Diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress (both active and passive), are all widely understood factors that foster an inner environment of hypertension.

We need to do something about this.

The life habits learned in youth are the life habits that will be the easiest for our adult children to “fall into.”

There are things we can do to create lifestyle habits that decrease, rather than increase, the risk of hypertension. Here are five outstanding, SIMPLE, habits to cultivate in our families to help our children alleviate stress.

1. Pray. “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13)

2. Be joyful. Cultivate the habit of happiness and teach your children to find joy in something every day. “A joyful heart is like good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22)

3. Breathe. Teach your children to breath deeply, as opposed to the constricted breathing that most people have in times of stress. “How can my lord’s servant talk with my Lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” (Daniel 10:17)

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” –Amit Ray

4. Sleep. Teach your children to protect their “sleep zone” and to take sleep seriously. Sleep is one of the greatest stress releases we can have. But stress is created by having unhealthy and irregular sleep patterns “When you lie down, do not be afraid, when you lie down, don’t be afraid.” (Proverbs 3:24)

“There’s an increased risk of high blood pressure for people who sleep between five and six hours a night. It’s thought that sleep helps your blood regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system remain healthy. Over time, a lac of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure. Sleeping seven to eight hours a night may play a role in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.” –Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps, Mayo Clinic

5. Walk. Deuteronomy 6:7 reads, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way…” God assumes you will be physically walking with your children. Yes, I know, they didn’t have cars then. But you get the point. ūüôā

“For healthy, non-hypertensive people, walking around can reduce the diastolic blood pressure. Fro those with psychological stress, walking can also reduce systolic blood pressure. In that latter group of people, we often see a higher baseline pre-exercise blood pressure and a nice reduction of blood pressure to normal levels once they are in motion. Walking may be just the thing you need.” –Dr. Stephen Sinatra

These are just five simple things we can do. There are many others.

They call high blood pressure the silent killer. Our children are growing up in a world that is more stressful than ever, where we can hear the most horrific news from every sector of the globe, all at once on one news blog. In this world of so much darkness, let’s do what we can to create a culture of light in our homes.

You can do it. I can do it. We can do it.

So let’s focus on what we can control.

Let’s show our children that how to live a life of peace in a world of stress.

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Memorial Day Musings Mon, 29 May 2017 11:57:47 +0000 Frederic Gray


I don’t know what that means to you, but to me, it¬†means several things.

A Soldier’s Sacrifice

I always take time on this day to reflect on people who have sacrificed their lives to fight for our nation…to fight for me, even though they may have never met me. I talk about it with Heather and our children. I want them to appreciate the sacrifices made by so many. I want them to honor those soldiers…to respect them.

As a non-veteran, I don’t know that I can ever fully understand what these great soldiers have given me. But I try.

American Holiday

Memorial Day is an official government holiday. While many people don’t have mandatory “time off,” this day is always a reminder to¬†me to¬†focus on my¬†family.

Growing up in Minnesota, it seemed every house and apartment broke out the grill, and spend time as a family. When I lived in apartments, we would laugh and talk with people grilling on their patios next to us doing the same thing. There was always a big crowd of people grilling on the community grills outside by the pool.

When I lived in houses, my dad always would grill something great. If we were lucky, he would spend the weekend smoking something delicious.

True to its name, Memorial Day is a great time to create memories.

A Memorial’s Purpose

Every memorial day I think about what a memorial is, and how God has given Christians a memorial. Communion is a memorial. God has given it to us so we never forget all that Jesus has done for us. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Whether or not our country has learned the lesson from God–that memorials are important, I have gotten the point.

Both my God, and my country, have memorials so we never forget. Memorials are tremendous tools.

Thus, I ask myself, what kind of memorials can I create in my family?

Create a memorial, or a ritual, or just something you do on an expected day and time, to honor loved ones who have passed. Don’t let them be forgotten. Talk about them. Tell stories about them.

My dad’s father died in a car accident when he was very young. All he ever told me about him are things people have told my dad about him. His memories of his dad are from other people sharing their memories of him.

It could be for any purpose you have in mind…not just remembering a loved one.

Wouldn’t it be great if today we prayerfully think about, and create, a great new memorial for our family?

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How to be a Great Dad Tue, 23 May 2017 18:41:33 +0000 Frederic Gray

Recently, my good friend Joe Martin told me that everything he ever did well in his life was from a simple 2-step  formula.

  1. He asked.
  2. He did.

He asked people who had the results he wanted.

He did what they said.

What about being a dad? Who do we ask?

Even if we don’t have a live human in our life, God has given us a great cloud of witnesses that surround us (Romans 11:1-12:1), and many of them were great dads!

Think of Noah.

He epitomizes the struggle that we face as dads maybe more than anything else; the struggle with the question, “What’s really important?”

Think of a time that you wanted to focus on work, and your children wanted you. They simply wanted you without regard for the clock.

Maybe you were getting ready to go to work. Maybe it was when you were walking out the door for work. Maybe you were in the middle of working.

It doesn’t matter. You are then hit with the struggle…the question.

What’s really important?

Obviously, your work is the most important, because without your income, you can’t feed your family.

Or, is it?

Obviously, the children are the most important thing. They are your children, given to you by God. Anybody can do your job. But only you can raise your children. Right?

Ummm, is that true?

And with this, the struggle becomes real. What’s really important? When your young children are tugging at you with heart-melting cries of, “Daddy, daddy!”…when your adult children text you in the middle of your most important business meeting ever, and ask, “Dad, can you talk? I really need to talk with you.”

The struggle is real.

You may have already realized that I was setting up the quandary to make a point.

Both your work, and your children, are important.

“But Frederic, anybody can do my job…only I can raise my children!”

That’s not exactly true. Yes, only YOU are their dad. Whether biological, adopted, foster, step, it makes no difference. You are their dad and are in their life positioned there by God almighty. So, yes, be their dad.

But, ONLY YOU can do YOUR job the way God expects YOU to do it.

Do you really think that the job getting done is God’s main concern?

No. It’s HOW we do the job. (Colossians 3:23)

So, in the most wicked age ever, Noah saved all of his children. He was a great dad.

But also, with the 120 year job of engaging in the most arduous and taxing engineering and construction project that the world has (maybe) ever seen, he got the job done. He was a great dad.

And let’s not forget, continuing the human race lineage until the Savior was born was at stake.

Had Noah not done his job as an engineer, and his job as a dad who was to disciple his children, history would look very different.

Let’s learn from Noah. Let’s focus on our children, because they are important.

Let’s focus on our jobs, because they are important.

How do you balance both?

And therein lies the struggle.

But don’t stress about it. We are up for the challenge.

Let’s be great dads, like Noah.

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Iron Sharpens Iron Conference Fri, 19 May 2017 00:06:09 +0000 Frederic Gray

Have you ever considered the following proverb?

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” –Proverbs 27:17

I have. And in doing so, I realize that the most profound, intimate, and long-lasting growth impact I have ever experienced has been at the hands of men.

Godly men.

Men who were doing what this proverb says–sharpen one another.

There is a nationwide movement of men involved in the Iron Sharpens Iron conferences. There is one coming up in Lakeland, FL, on Saturday, May 20th. And guess what? Yours truly will be speaking!

I’m pretty excited about this. I have spoken at Iron Sharpens Iron before, and was floored by how many men were hungry to draw near to God and draw near to each other. There are people from different spiritual backgrounds, so to speak, and I think there is a heart-warming honesty about that.

Speaking about the Iron Sharpens Iron conference, Sean McDowell said, “Iron Sharpens Iron is reaching both the hearts and minds of men today. ¬†I’m honored to be a part of such a significant ministry.”

If you want to go, or simply check it out, check out the website.

If you are near there, and want to say hi, let me know. Shoot me an email, and we’ll make it happen!

And seriously, if you come, you’ll be glad you did.

Much love to you and yours.


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How to Teach Your Children to Transform Thier Fear into Excitement Wed, 17 May 2017 16:54:05 +0000 Frederic Gray

Have you ever heard someone talk about getting nervous before a speech, and how that’s normal?

Well, they’re wrong. Let me explain, and in the process, show you how you can teach your children to turn their fear into excitement.

Let’s stick with the speaking illustration. Do people get nervous before they speak?

“Yes, of course, Frederic. Everyone knows that.”

Do we, really, KNOW that? You would think it’s true, based on everyone who says it.

But is that what really happens before we speak?

I say no.

I say that what happens before we speak is we get a rush of potential energy. Our conscious mind knows the speech is coming. Our subconscious mind tries to help the conscious mind do an awesome job by creating all kinds of energy through adrenaline and other methods.

What that energy is, is just that–energy. It’s to be used however you see fit.

As a matter of fact, I say that the mind is WAITING FOR YOU to NAME that energy, so it knows what to feel, and how to act.

Here is where the magic happens. Tony Robbins calls it Transformational Vocabulary.

If we call that energy “nervousness,” we will feel nervous.

If we call it “fear,” we will feel afraid.

If we call that energy “excitement,” we will feel excited.

Your nervous system is very powerful. And God created it in such a way that we have a lot of control over how it will work for us, or against us, in terms of spiritual maturity.

That’s why God tells us not to even think lustful thoughts of a woman (Matthew 5:27-28), whereas the world tells us that as long as your not hurting anyone, you can think/lust whatever you want and its fine.

God also commands us to think about whatever is pure, right, true, lovely, etc. (Philippians 4:8)

He even tells us to turn the energy we have (created by our nervous system–subconscious mind–for help) to face trials, into joy. (James 1:2)

So, what’s the point?

Teach your children that what they feel when they go to a new school, meet a pretty girl they can see themselves marrying, or just give a plain old speech, that it is NATURAL and God-orchestrated, that energy will be created. They will feel it,

Teach them to name the energy what they want it to become.

Instead of letting them default into, “I’m scared to go to this new school,” teach them to think, “I’m so excited to go to this new school!”

“I’m excited to meet this pretty girl!”

“I’m excited to give this speech!”

Not only will the excitement they will create do more for them than the fear will, it will also create more positive energy with their schoolmates, the pretty girl, and the speech audience.

And while you’re at it, you might find out that you, yourself, might even need a little fine-tuning with this as well. I regularly remind myself about this.

I hope this is a blessing to you!

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What Happened When We Took Away Our iPad Will Shock You! Thu, 04 May 2017 02:23:37 +0000 Frederic Gray

A few years back, our chiropractor had a contest. The point of the contest was for us customers to promote her on social media, give positive reviews, and to refer new business.

She had everything we did allocated on points, and there were a number of prizes. The Grand Prize was an iPad mini. They had just come out, and were a hot item.

Well, we won the iPad!

The next six months were a change for us. Everyone was excited! My wife started downloading all kinds of apps, and I kept seeing iTunes charges on our bank ledger. We downloaded a variety of games for the children. I got to hear all kinds of creative and musical ring tones and alerts due to Apple’s supreme creativity. Everyone love it!

But also, I noticed our children were playing on it…all the time.

They were fighting over who got to play on it.

They were fighting while they were playing with it.

They were fighting all the time, even when they weren’t on the iPad.

They would get so consumed by it that they couldn’t hear us call them by name.

Heather and I have been very intentional about how we raise our children. That’s why six months later it was easy to see the change, and what caused it.

Everything seemed to be going downhill. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, seemed to get in the way of iPad time…even Bible study.

When I saw that they were antsy to get to the iPad, even when we were talking about our Lord and Savior, I knew enough was enough. Heather had been thinking the same thing.

But what happened next shocked us both.

We gathered our children together on our bed. We told them about the changes that we had seen, and that we were going to take the iPad away.

My oldest daughter, Noelani, (around 10-11 at that time, I believe), started crying.

“Oh man,” I thought. “This is worse than I thought.”

Then she started bawling uncontrollably, and started thanking us.

She explained that she didn’t like what was happening to her. She explained that it scared her that she was having¬†extremely negative thoughts and emotions. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, and an overall obsession about the iPad had become commonplace for her, when such emotions were very rare before.

Even my 10 year old daughter could connect the dots.

I was speechless. The other children were in shock, as well.

Noelani’s reaction cemented our decision to take away the iPad. But it also impressed upon us how little things that can do so much good, can also lead to dangerous temptations. (Later on, my friend Joe Martin, who runs the #1 Podcast for Christian men on iTunes, told me about an interview he did with Brad Huddleston, and that the symptoms I told him about were telltale signs of digital addiction. Check out the interview here.)

And my family was almost forever changed for the worse because of an iPad we didn’t even buy.

Was it because iPads are inherently evil? No.

Was it because as parents we mismanaged our children and their iPad use? Probably.

Should I let my inability to functionally integrate an iPad into the character development of my children get in the way of them having a free iPad? Absolutely.

There are some things I can handle, and some things I struggle with. I am going to parent with intention toward my strengths. I will work towards mitigating my weaknesses.

Maybe if my daughter was in your house, she wouldn’t have reacted so negatively to an iPad.

But I am doing the best I can, with the children I have, and the strengths and weaknesses I have.

The point?

Never, I mean NEVER, let ANYTHING come between directing your children toward Jesus Christ and having Christ-like character.

For me, it was an iPad.

What is it for you?

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How to Help Your Children to NOT Feel Safe With Christians…Without Even Trying! Tue, 02 May 2017 02:32:58 +0000 Frederic Gray

When I got saved at the age of 21, everything was GREAT…for about a week. Then I panicked.

I started thinking thoughts such as, “How in the world can I have a godly marriage? I don’t even know what marriage is!”

All kinds of thoughts regarding godly families, and my inadequacy in leading one, began racing through my mind and caused me anxiety.

One of the things I did to help me get a grip was to ‘interview’ Christians and members of Christian families.

They didn’t know I was interviewing them, because I never told them. I simply asked people questions and listened.

And one of the best ways I ‘interviewed’ these people, was simply to watch, observe, and take notes. It’s AMAZING what you can learn simply by keeping your eyes open, and by keeping a prayerful watch over people as they live their lives.

And one of the things I noticed will blow you away! I’ll share that in a moment.

But first let me explain what I paid attention to.


Yes, faithfulness has been my obsession for quite a while. I’ve been unfaithful in my Christian walk, more than once, and I never want me, or anyone else, to go through that.

That means I notice people who are super-faithful, and those who are not, and try to draw commonalities. I actually have interviewed many people who are unfaithful, and asked them all kinds of questions. (If you ever want to have your eyes opened to risky things Christians can do that have negative impacts on others, just do that.)

And in paying attention to all these people who seemed to be afraid and resentful¬†of Christians, churches, and everything related to Christ that involves humans, I almost missed it. I almost missed what may be the biggest way we, as parents, can help our children to NOT feel safe at church…and maybe even help them to be unfaithful.

Are you ready for it?

If you want your children to not feel safe with other your church family, all you have to do is regularly criticize other Christians.

I almost missed this. No one has ever pointed it out to me.¬†I’ve never read about this anywhere (which doesn’t mean no one has made this connection. I’m SURE multiple people have, I just have missed it.).

But it’s crystal clear.

When our children grow up and see us criticize other Christians, they most likely will assume that’s the way all Christians act. They will simply absorb the belief that is the norm is for¬†“us” to criticize other Christians, then they will assume that’s the way all Christians act. (Just¬†as I marveled¬†in high school how my friends who had sex, drank, or smoked, were SHOCKED at how many people did NOT do those things…and my friends who didn’t do those things were SHOCKED at how many did…people generally think everyone else is like them.)

It’s so simple. Treat everyone with grace and kindness. SHOW your children grace. Don’t just talk about it…be about it.

Honor everybody. Talk about people in their absence as if they were there with you.

If you do that, your children will understand that giving others the benefit of the doubt, and treating them with love, is the Christian norm–what all Christians do.

“Yes, but Frederic, not all Christians do that!”

Yes, that’s correct. However, if we are going to err, let’s err on the side of mercy, love, and grace, not judgment.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” –James 2:13

Please, please, PLEASE do not talk badly about other Christians.

Your children’s souls are at stake.

As well as yours.

I commit to never again criticize someone behind their back.

Won’t you join me in that commitment?

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To Spank or Not To Spank Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:50:12 +0000 Frederic Gray

I am excited to share this with you!

Recently, I had the honor of being interviewed by the #1 Christian Men’s podcast on iTunes–Real Men Connect. It’s hosted by Joe Martin, who by the way is one of the best speakers I have ever heard in my life.

Joe invited me to be on his podcast so he could interview me on the topic of spanking. In the parenting world, spanking is arguably the most controversial topic that parents face.

And if you are like me and try to live your life by the Bible, it’s touchy on a spiritual level, because the Bible has multiple verses talking about using ‘the rod.’

Nobody wants to abuse their children. But how do I, as a Christian, follow the Bible regarding the disciplining of my children?

I address that in the podcast. If you have any questions about spanking at all, or would like to understand how it can be a blessing to everyone involved, and draw everyone involved closer together, and closer to God, check out the interview. It  just launched today!

Here it is.

Please leave feedback. I would love to hear your thoughts.

I hope this interview is a¬†blessing to you! ūüôā

Your friend,

Frederic Gray

PS: Here is the link to the podcast interview.

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From Hate to Hugs Thu, 15 Dec 2016 13:01:02 +0000 Frederic Gray

After¬†visiting Heather’s family on¬†Thanksgiving, I left Heather and¬†our children there and¬†flew back to Tampa by myself. Everything was going fine until the woman next to me called the flight attendant.

“He is too big, and he’s in my space! I’m uncomfortable and getting anxiety. You need to get him another seat. I can’t fly the whole trip like this! This is horrible. He’s leaning on me.¬†I can’t handle this! You need to fix this now!”

The flight attendant was apologetic, and said she would do what she could.

While the woman, named Martha I found out later, was speaking, my mind was racing.

“Wow. she hasn’t said a word to me the 30 minutes we’ve been in the air, and she just went¬†straight to the flight attendant with…all¬†THAT.¬† Are they going to move me to another seat for being too big? Oh man, how embarrassing! Why didn’t she just ask me to¬†move over?¬†Well, let’s see, (praying)¬†‘God, please help me find a way to glorify you in this situation.'”

I was mortified! I was on the aisle seat, so I was indeed moving¬†toward her middle¬†every time¬†the flight attendants came through. ¬†My mind was racing. What could I say to help the situation? I tried not to think about myself, and any awkward thoughts about being “too big” or about my potential move, and I tried to put myself in her shoes.

What was she going through? Is there something going on in her life prompting her to talk about me like I’m not there? How can I bring joy to her life and at the same time let her know that I am a safe person she can talk to?

After the flight attendant left, I apologized profusely.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t realize I was getting in your space.”

“Well, you’re too big! They should have sold you two seats!” (We were flying Southwest, where there are no assigned seats.)

I gulped with shame as she basically yelled to the plane that some big, fat guy was making her miserable. But then I felt God picking my spirit back up in answer to my prayer.

I continued to apologize, and tell her how horrible I felt for making her uncomfortable.

Then, she let something slip through her lips that let me know I was making progress.

In the midst of her expressing her anger toward me, she said, “Well, I can tell you’re a nice person.”

Once she said that, I knew I had her. I knew I was making progress by trying to convey my love for her.

Meanwhile, I’m still a bit anxious about the flight attendant coming to move me to another seat because I’m “too big.” It was a full flight, minus maybe two or three seats, by the way.

But eventually, she started talking to me. Then she started conversing with me.

I learned that she has always had anxiety flying. Her husband, who died four years ago, always made her feel comfortable, and would always be her buffer on the plane, giving her the seat next to the window while he would take the middle or aisle seat.

This time, her daughter was with her on the window.

She and I actually started hitting it off. We learned that her family, and her husband’s family, are both recent immigrants from a country that one of my grandfathers came to America from. And the familial affinity within people from this country is strong.

Her daughter apologized to me several times, and Martha actually said she felt bad that the one time she spoke up about her plane anxiety, that it was regarding someone who was nice.

I told her, “Maybe all the other people were nice as well, and you never gave them the opportunity to show it because you never said anything to them. If you had told me I was in your space, I would have made space for you instantly.”

Meanwhile, the flight attendant came back and offered Martha a different seat. She declined.

She kept telling me how nice I was. I listened to her the rest of the flight. She talked about her family, her husband and what a gentleman he was. And her family has quite a historic presence in Tampa.

We hit it off so well, that she gave me her full name, number, and address, and said she wanted to take Heather and me out to dinner! And then, guess what else?

She hugged me. Yes, we hugged on the plane. In front of all the people who heard her curse me to the flight attendant, we gave each other a heart-melting hug.

Why am I sharing this with you?

To prove that love always wins.

And to top it off, by showing Martha love, I actually started feeling love for her!

This was a success story for love. Sometimes love stories don’t always end this well. But that doesn’t take away from the power of love.

Love always wins.


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I Wish You Freedom Mon, 04 Jul 2016 16:56:52 +0000 Frederic Gray

When I was a boy, if my dad was ever somewhere the Star Spangled Banner was played or sung, he would stand, hold his hand over his heart, and sing along…even if no one else was singing.

My responses ranged from embarrassment to intrigue. One day I asked him, “Dad, why are you singing when no one else is?”

He would always reply by talking about the greatness of freedom, and how rare it has been around the world through history.

When I was in fourth grade, our whole grade performed a patriotic choral medley. One of the songs was entitled Freedom Isn’t Free. I still remember the chorus.

Freedom isn’t free,

Freedom isn’t free.

You have to pay the price,

You have to sacrifice,

For your liberty.


I wish you freedom. But no matter how free you and I may be in this world, we have no freedom without Christ.

So, when I say I wish you freedom, of course I want all people to be free.

But what I really mean is, I wish you Jesus Christ.



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