Thoughtful Thursday: Purposeful Parenting

Parenting Purposefully

Photo credits: John Florbant

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When our children come to know God as their Savior, they understand that walking in obedience is not a punishment, but a blessing.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 78: 5-8

“He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. 7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands. 8 Then they will not be like their ancestors, who were a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that was not committed and faithful to God.”

Parenting advice from the Father of all creation is worth listening to. In fact, it was not just advice – but a command. God knew the importance of remembering His activity. We are desperately wicked and constantly need a compass to point us toward Him. Our children are no different. When we remind them of the wonders God has done, we point them to the One Who is greater than us – the only One worthy of worship – Who is able to guide them and be their constant companion through this life .

Worshiping One Who is greater than ourselves keeps us from worshiping lesser things that cannot save. When my children were little, I would read Scriptures to them before they could understand a word. When they were old enough to understand, we began devotions and bible studies together. I was always amazed at how the Holy Spirit would guide me as I taught my children. I did not have to be super organized – I just needed to open His Word and study it with them.

The Lord placed home education on my heart as the means to achieving what He had asked me to do – to raise my children to know Him. Not to be religious. Not to be outwardly obedient and inwardly disobedient, but to know what it meant to walk with God.

I got so much flack raising my children in the LORD; that they were damaged because they were home educated, that they were “missing out”. They did indeed miss out. On a lot of extra junk that would have burdened them. We have enough troubles in this world, let alone ascribing to the belief that parents need to let their kids “figure it out” on their own.

God is telling parents to be purposeful in their parenting, to make sure their children know what He has done for them and this world that He loves – with the purpose of them having confidence in Him. This confidence becomes a living faith that knows God is their ever-present help in times of trouble.

When our children come to know God as their Savior, they understand that walking in obedience is not a punishment, but a blessing. Choosing a life of walking after the flesh only leads to deep sorrows and God wants to spare us that.

Parenting is not for wimps, and God knew we would need His wisdom to be able to raise His children for Him in a way that pleased Him. He also knew we would need to examine ourselves regularly to be able to see clearly enough to recognize sin in our own lives as well as theirs. Parenting a path full of battles when we choose to go against the flesh and raise our children God’s way, but it is a battle worth fighting and He already won the war for us.

Lord, help us to be godly parents who never give up mentoring our children with Your love and truth. Cause the hearts of our children to crave righteousness and may they be faithful to raise their children to love you, too.

Denise Pass Promo PicDenise Pass | Author | Speaker | Worship Leader | Singer

http://www.seeingdeep.com | http://www.denisepass.com

Mundane Monday: Get Up and Fight!

Curve Ball

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The curve balls in this life weren’t meant to defeat us, but to challenge us to rise and play ball.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

I love baseball.  There was nothing like watching my son play and play hard.  But the imminent fear of a fly ball whacking you in the face was always looming in the corner of the minds of the spectators.

I have witnessed such incidences many times.  One woman was knocked unconscious and taken away by an ambulance, some ball players themselves were carried off the field and still other spectators foamed at the mouth for the opportunity to lunge and catch the ball . . . all pressing on, for the love of the game.

This past week I sat in the hospital for three days while my son had surgery for a broken femur – not from a baseball game, but from a slow bicycle ride.  His roommate, however, had several crushed bones in his face from a baseball.  My darling husband, too, also has a lump on his face from the time he took a shot from the ball himself.

Sometimes life throws you crazy curve balls.  The question is, do we pick up the ball dealt to us and play or let ourselves get socked by the balls and defeated when they come our way?  After sizing up the speed of a ball, my preference would likely be to dodge a fast ball if I do not think I have the ability to catch it.

I well remember pitching to my two older brothers who could whack the tape ball we played with to a lightning speed in no time.  Those lessons coached me well.  Stay alert!

But sometimes you do not have time to dodge a ball nor the skill.  Ugh, while I mention the words “dodge” and “ball” in the same sentence, another vivid memory appears in my mind as the last chosen on a team at school and the first one smacked with those balls. Oh, what fun, right?

Back to my sweet son.  We did not expect a casual bike ride to turn into three medical facilities, surgery and great pain.  It is still stupefying to consider how it happened.  But it did.  In the moment, I noticed I did not respond as I had before when traumatic times occurred.  There was a peace.  Unexplainable.  Sadness gripping my heart for my son, but a calm, nonetheless.

God gave a presence of mind to consider that where we were was temporary.  It was also allowed by Him and a mission.

Would we waste the brief opportunities that came our way with the people we would meet, or would we share Christ, our biggest blessing, our very life, to those around us?  One shot to handle the ball and to bring God glory.

My son is growing in his faith and it was absolutely precious to see Him have to depend on God and to grow in His strength and faith in Jesus.  As we read Scripture aloud and prayed in that hospital room, God did His part.  The hardest thing, though, was for my son to face His enemy – the pain he was in.  The only way to recovery was to walk through the pain and to make a choice to take the ball, the circumstances dealt to him, and push through. He had to choose to face his pain and get up and fight.

You see, our enemy throws sucker punches and sometimes we want to give up.  Dizzy and lying on the ground, it seems impossible to get up and fight.  But the only way to victory is to accept what happened and to fight.  Not with the weapons of this world.  It might be on our knees, reading His word or it might mean doing really hard things, but in the place of pain we have a Savior walking with us through it all, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes all you can do is hang onto Jesus’ robe and cry out.  That’s ok.  That is the best place to be, actually.  It can be easy to grow discouraged when challenges rise in our lives, in particular multiple balls coming our direction at the same time. We don’t expect them nor appreciate them often in the moment. Unless . . . we view them as an adventure and view ourselves as being in the hands of a loving sovereign God Who is sending us on a mission.  Will we accept?

Lord, help us to see You in all of life.  Help us to seek You as our coach in every circumstance and to not grow weary in well doing.

Truthful Tuesday: Carrying the Torch

torch.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

We help our children carry the torch of faith by living out our faith honestly and in humility.

Scripture of the Day:

Judges 2:10-12

“That entire generation passed away; a new generation grew up that had not personally experienced the LORD’s presence or seen what he had done for Israel.  11 The Israelites did evil before the LORD by worshiping the Baals. 12 They abandoned the LORD God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods–the gods of the nations who lived around them. They worshiped them and made the LORD angry.

Some have said that the upcoming generation is leaving the church.  The foundation laid is purportedly not firm and the future generation left the faith of their predecessors.

Nothing scares me more than the faith of my children fading and being replaced with a worldly counterfeit.

I have a jealousy for their souls and a desire for them to see this walk with Christ is not mere religion, but a vibrant, cherished relationship with the Lover of our souls.

But I cannot make that choice for them.  They have to pick up the torch and choose to carry it.  As the character Sam Wise said in the movie, “Lord of the Rings”, “‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.”

Praying for them and daily sharing God’s word and living it out has a much more profound effect than rules aimed at external behavior only.  So it is with us, the predecessors.  We each had to face the poverty of our own souls, grapple with sin and not allow it to master us on the inside.  We still do.

When our children see our need of God, there is no greater demonstration of active living faith.  Confessing our shortcomings yet not yielding to them shows them how to carry the torch.

Ultimately, if the faith of the future generation was dependent upon our perfection, faith would fail.  Thank God that faith is a gift from Him, nurtured with time spent with Jesus in His word and prayer.

Lord, help us to never grow weary of seeking You and discipling the precious next generation for Your glory.  May righteousness sweep across our nation and the hearts of the children return to You.

 

Worshipful Wednesday: Planted in Purity

tumbleweed.jpgrooted-in-god

Inspirational thought of the day:

Guard against the pollution of our souls.  Light and darkness have no fellowship apart from God’s grace.

Scripture:

Psalm 1, 3-5

1 “How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway of sinner, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! 3 He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. 4 Not so with the wicked!  Instead they are like wind-driven chaff. 5 For this reason the wicked cannot withstand judgment, nor can sinners join the assembly of the godly.”

I vividly remember the whipping wind and the piercing sand stinging the back of my legs as I walked down my street in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was March, the windy season, and you had to be on the watch for tumbleweeds blowing down the street toward you at a rapid pace.  The .7 mile walk to school (yes, I mapquested this, since I was going to guess 2 miles and did not want to exaggerate), seemed like an eternity in such conditions.

What a vivid example it serves to me now as I consider the verses above. The wicked are not able to choose righteousness apart from the grace of God.  Wind-driven chaff such as the tumbleweeds I encountered, are dead and are not able to steer or guide, but are completely driven at the whim of the wind. But the follower of Christ is alive; like a blossoming, fertile tree who does have a choice and is able to choose righteousness by the Holy Spirit.

We are deceived if we think we can dabble in a little wickedness.  A speck of dirt contaminates a glass of water and sin hardens our hearts over time.  But God.

When my children all reached between the ages of eleven and thirteen, I went through the “Passport to Purity” with them – a wonderful study by Dennis & Barbara Rainey for parents to guide their children through discussions about purity.  One statement has left an impression on my children and I like no other.  When confronted by sinners who invited a young man to join in their revelry, the young man commented, “At any moment I could become just like you, but you can never become just like me”.

The wicked cannot choose to be righteous, save the grace of God.  Man cannot undo decisions of impurity, but God can redeem them all.  Praise be to God who plants the righteous firmly by the stream of His Word.  They cannot be moved.  They might suffer in this life, they might stumble and fall, but they will rise again and their foundation is firm.

Lord, thank You for your salvation!  Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who guides us into understanding and obedience.  Please help us to remain firm in our faith and to resist evil.

rooted-in-the-word-kevin-ca

Thoughtful Thursday: Raising Abel

Train up a child

Photo Credits: kidsministryresources.com

Ecclesiastes 11:9 

“Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes, but know that God will judge your motives and actions.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1

“So remember your Creator in the days of your youth–before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.”

A mantra spoken often in our culture is that teens think they know it all. And while there is surely a grain of truth in this statement, a step back reveals that it is a blossoming seed coming to fruition of the investment of earlier days.

It is sheer delight seeing the wonder in a child learning something new about the world around us.  Watching that wonder grow over time into fascination and a depth of wisdom and knowledge is even more amazing to see.  Such is the privilege of being a parent.

The quest I have held closely to in 21 years of parenting is an earnest desire to nurture a love of wisdom, fear of the LORD and a sincere love of the LORD in each of my children’s hearts.  Words cannot convey how wonderful it is to see them seeking after God and seeking to walk in His ways in a troubled generation.

The world around us insists that teens have to indulge in the flesh, sass their parents, live for self and rebel.  That is not what Scripture says.

Subcultures within Christianity can also have fads and recommendations of what convictions we should hold to in order to have godly children. While there is wise counsel often given by various authors and ministries, it becomes religiosity if we hold to methods and an external approach more than an internal commitment focusing on character.

We did not have television or electronics for most of my children’s childhood.  Then we did.  We learned lessons and how to grapple with this world around us and seek to impact the world rather than just avoid it.  We also utilize social media with age limits, are accountable and seek to use it for the glory of God.

I hesitate to share the parameters we set because everyone’s personal convictions vary widely and each one needs to honor God with the boundaries they have for their household.  Creating a center of wisdom through the provision of devotionals, worship music and a Christian education helped lay a foundation of providing a biblical lens in all that my children face.

Paramount above all is the voice within reminding us that “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”.  We go through seasons in which we recognize the world creeping in and have to take actions to “clean house”, but such revelations are a gift from God and part of walking in relationship with Him.  More than rules is an understanding why we have such boundaries.

Giving space little by little for children to make their own successes and failures is frightening, but also a tool for them to learn from.  Encouraging them to pray for wisdom themselves will be their key to a faithful walk with God if they dare to ask.

Trying to find a magic bullet or set of rules will not produce the youth God is looking for, but fostering, living it our ourselves and creating an environment which encourages a love for God’s word and provokes living an honest life before our Maker is fundamental.

Instead of buying into the propaganda which makes excuses for folly in youth and wastes the days of youth, we can spur the next generation onto greatness.  There is a joy that comes from being accountable and living life through a biblical lens that no frivolous childhood could ever compare to.

Dispensing away with lies that say being godly is not fun and debunking the fear that says we cannot be in the world yet not of it, we can raise our children to have freedom within boundaries, genuine “wise guys”, guided by wisdom and the fear of the LORD.

Lord, it is a humbling, overwhelming task to raise children for You and for Your glory.  Please enable us to live a radical life for You that is infectious and attractive so the future generation will see the joy of the LORD in our faces, which far surpasses worldly pleasures.