Tag Archives: parenting

Judges 1-3; Psalms 16; Luke 20

7The people of Israel served the Lord as long as Joshua was alive. They continued serving the Lord during the lifetimes of the elders who lived on after Joshua. These men had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel…
10After those people had died, their children grew up. They did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel. 11So they did evil and worshiped the Baal idols. They did what the Lord said was wrong. Judges 2:7; 10-11 (ICB)
Over the years, both on and off of the mission field, I have come to understand the importance of sharing testimonies. It is easy to get discouraged by attacks from the enemy, fiery darts thrown by people I thought cared, being blindsided by life not happening the way I expected, and even frustrated at the difference between what my idea of good timing versus God’s timing.
Testimonies keep me going, strengthening my faith, helping me trust that God’s holding me in his hand and has a good plan. It is vital to hear how God has moved in the past and hear how He is moving today, not just in others’ lives, but also in my own. Those stories of God’s goodness, propel me into the future with an extra measure of hope and help me put my eyes on Him in the midst of the ups and downs of life’s roller coaster.
It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and not think about the ways God is moving on my behalf, the ways He is protecting me and providing for me. It is good when I am reminded with 20/20, razor-sharp hindsight, that He is always there for me, especially when I don’t fully understand in the moment.
As I am leading my children on this journey with Jesus, I want to be certain that they don’t forget what He has done for them either. I want them to remember the sacrifice of the cross. I want them to remember the glory of His resurrection. I want them to remember His promises. And, I want them to remember the “little” things that He does for them, meaningful whispers of His love.
5No, the Lord is all I need.
He takes care of me.
6My share in life has been pleasant.
My part has been beautiful.
7I praise the Lord because he guides me.
Even at night, I feel his leading.
8I keep the Lord before me always.
Because he is close by my side
I will not be hurt. Psalm 16:5-8 (ICB)
Yesappa, Thank You for always being there for me, for never leaving nor forsaking me. Help me to remember Your goodness always. Give me more and more personal testimonies of Your love, grace, and mercy that will ever serve as reminders to my children and future generations, so they will never forget who You are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings,
Julie

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

1In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2There was no water for the people. So they came together against Moses and Aaron. 3They argued with Moses. They said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here? 5Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs or pomegranates. And there’s no water to drink!”

6So Moses and Aaron left the people. Then they went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. They bowed facedown. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord said to Moses, 8“You and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Also take your walking stick. Speak to that rock in front of them. Then water will flow from it. Give that water to the people and their animals.”

9So Moses took the stick from in front of the Lord. He did as the Lord had said. 10He and Aaron gathered the people in front of the rock. Then Moses said, “Now listen to me, you complainers! Do you want us to bring water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his stick. Water began pouring out. And the people and their animals drank it.

12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not believe me. You did not honor me as holy before the people. So you will not lead them into the land I will give them.”

13These are the waters of Meribah. Here the Israelites argued with the Lord. And the Lord showed them he was holy. Numbers 20:1-13

As I read, once again hearing the dissatisfaction of the Israelites, I hear my own kids voices complaining, never happy with how I am providing for them – I’m not giving them juice…I’m not giving it to them fast enough…I didn’t give them the ‘right’ cup…I’m a ‘mean’ mommy…

Just writing those statements, I can feel my blood beginning to boil. Often in these situations, especially when all three are pitted against me (yes, even my sweet little 15 month old has begun the temper tantrums), I quickly lose patience. It doesn’t matter how good of a day I’ve been having up to that point, it doesn’t matter how much self-control I’ve exerted or that I haven’t yelled so far that day. My frustration gets the better of me, and I lose it.

It was the same for Moses. He lost it; sick and tired of the Israelites discontent, overwhelmed by their bad attitudes and ungratefulness. And in that moment, his anger got the better of him and he disobeyed God.

Hitting the rock twice instead of speaking to it doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially since God had instructed him to do that in the past. But, this time God told him to speak to the rock, to command the water to flow. In his anger he lashed out, and failed to honor God with his actions, with his obedience.

Too many times I do this. I forget the things that God has instructed me to do…love, serve, teach…and I get caught up in my anger at little people defying me. I fall short. I disobey. I sin. And, I fail to honor God.

Fortunately, these interactions still serve as teachable moments. Facing my own bad choices gives me the chance to teach my kids about repentance, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of Jesus.

No matter what I do when my kids are on a complaining spree, whether I respond in a good way or mess up and respond in anger, God will always pour out in our family like the water from a rock. Despite my rebellion, my kids rebellion, He will always show us His holiness.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the perfect parent. Thank You for providing, even though I’m not always deserving of Your goodness. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for being Holy. Help me look to Your guidance as a mom. Help me to obey You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Colossians, Numbers, Old Testament

Exodus 25-27; Psalm 90; Philippians 1

9This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10that you will see the difference between good and bad and choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; 11that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

I love Paul’s prayers in his letters. They were written to be encouragement for the early believers in the areas he had visited during his time as an itinerant missionary – inspiration to reform certain behaviors unbecoming to the newly burgeoning church or reassurance that the people he introduced to the gospel were holding firm and standing true.

For me, this prayer is a mother’s prayer, one that I have prayed over my children as they sleep at night and as they play during the day.

As a mom, I desperately want my children to experience love…love from me and their dad, love from extended family, friends, and teachers, and most importantly I want them to fully experience God’s love.

I desire my children to be able to view every aspect of life through the lenses of that love they experience. And as they see through eyes of love they will know more and understand more, and the wisdom that they gain will enable and empower them to make good choices with their lives, which will in turn bring glory to God for His goodness and faithfulness.

The truth is that I also pray these same things over myself – an over-tired, over-worked, over whelmed mom, who doesn’t always feel loving and definitely doesn’t always act in a loving way. I struggle with making choices, a battle between what is best for my family and my own selfishness, failing to remember that one of the goals of motherhood is to demonstrate the glory of God to my children and the people around me – to be the Bible they may not have read yet, the fruit of the gospel they may not have tasted yet.

14Fill us with your love every morning.

Then we will sing and rejoice all our lives.

15We have seen years of trouble.

Now give us joy as you gave us sorrow.

16Show your servants the wonderful things you do.

Show your greatness to their children.

17Lord our God, be pleased with us.

Give us success in what we do.

Yes, give us success in what we do. Psalm 90:14-17

Yesappa, I need more of Your love, every morning, all day. I need Your joy and Your encouragements of success in this journey of motherhood. I know You do great things, that You are full of glory and goodness. Help my journey, despite the circumstances that surround me, be a reflection of You and of Your hand in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians, Psalms

Ezekiel 13-15. Psalm 136, John 5

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Over that last several months our kids have been studying Jesus’ ministry and the times leading up to his crucifixion in their Sunday school class. No matter how many times I hear the scriptures, I am always learning something new or hearing something new that I haven’t heard before. One of the things that strikes me as so incredible about Jesus’ life and ministry is his dependency on the Father.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

Because I see him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords I often forget that he was also human with human weaknesses and sufferings. But though he was given all authority and was fully God he was also fully human and submitted that authority over to his Father in heaven. He was strong enough, yet humble enough to lay down his own will and eventually his own life to submit to the Father.

From the time in the wilderness being tempted by Satan to the last night in the garden at Gethsemane, Jesus shows us where strength comes from. Throughout the gospels I am reminded over and over of how Jesus turns to God the Father in his human weakness and cries out to him.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

This is a great lesson for me to understand and share with my children. I am a very independent person. I like to do things on my own, work hard and be in control. I often rely on my own merits and take great pride in myself when I advance. I also find this rubbing off on my children. In some ways it is easier to stick to this method but in the end, it only leads to pride with success and self hatred and disappointment with failures. If I can instead follow Jesus’ lead and turn to my Father in each and every circumstance pride and self hatred become non existent. Instead, I abide in Him, do the will of my Father and can give Him all the glory. Of course, this is easier said then done. This has been an important realization and journey in my life and I am thankful it’s something the Lord revealed to me so that I can encourage my children early on to live their lives dependent on Him.

Jesus didn’t cry out for help or guidance just once but over and over. I must remember this is a process and is moment by moment, the big things and the small things.

Thank you Jesus for your incredible example of dependence on your heavenly Father. Please help me to trust in you and turn to you each and every moment and for each and every decision, not just the big ones.

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Proverbs 22, 23; Psalm 117; I Thessalonians 1

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6). These words take on new meaning to me as I reflect on the responsibility of raising my daughter’s teenager.  Parenting my daughter was serious business, and I took the words from Proverbs to heart in those days.  Being a grandparent was a refreshing change because I had all the fun without the trials of butting heads, disciplining, and monitoring daily activities.  Now I must endeavor to bridge these two roles for I consider this child to be a gift from the Lord, now given to me.

Do you ever consider the relationships that have failed to flourish?  Whether these were parent/child, romantic, work related, authority figures, have you felt the remorse or regret over words and behaviors that were unseemly or even caused the break-up of the relationship?  There were times when my adult daughter and I did not see eye to eye on most of the important beliefs that I hold.  We may have even gone months without talking, yet I always loved her. Is God giving me another chance to love better this child of my daughter?  The thought pulls me to my knees for I remember my weaknesses as a parent. I pray for more wisdom and I lean on Christ to live as the Thessalonians were described – without ceasing the work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ (I Thessalonians 1:2). This child deserves no less from me.

So what will I do differently?  What have I learned over the 40 years I was a parent. (40 years – isn’t that how long Moses was in the desert preparing to lead the chosen people out of Egypt? Oh, boy!) The one thing I have learned is that all truth is found in Scripture. Those one, two, and multiple verse units in Proverbs have a depth of meaning that comes to light after application, observation, and living with consequences. Wise sayings about social justice, human behavior and interactions, public trust and fairness, rude and ignorant behavior toward those in authority, workaholics, alcoholics, treatment of the downtrodden, sucking up to the rich, and even manners at the table – pages of instruction for us all to follow and model to our children. Also, knowing that Moses’ temper cost him the Promised Land gives me great pause in my unbridled passion for perfection.  I have learned from experience the need to receive and to give mercy.

The quote from Proverbs 22:6 is not a promise but a principle. The principle is the mission statement of God’s parenting manual. Yet, there is a promise that repeats throughout God’s Word. God’s promise is that He will enable me for the task of guiding and encouraging this nearly young adult. “For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.” (Psalm 117:2)

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Proverbs, Psalms