“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” – Psalm 78:4
When I read the Bible there is a thread woven through that strikes me whenever I come across it. It is God’s love for children and his command that we adults tell them about him. You can’t escape it in the Old Testament. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…” - Deuteronomy 6:6. See also Deuteronomy 4:9 and 11:19.
Joel 1:3 gives warning to, “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.” The book of Joshua talks of several heaps of stones built as monuments of remembrance for the coming generations (see Joshua 4:21-22). The entire Psalm 78 is dedicated to telling the coming generations of what the Lord has done for his people.
In the New Testament we see Jesus gathering children to himself to be blessed. He knows there is no better place for them to be than in his presence. He openly receives them and sternly tells his disciples not to keep them away.
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ ” – Matthew 19:13-15
Oh, if people would heed these words today! Do not hinder the children from coming to Jesus! Do not stop them from being in his presence or from hearing his Word! Direct them there, point the way, encourage them to know who he is and what he has done. Do not close the door on the relationship by not attending church or not reading the Bible. Stop acting like the name of Jesus is taboo unless used as a curse word. If this describes you, hear the rebuke of Christ loudly in your ear today – “let the little children come to me and do not hinder them”!
Tell the children about God and his glorious deeds and wondrous works. Tell them of his powerful wrath, his holiness, his perfection. Tell them of his standards and righteous judgement. Tell them of his immense love for his people, his glorious grace and his victory over sin and death. Tell them the story of Jesus that is only found in the Bible and is the only way to life forever.
You cannot rely on someone else to do this: not school (ha!), not church, not grandparents, not the internet, not a friend. You must do it. Do not stand aloof and think they will find their own way – someday – somehow – if they want to. If you wait until they are “old enough” to make up their own mind it will be too late. By then they will have learned from you that God is unimportant and not worth talking about.
Tell the children about God. Start with what is in the Bible and then (if you are a Believer) tell them of what he has done in your life. Tell of the times he provided for you, instructed you, and answered prayers. Tell of the time he claimed you as his own. There is so much to share, you have to start as soon as they are born and never stop.
Don’t go a day without talking to your child about God. Why? The answer is given in Psalm 78:7 – “so that they should set their hope in God.” God is their only hope, so you sure better let them know it. The only legacy worth leaving is the one that has eternal promise and points to Christ.
“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” – Psalm 34:11
Women, we have a huge issue in our homes that we need to get serious about dealing with. Like a hot -pink, fat elephant it sits in our house disturbing our marriages and our children. It steals the peace we desire within our walls and within our souls. We can deny it in public, but at home it is right there staring at us in the face, making everyone uncomfortable. Time to talk about the elephant in the room…and then kick it out.
Our issue is anger. Too many of us are angry women with short fuses and long memories. We spend a lot of our time frustrated and hear ourselves yelling way. too. much. Society has become accustomed to this lifestyle. We have kitchen gadgets that clean our microwaves that we humorously call “Angry Mama”. We joke about being a “Momster” when we get mad at our kids. I hear myself saying, “You better stop, you don’t want to see mom angry!” As if their actions are responsible for how I behave. Do we really have reason to be so upset?
Knowing I planned to write this blog, I’ve been paying attention to all the things that make me angry throughout an average day. Oh...my…I have so much to be angry about. From lying tongues to broken promises to deaf ears to hurtful words - the obstacles stack up so high it seems too huge to conquer!
This is often where our first mistake is made. We women think that if we can fix the problem (usually a person) we won’t have to be angry anymore. If I can just get my kids to hang up their wet towels instead of throwing them on the floor I won’t have to yell and remind them 36 times. Does this really work? No, not at all. Fact is, as long as we live there will be an abundance of things to be angry about. We need to quit looking at ways to fix this from the outside when we know full well it is an internal issue.
Let’s start taking our anger seriously and admit that it is wrong… okay let’s say it…it’s a SIN. We know it is wrong because we feel it. We women don’t want to be angry! We hate the feeling it brings - during the rage and most certainly after. We see the affects it has on those around us. How many of you still remember the anger of a parent that was directed at you? The intense flare of emotion often has a searing effect on those it is directed at. Sin always hurts period.
Not all anger is sin, be sure you hear me on that, there is righteous anger. We are not talking about that today and most of what we experience as women in our homes does not fall under that category, even if we think it does. It is most likely ugly, self-righteousness.
These are the (fairly well known) verses God led me to this week (okay, so I didn’t just “happen” upon them, God smacked me with these verses as I read them to my boys), found in James 1:19-21, “Know this, my beloved brothers [and sisters]: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Being told to be “slow to anger” is enough of a direct command for us to stop, but God graciously gives us the reasoning too - anger “does not produce the righteousness of God”. It does not make us more holy, it does not sanctify us, it does not make us more like Jesus. Anger is included under the categories of filth and wickedness that we should “put away”. What should we do then? “Receive with meekness the implanted word”. What word is that? The word that is “able to save” our souls – only God’s words save, specifically Jesus who is God’s word incarnate. This word is “implanted” in us because it is part of who we are, we are God’s, he is in us.
Simply put, we need to turn from anger and humbly focus on God’s word that is within us. When God’s word is abundant in our hearts and lives there is no place for anger. Grace and mercy abound as well as patience and self-control. I like the sound of a heart like that! It is then that we begin to produce the righteousness of God that we desire. These blessings (the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us) overflow onto those around us. Talk about a turnaround in the condition of your home!
I won’t deny it, this will be difficult work. Yet it is what God call us to, so he will provide the strength to do it as we trust in him and the power of his word. Therefore consume it daily with meekness, it will transform your heart and your home.
I was at a Bible study before sitting down to write this blog tonight. One of the things we discussed is ways that Satan wreaks havoc in this world. Some of the topics discussed were abortion, homosexuality, and thinking we can do things on our own without God’s help. I couldn’t help but think how Satan is simply living up to his name as the deceiver of the world.
We read about it in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” We have abortion because Satan has deceived us that we are in charge of our own bodies and choice should be valued above life. Tolerance of any type of union is pushed because we have been blinded to the truth of God’s Word that marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24). We are deceived everyday thinking that we can even breathe apart from God’s authority to allow it to happen.
The name Satan literally means “adversary” which also tells us what he does. He is an antagonist, he is against us always, he is for no one. He hates all people, believers and non-believers alike (that is his nature), but he often targets Christians. This is pointed out in scripture in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” To keep this simple, ladies - Satan is real and he is hunting you down.
I want you to pay attention to this today because you need to know that you have an enemy intending to do you harm every single day of your life. What are you doing to prevent his deception in your life? We take self-defense courses to learn how to defend ourselves from physical attack, do we take spiritual attack as seriously? I don’t think we do.
What lies are you listening to? Are there common ones in your life that keep popping up? (You’re a bad mother, you’re a failure, church doesn’t matter, the Bible is subjective …) Realize who is talking to you - it is your Adversary. John describes him this way, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (8:44). He is full of lies and constantly spewing them at you. Do you realize this?
This is why I encourage you to question everything! Question your beliefs, question what others tell you, even the thoughts that cross your mind each day (where are they coming from?). There is only one standard of truth and that is God’s infallible Word. Should we question God’s word? Yes! In a right way, look there for truth and answers! Don’t simply doubt and walk away. Being an inquisitive reader, always asking “why?” It is a great way to search the Bible for understanding. I have such confidence in God’s Word because I have been examining the Bible for years myself. The more I read it, the more proof I find of its truth. I dare you to try it yourself.
It is there that we find the only true defense system that protects us from our Antagonist. We are told in Ephesians 6:11 to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” And, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” (v. 16). Our enemy is scheming against us, but we have a shield of faith to protect us. Faith in what? Faith in a God who has overcome the world (Jn. 16:3) and who has authority over the Enemy (Mt. 28:18) and who has promised to defeat our Enemy for good. Revelation 20:10, “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where…they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
We fight lies with truth, truth is found in the Word of God which is called the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). Arm yourself well and defend yourself daily. As 1 Peter 5:8 says “be watchful” for that prowling lion.
I want to make clear, we cannot simply blame Satan for our wrong doing. He may point us in the right (wrong) direction, but we are the ones taking willing steps into darkness. We are held accountable for our actions before God. God is the one who will hold up our “beliefs” to the measuring rod of his perfect Word. Your decisions, beliefs and actions are on your shoulders. That is why you need to seriously question everything.
Don’t take the word of your priest, pastor, spouse, friend, counselor, teacher or parent as truth before weighing it against Scripture. Same goes for your personal feelings of right and wrong (“The heart is deceitful above all things” Jer. 17:9) and mainstream beliefs accepted by the misguided majority.
Question everything until you find solid truth to build your life on. That will be the solid bedrock of Jesus Christ.
Are you busy? Of course you are! And you always will be. There are no “calm” seasons of life so stop waiting for them – commit to reading the Bible. I am cheering for you; here are some of my personal tips to help you out:
The worst feeling in the world is feeling stupid. I know because I’ve been there too many times for my liking. Math and chemistry come to mind and the Rubik’s cube my son got for Christmas. Not even my time online with “Fixing your Rubik’s Cube for Dummies” could help me. Ugh.
There is one area that I want to encourage you to focus on in the coming year. It is not your waistline, spending habits or being nicer to others (a usual resolution of a friend of mine, obviously not as successful as she would like to be each year). You need to become WISE. You need to resolve to learn more about God in 2017. Specifically, Jesus Christ.
Before we get deeper into this, let me give you some wonderful news right up front. It is found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When you seek to know God first and foremost, he takes care of the rest. He will provide for your needs and help you live a better life according to his Word. Could it be that you have gotten it backwards all these years?? Yes. Yes you have. Pursuing outside, worldly goals without first establishing your heart in Christ will always drive you further away from God and further away from happiness. Seek God first.
Now let’s dive in. You need to know Jesus in a personal way. No more depending on pastors, priests, deacons, parents, friends, or pretty Instagram quotes for your spiritual guidance and pseudo biblical knowledge. Time to stand on your own two feet, ladies. Time to be independent in your understanding of who Jesus is, what he has done and what that means to you personally. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10. Think of fearing God (understanding who he is and the power and authority he possesses over you) as the gateway into wisdom. In other words you cannot have wisdom without first knowing God. So get to know him or stay stupid (“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7b).
No friend, priest or pastor will be there with you when you go before God, no one to point to and say, “I believe in everything he/she does.” Nope, God will not ask if you know him, he will TELL you if you know him or not (more accurately, whether you are known by him or not). “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” “And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 7:23 and 25:30. However, for those who have become wise through the irresistible grace of God, Jesus will be right there speaking to the Father on your behalf. “Yes, I know her, she is mine, I paid for her sins with my blood.” God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21.
God is such a merciful God that he wrote all about himself using 40 different authors over a span of around 1500 years to give you a good picture of who he is. The book he wrote is the Bible and now is when you should begin reading it. Seek him (“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13). Get to know Jesus right away in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Now, listen closely to this part. If someone, ANYONE, tries to stop you from reading the Words of God (saying you won’t understand them, you might interpret them wrongly, the Bible is inaccurate, the Bible is incomplete without the extra papal writings, etc.). Tell them to GET LOST, away with that sort of medieval suppression! What they are keeping you from are the words of eternal life (take it from Peter when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” John 6:68). Women, think clearly here. Why in nearly every other area of your life will you declare that you are independent yet when it comes to the Bible you willingly hand over the reins, telling someone else to think for you? Knock it off! Pick up the Bible and read the book of Luke for goodness sake. Give the world your backside and run towards God.
Finding wisdom and awakening to who Christ is, is the most glorious, life-change anyone could ever dream of. Make 2017 different, make it the year you become wise… the year that changes every other year to come…forever.
End note: For any of you who are not sure where to start or maybe don’t even own a good bible, talk to me. Message me, call me, email me. I can provide both a bible and guidance. That is my passion and mission, to educate women in understanding the Bible and who Jesus is. There is nothing more important.
I admit it, I talk to myself…a lot. It can drive the people around me nuts. They aren’t sure if they are supposed to respond or ignore me. I often give a running commentary on whatever it is I’m doing. I also discuss out loud what I plan to do next. I talk to myself about how my hair looks or about what I should wear. I talk about what I should make for supper (often mixed with grumbling).
Now that I homeschool, I have heard it said that talking to myself is okay because it means I’m having a parent-teacher conference. I like that one. I’ve also heard it said that people who talk to themselves are usually very smart people. I really like that one. I’m just going to assume that one is true.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m guessing that you talk to yourself at least sometimes too; many people do (at least the really smart ones). We simply think out loud to process our thoughts.
Today I want to challenge you (and me) to try something new. Instead of talking to yourself, preach to yourself. You heard me right, preach to yourself. Tell yourself what to do, out loud. Speak truth into your life. I don’t think this is a new idea, and it is not very complex. Yet, how many of us have done it before? Not many.
The author of Psalm 43:5 talked directly to his soul. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
He asks some good questions…“Soul, why are you sad and feeling so rotten?” And then tells his soul exactly what to do… “Hope in God! Times of praising are coming, God has saved you!”
We need to do the same. See the truth and promises that are in God’s word and then tell ourselves to trust them and to obey the teachings. This is more than just a hearty pep talk. It is a proclamation of God’s supreme words over your life and over your flesh.
When ANXIETY rears its ugly head, preach Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Experiencing FEAR: Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
COMPLACENCY, Revelation 3:15-16: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” and Proverbs 1:32 “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.”
INSECURE, preach Psalm 91. UNLOVED, preach Romans 8. ANGRY, preach James 1:20 and Proverbs 15:1. Feeling BITTER, preach Ephesians 4:31-31. Having trouble FORGIVING, preach Colossians 3:13. Lacking ZEAL for the Lord, Preach Psalm 150. SUFFERING, preach 1 Peter 4:12-19.
What our lives would look like if we stopped just talking to ourselves and started preaching God’s living words to ourselves!
So, Ladies, the challenge is on. Demand it from yourself. Don’t play the victim of circumstances or allow your emotions to toy with this new creation that God created you to be. Get in God’s word, arm yourself with truth and preach it!
Dementia is a hideous condition to witness. Those who suffer most are the ones who must watch the dismantling of their loved one, memory by memory. The person they knew crumbles before their eyes and is replaced by a shadow, confused and helpless.
Grandma June was dying of cancer, it had spread to her brain and was wreaking havoc. Grandpa could not take care of her and she was moved to a nursing home where she would stay for the next year of her life. I would often travel with my mother to Pleasantville, Iowa to visit and help care for her. Mom made the long trip once or twice a week for months. An example of love and self-sacrifice in itself.
For his own purposes God decided this strong woman I have been describing to you this past month, must spend her last days as a deteriorated human, unable to care for herself or think properly. I remember my mom’s tears overflowing as she frequently wondered out loud why her mother, who had had such a difficult life (I have only told you portions) now had to also have a lengthy, difficult and undignified death.
But was it undignified? We must always remember that our lives are not our own. The reason for life being placed in bones and flesh is not for the benefit of the bones and flesh. What a pointless waste of a soul that would be! We live to display the everlasting glory of God, our lives should point to God. “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7.
In the last year of Grandma June’s life she displayed a beauty that I will never forget: the Word of God remained in her. It was an amazing thing. She couldn’t brush her own hair or remember the faces of her family, but she remembered God’s Word.
During church services held at the nursing home, the pastor would mention a scripture reference and Grandma June would recite it out loud, word for word. The pastor would ask a question about the Bible and Grandma June would respond. I remember one pastor saying with a smile, “June always knows it!” God’s Word had not left her heart and it still came out when nothing else would.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8. Grandma June was a human example of this verse. The dust that was her body was failing, the Word of God which is eternal stayed, a magnificent gift from God.
Was the end of Grandma June’s life undignified? Certainly difficult, yes, but not undignified in the way that matters. To be used as a conduit of God’s living Word is a blessing; truly a treasure in a very broken jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7). He did not have to allow it, but he did. Grandma June provided evidence that she had spent her life well. She had spent it pursuing her Savior and treasuring his word in her heart.
What will be the evidence of a life well lived when your final days come? Will you be surrounded by worldly treasures and trophies, with the accolades of others ringing in your ears? Or will others around you be able to observe that you have spent time with God? The choice is made every day and every minute. Live for God… or live for dust. Which are you doing at this very moment?
Grandma June lived for God and all the trials she faced are long gone now. She would be among those who heartily agree with 2 Corinthians 4:16-17:
Grandma June’s life displayed God’s glory, not in a way that she (or any of us) would have chosen, but in the way that God chose for her, therefore the best way possible. She is now reveling in that sweet glory for all eternity. She lived her life on earth for the life to come, not for the life that was. It is evident in the words she would write in the Bibles she gave to others: “Read this, obey it and meet me in Heaven. We’ll sit under the tree of life a thousand years and eat the fruits and drink of the living waters flowing from the throne of God.”
I look forward to singing beside Grandma in Heaven someday soon. I can’t help but wonder if God gave her a perfectly tuned voice to sing his praises when she got there… or if it had been perfect all along.
Not exactly the words you expect to read so soon after the first of the year I suppose. However I mean it – eat already, girl! First, I don’t care what your weight is or what your current diet plan is (no, really I don’t). If people would be as concerned about their standing before God as they are about that number on the scale in the morning the world would be a much healthier place in the ways that really count (see 1 Tim. 1:8). Eat for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). That’s all you need to practice (yes, I struggle with this too, but realize it is a heart issue above all).
My mother used to tell me how my Grandma June would occasionally set their table for supper when they were young. She would prepare the meal and set a plate out for each person: my mother, her two brothers and herself. Food would fill the plates of the children, but on her own plate Grandma June would set her big black Bible. While the children ate, she read the Word of God. All were feasting.
This is the second and more important way I am encouraging you to eat. Consume the written Words of God. I’m not sure if Grandma June was fasting to conserve money, lose weight, or out of pure devotion to God. However, I do know she LOVED the Word of God. She consumed it readily and stored it within her heart like David in Psalm 119:11: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I told you last week of her passion for Jesus; this passion only comes through deep devotion to God’s Word.
This is a beautiful picture of depending on God to provide our sustenance, our daily bread. A plate set out and a Bible on top. Did that speak volumes to her children? You can bet it did. In this action she was stating that God’s Word was more important to her than food and through it she found her strength and all she needed to continue on. She ate it up.
You eat up too, Ladies. So many of you are emaciated. Whether your waistline is thick or thin, whether your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, whether you attend church or not. We wander around and discuss the dust (aka food) we consume or don’t consume and do nothing to fix the problem of our true starvation. Continually suffering from a preventable disease for no good reason. The cure lies covered in dust on our bookshelves or even at times in our very hands. We may take a small sampling on Sunday mornings yet decide to starve ourselves throughout the week.
We wonder why we are weak and don’t feel up for the task of living this life. Always seeking strength through other avenues; trying to fill that Jesus shaped whole in our soul with more dust (food, hobbies, TV, love).
Stop. Go to the table and eat. Not just a crumb here and there, gorge yourself on it. God’s Word is an anomaly. The more we get the more we want. If you don’t feel a craving for Scripture, here is what to do:
1 – Pray for God to give you the desire, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” Do you think it is God’s will that you read the Bible? Absolutely! Ask already.
2 – Read it anyway, read God’s Word whether you feel like it or not. Someone who is truly starving eventually loses their appetite for food, it is an illness, and it can kill you (it kills thousands every day). Read whether you feel like it or not, trusting God that his word brings life. “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” Psalm 119:25
Grandma June read her Bible not just at the dinner table but nearly everywhere. She would heartily agree with David’s 176 verses of adoration in Psalms 119. How appropriate that in God’s Word the longest chapter contained in it is a love song about that very Word!
Eat, ladies, and stop starving. Fill your body with the life giving words of God. Like Peter when Jesus asked if he wanted to stay with him or go, reply, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
I recently gave the gift of pencils to 34 women at a women’s retreat, two apiece. I tied a ribbon around them, curled it up and put them in a gift bag. I couldn’t wait to hand them out, I had been excited for months.
These were no ordinary pencils. They were black Ticonderoga pencils, “The World’s BEST PENCIL” (exactly what it says on the box they come in). I have to agree with their biased advertising.
You see, these are the pencils I have been using for years to write in my Bible. I nearly always have one (or three) of them stuck between my pages. I have come to a point where I can’t concentrate on what I read if I don’t have a pencil in my hand. It honestly drives me crazy.
When I have a pencil I can underline verses I want to remember, circle words that are important and need emphases, add notes in the margins, draw arrows for reference, star my favorite verses, sketch wings when necessary (had to have been at the retreat), and add question marks for things I just don’t get.
How do any of you survive without one? Fortunately, 34 of you ladies don’t have to worry about this any longer.
Some of you have heard me go on about this before and may be rolling your eyes right about now, but you will have to get used to it. I will be talking about keeping a pencil in your Bible till I die. Or a pen if you must.
The Bible, of course, is the awesome, perfect and powerful words of God written for our benefit. A pencil is the tool that causes intentional engagement with those words on our part. It is hard to explain until you put into practice for a while.
Marking with a pencil as you read causes you to pick out parts that are important to remember and areas that you want to revisit. It makes it much easier to find certain scriptures when you need to. You will feel personally engaged in what you are reading and you will find yourself remembering more since you took the time to pause and take notice.
Many people have asked me my specific process for studying the Bible. I often give them an odd look and tell them, I just sit with my study Bible and my pencil and go at it. They return my odd look and ask if I can direct them to a more specific resource. I have a couple solid ones I recommend, but not before trying to convince them that they need to learn how to wrestle first.
Pray, read your Bible and use your pencil. Wrestle with scripture, build your muscles, and be determined.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4.
Instructions written for us to build endurance and offer encouragement and hope. I’m all in for that. God’s Word is a deep source of treasure and my pencil is like the pick axe, helping me to mine understanding and gain wisdom. Enough with the metaphors? I can’t help it, it is SO good.
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22. In God’s word I find life and I want all I can get. I feel the healing that comes from time spent connecting with God through the words he wrote for me. I can’t ever get enough.
I told the ladies at the retreat that day that I wanted them to hear my voice when they looked at their pencils. They needed to hear me saying to them, “Read your Bible, write in your Bible!” My prayer is that they have done just that and someday I know they will be glad they did. It changed my life long ago… not the pencil used, but the Words of God they highlighted.
Grab your Bible, your pencil and get to it, Ladies! Read your Bible, write in your Bible!
If you read Part One from last week, you know that God has called us, as mothers, to guard the hearts of our children. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV) God has specifically assigned to us the young hearts under our care. It was written out before we were ever born (see Ps. 139).
I told you to think of yourself as a gatekeeper to the heart of your child. Is this an easy calling? Not in the slightest.
Everything and everyone is vying for the affections of our children. It is a real-life raging war and you are in the middle of it. Remember - strategically placed there by God himself for this reason. That is why we need to take it so seriously. We will be held accountable for how well we perform this duty we have been called to, so we need to go at it with our whole hearts and minds engaged.
Guarding hearts affects every area of your child’s life. Our senses are bombarded constantly with outside influences; we feel this as adults, how much more is this true for our children? We cannot stay ignorant of the spiritual battle taking place around us. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Your children live in this time of present darkness, right in the midst of a world where Satan reigns and evil runs rampant. If you don’t protect them (as God has commanded) who will?
Be vigilant about who your children are with (adults and other children) especially when you are not with them. Be fully aware of what you allow their eyes to see and ears to hear; remembering that there is no such thing as “neutral” in this world. God is clear about this “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30. If it is from the world it is not good for your children. No neutrality!
This may (should) cause you to rethink many things such as: television (what do you watch or is it beneficial in any way, does it glorify God?), music (God wired us to love music for good reason, but it is also highly influential and has powerful abilities to manipulate our affections) , media of any kind, video games, where they attend school (the world reigns in schools and you are not there to be a gatekeeper, be sure you fully trust those who fill their hearts up for 7-8 hours every day), sleepovers, how you celebrate holidays (be mindful of what are you celebrating), what friends they hang around with, the list goes on. There is so much competition.
Start early and don’t give up when they turn 5 and go to school OR 13 and don’t want to hang around you anymore OR 16 when they begin to have a social life outside the home. These are some of the most important times to remain engaged. Stay vigilant, lovingly vigilant.
Am I telling you to “shelter” your children? Well, duh, yes! Why do people often think sheltering our children is a bad thing? It is our job; anything that causes you not to shelter your child is from the Enemy. Quit allowing him to bend your ear.
Protection and smothering are two different things, exposing children to evil is not the answer for building them up to withstand it. The goal is not increased tolerance. The goal is a heart kept as undefiled by the world as possible until the child is responsible for guarding their own heart.
The only way to train a heart to stand up to evil is to train them with the only weapon capable of defeating it, the Word of God. Teach them how to wield the Sword.
Do not think we are stealing control over our children away from God. Quite the opposite. When you become engaged in this battle like you should, you quickly realize that you have no control. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5) You have to rely completely on the one who created those young hearts. God alone can fully guard their hearts. That is the foremost goal we must always keep in mind, we want our children to learn to give their heart over to God. He alone protects hearts because he, as their Creator, is the rightful owner and Lord over them.
Mother, be that active gatekeeper to the hearts of your young children. Train them with the Sword of the Word of God. Teach them how to protect their own hearts by following God’s ways designed for their protection. Show them how to keep their heart soft and ready for God’s directions and how to not harden it against him. Lean on God daily for his guidance in this, he is faithful in giving wisdom to those who ask for it, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
Mothers, take a stand and take hold of your calling. Lovingly and vigilantly guard the hearts of your children!