Monday, May 7, 2012

Parenting- Day 81

1 John 5:14-15

14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.


Parenting tests this passage like few other experiences. Because we love our children, we assume we know what is best for them. We pray for God to honor our plans and are shocked when God sometimes leads us down a more difficult path, with testing and pain.

For me, the turning point came when I realized I was looking at God as a "cosmic vending machine." When I prayed, I somehow felt He was obligated to comply on my terms. Then, a friend gave me a simple guide that changed my perspective on prayer. He said, "Prayer is asking God to align you with His will, rather than asking Him to be aligned with yours."

God knows what you and your children really need. When we pray, He is at work answering those prayers, but in a way that suits Him and His work. Faith trusts the wisdom of His answer, even when His answer is different from what we expect.

To truly pray for God's will to be done, we must trust that His will is what's best for our family.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Parenting- Day 80

Luke 17:12-19

12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”


Reading this story, we are tempted to judge the "ungrateful nine". But, how often do we take our own blessings for granted and fail to thank the Lord? Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men (Ps 107:15). Many times, we enjoy the gifts but forget to thank the Giver. We are quick to pray in times of trouble, but slow to praise when things are going great.

Be consistent in turning to God in both trial and triumph. Show your kids a grateful heart and an understanding of the Source of all good things (James 1:17).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parenting- Day 79

Luke 17:3

3 So watch yourselves!

 “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.


The apostles' response to this teaching is very interesting. I doubt they were having trouble with rebuke; most people are good at that. But, forgiveness is another matter — we can find it very hard to forgive those who have caused us pain, especially if it's someone we loved and trusted. Our relationship with our kids makes us especially vulnerable.

Notice that the apostles' request was for the faith to forgive, rather than for more love. Although love is essential, real forgiveness requires faith. It is not natural. It takes a living faith to obey Christ and forgive others. When we are obedient and forgive, we trust God to take care of the consequences, handle any misunderstandings, and work everything out for His glory (Rom 8:28).

Love motivates us to forgive, but faith activates forgiveness so God can use it to work blessings in the lives of His people.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Parenting- Day 78

Galatians 6:1-2

1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.


Empathy is harder for some of us than for others. Learning to be more empathetic with our children may require taking some time to remember what it was like when we were their age. Walking in their little shoes can help us understand why they do what they do. Sometimes we forget we were children once, too.

Interestingly we may find the things we struggled with at their age cause us the most anxiety in parenting. We may be frustrated when the same issues reappear in our children. This remembrance can have two outcomes — we can anxiously step in to fix the problem, which usually results in an overblown response that makes the situation worse. Or we can remember our experiences and use them to relate to our kids. God may be using your child's struggles to sanctify both of you.

When your child's struggle causes you extraordinary anxiety, be alert — God may be teaching both of you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Parenting- Day 77

2 Corinthians 8:20-21 

20 We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. 21 We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.


The Macedonians had given money to Paul to give to the believers in Jerusalem. In this passage Paul acknowledges the importance of spending that money responsibly. He knew men were watching and he wanted to be sure his actions were above reproach.

Think about how this applies to parenting. Your kids see practical demonstrations of faith when they see you studying the Bible or praying. But, they are also watching and learning from the way you spend your money. You may not realize what a powerful testimony your spending can be and how much it reveals the things you treasure. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt 6:21). Take some time to pray and consider what your lifestyle and spending communicates to your kids.

Your faith is prominently displayed by the way you spend the wealth God has given you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parenting- Day 76

Psalm 27:13-14 

13 Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.


Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week. We are constantly called to make parenting decisions on the fly. The pressure can be overwhelming. In the process, our nerves and faith are tested. Perhaps this passage is most applicable when demands are greatest. It takes courage to wait on the Lord when your mind is screaming to "do something!" But until God has strengthened your heart, your actions can be impulsive and ineffective. Instead of relying on your own snap judgments, trust in the goodness of God and wait for His guidance. He will supply you with the strength and wisdom you need (Heb 13:20-21).

Under pressure, be patient and wait for the Lord to strengthen your heart and guide your actions.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Parenting- Day 75

Luke 12:36-37 
36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks.37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat!


Since Jewish weddings were held at night, a bridegroom's servants would anxiously wait for their master to come home. They wanted to be ready so they didn't keep the new husband and his bride waiting at the door. Jesus used a parable to illustrate how believers should likewise enthusiastically anticipate and prepare for His return.

As we raise our kids, it is easy to focus on the here and now rather than the things of heaven. The issues of the moment — potty training, homework, being in the starting lineup, or choosing a college can cause us to lose sight of our real purpose on earth. Instead of preparing for our Master's return, we often choose to serve ourselves instead.

When we live with our eyes on the eternal, it is more difficult for the things of the world to ensnare us. Show your kids an example of the freedom that comes when we filter our experiences through an eternal perspective.

Be an example of someone serving the Lord and waiting anxiously for His return.