Parenting in this broken world…..

kidsEveryday I check the news from my home away from home. Living on the other side of the world from where I grew up,leads me to try to keep up with life on the other side.Yet, each day as I check the news and read report after report of attacks on the police, terrorism around the world, and politics, I walk away feeling defeated.

My heart quakes and breaks over my children 8, 12, and 13 growing up in this world. I want to hide them away and keep them protected from it all. Yet, the reality is this is the world they will grow up in. I can’t hide them away, so instead I have to prepare them to stand for truth, hold tight to the Lord and pray that God will use them for His glory.

I’ve told my husband before that in one sense I’m thankful they are presently growing up here. For though this nation is anything but Christian, it isn’t trying to pretend it is either. My kids are respected for their beliefs far more here than they probably would be there.

Yet, one day we will leave this place and they will be faced with the realities of a nation once under God, yet now so far from Him. And should they travel to another place to serve God, they will be met with hostility for believing in the One True God.

The reality is, things on this earth will most likely not get better, they will most likely get worse. It seems it does each and every day.

But God….

God is our rock. He is our strength and He guides our way.

Today the kids and I read about the Israelites following God in the wilderness. Following the cloud by day and the fire by night. Staying camped as long as the cloud remained and journeying on if the cloud/fire moved. My kids know all about waiting on God, as our family has had to do this numerous times. They know that following God is not always easy or fun. They understand the challenges that come with allowing God to direct your steps.

They know this because they have been through this as a family.

Yet, it is my desire that the lessons they have learned will become personal as they begin having to make choices on their own.

My prayer that they will hold fast the Lord and rely upon His strength, so they can be like the house built upon the rock that did not fall down. And not rely upon themselves, thus becoming like the house built upon the sand.

Friend, you and I are raising our children in a dark time in history. Everyday the news broadcast one tragedy after another. The Truths nations use to stand upon, have slipped away, and have been replaced with tolerance for any and all things.

And as much as we’d like to hide our children from this, the reality is this will not help them. Because one day all too soon, they will go out into this world and have to make decisions on their own. It is our job to prepare them now for then. Our duty to instill in them God’s Word and believe that it will not return void.

There is no promise that they will remain in God’s Word or remain faithful to Him. Yet, it is our responsibility to train them up in God’s Ways and trust the rest to the One who loves them more than we do.

So let us commit together to pray diligently for them, to teach them diligently and to realize the great ministry we have been given as parents.

 

Bible Study Helps

god's presenceI know most of you are super spiritual and that you never ever struggle to do your daily Bible reading or to pray. But for the few like me who sometimes need a little help, I thought I’d offer a few guidelines that help me. 🙂

  1. Choose a time and make a habit: Easy to say, easy to plan, yet often hard to follow through with. But, having a daily quiet time is a discipline that has to be established. You don’t think twice about getting dressed in the morning, likewise, if we discipline ourselves to have a quiet time, we will not think twice about not doing this either.
  2. Have a plan: You don’t sit down and allow your Bible to fall open only to read from that set of verses for the day. (seriously you don’t, it might work occasionally but is certainly not the best way to go) No, have a reading plan. There are so many out there, you can search Bible reading plans and a host of different sites will come up. Choose one that will work for you and stick to it. And don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. Don’t try to catch up, just pick up where you left off. I love the chronological Bible reading plan, because reading straight through the Bible is hard for me. But there are many options, choose one.
  3. Get your accessories ready: Have a journal, pen, and whatever else you might need.  I journal what I read, it helps me to stay focused and then I write down the truths being taught. Another good accessory to have is some note cards to write down Bible Memory verses, and some cards to write letters of encouragement to those the Lord may bring to mind.
  4. Have a prayer plan: For me closing my eyes and quietly praying only leads me to go to sleep. I can’t stay focused. So instead, I write out my prayers in my journal. If I don’t have a journal, I pray out loud. Again, this helps me to stay focused and keep my mind from wandering off to what I might eat for lunch or my to do a list for the day.
  5. Establish a prayer routine: In seminary we were taught to make a prayer-book, we got a little notebook, added tabs for the days of the week and left pages between each day. Then wrote out the people and things we would seek to pray for on certain days. This was quite helpful, because realistically we are not going to be able to pray for everybody and everything each day.
  6. Remember that God, the creator of the Universe. The one who needs nothing, who knows all things desires to have a relationship with you. He set you apart from birth, He knows your name, knows your desires, cares for every detail of your life. He will transform you, speak to you, and encourage you as you take the time to read His Word and to pray.

Now I know what your thinking… you’re looking at this list and saying, if I only had time to do this, that would be great. But the truth is you have time. We both do. We make time for what is important. Instead of checking social media, check in to God’s Word. Instead of sleeping a few more minutes, get up earlier. Instead of going to bed early, stay up a little later. The method, the ways, the time spent are all important, but not as important as just taking the time you have and spending it with the Lord.

The Lord God Almighty is His name and He beckons you to come away with Him and allow Him to truly give you rest!

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. Song of Solomon 2:10