Psalm 37:1 - Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
God wants us to walk in His peace having faith that He is in control. When we do not surrender our desires to the Lord, worry and jealousy creep in, and they can be as damaging to our relationship with God as any other sin from which we are commanded to abstain, such as substance abuse, sexual immorality, etc.
In raising children, God allows us to experience various situations that provoke both fret (such as worrying about their future) and envy (when we are jealous of the accomplishment of other kids). But, parenting also provides many exciting opportunities to submit ourselves and our children to God and to grow in our relationship with Christ. When we do that, we are freed from the burdens of worry and jealousy!
Submit to God and walk in His peace.
from Parenting by Design, 10/21/2013
5 Slaves, obey your masters here on earth. Respect them and honor them with a heart that is true. Obey them just as you would obey Christ. 6 Don't obey them only to please them when they are watching. Do it because you are slaves of Christ. Be sure your heart does what God wants. (NIRV)
Have you ever seen a child who is forced to apologize or say "thank you"? Their rigid posture and monotone voice betrays their real intent. Sometimes our obedience to God takes on a similar tone. It helps to ask ourselves, "Why do I serve the Lord?" Is it to gain His favor, earn His blessings, impress others with our "godliness", or avoid His wrath? Or is it because He commands me to do it?
As we are bombarded with the demands of life on earth, we often lose sight of the eternal perspective. Start your day by recognizing who He is and what He has done. This will help you obey Him not from a robotic sense of duty, but from the overflow of thankfulness that is in your heart. After all, He has already given you the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ. This gift was given to you long before you were able to serve Him in any way.
Obey God because you love Him above all things.
from Parenting by Design, 10/14/13
Deuteronomy 11: 18 - 19
18 So keep my words in your hearts and minds. Write them down and tie them on your hands as a reminder. Also tie them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up.
The Israelites were instructed to "tie" God's Word to their hands and foreheads. Many took that command literally, and created leather "phylacteries" containing Scripture that they would wear on their heads and arms. The problem, of course, was that while the Word was tied to their bodies, it often failed to penetrate their hearts.
We tend to do the same thing today. As Warren Wiersbe says, we wear crosses on our bodies, but we fail to take up Christ's cross in our lives. We hang Scripture on our walls, but rely on our own wisdom when we run into the walls of life. Teaching our kids the Word of God is important, but the best way for parents to pass along their faith is through the example of a life that demonstrates a real commitment to the Word of God.
Are you living out the faith as an example for your kids?
from Parenting by Design, 10/10/13
14 Do everything without finding fault or arguing. 15 Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens.
In these verses, Paul confronts the believers in Philippi because their complaining and arguing was harming their testimony about Christ. Instead of being "lights in the world", they were behaving like unbelievers.
We may profess a deep trust in Christ, but what we truly believe will emerge in our words and attitude. Take a moment to consider your conversations. What characteristics would stand out to your children? Do you have a tendency to gossip, argue with others, or complain?
If so, you may want to reevaluate the source of your contentment. As Christians, we have an eternal hope in Christ that allows us to face the challenges of life with calmness and peace. If you find yourself relying on favorable circumstances or the actions of others to bring you happiness, ask God to strengthen your faith in Him.
Let your words and actions reflect the love of Christ in your life and be a light to others.
from Parenting by Design Devotional 10/9/13
Proverbs 3:11- 12
11 My son, do not hate the Lord's training. Do not object when he corrects you. 12 The Lord trains those he loves.
These verses show parents what their attitude should be as they discipline their children. Notice that God loves and delights in his children even as He corrects them. His discipline is not intended as harsh punishment, but as a loving act to encourage growth and maturity.
All of God's children disobey and yours will, too. Sometimes, however, we react in ways that are designed to meet our needs instead of recognizing the bigger purpose of our discipline. We can avoid being reactive if we come up with a game plan in advance. When you are calm, think of appropriate consequences for the ways your kids are likely to disobey. Recognize your weak areas (a tendency to rescue, lecture, or yell) and think of alternative ways you could respond. Discipline that is delivered calmly, consistently, and empathetically will be less likely to receive a rebellious response.
Discipline helps kids grow when it is delivered with empathy and love.
from Parenting by Design Devotional, 10/7/13
Romans 13:1 ~ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
While we may not always agree with our authorities, God tells us He has put them in their positions. This makes them worthy of our respect and makes our disobedience to authority actually disobedience to the God who established them. We may find a leader disagreeable, but this does not give us permission to disobey or rebel (unless we are asked to do something unbiblical).
One of the best ways we can influence our children to obey authorities in their lives is to show an example of submission to the authorities in our own lives. When we are respectful of the police officer who pulls us over, the politician on TV or the preacher who preaches a boring sermon, we are demonstrating Christ-like submission to an authority God has placed over us.
Show your children how to respect authority by being respectful and submissive to your leaders.
from Parenting by Design Devotional, 10/4/13
Galatians 6:14 ~ But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
One of the blessings of parenthood is watching our children succeed. Many parents felt an instant connection to Deborah Phelps as the TV cameras showed her enthusiastically rooting on her son, Michael, during the 2008 summer Olympics. And her enthusiasm was rewarded when he finished the games with 8 gold medals! Moments like that are to be enjoyed, but they raise an interesting question where does excitement end and boasting begin?
Gal. 5:26 says, "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." Have you been involved in conversations with other parents and felt yourself swelling with either pride or envy? It seems many of us feel the need to validate ourselves through our children, yet this is the very thing we are instructed not to do. When talking about our kids to others, we might use these passages as a "motive check."
Is God glorified when you speak about your children?
from Parenting by Design Devotional, 10/1/13
Luke 7 : 12 - 13
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
Although she did not call out to him, Jesus saw the widow who had lost her son. How wonderful to be seen by the Son of God! Not only did He see her, but this verse says His heart went out to her. He connected with her suffering.
What encouragement for us as parents. Jesus sees us, too, but not in a casual, indifferent way. He feels our pain and He knows our struggles. You can take comfort in knowing that as you walk the sometimes difficult and painful path of parenthood, His heart goes out to you as well. Remember that you are not alone. He is walking alongside you this very day.
You are known and loved by the Son of God.
from Parenting by Design devotional
Did you get that friends? You are known and loved by the Son of God! On that happy note all of us at RCS will simply say, "Have a blessed weekend!"
Judges 7:7 ~ The Lord spoke to Gideon. He said, "With the help of the 300 men who lapped up the water I will save you. I will hand the Midianites over to you. Let all of the other men go home."
The Midianite army of 135,000 badly outnumbered the Israelites, who only had 32,000 men ready for battle. But even that was too many. God instructed Gideon to reduce his army to only 300 men! Before the battle, Gideon worshipped God and then divided his men into three companies. Their weapons were only trumpets and empty jars with torches inside them!
God wanted Israel to know that victory does not depend on strength or numbers, but on obedience and commitment to Him. As proof, the Midianite army fell before them without the Israelites drawing a single sword.
What in your life seems too hard to conquer? "Midianites" sometimes come in the form of parenting challenges when we feel outnumbered and overwhelmed. Whatever you're facing, remember that the battle is God's. Don't let fear overcome your faith. But like Gideon, remember that we are never prepared to do battle until we bow in worship to God.
Make your choice for faith and trust that God will fight for you.
from Parenting by Design Devotional
Exodus 2: 2 - 3
2 She became pregnant and had a son by him. She saw that her baby was a fine child. So she hid him for three months. 3 After that, she couldn't hide him any longer. So she got a basket that was made out of the stems of tall grass. She coated it with tar. Then she placed the child in it. She put the basket in the tall grass that grew along the bank of the Nile River.
Pharaoh ordered that every male born to the Hebrews be thrown in the Nile. Moses was born during this time and, after three months, his mother realized she could hide him no longer. Imagine her angst as she left him in the basket among the reeds in the Nile River! She did not know what the future held, but she released her son by her faith in God.
Some moments bring a special awareness that we, too, are releasing our kids to God. Saying goodbye as we drop them off for their first day of kindergarten. Handing them the car keys as they take it out for a drive on their own. Watching them stand at the altar and commit their life to another in marriage. As you release your kids, remember that God has a plan! The road may not always be easy, but have faith in His wisdom and eternal purposes.
Trust God; they really are His kids after all.