Joshua 23:6 -"Be very strong. Be careful to obey everything that is written in the Scroll of the Law of Moses. Don't turn away from it to the right or the left."
God has provided guidelines and wisdom on how we should live. But our culture opposes these guidelines and sees God's truth as foolishness. We are bombarded with messages telling us what our children must have or do to "be somebody." Extravagant birthday parties, expensive gifts, violent video games, mature movies, profane music, and inappropriate clothing are just a few of the ways the world attempts to feed us a large helping of "compromise."
In the midst of this barrage we can get distracted. When we look "to the right or to the left" at choices made by other parents or our children's friends, we open ourselves up to the pressures of conformity. We know where the truth lies, however. The trick is keeping our focus on Jesus.
Discipline yourself to focus on Jesus and His truth.
from "Parenting by Design Daily Devotional", 5/13/13
Deuteronomy 4:9 ~ Don't be careless. Instead, be very careful. Don't forget the things your eyes have seen. As long as you live, don't let them slip from your mind. Teach them to your children and their children after them.
It is amazing how quickly we forget or dismiss the ways God has been faithful to us. We become distracted, self-sufficient, or focused on a new problem. God knows these human tendencies. That is why He asks us to actively remember His blessings. He takes it one step further by instructing us to share these stories with our children. Children learn from example. If parents model a faith that is alive and real, it will have incredible influence on them.
Ephesians 6:16 talks about taking up the shield of faith to defend against the evil one. Your family's shield of faith can be constructed with stories of God's faithfulness and provision.
Take the time to communicate to your kids the many ways God has blessed you. It is an affirmation for you and an example to them.
from Parenting by Design, 5/6/2013
Numbers 14:18 - "I am the Lord. I am slow to get angry. I am full of love. I forgive those who sin. I forgive those who refuse to obey. But I do not let guilty people go without punishing them. I punish the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the sin of their parents." (NIRV)
What prevents you from calmly following through with consequences when your kids sin or rebel? I resisted giving consequences because I wanted to avoid angry responses such as: "Chill, mom!" "You're mean." Or, "I'll do it later." I tried reasoning with them, but this usually backfired. I tried arguing my point, but the more I talked, the angrier they seemed to become. I was hiding behind words (nagging, reminding, and arguing) to avoid giving consequences.
When you get an angry response for delivering consequences, don't escalate the situation by nagging or replying in anger. Words are easy. You may think you are being "strong" when you argue your point forcefully or make dictatorial decrees, but the truth is it takes more strength to hold your tongue and give consequences calmly and with empathy. That is a model of real strength.
Confront rebellion calmly and deliver consequences, rather than words.
from Parenting by Design, 5/4/2013
4 " 'You must obey my laws. You must be careful to follow my rules. I am the Lord your God. 5Keep my rules and laws. The one who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.' " (NIRV)
The laws given to the Israelites may seem overwhelming and tedious to us. God's requirements covered everything from priestly duties to skincare! But this was not an exercise in excessive control. The Israelite community was beginning a journey into the wilderness and God knew the pitfalls and temptations that lay ahead. These regulations were a gesture of His love and grace to help them succeed as a nation.
Similarly, we know the pitfalls that await our children on their journey to adulthood. Out of love and protection, we establish boundaries. We know they do not have the maturity and wisdom to set limits for themselves. When you find it difficult to hold fast to your boundaries, remember God's example with the Israelites. Firm boundaries communicate love and promote security.
Good boundaries let your children know you love them.
from Parenting by Design Daily Devotion, 5/3/13
Exodus 13:17 - Pharaoh let the people go. The shortest road from Goshen to Canaan went through the Philistine country. But God didn't lead them that way. God said, "If they have to go into battle, they might change their minds. They might return to Egypt." (NIRV)
God did not lead the Israelites on a direct path from Egypt to the Promised Land. Instead, He opted for a route that avoided obstacles and challenged them to evaluate their hearts. In the course of our parenting journey, God sometimes takes us on detours that seem counterproductive. While we often have a wonderful story written for the lives of our children, it is usually one that does not include pain and hardship. Inevitably God's story takes us to places we wouldn't choose to go on our own, but they are the very routes that develop maturity, integrity, and perseverance.
When you are in the midst of one of these detours, challenge yourself to adopt God's eternal perspective. He is making your kids more like His.
from Parenting by Design Daily Devotional, 4/30/13
Romans 8:31 - What should we say then? Since God is on our side, who can be against us?
Genesis 16: 7 - 13 (focusing on verse 13)
7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert. The spring was beside the road to Shur. 8 He said, "Hagar, you are the servant of Sarai. Where have you come from? Where are you going?" "I'm running away from my owner Sarai," she answered. 9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, "Go back to the woman who owns you. Obey her." 10 The angel continued, "I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. You will have more of them than anyone can count." 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her, "You are now pregnant. You will have a son. You will name him Ishmael. That is because the Lord has heard about your suffering. 12 He will be like a wild donkey. He will use his power against everyone. And everyone will be against him. He will not be friendly toward any of his relatives." 13 She gave a name to the Lord who spoke to her. She called him "You are the God who sees me." That's because she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."This passage tells of the trials of Hagar, the maid of Sarai. Sarai was unable to conceive so she sent Hagar to Abram, hoping Hagar would bear a child in her place. When Hagar became pregnant, however, animosity developed between the two women. Sarai's mistreatment caused Hagar to run away into the desert. There God intervened and encouraged her. She knew He truly understood her struggle, and as a result, she felt deeply known by God. She even named God: "You are the God who sees me." This gave her the strength to go back and fulfill her responsibilities to Sarai in the midst of tough circumstances.
Like Hagar, our kids desperately long to be seen and known by their parents. How can we do this? By taking time to discover and celebrate their interests. By appreciating their unique qualities no matter how different they are from our own. By listening to their perspective on life. When we discover and value our kids' God-given uniqueness, they feel known and accepted.Parenting by Design Daily Devotional
Romans 8: 37 - 39
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The greatest gift you can give your kids is not the newest and best the world has to offer. It is the love of God through Jesus Christ. That is the gift that enables them to resist the creation's lures and live in the love of the Creator. Your kids are going to be bombarded with messages from the world, and those promises are extraordinarily difficult to resist. In fact, they are impossible to resist without the indwelling Spirit. Introduce your kids to the gift that keeps on giving — grace.
Do you pursue God with the same fervor with which you pursue the things of the world? Your kids are watching!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Many Christians make the mistake of thinking that God is too busy taking care of the “big things” to be interested in the little problems they are facing. Are you one of them? It may be your child’s bed-wetting habit, a quarrel with a friend or the small pimple on your face. No matter how trivial it sounds, if it troubles you, then God wants to take care of it!
God wants to take care of every area of your life, even the smallest detail. He loves you so much that He knows the number of hairs you have on your head. And if your loving heavenly Father knows and is interested in the small details of your life, then you don’t have to overcome any problem on your own.
(excerpt from Joseph Prince, "Destined to Reign" Devotional).
1 John 1:8 - 9
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Here, John was attacking the second claim of the false teachers: that people had no natural tendency toward sin, that they "[had] no sin,'' and that they were then incapable of sinning. This idea is at best self-deception and at worst a bald-faced lie. The false teachers refused to take sin seriously. They wanted to be considered Christians, but they saw no need to confess and repent. The death of Christ did not mean much to them because they didn't think they needed it. Instead of repenting and being purified by Christ's blood, they were encouraging sin among believers. In this life we are always capable of sinning, so we should never let down our guard.