September 2013

Success Made Simple

Elizabeth here! Do you realize God actually has a Plan for Success in the Bible? I first found it as a brand new Christian when I began memorizing Bible verses. The second verse I ever learned by heart was Joshua 1:8-9.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Life is filled with challenges, assignments, work, and surprises. And it’s so easy to feel anxious, afraid, and inadequate… like Joshua did. He was very young compared to Moses (who was 120 when he died) when he took over the leadership of all God’s people. And he was fearful as he thought about going to war against giants and other enemies. Perhaps he wondered, like I sometimes do too often, “But how, Lord? How am I going to do all this? How am I going to do Your will? I want to follow You with all my heart… but how, oh how, Lord?”

Read Joshua 1:8-9 again. These words contain a simple charge—know God’s Word and do it. If we choose to obey God’s instruction, He assures us of “good success.” The next time you are tempted to give in to your doubts, inabilities, and tiredness, turn your focus off yourself and on to doing what God is asking of you. Believe His Word. Trust Him fully. Do your part. And enjoy His blessings and success.

Developing a Prayer Life

With prayer being so easy, you’d think that we would pray a lot more, right? But prayer, like any other spiritual discipline, is just that—a discipline. We must make an effort to pray. Here are a few things to put on your To Do list to help you grow your prayer life.

Do it. You learn to pray by praying. Learning to pray is no different than learning how to cook, paint, use a computer, or the thousands of other things you want or must do. Experience is always the best teacher, so pour out your prayers from your heart. God loves it and welcomes you when you come to Him with your prayers.

Do it regularly. Prayer becomes more natural and normal when you do it regularly. God doesn’t expect flawless prayers. He just wants to hear from you! Take a lesson in prayer from the psalmist who exulted, “Seven times a day I praise You” (Psalm 119:164). He prayed and praised God numerous times every day because of a continual attitude of prayer.

Do it faithfully. The best way to keep on top of your relationship with God is to be faithful in your prayer life. Prayer helps you stay in touch with God. Praying faithfully to God keeps you faithful to God.

The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.
James 5:16

Three Steps Toward Wisdom

  1. Desire wisdom. Want to be “happy”? Then crave wisdom. Solomon wanted wisdom above all the other things the human heart can desire. What is it you want more than anything else? A long life? Riches? Things… and more things? Check your heart. As Solomon teaches, “Happy is the man—or woman—who finds wisdom” (Proverbs 3:13).
  2. Pray for wisdom. Cry out for it! That’s what Solomon did and tells you to do. He recognized his need for wisdom and discernment… and he asked God for it. He didn’t pray for a good marriage, obedient children, or money to pay the bills. No, he prayed, “Give me wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It’s not wrong to pray for your marriage, family, and finances. Just be sure you are constantly praying for the one thing that will improve every other thing in your life. “Call out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding” and you will be get wisdom (Proverbs 2:3).
  3. Seek wisdom. Proverbs 2 continues: “If you seek wisdom as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5). Solomon tells us where to get wisdom—”The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (verse 6). The wisdom you need is found in the Bible!

What You Can Trust In

You’ve got God on your side. He’s there, He’s available, and He’s totally capable. Therefore you can entrust your children into His hands. This doesn’t eliminate what you do as a parent. You still have to live out your part in raising a child to follow God’s heart. You still have to resist the pressure society puts on you and your child. But once you’ve watched and warned, and fed and led your little sheep, you can commit them into God’s keeping. Then comes prayer… and more prayer!

Trust in prayer. Prayer indicates your dependence on God. Prayer is one way to ask God how to raise a child right. Through human efforts, you might raise a child who will be an okay person, but prayer contributes to your raising an exceptional person—a child after God’s own heart.

Trust in God’s Word. The apostle Paul wrote, “the Word of His grace… is able to build you up” (Acts 20:32). He prayed to God for the Ephesians, and then taught them God’s Word. So, like Paul, pray! And, like Paul, preach! See yourself as the shepherd who makes sure his sheep have substantial food. Feed them God’s Word, and trust God to use the Scriptures for their spiritual growth and maturity.

Trust in the Lord. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Because the Lord is your shepherd, you can know that you will never have a real need that God doesn’t take care of. You will never lack anything. The Good Shepherd takes care of and provides for His children—you and your children.

The Privilege of Partnering with God

As a parent, you already want to sow seeds of God’s love and His truth into your kids’ hearts. Well, be encouraged. It’s never too early and it’s never too late to start. That’s because God’s Word does not return void, no matter when it’s sown. It always works on the heart of the hearer, and it always accomplishes God’s will.

At first pointing your children to God may be a little hard. It may feel awkward or forced to quote a Scripture, or share a proverb, or refer to a biblical principle. Whenever this happens, just determine to do what God is asking of you—speak up, no matter what. Remind yourself to be on your toes for everyday opportunities that come along as you and your children sit, walk, lie down, and rise up at home and throughout the day. And if the opportunities don’t appear to be there, create them. Even nature and the heavens declare His glory!

Please don’t underestimate the urgency of planting God’s truth in your children’s hearts and minds. No matter what the age, they need to constantly hear about God. His Word stimulates, promotes, and can bring about a love for God and a saving relationship with Him (2 Timothy 2:15).

God’s wisdom and truth provide a path for your child’s walk through life. And you, Mom and Dad, have the privilege of partnering with God to grow them into men and women after God’s own heart.

Choosing the Right Kinds of Friends

You already know that friends and friendships are an important part of your children’s lives. Well, I’ve got good news! Here are some tips for guiding your kids on this all-important area. Take the time to show them the criteria God lists in His Word. As the two of you read through the verses that follow, point out the speech and character and conduct of those who are most definitely not to be your child’s friends. In short, show them that God says not to make friends with anyone who is a fool (Proverbs 13:20), violent (Proverbs 16:29), hot-tempered and angry (Proverbs 22:24-25), a gossip (Proverbs 29:5), evil (1 Corinthians 15:33), or immoral (1 Corinthians 5:11).

Then share the Scriptures will help your little or big kids find the right kinds of friends—those who are wise (Proverbs 13:20), faithful (Proverbs 18:24), honest (Proverbs 27:6), and a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). Be thankful the Bible is totally clear about what kinds of people are to be in—and out of—your children’s lives.

Friends are part of God’s plan and a part of everyday life. So protect your children from harm. Be proactive! Take time—however much it takes—to insure your children are surrounded by friends that better their live.

Be a Praying Parent

September equals back to school! As your own back-to-school frenzy moves into full swing, don’t forget your child of any age needs your prayers in every area of their busy, challenging life. Whatever it takes, be that praying parent. View praying for your child as a privilege and a responsibility. Prayer isn’t a chore, but it does require a decision and some time. It’s not a job; it’s your mission. It’s not optional; it’s crucial.

When you pray, and pray, and pray some more, you are like the widow Jesus praised in a parable in Luke 18:5-8. This widow came before a judge again and again and again about a personal problem. In this parable, one of Jesus’ key messages to you as a parent is this: Just as this woman was persistent, you are to be constant in prayer and keep on lifting up your concerns for your child. Press on in prayer. Keep on asking. Be assured, God does hear your prayers, your cries for help, your heart for your children. And He will respond.

Help Your Tween Make Really Good Choices

Dear Mom and Dad,

You know how important making right choices is for your life… but what about your children? What are you doing to train them in how to make right choices for themselves? Well, we’ve got three suggestions for showing your preteen boys and girls how to make really good choices.

  1. Try to involve your tween in the decision-making process. If possible, sit down together with a snack. Approach your time as a heart-to-heart talk. In the end, the final say on the decisions will be yours, but you can at least help your tween understand the “why” of the decision.
  2. Walk your tween through the process you use in making choices, like prayer, seeking counsel, finding out what God’s Word says about the choice. Openly pray with your child, and encourage them to pray too. Then open the Bible and look together at what God says about the choice.
  3. Help your tween understand that choices always have consequences. With each option, show them what would happen with each decision: A good choice will lead in this direction, and a bad choice in another direction. Then ask your child, based on what God says about this choice, which choice do you think you should make?

One day your children will be out on their own, making their right or wrong choices. How relieved and thankful you will be when you see them making godly choices because you took the time to show them exactly how right choices—God’s choices—are made.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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