“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity…Be diligent in these matters, give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” 1 Timothy 4:12, 15
Today, people talk about loving everything from ice cream to celebrities, when in reality; love is a much bigger deal than that. Love isn’t just something one feels – an attraction or something you communicate only by saying it – love is something you do…it is an action. Trust and love go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, Psalm 85:10 tells us, “Love and faithfulness meet together….” We trust the people we love…so, we must be discerning when we determine to love a person and when we open ourselves up for them to love us. We want to have wise hearts and to love well.
- Let’s pray that our sons and daughters will be wise when it comes to relationships. I have seen so many precious young men and women experience great pain and end up on a completely different life path than they had intended to because of poor decisions in relationships. Let’s pray that they would love people the way the Lord would have them to, but that they would not be manipulated or taken advantage of.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” Philippians 1:9
- Let’s remember that our children are not saviors. I have seen young ladies feel responsible to exhibit unconditional love to a young man who comes from an unhealthy home. On the other hand, I have seen young men manipulated by girls who threaten to hurt themselves so that the boy will not end the relationship. The young man then feels responsible to “save” her. Let’s pray that our children would not develop a “savior” complex…there is one Savior and His name is Christ Jesus. I think so often sweet Christian girls get involved in unhealthy, co-dependent relationships simply because they think it is the Christian thing to do. Our job is not to save, but to point people to the One who can.
“We know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Corinthians 8:1
- Let’s also pray for each other…that we would love our kids well; that we would be empathetic and understanding while encouraging them to be mighty in their faith. They are created to make a difference. They just might change the world.
“Satan never wastes a fiery dart on an area covered in armor.” Beth Moore
Wow. Been feeling the sting of a fiery dart lately? I must admit that sometimes they hit me when I least expect them. I’m not sure how theologically correct this is, but in my mind, a fiery dart from the enemy are those thoughts that unexpectedly invade a perfectly fine day. Maybe it’s an accusation about something we did in our past or, even more painful, the thought that someone may find out about something we’ve done in our past. Could be a fear of a choice our children may make or the fear of the embarrassment that choice may cause us. It could be the smallest doubt of the reality of our salvation or that lingering fear that our husband may be spending a little too much time with his secretary. Could be insecurity about the future or anxiety about balancing the bank account. It could be a multitude of small thoughts that with a quick release from the enemy hit us in an area of vulnerability and derails the whole train.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.” Ephesians 6
So when the day of evil comes…not if it comes, but when…do we have our armor on? I love that our Great King has not left us vulnerable. If we will put on our armor, of course He has protected us!
Belt of Truth – We have a belt of truth around our waist. Truth around the very core of our being where we gain our balance. The truth of God’s Word is the balance in our lives. It keeps us centered.
Breastplate of Righteousness – The Word also tells us that we are the righteousness of Christ Jesus. He is our righteousness. When the enemy looks at us…he sees the righteousness of Christ. And it is His Righteousness that is a shield over our hearts. He is the guard over our very lifeblood. He stands guard over our hearts against his enemy.
Feet fitted with the gospel of peace – He has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind…and we walk in peace. His Peace is the covering over your feet which means it doesn’t matter what circumstance you walk into…your feet, with every step, carry with you the gospel of His Peace. You truly do walk in peace, my dear friend!
Shield of Faith – I love this one! When I pray this over me and my family each morning, I ask the Lord that when the enemy looks at us, that all he will see is an enormous shield of our faith! We may not understand the battle we are in, but we do know the Victor and He is mighty to save us!
Helmet of Salvation – Our helmet of salvation covers our mind, our thoughts. When the enemy would come in to make you doubt your God or your salvation, this helmet of salvation will not only reassure you of your salvation…but you will remember what He saved you from! I know what I am capable of, believe me! But I also know what He is able to save me from! Thank you, Jesus, for a Helmet of Salvation!
Sword of the Spirit – This has got to be my favorite the only offensive weapon in our armor is the Sword of the Spirit…the very Word of God! When you have your coffee in the morning and in the still of the moment here the gentle sound of the pages of the Holy Scripture turn, your enemy hears the chilling sound of sword leaving its sheath…and he should be very afraid. Because the Word is alive and active in you!
This was a great reminder for me today of a few things:
- If we weren’t in a real life battle, we wouldn’t need armor! So don’t take it lightly!
- Each morning it is my responsibility to put on the armor the King has graciously provided me and it is just my size!
- The Sword of the Spirit is a highly effective weapon…let’s wield it!!
Parents, I have spent a lot of time praying for you and thinking about the incredibly difficult and eternally important job you have in raising the next generation. I admire and respect you more than I can convey. You are swimming in dangerous waters with those you love most…it can be exhilarating and exhausting.
During a Rescue Seminar last year, we asked the question, “What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about today’s teen culture?” Many parents responded with: entitled, scary, lacking respect, invincible, the “hook up generation”, instant gratification, too much technology, exposed to too much, spoiled, lonely, full of potential, selfish, impolite, big dreamers, irresponsible, and the “me” generation. As I read those responses and in many respects agree with them…it occurs to me why godly parenting is so important.
First, let me point out that all of these adjectives stand in opposition to what the Father calls them to be…He says that our children are hemmed in, that He makes the road rise up to meet them, He covers them with His wings, and He goes before and behind them. He has prepared in advance good works for them to do, has given them the very mind of Christ and declares them to be more than conquerors. Regardless of how the waters of the culture rage around us, if we know the Father, then we have the authority to cause our homes and our kids to line up with the Word of God.
Secondly, as I look through the above list of descriptive words about our teens…almost all of the negative attributes listed have at best been sifted through our hands as their parents and at worst, we may have even been the origin of some of those attributes. How does a child become entitled, disrespectful, selfish, or too entrenched in technology? Could it at least be due in part to our allowing it if not, even if unknowingly, encouraging it?
I know we all love our children with a desperate kind of love. We want them to have more than we had, to be more than we are, and to avoid some of the difficulties that we spent years trying to conquer. We work hard to provide for all of their needs and all of their wants. We are so busy trying to get them to the best lessons with the best coach, to the mall to buy the best shoes, to the right party to be with the right people, and eventually in the perfect school to pursue the perfect career…that there is little time to notice that somehow along the way, we have only fed the beast. We didn’t mean to…we didn’t want to…but we did.
I believe with all that I am that we can change our expectation of our kids: the ones you teach at school every day, serve in Sunday school, and those who sleep down the hall from you…we may not be able to change the world, but we can change ours, we can change theirs. I am praying that our community will draw a line in the sand. We will not continue to settle for barely keeping our heads above water and gasping for breath. We as parents will choose to find Him on the waves, reach up to take His arm, and with our eyes fixed like stone on His…learn to walk on the waves of this culture, equipping our teens to do the same. I am praying we will see them believing Him and pursuing Him with all of their hearts.
Won’t you dive in with me?
Making a good choice begins with having a plan and being ready. We talk to our young people about being ready to go on time, being ready for big events, and being ready in sporting events. But do we talk to them about being ready to do good?
The concept of being ready implies preparation. In order to be ready to do anything, you must have spent some time thinking it through and taking measures in preparation.
I don’t want our teens to miss any opportunity presented to them. That means they have to be ready! I know you have attended many sporting events where you have heard people say, “Be ready!” The ball may or may not come to a player, but if it does, that athlete needs to be on his toes, focused, trained, and ready to move. It is no different when we think about being ready to do whatever is good!
Step one must be that our kids are insightful to what the “good” thing to do in a situation would be. We need like never before for our children to understand the good choice or the good response. Good rarely means easy and often times choosing the good can involve sacrifice. Teach your children to recognize the good response in situations.
Choosing good is also a great lesson in being different and being a leader. Making the good choice can mean standing alone. Yet, we want our children to do good, no matter what anyone else around them is doing.
I pray that the Lord will show them favor and that they may be an influence for good. On a regular basis, I ask the Lord to allow our children to walk in favor and influence. I want us to stop fearing that our children will be influenced, and start believing that God can use them to be an influence for Him.
Your prayers make all the difference. Don’t take it lightly…the weapons of our warfare are mighty for pulling down strongholds. If you have a fear or worry about your family or your children, step one is to present it to the Lord and ask Him for direction. We are not in this alone. He wants to give us insight and wisdom — all we need to do is ask!
Our culture itself is in direct opposition to our children’s purity. They are bombarded on every side with wrong ideas about their bodies, thoughts, speech, and certainly with relation to their sexuality and purity. The enemy has chosen an attack on purity as one of his favorite tools against our kids, and we must take the battle seriously. Beyonce dances in halftime shows and it is disturbing on every level. The performer claims to be possessed by a spirit and is extremely inappropriately dressed. Yet, millions of Americans watch without batting an eye. Television commercials are out of control. The enemy was extremely stealthy at points in our history. The sad fact is that, currently, he can be blatantly in our faces and seeking our youth. and we are unaffected.
I believe that covering our children in prayer and making different choices is more crucial than ever before. I will stand my post next to you, but may we begin to come out of the fog and see things for what they are. The battle is real.
Here are some suggestions as you pray:
- Pray that our teens will be pure in their thoughts. A very important lesson for Christians to learn is how to take their thoughts captive. Each of our actions begin with a thought, whether good or bad. Let’s pray that we can effectively teach our young people how to take authority over their wrong thoughts and replace them with thoughts which honor Christ.
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
- Pray for purity in their hearts and emotions. I am so thankful that the Lord has given them the power to control themselves, and that when their hormones want to act up; they have authority to stand against them! Pray for control over their emotions so they can be alert and steadfast, ready in all situations. We are not governed by our emotions, but be the Spirit of the Living God.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than anything else,
and incurable—who can understand it?”
2 Timothy 1:7 “On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.”
- Pray for purity with their bodies. Pray for purity in their health and eating habits, for purity in the way they dress, and purity in that they wait for sexual activity until marriage.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
I want to encourage you as parents. This is difficult, but please help hold your teens accountable to be pure. It is so important for you to monitor them and give insight and direction about their attitudes, thought lives, and sexuality. You are the number one influence in their lives, and though we know these topics are not easy, you have been equipped for every good work and you can do it. For your children’s sake, you must.
I have shared my testimony many times. I was raised in a Christian home and was saved at a young age. Always had a deep desire to serve the Lord and wanted to fulfill His plans for my life. When I was a teenager, I began to make many compromises and entered an intense season of rebellion. I lied to my parents, started a relationship behind their backs and became sexually active. All of which were sinful and wrong and all of which caused much pain for all of those involved. Sin leads to death and it certainly did in my life. Near the end of my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant, and I had an abortion. My sin, which I justified, caused death of an innocent child and death to part of my own heart.
Lying to my parents, having sex outside of marriage, and even having an abortion were all legal. I wasn’t breaking any law. As a matter of fact, the law regarding the abortion was on my side…at the time of my abortion, abortion was legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Society decided that if I disagreed with my parents and the faith that I had committed to and if I felt like I was ready for a sexual relationship, there was nothing wrong with that. It was my choice and who should challenge me on it? Who should have anything to say about who I dated or how I chose to live my life? And when it came to the abortion, it was my body. No one can tell me that I must allow my child the same rights that I had; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If I attached the word love to my sin and rebellion…who could tell me that what I was doing was wrong?
Maybe our culture shied away from telling me that I was living a sinful lifestyle that only led to my destruction and the destruction of many innocent people around me…but thank goodness He didn’t.
Here’s the thing…as a society, we do no one any favors by justifying their sin. I know what Christ saved me from…I have a crystal clear memory of the sins I committed that sent my innocent Savior to death on the cross for me. I was completely lost and alone due to my life choices…choices I made that society applauded because I chose them in “love” and rebelled against boundaries and authority and most importantly against the Word of God. God’s Word is a beautiful story of His love for all of us. Out of this love, He communicates behaviors and motivations that will harm us and will lead to destruction. Oh sure, it is our prerogative to decide if we will heed His Word, but the amazing thing is whether you believe it or not, obey it or not…it always proves true. Much like gravity, you can deny its truth, but if you jump from a building your denial will have no effect on the outcome. Gravity exists. It is true. So is His Word.
I found myself at 19, completely alone and afraid…lost. I needed a Savior. I needed to be rescued. Society tried to convince me that it was all about me, my happiness, and my freedom to choose. But, when I found myself drowning in the consequences of my own choices, “society” was nowhere to be found.
There in the dark, cold waves of destruction and loneliness…there He was. He threw me a lifeline. Because I knew I needed to be rescued…I reached for Him.
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19
His motivation was as pure in that moment as it was when He penned the Words that warned me of the pain of such a choice. His motivation in His warnings were the same in my rescue. He delighted in me. He loved me.
Marriage is an institution established by the Father and out of His great love for all people, He created guidelines for our good. No different than His guidelines regarding sex within marriage or murder (abortion). Whether we are talking about abortion, sex outside of marriage, or homosexuality…our job as Christians is to love people and to point them to Him, because our Rescuer loves them deeply. The most unloving thing to do however is to try and convince a drowning person that they are fine and in no need of His help. I didn’t need people to justify my sin at the moment of my drowning and call it love…I needed them to love me enough to help me find His loving outstretched arm in the midst of the storm.
Regardless of what society or the powers that be have to say…those of us who have been lost in the waves of our sin have never heard a more beautiful sound than the loving whisper of the Savior, who treads on those waves, saying, “Take my Hand. I know the way home.”
What is a super mom anyway?
My children are growing up so quickly, heck, as many of you know my oldest son has 3 babies and I am a Gigi! Since the day I married my husband and took the hand of my new son Tanner who was 5 at the time, the desire of my heart has been to be a good mom. I look around at many of the mothers around me who are nothing short of extraordinary and…yikes!
My sister is a supermom. She makes the most amazing snacks for all 3 of her daughters’ classes for every party or holiday. She bakes and she crafts. She was a collegiate volleyball player and even coached on the high school and college level. Now, as a stay home mom, she is the most amazing club volleyball coach you can imagine. She is the room mom and the birthday party planner extraordinaire. She is amazing and is truly a supermom.
My mentor, Brenda, is a super mom. She is Better Homes & Gardens. She has a beautiful home. She has an immaculate yard. She is gentle, kind, positive, loving, and focused in like a laser beam on her love relationship with Christ. She has walked the walk of a godly marriage and family. She is the mother of two wonderful and gifted children and has four grandchildren. She is lovely…has the most elegant fashion sense and always looks adorable. She is all things “mother” and I love her dearly. She is a supermom.
My friend Lynne is a supermom. She has 3 children with busy lives. She is always up for the next adventure. She engages her children; she is a supportive and loving wife. She enjoys time with her friends and balances all of those things in an uncanny way. She has a mother, daughter tea at Christmas time, plays racquetball, and serves as the leader of a large Bible study group. She is a supermom.
I have always wanted to be a supermom, but…
I am not particularly crafty. I have been known to glue my hands together with super glue on more than one occasion, and literally taken pictures of my friends’ pumpkin arrangements so I could decorate my own porch for fall.
I am not always positive. I try hard, but I can certainly get overwhelmed. My children have seen tears roll down my face on many occasions as we race from one thing to the next thing hoping that I remembered to turn the oven off before we ran out the door.
I am too busy. I have gone to pick the kids up from school and distracted by a phone call, driven off before they actually got in the car…who does that??
I am not a gardener. I want to be. I can’t tell you how much time and money I have spent on flowers, seeds and bulbs for my flower beds. I can study it too…using a measuring tape to place them the precise distance from each other in just the right amount of sun. You’d be surprised by that if you drove by my house.
I struggle with fashion. I am not great at fixing hair. I don’t like animals. I am an okay cook, but no Martha Stewart. I like to play all kinds of sports with my kids, but they are all better than me so I can’t offer much advice. I am not musical and not very sophisticated.
I think being a supermom may never be checked off of my bucket list.
So this morning, I have decided to just be Tanner, Jake and Madi’s mom. I am going to focus on the abilities that the Lord gave me as a mom. I love my kids. I enjoy siting and talking with them. I love to journal back and forth. We read the Bible together in the mornings and enjoy watching movies together with popcorn and blankets. I imagine what the Lord has called them to be and strive to help them see those things in themselves. I am their biggest fan. No matter what they are participating in, I want them to look in the crowd and see me. I am conscientious of making memories and desire that my family would look back on the years that our heads hit the pillow under the same roof and remember that we laughed a lot, we accomplished some good, and we loved each other.
I am not a perfect mom, not a supermom, and likely neither are you. Let’s give ourselves permission to just be the moms that He has equipped us to be…sounds pretty super to me.
As I write tonight, I am overwhelmed with the feeling of being grateful. I had the privilege of hosting a group of junior and senior high school girls in our home for a DNow weekend. I loved hearing them laugh and share with each other. In a season of wars and rumors of wars, natural disaster, protests, immorality, and life in general, I can assure you that we have reason to hope. The next generation is taking Him at His word and believing that His word is alive and active in them. But if I am honest, I have been pretty down lately. I could take the time to list of the difficulty and transition we are facing, but I won’t because I know your list is as long as mine and no less difficult.
My sister and I were sending our last texts of the day which is customary and she said, “…ready for a new season.” My response was spontaneous, but I think true, “I think somehow we are going to have to find a way to usher in the new season.” So I decided to spend a little time asking the Father about that and letting my thoughts try and bring that simple sentence to life. Here is what I came up with.
- It is what it is, and He has not left us here alone. We aren’t the only ones facing difficulties. I know I can spend too much time feeling sorry for my situation rather than searching for His direction.
- As my man would say, “Enjoy the good times.” If we know that we all go through a season of difficulty, then we must learn to appreciate our good times.
- Look for the lesson. I love the Lord and I love that He doesn’t allow any circumstance in our life but that it could be used for good. Find the good and learn all that you can.
- Create memories. Learn to be in the moment. Time goes so quickly. Take time to taste, smell, see and touch your “moments” and really be a part of them.
Finally, as we move into this fall season, I am determined that it will literally mean a change of season in my family. My momma and my Papa will for eternity celebrate holidays in the Presence of the Reason. We will continue to miss them, yet we will celebrate.
I believe that part of ushering in a new season is making a plan for precious family gatherings that will create memories. I am calendaring different holiday events that I am planning for my family. We are having a hay ride, participating in our church’s Thanksgiving meal provision, and having “thankful” rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. We will laugh our heads off during black Friday shopping, enjoy our annual family tree trimming, have a night of “wreath making”, a trip to look at Christmas lights, and lots of evenings by the fire.
I will be wife to Brian and I will be honored. I will be mom to Jake, Madi and Tanner, and I will love it. I will be Whit’s mother-in-law and I will cherish it. I will be Bracen, Bayler and Blayze’s GiGi and I will thrill in it. I will be a daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, and friend and I will be thankful. Because my greatest joy comes from being a child, His child and He is good to me. I will remember that this fall, on purpose.
Mothers and their sons–what a divine and beautiful bond! I have enjoyed this subject so much and would love for some of you, mothers of sons, to give some feedback in the comments. Some of the very best moms I know have read the previous posts (you know who you are!) and we would love to hear from you.
I want to wrap up this series by talking to sons about what they can do to foster and strengthen their relationship with their mom. Young men often times are less verbal and can be uncomfortable with the emotions of a woman. One reason the bond between a mother and son is so valuable is because it gives young men a window into the heart of a woman, which will be so valuable to him later.
So sons, here are some suggestions for you:
- Take it upon yourself to have a relationship with your mom.
- No one is crazier about you than your mom. She prays for you. She thinks about you and she is on your side. Your mom is your biggest cheerleader and will always be in your corner.
- Buy your mother a birthday present. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Truly, the thoughtfulness behind it is what will be such a blessing to her. A note thanking her for all she does will be just what she hoped for. For Christmas this year, my son Jake gave me a calendar that he made. It was so thoughtful and one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.
- Go see a movie that she chooses. Moms often times make many sacrifices. When you allow her to choose the restaurant or the movie, she will feel appreciated.
- How about just a hug?? It means so much to me when my big guy comes simply give me a hug.
- Submit to your mom. Submission is an act of one’s will. It is more than simple obedience. Submission is a decision to lay down your will for the will of another. Remember that your mom is your authority and you need to be obedient and take her seriously. Don’t make it difficult for her. She deserves your respect.
- Believe her advice about girls. Your mom understands girls. She understands how they think and she has a good idea of their motives. Your mother is your best ally when it comes to girls. Listen to hear and trust her judgment. She has been there and she can save you a lot of trouble.
You are a gift to your mom and she is a gift to you. Cherish one another and always make an effort to maintain a strong bond. This life is short and difficult. Your mom is a sure refuge and shelter from life’s difficulties.
I love seeing the Lord reveal Himself. Certainly no one knows the day or the hour that our Savior will rapture His Church, but after the Chosen girls’ study of the Jewish Feasts, we are quite sure His return will be some year during the Feast of Trumpets!! Hallelujah!
My pastor, Jimmy Evans, does an incredible job of drawing attention to signs of the times in this episode of Marcus and Joni on Day Star. Please take a few minutes to watch. I am also including a portion of our Chosen lesson on the Feast of Trumpets.
He is a good Father who has not left us in the dark. The girls and I say that He loves to play hide and seek, but He loves to be found. It just takes a little looking and we see Him around every turn. Even so, Lord Jesus, come!
The Feast of Trumpets centers around the blowing of the Shofar, a horn made from a ram’s horn. Silver trumpets and the Shofar are a part of many Jewish celebrations, but there are two times in scripture when God Himself blows the Shofar. In Exodus 19:18-20, when His Shekinah glory descended on the mountain when He met with Moses and He will again blow the trumpet (Zechariah 9:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) when the Messiah comes to Rapture His church. Wow! What a sound that will be!
Trumpets in Israel had 3 major uses:
- Trumpets gathered an assembly before the Lord (Num. 10:2-4)
- Trumpets sounded a battle alarm (Numbers 10:9)
- Announced the coronation of a new king. (1 Kings 1:34,39)
The last trumpet of GOD will:
- Gather an assembly to the Lord – the Rapture of the Church
- Sound God’s battle alarm – against Satan
- Announce the coming and soon coronation of a new King – the Messiah (Isaiah 2:17)
As you pray this week, let’s pray that we would all turn our focus toward the Kingdom and the great anticipation that must be taking place in the heavenlies. As God the Father lays out His plan for us, those standing in His presence know that the next thing to happen will be for Him to reach for the Shofar and call His family home! Pray that same anticipation would burn in our hearts and we would be hard at work, running the race, so that when He calls us home we will have sweat on brows and dirt under our fingernails…that we would have been about His business. (Luke 21:28)