One of our little ones had a birthday recently. She had her eyes set on the date since before Christmas. Her expectations were ballooning with each passing day. Detail after detail was being put into place in her mind. I tried my best to say things liked, “You can’t always get everything you want,” and “Your day will be special even if __________ doesn’t happen”. It would be obvious soon enough that she hadn’t heard my counsel.
The big day came and everything went according to her plan, for about 30 minutes. Her presents greeted her on the kitchen table. She was given her favorite doughnuts for breakfast. Her wardrobe matched her approval. All was right with the world. Then it happened. As I am brushing her hair and putting her favorite headband in it, she informed me that someone has to pick her up in the carline for early dismissal. I calmly state that her plan had a flaw. No one would be available to meet her request. All the drivers in the house had work responsibilities. Surely this one detail out of the list of seventy would not merit anything more than an, “Ok mommy, I understand.”
Never have I as a mom judged a result so wrongly! A meltdown of epic proportion occurred. Tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth best describes her response. As a mom, I felt righteous indignation rising up in my heart. After all the plans and surprises I had worked and slaved over, this is what I am receiving for my efforts. We spent our drive to school with much discussing and rebuking. Even when I revealed her surprise cake, there was still an element of disappointment in her eyes.
His mercy and loving-kindness are unmeasurable!
This earthly illustration met with Scripture in my devotions that evening. In Exodus 15 the Israelites have just crossed the Red Sea. They are singing God’s praises for the detailed and miraculous way in which they were rescued. Everything was just as it should be. Their future was filled with visions of easy travel and a land flowing with milk and honey. Then it happened. There is not water to be found for 3 days. The meltdown begins. Complaining and wishing for what had been became their cry. Their expectation of easy and the Promised Land had been met with a small measure of discomfort and waiting.
In Exodus 15:24-27 God shows up and gives them what they wanted. He gives them their need in a miraculous way. He even includes the promise that He would not visit His people with any of the plagues that had been dealt on their Egyptian enemies.
"And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
A sad reality ends the chapter. If they would have just put their expectations aside, they would have seen His best was just another day’s journey. Twelve springs of sweet and refreshing water awaited. If they would just walk one more day. God knew the whole time that He had an amazing way of provision already prepared.
Like my little one, who had it all planned out, we can give in to our complaining spirit and give up on God’s best. Instead of letting go of our way and our plan, we hold onto that one thing that seems to be undone. He has the best for each one of us waiting to bring refreshment and peace.
No matter what we are facing or what we have not received in way of answer or provision, can we wait on Him? The best of God and His plan are what we will receive. Isn’t God worth walking one more day?
In an age of blended families and busy schedules, there's no greater time for us to be deeply rooted in Jesus Christ as a family. Church and Sunday school are essential, but equally if not more important, Christianity must be lived out in the home. Jesus Christ should be front and center in our lives.
We can read all the blog posts we want, but there is no magic formula for building a Christian home short of being rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ. Christian families through the ages have found joy, strength and guidance by committing time daily to read together from God's Word and pray.
HOW DO WE BEGIN?
Setting aside a regular time.
The first step toward establishing an effective family time with God is to be intentional about scheduling. Many families schedule this time after breakfast or dinner. Often, these meals naturally bring the family together and can lead conveniently into a time not only of togetherness, but also a family time with God. Other families find just before bedtime works well.
Whatever time you choose, be sure that the whole family can be together on a regular basis. Consistency is important because it shows that family time with God is a high priority.
WHAT DO WE INCLUDE?
Family time with God can include many activities, but it is important to include at least these three:
READING GOD'S WORD
There are so many ways to be intentional about daily Bible reading with your family.
DISCUSSION OF GOD'S WORD
Discussing the Bible passage your family reads is an important part of family time with God.
PRAYER— PRAISE, CONFESSION & PETITIONS
Communicating with God should be a part of your family time.
God communicates to us through His Word, but it is a one-way conversation unless we lift up our hearts to Him in prayer. Our loving heavenly Father wants us to talk to Him. He delights in our praise confession, and petitions, just like any loving father would.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Many families find it helpful to keep a prayer journal. This might include special needs of the family, neighbors, missionaries, church or government leaders. It can also provide a record of answers to prayer. Whatever the answer, we know that God hears and responds according to His will. I like praying specific prayers and keeping a prayer journal.
Some families may wish to include other things in their family time with God like singing hymns or choruses, acting out a Bible story, or doing a craft. These can be meaningful, but there is no need to begin with something so elaborate. Begin with simplicity, and be intentional and consistent. The important thing is to daily, commit to read and discuss God's Word and pray together.
It is often said that the family that prays together, stays together—and the statistics show this to be true. But this is not all. As we seek God daily, we renew our relationship with Him and with each other. He talks with us and we talk with Him. He receives our praise, confession and petitions, and we come to understand the joy of His presence.
If your family has not been intentional about scheduling a family time with God, please consider making this important time a part of your home life beginning today. In doing so, as a family you will "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18).
Here's an excellent resource to help you get started:
If you have already established a family time with God in your home, please share your tips for being intentional and keeping it consistent.
How do we parent adult children?
I used to think that parenting was hardest when my children were so dependent on me for everything, which started when they were infants. However, as my children grew up, went off to college, and then moved out of the house I realized parenting became a whole lot harder. I know that must sound strange because I no longer dressed them, helped them with homework, transported them to ballgames, cooked their meals, or did their laundry.
So what makes parenting adult children so difficult?
Of course, as Christian parents our goal is to help train our children to be productive, independent, God-fearing, young people. So, while they are in our home we try, by God’s grace, to point them in right directions and help them set right priorities.
Once they are on their own, our parenting role changes drastically.
At this point in their lives the best thing we can do for them is pray.
Many Christian parents are heartbroken because of prodigal children. Parents should be reminded that the verse,
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
is a principle found in Proverbs and not a promise. Once our children become adults they are accountable to God for their choices. Parents are not to blame for these choices.
What is the parents’ role at this point?
There are no perfect parents.
We must depend on God’s guidance and grace.
Patenting is truly a gift from God.
We are stewards of special treasures. We should make the most of every moment. From infancy through adulthood we need to trust God with our children realizing He loves them even more than we do. And continually we pray, pray, pray.
“Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17
What is your prayer today for the adult children in your life?
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