Praise report and a recommendation

I wrote the following a few days ago and posted it on Facebook.  I thought that it would be good to publish it as a blog post.

I just have to share a few awesome things that have happened to me in the past 24 hrs. First, I have to HIGHLY recommend this blow-you-over 4-part series on prayer. Here is the first part of the series: http://escapetoreality.org/2011/03/06/a-better-way-to-pray/ The second thing started about a month ago. In the past month, I have been learning about speaking directly to the problem (sickness, etc.). I am praying that a specific heart-wrenching issue that is plaguing a dear loved one will be bound, plucked up by the roots and cast into the sea in the name of Jesus who has provided for our healing with His shed blood on the cross. I’ve encountered helpful teachings but I was looking for more. Do any of you, readers, deal with physical or spiritual issues according to Matt 18:18, Mk 11:22-24 and Luke 17:6? If so, can you recommend any resources? I did find that aforementioned blog series in which he recommends a book. Anyway, last night I was in a somewhat desperate situation in which I had to speak to a problem. I was the last person at the 577 after my class and it was 4 degrees outside and my car wouldn’t start and my phone was almost dead. My husband didn’t answer his phone and I was sure that he had gone to bed for the night and put his phone on airplane mode. So, I called a towing company but it would have been over an hour wait and I didn’t have enough cash for the service call anyway. I told them that I would call back if I couldn’t find another tow company to come more quickly. I felt prompted in my spirit to try the car one more time. I laid my hands on the car and bound up whatever was preventing it from starting. I prayed in the Spirit for a few moments and then tried again. Thank you, LORD! The car started. I wasn’t sure how or if I would share that story but I definitely want to give God the glory and ask you, my friends, to rejoice with me in this!

 

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F. B. Meyer on Prayer

“The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer but un-offered prayer.” F. B. Meyer

Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.”

Please know that I love to pray.  I love to pray for others.  If you are going through a tough time right now, please reach out to me.  I will lift you up to the Father.

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Do your children complain?

Silly question, I know! Of course, they do!  It’s human nature. 99% of all humans do it!

But we can overcome our tendencies to complain and we can teach our children even as we learn to complain less (or even not at all!).

The following is a Facebook post of mine from October when this post How to Complain Less from Becoming Minimalist hit my inbox.  I shared the link on Facebook with the following commentary:

One of the things that I love about my husband is that he very rarely complains. I make it a high priority to not complain and to try to see the bright side of things, even though they didn’t go MY way.

Hearing my children complain can wear down my patience quickly — and, thankfully, the Lord showed me on a particularly “whiny” day a few months ago how to teach them to not complain — I said to them, “you can voice your displeasure about something once but you are not allowed to voice your displeasure over and over and over. I will acknowledge your displeasure although I will likely not change my mind about a decision. Please try to focus on all of the great things that you can be thankful and happy about instead of focusing on the one tiny thing that I said no to.”

I pray this for you and for me today! Philippians 2:13-15 (NLT) “13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” and Philippians 4:8 (NLT)”And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

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His Mercy is So Sweet

A few mornings ago while I laid in bed (because I didn’t want to get out of bed and have my children wake up and follow me downstairs!) I was praying and the word “mercy” kept coming to my mind as I prayed for the people that God laid on my heart.

I praise God for His mercy toward me and I pray that I would continue to practice seeing others with the eyes of mercy. Mercy is so sweet and so characteristic of God. I just did a search on Biblegateway.com for mercy and as I scan the verses that come up I am filled with joy and strength for the day ahead of me because I anticipate that my day (as all my days in this season of mothering young children) will be filled with hourly testing of my patience as I do the work set before me — the work of ministering to my children the unconditional love of God.

I pray this verse for you and for me this day! Psalm 23: 6 “Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.” (Amplified Bible)

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My prayer for you this November morning (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

Good morning, my beloved siblings in Christ! This morning my prayer for each of you and for myself is that we can say that because of Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead and lives in us we can be to others what love is as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 — ” Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

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Listening…Observing…Asking Questions

Preface: I was looking through my “notes” on Facebook and I came across this one that I copied and pasted from “The Libertarian Homeschooler’s blog” on March 30, 2013.

Post from “The Libertarian Homeschooler’s blog”:

“When we try to help people, the first thing we must do is shut up and listen. This applies to children as well.

Don’t assume. Don’t guess. Observe. Ask questions. Listen. Work as if you were a scientist. Listen and watch. Watch and listen. You must spend at least twice as much time listening to your child as your child spends listening to you. If you have trained them to be seen and not heard, you must undo that.

You must offer them confidentiality and security. They must be absolutely certain that you are on their side before they trust you. They must sense that they are known and understood and that their motivations are understood and respected. And when they trust you, you will cease to be the police in their lives and begin to be their ally and their confidant and their mentor. 

This is what you want. A relationship that is so intimate and accepting that the heart of your child turns towards you in confidence. That you are the soft place to land. That when they make a mistake they immediately come to you knowing you will help and commiserate and shelter and show mercy however you can.”

My comments:

I wish I had a URL to give you for proper credit.  If by any chance you know the URL where the following post can be found on that blog, please let me know and I can update my post.

There is much in the New Covenant Scriptures that supports the message communicated above.  One that comes to mind is James 1:19 — “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  These would also be characteristic of someone who is living out the 2nd greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39), Jesus’ words that are often called “The Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Matthew 22: 37-40 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 7:12, Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Galatians 5:22-23  “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

In doing those things, I pray that I will be a reflection of my Savior so that all who encounter me will encounter Him and be drawn into His great, redeeming love.  Here are Paul’s words that resonate deeply with me: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)  I begin with my husband, my children, my family and friends and work outward to all of my “neighbors” (the world).

Signing off: I pray that “the LORD bless you and keep you; May He make His face shine on you and be gracious to you!” (Numbers 6: 24-25)

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I am a Bible-believing Jesus-lover and I do NOT spank…here is why

Preface:

The following are my comments and thoughts from a recent discussion on spanking in a Christian women’s Facebook group.  My apologies in advance if some of the paragraphs do not transition well.  I do plan on revising this!

I have including many other links for other believers who have written against spanking with Biblical “back-up”.  Those links are compiled at the end of this blog post.

My personal goal in writing this is that I have thoroughly understood what the Scriptures instruct believers on disciplining our children and I want to have a clear and concise “argument” to present to fellow believers who are wondering if spanking is mandated by the Bible.

As with all the words that come out of my mouth or come out of my typing fingers, I want to carefully consider my words so that they reflect the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) as well as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Here are my thoughts and comments:

The Bible contains passages that refer to the rod. I’m no expert on shepherding but I’m not convinced that the rod means spank your children — I do believe that it means that we need to discipline our children. I think that we can all agree that there is some symbolism in the Bible. Is it at all possible that the rod is symbolic? If spanking our children is so crucial to leading them to Christ’s salvation, wouldn’t Jesus have explicitly said “hey, parents, be absolutely steadfast in spanking your children”? So there is my first thought on spanking and the Bible.

Here is a passage of the rod that cannot possibly mean spanking: “he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff,they comfort me.5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” Psalm 23:3-5.

Additionally, we are New Covenant believers. We are not held to the requirements of the Mosaic Covenant. Christ has fulfilled the law on our behalf and He took the punishment for our sins. I mean, read the letter to the Galatian church. Paul calls them bewitched for trying to follow the Old Covenant rules. Jesus didn’t spank His disciples or the sinners He encountered; He offered love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness AND He corrected their behavior with the Truth (His words). There was no reason for Jesus to resort to spanking and nor do I find that spanking could be found in the two greatest commandments or the fruit of the Spirit.

Furthermore, Christ took the punishment for our disobedience. If we, as adults, sin after receiving eternal redemption, does God spank us or require that we be punished with Old Covenant punishments? No, He convicts us of our sin and we have a choice to repent and to have our minds renewed and transformed so that we can reject sin in our lives. If we are to follow Jesus’ command to treat other people as we would like to be treated (Matt 7:12), then should we not speak to and treat our children who are people — people made in the image of God.

Yes, of course, we correct our children when they are in error but we should do this in a way that we would like to be corrected. Re-read how Jesus corrected the woman who was caught in adultery — did He stone her according to the Law of Moses or did He correct her by showing her unprecedented mercy, forgiving her sin and telling her to sin no more? John 8:1-12.

How did Jesus treat the children who came to them; did He give them a whipping to drive the foolishness out of them?  Let’s visit how Jesus talked about children and how He treated them. Mark 10 – “15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Here are more: http://www.biblegateway.com/ Matt 19:13-15; Matt 11:25; Matthew 21:15-17 A friend mentioned James 1:19-20  “19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the ighteousness that God desires.” So those are but a few Biblical examples that lead me to believe that spanking my children is not mandatory to leading them to salvation in Christ.

A friend then posted this link and I read it (and recommend it): http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/articles/rodstudy.php

Here are my comments about that link: There are some passages that I really liked from it. “So many Christians have taken FIVE verses and hung a whole child rearing philosophy on them! Parents are told to use this as a primary form of punishment (what these experts refer to as discipline). Some use the words “punishment” and “discipline” interchangeably when they mean two entirely different things. These people are basing their theology on nothing more than the traditions of men! ” and then “If we are no longer to stone, then why do we assume we should use physical beatings to bring about repentance? Shouldn’t we make examples of a few children and stone them too? Why were they to go ahead and stone them to death if they would not repent and be oobedient? This was because the Holy Spirit was not actively convicting hearts and they did not yet have direct access to God. Jesus said in the case of the adulterous woman to let him who was without sin to cast the first stone. Parents don’t stone their kids because the parents themselves are just as much a sinner as their rebellious child.”

Here are two passages from that link that address children and the rod and adults and the rod. “When we see the use of the rod on fools, this would be adults who are “fools” because they are grown and still have no self control. It would be comparable to a criminal being beaten. This is not speaking of a young child. We see examples of criminals being beaten in Scripture. There are no examples of children being beaten with a rod. We see in most other instances that the word “rod” is used to symbolize God’s authority or the authority of a nation. ” as well as this one: “IF this Scripture were referring to a literal beating, taken in context, it would have to be speaking about a grown child. The verses before and after are written by a father speaking to his grown or almost grown son. ” And, okay, this one is really good too: “Another observation worth mention is the word child used in all of these “rod” Scriptures in Proverbs. This word is “na’ar.”
This word means as follows:
a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer
a. boy, lad, youth
b. servant, retainer
Concretely a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex) a girl (of similar latitude in age).
The KJV translates it as follows: young man 76, servant 54, child 44, lad 33, young 15, children 7, youth 6, babe 1, boys 1
This would mean that we are speaking about boys most of the time when we see this word (since a lad would be a male) here and usually young men.
Therefore, *if* one took these Scriptures to mean literal physical punishment, than it would possibly only apply to fathers spanking their sons who are older (since adolescence can go through the early 20’s). Most Christian discipline “experts” do not mention this. Yet, if you’re going to interpret it literally, this would have to be the explanation. Most Christian parenting authors say you should be able to STOP spanking by the time they become 12 or 13, yet according to this Scripture, you would not even START using physical punishment until then. So, we see that these Scriptures, if taken literally, would be referring to this form of punishment as an absolute last resort to save the child (which was possibly a boy only) from hell.”

A friend who does spank because she believes that the Bible calls for spanking mention Hebrews 12:4-6 and here is my reply:

“Let’s talk about Hebrews 12:4-6. Have you studied this one and only passage in the New Covenant scriptures that SEEMS to promote spanking? Have you studied it in the original language that it was written? Well, the Hebrew word is better described as SCOURGING and according to this source http://aolff.org/spare-the-rod/hebrews-12/3 it wasn’t in the original text after all. “Apparently the word “scourge” first appears in the KJV and then is translated back into Greek texts by later translators. This is supported by the fact that the references in the study Bible are for Strong’s dictionary which is the dictionary for the KJV. I contacted the head of the Aramaic Society which is very much into researching the most original texts, and this is what I learned. Aramaic is the oldest Semitic language and basically original Hebrew. In the version of the Bible they are releasing, this is how the passage reads for verse 6: “For those whom the Lord loves He chastens him, and disciplines the son in whom He is pleased.” I was assured that in the oldest versions of this text the idea of scourge is nowhere present. Discipline yes. Scourge no. This would be a more accurate representation of the verses being cited.”

Here is my reply to another friend who said that she is at a loss for dealing with some disobedience in her older children:

“Dealing with the trials that our children present to us is very tough. I wonder if perhaps parenting is more about God producing character in us than “getting our children under control.” James 1:2-4:Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I am aware of some of what No Greater Joy Ministrties teaches about child-rearing but it smacks of Pharisee-ism to me. If you have been influenced by NGJ Ministries and want to read a non-sensational evaluation of their belief system by a group of Christians, you can find the free e-book on this page — you’ll have to scroll down a bit but you can’t miss it: http://scitascienda.com/scienda-store/

Here are some additional links (and previously posted links) to explore:

http://parentingfreedom.com/discipline/ (this is the one I would recommend the most if you were only going to read one link)

http://www.incourage.me/2013/02/how-gentleness-makes-our-children-great.html

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2006/04/perfectionism/ (turn your speakers down before opening this link)

http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/20-proverbs/text/articles/hildebrandt-prov22-6train-gtj.htm

http://joanneaz_2.tripod.com/positivedisciplineresourcecenter/id32.html

http://aolff.org/spare-the-rod/hebrews-12/3

http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/articles/rodstudy.php

My Pinterest board of related websites: http://www.pinterest.com/elissamama/ministering-to-my-children-with-love-joy-mercy-etc/

I’m happy to hear your thoughts, even if you disagree with me.  And, of course, if you have some Biblical knowledge that supports my position, I’d love for you to share.

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing via email, Facebook TwitterPinterest or your favorite reader. Don’t forget to share on Facebook or Twitter so that others can be encouraged!  Be blessed!

Grace, mercy and peace to you!

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