God’s Battle Plan For Parents

By Lindsey Wingo

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 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

I so desire to raise children who love God with all of their hearts and follow Him in all of their ways. But Satan wants me to believe I am fighting a hopeless cause and struggling through a losing battle!

Recently after reading several news stories and scrolling through social media, I felt myself falling into a pit of despair at the thought of the world I am raising my three children in.

As Christian parents, we’ve all been there before. Fear creeps in and Satan’s lies begin to flood our minds.

In that moment I stopped in my tracks and prayed that God would guide my husband and I in parenting our children, giving us His wisdom and strength in the battle. I believe it was no coincidence that on that very day God used the teaching of His Word to remind me of the battle plan He has given parents as we wage the war for the souls of our children.

In Exodus 16 the Israelites had been delivered from slavery and had seen God move in power over their enemies. In this chapter we see them entering the “Wilderness of Sin,” and they began grumbling because they were hungry. God heard their grumbling and complaining and sent for them manna and quail from heaven. In doing this He further established Himself as their provider—the God who saw their needs and met them. Through Moses God instructed the people in this way:

““This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”

As soon as I heard those words it was as if the Holy Spirit said, “this is part of the battle plan for your children as well.” I could have shouted in that moment! After I left that place I knew I wanted to go to God’s Word and read more about what He has to say about passing on faith and truth to the next generation.

1) Remember What God Has Done

There are countless places in the Old Testament that reveal the importance of remembering what God has done in the past and recounting it to future generations. This was done so that they would know and fear the Lord. Just as the Israelites were instructed to place some of the manna in a jar to be kept as a reminder for future generations of God’s provision, so we must diligently remember and recount what God has done for us.

Whenever I am with another believer who tells me a specific way that God has provided for them, answered a prayer on their behalf, or come through for them, my soul is encouraged and my faith is strengthened. This is not by accident! It is part of God’s plan for us as believers.

My children are constantly asking my husband and me to tell them stories. What a perfect opportunity for us as parents to tell the great stories of old found in God’s Word, as well as personal stories of how God has moved in our lives over the years.

I have made a habit of writing down answers to prayers and ways God has come through in my life so that I will not forget. Every time I read back through those pages I am encouraged. But these things are not meant to be kept to myself! These stories can be woven thoughout my daily life as I talk with my children. I have a friend who said her family celebrates with ice cream and a party whenever God answers a prayer they have prayed together as a family. They want those times to be special and memorable. These are foundational stones in our children’s lives as they are being built up into spiritual houses—1 Peter 2.

Many times in the Old Testament these times of remembrance were accompanied by rituals, feasts, or physical objects like stones and altars. Children are visual learners. Depending on the age of your children, you can get creative with this as a useful tool in the act of remembrance. It could be a special craft or snack, a celebratory trip to get ice cream, or a physical thing like a rock with a word or two written on it and kept in a place of prominence in your home. Every time your children see that stone, they will remember its meaning and significance for your family.

If you have not intentionally incorporated this practice in your home, take some time to write out ways God has provided for your family just this year. Use that as a conversation starter during family dinner or next time you are in the car together. This can be done in many different ways, but the point is clear. The act of remembering and recounting God’s work in our lives is foundational if we want to pass on our faith to the next generation.

2) Instruct Them In Truth—God’s Word Is Truth

2 Tim. 3:15 says, “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”

I am amazed at the ability a child has to absorb and remember things they are taught. My two-year-old can name almost every letter in the alphabet simply by looking at the letter on a card or magnet. (All of the credit for that goes to this DVD!) Research tells us the first five years of a child’s life are foundational for their future. These are years of significant brain development. What an opportunity for parents to pour truth into the minds and hearts of their children!

I love the beautiful picture of this we see in the book of Deuteronomy through Moses.

God told Moses:

“‘Summon the people before me, and I will personally instruct them. Then they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will teach their children to fear me also.’” Deut. 4:10b

Moses instructed the people:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:5-9

When we are faithful to draw near to God and meditate on His instructions found in the Word of God, we will learn to fear the Lord—which is the beginning of wisdom according to the book of Proverbs. And as we do this, God’s Word will become the Truth we build our lives upon. We won’t be able to keep from talking about it with our children!

In Deut. 6 we are challenged to keep the Truth of God’s Word in our own hearts first, and then pass it on to our children by talking about it all throughout the day, as well as writing it out and keeping it ever before us. Our first focus as moms should be to allow God’s Word to become “our life” (Deut. 34:47) and the source of truth we turn to as we face each day. When this happens in us, we will have a genuine faith to offer our children. That is what they need! Truth. Genuine Faith. God Stories.

What are some ways you can begin to incorporate God’s Word in your life and the life of your family? How can you intentionally pass on the truth of God’s Word to your children?

If you aren’t sure where to start, visit our Resource page for some great ideas to help you in this endeavor.

3) Pray And Surrender

In the book of Revelation we see prayer depicted as incense rising ever before the Lord as a pleasing aroma. My mom has always said that our prayers outlive us. What an amazing thought! We can impact generations to come by the prayers we are diligent to pray today.

James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

And Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

And as we pray, we must daily surrender our children into the hands of the One who made them and loves them even more than we do. He is good and He is trustworthy. What if Moses’ mother had not hidden him in the little ark and placed Him in the Nile River to protect Him from Pharoah? What if she had hidden him away in her home rather than relying on God to protect him? Because of her faithfulness to surrender her child to the Lord’s plans for his life, God’s people were rescued and we are still benefitting from the words God used Moses to write recorded for us in the Old Testament.

On the days I feel hopeless raising children in the “Wilderness of Sin” (pun intended!), this is a wonderful reminder to me. Because of what Christ has done and the truth found in His Word, I can rejoice in confident hope for my children! And on the days I face trouble in parenting, it is my job to continue with patience, hope, faithful prayer and surrender.

Ask God to give you a promise from His Word for your children. When He does, (and He will if we seek Him in prayer and His Word!) begin praying it back to Him on their behalf. God led me to a certain verse in my Bible reading for my children just recently, and within a matter of one week He confirmed that word two more times. God is still speaking, ladies! Draw near to Him and listen. He has a word for you, too.

Moms, we are in a very real battle. But God has given us a battle plan, and He promises he will never leave our side. (Heb. 13:5, Ps. 118:6, Is. 41:13, Ps. 37:23-24)

Remember what God has done.

Instruct them in truth—God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17).

Pray and surrender.

The God of Angel Armies is with us. May we not fear. And may we see the salvation of the Lord on behalf of our children, and our children’s children.

 

The Power of Words

by Katie Reno

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The grass withers and flowers fade, but the Word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

Within seconds, words spoken over us impact the way we view God, ourselves and others. It can also affect how we personally form our own opinions. I’ve thought recently about the different life changing words spoken over me. Words I’ve allowed to shape my thinking as a wife, mom, friend and fellow believer. Words. Are. Powerful.

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The In Be“TWEEN” Years

by Melisa Gaines

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It all started when putting my (then) eight year old daughter to bed one night.  I noticed a musty smell coming from her armpit.  I couldn’t remember when I started wearing deodorant myself, but my daughter seemed too young for this.  After all, wasn’t I just spoon feeding her smushed up bananas yesterday!?!  Around that time, she also started asking when she could start shaving her legs, wearing a bra, and dating boys.  This all came a little sooner than expected for me.

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Your History, His Story

by Laura Jones

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A few years back, a mom of high schoolers told me that most mornings she would sit with her children and have a group quiet time before school started. Just thinking about the logistics of that seemed overwhelming! My kids were little and only one could read- let alone, sit still and allow others to concentrate on their quiet time. In theory, though, I loved the idea, and we decided to start small with group prayer after breakfast. Asking the kids to help create our morning prayer lists, I began keeping a record in my planner of each day’s petitions. Over time this practice has become a fixture in our morning routine. There are days when family prayer does not happen because, well… life happens. But most days, it is how we wrap up breakfast and move into school time.

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Homebound

by Joni Shankles

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The first time I can recall seeing this word in print was in the italicized typewriter script of the Wednesday night prayer bulletins at the church where I grew up. The word homebound was followed by the names of older, mostly female, church members who were too frail to leave their homes to attend church services.  These invisible people were the recipients of our prayers, occasional pastoral visits, and handmade cards at Christmas and other major holidays.

Now I am homebound.

I don’t match the mental image of a homebound person I formed as a child.

  • I am not in my eighties.
  • I do not have white hair.
  • I do not use a walker or a cane.
  • I do not knit (yet) or have hard candies gathering dust in a glass dish beside my sofa.

But I do have a broken immune system.

My immune system is no longer able to accurately distinguish friend from foe, attacking me with prolonged allergic reactions and crushing fatigue instead of protecting me from invading microbes.

The past year and a half has been a roller coaster of illness, isolation, and periods of recovery. After a leave of absence and a brief return, I had to give up classroom teaching in the middle of last school year.  I’ve limited my visits to public places, attuned myself to my body’s need for extra rest and healthy foods, and have used an astonishing amount of hand sanitizer.

And I still got sick again.  Another antibiotic, another allergic reaction.  And so, for the last 137 days, I have not left my home, except for monthly visits to the immunologist.  This is, he says, for my protection while my immune system tries to heal again.

If printed prayer bulletins were still a thing, my name would be listed in the homebound section.

It’s not all bad news.

It turns out that homebound is a compound word which, according to dictionary.com, has two distinct meanings:

  1. confined to one’s home, especially because of illness, and
  2. going home.

I am confined to home.  I am fighting what is now a chronic illness.  The end of my confinement is not in sight.  Friends ask if I get stir crazy, but that would mean that I have the energy to stir around at home enough to make myself crazy.  Honestly, some days I don’t even have the energy to leave my room.

I do get lonely and sometimes bored and ridiculously thankful for an internet connection and even the shortest texts, but I don’t get crazy.

Why?  Because of the second definition.

I’m going home. In fact, my heart is set on it.

Home isn’t just the physical place where my body lives.  Home is, as the saying goes, where the heart is.  Home is where we focus, where we put our hopes, our longings, and heart’s treasure.

Home is where we are going.

Paul explains it this way in his letter to the Corinthians:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
1 Corinthians 4:16-18

I’m learning to not lose heart, to fix my eyes on heaven, to keep going home.

On days when the health roller coaster takes a downward plunge, I am learning to remind myself that my hope is not in healing, but in the Healer.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

…this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his [her] life.  John 9:3

On days when I don’t have the energy to leave my room or even to read, I am learning to remind myself that my identity is not in what I can do, but in whose I am.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1-3a, 5a

Illness can keep me from leaving my house, but illness can’t keep me from home.  In fact, like all broken things on this planet, it can remind me that I’m not home yet.

This is the homebound paradox.

Homebound, yet going home.

Confined, but free.

Originally posted on February 5, 2017 on www.OneJourneyHome.com

 

This entry was posted in Grace.

Discipleship- It’s not about me!

by Leslie Hollowell

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“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

Recently I sat on the couch in my living room with a beautiful young mom who has a heart for discipleship. She is also the mom of two little boys and we discussed what this looked like in a season with little ones. I’ll be the first to say that the sweet kids that God entrusted to us are our precious disciples (who also happen to live under our roof.) We are called to teach these little ones the ways of our Lord.

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A Perfect Mother, Who Can Find?

by Beth Foster

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Years ago, as a young wife and a new mother, I had an encounter that changed my entire outlook on motherhood. One cold December morning, a neighbor and fellow mom said to me, “You just have it all together.” She said spoke these words on quite possibly the worst day of her life- the day her husband told her he was leaving her, their daughter and unborn baby for another woman. She had run next door to my house when their argument escalated and she feared for their safety. I saw this woman, completely broken, on her knees in my doorway, sobbing uncontrollably and through broken gasps telling me what happened.

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Authentic

by Katie Fruge

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Ask anyone over the age of 25 and they would probably affirm that fads come and go quickly. Fashion fads are by far the most popular and quickly lived ones (have you been to Target lately? My 8th grade—1999—closet is haunting the clothing aisles. Chockers?? VELVET TOPS?). In Texas, the big summer fad was slime and fidget spinners. However, I would assume from the huge bin of fidget spinners 75% off at my local grocery store that they too will soon go the way of the gaucho pants. Bless. And all God’s women said “amen”.

Beliefs and worldviews also tend to go through trends, but with significantly longer lifespans than fashion and fidget spinners. Over the past decade a new—and much needed— desire has emerged among believers for a more real, more human, more authentic form of Christianity. We no longer want to just go through the motions at church and pretend as if everything is fine. We crave a community that has room for the good, the bad, the challenging, the ugly, the beautiful. As the world around us spins further toward the artificial, we crave the authentic.

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Book Giveaway!

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Donna Gaines has graciously offered to give three of our readers one of her new books, Choose Wisely, Live Fully. See below for giveaway details. Three winners will be chosen on October 4. Be on the lookout on Instagram and Facebook for the announcement of the winners!

Here is how to enter:

  • Like Donna’s book on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Three winners will be chosen on October 4.
  • Then, be on the lookout on Instagram or Facebook for the announcement of the winners.

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When Motherhood Malfunctions

By Rosalynne Martin

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The first time I sat down at my laptop to gather my thoughts for this post, I typed the title, hit enter and then the computer screen FROZE! Actually, I found it comical, that I was attempting to gather words of encouragement for other women, and I was instantly up against a technical malfunction. Nevertheless, this was only a temporary delay of about 5 seconds until I could reboot the computer, instead of the 5 years of delayed motherhood I had experienced.

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