Children Don’t Lead They Follow

“My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

While studying the roles of men and women in a marriage I became interested as to what role the children have in a family. We place a lot of emphasis on youth and childhood these days. More and more children are being put in front of the camera to preach at adults over the errors of our ways.

The thing is, leading adults isn’t a role designed for children.

““Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Children are told to read the scriptures, accept instruction, and honor their parents. That’s about it.

Parents have a LOT more instruction when it comes to children.

““So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭11:18-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s interesting that discipline seems to be a bone of contention in modern parenting. The Bible makes it clear that if you love your children, you discipline them.

We are also called to be good examples. Not just for our children but for everyone:

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.”

‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:6-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As adults we have the responsibility to set a good example for our children, and to lead them in the right path.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is because children are not wise. Children do not know everything. Children cannot lead.

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. How much more foolish is the adult who follows a child’s instruction?

It’s not good for man to be alone…

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ladies, it’s our turn.

What is our role in a marriage? This study was interesting because I think our role is more nuanced.

Men can know their role by reading about how God love us. That’s throughout the Bible. Women have to look at specific examples as well as make some connections to get an idea of our role.

For starters, let’s talk about that word “helper” in Gen. 2:18. According to Strong’s that word is “ezer” in Hebrew (Strong’s H5828) and when you look it up it’s most often used when talking about God being our help in times of need.

This establishes that the word doesn’t carry connotations of slavery behind it. This isn’t a slave/master relationship between men and women, it’s a relationship of completion. Man wasn’t meant to be alone.

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I always found it interesting that men are commanded to love, but women are commanded to respect. Whole studies have been written about this verse. The idea that women value love more and men value respect more etc. I don’t disagree with this, but I also value having more verses to back up ideas. We are told to respect our husbands, and we are given examples of what that doesn’t look like:

“It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ladies, as much as I hate to admit it, I think we are more inclined to fixate on things and to talk them to death until resolved. In same translations “quarrelsome” is translated as “nagging”. This treatment, constantly arguing and complaining, isn’t something you do when you respect that person. When you respect someone you trust that they hear you and that they will follow through with their word. Maybe our husbands need an extra reminder, but there are ways of doing this without becoming a drip.

“For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy.

Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:14, 16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Just because your husband may not be fulfilling his role, that doesn’t mean you can stop fulfilling yours. Your faithfulness to God’s will can bring holiness to your marriage. You can be a light to your husband through your actions, which is why it is important to obey God and respect your man. That respect can become inspiration for him to be a better man.

God created an order to marriage. We talked yesterday about how men are the head of the family. We are told to submit to that authority:

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:21-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A husband following God’s plan will love the wife self sacrificially and take her into account while leading the family. Even if he isn’t following God’s plan, we still have to follow God’s commands and try our best to submit to our husbands (unless they tell us to renounce God!).

The thing is, this doesn’t mean women are to sit around waiting for instructions. We are given an amazing example of a strong wife in the Proverbs 31 woman:

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:10-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Her husband trusts her. This is important! Any good leader delegates. A husband who trusts his wife hands over responsibilities in the marriage to her and her judgement.

“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

She inspected and bought a vineyard! That is no small feat. I’m not qualified to inspect a vineyard. This is not some shrinking violet. This is a strong partner in marriage. Her husband trusted her and she started her own successful business.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:25-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

She is wise and gives kind instructions. Her husband trusts her to run the house. I like to think that he seeks her opinions because he knows his wife is wise. She’s the one who is making his clothes and because she’s dressing him for success he is known at the gates:

“She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

She is a active figure behind her husband’s success! This is a partnership! This is a balanced marriage made up of love and respect for each other. In turn she is also a very successful businesswoman.

The Proverbs 31 woman was the very first overachiever. Read the whole passage and you will see what I mean. This woman was making money hand over fist.

I’m not even going to get into how children fit into this equation! This study is long enough!

Ladies, we are called to respect our husbands. We are told to submit to their authority in the relationship. When our husbands are following God’s will this is easy because they are in turn putting us first, listening to our needs, and loving us unconditionally. No relationship between two sinners is perfect, but if we keep seeking God’s wisdom and follow His instructions the pattern of our marriage can be two people considering each other’s needs first. The Bible wants us to put others first, not only in marriage but in all relationships.

A Man’s Role

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Recently I got into a debate with a Twitter personality who has been warping the biblical guidelines God has given us for how to have a successful marriage. She has taken the concept of submit and has turned the wife into the slave of the husband down to her very physique which, according to this person, should be kept slim or else the husband has every reason to cheat.

Watching God’s structure for a good marriage be so drastically ripped out of context and twisted always gets my blood boiling. A relationship between two sinful humans is hard enough without all of these false ideas skewing the instructions we have that help make a marriage work.

The only way for me to calm down is to do my own Bible study and set the record straight. Today we will focus on the head of the family, the husband, and tomorrow we will look at the wife’s role.

The Bible says the man is the head of the family:

“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

At the end of the day when you have two people trying to work together someone has to have the final say. A ship can’t have two captions and unfortunately that includes relationships. Sorry, couldn’t pass up a bad pun.

Being the head of the household isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, however.

Who did God hold accountable when Abraham told Sarah to lie to Abimelech and say she was Abraham’s sister?

Abraham, that’s who.

Sarah obeyed her husband and wasn’t held accountable. (Genesis 20:1-16)

For that matter who did God hold accountable when Sarah doubted she’d ever have a baby and told Abraham to take her servant to bed?

Yeah, Abraham, again.

Sarah was wrong to doubt God, but Abraham was wrong to fall for his wife’s doubt. (Genesis 16:1-16) Being the head of the family means being the one to take the punishment when the family isn’t following God.

Men are also told to loves their wives as Christ loves the church.

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How does Christ love the church?

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬‬

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

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.””

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love for us is self sacrificial. He gave up His only son for us. Not just that, but He loved us first, long before we loved him.

God listens.

He asks us to come to Him in prayer, to bring Him our worries and our requests and He listens to us.

God’s love is unconditional. Nothing can separate us from His love.

That’s how God expects a husband to love his wife.

That is not a master slave relationship. That is not ruling the home with an iron fist. That is not dismissing the wife’s thoughts or cares because she’s the weaker vessel. Being the head of the family involves a lot of sacrifice and putting yourself second as you take care of your family’s needs.

I’m going to end with the 1 Peter verse I began this study with because I think its message is important.

I promise tomorrow I will preach at the women folk cause we have our roles as well and we struggle with those. Meanwhile, remember, marriage is ultimately meant to be a partnership. It’s never perfect because none of us are perfect, but if we keep in the Bible and seek God’s wisdom not worldly wisdom the pattern of our relationships can be fulfilling.

Reaching the Age of No

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

My child is only one just this week, and already he hates the word “No.”

Baby C is not at the age where he understands consequences yet. He’s still at the age of redirection. Still, I see glimpses of the terrible twos up ahead, and I’ve been warned there is the terrible twos with intent. I’ve started using “Not for babies!” because even now if I say “no” it brings on great big angry tears.

Discipline has been on my mind a lot lately as I watch my little man become more and more determined to get his way.

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The Bible is pretty clear that if you love your children you discipline them. A spoiled child turns into a spoiled adult and lets face it, life doesn’t always spoil you. There is a lot of disappointment and tough lessons ahead for an undisciplined adult.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬

No one likes being the bad guy all the time, but the rewards are great if you stick with it (which is what I repeat to myself over and over).

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

It’s good to keep in mind that we all start out as foolish children and that it was our parents’ careful discipline that set us straight. Foolishness is what we should expect from children. We are all born sinners and without correction and redirection selfish sinners we remain.

It’s a big job, having to be the example of God’s love to my son. There are definitely mornings I am not up for it and that’s when C ends up going unchecked and all of his books end up on the floor or he is allowed to run around with my phone. I have to learn to be stronger because if I love my son it’s my job to guide him.

“Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.””

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭38:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I need a pep talk several times a week on this topic! Discipline is the hardest part of parenting, and I’m the kind of person who needs a lot of reassurance. I’m glad I can go to the Bible to make sure I’m doing what is right!

Healing

“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Healing is foremost on my mind this morning since today is day two after a surgery repairing my bellybutton hernia. Throughout the New Testament Christ was traveling, healing the sick. He even commanded the apostles to do the same. While I believe we are no longer in the age of apostles, I do believe that God still heals.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lately saying, “I’ll pray for you” has come under fire as not being enough. Folks seem to feel that offering to pray for each other is a means of getting out of actually doing something. However, the Bible says that prayer IS doing something.

“And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Just type pray or prayer into a Bible search engine and you will see how important it is that we seek God in prayer.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God supplies our needs when we come to Him in prayer and as Him for help.

Sometimes those needs are a little more ibuprofen!

I’m am confident that the God who clothes the lilies of the field and Who knows when every sparrow falls is very aware of every aspect of my life and that He is taking care of me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When you are sick or hurting or grieving it may feel like God’s healing is taking forever, but He hasn’t abandoned you. God is right there with and He will guide you through it all.

““Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭49:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Thank you everyone for your prayers yesterday! I was worried about my surgery because worry is what I struggle with, but everything went very well and God continues to heal me. I’m definitely not 100%, but I know with time and prayer I will be.

Never think that offering to pray for someone is doing nothing. Prayer is the best possible course of action for absolutely everything that happens in our lives!

When we fall

“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Failure always feels insurmountable.

No one likes to fail, even though as faulty humans failure is going to be a part of life.

“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.”

‭‭James‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Making mistakes, failing to respond how God would want us to, falling happens, but the Bible says we will get up again.

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

No one is perfect, and that means that as we try to walk the path God set for us sometimes we will trip.

“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But God is there even when we fall.

“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I guess what I am saying is we all fail at some point. We all stumble and fall. That doesn’t mean we aren’t saved. That doesn’t mean God has abandoned us. God is there to pick us back up and help us try again.

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Discipline

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

I ran across this verse in a parenting Bible study and it stuck with me. It stuck with me so much I read all of Hebrews 12 for context and found even more.

“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:5-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sorry for the lengthy quote, but all of this is needed to unpack this.

We often talk about how salvation saves us from the punishment of sin which is eternal separation from God in hell. When we talk about how we are free from the punishment of sin I guess I kind of thought that meant we were free from God’s discipline. That, however, is a gross misunderstanding of the term discipline.

Discipline isn’t just about punishing bad behaviors, it’s about guiding good behaviors and correcting your path. Discipline is done not out of anger or frustration over unwanted actions. Discipline is done out of love.

“For the Lord disciplines those He loves…” that is profound for me on many levels.

I’m in the midst of learning how to lovingly discipline my son. He is getting to an age where his actions can get him seriously hurt. This kid does not stop to think whether or not crawling head first off the sofa is going to result in a head injury. He just goes for it. I’m learning in real time that discipline isn’t just about stopping whining, it’s about keeping my kiddo safe from himself.

“Who ever heard of a child who was never disciplined by its father?” “As you endure this divine discipline remember that God is treating you as His own child.”

Just because we are saved from the ultimate cost of sin, that doesn’t mean that God stops guiding our behaviors. He lets us endure the consequences of our actions. He allows trials to happen because the testing of our faith creates endurance:

“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Like any good parent God also rewards good behaviors.

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭NLT

“Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Why does God correct our behaviors down here?

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Because someone is watching how we live and may want to follow.

My son watches everything I do and my actions speak louder than words. It’s not enough to tell him God loves him, to talk about sin and salvation and tell him that God wants him to live a life that’s good. If I’m not living my life according to God’s instructions, if I’m not seeking God in His word every day, if I’m not seeking God in thankful prayer when I feel weak, why in the world would my son do any of it?

The way I discipline my son has to reflect the way God lovingly disciplined me, showing mercy and grace, saving me from myself while still allowing the consequences of my actions teach me important lessons.

No one likes being disciplined, but afterwards we reap the rewards of being better people for it.

Life Comes with Instructions

We often lament that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but I’m learning that actually does.

A quick search under the word “instructions” brought up all sorts of interesting verses.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:1-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Proverbs comes right out and tells you that they are instructions for how to live. How did I miss this? I’m sure I’ve read Proverbs 1:1, right? Look at what its purpose is!

Instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity. Isn’t that what everyone is seeking these days, justice and equity? The Bible says it will instruct us in this.

Prudence to the naive and knowledge and discretion to the young. These are all elements of my student success course! There is truly nothing new under the sun.

A wise man will increase in learning and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. Basically, everyone can learn from Proverbs. Not just Proverbs, but the whole Bible.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The Bible presents itself as the instruction manual for life. You can go to God’s Word for the answers to all of life’s tough questions. Don’t think that anything in there has become obsolete. Remember:

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The issues we are facing today are nothing new when it comes to the history of human experience. The Bible is complete, lacking in nothing:

““So be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭12:32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:142‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Without the Bible, situations in life can feel ambiguous. Moral relativism is what’s taught today and that can make it difficult to know how to live and act. The thing is, the Bible is pretty clear that morality isn’t relative. It’s clear on there being a pretty obvious set of right and wrong and if you are ever confused about something the Bible can set you straight.

It was one thing to stumble about on my own, but now as a mom I’m expected to lead someone else.

As a kid I always thought that when I reached adulthood I would magically just know everything. That once I reached the right age someone would smack me over the head with the wisdom stick and I’d be set. If that was ever an option I apparently missed it because as an adult I feel even more ignorant than I felt as a child.

When C approaches me with questions, those heavy life questions I know I approached my own mom with, I need to be able to say, “I don’t know. Let’s go to the Bible and find out.”

I don’t have to know everything. I just need to remember to consult my instruction manual when I need to know the answers.

It helps to read those instructions every morning too.

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

All Good Things…

““Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I hate waiting.

We have a lot of proverbs about patience. “Patience is a virtue.” “All good things come to those who wait.” It seems that patience is highly valued regardless of faith, but it’s interesting that it also seems to be a quality we have to persuade ourselves to have. No one is born patient.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭62:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A lot of life is made up of “hurry up and wait” moments. As much instant gratification is around, waiting is still a part of every day life; we are just much worse at it since we can now binge whole TV series on Netflix.

Parenthood is a lot of waiting. Waiting for a time when your baby will sleep through the night, so you can too. Waiting for your baby to start talking so you can finally know what it is he’s trying to tell you through his baby babble. Waiting for your child to begin to see the patterns you are trying to set through your careful discipline as you reward good behaviors and stop bad behaviors… the same bad behaviors over and over again with a carefully crafted patience you feel is being held together by grace and duct tape.

Like anything done well, bringing up a child in the way he should go takes patience:

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Notice that “and when they are older” line? That was my mother’s only hope while she watched me and my sisters diverting from the path time and again. The verse wasn’t wrong! My sisters and I are now well into adulthood, with children of our own, and one by one we have each returned to our Bible studies, seeking God’s help as we try our best to direct our children onto the right path.

My mother had to have an awful lot of patience though, to sit back and watch us make our own mistakes and waiting for us to seek her advice (because what child takes unsought for advice from a parent?!).

Galatians 6:9 came up in a sample of a parenting study I was trying out, and it never occurred to me to apply that verse to parenting until now.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

… if we don’t give up.

That verse gave me a lot of hope today. Thankfully I’m not doing this on my own.

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God gives us this patience. Which means when I’m having a hard day and it feels like my patience is waning, if I remember to be still and seek God I can ask Him to give me just a little more patience to help get me through. If I don’t give up, someday I’ll be able to watch my son turn to his Bible to seek out how to guide his children to the right path.

I just need a little patience.

Even Mustard Seeds Grow Tall

““You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Nothing is impossible with faith. My verse today in “100 Favorite Bible Verses for Mommy and Me” came from Luke:

“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This verse is about Mary, being blessed because of her faith in God. This verse reminded me of Hebrews 11, the “By faith did” chapter. Lots of very well known names from the Bible are listed there. My last Bible study mentioned that Rahab was even mentioned:

“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

She played such a small part in the battle of Jericho, but her faith is recognized here. Rahab is such a wonderful example of how God can use any of us. She was a prostitute. She wasn’t a member of God’s chosen people, and in fact she was part of the city God was delivering into their hands. However, she had faith that God could save her and her family and because of that faith she hid those spies and lied to the King’s guard. That took some serious courage!

Momstrong mentioned something I hadn’t known before. Rahab married Salmon and had a son, Boaz… the same Boaz that married Ruth in the Bible. It’s well documented because they are all in the house of David, which means they are part of Christ’s lineage.

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/1-5.htm

Rahab, the harlot, is in the line up of people leading to Christ’s birth. That just amazed me! To me that shows how much God forgives our sins, our past, when we place our faith in Him.

Even if that faith is the size of a mustard seed. Just remember, even mustard seeds grow.

I know my faith can seem really small sometimes. I’m still struggling with worry and anxiety. I don’t always seek God first and if I’m not agonizing about my past I’m often worry about the future. That’s why I’m trying to read my Bible every morning.

I have to feed my faith so it can grow.

I don’t want my faith to stay small. I want it to grow into the mighty tree that comes from such a tiny seed.