Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Can't Grab God's Blessing While Gripping Old Garbage

Psalm 55:22(NIV)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

It's a simple lesson of faith. But more often than not, the lesson proves to be anything but simple. Taking God at His word, and casting our cares completely on Him.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Oh as believers, we believe it's something we do easily. After all, we have the best intentions. We want to trust God. We say we trust God. We believe we trust God. But then trouble comes, and often the faith goes

I'm not talking about our faith in God, meaning whether we believe in God and His existence and His love. Of course we do. I'm talking about our faith in the ability of God to deliver us in times of trouble. That's when so often our faith fails.

It's not a big dramatic move that would make us take notice, initially. And we don't intend for it to happen. I mean, come on...we know the scriptures...not to mention all of the phrases that we spout out effortlessly. "Give it to God." "Let go and let God.""Leave your burdens at the altar." "Let God do the driving." And we pray. And we fast. And we read the word. And we sing.

And then, we wonder. Wonder, what's taking God so long. Then we worry. Worry, that maybe He didn't hear us. Then we start to doubt. Doubt that He's going to handle it for us. Then we start to get anxious. Anxious that this hardship, this heartache, this dilapidated house, this "on its last leg car", this sickness, this debt, this backsliding, this lifeless marriage, this disobedient child, this dead-end job, this...this...this...THING is going to take US UNDER.

So, we pick that burden back up, or at least part of the burden, load it onto our own backs again, and let IT drag US around -- Thinking - "What should I do?" "Who should I get to help?" "Where can I turn?" So there we are...trouble in, faith out.

Then we often get caught up as we try to make it work ourselves. If you're anything like me, you go into full, attack mode.  I  WILL  DO  WHATEVER  IT  TAKES  TO  MAKE  THIS  THING  WORK. And we do, until we - through our own devices - are completely, utterly exhausted. We are all tapped out on ideas. We are feeling whipped by this THING. Well, thank God. Because THAT is often the time that Jesus can do His greatest work in us.

2 Corinthians 12:9(KJV)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
And isn't that just how Christ works? He wants us to come to Him in our broken state and in Him we will find wholeness.

Matthew 11:28(NLT)

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

So then there is the lesson. Often, in my life anyway, God moves in a mighty way in that space where I just throw my hands up and surrender. Surrender. When I finally admit that I can't do it on my own. Where I just stop trying to be all that I can be and I allow God to be all that He is

And the act of surrendering is a way of showing that we are fully releasing something in our lives. It is that release, that opening up, that letting go which allows us the open hand, the open heart to receive that new THING that God is trying to bring to us. 

In the Wednesday Word for Women post, dated June 12, 2013, the focus was God's 42 cent promise, that was actually a symbol. It was to show that  He would take care of me, and in fact completely restore me, after our van was totaled when it accelerated without warning. Then the brakes failed and the only thing that stopped it was when we were forced to slam into hedge. I spoke of how I panicked when it was time for me to mail off the title to the van that I had crashed. That van was broken and useless, but the one with which I was comfortable, on which I was reliant. In some mixed up way it brought me a sense of comfort to know that we still owned the defective van. 

But once I got that 42 cent promise from God, even BEFORE I knew how God was going to move or how  he was going to fix that THING, I totally surrendered. I released the idea of the old van and concerns of getting a replacement, and within 24 hours we were the owners of a new van. That was nothing but God! 

I could never have been in a place to receive the new van if I was still holding onto the old one. For God to bless us with a new THING we typically have to let go of the old THING. If we keep running with a bad crowd we can't expect to improve our habits. If we keep mistreating our spouses we can't expect our marriages to grow stronger. If we continue to eat salt ladened foods we can't believe that our blood pressure is going to decrease. If we keep - fill in that THING to which YOU are holding on - then we cannot see or appreciate God's increase in our lives. We must go for a total release or surrender in order to move into many of the things that God has for us.

So maybe my doubt, my occasional lack of faith, is not lack at all. Maybe it is actually the only way that I can get full. Maybe that THING that needs to be fixed, can only be done if I am broken and bowed. Maybe I have to see my own frailty fully and admit that frailty so that I can understand and feel the awesome magnitude of God. His strength and not my own. Just maybe that is the only way that I can truly understand that it is God who delivers me. Not just some of the time. All of the time.

Let's pray: "Father, Thank you for following through on all of your promises to handle my problems and to deliver me through each of the them every time. Please forgive me for allowing my faith to falter those times that I faced a problem, and for partially forgetting that You were busy working out Your perfect plan for my life. But I also thank you for letting me get to the point where I truly surrender myself and my problem to You so that I can see You do a mighty work! And through it all, the glory and praise belong to you. I love you, Father. In Jesus' holy name. Amen."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God's 42 Cent Promise Has Proved Priceless

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

42 cents. For most people it would be considered pocket change. Not enough to buy a bottled water or a pack of gum or even an ice cream cone. 42 cents sounds so unimpressive. Like something that we might haphazardly toss on the coffee table or drop into the bottom of our purse or shove into our pants pockets. 42 cents...not a lot of money by most people's standards, but for me it recently proved to be worth more gold.

God's Grace is Sufficient

God used 42 cents as a token, a simple symbol to demonstrate His love for me and His promise to me. His promise of how He will always take care of me. How He will always protect me. How He will always provide for me. None of which should be a surprise. After all, isn't He the great caregiver...protector...provider? 

And the way He works. Yes, sometimes it is through big sweeping examples which nobody can ignore. Those "only God" ways where we know it HAD to be Him. But God also works in those quiet, subtle, thought provoking ways that make those who don't know Him and even some who do, think, "How did that work out that way?" "Was it coincidence?" "Did those things just fall into place? Well that's how God moved in my life recently.

I had gone to the UPS store to mail off the title for our van to our insurance company. The same van that 2 weeks prior had taken the children and me on a drive of terror. Racing off by itself and refusing to stop until I was forced to slam it into a tall hedge. Now I'm in the parking lot of the store, and I realize I have left my wallet at a friend's house. I need copies of our signed title before I send it off. I scour our van, looking for money to pay for copies. All I can find is a quarter, a dime, one nickel and two pennies. A measly 42 cents. 

God's Grace is Sufficient

I enter the store, make my copies, then as I head to the counter to give the box to the clerk, it hits me. I am suddenly stricken with panic! Once I send this title off to the insurance company, I have nothing. No car and no prospect of getting one, so I thought...My husband and I had just been turned down for a car loan from what we later determined was an unscrupulous car dealer. The reason? Millions of thoughts run through our heads. Was it a fluke? Could it have been something with our credit?  What happened? To this day, we have not been given a reason. In fact no person from the dealership ever returned our calls. 

So again there I stand in the UPS store realizing once I send the title to our van, We Have Nothing!!! Crazy as it sounds, the idea of giving up a broken down piece of car was not as unsettling as having no car that belonged to us at all. My heart is pounding. My breathing is short. I'm starting to sweat. It's hard to swallow. The cashier seals the envelope for me.

Oh yes, my much do those cost? The cashier rings it up and says "That's 42 cents." 42 cents? 42 CENTS??? That's all the money I have, which God knew was all I needed. 

Are you speaking to me God? Are you trying to tell me that you'll always take care of me? That you'll always protect me? That you'll always provide for me? 42 cents...I hear you, God. E X H AL E -- A calm settles in my spirit.

God's Grace is Sufficient

Once outside, I send up a praise. I am certain the Lord is telling me not to worry and that everything is under His control. I get into the van, it's a rental, and reach in the diaper bag, which I am sure I looked through earlier, and to my amazement, find some dollar bills. Hmmmm.  I thought all I had was 42 cents. Thank you, God. I have enough to complete an errand. 

I head to the store to pick up 2 items. I go to the check out counter and hand the cashier a 20 dollar bill. She retrieves the change and says, "Here's 9 dollars and 42 cents." 42 cents? 42 CENTS??? I am now beside myself. Not only did she give me 42 cents but it was in the EXACT denomination as what I gave at the UPS store earlier. One quarter, one dime, one nickel and two pennies. Now I am certain that God was telling me that He would not just care for me, and protect me, and provide for me. He would Restore me! Hallelujah! 

1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
That evening, I share the story with my husband of what we now call, "God's 42 cent promise" and we praise the Lord and both claim victory and restoration in Jesus' name! Sleep is so sweet that night. 

Well, how our God restores! The next morning I awaken to a text from my husband asking me to follow up on a phone message he had left days before with a guy with whom we used to go to church. The last time we had spoken to him, he was a top salesman at a car dealership. Now he works in the finance office at the same dealership. We spoke, and he got some preliminary information from me, and said that he was confident that he could get us something that was nice that we could afford. HUH??? I'm thinking, "Didn't I just tell you that we were turned down by another car dealership, just the day before?" Our friend says he will check on things, but that he knows he can make things work. 

After only a few hours, and several conversations with our friend, we finally got the call - we were out of town at the time. Our friend said that he was working to get us a good deal, but he said, and I quote, "You all must be prayed up, because the favor you are getting in this deal is incredible." He also said, "I don't know why the other guy wasn't able to get this deal done." Then he said, "Yes, I do. It's so that you could come over here and we could work this deal." He went on to say, "Your credit is excellent and basically you can get any vehicle on the property." He asked me what color van I wanted. Then he said he would call me back. Just moments later, I got the call and our friend said, with all the exuberance that I was feeling, "Verna, come down and get your car!"  

The tears start welling up. Again, just a few days before, we were looking at a very basic van that did not meet some of my family's needs, but would have gotten us back on the road. We were SO grateful for the possibility of that van...and we were turned down on it. And just like THAT, our God turned that thing around and we ended up with a brand new van that has amenities which I didn't even consider being able to get and honestly didn't need, but those which I do like tremendously and that make life with children much easier. The price? Close to that of the other basic version at the other dealership for which we ended up not qualifying.


It's the kind of blessing that God can do and that He wants to do for us all. So thank God for His promise and His signs, big and small, that let me know that He will never leave nor forsake me! It's a promise that He makes to everyone, but one that often goes no further because we don't always have the faith to do what is sometimes necessary to walk in His promises? 

Next time on the Wednesday Word for Women, part two of this series is going to focus on the importance of letting go of things in order to make room for God's blessings.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

There's Life Saving Power in His Name

2 Timothy 4:17 (NLT)

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.

Driving out of control in a van carrying 2 of the greatest gifts with which God has entrusted children. Barreling down the road, the engine revving, the van building up speed. Careening along a narrow bridge over a large body of water, not able to stop. Pumping the brakes, slamming on the brakes, stomping on the emergency brake. No response. Runaway vehicle. Going faster...and FASTER...AND FASTER... We. Are. Going. To. CRASH!!!

I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

(Psalm 121:1-8 - NIV)

Frantically calling my husband, screaming into the phone..."John, I can't stop the car! I can't stop the car! What Do I Do?!? What Do I Do?!? I CAN'T STOP THE CAR!!!" Thinking for one split second that this could be the last time I would speak to my husband. The last image that he would have of me and our children...screaming...panicking. I am crying out to God, "Jesus please help us! Jesus please help us! J E S U S PLEASE HELP US!!! 

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the 
God of Jacob protect you. (Psalm 20:1 - NIV)

It's 90 seconds of sheer terror that I pray no other mother, no other father, no other person will ever have to live through. 90 seconds that I pray my children can forget. But as traumatizing as it was, it showed me up close and in a very personal way, how God can and does still work miracles in our lives. It showed me the power of calling on the name of Jesus.

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. (Psalm 91:14 - NIV)

The phone drops, my husband is no longer there. It's now just my children, me and God. "Jesus please help us! Jesus please help us," I scream as I am clutching the steering wheel. We make it over the bridge. Now driving on the bumpy shoulder of the road just trying to slow down my car as it continues to try to pick up speed. I see a truck at a stop sign just ahead, right in our path. I am going to hit it...HONK, HONK, HOOOONNNNNKKKKK. OUT OF THE WAY!!! I'm out of control! Do I not believe my God can do ANY and EVERYTHING? That all power is in His hands? Did I not believe that my God could save us from drowning in fear and doubt?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 - KJV)

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39 - KJV)

Yes, I have faith that He Can Do ALL Things!!! I can't hit the truck. I must hit something to stop the van. I see a pole, I see a metal sign. But something (Someone) says, "No. Keep going." Something (Someone) tells me to turn. I yank the wheel. I'm turning to the right. No idea where I'm going and what will meet me there. A 90 degree turn at 30 miles per hour in a van with my children, who are frightened and the 5 year old who just wants me to "Stop, Mommy!"

The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. (Psalm 116:6 - NLT)

Oh there's power in the name of Jesus, whether it's whispered, spoken in hallowed tones, or shrieked...there is power in that name, and during those moments, those 90 seconds, all I knew to say over...and over...and over was, "JESUS HELP US!!!" Then impact. We hit a small tree and mowed it down, then another, then W H A M, slammed into a 7 foot hedge and the van jerks to a stop. Smoke shoots out, van still humming, but we’ve stopped. I jump out of the van, pull our 5 year old out of his car seat and check to see if he’s okay. Before I can get our 1 year old out, a man comes and asks if we’re okay and helps me get the baby out. He’s the same man in the truck at the stop sign.    

My children are crying out of fear, but my weeping has turned to humbled awe and pure gratitude. I'm grateful that my children are not hurt, grateful that our van did not flip over, grateful, so very grateful that the good Lord wrapped us in His grace and mercy and allowed us to survive. And YES...Grateful for that hedge. That hedge, taking on the physical form of the hedge of protection that my husband and I often pray around our family and around our home, and around our vehicles.

So again I say, there is power in the name of Jesus! I've always known it, but it's a truth that I am sharing at every opportunity I get and telling everyone I know. Power in His name, and grace and mercy in His hands. 

And if Jesus can save my children and me from this sort of danger, what can our God NOT do? Is there anything in YOUR life through which God cannot deliver you? NO. Our God can do ALL things we just must believe in our deliverance. God can protect our families. God can heal our bodies and our minds. God can restore our marriages and our families. God can help us find a job. God can help us release those things in our lives that keep us in bondage...debt, substance abuse, fornication. God can save your life. 

Can you pray with me?

"Heavenly Father...thank you. Thank you for being so good and kind and faithful. Thank you for being our provider, our comforter, our healer, our deliverer, our protector, our father, our friend. Thank you for restoration. I just thank you for loving me. I love you too Jesus, and I want to live my life in service to you. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't Covet Someone Else's Blessing

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

We've all been in that place where we've admired what someone else has and compared it to what we have.  "Oh her job seems perfect, not like mine ."  "Their kids are so well behaved, not like mine." "Her husband is so attentive, not like mine." "Their house is so big and beautiful, not like mine." "Wow, their car is so sleek, not like mine." While these may seem like insignificant, nothing sort of musings, those thoughts can often develop into something ugly...jealousy, envy, resentment, and a basic discontent with what's going on in our own lives.

That's what external focusing can do to us.  When we get so busy worrying about what someone else has, or does, or is we often overlook what God has done for us. The blessings that we have and are receiving from God.

There are so many times that I've seen someone acquire a great deal of money, and it's not uncommon to hear people wishing for, hoping for, praying for that same situation.  While you are coveting someone else's blessing, you're not taking the time to thank God for the one that He has granted you. Do you have a job? Blessing! Or maybe you lost your job...but were you still able to pay your bills? Blessing! How about your lights...did they stay on? Blessing! Did you have food to eat? Blessing!

Are you in good health...never been sick a day in your life, or never been touched by disease? Blessing! Or did you get sick, but then were you healed? Blessing!  Count them all - Blessings!

So when we sit back and think about all the blessings that we enjoy in life, how can we slap God in the face by basically saying, "Lord, what you've given me is not enough. I want what THEY have." God grants us blessings, not because of anything that we have done, but simply because of His grace and mercy.

It's like the conversation that I have with my children all the time. Nobody has to give you anything, nor me, nor anyone else.  There are times that people are nice and they choose to give you something. If that is the case, we should be grateful and show our appreciation.  Certainly God Almighty does not have to give us anything, so how awesome is it that He chooses to give to us so much. Our life - even if it's not perfect; our breath - even if some of us have respiratory issues; our health - even if we get sick sometimes; our families - even if they are not drama free; Our Everything!

And no this does not mean that we should not want things and that we should not ask God for those wants. It just means that we should not covet what others have and basically mock what God has given us already.

So the next time we feel like we've gotten less than what we deserve, because we don't have everything someone else has, we must just enter that place of praise for we do have. And more importantly, we must realize that we could never do anything to deserve that which God has granted unto us anyway.

I believe we should shout praises to Him just for who He is and what He has done in our lives...Adonai! - meaning Lord;  Elohim! - God the Creator; El Shaddai! - God Almighty; Yahweh-jireh! - God our provider; Yahweh-rapha! - meaning - God who heals; Yahweh-shalom! - meaning God is peace.

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah! 

Let's join in prayer:  "Father, You are everything to me. I thank You for being my Lord and Savior. I thank you for watching over me and my family each day. Your protection, Your guidance, Your healing power, Your peace, Your comfort and Your love are life giving.  I thank for Your blessings and ask Your forgiveness for taking one of those blessing for granted even for a second. I love You and honor You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just Wait! God's Blessing is on the Way

Psalm 27:14 (KJV)
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Have you ever been in a season where you are waiting for a promise of a blessing from the Lord?  I am not talking about those times of trouble and hardship when we are looking for a breakthrough.  I'm talking about those times that God has promised to shower us with a blessing, and we just have to wait for that blessing to manifest?

It might be the promise of a promotion at our job, or the promise of finding a spouse, or of having a child, or getting a home, or a car, or being delivered from debt.  The promises of the Lord.  None of which we deserve due to anything that WE have done, but all things with which God chooses to bless us with, just because of HIS goodness and HIS mercy.

So once we've gotten the word that the blessing is coming, what do we do while we wait?  Do we wait grudgingly, as if God owes us something? Or do we wait with an expectancy that God has said that He is going to deliver the blessing, and believing that God delivers on His promises?

I believe to wait expecting God's blessing is what we are to do.  In other words, we are to praise God for the blessing even before it is delivered, and we are to show through our actions and in our words that we are ready for the blessing to arrive.

How do we do this?  Let's say we are waiting to be blessed with a promotion at our job.  To wrap up projects on which we are currently involved would be a way of us demonstrating our faith that we know our blessing is on the way.  We could also spend time preparing for the new position through studying, working with a mentor or any other thing that would show our belief in the blessing that is coming our way.

I firmly believe that God will equip us to handle any blessing or situation that is placed before us, but being active in our waiting just exhibits our faith in God's His promise of our blessing.

If God has promised us a spouse, then how are we preparing?  Are we living a life that is focused on things of the spirit, or are we still living to please the flesh?  Are we spending more time at the club or in the word?  I believe that all women want a husband who respects them...who honors them...who encourages them...who loves them...who protects them...who covers them...who takes their family's concerns and needs and gratitude before the Lord.  Is there such a thing as a perfect husband?  No.  No one is perfect, but there IS such a thing as a Godly husband.

So if we are believing that God is delivering THAT husband to us, do we feel that we are ready to receive THAT blessing?  Are we the Godly wife that He wants us to be?  Are we keeping our bodies that temple that we are supposed to?  Are we spending time listening and dancing to music that demeans women and downplays true family values?  Or do we instead find accountability partners who will help us stay in line with God's word when temptation comes?

So as we pray and look and wait for our blessing, I believe it is critical that we demonstrate our faith in that blessing manifesting, while waiting with a sense of expectation.

Let's join in prayer. "God I know that you want what's best for me and our family, and for that I am grateful. I thank you for the blessings that you bestow upon my family each day, and I look forward to those blessings that you have promised to deliver. Let me demonstrate my faith in your promises through my actions and through my words. I praise your name for being the keeper of promises and I praise You ahead of the blessing. In Jesus' name. Amen."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

He Is Enough

Proverbs 3:5(NKJV)
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;"

I often wonder when we lose that blind trust and faith that we have as children.  You know, just believing what we've been told, what we've seen and just not worrying My most recent brush with that realization came a few days ago when our 3 year old son asked if his soon-to-be-born little sister will be staying in our home.

I understand from whence the question came. True, he does have a big sister and brother, but they are many years older than he.  And while his older sister is an integral part of our lives, and while she spends some time in our home, it's not a lot of time, so for all practical purposes, he has been growing up as if he were an only child.

Now enters a baby sister, and our preschooler wants to know what everyone would want to know when going through a major life transition..."How is my life going to work now?"..."What comes next?"

But the refreshing part to witness is the complete calm that washes over our son when I tell him that we are all going to live together...him, daddy, mommy, AND his little sister.  I also tell him that mommy and daddy have enough of everything for everyone.  We have enough love, we have enough time, we have enough hugs and kisses, and enough space on our laps, and...and...and we have enough.

And with that reassurance from his parents, off our son goes to happily play.  Why is it so hard for us, as adults, to react like that?  Why can't we have that childlike, full faith in God, our Father and His word?    us that He is enough.  He has shown us that He is enough.  That He has our whole lives in His hands.  That we should not worry about tomorrow.  That we should not lean on our own understanding, but that we should follow in Him...have faith in Him.

We must realize, like that child does, that our Father's word is enough...OUR FATHER IS ENOUGH! He is God all by Himself.  We must walk in that faith that we speak about.  Showing that we believe God is for us. That the very hairs on our head are all numbered.(Matthew 10:30) That He is our provider, our protector, the lover of our soul, our EVERYTHING. Thank You, Father!

Join me in prayer.  "God, we say that we trust you, we say that we have faith in your word, but so many times our actions prove otherwise. Please forgive us for having a faith that at times is floundering and at others is fickle.  Help us to stop trying to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, worrying about what tomorrow will bring. Help us to live like we know You Are Enough! Help us to show others through our actions, who are struggling, who may have not given their lives fully to you that You Are Enough. We want to be that testament to you, Father.  And to you be all the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Becoming a Living Testimony of Christ for Our Children

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

We've focused on our relationship with God and our spouses as areas where we need to spend time and energy during 2012.  This week our attention turns to our children.

I have found in the short time that I have been a mother, that parenting is the toughest job one can do and yet the most enjoyable.  To have the responsibility of helping to mold and develop another person to be of good character and to have strong morals is an awesome undertaking.  It's a Godly assignment that I do not take lightly.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

In order for us to complete that assignment, we must infuse our children's lives with God in an effort to develop their spirit, their character, and their walk with God.  But if we are expected to pour into our children's lives, we must make sure that our own cups are full with the love of God and His word.

So the first lesson as we think of how to help our children mature in their relationships with God is making sure we, the parents, are continuing to invest in our own Christian development.  Are we reading the Bible, and studying scripture?  Are we going to church, spending time worshipping God and assembling together with other Christians to share the gospel?  Are we walking around with a continual praise on our lips? Through every season...of want and plenty?

Now, I don't mean to imply for us to wait until we are the "perfect Christians" before we share the gospel with our children. We know that will never happen. But we certainly need to be trying to live for God each day.  Setting an example for our children to emulate should be our daily goal.  Yes, we'll always be working to fill our own cups but we must show our children the God in us through our words, our actions and our deeds.  That is the way our children learn at an early age how to have a personal relationship with Christ, and how He becomes real in their lives, and not just someone they hear about only on Sunday at church.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

Then those words, actions and deeds need to be supported by a strong teaching of God within our home.  We need to teach our children how to pray. We need to teach our children how to read the Bible. We need to teach our children how to praise and worship God. We need to teach our children how to love others. We need to teach our children how to forgive and how to encourage. We need to teach our children how to trust God to take control of our lives.

Of course, in theory, it makes sense. Sharing God and the gospel with our children. But not everyone puts the common sense into practice ON PURPOSE in their home.  Sure, our children might surmise that we're Christians, and they might be able to connect our behavior with our love for day. But I believe that we must tell our children EARLY that the decisions that we make, the walk that we are on, the life that we have chosen is because we follow Christ. And that our expectation is for them to follow Christ too.

I will never forget one time when I heard an acquaintance, who is a Christian, say that she and her husband were going to let her children "discover Jesus on their own." In their thought, the children would then have a genuine connection to God and not one that their parents had "forced" on them. Not  introduce the Savior to their children, but rather let their kids "stumble" upon God? Sound crazy??? That's because it is.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

As our children's first teachers, it is our DUTY to instill in them a sense of morals and judgment, and a love of God. If we don't, who will? The world? That's not likely to happen.

Why would we have knowledge of the greatest gift that anyone could receive, and never share that gift with them? Why would we just hope that they would "find their way" to it?

Think of it this way. If we knew a person who needed a transplant to save their life and we knew someone who was a perfect match, would we be okay to think, "Oh, I'll let this person discover the match on their own." No, we would never withhold something that could literally save that person's life.

Well, Christ is the only one who can truly save us.  Who can give us life AND save our lives. It is only through Him that we can receive salvation and eternal life. So to not share Him with our children is neglecting their spiritual development. That is why it's critical that we teach our children about Him.

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

But what exactly do we teach them about God? This is the list that I came up with that I hope to instill in my children:

How to FOLLOW Him:  Matthew 16:24 "Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

How to KNOW Him:  Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

How to TRUST Him:  Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

How to PRAISE Him:  Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

How to WORSHIP Him:  Psalm 95:6 "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."

How to HEAR Him:  Deuteronomy 4:36 "Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire."
How to OBEY Him: Deuteronomy 11:27 "A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:"
How to LOVE Him:  Deuteronomy 6:5 "And thou shalt love the LORD they God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

These are not quick lessons to be taught all at once, but rather ones that I have learned must be interwoven throughout our day and our lives.

And as I mull over the list, the most important point I take away from God's word on sharing with my children, is to let them witness the God in me.  And through that, want to fully discover the God in them.  That is my goal for my children for the year 2012 and beyond!