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4 Parenting Don’ts from the Life of Herodias

Herodias parentingA couple of years ago I was part of a team of writers for a Bible study parenting blog series on biblical mothers. I got Herodias. Seriously?! Scripture doesn’t show us anything positive about Herodias – especially her parenting! (See below for a synopsis of Herodias’ story.)

Then I realized God had something to teach me in this story of a self-absorbed mother who used her child as a means to an end. While none of us likely come close to rivaling this totally self-centered user, we can study Herodias as an example of what NOT to do.

Herodias probably used all the people in her life to get what she wanted. She used men to get power. And she used her daughter to get revenge on her enemy. Unfortunately, even the best and most godly mothers can fall into the role of “self-centered user” from time to time.

4 Parenting Don’ts

Herodias’ parenting certainly did more harm than good. But at least she can serve as a warning for all of us. Things like fleshly desires, ambition, and even old hurts rise up and before we know it, we find ourselves selfishly using our children. Here are four possible scenarios we must guard ourselves against:

  1. Using our kids as a trophy – We encourage, push, and maybe even scold our children in hopes they’ll be the star football player or class valedictorian. And why? Is it for their good? Maybe partly. But often it’s to feed our own egos. So we can say, “Well, my son did this… or my daughter succeeded at that…”
  2. Using our kids as a substitute – We all have unfulfilled ambitions from our childhood. That’s not a failing, that’s just life. However, sometimes we parents think we can live out that dream through our children. So we push them to achieve what we didn’t.
  3. Using our kids as a tool – Sometimes parents use their kids to do their “dirty work.” For instance, if I don’t want to talk to the person on the phone I may get my son to tell them I’m not home. Whether out of laziness, guilt, or avoidance, we’ve all been guilty of using our kids to do something we don’t want to do – or even shouldn’t do – ourselves.
  4. Using our kids as a weapon – Have you ever used your child as a “go between” when you were angry at your spouse? Some divorces get so difficult that one spouse will even withhold the children from the other as a way to cause pain. From little hurts to big, any of us could fall to the temptation to use our children as a weapon.

Today’s matriarch, Herodias, was the ultimate self-centered user. She used her daughter as both a tool and a weapon to further her own agenda. Herodias’ story in the Bible is brief, but it packs a killer punch.

Herodias’ Story

Although pieces of Herodias’ story is found in several Gospel accounts Mark 6:14-29, Matthew 14:1-12, Luke 9:7-9), here’s the synopsis:

The trouble began when John the Baptist rebuked Herod Antipas, the Roman-appointed rule of Galilee, for stealing away and marrying his brother’s wife Herodias. John boldly and repeatedly pointed out Herod’s sin with Herodias. Herodias wanted John silenced – permanently. Herod imprisoned John trying to pacify her, but knowing John was a righteous man of God, Herod refused to have him executed.

So Herodias watched and waited. She knew her opportunity would come and when it did she would get what she wanted. Herodias was a master manipulator and she would use whatever means necessary. Including her daughter.

Soon the “opportune time” arrived. Herod threw himself a big birthday party. This shindig was guys only, more like a rowdy stag party than a simple birthday dinner. Young Salome, Herodias’ daughter by Herod’s brother, danced for Herod and his party guests. When Salome’s dancing pleased Herod, he boastfully promised something he didn’t even have the power to give – “up to half my kingdom!”

This was the moment Herodias had been waiting for and she pounced on it. She used her daughter and even her husband Herod to accomplish what Herod had prevented – the death of John the Baptist.

Salome knew to take Herod’s offer straight to her mother. With her desire finally realized, she sent Salome back, prompted by her mother’s selfish wishes. “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

Sadly, Herod saw no way of escape. He had made a reckless promise in front of important people. To withdraw his offer would mean personal humiliation. And Herodias knew that too. That was part of her plan. The self-centered user got exactly what she wanted.

What can we learn from Herodias?

 I’m sure none of us have used our child as a murder weapon. But we have all used our children to one degree or another. Maybe we pushed them in the direction we wanted them to go. Maybe we asked them to stretch the truth for our convenience. But we all sometimes act selfishly and our children get caught up in the consequences. Our actions, attitudes, and motives will affect our kids. Our character and behavior will at least partly shape their character and behavior. The results of what we do will also land on them.

3 Proactive Parenting Steps

  1. Remember that your child is individually valued by God. God has specific plans and purposes for your child that are different from the ones He has for you. Help your child discover his unique purpose!
  2. Ask God to make you sensitive to any behavior that is selfishly motivated. Then repent immediately!
  3. Purposefully model Christ-like character and godly behavior for your children.

What actions, words, or attitudes in your life negatively affects your children? What can you do now to help shape your children to be more like Jesus?

Note: This post originally appeared on TheMomInitiative.com

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The Case of Mistaken Location

FamilyI’ve basically been living out of a suitcase for the last year. If I added up the days at home and the days away, the days away would probably win. A death in the family, the arrival of two grand babies, our son’s wedding, and severe health struggles for my parents have kept me on the road.

This last week was no different. I left home last Wednesday and drove to my parents’ home in Shreveport to meet my sister-in-law. We spent several days packing and preparing for my parents upcoming move from Louisiana to Tennessee.

Then Saturday afternoon I made the 4-hour drive from Shreveport to our second daughter’s new home in Denton, Texas. Sarah and her husband moved from a rental to their first home that morning and I went to help with the baby for a few days so she could unpack and settle in.

I had seen the new house once before they moved in, but still needed to use Google Maps to find it again. I drove into the neighborhood and spotted what looked like their home on the next corner. As I turned onto the street in front of the house, Google announced “You have arrived at your destination!” Great!

As I parked on the street in front of the house I took note of the cars in the driveway. I didn’t recognize either of them, but since friends and family had been helping them move earlier in the day, I surmised they belonged to them.

Since I didn’t want to cause more work for them, I got all my stuff out of the car and up to the front porch. Now, you need to understand that when I travel by car, I don’t travel lightly. I had a suitcase, a shoe bag, a snack bag, my rolling briefcase, and two king-sized pillows.

As I got the last of it on the porch, I knocked on the door and looked around. Although it looked just like the house I’d visited before, there were a few things that gave me pause – the potted plants, the door mat, and the multiple dogs that began barking at my knock.

Hmm. Could I possibly be at the wrong house? I texted Sarah. “Am I at the right house?”

I heard a woman’s voice inside talking to the dogs, just inside the door. “Who’s out there guys?” It was not my daughter’s voice.

I envisioned the home owner looking through the peep hole. What did she see? Unknown middle-aged woman with baggage.

What should I do? What would she do?

About that time Sarah texted back. “No.”

My fear was confirmed. I was at the wrong house.

Okay. Well, I decided that when the woman opened the door, I would explain my mistake with a laugh and apologize.

But the woman didn’t open the door. She must have thought I looked too dangerous. Or crazy.

Either way, it was time for me to go. I wanted to run and not look back. But I needed all my baggage. And it took two trips to get it all back to the car. I wondered if the woman watched out the peep hole the whole time.

Sarah’s house was exactly one block to the south. Same corner. Same layout. But the residents were much more friendly. They even helped me haul in my bags.

I love how God works. In the midst of a chaotic time in my life, he used a case of mistaken location to give me a laugh and to remind me not to take myself too seriously.

I just wanted to share a little bit of what my life has been like recently. God has me in a unique season. But He is growing me and I’m leaning on Him. What has YOUR life been like lately?

 

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6 Ways to Impact Your Children with the Truth of Christmas

A couple of years ago, while speaking at a ladies’ Christmas event, something significant happened. I had planned to read portions of the Christmas story from Matthew 2 and Luke 2. But as I began to read from my open Bible, I discovered I did not need it.

The words flowed from memory – KJV style. “Being great with child.” “They were sore afraid.”

Christmas truthHere’s the truly amazing part: I’ve never worked to memorize those sections of Scripture. The passages were embedded in my heart simply because my father read them to our family every Christmas Eve. My dad desired to keep our hearts and minds on the real meaning of Christmas. And God honored his commitment to impress God’s truth on his children (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

We can all have the same kind of positive spiritual influence on the children in our lives. Whether a parent, grandparent, aunt, babysitter, or Sunday School teacher, we can point them to Christ in Christmas with purposeful intent. Even in the midst of the commercialization of the season, we can help them see the important.

People over things. Spiritual over physical. Lasting over temporary.

6 Ways to Help Your Kids Focus on the True Meaning of Christmas

Although you can probably come up with a longer list, here are 6 ways you can help impact the children in your life with the truth of Christmas. We used them all with our own children!

  1. Tell the story of the 1st Christmas – And not just once! Let’s use various ways to share it with them again and again. For instance, do daily Advent devotionals with your family. For younger children, use a childproof nativity to tell the story and then leave it out for them to play with. And don’t forget the most basic way – read the biblical account to your family.
  2. Give to someone in need – It is so easy to get caught up in the “getting” of Christmas. But the season is the perfect opportunity to teach our children the joy of helping others. When our children were young we involved them in filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Since they’ve been grown, my husband and I have given in multiple ways including World Vision gifts, Angel Tree, and more.
  3. Sing the faith songs of Christmas – Most of our kids know Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman, but do they know Silent Night and Away in a Manger? The “religious” Christmas songs tell the real story! Play these great songs of faith while baking cookies, driving to school, or making the trip to Grandma’s house. Carol on your street or in a local nursing home.
  4. Tell someone about baby Jesus – I used to have one of those “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” pins. And I wore it too. But I don’t remember anyone ever asking me about it. We must look for opportunities to tell others about the reason for the season!
  5. Christmas Eve Service – Taking the time to attend church on Christmas Eve sends an important message to our children. “Jesus takes priority.” “Christmas is about Him.” Plus, the time in worship and fellowship helps put our focus where it belongs.
  6. Birthday Cake for Jesus – We began this tradition when our children were little. They always looked forward to helping make the cake, singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and of course, eating it!

I would love to hear how you help your children focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Please share your ideas and traditions with us in the comments!

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A Legacy Prayer from My Great Great Grandmother

Legacy PrayerThe letter was dated March 26, 1914. I carefully unfolded the fragile, yellowed paper and struggled to read the faded ink. I found this letter and several others in an old metal box at my parents’ house. Addressed to Howell Adam Shouse, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, they were written by his mother, Mary Dozier Shouse, more than a century ago.

Much of the news was what you’d expect – who had been sick, who had gotten married, and how she longed to see her “dear son.” But one particular paragraph brought tears to my eyes:

“Oh how much I do pray for you every single morning and night. I pray mightily to the Lord that you Howell and your children may be convicted and converted and sanctified. Never a day do I miss. May God hear and answer my prayers and save us all in heaven.”

I was blown away. The letter preserved a family legacy prayer. Mary Dozier, my great, great grandmother prayed daily for the spiritual well being of her son and his children. She faithfully petitioned God to make her son and his children aware of their need for a Savior (convict); to draw them into a saving relationship with Jesus (convert); and to grow them up into the likeness of Christ (sanctify).

legacy prayerAs I read those words, I knew her prayers also covered me. Long before I was born, my great, great grandmother prayed for me and my eternal, spiritual good.

I do not know the spiritual condition of Howell Adam Shouse, but I do know his daughter – my maternal grandmother – loved Jesus. She consistently pointed me toward the Lord. And my mother has done the same.

This discovery this week both blessed and challenged me. I am blessed to know that my grandmother’s grandmother prayed for the spiritual condition of her descendants. I am also challenged to be just as faithful to lift prayers for my children and their children that matter for eternity.

Yes, I will continue to pray for their physical health and temporal struggles. But I will also recommit to pray for their spiritual health and eternal struggles. If you’d like to do the same, God’s Word is the best place to start. Check out this resource of 21 Scriptures as a guide to pray for your loved ones spiritual well being.

I would love to hear some of the ways you pray for the spiritual well being of your friends and family!

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6 Ways to Impact Children with the Message of Easter

6 ways EasterRich memories of childhood Easters keep popping up in my mind. I can still feel the cold metal of the folding chair as I sat with my family in the church parking lot waiting for the first rays of the sun to make their appearance. And with the sun, the somber notes of “low in the grave He lay…” became the joyous thunder of “up from the grave He arose (He arose), with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.” After prayer and singing, everyone escaped the chilly air and enjoyed pancakes and sausage in the church fellowship hall.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the impact Easter had on me as a child. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas, but Easter took root in my soul from an early age. Even then, I must have sensed the eternal significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. As parents and grandparents, we have a great opportunity – and God-given responsibility – to make sure our children understand the great truth and power of Easter.

Below are six easy, but memorable, ways to help your children understand the Easter story. Make sure you check out the links for details and more information:

  1. Make a set of Resurrection Eggs – This is a fun way to “concretely” share the Easter story with your kids. You can purchase a ready-made set, but putting them together with your kids is part of the fun. Here are the instructions for making your own Resurrection Eggs.

2. Watch a movie together – One great way to start a conversation with your children about the Easter is by watching a movie that portrays the Easter story or illustrates its truths. Several great ones are available. Just choose one that is age-appropriate for the kids in your life. Here are a few suggestions:

3. Attend a Good Friday service or event – Many churches have services on Good Friday to help us remember Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. This is a great opportunity to talk about Jesus’ death and what it accomplished for us. Cochrane, the small town where we lived in Canada, had a “Cross Walk.” Members from all areas of the community met downtown and prayerfully followed the cross as a volunteer carried it through the streets.

4. Make Resurrection Cookies – Use this tasty object lesson to teach your kids about the empty tomb. Make them on Saturday night and enjoy them first thing Sunday. Here’s the recipe and how-to’s for Resurrection Cookies.

5. Share the Gospel from Scripture – Your kids are never to young to hear that “Jesus died to save us.” Of course, the way you share this truth needs to be age appropriate. For instance, tell the biblical Easter story using tangible objects such as 30 coins, a large nail, and a small wooden cross as visuals to keep their attention. See this article on Crosswalk.com by Sandy Coughlin. And here are five Easter Mini-lessons for your family from Focus on the Family.

6. Experience the Easter Sunrise – Like the women who went to the tomb, be up and ready to greet the first light of Sunday morning. You can do this at an official sunrise service or in your own backyard. Friday was somber. Sunday is a celebration! (And don’t forget the pancake breakfast!)

I’d love to hear about your childhood Easter memories! Also, please share ways you celebrate Easter with your kids, grandkids, and other children in your life.

 

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A Psalm to Pray for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving PsalmHappy Thanksgiving! In the midst of the cooking and eating and cleaning and visiting, let’s purposefully pause to reflect on the God who deserves all our honor and praise, and thanksgiving.

The Lord Almighty, the one true God, Creator of all that is, sends rain to the earth and provides us with a bountiful harvest of food. This same Mighty God, who formed the mountains and causes the sun to rise, also hears our prayers and forgives all our sins.

This Psalm of David is a beautiful expression of God’s goodness to us. May it lead us today into praise and thanksgiving to our Great God!

What mighty praise, O God,
    belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you,
    for you answer our prayers.
    All of us must come to you.
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
    you forgive them all.
What joy for those you choose to bring near,
    those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us
    inside your holy Temple.

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
    O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
    even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
    and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
    with their pounding waves
    and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
    stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
    you inspire shouts of joy.

You take care of the earth and water it,
    making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
    it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
    for you have ordered it so.
10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
    melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
    and bless its abundant crops.
11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
    even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
    and the hillsides blossom with joy.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
    and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
    They all shout and sing for joy!
Psalm 65:1-13, NLT

I pray you have a blessed day with family and friends. But let’s remember to praise God today and thank Him for all His good gifts!

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Twas the Night Before Monday

Night before MondayDo you tirelessly serve your children and husband, but feel they don’t notice? So you try harder. And harder. Or worse, you feel they take advantage of you? So you find yourself working yourself to death while feeling like a martyr. I’ve certainly been there!

This past weekend, our church hosted a women’s conference called “The Cure for the Perfect Life,” based on the message in author Kathi Lipp’s book of the same title. Kathi challenged us to stop trying to live up to everyone’s expectations – including our own! She pointed us back to God. What does He want for our lives? How can we follow His call? Kathi encouraged us to rebel against the world’s view of “perfection” and instead bask in God’s love and acceptance.

Ann Elise Hunter – a friend and fellow member of our women’s ministry team – wrote 4 skits for the conference. She acted out the following poem while it was being read. Boy! It sure hit its mark in my own heart! I hope you are both challenged and encouraged by Ann Elise’s “The Night Before Monday.”

 

Twas the night before Monday, and all through her house,

Not a creature was stirring, except Margaret Klaus.

The backpacks were set by the front door with care,

In hopes that her children would notice them there.

~

Husband and children slept soundly in bed,

But Margaret decided to clean up instead.

While dressed in her nightgown that lacked certain luster,

She gave everything a good shine with her duster.

~

The lunches were made for each child by request,

And her husband’s shirt had been neatly pressed.

If only they knew how much I did for them each day,

They should praise me and throw me a glorious parade.

~

Her calendar was filled with so many good deeds,

She always told friends she’d take care of their needs.

And she thought to herself, “I’m such a great pal,

My friends keep me close to boost their morale.”

~

She laid out her clothes for the upcoming day,

Then started to tidy and put things away.

When what to her wondering eyes should now loom,

But a pile of clean laundry strewn out ‘cross the room.

~

“Those kids are ungrateful,” she thought in frustration,

“Didn’t I build them a better foundation?

I bend over backwards and what do I get?

But a husband and children who don’t break a sweat.”

~

“Done,” she said as she looked all around,

Then grabbed her Bible and went to sit down.

Let’s see what the good Lord is going to say,

To help me recoup from this exhausting day.

~

Ahh, this peace and quiet is just what I need,

And she looked at the pages and started to read.

This passage was certainly not meant for me,

I need something besides Philippians 2:3.

~

I’ve always put everyone’s interests before mine,

But I do some complaining and do tend to whine.

And looking to heaven she finally knew,

There was something important she needed to do.

~

Climbing out from her chair, she got down on her knees,

She knew ’twas herself she’d been trying to please.

She knelt down and prayed to the Lord up above,

“Let me love others the way that YOU love.”

 

Have you ever worked tirelessly trying to live up to others’ – or your own expectations? If so, what areas of your life do you struggle in most?

Special thanks to Ann Elise Hunter for allowing me to share her poem with you!!

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Proverbs 22:6 is NOT a Promise

Proverbs 22:6Once in a ladies’ Bible study group, a young mother of three small boys made a bold declaration. “If you raise your kids correctly and to follow God, they will never rebel.”

Her words hit the room like a wrecking ball. Most of us knew that two godly mothers in the group were dealing with rebellious teenagers. You could see the anguish on their faces. And the empathy on the faces of most of the rest of the group. “Young mother of three small boys” was clueless.

As the leader, I knew I had to do something. As graciously and kindly as possibly I attempted to minimize the damage she had done.

I have no doubt this young woman meant well, but she should never have made this statement. She was claiming something to be fact, but was not speaking from a place of knowledge or experience. Her boys were all five and under. I mean, seriously, what did she know about rebellious kids?

So if her statement didn’t come from knowledge or experience, where did she get the idea that if you raise your children “correctly” they won’t ever stray? More than likely, she got it from the Bible book of Proverbs. You may be familiar with the verse too:

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

Yes, the verse – like all the others in Scripture – is the inspired, authoritative Word of God. But “young mother of three small boys,” and many of us too, have wrongly claimed this verse as a blanket promise from God. We may have even been taught that this is a promise from God.

Over the last couple of Thursdays, I’ve posted about verses that are often misunderstood because they are taken out of context. (See also, “Do you misuse Philippians 4:13” and “What’s the Good of Romans 8:28.”) Proverbs 22:6 is often misunderstood because we fail to consider the literature genre.

The book of Proverbs is classified as wisdom literature. “The Introduction to Biblical Interpretation” by Dr. William Klein and Dr. Craig Blomberg define a proverb like this:

“By nature proverbs are not absolute promises from God that guarantee the promised outcome if one follows them. Rather, they point out patterns of conduct that, if followed, give one the best chance of success. In other words, they offer general principles for successful living rather than a comprehensive “legal code for life'” (page 315).

Considering the nature of a proverb then, God does not promise us that if we diligently teach our children about God and His ways, and raise them to love Him they will grow into godly, responsible adults. Though it is far more likely to turn out that way if we do, then if we don’t.

The grief of many godly parents has been multiplied because they misunderstood Proverbs 22:6. Jen Wilken comments on this in her book “Women of the Word:”

“Reading a proverb as a promise can lead to heartache and doubt. Understanding it as a general rule for life can point us toward wise decision-making.”

Many godly parents have taken this verse as a promise. But then their teenager rebelled or their young adult walked away from the faith. The parents were shaken to the core. Where did we go wrong? Why did God allow this to happen? Why wasn’t God faithful?

So, what do we do with Proverbs 22:6? And all the other proverbs? We accept them as God’s inspired Word. We read and study them. We embrace them as the best principles to live lives that please and honor God. And we entrust our children to God who is indeed faithful!

Have you ever misunderstood Proverbs 22:6 as a promise? Have you been “disappointed” by Proverbs 22:6? How can we find comfort in the truth that this verse is not a promise?

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Family Vacation Devotional Guide

family devotional guide

 

Getting away with the family this summer? This 7-Day Family Devotional Guide, developed just for the family, is perfect for car trips and lazy days on the beach!

Each day features a Scripture passage, brief comments, and questions to get family discussion about God’s Word rolling! Read the passage and the commentary, then ask your family the questions and encourage them to share. Close in prayer!

You can either use the guide straight from here or download and print the PDF

 

 

Day One: Follow Me                                                                      

Genesis 12:1-9

God called Abram to move away from the only home he had ever known. It meant he would have to leave his father and other family behind too. God had an exciting plan that would help all the people on the earth. But Abram had to obey to be part of it. So Abram obeyed and followed God. And he didn’t even know where he was going!

  • Have you ever moved from one town to another? How did you feel?
  • Has God ever asked you to do something you didn’t really understand?
  • Abram obeyed God quickly. Do you sometimes have difficulty obeying God right away?

Day Two: Get Out Fast!                                                                 

Exodus 12:31-42

God’s people had been in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. He promised to bring them out and lead them safely back to the land He had given Abram. Pharaoh did not want to let them go, but after God sent 10 terrible plagues, he finally told them to “get out!” Hundreds of thousands of people had to pack up everything and leave in a hurry.

  • What are some of the things the Israelites took with them from Egypt?
  • In what ways did God provide for their long journey ahead?
  • Has God ever provided for you during a trip or vacation? How?

Day Three: Two Spies on a Mission                                            

Joshua 2:1-16*

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the people of Israel are about to enter the Promised Land. Their leader, Joshua, sent two spies on a mission to gather information about the first city they would fight.

  • How did God protect the spies? In what ways has God protected you?
  • What had Rahab heard about God?
  • Do you ever tell others about God’s works? What could you tell them?
  • How did the spies get away?

*Note: Parents, depending on the age of your children, you may just want to skip the description of Rahab in verse 1!

Day Four: Long Way to Go to Have a Baby                                  

Luke 2:1-20

It was about 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Even though we see pictures of Mary riding a donkey, there’s no mention of one in the Bible. They probably walked the entire way and it would have taken them several days. That’s a long, tiring journey.

  • What’s the longest trip you’ve ever taken?
  • What exciting thing happened while Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem?
  • Why did Jesus come? How can you spread the news like the shepherds did?

Day Five: Detour to Help Someone                                             

Luke 10:25-37

Jesus told many stories, called parables, to help people understand things about God. This parable shows us that if we truly love God we will also love other people. Real love isn’t just words. Real love helps others who need help.

  • What dangerous thing happened to the traveler? Who didn’t help him?
  • What did the Samaritan do to help? How did that show real love?
  • Do you know someone that needs help? What can you do to help them?

Day Six: Quick Trip                                                                           

Acts 8:26-40

After Jesus went back to heaven, His followers began to tell people everywhere about Him. God sent Philip to meet the man from Ethiopia on a road so he could learn about Jesus.

  • How did Philip know who he was supposed to talk to about Jesus?
  • Has God’s Spirit ever guided you like He guided Philip? How?
  • What decision did the man from Ethiopia make?

Day Seven: Shipwreck!                                                                  

Acts 27:13-42

Paul was under arrest for preaching about Jesus. He was being taken to Rome to stand trial when the ship got caught in a terrible storm. They battled the sea for two weeks before it finally sank!

  • What was lost at sea? What was not lost?
  • In what ways can you see God at work in this seemingly hopeless situation?
  • How did Paul use it to tell others about God?
  • How can you use difficult times to tell others about God?

 

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Mother’s Day Giveaway to Strengthen Her Faith

This post is a giveaway for Mother’s Day. Read to the end to find out how to enter!

Mother's DayThis Mother’s Day, many mothers dear to me are struggling. Some battle illness. Others suffer grief and loss. Still others are weighed down and overwhelmed with the trials of life. But no matter their specific struggle, they can all find strength in the same Source. They can all take refuge in the same Rock.

God never promised us a life free of pain and trouble. In fact, He clearly told us it would come. But the world and anything it can throw at us is no match for the One and Only.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NIV

God’s Word is full of His promises for times of trouble. Promises of strength and comfort and peace and guidance.

His Word also teaches us that if we build the foundation of our life on Christ, we will stand when the storms come:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25, NIV

Does your mom need comfort and encouragement this Mother’s Day? Maybe you need comfort and encouragement. God longs to give it. He is able to give it.

God sees. He knows all about your circumstances. And He cares. He invites you to come to Him with all of it.

Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22, NIV

He desires to be your help and strength.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1, NIV

Maybe you don’t know how to start. How to lean on Him. Sit in His presence. Immerse yourself in His Word.

I pray He will strengthen and comfort you today. I’d also like to give you a chance to win one of two resources that can encourage your heart and bolster your faith. I’m giving away a copy of my devotional book God is My Refuge and one of my Bible studies Unshakeable Faith. You can enter up to 4 times! Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Share this post on Facebook. Then let me know in a separate comment here.
  3. Share this post on Pinterest. Then let me know in a separate comment here.
  4. Share this post on Twitter. Then let me know in a separate comment here.

I will draw two winners. One for each book! The giveaway closes at 8am on Monday, May 11. I will let winners know by email.

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