Give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

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I believe that parents can begin even in the womb to establish God’s Word in their children (From the Womb to the Tomb).  We all hope to have a preventative role with our children rather than a recovery role. But there are no guarantees that they will make all the right choices even when we have laid a firm foundation in the Lord.  We just have to be there to pick them up when they fall (no matter what age they are) and continue to love, pray for, and encourage them in the Way they should go.

Parenting is difficult, demanding, and at times discouraging when all our hard work seems less than enough to guard our children from making detrimental choices. We get tired, disheartened, and disgruntled with the Lord at times.  But God continues to love us and to teach us through it all.

A few weeks ago my friend Lisa shared with me briefly how God is leading her in this journey.  I asked her  to share some of her story in hopes that other moms will be encouraged.

Recently I’ve read the book Power in Praise and it has really changed the way I view my circumstances.  You see, I have two children who have been caught up in addiction for many years, and I have begged and begged my Lord to remove this from their lives.  I’ve also spent a lot of time grumbling and murmuring and feeling sorry for myself.  But never once have I thanked Him for it. 

One afternoon reading and having my quiet time, it hit me like a bolt of lightening –  what if we’ve been stuck in this valley not because of the addiction, but because of me!!  That’s why the Israelites wondered for 40 years.

Today I choose to thank God for the addiction and for the wonderful men my boys will become because of it.  I also thank Him for the growth my husband and I have already experienced.  

1Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

On a side note, one son has three months clean and the other son continues to keep getting back up! YAY GOD!”

Lisa would be glad to talk with anyone going through similar problems with their children.  You can contact her at: lisa.giddens@yahoo.com  We must encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

If you want to read more words of encouragement, check out the other blog posts on this site for hurting parents:  http://www.trainupthechild.org/?s=help+for+Hurting+Parents

There was a time when Billy and Ruth Graham were hurting parents because of their son Franklin.  God brought them and Franklin through the trying years and we have seen Franklin become such a man of God, just like his dad. Check out his autobiography Rebel With A Cause.

Parents, be encouraged, thank the Lord for the struggles, and don’t grow weary in well doing. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

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

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St. Patrick’s Day – Why the Celebration?

Did you or your children ever wonder why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?    I’m not sure what lies behind some of the traditions associated with the day, but the man that the holiday is named for has a story children need to hear.

About 385 years after Jesus lived, a boy named Patrick was born in England. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave where he worked as a shepherd.  During this time he was lonely and afraid; this caused him to turn to God and he began to experience the love of Jesus.  After about 6 years as a slave, Patrick escaped, went back to England, and began studying to be a priest.

However, he did not forget Ireland; he had a desire to go back one day and tell them about Jesus.  He did eventually return there as a missionary.  Isn’t that amazing that he would want to go back to the place where he had been enslaved and tell them of God’s love?  What an act of forgiveness! Eventually Patrick was called a saint by the Catholic Church because of his love and kindness to the people of Ireland.

So because Jesus loved Patrick, Patrick was able to forgive the people of Ireland and then he spent his life telling them about Jesus. Patrick died on March 17, 461 and now we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each March 17.  Please make your children aware in the midst of the stories of leprechauns and the various ways of observing the holiday, that the reason for the activities this week is because Jesus loved and cared for Patrick and then Patrick loved and care for the people who had wronged him.

It is believed that Patrick brought the shamrock plant to Ireland and used the three-leafed plant to illustrate the message of the Trinity. This would be a good time to teach about the Trinity.  Click here for help in sharing the concept with your children.  A good children’s book to illustrate the Trinity is 3 in 1: A Picture of God.

Go outside and look for clover and then pretend to be St. Patrick using a clover to teach the Irish about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Get a shamrock craft at Apples for the Teacher.

You can download a St. Patrick’s Day coloring page at Ministry-to-Children.com

Click here to check out a very informative article about Saint Patrick. 

So as you wear green and celebrate St. Patrick Day, make it a celebration of love and forgiveness from our Triune God.

Ephesians 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. 
John 15:12  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

 

Bring Children to Jesus

From the files of my mentor, Dr. Jo Bevington:

Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Bring children to Jesus:

  • In prayer on their level
  • in fellowship on their level
  • in worship on their level
  • in instruction on their level
    • Listen to a child
    • Respond to the reaching of a child
    • Love a child just like he is, without a motive to change or instruct; just love like God loves
    • Enter a child’s world and guide the child with Biblical thoughts at teachable moments
    • Observe how a child learns other things naturally; guide him to True Reality naturally

Children have the receptivity to know God.  Mark 10:15 says anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.  What about a little child caused Jesus to use this analogy?

Is it a child’s

  • dependence?
  • sensitivity?
  • uncluttered experience?
  • unbetrayed love?
  • sense of wonder?
  • their attitude that everything is new and beyond understanding so they accept what is just because it’s so?

All of these characteristics of children make it the right time to bring them to Jesus!

Presidents’ Day – Celebrating Two Great Presidents!

Presidents’ Day is intended to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are both in February.  Their birthdays were observed separately until 1971 when Congress decided the two would be combined into one national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.

This is a great time to teach your children about the godly character of these two men. God tells us to remember how He dealt with our ancestors: 1 Cor. 10:1 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea.

George Washington:

Tell about the truthfulness of George Washington even as a young boy in the story of the cherry tree.  Here is a site that tells the story and has printable coloring pictures:

George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.” These are good rules to teach your children. This site depicts them in cartoons.

Read at this site and then share with excitement in your own words about how God divinely protected George Washington during the French and Indian War.  You can read the entire account of this in the book  The Bulletproof George Washington

Abraham Lincoln:

Tell why Abraham Lincoln became known as ‘Honest Abe’.  Read about it here and get printable coloring sheets as well.

Read this article about the faith of Abraham Lincoln.  This is what he said before the Battle of Gettysburg” . . . oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His, and our cause His cause . . . Then and there I made a solemn vow to almighty God that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And after that, I don’t know how it was, and I cannot explain it, soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul. The feeling came that God had taken the whole business into His own hands, and that things would go right at Gettysburg. . .” from Abraham Lincoln: The Man & His Faith

Here’s an excellent interactive site for both presidents.

We can use this day to pray for our current president and leaders as well.  They have been placed in their position by God: Daniel 2:21 He changes times and periods of history.He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. Download this coloring sheet that gives suggestions of what to pray for our leaders.

Origin of Valentine’s Day and Resources for Celebrating with Your Children

As always, we want our children to know the reason for any celebration and see how it might relate to Christ.  Here’s what my research found:

Historical Information

Valentine was a priest near Rome in about 270 AD.  At that time the Roman Emperor Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers so he abolished marriage.  Valentine  invited young lovers to come to him in secret where he joined them in marriage.  When the emperor heard of this ‘friend of lovers’, he was impressed with his conviction and attempted to convert him to the Roman gods while Valentine attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity.  When Valentine would not renounce Christianity, he was imprisoned.

While in prison, he witnessed to the guards.  One of the guards had adopted a blind girl and asked Valentine if his God could help the daughter see again.  Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus and were baptized.  Valentine fell in love with the girl.  When the emperor heard about Valentine making converts in prison, he was furious and had Valentine beheaded.

Before Valentine died on February 14th, he signed a farewell message to his love and signed it ‘from your Valentine’, a phrase that has lived long after its author died.  Thus began the sending of  Valentines.

Because of Valentine’s dedication to the Lord, he was made a saint by the Catholic church.   The church was seeking to usurp the popularity of the Roman god Lupercus.  At the Lupercusian festival each year around the middle of February, a young man was assigned a woman companion for his ‘pleasure’ until the next year at the festival when he would get a different woman.  The Catholic church was determined to put an end to this 800 year old immoral practice and Valentine seemed to be the ideal candidate to become a ‘lovers’ saint.

How to Share This with Children:

The ruler of Rome, Emperor Claudius, thought there were many gods, but a man named Valentine loved God with all his heart and told people that Jesus is the one true God.  This made the Emperor Claudius very angry so he had Valentine put in jail.  But even in jail, Valentine kept telling people about Jesus.  The guard in the prison had a blind daughter and he asked Valentine if God could heal her.  Valentine prayed for her and God caused her to see again.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus after that and loved God with all their hearts.

The emperor was so upset when he heard that Valentine was still telling people about Jesus, that he had him killed.  Before Valentine died he sent a message to the jailer’s daughter whom he had fallen in love with.  He signed the message ‘from your Valentine’ and this is where the sending of ‘Valentines’ began.

Because Valentine loved Jesus so much, the Catholic church named him a ‘saint’ which is what someone is called that loves Jesus and cares about others.  Each year we think about those we love and send them Valentines.  Let’s remember that the first Valentine was sent by a man who loved God with all his heart.

On Valentine’s Day we may get flowers, cards, candy, or other things from friends who love us,  but the very best gift that was sent to show love to us was sent a very long time ago.  It was Jesus who was born to one day die on the cross for the wrong things we have done.  The Bible says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Activities:

Emphasize God’s love for them, their love for God, and love for others as you work.

  • Help your children make Valentines for their friends, include any of the following verses on them.  Talk about the verses as you make the cards:

1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring to us eternal  life through his death.
1 John 4:16b:  God is love.
1 John 4:19:  We love because he [God] first loved us
1 John 5:3:  This is love for GOD:  to obey his commands.
John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 John 4:11  Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too.

Make a giant heart out of red poster board.  Write Luke 10:27 or Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” on the heart.   Cut it into age-appropriate puzzle pieces.  As you put each piece together say, “that’s not all my heart” until the puzzle is finished.  Then read the verse and encourage the child to say, “God, I love you with all my heart”.  If you have several children you can make two heart puzzles and race to see who can give God all their heart first.

 

Here are other sites to glean from to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children:

http://ministry-to-children.com/?s=valentine

http://ministry-to-children.com/love-resources/