Gifts From Granny Archives 2011

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 All articles written by Joanne Beckley unless stated otherwise

  • Making Friends or Belonging to a Clique
  • Facing Unfulfilled Expectations
  • Quotes on indecision and decision  authors unknown
  • Teaching Our Children to be Wise
  • God Almighty
  • The Virtuous Woman - A Woman of Strength
  • Training Our Children to Worship God
  • Can We Trust God?

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Making Friends – or Belonging to a Clique

Joanne Beckley

Throughout my later childhood I had difficulty making friends. Somewhat lost about how to go about it, I only had what one might call acquaintances. I didn’t know how to forge a real friendship with someone else. I spent years wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t make and be a best friend. It wasn’t until I was able to meet others who were also trying to please God, did I find true friends, best friends, friends for eternity. This is the reality of living for Christ.

The Bible gives us wonderful guidance on how to make a friend. It is determined by the way we dress and act (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3-4) as to whether we will attract people to us or drive them away from us. So if we wish to make good friends, we first must examine ourselves to see what we have to offer. Each of these qualities takes effort to develop, and a strong desire to please God. Others who have the same needs and are developing the same qualities and interests will gravitate to us, desiring our friendship. Let us ask ourselves:

Am I courteous and polite?

Do I dress and act modestly?

Do I express interest and care for others, or is my speech peppered with "me" talk?

Do I look people in the eye?

Do I adjust the pitch, tone and volume of my voice?

Are my smiles sincere?

Do I understand it is necessary to stop talking and listen with full attention?

Do I moan and complain, or do I try to see the positive side of things?

Do I reach out by being a part of several interests where I can find those that have similar interests?

Colossians 3:12–Do others recognize compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience within me?

There is a special danger among young girls and women in developing good friendships. It is the desire to become a part of a group of friends which has the capacity of developing into a clique. A clique is a very comfortable place to be, enjoying a tightly knit group who do things together. It can be developed for different reasons: common interests, social status, income levels, even exclusive family groups. Not only do we see these develop among school friends, but also within a congregation.

So what is the problem? Cliques create exclusivity and reject others who might wish to join. Cliques tend to look down on others not within their group and make no effort to care about others outside the clique–they are simply not necessary to the maintenance of the group.

Developing cliques goes against Jesus’ gospel in reaching out to others and giving high value to their worth. Take time to read these two passages:

Philippians 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Cliques develop power that they have no business wielding. Cliques feed on the need to belong, and the fear of thinking independently. There is usually one girl/woman within the group whom everyone else looks to as their leader in how to think and act which in turn feeds her love/need/drive for power.

Cliques hurt the outsiders who have been rejected. They in turn react in confusion and even anger at not being judged unworthy. This creates a feeling of loneliness. Depression may even develop in some cases. No young lady or older woman who seeks to serve Christ should ever find herself in the position of causing this kind of pain in others.

May I ask you to consider these questions:

To teen girls:

Do you belong to a group that enjoys being exclusive?

Do you make catty remarks (comments that intend to hurt) concerning another girl?

Do you throw up your head and turn away from someone who would like to join you?

Do you depend unduly on the opinions of your friends?

To women in a congregation:

Do you spend the majority of your time with just a few families or only within your extended family whether they worship where you do or not?

Do you make a strong effort to reach out to the "loners"?

If you hear the accusation of "cliques!" do you examine your own thoughts and activities?

Are you willing to take a stand against cliques?

To"outsiders"

Do you continually moan about cliques that exclude you?

Do you instead reach out to others to build good friendships?

Do you over-react by developing your own clique?

A best friend or two is invaluable–cliques should never exist.

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"Travelling the high road requires total commitment in service to God and mankind."

Facing Unfulfilled Expectations

Joanne Beckley

As Christians we are forced to travel many side roads of disappointments, sickness, emotional hurts from loved ones, etc. How we respond when faced with these external events will tell us whether our faith has been growing to meet these troubles, or, instead, we are sliding down the side road much further than we thought and must now face a more difficult climb. No one willingly faces trouble unless faith in God’s promises is stronger than the trouble he faces as he travels the high road toward heaven. When faith is lacking, a child of God can end up in the valley of “Give up,” becoming too weak and unable to climb again.

The apostle Paul was troubled, even afraid, during his turbulent life in serving God. Yes, he gives us two strong clues of how he was able to remain strong in his convictions, and continued courageously to face his challenges. In 2 Timothy 1:15-18, we read of Paul in prison, deserted by everyone. He stated this fact, but then focussed on the absolute joy he had in one man who returned and stood with him, unashamed. Focussing on our blessings instead of the trouble will keep our mind positive and optimistic. When we turn to chapter 2:9-10 we read of the other clue that can also help us. Paul remembered his purpose in life. He wrote that even though he was in chains, the gospel was not–and he began teaching any he came in contact with, including Caesar’s guards!

Travelling the high road requires total commitment in service to God and mankind. Jesus is our example (1 Peter 2:21; John 13:1-17). In following His example, we learn and rejoice that it will be through facing our troubles we can become strong. Strong faith will then bring peace and joy in this life and in the life to come as we glorify our Father.

To help my ladies, we drew a picture of God’s high road through the mountains and another road through the valley of “give up”. We then drew side roads leading down to the valley. We even placed toll booths to indicate the strong effort it costs us to travel the high road and, during troubled times, the cost of returning to the high road. The longer we wallow in defeat, going down side roads, it becomes harder and harder to get our minds to focus on our blessings and remember our true purpose in this life. If we fail and continue down the road of “give up”, we could ultimately choose the choice Judas Iscariot made, who saw no hope.

This lesson ties in with Job 1-2, very nicely, helping us to understand why Job maintained his faith in God and eventually learned humility, but his wife gave up. One can also use Joseph, or Daniel, or. . .

To help us recognize what kind of pitfalls that can take us down side roads:
Making comparisons - Phil 3:17
Long-term illness - 2 Cor 12:9,10
Rejection - even Jesus’ brothers rejected Jesus (John 7:5-7)
Feeling trapped - James 1:2-4; Phil 2:3-11

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 quotes on indecision and decision

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice. 

Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions.

Indecision becomes decision with time. 

It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. 

Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.

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Teaching Our Children to be Wise

Joanne Beckley

When our children face us with questions or when they want to do something questionable, how do we respond? Oh, how I remember the pressures as a parent with my own developing wisdom and at the same time trying to teach my children to be wise. The following list of guidelines helped me when decisions had to be made. Obviously, some of these points will be constrained by the age of the child.

Questions to ask ourselves when faced with a decision/problem:
1. What is the common sense approach? Use your head! Gal 5:15,19-21.
2. What does my conscience tell me? It is your moral guide, God-given, 1 Tim 1:19. We are in a continual process of teaching our conscience to remain good. Putting it away (ignoring the conscience) is a willful act of rebellion, Tit 1:15.
3. Can my body or mind/soul/heart be defiled? This is an action of faith, Rom 14:23
4. Can the Golden Rule be applied? Mat 7:12.
5. What is my motive? If I understand why I want something, we can recognize possible selfishness, etc. Mat 6:1-18 is addressing prayer and motive, but we can apply the principle when we examine ourselves. Even Satan questioned Job’s motive in serving God, Job 1:9-11.
5. What are the possible consequences? What might be the long-term outcome? What kind of fruit will it bear? Prov 23
6. What does the Scriptures say? Seek the principles related to the problem, 2 Tim 3:15.
7. Think of Christ himself, our example. What would Jesus do?
8. Am I trying to live on the edge? Balancing on a fence? Or am I totally committed to act by the wisdom from above?

Spiritual maturity will improve our ability to act with wisdom, obedience, and understanding of how God’s principles work to help us make decisions.

I continue to pray for you and your children, even though my task is no longer immediate.

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God Almighty!

Joanne Beckley

When you read those two words, did they read like a curse as so many in the world say so very lightly? Or did the words bring to mind who God is?

Our faith will depend on how well we understand the very nature of the God of the universe. By the same token, our understanding, weak or strong, will affect our children’ understanding and therefore their developing faith in God Almighty. Once we and they truly understand who God is, how foolish we would be to deny serving Him. He is all that we are not. Then again, once we put our trust in God, that trust will be held in the most secure hands you and I could ever imagine. Jesus has told us,  "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”, John 17:3. We MUST know Him if we desire to find a reason for living, and then to continue to live after our physical bodies are buried.

Luke recorded a wonderful sermon by the apostle Paul when he spoke to unbelievers of Almighty God in the city of Athens, Acts 17:21-31. Take time to read this passage of Scripture.

God is infinite –unlimited, unbound. God is not created, He is not physical. He is not bound by time and space as we who are flesh and blood are bound. Only a God who brought everything into existence–out of nothing–can be infinite. He is above all that He creates. But, even as he has no limitations in His power, He has limited himself by the very universe He created. His own character also limits Him. God cannot lie, Titus 1:2. It was by his choice that He created man and woman with the ability to choose right from wrong. God’s character of righteousness and justice requires that He punish the wicked, Psalm 35:24; Isa 5:16. Yet we also learn that God’s love for us in infinite, 1 John 4:9, and oh, how we benefit from it!

God is uncaused. God is. He is not dependant for existence on anything else, but our very existence is because God willed it so. We would therefore be foolish to worship a god created by the mind of man, whether gods of war (Greek gods), benevolent gods (Budda), or even our ancestors who could not even parent us in all righteousness while they lived on earth. 

God is immortal. God will not die. “I AM” is, whether yesterday, today or tomorrow, Exodus 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:16. Time does not control God. God created time and therefore He can choose the length of days for his creation. Time does not weary God, Isa 40:28, nor does it limit His existence, Deut 33:27. Unlike God, man’s spirit is not eternal. God created our spirits; they have a beginning. He has chosen that we will exist even after the world is no more. He willed that we exist. 

God does not occupy space. God is not a physical being. He is spirit and cannot be measured. When King Solomon dedicated the new temple for God, he asked, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”1 Kings 8:27. Solomon understood, and worshipped. (I would ask, do we live our lives as if God is only present with us when we walk into the church building?)

God is everywhere, just as Jonah discovered, and the psalmist echoed Jonah’s discovery, Psalm 139:7-14. God asked Jeremiah, “‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD”, Jeremiah 23:24. God does not occupy space, therefore, not in rocks, trees, or any thing He has created. God is above it all.

Most of all we must understand and accept that God in infinite in knowledge, Isaiah 40:28. He KNOWS us. He knows all our thoughts and our actions. He knows if we need to repent. Read again Acts 17:30. When our hearts and conscience condemn us, God knows! He is greater than our hearts and He knows all, 1 John 3:20. God’s understanding in infinite, Psalm 147:5. Let us go back to Psalm 139 and begin with verse 1. Yes, this is the Almighty God whom we serve. 

Again, I ask, are we making sure our sons and daughters come face to face with their Maker?

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The Virtuous Woman - a woman of strength 

Joanne Beckley

In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel's mother made a list of qualities of a woman's character for her son to look for when he wishes to marry. Cleverly, she used letters of the Hebrew alphabet to make it easier for him to remember. It is a striking list, a challenge not only for a woman to achieve, but these are very specific qualities for a man to keep in mind as he seeks his mate for life. Granted, she is  a rare jewel, but she does exist! The question is, do you and I as mothers see the value in using this same list to teach our sons to begin evaluating the characteristics they want in a wife, even from a young age? I know I failed to fully grasp this resource for my sons. Instead, I studied from workbooks that placed the emphasis on learning and later teaching the worthy woman as a list chosen by a woman for women. Granted, just as valuable a usage, but what about its original intention??

Let us look again at the list Lemuel's mother gave to him, and consider how we can impress the same on our own sons. Like King Lemuel's mother, we too should fully expect our sons to find such women of character. She will bring the love, the color, the joy, the life, and the energy to the home!

First, before even considering teaching this passage of scripture, we need to consider the meaning of the word "virtuous"  (worthy, excellent}. Notice the various English words used in the Bible to convey the meaning of the Hebrew word chayil, according to their context: 

Strongs: 2428. חַיִל chayil, khah’-yil; from 2342; prob. a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength:— able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).

Amazingly, the Hebrew word for virtuous is used 200-plus times in the Bible to describe an army. This Old Testament word refers to a force and is used to mean able, capable, mighty, strong, valiant, powerful, efficient, wealthy, courageous and worthy. The word is also used in reference to a man of war, men of war, and men prepared for war.

When we change this definition to the feminine case we can begin to grasp the power at the core of this woman! Just as mental toughness and physical energy are the primary traits of an army, when we add her deep love for God, we will find God’s beautiful woman. 

Consider her strong physical qualities:

  • She works willingly with her hands (Proverbs 31:13).
  • Those willing hands plant a vineyard (verse 16).
  • They also operate a spindle and distaff (verse 19).
  • She works from early in the morning (verse 15) until late at night (verse 18).
  • She nurses the needy (verse 20).
  • She weaves the cloth for her family’s clothes (verse 21), for her household needs (verse 22), for her own clothing (verse 22), and for sale as a professional (verse 24).
  • Never idle, she watches over and builds her home (verse 27).

And the character qualities which motivated her activities:

  • Willing--choosing to serve her family and those around her--spontaneous, magnanimous, voluntary, liberal, with alacrity, eager (verses 10-31)
  • Honest—Her husband trusts her (verses 11–12).
  • Industrious—She is busy from sunup to sundown managing her interests and expanding her enterprises (verses 13–19, 21–22, 24, 27, 31).
  • Thrifty—Her skill with finances enables her to care for her loved ones and increase her property (verses 14, 16).
  • Strong in character—She faces the daily challenges of life (and death!) with undaunted courage (verse 25, 29).
  • Kind—Compassion for the unfortunate governs her life and sweet speech flows from her lips (verses 20, 26).
  • Wise—Walking in wisdom is her way of life (verse 26).
  • Holy—She wholeheartedly loves the Lord (verse 30).

We should remind our sons that this amazing woman did not achieve these qualities overnight. She is a work in progress. Someone taught her to cultivate a desire to work toward being a woman of virtue. The woman you seek has taken time to work toward being a woman of strong godly character. Time was also taken to read God's Word, to memorize it, to put it in her heart. God's words gave her the mental and spiritual force needed to climb toward her goals. She understood she only has today. She accepted that numbering her days is necessary in order to gain a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

What did the virtuous girl/woman need to concentrate on? Practical skills, emotional stability, and spiritual health. We as mothers must seek to train our girls in practical skills and fully realize the importance of training in the Scriptures. But do we also appreciate the importance of mastering the ability to endure--when the going is tough, to persevere. Emotional stability also includes mastering the temper. A woman of strength wil nurture a peaceful heart (Prov 14:30), know when to wait (Prov 19:2), will not strive (Prov 19:11), and will restrain her spirit (Prov 25:28). Likewise, she must master her tongue, appreciating that the tongue can speak blessings or cursings (James 3:10), and "speak like the peircings of a sword" or "promote health" (Prov 12:18). She must learn to speak less often (Prov 10:19), speak only after considering what she is going to say (Prov 15:28), speak only what is sweet and pleasant (Prov 16:21,24), and speak what is wise and kind (Prov 31:26).

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her” (31:11).  The heart of a husband who can trust a loyal wife is a heart at ease, a heart at rest. A wife is to live her life in such a solid way that her husband never worries or wonders about her character or her management of her home, her finances, or her time! Trust--let us take trust seriously. Keep our word. Follow through on instructions. Then our husbands can truly build their lives on the cornerstone of our loyalty.

I would like us consider this just a little deeper. One way to build trust is to do what we've been asked to do. Don't try to second-guess the whys behind instructions. Be careful with any advice. Ask questions if you need to, but in the end your goal is to follow through. When in doubt, check it out! (Prov 28:26). The key word is serving with a "willing" heart.

His heart can be at ease because he knows that you are carrying out his desires for the home, the family, and the finances. Furthermore, your compliance is evidence of God’s deep character buried in your heart! 

We truly are like mighty warriors who utilize our full heart and considerable abilities for the benefit of our husband’s domain. This startling image dramatically conveys the commitment of God’s beautiful woman to her husband and his wealth and welfare. She is a warrior of undying allegiance who dedicates her life and energies to the well-being of her husband and his household. The virtuous (chayil) woman has the same qualities as an able (chayil) judge over Israel! Ex 18:21. 

She lives to love her husband, and so she does him good at every opportunity. She operates her life and his home in a way that routinely benefits him with good. Her waking prayer each day is to do her husband good—to love him, serve him, honor him, advance him, spoil him, and ease his life. Far from looking for any payoff, notice, or praise, she finds following through on God’s assignment to do her husband good reward enough!

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”

This heads-up list by a good mother for her son is encapsulated in the New Testament:

1Ti 2:9 ¶ in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

1Pe 3:1 ¶ Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-- 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

In working on this lesson, my eye was caught by two quotations from Mathew Henry’s commentary on Proverbs 31:30. Please note the connection made to Genesis 3:16 :

A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people's, one that is pious and industrious, and a help meet for a man.  A virtuous woman is a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty. 

A good woman, if she be brought into the marriage state, will be a good wife, and make it her business to please her husband, 1Co_7:34; Gen 3:16. Though she is a woman of spirit herself, yet her desire is to her husband, to know his mind, that she may accommodate herself to it, and she is willing that he should rule over her. 

Ladies, we have work to do!


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TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO WORSHIP GOD

Your browser may not support display of this image. Joanne Beckley

Training our children begins in the home and there are several requirements that need to be happening if we are to succeed in training train our children to worship God.

I. THE FAMILY NEEDS TO BE CHRIST-CENTRED

    (Romans 14:17,18; Proverbs 3:6).

  • Recognize Christ as your complete authority and that He controls your value system.
  • Decide your purpose in living, and set goals and objectives for your family.


II. CHILDREN MUST BE TAUGHT TO BE OBEDIENT TO PARENTAL AUTHORITY.

  • Children need to know their boundaries and to know you will hold them accountable.
  • Even if a parent does not realize the relationship of love and discipline that God requires, a child will always recognize the need for both and thrives on God-given love.

THERE ARE 3 KINDS OF COMMANDS

1. Mandatory – the child is given no choice and must obey the command. The command and a time limit should be clearly stated. The parent should make sure the command is obeyed, despite any attempt to argue against the command. It is the child’s responsibility to make sure he understands the parent’s interpretation of the command.

2. Discretionary – as the child grows older, he is given permission to set the command himself, i.e. homework must be done, but the child can choose when and how he will accomplish the command; TV viewing is limited to two hours each day, but the child can choose which program to watch, provided it is wholesome. These commands depend on age, maturity and experience of the child.

3. Optional – The parent expects the child to obey the command and the child finds ways to avoid obeying the command. When parents fail to state a command clearly and/or have not been consistent in making sure their commands have been obeyed, they cause family anger, resentment and frustration (Eph.6:4). Don’t depend on the following ways to get your child to obey:

  • Punishment/reward – What if your child doesn’t care? Now who is in control?
  • Compromise – What if your child doesn’t keep his “side” of the bargain? Now who is in control?
  • Natural consequences – What if the natural consequence didn’t teach your child a lesson? Now who is in control?
  • Reasoning – What if the child doesn’t agree with your reasoning? Now who is in control?
  • Reliance on outside help – What if the “expert” can’t help? Now who is in control?
  • Trusting in your child’s goodness – What if your child’s instincts don’t agree with your commands? Now who is in control?
  • Praying as your primary method – What if your child views your lack of action with contempt (including your prayers)? Now who is in control?
  • Getting tough – obey or leave home! What if your child leaves? Now who is in control?

4. Apply this knowledge of commands to help you in training your children, including the times YOU set to worship the Lord.


III HOW DO WE AS PARENTS PASS ON OUR OWN WORSHIP VALUES TO OUR CHILDREN?

  • We use the advantage of good traditions and habits. These are repeated activities which hold importance in the minds of the parents. Repetition proves and develops the same value to the child. These traditions and habits are deliberately created and practised.
  • Worship together daily as a family. It is on a daily basis that our children learn any kind of good habit, whether it is brushing their teeth, learning to pray, or hearing Daddy read the Bible. Timothy’s mother recognized this truth (Acts 16:1; 1 Tim.4:6; 2 Tim.1:5; 3:15). Let us nourish (train) our children’s love for their Father in heaven so they too will respond as did the young prophet Jeremiah (Jer.15:16).
  • Before a family leaves to worship God with the saints, children should already have repeated activities of worship in the home that prepare the mind. This reinforces the value you place in going to worship God. Ways to emphasize love and honor to God can and should include dressing the bathed family in good clothing, emphasizing attendance on time, and never missing a service. Rise in the morning with joy in your heart. Play recorded gospel music – and so on. Included in this preparation we need to make sure any required Bible lessons have been completed – and then make sure these and everyone’s Bible is in hand before you leave the house.
  • During worship, the family should continuously require obedience from their children according to the parents’ set requirements of behaviour. This reinforces value importance in the mind of the child. Your children NEED to sit beside you, or near enough so that you can correct them when necessary. Teach your children while they are young that sitting in the back pews when they are teenagers will not be an option.
  • Jesus was reared with repeated “ritual” in his public worship to God. Mary and Joseph placed importance on their own obedience to God’s exact requirements in worship (Luke 2:39). Obviously Jesus joined them and benefited by their example, as was seen in the events of his twelfth year.
  • Paul praised Timothy’s mother and grandmother for his childhood training in the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:5, 14-15). His mother and grandmother gave Timothy their value system. Those values became Timothy’s. We can do the same.

IV RESPONSIBILITY OF CHRISTIANS TOWARD ONE ANOTHER
  1. To edify (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  2. To live peaceably (Romans 14:19).
  3. To give comfort (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  4. To consider one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25

V. WHAT IF OUR CHILDREN DISRUPT THESE RESPONSIBILITIES DURING WORSHIP? (1 Corinthians 14:40; Romans 14:19)
  1. Be aware and correct disruptive noise, i.e. baby/child’s loud crying, talking/playing, eating, noisy toys.
  2. Why is the child crawling/walking around? Or going to the toilet or to fetch drinking water? Is he bored? Playing? Unless your child has a health problem, it is you, the parent, who must control the movements of your child.
  3. Why is your baby/child eating? Did you not feed him before you left home? Notice how the sounds and smells distract others.
  4. Why do you allow your baby/child to be passed from one friend to another? Isn’t he your responsibility to train?
  5. Take a moment to go and change dirty nappies.

VI  SUGGESTIONS
  • Begin worship training early. Even babies are smart! Begin your training as you intend to maintain it. As your child grows up, don’t allow some activity now that you will have to change later on, e.g. eating, sleeping during worship, etc. Recognize when your toddler is manipulating you, such as crying in order to get you to take him away from the worshipping group. (Discipline him and bring him right back in!)
  • Do not be super sensitive to the small noises babies make during worship. Do not be embarrassed when you need to take an older child outside to be corrected. Be a good parent during worship!
  • This training period during worship is necessary. It will have a positive benefit for your children, yourself and for the congregation. If you do an excellent job early on in your home and during worship, your children will be well-behaved as they grow up.
  • Discuss child development and training goals with experienced parents you admire. Watch and learn from other young parents around you. Adopt the good and weed out methods which conflict with your desired goals in training your children.
  • Always consider your children’s ages, health, maturity and experience as you help your children build one skill upon another. Obedience is not the only priority during worship – teach them how to listen, teach them how to take notes – do you know how, yourself??
  • Sometimes cultural expectations need to be considered. But always, always, be more mindful that God’s requirements of worship are to be obeyed first, including worship conducted decently and in an orderly manner (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:40).
  • Let other Christians know you appreciate their love and support while you are training your children.
  • For those of us whose children are now grown, let us support our young mothers, giving them all the encouragement we can, complimenting the good we see in their parenting efforts. Praise their children (Titus 2:3-4). Most mothers and fathers want what is best for their children and some just need more encouragement in learning how to be better parents. Let us be supportive, not critical, of their efforts.

Training yourself and learning as much as you can about parenting before your children are born is vital to a smooth path in being good parents. Determine to be consistent in your training requirements. Don’t start by allowing an action or activity that you later plan to take away from your child. The secret to training our children to worship God? Begin as you mean to go on!

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Can We Trust God?

Joanne Beckley

 


We want to automatically reply YES! But too often we confuse belief and trust when we answer this question. There is an eternity of difference between the two. One is an intellectual acceptance based on truth of God’s existence and His presence in our lives, but trust has to do with how must we are willing to lay on the line about what we believe. Until we begin to be confident in God’s love and care for us, we will not have the commitment needed to say as Paul did, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him,” 2 Tim 1:12.

This risk-taking based on our believing in God is slow-growing. The more proof we gain when we take a risk, the more trust we will have that He will sustain and protect us. King David wrote an entire psalm when he was old on trusting God’s love and care for us, Psalm 37. Have you read it lately? And when you do, meditate on each stanza.

Abraham is a fine example of increasing trust in God, as proof after proof was given him that his God is a faithful God. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness," Romans 4:20-22.

God is indeed faithful. He is true. He is our rock, unshakable, a constant we can depend on. We have many witnesses throughout the Bible of His unchanging character and that he has kept every one of His promises. We can know He is still here for us. Jesus offered to give us rest if we but take his yoke upon us, a load that He said was light in comparison to carrying the “world” on our shoulders, Mat 11:28-30. His way offers a way of escape when we are tempted, 1 Cor 10:13, and He is able to deliver us.

Trusting God requires that we surrender to him ALL of ourselves–even as a little child gives his parents his ENTIRE trust–body, soul and spirit. Can we do this for our Father in heaven? Can we believe what God tells us and surrender ALL our fears, our doubts, our selfish motives and then step out in trust? It is our surrender of self (self-dependence, self-help, self-pleasing, self-will, self-seeking, self-glory) that will prove to be the most difficult if we are to truly learn to trust God.

Notice the three sides to this triangle, Faith, Trust, Surrender–each one completely dependant on the other. No matter which side of the triangle you start with, you need the other two legs to make it work. If one fails the entire structure fails.

God does indeed love us–each one of us–totally and completely, 1 John 5:8; Rom 4:9. Do we know this? Do we know enough to trust Him? Can we surrender and be obedient to Him? Faith, trust and surrender. God wants it all from you and me.

 

   

 

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September/October 2017