Tag Archives: wise

Imparting Wisdom Daily Into Our Children

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 13:20 ESV

This is one lesson I truly want my children to understand when choosing friends. We have conversations with our girls every day about what happens at school, who they’re playing with, etc. We watch carefully who the parents are, what they’re up to in their personal life, and what types of kids the girls are hanging out with. Then we gently speak about the types of people we want them (our girls) to be. We remind them of this lesson and that the more they choose wisely, the more they’ll benefit from it and the more their choices can honor God not just today, but every day of their young lives.

One very simple way to remind the girls who God desires them to be, is to use our last name and say “A (insert last name) is…” and then we fill in with “kind, loving, wise, etc.” (Use your family values here, or quote from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) We then remind them that we are a family that has chosen to follow God all the days of our lives, no matter what everyone else is doing. Sometimes we stand alone, just the four of us, and that’s okay.

We also speak to the girls about what type of man they should be looking for to marry. We speak specifically about certain qualities and what the family unit might look like – a loving set of parents/guardians, someone who loves God, attends church, is active in their community, respects other people on the playground (our girls are only 5 and 7, so we adjust to their age group to keep it relevant) etc.

These conversations take no more than about 10 minutes a day on our end and can happen over the course of the day. We let them come about organically as the girls share things with Anthony and I. If I’m the one they choose to share things with, I make sure Anthony has a chance later to respond to the big questions they’ve had. This way, they get both gender’s input and we work as a team, validating each other and solidifying our family unit’s value system. We’ve seen much fruit from our labors, which began at each of the girls’ births. (We whipped out our Bibles and read to them within the first few hours of birth and prayed over their little bodies that God would keep them in His hands all the days of their lives.)

I’m daily amazed at how God is working in our family, especially in our girls’ lives.

What I’ve learned through parenting  is that it’s not necessary to plant a whole tree in one day, or to even sit and watch that tree grow intently without ever looking away. Parenting is like planting a seed, watering it, nurturing it and caring for it over time. It grows slowly, may branch off into odd directions, and will definitely need pruning from time to time. When the tree is fully grown, if it’s been nurtured well, will be lush and tall and beautiful. Your community will be able to benefit from the fruits of the tree – from the fruit of your labor. Dear parents, you toil not in vain. You plant seeds not in vain. You – community of Believers are planting an entire beautiful forest. Toil on! One day we will all benefit from the fruit of our labors.

Let’s Pray: Dear Jesus, thank You for the gift of a new day. Thank You for the blessing of our beautiful children. Even when we are tired, discouraged or feeling overwhelmed, help us to plant seeds of wisdom, hope and love in our children. Help us to teach them to love You, love their neighbor and to respect themselves and their community. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

28 Days Until Christmas: {Wisdom of} The Wise Men

Today, we celebrate the wisdom of the Wise Men (or Magi as some Bible translations refer to them). Yes, I know this is seemingly a bit out-of-order in light of the Christmas story, but please bear with me here. I do have a point to telling it out-of-order. 😉

This morning, I was inspired to talk about the Wise Men when Chelsea looked at a craft pack of crowns and asked if she could make those while Theresa worked on her school work. I had originally planned to do a Santa or snowman craft with them, but I was humbled  by this simple request to make a crown instead. A voice told me to go with it – to take a moment and pause, considering the weight of the season, and the true value it has for our family. In all the hustle and bustle of preserving the season, I had forgotten one very important thing – Jesus.

I could make excuses, but I won’t. It hit me that my private devotions are done away from the girls. I began to consider what  I actually share with them about Jesus apart from Sunday mornings and family prayers in the car, and at the meal table as we break bread, and I realized that  it just wasn’t enough. Not now, not when we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Master and Creator. So I began to think about the Wise Men, search out their story, and consider their Wisdom in traveling thousands of miles to visit a tiny baby born in Bethlehem…

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem, and asked, “Where is the One who has been born King of Jews? We saw His star in the east and came to worship Him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 

                   “’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least    among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the  shepherd of my people Israel.’” 

Then Herod called the Wise Men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:1-12 NIV

There are many aspects of this story that I’d never considered before. The Wise Men came to see a baby. A tiny baby. They came to see the God-child, born of a virgin. What a miracle! This affirms the fact that Jesus was born to save the world! He did not come simply for the Jews, but for all of man kind. Man kind who were so desperately in need of even just the hope of salvation, that they were willing to travel to worship at the feet of a tiny baby, in order to carry that seed of hope back to others in their homeland.

Take a moment and consider the weight of that thought right there. There was a time before people understood that God wanted to save man from himself, so they had tried in vain to earn their own salvation. Can you imagine the desperation of the people in that time in history?

There was immense wisdom in visiting the Christ child. They had proof that God had come to them in physical form. They had a real, tangible vision of hope to carry home. To the sick and down trodden, they had hope to give. To those rotting in their own sins, they had hope to give. God had come! God had heard their prayers! And not just the Jews, but the prayers of the world

There was never a time in the Gospel when Jesus’ story was not powerful and beautiful. There was a never time in His life when He was not duly loved and hated by the world and by His own people. We see Herod plotting to kill him in verse 16, if we read on in the story. Herod and his followers were disturbed by the mere mention of the Christ child’s birth in verse 3. No, for them a  Messiah could not come, for at that time, the Jews were expecting a mighty warrior to be raised up and avenge the Jews. After all, Jesus was in the line of David – the great and mighty war hero! Blood would be shed over the injustice done to the Jews, right? Herod would not lose his life. No, he would take one. And there the plot to kill Jesus begins.

I want to take a moment and pause here. I want us to consider this point, because I feel it’s a very crucial one to remember. People were hostile towards a tiny baby merely because of what He represented. Jesus had not yet done any miracles. He had not preached in the temple yet, He had not called anyone to Him through His own physical mouth (other than perhaps His mother, father, close family members, as a child does when He wants food, comfort, play). He was already sentenced to die – from birth.

The gifts of the Wise Men make sense now, don’t they? Gold, incense, myrrh. They knew Jesus had to die. They knew blood would be shed, but it would not be the blood of a people group necessarily, but of Jesus Himself. And at birth, Jesus’ posse of followers were formed. He was building an army, of sorts, without even having called anyone to Him through His own physical mouth. His Father in Heaven began weaving solutions into problems Jesus didn’t even know He had yet. The world began rallying behind this tiny baby – the Christ child, before He had uttered one word of hope to them.

That is the power of the Gospel. Life. Not words. Life.

As we enter into this Christmas season, I pray that our lives are lived like those of the Wise Men – that we would see the value in the Christ child and what He represents, taking more than just a snippet of  time to seek Him out and worship Him. I pray also that we would remember to carry the message of Hope to all in our path, through more than words – through the lives we live.

 

Chelsea and Mama  Theresa and Daddy

Built to Last

When trials are pressing in on me, it’s tough to remember that I’m built to last – built for eternity with God, to worship and to love Him, and to recieve His love for me. But it’s the most important time to pay attention to what God is saying! The lies of the world are always nearby, whispering in the background, clamoring for my attention.

“You are not loved.”

“This mistake is far too big to be fixed.”

“You’ll never get there. You might as well stop trying now, before you cause yourself more pain.”

Right now, we’re facing the possibility of losing our house, our safety, our car and our dignity. We’ve heard lie after lie from someone close to us who is in (earthly) control of some of these factors, and we’ve worked really hard to prevent this situation, but I don’t see a happy, safe resolution. I’m having a hard time loving this person whom God has not only asked me to respect, but to love. I want to scream and yell “God, don’t you see how much she’s hurt me?!” It’s then the lies kick in. “Well, Mandy, you’ve been mean before. This is karma, kicking your butt. You deserve this!” But I don’t. And my children don’t deserve it either. This will affect them far more than it will affect me.  I fear, and I try, oh I do try not to listen to those lies and those angry, unloving words from people who do not know me – do not care to know how much this hurts us.

But I will hold on to Jesus.

I will seek Him. I will chase after Him, and I will seek His Truth. I will Listen to Him, and when I fear – I will repent. I will daily study His Truths and lock them deep in my heart. This scripture came to mind recently as I was praying, and it’s stuck with me as a comfort when I’m tempted to fear what may happen.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Proverbs 24:16 (NASB)

It’s helpful for me to remember how far God has brought me, and that this is not to my ruin, but to my benefit! I am being tested and refined as silver is refined through fire (Psalm 66:10) so that God may see His image in me. This is a blessing! The more that stress presses in on me, the more I pray. My kids see me praying and they often catch snippets of those prayers. They have, in turn, began developing an active prayer life of their own. In fact, one of my most frequent prayers is that of thanksgiving for these beautiful children that God has blessed me with!

Theresa praying Chelsea praying

It’s during moments of pure blessing like these, that I remember just how amazing God is and that He alone can strengthen and prepare me for anything. I remember that our family’s house is built on The Rock, and it will weather any storm.  I stop and take a knee, thanking God and asking for what I need in that moment, for that day and He answers me, filling me with love, patience, wisdom, and Truth. He reminds me that I am never walking alone, nor am I expected to handle big problems alone. He enables to me to shine His Light, no matter how big that storm raging around me is.

The wise man built his house upon the Rock - and shone His light for ALL to see. Even in a severe storm.

 “All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won’t collapse, for it is built on rock.

Matthew 7:24-25 (TLB)

And I will continue to shine His light, and proclaim His Truth from our house upon The Rock, when the sun shines and when the storm rages, for I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.