Tag: purity

Skillful Living 101—22 Parenting

Parenting . . . the hardest most complex job on earth. Yet parenting holds the highest value and reward of anything we might possibly do with our life.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

As a parent I am so grateful to have an instruction manual on child rearing—as I’m sure all parents are.

Unfortunately—most instruction manuals or directions don’t get read until completely necessary. If you’re young—please be encouraged to read the manual now! If you are in the middle of raising children—read the manual now! If your children are young adults—especially read the manual now! If you are a grandparent—read the manual now! It’s never too early or too late!

Being on this end of life where all but one of my kids are grown adults, I sometimes bemoan the fact that there are no “do-overs” when it comes to raising children.

If your kids are grown and your heart is heavy—caught up in regretfully recounting your mistakes—remember there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Ask for forgiveness—forgive yourself and do God’s best from here on out. God is a faithful redeemer—He redeems our errors and covers our sin.

The first ingredient to parenting is humble, unconditional love. We must by grace and the Holy Spirit’s assistance, love our kids the way God loves us—He never gives up on us. We must always hope and believe in our children. Sometimes love takes on different forms of behavior—this means—tough love is sometimes necessary.

At times I marvel at how complex parenting really is. Parenting is a letting go adventure. These children are born to us, of our own flesh and blood—and we lovingly train them to grow up—leave us—and live their own lives.

Parenting, from the very first hour, demands complete reliance on God. I am so thankful to have an all knowing, all loving, all understanding One to lean on. Prayerfully depending on God is imperative. Since raising children is a lifelong commitment with so many ups, downs and curves—all scripture applies.

One of the things I know—from experience—is we the parents, cannot instruct or impart to our children what we do not ourselves possess. If we want our children to be healthy people of integrity and good character, then we must be as well. There is no room for double-mindedness. Most things are caught rather than taught.

Proverbs—the Book of Skillful Living has crucial advice on parenting—no matter your stage of life.

Let’s look at Proverbs 22 and, with a sincere heart, intentionally live these principles and purpose to teach them to our children and grandchildren.

Verse 1—“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

  • Taking on the name of Christ—invaluable
  • God’s favor—vital

Verse 2—“The rich and the poor have this in common; the Lord is the maker of them all.”

  • Identity is found in Christ alone

Verse 4—“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”

  • Humility and the fear of the Lord are high priorities to God
  • The fear of the Lord inherit within a person helps them to love and obey God and parents
  • Honoring God aids us in honoring our self and others, as well as authority

Verse 5, 3, 8, 10, 24, 25—“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”

  • Guarding your soul from evil is crucial to a successful life

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

  • We can never stop pouring God’s love and Word into our kids. I’ve seen this dynamic take place in the life of my 2nd son. When he gave up living for himself and surrendered to God—all that had been poured into his heart as a child never departed—God’s Word is timeless, alive and active, it never sleeps but always accomplishes what God sets out to do.
  • Love the church and teach kids the same

Verses 11 & 14—“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” “The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; he who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.”

  • A love for purity and grace are never overrated
  • Friendship with the King—highly valuable!

Verse15—“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:17, Proverbs 13:24

  • The Word repeatedly warns—If we love our children we will discipline them
  • Loving discipline and correction will create healthy adults
  • Warning to fathers: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Verses 18 & 19—“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord”

  • Preserve wisdom, knowledge and trust in your heart
  • Teach kids to bind themselves to Godly wisdom

Verse 29 & 13—“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

  • God seriously does not approve of slothful behavior
  • Diligently teach Children diligence
  • A good work ethic is priceless

Skillful Living Tools:

    • Children are a heritage and reward—enjoy them!
    • Children are a huge responsibility—train them in the ways of the Lord
    • Read and apply the instruction manual—the Bible
    • Pray without ceasing
    • Teach kids to prayerfully depend on God
    • Teach integrity and Godly moral character
    • Do not be double minded
    • Teach kids to be single focused—God first
    • Love never fails—unconditionally love the kids God gifted to you
    • Fathers, do not provoke your children
    • Love the church and teach kids the same

Please be encouraged to surrender your parenting to God and His Word—trusting Him for all the answers.

Side Note: God is redeeming the struggling, wayward child—no matter their age. My heart knows the anguish of watching your child self-destruct. My advice to you—keep your heart focused on God. Find peace and rest for your heart, in relationship with Him for He cares for you and can carry your burden, if you will just give it to Him. I am praying for you and your children.

Read and apply all of Proverbs 22 and please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated) at the top of this page!

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Sober

When you read the word sober what’s your first thought?
The sober that I’m referring to is found in 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Possessing a sober attitude about life will free us from foolishness and heartache. It will cause us to be vigilant, discerning and intentional with our life. Not only will we be aware of the devil’s schemes but we will be able to live lives that function with purpose.

When I was a new wife and mom I never really thought much about being intentional. In fact it was not until I had my first teenager that I realized being intentional in life is critical.

We can’t just let life happen and expect all will turn out well. No, because if we do our adversary the devil, will devour us and all that we hold dear. It’s pure stupidity to think our enemy won’t do his job—steal—kill—destroy.

When we live sober and intentional we live knowing what we want to accomplish in life. It’s as I tell my kids, “Make a good choice and stick with it, then let every decision support that one choice.”

If we intend to know and love God, living our life in His presence, then we must make every choice in accordance to our first choice to know and love Him.

Being a Christian does not just happen. If we want our kids to love and obey God then we have to intentionally raise them with such a purpose.

Purity does not just transpire. If we desire purity and if we long to raise our kids to be pure, then we need to make deliberate life choices as to what we will teach, how we will live and what we will allow in our personal life and in our family.

Careers, success, financial gain, a good marriage, obedient children, good health—the list is endless—none of these just appear. Accomplishment in any area of life has to be intentional.

This means having a sober/seriousness in the manner in which we live our life.

I’m not talking about being a prude and living a religious life, void of fun—no, not at all.

I’m referring to living a deliberate, calculated life style led by the Holy Spirit, where we make every choice in life in alignment with our first choice.

We love God this way; love our spouse, raise our kids, look for a spouse, we spend our money, guard our words, minister, and love our family and friends—all in this manner.

Please be encouraged—by the grace of God to love and live your life with vigilance, intention and with a sober heart and soul.

Skillful Living 101—6 Avoiding Pitfalls

Escaping life’s pitfalls.

You have got to love the book of Proverbs. It’s overflowing with practical guidelines and warnings for skillful living. God in His faithfulness has given us an abundant amount of instruction for living sensible, prosperous lives.

People are always saying “Too bad life doesn’t come with instructions.” I used to think the same thing, especially once I got married and started having kids.

Life does come with an instruction manual, it’s almost as if the Holy Spirit is waving it right in front of our faces, pleading with us to read and follow it. There’s something about human nature—it has to try its own way first—stumble and fail—then look to God. I want to be smarter than that; I want my kids to rise above the norm and do life right. What about you?

It’s not impossible, again it’s just a matter of surrendering our will, making Him Lord—reading and following the instructions! Let’s do it—let’s choose to be wise!

Proverbs 6, gives five specific ways to escape life’s pitfalls. Keep in mind the ability to avoid pitfalls greatly depends on our connection with Christ.

According to Proverbs 6:1-5, financial pitfalls can be escaped by avoiding the ‘D’ word—debt! This goes totally cross grain with our culture, but if you have lived any amount of time, I know you can testify to its truth!

Also we are cautioned not co-sign for someone’s debt and to be careful not to make impulsive commitments, including get rich quick ideas. These scriptures urge the believer, that if we do make rash commitments or decisions to get out of them as quick as possible.

Essentially we need to be good stewards of all God entrusts to us. Pray and wait. Ask God to lead and instruct us to wise choices—this is where having a close personal relationship with Him is so important. In prior years I made so many mistakes do to my un-submitted will and lack of intimacy with God.

Proverbs 6:6-11, is pretty black and white, laziness leads to poverty! Take this a step further and apply it to our relationship with God. If we are lethargic and apathetic in our relationship with Him we will be spiritually bankrupt, consequently unable to make wise choices. We need to excel in a spirit of diligence coupled with excellence.

Another way to excel in diligence is to hate wickedness, in yourself and in others. Proverbs 6:12-15, gives detail on the behavior of the wicked, concluding that sudden calamity will overtake the wicked leaving them broken and without remedy—the wicked will not see God. Be mindful—to avoid wickedness, snuggle in close to God!

Proverbs 6:17-19, demands our undivided attention. It communicates the six things God hates and the seven He abhors. This scripture causes me to pray for mercy and for grace to walk uprightly!

“A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

Lastly, Proverbs 6:20-35, gives insight on avoiding sexual promiscuity. Verse 25, holds a wealth of truth, speaking in regards to a seductress, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart.” Ultimately, sexual purity begins on the inside. If we keep our heart and soul pure; undiluted by the world and faithful to the Word, we will prosper in our purity.

Please be encouraged to draw close to God, tucking yourself under the shadow of His wing, where you can hear His voice and respond to His will. The more we know God—the less we love sin!

Skillful Living Financial Tools:

  • Avoid debt and co-signing
  • Avoid impulsive commitments
  • Avoid get rich quick ideas
  • Submit finances to God 
  • Ask God to lead and instruct you in finances
  • Avoid poverty by being be diligent
  • Laziness leads to poverty

Skillful Living Insights and Tools: 

  • Live your life, both spiritually and naturally with excellence
  • Hate wickedness
  • Keep your heart and soul undiluted by the world
  • Be faithful to the Word of God