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Archive for February, 2014

Never Too Young to Minister

Scripture: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you…” (1 Timothy 4:12-14 NKJV)

Observation: Thy youth. Timothy was probably not 40 years old, and yet would have numerous elders under his charge (see ch. 5:1, 17, 19). From ch. 4:12–16 some have concluded that Timothy was timid and reticent by nature, more given to obey than to command, and that Paul’s counsel here was intended to correct this supposed defect. Youth is no barrier to a rich spiritual fellowship with God, and old age is not a guarantee of sound thinking or complete dedication. Men, according to Paul, are to be judged by their sanctified abilities and not by arbitrary standards such as age. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (305–306). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application: How many times have you told your child, “You are too young.”  Yes, there are things that may not be “age appropriate” for our child. But, the scriptural focus today is a strong reminder for us as parents. We are raising ministers! We cannot underestimate how God can use our little ones to bring others to Him. That child like innocence, honesty, and true love for Jesus can impact others in ways that adults cannot. This is one thing that they are not too young to do. Regardless of their age, they can use their gifts to witness to others.

From a very young age, our little ones can be taught they can be a minister. Ministry should not be seen to be reserved for the pastor of the church or the deacons or elders only. Let them know that they can serve others too. Engage them in simple acts of kindness and service to others.

Toddlers can make cheerful cards to give to a neighbor who is ill or to take to a nursing care facility. They can call or skype someone who may not be having a good day and sing an uplifting song. Older children can rake a neighbor’s fallen leaves or shovel the snow from a driveway. Helping to make and deliver homemade cookies or bread can also be a ministry.

Too small? Too young? Never! “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity… Do not neglect the gift that is in you…” (I Timothy 4:12-14 NKJV)

A Prayer You May Say: Lord, help me to lead my child to be Your disciple. Use the gifts that You have given him/her to bring others to You. Help me to not overlook the gifts and potential that You have blessed my child with. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Oh Give Thanks!

Scripture: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34 NKJV)

Observation: 16:34 Oh give thanks to Yahweh This verse is most likely adapted from Psa 106:1, although both refrains are common throughout the Psalms (Pss 107:1; 118:1; 136:1). See Psa 106:1 and note.

his loyal love is everlasting This refrain acts as a repeated chorus in some Psalms (Pss 118:1–4; 136:1–26). [Barry, J. D., Grigoni, M. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Ch 16:34). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.]

Application: Have you stopped to listen to your prayers lately? Are they characterized by long “to do” lists for God?  As parents, it is easy to fall into this trap. We can quickly recite a long list of things for God to “fix” in our children.

Don’t allow the negative to overshadow the good. There is more good than bad but focusing on the bad prevents you from seeing the blessings that are right in front of you. That strong willed chichitchat gives you so much trouble now will be able to stand up to his/her peers later. So, give thanks! That child who talks non-stop may grow up to be a preacher. So, give thanks! That child who seems to have an argument for everything may stand before courts to argue for religious liberty one day. So, give thanks!  What may seem like a negative trait today may be used by God for His purposes tomorrow. So, give thanks!

When you are tempted to complain, think again. Give thanks instead. You will feel better and your family will also benefit from a more positive you. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord. For His mercy endures forever!”

A Prayer You May Say: Dear Lord, thank you for the special gift you gave me in my child. Thank you for… ( make a list of all of the positive traits you see in your child. Be specific. Take this time to focus on what’s right in them and give thanks to God).

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Let God and Let God

Scripture: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV)

Observation: care—“anxiety? The advantage flowing from humbling ourselves under God’s hand (1 Pe 5:6) is confident reliance on His goodness. Exemption from care goes along with humble submission to God.

careth for you—literally “respecting you.” Care is a burden which faith casts off the man on his God. Compare Ps 22:10; 37:5; 55:22, to which Peter alludes; Lu 12:22, 37; Php 4:6.

careth—not so strong a Greek word as the previous Greek “anxiety.” [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1 Pe 5:7). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]

Application: Do you have those days when the challenges of parenting seem too big to bear?  Every day is not filled with hugs, teddy bears, and cuddles. There are days that are not how we envisioned- screaming, sibling rivalry, grumbling, spilled milk, dirty diapers, doctor appointments and sick kids. And, all of this must somehow fit into an already packed calendar.

Even on those days when you feel that you are dealing with all of the parenting challenges alone, the good news is that you are not alone. Your Heavenly Father walks beside you. He sees the messes made. He hears the crying toddler. He knows the exact number of times that you have had to wipe runny noses, change diapers, and pick up toys left on the stairs. And, through it all, He promises to be with you. Yes, He is with you as you sit in the darkened nursery and try to rock a crying baby to sleep. He waits with you in the emergency room at the hospital while your child is burning with fever.

You do not walk alone. No matter how dark the night or strong the storm, you have a forever companion. As you go throughout the day today, remember the words of our scriptural focus, “He cares for you.” Cast those burdens and cares upon Him. He is willing and able to bear them for you.

A Prayer You May Say: Dear Lord, thank you for co-parenting with me. It is a joy to know that I will not face this day alone. I go forward knowing that You will walk beside me. Thank you for caring for me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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