My 7 Year Olds Devotional Entry


Let me translate my 7 year old’s handwriting. He is responding to the question, “what worries you?” Here is his answer:

Sin worries me. Let Him be inside you. Talk to Him and He will make things right.

Is there anything that can move me more as a dad than to see my son be honest about his own sin and His need for God? Noah is diligent about his devotionals and I am touched often by his honest reflection about God and himself. I am challenged and humbled by my son. I believe one day God is going to use Noah in a powerful way. I pray every day He will not miss what God is calling him too.

We need to pray for our kids to be used by God. We need to provide them with opportunity to grow in God’s word. We need to set the example for them on what it looks like to follow Christ.

I praise God today for my kids and their growing hunger for Christ!
Dax

Simon Says…

I used to love to play “Simon says” as a kid. The leader would ask you to do something and you would do it only if he said “Simon Says” first. If you hopped on one foot because you were told too and Simon didn’t say first then you were out. I loved this game!

Unfortunately there are a lot of Christians doing what “Simon says,” Simon being the loud voice of the world. The scriptures tell us to not conform to this world… to not love this world… to not store our treasures on earth. So many professing Christians look exactly like the world in almost every way. They are spitting images of well mannered, civilized, respectable, non Christians.

When it comes to how they talk, what they watch, what they wear, what music they listen to, what jokes they tell, what they do with their money, what they teach their kids… when it comes to these things and more many, Christians can live exactly like the atheist down the street. If  a reality show of one week of each of their lives aired, you wouldn’t see much difference in their approach to life. Maybe a church service sprinkled in or possibly a prayer before a meal but when it comes to how they live life, pretty much the same.

We are told to not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Here are several practical things you could do each week to live out your faith and not look just like this world.

1) Start your Day Right– When you wake up each morning before you roll out of bed, speak to God and ask Him to keep you humble and needy today. Humble so that you don’t become hard of hearing to His voice and needy so that you recognize your need to depend on him for the day. Start your day with prayer so you remind yourself that you can’t be what you need to be as a worker, friend, spouse, parent, or whatever calling you have for the day.

2) Be Aware of What You Are– Evaluate your thoughts, speech, and actions during the day. Ask this question: Is God being glorified by what I think, say, listen to, and do? How are you being seen by others? If they found out you were Christian would they be surprised? Do they know you love Christ and want to please Him.

3) Lift Them Up– Be a source of encouragement to those you are around. Tell them what you admire about them. When they doing something worthwhile be the first to compliment them. Don’t talk about your accomplishments but be a listening ear to theirs. Let your actions put them first. This even goes for those who annoy you or anger you. Anyone can be nice to those who are nice to you. Jesus loved his enemies and calls us to do the same.

4) Stay Alert– Guard your heart against sin. Do this by hiding the word in your heart so that you might not sin against him (Psalm 119:11). Don’t just give in to any temptation you face. Put up a fight against sin. Train your mind to hate sin like God hates it. So many times Christians don’t even give a thought to their sin during the day. They just give into it so that it is as natural to them as breathing. Resist the devil and he will flee but we have to resist!

5)  Keep the right Perspective–  Fight against duty driven Christianity. Duty driven Christianity is when we do things out of guilt or this misconception that we have to do certain things or God will not be pleased. Instead we need to live as Grace Motivated Christians. His love and mercy and unmerited favor that Jesus gives to me is my inspiration; it motivates me, compels me to live for him, to be like him, to tell others about him. I long to do things that honor God because I love him not because I feel obligated or that I am bargaining with him. I’ll do good things and then maybe he will bless me.

This list is not exhaustive. You could add others but if you took these Big 5 and began to apply them to your life you would be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you will no longer be like this world. Let’s dare to be different, let’s dare to be like Christ.

PARENTING MYTH

Happy family together, parents with their little child at sunset.

 

The way of the parent is often the way of the Cross: the glory and grace and joy in it come at significant cost.

                                                                                                                                                                             ~ Rachel Stone 

What’s easy about parenting?  Nothing.  In all the things I have tried to do in my life, nothing highlights my feelings of inadequacy like parenting.  All I can say is WOW!  Parenting is a constant dispenser of humility.

I have such high expectations for my children.  I want my children to be perfect (just keeping it real), and I want to be the perfect parent.  Not going to happen.  This should not be my expectation.  Reality is, I have sinful children being raised by sinful parents.  Recipe for at least some disaster.

Here is the truth:  parenting is not always fun.  If our goal in parenting is to be happy, then we have the wrong goal.  A better approach is to understand our responsibility as a parent to love them enough to always be honest with them.  They will not always respond this way to our training: ”Oh Daddy Dearest, your compassionate rebuke of me lights my way like stars to the heavens.  What would I do without your constant guidance?”  After I got up off the floor from fainting, I would ask my child what they want and how much is it going to cost me!

Children push our buttons.  Even if they know we are right in what we are teaching them, they are not going to make it easy on us.  Did you make it easy on your parents?  They are going to resist being less selfish just like we do.

There is no such thing as pain-free child rearing.  It involves cost, sacrifice, and pain.  Now by this time you might misunderstand me to be saying I loathe being a parent.  Quite the contrary.  The result of my persevering through feelings of inadequacy, sacrifice, and frustration is not misery.  It actually produces joy.  That’s how it is like the cross.  Parenting comes at significant cost when it’s done right, but the result is joy.  Joy when you see your child responding to another adult with manners.  Joy when you see them put their brother or sister first.  Joy when they remind you how much they really need your support.  Joy when they get excited about God and following Him.

Parenting is not always fun, but it produces great joy in my life.  I love my children fiercely.  I love them too much to let them stay self-centered, defensive, and deceitful.  It’s going to be painful to call it out in them because they are not going to like it.  They will try and make me regret it even if they don’t mean to.  But in the end, I trust God to work and the things I suffered to teach them to leave an imprint. And watching them grow up in a healthy, God-honoring way will bring more joy to my heart than all the gold in Alaska ever could.

You cannot be the type of parent I am talking about without God.  He is crucial for finding joy in parenting.  It is God who teaches us that loving our children means teaching them to live holy.  Just like us, our children are desperate for Christ and His formation in their lives.  That is why our most important purpose in parenting is to help our children see their desperate need for Christ.

Parenting is not easy, but it is an incredible journey of joy when you approach it the right way.