Living in My Father’s House

Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s House

Luke 2:49 

“Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands? Is the eternal Child in you living in His Father’s house? Is the grace of his ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances?  In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life.

You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him. The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you.”

Oswald Chambers

When we live this way we do not have to struggle to find– our purpose; we walk in it; our ministry, we just do it; our strength, it is His. His fruit is ours, His peace is ours, His strength is ours.  It is in us because we are in Him; abiding, resting, waiting, listening… simply living in His House, living out from His House , living in His Grace.       But we do not do this daily, do we? I take up my own purposes, I build my own kingdom, I live in my own strength, I rebel against His providential circumstances that He sovereignly brings my way. And oh, what problems this brings to me, when I live outside of Him, outside His Word, outside His power.  I must turn from my flesh, my pride, my selfishness, my sin.  I must humble myself and enter His House, abide there, take up residence again in Him, just settle down and make Him my home. In truth He never really left, but I closed myself to His life in me, choosing to go my own way, live in my own house, with my own ideas, in my own strength. And that does not work!    May I simple humble myself to His Love, His goodness, and enjoy Him.  May I walk with Him and live in Him and Jesus promises that out of me will flow living waters….

The Blessings of Proverbs

Our adult children share the benefits of being taught Proverbs…

In my last blog post, I shared the importance of sharing the book of Proverbs with your children.  I recounted how my husband had read through and discussed Proverbs with each of our four children.  He met with them individually one month each year until he or she graduated from High school.  This began after each had become a Christian, so Proverbs was read 8-12 years depending upon their age of salvation.  We found this to be a very fruitful study for them and began to see the Word really take root in their daily lives.

Our four children are all now grown and married with children of their own.  I posed this question to them recently.  “How did reading Proverbs with your Dad over the years affect your lives?” I now will share each of their responses to this question in their own words…

Our oldest, Billy, replied in this way. “It showed me what Godly discipline looked like in watching Dad’s consistency as he read Proverbs every January for years. It revealed Dad’s desire for me to read the Word and apply it to my life. It helped me in my achieved goal of saving myself until marriage for my wife.  And it showed me the need for Godly wisdom in my day to day life.”

Our second son, Timothy, shared these thoughts. “Reading Proverbs so often with Dad was very helpful through my life in teaching me about making wise decisions in every aspect of my life, whether in choosing my friends or my wife and just choices in life in general. It showed me the importance in seeking wisdom from the Lord more than worldly thought or things. Erin, my wife, and I are going through Proverbs right now and I will definitely read it with my four sons as they become older.”

Katy, our oldest daughter, responded this way. ” Proverbs is still my favorite book of the Bible.  I liked being able to ask Daddy questions as we read through the chapters.  That helped me understand it better.  I still often read my Proverb for the day and I will definitely read it with my children.”

Kristen, our youngest, share these thoughts.  “I appreciate it now as an adult that Dad took the time to go through the Word with us consistently each year.  I knew it was coming and that it was important, though I often did not appreciate it as a kid. (Dad was consistent in telling proverbial jokes too. (ex.- the leach has 2 daughters, crying give, give). These times of reading Proverbs helped me come to an understanding of the importance of having wisdom and knowledge in my life as the greater concept. I saw Dad’s spiritual leadership in our family.  He took time to do this . It was a great example to me of a Godly father who wanted to expose me to God’s Word. And it was also a picture that helped me see what kind of husband and father to my children that I would want.”

So whether it is Proverbs or any of the Bible…. teach your children the Word of God and it will not return void but bring fruit when they are old….

My January Memoir

Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.

The past days, as I have cleaned out clutter, reorganized spaces, and rid myself of the seldom used things; I find these hours are much more than utilitarian.  I love January.  I love fresh starts and new beginnings.  I actually love to clean out what has become rubbish and organize my stuff for easy access and streamlined appearances. Call me crazy, but these tasks give me a great deal of pleasure.

Memories flit through my mind as I clean out the “boy’s room”. These boys are now in their 30’s.  A photo, a book, a card takes me to a former time when they ran around my knees, climbed into my lap and generated fun chaos in my now quiet home.  As I perform these practical tasks, my heart moves to the spiritual lessons amidst these activities.  I believe God speaks to us often during our days and we in turn can converse with HIM. (What  a privilege to share thoughts with the Creator of this universe, Who is my Father!)

The first of these lessons is the one of thankfulness that comes forth as I glean the blessings of those days.  I am thankful for who these young men are today and that they were loaned to me to train and love.  I am also reminded that life is not in our stuff. As I discard different items, I hold on to the memories associated with them and store them in my heart. Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.  Did I always know what I was doing as a young mom? No!  Did I do it all right?  NO!  But nevertheless, God used me in those places during those days to teach and develop my sons, (and also me) to become the people He intended us to be.  He was in control all the while and I never was.  Yes, I did have responsibility to help clear out the rubble, to bring some order and discipline to their lives as I now bring to their former room.  But all along God was in control and now at my stage of life, I see His hand and heart guiding me all through  those days.

I pull aside some of the toys, (30 year old Stars Wars figures), books (Hardy Boys and a picture Bible) and a steel drum from a long ago trip.  I will give these to their sons to play with and am reminded that along with these retro toys I can share with this next generation of boys the truth I shared with their dads.  God reaches down through the generations with the same Truth.  May I take time to share these important things with this next set of boys. May I not attempt to “win them over ” with stuff, but invest my love and time and prayers to contribute to their growth spiritually… to invest in the eternal.

So clean out that attic, organize those kitchen cabinets, but search for your own lessons.  Let God speak the miraculous among the mundane.  Listen with a heart of praise and gratitude to a Father who has redeemed you from the chaos and rubble of sin to give you abundant life,  joy unspeakable and His very own peace.  Allow Him to clear and clean out the attics of your wrong thinking, the closets of your fears, and the cabinets of your worries and settle down and abide in the clean, orderly, home of His Heart…

Farsighted Vision in Parenting

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This verse may be familiar to you.  Each part of it could be looked into at length. What does it mean to train?  What is the way he should go?  How old is old?  Today I want us to look at the phrase; “even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  As we look into this verse I want to encourage you as a parent to have long-range plans for your child, to have far sighted vision rather than nearsighted vision. Keep in mind who you want your child to look like when he is 30 years old.  What character do you want him to have then.

This farsighted view will affect how you parent day to day while your child is still young.  If you want him to look more like Christ than the world when he is older, your emphasis in parenting will take on a different mind set.  As parents and families we are in the world, but are not to be of the world.  As we train our child, we are to constantly  be guided by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  He knows our child much better than we do.

There are so many activities to be involved in; sports, music, school, church, clubs. The list is long.  It is good for your child to be involved in a variety of activities, though not so hurried that there is no balance in his life or the life of your family.  Nearsighted vision or short term goals tend to be ones for the next few years. Some may be that your child is a good student, a winning athlete, or an accomplished musician.  These goals sound good but in and of themselves they can become idols in yours and your child’s hearts.

God tells us that whatsoever we do, do it for the glory of God.  All the activities are to be vehicles for life lessons to travel on.  Training comes in the midst of life’s daily activities.  For example, sports is not just about winning, but about discipline, teamwork, losing with grace, not quitting, patience in sitting on the bench, and encouraging others.  God’s Word can be applied over and over to bring out the Godly good, those eternal qualities. And when this is not happening and the activity is more important that the lessons in it, then it will be time to lay it down.

So look further down the road.  What are you building now in your child that will form in him the character of Christ when he is 30 or 40 years old. Is your focus on straight A’s or study skills? Is it on winning at all cost or being an team player?  Very few become star athletes or the top student, but what pleases our Lord is a woman or man with a heart to love and serve Him.  What is your focus???? Keep it sharply in view daily…..

Yet, this I call to mind…

         Do you ever feel like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet?  Seems like life is full of hard things with no change on the horizon?  You may have found yourself in a place you never wanted to be and certainly never asked for.  All around you is discouragement and distress.  Well, take courage!  Just as God spoke to Jeremiah, in the midst of his lament,so He also speaks to you in the place that you are in right now.

         In the center of the book of Lamentations we find the apex of the entire book.  The writer seems to pause and say these very strategic words in verse 21 of chapter 3…

       “Yet this I call to mind and therefore, I have hope!”

         What follows are statements of faith that the writer chooses to remember. He makes a will choice to call Truth to his mind. And just what is it that he calls to mind?

Verse 22– Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail.

Verse 23– They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Verse 24– I say to myself,  the Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for HIM.

Verse 25– The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.

Verse 26– It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

     Did this writer’s situation change? (no, just keep on reading). Did he continue to have difficult days? (yes) So the same may be true of us, but I encourage you (while in the midst of the mayhem) to say… YET THIS I CALL TO MIND…

        Make a will choice to remember God and what is true about His love for you.  Do this whether you feel like it or not. Act on faith and not on sight.  All changes in our difficult place when we remember and believe that God is in the midst of it with us .  He is closer than our very breath.  So, say to yourself these verses, speak. cry, or shout them aloud.  And you will relize God was there all the while… And you will have HOPE.

Let Them Fly

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We, as parents, must do our part in helping our children leave us.  For when they marry they are commanded to “leave mother and father and cleave to each other”.  To what extent and how easily this is done depends much upon us, as their parents.  Have we prepared them to leave us?  Throughout their life with us, have we given opportunity to take steps to leave?

God places children into our care that we might raise them “in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord”.  Even while they are very young, we spend time and effort preparing our children to leave us.  Our goal is that our children might be Godly, responsible, and self sufficient adults who can live without our care and out from under our authority.  Hopefully, when they marry and begin their own unique family unit they can move seamlessly from us to each other.  Will there be adjustments on both sides? Yes, but that is just what must happen.

How can we do this?  We can accomplish this letting go process:

1. When we do not need to be needed by our children..

2.  When we have not made our children the most important “thing” in our lives.

3.  When we wrap our own significance up in their dependence  upon us.

Ask yourself if you consciously or unconsciously do this…

So whether your child is two or twenty, the process of letting go must be implemented.  Initially, the steps are small and gradual but eventually, the final step must be loving and final.  Let go…

You still love, pray for, and encourage your children but you must let go to give them room to establish their own family and home.  Just as the parent birds push their babies out of the nest to spread their wings, let HIS wind catch them, and allow them to fly their own course, we too, as their parents, must extend this final blessing to our children.  So let them go and let them fly!