Thursday, October 28, 2010


But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6

When we ask God for something, do we really believe? Or do I doubt?

Want the blatant truth? If you are worried about your children, you are not believing God. If you worry about your spouse, you are not believing God. If you worry about your finances, you are not believing God. And if you worry, you will be blown and tossed like a wave in the wind. Not too comfortable, huh?

"But, I'm in charge of my kids! My husband is out in the world everyday where anything could happen! The numbers don't add up! It's my job to worry. It's my nature to worry. I can't help it."

I've heard these statements numerous times, but they are lies. We do not have to worry. As a matter of fact, worrying (and unfounded fear, which is generally the root of worry) is a sin. Why? Because it's unbelief. Worry means we don't trust God to work things out for the best. It means that if He allows something bad to happen, we don't believe He know better than we do.

I know we're not supposed to worry, because God's word tells us not to. He also tells us that "everything that does not come from faith is sin." {Romans 14:23}

So, how do we have faith about everything? How do we continually believe God to do best when there's so much out of our control.

First, we study, meditate on, and believe God's Word. Fill your mind with His promises. Replace your worry thoughts with scripture.

Second, we ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says that God will give us wisdom, if we ask. We parent according to His guidelines and seek Him for what we dont' know. He may answer directly, or give us resources to help, but He will always answer.

Third, we make sure we're doing our job. I'm not going to worry about my children if they're in my fenced in back yard, but I'm not sending them to cruise around the neighborhood by themselves at their young ages. I'm not going to worry about their safety when they're at a friend's house whose parents I know well, but I'm not going to send them to a house sight unseen and parents unheard from. I'm going to place appropriate boundaries around them, and believe God to protect them from outside harm.

Fourth and Finally, we believe God. He is always faithful and promises never to leave us. If we seek Him, listen to Him, and obey Him He will hold us tightly in His hands. That doesn't mean that everything will be perfect or nothing bad will happen, but that He will be with us and carry us through anything that comes our way.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wisdom for Moms

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

If there were any one verse that offered comfort to moms, this is it. Since we constantly face new challenges and situations that are unique to us, we are in great need of wisdom. The world offers us unlimited information and advice, but it's easy to see that it offers us very little in the way of wisdom.

Parenting books and programs are available in abundance, and being an avid reader and researcher, I've read my fair share. However, very few of them have I found to make a positive impact. There are two reasons for this.

First, many of them are based on a feel-good or sloppy approach to parenting. They are child-centered instead of God-centered. They may have some good recommendations (and usually some bad ones, too), but the premise and philosophy are off base.

How do I know that? Because they're not Biblical. And because I've seen them fail time and time again.

There are also some great books out there for parents. Parenting by the Book, by John Rosemond. Dare to Discipline, by Dr. James Dobson. Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp. So why aren't this more effective?

Because wisdom means putting the good things you learn into practice. And doing what's wise is a lot harder than knowing what's wise. It's hard to discipline children. It hurts a mom's heart to make her child uncomfortable or hurt (even emotionally.) We don't want them to do without (or scream about it for half an hour, or half a minute, for that matter.) But, wisdom knows that paying in the short term is often best for positive long term results.

God offers that wisdom (and limitless parenting advice in His Word) freely. All we need to do is ask. That doesn't mean that we ask and then sit and wait for the answers to fall on us and take effect. It means that we seek Him, read His Word, and obey His instructions. Isn't that what we want our children to do?

He is faithful. And if we ask, He will provide everything we need according to the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being Complete

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

This verse comes on the heals of James telling us to shout with joy when difficulties come (my paraphrase.) None of us wishes to go through difficult times. As a matter of fact, most of us don't like to see someone else go through difficulties.

Right now, I am witnessing great pain and trials in the lives of several people around me. It is painful to watch, but no where near as painful as it is for them to be going through it. These people are on my prayer list, they're on many prayer lists, as well as others who are dealing with illnesses, surgeries, job losses, separations, etc. My tendency, as is I hear with others, is to pray away these trials.

However, James is telling us to pray through them. In 2 Corinthians, Paul gives us a glimpse of a thorn in his life: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (vs. 12:7-9a)

There are four reasons trials come - our own sin, someone else's sin, being a part of a fallen world, and God doing a work in us. Our response, though, should always be the same - to seek Him. Whether we need to receive forgiveness, give forgiveness, or learn a lesson, it will come from Him. Keeping on trusting and believing Him helps us to persevere. The result is that He guides us to a more mature faith and completes in us what is lacking in our natural self. If we look to God and His will in everything, then we will recognize that we have everything we could ever need.