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More Devotions for Busy Moms
Because Every Mom Needs a Quiet Time with Jesus
In the 21st Century, it's become even more difficult for mothers to find time to develop their relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to know Him more, but with 40 hours of work each week, helping with homework, transporting children to lessons and sporting events, making sure everyone has clean underwear and attempting to get a bit of sleep, it's very difficult. I pray that these short readings will help you as you go through your busy week.
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How to Raise A King
2 Kings 22:1-2
2 Kings 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath.  He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
Perhaps you're wondering how these couple of verses can help you in your walk with Christ and as a Christian mother attempting to raise Godly children. On their own, they may have very little value, but when you realize that very few of the kings of Judah and not one of the kings of Israel were ever described this way, it may cause you to try to discover the inspiration behind King Josiah's righteous life.
Every time I read through the Old Testament and see again how men of God managed to bring children into this world who seem to have no knowledge of our heavenly Father, I am amazed. How can a person of extreme faith raise children who are so evil? Adam had Cain and then only 2 generations after Adam died the entire world had to be destroyed to rid it of evil. Eli, the priest in Samuel's time, had two sons who died because of their evil ways and Samuel himself caused the nation of Israel to cry for a king because his sons were so bad.
There were no "righteous" kings in Israel after Solomon and it would appear as though Solomon was David's only Godly son. The rulers of Judah who were followers of God were few, but as I read I began to notice most had one thing in common. Much like Josiah, the kings of Judah who were good, righteous and worthy kings had mothers with Hebrew names.
The godly fathers either didn't take time for their children or left the religious instruction up to the mothers. We don't really know for sure what happened. But we can assume that the Hebrew women who loved God made an historical difference in the lives of their royal children.
There are no guarantees in this life with regard to the outcome of our children's faith. However, these kings as well as countless other Christian families I've watched throughout the years have shown me one thing. Families who live out the Christian faith, mothers who teach their children by their actions how to love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul and mind, seem to produce offspring who grow up to be men and women of God.
I've watched church families, including clergy, teach their children the "rules" of the faith and I've witnessed those who lived and breathed life in Jesus. Nearly 100% of children raised in the latter of these two family types find Christ and live in the light of God's grace. They do "what is right in the eyes of the Lord and walk in his ways." And I believe that much like Josiah, these children were influenced by their mothers (and probably their fathers too), mothers who know and love Jesus Christ and teach their children what is most important, mothers who understand they are raising royalty, kings and queens in the Kingdom of God.
A book with more than 40 devotions. Yep, real pages that you can touch and hold and share with your friends!
Mark the Day
As you read these verses, you might wonder what they have to do with your Christian walk today and how you can learn anything about raising children from them. But these few verses are just a taste of a theme that recurs throughout scripture. From rainbows, tassels, stones, bread and wine, to the Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Tabernacles, Pentecost and even the Sabbath, these are just the beginning of the ways God told His people to remember.
God knew that the days would get tough, the world would forget He saved them from a flood, so He sent a rainbow to be a reminder of His love and his promise to never destroy the earth by water again. He realized that in our humanness, living the drudgery of the day to day, it would be easy to forget to celebrate His goodness, so He gave His people Feasts and Festivals.
The Jewish people have added Purim, Rosh Hashana and Hanukkah to remind them of the times God has blessed them. Christians have set aside Christmas, Easter, Lent and Advent as places on the calendar to stop and celebrate the awesome works of our Father in Heaven.
What about your life? What days do you have to help you remember the good times? When life becomes overwhelming, what symbol do you cherish that gives you hope and takes your thoughts to a happier more blessed day?
On those days when your children are driving you nuts, how might your outlook change if on the date of their birth each month you set aside time to remember what it was like to hold that baby for the very first time? Would your relationship with your spouse change if on the monthly recurrence of your husband's birthdate you chose to spend the day thanking God for him?
What about the symbols that are a part of your daily routine? When you look at your wedding ring, are you reminded of the devotion you felt on that day you received this token of a promise of forever? Do the pictures on your refrigerator remind you that the one who just spilled grape juice on the white carpet loves you more than you can imagine? Every moment of your day can include these symbols and signs to help you put life in perspective and help you remember there's much that is good even when life is rocky.
God set in motion many days for remembrance. He set the standard for symbols to remind us of His goodness. Each piece of jewelry, every day that passes by can be an opportunity to remember the goodness of God, the beauty of His creation and the gift that He's given you in your children and spouse. So, go ahead, mark the day. When today can't be a "day to remember," make today the day you remember!
How Many Days Each Week . . .
How Many Days a Week do You Get to Have a Quiet Time with Jesus?
Perhaps you've heard the story of Paul, the first time grandfather. His son, John, gave him the gift of his first grandson when he was in his late 40's. Everyone was so proud and excited. The poor baby, however, had a bit of trouble in his first few months. Nothing serious, but he was up every night with colic and somehow managed to get his days and nights mixed up for a while.
After several months, John was at his wits end. For an entire week, John and his wife had been taking turns getting up with this screaming baby. And not just once a night, it seemed as though he never slept. One night, or early morning, depending on how you look at it, out of desperation, John called his father. It was about 2 a.m. when Paul heard the phone ring. Of course his first thought was it must be an emergency. He leaped for the phone, and there on the other end was his son.
"Hi, Dad," John began. "It's been three months, how long before he doesn't wake us up in the middle of the night anymore?"
Paul's immediate reply, "I don't know. I'll let you know when I find out."
This morning, my day got a late start. Why is that? Because one of my girls called. We hung up and in a few minutes she called back. One more phone call and 45 minutes later I was finally one my way to get started with my day. It's OK because today is my "day off," and no one cares how quickly I get started.
I smiled and thought back to the days when I naively believed that eventually my schedule would be my own. It caused me to wish I'd paid more attention to these few verses in Matthew when my children were little.
Back then I used to think, "One day I'll have some time for myself." I kept looking for "someday" instead of enjoying the day that was there in front of me.
I think when Jesus says, "don't worry about tomorrow," He also means don't wish away today.
It seems rough. Keeping up with the schedules, enduring the interruptions, planning and then changing plans, all of it can be quite tiring.
But there is a bigger picture. "Seek first the Kingdom of God . . ." We look for peace and sanity in the future, "someday." However, the scheduling, the interruptions, the plans that change will never cease as long as there are other people in our lives that we love. Peace and sanity come from focusing on the "Kingdom." They are found when we learn the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 lesson, "pray continually."
After 29 years of being a mother, I've finally learned to enjoy the "interruptions." Because I endured them when I felt I didn't have time, I now get phone calls in wonderful, but sometimes inconvenient times of the day. I'm delighted that they call me first and want their dad and I to know what's going on in their life. I feel privileged that they think my advice is generally worth their time to hear and sometimes wise enough to follow.
I know it's difficult when you can't sleep a full night and you never get to cook a meal without stopping to see, hear or clean something. It's frustrating to make a phone call only have to rescue the dog from the doll's dress. Sometimes we want to scream when we sit down just to have a few moments of silence, to read a book or watch a bit of television and our lap is immediately bombarded with books, toys or a small child.
But as Paul can attest (and me too), the interruptions will never stop. It will go from screams to injuries, the need for quality time to the phone ringing off the hook. And if they've learned that you care, when they finally leave, there will still be interruptions, welcome, beautiful, wonderful interruptions.
Until the interruptions reach the "enjoyable" stage, try not to worry if everything doesn't get done quite right. Let your only concern be spending time with God and "Seeking first HIS kingdom." Go ahead, spend all day "interrupting" your heavenly Father. He enjoys the distraction.
Another Lesson I Learned from my Dog
True Freedom ~ John 8:36
I learn so many lessons about my relationship with God and life from my kids and my dog. Yesterday I let my dog out the back door and went in the kitchen to clean for a moment. About hour later I remembered I let her out. At first I couldn't find her. Then I looked out front and there she was, lying in the front yard just waiting for me to let her in. Almost the moment I opened the door she ran up the steps. I realize all dogs aren't like her. Many will run off at the first opportunity, but our little dog learned very young what the boundaries are.
Paul shared an awesome truth in 1 Corinthians. There are two separate places (6:12 & 10:23) where Paul acknowledged that "Everything is permissible." Because of the freedom he had in Christ, there were no limits to what he could do. However, in both verses, he completed the quote by saying, "Not everything is beneficial" and "No everything is constructive." Paul learned early that just because Christ set him free didn't mean that he could do anything he pleased. He understood that life has boundaries, not because God is mean or doesn't want us to have fun, but because limits are good for us, they are beneficial and constructive.
Holly could have left the yard because I forgot she was out there, but she has learned to trust the boundaries we set for her. For years we instructed her to stay in her yard, and now she does so without being told. This little dog is wiser than we humans sometimes. She understands that our rules are only there to protect her, to give her the safest and best life possible. On the other hand, we often think we know better than God and try to operate outside the boundaries our loving Father has set for us.
As we begin to grasp Paul's lesson of the difference between permissible and beneficial, one of the greatest things we can do is pass this lesson on to our children. It's exceedingly important that we always discipline our children the same way that our Father disciplines us, out of love. When our discipline is motivated out of love rather than anger or the need to be "in charge," our children will begin to understand, much like my puppy, that we only want what's best for them. They will learn to trust our "rules" and want to follow them. They will come to know they have the freedom to break them, but they will have the wisdom to want to do what's "constructive" and "beneficial."
And finally, we must remember that our children learn more from our actions than our words. If we begrudgingly live like the rules bind us and keep us from being free, if we feel like we can't have fun living within the guidelines of our Christian faith, our children may decide the faith is too hard or not worth it, and become rebellious as they grow.
On the other hand, as they see us trusting God and living within His boundaries without complaining, as we live out the attitude that Christ's limits are good for us, "beneficial," and keep us safe and happy, there's a good chance our kids will believe these verses, they'll be anxious to follow them. They'll very likely grow to be like my puppy, quite content to stay within the boundaries, ready to enjoy living in the love and freedom of Jesus Christ!
Helping Your Children Find their Gifts
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Gifts of the Spirit . . . for some strange reason, this is a topic a lot of people are hesitant to talk about. Everyone WANTS gifts of the Spirit, but when confronted with what we think our gift might be, we often get very quiet.
One question almost everyone has is this, "What is the difference between talents and gifts?" As you study and grow, you'll find a lot of answers to this dilemma, but here, for what it's worth, is my opinion. Gifts are listed in scripture and are pretty specific. You'll find them in these verses as well as chapter 14 and Romans 12. Depending on one's interpretation of scripture, there are 21-28 gifts mentioned that one might develop. They include: Pastor, Prophet, Teacher, Encourager, Exhorter, Discernment, Evangelism, Service, Giving, Leadership, Helps, Wisdom, Faith, Mercy, Intercession, Tongues, Healing and Miracles.
Talents are abilities that fall outside the "gifts" list. Talents can generally be developed by practice and repetition, for instance, musical abilities, crafting, carpentry, any of the arts, mechanical abilities and more. While a few of the gifts can be better developed through practice, like teaching, leadership and knowledge, most seem to be enhanced more through prayer and growing closer to Christ than through any human means.
But what does this have to do with us as mothers? First of all, to be the very best we can be in Christ, including the best mother we can be, it's vital to figure out our Spiritual gifts. If we don't know what our Spiritual Gifts are, we can't use them to build God's Kingdom. And if we're working outside our gifts, we're liable to get frustrated and feel like we don't have any special abilities or gifts from God.
Second, if we aren't confident we have supernatural gifts from our Creator, why would our children believe they do? We want our children to grow up being the very best they can be in Christ. The earlier they discover some of their Spiritual Gifts, the better they'll be able to serve and the more direction they'll have in their lives.
Summer is a great time to help your kids explore their gifts as well as their talents. Looking back, I think I tended to encourage my girls to try things that I was most comfortable with; however, I think if I'd given them more opportunities to try new things, they may have truly discovered where they can best serve Christ.
Encourage your children to read the Bible and pray, the best way to do this is to read and pray with them. Get books out of the library that cover all sorts of interests (non-fiction or fiction) and have them share with you the most interesting things they read. Allow the kids to interact with other children as well as adults so they can learn how to develop relationships and help one another. Instigate a Saturday night sleep over so they can bring friends to church and practice their evangelism skills. Do something with them outside your comfort zone. Be creative. Remember that every experience is a time of learning.
Finally, but most important, use this Summer to identify YOUR spiritual gifts. Take a couple of inventories if you like (they are all over the internet). Volunteer to do something inside the church you've never done before. Tell the ministry leader it's just for a week or two, but just do it! The more your practice the different gifts, the easier it is to determine if the gift really is your special gift or you're just caught up in the moment and the gift you thought you had wasn't yours at all. By teaching for just one Sunday or doing mid-week acts of service, you'll gradually be able to determine which gifts you have.
Come on! You can do it!!! I encourage you to take a weekend soon and work on finding your Spiritual Gifts. If you're honest with yourself and Christ, you'll be glad you did it!
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know!
This week as I was considering which scripture to share with you this week, I prayed and thought and decided that this would be a good week to remind you how much God cares for you. Often as parents get caught up in helping with homework, running to practice, lessons and games and often work at least 40 hours a week, it's easy to feel unloved and forget just how precious we are to God. So take a moment and read this poem that King David wrote thousands of years ago and remember that it is still very true today. (because of copyright I am only including a portion of this Psalm here. I encourage you to get a Bible or go to BibleGateway.com and read the entire Psalm.)
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
7Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (NIV)
Sometimes we forget that God is with us every moment of the day. The Almighty knows every move we make and knows our thoughts and hearts. There are days when God seems very far away; however, David knew that even if we tried to get away from our Creator, it would be impossible. On those days when you feel insignificant and it seems you can't do anything right, let these verses remind you that you have been created, especially knit together and wonderfully made by a loving Father.
You are important to the King of the Universe, special to the Prince of peace. You are more valuable than the birds of the air and more beautiful than the flowers in the field. The Bible tells us that God made us "just a little lower than the angels." It reminds us over and over again that our loving Lord is always watching us, waiting patiently for us to turn to Him in every instance so He can take control.
You deserve to know that God loves you! You are never alone! You are a precious daughter of the King of Kings . . . so go out today and live like a Princess!
It's Your Time to Shine
This section is just for you. I get to write on the rest of the entire page, so here's your chance. Add an idea for another devotion, your questions or comments (if you leave comments, check the box to receive responses and leave your e-mail address), or just leave some words of encouragement. Can't wait to hear from you!
© 2010 Lynne Modranski