Day 21: Finding Favor

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:  bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart; so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”  – Proverbs 3:3-4

Said differently…Don’t let mercy and truth abandon you, rather, hold them close and take them to heart.  Honor God and His favor shall be yours.

In Day 19, we considered the definition of “honor” – that is, to celebrate and recognize; to fulfill an obligation.  “…to honor God is, perhaps, to celebrate and recognize Him openly and proudly, while keeping our obligation to adhere to His commandments.

Note that “love” and “favor” are two different things.  God always loves us and always stands ready for us, yet His favor is granted when we pursue and honor Him.

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about how favor can increase in their life through honoring God and those in authority around them.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your favor.  I ask that your favor will continue to increase in my life and the life of my daughter, causing us to have great opportunities with you and mankind.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts:  We need to teach our children how to honor God.  A few suggested examples and topics for discussion:  prayer, worship, tithing, giving of time and talents, testimony, and allowing God into our heart.

Next time, we will consider the importance of wisdom.

Have an amazing day!   And…

Keep it Lit,

T.

 

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Day 20: Unconditional Love

Andy Stanley explains Jesus’ love for us this way:  “If you want to know what He meant when He said: ‘Love one another,’ watch how He loved.”  Amen.

“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” – Proverbs 10:22

True blessings and riches come to us from the Lord and are without strings or conditions.  God acknowledges our sin – and expects our sin – yet He loves us, awaits us, and longs for a relationship with us.

And yet, He is not above looking down on us, rather, He meets us where we are.

God’s love is perfect and kind – there is no hazing or demand for reciprocation, though He longs for us to open our hearts to Him.

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about what it means to be blessed by God.  Share how God’s blessings come with “no strings attached” and no sorrow.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your love, favor, and blessings.  Thank you for overwhelming me ad my family with your provision.  We are blessed beyond measure and give all glory to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts:  View and discuss this short video with your family.  How does Jesus’ love differ from that of the love and “love” that others express for us?   Consider Days 2 and 3.

Our next challenge will focus on Proverbs 3:3-4.  Until then…

Keep it Lit.

T.

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Day 19: Honor Beats Evil

In Day 2, we talked about confronting fear and finding comfort through faith and trust in the Lord.

“But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall be quiet from fear of evil.”  – Proverbs 1:33

Said simply, s/he who turns to God and keeps His commandments will find peace and safety from evil.  In my mind’s eye, it’s like a spiritual edition of “Rock-Paper-Scissors” yet, in this “game” of life, Honor beats Evil every time.

M46 Project Challenge:  Talk to your children about how God can protect them from evil if they honor God.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving protection.  Thank you for your promise that my child will be quiet from the fear of evil.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts:  To honor means to celebrate and recognize; as well, it means to fulfill an obligation.  And so, to honor God is, perhaps, to celebrate and recognize Him openly and proudly, while keeping our obligation to adhere to His commandments.   Do we talk with our children enough about the importance of the commandments and the veil of protection from evil that is found in our demonstrated commitment to Him?

Enjoy the weekend ahead!  When we come back here, we will get into Proverbs 10:22.  See you then.

Keep it Lit,

T.

 

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Day 18: Going with Good

On Day 13, we explored “Choosing Friends Wisely”, while we dug into “Right, Not Wrong” two days later.

In Proverbs 4:13-14, we are taught “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go:   keep her; for she is thy life.  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.”

“Take fast hold” speaks to our need to actively teach our children to recognize good versus bad – and, where “bad” sometimes equates to “evil.”   “Take fast hold” is to intervene.

“…let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life” is an emphatic instruction that sets clear boundaries and demands when applied to the parent:child relationship.  “She is thy life” – to me, this so accurately characterizes the precious gift of a child and our purpose as parents.

And the last part could not be more clear.  Simply, we are told that we are not to follow the wicked or associate with evil.  Period.

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about how to discern good versus bad people.  And the dangers of hanging out with the wrong crowd.”

We cannot be overly conservative or filtered in our conversations with our children about good versus evil.  Nor should we be too protectively measured in our discussion of the consequences of going with the wrong crowd.  Be specific.  Be consistent.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help my child to make wise decisions with her friends, and who she associates with.  Help her not to go into a path of evil.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts:  How many examples of bad people and the dangers of the wrong crowd can you find in the news and in social media?  And how many examples of good?  For one day, count them – and select those 2-3 examples that can be used to reinforce the importance of making good choices.  And consider those of your own examples, your own personal experiences, your own poor choices, and your own lessons learned – and share them.

Next, we will spend a bit of time contemplating Proverbs 1:33.  Until then…

Keep it Lit,

T.

 

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Day 17: Peace

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

“Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.” – Proverbs 3:30

There’s enough conflict in this world, without our creating any unnecessarily.  We must teach our children not to pick fights or provoke conflict, particularly with those who have not done anything to deserve such.

In today’s social media world, it’s far too easy to lob harsh and critical commentary from behind a keyboard and without personal interaction.  We seem to have traded discussion, interaction, and debate for self-focused “tweeting” and “posting” – all while insulated from the view of our commentary upon impact.  Yet, words still hurt – and are now often conveyed among far broader audiences, left to variable interpretation, and absent value for relationships and resolution.

Perhaps we have become too quick to equate disagreement with offense – many easily offended by many, just as thin skin contributes to easier bruising.

And so, teach to seek understanding, clarity, resolution, and compromise; teach not to seek conflict or battle.  Teach discussion.  Teach listening.  And, for those who choose to “communicate” digitally, teach that “tweets” and “posts” are forever.

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about the importance of not picking a fight with someone.  It’s never good to talk about someone, or pick a fight with someone who has done nothing to you.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me and my daughter to walk in your righteousness by doing the right thing.  Not only you, but to those around us as well.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts:  Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 4:29

Keep it Lit,

T.

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Day 16: Consequences

On Day 9, we talked about obedience.  Specifically, we noted that obedience is an act of compliance and submission out of respect for authority – a demonstration of our love and commitment to Him, for which scripture teaches that He will respond with blessing and favor.

And so, what if we aren’t obedient?  “Consequences.”

Consequences are the effect or result of action.  Or, with regard to disobedience, perhaps the effect or result of inaction with respect to specific instruction or established expectations.

“He is the way and the life that keepeth instruction; but he that refuseth reproof errath.”    –  Proverbs 10:17

This passage is teaching that he who follows His instruction is on the path to life, yet he who is disobedient faces the consequences of a path that leads astray (see ESV).

It is important to teach our children that disobedience brings consequences – whether disregarding the instructions of authority figures such as parents, teachers, and coaches, or disobeying Him.  Equally or perhaps more important, our teaching must be met with consistency in that, when our children do disobey, appropriate consequences are applied.

To demonstrate anything less as parents is to fail to prepare them for what awaits them in the “real world.”  Further, it is to fail to teach them that obedience to Him is the very demonstration of love for Him (1 John 5:3).  As we teach them to turn to Him when facing peer pressure (Day 8), to look to Him to guard their heart (Day 7), and to place their fears at His feet (Day 2), it is imperative that we reinforce the importance of obeying His word and will for them – and that there are consequences for disobedience.

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about the consequences of not following instruction.  Remind them that the reason why you give them instruction is to help them be successful in life.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help my child to stay in the way of life.  I ask that she always receive your blessings because she keeps your instruction all the days of her life.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Thoughts:  Revisit Days 5 and 9, as well as Exodus 20.  How often do we reacquaint ourselves with the commandments expected of each of us?  In the context of Modeling & Leading (Day 6), do we “Correct with Purpose” (Day 5) – not only with regard to our children’s disobedience, but also our own?

Until tomorrow…

Keep it Lit,

T.

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Day 15: Right, Not Wrong

“Be not wise in thine own eyes:  fear the Lord, and depart from evil.  It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”  Proverbs 3:7-8

M46 Challenge:  Talk to your children about always doing the right thing.  Sometimes the best decision is to walk away, and not be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Share a story of your experience and always do the right thing.

Tolstoy said, “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”  Indeed.

As we explored in our discussion of peer pressure, we know that our children will be tempted and challenged in their own beliefs.  But we must reinforce to them that He is always with them and will be their source of strength when they stand firm for what they know is right and true.

Likewise, we must teach them that poor choices have consequences – perhaps even penalties.  And, even if the majority are sharing in the poor decision, as Tolstoy described, those penalties will still apply.  There is no exemption or mercy for “following the crowd.”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help my daughter to be able to leave bad situations and stay under your arc of safety.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Thoughts:  Have we taught (and demonstrated) that the best strategy to select “right” and the best weapon against “wrong” is prayer?  Do our children feel comfortable (and welcome!) calling for advice and/or extrication when faced with a situation where they know they are surrounded by “wrong”?   See Days 8, 9, 13, and 5.

Next time, we’ll consider the topic of consequences.  Until then, be well and be blessed.

Keep it Lit,

T.

 

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