Wednesday, July 24, 2024

When Your Child Doesn't Believe in God

By: Jenifer Metzger

Recently a friend asked me to join her in prayer. Her child informed her that he didn't believe in God. Nothing breaks a mama's heart more than when her child says they don't believe in God. We fear what it means for their life now, and we deeply fear what it means for their eternity.

I have no greater joy than this: to
hear that my children are walking in truth.
3 John 1:4 CSB

I think we can all agree that we greatly desire for our children to walk in truth and to know Truth. So what can we do when our child doesn't believe in God?

What to do when your child doesn't believe in God. #family #parenting #parenthood #motherhood #believeinGod #relationships

Hit your knees! Nothing in this world is more powerful than prayer. Mama, I know you've been praying, but keep on praying. Never stop. Never grow weary of praying for your child. Cover your child in prayer every single day and all throughout the day. Get your anointing oil out and pray over things your child touches. Ask God that your child would feel the power of God as he touches those items. Just pray!

I prayed for this child, and the Lord
has granted me what I asked of Him.
1 Samuel 1:27 CSB

I know this verse in 1 Samuel is about Hannah having asked the Lord for a child. But we are going to shift here and just see that she prayed. Hannah was a praying mama even before her child was in her womb!

Lead by example. Whether we realize it or not, whether we like it or not, our children are watching us. They see everything we do and hear everything we say. One of the biggest ways you can lead your child to Christ is by living for Him in a way that would make your child want to live for Him too.

Not lording it over those entrusted to
you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3 CSB

Pray over outside influences and be careful what and who you allow to influence your child. It is impossible to protect our kids from every little thing. Minus putting them in a bubble and keeping them locked indoors, they will be influenced by the outside world. Pray that God would protect your child from negative and evil influences. Monitor what they watch on tv, read, listen to, friends they hang out with, etc. If you feel it is an influence they do not need, do not be afraid to say no. When they see or hear something that is a negative influence, use it as a teachable moment. Talk to them about it, see how they feel about it, and pray together about it.

But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen
you and guard you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 CSB

Keep communication open. Talk openly and honestly with your kids. Don't just talk at them, but with them. Give your child a chance to voice his opinions and work through them while you listen carefully. Then always go back to the Bible. Always point them to Scripture.

I want their hearts to be encouraged and
joined together in love, so that they may have
all the riches of complete understanding and
have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ.
Colossians 2:2 CSB

Friends, if your child -young, teen, or adult- has walked away from God or doesn't believe in God, don't lose hope. Keep on keeping on. Continue to pray and live for God. Let your child see you living the life God calls us to live. Remember that the Word says to train up a child.

Start a youth out on his way; even when
he grows old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 CSB

If this is where your child is right now, leave a comment or email me. I would love to pray for you and your child.

Discussion:
1. Has your child ever claimed they don't believe in God or maybe they are questioning their belief? What was your reaction?
2. What is another thing you can think of that we should do if our child claims they don't believe in God?





Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Characteristics of a Godly Woman: Part 4

 By: Rebekah Hargraves



Photo Courtesy of: Ben White


"In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered."

~Titus 2:3-5


We have been journeying all month through a study of what Scripture teaches are characteristics of a godly woman. We continue today by looking at three more characteristics: 


  • Patient

I am not the most patient person, let me tell you! But as I grow in the Lord and walk by the Spirit, love is grown in me, which then leads to more patience, for "love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4). To posses the fruit of the Spirit known as patience means to be "constant", "steadfast", and longsuffering, and to practice  "fortitude", "perseverance", and "endurance". This clearly requires much strength, again going back to who we have been called to be in Christ. The strength required to live a patient life comes from Christ's work in us.


  • Kind and Good

Titus 2 tells women to be good, chaste, and sober-minded. Proverbs 31 says that women are to speak truth and wisdom in kindness. Jesus Himself was the epitome of kind and good. Interestingly, the word translated as "kindness" in certain translations of Galatians 5:22 is also translated as  "gentleness" in others. This is noteworthy because, throughout the Word, we are told to combine grace and truth, mercy and truth, love and truth. We are to always speak truth, but always only in love and gentleness.



•Faithful 


Full of faith - the literal meaning of "faithful". The Greek word translated as "faithfulness" in Galatians 5:22 is the same word translated as shield of "faith" in Ephesians 6:16, referring to another part of our God-given armor that we are to use in spiritual battle. This Greek word is used in the New Testament and translated as "faith" over 200 times, the vast majority of which refer to an active rather than a passive faith, an action taken by the person possessing the faith. James 2 continues on this theme by teaching that faith without works is dead. A woman who is full of faith is one who lives out her faith in both the seemingly small and seemingly big moments of life. She is active in her faith, putting it to action as did those included in the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11.





Reflection Questions:


1) What stood out to you the most from what you read today?



2) In what area of your life is the Lord wanting to work?



3) Will you surrender to Him?





Monday, July 22, 2024

Lay Our Lists Aside

 By: Joanne Viola


 

Do you take notes? I admit I am a note-taker. I took notes in school and still take them in Bible Study, and during the sermon, and sometimes during a phone call. A stenopad might be seen on my counter so that it is always handy.

As I prepare for vacation, I began to realize I even keep lists at times. It’s not a “to-do” list but more of a “don’t forget” list.

In the midst of jotting down some vacation notes, I paused to think about two women in the Bible. They were sisters who displayed different qualities. Qualities worth taking note of, and yes, the pun was intended.

I imagine Martha would have been a note-taker and a list-maker. Her home was the place to which Jesus came to eat. She obviously had the gift of hospitality and exercised it well.

There was just one problem. Scripture tells us she was a woman who became distracted by her list.

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations.”
(Luke 10:40a, NASB)

Martha had her thoughts turned away from her guest of honor, Jesus, and became unable to give Him her attention. She was overwhelmed by her list of things which she had yet to do.

Jesus even tells her what her to-do list had actually produced:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things.”
(verse 41, NASB)

Our lists can seemingly grow out of control causing us to not only be distracted, but to also become anxious and worried.

We lose sight of the most important part of life.

Mary, Martha’s sister, also knew what needed to be done. Yet rather than get caught up with all the preparations, she took the time to sit and listen to Jesus as He was teaching.

Jesus commends her for pausing:

“Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part,
which shall not be taken away from her.”

(verse 42, NASB)

 

We need to know when to stop, be still, and listen for the voice of our Lord.
In our busyness, we can miss His still small voice.
Let’s know when to lay our lists aside.

 

 

Reflection:
Are you a note-taker or list-maker? How do you break away from constantly doing the next thing?

 

Image by Borko Manigoda from Pixabay


 

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Complaint Catcher | From Grumbling to Gratitude

 



Let's face it: life throws discomfort our way. We huddle under a blasting AC while simultaneously yearning for a cool breeze. Summer sun turns our living rooms into saunas, and winter wind chills us to the bone. It's easy to get caught in a cycle of complaining – "It's too hot!" "My fingers are numb!" Yet, amidst the grumbling, a tiny voice whispers a truth we often forget: God is still good.


This internal battle recently played out in my own life. Disappointment about the afternoon sun flooded my mind, quickly followed by a pang of guilt. Here I was, complaining about a beautiful apartment I loved with AC, nestled in a world brimming with God's creation. That's when I made a simple prayer, asking Jesus to help me catch my complaints and replace them with thanks.


And wouldn't you know it, He answered! Now, whenever I find myself grumbling about the weather, a gentle nudge reminds me to shift my focus. Rain becomes a life-giving gift, nourishing the earth and replenishing parched gardens. Snow, a peaceful blanket, transforms the landscape into a breathtaking winter wonderland, a reminder of God's ability to quiet the world and bring stillness. This practice of gratefulness isn't about ignoring discomfort; it's about acknowledging God's presence even when things aren't perfect.


Here's the beautiful part: God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He welcomes our complaints, frustrations, and human desire for comfort. The Bible is filled with examples of people expressing their woes to God – from Job lamenting his suffering to Moses voicing the Israelites' grumbling in the desert.


Our complaints don't push God away; they open a door for a deeper connection. He simply wants us to seek Him, to come to Him first. In that space of vulnerability, He reminds us of His goodness, a constant that transcends the temporary inconveniences of life.


Let's Reflect


  • How can you practice catching your complaints and turning them into gratitude?
  • Maybe keep a gratitude journal and jot down even the smallest blessings you encounter throughout the day. This could be anything from a delicious cup of coffee to a phone call with a loved one. By consciously acknowledging these blessings, we train our hearts to focus on the positive.
  • Think of a recent discomfort. Can you find a way to see God's goodness in that situation?
  • Did a challenging experience force you to rely on your faith? Did it bring you closer to loved ones? Sometimes, growth and blessings come disguised in the form of difficulty.
  • What does it mean to you to "seek God first"? How can you incorporate this practice into your daily life?
  • Seeking God first can look different for everyone. It could involve starting your day with prayer or scripture reading. Perhaps it's taking a mindful walk in nature and reflecting on God's creation. The key is to carve out intentional space to connect with Him in your day.

By intentionally cultivating gratitude, we open ourselves to a deeper appreciation for God's blessings, big and small. So, the next time you find yourself grumbling about the weather, take a deep breath and thank God for the beauty of creation in all its seasons. You might be surprised at the peace and joy that washes over you.




Saturday, July 20, 2024

Why Join a Ministry?

 By: Grace Metzger


Someone will save, "You have faith and I have works." Show me
 your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.
James 2:18 CSB

Ministry has always been a big part of my life and my family while growing up. My parents were children’s pastors and my dad was an associate pastor. I began serving in the nursery and toddler class when I was only 10 years old. Every person in my family served in some form of ministry.



As a child, I loved being in ministry. I felt so adult-like being able to serve in my church. But as years went on and I continued to participate in different ways, I found that I lost focus of reason that I even did it in the first place.

Ministry became something that I did just because it was something I’ve always done. I didn’t question participating because I’ve always just worked with my church.

As I got older, I started looking more and more behind the reasons I do things. I think everything we do should have a purpose behind why we do it. So I started asking myself if my reasons for serving in ministry point to God? Am I doing this for God or am I doing this for man?

Is your reason to go and make disciples of all nations? Is your reason to glorify God? Or is your reason to be on stage in front of everyone? Or is it so you can snuggle baby rather than listen to a sermon?

I think that’s a very hard question for people to ask themselves, but it’s an important one. You need to know why you’re doing it. Every ministry is a chance to grow closer to God and share the Gospel of Jesus.

You might ask how does scrubbing in the bathroom or running a church coffee house point anyone closer to God, but all ministries are vital to the church. Every ministry matters. You can pray over the church as you mop the floors, you can be the first smile someone sees as they fill their coffee cup, you can care for a child so the parents are able to worship without distraction. Every ministry matters.

Ministry is incredibly important. I’ve always encouraged anyone who is interested in joining a ministry to join one. We are called to serve and when we do, we are obeying. And when we obey, we grow closer to God.

Ministry can be hard. Sometimes listening to a child cry while you’re trying to teach him about the Bible or children running around while you’re trying to begin a craft isn’t easy, but if you delight in the Lord, you will see and feel so much joy and helping out your church will become a joyful experience.

Whether you already serve in ministry or you are ready to begin, ask yourself, am I doing this for God or am I doing this for man? Once you learned to turn your attention towards God rather than towards man, you’ll find a new joy in ministry. 

Discussion Questions: 

1.) What ministry are you currently in?

2.) Is there a specific ministry that God's been putting on your heart?