Can you believe it’s time for Thanksgiving and this school year is almost halfway over? Christmas is next month! Where has the time gone? Better yet, with all my running around, what do I have to show for it? Why do we always seem to have such crazy schedules?
Let’s talk about my kids…One is in second grade. One is in kindergarten. One is taking dance class, one just started piano lessons. That’s just the kids. And this doesn’t count the church events on our calendar, doctor’s appointments, et c. That’s right–sometimes I just want to grab a Kit Kat and scream, “GIVE ME A BREAK!” Not really. I’d rather have a Reese’s. 😉
When school starts, much more comes along with it. Sports, clubs, extracurricular activities, etc. Then the holidays hit. It’s easy for our lives to become overwhelmed and chaotic. I’m a little stressed out just thinking about all of it! But sometimes in the midst of the madness, I have to sit back and take a deep breath. I have to remember that God blessed me with my two beautiful girls. He has entrusted them into my care. It is important that I do my best to keep my focus on Him. First and foremost, before dance and birthday parties and holiday dinners and everything else, it is my job to point them to God. If I don’t make time for Him in my life, I can’t expect my girls to make time for God in their lives. If I don’t read and study my Bible, I can’t expect Naomi and Adah to memorize their memory verses.
We can’t let our crazy schedules dictate our relationships with God. And we can’t use our crazy schedules as an excuse to slack in our parenting. Yes, things may become overwhelming and chaotic, but if we keep God first then we can be assured that He has everything under control.
I think Darlene from Time-Warp Wife sums it best:
Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Nahum 1:15 KJV
Chaos. Mayhem. Murder. Evil. Protests. Uproar. Hate. Violence. Terror. Hurt. Pain. Trust. Hope.
Oh, sorry. I may have just confused you. Don’t worry, I completely realize that the last two words do not fit in with the first eleven. But that’s where the good news comes in!
Even though we are surrounded with wickedness, we are able to look to the one who publishes peace. Despite all of the evil on this earth, we can rest assured that it will not last. Keep your hope and trust in Jesus! In Him we’ll always find good news and peace!
When it comes to Christmas shopping, I’ve noticed quite a bit of women in a frenzy trying to secure the latest craze for their loved ones. Gifts have become overrated, over the top, and beyond my price range! It’s all about the latest technology, the newest toys/gadgets, and expensive clothes that will go out of style by next year.
I’ve never been one to understand going into debt over things that are too quickly cast aside- especially since we’ve seemed to have forgotten the greatest gift of all time…..the one that didn’t come wrapped in sparkly paper with a giant glittery bow, but in swaddling clothes…..the one that is the true purpose for the Christmas season- Jesus!
Presents are no longer meaningful. And along with everything else in the world these days, they can distract us from our relationship with God. So instead of buying electronics and apps that will consume their time or toys that won’t last, let’s get our daughters gifts that will guide them to a closer walk with the Lord. Instead of swiping your credit card for whatever gifts are all the rage, look for items that will help your daughter seek His presence.
Whether your daughter (daughter/niece/cousin/best friend/student/etc.) is a youngster, a preteen, or heading off to college, these inexpensive gifts are the perfect options to point them to a personal relationship with the star of Christmas Himself and will even last well beyond December!
Music is everywhere and it is feeding our minds, sometimes without us even realizing it. Why not buy a cd for your daughter that will influence her in a positive way? My suggestions would be something like Francesca Battistelli’s latest album entitled If We’re Honest or Barlow Girl’s Never Alone album.
I have only heard two songs from Francesca’s latest cd, but I quickly fell in love with them both. “Write Your Story” and “He Knows My Name” have awesome lyrics that will build her confidence as a child of God. And if the rest of the cd is anything like those two songs or anything else Francesca has done, I know it’ll be wonderful!
Barlow Girl’s Never Alone album is a little older, but I remember when I first listened to this cd. My exact thoughts were, “Every young/teenage girl needs this cd!” With songs like “Average Girl,” “Mirror,” and “Clothes,” this cd will encourage your daughter to love who God created her to be and trust in His plans for her life.
A journal is an excellent choice and can be used in several ways. She can write her thoughts, prayers, favorite scriptures, et c. You might even start it for her by writing some encouraging quotes and scriptures or with a special note. I thank my seven year old for giving me this idea when she asked for one for Christmas to write prayers in. Journals come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Be sure to choose one specific to her uniqueness.
Brands like Kerusso and Cherished Girl offer t-shirts with adorable designs and scriptures for all ages. You can also find jewelry with scriptures or uplifting words. Offer the gift along with this challenge: Don’t just wear it- live it!
Anyone can wear a Christian t-shirt. Encourage your daughter to walk the walk and use this gift as a reminder that she is a daughter of the King.
Like journals, you will have a variety to choose from, once again for all ages. Dayspring offers a line of Daybrighteners that can be used from year to year and the designs are endless. With a daily devotional calendar, she will be able to start each day in the word.
A couple of years ago, my husband bought me the Jesus Calling by Sarah Young daybrightener. I keep it beside my bed with my Bible. Every morning I flip the page, read the short devotion, and then look up the scriptures that go along with it. There’s nothing like getting in the word first thing!
Have you seen the different Bibles available? There are children’s Bibles, teen Bibles, Bibles specifically for women or girls, Bibles specifically for cancer survivors, the list goes on. I love my KJV Bible that is chocolate brown and pink. What girl wouldn’t? 😉 Out of all the gifts that may engage the light and love of Jesus in your daughter’s life, the Bible is the most essential. No matter how old she is, she needs her own copy of life’s handbook.
Along with the Bible, you may add accessories such as the following: Bible cover, colorful pens/highlighters, notepad, sticky notes, and/or bookmarks. No Bible is complete without favorite or key scriptures highlighted or notes in the margin, right? I know if you were to flip through my Bibles, you might be able to read the story of my life in between the lines. With these Bible accessories, she can make her Bible her own.
All of these gifts can be found at your local Christian bookstores and gift shops. You’ve heard from me, now I want to hear from you! What items would you add to this list?
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
When it comes to memory verses, this one has always been a favorite, so I was more than excited for my girls to learn it. I remember being a little girl, around 5 years old, and going to my grandmother’s church. They had missionettes and I got to be in the Daisies class with Sis. Barbie. She taught me this verse and I have never forgotten it. In fact, I can never read or hear this verse without seeing myself sitting across from her at the moon-shaped table in that little Sunday school room. If I think back as far as I can remember, this particular verse is the first one I ever memorized! That’s why it is a favorite of mine and I’m thrilled to share it with my children.
When we discussed this verse, I used a really simple demonstration to show my girls what being the light means. For this demonstration, all you need are 2 things: a flashlight to represent yourself, and the battery to represent Jesus (make sure the battery isn’t in the flashlight until you are ready).
1. Everyone knows a flashlight has one purpose. The purpose it was created for is to shine light in the darkness.
2. (Turn the lights out for this part) Now that the room is dark, we’re going to turn on this flashlight so that the light will shine and we can see. (The flashlight obviously will not work because the battery is not in it.)
3. It looks like our flashlight isn’t working! Maybe if we put this battery in it will help. (Put the battery in the flashlight and turn it on. This time it will work.) It seems our flashlight will only work if the battery is inside. Without the battery, it cannot fulfill it’s purpose.
Did you know, just like that flashlight, our purpose is to shine a light in the darkness? That’s what this verse is all about. God created us to shine His light to all men so that He can be glorified. And just like that flashlight, we will never do what we were created to do unless we have a battery. For us, that battery is Jesus, who lives in our hearts if we have accepted Him as our Savior. If Jesus doesn’t live in our hearts, our light will not shine. Even thought the flashlight looked like it was ready to work, it just couldn’t until the battery was inside. We can’t just look the part. We actually have to have Jesus in our hearts in order to represent Him and shine His light. When we have our “battery” in place, we can light up the darkness all around us, just like we were created to!
The following song is a great tool to help your little ones with memorization. Naomi and Adah love this song and can’t help but dance and worship to it!
Let Your Light Shine
Now what about you and your little ones? Are your batteries in place? Fulfill your purpose and overtake the darkness with the bright light of God!
It’s such a blissful feeling to know that I do not have to surrender to stress.
I do not have to surrender to worry.
I do not have to surrender to depression.
I do not have to surrender to uncertainty.
I do not have to surrender to anxiety.
I do not have to surrender to pain.
I do not have to surrender to doubt.
I do not have to surrender to fear.
I do not have to surrender to heartache.
I do not have to surrender to anguish.
I do not have to surrender to grief.
Whenever my flesh begins to give in to the old surrender, I quickly begin to counteract with God’s word. Sometimes I’ll go a step further and write some of those promises in my prayer journal when I’m struggling. Instead of focusing on those ugly words like stress and doubt that could easily overwhelm me, I focus on the promises of God’s word. He gave us the ability to use His word as a weapon to defeat the enemy and his bullets of grief, fear, et c.
I am thankful that I have surrendered my life to God!
If you have not surrendered to the Lord and want to know how to have the peace of His promises that I’m talking about, please contact us here at Sticky Hands! We’d love to help you find the joy of surrender!
This is your prayer journal. It can be however you want it to be. It can include whatever you want to include in it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be prayer requests or prayers at all times. It can be plain. It can be fancy. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s YOURS.
Keeping a prayer journal is simply a way of putting what’s in your heart on paper. Don’t try to use flowery words to make it sound dignified or professional. You’re not publishing a novel. You’re expressing your soul.
A prayer journal isn’t about drama. It’s something between you and God and anyone else with whom you choose to share it. It isn’t a place for you to rant about this person or that person or this situation or that situation.If you do this, you’ll eventually get through that season or over that situation, and when you look back on the drama instead of the prayer….you’ll cringe. By all means, write your heart and how you feel. However, you don’t want your words to be demeaning. Even if no else ever sees them besides you and God. Trust me.
If you haven’t written anything in a month, don’t worry about it. It’s not about daily writing or even weekly writing. I started mine in a regular single subject notebook over a year ago and I’ve only used half of the notebook. You write in it whenever you feel led to write in it. If this is only once every 6 months, good for you! As I said earlier, there are no rules.
I started my journal about a year and a half ago and I truly enjoy it. Like I said, my journal is technically a single subject notebook, not the top of the line deluxe edition journal. I only write in it when I feel the desire to…I don’t force it. Some pages have doodles. Some doodles are random, some actually pertain to whatever I’ve written about. Some entries are songs God recently gave me that I want to write down so I don’t forget. Some entries are about a word someone gave me from the Lord. Some are me baring my soul about certain feelings, situations, circumstances. Some are lists of people I need to pray for. Some are thoughts or God drops that I eventually end up sharing with you all on our blog. I even wrote about my #oneverse and #onescripture for 2014 in my prayer journal. At the end of 2013, I wrote a page of memories, good and bad, happy and sad. Some pages are nothing but Bible scriptures that I need to indulge in at the moment. Some pages have quotes that encourage me or challenge me.
Writing helps me to remember. I love going back and reading old entries. I can remember the hardships that God brought me through. I can remember the blessings He showered upon me. I can see answered prayers. I can see worship. I can see growth. It’s not for everyone but it’s something I relish. And I hope one day at the end of my journey to pass my prayer journal on to my children and grandchildren.
Do you have a prayer journal? Share your thoughts with us!
*You can see my original post about why I picked this word here.
Although I thought I was crazy at first, I definitely did not hear wrong when choosing my one word for 2014. ‘Fruit’ is a word that I believe I probably should’ve been more aware of long before now. I am not perfect, by any means, nor do I claim to be. However, I have already grasped the importance of why I chose this word and that has helped me in a great way. I try to be on constant Fruit Alert, but as a human, it does tend to slip my fleshly mind at times. There have been several occasions and conversations throughout this year that I have thankfully heard the Holy Spirit quietly whisper to me my #oneword.
Now, when you hear the Holy Spirit whisper gently, “Remember….fruit,” it truly puts things in perspective. I decide to stay silent instead of unnecessarily putting in my 2 cents worth. I decide to put on a smile and show love even when I don’t feel like being in a good mood. I decide that when I’m angry over the change in my husband’s work schedule, it’s better to pray about it instead of writing a Facebook rant status.
I hear that faint whisper, “Fruit…..” and train my focus to remember, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22-23
Don’t let your attitude/actions/reactions determine your fruit. Let your fruit determine your attitude/actions/reactions.
This is what I’ve learned so far from my #oneword #2014.
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*You can see my original post about why I picked this verse here.
Oh, boy. This one has been tough for me. Not so tough that I began to let discontentment overwhelm me and wallow in self-pity, but enough that I have felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to remember my one verse for 2014 oodles and gobs of times this year!
As I stated in my original post, I believe discontentment is one of satan’s greatest lies. It’s the lie that whispers unhappiness to women around the world. I know I’m not the only one with this struggle. I know this because I have seen the effects of this lie in the lives of many of the women I’m acquainted with, as well as my own life.
It’s not an easy struggle. But it is a struggle I can take control over. That’s why I chose this verse. I was so tired of comparison and other lies making me feel like my life wasn’t good enough, like I wasn’t good enough. As I said, it’s still a bit of a struggle, but this verse has helped me many times to get over it quickly. I don’t get stuck anymore because I remember that in whatsoever state I am, I can be content because I am right where God has placed me.
And His word definitely trumps satan’s lies at all times!
When I wrote this year’s Back to School post (Covering Your Student in Prayer), I had completely forgotten about writing this post last year. All of us at RSHTH are busy moms/grandmas/teachers/women/
Bam! All of sudden it hit me. It came out of nowhere. What was it? The start of a new school year. I mean, didn’t school just let out yesterday? Geez. And I have to deal with this for many more years! Naomi is starting 1st grade, Adah is starting pre-kindergarten and I didn’t know that it wasn’t going to get better each year. I was under the impression that once I survived the emotions of kindergarten, it would only get easier. Nope. I now have 1st grade emotions busting my theory. :/ Each year is just going to bring an older child who is growing up way too fast! I’m an emotional Mommy!
I’m not a homeschooling mama, though it’s always a future possibility. My girls attend a small public school and so far we love it. Regardless of whether it’s public or home school, when it comes to ‘Back to School,’ there is one school supply that every child needs….Prayer!
As parents, it is our duty to cover our children with prayer. And although this should be a constant, it should be even more so during the school year.
I remember during my school days the stress of homework, tests, and peer pressure. I couldn’t wait to be done with school! It wasn’t until I was graduated/married/a mother/having to pay bills/an ADULT that I realized being in school was one of the easiest times in my life.
In reality, was it really easy? No. To my adult life it seems that it was easier than the things I deal with in my life now. But to my childhood self, it was definitely hard.
Hard? As a child? Yes. Think about it. Children are naturally people pleasers. They want to please their parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, youth pastors, et c. Children do not want to let anyone down. Grades must be kept up, homework must be done, tests must be passed. And this doesn’t even compare to peer pressure! Children want to fit in and be accepted. I know we all remember the days of wanting the best clothes, cutest back pack, et c. A particular memory I have is begging my parents for contacts the summer between 6th and 7th grade. “No one in junior high wears glasses!!! I cannot go to 7th grade unless I have contacts!” When I look back I can’t help but laugh at how silly that was; but in my 12 year old mind, that was a legitimate issue and I would’ve been devastated if my mom didn’t let me get contacts.
Then there’s the fact that not all parents are alike. Not all children are being led by Godly (or even good) parents. Children are easily influenced and their influences rub off on other kids. I’ll never forget the day Naomi came home from preschool sad because her friend’s dad was taken to jail the night before. Even though I was shocked at what was true information being shared with Naomi by her 4 year old friend, I had to remember that we have no clue what’s going on in anyone else’s home life. Thankfully, Naomi asked to pray for her friend, and I realized I was doing something right.
When it comes to our school years versus our lives now, it’s easy for us to laugh off or simply ignore the things our little ones face everyday. We may see their problems as small, yet at this point in their lives, mole hills may be mountains to them. Prayer is vital!
Don’t just pray for your child. Pray for their friends. Pray for their teachers. Pray for yourselves and other parents. Pray for safety. Pray that your child remains stress free. Pray that they shine the light of Jesus. Pray that they excel in learning. Pray that they can grasp understanding in difficult subjects. Pray that they always believe in themselves. Pray that they remain well-behaved. Pray that they are kind to others.
When gathering school supplies for your little ones this year, please don’t forget to grab a Without Ceasing dose of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)!
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**NOTE:Please check out my previous posts about the National Day of Encouragement here:
National Day of Encouragement is coming up on Friday, September 12. It’s time to get prepared! In doing so, I want talk to you about having the heart of an encourager. In the past, we’ve discussed the definition of ‘encourage,’ ideas about how/who to encourage, and how the National Day of Encouragement began. Now I want to get to the heart of the matter.
Being an encourager doesn’t always come naturally. It’s sort of like the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” Actually, let’s say it this way, “It is better to encourage than to be encouraged.” This is a lesson we have to learn.
For example, as a child on Christmas morning, you wake up with anticipation. Your anticipation goes a little something like this…..Oh, I can’t wait to see what’s under the tree with my name on it! I hope it’s the doll I asked for!
As a parent on Christmas morning, you also wake up with anticipation. However, lessons through the years have taught your anticipation to be more like this…..I’m so excited to see the look on Suzie’s face when she sees the doll she’s desired for so long! I hope Bill sees the candy in his stocking and remembers when I gave him the same kind our first Christmas!
It’s not always easy at first, but eventually we learn to grasp a heart for encouraging because we realize the old saying is true. We find that it’s in the giving of encouragement that we ourselves can be uplifted. It’s the little things- like wandering down the card aisle when your eye catches the perfect one for your neighbor, so you pick it up fresh anticipation of sending her a bit of a smile. (If you’re anything like me, you may not even send it til a month later, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 😉 )
In a way, when you learn how to have the heart of an encourager, it becomes your guilty pleasure. You realize you have the chance to be the sunshine that pushes away someone’s dark cloud. You can choose to not only brighten, but maybe even completely change the mood of depression/anguish/hurt/pity/et c. You finally understand that there are benefits to having an encourager’s heart. The guilty pleasure turns out to be an extra measure of joy in your own life!
The best part about having the heart of an encourager is that everything you do can be done quietly. When you are truly giving encouragement, you know that it is not about you. Quiet encouragement brings just as much joy, if not more. You may even enjoy encouraging anonymously. Create a smile and watch someone wonder. 😀
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
Many times encouragement is spontaneous. For instance, when that perfect card for your neighbor just so happened to catch your eye. Spontaneous encouragement is fantastic, but intentional encouragement comes with having the heart of an encourager. Intentionally seek to uplift someone. Decide that today you are going to make that phone call to check on a family member or that you’re going to treat your new co-worker to lunch. Definitely keep the spontaneity, yet make an effort to intentionally encourage, as well.
Please don’t make the mistake of overlooking those with sunny dispositions! Yes, there are certainly people struggling that are in obvious need of encouragement. Then there are people who live their daily lives with positive attitudes, constant smiles, and glasses that are half full. Remember that these people need encouragement, too. Sometimes the merriment is a facade and there may be a secret urgency for encouragement. Sometimes the always cheerful is genuine, but I guarantee unexpected encouraging doesn’t hurt. Encouragers especially know how to appreciate encouragement.
Earlier I mentioned how I may find that perfect card only to stick it in my purse and not send it til a month or so later. I might see it while I’m grabbing out my keys and think, “Oh! I need to send that as soon as I get home!” Then I get home and have to cook supper and switch the laundry and the card is forgotten again until a few weeks later when I spot it again. At this point, I may actually have a free moment to get the card sent. Until then, I refuse to stress about the timing of it all. I know that when it’s all said and done, the encouragement will be received just when it’s needed.
I remember one time I woke up with a sister on my mind and thought to text her and tell her I was praying for her. I got busy and it was several hours later before I actually remembered to send the text. Later, she told me how much she needed it at that particular moment. She said, “I was having a really rough day and as I took my lunch I told God that I needed Him to please show me somehow that I was going to make it through. Just then I received your text that you were praying for me and I knew that God was listening.”
Don’t stress about timing, but don’t put it off if the timing is now. Someone may be waiting.
Social media is crazy right now with challenges galore! Cold Water Challenge, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Grateful Challenge, Gospel Challenge, you name it! Well, I’ve decided to nominate myself and ALL OF YOU to participate in the Encouragement Challenge. The best part is you get to pick who and how. As I said, the National Day of Encouragement is September 12. Seek to possess the heart of an encourager and be thinking about how you will complete this challenge. Pray about it!
If you need some inspiration, check out our previous posts on encouragement. Speak up by letting us know in the comment section how you plan to participate or maybe how you’ve been blessed by an encourager. And don’t forget- true encouragement is year round!
A few months ago, Melanie from Only A Breath (onlyabreath.com) shared on her blog and her Facebook about her plan to start a secret sister system that is sort of like a grown-up version of pen pals. This was right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to be a part! If this is something you may be interested in, head on over to Melanie’s blog and check it out!
As far as homeschool goes, it is always on the back burner for our family as an option. If we feel God call us to homeschool, we will definitely surrender, but at this point in time we are very blessed to have our children in the school system they are in. Not everyone can homeschool for various reasons. Some simply are not called to homeschool. This post is geared mostly towards those with kids in public school systems, however, it may be beneficial to homeschoolers, as well. In fact, I’ve decided it’s beneficial for all parents to know how to cover your students/children in prayer, regardless of where they attend school….so read on! 🙂
Everyday I pray for my children when they go to school. I pray that God would keep His hands of protection upon my children and their school. I ask that He would lift up their teachers, also…..that they would live Godly lives, being a Godly example to my girls.
My girls have been back in school for about a month now, and one day as I was praying that God would place a hedge of protection around my children, it hit me that I needed to be praying this prayer spiritually just as much as physically. A spiritual hedge of protection is much needed in their lives!
It’s not easy, as parents, to entrust our children to other adults for such a length of time. We never fully know what they may encounter or what spirits they may be subjected to when dealing with other adults and administration in their school systems. Or even from other children they may interact with. Actually, this statement applies to any time our children are outside of our own supervision, school or wherever.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We need to realize that the enemy has agents lurking in every curve and corner of this world. It is our job to point them to God and train them how to live Godly lives, but what about when we aren’t with them? No parent is with their child 24/7. We must do our best to teach them when they are with us, but when they are not with us, we still have power over the enemy concerning our children. How? We must keep them covered in prayer!
Yes, pray for their physical well-being. But please, if you aren’t already, begin to pray for their spiritual well-being. It is vital that they learn to follow the word of God and the leading of the Spirit. It is crucial that they get a grasp of what is right over what is wrong. It is critical that we teach them how important it is to have a relationship with God because that is where our wisdom lies. He can give us discernment. Little ones may not fully understand that, but they can understand an inkling or a nudge that something just isn’t right. When this happens, we need them to know that WE need to know.
Just imagine the battles that we, as adults, war within our own minds. Now realize how much greater the battles are in the minds of our children because the world is being thrown at them in a magnified way. I love the quote that says, “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.” How true this statement is!
“If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.” -Unknown
Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Pastors, Youth Pastors, Teachers…..I beg of you, keep your students covered in prayer!