Tag Archives: prayer

“Just Getting Started”

When I was given a task to perform, and it was written all over my face that I didn’t want to do it, Dad would often say, “Son, just getting started is half the job.” He would further encourage my cooperation by saying, “when you finally get to it, you always do a good job.” It rarely took more prodding than that to get me up and going. He had sufficiently boosted my self-esteem. (Besides, the belt hanging on the closet door was never far from reach.)

But it is true of many tasks in life — “just getting started” is the hard part. If we can get over the initial hump of not wanting to do that laborious ever-needed task, we can usually get the job done fairly easily. But that’s just it; how do you get over that first hump? One good bit of advice is to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve had to pick up my children and playfully teach them how to walk to the trash can and then show them the back door. Honestly, even as adults, it helps to have someone around to motivate us to do what must or ought to be done.

As we begin a new year consider “just getting started” on those special tasks that will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

How about prayer? (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2; Acts 4:24) Go into your room (lock the door if need be), get on your knees, face down on the bed and just begin, “Father in Heaven”. Don’t say anything else (yet). Allow a little silence and you’ll be surprised by how many thoughts begin to flood into your heart that you have wanted to say for a long time in the presence of God. Just get started, and always praise Him first

How about Daily bible reading? (Psa 1:2) Choose a plan, a quiet place and time (sip on a refreshing beverage) and just begin reading. Read slowly; take-in every word and thought. Don’t feel like you have to finish the reading plan for the day. Just get started.

How about regularity of attendance? (Heb 10:25) SAME! Just get started toward the car.

How about visitation? (Jas 1:27) Write yourself a note with the name of someone who needs a visit or some help. “But I’ve got groceries to buy, & the car need an oil change. I have packages to mail and items to return!” SO! On you way out the door to run those errands, take that “name note” with you and instead of turning left to where you planned to go, turn right and head toward the hospital or the home of someone who needs your care and attention. Call them on the way if it comes to that. Sometimes you’ll have to trick yourselves into doing the right thing. Remember, “just getting started is half the job”, the second half of the job is fun and rewarding! – By Boyd Jennings

Five Smooth Stones Of Parenting

In Goliath, David faced what seemed an indomitable foe.  David’s goal was not so much to kill the giant as to protect the children and honor of God.  He took five smooth stones from the brook to achieve his purpose.

In the pervasive humanism of our society, parents face what appears to be an equally unconquerable giant who is determined to destroy their children.  They have five stones with which to protect them.

Purpose

“A child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).  Consequently, Wisdom says, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6).  This requires first determining “the way he should go,” then pointing the child in that direction.  For Christians one direction supersedes all others: eternal life in heaven via Christlikeness on earth.  Scores of agencies with different goals challenge us for control of our children.  My father used to say, “I will not let the schools take my children away from me.”  Today there are many additional threats: TV, internet, video games, iPods, scouts, sports, neighbors, etc.  These must be constantly monitored and controlled.

Parents of good children are often told, “You are just lucky.”  No, good children are not the product of luck, but of purpose—relentlessly, sacrificially and pro-actively pursued.

Training

“Bring them up in the training…of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  Training a plant requires knowing where you want it to go and then patiently bending it, pruning it, and perhaps even tying it.  Training an animal involves knowing what you want it to do, using force at first, then patiently guiding, correcting, and finally rewarding and punishing.  In both instances, training means establishing authority and maintaining control.  Training children begins with example and sometime physical force, then guidance, correction, and eventually reward and punishment when the child understands what is expected.  Above all, it means establishing the parents’ authority and letting the child know who is in control.  This must begin very early.  Once willful rebellion is tolerated, a wrong direction is established and the necessary “bending, pruning, and tying” become all the more difficult.  The mother of John and Charles Wesley described good discipline as “shaping the will without breaking the spirit.”  This agrees with the Spirit’s counsel: “Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up…” (Ephesians 6:4).

Instruction

“Bring them up in the…admonition (instruction – NASB) of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  Unlike plants and animals children can be admonished and instructed.  This, also, parents must do.  The very intellect that enables children to be instructed also enables them to exercise their free will as they grow older.  Parental control constantly diminishes, and unless God’s control is established, their lives will be out of control.  God’s control is established by teaching them the scriptures. Long after Timothy was beyond the control of mother and grandmother, their faith dwelt in him (II Timothy 1:5).  How was this accomplished?  Paul reminded Timothy, “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).  Faith in older children is the result of early instruction in righteousness.  Parents should take advantage of the classes offered by the church, but this is not enough—they must teach their children personally.  A mother once told me of overhearing her husband saying to their young infant in the crib, “Let me tell you about Jesus.”  Not surprisingly, that young infant is now a godly young teenager.

Affection

Training and instruction must be administered with love—a love that “suffers long and is kind,” that “does not behave rudely,” and above all, “does not seek its own” (I Corinthians 13:4-5).  Children will forgive many mistakes if they can always be sure of their parents’ love.  “Love will cover a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8).  Affection without firmness is disastrous, but equally disastrous is firmness without affection.

Prayer

David did not attribute his defeat of Goliath to the stone, to his sling or to his skill. “The battle,” he said, “is the Lord’s” (I Samuel 17:47).  So it is with the training of our children.  God is concerned with the outcome and we are servants whom He has entrusted with our little ones.  We must pray daily for the wisdom that He has promised to supply (James 1:5) and for His providence to overrule our inevitable mistakes.  And when our children have become what we hoped for, we have no ground for boasting, only for the humble exclamation, “to God be the glory!”  David succeeded, using only one stone; parents will need all five. — By Sewell Hall

Presenting Every Man Complete In Christ

Colossians 1:24-28.  The apostle Peter received strength from Christ to strengthen others (Luke 22:31-32).  We all have the responsibility of helping other Christians achieve their full usefulness in Christ (Col 1:28; 4:12).  We are, after all, members OF one another (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:25; Eph 4:25).

I.    THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

A.    In Christ, we begin our spiritual lives as an “infant” (Heb 5:13)

B.    Our growth is gradual (Heb 5:14; 1 Pet 2:2).

C.    As we grow, the body (church) grows & reaches its potential (Eph 4:14-16).

II.    THE NEED FOR MUTUAL EDIFICATION

A.    In Christ, we help the body (church) by helping its members grow.

B.    Our help is edification (Rom 14:19; 15:2; Heb 10:24; Eph 4:29; 1 Thess 5:11).

C.    As we love, the body (church) is edified (Eph 4:31-5:2; 4:15-16; 1 Cor 8:1; Gal 5:13).

1.    Teaching (Col 1:28; 3:16).

2.    Admonishing (Col 1:28; 3:16; Acts 20:31; Rom 15:14).

3.    Prayer (Col 1:9-11).

4.    Example (1 Tim. 4:12).

Not only is there joy in helping others grow, but there ought to be joy in receiving such help.
We ought to express our appreciation to those who edify us (1 Thess 5:12-13; Prov 27:6).

May we each do all we can to assist our brethren in their development —
And receive in the proper spirit the help they give us.