For the Parents

For any parent who has ever wondered if God knows what it is like to raise a teenager, to hold a child and watch them grow, to see their mistakes and listen to their tirades, to feel hurt and yet want to protect, to love. These words are to encourage and hearten you.

Hosea 11

“When Israel was only a child, I loved him. I called out, ‘My son!’—called him out of Egypt. But when others called him, he ran off and left me. He worshiped the popular sex gods, he played at religion with toy gods.

Still, I stuck with him. I led Ephraim. I rescued him from human bondage, But he never acknowledged my help, never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon, That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek, that I bent down to feed him. Now he wants to go back to Egypt or go over to Assyria— anything but return to me! That’s why his cities are unsafe—the murder rate skyrockets and every plan to improve things falls to pieces. My people are hell-bent on leaving me. They pray to god Baal for help. He doesn’t lift a finger to help them.

But how can I give up on you, Ephraim? How can I turn you loose, Israel? How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah, devastated like luckless Zeboim? I can’t bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest.

And so I’m not going to act on my anger. I’m not going to destroy Ephraim. And why? Because I am God and not a human. I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst.

Romans 8

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way!

Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Luke 9:23

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”

John 1

But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.

Lord, today we pray that our children shall be disciples who are taught of the Lord, obedient to God’s will, and great shall be their peace and undisturbed composure. Lord, give our children guidance, in their studies, in their companions, in their activities and in meeting their life mates. Protect them and guide their decisions. Protect and guide their life mates and their life mates’ families and teach all of us your paths and your ways.

We pray that we all will be filled with the full, deep, clear knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom (that is, comprehensive) insight into the ways and purposes of God and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things; so that we all may walk and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and desiring to please him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work; and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God – with fuller, deeper, clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition.

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