Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood: Chp 11-12

Chapter 11: Faith in God's Living Word

In this chapter, Clarkson relives a challenging two week period in which her family found themselves returning time and time again to the comfort and peace of God's Word.  Bits of Scripture would come to mind when they needed it most.  Prayers were centered around verses that fit the exact situation.  Comfort was found in the Living Word.

She puts it this way: "The Word of God gives our children the basis for their faith, a proper world view, and wisdom and advice for all they will encounter.  ... In fact it is as we apply God's Word to our everyday lives that our children will begin to understand its worth to us and to them'' (pg 125).

Clarkson then goes on to list several ways in which we do this, many of which we mentioned on Tuesday: memorizing Scripture together, family devotions, acting out Bible stories, giving personal examples, and allowing our kids to see us studying the Bible as well.

I've found this to be so true of my own life.  I can't lead my children where I haven't been myself.  And one of the greatest ways we keep God's Word before us is in reading the Bible together.  In the past six months as I've read with my 5 and 3 year olds, they've come to crave those times of reading their Bible.

*Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.  What circumstances has God recently allowed in your own life that call for faith?  In what ways are you modeling faith before the eyes of your children so that they are learning how to have faith in God?

It's hard to be exceptionally deep with such small children.  Conversations of finances and jobs, relationships and struggles are often down played at this age in an attempt to establish security.  However, our family is currently walking through several situations that are requiring tremendous faith on my husband and I's part.  But one thing that continues to strict home is that the Lord has a very specific purpose for this season that we're walking through.  And that in time, it will be a testimony of his faithfulness.

Chapter 12: Faith in the Spirit's Power

Clarkson talks about the Spirit's importance in helping us walk day by day.  While studying John chp 13-16, she comes to this realization: "I realized that if Jesus taught his disciples about the Holy Spirit with such intensity, He must surely have wanted them to understand that the Spirit would be very important to their lives in Him.  Thus the Spirit is to have great importance in my life as well-- how I live and in how I teach my children" (pg 131).

Upon reflection, I came to the same thought as the author, that we can nurture and teach our children, but eventually it is them that must make the leap to being connected to Christ.  While we nurture and parent, eventually they must make their faith their own.  And through their knowledge of the Spirit's power, they can learn to rely on him when we can't be with them.  Eventually we have to let go of our kids and realize it's the Holy Spirit that does the sustaining and the guiding.

*Think of a time in the past when you have had to walk by faith but now look back to see what God has done.  Tell your children about this experience in the form of a bedtime story.  (If you can't think of a time in your own life, look for a children's book about faithful people . Or tell them the stories of Abraham and Sarah or Joseph in Egypt).

This came up last night in reading in our Bible about Zechariah and Elizabeth.  And as Mary was carrying Christ.  What faith to believe in all these strange and wonderful events!

*According to Ephesians 2:8, what does God say is the source of our salvation?  What does faith have to do with this?  Do your children understand that God's love is a free gift with no strings attached?  Plan out how you can communicate this principle to them.

For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God--Ephesians 2:8

Grace... grace is our gift of salvation.  God extends grace.  We have the faith to accept it and trust it, rather than working for our salvation.  One of the greatest models we have for this is loving and accepting our children with grace and mercy.  As they grow, we can communicate to them that Christ enables us to love because he is the source of love.

I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I'm not sure how.  Any suggestions?

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