There are so many things in my world to be thankful for. Two things at the top of my list, currently, are the ability to pray and BSF (Bible Study Fellowship).
Prayer. The opportunity to speak to my Creator. To praise Him. To confess the gross in my life. To thank Him. To pray for others. So, so thankful.
BSF. If you've never head of Bible Study Fellowship, let me tell you that it is an AWESOME organization, committed to nothing other than the pure, non-denominational teaching of God's written Word- The Bible. The same lesson is being taught, around the world, to men, women and children. It's a year-long study (coinciding with the school-year calender) and takes a four-fold approach to studying and learning from God's word: daily questions, discussion groups, lecture and study notes.
Being a part of this study has changed my life as I've participated in 4 studies (Genesis, Romans, Isaiah and currently Acts of the Apostles), and this year is shaping our children as well. I switched to the "day study" which has a complete curriculum for our kids, including The Boy, who was 4 months old when I enrolled him. They don't just sit him in a corner and give him toys to keep him happy. They pray over him, sing over him, recite scripture to him, and just cover him in LOVE. What more could a mother want?
One of the neat encouragements for parents are the "Home Training Lessons" given out each week. They give practical suggestions for continuing to teach that week's lesson at home for the next week. (The kids learn the same thing we do, so we can talk about it- so cool!) Last week, when we left, The Girl--3-- told me, "Mom! I learned about God today! Paul suffered to tell about Jesus!" I wanted to sob, right then and there. SO thankful for this ministry!
A recent Home Training Lesson was "Ways Parents Can Pray for Themselves." Sounds selfish, but lets face it-- we need all the prayers we can get. We have a HUGE job to do! They gave twelve suggestions and Scriptures and I plan to focus on one point a month to concentrate and pray over. Here they are:
1. That I will be convicted of any personal hypocrisy lived out before my children, contradicting what I say by what I do, and, when appropriate, admit my sin to my children. (Matthew 7: 3-6)
2. That my words, looks, and actions will clearly reflect to my children that my mate is loved, honored and cherished (Proverbs 31:10-12; Ephesians 5:25, 28)
3. That I will recognize individual limitations, respect individual differences, and have realistic expectations for each child (Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 6:4)
4. That I will never be too tired or angry or negligent to discipline my children wisely (Proverbs 29:17)
5. That I can be a peacemaker to diminish jealousy and irritations between my children and in doing so encourage them to be peacemakers. (Proverbs 17:14; Philippians 2:3, Matthew 5:9)
6. That I will not spoil my children with too many possessions nor too few expectations and responsibilities (Psalm 37:16)
7. That I will be able to shield my children from premature association with sexuality, sophistication in ideas and dress, and unnecessary knowledge of the world (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17)
8. That I will resist the enticement of popularity for my children and be willing for our family to be different from the world's standards (1 Samuel 16:7, Psalm 37)
9. That I will be generous in expressing appreciation and approval while holding back reminders about their past failures and mistakes (Psalm 78:38, 39; Proverbs 25:11)
10. That I will know when to step in and take charge of a situation for my children and when to step back and let them learn for themselves (Proverbs 16:9)
11. That prayer will be my immediate response to family joys and crises alike (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thess. 5: 17, 18)
12. That I will daily remember my own need to be taught by God's Word and filled with his Spirit so that I reflect the joy of the Lord before my children (Psalm 16: 11)
(From BSF "The Acts of the Apostles, Home Training Lesson 14")
I hope this is a help and an encouragement to you, too. Even if you're not a parent, I'm sure you know a parent, who would be so encouraged to have this prayed over them!
And, for my Michiana friends, if you're looking for a great Bible study, join me on Tuesday mornings at 9am at Trinity Church in South Bend (the first Tuesday of every month is an introductory class.) Or, find a class in your community by clicking here. Watch and see how the Lord will change you through this study.