Thursday, June 30, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Overcoming the Fear

I read pp. 46-47. This is extra beyond the 21 days of prayers for sons.

Study Questions

1. Have you ever experienced anything like what Brooke describes in this chapter? A sense of fear in your parenting that you can't quite explain? Describe your experience here.
Yes. Am I too harsh? Am I too strict? Am I too lenient? What if...?...I sometimes battle with these questions.

2. In this chapter, Brooke talks about trusting God to catch her as she dives off the edge of the cliff of her fears. Do you expect God to teach you all you need to know about parenting your son(s)?
I hope and pray that God will continue to teach me and my husband all we need to know about parenting our sons and daughter. We certainly cannot do it on our own.

3. Have you ever felt like you needed a “talkin' to – a truth tellin'?” Sometimes we need to be reminded of the truth about who we are. Can you relate?
Yes, reading/studying God's Word helps remind me of His truth/promises.

4. Do you ever feel bogged down by a fear that all of your prayers and hard work won't amount to anything in the life of your son(s)?
Perhaps it's not fear but rather discouragement when it seems like the struggles kept on going "forever". But God has shown me over and over again His faithfulness, grace, and mercy.

5. How has God snuck in His grace to you when you feel this way? Describe a time here when God reminded you of grace and gave you hope in His plans for your son(s).
His grace sustained me through the turmoil. He gave me glimpses of hope here and there. He allows me to see my sons' tender hearts that love Him and firm faith that trusts in Him.
            (This picture was taken in December, 2003.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Forgiveness

I can't believe that this is the 21st day already! I love praying the Scriptures for my sons...and my daughter, too. I know I will continue this and from time to time, I hope I'll get a chance to share about it on my blog here. After reading this chapter about forgiveness, I'm reminded once again: how thankful I am that my God, husband, and children are so forgiving!!! Unconditional love and unlimited forgiveness go hand in hand.

Study Questions

1. Forgiveness can be such a stumbling block in our lives. Tons of studies exist that prove that withholding forgiveness affects us not only spiritually, but also physically. These facts, combined with what you've read in this chapter make a pretty compelling argument for teaching sons how to ask for forgiveness. How have you done it in the past?
We have been teaching our sons to humbly admit when they have done wrong and ask for forgiveness from God and from the offended party.

2. What is your understanding of forgiveness? Have you thought much about the difference between asking for forgiveness and offering an apology?
Forgiveness is releasing the person who has wronged us from occupying our heart and mind, letting go of the ill feelings we have toward that person, and not allowing bitterness or hatred to take up residence in our heart. Asking for forgivenss means you admit you've sinned, you're repentant and want to make things right, and you hope the other person will no longer hold anything against you. Offering an apology doesn't necessarily mean you're really repentant. You may be sorry for getting caught but you're not sorry for what you did/why you did. It certainly takes more humility and courage to ask for forgiveness than to offer an apology. I agree with Brooke regarding the proper uses of forgiveness and apology. By the way, both must be done with sincerity; otherwise, they are meaningless.
Sin--->Repentance--->Asking for Forgiveness
Mistakes/Accidents--->Sorrow--->Apology

3. Can you remember a funny example of when it was OK for your son(s) to offer an apology, such as the incident Brooke described in this chapter? Describe it here.
I'm sure there are several but I just can't think of a specific example right now.

4. Have you ever asked your son(s) to forgive you for sinning against them? Why? Why Not? Could it be important?
Oh yes! Why? It's because I'm not immune to sinning (wish I was). I'm not infallible (shocking truth :))! When we sin, we not only sin against another person, but also against God. Forgiveness brings healing and restoration to relationship. It is very important to have a forgiving spirit/attitude/heart. We are to forgive others as Christ forgives us. It is just as important to have a humble heart that asks others for forgiveness. Often, pride gets in the way and makes it very difficult to admit that we're wrong and that we need to ask for forgiveness. We must put pride aside and set a good example for our sons.

5. Has there ever been a moment of deep forgiveness between you and your son(s)? Describe what that moment meant to you here.
Yes. It meant a world of diffence. I asked my (challenging) son to forgive me for all my past mistakes/failures in my parenting him; he forgave me. He also asked me to forgive him; of course, I did. That moment of mutual deep forgiveness was like fresh clean water washing over our muddy hearts, removing the stains of disappointments, blame, and frustrations.

Lord, please forgive all my sins and my sons' sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Please help my sons and me to always extend the same forgiveness that You grant us to one another and to others. Please help my sons to have forgiving, humble, teachable hearts; please take all pride and haughtiness away from them. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!

               (This picture was taken during Christmastime in 2007.)

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author and illustrator are:


and their books:

Cross Training Publishing (2008)
and
The Spirit in Sports (2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR and ILLUSTRATOR:


Kathryn Nixon was born in the small town of Rockingham, NC. She grew up involved in many sports including cheerleading, cross country and dance. After graduating high school, she attended Peace College and North Carolina State University where she received her BA with a major in communications and a minor in journalism. She went on to work as an associate producer for ESPN.

She met Trot Nixon when one of the coaches who recruited him to play baseball at NC State introduced them. They were married, and he was drafted by the Red Sox, where he became a 2004 World Series champion. While her husband was playing ball, Kathryn collaborated with the other wives on two children’s books: Fenway Park from A to Z and Fenway Park 1 2 3.

Her greatest desire is to touch the lives of children with the knowledge and experience of Christ’s love. Her passion is to gather children into the kingdom of God by planting His word in their hearts at an early age. Nixon and her husband, Trot, reside in Wilmington, NC, with their two sons, Chase and Luke.

Ana Boudreau was born in Williamsburg, VA, and grew up with the dream of being an artist and an illustrator. Her grandmother was a professional artist, and she passed down all of her supplies to her granddaughter. She was also involved in cheerleading and gymnastics as a girl, helping her further connect to the Spirit in Sports series.

Boudreau attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a BA in English literature. She met Kathryn Nixon when she was commissioned to paint murals in the preschool department of Nixon’s church. They struck up a friendship and began meeting to plan a series of books that would attract young children involved in sports. Boudreau treasured the opportunity to co-author children’s books that had the power to instill God’s values in the day-to-day lives of families, including her own.

Boudreau is an artist, muralist and an art teacher at Myrtle Grove Christian School. She has illustrated both The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football, along with a third book, How Bernie Madoff Saved My Life by Valorie Stackpole. She is married to Mark Boudreau, and they are blessed with three wonderfully athletic girls—Lauren is a cheerleader, Julia is a skater and Katherine is a tennis player. She and her family reside in Wilmington, NC.

Visit the author and illustrator's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Sometimes, when we think about little league sports, the first thing that comes to mind are pushy coaches and over-competitive parents. However, there are many positive character qualities that children can develop while playing team sports. Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau help to instill these virtues in their two books, The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football. Their books are based on the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”


The Spirit in Baseball applies the fruits of the Spirit to each aspect of playing the game of baseball, such as:

I LOVE my teammates. They are my friends. We spend a lot of time in the dugout together!

I am PATIENT and happy to wait until it is my turn to bat.

I do my best to be GOOD to others. I congratulate the other team if they win the game.

Each of the fruits is introduced by a Scripture verse, followed by the application. The colorful illustrations will draw in young readers, and a tiny fruit has been hidden on every page for the children to seek out. The book also includes words of encouragement from Kathryn’s husband, Trot Nixon, a 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series champion. The Spanish translation, El Espiritu en Beisbol, is also available.


The Spirit in Football focuses on the same virtues and format, but applies the fruits of the Spirit to football. Some examples include:

The fans cheered with excitement and JOY as our team scored the first touchdown of the game.

If we are upset about a penalty, instead of acting out in anger, God calls us to react with GENTLENESS and respect.

We must show SELF-CONTROL by not losing our temper when we are tackled aggressively by the other team.

The Spirit in Football includes a forward by Matt Hasselbeck, NFL quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, encouraging children that “drive and competitiveness should never come before obeying the rules and being a good sport.”

Both books are great gifts for little league teams or any child who participates in sports. The books include a page for autographs, so parents can buy a copy for every team member and the children can sign each other’s books as a keepsake for years to come. The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football provide a practical way for any parent or coach to apply the fruits of the Spirit in the everyday lives of their children.



Product Details:

The Spirit in Baseball:

List Price: $10.00
Hardcover
Publisher: Cross Training Publishing (2008)
ISBN-10: 1450776256
ISBN-13: 978-1450776257

The Spirit in Football:

List Price: $10.00
Hardcover
Publisher: The Spirit in Sports (2010)
ISBN-10: 0615386695
ISBN-13: 978-0615386690

MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
My sons love all sorts of sports, including baseball and football. They are not part of a team; they usually play with Dad and sometimes other relatives. Sports can make some people too competitive, too obsessed with winning, and mean-spirited. However, sports also give plenty of opportunities for life lessons such as teamwork, trust, perseverance, sportmanship as well as character-building lessons such as the fruits of the Spirit. I enjoyed reading these two books to my boys. Each book gives examples of how each fruit of the Spirit is played out in the games. I like all the relevant Bible verses that help affirm the importance of the fruit of the Spirit. I love the beautiful prayer at the end of each book. I appreciate that the author encourages kids to play these sports for the glory of God by teaching them how to respond to each situation with the fruit of the Spirit. The colorful illustrations are simple but good. My sons eagerly looked for the hidden fruits, trying to be the first one who spotted each. Competition must have been ingrained in all boys :). Wish character was, too!


AND NOW...THE FIRST FEW PAGES (Click on images to see them better):

The Spirit in Baseball:








The Spirit in Football:









Monday, June 27, 2011

Giveaway: Warrior Prayers E-Book by Brooke L. McGlothlin

This evening, I received an email from Brooke that I was the winner of the Book Bundle Giveaway she hosted on her blog last week. It was a wonderful surprise :)! One of the 3 e-books I won is Warrior Prayers  (Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most) which I already have. I have been participating in the 21 Days of Prayers for Our Sons. You can read my thoughts and my answers to study questions by scrolling down to the posts below. I asked Brooke if I could give the new one away. She graciously said yes. I'd like to bless one of you who have not yet owned this e-book.

To enter: Please leave a comment here introducing yourself or let me know how old your son(s) is/are and please follow this blog via GFC or NetWorkedBlogs if you'd like to :) (not required). Make sure you also leave your email address so that I may contact you if you're selected (randomly) as the winner. Deadline: July 3rd at midnight (Pacific time)

Extra Entries: 1. Follow me on Twitter.
                     2. Like my Facebook page, "Christ Alone".
                     3. Read one of my other posts on this blog and leave a comment here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons: When Hearts Soften

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) Our sons' salvation should be our most important concern and most urgent prayer need. If they succeed in everything, receive praise and approval from all men, gain the riches of the world, yet they are not saved... that would be the greatest tragedy I could ever think of. My husband and I prayed for our children's salvation before they were born...even before they were conceived. In fact, I believe I prayed that God would not allow us to have a child if that child will not be saved by Him/will not choose Christ; I just could not (still cannot) bear knowing that any of my children's souls will end up in hell for eternity.

Study Questions
1. Can you recall a time when you sensed your son's heart was soft to the message of the Gospel? Describe what happened here.
They realized they needed a Savior. They repented and desired to obey God's Word.

2. Do your sons know the Lord? Where are they in their walk with Him? Where would you like them to be?
Yes! My 12 year old son knows more about God and His Word intellectually than my 9 year old son; however, my 9 year old son applies God's Word daily more than my 12 year old son. I would like both of them to take delight in God and His Word more. I'd like to see them more devoted to know Him more, and to make Him known. I'd like to see them desire to hide God's Word in their hearts and desire to please Him on their own without any prodding :).

3. Have you seen specific ways that God brought something beautiful from a situation you thought was lost with your son(s)? Recall it here.
After a difficult day I had with my challenging son (when he was 7), what he said to me when I tucked him in bed that night reminded me again of how gracious the Lord is to me!  I asked my son if he had any prayer requests.  He softly replied, "Yes, I want to be more like Jesus."  Isn’t that precious?  He has such a beautiful, tender heart!  I told him–That’s my heart’s desire, too (to be more like Jesus).

4. In what ways do you strive to make the message of the manger come alive in the hearts of your son(s)?
Hopefully and prayerfully, by God's grace, my husband and I have been walking the talk...living our faith loud and clear. Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our Life and Love, our Joy and Strength, our Hope and Healer, our Maker and Deliverer, our Prince of Peace and King of Kings, our Redeemer and Righteousness, our Advocate and Mediator, Our High Priest and Shepherd, our Teacher and Wonderful Counselor, our Light of the World and Bread of Life. Since birth, my sons have heard about Jesus, the Head of our family...the Person we cannot live without.

5. Have you made it a habit to pray for the salvation of your son(s)? How has this study changed the way you pray for them so far?
I have made it a habit to pray for my sons, but not much about their salvation since they already received the gift of salvation. This study has helped me to go through various aspects/ character traits to pray for my sons.

                    (This picture was taken in 2004.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--The Fruit of the Spirit

This is my catch-up post :). I have been praying but have not had time to blog about it until now. We're in the middle of praying the Scriptures for our sons through the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL. As you can tell from my blog's title, we're raising our children to be fruitbearers :).

Study Questions

1. There comes a time in every child's life, when the sin-nature starts to show its ugly head. For Brooke and her husband, this came accompanied by a difficult, life-altering challenge that made it difficult for them to train their son. Can you relate?
Yes. One of our sons has special needs and special challenges.

2. When things don't go as you planned, and life seems to throw you a curve-ball, what is your heart's response? Do you get angry with God? Stop talking to Him?
My heart's response was sorrow, grief, and disappointment. I don't get angry with God. I talk to Him even more; I cried out to Him in desperation. I asked why even though I knew I might never receive the answer until I get to Heaven.

3. Have you had times where your children's behavior or illness has threatened your family life or marriage? Describe a time like that here.
Yes, not "threatened" necessarily but caused our family pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, misunderstanding, heartaches and rocked our family's peace and harmony. We've been through all that with our 12 yo son's conditions.

4. How did you resolve the situation above? If it's not resolved, how can you begin to pray for God's protection and leading?
We've been praying and praying constantly. We beg God for healing and leading. We're very thankful that the Lord has sustained us all and continued to heal our son and give us hope.

5. Have you ever felt like one of your children's personalities changed practically overnight? How did you respond?
Yes. I was overwhelmed and didn't know how to best handle that child. God has used that child to teach me the true meaning of unconditional love.

May my sons always abide in the Lord Jesus Christ and bear much fruit. Lord, please empower them with Your Holy Spirit and fill their hearts with the fruit of the Spirit. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Setting Apart/Avoiding Foolishness

Today, I read about Daniel, a man of faith and integrity, on pp. 20-21. I prayed the Scriptures about avoiding foolishness for my sons.

Study Questions
1. Take a moment and think about your dreams for your sons. Be honest. Do you dream of having sons who are “without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding, learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace?”
Of course :)! Seriously, I dream of having sons who love and trust God completely and live purposefully for Him. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." (Proverbs 1:7a) "For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6)

2. While attending a homeschool conference, Brooke heard Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, say “I would rather my children be ditch diggers and love Jesus, than PhDs and go to hell.” What is your response to this quote?
I agree. "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

3. In your parenting thus far, have you focused more on your son(s)' accomplishments and life experiences, or on teaching him a godly worldview?
I have focused more on my sons' character, heart condition, and attitude. I try to instill in my sons love for God, passion for His word, and desire to please & serve Him. I teach them a godly/Biblical worldview and encourage them to embrace an eternal perspective.   
"Educating our children includes more than arithmetic and spelling; it includes building character.  No educational pursuit can replace the deep need for a generation of children to be brought up first in the ‘nurture and admonition’ of the Lord."  Rick Williamson

4. Have your son(s) faced challenges similar to what Daniel faced? How have they handled them in the past? How can you help them handle challenges in the future in a way that honors God?
I've always taught them to do what's right according to God's Word no matter what. Aim to please God, not men.

5. Do your son(s) have friends who challenge them to be more like Christ? If not, pray that God would send these friends to provide a positive influence for them.
My two sons are each other's best friends. Yes, I pray that God would send friends who will challenge them to be more like Christ and provide a positive, godly influence for them.
"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm" (Proverbs 13:20)

Lord, please help my sons avoid foolishness and rid them of their self-centeredness. Please help them make each decision with Your wisdom and discernment. Please help them be doers of Your Word, not just hearers. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!

















                            (This picture was taken in 2006.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Integrity

Today, I read pp. 17-18. I prayed the Scriptures on integrity for my sons. "Integrity can be defined as firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values or the quality or state of being complete or undivided. Someone who stands up for what is right no matter who is around." (from the Warrior Prayers Leader Guide) I would like to add that integrity also includes standing up to defend what is right and fight what is wrong...come what may. "A person with integrity has 'grit'....Never mistake respectability for integrity. Respectability can come because of fear, power, position, or wealth. Integrity requires none of these. It stands on its own character." (~Brent D. Earles) I made up an acronym for I.N.T.E.G.R.I.T.Y.
Imitating Christ
No compromise
Truthful
Earnest
Grounded in God's principles
Reliable
Immovable in righteousness
Trustworthy
Yielding to Christ


Study Questions

1. At the beginning of this chapter, Brooke shares a story of her experience with mothers of girls. Can you relate to the differences between boys and girls that she describes?
Yes. I have 2 boys and 1 girl so I know how different they are.

2. Have you ever found yourself physically and emotionally exhausted from parenting your son(s)? How have you handled it in the past?
Absolutely. There was a stretch of time (months) that I cried pretty much everyday because I didn't know how to handle my son who had special needs and special challenges. I cried out to the Lord and He sustained me and guided me through that turmoil. He has graciously healed my son so much that he is now such a different boy than what he used to be in 2009-2010. 

3. In this chapter, Brooke says, “...what's in the heart eventually comes out. I know that if their knees are ever to bend to Jesus as Savior, their hearts must bend first. And that's God's business.” Have you given much thought to what God expects of you as a parent, versus the things that are really His job? Make a list below of things that you know are your job, and compare it with a list of things that God says are His job.
My Job:
  • Take care of my sons' needs
  • Teach my sons God's Word
  • Work on building their character, training their attitudes, and tying heart strings
  • Lead by example; walk the talk; be real and humble
  • Pray for them
  • Spend plenty of quality time with them
  • Keep our communication line open always; be an attentive listener 
God's Job
  • Transform my sons' hearts
  • Convict them when they've sinned
  • Lead them by the Holy Spirit
  • Be their Heavenly Father
  • Be there for them with them at all times
4. Consider your own parenting style. Is the way you interact with your son(s) targeting the heart and motivating them toward real heart-change? Or do you mainly focus on changing behavior?
I hope so :). I try to focus on the heart, attitude/motives, and character.

5. Jesus called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27) because they only cared about how they appeared on the outside, and not about cleaning up their hearts. How does this apply to the way we need to raise our sons?
I'd rather have my sons occasionally fail in behavior but know and love Jesus and desire to please and honor Him than have them behave perfectly all the time but lack love for God and authentic faith. I want to raise them up to love God above all else and faithfully abide in Christ and thus their lives shall bear fruit for God's glory.

Lord, please help my sons to be men of integrity and honor You in all they do. Please help them surrender all to Christ and imitate Christ. May my sons love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength! In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!

(This picture was taken in July 2004.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Obedience

I'm participating in the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons based on the ebook, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most by Brooke McGlothlin. This prayer challenge officially starts today. We are assigned to read pp.13-14 in the ebook. The topic for today is The Importance of Obedience. I prayed the Scriptures on obedience and submission to authority on pp.15-16 for my sons.

Study Questions

1. Describe the first time your son(s) deliberately disobeyed you. Did you recognize it immediately? How did it make you feel?
I honestly don't remember the first time my sons deliberately disobeyed me. I'm sure I recognized it immediately :). I probably felt sad and upset. I've heard before that even if your children did what you told them to do but chose to do it later (not when you indicated) or do it a different way than you told them to (thinking they knew better = pride) or do it grudgingly (wrong attitude), then they still have not obeyed you. The details of obedience matter :).

2. Do you have a plan for teaching your son(s) obedience? Or are you more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of parent?
Plan? My sons know that I expect obedience and that their disobedience will have unpleasant consequences. Since they were little, we taught them to obey immediately and cheerfully. One of the first verses they memorized was Ephesians 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." One of the first songs they sang when they were young was "O-B-E-Y" by Donut Man :).

3. Have you ever considered how teaching obedience leads naturally to a deeper understanding of the Gospel?
Yes.

4. In the book, Brooke talks about hearing a speaker say these words: “Ladies, if your man cannot submit to Jesus, he cannot lead you. A man must be willing to be led before he can truly lead.” How does this change your understanding of the importance of teaching your son(s) obedience?
It doesn't change my understanding because I already believed that way :). Read here for my ideas of a Godly man.

5. Are there any discipline practices you've been using that need to be tweaked in order to better reflect the Gospel message?
I don't know but I'm praying that the Lord will show me any areas I need to change.

Lord, please help my sons be obedient to You in every way and in every situation and help them to obey Mom and Dad and all the authority you place over them. In Jesus's name I pray. Amen!















(This picture was taken in July, 2005)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--The Battle

I'm participating in the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons based on the ebook, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most by Brooke McGlothlin. This prayer challenge will officially start tomorrow. Our group leader, Haelie, is giving us a head start. Today, she recommended we read pp.10-11 in the ebook. Brooke expressed concern that people even in the church have no idea what it means to be godly men. I shared my thoughts about that here. I prayed the Heart Change prayers on p.12.

Study Questions

1. In this chapter, Brooke says that “all it takes to lose the truth of the Word of God is one set of parents who fail to teach it.” Did your parents raise you in a Christian home to know and love the Lord? What kind of impact has your upbringing had on the way you parent your sons?
My parents were Buddhists. My father was hardly ever home and eventually left permanently. My brother and I were raised by our mother. By the grace of God, I came to know the Lord and surrendered my life to Jesus, my Lord and Savior when I was in high school. My husband's parents were divorced when he was only 5 but he was raised by a Christian mother. My husband and I love the Lord and we made it our goal to bring our sons (and daughter) up from birth to know, love, revere, and serve the Lord...to delight in His Word and live by its truth and principles. His Word is our main parenting manual :). 

2. How does it make you feel to know that a godly man, such as Eli, could fail to raise his sons to know and love the Lord?
It makes me feel more purposeful in my parenting. I must guard my children's hearts with vigilance and pray my heart out for them :)! The spiritual battle is real.

3. Have you ever thought about the importance of raising sons from the perspective of this story? What kind of response does this create in your heart?
Yes, I have. I cannot afford to be negligent in my parenting. The consequences could be detrimental, even fatal.

4. Do you believe God holds us responsible for the way we train our children?
Yes. Note that it doesn't mean God holds us responsible for the way our children turn out. I've seen so many Godly parents who have done their best to train their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but their children still choose to go astray and walk away from the narrow path. Each individual must make his or her own choice to follow Christ or not.

Lord, please show me any ways that I've failed to raise my sons to know and love You more and how I can bring glory to You in my parenting. Please transform their hearts and help them to be little men after Your own heart. Please help us rise above the battle. Thank You for picking up where I fail and blessing my sons! In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!






(This picture was taken in 2005 when Josiah was 7 and Isaiah was 4.)

What It Means to Be Godly Men

Sad but true, nowadays real men are rare and real Godly men are even rarer. In my opinion, a Godly man...
- fears God, not men
- submits to Christ as his ultimate authority
- stands firm on the Word of God and displays discernment
- is a doer of the Word, not just hearer and knower
- stands up for what he believes in and for what is right
- is not afraid to admit when he is wrong
- leads with a servant's heart
- is the provider and protector of his family
- is responsible
- is honest and trustworthy
- is hard-working and diligent
- is patient
- strives for righteousness, Godliness, holiness, and pleasing the Lord, instead of power, fame, happiness, and wealth
- perseveres through trials in spite of pain, sufferings, and adversity
- dies to self and lives in Christ
- is respectful to others and puts others above himself
- is faithful in big things and small things
- is courageous
- does not whine
- sees the needs of others and tries his best to meet those needs
- protects the weak, gives to the poor, helps the needy, gives up his comfort to bring comfort to others
- gives, serves, sacrifices without expecting anything in return
- has no reason to despair because he knows Who is in control
- is content because he knows he's complete in Christ
- purposely avoids temptations and immediately takes the way out that God provides
- is kind, compassionate, loving, and forgiving
- is polite and courteous
- is not discouraged by failures but sees them as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve
- is just and fair
- is active, useful, resourceful, and productive
- draws people to God by the way he lives, acts, talks, treats others
- keeps doing good and glorifying the Lord even when he is falsely accused, misunderstood, mistreated, persecuted, etc.
- overcomes fears (fears may still be there but he moves forward in spite of them) by trusting and relying totally on God
- is a prayer warrior

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Monday, June 6, 2011

21 Days of Prayer for Sons--Introduction

I'm participating in the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons based on the ebook, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most by Brooke McGlothlin. If you're interested, please leave a comment here including your Facebook URL. I can add you as a friend (I'm "Fruitbearer" on FB) and then add you to the group led by my online friend and sister in Christ, Haelie. The 21 Days of Prayer for Sons will officially start on June 8th. Haelie has eased us into it slowly. I will share here from time to time what I learn or experience from this prayer challenge and some pictures of my boys :).

Study Questions

1. Describe your current relationship with your son(s). Are they young? Teenagers? All grown up? Is your relationship with them what you want it to be?
We are all close although my sons spend more time playing sports and doing guy stuff with my husband than with me :) (which I'm very thankful for). My sons are 12 and 9 (will be 13 and 10 in October). I just want our relationship to be what God wants it to be because what I want may not be the best for them.

2. Think back to when you first realized you were having a boy (or boys!). What was your response? Were you happy? Excited? Sad? Overwhelmed? Do you think your initial response to the idea of having boys has affected your parenting of them over the years?
I was thrilled both times. The first time I found out about our first son, I cried because my husband and I had prayed for another child for 3 years and finally, God answered our prayers. I felt like Hannah in the Bible and we gave our son the middle name "Samuel".  When we found out about our second son, we were surprised and excited. I don't really know how to answer the last question. I'm thankful for sons and daughter; they're precious blessings from the Lord.

3. Are your boys typical rough and tumble? Or are they a bit different than the stereotypical definition of boys? How has this affected your parenting over the years?
My boys are active and athletic. Each is unique, too. My 12 year old son is a special needs kid. He struggles with anxiety disorder and some OCD. My 9 year old son is a kind and loving gentleman (the definition of "Prince Charming"). My parenting is adjusted to each kid because one thing may work for one kid but not necessarily with the other kid.

4. Do your boys have good role models (father, uncles, other godly men)? If not, try to think of one man you could ask to be a stronger part of their lives. Write that man's name here and commit to praying that the Lord would put this need on his heart.
Yes, my husband/their dad is the best role model I could ever wish for (besides Jesus, of course :)).

5. How have you prayed for your son(s) in the past? Is the idea of praying the Word of God for
them new to you? If so, how do you think it will change the way you pray for your son(s)?
I pray daily for my children, especially more often for my 12 year old son. The idea of praying the Word of God for them is not new to me. Galatians 5:22-23a, Ephesians 3:16-19, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-12 are some of my favorites for praying for my children. I also have a book called Praying God's Will for My Son by Lee Roberts which covers prayers for 46 topics/specific needs, taken directly from God's Word.

"As parents, you are responsible before God to give your son(s) loving and prayerful support in order to nurture him (them) on his (their) journey to adulthood. .....What should you pray for your son(s)? Scripture is clear that you should pray God's Word for him (them). At the same time, you must never forget that God is sovereign and that He is not obligated to a name-it-and-claim-it theology. God will always do what is best for your son(s). But at the same time, you will do well to understand that when you pray God's Word for your son(s), you are actually praying both the mind and the perfect will of God for him (them)." ~Lee Roberts (parentheses are mine)

(Josiah was in a homemade costume for "King Josiah" and Isaiah was in a homemade costume for "Prophet Isaiah".)