Backstory: Zachary is doing high school through Liberty University Online Academy. To say it’s an adjustment is an understatement. High school math online is crazy hard. He’s been struggling through it, several weeks behind, secured a tutor for one week to get unstuck. And then I basically gave him permission to fail the test and quiz so he could move to the next modules, which looking ahead I realized were concepts he’d easily understand.
Why did I give him permission to fail? Because he was trying as hard as he possibly could. I don’t want performance based kids. I want my kids to work as if unto the Lord, yet realizing sometimes the results aren’t always what we want. Did he give his best attitude and effort? That’s all that matters.
“Zachary, just take the test and fail it. You’ve worked with the tutor. We can’t lose anymore time.”
He seemed relieved as he picked up his computer to take the test.
“Wait! Let’s pray first.”
I sat next to him on the sofa and prayed, “Lord, thank you that you are always with us. You care about what we care about. Please help Zachary to have understanding he doesn’t have on his own. Give him answers only You can give him. Give him clarity of thought and a calm heart. And Jesus, please give Zachary a C on this test.”
Zachary laughed, “Mom, a C is impossible. The practice test and the quiz were Fs.” Side note, I high-fived him for a 48 quiz grade because I fully expected a 10 on that module.
He took the test on the family room sofa while I worked at the kitchen table. 20 minutes later I heard his laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
“Mom, I got a 70.”
Exactly what we’d prayed for, a C.
I squealed and blurted, “Shoot!!! We should’ve asked for an A!”
I knew it was God’s direct answer to our prayer.
Fast forward a week, Zachary began making 100s on his lessons. He totally understood the next concepts as I knew he would. Then he reached a lesson prior to the quiz that stumped him. Again his lesson grade was an F. The concept was a stinker to understand. But we don’t have much time to spare. So I encouraged him to do the best he could and take the quiz.
This time when we prayed we asked God for an A. 20 minutes later I see him emerge from test taking. With a smirk on his face, he said, “Mom, I got a 91.”
“Shut up!!!!!!” Yes, what a godly response. But, I can’t even contain myself when I see my kids experiencing the power of prayer.
Zachary did the work to the best of his ability and he asked God for what only God could give. The results. And it exceeded our expectations.
I want my kids to see the reality of Christ in their everyday life. He’s not some faraway God. He is right here. He cares about every detail of our lives.
While the Lord gives me these kids in this home, I will do everything I can to counteract culture in their lives. God is real. God is love. God is the God of the impossible. They need to see their deep need for Him. Life is better when surrendered to Him.
And God answers our prayers!! Not always how we ask or expect, but always in ways that are what we need over what we want. Thank you, Jesus!
If you want visual reminders for your kids of God’s great love and mercy over their lives, then give them God’s Word to rest their heads on. Scripture pillowcases are a tool in your parenting toolbox to get more of God’s Word into their minds and hearts. It’s one way to counteract the lies of the world.
One of the most influential parenting books I’ve ever read is by Paul David Tripp. I’ve read it three times. It quite literally offered me the greatest perspective shift I’ve ever experienced in my parenting journey. The most eye opening statement he made was that God never tasked the job of heart change to parents. I’d been white knuckling parenting, fearful I was screwing up or that my kids would wander away. This book was a deep sigh of relief. My one job is to love Jesus wholeheartedly, pray consistently, and point my kids back to the cross over and over and over again.
I stopped being so concerned about right now outcomes and focused on making the gospel real in their lives. It’s a must read in my opinion for all parents at every single stage.
My scripture pillowcases were born out of desire to get more of God’s Word into the hearts of my children. I wanted to really teach them to turn to His Word for every single thing. In a world that bombards them with lies and fears, they need to be grounded in the truth that the God of the universe holds them steady. I want His Word instructing them night and day.
Grow in Discernment
You may find yourself needing more encouragement this week. I pray these mini-devotions will help you cast your gaze upon the Lord. He is good.
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” 1 Thes 5:5
Therefore, expose the dark. Expose the evil. Call it out into the light. We are living in the greatest age of deception in our lifetime. The speed of change is startling.
Yet, you were chosen to live for such a time as this. What a glorious calling.
Be bold for the truth. Be bold for souls.
Be careful who you follow. Be careful who you allow to influence you. You aren’t part of the cancel culture when you wisely discern a voice of influence is negative for you. As deception increases, we must grow in discernment. Then choose to NOT participate with the darkness. And call it out!
But how do we grow in discernment? Read the Bible daily. Every single day. The more you take it in, the quicker you are to recognize the deception and evil around you.
Grow in Maturity
Are you immature or mature in your spiritual walk? According to the Bible if you live on milk, you are inexperienced with the message about righteousness because you are an infant. “But solid food is for the mature-for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14
So what are you living on? Milk or solid food? If you are still on milk, you may be malnourished, your growth stunted. Is your only source of food from the message your pastor preaches on Sunday? Is it podcasts and books by christian authors? If so, it’s time to make a decision to wean yourself and feast on solid food.
It’s time to grow up. The times have changed. The Bible says the mature believer has trained his senses to distinguish between good and evil.
Culture is swarming with people professing Christianity who cannot distinguish between good and evil. Sometimes that line is very thin. Satan masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14)Can you distinguish the difference in the true versus the false light?
Evil is masquerading as good right now. Can you see it? Have you asked God to give you clear vision? Are you in His Word? Silence opinions. Silence the media. Silence the famous christian platforms. Fast from it all and seek Him with all your heart. He will grow you up.
His Word is true.
Grow in Faith
The last sentence of Isaiah 60:22 is an encouragement to us. “I am Yahweh; I will accomplish it quickly in its time.”
We tend to look at our circumstances or the world and feel God’s purposes are taking forever. However, we must remember the nature of God. He is compassionate, slow to anger, desiring more to come to repentance.
He is not slow to act. In fact, when the time comes, He will act quickly. God moves quickly in the proper and perfect time.
Dear Lord, your Word is true and full of your promises. Increase our faith to trust you. Help us patiently wait for your time to act. We long for the day the world is righted. Thank you that the day is near. Teach us to look for your goodness in the land of the living. Help us live eternally minded knowing you hold the whole world in your hand. Amen.
The key to staying encouraged is keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. But how? By having His Word in front of us at every turn. This is why I created scripture pillowcases, inspirational tea towels, and our latest addition truth mats (aka laminated placements). The world is a constant bombardment of bad news. Fill your spaces with the best news. Jesus is King!!
Hop over to my shop and fill your world with more of His Word!
Here’s a sneak peek at a few new designs on the way to the shop.
In Mark 6:45-52 the disciples were in a boat in the middle of the sea. “He saw them being battered as they rowed, because the wind was against them.” (V 48)
What is your “middle of the sea” situation? What wind is against you and what waves batter you? Jesus sees you. He won’t leave you in your boat alone. Even now He is walking on water toward you.
When they saw Jesus on the water they cried out in fear thinking it was a ghost. Jesus responded, “Have courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Here’s my favorite part. “Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded.” (Vs 52)
Jesus sees what’s against you and He gets in the boat with you. Take courage. It’s Jesus. Don’t be afraid.
Jesus gets into the boat with His people.
Father, we are faced with many worries today. We feel battered by the winds and waves of our individual circumstances. We confess we give way to fear, worry, and anxiety. Forgive us of our forgetfulness. We forget who you are. You are for us so who can be against us? Increase our faith today. Protect our minds from the deception that plagues our world. Soften our hearts so that we will hear you and obey you. May we understand your instructions whether you tell us to get out of the boat and walk with you or stay in the boat with you as our guide. We only want You, Jesus. You are all we need. We love You. Help us love you more. Amen
The world feels darker by the day as chaos and confusion increase. We are desperate for light. The world moans for hope. What can we expect in the coming days, weeks, months, and years?
According to the Bible, we can expect the days to become darker. At the same time, the light within us will not dim. The darker the world, the brighter our lights shine.One reason so many christians are struggling with their faith right now is the lack of focus on worship of God alone. On who He is, His nature and His character. Modern worship songs tend to be self-focused and absorbed. How we are filled by God, what He does for US, what WE need. I feel what we need most is to develop a habit of focusing on the One True God.
We need to know who He is, what He promises. Instead of emotionalism in worship, we need the raw truth of His Word in our souls.
You have been chosen to live in these days. You have a purpose, a role, a job. We are living in days that require we make a decision to grow deeper with God and build stronger faith muscles. Casual Christianity is over.
Are you craving intimacy with God? Are you fighting fear as you watch the world seem to fall apart? Are you desperate for more but don’t know how? If so, I invite you to take a 14 day journey to grow in intimacy with God.
I wrote a devotion that focuses on the character and nature of God as illuminated by His Word. God as Creator, as Light, as I Am, as the Perfect One, as King, and Emmanuel (God with us). Alternating days will lead you in guided meditations through the Psalms. My prayer is that each day Your eyes will shift away from this crazy world and onto our Almighty God.
My prayer is that after 14 days you will want to listen or read again and draw into Him in deeper ways.
And I’ve lowered the price. It’s the cost of a cup of coffee, but will last much longer.
Illuminate makes a great easy gift. After buying one for yourself, log back in and buy one for a friend. You’ll only need to know her email address. Then send her a note to encourage her and tell her you are thinking of her today.
Together we can grow in Him and glow brighter in this dark world. He is here.
Purchase your copy here and begin listening or reading today. Available in both audio and ebook or both!