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You owe it to your child (2) - FRIDAY 5 MAY

‘Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.’ Proverbs 22:15 NKJV

The second thing you owe your child is: direction. The Bible says, ‘Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.’ Now, it’s not talking about your child having fun, or even making mistakes; that’s a normal part of childhood learning. The Bible is talking about ‘foolishness’. This word has several meanings, such as a lack of maturity, a lack of wisdom, or a tendency to rebel against rules. If you love your child, you’ll teach him or her that life is built on rules – if you obey them you succeed, and if you don’t you suffer.

For example, when your child is caught speeding, the police won’t let them get away with it. And when they fail to pay their mortgage, the bank won’t let them keep living in the house. The Bible says these are the misconceptions you must ‘drive’ out of the heart of your child. Just as a car that’s out of alignment tends to drift and needs correction, your child is born ‘out of line’ and needs to be corrected by you.

Solomon says, ‘A child left to himself brings shame to his mother’ (Proverbs 29:15 NKJV). Why’s that? Because a child left to himself is left in the condition in which they were born. And he or she was born in a condition called ‘foolishness’. Therefore, children must be taught to respect authority and to obey rules; they must learn that for every action there’s always an equal and opposite reaction. You owe it to your child to explain that to them.

You owe it to your child (1) - THURSDAY 4 MAY

‘If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them.’ Proverbs 13:24 NLT (1996 Edition)

As a parent, there are three things you owe your child. The first is: affection. The Bible says if you love your child you’ll discipline them. And you’ll do it in love, and not anger. Don’t buy into the idea that good parents don’t discipline their children because they ‘love them too much’. The truth is, if you don’t discipline your child it’s not because you love them too much, it’s because you love yourself too much.

A Gallup poll revealed that more than 90 per cent of graduating high school seniors wished their parents and teachers had loved them enough to discipline them more and require more of them. Like water, we follow the path of least resistance. It’s much easier to let things slide, avoid confrontation, stick your head in the sand, and hope things will get better, than it is to suffer the pain of disciplining a child you love. Keep in mind, however, that the only person who ever got anywhere by letting something slide was a trombone player.

Seriously, the Bible says, ‘Whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights’ (Proverbs 3:12 NKJV). Let that sink in! The greatest and wisest father of all is God. He not only loves, He is love. Yet we read here that our loving God is one who disciplines. Any parent who refuses to discipline their child is really saying they are a better parent than God. Love always does what is best for the other person. And there are times when love demands discipline and training.

Do your best to resolve the issue - WEDNESDAY 3 MAY

‘Go and be reconciled…Settle matters quickly.’ Matthew 5:24-25 NIV (2011 Edition)

Are your talents not being recognised and received? Do you have a particular talent, yet God doesn’t seem to be blessing you with success? This may be the key: ‘If you are offering your gift at the altar and…remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift…go and be reconciled to them;, then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly’ (vv. 23-25 NIV 2011 Edition). Don’t be led by your wounded ego; be led by God’s Word. You say, ‘The person I had the issue with is no longer around, yet I’m still troubled about it.’ Read these two Scriptures:

1) ‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results’ (James 5:16 NLT).

2) ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ (John 20:23 NKJV).

Share your feelings with someone worthy of your trust. Pray with them, openly confessing your wrongs and the guilt you feel. Prayer and the presence of an affirming friend can provide you with the peace of mind you seek. After David murdered Uriah, his lover’s husband, his guilt was overwhelming and he sought God’s forgiveness. But Uriah wasn’t around to hear his confession; he’d been dead almost a year. So David turned to Nathan the prophet and poured out his heart saying, ‘I have sinned.’ Nathan listened patiently and told him, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin’ (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV 2011 Edition). Follow David’s example – then put the issue behind you and move on.

Living in a peaceful state of mind - TUESDAY 2 MAY

‘You will keep in perfect peace…all whose thoughts are fixed on you!’ Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Who are you trusting to solve your problems, God or yourself? Before you answer, read this: ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you…whose thoughts are fixed on you!…for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them’ (vv. 3, 7 NLT). What a great promise! If you want to maintain a peaceful state of mind, live by this principle: ‘Do your best, and trust God with the rest.’ Some of us grew up with the notion that it’s wrong to enjoy ourselves when we have problems. We’ve been conditioned to think that if we can’t do anything else – at least we can worry and be miserable.

Paul addresses this: ‘Do not [for a moment] be frightened…for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign…from God’ (Philippians 1:28 AMPC). Satan doesn’t know what to do when he can’t get you upset; you’ve taken a powerful weapon out of his hands. By trusting God completely, you’re no longer at the mercy of circumstances, other people, or your own emotions and limitations. Broadcaster Paul Harvey once quipped, ‘In times like these, it’s helpful to remember there have always been times like these!’ The question isn’t ‘Will trouble come?’, it’s ‘How will you handle it?’ The Bible says, ‘We which have believed do enter into rest’ (Hebrews 4:3 KJV). When things go wrong – don’t go wrong along with them. Follow God’s leading, stand on His Word, then rest in Him and trust Him to work on your behalf.

God can restore you - MONDAY 1 MAY

‘As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand.’ Jeremiah 18:6 NKJV

The prophet Jeremiah writes: ‘I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: …“Can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand”’ (vv. 3-6 NKJV). There are three important lessons in this story for you:

1) As long as you stay pliable and responsive to God, He will never throw you away. Instead, He will mould you into something He can use.

2) When others put you down, God will lift you up. A potter doesn’t press down on the clay, he continuously lifts it up and shapes it as it spins on the wheel. And God will do that for you too. David said, ‘He…brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps’ (Psalm 40:2 NKJV).

3) Notice whose foot is on the wheel. If he could, Satan would have thrown you off the wheel a long time ago, but he can’t. Look under the table and see whose foot is on the wheel: the Potter’s! Nothing can separate you from God’s love (see Romans 8:39).

The word for you today is: ‘As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand.’