The Sabbath


Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.  Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” – Exodus 35:1-3 (NIV)

We live in a world of busyness.  We occupy our time and fill our empty spaces.  We live without any margins on the pages of our story.  We are desperately in need of rest.  God is not unaware of this since He created us with work and rest in mind.  But the world, and those who live in it, are broken.  We don’t seek the kind of rest that heals and revives.  The rest we seek is play.  We find ways to escape from the busyness by doing fun things with fun people, returning from our vacation more exhausted than when we left.  Rest seems far from us.

The Sabbath rest is a discipline of letting go.  It is setting aside the day without any inclination toward accomplishment.  It is about being and not doing.  This is not easy for most of us.  We have been taught that doing nothing is lazy, but slothfulness is an aberration where rest is the desire of God for His people.  Israel began to learn this truth from the schedule He set with the manna and quail.  As hard as they looked and searched, there was never any quail or manna on the Sabbath.  Never. Yet, they always had enough to eat on that Sabbath day.

Teaching our children to rest may be a challenge, especially since we probably struggle with it ourselves, but it is invaluable to the life God desires for us.  He has designed us to work certain ways and to operate within certain limits.  When we exceed these limits we can burn out and enter into the growing army of perennially tired parents.  We need margins.  We need empty space…and so do our children.

Lord, help me to enter into Your rest and bring my children with me.  Grow in me the discipline and desire for resting.  Help me to show my children the beauty and power of unoccupied, unhurried time. Amen.

Crossing the Red Sea


Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.  During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He jammed[b] the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward[c] it, and the LORD swept them into the sea.  The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. – Exodus 14:21-28

When the Israelites were finally released from slavery, God needed to take them somewhere else.  He needed them to get away from their old life and old surroundings.  They needed to realize that God had something better for them.  They needed to discover what they were created for and they needed to travel to make that discovery.  So that this point would be clear and unforgettable, God takes them across the bottom of the sea on dry ground.  Talk about an object lesson.

Our children need to be taken out of their environments as well.  There are times where a complete change in geography can help open them up to see God and the promises He has for them.  They need to understand the relationship of responsibility and freedom and how they grow together.  This is not easy.  Teaching our children to live a life of freedom is not easy, but it is worth every struggle we face in the process.

While God gave the Israelites every opportunity to see what He was doing for them, where He was taking them and why, they still went back to their enslaved ways of thinking.  Before and after crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites complained.  Freedom was too dangerous and demanding and difficult.  They were gripped by fear and they started acting like they belonged to someone else.  But they belonged to God and so do we and so do our children.

We need to have a relationship with God that will allow us to be Moses to our children.  Our ability to be moved by God to do and say what our children need to do and hear is critical.  They will look to us to lead them away from their oppressors.  They will be watching us to see if what we say matches with how we live.

Lord, help me to lead my children from slavery to freedom.  Give me wisdom to know my child’s needs and lead them to God.  Help me to know when my children are slipping back into their old, enslaved habits.  Amen.

Nature vs. Nurture


Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight–why the bush does not burn up.” – Exodus 3:1-3 (NIV)

It has been an ongoing argument in the study of man; which is more important – nature (what is inside of us) or nurture (what is outside of us).  The nature argument leans on genetics, physiology and some psychology.  The nurture argument comes from the philosophy, religion, sociology and some psychology.  There are some valid points from both perspectives and many experts say that both have varying influences throughout our lives.  Moses benefited from both.

Moses had lived a life of privilege and advantage, and showed a natural inclination toward justice and leadership, but God changed his location in order to change his heart and mind.  Nature and nurture can be the levers to move the other.  When God needed to grow something in Moses, He used a change in nurture to change his nature.  When God met Moses in the burning bush, He appeals to Moses’ nature to change his nurture.

This is an amazing characteristic of God, but it is also incredibly important for parenting.  We need to be experts at helping our children navigate the nature and the nurture in their lives.  Sometimes we may need to alter that nurture to help them see their nature.  Sometimes we will need to change their nurture to open their minds to their nature.  Have you ever seen your child’s demeanor completely transform just be being in a different location?   Have you ever helped your child overcome a fear so they could go places they never went to before?

When we push them to go into different circumstances, it helps them understand who they are in ways they never would if they stayed in the same location.  When we help them figure out a little more about who God created them to be, the world becomes a bigger place.  Sometimes they need to go into the wilderness to see who they are.  Sometimes seeing who they are will help them go into the wilderness.  As parents we need to ask for God’s help in knowing when we need to help with one or the other.

Lord, help us to lead our children to the right places at the right time.  Help us to see who you are creating them to be so we can help them get closer to your design every day.  Give us the wisdom and insight to know our children and help them make their journey closer to you. Amen.

Does Who We Are Help Our Children?


But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.  So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.  The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. – Genesis 39:20b-23

It feels good when you receive a compliment about your child.  There is a sense of satisfaction that what you are doing is making a difference in the world.  It motivates you to keep going forward with the blessings and challenges of parenthood with renewed energy and purpose.  And it moves you to extend thanks and praise to your child.  They are good moments and we should ask ourselves if the way we live is helping those moments along.

Joseph found favor throughout his life because his heavenly Father had influence on him.  God’s presence marked Joseph as a good and reliable man, fit for leadership and trust.  It didn’t depend on whether those other men – the pharaoh, the cupbearer, the warden – knew God, but that God’s favor set Joseph apart from others.  He stood out like a candle in a dark room, the light of God’s goodness and power shining through his words and deeds.

We have the same influence on our children, for good or ill.  Our character and attitudes will filter through our children to the world whether we want them to or not.  We can try the “do as I say, not as I do” method, but that path leads to bad ends.  Each day we should ask ourselves, “Is who I am helping my child become the person God wants them to be?”

It is a hard lesson to learn, but often the easiest way to help your child grow is to grow yourself.  If you see something broken in your child, look to fix it in yourself first.  When you witness an attitude in your child that seems out of line, check your heart and mind for the slightest hint of the same attitude and work on changing it.  God asks us to lead our children by going before them, not pushing them from behind.

Lord, help us to lead in our families.  Help us to see the broken things in our lives and how they are affecting our children, and help us overcome them by the work of your Holy Spirit.  May the person I am becoming lead my children closer to God and gain them favor in this world. Amen.

The Sabbath


Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.  Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” – Exodus 35:1-3 (NIV)

We live in a world of busyness.  We occupy our time and fill our empty spaces.  We live without any margins on the pages of our story.  We are desperately in need of rest.  God is not unaware of this since He created us with work and rest in mind.  But the world, and those who live in it, are broken.  We don’t seek the kind of rest that heals and revives.  The rest we seek is play.  We find ways to escape from the busyness by doing fun things with fun people, returning from our vacation more exhausted than when we left.  Rest seems far from us.

The Sabbath rest is a discipline of letting go.  It is setting aside the day without any inclination toward accomplishment.  It is about being and not doing.  This is not easy for most of us.  We have been taught that doing nothing is lazy, but slothfulness is an aberration where rest is the desire of God for His people.  Israel began to learn this truth from the schedule He set with the manna and quail.  As hard as they looked and searched, there was never any quail or manna on the Sabbath.  Never. Yet, they always had enough to eat on that Sabbath day.

Teaching our children to rest may be a challenge, especially since we probably struggle with it ourselves, but it is invaluable to the life God desires for us.  He has designed us to work certain ways and to operate within certain limits.  When we exceed these limits we can burn out and enter into the growing army of perennially tired parents.  We need margins.  We need empty space…and so do our children.

Lord, help me to enter into Your rest and bring my children with me.  Grow in me the discipline and desire for resting.  Help me to show my children the beauty and power of unoccupied, unhurried time. Amen.

Crossing the Red Sea


Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.  During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He jammed[b] the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward[c] it, and the LORD swept them into the sea.  The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. – Exodus 14:21-28

When the Israelites were finally released from slavery, God needed to take them somewhere else.  He needed them to get away from their old life and old surroundings.  They needed to realize that God had something better for them.  They needed to discover what they were created for and they needed to travel to make that discovery.  So that this point would be clear and unforgettable, God takes them across the bottom of the sea on dry ground.  Talk about an object lesson.

Our children need to be taken out of their environments as well.  There are times where a complete change in geography can help open them up to see God and the promises He has for them.  They need to understand the relationship of responsibility and freedom and how they grow together.  This is not easy.  Teaching our children to live a life of freedom is not easy, but it is worth every struggle we face in the process.

While God gave the Israelites every opportunity to see what He was doing for them, where He was taking them and why, they still went back to their enslaved ways of thinking.  Before and after crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites complained.  Freedom was too dangerous and demanding and difficult.  They were gripped by fear and they started acting like they belonged to someone else.  But they belonged to God and so do we and so do our children.

We need to have a relationship with God that will allow us to be Moses to our children.  Our ability to be moved by God to do and say what our children need to do and hear is critical.  They will look to us to lead them away from their oppressors.  They will be watching us to see if what we say matches with how we live.

Lord, help me to lead my children from slavery to freedom.  Give me wisdom to know my child’s needs and lead them to God.  Help me to know when my children are slipping back into their old, enslaved habits.  Amen.

Nature vs. Nurture


Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight–why the bush does not burn up.” – Exodus 3:1-3 (NIV)

It has been an ongoing argument in the study of man; which is more important – nature (what is inside of us) or nurture (what is outside of us).  The nature argument leans on genetics, physiology and some psychology.  The nurture argument comes from the philosophy, religion, sociology and some psychology.  There are some valid points from both perspectives and many experts say that both have varying influences throughout our lives.  Moses benefited from both.

Moses had lived a life of privilege and advantage, and showed a natural inclination toward justice and leadership, but God changed his location in order to change his heart and mind.  Nature and nurture can be the levers to move the other.  When God needed to grow something in Moses, He used a change in nurture to change his nature.  When God met Moses in the burning bush, He appeals to Moses’ nature to change his nurture.

This is an amazing characteristic of God, but it is also incredibly important for parenting.  We need to be experts at helping our children navigate the nature and the nurture in their lives.  Sometimes we may need to alter that nurture to help them see their nature.  Sometimes we will need to change their nurture to open their minds to their nature.  Have you ever seen your child’s demeanor completely transform just be being in a different location?   Have you ever helped your child overcome a fear so they could go places they never went to before?

When we push them to go into different circumstances, it helps them understand who they are in ways they never would if they stayed in the same location.  When we help them figure out a little more about who God created them to be, the world becomes a bigger place.  Sometimes they need to go into the wilderness to see who they are.  Sometimes seeing who they are will help them go into the wilderness.  As parents we need to ask for God’s help in knowing when we need to help with one or the other.

Lord, help us to lead our children to the right places at the right time.  Help us to see who you are creating them to be so we can help them get closer to your design every day.  Give us the wisdom and insight to know our children and help them make their journey closer to you. Amen.