Today I am reading day 329 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Children desperately need adults for guidance. They need direction and assistance from those of us who have already walked down the road.
If you hiked through the Swiss Alps, it would be far easier, less dangerous, and more fulfilling to have an experienced guide lead you. He would show you features that you would normally miss and he would warn you about difficult parts of your journey. That’s what every kid needs.
Children also need to learn from your mistakes and your past pain. They can learn from their own experiences, but they can also avoid a lot of unnecessary pain by learning from your experiences. It’s wiser and faster to learn from the experiences of others. God never wants you to waste your mistakes and hurts. He wants you to use them to help others. When you see others go down a path you personally know is a dead end, speak up! It’s the loving thing to do.
Even if you’re not a parent, kids need you in their lives, and you need them! Kids teach us to think of others and be less self-centered. You will teach them, but they will also teach you in many ways. For instance, you can teach them self-control and they can teach you spontaneity and creativity. Are there any children in your life that you are helping?
Today I am reading day 18 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
The Ultimate Authority
Romans 15:4 Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.
• Think of someone who has earned your respect. What makes that person worthy of your respect? If that person gave you an instruction, how would you respond? Explain.
• How would you respond if someone you didn’t respect gave you an instruction? What would be the difference?
The Bible contains a lot of really good advice — but it’s not a self-help book. It’s much more important than that. A self-help book may be a useful tool, but it’s not absolutely necessary. The Bible is an integral part of our relationship with God.
The Bible is more like an instruction manual. It shows us how we are constructed and what we are designed for. It tells us very specifically what we must do in order to run at maximum capacity. The more closely we follow what the Bible says, the better chance we have of creating a life that resembles God’s blueprint. Not only does the Bible give us instruction, the Scriptures are one means of grace by which the Holy Spirit works to transform our lives.
The Bible is also a law book. It is the final authority for what is right and wrong. The Bible, then, is the perfect yardstick for measuring the things that influence us. If an idea, teaching or piece of advice follows God’s Word, we should consider it. If it doesn’t, we should beware of it. It’s that simple.
My Prayer to God
Dear God, thank you for giving us the Bible as the authority to guide our lives. Help us keep a proper respect for your Word. Amen.
Today I am reading day 8 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
Better Than a GPS
Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will teach you the way you should go; I will instruct you and advise you.
• Has God ever led you anywhere that surprised you? Explain.
• What’s the best thing to do when you don’t understand why the Lord is leading you in a certain direction?
While God gives us direction through the Bible, he is not a GPS that we can stick on the windshield. God won’t say, “In three and a half years, turn left and attend this college.” God leads us in a more subtle way, through our hearts.
God’s leading may not always make sense to us. For one thing, his choice of route may not be a straight line. He may lead us off the highway, against traffic or through a random desert. He may take us in a complete circle and bring us right back where we started. He may lead us out into the middle of the ocean and then tell us to make a U-turn.
The GPS only considers where we want to go and the shortest way to get there. God considers an infinite eternity that includes where we begin, where he wants us to go and what we need to learn along the way.
If we trust God to guide us, one day we’ll look back on our life and see just what an incredible journey it was.
My Prayer to God
Dear God, you are amazing because you know the best route for every person’s life. Guide our steps so that we go exactly where you want us to go. Amen.
Today I am reading day 5 of NIV Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional:
James 1:5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.
• Who’s the first person you turn to when you don’t know what to do?
• How do you know when you’ve made a wrong decision?
We live in a complicated world. We will face complicated decisions. Fortunately for us, we have a resource we can use. God, the source of all wisdom, invites us to share our dilemmas with him. He makes his wisdom available to us.
In order to take full advantage of the opportunity, though, we first need to empty ourselves of our own “wisdom.” Sometimes when we ask for advice, we have already made up our minds, and we’re just looking for someone to agree with us. That might work with friends, but not with God. If we’re going to tap into his wisdom, we need to forget about what we want or what we think should happen. We need to let him guide us.
If you’re not sure how to recognize God’s voice, try talking to him from different perspectives about the situation you’re facing. Talk about the pros, the reasons you should do something. Then talk about the cons, the reasons you shouldn’t do it. Let him work in your heart and mind to help you realize which direction is best.
If you really want God’s wisdom, just ask him for it.
My Prayer to God
Dear God, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Never let us forget that your help is available whenever we need it. Amen.