Some things to contemplate until our Bible Study at October's Steering Meetings on this topic of Identity:
* We were one of a kind before having children and still are
* Our goal during motherhood is to find ourselves in this adventure
* Every person has an outlook on the world and on life - a way of looking at things, valuing things, judging things. Our perspective is some thing which we have learned.
* Our Identity determines the way we feel about ourselves, our hope for the future and how we develop our talents and skills
* Motherhood - Remain clear about the fact that this season is only one part of a whole life
* We have many years to continue to contribute to our children - are we developing ourselves?
* To gain right perspective in our Identity as believers in God we need to go to the Word of God for insight.
Some questions to consider:
* How has motherhood changed you?
* As a child - what events and circumstances helped form you?
* Which were the most significant influences?
* What is the balance between who God made you to be as an individual and the responsibilities God has given you as a mother?
* Read Ephesians 1:1-14 and circle "in Christ", "in Him", "in Himself", "in the Beloved" (who is Jesus), and "in whom"(when it refers to Jesus wherever they appear.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory."
Think about what it means to be "in Christ." How would your being "in Christ" change the definition of who you are?
List 5 words to describe yourself besides being a believer in God.
If you have time and want to, write a short statement that explains how you see yourself as a woman not just a mom.
The Bible teaches that raising children is "kingdom" work - eternal work for God
"What will it require of me Lord, to nurture the emotional, physical and spiritual well being of my children? I ask You, how do You want to transform ME in this process?"
Read the following statements from the Bible and think about which ones mean the most to you.
I am significant, acceptable, and secure because I am not "just" a mother. I am a gift from God to His son Jesus.
* Jesus thanks his Father God for the gift of me
John 17: 6, 24
"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word."
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."
* I am God's handiwork
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
* I am loved by God
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
* I am God's child
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
1 John 3:1-3
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."
* I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins
" . . .in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
* I am complete in Christ
" . . .and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."
* I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be completed.
" . . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
* I am the salt of the earth
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."
* I am the light of the world
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
* I am a branch of the true vine (Jesus) and a channel of his life
John 15:1, 5
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener."
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
* I am a personal witness for Christ
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
* I am God's temple (His dwelling place)
1 Corinthians 3:16
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?"
* I am a member of Christ's body (the church)
1 Corinthians 3:9
"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."
1 Corinthians 12:27
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
* I am God's co-worker
1 Corinthians 3:9
"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."
2 Corinthians 6:1
"As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain."
* I am a saint
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: . . ."
* I am a citizen of heaven
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus . . ."
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ . . ."
* I am Christ's friend
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
* I am born of God
1 John 5:18
"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him."
* I am never alone
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
* I cannot be separated from the love of God
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"
* I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (spiritual fruit from the good works we do in His name for others)
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
* I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
* I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit
"For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."
Motherhood can become a delight that we are able to share with our children, rather, than a demand we shoulder as best we can. When Jesus is Lord and Savior in our life we are able to accept our "Gift Identity". We are able to reject the identities that come along with relationships, responsibilities, roles and objects - we can begin to live the Identity that we have been given by God as a free gift and as a result of our trust and faith in what He has done for us.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
In the book of Isaiah 49:15-16
"See, I will not forget you . . . I have carved you on the palm of My hand. I have called you by your name. You are mine. You are precious to Me. I love you."
You are loved by God - that can be part of your identity!
Identity and Growth
Experiencing the Transformations of Motherhood
Of course a mother gives up a lot for her child: blood, sleep, tears, not to mention time, money, and peace of mind. But a mother must not feel obliged to give up herself. Not unless she wants to raise a motherless child."
The fact that we find mothering more difficult than we had imagined is a truth of the female experience that can be hard to talk about. Society's expectations of us and our own expectations of ourselves are so different from our actual experience.
* We are handcrafted by God
* We are uniquely made
* We are transformed by Him as we trust in His sovereignty and receive the blessings He bestows on us through this experience of mothering,
It's not only that children in general are a blessing, but, that the specific children God sends to us are given as His blessings for our lives. It is quite a paradox to find that an area where we have struggled so deeply has become one of our deepest sources of joy and pride. Mothering requires us to confront levels of selfishness and pride that might have been otherwise left unchallenged.
The experience of being a mother has called us to new levels of faith and perseverance that might have otherwise gone unexplored. We get to see our character deficiencies surface as we relate to our children and it provides a great opportunity-not for failure-but for growth. Recognizing that God is the Source of our children's lives is foundational to understanding the magnitude and the privilege it is to be a parent and the growth it brings to us!
The original bad Self-image
The Bible tells us that Satan is the enemy of our souls. He does not wish for us to know who we really are and why we are here. He rebelled against the reason God created him. He was not created in God's image, as we are, he was to be an angel. He did not love nor accept himself as God loved and accepted him. He was not satisfied with himself at all and it was that sin of his that led our original mother, Eve, to question God's love for her and reasons for being created.
When Eve chose to leave the Garden of Eden- yes she did choose by her disobedience-she walked out with a shattered image. She was less than she was meant to be, because she chose to leave the Source and Maker of her life.
The sure foundation of self-esteem is the knowledge that before, during and after life with a husband, children, career or even a youthful and physically able body, we are created to reflect God's character, to love Him and have honest, intimate communications with Him. God's purposes for our lives include our roles, but go beyond those identities. As Christians our identity should be rooted in God's unconditional love for us. He has given us gifts and resources to make a unique contribution to our world. When we work in partnership with Him we bring Him honor as we become all He created us to be.
The School of Soul Care
Most of us would never neglect our bodies but with this shattered image we've inherited we suffer from the neglect of our souls. We experience much discontentment in so many areas during our mother experience. Perhaps we need to live as if Jesus cared for more than just our bodies. The School of Soul Care specializes in the everlasting and the unseen. As we build up our own souls we also contribute the best for our children. Our souls are not some ghostly things. They are who we are now.
I don't just have a soul, like I have curly hair; I am my soul. My soul is me- with all it's abilities and experiences, memories, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, introspections, desires, choices and sensations. All of these capacities make us the image bearers of God. Our thoughts become our soul's transportation. When a thought gets more evidence, it grows up and becomes a belief. Our beliefs become our worldview and dictate how we live our days.
Read 2 Corinthians 5: 17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Christ sets us free to be the "me" that God always wanted me to be.
Read Ephesians 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Speaks of being "near" and "far away" because of our faith in Jesus.
- Near what? Far away from what?
- How do you go from being far away to being near?
- What does being near mean when you are doing the everyday things of life?
- When do you find yourself most near to God? Most far away?
- What might help you stay near God more of the time?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[a]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- Why do you think Paul likens you to a clay jar?
- What is the treasure he speaks of?
- How are you "wasting away"? Physically, emotionally mentally? Other ways?
- Those are outward things. What's happening to you inwardly because you are "in Christ"?
- Where does Paul tell us to fix our eyes?
- How does fixing your eyes on Jesus help you discover the person you really are?
Many of the people in your life define you by only one or two parts of the whole you. You may not see much of anything clearly right now but God's Word helps us have the assurance that, though we don't know everything fully-including yourself- you are fully known by God.
The Four Seasons of Marriage
Life is full of unanticipated changes. The manner in which couples process these changes will determine the quality of their marriages. The interweaving of our emotions, attitudes, and actions creates the quality of our relationship during any of these seasons of marriage. Emotions must lead to reason, and reason must be guided by truth if we are to take constructive action.
Winter - "Just as most people wouldn't lie down in the snow and wait to die, there's no reason to passively accept the coldness of a wintry season in marriage. There is always a way out, and it begins with hope."
Spring - "Change is perceived as an opportunity for new beginnings, and springtime couples fully expect to make the best of those opportunities."
Summer - "If our marriage is in the season of summer, we will share a deep sense of commitment and satisfaction. And we will feel secure in each other's love . . . Summer does not equal perfection, but it does mean that couples in this season have a sense of accomplishment and a desire to keep growing."
Fall - "It takes both spouses to move a marriage from Fall to Spring, but it takes only one to move from Fall to Winter. The way we think and actions we take make all the difference."
The Essential Nature of Marriage - Committed, United, Intimate, Purposeful, Complementary. Husbands and wives were designed by God to complement each other. Our marriage relationship can enhance the effectiveness with which we serve God and raise our children.
Question - What brings most couples to the Winter season of Marriage?
Strategies to Enhance the Seasons of Your Marriage
1. Deal with past failures. Why is it important to look at our own failures first when dealing with past hurts
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God himself is judge. - Psalm 50:6
O Lord, you took up my case;
you redeemed my life.
You have seen, O LORD, the wrong done to me.
Uphold my cause! - Lamentations 3:58-59
This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. - Zechariah 7:9
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. - Matthew 7:2-5
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done."To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. - Romans 2:1-7
It isn't always easy to let go of hurts; in fact, sometimes it's very difficult. Love, however, "keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5)
2. Choose A Winning Attitude
"The most common mistake couples make is allowing negative emotions to dictate their behavior" True or False? Discuss
Circumstances are neutral - or at least common. It's not what happens to us but how we interpret them. True or False? Discuss
Characteristics of a Christian Worldview
Every human being is made in the image of God and is therefore extremely valuable.
Each person is uniquely gifted by God (including the mentally and physically challenged)
Each person has a unique role to play in life
Marriage is God's idea. Husbands and wives are intended to complement each other.
The object of marriage is to glorify God by serving one's spouse and helping the spouse reach his or her God-given potential.
How do you think these characteristics foster a positive attitude?
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. - Romans 14:17-19
How can these verses be applied to marriage?
3. Maximize Your Differences
"After 30 years of counseling married couples, I am convinced there are no irreconcilable differences, only people who refuse to reconcile . . . When each spouse recognizes and affirms the other's uniqueness, the differences themselves weld the couple into an unbeatable team."
Four Steps to Maximize Your Differences
* Identify your differences
* Look for assets in your differences
* Learn from your differences
* Replace condemnation with affirmation
Think about what irritates you about your spouse in an area where you are different. Why do these things irritate you? What differences do these irritations reveal?
In most cases, the reason we get irritated is because your spouse doesn't do something the way you would do it. How does this idea correspond to our human tendency to be egocentric?
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. - Romans 14:19
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. - Ephesians 4:29
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. - 2 Timothy 2:24
Discuss how these truths offer wisdom for maximizing our differences.
Emotions make " . . . wonderful servants, but terrible masters" - Dallas Willard
"And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:10-17
We might know that Jesus can make all things new, but perhaps we haven't trusted him for it. If we feel alone, perhaps we haven't fully seen the power we have been given and the Man on the journey with us.
"I asked Jesus to transform the abused, embarrassing, dishonest understanding I had of submission. I asked Jesus to show me how He would submit. And He redeemed the idea for me, not by removing the task, but by showing me how God is made great when I bend my knee" -from Ruby Slippers by Jonalyn Grace Fincher
Hope and the Adventure of Motherhood
Sometimes we live without really living, don't we? It doesn't always take a major blow like divorce, death, infertility or infidelity to steal our passion and joy. Daily life can overwhelm us with never-ending tasks, our unreasonable expectations for ourselves, others and our circumstances can keep us from enjoying each moment. When we focus on all the things that threaten to consume us, we fail to see and appreciate what has been given to us.
Imagine a winding cluster of concrete walkways. In the midst of harsh, gray, a tiny purple flower spring through a crack in the cement. We quite easily see the concrete jungle - it dominates the scene. But to discover the little bit of life, pushing its way up in the midst of such opposition, is indeed inspiring.
* Think about your life. If this scene were a reflection of your life, what would the concrete and flower represent?
* What do you choose to see on a daily basis? Does the concrete dominate your vision, or do you allow yourself to be inspired by the flower?
Whether you look for the flower amidst the concrete, or are so overwhelmed you can't see anything at all, Jesus wants to open our eyes to a more beautiful and hopeful reality.
Read Mark 8:22-26
The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
24He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village.[a]"
* How did the blind man find Jesus? (v. 22)
* Jesus healed the blind man in an unusual way. What was the very first thing that Jesus did? (v. 23)
* In some ways, we are all blind. What do you think it means for Jesus to lead you away to restore your sight?
* What was the next unusual thing Jesus did to the blind man's eyes and what did He ask the blind man? (v. 23)
* What was the blind man's response? (v. 24)
* How did God respond to the blind man's honesty? (v. 25)
* What do you think the Lord wants to do for you? (v. 25)
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." - Isaiah 64:4
"If our waiting begins by quieting the activities of daily life, and being still before God; if we bow and seek to see God in His universal and almighty operation; if we yield to Him in the assurance that He is working and will work in us; if we maintain the place of humility and stillness and surrender until God's Spirit has stirred up in us confidence that He will perfect His work, our waiting will indeed become the strength and the joy of the soul." - Andrew Murray, The Believer's Secret of Waiting on God
In our fast-paced, "microwave society, waiting seems entirely out of date and a waste of time. The dictionary gives some interesting definitions for the word wait. It comes from the Old English word to watch, which according to Webster's has these meanings: to stay in place in expectation of; to look forward expectantly; to be ready and available; to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized. Waiting on God and hoping in Him are strong biblical principles and very important in understanding how I am to live my life according to God's ways. If I want His purpose accomplished in my life, than I will learn the discipline of waiting on God and experience the joy that only hope can bring.
* Read the following Psalms and discover the benefits of waiting and, what the psalmist was waiting for the Lord to do.
Psalms 25: 3-5
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 33: 16-22
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God [a] ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
To wait and hope are closely related and often interchangeable in Scriptures. Waiting seems to be a measure of our hope. While in captivity Jeremiah wrote some wonderful words in Lamentations 3:21-25
". . . my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail, They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him.'"
As Andrew Murray said in the quote God wants us to "maintain the place of humility and stillness and surrender" in the place we find ourselves on a daily basis. What other way could God encourage us and teach us to totally depend on His guidance, His way, His timing? How else could we really learn that our hope was in Him and not just our abilities.
The waiting on God to reveal His purposes in us is so essential to comprehending His purpose for us. The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place we are in at any given day, but only dependent upon our determination to set the Lord always before us.
We don't need to know exactly where we are going - just whom we are following.
"The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley . . . It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God - that is where our faithfulness is revealed." - Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest
Attributes: 1. To think of as belonging to, produced by, resulting from or Originating in.
2. To ascribe as a quality or characteristic peculiar to one person
Ascribe: To assign or regard as belonging or coming from someone.
Quality: 1. Any of the features that make something what it is.
Fear: (Hebrew word also means 'reverance')
The fear of God can be for several reasons:
1. Superstitious - result of ignorance
2. Servile - leads to abstaining from sin for fear of punishment
3. Felial - which springs from love and prompts one to care about Offending God with a strong desire to please Him in all things.
Fear of the Lord - dreads God's displeasure, desires His favor, reveres His holiness
Submits cheerfully to His will, knowing He has our best interest in mind.
Used to worship God
Fear and Love must co-exist in us in order that either passion may be healthy and in Balance so we might please God and rightly serve Him.
Fear of Man - is the dread of opinions and the harm someone can do to us.
Protection or Preparation for our Children
There is a story written about a young soldier fighting in the trenches who kept raising his arm up to check his watch every time a flare or volley was shot his way. His buddy was lying out in the field near by. His friend, hiding in the trenches with him, and waiting for an opportunity to go rescue their fellow soldier, asked him what he was doing checking his watch every few minutes by the light of those flares. He replied that he was waiting for 9:00 to go out to rescue his fellow soldier because that's when he knew his mom would be praying for him, like she did every day for as long as he could remember. She had promised that she would continue to pray for his protection at the same time every day until he returned home. He knew he would have God's protection thru her prayers if waited for that exact time.
How do we raise children to have such confidence in God and prayer so they will be prepared for the challenges of this life?
A small child asks, "What is God like? The mother answers, "Well, God is kind of like . . . well . . ."
The best preparation and protection we can give our children is a correct view of God that will see them thru whatever this world presents. God has revealed Himself thru His Word. We need to know Him in order to prepare them.
If someone asked you "What is your husband like?" you might describe his character like . . . he is patient, kind, calm, stable but you know he isn't a list of characteristics, yet characteristics give clues to what is like. The Bible teaches us something of God's 'attributes' in order to know what we can expect from Him.
The Bible reveals the amazing effect the knowledge of God will have on our lives. In the following verses, discover what characteristics will increasingly become true of us as we come to know God.
What will become true of one who knows God?
With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. - Daniel 11:32
What is another effect the knowledge of God has on a life?
Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you. - Job 22:21
You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you. - Isaiah 26:3
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,- Ephesians 2:14
According to these verses, is it possible for you to have peace? How?
In what circumstances do you lack peace for yourself or your children?
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10
This verse states another important reason we need to know God. What does this verse reveal?
Where do we find correct answers to our questions concerning what God is like?
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. - Psalm 19:1
You diligently study[a] the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me - John 5:39
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? - John 14:9
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:6
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. - Colossians 1:15
The Attributes of God
What is an "attribute" of God?
In each of the following references, what do you discover about God?
a. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands - Deuteronomy 7:9
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
b. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all. - 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
c. One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, - Psalm 62:11
d. Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. - Psalm 90:2
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemy before you,
saying, 'Destroy him!' - Deuteronomy 33:27
e. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever. - Psalm 136:1
f. You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD. - Psalm 139:2-4
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. - John 21:17
g. Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence? - Psalm 139:7
h. All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: "What have you done? - Daniel 4:35
"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. - 2 Chronicles 20:6
i. I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. - Malachi 3:6
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8
j. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:16
After reading these verses, which describes some of the attributes of God, do you feel you could trust a God like this? Why?
Knowing God is essential for biblical faith, and faith is necessary for life as a Christian. Faith is not a warm, positive feeling you need to "get". It is giving mental assent to something and making a decision to trust, lean, or depend upon someone or something. How you perceive the object of our faith will determine your actions. To consistently lean on God alone, we must know Him. Nothing could be more vital and practical to your Christian life and your children's preparedness and protection than the personal discoveries and application of what God has revealed concerning Himself in His Word.
We mothers (especially as Christian mothers) labor under the weighty realization that, to a certain extent, the future of our children depends on our ability to counter the culture in which they live and breathe. We can't . . . . but we can be transformed and help our children be prepared, despite the culture they live in, by learning to trust in the wonderful characteristics of the God presented in the Bible and learning to depend on the power of prayer in a close and intimate relationship with Him.