A Resolution to Be Better Parents: 10 Tips For 2012


10 TIPS FOR 2012

From the Best-Sellers The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
and The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer

NEWS SOURCE: Lovell/Fairchild Comm.

NASHVILLE – Jan. 5, 2012The Resolution for Men and The Resolution for Women—two best-selling books from B&H Publishing Group inspired by the hit film COURAGEOUS—offer every mom and dad hope for the year ahead with insight on being the parents they want to be and encouragement to claim God’s best for their families.

In The Resolution for Men, pastors, filmmakers and fathers Alex and Stephen Kendrick outline biblical principles for being the godly fathers many men long to be and their families need them to be. A selection of insights from the Kendrick Brothers makes a tidy list of New Year’s Resolutions for godly fathering.

1.    Be A Chain Breaker
Chain breakers are the forks in their family tree. They recognize that despite any wrongs and pains suffered, they have been intentionally placed in a position for God to use every experience for a greater good. Viewed from God’s providential vantage point, no negative aspects of the family tree can cripple. They are free to ask God to break away from anything that holds them back from leaving a new legacy of faithfulness.

2.    Live Responsibly
Resolve to seriously and deliberately embrace your masculinity, put away childishness, embrace your own responsibilities and be faithful to everything that is under your care. Lead your family with courage, and live every day bearing God’s image and bringing Him honor. This is our call as men.

3.    Lead Your Family
Resolve to be the shepherd and main role model of your family. Loving, protecting, serving, integrated with regular times of spiritual grounding—that’s how men become the leaders in their homes, the champions of their wives, the heroes of their children and the fruitful sons of their heavenly Father. No man is perfect, but every man can be courageous. Every man can lead his home with God’s Word, God’s presence and God’s help.

4.    Love Your Wife
Resolve to be a faithful husband, an honoring husband, a loving husband, one who lays down his life for the one he declared “holy” to himself at the wedding altar. Be the Christ-like leader of your marriage. Give this relationship to the Lord, resolve to be faithful with it, and watch Him transform it into a wonderful adventure of lifelong love!

5.    Bless Your Children
Step up to the plate with a new vision for success. God has given fathers a powerful and amazing calling to bless their children and grandchildren and to teach them to love Him with all their hearts and lives. But they will not be drawn to believe what we say if we don’t speak it from within the context of a loving relationship with them. Our love touches them deeply and opens their hearts to hear truth and follow their heavenly Father faithfully.

The Resolution for Women by internationally known author, teacher and speaker Priscilla Shirer helps women start the New Year right by identifying life’s essentials, embracing challenges and looking for God’s purpose in each one. Resolutions for women to be the wives and mothers (or future wives and mothers) God desires them to be include:

1.    Align Your Priorities With God’s
Resolve to seek to devote the best of yourself, your time and your talents to the primary roles the Lord has entrusted to you in this phase of your life.

2.    Value Yourself; Celebrate Others
Be a woman who is quick to listen and slow to speak. Resolve to care about the concerns of others and esteem them more highly than yourself. Only do so after making the practical and necessary personal adjustments so this resolution doesn’t just “sit on the shelf” of your life and not become a reality.

3.    Let Go of Anger
Resolve to forgive those who have wronged you and reconcile with those wronged. Ask the Lord to empower you to forgive them and for insight into what you need forgiveness for. Remember this is only the beginning of a journey that may take time and counsel to complete. Be willing to seek the necessary help to fully experience the benefits that forgiveness is designed to give.

4.    Live in Contentment
Resolve to embrace your current season of life and maximize your time in it. Resist the urge to hurry through or circumvent any portion of your journey but instead live with a spirit of contentment.

5.    Leave a Legacy
Resolve to make today’s decisions with tomorrow’s impact in mind and to consider current choices in light of those who will come after you.

Both The Resolution for Men and The Resolution for Women offer extensive additional biblical, practical and encouraging insight into the skills and commitments required for godly parenting today.

Power for the Weary

The other day, my husband, Joe, spent the entire afternoon outdoors cleaning our duck pond, mowing the lawn, and tidying up our shed. When he came back indoors, he exclaimed, “I’m exhausted and can hardly move!” I had been cleaning house all day myself, so I had a pretty good idea of how he felt. Nevertheless, I told my husband that Scripture tells us, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” (Joel 3:10 NKJV) Joe laughed it off, but I told him that if he continued to voice his exhaustion and weakness—guess what?—he was going to feel more and more tired all the time, and he wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything for the rest of the day.

The prophet Isaiah received some startling revelation on this subject that has been encouraging God’s people for centuries. He wrote: “[The Lord] gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29 NLT) When you and I have reached our apparent limits, we can remind ourselves that God offers us His supernatural power and strength. But we have to ask Him for it, and receive it by faith. We can simply say: “Lord, I’m feeling tired, weary, and worn out right now. But I thank You for Your offer to revive me. I ask that You fill me afresh with Your power and Your strength. I believe I receive them right now, Lord, and I give You all the praise, in Jesus’ name!” Then, go about your business, and declare with confidence, “I am strong in the Lord!” (Ephesians 6:10)

With the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and me, and with God’s Word and promises stored in our hearts, we have access to heavenly resources in trying times that will enable us to live fruitful, productive, and energetic lives. Don’t settle for less than God’s very best in this area. Rise up and walk in the victory that belongs to you in Christ!

Deliverance for Your Descendants

As a parent, Proverbs 11:21 has always been near and dear to my heart. But when my son, John, and his wife were expecting my first grandchild, this promise from God became even more vital to me and my family.

Scripture says: “The descendants of the righteous will be delivered.” (Proverbs 11:21 NASB) That means that no matter what dangers come against our children or grandchildren, or even our descendants in the future, if we pray and stand on this promise for them, God will intervene on their behalf in a mighty way to deliver and protect them.

Below is a prayer that I pray for my own descendants every day, and that I invite you to pray, too. I believe that it is totally scriptural, and therefore, filled with the power and authority of God.

“Lord, I thank You that Your Word says, ‘The descendants of the righteous will be delivered.’ On the basis of Your Word, I ask that You deliver all of my descendants from all evil, harm, destruction, disease, and defeat; from all poverty, debt, and lack; from every sickness, disease, infirmity, pain, symptom, wound, and injury; from every accident, catastrophe, calamity, and disaster; from every sin, bondage, and evil addiction; from all fear, dread, doubt, and unbelief—and from everything that is not of You. Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is true, and You are true to Your Word!”

You Don't Have to Be Afraid

When I was outside tending to my ducks, Lily and Larry, the other day, a hawk suddenly flew over our heads. The terror in my ducks’ eyes was apparent, and they stiffened and became paralyzed with fear. I happened to be standing right next to them at the time, so I emphatically told them, “You have nothing to fear while I’m standing right beside you!” Even though I knew that hawks were a real threat to Lily and Larry, and that they could do them serious harm, I didn’t understand their fearful behavior when it was obvious that their protector and provider was so very close by.

Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s voice deep in my spirit say, “That’s exactly how I feel when you forget that I am with you, and you become fearful and fretful.” I instantly felt ashamed, and the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a verse from Isaiah 41:10 (AMP), which says: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” The truth is that, for those of us who are abiding in Christ, “there is nothing to fear” when trouble comes. If I felt indignant when my ducks became afraid while I was standing right next to them, imagine how the Lord feels when we become fearful every time we feel threatened in some way.

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (John 14:27 AMP) You and I have the privilege of claiming the peace of Christ in the midst of our trials, and we don’t have to allow ourselves to be intimidated by circumstances, other people, or the devil himself. The next time trouble comes knocking on your door, remember that you have a choice. Take your stand in faith and declare with confidence—“I choose peace, in Jesus’ name!”

Rewards for the Good We Do

“Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.” Ephesians 6:8 NLT

My son, John, didn’t get his first job until much later than most kids his age. We allowed him to stay home during his summer vacations from school, because when he was only 16, he created a Christian web site that began touching the lives of others from its earliest stages. The site, “Jesusfreakhideout.com,” grew rapidly, and maintaining it became more and more time-consuming for our son.

Eventually, when John decided that he wanted to buy a car, he began looking for a full-time job one summer. Even though he was 20 years old, he had absolutely no job experience, and we weren’t sure he had any marketable skills. We began earnestly praying that God would move mightily on his behalf, and that He would open doors of opportunity for John, and give him favor with the right people, so that he could somehow secure an excellent job with good pay. One day, a friend of my son’s mentioned that he had a relative who worked for a nearby company, that had a job opening requiring web work experience. Shortly afterwards, this company called my son on the phone, asked him a few questions, and told him to report for work immediately. John never needed to go for an interview. He never even filled out an application. And he got an excellent starting salary from these folks. As it turned out, the skills that John developed from maintaining his Christian web site–his labor of love for the Lord–were the very skills that opened exciting doors for him in the job market.

The above verse is a promise from the Lord that He will reward us for the good that we do. The Living Bible puts it this way: “Remember, the Lord will PAY you for each good thing you do.” (Ephesians 6:8 TLB) Even though John wasn’t being paid a regular salary for his ministry efforts, God showed that He had creative ways to reward him, just the same. Don’t ever hesitate to invest your time, your treasure, or your talents in the kingdom of God. For nothing you do in His name will be left unrewarded by the Lord!

Lord, I praise You for being the “Rewarder” that the Scriptures say You are. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV) Do a new and mighty work in my heart, so that I’ll actively look for ways to serve You. Thank You that as I do everything as “unto the Lord,” You will “pay” me in ways that will delight my heart, and glorify You!

Discipline's Bonus Benefit

While raising my two sons, who are now both in their 30’s, I discovered that there are some benefits to disciplining children that we rarely hear about. That is, in punishing one child for disobeying, we can teach the other children to obey. The Bible says: “Punish the insolent–make an example of them. Who knows? Somebody might learn a good lesson.” (Proverbs 19:25 MSG) While my older son was growing up, he was a lot like me as a child—strong-willed and obstinate. He needed a firm hand, and my husband and I had to discipline him regularly. On the other hand, my younger son was more obedient and eager to please. And if you ask him why, even throughout his teenage years, he gave us little trouble, he will plainly tell you that it was mainly because he saw his older brother getting punished for doing wrong, and he wanted no part of it.

Scripture says: “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24 NLT) God expects us to discipline our children out of love for them, and respect for Him. When we do, it will not only benefit the child we are correcting, but it will also profit our other children, too. Pray that God will give you the wisdom and the courage you need, to give your children what they need!

Different Styles of Parenting

I’ve been a mom for almost 33 years now, and one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned as a mother is that no two children are the same. They have different personalities, and different needs. So while you can love all of your children the same, you cannot teach, correct, or discipline them the same. The Lord used a passage in Isaiah to remind me of this fact years ago: “[The farmer] doesn’t thresh all grains the same. A sledge is never used on dill, but it is beaten with a stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin, but it is beaten softly with a flail. Bread grain is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.” (Isaiah 28:27-28 TLB) These verses reveal how the Lord deals with each of His children differently. But it also applies to how we should deal with our own children.

Because my older son, as a child, was more stubborn and obstinate–like his mom was–my husband and I often needed to back up our instructions with disciplinary action. On the other hand, most of the time, all my younger son required to demonstrate obedience was a firm voice of instruction. It didn’t take long for my husband and I to figure out that each of our children required a different style of parenting and correction.

The final verse of this passage of Isaiah’s says: “The Lord Almighty is a wonderful teacher and gives the farmer wisdom.” (Isaiah 28:29 TLB) You and I, as believers, have a wealth of wisdom available to us to raise our children to be happy, healthy, and godly. Our God is a “wonderful teacher,” and He is eager to help us succeed as parents. Are you making the most of your privileges as a Christian parent today?

Divine Increase for You and Your Children

You don’t have to spend much time in the Scriptures to realize that our God is a God of increase. Most of the time, though, divine increase is not automatic. We must pray for it with pure motives, believing that the Lord desires to bless those who love Him and serve Him with wholehearted devotion. Those of us who are parents have a duty to pray for increase for our children, as well as for ourselves. And we need to realize that God is not only interested in increasing our finances, but other aspects of our lives, as well.

That’s why every day, I say: “Lord, on the authority of Your Word, I declare to myself and to my family—“May the Lord make you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. May the Lord make you increase in numbers, wealth, and strength, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!” (Psalm 115:14-15 NIV) I studied out these verses in Scripture, and that’s how I came to discover the various ways that God wants us and our families to increase.

I also pray a verse from the Gospel of Luke over my children that speaks of the increase that Jesus Himself enjoyed as He was growing up. I say, “Lord, I pray that my children would keep increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NASB) I’ve already begun praying like this over my grandchildren, even though I won’t become a grandmother for real until this October.

Deuteronomy 7:13 (NIV) says: “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.” Our God is committed to increasing His children. Begin partnering with Him today, so that you and yours can enjoy all of the increase that He has in mind for you!

God Will Do a Strange Thing!

Some months ago, I got fed up with driving my old car. It was going on 22 years, and it was breaking down so often that I no longer felt safe driving it. For years, I had been praying and believing God to provide me with a more reliable car, but my husband, Joe, and I were still not in a position to replace it anytime soon. Once again, I called on the Lord to consider my plight, and to act on my behalf somehow. I asked Him to cause my husband to sympathize with my situation so much, that he would be moved to offer me some real help. We talked about buying a new car, and we prayed about it, but we knew in our hearts that it would just put us deeper into debt.

Then, it became obvious to me that God was really working in my husband’s heart for my sake. Joe told me, “From now on, I will take your car to work, and you can drive my car!” After getting over the initial shock, I told my husband that I would give it a try. Suddenly, instead of driving a nearly-22-year-old car, I was driving a 3-year-old car every day. To top it off, my old car has been working fine for my husband, and he actually enjoys driving it to work.

The Scripture says: “[God] will come to do a strange thing; He will come to do an unusual deed.” (Isaiah 28:21 NLT) I’ve discovered that when you ask the Lord to come to your aid, He may surprise you by doing something totally unexpected and unusual. Whatever need you have today, God has a creative, custom-made solution to your problem. Call on Him right now, and open the door for Him to do something strange and wonderful on your behalf!