Effectual Fervent Praying

Writing to the “scattered brethren”, The Apostle James pens these words….”The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Over the last several days, I have had the wonderful privilege of joining my brothers and sisters that are “scattered” all over the world in prayer for a dear friend of ours, who is currently in, most likely, the final stages of life as his body succumbs to cancer.

In my own life it has been a blessing in the last few days as the Holy Spirit brings Michael and his family to my mind and prompts me to spend some time praying for them.  I have been encouraged as I realize that when I do so, I am joining hands with an army of prayer warriors, praying for the same thing.

What an amazing thing it is to reflect on what James wrote and to realize that my prayers can be effectual, that they can have an impact on the life of another person.  With such a great potential and privilege, this power that we have through the Lord Jesus Christ, ought to encourage each of us to “labour fervently” for those whom the Lord brings to our minds.

This was not an intended post. Rather, it is merely my hearts response to a post that I saw on Facebook, which reminded me that truly there is a battalion of soldiers praying for our dear brother, Michael, and his family.

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The Tracing Of The Scriptures

Recently, I felt impressed by the Lord to spend some time meditating on and studying in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy.  I have always liked this passage and how it laid out the parental responsibility of indoctrinating our children with the Word of God. After several minutes of meditating on the following verses…

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I had broken them down into four commands and “diagrammed” each one with a keyword assigned to each command. (Yes, those key words were alliterated :)) During the next hour, as I just pondered the commands, the Holy Spirit was doing a work in my heart concerning my responsibilities as a father towards my children. In the next four posts, I am going to share some things with you that the Lord has and continues to show me in His Word. The four key thoughts that we will look at are the following: The Teaching, The Talking, The Tethering, and The Tracing of the Scriptures.  However, this not the order that we will look at them. As is indicated by the title of this post, we will first look at “The Tracing of the Scriptures.” The last command reads like this, “And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”  Here, God is commanding the people of Israel to write, or, to trace the Scriptures.  Tracing the Word of God is a very important thing for every Christian to be involved in doing. When it comes to memorizing Bible verses, the writing out of the verses is considered to play a key part in the process.  In his book, Homiletics from the Heart, John Goetsch writes…

          “Get some cards and write the verses out on those ‘memory’ cards. It doesn’t matter what size yo use – it depends on how good your eyes are….Writing the verses out on these cards is the first process of memorizing…There is great value in writing verses out in long hand. God commanded it to be done in the Old Testament.”

Goetsch goes on to quote two passages from the Old Testament. The first is the same one that we are already studying.  Recalling the other passage is what really stick out to me during this time of study.  In the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy, in the eighteenth verse, we read the following, “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:” The Kings of Israel were required to hand write their own personal copy of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch.  There is no doubt that such a task would be a time consuming endeavor, especially for one who was charged with the responsibility of running the kingdom of Israel. Yet, this was the order that God set before “His anointed.”  God wanted His man to be very familiar with Him and His Word, if he was going to lead the children of Israel.

With these thoughts in mind and recognizing that in the context of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, God was speaking to parents in the raising of their children, I began to ask the Lord how I could practically apply this command.  After praying about it for several days and discussing it with my wife, I sat down with my children and laid out before them a new project that they were going to begin.

Our children are 10, 6, and 5.  Every day they two younger ones write three verses from the book of Proverbs in their journals.  The oldest child writes six verses each day. In less than a year the boys will have written the book once, and our daughter will have completed it twice.  At this point the plan is to stay in Proverbs for a few years. I believe that this will help them to become very familiar with this important book.  Praise the Lord that this project was not met with a single complaint. Instead they have all jumped in wholeheartedly and been very excited.

After I explained everything to them, I did add a bonus. If they write out their verses each week faithfully, I will add a dollar to their savings (Multi Purpose Training). We will split the dollar between their long and short term accounts. I did this to reward con

James_Tracing_Scripturessistency and faithfulness, not to bribe them to do the work.

These are a few thoughts on “The Tracing of the Scriptures.”  I trust that you have been blessed. Let me know of any ideas that you come up with.

Multi-Purpose Training

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A few weeks ago, Cate and I wanted to address a couple of issues that we were dealing with in two of our children.  After some discussion between her and I, we came up with a multi-purpose training project.  Here’s how it works…

Each kid starts the week out with 5 quarters in a cup (not pictured). We do 5 because some of the issues we are working on are school related. For every day that the child is successful in the designated area, they get to keep the quarter.  If they have a day in which they do not reach the goal, then they have to take a quarter out of their cup and give it to me.

At the end of the week, the quarters are divided up three ways. The 1st quarter always goes into the offering plate at church…even if they have a bad week and only get one quarter.  Quarter #2 is placed into their long term savings jar (pictured on the right). Any other quarters that remain will be placed in to their short term savings jar.

By doing it this way, the children are learning several things.  They are learning that God comes first in their finances. They are learning to “pay themselves” by putting money in to long term savings. With the short term jars, they are learning to save for something that they want to buy. (This money CANNOT be spent on candy/soda/or anything from the Dollar Store)  As well, they are also achieving the specific behavioral goal that we have set.  As they are successful in one area, we will move on to another area.

So far, the children are very excited about the project.  They have all decided that they want a Nintendo DS and are saving their money with this in mind. With other opportunities to earn/receive money, they should have enough money by the end of the year to make these purchases.  

What are some creative ideas you have come up with to help your children?

A Father Being Molded By The Heavenly Father

Having been a father for over 10 years and in the ministry for almost 8 of those years, my children; you could say, have been raised in a Christian home.

All three of our children have been in church since they were less than two weeks old. Each one of them has been taught to sit in a church service; they have participated in various programs, visitation, canvassing, etc.  My wife taught our oldest two at home in the beginning.  They are all now enrolled in the academy at the church where we are serving the Lord.

In the last 18 months, all three children have made a profession of faith and have recently made the individual decision to be baptized. We are so thankful for the spiritual growth that we are seeing in our children.

An outsider looking in would say (and they have) that Cate and I are doing a wonderful job raising our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  While God has blessed our family and our efforts to raise Godly children, I am becoming more and more aware of my shortcomings as a father. (No, I am not a pessimist who is too hard on himself. Rather, I am a Christian who by the grace of God is being molded by my Heavenly Father and being shown  areas that I need to strengthen in my life, my home, and my family.) In the last several weeks, I have prayed and asked the Lord to help me in this area and to show me the things that I need to work on in my own life and in the life of my children.  I am so thankful for the wife that the Lord has provided for our home, as she has been a tremendous help in this area. Together, we are already seeing some progress in the daily lives of our children.  Over the next several posts, I will be sharing some things that we are doing and some thoughts that the Lord has laid on my heart concerning a critical passage of Scripture dealing with the home and the responsibility that my wife and I share.

I trust that you will stay tuned…