Friday, May 27, 2016

Maybe you should rethink that.

Maybe you should rethink that.
Good morning! 

Do you tune in to Facebook
  before you tune in to God’s Word?

Maybe you should rethink that.

Do you check in on Instagram
   before you check in with God in prayer?

Maybe you should rethink that.

Do you check out the news
   before you check out your spiritual circumstance?

Maybe you should rethink that. 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
–Philippians 4:8-9, 13, 19-20


©Connie Wohlford 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Today’s Prayer for our Children and Grandchildren

Today’s Prayer for our Children and Grandchildren
            Why pray daily for our children... 

Have you prayed for your children (and grandchildren) today?
Here are some reasons we should pray daily for the children in our lives:
1. It’s our responsibility. As parents, we’re responsible for the spiritual growth of our children. It’s likely that no one else on the planet will be praying for our child every day. I knew that as long as my parents were alive and had presence of mind, someone was praying for me every single day. Though they’re now walking on streets of gold, I still appreciate that fact.
If you’re a grandparent and/or concerned adult, although you don’t have the responsibilities of parenting, you can and should still pray for the children you love, especially if the parents are not followers of Jesus. 
2. Jesus set the example in praying for children (Matt. 19:13), as well as for His followers. We can read the account of His prayer for us in John 17:17.
3. We need to set an example for our children. Our children need to know that prayer is important to us and that we pray for them daily. Our personal example is our chief teaching tool as we instruct our children in all spiritual matters.
4. We need to pray that our children will have revelation understanding of their need for salvation and that Jesus is the Savior and the only way.  Even young children can comprehend this at a level that makes sense to them. The Holy Spirit knows how to work in each young spirit.
Growing up in an evangelical church, I knew at a young age, I needed the salvation that Jesus could give me. At nine years old, I had been pondering on this for months. I remember trying to mentally list all my sins which were in need of God’s forgiveness. Then one Sunday I decided it was time. I walked forward and gave my hand to Pastor Rushing and my heart to Jesus.
5. There’s a war going on and the lives and souls of our children are the spoils of that war. In the atmosphere around us, spiritual warfare is taking place between God’s angels and Satan’s demons. We and our children are often pawns in their activity. Rest assured, Satan is real and he wants our children. He desires to steal, kill, and destroy anyone he can (John 10:10a). That includes you, me, and the children we love. We can pray with confidence that our Heavenly Father wants our children too. In the second half of that verse, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b NKJV). Our children need to know these things.
6. Pray for wisdom in parenting. Our role as parent is our most important job. Job—yes—because it’s work! And when we do it well it pays great dividends. We’d be hard-pressed to be a great parent without divine wisdom and intervention. Consistence is key and if you’re like me, and most others, it takes a lot of effort to be consistent. Help from above is necessary.
Moses said it well, when he passed God’s instructions on to the Israelites after God had freed them from Egyptian slavery. Through Moses, God said, “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you ...” (Deut. 11:13-14q NKJV).
A few verses later, God got specific about passing the torch of His Word on to the children.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—” (Deut. 11:19-22 NKJV). 

I’m sure we all agree that parenting is serious business. It’s a daily responsibility that requires daily invoking the help and power from our Creator. We can be confident that God, loves and wants the best for our children. It’s only with God’s help that we can truly “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6 NKJV).

SO—we need to pray! We need to pray big time—every day—for our children and for ourselves as parents.

I have seen the results of allowing children to figure out spiritual matters for themselves and it’s often not a pretty sight. When we sow to the wind, we often reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7a). It’s true that sometimes they find their way to God without parental involvement. Nonetheless, from what I’ve observed with acquaintances, the results of sewing to the wind in regard to a child’s spiritual upbringing has reaped the whirlwind indeed.

The examples I’ve witnessed have reaped addiction, sexual promiscuity and confusion, prison, mental and emotional insecurities, animosity toward God and toward parents, spiritual confusion, and all manner of chaos.
So, let’s pray. Let’s pray every day for our children and grandchildren. Their eternal destiny may depend on it.

A few months ago I began posting a brief daily prayer for children and grandchildren on my Facebook page. I would be honored for you to tune in to these prayers if you’re a Facebook user. Each one makes a good springboard for our appeal to God on behalf of the children in our lives.

Every morning, usually between 6 and 6:30 EST, I post a prayer for children. (If it doesn’t appear, there’s a good reason. I may be in need of prayer, myself. J)
In most of these prayers, I ask God to help the children in some area of spiritual growth. My two sons are in their forties and my grandchildren are teens and preteens. No child is too young or too old to not need prayer.

You can see the prayers on Facebook at this link: .  If you “Like” my page and click on “Sign Up” the post should appear in your own FB News Feed each morning. Besides that, for you to Like my page would be a blessing to me. Thanks in advance!

Back to prayer. Think now—what is your greatest prayer for the children in your life? Tell God, right now. Release it to Him and take heart in knowing He hears! Thank Him and worship Him because He loves, He knows, He cares, and He can work in ways that will astound us.

Your comments are welcome. I and other readers would love to hear of your experiences in praying for children. And we can pray for one another in the family of God.

©Connie Wohlford 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

God’s Far-Reaching Redemption

God’s Far-Reaching Redemption

Have you recognized God’s redemptive power working in a specific situation in your life—other than your salvation? We could coin a new term and call it situational redemption.
I’ve seen it in others and experienced it in my own life. If you are born-again, you’re probably personally familiar with it as well.
There are many examples recorded in the Bible. One which comes to mind is God’s redemption after the sin of David and Bathsheba. They each experienced shame and drastic consequences as a result their sin of adultery. But through it all, they repented and allowed God to work things out for their good and the good of the nation of Israel.
We see evidence of God’s grace toward them when King David announced that Solomon would inherit his throne. Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba and he was not the heir apparent nor the heir presumptive. He was but one of many sons from David’s several wives.
Replica of Michelangelo's David
Photo by Connie Wohlford
This account is recorded in the first chapter of 1 Kings. In verse 28, David instructed, “Call Bathsheba to me.” She approached her husband, the king, and he proceeded to tell her of his decision to pass the throne to their son, Solomon. David’s decision was ordained of God and Solomon was soon crowned and went on to build a new Temple to Yahweh, the Lord God. 

Generations back, in the family tree, God had graciously shown redemption and favor. David’s great, great grandmother was a former harlot. She was Rahab, wife to Salmon and mother of Boaz, who married Ruth. Among these four people we find a couple more of my favorite redemption stories. The interweaving of God’s redeeming love and power is truly fascinating and a thing of great beauty.

By the grace of God, the very bloodline of Jesus Himself runs through this branch of the family tree.
God does not hold grudges. When we join His family by receiving Jesus, our Heavenly Father eradicates our sin. All consequences may not be erased though. As I mentioned, David and Bathsheba agonized through severe consequences.
In my own somewhat similar experience, the consequences of sin for my soon to be husband and me, were not removed. I was still pregnant and had to face the shame and embarrassment—not to mention subjecting my dear parents to that as well. To this day, I’m still embarrassed by my sin which could not be hidden for long.  I’d like to mention that I’m grateful, beyond words, that I did not get an abortion, as was suggested by a friend at the time. I honestly didn’t consider it, but the thought makes me shudder.
By the amazing grace of God, my husband and I have experienced God’s redeeming love and unmerited favor. I gave birth to our first son some months later. This son of ours is living proof of God’s redemption. He excelled in good character, academics, and sports in school. He graduated from the US Naval Academy, served our country for twenty years as an aviator in the Navy and Air Force, is currently a high school science teacher, and with his wife, has given us four amazing grandchildren, whom they are raising in a Christian home.
Our God loves to redeem—because He loves.
A definition of redeem is to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something.* Another definition is to reclaim and restore to the original state or even better than the original state. I have experienced this many times in my journey with God. I know other people can tell their own stories as well—many of which are much weightier than mine.
How about you? I’d love to hear about your own experiences in a comment below. If you prefer not to write it, at least talk to our Redeemer about it and express your gratitude to Him—again.
Special note: In the 45 years since our first son was born, this is just the second time I’ve publicly mentioned this sin of my past. Because of shame and guilt I have chosen not to talk about it but I believe the Lord wants me to open up and be more vulnerable. Perhaps, in doing so, someone will be encouraged or helped in some way.
Thanks for reading my post and may God richly bless you as you and I continue in His amazing grace.  
©Connie Wohlford 2016