Purpose: Realize Their Purpose and Respond To Your Calling

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,Do you know why you are here on this earth, or why God placed you here at this particular time and no other? Do you know your sole purpose of living? First and foremost, sweet ones, you were created simply to be loved by God Himself! He even calls you “beloved”, and He is delighted in you. What great news! For example, just as your daddy and I chose to have a baby (or two or four), in order to love and to cherish, God, too, created you, simply to adore you. How freeing! Our purpose is to be . . . loved!Now, my dear ones, once you have learned to rest in this wonderful purpose in your life, and you begin to know the One who adores you, your soul will then be compelled to live out the call of your life. Listen to this powerful catechism statement that I learned as a child in order to explain your calling:“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”What do you think this means children? Well, to “glorify God,” first of all, means to take all that you are, and all that you do and use it to bring honor and beauty to the One who created you and loves you, instead of bringing this focus to yourself. Let Him pour His great love into you, so you can pour His great love out to others. Because your heart has been touched by the matchless love of Christ, you, simply by the way you live your life, in both good times and bad, are to carry His message of love to the hearts who have not yet heard the gospel. (Please realize, sweet ones, the times that you think are difficult or “bad” in your life are the very times that Christ has the greatest opportunity to show His love, and shine the brightest through you.)As you are “glorifying God” by allowing His love to be poured into your heart, you will then be able to enjoyHim in any circumstance, both now on this earth and forever in heaven! Children, He wants you to have His joy-filled heart when living for Him, not a “hum-drum” Christian walk that nobody wants to follow. Know Him, and find out He is joy, and laughter, and love. Seek out all His goodness, and mercy, and splendor, and then lavish in it! Make sure, children, the Bread-that-people-are-hungry-for does not appear old, dry, or stale in your life. Remember, the bread from heaven given to the Israelites each day was sweet; so is your Jesus.So, dear ones, know you are the beloved of God. Rest here, and may He fill you up. Then, and only then, understand how you can best be used by your Creator and King. Watch the love of Christ overflow from your heart as you simply live out your God-given desires. Do all these things in order that the name of Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him (II Thess. 1:12).Remember, life is not about you; life is about the One who loves you. Live for Him, and ENJOY!

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

  • Gather your children individually and hold him/her in your arms. Tell them the reasons you wanted to have them here in this world: to simply love them, to enjoy and find delight in them, to hold them, to care for them.
  • Reassure them they don’t have to do anything to gain this love from you. (Mothers, pray for a renewed unconditional love for your child!)
  • Explain this is the kind of love (yet much, much greater) which their Heavenly Father has for each of them; and it is this love which moves us to tell others about Him!

A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children

Dear Heavenly Father,I pray my children would fully understand what it means to be loved by You. May they daily humble themselves, realizing Your great love moved You to buy them with a great price---the precious blood of Your son, Jesus. May this awesome realization move them to glorify You with all that they are, dear God, in every way.May they also be humbled by the incredible truth that their bodies are now the residing place of Your Holy Spirit! May this truth also move them to seek Your will, dear Father, not their own, I pray. Impress on them, their life does matter, one, because You love them, and two, because You desire them to help spread Your love to others. Give them a heart of flesh, dear Lord, not of stone, so they may be used by You in a powerful way. May they each hear Your great calling to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19), whether that means across the street, across the country, or across the world. Help them to see they are vitally important in this process of sowing and reaping, because the harvest is so plentiful, but the workers areso few. May they respond to your great call, O Lord of the Harvest!O God, may my children be able to stand before You, and be considered worthy of Your calling. Make them realize they are Your beloved children; and only because of Christ living in them, they are worthy. Fulfill every desire You have for them. May they live for You not out of their works, but in their response to Your love for them, their sweet Savior and King. They are Yours, dear Lord. May they forever live for you.

Amen

Scripture references in letter:

I John 3:1; I John 4:7-11; I Sam. 3:10; Ps. 73:25-28; I Peter 3:13-15; Ps. 4:6-7; Ps. 30:10-12; Ex. 16:13-15, 31; Is. 6:8

Scripture references in prayer:

Gal. 2:20; I Peter 1:18-20; I Chron. 28:9-10; I Cor. 6:19-20; Matt. 9:36-38; II Tim. 4:1-3; Ezekiel 36;26-27; II Thess. 1:11-12; Eph. 2:8-10; Phil. 3:10-14

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Purpose: Be Not Ashamed of the Gospel

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,One of the most claimed verses in all of scripture I use when I pray for you is Romans 1:16. I continually ask the Lord to fill your heart, so you will be able to say with great confidence: I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.I pray, children, you will never shrink away at the name of Jesus; but instead, you will speak with boldness the great mystery of who He is. Remember, you are the ambassadors of the most High King---the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords! Do you understand what this means? Listen to the Webster’s definition of ambassador: “a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative, or sent on a special or temporary mission.” In other words, children, you have been appointed by God, your King, to represent Him in the very place you are living; you are on His special mission, which is to preach the good news of His Son, Jesus Christ.Do you also realize, we have been given a position of “highest rank”? And do you know, the only way you have obtained this position is because of what Jesus did for you on the cross? Without this grace, we would have no rank at all. But now, because of His love, we have been clothed in beautiful robes of righteousness. He is not ashamed to call us His own!So why is it that we, as humans, sometimes hide or seem ashamed of Him? When the name of Jesus is mentioned in a group of questionable believers, what do you do? I truly am asking this question to myself, and have been convicted to pray about it in my life, as well as yours. For too many years, instead of being poured out like a drink offering, I have been more like a water bottle with a security top on it, giving only drip- drops at a time (or giving only when it’s been sucked out of me). And for too many years, I’ve been tiptoeing instead of marching, whispering instead of shouting from the mountaintops! Children, I’m praying you won’t fall into the same trap of fear of rejection or shame, or whatever it is, that might keep you from claiming Christ aloud. I’m so thankful our God is a forgiving God, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. He forgave Peter for denying Him three times; He can also forgive me. But I must also repent (change direction), as Peter did, and march on. This does not mean that I, or you, have to be obnoxiously loud or abrasive when it comes to declaring Jesus Christ as our Savior. This approach may turn more people off than on to Him. But I am saying this: you and I need to be ready to seize every opportunity that comes our way to give all unbelievers, or struggling Christians, a reason for the Hope that you have in your heart. Your one gentle, yet affirming, answer may lead one life out of darkness into Light!Always remember, your “special mission”: Jesus has commanded you, as His ambassadors, to speak to others about His wonderful saving grace, and His unconditional love. Your life matters in this matter! Yes, He could, because of who He is, do all this without you and me; but that’s not the way He chooses to work. Throughout all Scripture and all history, God has continually used the vessel of one human heart to touch the core of another human heart with His amazing love! He did this Himself, when He sent Jesus to live among us.So, how about it? Are you His ambassador, His “resident representative” on this earth? You will win hearts, first, by your loving actions---by rolling up those righteous robes and getting involved in the muck of people’s lives, just like your King, Jesus, did for you. Loving action will get their attention. Then, your words will have meaning. And after you’ve gotten their attention, pray like Paul did, one of the greatest missionaries of all time: that you may speak boldly as (you) ought to speak (Eph. 6:20).I forewarn you here, sweet ones, some will take what you have to say and value it as a great treasure, “selling” everything else in order to keep hold of this one great possession. Yet others may not. Be prepared for rejection, for suffering, for persecution, and for hardship. For example, Paul was an ambassador in chains, and Jesus was crucified. Take great hope in this promise, however; “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (I Peter 4:14). May you, my sweet children, be blessed with His precious Spirit, as you declare His name to all the world.

I love you

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

1. Find a flashlight, turn it on and talk of Christ in you being the light of the world. Now, smother the flashlight with a thick pillow. Discuss its effectiveness, or ineffectiveness. What might the “pillow” in their life represent?2. Find a water bottle with a security top on it, fill it with water, and talk of Christ in you as the Living Water. Firmly squeeze the bottle and watch the water pour out. Now close the top, and squeeze just as hard. Discuss its effectiveness, or ineffectiveness. Again, what might be keeping the “top “ closed?3. Discuss how each child can let their “light shine” or how they can be “poured out” through actively loving someone with Christ’s love. Then encourage them to be ready to speak boldly of His beautiful gift of love and salvation!A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children Dear Heavenly Father,Thank You for the amazing gift of becoming your children when we claim Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of our lives. You are not ashamed of us. As a matter of fact, You delight in us, You love us, You live in us, and You have already prepared a wonderful place for us in Heaven to live with Your forever. What incredible love . . . unending love!Dear sweet Jesus, I ask You to forgive me for turning my back on this love, and even being afraid or ashamed to speak Your name to others. How can this be? Change my heart, dear Lord, so that my words will be a wellspring of Life to those who hear it. I want to speak, and I want my children to speak, with great boldness, this mystery of Your great love. May my children never hide their hearts or restrain their lips from praising You with gladness. Instead, may they joyfully proclaim Your righteousness, Your faithfulness, and Your truth to all the world, wherever that may be for them.On the “flip-side” of speaking for You, Father, I also pray You would help them to learn to guard their tongue from speaking against You. May they heed to the voice of Your Spirit, and refrain from saying anything that will bring dishonor to Your Holy name. May they hate gossiping, cursing, lying, manipulating, and tearing others down. O God, help them to tame their tongue!I pray my children would realize, what they choose to say (or not to say), has the ability to kill their witness for You, or bring it to life, by Your Spirit, in someone’s heart. May they train their tongue to be used for Your glory only: speaking of Your goodness, telling of Your great works, and spreading the wonderful news of Jesus, their Savior. I pray their desire would be to sing of Your glory as David, Your servant, did long ago. May their hearts echo his words, saying with confidence:I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.

Amen

Scripture References:

Acts 4:29-31; II Cor. 5:20-21; II Tim. 4: 6-7; II Tim. 1:7-9; Is. 40:9; Col. 4:5-6; Phil. 2;5-8; Matt. 13:44; Eph. 6:19- 20; John 15:16; I Peter 4: 12-16.Scripture references in prayer:

Heb. 11:16; Pr. 10:11; Ps. 138:1-3; Ps. 9:1-2; James 3:2-12; Pr. 6:16-19; Pr. 15:1-4, 23

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Purpose: Use Their Gifts For Your Kingdom

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,Christmas Day is very close, as I am writing you this letter. As a matter of fact, I’m sitting on the couch next to our Christmas tree right now, watching the lights glisten. It’s a calm peaceful night, so I thought I would seize the opportunity to put this thought down on paper.On several different occasions, while listening to the radio in the van, we have heard the song “The Little Drummer boy” played and sung, in many different styles and many different ways. Over the holiday season, this song has become one of my favorites. Listen to these words:“Come, they told me . . .A newborn King to see.Our finest gifts we bring,To lay before the King . . .So, to honor Him,When we come,Little Baby ----I am a poor boy, too.I have no gift to bring,That’s fit to give a King.Shall I play for you?Me, and my drum?Mary nodded.The ox and lamb kept time.I played my drum for Him;I played my best for Him.Then, He smiled at me.Me, and my drum.I want you to realize, my dear ones, this song represents you and me. What gift do each of you have to set before the mighty King? Is there anything that we can give that He doesn’t already have? For example:Can you give Him your mind?Remember, He is the One who can hide things from the wise and intelligent and reveal them to babes (Matt. 11:25).Can you give him your voice?Remember, He is the One who made all the birds of the world to sing.Can you give Him your special talents or abilities?Remember, He is the One who created the feathers of the peacock, the speed of the panther, and the strength of the bear.Can you give Him your treasures?Remember, the earth is the Lord’s and all it contains (Ps. 24:1)Let me tell you this, children: the only thing that God, in heaven, wants from you, on this earth, is the steady beat of your devoted heart. Your uniquely designed heart is the gift you are to bring to Him. At this gift, he will turn, and “smile at you.”There are two women in the Bible who portray this scene exactly. One was the poor widow who put only two small copper coins in the offering plate at the temple. Many condemned her, looking down on her out of their self-righteousness, because she gave such a small amount. But Jesus, full of compassion and understanding, saw what was “behind” the two coins. He smiled at her because she gave all that she had; she gave her heart.The other woman was Mary of Bethany. Just a short time before Jesus was to be crucified, Mary came to Him at the supper table of Simon, the leper’s house. She fell at Jesus’ feet, broke an extremely expensive bottle of perfume, and began to anoint Him, in humility and in love. To mere man, (which happened to be Jesus’ disciples), this act seemed foolish and wasteful. But to Jesus, the breaking of the bottle signified the breaking of her heart. When her “all” was given to her Savior, a sweet-smelling aroma then filled the air. In response, Jesus “smiled at her.”Do you see, children, when you “break your heart” open to Him, you, too, will have something that will bring sweetness to His Name? After He has your heart (your gift to Him), your individually selected talents and treasures (His gift to you) will radiate with His glory! Seek Him first, and everything else will be added! I want you to be very careful here, though, children. Never, never let the gifts He has “added” unto you become your passion in life. Jesus Christ is to remain your passion, and you are to give these gifts back to Him out of a complete love from your heart. Your heart behind the talents and treasures He has given you is what will bring Jesus and His kingdom honor, not the talent or the treasure itself! For example, it was not the coins from the poor widow, or the perfume from humble Mary---and it’s not your knowledge of Him, or your voice to Him, or your abilities for Him---that will bring a smile to His face. He wants your heart alone; the other gifts will follow as a result of your humbled devotion. This must come first.So, sweet ones, what do you have to bring to the King as you humbly bow before Him? Do you want Him to “smile at you”? Give Him what He is longing to hear, the steady beat of your devoted heart. Then, watch how your gift to Him will be “played out” in each of your lives, in its own unique way. May His loving smile be all you need to keep on “playing” for the glory of His kingdom.

I love you

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

1. Role-play together the story of the poor widow who gave “only” two coins, while the rich were putting in much more (Matt. 12:41-44). Focus on who Jesus was pleased with, and why.2. Find a small drum (or use plastic Tupperware and a spoon). Begin to tap it slowly, repetitively explaining this is the beat of your child’s heart. Continue “tapping” while you discuss: God in Heaven delights or “smiles at” this sound more than any other treasure or gift they could ever bring to Him. All the riches of the world cannot “out-give” this sound! He wants their heart.3. Continue to discuss: When He has their heartbeat first, then their unique gifts will bring glory to His name!

A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children

Dear Heavenly Father,I humbly ask on bended knee that each one of my children would bring to You the gift of their heart. You know, dear Father, my greatest desire is to see my children walking in truth. I cannot do this through my own power, but I know You can through Yours. O dear God, may Your Holy Spirit prompt them to have an unending passion to love, to serve, and to honor You with all that they have, and all that they are.I do thank You for their uniqueness and diversity. I pray You would give each of them insight on how they can best bring glory to Your kingdom. Reveal their spiritual and physical gifts to them early so their heart can beat for You in these areas. I pray, You would remain their passion in life, not the talents or the treasure You have given them. May they always strive to use their gifts out of a humbled and contrite heart which will bring glory and honor to Your Name.

Keep their focus on You, O God, I pray,And may the beat of their heart always beSteady, unwavering, and completely devotedto You,their holy, righteous, and merciful King.

Amen

Scripture References in Letter:

Ez. 36:26; Mark 12:41-44; Matt. 26:6-13; Rom. 12:4-8; Matt. 6:33; Col. 3:23-24

Scripture references in prayer:

I Chron. 28:9; Jer. 17:5-10; I Cor. 12:12-18; Deut. 6:3-11; I Peter 4:10-11; I Peter 5:5-6; Ps. 16:8-9

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Purpose: Walk the Straight and Narrow With Your Power

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,Let me briefly remind you of the well-known short story of “Little Red Riding Hood.”One day Little Red Riding Hood was asked by her mother to take some fresh-baked bread and cookies to her ill-feeling grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood, who loved independence and adventure, was thrilled at even the thought of walking through the woods and down the path all alone. She grabbed her cloak, as well as the basket of goodies, and was off with a gleeful skip along the well-traveled path. As she was leaving, she heard her gentle mother’s voice calling out, “Stay along the path and don’t dilly-dally among the flowers!”Well, we all know how the story plays out. The big bad wolf comes along, lures Little Red Riding Hood off the path, races before her to Grandmother’s house, and eats Grandmother up----Yikes! (Nicer versions say that the wolf stuffed Grandmother in a closet or under the bed, but still----Yikes!) The wolf, disguised as Grandmother, then lay in waiting for Little Red Riding Hood to come along as well. What a cruel, deceptive and conniving wolf! Well, thank goodness for the strong, attentive, and heroic Woodcutter! He proceeds to save the day by chasing down the wolf and freeing the sweet little Grandmother from wherever she was “stuffed.” The story ends happily, as Little Red Riding Hood discusses with Grandmother and the Woodcutter- over the fresh-baked cookies, of course- the valuable lesson she has learned: stay along the PATH, and don’t “dilly-dally” among the flowers!Children, did you know that you, like Little Red Riding Hood, have been asked to stay along a certain path? The path is straight and narrow, by God’s design, yet full of blessing and life. Realize “straight and narrow” does not mean rigid and boring. Remember who God is! God’s path is a safe place to establish your footsteps, but at the same time it is full of excitement and adventure. Yes, the path might have hurdles to overcome or pitfalls to walk through, but they, too, have been put there for a purpose. God Himself desires to walk with, in, and through all those who choose to spend their days on His beautiful path. Keep this in mind as well: His path leads to Paradise. There is no better journey, and no better final destination.However, I want to also point out that you, like Little Red Riding Hood, have a “wolf” along your path. The big bad wolf in the story enticed Little Red Riding Hood to look away from her goal, and set her eyes on the things around her---just for a little while. With this one nudge, she couldn’t resist stopping, stepping, sitting, smelling, and then selecting some beautiful flowers for her grandmother (an innocent suggestion made by the deceptive wolf). You see, sweet ones, this is exactly what the devil will do to you when you decide to take the straight, narrow, and high road. He and his pack of followers are even described in the Bible as ravenous wolves; and, they will go to any extreme (even dress up in disguise) to lure you from your goal. Know, he will cause those side-roads to be very enticing and even quite innocent at first. But also know, consequences will come if you choose to get off the path your Creator has already paved for you. (Heaven forbid either of your grandmothers are eaten by a wolf!)So children, please listen to the gentle voice of your Mother as she calls out to you when you begin your own personal journey: “Stay along the path, and don’t dilly-dally among the flowers!” If you keep your eyes fixed straight in front of you, you won’t even see those “forbidden flowers.” Make Jesus Christ your focus. Do not look to the right or to the left; look to Him.If you sense trouble “brewing,” call on Jesus, your Savior, and like the Woodcutter, He will come to your rescue. Remember, His Holy Spirit lives in you; and by His strength (not your own flesh), you can say “NO!” to the “big bad wolf.” Continually ask Jesus to walk with you, in you, and through you. He will be delighted to hold your hand. Then, once you have His hand, you better hold on real tight, because I am praying, your journey with Jesus will be filled with His joy, His excitement, His adventure, as well as His gentle loving peace.Sweet ones, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is ALL you need.

I love you

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

1. Read the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” to your children (even your older children will enjoy hearing it again).2. Point out and discuss spiritual significances in the story:The path (God’s plan, God’s way)Little Red Riding Hood (your child)The wolf (Satan)The flowers (Satan’s deceptions)The Woodcutter (Jesus, their Savior)3. Role-play this story. Allow your child to play Little Red Riding Hood. Play it through once as the story goes. Then, play it once with Little Red Riding Hood resisting the wolf’s temptations, as well as crying out for the Woodcutter. The Woodcutter, then, comes quickly, and chases the wolf away before she even steps off the path! Discuss the difference between both ways you played out the story. (Notice, Grandmother was safe the second time throughout.)

A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children

Dear Heavenly Father,Thank You for the personalized path you have created for each of my children. I pray You will give them the desire to stay on this path, not looking to the right or to the left, but keeping their eyes fixed on You, dear Jesus. And while walking, continue to prepare the way for them, as You have promised, by removing every obstacle of sin out of their way. As a result, may my children experience a full and extended walk with You. May nothing keep them from knowing all of You!Help my children to see, dear Father, that You have provided Your Word as the hand-written map for each of them as they walk down this road:It is perfect, able to restore the soul;It is sure, making wise the simple;It is right, rejoicing the heart;And it is pure, enlightening the eyes! (Ps. 19:7-8)Show them, if they are obedient to this “map” and decide to stay on this path of life, then You promise they will experience Your pleasures forever. Their well-being(peace) will be like a river and their righteousness will be as waves of the sea (Is: 48:18).O God, also help them to realize, they can experience these promises only by Your Spirit. Thank You for desiring to walk with us and in us, each and every minute. Without Your Holy Spirit, our walk would be filled with legalism and confinement. Yet with Your Spirit, we can experience the great newness of Life:You lead us on level ground. (Ps.143: 8 - 10)You hold our hand in Yours. (Ps.18:35)You enlarge our steps beneath us. (Ps.18:36)Your provide mercy, faithfulness, and blessing. (Lam. 3:21-25)Thank you, dear God, for Your bounty in our lives! Teach my children, O Father, to walk by the Spirit, trusting in You, so they can enjoy all the grace, glory, and good things that You have planned for each of them.Finally, as they walk with you, I pray Your Spirit would keep them from carrying out the evil deeds of their flesh. Help them to recognize and resist Satan, in every disguise and in every circumstance. Guard their hearts and minds concerning any kind of foolishness or temptation from their peers, or their “heroes,” or any one else who tries to lure them off Your path. May they not consent to any of their deceptive ways, dear Father. Give them Your strength to say “no!”O dear God, I praise You and thank You for creating my children’s path, and for walking with them on it. Please fight off the evil that will come alongside their path. May they allow You to guide them, love them, and protect them every step along the way.

Amen

Scripture references in letter:

Matt. 7:13-14; Ps. 37:23-24; Job 23:10-12; Matt. 7:15-17; Heb. 12:1-2; Ps. 138:3; Ps. 18:16-19; Is. 55:12; John 14:6

Scripture references in prayer:

Jer. 29:11-13; Ps. 16:8-9: Is. 43:19; Ps. 16:11; Rom. 6:4; Ps. 84:11-12; Gal. 5:16-18; Pr. 1:8-19; Is. 58:11; I John 1:5-7

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Purpose: High Standard of Excellence For Your Glory

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,After, and only after, you have given Jesus your heart, I am praying for each of you to strive for a high standard of excellence as you live each day of your life. I desire to see this character trait in your lives, not for your sakes, nor for mine or your Daddy’s, but for the sake of your Savior. You see, whatever you do, God asks you to do it for Him, not for those around you. Keep a heavenly focus, and help from Heaven will come. My earnest prayer for your lives is that each of you will seek to bring glory to His Holy Name in all you say, and in all you do. But remember, this should never be done out of “duty” to a faraway god, but rather, out of a true love for your intimate Savior!So, children, when you choose to serve Him, then serve Him with all your might. Know, His Holy Spirit is waiting to be used in a mighty way through you. Do not settle for less than what He can provide. Now, sweet ones, this does not mean you will be, or have to be, the best at everything you do; it simply means you are to give your best. When you do this, God asks for nothing else---to Him, you have won! May your ears “hear” the applause of heaven!On the other hand, understand this: being “lukewarm” in your everyday walk is very unappealing to your Creator. He created you to stand up and radiate His excellent glory, not to sit and become stagnant in the ordinary! “You are His workmanship,” my dear children, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Don’t sit children, WALK. Walk mightily, walk humbly, walk truthfully, walk faithfully. Your goal is to glorify Jesus in each step you take. Listen, also, to some other direct commands from scripture that emphasize giving your best as a result of your love for Jesus, the One who loved you first:When you work, work heartily. (Col. 3:23)When you pray, pray fervently. (Luke 22:44)When you give, give cheerfully. (II Cor. 9: 6-8)When you love, love unconditionally. (Eph. 5:1-2)When you run, run as a winner. (I Cor. 9:23-24)Be diligent. (II Peter 1:5-8)Make the most of every opportunity. (Col. 4:5)Let Christ live in you richly. (Col. 3:16)Move mountains. (Matt. 17:20-21)What is it, then, God is asking you to do today, tomorrow, and each day He gives you breath? Whatever it is, sweet ones, do “your call” with all your might; remember, “your might” draws strength from His Spirit, so aim HIGH! Then you, and I, will find great satisfaction as we witness His wonderful Name being exalted through you in an excellent way.

I love you

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

1. Discuss, first and foremost, “giving their all” is a result of understanding the LOVE of Christ, who died to live in them. Knowing of His love will compel them to live 100%.2. Fill a cup of water half full. Have this represent a job halfway done, half effort, half desire. Notice how the water stays settled down stationary.3. Now fill a cup of water, and keep filling it until it spills over (maybe turn on the faucet and put the cup under it). This cup represents living life to the fullest, by allowing the Living Water (not their strength, but Christ’s) to come in and overflow. Notice how wet everything around the overflowing cup becomes. Emphasize because of their disciplined and steadfast work of love for Jesus, they as well as others will receive great “refreshment” and blessing all along the way!

A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children

Dear Heavenly Father,I pray my children would not be satisfied with a lifestyle of mediocrity; but out of true love for You, I ask they would each strive for a high standard of excellence in all they do. May they seek to bring glory to Your Holy Name, dear Father, by loving You and living for You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Keep their eyes open, and their ears attentive to what You would have them to do with their lives. May they respond to Your call quickly, dear Lord, not lacking in diligence, but serving You with a fervent, loving spirit. Thank You for being the wind beneath their wings, dear Father. May they believe that You can truly make them soar like eagles!I pray, once again, Lord, that my children will be able to recognize their talents and abilities while they are young. Give us, as their parents, insight so we can direct them to the place where they can best serve You. And when they have found this “place,” may they strive to increase their talents for You---pressing down on all sides, making room for more. Help them to know You desire to give abundantly to those who give of themselves abundantly. May they not be satisfied to work with wood, hay, or straw; but may they seek to bring forth beauty to Your Name that rivals gold, silver, and precious stones. You, O High King, deserve to be honored in this way!O Father, I also pray for my children to never take the excellence You have given them and claim it as their own. Keep them from this sin, I pray. Continually remind them, they can do nothing in their own strength. Make them realize, You are the source of their excellence, and the giver of all good things. So, if they are to boast, may they boast in You, dear Father, who gave us everything through our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray my children’s ambition would be: that their lifestyle, their talents, their abilities, their voice, their mind, but above all else, their heart would draw others into a deeper, closer relationship to You. May they proclaim with their life, How excellent is Your Name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1)Finally, when my children get to the end of each day, as well as the end of all their days on this earth, may each one of them be able to confidently stand before You and say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (II Tim. 4:7). And how sweet it will be for each of them to hear Your gentle, yet confirming response: “Yes, you have, my child, well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt. 25:23)Take each of their hearts, sweet Lord Jesus, and make them Yours.

Amen

Scripture references in letter:

Col. 3:17; Col. 3:23-24; Ps. 37:3-6: Rev. 3:16; Eph. 4:1-6; Micah 6:8; I John 2:5b-6; Eph. 1:18-19; Ps. 90:12, 16- 17; I Cor. 10:31

Scripture references in prayer:

Matt. 22:37-39; Rom. 12:10-11; Is. 40:28-31; Matt. 25:14-30; I Cor. 3:11-14; Gal. 6:14

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Power: Know the Lies and Power of Satan

RELATED VERSE: DO NOT LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children

Dear Children,I want you to be keenly aware of who Satan is. Some of the terms he has been referred to as in the Bible are:serpent---Genesis 3: 1-7thief---John 10:10enemy---Psalms 61:3deceiver---Revelation 12:9-11father of lies---John 8:44roaring lion---I Peter 5:8accuser---Revelation 12:9-11ruler of darkness---Ephesians 6:12destroyer---John 10:10Now, listen to his main objectives as he roams the earth, seeking out hearts, minds, and souls. He will make every effort:to trick youto steal from youto attack youto fool youto lie to youto devour youto pass wrong judgment on youto keep you in his darknessand to completely defeat you.Children, Satan is very much alive, and he is very powerful. If you do not have Christ in your heart and mind, then he does have the power to do to you all the things he plots out and schemes. Remember, his goal is to keep you locked up in a prison cell where you are completely unable to serve the God whom you proclaim to love. He is desperately trying to keep you bound to your “old self.” Recognize some of these strongholds (which I have mentioned before) which Satan will wrap like thick cords around your mind: shame, guilt, fear, bitterness, worry, confusion, discontentment, and doubt. Also take note, there are many other heavy chains your enemy will use to dominate your behavior. Know, dear ones, he is behind every single snare you fall into. He is oh-so-crafty, and will always attack you in your weakest moment, targeting your weakest spot. So, I want you to take Jesus’ advice: Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mat 26:41). Call on Him in time of need; His Spirit will surely come to your rescue. Your Savior Jesus, is the only One who can sever those cords and break those chains. I know this to be true, first hand, children. Satan had the “cords” of shame and discontentment wrapped so tightly around my neck, they were choking the way, the truth and the life out of me, and I was not even aware of his schemes! Like I said, he is oh-so-crafty. However, my Jesus did come, and he did save. And now, my cup overflows!I love you

Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children

  • Find either a chain or thick rope and wrap them around the wrists of your children (in a gentle, loving way).
  • Tell them this is Satan’s objective for their whole life, except his chains/ropes are much tighter!
  • Discuss any kind of bondage your child may bring up, or that you see in your child (fear, worry, shame, etc.) and pray together that God would snap those chains in two! Remind them of Galatians 5:1: It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children

Dear Heavenly Father,I pray my children would be given abundant wisdom concerning who Satan is and what his objectives are in each of their lives. With this wisdom, may they be able to stand firm against their enemy.First, I pray, they will know that Satan is a ruler. Help them to realize he is much more than a “passive being” down in the depths of the earth. Instead, may they see him as active as You have described him in Your Word: he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Help them to understand, You have “given permission” to Satan for the whole world to lie in his power (I John 5:19). He is the ruler of darkness; and we, as believers, will wrestle against his forces of the world until the day we go Home. Make my children ready for battle, dear Lord. May they bring Your light into this dark place.Secondly, I pray, my children will know that Satan is a liar. Make them aware this master deceiver is always scheming out ways in which he can keep God’s children from being these “lights” for the cause of Christ! May they know that Satan wants their light off! Make my children aware, dear Lord, of their own weaknesses and strongholds; and may they expect to be attacked by Satan in these areas. Keep them, I pray, from being lured into his evil bondage. Always guard their minds from his deceiving use of guilt, or shame, or fear, or bitterness, or any other cord he chooses to tie them up or “snuff them out” with! May they say, with confidence, as Jesus did: Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me: for you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s (Mat. 16:23).And finally, dear Lord, I pray, my children will know that Satan is a thief. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). May they realize his goals are to rob us of our contentment, to put to death our productive time, and to utterly ruin our joy. May he not have this death grip on the hearts and lives of my children, I pray. Instead, may they realize why You have come, sweet Lord Jesus: that they might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). May they choose life over death, light over darkness, and victory over defeat.

Amen

Scripture references in letter:

Job 1:6-22; Rom. 8:5-11; Col. 3:1-10; Col. 2:8-10; Ps. 18:3-19; Luke 4:18

Scripture references in prayer:

Eph. 2:1-5; Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 11:13-14; II Cor. 11:3; I John 5:12; John 8:12; Ps. 27:1-3; I John 5:4-5

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
By Chris Baxter

Daily Prayer

Lovely

I will stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of God! And I will praise the Lord, for it is good; I will sing praises to the Lord for it is lovely.- Psalm 135:2-3

Dear Lord, make our hearts a sanctuary of praise to your sweet name. What a beautiful name it is! You are good, you are righteous, you are holy! You are gracious, you are forgiving, you are compassionate...there is no end to You. Mere words are not enough! May we sing of your love and your name all the day long. Amen