FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOREVER
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
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.)
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.
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
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
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25
Please come; touch us with your reviving love. Remind us of your truths so we can be strengthened once again. As we open your word, pour into us just what we need for the moment. Refresh us in your Spirit. Amen.