Godly parenting is extremely important, especially when raising our children in today’s society. When I was little, my grandmother was the mama of all mama’s. That’s why we called her “Big Mama.” She was so great at raising her children and grandchildren, and I wish that she was still living to help put my own children in check! But Big Mama was a strong woman that everyone admired. She was a godly woman who kept her family in line. She ensured that even her grandchildren went to church, and that we always mind our manner. Saying our blessings before eating was essential as well. She was the foundation of our family, and taught our young men how to be respectful, educated, and polite. She taught them to open the car door for the ladies, and to treat women with respect. Likewise, with the ladies, she taught us to treat our bodies as the Temple of God; how to respect ourselves by sitting appropriately when wearing a dress; how to cook homemade meals; and hot to speak well to others at all times.
When I look around today, I see so many children being disrespectful: talking back, cursing, talking over adults. But to be honest, they are not the ones to fully blame. The reason why I’m saying this is because of the behavior that I see from adults in this new age. I’ve witnessed so many parents being a friend to their children instead of being their parent. These parents allow their children to curse around them, to dress inappropriately, to sing explicit songs, and much more. These parents become hostile with teachers whenever the child is suspended, which the teacher does as a result of the student’s behavior. I’m not trying to attack anyone’s parenting method, but I am showing examples of what will happen when we do not allow God to show us how to be godly parents to our children. Children need values in life to grow into successful adults. They need God in their lives.
I’m not a perfect parent, myself. I often make mistakes and I learn something new each day. That’s why I and other parents must continue to pray, to ask the Lord to show us the right way to handle our children, especially when they are teenagers. We must do like it reads in Deuteronomy 6:2: “That thou mightiest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the day of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.”
The good news for us parents is that we can start right away in training up children in the way they should go. We can accomplish this by observing our children and enforcing rules. We must stay in prayer concerning them, applying the Blood of Jesus over them.
So, stay prayed up!
Absalom was one of King David’s sons. With the renown of his father, it seems that his sons would share David’s contriteness before God. However, as we look into the life of Absalom, we will see a very spirited yet self-focused man.
The account of Absalom is found in 2 Samuel chapters 13-18. It opens with the story of his sister, Tamar, and his half-brother, Amnon. Amnon is in love with Tamar, and eventually deceives her and rapes her. Then he despises her and casts her out of his house. Absalom is filled with anger against Amnon, but gently takes his sister into his own house and cares for her. However, he also carefully connives a plan to murder Amnon for what he did to Tamar. His plan is a success and Amnon is killed.
After this, Absalom runs away and stays in hiding for three years. Eventually he is allowed to come back to Jerusalem, but he is not allowed to see his father, King David. This upsets Absalom and he begins to turn against his father. Through a series of events that seem to be well-planned, Absalom wins over the hearts of the people of Israel. He sets himself up as a strong leader, able to offer justice, and ready to serve the people. At this point, he tells all his supporters to call him their king.
Absalom, wielding the power of an incredible army, raises support to turn against his father. He gathers advisers who support his rebellion. They encourage him to send out the armies after David and his men. David escapes through the wilderness. But a great battle ensues as David’s men fight Absalom and his corrupt cohorts.
During this battle, Absalom is riding through the forest and comes upon some of David’s men. He tries to flee, but gets his long hair caught in a tree branch. Helpless, he hangs there, awaiting his fate. David’s men eventually encircle him and kill him.
So, what do we know about Absalom from this story? We can see that he was a caring man. He loved his sister Tamar. He was a just man. He wanted to see Amnon brought to justice for abusing Tamar. He was good with people and shrewd in business. He convinced an entire nation to follow him instead of the true king. Above all, he was a very passionate man. He put himself fully into whatever he set out to accomplish.
Sometimes Christians today can fall into the same trap that caused Absalom’s demise. On the surface, Absalom looks like a pretty good guy. He seems to have things together. His motives appear justified. But his spirit was set on selfishness instead of the things of God. His passions were used to fulfill his own desire rather than to follow the will of God.
Many Christians today can become very passionate about one thing or another. Unfortunately, we can be misguided by our own passions. They might seem just and good at the beginning, but we must be careful that they are not motivated by selfishness. Just because we are passionate about something does not mean that we are following God’s will. We can allow our passions to sidetrack God’s will if selfishness gets in the way.
As right as it was for Absalom to seek justice for Amnon’s crime, his methods were not righteous. As caring as he was for his sister, his actions toward his half-brother were not justifiable. This spirit of self-righteousness is probably what eventually motivated him to start a rebellion against his father’s throne. He apparently was convinced that he would make a better king than his father. His heart was focused on himself. He even had advisers who fed this narcissism.
We know that only God can see someone’s heart. God reminded the prophet Samuel of this very point when Samuel first met Absalom’s father. 1 Samuel 16:7b reads, “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” The people of Israel were looking at the outward appearance of Absalom; he was a strong leader who offered justice. But God knew what was motivating Absalom.
Jesus explained to his disciples that anyone’s motivations will eventually come out in their actions. He said in Matthew 7:20, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (NLT). We certainly see this in Absalom’s life. What looked like good motivations ended with his untimely death.
What is in our hearts will eventually come out. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Jesus gives us a warning in Matthew 12:35. He says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” In the verse right before that, Jesus tells us that whatever is in our heart will come out in the words we choose.
What is in your heart? Are your passions hijacked by selfishness? Do you have advisers around you that promote the things of God or personal agendas? Just like Absalom, we can think that our spirited actions are justifiable. We can think that our passions are right and true. Consider this advice from 1 John4:1: “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”
There are many stories of brave men in the Bible. You can find stories about people who fought against lions and bears, giants, and immeasurably large armies. These feats of strength and endurance can be very encouraging. But what I find very encouraging are the stories that cannot be explained away by one’s own strength or bravery. I love the stories of men and women who could not explain their victories through any other means other than by the strength and power of an Almighty God.
In 1 Samuel 14 we see such a story. Here we find King Saul’s army, held up against the Philistine army. They are without proper weapons and greatly outnumbered. They had been hiding in caves and thickets because their enemies were pressing in on them. And in this setting, we find Jonathan, the King’s son.
Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “We are going to go over the Philistine outpost.” And the two of them headed toward the enemy's camp. To get there, they had to go between two rocky cliffs. They did not seem to really have much of a plan as they began discussing their options. In verse six of Samuel 14, we can see a glimpse of the heart of Jonathan. “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” (NLT).
They devised a test to find out if God would help them. In verses nine and ten, Jonathan said, “If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the LORD’s sign that he will help us defeat them.”
When the Philistines saw Jonathan coming, they taunted him and told him to “come on up” so they could teach him a lesson. So Jonathan and his armor bearer headed up to the camp. God did help them. Saul and his army eventually joined them in the fight, and God helped them drive out the Philistines.
In our lives today, we may not have a physical army pressing us on all sides, but we certainly have an enemy who is trying to keep us in hiding. Ephesians 6:12 says, “…we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (NLT). Like Jonathan, do we have the courage to approach the enemy’s camp? Or do we stay on the defensive?
As Christians, we are a part of a large army. We are a part of the church that Jesus set up. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells us this: “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (NIV). Do you realize that gates are protective? Do you see that it is our enemies that ought to be on the defensive, not the church?
Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us then who can be against us?” Jonathan realized the power of God to defeat his enemy. He knew that if God were to offer help that day, the enemy would have no chance to stand against him.
Do you get tired of seeing the forces of evil pervade around us? Are you tired of seeing God’s army—His church—cowering in fear and hiding? We can take courage and approach the enemy’s camp. We can ask God for help as we move in. Take on the heart of Jonathan. Take a stand for what is right today. Ask God to guide you. He can give us victory.
To Okonkwo, a character in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, an indication of physical success means being the best wrestler in his village; and economic success means attaining a bountiful crop of yams. William Shakespeare through Uncle Polonius offered Hamlet some advice for success before he went off to college: “Neither a lender nor a borrower be,” and “To thine own self be true.”
These two books have been staples of the high school English literature curriculum for several years. Through these two very worthy pieces of literature, teachers across the nation inculcate values of success into the impressionable minds of youth. Neither one of these darlings of literature go far enough, however.
Those of us who are students of the best book on earth, the Bible, have access to the best definition of success as found in Psalms 1: 3. For me, this verse delineates what if means to be successful in the true sense of the word. The blessed man or woman, which I interpret as the successful man or woman, “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do will prosper.”
If we parse this verse, we can identify four key components for success.
Position. To be successful means you are firmly connected to the source of all life, hope, goodness, and spirituality. In addition, you do everything within your power to ensure the connection is never broken by maintaining an open line of communication with the Savior of your soul. His word dwells in you, and your words acknowledge that He is. Establishing and maintaining the God-connection is the sure foundation for all success.
Action: Successful people “yield fruit.” You are productive, studying and practicing a skill or a craft on a daily basis. You pull yourself away from the clutter of life. This could also mean schooling, reading, and practicing. This is how your mediocre becomes good, and your good becomes great. At the appropriate time, you as well as others will see the fruit of your labor. When preparation and opportunity intersect, success is guaranteed.
Stamina: Success does not happen overnight. It takes time. But the successful person remains optimistic. You envision your hopes, and operate as though it is a given. Waiting for success is work and that’s where the stamina comes in. You don’t grow faint because the journey is long and hard. You have taken the appropriate steps to insure your “leaf does not wither.” You have all the resources necessary for the long haul.
Prosperity. Victory is sure. “Whatever you do will prosper.” Even a setback is a set up for a comeback, according to my Pastor, because “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
Success is a combination of position, attitude, and action. Find out what it is that God has called you to do. Arm yourself with the tools (spiritual and secular) to equip yourself for the journey and plug away. In Christ, we are groomed for success.
When teaching students how to write an essay, I always provided them with a model so they knew the quality of writing to which they should aspire. I also provided a rubric, which clearly delineated the qualities of poor to excellent writing so students could self-assess, make revisions, and submit an essay as close to excellent as possible. Everyone was given the opportunity to aspire to excellence.
The redeemed people of God have more than just an opportunity to pursue this very nature; they have an imperative to pursue excellence in all that they do. The Apostle Paul states in Colossians 3:17, “And therefore in all that you do whether in word or deed, do all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In speech and in actions, the people of God are to put forth their best. But how can one put that into action?
How to Achieve Excellence?
In Outliers (2008), Malcolm Gladwell, indicates that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve excellence in any field. Others have come along to refute his theory. But the point remains: To be excellent at anything requires practice, and consistent practice requires discipline.
When I was learning how to play tennis decades ago, I began hitting with players who were as new to the game as I was. As a result, our balls ended up on other players’ courts a little too often. Once I hired a coach, my game improved exponentially. He showed me how to grip the racket, how to hit a forehand, and other tennis fundamentals. What can we learn here? Engaging with people who are better at a skill or craft can improve a person’s own performance. A little mentorship can go a long way.
At the core of everyone who aspires to excellence is a tugging of the heart, which is called desire. Without desire, the pursuit never gets off the ground. With desire, the pursuit never rests. It’s what drives individuals in the morning and what keeps them awake at night.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech, “Street Sweeper,” characterizes excellence with these words:
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Whoever the individual and whatever the gift or skill, everyone should aspire to excellence.
If anyone ever questions the need to strive for excellence, s/he needs to remember the Creator Himself. After phases of His creation, the word says, “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10 NIV). The sun, the moon, the heavens and earth were good. His good is beyond excellent. Made in His image, we are compelled to produce works of excellence as well. If anyone is ever baffled about this need to do one’s best, don’t ask, “Why?” Ask, “For Whom?” The confusion about the quest will be resolved. Nothing but the best for the Highest.
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
If more people would follow that simple counsel from Luke 6:31, this crazy world would be a lot better place, in my humble opinion.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that it just ain’t so, Joe. It just ain’t so. It can be a cold, cruel world out there. As one of my cinematic heroes, Rocky Balboa said: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place … it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
Love me some Rocky.
That’s a great message.
Sometimes, people who treat others poorly may just be good people having a bad day, plain and simple. Sometimes, they may just be bad people. Make no mistake about it, God loves us all and wants us to be happy and prosper, but there are plenty of mean people out there who make themselves feel better not by helping other people, but by making others feel worse.
The trick is to not fall into their trap.
Sometimes you may get knocked down, figuratively speaking, of course. What counts is what you do when you get back up.
I used to have a tremendous pet peeve about rude treatment from store clerks, check-out cashiers, waiters, and other service workers. I have embarrassed the stuffing out of my wife on more than one occasion by confronting people at a business who can barely seem to give me the time of day as they take my hard-earned money and grant me the profound privilege of dumping change back into my outstretched hand, without so much as a smile, howdy-do, thank you, or even the dreaded, “Have a nice day.” No eye contact; no nothing.
Sometimes now, depending on my own mood, I’ll either ignore being treated like an inconvenience to someone whose job and paycheck depends on me and others like me coming in and spending money, or I’ll maybe try to engage them in a little friendly conversation, which sometimes works; sometimes does not.
Then there are times when I ask for a manager and complain about the little sourpuss. Probably a waste of time, but makes me feel a little better.
Treating others as you would want them to treat you.
Even simple acts of random kindness can go a long way toward bringing a little more joy, sunshine, and warmth to the world. Holding a door open for someone can not only bring a smile to an unsmiling face, but make you feel better, too.
Volunteering your time in the community is a way to not only ease someone else’s burden and show a little love, but also a great way to get out of yourself and forgot about your own problems for a while. There are lots of options for volunteering: soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, libraries … the list goes on and on.
Many local governments have volunteer organizations that are always looking for people to lend a hand. Give them a call.
In Luke 6:32-42, it says:
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Do a good deed for someone today, expecting nothing in return.
See how it feels.
When my oldest daughter was born, it was an exciting and scary winter day.
This was a long time ago, and I remember leaning against the wall in a hospital hallway in southwest Houston, chain-smoking Marlboro cigarettes with some other expectant young father. It took a while for things to start happening, but when a nurse came and told me to dress in some green hospital outfit, it was finally show time.
She took me into a delivery room, and before too long, the baby came and everyone was smiling and happy and celebrating, and then the doctor said, “Uh-oh.”
The room got really quiet.
You never want to hear a doctor or a dentist say, “Uh-oh.”
After a heart-wrenching scare having to do with cloudy corneas, everything turned out fine with Stacy, daughter no. 1, and 13 years later, I was blessed with Katy, daughter no. 2.
I love my little girls with all my heart – I would give my life for them without hesitation – but the honest truth is that I have not always been a good father. Not a bad father; just not a very good one, sometimes.
Selfishness, immaturity, and fear usually led the way in my failings at the most important responsibility and blessing I have ever been given. Fortunately, both my girls have turned out to be outstanding young women, in spite of their old man’s shortcomings.
They love me and forgive my mistakes; they are healthy and happy, hard-working and successful, and for that I am forever grateful.
A lot goes into being a good parent, and it is perhaps the most difficult job in the world, but the bottom line for success, I think, is this: “Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians: 16:14).
If I had another chance, I would certainly do some things differently, hopefully better, but what may have been my saving grace as a father was that I did do everything in love. And I think that is true with most parents. I think most parents truly love their children and want the best for them.
For a long time, I blamed my father for most of the pain and anguish I put myself through in my younger years, because my old man made a lot of mistakes with me – and he is quick to admit that now. But the truth is, he did the best he could; the best he knew how. When I was born, I am pretty confident in saying that my dad did not look at me and say, “All right, my first-born son. What can I do now to screw this kid up as much as possible?”
Of course, not. Like most parents – like me – my dad did the best he could. And he did a lot of good things.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This is one way we provide our children with a good childhood, a good upbringing, a good father. Teach them right from wrong; teach them how to behave; teach them to respect their elders; teach them self-respect and to take pride in their accomplishments. Teach them how to work; teach them the value of money; teach them about love.
And perhaps the most of important of all – teach them about the love of God.
Perhaps the most well-known Bible verse in the world is this: John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
At the ripe old age of 50-something, I am still seeking answers to life’s big questions, trying to make sense of it all.
But it was the knowledge my parents gave me, taking me to church on Sundays and Wednesday nights, that gave me a foundation from which I could find my own understanding about life, death, and what comes next.
I still have a lot of questions, but one thing I do believe is that God is love.
God is love.
Strength is defined as the power to resist force or attack…one regarded as embodying force or firmness. The list goes on. When we think of strength, we often think of the physical quality bestowed in our bodies. We sometimes attribute strength to masculinity. Yet, we know that it is more than that. A woman’s strength is quiet and seldom seen. It is detailed in our daily interactions and encounters with adversity.
THE TALENTED WOMAN:
Believing their gifts are overlooked, some women compare themselves to men, and work to prove they are equal. I believe we have gifts that make us exceptional at whatever we put our minds to do. But they were not given to prove that we are just as good as or better than a man. They are for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Anna, Esther, Priscilla, Rahab, and Tabitha bought Him glory with their talents.
A strong woman has no need to be loud and boisterous to prove herself. She respects the views of others and trusts God to fight her battles. In times of adversity, a strong woman does not bend to disappointment and sorrow. She understands that her joy comes from the Lord and not this world. She allows adversities to shape her so that she comes through better than before. Her reward will be given to her by God.
THE PRAYING WOMAN:
One of the greatest strengths a woman can offer is prayer. Single, married, divorced, and widowed women can turn the tides in their favor if they would simply take it before the Father. Challenges will arise in this life. There are things that are just beyond our control, and even the most well-thought-out plan won’t prevent every obstacle.
When I pray over matters and release it to God in faith, He turns it around in my favor. I have prayed and things have not come out the way I had hoped. But when I pray in faith and release it, He always comes through. It may be different than I expected, but He answers faithfully.
Your strength is in your prayer. Remove all doubts, fears, and worries. You already know where the spirit of fear comes from, so don’t succumb to it. Pray to God and give thanks, and He will give you peace. (Philippians 4:6). He wants to hear your prayers. He enjoys that quiet time alone with you, free from distractions and the busyness of life. Sit for a while to hear what He has to say.
THE MARRIED WOMAN:
We are called to work with men and not against them; especially married women. Genesis 2:18 states, “…I will make him a help meet for him.” We are to assist men, coming alongside them and giving them support. We are the “completers” of men. Simply said, men need women. If that were not true, God would not have created us for that purpose. “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Corinthians 11:9).
We are expected to render strength unto our husbands. We can accomplish this in how we communicate with them, continuously lifting them up. There is nothing wrong with bowing out of trying to prove your point and listening to his perspective. Humility, grace, and quietness exemplify the strength of a woman, and they enable us to avoid quarrels.
But what happens when you believe he’s wrong and your opinion is right? Trust me, I’ve been down this road too many times to count. Unfortunately, I often learned I was the one that was wrong and not him. It could have saved much heartache and mistakes if I did not allow my pride to get in the way. I had something to prove as a “21st century woman.” Thirteen married years and twenty total years later…I wish I understood then what I understand now.
There are times when we are right. However, if he does not initially receive that understanding, pray and trust the Holy Spirit to lead the way. He will convict your husband’s heart if he’s wrong. Alternatively, if you are wrong, He will reveal that, too.
If your husband does not have a personal relationship with the Lord…pray. Arguing, belittling him, or pointing out his flaws will not win him over. Subject yourself to your husband, and if he is not in Christ, he will be won over by your actions (1 Peter 3:1). At all times, remember your role as an assistant. This may include assisting him into a relationship with Christ. You cannot do this by your arguments, rather by your actions.
Strong women have no points to prove. They allow God to fight their battles and trust His commands. Using their gifts, they build up those around them, and they know who they are.
From the creation of Eve through today, women have been blessed with the most important gift in the world: procreation. Creation comes from woman as stated in Genesis 3:20: “The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” And it is through woman that our Savior came to Earth in fleshly form (Isaiah 7:14). It is a gift bestowed upon us by God.
Whether you have birthed or adopted children, or have spiritual children, you know they are a blessing from above and a rich reward (Psalm 127:3). From the moment of conception, we are either joyful or depressed, depending on our circumstances. However, upon acknowledging you are with child and embracing that gift, it will become a gratifying experience. The first ultrasound. The first sound of a heartbeat. The first feel of movement. The birth of your child. These can all be exhilarating events worthy of a celebration. You have formed humanity; life itself is growing and manifesting within you.
Upon seeing their face and hearing our newborn’s cry, we are overflowing with unconditional love. It fills our innermost being and blossoms wholly in that moment, which is unlike any other love. True love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
This great gift comes with responsibility. God has entrusted precious souls in our care, because He loves and trusts us. Our loving response to this should be to teach our children about God’s love for us and His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Developing and fostering a love for God in them at an early age will place a hunger and desire for them to build their own relationship with Christ.
As they grow, we must instill discipline in them (Proverbs 29:17; Ephesians 6:4). Failing to discipline our children would be similar to allowing weeds to take over our lawn. We no longer see the beauty we know is there. It entangles them in the trappings of the world, choking out their true assets.
Spending time watching, guiding, and communicating with our children will open our eyes to their gifts. We learn how to enhance their strengths and weaknesses. Whether through financial, spiritual, or timely investments, we foster these gifts, teaching them to use them to build God’s Kingdom.
At the wedding in Cana, Mary brought to Jesus’ attention their lack of wine. He rebuked her to cancel out the familiarity with which she used towards Him, and let her know He would do the will of His Heavenly Father. Yet, Mary understood it was His time. After the rebuke, she went on to direct the servants to do whatever Jesus requested. There, He performed His first earthly miracle.
We, too, have the responsibility to recognize our children’s gifts and know when to release them. This is not always an easy job. Children can become resentful or push back when they’re not ready to release their gifts. Whether it is from shyness or discomfort, they arrive at that place in their own time. We simply need to know when to push and when to wait.
One of the greater responsibilities is provision. We can use our gifts for provision, to bless our families with sustenance and warmth, just like the Proverbs 31 wife (Proverbs 31:14-16). Putting our resources to work, we can ensure our children have healthy nourishment, proper exercise, and a clean and loving home. As they watch us provide for our families, it teaches and prepares them to do the same when they become adults (Genesis 2:24).
While the sacrifice of being a mother can be great in terms of loss of sleep, “me-time,” and money spent on them versus you, it is well worth it. The first tooth. First step. First day of school. Graduation. As your children grow, there is beauty in watching them apply to their lives the wisdom, instruction, and understanding you have taught.
Those tears you sowed and constant reprimands lead to rejoicing as you watch them choose the righteous paths (Proverbs 23:22-25). Your hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are worth it. Like the Proverbs 31 mother, your children will rise up and call you blessed (Proverbs 31:28).
The greatest reward for a mother is the honor her child bestows upon her, and the peaceful and productive lives they will lead (Mark 7:10; Isaiah 54:13).
I can’t imagine what it would be like to try and run my online company without the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. The Bible is rich with wisdom concerning matters related to business and finances; and the principles presented are so accurate and sure that even those who do not believe in the Lord practice these truths.
For this chapter, I want to briefly discuss some scriptures that will truly help you in terms of cultivating yourself as a successful business owner and entrepreneur. So, let’s begin. (Note: All scriptures are directly quoted from the Message Translation of the Bible.)
What better place to start than in the beginning of time as dictated in Genesis 1:26-28.
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
As the Creator of all things, God willingly relinquished authority and power to man to control and manage the Earth. This meant that it was man’s responsibility to cultivate and nourish it, not God’s. In essence, He had already done the work; now it was up to man to maintain it.
The principle that I wish to highlight with this passage is that God will give you an idea, something that He desires to see you perform. This idea is likened unto the entire creation that He entrusted to Adam and Eve. While it is He that gives you this powerful vision, it is up to you to maintain it, cultivate it, and nourish it. God declares, even from the beginning, that we are blessed; that we have the power to reproduce and multiply; that we have the ability to prosper in what we put our hands to do. This is enough revelation that ought to inspire you to do what God commanded man to do in the beginning: Take charge! All it takes is one idea, one word from the Lord to ignite the drive and passion that is needed to carry out your business. No matter how small or large the organization, if God is with you, He will empower you for success.
I remember when I first began looking into doing my online company. Initially, I wanted something that would help me earn some money, any money just to get me through my former situation. But once I began to realize that this idea was something that God gave me, that’s when I started to draw upon His wisdom to help me in cultivating this vision. My primary focus of the company has been to work with Christian authors and writers who are looking for expert services without feeling the effects of high costs associated with editing and writing. Over the years, millions of people have come to appreciate the value of self-publishing, and many are attempting to break into the independent publishing field by producing their own works. At one time, you could only find works written by Christian authors if they had gone the traditional publishing route. This presented a huge stumbling block to the many ministers and preachers who had a message for the Body of Christ, but lacked the knowledge or connections to get their writings to the masses. For this reason, self-publishing is a remarkable tool that opens the door for this market; and finding an expert editor and writer is necessary to cause their vision to come to light. That’s where LiyahAmore Publishing steps in.
Now that I have an understanding of what a God-given idea is, it is up to me to cultivate and tend to it. In doing so, I have the promise from God that it will be blessed because He has blessed me. In like manner, consider how your writing business will be used to empower others. If you can begin to see it through the eyes of God, He will show you exactly which direction to go. And if you listen to Him, your company will never fail.
If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.
This is by far one of the most important and sobering passages that I reference regarding business. As your company begins to grow, and it surely will, you may find it tempting to think that it was somehow your abilities and your strength that caused its success. Think again! No person has been able to generate success without the help and assistance of others. This is especially true for Believers who own and operate their own company. It is God that gives us the power to get wealth. This power can demonstrate itself in many ways. For example, knowledge is one of the most powerful tools that we have. When we are educated in a matter, we understand how to perform tasks that others cannot accomplish. This power can also be demonstrated through the Wisdom of God, which we readily find in the Bible. Consider Solomon in his youth: As a young man, he did not ask the Lord for wealth and riches; but he did inquire of God to grant him wisdom to rule His people (see 2 Chronicles 1:11). In this instance, Solomon made the right choice. He had basically asked the Lord to guide his ways and direction as it pertained to the business of ruling the kingdom. In like manner, we ought—as a necessity—to inquire of the Lord, that He would give us wisdom concerning the matters related to our individual companies. This is how we possess the power and ability to gain wealth; and in God’s Kingdom, there is no limit to what this wealth can look like. All we need to do is ask, and we shall receive.
My dependence upon the Lord regarding my online company is so great, especially because I entered into this industry without having any real knowledge of what will and will not work. I do not go a day without petitioning the Lord concerning ideas on how to expand the company; and He never ceases to amaze me. In like manner, it is imperative that you keep the Holy Spirit in mind as you move through the process of starting your online writing company.
Proverbs 16: 3
Put God in charge of your work,
then what you’ve planned will take place.
So simple, yet so profound. This passage works all the time! As you continue to bring your business before the Lord, allow the Holy Spirit to take charge of your plans and purposes. I know for some people, giving away your control is a tough thing to do. But who wouldn’t want to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say, especially because He knows all things. I have determined that with LiyahAmore Publishing, we work in direct congruence with the Spirit of the Lord. At times, He will give me suggestions and ideas that I think are strange; yet, when I implement them, they prosper and succeed. You see, even though I can’t see or understand how something will work out, my faith alone in the Lord brings all things together for my good. One example I will share is regarding the prices for my services. In each case, the price range will differ, depending on the type of product or service that a client needs. Whenever I present something to a customer, I ask the Holy Spirit how much I should charge. He instantly gives me a figure and then provides me with a way to convey this to my potential clients. In each case, the price has been exactly what the client was willing and able to afford. Now, for some people, He may not do that, especially because people in business ignore the Lord. But not so with my company! So, remember to put the Lord in charge of your work. The promise is that whatever you’ve planned to do, it will prosper and take place. That’s awesome!
build the writing ministry of your dreams
Having the ability to effectively market your books and other products requires that you first have a writing ministry that is built on a solid foundation.
After all, there are millions of new and aspiring Christian Authors who struggle to build a writing ministry that will be inspirational, empowering, and profitable.
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At LiyahAmore Publishing, we provide the answers to this problem by offering an exclusive training program--the Empowered Writerpreneurs Program--that walks each client through the building and execution of their writing ministry.
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If you want to effectively promote all your books, products, and other resources, then it's time to build a writing ministry that will astound your audience.
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