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August 19, 2015, 12:50 PM

How To Pray For Your Children As They Go Back To School



A Supply List of Back-to-School Prayers

By Shane & Kasi Pruitt

We have three children, but only one that is “school-age.” She is our oldest, and will be starting 4th grade this year; yes, another treacherous grade with standardized testing. And, believe it or not, it’s already stressing her out. I swear she is nine-years-old going on sixteen. When I was nine, I had a bucket on my head and I was hitting myself with a hammer! I definitely didn’t understand or care about tests.

My wife took our daughter back-to-school shopping for clothes the other day. After all, we all know that the first-day outfit sets the course for the rest of the school year. Can I get a witness? (Ok, I realize there is a hint of sarcasm here.)

However, it caused me think about all the back-to-school preparation that takes place in millions of homes every year: buying clothes, trying to remember when tax-free weekend is, the scavenger hunt of school supplies (Where did that darn supply list go again?), going to meet the teacher, picking the right electives, and if your child is older, helping them find out what classes can be considered dual-credit for college.

As parents, we can be guilty of putting far more time, energy, and effort into getting everything ready for the upcoming school-year than we actually do about getting our “precious little one/ones” ready to enter this new year.

The greatest “supplies” that we can send with our children to school are not Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers and Big Chief tablets (You can tell I went to school in the 80’s & 90’s). Rather, our intentional prayers should be the most valuable “supplies” they will carry with them this year.

Here is a short list of “supplies” that most kids will be asked to bring with them when school starts. I hope this will be a creative way for you to pray for your children, and that you will be reminded to pray for them every time you see or deal with these items:

  1. Backpack: Lord, I realize this is what my child will use to carry things from, and to our house. I pray that our house would be a place of comfort, encouragement and rest. May it be a great place to launch from each day as they go to school, and a better place to come back to everyday after a long day of learning.
     
  2. Pencil: Lord, I pray that You will give my child a desire to work hard. That she would want to apply herself even when its difficult. Father, would You help my child realize that school and hard work is one of the tools that You are using to write her role in Your story, called life.
  3. Notebook Paper: Lord, just like paper starts out blank, then fills with shapes, letters, etc., I realize my child is very impressionable. Would You please protect them? Let them make wise decisions, and discern what is right, good, and acceptable. Would You fill their heart, mind, and soul with Your beautiful handiwork?
     
  4. Markers: Lord, would You live through my child, so that they will leave a mark on their teacher, classmates, and school that reflects what is important to You and to our family? May they leave marks of love, not pain, upon every soul they come in contact with.
     
  5. Eraser: Lord, I know my child is not perfect and will make plenty of mistakes this year. Would You teach them the meaning of grace? I pray that they are quick to understand how you have already erased all of our mistakes forever. And as they understand this, may my child be quick to forgive themselves, their teachers, and their classmates.
     
  6. Crayons: Lord, we praise You for being a beautifully creative God. Daily, help my child appreciate that fact that You make people in all shapes, colors, heights, weights, walks-of-life, etc. I pray my child would be kind and loving to all other children. Not, just the ones that tend to look like them.
     
  7. Folders: Lord, I know that homework, notes, and grades will be sent home with my child from her teacher/teachers. I pray for my child’s teacher right now. Give them patience, rest, and joy in their work as they train up the next generation of leaders. Father, I pray that You remind me often that he or she is just a human being that bears Your image, and is not is going to be perfect. May I, as a parent, be good to them, kind, and understanding that he or she is not “out to get”my child, but is there precisely because they love children.
     
  8. Scissors: Lord, I know that my child will be exposed to things that may not be healthy, agreeable to our family beliefs, or pleasing to You. Would You help them“cut through”the nonsense, and focus in on their main reason for being at school.
     
  9. Pencil-sharpener: Lord, I pray that my child’s greatest desire is to be a tool that is used for your Kingdom. Help them value this time in their life, knowing that You’re using school, life, and interaction with others as an instrument that will sharpen them to be used for your Kingdom’s work.

May we approach this upcoming school year a little differently by spending just as much, if not more, time praying for our children than we do hunting down bargains and supplies. As they leave our house to trek out into the world, the greatest things we can give them are our intentional prayers.

 

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August 19, 2015, 12:48 PM

10 Ways To Pray For Your Child’s Teacher This School Year


 

By Shane Pruitt

(In Consultation with actual current and former teachers: Kasi Pruitt, John Rogers, Bri Malone, Chelsea Perrin, Audrah Romero, Debbie Smith, Tammy Baldwin, Katy Smith, Alissa Tubbs, Jennifer Aldrich, Jennifer Smith, Hannah Paulling, Beth Stalnaker, and Jillian Palomino)

There was once a very, very ignorant time in my life, a time when I believed that teachers had the easiest job in the world, because they only worked nine months a year, not to mention they had all holidays off. Wow, was I wrong!

My wife is a former 2nd grade teacher. We’d just had our second child right before the start of a new school year, and she still had two weeks left on her maternity leave, so I volunteered to be a substitute teacher for her class for those weeks.

Let me just say, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever do that again. It was like The Lord of the Flies in that classroom. The kids had taken over the island! But, one positive element that came out of that experience is that it gave me a whole new love, admiration, and respect for teachers.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a teacher as “one that teaches; especially: one whose occupation is to instruct.”So what does it mean to teach? To teach means to,“Cause or help (someone) to learn about a subject by giving lessons. To instruct someone on new knowledge, or to help cultivate a knowledge that is already present.”

One of Jesus’most common titles was Rabbi, a Jewish title meaning “teacher.” Being a teacher is such a wonderfully-stressful, joyously-difficult, low paying-highly-rewarding calling that only precious few can take on. The great ones don’t look at it as their job, but rather, their passion. Teachers literally shape and mold future generations. When people are asked, “Who was the most influential person in your life?”The number one most common response is a parent, and a very close second is a teacher.

As your children head back to school, you’re entrusting them to a teacher. These men and women are simply human beings; this means that they’ll make mistakes, they value encouragement, they appreciate patience, and they desperately need your prayers.

We asked several real-life teachers the following question, “How would you want the parents of your students to pray for you this year? ”Here is what they shared:

1.       Pray for us to be constantly reminded of the reason we were called by God to pour into the next generation, especially, on difficult days. Also, for us to be able to find effective time during the day to get alone to pray ourselves, take a breath, and regroup to effectively continue to engage with your child.

2.      Pray for an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness to come-over us in moments of stress, chaos, or rebellion by a student. Remember, it’s one teacher with many students. Pray for us to possess the wisdom to show grace and mercy when necessary. But, also be able to discern when discipline and sternness is fitting.

3.      Pray for our ability to effectively and clearly teach the subject-matter to all students in a way that they can understand.

4.      Pray for us to have patience, strength, and understanding of each child’s journey. Being able to know where the child is coming from, and their background. That we as teachers would have ears that hear each student. The ability to hear the heart and need of each student. Always remembering that their words are very intentional, and they always have a reason for speaking them. After all, each child in that class is someone’s baby.

5.       Pray for your acceptance of us as teachers, realizing that we’re not last year’s teacher, and that this is a completely new year.

6.      Pray for unity. Unity within the teacher-parent relationships, and within the teacher-student relationships. Also, for us to experience unity and effective teamwork with the administration, faculty, and fellow teachers. We’re unified it makes a better learning atmosphere for your child.

7.       Pray for us not to be overwhelmed with the pressure of standardized testing. To avoid the temptation of looking at the students as scores, marks, and numbers. That we would help the students find value in a year-long process of hard work, sharpening their strengths, and celebrating their individuality, rather than, being defined by one test.

8.      Pray for our physical, emotional, and spiritual endurance. That we would be able to maintain consistent momentum throughout the entire school-year, and not lose heart.

9.      Pray for our personal life. Please, don’t forget that we have responsibilities outside of the classroom as well. We have interests, hobbies, to-do lists, spouses, children, friends, and churches we serve.

10.   Pray for us who may be Christians. Many times we believe our primary task is to love your children like Jesus would by reflecting the Gospel to them. And, that is often very, very difficult for us to do in a non-Christian environment.

If we take the time to stop and intentionally pray for our teachers, we’ll be amazed at how efficiently the school year will go for our children, the teacher, and the impact it may have on the entire atmosphere of the classroom. When you’re praying for someone, you can’t help but feel compassion for them, and a connection to them.

I remember as a knuckle-headed high school student thinking that some of my teachers were “out to get me.” But, looking back I realize how terribly wrong I was. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t stand children. I think I’ll be a teacher!” Teachers step up to the call to mold the keys that unlock our future. What are those keys? The minds of children sitting in desks everyday watching the teacher you’re praying for.

And after all, remember, they are not superheroes. They are something much, much more. They’re teachers!

 

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January 15, 2015, 4:04 PM

Building Strong Families


Building Strong Families

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and  with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5

 

Church Family,

Spiritual maturity is a lifelong process.  It begins the day you are born and continues throughout life.  Equipping the generations means that as you and I grow, we lead the next generation spiritually.  Leading begins at the home with family.

At First Gholson we believe the church and family should work together to raise the next generation of Christians.  We see discipleship as a two sided coin: church and family.  We believe God designed parents to be the uniquely perfect, primary faith trainers of their children.

First Gholson partners with the parents to equip preschoolers, children, and students with the Biblical and practical understanding to experience the next phase of life and in this way we build a legacy of faith into the next generation.   

But most importantly we need to strengthen our marriage relationships: Children need to experience a loving relationship between mom and dad that reflects the gospel and between parent and child that makes kids want to embrace their parents’ beliefs.

Building Strong Families is what we are about and hope you will join us in this adventure.

 

All for Jesus,

Bro. James

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December 31, 2014, 10:52 AM

God has you exactly where He wants you


 

If you know that God has got you where you are for a reason, then you can rejoice. We have probably never learned to live the Christian life until we're able to rejoice in the midst of real problems. If you're in a hard spot right now, that may be exactly where God wants you to be.  Oswald Chambers says,  "If you can stay in the midst of the turmoil unperplexed and calm because you see Jesus, that is God's purpose in your life." God never leaves us at the status quo. In fact, it's like this:

If we're lost He wants us saved,

If we're saved He wants us committed,

If we're committed He wants us sanctified,

If we're sanctified He wants us called,

If we're called He wants us commissioned,

If we're commissioned He wants us sent,

If we are sent He wants us serving,

If we're serving He wants us suffering,

If we're suffering He calls us to higher suffering, to a deeper more profound walk with Him. He presses us to new frontiers.

So if you're in a tough place, don't bemoan your circumstances.

Rejoice that God may very well have you just exactly where he wants you.

 

 

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August 26, 2014, 1:23 PM

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Court is now in session!


 

1 John 5:6-12, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Court is now in session! In 1 John 5:6-12, John summons witnesses to testify to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God.

“I call the water of the Jordan River to the witness stand.” 

“Water of Jordan, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do,” replies the water.

John begins: “You were there that day Jesus was baptized; please tell us what you saw.” “Yes,” answered the water. “I was there. Jesus walked down until he was about waist deep in my waters where John the Baptist was standing. John immersed him and raised him up.

I saw something very unusual occur after that. At first, there was Jesus standing in me, but I also saw the heavens were opened and there was a visual sign of a dove that descended on him. I heard a voice speak from heaven and it said: ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’”

“Thank you, water. I have no further questions. You may step down from the witness stand,”

John continues, “I call the blood of Jesus to the witness stand.” “Blood of Jesus, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do,” responds the blood.

“You were there that day Jesus was crucified. Tell us what you observed.”

“Yes, I can testify that at his trial before Pilate, Jesus was scourged. The punishment left his back a bloody mess. The crown of thorns caused me to stream down his face. When he was placed on the cross and the nails were driven into his hands and in his feet, I flowed from his body. As the blood of Jesus, I bear testimony that Jesus is the Son of the living God.”

John replies, “Thank you, blood of Jesus, you may step down from the witness box.”

“I call a third witness to the stand: the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” John queried. “Yes, I am the Spirit of truth,” replies the Holy Spirit.

“Holy Spirit, were you present during the earthly life of Jesus?” “Yes. I was present at his birth; I was present at his baptism; I was present during his earthly life; and I was present at his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension. I was present with him in heaven in eternity past before the incarnation and I will be present with him for all eternity.”

“Holy Spirit, is it your testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God?” John asks. “I bear witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God,” replies the Holy Spirit.

“Thank you Holy Spirit; you may step down,” says John.

“I would like to call a fourth witness to the stand,” says John. “I call God the Father to testify.”

“Heavenly Father, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do,” says the Father.

“Heavenly Father, do you recognize this man Jesus? Is he indeed your Son whom you sent to this earth?”

“Yes,” replies the Father. “He is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

John continues, “Do you testify that he and he alone is your Son and the only way of salvation?”

“Yes. From the very beginning, Jesus is the only-begotten Son; one with me throughout eternity as the third person of the Trinity. I foretold his coming into the world in the incarnation through my prophets. I sent John the Baptist as his forerunner. I sent an angel to Mary to announce to her that she was my choice to be the human mother of Jesus.

As a man, Jesus entered his ministry and was baptized. The heavens opened and I spoke and said ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.’ The night before his crucifixion, he called out to me, ‘Father if it can be your will let this cup pass.’ But it was not my will. And I turned over my only Son to evil men to crucify. But I did it for a purpose and he did it willingly. This purpose was to make an atonement for your sins.”

“My Son Jesus was crucified, buried, but three days later, I raised him from the dead. Forty days later he ascended to heaven where today he sits at my right hand. One day I will determine the time has come, and my Son will come again to this earth.”

“I give eternal life as a gift, and this eternal life is in my Son, Jesus. So say I, God, the Father.”

After a pause that seemed to last an eternity, John spoke with reverent softness: “Thank you Father, you may step down from the witness box.”

John declares, “I call the twins ‘Whoever’ to the stand.”

John intones. “Do you both swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “We do.”

John turns to the first whoever and asks, “Whoever, have you come to Jesus Christ and found him to be the Savior of your sins?” “I have,” responds “Whoever.” “Do you then testify concerning the truth of what I myself have said about Jesus in my writings?” asks John. “I do indeed,” says Whoever. “Jesus is the Son of God who has given me the gift of eternal life.”

“Thank you, Whoever,” John says.

Turning to the other Whoever, John asks, “Have you come to Jesus Christ and found him to be the Savior of your sins?”

“I have not,” responds Whoever. “John looks at him and in a stern voice says, “Do you refuse to believe the testimony that God the Father himself has borne in this very courtroom?”

“I do indeed,” says Whoever without blinking an eye. “I believe God is a liar about what he has said concerning Jesus. He has perjured himself under oath.”

Stunned silence fills the courtroom. Mouths are agape. Finally John speaks: “Thank you, Whoever. You may both step down from the witness box.”

John turns to the jury and now begins his closing argument: “The testimony of the witnesses is clear and irrefutable. God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son, Jesus. He who has the Son possesses this eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have eternal life.”

“I rest my case.”

Written by Dr. David Allen, preaching professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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