Passage for Study: Acts 17: 1 - 9 … Acts 17 linked for study …
2nd Passage for Study: 1st Thes. 2: 1 - 12 … 1st Thes. 2 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today we see one more quality which is much needed in parenting and one which you’ll need - as did Paul - when you’re called into Christian leadership; and that trait is AFFIRMATION.
Note what Paul writes to the Chrisians at Thessalonica, in 1st Thess. 2: 10 - 12, “You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
Paul recognized his need in leadership to encourage and affirm those who had come to Christ so that they would grow up in their faith and “walk worthy of God.” And Paul was right on target as he was using this parenting word picture when it comes to the development of our Christian walk.
My dear one, I don’t know about your parents and your upbringing. But if you didn’t get very much affirmation and encouragement from your parents, it may have been difficult for you to grow up with confidence and strength and become affirming to your children, should you have become a parent. The emotional wounds that develop from a desert of affirmation as a child often become a desert of encouragement later in life for one who was deprived of encouragement by his/her parents as a child.
In fact that is the word picture which Chuch Swindoll uses to describe the need for and the provision of parental affirmation. It is a picture of an oasis in the middle of a harsh and dry desert. When we’re growing up as children, the world can be a harsh and dry place, where we, as children, become thirsty for encouragement and affirmation. And in order for us to grow emotionally, we need to be able to come back to the family oasis where our parents give us a steady/safe place to be refreshed with their well spring of love, affection, and lavish affirmation.
Think of what’s going on in our culture/world today. We have a vast numbers of kids who have no fathers or AWOL dads who are either not there physically or emotionally absent to provide their kids with the drink of encouragement these kids are so parched to receive. And so, where do you think these affirmation thirsty kids go to get the refreshing drink of encouragement they need? Yes, they go to gangs or to an older peer who gives them attention and perceived affirmation. Hence, we see gangs forming and teen girls getting pregnant because they fall prey to the substitute encouragement they receive from someone other than a parent.
Maybe you identify with this; and perhaps, as a parent or a leader in some Christian ministry, you’re convicted because you have not provided the time, encouragement, or affirmation so needed by your kids, your grandkids, or your flock in ministry. Well, if that’s the case, it’s never too late for the change which God, through His word can bring about in your life. And I pray that you’ll find the refreshing love and encouragment that Paul found in his relationship with Christ. And then Paul was transformed from a parched Christian hater to a well spring of encouragement and affirmation for those whom God led to him to find Christ and to grow from his ministry.
My friend, every day, I come here to the oasis of affirmation which I receive when I’m here communing with God in my daily morning devotional. And just as I was this morning, I drink from the well of God’s truth; and I’m filled to overflowing with the encouragement and life-giving energy I get from being in the presence of God. The world is a harsh and dry place; and I’ve come to recognize that I can become that deer panting after God’s refreshing affirmation in Psalm 41: 1-2. But when I come to this quiet place each day, I come to the place where I can always be refreshed and uplifted by the infinite filling of God’s ever refreshing, Spirit-given, well of truth and love. I pray you are refreshed in this way every day of your life. You need it, and so do I.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for being there to give me the drink of Your love I receive each morning when I come to this oasis to drink from Your truth. Amen