The Resourcefulness Of David

The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid before, and wait there by the stone pile.I will come out and shoot three arrows to the side of the stone pile as though I were shooting at a target. Then I will send a boy to bring the arrows back. If you hear me tell him, ‘They’re on this side,’ then you will know, as surely as the Lord lives, that all is well, and there is no trouble. But if I tell him, ‘Go farther—the arrows are still ahead of you,’ then it will mean that you must leave immediately, for the Lord is sending you away.” – 1 Samuel 20: 19-22. 

Life is full of unexpected problems, obstacles, and setbacks. Things don’t always go as planned. To successfully overcome many of these difficulties, you must have resourcefulness. Resourcefulness is the ability to deal promptly and effectively with difficulties. In an emergency, it’s keeping calm, quickly assessing the situation, and taking the right action. It often involves devising a creative, ingenious, or unique solution. David is a good example of resourcefulness.

One example is his battle with Goliath. King Saul and the Israelites were fearful, not knowing how to successfully respond to Goliath’s challenge. David quickly came to the conclusion that he could not face Goliath burdened down by Saul’s heavy armor. He was not used to wearing the armor, so the traditional method of fighting in armor was not an option. A new approach was needed. David decided to use his own tried and tested weapon — a sling. He boldly and courageously confronted the giant and slew him with one well-placed stone that sunk deep into his forehead.

Another example of David’s resourcefulness is fleeing from King Saul, who viewed him as a rival to the throne and tried to kill him on numerous occasions.  It required imagination, daring, and resourcefulness for David to remain hidden from an army combing the countryside in search of him. Each time Saul was about to capture him, David used his wits to escape the life-threatening crisis.

Then there was David and his friend Jonathan devising a clever and ingenious method to communicate a message when direct communication was dangerous. (see I Samuel 20:1-42. 

Another example of resourcefulness is Paul. In Philippians 4:12, he says this, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” He’s saying he is resourceful. And people who are resourceful, who don’t have to have everything just right are the people who get ahead in life. They’re the people who change the world.  

But no matter how intelligent, alert, or resourceful a person may be, he or she still needs God’s help to be truly successful. The real-life heroes of the Bible were not only resourceful, but they also relied on God to help them surmount the sometimes humanly insurmountable obstacles they faced.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. How would you rate your resourcefulness? What about your children?  
  2. How can we model resourcefulness for our children? 

There Are No Perfect Kids

The goal of parenting isn’t to create perfect kids. It’s to point our kids to the perfect God.” – Lindsey Bell

We all want perfect kids. We attend seminars, read books, and talk to others about parenting when our first child is on the way. But when the “little one” arrives, we realize that babies can get their days and nights switched, Little Joey or Sarah didn’t sleep a minute. Nor did staring at the clock and wondering if this whole parenting thing was such a good idea. And that is only the beginning. All kids are different and will provide different challenges for their parents. But one thing is certain: there is no parent that has it all figured out on how to guarantee perfect progeny.

The father in this famous Prodigal Son parable (Luke 15:11–32) would have wanted perfect children too. Instead, the parable offers much to teach us about being a parent of imperfect children. We meet two sons. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance before the father died. Dad had to know this would not be in his son’s best interest, yet he gave him the money. It ends in disaster. 

When we understand that a parable is an imaginary story to illustrate a spiritual point, we can quickly perceive that Jesus is using this account to teach us of God the Father’s love for each of us. And while we are all sinners, as was the prodigal son, it is heartwarming, comforting, and, yes, almost incomprehensible that God the Father is willing to accept us back, given the mistakes we have made.

There may be times in our lives we’re like the prodigal and other times our attitude is more like the old brother’s, but the truth is we are all called to be like the father. This isn’t just a story of a boy who wanted to experience the wealth of this world or a brother with a bitter heart. It’s the parable of the compassionate father. He loved his sons and showed them grace and forgiveness in different ways. 

Our heavenly Father’s love for us is beyond measure. When we are far from home, He eagerly awaits and yearns for our return. And while we are still far from His doorstep, He rushes to meet us and walk with us the rest of the way. In the same way, He has such compassion and understanding for those who have trouble welcoming the prodigals. And He will walk us into the party too. We are in His family and our Father loves all His children.

Furthermore, He is “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). He “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What do you usually think of the story as being “about”?
  2. Do you think of it as having a happy ending? Why or why not?

How Spiritually Resilient Are You And Your Children?

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” – Proverbs 24:16.

One of the reasons for the popularity of comic book superheroes on the movie screen is that they constantly demonstrate resiliency in the face of challenges. A spouse leaves us. A client sues. Unemployment strikes us. Our dreams fail to come true. How can we live a resilient life—a life that can weather these storms, and even grow stronger after them? 

The believer in Jesus Christ is upheld by God’s power and so is naturally resilient. “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). The key to resiliency is faith in the Lord: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”  (Psalm 37:23–24).

Paul showed great resilience after his life-altering encounter with Jesus (Acts 9). When he was transformed from religious Pharisee to radical Christian, many were not happy with his message. He was beaten, stoned, criticized, jailed, and nearly killed many times (2 Corinthians 11:24–27). One incident especially shows Paul’s exceptional resilience. In Lystra, he was stoned, dragged out of town, and left for dead, but, when his enemies left, Paul simply got up and went back into the city (Acts 14:19–20). His missionary endeavors continued unabated. Godly resilience enables us to be undeterred from our mission, regardless of the opposition. But what about our children?

The definition for resiliency is the same for a child as it is for each one of us: resiliency is having a faith foundation that is so strong it can withstand anything the world throws at it.  Spiritual resilience isn’t automatic. There are building blocks to create a strong foundation upon which spiritual resiliency can be built. Your kids will need your help if they are to become spiritually resilient. First, they need Bible knowledge and understanding. In order for your kids to bounce back easily when encountering trials, they need to know what God wants them to know about life and how He wants them to live it. They need to understand God’s commands and principles. They need to know God’s character and His promises. No matter how great your church is, your kids will not learn everything they need to know at church. You have to also teach them at home. Don’t forget to help them develop independent Bible reading habits. They will need to read scripture for the rest of their lives to stay spiritually resilient.

They need to pray. To be spiritually resilient, your kids need to be in constant communication with God. They need a thorough understanding of prayer. Your children need to understand that prayer isn’t merely submitting an order to God for the things they want, but sharing their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with God. While praying as a family is wonderful, your kids need to also have personal prayer lives – even when you aren’t there to remind them to pray.

Raising children to be spiritually resilient takes time and effort. Without spiritual resiliency, however, your children will find it difficult to be who God created them to be for their entire lives. It is worth taking the extra time and effort to help them develop it.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What does being spiritually resilient mean in everyday life? 
  2. What can we do this week to become more spiritually resilient? What can we do to help our kids be more spiritually resilient?

Loving Your Kids The Way Jesus Loves You

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” –   Proverbs 22:6.

Loving our children like the One who is love seems like a daunting task. How do we move beyond ourselves – our selfishness and our busyness – and dig deep into our hearts to access a love that is Christlike for our children. How do we love your kids the way Christ loves us?

God, in such pursuit of us, sent His son to die in our place. And Jesus, in such pursuit of us, agreed to live faithfully, teach the truth as the Word made flesh, and die so we could find freedom. Jesus came to live among us so He could know humanity and so that we could know Him. What a powerful picture of pursuit. I know in order to love my kids like Jesus, I must be in constant pursuit of their hearts. I must learn and understand them so I can give them what they truly need. A heart of pursuit seeks to learn about the unique children God has given us and pursues an understanding of what they need and how they need it.

We need to tap into the ultimate and greatest source of love, Jesus Christ. Our foundation must be built on the Rock. When our foundation rests upon God then we can derive a much deeper sense of purpose and meaning in our parenting. It goes well beyond our personal willpower and strength. And it can and will last for eternity leaving a legacy for generations.  

As John 1:16 tells us, it starts with grace: “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (ESV). The idea of grace, of receiving something we do not deserve, is embodied in the person of Jesus. Jesus is God’s grace personified. A heart of grace gently corrects our children with love as the driving force in order to help them understand the gift that is freely available to them, no matter their state.

Then it is a matter of priority. What gets your time and attention is within your control; you make a choice on where and what you spend your time on. Choose to develop love-powered parenting. Establish goals that you aspire to in your parenting. Love drives it all. Love will be the result of your efforts. Love is the priority from the underlying motivation to the ultimate goal in your parenting.

Everything we need to love our kids like Jesus comes from the truth of who He is and what He did for us. It’s that simple. Now it may not seem simple in the daily grind of parenting but if we can take a step back it will all come into focus. 

There are days we will fail to love our children as Jesus loves us. Fortunately, His mercies are new every morning. The best part of the reality of His love is that we can get up tomorrow and try again.  

Discussion Questions: 

  1. How can you love your kids like Jesus this week? In which of these areas do you need the most grace?