What comes to mind when you think of a “life-giving” fountain”? In my mind’s eye, I see a fountain overflowing with cool, clean water. The water coming from this “life-giving” fountain sustains and refreshes me as I drink from it. It is never ending, quenches my thirst and gives me what I need for life…water.
Proverbs 10:11 (NIV) states…” The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” Words that are “a fountain of life”, are words that build up, give confidence and courage. They are words that are needed for a healthy life.
Think about how words have affected you. Perhaps a teacher told you that you learn slower than the other students, your parent screamed at you and used harsh words because you forgot to do something, or a friend started a hurtful rumor about you and said, “It was all in fun.” These are hurtful and harmful words.
Now, think about how you feel when you are told how special you are and that you are doing a great job or when your boss tells you that you are a valuable member of the team. These are uplifting words that give you confidence. They are words from “a life-giving fountain.”
Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) tells us, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” There are times when parents need to refrain from saying anything. In fact, a few well-chosen words, stated at the right time, are much more effective than a truck load of words dumped on your child.
Proverbs also speaks about the lips being a way to transfer wisdom from one life to another. A parent who has wisdom can transfer that wisdom to her child. This transfer happens when a child hears parents repeatedly speak words that encourage, build up and increase confidence. Needless to say, this child will develop the same “life-giving” vocabulary.
How does one know what words are “a life-giving fountain” and how does one get wisdom? Wisdom comes from studying God’s word…the Bible. The Bible teaches us how to encourage our children the correct way, how to speak quality, “life-giving-words” to our children. It teaches us how to “Parent on Purpose”.
"The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment." Proverbs 10:20-21 NIV
What you say, as well as how you say it and can hurt or hinder. Is it no wonder then that James compares the tongue to a fire that destroys?
“…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
(James 3:5-8 NIV)
Your tongue is a powerful tool and its power must not be underestimated. “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).
The words of a witness can free or imprison a man, a rumor can ruin a person’s reputation, and the words of a teacher can destroy a student’s confidence. Likewise, the words you speak to your child can have positive or negative effects on his life.
Unfortunately, the people we love the most, those closest to us, are often the last to get encouragement or hear words from the “life-giving fountain”. All too often, in the heat of the moment, we say things to our children, that cannot be erased. We say things that can destroy, hurt, or even create hateful and humiliating feelings that may never be forgotten.
Are you guilty of using hurtful, harmful words to your child? If so, unfortunately you can’t change yesterday but you can make a new start tomorrow…start encouraging your child…start using nothing but “life-giving words.” Start now to…
Is your home one that encourages or is it filled with sarcasm and put-downs? Remember, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Speak encouraging, “life-giving” words to your child and you will be parenting on purpose…parenting God’s way!
I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at a Career Day for students who were being Homeschooled. I was asked to turn it into a Podcast and/or BLOG…I decided to do both.
I pray that it will be a blessing to someone.
God has an amazing life planned for each of us. This life is not just going to drop into our laps, we have an active role to play in achieving this life. Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of students for their Career Day. I shared with them some of the things they need to do to obtain this amazing life. The speech was titled, “Be All God Wants You To Be.” The following is what I shared with them. Perhaps you and/or your child will hear God speak to you as you read this.
Today I want to do two things: I want to tell you a little about me and where I came from and then, I am going to talk about you, and the AMAZING life God has planned for you and your part in achieving this AMAZING life.
I was born in West Virginia, in a little mining camp called Phico. I am the 7th child of 9 children. We were an extended family…my grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin were nearby.
As you can imagine, with 9 children, my Mom was kept very busy as a homemaker and my Dad as a coal miner. That’s not to say they didn’t have time for all of us, because they did and all of us felt loved. But early on I became attached to my Grandmother. If someone was looking for me, they knew they could find me with my Grandmother. Maybe it was because I was her name-sake and I wore and still wear her name with pride.
I spent a lot of time with my beloved Grandmother. You might even say that my Grandmother instilled in me many of the values I have today. She would tell me that she loved me and that God loves me. She told me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. She said, “Child, remember to look people in the eyes when you talk to them, hold your head up. And remember, no one is any better than you and you are no better than anyone else.”
Fast forward a few years. I was in the 7th grade and late one night as I was sleeping, I could hear my mother saying to my grandmother, “Momma, why don’t you just lie down?” My Grandmother answered, “I can’t lie down.” I jumped up, and I saw my Grandmother pacing up and down the hall. The next thing I knew, she was on the floor and my sister, Mary was doing CPR on my Grandmother. 911 was called. That night, I lost my grandmother. I kneeled beside her on the floor, holding her hand. As I held my dying grandmother’s hand, I promised myself that the next time something like that happened, I would know what to do.
Fast forward again. After I graduated from high school, I applied to The Ohio State University School of Nursing and was accepted. Everything was just as you would imagine the Freshman year would be…late nights studying and writing papers, missed meals and yes, still gaining “The Freshman 10” …the pounds gained in one’s Freshman year.
Everything was going okay until I met “Mr. Chemistry.” Oh, my goodness! Chemistry was a real struggle for me. And to top it off, my chemistry lab was on Saturday at 8:00…that’s 8 in the morning.
One Saturday morning, I was having a difficult time finding the bacteria or viruses under the microscope. And to make matters worse, the graduate assistant was, hum, should I say, a jerk? I asked him a question and he responded just like a jerk would do… in a jerk like fashion. So, I did something that I DO NOT RECOMMEND you do…I put my things away and I walked out of the classroom.
My plan was to go to the professor’s office Monday morning and drop the class. And, as planned, I was there bright and early Monday. I told him EXACTLY what had happened, to include my walking out of the office. You know what he said to me? He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You don’t really want to be a nurse, do you?”
His words cut me like a knife! I had made a promise holding my dying Grandmother’s hand and at the sign of the first struggle, I was ready to quit.
Before I answered, he said, “I tell you what, you come in to see me after ever class and I will cover whatever it is you don’t understand.” Wow! I took him up on his offer. I only needed to go in 2 or maybe 3 times. It was just a small concept that I didn’t understand and with his help, I was off and running. I got a “B” in the class.
---Don’t give up on your dreams—I shudder now to even think that I was going to let a jerk steal my dream. I almost gave him control over deciding what I would do with my life. There will be times in your life when someone will make you feel inadequate or incapable of accomplishing your dreams. Just remember, God will give you what you need to succeed. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
---Struggle is okay—Struggle does not mean you should give up. My Grandmother would tell me that anything worth having is worth fighting for and worth the struggle. And remember Psalm 46:1, God is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. He will send you the help you need.
---Don’t walk out of class—This was not a smart move. The good thing is, because of the Professor, the help that God sent me, I kept going. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” ~ Billie Jean King
God has an AMAZING life planned for you. Let’s look at a few things that can help you to be what He wants you to be.
THINGS THAT WILL HELP YOU TO BE ALL THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE
KNOW WHO YOU ARE- It’s all about becoming who God created you to be.
If I asked you to list who you are you would probably give me your name. But remember, you are also a son/daughter, brother/sister, student, classmate, teammate, and so on.
But who are you when it comes to your character?
Are you loyal?
How do you handle responsibility?
Are you courageous?
KNOW THERE’S A PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE- Have goals
The Bible tells us that a people without a vision will perish. And as Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing every time.”
Types of goals/vision
Benefits of goals
How do your reach your goal?
Visualize your success-see yourself as an engineer
“The mind has a miraculous ability to figure out ways of achieving what it thinks about most.”
“The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in not having any goals to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled. But it is a calamity not to dream.” ~ Dr. Benjamin Mays
3. There is a winner inside of you
“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with seeds of greatness.” ~ Zig Ziglar
“When God lays something on your heart to do, your only responsibility is to just start. God doesn’t give you the strength to overcome, He gives you the strength WHILE you overcome.” ~Fred Smith
Three ingredients to bringing out the winner in you
The destination is up to you.
How you live each day, the choices you make, the habits you create, and how you define success, significance and legacy will determine which direction the balloon goes.
If you are not intentional, the winds of life will take you to places you never wanted to go.
1. Desire– Is the basket of the balloon and it is the wish to possess or obtain something. Determine what you really want, load the basket with your gifts, talents, skills, get excited, think about it all the time, make that vision board and before you know it, you have a burning desire. You know, that feeling you get when you really want something for your birthday? The more you think about it, the more passionate you become about getting it and the more you talk about it to your parents.
2. Hope-- As you talk to your parents, they begin to say things that make you think you will get that special item. Think about how it feels. It is the same feeling when you are working towards your goals in life. This burning desire leads to hope because you now know exactly what you want and you begin to take action.
3. Grit-- The action you take is special…it is grit! This is your toughness, determination, it is your refusal to give up and your ability to get back up when you fall down.
A desire becomes clearly defined -----now it is a burning desire----this burning desire focuses, harnesses and influences the will and your willpower increases----this leads to action and powers your daily habits.
Desires gets transformed into dreams and goals and action is the natural result.
A winner is:
3. Shows Initiative
4. Is decisive is a decision maker
Once upon a time there was an eagle’s nest on the top of a huge mountain. There were 4 eggs in the nest. One day there was an earthquake and one of the eggs fell out and rolled to the bottom of the mountain. It just so happened that there was a chicken farm in the valley. The chickens knew that the egg needed to be cared for. One of the older hens decided that she would be the one to nurture the egg…and she did.
The egg hatched and a beautiful baby eagle was born. The eagle loved the chickens and they loved him…they were family. They played together…if the chickens would cluck, the eagle clucked. The chickens would peck in the grass for seeds and the eagle would do the same. The chickens would fly 3 feet and the eagle would only fly 3 feet. The eagle did everything that the chickens did.
One day when they were out in the yard, the eagle looked up and saw a beautiful bird flying. He was very impressed and knew that he wanted to fly like that. He asked the chickens, “What is that?” The chickens told him that he was looking at a very majestic bird, an eagle. They told him that he was a chicken and would never be able to fly like that. But the eagle felt like he should be doing more. But each time he looked up and saw the majestic bird, he felt like that should be him. And, each time he looked up and saw the eagle soaring, his chicken family would tell him he was just a chicken and to forget flying like an eagle.
The eagle finally accepted what the chickens told him. He lived the life of a chicken and died as a chicken depriving himself of his dream and of his heritage. He was born to win but allowed the chickens to still his dream.
MORAL of this story: Don’t let negative people drag you down. Remember, you become what you believe you are. If you dream of being an eagle, follow your dreams, not the words of chickens. You were made to soar, so SOAR!
**I have heard this story many times. Unfortunately, I do not know who to give credit to for this beautiful story.
We all have different experiences as we raise our children. And we are at different comfort levels. For instance, some may be experiencing the temper tantrum stage…the terrible twos. Some may have children who are acting out and don’t understand what’s happening or why it is happening. Others may have grown children who are constantly in trouble and seem to have lost their way and nothing seems to help. You may feel like you are facing the giant Goliath but you know you are not a David.
David, a young shepherd boy faced one of his greatest challenges in life when he came up against Goliath, a giant warrior who was trained and well-armed. At some point, each of us will have a “David experience” and face trials and tribulations. These trials could be related to health, finances, or relationships. And yes, raising children could present big David and Goliath challenges.
David was looking across the Elah Valley into the eyes of the notorious giant, Goliath. As a shepherd boy, David had faced and overcome many disasters. God had always given him what he needed to succeed. But this challenge was different, this was Goliath, a giant feared by all. But, as we know, David was successful again because he did what he always did, he put his faith in God.
Have you had a day or days when you felt like you were having a David and Goliath experience raising your child? Perhaps, even now you are at the end of your rope and you’re questioning your ability to parent. Do you feel like you have tried every parenting technique in the book and nothing seems to work? If so, now is the time to do as Dr. Charles Stanley suggest, “lay hold of the kind of victorious faith that looks beyond what we can see to what God sees.”
David was successful because of his ability to trust God. If he had just looked at the giant, he would have ran away just as the other Israelites did. So, in facing your “David and Goliath” experience with your child, work on you and your faith…look to God.
To “Parent on Purpose” does not mean that you have to always “work on” your child. It also
means working on you and your faith. David had faith in the sovereignty of God; that’s how he knew he would defeat the giant. You too can gain this type of faith.
Doctor Charles Stanley tells us that “trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees. How can we gain that kind of faith and handle a David and Goliath experience with our child? Dr. Stanley tells us:
1. Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17) And, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John: 1:9)
2. Recall past victories. Just as David remembered the lions he had slain, you must remember your victories. Spiritual victories are won in your mind. Do not cave into feelings of fear and doubt. Focus on the truth of God’s Word. God wants your children to know and love Him. Visualize a healthy relationship with your child. Visualize your child doing the right things. Recognize your child when he does the right thing and encourage him.
3. Reject discouraging words. No one encouraged David and told him that he could defeat Goliath. The soldiers laughed at him. Even King Saul and David’s own brothers laughed and doubting words to David. David did not listen to these disparaging comments. Instead, he turned his eyes toward God and found the encouragement he needed. Your child’s teacher may say things that will discourage you regarding your child and his behavior. Even relatives may put doubt in your mind about your parenting skills and your child’s behavior. You must remember to turn your eyes towards God and there you will find all the encouragement you need to “Parent on Purpose”, to parent God’s way.
4. Recognize the true nature of the battle. David entered the battle shouting to his opponent, “The battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47). The Bible tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The best way to fight this spiritual battle is to let go and let God do the fighting for you. Study His Word and Pray.
5. Respond to the challenge with a positive confession. David verbalized winning by saying to Saul, “The Lord will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” And to Goliath he said, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:37,45). David declared his belief that he could not lose because God was with him. Likewise, you should proclaim God’s promises. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). “Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7). “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
6. Rely on the power of God. David did not use a javelin or spear to defeat Goliath. He needed his faith and a homemade slingshot. And he continued his positive confession. “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear” ( 1 Samuel 17:47). God gave David the victory and David gave God the glory. Know that God wants you to raise children who will glorify Him. Confess it and possess it! “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).
7. Own the victory. Even before he stepped onto the battlefield, David knew he would not lose. He knew that God always keeps His promises and he knew that God’s strength and wisdom would win the battle. Remember, “For the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4). You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you” Deuteronomy 3:33).
Yes, there will be challenges throughout life and some of them may involve our children. It’s true, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” And we can dance in the rain because of God’s promise, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).