Encouragement for Today
“God’s Purrfect Love”
Janet Burke, Assistant Editor, P31 Woman Magazine
James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (NASB)
Last year Julia, my then 4-year old daughter, insisted she wanted a cat for her birthday. Being a family with three children and one slightly neurotic dog, the thought of another mouth to feed and creature to clean up after was less than appealing.
We bought her other less demanding gifts, however, Julia did not forget about her desire for a cat. She reminded me frequently that she was still wishing… in fact, praying for a cat. My reply was something like, “I’m sorry but Mommy and Daddy are not ready for another pet, maybe when you’re older.”
A few months after her birthday, a cat showed up in our cul-de-sac. This fluffy feline was everything you could ask for in a pet — house broken, cute, affectionate and kid-loving. Julia brought her home to show us… and you can guess the rest. Now, when Julia cries, Calicat jumps up in her lap to see what’s wrong. When Julia needs a playmate, Calicat patiently plays the role of “baby” or gets carried around in her castle (a dollhouse).
Calicat is a wonderful addition to our family, but more importantly, she is a constant reminder that God cares about even the smallest details in our lives. He delights in giving us gifts, just as earthly parents, we delight in giving our children gifts. Julia is confident, and so am I, that God answered her prayer. We frequently re-tell the story of how Julia prayed for a cat and God sent one. Julia says simply, “I prayed for a cat and one day Calicat showed up at our house.”
Are you sharing your prayers with your children? Do you ask them to share their prayer requests with you? More importantly, are you pointing out to your children the way that God answers prayers? We’ve explained to Julia that God loves her, and all of His children, and wants to give His children good gifts.
Sharing prayer requests can also provide a learning opportunity when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way you or your children would like. We explain to our children (and have to remind ourselves) that sometimes God says “no” or “not now”. God wants what is best for us, and that’s not always what we want.
Julia recently revealed she’s been praying for a horse….
My Prayer for Today:
Lord help me to remember all the ways You have cared for us and the many blessings You have given us. You have blessed us exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we deserve. Thank You for caring about even the smallest details of our lives, for wanting only the best for us and delighting in giving us good and perfect gifts. In the Precious Name of Jesus, Amen.
Set aside a regular time to review God’s blessings in your family and how He has faithfully answered prayers. Consider writing down prayer requests in a family journal to pray over, reflect back on, and as a reminder to thank God for all He has done.
· Consider the concept of a gift and, if you have children in your life, ask them what a gift is.
· Remind them that God gives us gifts out of His love for us. A gift is not something we earn.
· You may want to talk about how there are gifts that are not tangible, like spiritual gifts and talents, the gift of giving someone our time, our prayers etc.
· Reflect on and/or discuss the ultimate gift from God, which is salvation, and how God made a way for us to receive this gift even though we could never earn it.
Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)
Ephesians 2: 8, “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” (NLT)
Romans 5:16, “And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins.” (NLT)
Out of the Mouths of Babes, by Wendy Pope
Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child, by Renee Swope
Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids, by Sharon Jaynes
P31 Woman Magazine
Originally published Monday, 20 February 2006.