I have been reading "Age of Opportunity" by Paul David Tripp. It is a great follow-up to "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp and I highly recommend both. I took the early shift this morning so that Mitch could sleep in (he was at the airport and didn't get home until 2:30 a.m.), so it was the perfect opportunity to get some uninterrupted reading done. As I read, I kept thinking, "Oh, I should share this on my blog." And "Oh, I should share this with so-and-so." Then at the end of the day I watched a video on youtube for the first time and it all just came together for me. I love how God uses things throughout the day to bring strength and encouragement!
First off, 2 Peter 1:3-9
 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Paul Tripp paraphrases Peter by saying,
"Don't forget who you are. You are the children of God who have inherited riches beyond your ability to conceive. You have been given everything you need to do what God has called you to do. Don't give in to discouragement. Don't quit. Don't run away from your calling. Don't settle for a little bit of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness, and love. Get everything that is your inheritance as God's children."He goes on to say "These are truths that can lift us out of our weariness and discouragement to parent our teenagers with faith, courage, and hope. They call us to hold onto God's high goals and to fight the hopelessness that the enemy wants to rule our hearts."
Yes, even though this seems to be an all-consuming (and never ending?) stage of life for me, God has equipped me to fulfill this calling! But not only in parenting--in whatever stage of life YOU are in also.
Next, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.The light at the end of the tunnel! The connection here is a focus on the spiritual world vs. a focus on the physical world. Paul Tripp says that teenagers (and people) focused on the physical world live with a "peace-time mentality." "They focus on wants and desires. However, in times of war, people live with another focus...Scripture says that life is war!"
Paul Tripp advises his children (and now I've marked it so I can advise mine as well):
"There is a war out there. It is being fought on the turf of your heart. It is fought for the control of your soul. Each situation you face today is a skirmish in the war. Be careful, be aware of the battle. Don't forget that there is a scheming enemy out there who is out to deceive, divvide, and destroy. Go out knowing that to win you must fight. You must not relax, you must not forget." He finishes by saying, "We cannot say this enough to our teenagers (or ourselves)."
Yes, the war is not over for us, either, and it is important to always be aware of it and actively fighting.
Which brings me to my last passage, long but good, Ephesians 6:10-18
But still after a great start to my day it still felt as if I carried a lot of baggage throughout my day. And indeed I am still carrying some, but God is seeking constantly to remind me of His presence.
 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Keep fighting! Stand firm! He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6-11)