We recently had the very joyful and blessed privilege of celebrating the 13th birthday of our dear daughter! We are incredibly thankful to the Lord to have Amara as a part of our family and it is an honor to provide this post in honor of her birthday.
Happy birthday, our precious daughter! You are now 13 years old (!!) and we look back at these years that the Lord has given thus far to our family with hearts that are filled with gratitude. Turning 13 is certainly a milestone and we see that you are growing out of girlhood and growing into womanhood. We praise the Lord for your professed salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and we know that this salvation will serve as a solid foundation for your future. As you continue to grow, remember the following words of wisdom from God's Word in order to guide you along the right path:
- Inner beauty is of greater worth than outward beauty and adornments - As we are told in 1 Peter 3:4, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." (KJV) By no means do we believe that this verse (or any verse in Scripture) is teaching that you should be as plain and as unattractive as you can make yourself--for that can be at least as self-focused as the one that is always trying to impress others with their clothes, hair, jewelry, and make-up. The key is that the inner beauty should be primary and the outward beauty should be a consistent reflection of that inner beauty. In 1 Timothy 2, we read that this inner beauty should manifest itself in the adornment of good works.
- Words are powerful and must be used with wisdom - Amara, your words will have a tremendous influence on others. It is of the utmost importance that you take great care with your words and always strive to use them in a way that will be building others up and showing them grace rather than tearing them down and filled with harshness. Your words can either be a soothing balm or a deadly poison. Ephesians 4:29 provides a key to determining what words you should be speaking. It states: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (KJV)
- Live by the principle of honor - Showing honor to those that are in authority over you will bring God's favor. There are so many examples in Scripture where those that show honor are blessed as a result (for example, the Recabites as recounted in Jeremiah 35). In Ephesians 6:2-3, the Bible says: "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Showing honor is a condition for it being well with you and notice that the connection between honor and blessing is one of the precious promises of God. Even more important than showing honor to us as your parents is the honor that you show to the Lord. You will show that honor through how you speak to God, how you speak about God, how you read, study, meditate, and memorize His Word, and how you order your life in obedience to what the Bible teaches.
- Be diligent and disciplined - God has ordered this world such that we need to work--and we should be working hard six days out of every week and reserving the Christian Sabbath for a day of rest. We must be diligent and disciplined with all of our time, as the Bible teaches us in Ephesians 5:15-16 "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (KJV) God owns all of us and it is for His purposes that He created us. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been bought with a price. God, therefore, is the owner of all of your time and you need to make sure that you are using your time in the manner in which he has prescribed in His Word.
- Do all to the glory of the Lord - Everything that you do should be done to bring glory to the name of Jesus--from those things that people would consider big to those things that people would consider little. The Bible states that "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31, KJV) I am always struck when I think about this verse at how amazingly comprehensive this verse is as it includes even the daily, normal, ordinary, and common tasks of eating and drinking. Since it is true that our eating and drinking should be done for the glory of God, then indeed every aspect of our lives should be ordered to glorify the Almighty.
Amara, may these principles be a help to you in your growth in the coming year and may they serve you well even beyond your next birthday and be a helpful guide for the rest of your life! You have an exciting future ahead of you as you focus on inner beauty, take great care with your words, live by the principle of honor, consistently live in a disciplined and diligent manner, and do everything for the glory of the Lord!
Happy Birthday, our dear daughter! We love you very much!
Dad and Mom