Back to School...Pray

By Carla McDougal

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:5,7

Excitement’s in the air! Anticipation rises. It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school.

Who can forget watching your child go to "big school" for the first time? I remember those bittersweet moments as each of my four children kissed me good-bye. I always knew that day would arrive, but nothing prepared me for the moment.

Elementary school seemed to fly by and almost overnight they were in junior high and then high school. And in a blink of an eye, they were off to college. Where did the years go?

I learned early on that when my children were away from home, praying for them comforted me. By turning them over to God I experienced a calm peace. Year after year my prayers intensified, yet remained the same…

  • Elementary School – Will he make a friend? Will he eat all his lunch, or just the cookies and chips? God help him to love You with all his heart.
  • Junior/Senior High –Will he make the right friends? Is he paying attention to the teacher? God, help him love You with all his soul.
  • College - Will he make some forever friends? Is he making the right life decisions? God, help him to love You with all his strength.
Just as our children face challenges, we as moms face our own set of challenges…

  • To pray over our children no matter where they are in life.
  • To be on our knees for those God entrusted to us.
  • To ultimately pray for each child to love Jesus with all his heart, soul, and mind!
  • Finally, to let them know we are praying for them each day! What a blessing it is to pray for our children.
I ask you to take advantage of this new season too. Do you need a fresh start? Where are you in your relationship with God? In my Bible study, Reflecting Him – Living for Jesus and Loving It, I encourage you to find Jesus in your everyday activities. He is there for us 24 hours a day, and He wants to hear our everyday prayers!

CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom.

 Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, is a 10-week study that encourages you to open your eyes to God’s daily life lessons. The more you ask God to be in your life, the more you will recognize His hand on everything you do. For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries, and to see about booking Carla for an event or interview, go to

Pan Theology

Today's guest blogger is Troy Jackson who offers us a lighthearted look at a subject that has caused friendships to die and churches to split up. Let's join in the fun. 

Pan Theology
by Troy Jackson © 2011

Recently a group of friends and I entered into a discussion on whether or not Adam had a naval. It was a completely civil discussion, and we reached no conclusions, but it reminded me of some not-so-civil theological discussions I had while at Bible College. If you have never witnessed two or more passionate, Christian scholars embroiled in a debate on an obscure theological point, it is difficult to understand. Individuals who are brothers in their faith going at each other with a vehemence that makes debates on Capitol Hill look like one of my four-year old granddaughter’s tea parties by comparison.

My dad was a down-home country preacher with very limited theological education. A fact I used to think made him inferior to my professors. Well, if I’m being honest, at the time I thought it made him inferior to me, which is probably what inspired me to attempt to engage him in just such a discussion. I was even prepared to take either side as befitted the occasion.

I posed some innocent sounding question; these debates usually start with something innocent sounding, and waited for him to take a side. He thought for a bit and said, “Son, I try to avoid pan-theological issues.”

Now, being a highly educated person I was not about to let something like having no idea what “pan-theology” was stop a good debate, so I fired back. “What do you mean by ‘pan-theology.’?”

“I figure anything that doesn’t directly relate to our salvation or how we are supposed to live our lives as Christ’s followers will all pan out in the end. So, anything that falls outside of that is pan-theology.”

My dad could sure ruin a good discussion. So, because I was deprived in my youth I’d like to propose a pan-theological discussion right here in this blog. What do you think? Did Adam have a belly-button? While we’re at it did Eve? Don’t just throw out an answer, back it up with some reasoning. If you want to get into it did good old Adam have one less rib than everyone else, or did the pattern change with Eve. If everyone gets into this we can go for other topics. How many angels on the head of a pin type of debate—although my friend’s young daughter says it’s definitely five. She didn’t offer any supporting Scripture, but she said it with such conviction.

Now and Yet to Come

When I listen to television news, I quickly conclude 2011 has been a brutal year. Not just here in the United States, but everywhere. Bad news attracts attention, but is depressing and discouraging. When I’m in the car, I listen to a Christian station called K-LOVE. Their news covers the positive things individuals and churches are doing to help people impacted by devastating events such as the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. This news brings balance to what I’m hearing on TV about the world I live in.

When I watch my IRA lose everything it gained over the last two years, or hear about suicide bombers killing dozens of people, or read about the devastating weather, I must remind myself that my faith and hope are in God, not in the stock market or men or the government. But if I only focus on the bad news, I lose sight of God’s promises for today and those yet to come.  

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NLT). First Peter 1:3-6, the New Living Translation, tells me I can live with great expectation because a priceless inheritance awaits me in heaven. Yes, I have troubles to endure, but there is “a wonderful joy ahead of me.” God’s promises strengthen and encourage me when life is going wrong.

How about you? Do you have a particular Bible verse that encourages you when you are struggling? Please share it with us.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2011

Outward Appearance

A recent tidbit I heard on the radio stated that if given a choice of giving up their make-up or their boyfriend, an overwhelming majority of women would give up their boyfriend! An additional item stated that some 67 percent of men would dump their girlfriend if she gained too much weight.

Do you find that shocking? The apostle Paul probably wouldn’t. Here’s what he had to say in 2 Timothy 3:2, “For people will love only themselves and their money.”

Are the majority of Americans more concerned with how they look rather than the condition of their character? The above survey would lead one to believe they are. What do you think? How would you respond to a woman or man who chooses image over relationship? A few curse words might be your first response, but cussing aside, let's discuss this! Leave your comments below. 

Debra L. Butterfield © 2011