Farsighted Vision in Parenting

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This verse may be familiar to you.  Each part of it could be looked into at length. What does it mean to train?  What is the way he should go?  How old is old?  Today I want us to look at the phrase; “even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  As we look into this verse I want to encourage you as a parent to have long-range plans for your child, to have far sighted vision rather than nearsighted vision. Keep in mind who you want your child to look like when he is 30 years old.  What character do you want him to have then.

This farsighted view will affect how you parent day to day while your child is still young.  If you want him to look more like Christ than the world when he is older, your emphasis in parenting will take on a different mind set.  As parents and families we are in the world, but are not to be of the world.  As we train our child, we are to constantly  be guided by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  He knows our child much better than we do.

There are so many activities to be involved in; sports, music, school, church, clubs. The list is long.  It is good for your child to be involved in a variety of activities, though not so hurried that there is no balance in his life or the life of your family.  Nearsighted vision or short term goals tend to be ones for the next few years. Some may be that your child is a good student, a winning athlete, or an accomplished musician.  These goals sound good but in and of themselves they can become idols in yours and your child’s hearts.

God tells us that whatsoever we do, do it for the glory of God.  All the activities are to be vehicles for life lessons to travel on.  Training comes in the midst of life’s daily activities.  For example, sports is not just about winning, but about discipline, teamwork, losing with grace, not quitting, patience in sitting on the bench, and encouraging others.  God’s Word can be applied over and over to bring out the Godly good, those eternal qualities. And when this is not happening and the activity is more important that the lessons in it, then it will be time to lay it down.

So look further down the road.  What are you building now in your child that will form in him the character of Christ when he is 30 or 40 years old. Is your focus on straight A’s or study skills? Is it on winning at all cost or being an team player?  Very few become star athletes or the top student, but what pleases our Lord is a woman or man with a heart to love and serve Him.  What is your focus???? Keep it sharply in view daily…..

Overwhelmed

   Overwhelmed means to be heaped upon as flood waters submerge, to drown beneath a huge mass. Have you ever felt that these words described you; that you have been heaped upon or that you are drowning under a huge weight?  There are probably times that we each feel this way.  There are definitely chapters in our lives that are  overwhelming.  The question is; how do we move through them?  As great as the trouble or trial may be we often add to the problem by the ways that we respond to it. Some of these ways may be: we take on what is not ours to take on, or we think we are the one in control and all depends on us. Maybe we spend too much time and energy worrying about tomorrow or we may have tunnel vision and can not begin to see the big picture. No wonder we become worn out and at our “wit’s end”.   So what can be done?  What or WHO can rescue us from this over whelming place we may find ourselves in?

     God instructs us in His Word that we can have peace, a peace that is not understood because it is His peace, even in overwhelming times.  How can this be true  for us?  May I make a few suggestions for you to consider? First of all, “just do the next thing”. As  we look at all the details and possibilities, we can be paralyzed by it.  Our thoughts circle continuously round our minds but do not move us to action.  Psalms 119:105 gives us wonderful advice in this area.  “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Ask God what is the next thing for you to do, not what will you do next week or next year. I share this because in the days these words were written there were not any flashlights or spotlights that shone far down the road ahead.  As one would walk along a path they would carry a lamp.  This lamp would only give light for the next step.  As each step was taken there would be light for the next one. Definitely a trusting way to walk. So do the next thing He shows you and you will have light for the next step.

      Next remember that God has a plan even though you can not see it. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that He does. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that man plans His ways but God directs his steps.  It is as we depend on His direction of our steps one at a time that it becomes His plan.  So do the next thing, one step at a time, as He directs.  A large component of being overwhelmed is worry.  Worry runs away from trust and jumps on a horse that runs in all directions at once.  Or it overtakes a heart and paralyzes us. What good is that?  Matthew 6:34 tells us, “Therefore do not worry for tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about it self.”  It is important to see what the “therefore ” is there for.  Verse 33 tells us to” Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” Worry drains us and confuses us and we know where that comes from!

       Elisabeth Elliot said it well.  “Today  is mine.  Tomorrow is none of my business.  If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”  So let us all apply these truths to our overwhelmed lives and hopefully we will move to a new kind of overwhelmed.  Big Daddy Weave sings a song titled “Overwhelmed”.  May we join him in his words, “to be overwhelmed by the works of God’s hands, His great love.” To sing with him…” All that You are is so overwhelming… I’m overwhelmed by YOU, I run into Your arms.” (check it out on utube.com)

.

Teach Your Children Well

    In Deuteronomy 6:5-11, you will find what you are to teach your children, how you are to teach your children and when you are to teach them.  The instruction is clear and worthy of note ….

    Verse 5 of this passage tells us what you are to teach. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your (mind and ) heart and with your entire being, and all your might.” If your children come to love God like this, all the important things of life will follow and fall into place.  Everything you teach should line up and agree with this command in some way. For example, as you teach them not to love themselves nor their possessions more than God or as you teach them about gratitude, respect, authority, and kindness, you teach what it means to love God most.

    How do you teach this critical truth? As verse 6 says, “And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be (first) in your own minds and hearts (then…)”  If  you do not love God like this or are not growing in this kind of love for God, you cannot teach this to your children.  You must nourish your own soul with His Word, trusting Him, to continually teach you, so you may teach them.  Then verse 7 tells you to teach in such a way that the words penetrate the minds and hearts of your children. It also instructs you to teach with much diligence in order that it makes a lasting impression upon your children.  It will take work, time, and thought but it is a work that will be blessed.  To sharpen means to use creative methods that are age appropriate.  Study your child and discover the best methods of communicating Truth to him. This can be both fun and applicable.

   The second part of verse 7 tells us the when… ” and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.” I love this verse and the “as you go through life” instruction. This also means that you must be present with your children, not just in the same room, but that you are intentional about seeking teaching opportunities. It can take place in structured situations, but more often then not, these times will takes place in unstructured ways, as you live life. Put them to bed with love, prayer and Truth and awaken them in the same way.

    Verses 8-9 tells us that you should remind them and yourself often of the need of God and His Word.  As these verses say, that may mean writing it on notes that go into school lunch boxes or on their bathroom mirrors of framed throughout your home.  This is reinforcement of what you are already are teaching.

    The blessings of teaching these verses are shared in verses 10-11. God will bring us into His land (or Kingdom) and give us safe places (in our hearts) to live.  You will have spiritual blessings of good things. (wisdom, faith, fruit).  You will gain these blessings, not because you earned them but only because of God’s great grace and goodness. So as you go, teach your children what is close to the heart of God.  Trust God and He will show you how to obey this very important scripture.  Make it of utmost priority, for this will be time well spent in your busy lives that will count for eternity.  What can be more important?   So teach your children well!

Passing It On…

“One generation shall tell of Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty works.”  Psalm 145:4

” They shall tell of the Lord to the next generation.  They shall come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born that He has done it.”  Psalm 22:30

” Then, we your people, the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks forever, we will show forth and publish Your praise from generation to generation.”  Psalm 79:13

” The older women are to teach the younger women…” Titus 2:4

     I think we have made this command much more difficult than it really is! God says we must pass Him and His works and His Word on to those who come after us.  Of course, we first must know Him, for we can not pass on what we do not know.  We must  know His wonderful work of salvation and God’s on- going sanctification in our lives.  We must also truly believe in the power and life of His Word.  But we are to obey this command!

     To whom do we pass it on?  Well, first of all, if you are a parent, you must pass it on to your own children.  First and foremost, God wants us to teach of Him to those with whom He has entrusted us.  Friends of your children that hang out at your home will catch this teaching also. As grandparents, you too  have a role, though not primary, to teach God to your grandchildren.  Then we must pass on God’s Truth to those who have not heard; whose own families did not teach God and His ways and word.  We must be spiritual moms to those.  If you do not have children, ask God for those spiritual children, who need you to share your life with them.

     So now you may say, I am not qualified to do this.  I will leave it to the church, the teachers and pastors, the Christian school to pass it on.  All of these are secondary to what God has called us to do first…especially with our own children. What qualifies us?

Do you have the Holy Spirit living with you?

Are you a mother?

Are you an older woman, not as much in age, but you are just a little further along               in your Christian walk than another?

Have you learned lessons from life experiences, both the successes and the failures?

Do you have a heart to pass on God’s Word and His mighty works in your own life?              Why not?

    None of us have it all together.  We all need Jesus each and every day.  We each have our own path, but we can encourage others along the way and point them to the Author and Finisher of their faith.  (Hebrews 12:2)

    What are the rewards of passing it on?

Nothing blesses me more than seeing my children teach their children in the ways                  and words of God.

Nothing refreshes me more than to see God’s Word received by a new believer with               great enthusiasm.

Nothing is more important than  sharing in that which is eternal; the Word and                     Love of God.

Nothing is more satisfying than knowing I have obeyed my Father.

      It only takes one generation to drop the ball and not pass it on.  I do not want to be the one who fumbles and fails to pass on the Truth of God.

      It is a great privilege to come alongside others and teach them how to live life, nurturing them to godliness.

      And more than even all of this; I think it makes my Father God smile…

Teach Your Children to Give this Season


What do you want for Christmas?  What is Santa bringing you?  What am I getting?  These are all questions young children are asked by others or they are asking themselves.  Christmas is a wonderful time and it is good to give and receive gifts.  (Look at the wonderful Gift God gave us.)
How do we keep our focus on Christ and not only the celebration of His birth, but of His entire Story.  How do we lead our children to find more joy in giving than in receiving?  As parents, I encourage you to seek out ways that are age appropriate to keep Christ in Christmas, to celebrate Him as His redeemed ones, and to teach your children in the process.
Here are a few suggestions, some of which we did with our children.  God will give you other ideas.
1.  Celebrate Advent with devotions and a simple wreath with candles.  We or the kids read Scriptures prophesying the coming of Christ and culminating in the birth of Christ. There are advent books that you may use so see what fits your family. (Blowing out the candles was a fun part.)
2.  Encourage giving within your family.  At the first of December we would all draw names.  Each person would plan to make or buy a gift for that person, but he also had to perform secret acts of kindness for that person throughout December.  The reveal was on Christmas Day of who had been so kind to you during the month.
3.  Find a child or a family to adopt for Christmas and let your child pick out gifts to give them.  They could possibly receive fewer gifts themselves so these without could receive something for Christmas.
4.  Bake cookies and take to an elderly neighbor or to one in the nursing home.
5.  Wrap presents containing words that express the gifts Jesus gives us; like SALVATION, PEACE,  MERCY,  LOVE,  GRACE, and STRENGTH.  As you open these gifts discuss these words and open the last gift on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  This gift would be JESUS, the greatest gift ever.
These are just a few suggestions.  There can be many others.  Just remember to encourage your children to focus on the Christ of Christmas and giving rather than just receiving.  God will show you and God will bless……

 

In Everything

image
         During the Thanksgiving season, our thoughts are drawn to count our blessings; to be reminded of God’s great goodness to us daily; to ponder His great extravagant gift to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.  We recount His grace, His provision, and His sufficiency to us and are truly grateful.
But, in the back corner of our minds; in that small closet in the recesses of our hearts, there may lie that one thing for which we are not thankful.  We have not been able to thank Him for that hard place, that difficult situation or person in our lives. Maybe it is that pain that plagues us or that thorn that besets us.  We each know what that thing is.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to thank God in all things, in all circumstances; in everything; no matter what the circumstances, and no matter what happens. How in the world do we really do this?  It is easy to thank Him for the blessings, the things we see as “good”.  The scripture goes on to say, “for this is the will of God for you (who are) in Christ Jesus.”  To be in His will, to be obedient to our Lord, is to thank Him for that thing.
So, as we examine ourselves, as we recognize that thing we have not thanked Him for, let’s bring it before Him.  May we bring it out from the place where it is hiding and into God’s Light and make a will choice to thank Him for it.  May we simply obey and say those words.  Our emotions probably will not join us in this decision, not at first anyway.  However, this will be an act that will open up the gates of His abundant grace for that thing.  This choice will make way for  His strength so we may persevere  and release the joy in the midst of it.
This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks in everything…..