!Bible Reading: Galatians 4:1-14 Key Verse: Galatians 4:5- “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Key Words: that we might receive the adoption of sons
A couple was watching a television program about children in other countries who needed families. The lady’s attention was especially drawn to a photograph of one of the children. She told her husband that she had this strong feeling that they should go to Romania, bring the boy back to the U.S. and adopt him. The husband agreed, the plans were made and before long they were on a plane to Romania. When they arrived at the orphanage, they were told that the child had been returned to his parents. Finding out where his parents lived, the couple went immediately to see the boy at his home. The parents told them that the child was dead and that his body was over in the corner of the room. But, as they approached him, they saw him move slightly and heard a faint whimper. There were cigarette burns and bruises all over his body and he was seriously malnourished. “Take him,” the heartless parents told them, “we have too many children anyway.” Upon returning to the U.S. with their new son, the couple was determined that this child would either die being held and loved or recover fully under their care. He had been found to be blind, crippled, unable to talk, and sick almost to the point of death, not to speak of the multitude of emotional scars he bore. From the start, they ministered to the boy’s needs with a long and detailed daily regime of love and exercise, working with him many hours every day. The little boy’s improvement began immediately. They taught him basic functions, like crawling, and then sitting up. The doctors said he would always be blind, and never able to do these basic things because of all the abuse he had experienced. However, within a few years he was not only seeing, but he was able also to walk and play and converse like other children his age. He was made whole. The love, mercy and compassion that flowed from the Have you lives and hearts of this couple in such a magnanimous way been and the healing effect that it had in the life of their adopted child is a very pale example of the love, mercy and adopted? compassion our Heavenly Father has for us. He looked down upon us and saw our need and sent the Provision in His Son, Jesus Christ. We have only to receive it by faith. God’s Word says that we say we are rich, with everything we want. We say we don’t need a thing, and we don’t realize that spiritually we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:17). We are in need of this healing, saving love of God in Jesus Christ. “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a
woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” We don’t have to work for His favor anymore. When we receive Christ into our hearts as our Savior and Lord we are no more under the Law as slaves, but we are adopted by Him as His sons and daughters. What a difference!
What to do: ! Thank God, you have been adopted. ! If you haven’t been adopted, call us at 1-205-854-2741 and we will tell you how you can be.
DIARY OF THE UNBORN
!Bible Reading: Psalm 139 Key Verse: Psalm 139:14- “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Key Words: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
October 5 – Today my life began. My parents do not know it yet, I am as small as a seed of an apple, but it is I already. And I am to be a girl. I shall have blond hair and blue eyes. Just about everything is settled though, even the fact that I shall love flowers. October 19 – Some say that I am not a real person yet, that only my mother exists. But I am a real person, just as a small crumb of bread is yet truly bread. My mother is, and I am. October 23 – My mouth is just beginning to open now. Just think, in a year or so I shall be laughing and later talking. I know what my first word will be: MAMA. October 25 – My heart began to beat today all by itself. From now on it shall gently beat for the rest of my life without ever stopping to rest! And after many years it will tire. It will stop, and then I shall die. November 2 – I am growing a bit every day. My arms and legs are beginning to take shape. But I have to wait a long time yet before those little legs will raise me to my mother’s arms, before these little arms will be able to gather flowers and embrace my father. November 12 – Tiny fingers are beginning to form on my hands. Funny how small they are! I’ll be able to stroke my mother’s hair with them.
November 20 – It wasn’t until today that the doctor told mom that I am living here under her heart. Oh, how happy she must be! Are you happy, mom? November 25 – My mom and dad are probably thinking about a name for me. But they don’t even know that I am a little girl. I want to be called Kathy. I am getting so big already. December 10 – My hair is growing. It is smooth and bright and shiny. I wonder what kind of hair mom has. December 13 – I am just about able to see. It is dark around me. When mom brings me into the world it will be full of sunshine and flowers. But what I want more than anything is to see my mom. How do you look, mom? December 24 – I wonder if mom hears the whispering of my heart. Some children come into the world a little sick. But my heart is strong and healthy. It beats so evenly: tup-tup, tup-tup. You’ll have a healthy little daughter, mom! December 28 – Today my mother killed me.
What to do: ! Pray for the sanctity of life. ! Pray for our country and those in leadership. ! Pray for our courts.
THE SPIRITED CHILD, PART ONE
!Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:1-20 Key Verse: Proverbs 3:3- “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:”
Key Words: My son, forget not my law
Does it appear to you that your child tends to forget everything you say, or maybe they ignore everything you say? Isn’t it amazing that you could have three children and yet they would all be so different in their temperament and personality? One cries when you simply look firm at them, another cries when you discipline them, and the third – well, they never cry and seem to defy your authority. We call them the strong-willed child. When energy was given out, does it seem as though your child got an extra portion? Does the word NO not compute in your child’s mind? Does it appear that
your child will one day be the captain of the debate team? Does your child resent such things as bedtime and meal times? When you look up the word persistent in the dictionary, is there a picture of your child there? Does it appear that your child intentionally attempts to annoy people? Does the thought of going shopping with your child cause you to wake up during the night in a cold sweat? If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, congratulations! You have a spirited, strong-willed child. Over the next few days we will be looking at some helps for the strong-willed child. Maybe a good way to begin is by letting you know what your child is really saying. " “Look at me!” What they are really saying is, “Please give me some attention.” " “You can’t make me!” What it really means is, “Give me some boundaries.” " “I hate you!” What they are really saying is, “I’m frustrated.” " “I’m a big kid!” What it really means is, “Give me some options.” " “Did I do good?” What they are really saying is, “Please find some positives in me.” The strong-willed child is not easy to train up in the way he should go, but when done so successfully, this child will develop into a great servant for God and that is your goal, isn’t it? So I challenge you, don’t quit. Stick by the stuff. One day it will be worth it all.
What to do: ! Spare the rod and spoil the child. ! Always love and be consistent.
THE SPIRITED CHILD, PART TWO
!Bible Reading: Proverbs 13:19-25 Key Verse: Proverbs 13:24- “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Key Words: He that loveth him chasteneth him betimes
Does your child fidget with his or her hands and feet? ...squirm when seated? ...daydream a lot? Are they impatient, not willing to wait their turn in group situations? Does your child have a hard time following through on instructions? Do
they talk excessively? Does your child engage in dangerous activities without considering the consequences? If your child displays over half of the above symptoms and you carried them in for a professional evaluation, they would be diagnosed as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). They would be prescribed some medication, probably Ritalin; and the medication would certainly calm them down. But may I offer another solution? It involves four steps and it will take your time and effort, but it will provide a solution outside of medicine. Step One: Pray with your child daily. Pray for calmness and Christ-likeness in both yourself and your child. Remember this must be done daily and early in the morning before the child leaves for school. Step Two: Structure! Structure is a necessity for success. 1. Have planned playtime. 2. Have meals planned – both the food and the time. 3. Controlled free time. (That is when you allow your child to play freely, but keep them in eyesight.) We have found that most high-spirited children cause very few problems in a highly structured environment where the parent keeps things moving. Step Three: Re-focus. The high-spirited child will become demanding and pitch a fit on occasions. At that point, re-focus their attention by taking them for a walk or out to swing; but try re-focusing. Step Four: Consistent discipline and I do mean consistent! No threats, no “I’ll spank you next time.” Lay the boundaries out and stick to them. All discipline should be done out of love, never out of anger.
Now these steps will take more time and effort than medication will, but in the end your child will love you rather than be addicted to medicine.
What to do: ! Apply the above-mentioned steps.
THE SPIRITED CHILD, PART THREE (For the Parents)
AUGUST 5 !Bible Reading: I Thessalonians 5 Key Verse: I Thessalonians 5:11- “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
Key Words: Edify one another
We are told in I Thessalonians 5:11b, “Edify one another.” I realize this admonition is to the church, but it is also true that, as parents, we do need to edify and encourage our children. A recent survey by James Kouzes and Barry Posner showed that encouragement causes 98% of the people to perform at a higher level. The same is true for your spirited child; so allow me to suggest the following for those of you who parent that high-maintenance child. Keep a positive-negative list of your comments over a 24-hour period. You may be surprised to find out how negative you really are. Ask God to help you see the positive side of your child.
Help your child develop his abilities and interests. Make complimenting your child a habit.
The following are some mistakes to avoid: Calling your child “good” and “bad” – talk about behavior instead. Most parents never get beyond telling the child how bad they are. Now, how do they progress from there without some input on how to do better? Don’t call your child names like Shorty, Klutz, Chubby, etc. Don’t compare siblings. Do not withhold affection. Hugs and kisses are a good thing. Give them responsibility then follow-up to see that the job is done right. Think of your spirited child as a puzzle that is only partially complete. Will you choose to see a beautiful picture developing or will you only focus on missing pieces? The choice is yours. Now, go out there and raise your spirited child for God’s glory.
What to do: ! Apply the above-mentioned principles.
!Bible Reading: Romans 7:7-25 Key Verse: Romans 7:24- “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Key Words: O wretched man that I am
If your child feels inadequate, they are in good company. Paul felt inadequate as well, so did Joshua, and the list could go on and on. If your child has feelings of inadequacy, read on. The child who battles with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt will usually respond in one of five ways. Over the next eight devotions I will be covering these five areas. One of the most common ways in which one deals with their feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt is by surrendering. The individual who chooses this approach has concluded that he is a failure. Having accepted his worthlessness, he attempts to guard his wounded ego from further damage by drawing into a shell of silence and loneliness. This person never initiates a conversation; he never enters contests or campaigns; he is afraid to ask a young lady out on a “date.” This person will never defend his honor when trampled on by others. He has indeed surrendered. Every school classroom is populated with children who have admitted defeat to themselves. They quietly sit in silence. Their peers simply think they are shy. The child who lives a life of surrender is usually misjudged in two ways. Since he is quiet and unresponsive, some assume he is “snobbish.” Imagine that! The child who thinks so little of himself is assumed by his peers to think too much of himself. Secondly, because the surrendered child seldom speaks, it is assumed he is not a “thinker,” that he lives in a world of his own, which is not true. The child with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt has found safety in “being quiet.” When the surrendered child reaches adulthood, he will find his friend in “a bottle” (alcohol). If they do not meet someone of the opposite sex, they become controlling because of the lack of confidence in their ability to “keep them” so they turn to intimidation to keep from losing them. The answer for the “surrenderer” is found in the word of Paul in II Corinthians 12:10, “For when I am weak, then am I strong.” Pray for our kids, especially our surrenderers. What to do: ! Teach your child to surrender to God, not the flesh.
LEARN TO COMPENSATE (NOT COMPROMISE)
AUGUST 7 !Bible Reading: Romans 12:1-8 Key Verse: Romans 12:6- “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”
Key Words: Having then gifts differing
May we do away with all the preliminary stuff and get right down to the nittygritty? Some children have much greater handicaps than others and these young ones are destined for emotional turmoil in life. You can see it coming like a storm brewing in the western sky. They are not as attractive as the other kids. They do not catch on to the academic requirements as do the other kids. They are not as athletically inclined as are the others. Why, early in life they are branded by their peers as a No matter your “reject.” ability or Though this may be hard to accept as a parent, it can be a positive if we, as parents, inability… handle it correctly. Remember a tree planted in ç the rain forest is never forced to extend its roots down; thus, any moderate storm can topple the weak-rooted tree. Adversity can cause a child’s roots to go deep if we learn to compensate. That means we have to counter-balance our child’s weaknesses by capitalizing on their strengths; and it is our job, as parents, to find these strengths. Bobby Fischer, arguably the world’s greatest chess player, was asked by Merv Griffin what caused his desire to play chess. Bobby Fischer’s response was one of “compensation.” He said, “As a child I was not attractive, not very bright academically, and certainly not athletic. My dad taught me to play chess. Why, I could beat anyone at chess. It became the means by which I was ‘accepted’ by my peers.” He goes on to say, “You win a school or state championship at anything and you become an instant hero.” While I certainly do not think our god is heroism, the point is to Jesus will compensate. Thomas Wolfe, the author of such bestaccept you just selling books as You Can’t Go Home Again and as you are! Look Homeward, Angel, was the result of compensation. Thomas could write; but he, by today’s standards, would be the school nerd. However, his parents learned early in his life to compensate for their son’s weak areas by focusing on his strength and ability to write.
As parents, find your child’s strengths, whether it is music, writing, poetry, arts and crafts, mechanical or woodwork. Not all of life is built around beauty, brains, and athletics. Learn to COMPENSATE. Always teach your children that no matter what their abilities and inabilities may be, Jesus will accept them where they are and for what they are!!
What to do: ! Learn to compensate, not compromise. ! Teach your child that everyone has different gifts, and not to be angry because they do not have the same gifts as others their age. God made them special – just the way He wants them.
I’LL BE A CLOWN
!Bible Reading: II Corinthians 12:1-10 Key Verse: II Corinthians 12:9- “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Key Words: for my strength is made perfect in weakness
The feelings of inadequacies which cause one child to surrender and another to fight (covered in devotion for August 13) will cause still even others to become the class clown. I remember reading years ago about comedienne, Phyllis Diller, who made a fortune by poking fun at herself in regard to her physical appearance. By her own account, she was shy, inadequate and withdrawn. She said, “I was constantly aware of my Only in unattractiveness, so I coped by becoming a clown.” Christ are Jonathan Winters admits that his humor was a defense against childhood hurts. His parents were we complete. divorced when he was seven. He said, “Other kids would tease me because I had no dad at home. I spent many lonely nights crying myself to sleep until humor replaced my tears. I became the class clown because it brought me acceptance.” The class clown, in all likelihood, is dealing with one or more of the following feelings of inadequacies.
Looks – They see themselves as unattractive. It may be they have been told this by parents or peers; so they resort to being the class clown to compensate for their looks. Academics – Often the class clown is slow to catch on to new math problems or English terms, science may not “stick,” and as a result of their academic “slowness,” they turn to humor to take the focus off their failing grades. Inabilities – Many children with inabilities such as sight where those big, thick, ugly glasses have to be worn, and their peers make light of their “ugly glasses,” will resort to becoming the class clown to compensate. Woody Allen is a great example in this area. The inability of speech impediments cause some to become the class clown, and still even others who lack in athletic prowess, will resort to humor. (I think you get the idea.) Humor is often a cover-up for their feelings of inadequacies in looks, academics, and inabilities. Every school teacher is well acquainted with the clown or clowns in her class. But what most teachers fail to understand is that, while the clown is a problem to her and a good laugh to the class, they are in deep pain in their heart and are simply battling for acceptance. While the clown may be hard to love and even harder to tolerate at times, they are not as bad as you think. Help them through their turbulent years and they may turn out to be productive adults for Christ.
What to do: ! Teach your child that only in Christ are they complete.
I’LL CONFORM AUGUST 9 !Bible Reading: Romans 8:28 – 39 Key Verse: Romans 8:29- “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Key Words: to be conformed to the image of His Son
One of the great American myths is that we are a nation of rugged individualists. We like to think of ourselves as Abraham Lincolns, Patrick Henrys, and other great American heroes who stand against social ills and sins. In truth, though, we are a nation of social cowards. Why, we spend most of our time on expending our energy and resources attempting to be accepted and liked by others. The average American is motivated by fear – fear of ridicule and rejection.
Since we fear this ridicule and rejection, we find ways to be accepted, conforming to the whims and wishes of others, afraid to stand for what we know to be truth and righteousness. The average person seeks to be liked by everyone, normally at the expense of convictions and beliefs. For adolescents the urge to conform dictates most of their activity for a period of about ten years. Kids fear… so At a 4th of July celebration in New York City, they conform. a popular teen-aged choir was to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” One of the teens (a group leader) said, “I’m going to pretend to faint. Who’ll join me?” So in a live performance before thousands, he went down pretending to faint. By the time the song was over, more than two-thirds of the choir was “pretending” with him. This is conforming at its height. Kids fear being rejected and ridiculed so they conform: “I’ll wear what others wear, and listen to what others listen to, and use language that others use. I’ll conform, going against everything I’ve been taught and every value I believe in.” One young teen-aged girl was asked why she was involved with pre-marital sex. Her response was, “Everyone else is; it’s what you do.” We should conform only Our children cope with their to the image of Christ. feelings of inadequacies by surrendering, fighting (August 13th devotional), being the class clown, denying reality (August 12th devotional), and conforming. I close with the words of the Apostle Paul found in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
What to do: ! Train your child to be conformed to the image of Christ. Pastor’s Note: We do have a four-part series of messages on “Teaching Our Child to Love God, Enjoy God, Serve God, and Follow God.”
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
!Bible Reading: I Samuel 16:1-13 Key Verse: I Samuel 16:7- “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Key Words: Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Very early in life a child begins to learn the importance of physical beauty. The values of our society cannot be kept from their little ears. It is a dull child who fails to notice that the ugly do not win Miss America contests; and usually the ugly have fewer friends than do the beautiful. It is amazingly surprising just how effectively we teach our children to appreciate the beauty cult. Why, it is even taught in our age-old children’s stories. Yes, We must teach our you read this right, our age-old children’s stories focus on beauty. How about... children the The Ugly Duckling? This is a familiar importance of story about an unhappy duck that was rejected by better-looking ducks, symbolizing inner beauty! the plight of every unattractive child. Fortunately for him, however, he had a beautiful swan inside which surfaced during adulthood. Oops, there it is, he was only acceptable after becoming beautiful. Sleeping Beauty? Why wasn’t the story entitled Sleeping Ugly? Because ugly doesn’t sell unless, of course, in the end they become beautiful which makes her acceptable, like Cinderella, which is another story based on physical beauty. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer? You know him, don’t you? He wasn’t accepted because of his ugly shiny nose until his shiny nose could save Santa’s journey of delivering toys to all the good little boys and girls. Dumbo, the Elephant? Of course, we know that he was ridiculed for his floppy ears until he could use them to fly. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? You know, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest (not ugliest) of them all?” Let’s face it, our children are taught daily the importance of physical beauty. It’s everywhere they go. When was the last time you saw an ugly woman on a reality TV series trying to be the one chosen to be the possible future bride of a “prince charming”?
What a distorted value system we propagate! What irreparable damage is done to those who do not meet up to our “beauty” standards! Parents, our children are learning – and often we are the teachers of it – that outward beauty is far more important than inner beauty. Maybe the title of this article should not be “Beauty and the Beast,” but rather “Beauty Is the Beast.”
What to do: ! Teach your children the importance of inner beauty. See Galatians 5:22-23.
THE AGE OF IDENTITY AUGUST 11 !Bible Reading: Psalm 50 Key Verse: Psalm 50:23- “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”
Key Words: and to him that ordereth his conversation (manner of life) aright
Much has been written about the search for identity, but I doubt that many tenyear-olds have much of that material. So it falls on the parent(s) to talk with their child about his goals, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and dreams. The child who has been given a meaningful outlook on life and knows where he is going in life, the purpose of school, how to have friends, who not to have as friends, and where his strengths lie is certainly a fortunate individual. Let me however, for the sake of this article, describe a young person less fortunate. We will just call him Johnny so that our less fortunate youth can at least have a name. When Johnny went through elementary, junior high, and high school, he never excelled in anything. He did not star in Little League. He never learned to make model planes. He had a hard time making friends. He did not win the school safety award or the American Freedom badge. He was never elected as class president. Why, Johnny never really excelled at anything. Then little Johnny suddenly became big John during his fifteenth year on this earth. He developed pimples and blackheads; and wouldn’t you know it, his nose developed a slight hook to the left! The boys considered him boring and the girls simply ignored the fact that he was around. Big John never gave one serious thought to his future beyond high school.
In his sixteenth year, totally lacking in a true identity in who he was and where he was going in life, a group came along. It could be any group, but usually it is the group with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. They “accept” Big John and in one easy, smooth stride of acceptance, they take a meaningless, bland teenager and instill in him what they are, simply because he has found a group in which he can “fit.” It is your job as parents to provide your child with a healthy identity during those early formative years at home by helping him realize his strengths and interests, by teaching him what to believe and how to behave. If you fail to do this, somebody else will!
What to do: ! Order your child’s conversation (manner of life) aright.
DENYING REALITY AUGUST 12 !Bible Reading: Proverbs 28 Key Verse: Proverbs 28:13- “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
Key Words: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.
There is a segment of our youth today that copes with their feelings by denying reality. They do this in two ways. First, they attempt to cover it up. Let me explain. Jeff is a ten-year-old who wears leather gloves to school everyday, even on the warmest of days. You never see Jeff without his gloves. He also wears long sleeves. The teacher insists that Jeff remove his gloves, which he does; but the moment he goes to recess or lunch, the gloves are back on. One more point, Jeff is the only black child in the school. Now do you want to guess why he wears gloves and long-sleeve shirts? You guessed it – to cover up that which makes him different. Jeff is denying reality. Many children attempt to cover up their feelings of inadequacies with a coat or a sweater – or yes, even gloves. If I cannot see it, then it does not exist. The second way young people deny reality is to escape into a dream world. The young person simply pulls down a shade and creates his own world. This child never sees himself as a problem. It is always mom, dad, or the teacher because in their world, poor grades and being unpopular and unaccepted by their peers is not their fault; it is everyone else’s, because in their world “they are right.” In effect, they are denying reality.
So what can be done with the child or youth who denies reality? Pray for them fervently. Help them through the trying years by pointing out who they are in Christ. Have them invest time and energy on others. For example, have them “make things for the elderly.” Most older people have a way of bringing out the best in this type of child. But no matter what, love them and let them know you love them.
What to do: ! Apply the above principles.
!Bible Reading: I Samuel 2:11-26 Key Verse: I Samuel 2:12- “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.”
Key Words: Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial
When I think of a child who’s always looking for a fight, I think of the sons of Eli. There are those unfortunate children who feel as though they must take every situation into their own hands. Let me explain. The feelings which motivate one child to withdraw from his peers will urge a more aggressive young person to respond by fighting. Instead of surrendering to their feelings of inadequacies, the fighter is angered by what he sees; and, as a result, he walks around with a chip on his shoulder, daring anyone to “knock it off.” When his family first came to America, this young man was bothered by the fact that he was a foreigner. His father would beat him and his siblings with sticks and his fist. Once when he disobeyed, his father held a hot iron to his heels. After his high school graduation, he began a desperate search to resolve his feelings of growing anger with no success. He attempted to be a successful horseracing jockey. He applied for a job at the Santa Anita Race Track, but officials thought he lacked the proper reflexes to be a professional jockey. Instead, he was given the job of a “hot walker” (someone who walks the horses around the track after their races so they can “cool down”). This was the most disrespected job in the profession. His anger grew even more.
Shortly thereafter he joined with the Arabs to fight against Israel. He now became a fighter taking his frustration, fear, and failure out on others. Thus his life of getting even with others began and continued for several years until June 5, 1968. In Los Angeles, California, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, the brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, was leaving a political rally at the Ambassador Hotel. Walking through the back kitchen area, Kennedy was shot to death by an angry young Sirhan Sirhan who decided that he was tired of people running over him, and rather than surrendering he said, “I’ll fight.” What a tragedy. Today we have many young ruffians walking around with a chip on their shoulder, fighting angry because of their feelings of inadequacy. These young people need love; but most of all, they need Jesus. Pray for our youth, and remember the young ones you are dealing with may not be as bad as you think. They may simply be crying out for someone to please love them.
What to do: ! Love them.
A CHILD TURNED INTO A FOOL AUGUST 14 !Bible Reading: Proverbs 24:1-10 Key Verse: Proverbs 24:7- “Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.”
Key Words: Wisdom is too high for a fool
Now this is strictly a guess on my part, but I would venture to say that no parent sets out to raise a “fool” – which leads me to ask: “Then why are there so many fools in the world today?” Now before you brand me as cynical and critical, let the Bible define what a fool is. A fool is never wrong (at least in his own eyes) (Proverbs 12:15). I deal with these people everyday. They simply never see themselves as wrong. They see themselves as misunderstood, but they never see themselves as the guilty party. A fool is unteachable (Proverbs 1:7). A fool always has a better idea.
A fool enjoys sin (Proverbs 10:23). I love sports; but to a fool, sin (doing wrong) is a sport, and fun!
A fool lacks self-control (Proverbs 12:16). A fool lacks self-control with his desires and temper. A fool is illogical (Proverbs 26:4, 7). He simply thinks differently.
A fool grieves his parents (Proverbs 17:21). A fool is unchangeable (Proverbs 26:11). He promises he will do good. He
promises he will do better, but he always goes back to his foolishness. This raises the question: “How can I keep my child from being a fool?”
The Word of God only gives one way and it is found in Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child [every child, I might add], but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” I would advise that you drive it far from them before foolishness grows roots and you find yourself living with a fool. May God grant you the courage not to raise a fool.
What to do: ! Drive foolishness away before it has time to grow roots.
SOMEDAY AUGUST 15 !Bible Reading: Philippians 4 Key Verse: Philippians 4:11- “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Key Words: to be content
Someday when the kids are grown, things will be different around the house. The garage will not be filled with bikes, skateboards, dolls, and dollhouses. You will be able to park both cars in the garage. Someday when the kids are grown, the kitchen will be incredibly neat. The sink will be free from left-over dirty dishes that seemingly no one dirties. Someday when the kids are grown, there will actually be food left in the cabinet and refrigerator. Someday when the kids are grown, the instrument called a “telephone” will actually be available and it will be free from lipstick, mustard, and corn chips. Someday when the kids are grown, you will be able to see through the car windows without seeing handprints, sneaker prints, and fog marks. The back seat won’t look like a hurricane has come through town.
Someday when the kids are grown, you will be able to return to normal conversation without such words as “yuk, gross, and oh, man.” Someday when the kids are grown, there will be no more slamming doors and loud voices saying, “No one understands!” Someday when the kids are grown, you will be able to get a hot shower in the morning. Yes, someday when the kids are grown, things are going to be different. One by one they will leave the nest: no more clink of china, no more panicked pace of kids getting ready for school...calm, peace, memories, and loneliness. And we will be asking, “I wonder when the kids are coming back for a visit.” I guess the Apostle Paul had it right after all. Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
What to do: ! Enjoy life one day at a time, and this includes your children.
THE DATING YEARS
!Bible Reading: Proverbs 18 Key Verse: Proverbs 18:22- “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
Key Words: whoso findeth a wife
One of the most trying times in raising our children is the dating years. This time is trying for the teens because they are under peer pressure to date, and trying for the parents because of the trials produced by dating. The purpose of this devotion is to help both parents and teens through the dating process from a Biblical perspective. The Purpose of Dating The purpose of dating is actually given to us in Proverbs 18:22, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing.” The reason you date is to find a mate. You should be looking for the following in the dating process: a. Those who agree with you spiritually (II Cor. 6:14, Amos 3:3). b. Those who are not self-centered. c. Those who are submissive and loving (Eph. 5:22, 25).
The average persons says, “I’ll marry them; they’ll change.” No, they won’t!! So the reason you date is to find a mate. The Push to Date There is so much pressure today to “date.” So at what age should my child begin the dating process? Well, I certainly am not a “know-it-all” in this area, but I once again take you back to Proverbs 18:22, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing.” If the reason we date is to find a mate, then I must ask at what age is marriage permissible? 15? Probably not. 16? I think not. 17? No, not really. I certainly cannot give you an exact age; but always remember, your child is dating to find a mate, whether you believe it or not. So at what age is marriage okay with you as a parent? The Process of Dating Now, I know I am old-fashioned, but I do believe it is a Bible principle that the male should be the aggressor in the process, not the female. The Scripture does say, “Whoso findeth a wife.” The man is to be the aggressive one. Always remember that a male has to feel as though he has conquered his prey. If the female catches the male, that desire to conquer his prey is still there and he, in all likelihood, will fulfill his desire on other women.
Please note, I’m not attempting to be all-knowing in this area, but after 37 years in the ministry, I do have a little wisdom here. What to do: ! Apply Biblical principles to the dating and courting years. As a parent, obey your “red flags.”
CONTROL AUGUST 17 !Bible Reading: Proverbs 16 Key Verse: Proverbs 16:32- “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
Key Words: he that ruleth his spirit
Discipline is not a list of “do’s” and “do not’s.” Discipline is control. The reason we discipline our children is because they refuse to control their own behavior; so we attempt through punishment to give them the right desire to bring their behavior under control. But years of experience have taught me that proper discipline in our
children is not just taught – it is also caught- by children from parents who live a Christ-centered life. We as parents cannot lead beyond our own example. We often hear the motto, “Christ is the Head of this house.” As Christian parents this should also be the motto of our hearts. As parents our “self-control” should be to let Christ rule in our hearts, then we can lead our children to a proper code of conduct for their lives. The following are ways we can influence children for Christ. Be honest. If we are not honest in our daily tasks, how can we expect our children to be honest? You should not expect your children to be honest with you and others if you lie and cover for your children’s absences, or if you attempt to cover for them when they misbehave. Be honest. You cannot expect your children to be honest unless you lead the way (Ephesians 4:25). Be consistent. You cannot expect your children to put God first in their lives if you do not put God first in your life. Lead the way (Matthew 6:33). Be respectful. Our 14-month-old granddaughter was in a room (unbeknownst to me) when I was working. I was admiring my work and simply let out a loud “oohwee!” From the corner of the room I heard this loud cry, “Ooh-Wee, Paw-Paw!” Children repeat what they hear. You can’t expect your children to give proper respect unless you lead the way in it (Hebrews 13:17). Be realistic. Don’t expect perfection from your children. Believe me, they see your mistakes; and when you require them to be what you are not, it leads to misbehavior. The key is not perfection, but a 100% effort on both the parents’ and the child’s part. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Remember, discipline is not just taught, it is also caught!
What to do: ! Apply the principles listed in this devotion.
GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITY AUGUST 18 !Bible Reading: Proverbs 6:1-15 Key Verse: Proverbs 6:6- “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:”
Key Words: Go to the ant, thou sluggard
There is an old saying that goes like this, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Much of our discipline as parents would not even be needed if parents would simply give out some responsibilities.
Our children need to feel that they are contributing something worthwhile. Responsibility helps to develop maturity. It teaches our children that they are expected to take a job and do it well. So don’t be afraid to place a reasonable amount of responsibility on your son or daughter. It not only fills up idle time, it also keeps them “out of trouble.” In families where there is a desirable emotional climate, children have jobs to do such as cleaning, washing dishes, baby care, yard work, etc. These children usually are easier to work with and are much more obedient than those children with little or no responsibility. In giving out a child’s responsibility, avoid undue pressure. Remember our children have our genes and are not perfect. When you weigh a child down with perfection, ill effects show up. Some of these effects are anger, fatigue, nervous habits, and forgetfulness. The strain of “perfection” will also show up in your child’s conduct. It raises behavior problems rather than diminishing them. Remember, your child may not do everything just the way you do it, and they may not do it as well as you would do it; but that is not the object. The object is to teach them responsibility and make them feel a part of the family. May God give you wisdom as you train up your child for God’s glory.
What to do: ! Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities. ! Teach them how to carry out those responsibilities.
WISDOM & COURAGE
!Bible Reading: I Peter 1:1-16 Key Verse: I Peter 1:13- “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
Key Words: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind
Some years ago, our girls sat innocently in the living room watching Saturday morning cartoons, as they did most Saturday mornings until they had used all their TV time up for the day. Yes, we had time limits for watching TV! Then they would slip off to do their chores, and play their childish games – typical five and six yearold girls. This Saturday was to be different, however. This Saturday was the Saturday that would change my thinking on innocent cartoons forever. Saturday afternoon we
headed out for an afternoon of shopping and spending some time together as a family. Then it happened that one of our little ones said, “Look, there’s the pig” pointing to a policeman who had just passed us. Not believing what I had heard, I asked my daughter to repeat what she had just said. Unhesitatingly she said, “I said there is the pig.” I quickly corrected her and then inquired as to why she would call a Oh! policeman a pig. Her answer got my attention, “On Be cartoons this morning the pigs were the policemen so when I saw the officer, I thought about the pigs.” It was careful! then the old saying really stuck, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Much of the rebellion, bad attitudes, wantonness, and sheer obnoxiousness is coming from children’s TV shows. Every parent would do well to sit down and view what their children are watching (without their children being present) and as you do, ask yourself these questions. Is this how I want my child to behave? Is this what I want my child to say? Is this what I want my child to be? Is this what I want my child to desire? Does this glorify God? I Corinthians 10:31. As a child, I remember Grandma Tate (my Sunday School teacher) teaching us the chorus, “O be careful little eyes what you see; O be careful little eyes what you see, For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.” How true these words are! We are warned in God’s Word to protect the mind. " Romans 8:7a, “Because the carnal mind is enmity with God.” " Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” " I Peter 1:13a, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.”
May God grant you the wisdom to see the truth and the courage to act upon it. What to do: ! Ask and answer the five questions listed above – then act accordingly.
HONORING YOUR PARENTS
!Bible Reading: Luke 18:18-30 Key Verse: Luke 18:20- “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.”
Key Words: Honour thy father and thy mother
We are taught in Galatians 6:7 that we reap what we sow. The verse reads as follows, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This is a simple fact of life, whether good or bad: whatever you plant in your garden, that is what you will harvest. The same principle applies to your relationship and attitude toward your parents. Today I would like for you to see with me what God says about honoring and disobeying your parents. Four simple points... Honoring your parents produces a reward. Exodus 20:12, “Honor thy father and thy mother... (now notice the reward) that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth Honor thee.” The key to living a long life is honoring your parents; but if you want to die young then live a life of your dishonoring your parents. Absalom, the son of King parents… David, would certainly be a great example of brevity of life because of the dishonoring of his father. (You can read the story in II Samuel 15.) Dishonoring your parents classifies you as a reprobate. Now before you get upset with me, let me show you (Romans 1:28-30). The word reprobate means worthless, not just to God, but to society. Now I believe every one of you would agree with me that people such as fornicators, murderers, and inventors of evil things are a menace to our society. Well, so are those who are disobedient to their parents. Honoring your parents reveals your righteousness. ...it brings Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” I am 60 years old and I have never glory to known of a person who truly and sincerely obeyed their parents who wasn’t right in other areas of their life. Isaac God. would certainly be a good example of this principle. He certainly obeyed his parents, and as you read about his life from God’s Word, you find he was obedient with all who had authority over him, including God (Genesis 26:1-6). Dishonoring of parents is revealing of the day in which we live. Read II Timothy 3:1-2. When our youth, as a whole, are disobedient to their parents, it
reveals that we are living in the last days; that the Lord is coming soon – which raises the question, are you ready if the Lord should come today? Can you give me a Scriptural reason why you know you are saved and bound for Heaven? My prayer for each of you is that you will live for God, honor your parents, and live a long, happy and prosperous life. May God bless you as you are a blessing to God.
What to do: ! Honoring your parents brings honor to God.
PRAY FOR YOUR CHILD
!Bible Reading: Isaiah 54 Key Verse: Isaiah 54:13- “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Key Words: And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD
Praying for your child is one of the most important factors of discipline, if not the single most important factor. Prayer can alter your child’s behavior. When your child is having problems, fears or uncertainties, take them aside individually and pray with them about their difficulties. This teaches your Pray with child several things. It teaches them to take their problems to the Lord.
It assures them that you really are interested in them. It is an act of caring that teaches them that nothing is
too small or too great to carry to God. It gives them, in a tangible way, an opportunity to see God work.
It joins you closer together as a family. Now, while it is important to pray with your child about their difficulties and behavior problems, you must still spend time in prayer without them, just you and God alone conversing about your child. The single most important factor in discipline is the spiritual emphasis. Help your child through prayer, love, encouragement – and yes, discipline – to love the Lord with all their heart. Then when they are grown, you can say
Prayer can alter your child’s behavior.
with Isaiah in chapter 54 and verse 13, “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
What to do: ! Teach your children through your life. ! Teach your children through the Word. ! Teach your children through your prayers.
CONSIDER YOUR PUNISHMENT
!Bible Reading: Hebrews 12:1-10 Key Verse: Hebrews 12:9- “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”
Key Words: Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us
All of our lives we learn through the penalties of our mistakes. A child who breaks their favorite toy while having a temper tantrum learns that he has punished himself. A child who is denied a privilege because of disobedience will think twice before disobeying again. Children must learn that there are consequences for misbehavior. Bible teaching makes it clear that misbehavior must be dealt with (Leviticus 26:41, Lamentations 3:39). Why, even God chastens those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Dads are exhorted not to spare the rod, but at the same time the Christian home is pictured as a happy place with children the crowning joy of the parents. How can the parents discipline so that their children are really the crowning joy? Let me suggest the following. First of all, parents should guard against a permissive lifestyle in their children; but on the other Misbehavior hand, it is equally as dangerous for parents to be must be dealt overly strict (all law and no grace). Too severe a punishment will lead to your child lying, will produce with. ungodly fear, and cause your child to develop nervous habits. Too strict a discipline can make your child docile, but they may not be happy. Mom, Dad, respect is earned, not legislated. It is cruel to threaten your children. Remember, Dad, we are not to provoke our children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4).
Secondly, as a parent, I would not only concern myself with punishing my child, but I should also consider what punishment does not achieve. a. It does not identify the cause of misbehavior. b. It does not show or teach a better way. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train our children. Punishment within itself is not training. Thirdly, after you have disciplined your child, they need to know you love them. A reassuring hug and a “I love you and you are my crowning joy” would not hurt. Again, may God bless you as you raise your children for God’s glory.
What to do: ! All discipline should be motivated by love for your child, not anger against them. ! Discipline is needed, but so are hugs.
!Bible Reading: Psalm 51 Key Verse: Psalm 51:5- “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Key Words: in sin did my mother conceive me
Children, like all of us, come into the world with a sin nature. The Psalmist David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” In this Scripture we do not find a contrast between “innocent children” and “sinful adults.” “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Children are sinners as well as adults. I have never seen a child who needed instruction on how to sin; it comes quite naturally. I doubt that any of you sat your child down and taught them how to lie. It just comes naturally. In his book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson writes, “I had to confront my five year-old daughter because of bitterness toward her brother. It seems he had clobbered her earlier in the day; although he was disciplined for his action, she was unwilling to forgive. So I quoted Matthew 6:14-15, ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ Looking at me she said, ‘Who is this Matthew guy anyway?’” Now her questioning of the
Scriptures was not due to liberal theologians, but rather it was a result of her unforgiving spirit and her sin nature. Our children are sinners and education alone is not the answer. All you get when you educate a sinner is a “clever sinner.” Knowledge by itself does not make people better, but rather makes them worse. Education is not the answer to our problem, but Jesus is!! (See Romans 3:20 and 5:20.) I think all of you would agree with me that we want our children to receive a quality education; but if all we do is educate the mind and never attempt to regenerate the heart, we have failed.
What to do: ! Do not just educate the mind, work on the heart as well. This can be done through prayer, Bible study, and ministering to the needy and shut-ins.
WHEN TO SPANK AUGUST 24 !Bible Reading: Proverbs 13 Key Verse: Proverbs 13:24- “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Key Words: He that spareth his rod
Today there are an endless number of books that tell us how to raise our children, and I confess to having read some of those books. But I have found that there is still only one book that is really worth the reading and that is the Bible. In the area of raising our children, God’s Word lays out for us a three-fold plan. First of all, we are to train up our children (Proverbs 22:6). The word train means to keep on Instruct track. Some years ago my wife and I bought a train means “to set to put around the Christmas tree during the Christmas season. That train had the hardest time repeat back.” staying on its track; but in order for that train to fulfill its purpose, we had to keep putting it back on its track – and so it is with our children. They are not perfect nor should we expect them to be. As parents it is God’s plan for us that when they get off track, we are there to see that they do not stay off track for long. So first of all, we are to train up our children.
Secondly, we are told to instruct our children in Proverbs 4:1. The word instruct means “to repeat back.” When we give our children a job to do and tell them how to do it, we are to have them repeat that back to us. This does at least three things: 1. It lets us know they understand. 2. It lets our children know that we know they understand. 3. It prevents them from saying later when the job is not done or not done correctly, “I didn’t understand.” So secondly, we are to give instruction.
Thirdly, we are to discipline our children according to Proverbs 13:24. The
question is always raised, “Why and when should a parent spank their child?” The Word of God even has the answer for that. There is a principle of Bible study called the “first mention principle.” The first mention principle is that the first time you find a subject in God’s Word, it carries the same meaning throughout God’s Word. Well, the first time you find the word rod in the Bible is in Exodus 4:2. There the rod is used to make believers out of the Israelites. (You’ll have to read the story in Exodus 4 for yourself.) But the reason we spank is to make believers out of children. If we tell them to do something and they do not do it, then we need to make believers of them concerning the importance of obeying parental authority. So God has a three-fold plan for parents concerning their children: 1. Train them up for God. 2. Instruct them. 3. Discipline them (in love) as needed. May God bless you as you raise your children.
What to do: ! Apply the three principles found in this devotion.
TEACHING OUR CHILDREN KINDNESS AUGUST 25 !Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:24-32 Key Verse: Ephesians 4:32- “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Key Words: And be ye kind one to another
Let me ask you parents a question: in all of our teaching of standards- dressing properly, movies, music, etc. -which I believe is important, do you also teach them kindness? If our children are lacking in the spirit of kindness, they may make a living but they’ll miss out on life.
One thing missing in our family altar time is teaching our children how to treat their peers and their fellow man. After reading the following, I wondered how many of our children could or would win a gold medal in kindness. “Do you know the story of Henry Pearce of Australia, who was competing in the single scull rowing event at the 1928 Olympics? He was leading when a duck and her string of ducklings came into view up ahead. They were on a collision course and Pearce reckoned that his scull would cut the string in two and sink a few ducklings in the process, so he pulled in his oars. When the ducks passed, Pearce again bent his back to the task. There’s a happy ending to the story. Pearce won. Usually, acts of sportsmanship result in defeat. Remember Leo Durocher’s pronouncement, ‘Nice guys finish last’? It happened a couple of years ago in the marathon tandem kayak-racing event at the world championships in Copenhagen. Danish paddlers were leading when their rudder was damaged in a portage. British paddlers, who were in second place, stopped to help the Danes fix it. The Danes went on to defeat the British by one second in an event that lasted nearly three hours. But there’s a happy ending to this story, too. According to The Wall Street Journal, the British kayakers won what many people regard as the highest honor in sports. They became the winner of the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy. The trophy is named for the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and it has been awarded annually for the past 28 years to people in sports who have demonstrated nobility of spirit. It is big news in Europe, but it has not been given much recognition in the United States. In the past, the trophy has gone to a Hungarian tennis player who pleaded with officials to give his opponent more time to recover from a cramp, and to a high school basketball coach who forfeited the Georgia (US) state championship after he found out that one of his players was scholastically ineligible. The first trophy went to an Italian bobsledder name Eugenio Monti for a gesture that exhibited a touch of class. In the two-man bobsled event at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, Monti was the leader after his final run. The only one given a chance to beat him was Tony Nash of Great Britain. As Nash and his teammate got ready for their final run, they discovered that a critical bolt on their sled had snapped at the last moment. Monti was informed of the problem and immediately took the corresponding bolt from his own sled and sent it up to Nash. Nash fixed his sled, came hurtling down the course to set a record and won the gold medal.”
What to do: ! Remember that our children should have high Christian standards, and kindness should be one of them.
AVOIDING THE UNNECESSARY CLASHES OF THE WILL
!Bible Reading: Matthew 23:13-24 Key Verse: Matthew 23:24- “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
Key Words: strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel
Have you ever given much thought to the world in which our children live? They are under authority all day long! Do this! Don’t do that! They are constantly in subjection to Mom and Dad, and on occasion they are not only going to disagree with you, they are going to disobey you; thus, the stage is now set for the clash of the wills. These clashes are not always necessary. Some of them, if not most of them, could easily be avoided by applying a few simple principles. These principles also apply to adults and relationships with other adults. 1. Be pleasable. Children automatically put up their defenses when they know the parents or a parent is seldom pleased with what they do. Let your children know when they please you (Mark 1:11). 2. Be non-argumentative. DO NOT put yourself in a position where you are arguing with your child. If they know you will argue with them, you have set the stage for a clash of the wills (Ecclesiastes 10:12). 3. Major on the majors, minor on the minors. Keep things in perspective. Do not make major issues out of non-essentials (Matthew 23:24). 4. Avoid criticism. When correcting your child, criticism is certainly not necessary. When you criticize your child, you are building resentment in them, not respect...and again, you are setting the stage for a clash of the wills (Ephesians 6:4). 5. Set the right example. If you have a tendency to have a clash of the wills with those over you, then you set the wrong example for your children (Galatians 6:7). Now, if it is necessary to discipline your child, do so; but do avoid the unnecessary clashes of the will. Remember, as parents, our goal is to mold them into the image of God, not “our image.”
What to do: ! Apply the principles listed in this devotion.
WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?
!Bible Reading: I Corinthians 10:23-37 Key Verse: I Corinthians 10:31- “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Key Words: do all to the glory of God
I certainly recommend that parents take an active role in the education of their child/ren, but with the continued advancement in the field of education, it is hard for the average parent to keep up academically with today’s child. For example, what was 9th grade algebra is now called basic math and taught as early as 4th grade. “Times are a-changing!” So what is a parent to do? You may want to consider a good Christian tutor which raises another question, “How do I know if my child needs help academically?” If I may, please, let me suggest you look for the following: 1st Grade: If your child isn’t reading by mid-year, you need to find them help before they develop a pattern of failure. 4th Grade: This is a pivotal year. Keep a close check on reading and math. These are very key subjects at this age. 6th Grade: Responsibilities build up this year as preparation for high school begins. Teaching your children organization and promptness needs to be of top priority. 9th Grade: Things now become more intense. Keep an eye on their spiritual temperature. Academically, science is the order of the day. 11th Grade: ACTs, SATs, PSATs, college preparation. A good academic coach is vital for success in this area. We certainly will pray that God will grant you His wisdom as you parent your child/ren through the academics of life. But always remember, the reason we stress the academics is so your child can be prepared to serve God. Always remember that while A’s are great, the goal is not A’s- the goal is your child doing his/her best for God’s glory.
What to do: ! Keep God first; but remember, if a child is lazy academically, they tend to be lazy spiritually as well.
THE HEART OF A CHILD
!Bible Reading: Proverbs 4 Key Verse: Proverbs 4:23- “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Key Words: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life
In Proverbs 4:23 we are told to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The word heart is used often throughout the Word of God. We can know In Jeremiah 17:9, we are told that the heart is the heart of deceitful. our child by: In John 14:1, we are told to “Let not your heart be troubled.” In Deuteronomy 6:5, we see that we are to love the Lord with all of our heart. In Romans 10:9-10, we see the heart is vital to salvation, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” So what is the heart? Solomon tells us what the heart is when he says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” The heart is that which produces our actions. You can actually know the heart of a person by his actions. Now that is a scary thought that people can know my heart by what I do. Solomon goes on in Proverbs 4:24-27 to give us three ways to identify our heart. First of all, you can know a person’s heart by what he says. Verse 24, “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” If my words are froward (crooked, dishonest) or perverse (misleading), then my heart is dishonest and misleading. If I gossip, lie, murmur, complain, backbite, it is because my heart is filled what he says… with gossip, lies, murmuring, complaints, and backbiting. On the other hand, if my words are pure and clean, that reveals a pure and clean heart. So as you listen to people talk, you can know their heart. Matthew 12:34, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Secondly, you can know a person’s heart by what he looks at or watches. Verse 25, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” A what he looks at… person whose heart is out of control looks at things that he or she should not. There
is no reason to explain here, this is pretty clear. Thirdly, you can know a person’s heart by where he goes. Verses 26-27, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” Do I go to the house of God or to the where he goes… ballfield? Do I go soul-winning or to fulfill my hobby? Do I go to movies which I should not be seeing? Oh well, you get the idea. So based on these three things: my words–what I say, my eyes–what I see, and my feet–where I go; I can tell what the spiritual condition of my heart is.
What to do: ! Remember, you can know your child’s heart by what he says, by what he wants to watch or see, and by where he wants to go.
FOR PARENTS ONLY
!Bible Reading: I Samuel 2:22-36 Key Verse: I Samuel 2:24- “Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.”
Key Words: it is no good report that I hear
Here are my Ten Commandments for Spoiling Your Child. I guarantee complete success if you apply these ten commandments. 1. Always make excuses for your child’s actions and behavior. Cover for them and never make them accountable for their actions. 2. Beginning with birth, always giving the child everything he/she wants. 3. When he picks up a bad habit and fusses, always laugh and think it is cute. 4. Never let your child hear you say “That’s wrong.” You may ruin his character. 5. Let your child make the final decisions with no guidance from you at all. 6. Clean up after your child. They will always love you for that. 7. Always quarrel in front of your children. They gain plenty of experience that way. 8. Spend a lot of time away from home working so your child can learn selfreliance. 9. Always take the child’s side against authority. They will think you’re great for that. 10. Always remember that your child should never have it as hard as you did as a child for we know how it ruined you.
If you want your child to be spoiled, follow this advice. If not, be careful, he/she may turn out too good!
What to do: ! If you don’t want to spoil your children, do not apply the principles listed above.
A WORD FOR PARENTS
!Bible Reading: Jeremiah 31:15-21 Key Verse: Jeremiah 31:15- “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”
Key Words: Rahel weeping for her children
We parents are the product of a world that I have and do condemn. We have been taught to worship beauty and brains. Oh, it’s not just us; it’s our grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We all want super-children who will amaze the world. Let’s face it. We have met the enemy, and it is us! Often the greatest damage to a child’s emotions and sense of security is done unintentionally, not by the child-molester, not by the super-humanist educator, but by the one the child calls his parents. Yes, we are our child’s greatest friend but often, oh so very often and so innocently, we are also his greatest enemy. There are three common mistakes we, as parents, make which cause our children to doubt their self-worth. 1. Parental Insensitivity- As a parent, guard what you say in front of your children. How many times have I had parents come to me regarding their children and give the nitty-gritty details of their child’s problem while the object of the conversation (the child) is standing a yard behind them listening to the candid details of all their faults. Parents, we should not only be sensitive but sensible. 2. Fatigue and Time Pressure- Parents are often pricked to the limits of their endurance by what I call the time pressure. Dad is holding down three jobs, and huffs and puffs to keep up with it all; Mom never has a free minute. She carries the kids to school and then is off to work. She picks the kids up from daycare, prepares the evening meal, washes dishes, does homework, off to ball practice or music lessons, bathes the kids, puts them to bed, and then drops down on the couch, only to remember she has to do it all over
again tomorrow. As the commercial says, “Slow down, America!” What’s your rush, anyway? Do you really call this living? No wonder our children turn to the world to give them “time.” We are so busy that we fail to give them what they long for: US. But often because of pressure, all they get from us are words of anger and sarcasm. So much for their self-worth! 3. Guilt- In case you haven’t noticed, parenthood is a very guilt-producing affair. As previously mentioned above, we are busy and know our children need our time and love, but we must also be providers as well. All of this equals to a feeling of guilt and failure. Sit down, write out and re-evaluate your time and finances, and see if you cannot re-arrange your schedule for at least one hour a day of quality time with your child and along with that, attempt to give him a special day out of each week when the family spends time together. Children are worth it, aren’t they? Now, go out and train your child and have some fun with him while you do so.
What to do: ! Parents, pray for strength and wisdom as you train up your children for God’s glory.
LET YOUR YEA BE YEA AUGUST 31 !Bible Reading: Matthew 5:33-48 Key Verse: Matthew 5:37- “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
Key Words: let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay
In Jesus’ day, like today, people think very little of keeping their word. In fact, in our text the people would even take an oath and swear by heaven, or by earth, or by Jerusalem that they would fulfill their vows or promises; but, of course, they didn’t. I marvel at how parents do the same with their children. They make promises that they never keep. The following is taken from a group of ten year-olds at Brookside Community School in Brookside, New Jersey. Here is what ten year-olds said about grown-ups. 1. Grown-ups make promises, then forget them or never carry them out. 2. Grown-ups make us do what they don’t do, like “clean up your room.” 3. Grown-ups are not good listeners. They have their minds made up even before they let you talk.
4. When a grown-up makes a mistake, they won’t admit it. 5. Grown-ups interrupt children all the time; but if we interrupt them, we are rude. 6. Grown-ups make threats that they don’t carry out, like “if you do this again, I’ll punish you.” 7. And last of all, grown-ups tell you how important you are, then do other things rather than spend time with you.
While children should respect authority, authority should also be respectable. What to do: ! While we, as adults, detest being corrected, I would advise you to read and heed. Children spell love T-I-M-E and L-I-S-T-E-N-I-N-G.
Have you ever considered this before? THE FAMILY ALTAR !Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-12 Key Verse: Deuteronomy 6:7- “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Key Words: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children
Some of the best maintenance is preventive. If you can prevent a problem from occurring, you are much better off physically, financially, and emotionally. The same is true in dealing with your children. One of the most important things a mother or father can do to help prevent behavior problems is to have a nightly or daily family altar (or family devotions). A family altar helps in at least seven areas. Set an It is a means by which the Word of God can be example for exalted in the home. I have never known of a young your children. person who loved and exalted God’s Word to be a discipline problem. Love and exalt the Word of God (Psalm 119:11, 18, 105). It is a means by which the family can pray and communicate together. There is nothing like a father praying openly for his wife and children, a mother for her husband, sons and daughters, and children praying for mom and dad and each other. Note: Jesus never taught the disciples to preach but he did teach them to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). It sets the right example. When parents take time to show their love for God’s Word and a desire to share it with their children, it sets the right example for our children to go by. It is an opportunity to train your children while they are trainable (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Set aside a time to It is an opportunity to teach your children the importance of and obedience to you as have a family parents (Eph.6:1). altar. It is a means by which children can be won to Christ (Mark 10:13-16). What a privilege to see that your children understand the plan of salvation and have the opportunity to play a vital part in their salvation.
It is a means by which your children can mature spiritually (II Peter 3:18). If your children attend every church service your local church has, they still get less than eight hours of Bible per week. A family altar offers more time for family growth spiritually. Very few children have behavior problems when mom and dad sit down with them everyday for just a few minutes to learn from Godâ€™s Word.
What to do: ! Set aside a time for your family to have a family altar.
I deeply appreciate the help of Laurie Blankenship Trisha Bookout Kathy Endicott Cathy Fortenberry Sandy Lancaster Cathy Lang Pam Lee Marie Moore Mary Parsons John and Tascha Piatt Reba Pontbriand And my lovely wife, Linda
Without God using these people to help this devotional would not have been possible.
Dr. Mike Rouse