Category Archives: Child Training

Gratefulness Part 2

Raising grateful children is far more than merely having children who superficially say, “Thank you.” Last week Seriously began this thought on gratitude that ultimately has eternal consequences for our children.

We learn from Deuteronomy 28:45-47 the deeper, underlying fault (the second “because”) that led to Israel’s disobedience. What is that fault? They weren’t grateful. “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They weren’t grateful because they weren’t noticing and valuing God’s blessing of “the abundance of all things.” 

Dads, our positive or negative example, is impressed upon the hearts of the children. Do you recognize God’s blessings, and then do you sincerely praise Him out loud, in the presence of your family, in good times and bad? Grateful hearts create an ongoing awareness of God’s grace, mercy, love, presence, power, provision, and even chastening. 

As we thank Him and speak it out, it helps our children learn to appreciate His blessings versus assuming and expecting them.  

Will your children have an entitlement mentality when they are grown, expecting God to continue to dole out blessings, or will they be grateful for all that God has done and continues to do for them? What about you? Where are you on the gratitude scale? Do you declare that gratefulness to the Lord not only in private prayer but continually aloud in the presence of your children?

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Steve

Painful Reminders

Ever made bad choices and had someone remind you of them? It doesn’t feel great, but it helps not to make the same one mistake again. Those reminders can be like a giant billboard that flashes, “Don’t do it again. Don’t do it again.” 

God put just such a practice in place for our good according to Deuteronomy 28:46. “And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.” “They” refers to the curses mentioned in the previous verses (16-44) brought about by disobedience. 

The Israelites’ disobedience brought curses, which would be ongoing reminders that they should have obeyed the Lord. Read the list of consequences for disobedience. They are very sobering and may even be some that you are dealing with. Also notice verse 47, “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They were not grateful for God’s blessings. Those words are highly convicting to me. I see how my pride has led me to take many of God’s blessings for granted. I have not been grateful to my Lord and am repenting. 

Brothers, are we grateful to our Lord? Gratefulness comes from the heart. Gratefulness to God fuels our obedience. Thankfulness, on the other hand, is an outward expression, which may or may not come from the heart. Being deeply grateful to the Lord carries eternal blessings, the least of which is no regrets. More to be discussed later. 

Steve

Motivated vs unmotivated

Teri and I were being checked out at a local supermarket, and I had begun chatting with the bagger while he worked. “Where are you headed with your life?” I asked.

“I’m going to be a graphic designer,” he responded.

“Great,” I continued. “How will you prepare?”

“I already have a degree in graphic design.”

“Super. Do you want to give me your phone number in the event I find something you might be interested in?”

“Actually, I’m not looking for a job.”

Here was a man who appeared satisfied with bagging groceries as “fill-in” work when he could be working full-time and developing professional skills. I was amazed at the “appearance” of his lack of motivation. I am looking forward to speaking with him next time I see him and what I might learn from him.

Have your children learned how rewarding it is to be diligent workers, accomplish things, and strive for greater skills? Oh, how good that feels. Yet, to the unmotivated person, the idea of work (and learning) might be a good reason for a nap until that idea is gone.

Much of life is about perspective and options. Establish the frame of mind in your home that work and developing skills is good. Please don’t make readily available things that are a waste of precious time.

If you have an unmotivated child, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what factors led to this outcome.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Steve

Both Are Gone Now

I recently discovered a printed email dated over ten years ago. It was from a dear Brother who was a dynamic follower of the Lord. He deeply loved his Lord and his family. 

I’m also reminded of another dad. He broke his wife’s heart when he told her that he had decided he didn’t want to be married to her any longer and would be leaving the family. There was someone else. 

Both of those dads are gone. The first is with the Lord waiting for his family. The second was killed in an auto accident on his way to work. 

A few thoughts: 

  • Always be discipling your children to know, love and serve the Lord so that their dependence is on Him when you are gone. 
  • Be zealous for time with your family. Life is fragile and uncertain. 
  • Walk uprightly. God does and will chasten. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…” Heb 12:6,7)
  • Nourish and cherish your wife. Invest in her. Satan’s lie is “the grass is greener on the other side.” God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16
  • Live so that you can step out of this life into eternity unexpectedly. Be debt-free so the ones you love aren’t left “holding the bag” of your financial mismanagement.  

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25 & 28).

Steve

Communist Became a Believer

We listened to a national missionary from an eastern block country share his testimony Sunday night. He told how the communists and socialists took over their country one step at a time. They imposed gun control and then confiscated all weapons. They took over the health care system and every educational institution.  God was removed in every way from their society, and then it rippled into the homes.  The result—a broken people with crushed families having no hope.  

Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? Brothers, what value do you place on your freedom to educate and disciple your children? In actuality, how dedicated are you to raising your children to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Where is the evidence that you are all in for the Lord Jesus and your children? A possible good initial indicator of how committed you are to discipling your children would be to add up how many days in the last months you missed leading daily family Bible time?  (0 would be great.) Next consider your life’s example, your appetites, and how you spend your time are being impressed on your children’s hearts. 

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).

Are You The Problem?

Homeschooling is alive, well, and quite popular. Homeschoolers I have spoken with over the years want a better outcome for their children than other educational options offer. Not only is a better education desired (and generally achieved), but children, who upon completing their education, still have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus. 

Moms are usually the ones doing the majority of the planning, teaching, and grading, day-in-and-day-out. However, are you aware that you can be the one who effectively shipwrecks her investment with little effort on your part?  

Dads with poor and unsupportive attitudes can torpedo their children’s future. “How?” you ask. It is because Dad’s heart is generally impressed on the children’s hearts. What Dad loves, the children love, and what he dislikes, the children dislike. If Dad doesn’t care how well the children do in school, they aren’t going to apply themselves and will make it difficult for Mom. If Dad doesn’t have a heart for the Lord Jesus and isn’t serious about obeying Him, the children will be drawn to the world just like their father (you). 

I plead with you. Your income job is wood, hay, and stubble. Leading and discipling your family in the Lord Jesus is “gold, silver, and precious stones.” So many dads have it backwards. Brother, be dedicated to the work God has called you to do. 

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood have, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

Your Answer

“Joey, I confess that your Grandpa was saddened about abortions, but that was a little like saying, ‘be warm and filled’ because I was doing nothing. We knew abortion was wrong, but like others, I used the excuse of ‘too busy,’ and besides I didn’t know what to do about it. Then one morning I was convicted while reading the passage “the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38). So I purposed that every time I prayed, I would pray that God would protect the unborn and unloved.”

“Then over time God moved in our hearts. We heard about Life Chain Sunday (1st Sunday in October, it’s the 6th this year) that promotes awareness of abortion across the nation. For one hour we joined others who stood along a designated road in our town and held pro-life signs and prayed. It was a start. We subscribed to pro-life newsletters so we were informed as to how to pray. We donated to pregnancy centers that helped pregnant women who had needs and chose to give their babies life. Over time we became even more involved.” 

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:14-17). 

Reserved

When you see a parking space right next to a business entrance labeled “Reserved for CEO” what do you think? 1) Nothing. 2) He’s top dog and deserves it. 3) Hopefully, that is yours one day. It is common practice when you reach the top of a company there are perks that go with the job.

Sadly, it is often mirrored in homes, and sadder yet, in professing Christian homes. Dad is the authority and he gets/requires the perks that go with it. He goes to bed when he wants to. He has his special treats. He watches/does what he wants to and others do the dishes. Ahhhhhh, what a life. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Are we living out Jesus to our family? Not putting on an act, but we have died to self, gotten out of the way so our family can see the Lord working through us? 

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Power

I reached for my belt, hung in its normal place and lifted–it didn’t budge. I resisted my natural tendency to tighten my grip on the belt, bear-down, and give it a strong pull to free it. My mind overruled my initial response. The buckle was caught on the wireframe shelf, and more force would not have been beneficial. What was necessary was a gentle repositioning of the buckle, and it immediately came free. 

Men (okay, and definitely teenage boys) have this natural tendency that if something isn’t responding quite right, get a bigger hammer, and apply more force. Eventually, we learn, sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The times it doesn’t work so well is in human relationships. 

Applying more force to tender, developing hearts may achieve outward compliance for a time, but is a fast-track for creating mere outward compliance which covers up a rebellious heart. Dads: slow, gentle, loving guidance is critical for developing hearts in our children that desire to obey our God and us as parents (in the nurture and admonition of the Lord).

“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die” (Genesis 33:13).

What’s Your Bent?

Most have a tendency one way or another. These days I see men choosing self. The cry is “I’m free in Christ!” The example to their families (and others watching) is you can have Jesus in your pocket and live a selfish and fruitless life (translate fun). 

However, isn’t the better choice to serve one another in love—first our families and then those around us. Think about how that delights the Lord Jesus and our wives, and think of the example that is laid before our children.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). 

Steve