Tag Archives: Bringing Up Children Who Will Love the Lord

Bringing Up Children Who Will Love the Lord – Part 3

This month’s Mom’s Corner continues with a series of articles answering a question about what practical things we can do for our children that would help them grow into adults who love the Lord with all of their hearts and live their lives for Him. I am once again including the original e-mail that I received with the question that precipitated these Mom’s Corners so that you don’t have to look back to find it in the other articles.

“My greatest desire for my child is that he will love the Lord with all of his heart. He is generally well behaved and obedient, but I have recently realized that I need to do a better job of stirring up godly appetites in his heart. I want to teach him to be a lover of God more than a lover of pleasure.

“There are two areas where I see my own need to improve: One is that I don’t think I have scheduled in enough work and responsibility for him. The other is that I am not a diligent person. I am too quick to settle for less effort, both on my part and on his. I haven’t been purposely doing this, but now that I realize it, I am so sorry for it! I want to change, and I am claiming God’s promise that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

“I am going to re-read my Managers of Their Homes book, and rewrite our schedule. Once I have done this, I plan to start joining the weekly accountability threads.

“Meanwhile, I would love any advice you have. I know that teaching our children to love God above all is a heart issue. However, I believe that our hearts are affected by the way we spend our time. I believe that our schedule has a VERY strong impact on our hearts. What do you put on your schedules that has actually brought fruit in your children’s lives, taught them to love the Lord, and to have a servant’s heart?

“We have silent Bible reading, as well as a time for reading the Bible together, and for memory work. He uses a Bible study book as part of his homeschool work. We also have a reading time right before bed. For the most part, we use books with a godly focus, such as the Moody Family Books Rod and Staff stories, etc. What more can I do to give him godly teachings and to help him apply these teachings to his life?” WhiterThanSnow

To briefly recap, we first saw the importance of the model we are setting before our children through our personal example. No matter how much teaching we do, if our lives don’t demonstrate what we teach, our children will not learn what we want them to learn. Then we moved into the realm of using Scripture to build a love for Christ into our children’s lives. They need to be reading the Bible for themselves, reading it with the family, and also seeing its application to every aspect of their daily lives.

I believe that if we want our children to grow up to be lovers of God more than lovers of pleasures, that desire will be part of our ongoing prayers for our children. We will pray continually for our children as Paul prayed for the believers in his churches, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians 1:3). These desires that we have for our children will be more than lofty goals that we hope will someday happen. They will be undergirded by the greatest foundation possible, the foundation of prayer. I love the prayers Paul prayed and can see the practical application of praying these kinds of prayers for my children. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:9-11).

As we strive to provide space in our children’s days for activities that will draw their hearts to the Lord Jesus, we would be wise to consider the negative impact that many activities can have on our children’s hearts and their focus. That is one of the major themes of our book called Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, so I won’t go into too much detail here. However, consider with me the child who grows up watching TV during his free time and playing a multitude of video games. Is it possible that he will so addicted to his entertainment that he will be a lover of his pleasures rather than a lover of God? If so, then we have to see our responsibility in this process because we are usually the ones who set the course of the daily schedule and allow access to these kinds of activities.

Another consideration when thinking about where a child’s heart will be drawn and how that will impact his walk with Jesus as an adult would be what his friends are like in his childhood years. What is the potential that a child’s friends will draw him to an all-consuming love for Jesus Christ versus drawing his heart to worldly fun? My husband, Steve, recently wrote a series of articles for dads that addressed this topic in much more depth. The series is called Worldly Friends.

Since WhiterThanSnow wants her son not only to love Jesus with all of his being but also to have a servant’s heart, certainly she will be moved toward her goal if she starts including her son in her daily work and chores. Think about the time a mother can spend with a child or multiple children working in the kitchen together or folding laundry. During those hours, fellowship and conversation occur all the while the child is serving. Much of it will be trivial discussion of the day’s events, but we can also steer those words into ones of spiritual magnitude. We can talk about our love for the Lord Jesus Christ, how it impacts our daily lives, how we fail and what we do when we fail, and how we want to have servant’s hearts. During these frequent discussions, we can bring Scripture to bear on the occurrences of life in our homes and help our children grow in their obedience to the Word and in their relationship with Jesus Christ. We also have a resource called Managers of Their Chores that goes into much more depth on this topic.

While daily work and chores are beneficial for the development of a servant’s heart, we also see the need for giving our children practical projects. Projects develop skills in our children’s lives, skills they can use to serve others both now and in the future. They also allow our children to strive to accomplish what is beyond the scope of our everyday chores, providing them with new challenges and incentives. Steve’s book Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family is full of suggestions for implementing this kind of a mindset into our life styles. He also wrote a series of Dad’s Corners on this topic, which would be good resources, Practical Projects for Our Children.

The final suggestion I want to offer WhiterThanSnow as she pursues the development in her son of a heart for Jesus rather than a heart for pleasure is that they begin to minister together. Family ministry is a natural outgrowth of families choosing to work together. While there are limits on ministry with children, as we pray to the Lord for those opportunities, He is faithful to provide and direct. A very basic way to serve with children that I can think of would be to minister through hospitality. We can invite other families into our home for an evening of food and conversation. Include the children in the planning, food preparation, serving, and cleanup. For us, we always include family Bible time as part of the activities and invite our guests to join us.

A nursing, assisted-living, or retirement home outreach is another possibility with children because the elderly residents greatly love having children with whom to interact. When taking children into a nursing home, it is important to maintain high sanitary precautions since there is the possibility that germs in the nursing home will be detrimental to a child’s health. When Nathan and Melanie take our granddaughter, Abigail, to the nursing home, they keep her hands back so that the residents can’t reach out for them, utilize hand sanitizer frequently, and wash her clothing when they return home.

What higher vision could we have for our children than that they would love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? Wouldn’t we agree with Paul as he writes to Timothy that we don’t want our children in this category, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4)? There are many choices that we can make as we go through our days with our children that can affect these desired outcomes for those children. We have observed families who are making these decisions in raising their children and the positive results that are manifested in their children’s lives. It is a joy and blessing to our hearts as we observe these young people walking faithfully with the Lord Jesus. May we be mothers who will purposefully strive toward doing what we can do with and for our children so that they can become men and women who are lovers of God more than lovers of pleasures.

Bringing Up Children Who Will Love the Lord – Part 2

Last month we began looking at what we as mothers could do in our daily lives and schedules to help our children love the Lord Jesus with all of their hearts and to grow to be adults who will be lovers of God more than lovers of pleasure. The following note contains all the details of the question.

“My greatest desire for my child is that he will love the Lord with all of his heart. He is generally well behaved and obedient, but I have recently realized that I need to do a better job of stirring up godly appetites in his heart. I want to teach him to be a lover of God more than a lover of pleasure.

“There are two areas where I see my own need to improve: One is that I don’t think I have scheduled in enough work and responsibility for him. The other is that I am not a diligent person. I am too quick to settle for less effort, both on my part and on his. I haven’t been purposely doing this, but now that I realize it, I am so sorry for it! I want to change, and I am claiming God’s promise that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

“I am going to re-read my Managers of Their Homes book, and rewrite our schedule. Once I have done this, I plan to start joining the weekly accountability threads.

“Meanwhile, I would love any advice you have. I know that teaching our children to love God above all is a heart issue. However, I believe that our hearts are affected by the way we spend our time. I believe that our schedule has a VERY strong impact on our hearts. What do you put on your schedules that has actually brought fruit in your children’s lives, taught them to love the Lord, and to have a servant’s heart?

“We have silent Bible reading, as well as a time for reading the Bible together, and for memory work. He uses a Bible study book as part of his homeschool work. We also have a reading time right before bed. For the most part, we use books with a godly focus, such as the Moody Family Series, Rod and Staff stories, etc. What more can I do to give him godly teachings and to help him apply these teachings to his life?”WhiterThanSnow

We started with the basic premise that our actions speak louder than our words. What we desire to be evident in our children’s lives must start in our own hearts through the attitudes and actions of our lives. As we move into how to promote loving Jesus in our children’s lives through what we have them do, WhiterThanSnow has already input the basics into her son’s schedule—personal Bible time, family Bible time, and Scripture memory.

Look again with me at Deuteronomy 6:5-7: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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.”This process of teaching our children the Word of God is to be purposeful, and it should be accomplished diligently. I think if we want to have this outcome, a plan will be helpful.

In our family, as soon as our children can read, we want to teach them to have personal time in the Word every day. Here is a whole Mom’s Corner article that I wrote on the subject of helping children have daily Bible time: Children’s Personal Bible Time. In addition, family Bible time is vitally important as well. During family Bible time, we as parents have the opportunity of teaching not only the factual information contained in Scripture but, even more importantly, how Scripture applies to our daily lives. As a matter of fact, I believe that our family Bible time has been the single most instrumental factor in helping develop a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and a disdain for the pleasures of this world (see Steve’s “Feed CDs for more information on family Bible time). Finally, Scripture memory allows a child to have the Word available in his mind for use at any moment of the day.

Another step we can take as we fulfill Deuteronomy 6:5-7 is to make sure we share Scripture with our children through out the day. I discovered that this takes time, a commitment, and a personal knowledge of applicable Scripture. In looking back, I regret that I didn’t do this more with my children as they were growing up.

Sharing Scripture might be done in the context of disciplining a child who isn’t saying or doing what he should be saying or doing. A tool that helped me in using Scripture when I disciplined was Doorposts’ “If-Then. This inexpensive chart not only helped me be consistent with the discipline of my children, but it also directed me in using Scripture in these situations. It was very important to us to encourage our children that our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is demonstrated by our obedience to His Word. For us that meant using Scripture when we disciplined and talking with the child about obedience to the Lord Jesus. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

When a child is ungrateful, we can encourage him with this verse: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When he is bickering with a sibling, we discuss this idea: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). If he is angry, we go over this admonition: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). I believe you have the idea through these examples.

Please let me give you a word of caution, though, as you use the Word in your children’s lives. Especially when you are using it to correct a child, to point out error in his life, or to give him a biblical direction—be sure your attitude is one of love, gentleness, and patience. If there is anger or frustration in your heart, it will be evident to your child and undermine the good you would like to achieve. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Using the Word in daily life can also be implemented as we personally encounter situations through our home-life activities. When we greet our children in the morning, we can say, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24). If a child gets hurt, we can quote, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Then we want to make sure that we stop and pray out loud for our child so that he is hearing and learning a dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ to care for his needs. As we observe a beautiful flower in the garden, we say, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and offer praise to the Lord: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalms 34:1).

In addition, we will use the Word for giving direction in a child’s life. When he comes to us because someone has treated him unfairly, we can show him the sufferings of Christ. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23). We can help him with his response to an offender: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head” (Romans 12:19-20).

In our quest to bring up children who will be drawn to being a lover of God more than a lover of pleasures, we will start with a foundation of the Word of God in their lives. This is accomplished through time in the Word, Scripture memory, and the application of verses that are pertinent to our children’s lives and the situations that come up throughout the day. “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Psalms 119:24). May we be mothers who love the Word and teach our children to do so as well. “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved” (Psalms 119:47).

Bringing Up Children Who Will Love the Lord – Part 1

Recently on MOTHBoard, the message board that supports the Managers of Their Homes book, we had a wonderful question. I felt it had such valuable universal application that I told the writer I would personally respond to her question in detail in a near-future Mom’s Corner. Here is what she wrote:

“My greatest desire for my child is that he will love the Lord with all of his heart. He is generally well behaved and obedient, but I have recently realized that I need to do a better job of stirring up godly appetites in his heart. I want to teach him to be a lover of God more than a lover of pleasure.

“There are two areas where I see my own need to improve: One is that I don’t think I have scheduled in enough work and responsibility for him. The other is that I am not a diligent person. I am too quick to settle for less effort, both on my part, and on his. I haven’t been purposely doing this, but now that I realize it, I am so sorry for it! I want to change, and I am claiming God’s promise that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

“I am going to re-read my Managers of Their Homes book, and re-write our schedule. Once I have done this, I plan to start joining the weekly accountability threads.

“Meanwhile, I would love any advice you have. I know that teaching our children to love God above all is a heart issue. However, I believe that our hearts are affected by the way we spend our time. I believe that our schedule has a VERY strong impact on our hearts. What do you put on your schedules that has actually brought fruit in your children’s lives, taught them to love the Lord, and to have a servant’s heart?

“We have silent Bible reading, as well as a time for reading the Bible together, and for memory work. He uses a Bible study book as part of his homeschool work. We also have a reading time right before bed. For the most part, we use books with a godly focus, such as the Moody Family books, Rod and Staff stories, etc. What more can I do to give him godly teachings and to help him apply these teachings to his life?” WhiterThanSnow

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Certainly, most of us are familiar with these verses and would desire this outcome for our children just like WhiterThanSnow does for her son. The verses themselves give us some of the answers to the question of how one teaches their children to love the Lord Jesus. We will delve into that aspect as we continue. For now, I just wanted us to have read the verses that are the basis for the goal.

The other part of WhiterThanSnow’s desire for her son comes from 2 Timothy 3:4. Paul is describing the negative attributes of men in the last days with a scary, awful list of the actions and attitudes that will be prevalent at that time. One aspect is that men will be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”

WhiterThanSnow nailed it pretty well when she said she wasn’t a diligent person, and perhaps that has been the reason for her son not being diligent either. There is an awesome reality that our children mirror what they see in our lives. Of course, that can work positively or negatively, but it seems children are usually more quick to catch the negative than the positive.

The appetites and passions that WhiterThanSnow has in her life will most likely become the ones that are in her son’s life. If WhiterThanSnow spends personal time in the Word and in prayer each morning before her son gets up and then at breakfast shares her excitement about what she has learned, he will desire to do the same thing. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalms 63:1). “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). However, if there is no passion in WhiterThanSnow’s heart for her Lord as evidenced by the way she spends her time and what she talks about, she really can’t expect to find that passion in her son’s heart. Sadly that is often the case. We want an outcome for our children that isn’t the reality in our own lives.

When WhiterThanSnow digs into her morning chores with a smile on her face and a song on her lips, she will likely find her son beginning to do the same thing. “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:15). “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Proverbs 12:27). “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Through this example, WhiterThanSnow can model for her son not only diligence in the task at hand but a love for the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the everyday jobs that fill many of our hours.

On the other hand, if WhiterThanSnow grumbles and complains about her workload and heads for the computer to read e-mails and blogs rather than tackling her housework, she reinforces the sin nature in her son that gravitates toward selfishness and laziness. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Our lives are the starting place toward the goal of raising a child who is more a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ than he is a lover of pleasure. May we critically evaluate the example we are placing before our children, repent if our hearts have strayed from their first love or are lazy, and then ask the Lord to help us back on the path on which we need to be. As WhiterThanSnow said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). While it may seem too hard to change or seem overwhelming in the current circumstances, the Lord gives us yet another encouragement: “. . . 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. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Next month we will continue to evaluate key ingredients in our children’s lives that will draw them to that love of their Savior.