Thursday, October 23, 2008

PARENTING YOUR CHILDREN TO KNOW GOD, DEUTERONOMY 6:4ff, 6:6-9

GOD'S INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING THE YOUTH AND CHILDREN

I. WE ARE RAISING CHILDREN IN CHANGING TIMES
A. In their book "What Every Family Needs", Brecheen and Faulkner wrote, "Back in the days when most people lived on the farm, father and son worked together all day in the field. Mother and daughter worked together all day around the house. A boy learned about farming, but more importantly, he learned about life. While they worked together, he learned about values, faith, and commitment from his dad. A girl learned about a woman's role in society from her mother. She learned not only how to work, but also drank in the spirit of her mother. She learned about people, about relating, and about spiritual concerns." (p.125,126)
1. Back in the day, children received lots of time, lots of instruction, lots of help, lots of love.
2. The spirit of the Psalm was the credo of many parents: "We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done." Psalm 78:4

B. How times have changed from when the home was the greatest influence on children.
1. Peers quickly have become the children's counselors and confidants. "But because of technology especially, 'Millenials' (another term for Generation Y) bypass the decisions of authority and reach consensus within their own social circles." (Millenials)
2. Materialism in the form of electronic games, television, and Internet are consuming the bulk of free time.
3. From the Wiscasset Newspaper, three AFS students from Japan, Germany, and Sweden reflected on what they observe as a student in America: "American teenagers, seen from the perspective of foreign students, are bored. They have so much free time on their hands they have to look for ways to fill up their day. So, they go shopping, they go to the movies, they watch TV -- activities their foreign counterparts rarely engage in. Cecilia Eken, Alena Heinsohn, and Kahoe Tsuchiya, from Sweden, Germany, and Japan, respectively, are shocked at how little is expected from American high school students -- in terms of how many subjects they take, how difficult the work is, and how little studying they do at home…. Cecilia says American students are "not challenged." At home in Sweden she takes 17 subjects a week, going to school from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. She's also a swim coach, teaches a dance class, and has a part time job as a waitress." (AFS students) They are describing many of our own children.
4. Government schools have evolved over a hundred years to become the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent entity to indoctrinate as many children as possible to share their secular thinking and values - which is at times at variance with the Christian life. The government tells us when to wash our hands, what to eat, and what is right and wrong.
1. BOSTON, MA (LifeSiteNews) - A federal appeals court panel has upheld a Massachusetts policy of indoctrinating elementary school students with pro-homosexual attitudes without their parents consent. The three judge panel ruled that a lower court decision was correct when it denied parents the right to remove their children from such classes, while admitting that the purpose of the literature to which their children were being exposed was to influence children to "tolerate" gay marriage. "It is a fair inference that the reading of King and King was precisely intended to influence the listening children toward tolerance of gay marriage," the court admits. "That was the point of why that book was chosen and used." (Court Ruling)
5. With the breakdown of the family, the result of turning from God, now even the traditional family is under attack.
1. In Ruth Reed's book "The Modern Family" you find troubling characterizations of the family as being "inadequate", "inefficient", "instability as an institution" attributable to the rising divorce rates.

C. Statistics tell a sad story about what is happening with children in America.
1. According to Flavil Yeakley, Churches of Christ are losing about 45% of their kids when they leave for college.
2. From the Christian Chronicle, "Campus minister Layne Heitz doesn't think Churches of Christ are losing their young people. 'I just think we never had them,' he said. Heitz said that many of the students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla., aren't 'converted' until they come to college, even if they grew up in churches of Christ. Away from their parents for the first time, some students catch the evangelistic spirit and start inviting their friends to church. Others don't. When they leave Churches of Christ, many students 'are not going to denominations,' Heitz said. 'They are just not going at all.' (Christian Chronicle)
3. Statistics tell how things are, but not how they have to be. Will we as parents fulfill our duty to bring our children up to know the Lord? The Bible can be the greatest influence on our children.
D. So what are God's instructions to us concerning the youth and children? How do we recapture the advantage and save our children before another generation is lost?
1. Before it is too late, Christian parents have to take control of childhood fears, disruptive behavior, lying, stealing, shyness, poor self-image, sibling rivalry, and temper tantrums.
2. Before it is too late, parents must take control and lead their children to become mature Believers in Christ.

II. FIRST, WE MUST LOVE OUR CHILDREN.
A. God loves children.
1. "The kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these" (Mt. 19:14) "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels (possessive) in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 18:10)
2. We have a clear indication of how special children are to Him.
3. The home with love is modeled after God's love for us: "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are." (1 John 3:1)
4. If we practiced the AGAPE love of God, everything else would take care of itself.

B. We need to be instructed in how to love.
1. "Older women teach younger women to love their husbands and to love their children, Titus 2:4
2. "aged men to be temperate, grave, sober, sound in the faith, in the love, in the endurance;" Titus 2:2

C. To Love requires we have a proper attitude concerning children.
1. What you think of children effects how you raise them.
2. If you thought your child was a space alien, planted in you to conceive a new mutant race that would destroy your life, you might even try to destroy it.
3. If you thought your child came morally depraved from conception, you might be less sympathetic or compassionate even when they don't know better.
4. If you thought a child was only a few genes ahead of a his ape cousin, you might be happy to have only a creature of instinct.
5. If you thought a child's destiny was set and you had little no say about it, you might spend less time reading to them and instructing them in right way.

D. We think children are a sweet gift from the Lord.
1. We think children are a sweet gift from the Lord.
2. Ps. 127:4, 3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
3. Psalm 127 begins with "Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain."
4. In a godly home there is love for the children He has given to us.
5. What is our attitude toward children?

E. One parent said, "Our ultimate goal as parents should be to develop our children’s consciences to be tender and receptive to His leading, and work to fill their minds with God’s Word."
1. With the right attitude, The goal is not for them to have as many things as possible, nor to have comfort and ease. The goal was to make them into disciples of Christ.

III. SECOND, PARENTS SET THE EXAMPLE IN THE HOME
A. "We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching." — Roy L. Smith

B. What would we do if we did not have spiritual examples?
1. Without Jesus' example, we would remain in a state of uncertainty at how to live.
2. Jesus said, "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." John 13:15
3. We have His example on forgiveness, service, accepting people who are different, trusting in the Father, speaking the truth, and on it goes.
4. Paul could say to every Christian man, "in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,..." Titus 2:7
5. If big people need examples, how many times multiplied does the child?

C. Parents who follow Christ Jesus are the first example for their children.
1. The Mentoring movement is all about modeling life. We live in a broken society with broken homes. The few minutes the children get with the overtaxed mother is not sufficient.
2. You can't teach a child to use a pencil or a fork without showing them. You can't teach a child to make a bed, pick up after himself, care for the family pet, read a book, or a million other things by telling them; life must be exemplified.
3. The Love of God Needs to Be Lived and Experienced through the Parents. It doesn't take long for children to tell where our priorities are. There is a need to talk to the children about God: not just at church and in Bible classes, but at home throughout the week.

IV. THIRD, PROVIDE FOR THE CHILDREN'S NEEDS
A. Material, Emotional, Spiritual. God expects us to provide for our children.
1. When a son asks for a loaf of bread, a father does not give him a stone or a snake. True, but when his soul is craving to know God, do we give him what his soul craves?
2. 2Co 12:14 "Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children."
3. 1Ti 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

B. We must provide the physical needs and the spiritual needs of our children.
1. Children are provided prenatal care, infant clinic visits and vaccinations, nurseries with all of the decorations, educational opportunities from Little Einstein books, stimulating television programming, eye-catching toys, nursery school and kindergarten education, car seats and booster seats, with physical activities like dance, gymnastics, and T-ball; birthday parties and
trees stuffed with gifts. Isn't it interesting of what we won't do for the children; but what they need most we don't do?
2. We provide too much. Our affluence has led us to give so much so that the child is free from want, anticipation, and future reward.
1. One Dr. David B. Stein, Assistant Professor of Psychology (Stein), says he can cure most ADHD and ODD with his REST program. (REST program). Only food and shelter was provided. Everything else was purchased with money earned with correction in the five behaviors: room cleanliness, personal hygiene, completing chores, stopping abusiveness, avoiding safety violations. Providing beyond needs without responsibility and accountability is the cause of behavior problems.

C. The most important thing we can provide to our children, beyond what sustains their physical needs, is a spiritual foundation to build on.

V. FOURTH, PARENTS NEED TO PERFECT CHILDREN UNTO ADULTHOOD - Parents Determine the Path Their Children Will Go
A. When we think of the perfecting of the child, Jesus Christ should always be our example.
1. Luke 2:52 says, "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (cf, Lk. 2:40)
2. Kenneth Howard wrote, "Children are adults in process. They begin as helpless babies and grow up into self sufficient, mature adults...hopefully. Someone has to assume the responsibility of seeing that these helpless human beings get the necessary care in order that they will develop properly. That responsibility is to no other person but the two parents who brought the child into the world." (Howard)
3. Mary and Joseph were parents to their son, Jesus.

B. Parents must expect for their children to mature and follow the Lord.
1. When you watch little children around parents, you have to wonder what the parents are expecting of them.
2. What we see are boys and girls who are emotionally stunted, who are spiritual dwarves.
3. Dr. William Sears, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine and his wife, Martha Sears, a registered nurse and author of 25 parenting books who are parents of eight children write, "Your child will be as obedient as you expect, or as defiant as you allow. When we ask parents of obedient kids why their children obey, they all answer, "Because we expect them to." Simple as this sounds, many parents let this basic fact of discipline slip away. They are too busy, their child is "strong-willed;" they make excuses: "It's just a developmental phase."
4. Instead of expecting, Eli the High Priest fits the pattern of many parents.
a. When they were really bad, the most he could say to them was, "Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? 24 No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord's people circulating." (1 Sam 2:23,24).
b. Eli the High Priest did not expect for his sons to be good.
c. Expecting your children to go the right way is different than wishing they would go the right way.

C. Kenneth Howard offers some principles for perfecting a child.
1. Perfect the child by training him or her.
a. This growth is in the mind of every godly parent.
1. Pro. 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go". That is to train them up toward a certain direction.
2. It means having a really good idea of which way they should go. Most of the time when our children leave and do not return, it is exactly because parents trained them to go that way.
3. Richard Hill wrote, "Life is but one continual course of instruction. The hand of the parent writes on the heart of the child the first faint characters that time deepens into strength so that nothing can efface them."
b. To train a child, the parent imparts and impresses upon the children the mighty works of God.
1. Psa 78:4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, (The TLB gets it wrong, exchanging "commandments" for "miracles").
2. Training the children to be faithful, or to trust in God, is done by talking about the teachings and works of God in the Old Testament.
c. Training children is a day-to-day reality.
1. Deut 6:6-9 -- 4"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
2. Children should look back and say, "My parents were always talking about God."
d. Training requires that children follow God's commandments today, not just when they are grown.
1. Cloud and Townsend said, "the work of boundary development is the work of learning responsibility. "Boundaries" 1992, p. 17
2. Paul said, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord…" Parents must command their children to follow the Lord. Children need to practice God's will now.
3. "Take to your heart all of the words which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this Law." (Dt. 32:46).
4. And children must follow what they were taught. "Hear, my son, your father's instruction And do not forsake your mother's teaching;" (Pro. 1:8)
5. The number one boundary concern of the Christian parent is to bring God into the home and into the children's lives.
6. And EVERYTHING the child does, thinks, and says must be measured and examined in the light of God's Word. If a child is not trained to practice God's commands today, when will we expect them to?
2. Perfect the child by discipline.
a. Boundaries class: Little Children Will Test Boundaries and should enjoy the Consequences for doing so. James Dobson, "when your children are young they will test the limits. If you tell them not to cross a certain line, they will cross it, to see what will happen. At this point you children are looking for a fight . . . and you ought not disappoint them!"
b. God says that disobedience and rebellion should be punished. That's reality.
1. Pro. 29:17 "Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul."
2. Correct means "bind, chasten, punish, reform".
3. Pro. 22:15 "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him."
3. Perfect the child with comfort and encouragement.
a. Discipline without kindness and understanding will be ineffective.
b. Holly Dunn sang about "Daddy's Hands":
1. Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´. Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong. Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle. But I´ve come to understand. There was always love in Daddy´s hands.
2. Sydney J. Harris wrote, "The best combination of parents consists of a father who is gentle beneath his firmness, and a mother who is firm beneath her gentleness."
c. Col. 3:21 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."
d. Too much or too little perfecting will develop a frustration and confusion in a child that will lead to hopelessness.
e. "Do not hinder the children from coming to me. It would be better for that man to have a millstone around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause a little one to stumble."

VI. FIFTH, TEACH CHILDREN TO RESPECT AUTHORITY
A. The parent is the child's first authority figure.

B. God says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." When do they start this? Early, very early, or not at all.

C. Respect for authority is essential
1. Kevin Daughrity, "3 Essentials in Developing a Healthy Relationship with our Children", writes, "Children must develop a healthy fear of their mother and father. If children are reared with no fear of their parents, it will be the parents that will soon fear their children." (Think Magazine, March 2008, pg. 31)
2. If a three-year-old child does not respect the authority of his parents, he will hit his teacher, flout the rules at work, speed away from the police, and shake his fist at God.

D. Israel produced many children who did not respect God or his prophets.
1. Some young men disrespected Elisha the prophet and God had 42 killed by two possessed she-bears.
2. Samuel was rejected as Judge and God was rejected as Israel's king (1 Sam. 8:7).

E. If we want our children to respect God, we must teach them to obey His authority now.

VII. FINALLY, SPECIFICS TO EMPHASIZE WITH OUR CHILDREN

A. Teach small children about the reality of God; the importance of living to please Him. Remember, the goal is that today they hear the commandments of God and today they obey the commandments of God.

B. Let children know that God expects parents to teach their children right and wrong. A parent is not perfect, but the discipline he gives is out of love.

C. Teach children about being honest, caring, and respectful of others. These are lessons that will bless them for eternity.

D. Teach them that responsibility means enjoying the consequences of the right or wrong they do. Nothing is gained by making life easier than it should be.

E. Give children everything they want....not. Let them learn contentment and avoid materialism.

F. Be as consistent as possible. Practice your devotion to God for your children to see. When they see that you are the light, they will glorify God.
ShareThis

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Age of Ability and Accountability
Millenials, http://www.rhettsmith.com/?p=866
Court Ruling, http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=26724
AFS Students, http://wiscassetnewspaper.maine.com/1999-04-08/foreign_students.html
Christian Chronicle, http://www.christianchronicle.org/article736~Are_we_losing_our_young_people%3F
REST program, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2275444
Stein, "Stop Medicating, Start Parenting: Real Solutions for Your Problem Child."
Howard, http://www.siscom.net/~direct/marriage_finances/
Sears. http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/t060300.asp

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