Five Statements Every Child Should Hear From Their Parents

Words are powerful. Words spoken by parents to their children will help shape them. If we understand the power of our words then we can be more intentional in using them to foster health in our children. I suggest using these five statements on a regular basis with your child(ren):

1) “I am proud of you“- perhaps are kids need to hear this more on their failures than successes. They need to know that our love for them is not conditional based off performance. They need to be able to rest in the consistent grace of their parents.

2) “I am sorry“- our children are people who feel just like we do. We are probably quick to correct them and challenge them to be better but they need to see we are not perfect either. There are times we make mistakes and disappoint them. They need to see us own it and apologize to them. Not only does it set the example for our kids in being willing to apologize when we hurt them but it also shows them respect that we think enough about their feelings to apologize. Sometimes our kids need to hear they were right and we were wrong.

3) “Not everyone will like you“- our kids are special but not everyone will appreciate that. Some just won’t be interested in them and they need to be ok with that. The world should not revolve around our kids and we can’t reinforce their expectation that it does. Help your child not be self-absorbed.

4) “Keep trusting God and He will lead you.”- they need to know that following God is essential for their success in life. Of course words are only as powerful as our actions here. They need to see us trusting in the Lord in our decisions, modeling this for them. We don’t want to teach our children that relying on their own abilities and effort is the key to success. Helping them to become self- sufficient can lead to pride and neglect of God in their life.

5) “It’s okay- mistakes happen“- wiser parents than me have said they wish they would have been easier on their kids, especially in their mistakes. Our kids need to know that it’s ok to fail and that their value is not diminished. We don’t want to teach them to be perfectionists. It will wreck havoc on them and rob them of the joy of life. Let your kids fail and then help them see that it’s ok when they do.

Five Things Every Christian Parent Should Ponder

1) God has given you charge over not only their bodies, but also their souls.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 implores us as parents to guide our children into spiritual truth. If you leave this to the “experts” at church, they may begin to see their faith as a Sunday thing and not something lived out during the week. After all, if parents don’t talk about “God-things” with them during the week, they won’t see it as important for their daily lives either.

2) Model for your children how a wife and husband should treat one another. 

My kids “gross” out when Christi and I show any PDA. You would think we were putting hot coals in their eyeballs! Yet, I know that behind their disgust are happy children who feel safe and secure having a mother and father who love each other. A young man needs to see how to treat a woman by the way his daddy treats his mom. A young woman needs to know how to respect and love a man by the way her mom respects and loves her dad. I hope my daughter will want to marry a guy one day who treats her like I try to treat Christi. There is a good chance that will be her standard and expectation.

3) Don’t just focus on their behavior, but focus on their hearts. 

Our goal as parents is not just to get our kids to act right in public. It’s not even to get them to act right at home. We want to go deeper with them. God desires for us to show them the importance of right motive behind their actions. Why do they do what they do? How does the Gospel motivate their thoughts and behaviors? If we just drill into our kids the need to do right things without teaching them the importance of proper motive then, at best, we make them legalists — at worst, hypocrites.

4) Train your children to be measured by grace and not by their performance.

In Exodus 34, God reversed Himself to His people as a God who is compassionate and slow to anger. Yet, God also punished the wicked. His approach is balanced between grace and discipline. Your children need to see you love them for who they are and not what they do. Our kids don’t need to feel we care for them less if they don’t “perform” properly. We give them grace not because they deserve it, but because God has given grace to us. If our kids think we care more for them when they are less of a bother to us then we teach them their value is earned. This flies in the face of what the Gospel teaches.

5) Teach your children to be sensitive to the effects of sin and not desensitized to them.

Everywhere we turn our eyes are filled with immorality. Whether it be commercials, shows, Internet, news, magazines, or billboards, we are inundated with sex, violence, and all kinds of debauchery. Unless we are extremely intentional, we will become desensitized to the effects of these images on our souls. The effect on our children should scare us. If our children become desensitized then sin will become commonplace, and they will live lives of compromise and justification. This is an epidemic in our world today.

Sacred Home: Challenge To Parents

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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, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children. Psalm 78:5-6

As infected saints, parenting is a struggle. We know we don’t own our kids but are given stewardship over them by God.  Still, we are sinful adults training sinful children. Amazing, then, that God created mother and father roles as essential to raising children. Moms and dads play unique roles that, together, make a powerful partnership in leading their children. Both are crucial. God is gracious and can work through a single mom or dad, but a partnership between both parents gives the child the best chance of growing up in the ways of the Lord.

Here are a few ways this fleshes out:

1) Together, father and mother bring a combination of masculinity and femininity to the home that represents the fuller image of God. This lead to healthy children who best understand what male and female are meant to be within the design and will of God.

2) Spiritual neutrality in the home is nonsense. I have heard some parents say they don’t want to force their religion on their children. They want them to be free to make up their own mind. This is foolish thinking! If you bring your children up this way, they will likely be neutral with God, too. They will not follow God, but they will try not to offend him either. This leads to spiritual death.

3) One hour of Sunday school in a 168 hour week doesn’t cut it. If you are trusting in Sunday school to train up your child in the ways of God, you are going to need your child to move in with the teacher! One hour is not enough to sufficiently train them to be godly. The home is the training ground; the dad and mom are the primary teachers.

4) Dads are the spiritual thermometer in the home. If you want your wife and kids to follow God, to listen to His Word and practice what it says, then you have to lead the way. Most dads would like to leave the spiritual work to the moms, but that is not how God ordained it.

5) Set spiritual goals for your children, and work to see them reached. Setting goals makes you accountable before God to work toward them. It helps keep you from getting distracted by the many pitfalls of this world. It helps you not to focus in on good things to the neglect of the great things of God.

6) Take your kids on dates. I regularly take my daughter on daddy-daughter dates. I use this time to teach her how men should treat women. I know these times with me show her she is special. If she feels my love and attention she will not seek unhealthy attention from boys.  Moms, this works well with boys, too!

Parents, knowing the importance of our roles and the stewardship required of us, we need to be intentional about creating sacred moments for our children.  I am sure there are many other good habits that can be established in the home to foster spiritual growth within the family. Feel free to comment below and offer ideas you have heard of or practice.  ~ Dax

 

Get Your Head Out Of The Sand

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.   Revelation 3:15-16

Complacency is your dire enemy. It’s the Darth Vader, Norman Bates and Wicked Witch of enemies all wrapped up into one fighting for your soul. You probably don’t give it much thought but it is the culprit behind much that hinders you spiritually, physically, and relationally. It lulls you into a false comfort that you are doing enough when really you are drifting slowly away from the safety of the shoreline, oblivious of the danger that you are in. It’s so easy to become complacent. It happens naturally to us.

Most of the time we are unaware that complacency is an issue. Until one day you are jolted awake by some sort of crisis. At that moment you gain a moment of perspective, realizing that you have been sleepwalking through life. That all those things you thought were “can’t live withouts” were really things that don’t satisfy or last.

Godliness, on the other hand, takes intentionality and sacrifice. You need to add these two words to your daily vocabulary. What are doing today that is intentional and sacrificial? If you can answer that with something then you are a step closer towards fighting complacency in your life.

Here are a few considerations to help you fight complacency:

  1. Willpower alone will not overcome complacency.
  2. You can’t think eternally in your daily life without Jesus.
  3. You need to consistently be confronted by God’s word to keep you from putting your guard down.
  4. You need to serve others in some capacity to remind you that it is not all about you.
  5. You need to start right now or you won’t do a thing about this issue

 

Complacency is the easy route but will leave you going through life unaware of what really matters. Godliness involves risking it all for something greater than yourself. Living for ourself is much easier but brings no joy to us.  Living for Christ costs us greatly but we gain everything. Let those who have ears to hear, hear and be set free from a life of complacency and indifference.

Don’t Give Them Leverage


Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”       1 Corinthians 15:33

Leverage is a valuable thing. If I am a wrestler and I have leverage then I am probably going to win the bout. If I am looking for a raise and I have leverage, the higher ups are going to be much more motivated to consider it. Leverage is power. When someone has leverage over you they have power in your life.

Leverage is a reality and whether you recognize it or not it exists in your relationships. You have leverage in some people’s lives and others have leverage in yours. The key is being very careful who you let have leverage in yours. If you allow negative, overly critical people to have leverage in your life they will bring you down. They will distort your view of things and it will negatively effect your attitude. You may not be able to avoid these people but you should not give them leverage (power) in your life.

I choose to allow people like this to have leverage in my life:

Giver of godly advice over lover of human wisdom

Encourager over discourager

Positive over critical

Realist over drama queen or king

Non anxious presence over spastic

Honest over flatterer

Silence over gossip

Prayer warrior over try and quickly fix it
These are just a few qualities that come to mind but I am very intentional and extremely careful on who I let have leverage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

A Call to All Dads With Daughters: Some Things Must Never Go Out Of Style

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Recently I bought my twelve year old daughter a promise ring and presented it to her at her favorite restaurant. It was the highlight of our many daddy-daughter dates. I will not write what I shared with her here out of respect for her feelings but it was a great talk!

I had a lady, who sitting near us, inquired about the purpose of the ring. I told her it was to serve as a reminder to my daughter that God wants her to remain sexually pure until she is married and that the most important man in her life until that day is me. She expressed her feelings about the ring with oohs and aahs and presented me with a big smile. She told me how she was glad to see me practicing something that could have come from a black and white film more than the practices of today. Something she thought her great grandfather might have done back in the 1920’s.

I understood her sentiment but I hope something as crucial as daddy’s investment into their daughters would be timeless, not reserved to any period of time. Is there anything more important I will do in the next six years than model for my daughter what her standard for a husband should be? I think not.

This means more than just modeling it in my work ethic. Men can be great at working hard but I do not know many wives or children who are impressed with their husband/daddy spending long hours at work so they can have more stuff. Work ethic is important to teach but more is needed for dads to model for their daughters.

I want to model affection for my daughter. I hug her and kiss her and tell her she is beautiful a lot. I will continue to do so even when she acts like she does not want me too as she hits the teenage years. That time where a kiss from her dad is skin to the bubonic plague. I might annoy her but it’s going to be with the annoyance of affection! She must know that she is loved by more than just my words. She needs to feel herself a princess in my eyes. That I adore her as the precious gift from God that she is to me.

I also want to model for her how her future husband should treat her by the way I treat her mom. I want her to see me doting on Christi, honoring her, respecting her. Am I perfect in this? Unfortunately, not even close but I am intentional.

Above all I want my daughter to see me as a godly man. Someone who strives to live by faith. Someone who messes up but is quick to admit it and embraces grace. A man of scripture and prayer. A man who seeks God for wisdom and direction.

There are no guarantees in how my daughter will choose to live her adult life but I trust the Lord to use my intentional investment in modeling these things for her in a way she will not easily overlook their influence when she considers a worthy mate one day.

May dads never stop investing in their daughters. May every dad be intentional in making their daughter feel the princess she is. Dads, if like me,you greatly desire your daughter to marry a godly, confident, sensitive man one day, then model for her now what her target should be.

If you think this would be helpful, please share this with dads with daughters that you know. May it be an inspiration to them as they teach their daughters what a real man looks like.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8

I want to make a challenge to you. For the next 30 days what if you intentionally looked for the good in the people and cirmumstances around you? How might that change your perspective on things? When I get critical in my spirit it really effects me negatively in all areas of life. Seeing the positive in people or circumstances does not mean you have to ignore the issues those people or circumstances bring. It just keeps you from seeing everything as completely bad when God wants to show you good that can come from it. For example, let’s say a coworker gossiped about you and you found out. Your tendency would be to think evil thoughts about that person to where you saw nothing good about them. What if you were able to still pinpoint good things about them but also address the issue? “Sally is a hard worker but what she said about me was untrue.” Now that is perspective and if we have right perspective, we are more apt to handle situations like these in a way that honors God. When we handle it in the flesh we go after the “Sally’s” in our life with venomous words and feelings. How does this honor God in any way? I think we tend to react negatively to someone who hurts or offends us because it feels so natural to respond that way. We like what feels natural, but natural means we are in the flesh and that never honors God.

If you are willing to do this challenge, why not make these 30 days a testimony to challenge others? What if you posted on Facebook or sent an email to friends letting them know you are going to focus in on what is good, what is lovely, what is commendable when it comes to your spouse, job, health, social status, material possessions, coworkers, children, etc.. Share throughout your journey how this is changing things in you. I promise that if you approach things positively you will see them in a new light. If you take me up on this challenge you will see change happen in your life. Others will notice it and react in a better way to you as well. Let the challenge begin!

All things work together for the good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:38).