Christian Devotionals

What We Owe Our Children (1)
"Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me." Isaiah 8:18 NIV

Here are some things we as parents owe our children:

(1) Be there! Spend more intentional time with your children. If your life is ruled by a schedule and your children aren't on it, do something - quickly! 'Being there' doesn't mean watching television together for three hours. No, it's being emotionally present, allowing them to see your fears and insecurities at times, even as they witness your delight and appreciation of them.

(2) Learn from them! There's so much our children have to teach us - about themselves, about ourselves, and about who God is. When we realize that we don't have all the answers, we become open to allowing God to speak to us through our children. Such receptivity strengthens their faith in God, helps them to remain teachable, and keeps us young at heart.

(3) Be their parent, not their friend! It's vital, especially during the formative years, to maintain boundaries and set rules. Children need structure. It makes them secure. This includes things like early bedtimes in the early stages, moving the time back as they get older. Doing this helps them understand that age brings freedom, but not all at once, because freedom brings responsibility and they're not as ready as they think for that responsibility. Don't try to be your child's best friend, looking for them to meet your emotional needs. Their shoulders aren't strong enough to carry that load. Be confident in God and in who you are. Seek encouragement from healthier sources. Become the firm but gentle parent your children need.

What We Owe Our Children (2)
"Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me." Isaiah 8:18 NIV

Here are three more things you owe your children:

(1) Separate the baggage! As his son approached his 12th birthday, one father became increasingly anxious and depressed. Shortly after the boy's birthday party he was thumbing through an old photo album from his own childhood and realized that he himself was 12 when his father abandoned the family then killed himself. Watching his son approach the same age made this dad afraid because it reopened old wounds - unhealed ones. After speaking with a counselor he regained peace, realizing he was a very different man from his father and that he wasn't about to abandon his family. So, separate the baggage!

(2) Forgive and ask for forgiveness! By doing this you teach your child that: (a) we must all deal with the consequences of our actions; (b) we grow personally when we do; (c) failure is an inevitable part of learning; (d) we must be quick to extend to others the grace that's been extended to us.

(3) Bless them! Listen: "'They are the sons God has given me here,' Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, 'Bring them to me so I may bless them'" (Ge 48:9 NIV). The principles you live by and the blessings you enjoy are transferable; pass them on to your children. Whether it's by saying what is in your heart, or jotting down a simple note to say how proud of them you are, bless your children at every opportunity!

What We Owe Our Children (3)
"Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me." Isaiah 8:18 NIV

Often our children remind us of ourselves. We spot in them the same tendencies we ourselves struggle with. When we see them veering off life's highway in the same spots where we crashed and burned, it's difficult not to want to save them. But often we can't! They have grown up with their own mindset, values and dreams.

If the parable of the prodigal son teaches us anything, it's that good parents can raise children who are only capable of learning the hard way. What can you do? Pray for them. And be there when they return! Many a successful adult was once a prodigal saved by the prayers of a parent who refused to give up. If you are a parent, and what you are doing is taking you away from prayer time for your children, you're doing too much! There's nothing more valuable than the time you spend before God interceding on their behalf. "But I don't know how to pray!" Try this: "Father, I'm concerned about the direction my children are taking. Right now they seem beyond the reach of my voice and influence. But You can reach them. You can remind them of what they've been taught and initiate the circumstances that will bring them back to You. Your Word says that if I obey You, things will go well for me and my children (Dt 4:40). So I claim them for You, believing they'll choose to serve You and walk in Your blessing for the rest of their lives. Amen."

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