Christian Devotionals

Building Men and Women of God (1)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

A great preacher once said, 'When times are troubled we cry, God, give us men to match our mountains. In reply, God gives us children and says, Here's the building material.' We are expected to nurture them so they develop into men and women of God. Here's a Bible blueprint. First, 'These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts'. Parent, if you don't practice Scriptural principles, your children won't either. Indeed, if you don't live what you preach your words will fall on deaf ears and create rebellious hearts. You don't have to be perfect, but you must be genuine. Secondly, 'Impress them on your children'. You must emphasize, stress, prompt, make clear, drum in and imprint. Nothing passing or passive there! It's to be a deliberate, thorough, active and repeated process. Thirdly, 'Talk about them'. Your kids won't catch the truth by osmosis. You have to talk, not in religious-sounding tones they don't understand, but in natural language, in natural ways, at natural times. 'Talk about them when you sit at home', in the comfort of familiar surroundings. 'When you walk along the road', in the easy give-and-take environment on the way to the park or to school. 'When you lie down and when you get up', watching for opportunities, because teachable moments come and go unannounced. Carpe diem! Parents who 'seize the day' discover that God has equipped them to mould their children into men and women of God.

Building Men and Women of God (2)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

Teach your child the importance of standing up for what's right. Our children gravitate towards whatever pleases the important people in their lives-right or wrong-out of their need for acceptance. If their peers are doing it, peer approval will be a powerful influence on them. It's not always about good kids versus bad, or about morality versus immorality-it's about being kids! Solomon, recalling his own youthful tendencies, counseled, 'My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, Come along with not go along with them...' (Proverbs 1:10-15 NIV) We become like the company we keep, and if our kids are to stand for God against destructive influences they need instruction in several areas. First, the qualities of true friendship. Teach them that true friends seek each other's best interests, and whoever leads them into danger or sin is not a friend. Secondly, the inevitable law of consequences. '...A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature...will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit...will reap eternal life.' (Galatians 6:7-8 NIV) And reinforce your teaching by refusing to rescue them from their consequences. Finally, the right kind of heroes. Instead of rock stars or sports celebrities of questionable character, introduce your children to Bible heroes who modeled godliness, righteousness and courage under pressure!

Building Men and Women of God (3)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

Teach your children to respond the right way to God's direction and correction. Help them to understand that God's correction is not rejection. 'My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.' (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV) To help them understand this, first teach them to respond correctly to your discipline. The rules you don't enforce now will be enforced by others later, at a higher cost. But let your discipline be fair, not excessive. And be consistent. Don't permit today what you punished yesterday. Saying things like, 'How many times have I told you?' or, 'If you do that again you're grounded' means you're not serious and that they have several warnings before you act. Enforce it! Don't threaten unless you intend to follow through. Secondly, teach them to respond correctly to authority figures. 'Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established...' (Romans 13:1 NIV) Don't belittle police, teachers, head teachers, pastors, and so on. If you do, it will come back to bite you and your children. Thirdly, share your own experiences of personal growth through correction. Let them know you're not perfect; it will help them relate to your humanity as a parent and it'll give them hope. 'If Mum and Dad learned by being corrected when they blew it, I can too.' Well-chosen times of personal sharing are much more effective than nagging and 'sermonizing'!

Building Men and Women of God (4)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

Teach your children to handle temptation. Tell them to expect it and not be overwhelmed by how often they face it. '...Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.' (James 1:14 KJV) Your children need to know how to handle two powerful sources of temptation. First, temptation in the area of sexual sin. Television and the internet make everything from normal to perverse as available as oxygen, enticing them to experiment with behaviors that destroy health, relationships and life. And they need more than a brief, embarrassed 'birds and bees' talk. Instruct them early, regularly and clearly. 'My son...the lips of an adulteress drip honey...but in the end she is bitter as gall... her steps lead straight to the grave... Keep...far from her... At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.' (Proverbs 5:1-11 NIV) Solomon spelled it out for his children. Do likewise. Secondly, temptation in the area of addictions. Again Solomon is right on the mark: '...Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine...' (Proverbs 23:29-30 NIV) The addict's life is not fun! 'In the end it bites like a snake... Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things' (v. 32-33 NIV) Don't let the enemy deceive your children. Pray faithfully, speak His life-changing Word into their hearts, believe God and watch Him work!

Building Men and Women of God (5)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

Teach your children to handle money. Your home is a classroom for teaching money-management skills, so teach them that if they honor God financially, He will honor them. 'Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all... then your barns will be filled...' (Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV) Before you give your son or daughter money, teach them how to handle it responsibly so that they can avoid the 'prodigal syndrome' (Luke 15:11-32). The Prodigal Son's attitude towards money and his misuse of it cost him dearly. Give your child Biblical wisdom in four areas-earning, giving, spending and saving. Teach your children God's Word regarding borrowing, lending and credit. In a culture driven by slick advertising and easily obtained, high-interest credit cards, children need to understand the consequences of their financial decisions. The verse 'Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it' (Proverbs 22:6 NAS) is not an isolated statement. Read the next verse: 'The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave.' (Proverbs 22:7 NAS) Teach them that what looks like the fast lane to plenty, can become the sure road to poverty. Train them to delay gratification until they can afford what they want. Don't unwisely guarantee loans for them. The Bible says, 'Do not be a man who...puts up security for debts... your very bed will be snatched from under you.' (Proverbs 22:26-27 NIV)

Building Men and Women of God (6)
'These commandments... Impress them on your children.' Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

Teach your children the value of hard work. Navigators' president, Lorne Sanny, would smile as he remembered four words from his father that changed his life, 'Son, get with it!' Parents who think that they are doing their kids a favor by letting them avoid hard work are deluded. Your children will become irresponsible, dependent, under-developed and end up resenting your over-indulgence. 'Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.' (Proverbs 10:4-5 NIV) If you keep doing for your child what they should do for themselves, you're crippling their development and creativity. Honest work is God's provision for human happiness, as well as for personal, social and spiritual growth. This is more than a financial issue; it's a spiritual issue. Hard work is good for you! 'The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.' (Proverbs 13:4 NAS) One day your child will thank you for requiring them to participate in family life and do their fair share. Their future husband or wife will thank you too! You say, 'But they're so young and they've school work to do.' If they master the three Rs, but fail to become responsible and mature they'll pay for it in the future. 'It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke (of responsibility and work) in his youth.' (Lamentations 3:27 NAS) What they learn in youth they'll enjoy for the rest of their lives, as they become men and women of God!

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