Building An Awareness of God In Your Families Life

Over the years, I have had some pretty incredible God moments happen in my life. They were clear moments that God was leading me in different directions, whether it was calling me into ministry at an early age, to landing my first internship, to my first full-time ministry, to eventually God calling me to the west coast.

Each one changing my life in ways, that I could not have imaged and each happening with God’s direction.

As a Christian parent, I know that God is at work in the world around me. And I want to help my kids and my spouse to know that God is just as active today as He was in the stories in the Bible.

And we can do exactly that!

We can help our kids see God’s working by creating moments in your day to teach and show them God’s actions

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 say’s

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord 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 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We are commanded as parents, to teach our children diligently, every moment we can with them. We teach them by living with them but also by creating visual opportunities. In the Old Testament, if God did something, they would make a shrine, so when they passed by they could tell their families what God did for them. This visual would be great of what God has done.

This isn’t a command that we should take lightly, and it is something we should always in the back of our mind.

So what can you, next time you are at dinner with your children. Talk with your kids about what God has already done in your life. Maybe even have a little trinket that would help be a reminder of God’s story in your home.

After you told your family about what God has done, be aware of what God is doing for you today. Maybe He isn’t doing anything right now, but we on look out for God and be able to tell your children when they happen.

Finally, I was to encourage you to put yourself in opportunities for God to moving. A great way is to make sure you are worshipping God regularly. Praising God in church week in and week out does a few things.

First, it helps us make sure God is number one in our life. God needs to a focal point, and what better way is to make sure we are worshipping Him.

Finally, we are surrounding by other believers, and we can see how God is moving in their lives, which can be an encouragement in difficult times. And that works vice-versa as we can be an encourager to them during difficult times.

Spiritual Parents Need To Be Spiritually Healthy

Sounds obvious…..

But is it true in your life?

Take a few moments and consider how much time you put in your spiritual life?

Is just once a week on Sunday?  Is it daily, if so how much time?

What do you do?  Do you journal? Do you say prayers? Do you read Christian books?  Do you read your Bible?

If the Christian leader in your home (aka you) isn’t spiritually healthy, then how can the home be spiritually healthy?

A Christian parent needs to be faithfully seeking God themselves, not only for their spiritual pilgrimage but also to be a living testimony for their spouse and children.  If I say, my favorite football team is Ohio State, and I watch every other team but them, would you think I am a real fan?  Same goes with our faith, if I say “I believe the Bible to be true and Jesus is important in my life,” but never pick up the book or say a prayer, would you say I am genuine about my faith?

We don’t need to spiritual gurus.  We don’t need to perfect examples.  We need to show our families that God is the priority in our lives.

Here are some way’s to make sure God is your priority

Turn loose time  into God time.  We all have some loose time during our day.  Take one of those times to read a verse or two.  Take one of those times to say a quick prayer for your spouse and children.

Plan time in your day, your week and your year for God.  If you are not careful with your time, it will fill up fast.  Make sure not to overload your time with things that are not spiritually essential.  Maybe plan time off during the week or even plan a sabbatical sometime during the year.

Share your spiritual moments.  When a verse strikes your interest, share your thoughts with your family.  It doesn’t have to be a well thought-out idea, tell your family a verse you are thinking about, and maybe they might have insight that will help you! When you have an answered prayer, let your children know. If God is working in you, make sure your family knows it.

Something Extra

Make a spiritual journal for each of your children.  Every night when they go to bed or prepare for bedtime, write a God-moment and say a prayer for them.

 

Family Time Devotions: Day 4

Genesis 1:16 [widescreen]

Bible Story

Genesis 1:14-19 (NIrV)

God said, “Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky. Let them separate the day from the night. Let them serve as signs to mark off the seasons and the days and the years. Let them serve as lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth.” And that’s exactly what happened.

God made two great lights. He made the larger light to rule over the day. He made the smaller light to rule over the night. He also made the stars.

God put the lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth. He put them there to rule over the day and the night. He put them there to separate light from darkness.

God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning. It was day four.

On the day four, God add the lights in the sky (stars), the smaller light to rule the night (moon) and the larger light to rule the day (sun).  These served a purpose for His creation, as they helped people for thousands of years keep track of days, seasons, and years.  God was done and He said, “It was good.”

Questions

  • Which of three (sun, moon, or stars) do you like the most? Why?

Extra Idea

Lunch Box Note

When you feel the warm of the sun today, say a quick “Thank You” to God.

Your Prayer Life Impacts Your Family’s Prayer Life

There are some things that come natural. For example, I am naturally gifted in putting my foot in my mouth, both literally and figuratively. I am also good at making awkward moments more awkward. I wish I was naturally good at sports or something useful, but God blessed me in the ways of weirdness.

The normal qualities in life are the things that I have to work for on a regular basis. My prayer life is one of those “work in progress” types of things. You would think, being a person who makes a living by communication and spirituality, that I would be great at prayer? I wish it were so, but instead of an eloquent, tearful and thoughtful prayer, you hear a fumbler, mumbler, and word repeater. One time I prayed these words, “we are blessed because of our blessings.” Okay, maybe I didn’t say it that beautifully. My prayers always make me feel like I did a disservice to the people who are needing prayer.

We all struggle with certain things and there are certain things that we can just stop doing and move on to something different. But praying and other spiritual disciplines, are things that we shouldn’t quit simply because we are bad at doing them. Being better at prayer isn’t just good for my job, it is also good for my family.

Why is it good for my family to see and hear my prayers?

First, you are setting aside your time to show your family the importance of prayer. Having times of vocal prayer at dinner time or bedtime are vital spiritual moments where our children learn to communicate thankfulness and concerns to our God every day. Communication with God is essential in continuing an active relationship with Him.

Second, you can hear your families concerns even if you didn’t know they had concerns. There is something about prayer that brings out honesty and transparency in people, even children. To hear them praying for schoolmates might be a sign that they are being treated poorly by others. hearing them pray for someone who is sick, may be a sign that they are thinking about their mortality, which is a good sign they are ready to make a commitment to Christ. Those things, may not come up in the daily routine, so having a set-aside prayer time can highlight those things.

But what if I am personally uncomfortable with my own prayers?

First, welcome to the club. It might not be the greatest club, but we do have some good fundraisers for trips to Disney World, where we can stand awkwardly in lines for hours at a time.

Seriously, you need to work on it. You need to recognize those bad habits you have like repeating nonsensical words over and again. What helps me, is to slow down, and when I start repeating, I pause and think before I speak.

Sometimes I think about those prayer acronyms that help you focus your prayer time.

Here are a few that might help

ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication
PRAY – Praise, Repent, Ask And Yield

or just KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

Prayer is something that we can’t give up in our life simply because we are not good at it. Prayer builds up your relationship with God, and it helps build your family’s relationship with God. No matter how you feel, don’t neglect your prayer time.

Influencing Your Family

I love living in today’s culture. Sometimes I listen to podcasts about the past, and I becoming incredibly thankful for all the things that we have right now. All the advances we have are incredible and the easiness it brings to our lives is fantastic. For example, I recently went back to school and received my Master’s degree in Youth and Family Ministries. It was a cake walk compared to my undergrad more than a decade ago. Was the school work lighter? No, it was more work but because of technological advances I had an easier time. Gone were the day’s of putting together a table of contents or footnotes. I didn’t have to write down the info on an index card, stick it into a pile of other index cards and then go back later for a paper. Now I could read on my Kindle, highlight, copy and paste, and boom footnote is added. If I had this during my undergrad, I might have scored a lot better in classes (Of course I might not have, I still had a lot of growing to do).

Like I said, I love living in today’s world. But as a parent, I am terrified of raising my kids in this same culture. Why? Because it is easy for students to become influenced by the wrong people. I am not just talking about celebrities or pseudo-celebrities I’m more worried about complete strangers. Currently, with social media, teens can be influenced by other’s opinions. They can get lost in body images or even use tools to alter their online appearance. Teens can be bullied by people all over the world. It’s hard to protect our students from dangers close by, but now the world is at their fingertips and the world is not always kind, especially the internet.

As a parent, I know I can’t protect my children from everything in this world and as a more hands-on parent, I don’t like that fact. However, that doesn’t mean I simply sit back and allow outsiders be an influence on my children’s lives. The primary influence on any family’s life is the parents. Students are still subjected to other influences, but it is the parent’s job to make sure that they remain the first influence over their children’s lives.

As a Christian parent, I know that my faith is the main influence I want my children to have. Biblical faith is meant to be generational. What I mean by that, is that the faith that I have should be passed down from generation to generation, so that my grandchildren will have a stronger grasp of the faith than I do right. As I grow in my faith, I am growing faith to the next generation.

3 Ideas To Influence Your Family

Part of my plan to be proactive in remaining the number one influence in my child’s life is to have intentional spiritual moments. Here are a few ways we’re doing that.

Rite of Passages Experience

At my church, we use a resource from http://www.parentministry.net, called Rite of Passages. These rituals start from birth and go to graduation and are intended to be used every year to have a special moment with your children. I recommend this resource to every church.

Family Dinners

There is plenty of research out there that shows the importance of eating meals together. Currently, we have dinner with each other almost every day, but I am slowly working up to adding more spiritual time into the supper time conversation. Once a week, we recap what they talked about on Sunday and how we can apply it to our daily lives. In the near future, we might be using a resource from D6 called Splink, which comes to my email every week for free. You can check out more at http://d6family.com/splink/

Great Family Experiment

I came across this resource a month or so back, from Connexus Community Church called the Great Family Experiment. http://www.connexuscommunity.com/gfx/ Currently there is only three experiments right now, but over Christmas break we are going to be doing the Widen the Circle material.

These are just a few ways we’re trying to be intentional in how we influence our children. I would love to hear from you, on ways you are influencing your family. Leave your ideas in the comments below.

When Your Child Fails

It was my fifth-grade year; I don’t remember much from this year, but I do remember it was the year of the Science Fair. Every student worked on a project for the fair, except for me. I don’t remember how I forgot, but I do remember waking up one morning knowing that the fair was today, and I had nothing. How could I be in a class all year, a class that was preparing for a one-time event, and come out with nothing to show? What does a child do when a deadline comes, and they are not ready? Why, do what every teenage sitcom does to avoid big situations, and play sick. I remember getting up, telling my mom who was getting ready for work that I had a headache and wasn’t feeling well. She allowed me to stay home with my illness, and I played video games and watched The Price Is Right. The next day, I went in, and my teacher didn’t say a word to me about the science project. I had gotten away with it… until report cards came and I realized that the project was worth a whole lot of points. I didn’t fail the subject, but it was very close.

My parents didn’t fight for that grade to change or complain that because of “illness” I missed school that day. Rather, my parents allowed me to fail. I learned an embarrassing lesson that day; failures will happen. I don’t think my parents wanted me to fall short, but they were not going to protect me from my own consequences. I was lazy; I didn’t prepare, I lied to avoid the situation and I paid the price. It was my mistake.

Everyone fails

Not one person will go through life without failing at something. You can avoid a lot of things, but you can’t avoid taxes, death and failure. When our children are young, we want to protect them from failure. We check on their homework to see if it’s done. We protect them with safety equipment, so when they fall it doesn’t hurt. We fight for them to be treated fairly. Those things are all good things to do, but sometimes we go overboard to the point where we try to prevent them from experiencing life and consequences.

Does it stink when our children fail? Yes, it is horrifying. It is almost like your stomach gets turned inside out, and you feel terrible for them. But, instead of worrying about prevention, we should work on perseverance and grace.

Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

When we fail, we will suffer. It could be suffering spiritually, physically, emotionally or all three. When we are suffering, we can either be traumatized by it or we can be transformed, and that goes the same with our children. We can make it part of who we are, or we can use it as a building block to something greater. For you and your children, to be transformed, you need to persevere, which builds character and hope. And although failures feel embarrassing and shameful, we shouldn’t be ashamed because of God’s love that is given to us.

As a parent, to help our children persevere, we can show them God’s grace which is the ultimate sign of encouragement

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 say’s “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Tweet: Every failure, our children encounter is another time to teach and experience the grace of God.

Does this mean, we push them to fail? By no means, that would make us terrible parents, but we can’t protect them from every failure. Your child will fail at some point, so take those opportunities to teach and experience the grace of God.

Helping Your Child To Trust In God And Not To Fear

I love being scared, which makes October one of my favorite times of the year.  Before I was a Christian and a parent, I spent a lot of time watching horror films. Even though, I no longer indulge in horror movies, there is something about being scared that I still love.  Whether it’s from entertainment, roller coasters or even a haunted house. And while I like being scared on purpose, I do not like to be scared unintentionally.  I don’t like normal people jumping in front of me trying to get me to jump back.  It’s not fun. If I am going to be scared, it has to be my choice.

No one wants to be fearful for real.  There is a different type of fear when you are in a haunted house or watching a scary movie, than having fear in your real life.  It is scary when something jumps out in front of you, but having fear of losing your job is terrifying.  Freddy Kruger is scary, but the bank wanting to foreclose your home is worse.

As adults, we know the difference between real fears and ones that are made up.  We know Freddy isn’t real, but you can lose your home.  Because one is real and one is fake, we are able to put up safeguards so the real fears don’t happen.  But, your children do not know the difference between things they should be fearful or and things that are fake.  They do not know that a scary movie is fictitious and cannot harm them.  As a parent it can be difficult to shelter your children from fictitious fears during this time of year,  While watching football, scary previews are shown during the commercials.  Neighbors put up Halloween decorations that may not be the most kid appropriate.

 

So what can we do, if our child gets scared?

Whether it be a real or fictitious fear, there are some scriptures we can use to limit our fears.

1. Trust In God

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

David was being pursued by his enemies and instead of fear taking over his life, he put his trust in God.  There is nothing in this world, that should make us fearful.  Trust in God fully, and fear will leave.

2. Give Your Fears To God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

We can give our fears to God with thankfulness, no matter what the situation is.  And then God’s peace will guard your life.  It won’t keep fear away, but when it does come back, we simply need to pray with thanksgiving and the peace that passes understanding will be back in  your life.

3. God Is Always With You

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

The Israelites were afraid to enter the land that was promised to them by God.  Our fears can cause us to not fully trust God.  However, we can know that no matter what happens, God is always with us.

 

Something to Try

Here is a simple game you can play with your child.  It’s called “Trust Walk”.  All you need is a blindfold and a good size space to walk around in.  If you have a messy playroom, that will be perfect.  Blindfold your child, and tell them to follow your commands and to trust your words.  Lead them around the area of obstacles  for a short period of time and make sure they stay away from anything that is harmful.

Once you’ve navigated them safely around the room, take off their blindfold and show them the path you took them through and the obstacles they avoided.  Explain that they were able to make it through because they trusted in your voice.  Then make the point, even though we can’t see God, we can trust in Him to lead us through life.

Tweet: Even though I can’t see God, I can trust when I am afraid that He will lead me through life.

Those verses not only apply to our children, but can be applied to us as well.  We can allow our realistic fears to take over our life.  Some fear is good, because it prevents us from crossing dangerous lines, but too much fear restricts us from God’s blessings in life.

Teach your children to trust God fully, but also apply that same teaching to your own life.