7 areas to keep in mind
Psalm 112:1-8 tells us, “How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light arises in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and compassionate and righteous. It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; he will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken; the righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; his heat is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is upheld, he will not fear, until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.”
This is hard to walk out as a parent, let alone lead other parents to walk out with their families. The world can be a cruel place; it can be an unsure place. This is our time, but they are hard and troubling times for the church.
A large percentage of Americans believe it will get worse before it gets better. When you look at what’s happening in the news, on TV, and even in the church, it’s pretty scary out there. But it’s times like these that make us ask the big question: Do you really believe and practice what you teach and preach? As for me … I BELIEVE THE BIBLE!
John 16:33 tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Man, that’s good news for busy children’s leaders. Families need God’s peace, not just His plenty!
Also in Proverbs 14:26 it says, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.” This is what the homes of our families should be—a secure fortress for our children. Is what you are doing for families in your church doing this? That’s a great question to use as we evaluate our programs. Home should be a place of comfort, a place of safety, a place of refuge. A place where those who lead it, get to control what happens. That also means they’re responsible for the behaviors and outcomes of those who live there!
God’s plan has always been the same. Deuteronomy 4:9-10, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’”
Every feast and every holiday was the same. I have had a blast this year telling my grandson the God story of our family. I’m going back though our lives and bringing him up to date with all God has done for us. For two main reasons, I will retell him those stories every opportunity I have, as long as I’m alive—so I can remember myself and so I can pass it on to Sparrow. God’s done some amazing things in Widemanville and I believe with all my heart the best is yet to come!
It’s amazing to me that parents want better for their children than they have had in every area of life … but one. We want them to have more opportunities financially, educationally, and socially. We want them to have a better marriage, drive a better car, wear nicer clothes, live in a better house, and the list could go on forever. But when it comes to spiritual things, we don’t want them to go overboard. We’re happy if they turn out just as spiritual as us—as long as they aren’t bad. Very few parents have a vision of their children being spiritual dynamos! It’s not the same priority and desire we have for them in other areas.
Twenty-nine times the Bible tells us that we should love the Lord with all our heat, all our soul and all our strength. That’s our goal! So, with that in mind, here are seven steps to use to pass on to parents how to desire God’s best for the inhabitants of their homes.
- Establish who’s the king of the castle!
Joshua 24:15 says, “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the Gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What does this look like for your family? It’s more than attending church once or twice a week! It’s getting involved on a daily basis. Every educator knows that the students whose parents are involved in their education do better! What changes need to happen for Jesus to be the king of your home?
- Parents set the example. It starts with you! The church cannot do this for you. The church has its part to play.
Deuteronomy 6:6, “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” Be an example of living the scriptures. Be an example of serving and going to church. Let your children see you praying, speaking the Word, and needing the Lord!
- Your home should be a place of learning God things!
Deuteronomy 6: 7, “And 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.”
It’s your job to take back the time you have with your children. This calls for consistent, intentional actions. Watch out for mixed signals and too many voices in your home.
- Keep your marriage strong.
If you’re not married, keep your relationships pure. Include Jesus in every relationship! Establish house rules that line up with scripture. Ephesians 4:32 is a great place to start, “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
A second is to not let the sun go down on an agreement. Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Remember, it’s your job to model love—true love—to your children!
- Be willing to parent each of your children differently.
This doesn’t sound fair, but all kids are not the same. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” That way is different for each child. Be willing to let some things go. Major on the majors and minor on the minors. Your child may never make an A in Biology. They may never make their bed automatically without being told. But they need to love the Lord with all their heart, and all their soul, and all their mind. This was number one at the Wideman house over anything else!
- Have fun as a family.
Laugh together, sing together, play together, read together, eat together, pray together! Invite God into the middle of all good times! Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
- Make church, small group, youth group, and serving a priority.
Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” A great habit to develop is as soon as you get home, talk about what you’re learning as a family!
It’s never too late to make right decisions. It’s never too late to prioritize and create a plan to help the families that you serve and the children at your house desire a deeper relationship with Christ and to truly love the Lord with ALL their heart and ALL their mind and ALL their strength!