Monday, October 10, 2016
Teach them to love HIm
When I was 12 years old I went forward at New Missionary Baptist Church to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. I was baptized and over the years I had been watching my Mom and Dad read the Bible, sit at dinner and talk about Him, and how He was leading them, and we read the Bible together. It was at this age I began to seek the Lord to use me. I began to talk with God and develop a relationship with Him on my own.
I have been observing parental influence on children and their faith since my years at Oral Roberts University in 1992. What I have noticed is what has become a crisis of faith. We have been so focused on giving our children a "biblical world view" we have failed to help them to develop a relationship with Messiah. So here are some tips to help your children develop a true relationship with our God.
1. Start talking about God to your children when they are young. Children are very susceptible to spiritual things. Teach them about how Messiah cares and listens to them when they talk to Him.
On of my favorite stories about teaching your children about faith was told some time ago by Pastor Bayless Connolly. Pastor Bayless told of how he was teaching the congregation once you ask God for something, we must believe when we pray we receive it. After the prayer we are to then move on and thank God for answering our prayer. Pastor's son had been wanting a dog. After hearing the sermon he began thanking God for his dog. Over the course of several weeks Pastor heard his son thanking God for his dog. He finally told him to stop it, because he was not getting a dog. Very soon there after the Holy Spirit said to Pastor Bayless he taught his son God answers prayer and to thank God for the answer. Therefore, he needed to take his son out to get a dog. Of course he got up the next morning and took his son to get a dog. Teaching our children about faith is not always easy or convenient, but teaching our children about His willingness to listen and care is invaluable.
2. Teach your children about God's word and how God uses it to speak to you and others.
Many years ago as I was working with two and three year olds. We were working with parents to teach their children the word by sharing scripture verses for them to share at home. We talked with them in children's church and encouraged parents to talk about the scriptures and go over them at home. One Tuesday evening a Mom came and told us this story to illustrate how our collaboration was paying off.
She shared how she had been spending hours trying to wallpaper a room in their house. Her daughter was sitting obn the floor of the room playing. Mom got so fed up and frustrated she let out a cry and through the wallpaper on the floor and said, "I can't do this!" Her daughter looked up at her and said, "yes you can Mommy, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." Needless to say we all had tears in our eyes, even as I write this my eyes are welling up. When we put the scriptures into the minds and hearts of our children we give them a foundation based on truth and they will not depart from its truths.
3. Tell your children to reach out for God when they need Him and He will be there.
When I was at Oral Roberts studying for my MA in Early Childhood a Mom told me this story.
Her son was going through a period of having nightmares. She had not had a full nights sleep in over a week. She prayed about the situation and the Holy Spirit instructed her to tell her five year old to ask Jesus to come be with him if he woke up with another nightmare. Because Mommy was so tired and needed to sleep. Several days later as she was fixing breakfast for the family he asked her a question. "Mommy, why is Jesus' face so shiny?" She turned and looked at him with a puzzled look on her face and asked "what?" He answered, "Last night when I wok up I asked Jesus to come sit with me when I woke up from my nightmare and He did, he told me some stories. Why is his face so shiny? It looks like the bowl on the table in the living room." Curious, she asked her son to tell her what else he remember Jesus looking like. Her son described Jesus exactly how John did in the book of Revelations as He stood among the lamp stands. She was stunned. Her five year old knew nothing of the book of Revelations yet he described very succinctly almost the exactly what John saw in his account. This mother knew she had heard from the Holy Spirit what to say to her son, yet had no idea Jesus would actually come and tell her son stories as she slept.
Our God is passionate about building a relationship with us, especially, the children. He said, "Do not make it difficult for the children to come to me, because the Kingdom of Heaven is made up as such as these." Do what you can to encourage your children to seek God and build a relationship with Him. Our children do not really need a "biblical world view"; they need a relationship with the Lord, Sovereign God, King of the Universe whom you know, love, and serve.
Believe in Parenting