Loving Your Children…Their Way

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas

Loving Your Children (of all ages) Their Way

I have seen so many wonderful, loving parents love their children the wrong way and then wonder why they have lost their children’s hearts as they became teens.

Last night, I went on a date with our 13 year old, Sophia.  I asked her what her love language was. After a few seconds of observing her baffled expression, I said, “We all have ways we best feel loved.”  I  described each of the ways, then named everyone in our family and asked her which love language she though each of them had.

1. Words of Affirmation.  2. Physical Touch.  3. Acts of Service.  4. Receiving Gifts.  5. Quality Time    (Here is description of the love languages.)

I then asked her which love language best described her.  She replied, “Quality Time and Words of Affirmation.”  I was given great insight and a reminder to make sure I encourage her and spend time with my princess.

We all tend to love others the way we want to be loved.  What happens if my other daughter’s love language is Physical Touch, but I bring her gifts, paint her room, fix her toys, or remind her of how proud I am of her?  After all this, she still may not feel loved by her daddy.  (The same goes for your spouse, too).  Rather, she would feel loved with a hug or time snuggling together on the couch while reading a good book.  [As a side note, dads, if she best receives love best through physical touch and I’m not loving her that way, as she gets older, she might look for it in the arms of some other man.]

Talk with your spouse about the ways everyone in the family receives love best.  Moms have wonderful insight, esp. if your children are younger.  This would make for a good family discussion.  Discuss each other’s love languages and brainstorm ways you can love each other better.  Don’t know your Children’s Love Language?  Connect with them and let them know how important they are to you by taking this on-line quiz together.

Our Greatest Goal as Parents

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Encouragement, Moms

new greatest goalI remember reminding frustrated youth leaders, and members of our congregation, that the students in youth group who were not believers can’t be expected to bear the fruit of one who knows the Lord.  But they insisted they shouldn’t act the way they do. Following Christ isn’t about behavioral modification.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit…” John 15:5

What about our own children?  Behavioral modification will not produce the fruit a parent truly desires for their child.  It is all too easy (for me too) to fall into the trap of focusing too much on bad behavior (“that wasn’t nice.” “Don’t do that!” “You can do better!”  “You forgot?”)  As parents with a Kingdom vision, our concern is not that they act right.  Our vision is much grander and deeper.  Our #1 mission is that our children join Jesus.  I’ve seen lots and lots of teens do all the right things and then they go off to college and they take a turn for the worse.

We have to remember, Jesus invited us to join Him.  Chuck Bomar, in his new book, Losing Your Religion, states, “The good news Jesus offered was that He invites us into His life. Not vice versa”.   Zacchaeus was a changed man because he responded to Jesus’ invitation.  Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Come and follow me.'”

Our children will not live out a faith in Christ because they attend children’s church every Sunday, attend mission trips, and are a good kid.  They will only grow up and leave the roost following Jesus with all their heart, soul, strength and mind if they accept the invitation to be a part of His life.  There is a difference between inviting Jesus into our life, our plans, our desires and accepting the invitation to join His life, His plans, His desires.

Our greatest goal as parents is to help our children join Jesus.

How are you leading your children to know, love and follow Jesus?

Do they see the Christian life as a bunch rules to follow or an adventure?  What adventures have your family been on?

Love God with everything. Love your kids.  Lead them to the heart of the Father. And with His grace, they will love Him too.

One Word {Encouragement for Teen Girls}

Written by Amy on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Teen Girls

One word. The thought baffles me.

Verbosity is my weakness.

I heard the challenge on the radio a couple of days ago. Instead of writing out a list of goals and achievements; resolutions for the year, to choose one word.

One word to hold onto. One word to inspire. One word. Only one.

So I started thinking. I can do this, right? Just one word, pshaw–that should be easy…right?

Ahem. Until you start trying to narrow it down.

Words filled my mind.

Beloved?

Surrender?

Faith?

Purpose?

Trust?

Open?

All beautiful words…but they felt redundant to me. Sure, I could use them. But they didn’t feel right. So I prayed about it, and kept thinking and searching. Then I saw it:

A beautiful word. So simple. Mundane, boring even. But the thoughts that filled my mind when I read it whispered, “This is it.”

Walk

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
~Micah 6:8

To place one foot in front of the other.
To get somewhere.
Swift or slow, to progress.
Steady or shaking, intrepid or heart breaking.
To hold His hand and follow Him.
To take each step. With Him.

 

“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
~Genesis 5:24

“I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
~Leviticus 26:12

“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.”
~Deuteronomy 6:7

“When His lamp shone over my head, And by His light I walked through darkness;”
~Job 29:3

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
~Psalm 23:4

“For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.”
~Psalm 26:3

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”
~Psalm 86:11

“for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
~Ephesians 5:8

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”
~Colossians 2:6

“so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
~1 Thessalonians 2:12

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
~1 John 1:7

“the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
~1 John 2:6

“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;”
~Revelation 21:23-25
What do you think of this challenge–one word for the year?
What would be a word that you would choose?

When Kids Ask Tough Questions

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Family Devo Tips, Why Bring Faith Home?

When faithful young adults were asked what solidified their faith the most in their teen years, the prominent answer was faith conversations in the home!  What does this tell us?  It says that we must talk about God with our family; when it is inconvenient, when it is uncomfortable, or if you don’t feel like you have an intelligent answer.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to us, because this is what God said to do in Deuteronomy 6:7

“Impress them [the commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  

What about those tough spiritual questions our children/teenagers ask that we just don’t know the answer to?

We can’t be afraid of tough questions! We must answer tough questions.  (Notice I didn’t say WE need to have all the answers.)   Help them grow in their knowledge and understanding of scripture and God through helping them discover the richness and depth of the Word.  And when you don’t know an answer, it’s a wonderful thing to find the answer with them!  You may look up passages through your concordance, the internet (www.biblegateway.com), answersingenesis.com, books, or even your pastor or friend that has been on this journey with Christ longer than you.

What does this teach your child/teenager?

When you help them answer tough questions, you are discipling them!  A disciple is a follower, a learner.  By the way, you are discipling them in lots of areas (how to dress, how to get along with others, how to study, etc.), so make sure you are also discipling them in their faith. You will gain respect and build your relationship by being humble and learning with your children.  When you explore questions with your child, you help them learn how to learn, how to find answers.  You also teach them that you are open to learning new things and you never stop learning.

They will need as many questions answered before going off to college, so they can stand firm.  We must teach them to depend upon the Word, to seek it, to know it.  When the storms come, we want them to have a solid foundation, a lasting faith and trust in our Savior. Luke 6:48-50

Small group questions:

How are you answering your children’s questions?  How are you building in them a solid foundation that will stay firm when the storms come?  How are you preparing them for a faith that will last?  If you have any suggestion on what worked for your kids, share them with others below.

What questions have your kids asked?  Post them in the comments section below and we will help you answer them.

Helping you have Homes Devoted,

Jonathan & Carrie

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