Father God calls, covenants, every generation of Christians to see to it that the next generation hears about His mighty acts. God does not drop a new truth from heaven on every generation but intends that the older generation will teach the newer generation how to read and think, trust and obey and rejoice.
The Goal of Parenting: Eternity in the Everyday
God’s ordinary way of shaping children into radically committed, risk-taking, countercultural, wise, thinking, loving, mature, world Christians is through parents who themselves teach and model a God-centered, Bible-saturated “Christian” worldview to their children.
The High Calling of Fatherhood
The overarching guide for every father should be to live in such a way that his children can see what God the Father is like. Children should see in their human father a reflection — albeit imperfect — of the heavenly Father in his strength and tenderness, in his wrath and mercy, in his exaltation and condescension, in his surpassing wisdom and patient guidance.
The Deep Impact of Motherhood
Motherhood is the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to our children. Mothers have a covenant calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for their own children but for the untold numbers of other children who will be affected and influenced by them.
Discipline: To Train the Heart
Gracious parenting prayerfully leads children from external compliance to what socio-cultural peer pressures dictate “must be” done to joyful willingness to do what Mom and Dad tell them, ask them, to do from the kindness of their heart.
Children must learn to obey before they are able process obedience through Christian faith. When saving faith comes, the obedience which they’ve learned from fear, reward, respect, becomes the natural expression of their own faith.
Parenting in the Hardest of Times
If you are parenting in the worst of times or want to get ready for parenting in the worst of times — or simply want hope in the worst of times — look to Jesus, take this posture: brokenness because of our sin and boldness because of Christ.
Genesis 1:26-27 Amplified Bible
26 Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
On the parenting front, if you are not a parent, a single, or not able to have kids, this is still for you because you were parented.
Somewhere along the line you were a kid and had parents.
There are two things I want you to do this morning, write down tips on what you need to do to help others, and write down things you were missing.
This is not to turn around and tell your parents what they did wrong, but it is a space and a place for Father God to come restore and heal you.
God is your Father and Restorer and it’s a place to meet with God.
Another thing on the forefront is to acknowledge parenting is hard.
It takes two, which is why God put us in partnership.
If you are a single parent, you know it takes a community around you.
It’s difficult and challenging.
Sometimes, mom and dad have to figure it out together.
Parenting is tough.
It is unique, but it is God’s will.
God’s plan A is family to glorify God and raise children in a way that they experience the fullness of God’s heart.
Genesis 1:27-28, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God created male and female and He blessed them.
It was a good thing. Then, He said go and bear fruit and multiply, and care for these precious ones that they might glorify God in the earth.
May every generation be better than the one before it.
May every generation far exceed where their parents were in that journey and find the grace in God.
There is no Plan B; parenting is Plan A for His glory.
Just a reminder, especially to parents of little kids, children are a blessing from the Lord.
Remember, God created us male and female, and He blessed them, He let them know they were worth everything to Him.
The psalmist picks this up in Psalm 127:3-5,
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
This is God’s delight, His design, and His desire.
Whether you are experiencing this or not as a parent, you have promises from God that He will absolutely bless your children. It is His design and desire.
The question is:
Will you bless your children?
Will you affirm and love them the way God intended?
The one thing your kids need to know is that there is a mom and a dad, two people on the earth that will be for them, always, no matter what.
No matter the ups and downs, the failures, the successes, there is somebody that values them above all others, and that’s you.
That is why we don’t compare our kids to other people. “Why can’t you be like so and so?”
Of course, it is fine to say, “Look at that attribute in that person’s life.”
To point to Christlikeness, but at the same time, you do not compare your kids to other kids.
It devalues them.
It makes them feel as if they are not the most important person to somebody on the earth.
Everyone wants to know, “Who is going to love me? Who is going to value me?”
Mom and Dad – you are that person.
There is no one else that God has chosen to be the number one cheerleader for your kids.
This does not mean your kids are perfect or don’t have problems.
It doesn’t mean they aren’t challenging or a wipeout.
They need to know there is somebody on this planet that will love them like nobody else and will advocate for them no matter what, and it is you.
That is one thing you can be for your children.
Despite of what else is going on, consistently let them know they are a blessing.
Mom and Dad, it’s absolutely okay to brag about your kids.
You say, “I get so tired of so-and-so bragging about their kids,”
You know what?
I don’t. I’m done with that.
I love hearing other parents brag about their kids.
Somebody must be their cheerleader.
Somebody to actually and genuinely think and to say and to communicate to them that they are the best and most loved in the world and be on their team.
Because every kid needs it, and so do you.
Children are a blessing form the Lord, let’s act like it so they can experience God’s blessing over their lives.
The other thing to mention with this is we know everybody is tainted by sin.
Each one of your kids is marred by sin as you are.
When your kids are not a blessing, like coming out of the womb and screaming, or just all over you and crazy doing stuff you cannot tolerate or understand.
When you are thinking, “I think my kid has a demon…”
No, they are born in the beauty of God, but with sin in their lives and they manifest that sin.
It is your covenant role to deal appropriately, lovingly and biblically with that, in order to lead them towards more Christlikeness.
It is a journey, and they are sinners just like you and me.
That is why we have Jesus.
That is why Jesus has to be the exact center of our hearts and the exact center of our homes, core thinking, exactly where we are leading our kids for answers.
He is a Redeemer, a Restorer, a Renewer, and an Empowerer.
He is who we are trying to be like, and He is who we are adapting to.
With Jesus as the Restorer and the Center, we always have hope, even in the most difficult and challenging situations with our kids.
The question becomes as parents, “What is our role? What does it look like?”
I have found some Scriptures that have really helped me to build faith, day-by-day, in my own stepparenting journey.
I want to share a few with you.
Psalm 128:1-3, “How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy, and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.”
When it says “your children shall be like olive branches” that means anointed.
They should be anointed by God.
They will be like the anointed ones around your table, living in the abundance of God.
I claim that every day, I pray it every day over Laura and Joe and over their child.
Another Scripture I pray is
Psalm 112, “Praise the Lord! 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.”
Praise God! God’s children will be mighty on the earth. They may not stand on a stage; people may not even know who they are, but they will be mighty on the earth in God because this is true of those who reverently fear, worship the Lord.
Psalm 103:17 “But the loving-kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him in His righteousness to children’s’ children.”
I don’t know if you do or have seen the theme, that the blessing and promises is directly linked to the fear of the Lord.
Our Covenant as a parent is to fear the Lord.
Fear does not mean to draw away from, it means to run to.
It means to acknowledge that God’s ways are right, and mine are not…
That the way I live my life, the way I think and treat Laura and Joe their child, my Grand Son, is Christ-centered, biblically centered, God honoring.
Anything that doesn’t look like Jesus is out for me and my household.
Fearing the Lord is acknowledging, keeping God central in all things so He might be the power source of life to fulfilling the promises He has over kids.
We are all God’s Children –
John 1:12-13 ” 12 But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name— 13 who were born, not of blood [natural conception], nor of the will of the flesh [physical impulse], nor of the will of man [that of a natural father], but of God [that is, a divine and supernatural birth—they are born of God—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].
The issue becomes whether or not I fear the Lord.
Am I responding to God?
Am I adapting to God?
We aren’t talking about any degree of perfection here; nobody on this planet is perfect or will be perfect until Jesus returns or until we meet Him face-to-face.
But there is a journey towards Christlikeness that is an absolute must, mom and dad.
Jesus must be the absolute center of our hearts therefore the absolute center of the way we parent and love.
I in no way want to impart on to my kids that I am perfect, because they know and have seen that I am not and never will be anywhere near perfection.
What I want to put on is that I am a repentant man.
I want to be known as the ‘parent’ who tries to keep Father, Son, Holy Spirit as close to the very center of my heart and my soul not as “the very best parent.”
Because if I learn how to repent, learn how to respond to God, and humble myself to others, there will always be grace for the next challenge before us.
You tend to respond to life with strength when you see your Father’s face.
Obviously, God Himself, but parents, we have the opportunity to be that face as well in their lives.
You are their number one influencer.
Moms and Dads, you are the one who puts identity on your sons and daughters.
You are the ones that calls a woman a woman, and a man a man.
You are the ones who hugs and holds and affirms them in such a way that they don’t need the arms of another man until the appropriate time which Father God has ordained exclusively, inclusively for them.
They don’t need, and prayerfully won’t see the need, to drift off to find love somewhere else, because they are supposed to be finding it with God in you.
God calls Himself Father in the Scriptures.
God portrays Himself as male.
Though He is both nurturing and consistent and strong,
He describes Himself as Father.
Until your kids connect with Father God, you are it.
Our Parenting is about how we ourselves live our lives in God, how we have established the ‘mirrored lives in Christ’ for them to model their life after.
The only way we can succeed as parents is by the power of God’s Spirit.
Even if you are the most educated, the most enthusiastic, and the trendiest parent around, you still need God’s Holy Spirit to help you.
This is why it’s so important for us to ask the Lord to refill us with His Spirit every day, so we can operate in His power.
Also, we need to ask the Lord to help us parent our children with HIS heart—and we need Holy Spirit’s help for that, too.
Carrying God’s heart for people doesn’t come by fleshly power or effort, even if those people are your children.
We have to ask the Lord proactively to give us His heart!
Asking the Lord to give you HIS heart for your child will transform your parenting.
God’s heart for your child is the same as it is for you:
- He’s full of love and hope.
- He believes the best about you.
- He never remembers the sins He has forgiven.
If you pray and earnestly ask the Lord to gradually give you His own heart for your children, you will gradually be able to love them more and more each day with a holy fervor that eclipses the stress of day-to-day childlike behavior.
You will be able to remain filled with hope not only for your child’s life, but also for the success of your day together!
Also, God’s heart will enable you to move past their “little” glitches (like temper tantrums) and still be able to treat your child with love and affection.
Second Corinthians 12:9 says, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Every parent is familiar with the feeling of weakness.
However, we don’t always realize that God’s grace is a very tangible force that has a very real physical, discernible, extremely powerful impact on our day.
When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I ask the Lord to make His grace tangible in my life.
In other words, I’m asking Him to manifest His supernatural help in our family in such a way that:
- Things just work and flow, and they aren’t stressful;
- I am able to stay filled with peace and joy, no matter what happens; and
- I can take things in stride, not feel overwhelmed, and maintain a “can-do” attitude throughout the day as I spend time with my child.
By contrast, on the days when I forget to pray this prayer,
I often feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Little things feel like insurmountable challenges. I lose courage and feel like hiding, instead of operating in the peace and power of God.
God’s grace truly is sufficient for you and me—and “grace” isn’t a pie-in-the-sky concept. It’s the very real power of God that He applies to your life to make everything work and flow. It produces peace in your home and in your soul.
Therefore, on mornings when you don’t know how you will face the “coming catastrophes of today”, Pray! ask God to make His grace tangible in your life!
Let’s not miss the opportunity of a lifetime.
Our loving Father has promised to instruct us and teach us in the way we should go and to guide us with His eye upon us (Psalm 32:8).
This promise applies to our children also!
When you consider the other verses above, we can see that God Himself has promised to disciple our children personally.
As parents, of course we can and should guide and teach our children.
That’s our covenant role!
However, if we will also ask the Lord to personally teach them, guide them, and help them stay on His path each day, then His Holy Spirit will work in their hearts. He will lead them, disciple them, and even convict them when needed.
Parents are their children’s main influencers, and it is their covenant role to create a Christ-like environment, an environment of safety and peace in our households so our kids can know how to flourish in their coming generations.
They are taking on the world, the flesh and the devil every day, as we are.
Home should be refuge. Home should be a sacred place where there is every opportunity in the world to flourish, to be successful and supported, to walk through life and talk about everything. That is what we are trying to create.
God our Father wants our days with our families to be as precious and as sweet.
However, the enemy often tries to use the cares of this world and the stresses of life to rob us of our enjoyment of that time.
On days when you feel like hiding in the closet, pray specifically as follows:
- Ask the Lord to help you fall in love with your children all over again.
- Ask Him to help you delight in their sweet kisses, in their hugs, and in their learning, growth, and development.
- Ask Him to give you creative, fun ideas for activities you can do together… and ask Him to give you the desire to do those activities.
If your children still live at home, you already know that your years of seeing them every day are numbered.
Eventually, they will grow up, move out, and build lives of their own.
Therefore, it’s important to ask God to help you make the most of every day.
Fellow Parents, Listen, not only are we not perfect, and we’ve got problems.
It’s so important that we pray daily for our children to be humble and to submit to the Lord in all things.
In order to bear any kind of good fruit in their lives, our children will have to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. (Even salvation requires us to humble our hearts before Jesus as we receive Him as Savior and Lord!)
When both we and our children are humble and obedient before the Lord, our family lives will naturally fall into place. God’s word—and the instructions found therein—will have first place in our hearts and homes. That means:
- We will love and honor each other.
- We will prefer other people as better than ourselves.
- Our children will obey us as their parents.
- The sweet sounds of worship and prayer will exude from our hearts and fill our homes.
But it all starts with humility, and with God’s Spirit changing our hearts to make us like Jesus, helping us to yield to all of the Father Day in and day out.
We are always working through something.
The goal is not perfection; it is a response to imperfection that is the goal.
How do we respond to imperfection?
It is what allows life, health and grace in the journey.
May we be those who respond well to the imperfections of life.
Find Jesus as central, find God’s grace is enough and we journey together as a family until death do, we part. Amen.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Lord, give me new eyes. Help me see each challenge as an opportunity to train my children toward right thinking and right living. Lord, give me a brand-new attitude. Remind me that any moment of the day can be a “start over” moment and a chance for an attitude adjustment. Lord, give me a new focus. Help me to pluck any worries from my mind and place them firmly in your hands. Lord, give me compassion. Remind me what it was like to be my children’s ages and have to face the struggles of growing up. Lord, give me wisdom. Help me to see my children as who You designed them to be, instead of the images I have set and locked securely up in my mind, of exactly who I’d like them to become.
God, You are my Parent. Earnestly I seek to guide myself, my family upon You!