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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Aug. 29, 2007

  • 2007 Aug 29
  • COMMENTS
 

Be The Greatest Person by Being the Greatest Servant

Part 3 continued from August 28th

 

 

 

 

Picturing a Bright Future[5] 

 

Communicating a special future to a child is such an important part of giving a blessing. When a person feels in his or her heart that the future is hopeful and something to look forward to, it can greatly affect his or her attitude on life.  

 

In this way we are providing our children a clear light for their path in life. Instead of leaving a child to head into a dark unknown, words that picture a special future can illumine a pathway lined with hope and purpose.  

Children begin to take steps down the positive pathway pictured for them when they hear words like these:  

·      “God has given you such a sensitive heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up helping a great many people when you grow older.” or  

·      “You are such a good helper. When you grow up and marry someday, you’re going to be such a help to your wife (or husband) and family.”  

 

On the other hand, if children hear only words that predict relationship problems or personal inadequacies, they may travel down a hurtful path that has been pictured for them. This can happen if they hear statements like:  

·      “You’d better hope you can find someone who can take care of you when you’re older. You’re so irresponsible, you’ll never be able to do anything for yourself.”  

 

During the years we have children in our home, the words we speak to them can wrap around them like a cocoon. What we say shapes and develops their thoughts and thinking patterns, making it possible someday for them to emerge as beautiful butterflies. 

 

Two practical pointers, though, are in order.  

·      First, we must look at our past words and behavior to see if we are honoring the various commitment we made to our kids. Only with such a track record will words of a special future find their mark and extend a blessing.

·      Second, we must honor our commitments to our children in the present. One of the most important ways to do that is to keep your commitment to your spouse strong and intact. It is so much harder (though not impossible) for a child to feel blessed when he has lost a parent due to divorce.  

 

 

 

 

Make an Active Commitment to Invest in their Life[6] 

Words of blessing for our children are not enough. They need to be backed by the commitment of parents who work to see the blessing come to pass. Here are some steps: 

 

Commit your loved one to God, and let them know you’ve done so. Start a life-long prayer list with specific areas that you have learned from them need prayer, and then PRAY. Ask for updates. Celebrate answers. Pray together. We need all the help we can get, and much of what happens to us or to our children in this life is beyond our control.  

 

Next, commit your life to investing yourself in your loved one’s best interest. This means time, energy and resources. As you do this:

 

Realize that each of us has our own unique set of needs. It’s possible to live under the same roof and still not know someone. Do you really understand each of your children’s own thoughts, dreams and desires?

 

Be willing to do what is best for your loved one. With your husband or wife that may mean sharing when you think they are overloaded or impatient—but in such a loving way that you share in their struggle. With children that may include appropriate discipline, which can seem painful for everyone. Dare to love your children enough to train and correct them rather than leave them at the mercy of their own willfulness.  

Become a student of the one you wish to bless. Watch them, share their ups and downs; know where they are in their spiritual life, their school life, work life, home life. Find out who they are close to and who they are not close to—and why.

 

Take an interest in whatever seems to interest them. Get into his or her world.

 

Be lovingly persistent in communicating with him. That is, keep trying to set up times when meaningful communication can occur.

 

Share activities. Go to the grocery store, try a family time camping together, or even just ask them to do what you are doing with you (cooking, yard work, running errands).  It is always loving to want them, include them, and ask for them to spend time with you.

 

Take the initiative in asking questions. Have an endless learning time asking about what they think, what they feel, what they like or don’t like—and why. Learn their favorite flavor, favorite food, favorite activity, dreamed of place to go, and so much more. Write it down afterward to see what you remembered, and ask again until you do remember. Then surprise them with something they like!

 

Listen with full attention. Let her see your eyes light up when they talk to you.  

 

Ten Attitudes that Make You a Blessing your Children[7] 

1.  Love them anyway.  Yes I know you love them.  Most of us parents adore our children — most of the time.  Yet, some parents have a way of regularly communicating to their children that they do not measure up.  I’m thinking now about the young girl who grew up in a family where she was seen as the dunce.  Now as a young woman, she continues to experience the same from her family.   Children need parents who will believe in them and no matter what will love them anyway.

2.  Prepare them for the battleground, not the playground.  Some parents constantly buy their children toys, gadgets, candy, McDonalds, etc.  The kids then get into their high school years and the pampering continues.  Only now, the toys are much more expensive.  What does that communicate to these children? Meanwhile, other parents prepare their children for life on the battleground where a spiritual battle is taking place.  These parents realize that children need more than toys.  They need to be equipped for life so that they will survive the difficulties and trials they will face.

3.  Deal with your issues.  There are no perfect human beings.  Yet, if you don’t deal with your own issues (your sins, your insecurities, your feelings of inadequacy, etc.), these can impact your children.  They may end up having to deal with some of the very issues you would never grapple with.

4.  Take every opportunity to remind them of who they are in Christ.  They will, most likely, receive many false messages about their identity.  They will be told that their worth is based upon their academic record, their physical attractiveness, their charm, their ability to make money, etc.  You bless your children when you help them grow up with a sense of their real identity.

5.  Bless your children by giving them youThere is no substitute for your presence in their lives.  Your regular, consistent, emotional and physical presence means so much.  I have known a few parents who seem to see their child as one more activity on the list of things to be done for the day.  Yet one senses there is no real connection between parent and child.  Being attentive and giving one-on-one time are priceless gifts to children.

6.  Say only what communicates value, respect, and love.  Choose to never say or do anything that will humiliate.   Sometimes, families will tell embarrassing, humiliating, stories about their children.  The child is embarrassed at this but then the parent says, "I’m just kidding."  (In other words, "Since I think this is funny, you shouldn’t let this bother you.")  Listen, we all do things in our families that are silly, stupid, mindless, careless, etc.  I have found that it is much better for me to tell about something silly or stupid that I did — not my children.  Children need to know that homes are safe places where one’s mistakes are not announced to the world.

7.  Be your child’s greatest encourager.  Far too many parents are really not that encouraging.  It’s not that they have a critical spirit.  Rather, they just say nothing.  Children are not mind readers.  We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner.  They need to hear it!  Make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out.  Highlight it!  "Hey, you really handled that situation very well."

8.  Pray for your children.  If you are not praying for them each day, who is?  Regardless of the age, they need you to lift them up before the Lord in prayer each day.  Think about their day.  Think about their setting.  Think about the people they will be with. Pray about these situations.

9.  Give them what they need not what they want.   Many of us are very busy people.  We have a lot going on.  So often, parents will feel guilty about how busy they are and so decide to give them a new "toy."  Yet, we do our children no favors when we give them most everything they want.  The point is this: Too many children grow up getting all the things they want while little attention is given to what they really need.  Think about what your children really need if they are going to make it in this difficult world as obedient children of a loving God.

10. Give your children something to look forward to when they come home.  Give them a beautiful home to look forward to.  That’s home — not house.  Anyone with enough money can build a beautiful house.  Our children need beautiful homes.  Homes that are filled with warmth, laughter, and love.  Beautiful homes are places where children can catch a glimpse of the loving God in the love of their parents.  These homes remind kids that no matter how bad the day is at school or with friends, they can always come home.   

 

When my children reached the age of graduating high school and going out into the big, bad world, I knew that of all the graduation gifts I could give them, nothing was more important than my blessing. 

 

We invited our closest friends over to the house and one by one, they spoke a blessing over them. When it was my turn, I had written it out like a letter. I said things like, “I’m so proud of you. Your peers look up to you; you have set good examples for them. Whatever you do, I know you’ll succeed.” [email me and I’ll send you a copy if you’d like]. 

 

I could feel the emotion rising in me as something spiritual was transacted between us. Children need their parents’ blessing in a daily sort of way, and they also need it sacramentally and publicly. It’s a way of validating their identity before others. God showed us how it’s done with Jesus: “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased.”

 

When finished, everyone clapped and cheered. Our children weren’t just finishing a course of study, they were becoming adults and being praised for the good choices they’d made. April and May is a season of graduation. Send out your invitations soon for not just a graduation party, but a celebration of your parental blessing of a child in whom you are well pleased. 

As parents we can choose to bless or curse our children. Choose blessings! The words we say to them, will be with them long after Christ calls us home. Make sure the words you plant in your child's heart and mind are ones you want to be planted - words of love, encouragement, support, belief and faith. Say things like, "I want you to know that whenever Christ calls me home, I am ready to go. I will be in heaven and I will be looking for you. Make sure you are there!", "I believe in you", "You are my favorite son in all the world", "God has a plan and a place for you", "God will make a way for you", "I know what you are facing is difficult and you would rather stay home and hide. I also know you are strong enough to go out there and face the world. You can do it", "Jesus is with you".

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. (NKJV) 

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (NIV)

 

Servants of God: Live for Spiritual Assets (to prayer message?) 

A servant of God has their heart set on spiritual treasures and measures life by the acquisition of spiritual assets rather than merely physical assets. Do you keep track of your Spiritual

 

Assets? Often we know our house value, our retirement investment value, the worth of our collections and treasures—but do you keep an inventory of spiritual assets? What are some of our spiritual assets?  

 

These are things like:

·      Knowing where your kid’s are reading in God's Word so they remember when they grow up and leave home that you always cared how they were doing spiritually.

·      Asking your husband or wife each week what they are finding in God's Word that is helping them to make it through the day. And, actually remembering what they said the last time because you care. This is a spiritual treasure because it forges a strong bond in your hearts of a shared spiritual walk.

·      Finding and learning scripture memory verses that you share in common with your loved ones are a spiritual treasure. Not hundreds or even dozens, but a handful that you all have learned and share in common. What a treasure to quote them around the living room when the power goes out, or an ice storm cancels church, or when you are traveling, to have this body of Scripture that you together as a couple and a family learned is a true spiritual treasure. Some of the more valuable passages are Psalm 23, the love chapter--I Corinthians 13, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and key verses on the tongue and faith in James.

·      Collecting testimonies of salvation is a record of each person’s greatest treasure, isn’t it? The only thing that lasts forever from this world will be people and whatever we send up to Heaven before we leave. So, who are you taking to Heaven with you? Have you heard, understood, and savored the testimonies of your family? Can you tell your husband’s or wife’s testimony? How about your children? What an incredible treasure is our salvation. Take a spiritual inventory of the status of each soul around you in those you love.

·      Recording and remembering those spiritual milestones, have you started on this spiritual asset yet? Do you record your loved ones salvation date, baptism date, when they started the habit of personal devotional quiet times, what they are doing in that QT? Have you started yet to celebrate each other’s spiritual birthdays? Do you keep a record of, share and celebrate any souls led to Christ by you or by loved ones, and then uphold them by prayer? Who can your family say that you as a family are “taking to Heaven”?

 

Finally, one of the great spiritual treasures is a lifelong prayer journal. Even if you’ve never started, it is never too late to start watching God at work through prayer. Any type of list will do, just date it, hold onto it, and be specific enough in your requests—and there you have it—an actual record of the God of Heaven moving in and through your life by prayer. A list of family needs, specific challenges, hurdles, obstacles, great goals, and so on are all prayed over. As well the verses for Christ's formation in the lives of those you love are always such a tool. Just a sheet of paper, dated, written out and prayed over faithfully until it wears out and then a new one started will harvest great spiritual gains and treasures. 



[1]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[2]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[3]  These ideas are adapted from The Blessing (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, Nashville) and The Blessing Workbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, Nashville) by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D.

[4]  These ideas are adapted from The Blessing (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, Nashville) and The Blessing Workbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, Nashville) by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D.

[5]

[6]  These ideas are adapted from The Blessing (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, Nashville) and The Blessing Workbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, Nashville) by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D.

[7]  Posted by Jim Martin at January 16th, 2007 online at http://www.godhungry.org/?p=592

 

 

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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