In Genesis 1, God instructs man, who is created in His image, to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” Have kids; spread my glory. Obviously, God wanted Adam and Eve to have children. Secondly, he wanted them to fill the earth with His image. Since he told them this before the fall, it would be God’s likeness and glory that would be spreading and subduing the earth, not man’s. (more…)
In their day, the Pilgrims were called Separatists because they separated themselves from the Church of England. They met in their homes in secret to read the Bible and worship freely. This was in contrast to the Puritans who remained in the church of England with the hope of purifying it. For the Separatists, this meant that the king and his officials became their enemy; Separatists were the “trouble makers” and were officially persecuted. The government broke up the secret meetings; they took their positions, their properties, and arrested them. This is how the Separatists became wanderers for their faith, pilgrims; they left England and fled to Holland in 1608.
Settling in Leyden, Holland, they were able to worship freely. The Dutch had been persecuted by the Spanish years earlier and were much more tolerant of different ways to worship Jesus Christ. In Leyden for twelve years, the Pilgrims worked hard and sought to make it a home, but it was not to be. (more…)
Sunday morning worship. I was singing, praying as we worshipped. In my heart, however, I was concerned for my young teens Anna and Patrick. During that worship time I heard God’s truth come to me. It was both a rebuke and an assurance, like a two-sided coin: “I can do more with their sin than you can do with their perfect behavior.”
I was struck by the clarity of that thought and by its immediate application in my life. We had raised our children with clear boundaries, teaching them to “obey with a good attitude.” Nevertheless, life itself was not fitting into such a neat package. They were growing and developing as their own persons and our control was lessening. We would see good fruit but also stuff we didn’t like in them. (It sounded a lot like ourselves, actually.)
God was rebuking me that my faith and trust were not in Him but in my own ability to be a good parent. We were trying to control our kids. As we saw that we were gradually losing control, we didn’t like it. We were asking ourselves many questions: (more…)
Recently, Jim Newsome spoke at our church and related this modern fable by George Reavis.
Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something to help their children face the problems of the world, so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. …
The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, he was even better than his teacher. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck…. (more…)
Our kids will be teased about something. Why? We are all flawed. Our kids are flawed. Their friends are flawed. Our relatives, leaders, employers, employees, and neighbors are all flawed. We are flawed on the outside and on the inside. Welcome to humanity.
At the same time, we are amazing creatures, fearfully and wonderfully made. We think, communicate, laugh, write, compose, paint, build, plan, feel, and on and on. Psalm 82:6 actually calls us “gods, sons of the Most High.” We are made in God’s likeness.
If you read the Bible, you come to see these things about our lives:
1) We are created to be like Jesus
2) We all have imperfections
3) Life will have difficulty (testing)
We must help our children get these three basic truths if they are going to be overcomers. Hebrews 2:10 states that Jesus was made perfect (complete) through suffering (testing). Our kids will be made more like Jesus through testing and difficulty.
When Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten, he still succeeded because the Lord was with him. At the right time, he became the second-in-command in Egypt. When his brothers appeared before him, he told them this, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” What an incredible perspective; the testing did not destroy him, but made him strong in God’s purpose.
To equip your kids to handle bullies or testing of any kind, begin with the Bible. Read them the stories straight from God’s word. Read about the overcomers like Joseph, Moses, Gideon, and David. The Bible tells it like it is. Don’t leave out the struggles that these men had.
To equip your kids to handle bullies or testing of any kind, discuss with them their imperfections. Help them become comfortable with how God has made them. If they have big ears, talk about it. If they have one green eye and one brown eye, discuss it with them. Help them see that God has made them unique in some ways, and that their value comes from being made to be like Him. Emphasize the heart, not the body.
To equip your kids to handle bullies or testing of any kind, prepare them to expect some difficulty. James said, “Do not be surprised when you encounter various trials.” That’s good advice for our kids.
Let’s prepare them for the road ahead with this attitude: