Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Uncategorized

Love Rooted in Sincerity

“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

Image result for roots + imageTimothy is commanding his readers not to teach falsely–no false doctrines, no mythologies and no theologies based in genealogies. What we believe–not just if we believe–about the Bible is important. And not just for us, but for our children and our children’s children.

You see, God is love. And the greatest two commands teach us to first of all love God and, from that outflow, to love our fellow man. Moreover, false teachings don’t stem from love and are not themselves loving. Because false teachings aren’t based in the love of God, they’re based in the self-love of man. And false teachings aren’t the saving truth of a loving God.

The will to love God, ourselves and others comes from three things–a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Holiness. Goodness [by God’s standard, not man’s]. Absolute certainty in the God we hope in but cannot see with our physical eyes. And these without falseness.

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Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Loving God, Parents, Prayer, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized, Worship

The Bread of Sincerity

“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

Image result for injeraIn our society today, it is hard for our children to imagine the need for God to provide food for us. After all, most of us have jobs and are able to make sure that our children not only eat what they need, but much of what they want–as much as they want, as often they want–everyday.

However, we try to impress on our children that even this type of bounty comes only from the Lord. He provides us with our job. He blesses us with the ability to be able to enjoy a variety of foods at each meal and other times throughout the day. He still maintains the seasons and global systems that allow food to grow. By His design our bodies extract nourishment from our food and deliver it throughout our bodies.

So demonstrating sincerity in mealtime prayer as thank God for providing for us is a very real thing. Our children need to see and hear our sincerity. Because we truly would not have the blessings and bounty that we do in our every day lives without God. That is not to preach a prosperity gospel. Not at all. But only to acknowledge that it is God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills [Psalm 50:10]. It is God who provides. It is God who gives the increase.

And it is God who sincerely deserves the glory for the good things that we are able to provide for our children.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

TV-Watching, Media-Consuming Sincerity

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32

Image result for family watching tvIt’s hard to watch TV as a family. Very hard.

Our oldest son, now 10, is a renegade Patriots fan and was so excited to get to watch his first full Super Bowl–complete with Brady jersey. We’d planned to monitor commercials very closely and to send our children to get ready for bed during the half-time show, but even flipping the channels at inappropriate commercials felt like we were majorly messing up. By the time something inappropriate came up, we couldn’t flip fast enough, and the TV seemed to freeze that last inappropriate image–that we were trying to avoid–on screen while booting up the next channel. Ugh!

Obviously, we figured we’d be doing a lot of channel flipping at commercials. We knew we didn’t want to take a chance on the half-time show, just in case. Yet on any given afternoon/evening after the kids are home from school, the homework and dinner is done, and the kids sit down to watch some kid-friendly, and usually educational, TV programming we run into the same problem.

One thing that I’ve noticed with my kids through all of this, they know what they’re not supposed to see. Just last night, my husband was side-tracked with our youngest daughter when an inappropriate commercial came on, and our oldest son called him relentlessly to change the channel because he knew that the content wasn’t appropriate for himself or any other sibling in the room. Praise the Lord!

Our oldest daughter, now 12, has to search images for PowerPoint homework assignments, and she  clicks out of the image tile screen if something wrong pops up and then changes search terms. Hallelujah!

By our conviction as parents, when we watch TV as a family our children have learned which things they should not allow to enter their vision–and therefore their minds. When one of them asks why we left the channel, we tell them, “They [the characters] weren’t doing something that God is pleased with. They were disobeying His Word.” It’s that simple.

As they get older, we discuss the scripture more in depth so that they understand what God doesn’t approve of and know where He says it in His Word. By our reactions to ungodly cultural portrayals on TV and media, our children see the sincerity of our relationship with God.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized, Worship

Impressing God on Their Lives

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23

Image result for worship + imageWorship must be sincere–without wax. God can see the heart of a man, but our children can see it too. They will know if our worship is sincere or not. Because worship of the heart comes out in a life.

God commands us to have no other gods, to not make any images into gods, and to not use His name emptily. He alone created all that is. There is no other like Him.

Our children will know–maybe before we do–if we allow something else to become a god in our life. They will know what images we worship with our time and attention. They will see right through our empty invocation of the name of God Almighty. They will know because they have a God-given intuition when it comes to their parents. They themselves have occupied the place of undiverted love and attention, and because they see our daily lives.

If we worship God in the Spirit and truth, not only will we be the kind of worshipers the Father seeks, we will be the kind of worshipers that our children should emanate. The kind of worshipers whose love will overflow into our children’s lives in an indisputable way. In the way that will leave the impression of God on their lives.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Uncategorized

Spilling Jesus into the World

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

Image result for overflowing water + imageAs parents, we are teachers 24-7 to our children. Of course, James did not mean that parents shouldn’t teach their children or that believers shouldn’t become parents. His exhortation simply makes readers aware of the great responsibility born by we who teach–we will be judged more strictly.

By God, yes, because teaching is the highest form of learning. In order to teach, one must have a more intimate knowledge of the truth than those they are teaching. So they are also held more responsible for living out that truth.

But by our fellow man as well. Others will look closely at the life of one who professes God’s Word to others. Does their life align with the truth they are teaching? Are they sincere in their faith and genuine in their love?

Our children will also judge us strictly, for by the life we lead by example, we demonstrate 24-7 what we truly believe about God. We demonstrate whether or not we genuinely have a personal relationship with Him or not. “For all of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ,” [Galatians 3:27].

If the Holy Spirit indwells us–and if we are believers then He does–we are Jesus with skin on as we walk this world. Our first responsibility is to be Christ to our spouse and our kids. To touch their lives with the love that only God can give. Our marriages and families should so overflow with the love of Jesus that it spills into our neighborhood, community and the world at large.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” [John 13:35]. Everyone–starting with your spouse and children, and rippling outward to change the world to the glory and honor of God alone.

Posted in Children, Christian Family Devotions, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Parents, Prayer, Uncategorized

Family Rock

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Image result for house built on rock + imageThe house is our life, marriage and family. The rock is Jesus. Whatever storms may come–and come they will–we will only weather them if we have built on Christ.

How do we build our selves, marriage and family on Him?

Be in the Word. As an individual, as a couple and as a family. Read. Meditate. Discuss. Live out the truth of God with sincerity.

Acknowledge God, and be in a personal relationship with Him. As an individual, as a couple and as a family. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks. Worship and give praise. Live out your love for God with sincerity.

When the storms come, don’t give up on your anchors–Bible study, prayer, praise and worship–but encourage one another through these.

 In this world, trouble will come, but Christ has overcome [John 16:33] and if He is our rock, then we too will overcome.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

Without Wax

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

Image result for broken potteryThe word sincere means without [sin] wax [cere]. It was once used to describe pottery that could be trusted to be without defects.

Defective pottery–in the hands of a dishonest merchant–would have the cracks and chips filled with wax that was then painted over, giving the appearance of a perfect vessel. However, when the purchaser of the pot would try to fill it, the wax would break loose revealing the true nature of the piece.

Our testimony to our children needs to be sincere–without wax. Even unborn babies can hear the way that parents speak with one another and feel the presence or absence of love. And a teen can tell in a heartbeat if someone is being two-faced or disingenuous in their treatment of another or their love for God.

No amount of wax and polish can make our children believe that we love God and other people if we truly don’t. They will see right through our fake smiles and half-hearted giving. And our children will learn to love others based on the pattern of love that we parents live out.

Therefore, Romans 12:9 says, we need to cling to what is good. Which means we need to understand what is good. God is good. Cling to God. God’s Word is good. Cling to His Word which tells us to love sincerely. Genuinely. Without Wax.

Is there any area of your love for God or others that is just polished wax? Ask God to show you and to heal that brokenness so that your love for all will be sincere. And so that your children will know it.