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Biblical Directives for Parents

1. Your children are your responsibility: God Gave Them to You.
a. GOD gave them to you. Your children were given to you by GOD. They are HIS sovereign design for your life right now. - One of the greatest struggles some parents have is viewing their children as an inconvenience to their life and comfort. Conflict between children and parents seems to most often arise when parents fail to realize that parenting the children they have now is God’s will for their lives. Repentance here looks like a change of mind in establishing God as the one in control of the home, and not us as parents. It is looking to the reign of God in the entire home rather than the reign of the parents in the name of convenience. b. God GAVE them to you. Psalm 127:3 says that children are a heritage, treasure, and reward from God. - When parents tend to view or treat their children as an inconvenience, they are not viewing them as the treasure God says they are. Repentance here looks like a change of mind with regard to how GOD looks at our children, and discovering anew in what ways God sees them as a reward, treasure, and heritage from him. It is looking to the value of our children rather than the value of our ease and rest. c. God gave them to YOU. Your children are YOURS to shape, nurture and disciple. They were not given to someone else…to your parents or neighbors or friends. - When parents treat their children as an inconvenience they shape their children through non-influential behavioral training like yelling and screaming, swearing or belittling, using or abusing. Repentance here looks like a change of mind in learning what God says our tasks are with our children. It is looking to the needs of the child rather than the wants of the parent.

2. God wants you to saturate your children with Him and His presence.
a. The OT Mandate: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - 4 "Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.* 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (NLT) b. The NT Mandate: Ephesians 6:3-4 - 1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,* for this is the right thing to do. 2 "Honor your father and mother." This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, "things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth."* 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

In both OT and NT mandates there is a clear cyclical nature of discipleship. The OT mandate commands parents to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. To the degree that they do this, that is the degree to which they will be able to teach their children to do the same. Likewise, the degree to which children learn to love to the Lord their God is the degree to which they will be able to parent their children to do the same. The NT mandate commands fathers not to provoke their children to anger, but instead to raise them up in the discipline and instruction that comes from God. The degree to which they provoke their children to anger will determine the degree to which their children obey their parents. Conversely, the degree to which children obey their parents determines the degree to which they will be able train up their children and/or not provoke them to anger.

Love the Lord your God with everything you have.

Talk and walk the things of the Lord.

Train up children in the Lord.

Children obey parents in the Lord.

c. This means teaching your children about God: who He is, what He does, how He works, His attributes, His character, etc…ALL with an eye to or focus upon His promises and faithfulness. d. This means teaching your children how to worship God…What God’s word says about worship, and how God wants us to do it: singing, praising, praying, dancing, lifting hands, shouting, giving, etc. e. This means teaching them how to pray to God. - The Lord’s prayer is the simplest way Jesus taught us to pray…as children to a Father. - In community is the simplest place to pray…with our spiritual family.

Handling Kids in Worship
1. Have family worship at HOME at least once a week. This instills the value of God and His presence at HOME. Otherwise they, like many of us, may eventually associate God only with “church.” 2. Communicate your expectations to your children BEFORE the worship gathering. On the way, or at home is wiser. Trying to communicate expectations on location is too late. They’re disconnected already. 3. Keep children with you DURING worship. Letting them run around and play or do whatever else does not teach them the importance of what community worship is. It communicates this is something only adults do. 4. Teach and disciple children to worship God DURING community worship. Keep them standing or sitting when the community is standing or sitting. Encourage them to lift their hands and/or shout when the song leads us to do so. Remind them to pray when the community is praying. Basically, you are discipling them to participate the way God says when it comes to worshiping Him. Also, disciplining is a part discipleship so don’t be afraid to use it when disobedience or rebellion surfaces. 5. Encourage your children on the way home where they participated properly, and think of ways to reward the younger ones later that day or during the week in order to reinforce the participation and discipleship. 6. Repetition and consistency are the keys to discipleship as with anything else in life. a. Lead them at home and in community worship repetitiously during the week. Establishing a pattern is essential so that children know it’s important. Being at community worship and prayer gatherings repeatedly also communicates that it is important to your children…because you deem it important to you. b. Lead them at home and in community worship with consistency. This means doing it the same way, with the same rules, and same expectations each time. Inconsistency is a key factor in provoking children to confusion, frustration, and anger.

No one will tell you this is easy, even if they have older kids. But it is necessary You are sowing seeds now that WILL reap a harvest of righteousness as they grow older, if you are consistent and faithful.