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Category: Relationships / Topics: Beliefs Bible Character, Integrity Christian Life Faith Family Relationships Teaching

Raise Up a Child

by Stu Johnson

Posted: December 20, 2018

Learning from each other and God's Word…

No.21 in the Thursday Morning Guy’s group series (see list)

Once again, I report from the Thursday Morning Guys group I’ve been attending at a local church. Each week one of the guys suggests a topic for discussion. The blogs that result are not minutes from the session, but an attempt to glean useful themes, to which I may add my own insights. The topic at the December 6 session was “Raise Up a Child”

The previous entry in my series from the Thursday Morning Guys group was way back in June.  A lot has happened to keep me from regular contributions.  Check in over the coming weeks as I get back to adding more in this series from the weekly meetings of the Thursday Morning Guys group. 

THE DISCUSSION STARTER

Topic shared in an email the night before

In these trying times what can we do to " raise up a child in the way they should go" ? That is to follow Jesus so they will never depart from it .

  1. Is prayer enough?
  2. Can they understand that they should love their neighbors but not love the choices that their neighbors might make?
  3. Do Pastors and Sunday School teachers do enough to let older kids know the consequences of their decisions?

THE CONVERSATION

For some, distance from grandchildren is a problem. Connecting through technology is good, but not as good as being with them.  Even when grandchildren are closer, schedules are often so crowded that it becomes difficult to connect.  These shortcomings led to the first principle below, taking advantage of every opportunity to connect.

Many of the other comments led to one of the principles below or their explanation.

What personal experiences or observations can you add?

PRINCIPLES PROPOSED

I will suggest four. You may have others you would add.

Take advantage of every opportunity

Sometimes we wait for the perfect time to make a big point, only to miss the small ones along the way.  Take advantage of unguarded moments. Every word of encouragement, every chance to share a life lesson, every time we can connect in even the smallest way is another opportunity to plant a seed of thought, hope, and love. Follow up on activities the child has been involved in (camp, sports, etc.). Say something or send a note of encouragement to reinforce something good you have seen.  Hearing such affirmation from a grandparent can build confidence and relationship.

We often remember the teacher more than the lesson

While words of wisdom are wonderful, who you are and how you relate may have the deepest, lasting impact. Sometimes things are said by a child to get a reaction. Use that as an opportunity to draw out a life lesson. Learn from Jesus—he shared life truths in parables and stories. He often engaged people by responding to a question with another question. This is not a defensive measure or deflection to avoid answering, but a way to build empathy and lead to deeper conversation.

Don’t be timid about sharing from our life experience.

Sometimes we think we don’t have much to say or that our own experiences are not that interesting, but children love stories.

The most important thing for your child/grandchild is living for and loving Jesus.

In addition to regular prayer, take advantage of opportunities to remind them of this—through conversation, notes on birthday cards, any way to point them to Jesus. It is true that most people who come to faith do so by age 18, but there are notable examples of faithful prayer over many years before the person becomes a follower of Jesus. Never give up!

What principles can you add from what you have learned, observed, and applied to your life?

GUIDANCE FROM SCRIPTURE (God’s written Word, the Holy Bible)

The leader for the day shared something he has used with his grandchildren that he allowed me to share with you. Scripture texts are in bold

I am listing some Bible verses that have been helpful to me during my lifetime and I hope that they will be helpful to you too:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
John 3:16


This means that God gave us Jesus, his only son, and if we believe on Him we will not die in sin but will live in heaven with Jesus when we die.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:9


This means that if you begin memorizing key portions of the Bile you will be able to keep your life pure from sin.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11


Here again, if you keep God’s words in your mind and heart you won’t stray from him.
As you grow older, Satan will attempt to trouble you. His attacks assume many forms such as being tempted with sex, smoking, taking drugs, watching bad movies or TV programs, etc. We can overcome Satan only as we use the weapons God has given us. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17If you read Matthew 4:1-11, you will see that Jesus himself was tempted by Satan in three specific ways but He defeated Satan each time by quoting from the Bible.

Once you accept Jesus as your personal savior, you can have assuarance of your salvation in remembering 1 John 5:11-12 - And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Satan will also tell that “you don’t think God is really personally interested in you since He is far away and concerned about more important things. However, with Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you have the unique privilege of speaking directly with your heavenly Father through Him. God wants you to come confidently into his presence through Jesus and to talk to him about everything (look up Philippians 4;:6 and Hebrews 4:14-16). He is intensely interested in you and your needs. - Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24)

The devil will also try to tell you that “yes, you have life, all right, but you are a weakly; you have always been a weakling.” If this happens you can remember

No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

This means that when you are tempted to do something wrong, just remember that if you ask Jesus, he will help you get away from the temptation.

Then if we do sin, we have the assurance of forgiveness: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

In Proverbs 3:5-6 we have assurance of God’s guidance: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

This means that in everything you make Jesus your partner and he will help you lead a good and happy life. It may not mean that you will be rich and healthy all your life, but it will mean that you will have the peace of knowing Jesus as your personal savior, which will bring you much more happiness than a lot of money would bring you,

Love,
Grandpa

About the Scripture references: unless indicated otherwise, these are taken from the New International Version (NIV).  Links connect to BibleGateway.com, where you can see other translations, view the broader context, listen to an audio version and find other Bible resources.  Also check the resources available in the Enrich/Faith section of this site.


Stu Johnson is principal of Stuart Johnson & Associates, a communications consultancy in Wheaton, Illinois. He is publisher and editor of SeniorLifestyle, writes the InfoMatters blog on his own website and contributes articles for SeniorLifestyle.

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Posted: December 20, 2018

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