What The Bible Says About Parents

Parents receive their children from God:

Ge 33:5; 1 Sam 1:27; Ps 127:3

A parents duty to their children include:

– Loving them: Titus 2:4

– Leading them to Christ: Mt 19:13-14

– Training them up for God: Pr 22:6; Eph 6:4

– Instructing them in God’s word: De 4:9; 11:19; Isa 38:19

– Telling them of God’s judgments: Joel 1:3

– Telling them of the works of God: Ex 10:2; Ps 78:4

– Commanding them to obey God: Deut 32:46; 1Ch 28:9

– Blessing them: Gen 48:15; Heb 11:20

– Having compassion towards them: Ps 103:13

– Providing for them: Job 42:15; 2Co 12:14; 1Ti 5:8

– Leading them: 1Ti 3:4,12

– Correcting them: Pr 13:24; 19:18; 23:13; 29:17; Heb 12:7

– Not provoking them: Eph 6:4; Col 3:21

– Praying for their spiritual welfare: Gen 17:18; 1Ch 29:19

– Praying for them when they are tempted: Job 1:5

– Praying for them when they are sick: 2Sa 12:16; Mark 5:23; Joh 4:46,49

Unfaithful parents:

– Cause trouble for their children: Ex 20:5; Isa 14:20; Lam 5:7

– Teach their children evil: Jer 9:14; 1Pe 1:18

– Set a bad example to their children: Eze 20:18; Amos 2:4

Faithful parents:

– Are a blessing to their children:Pr 31:28

– Leave a blessing to their children: Ps 112:2; Pr 11:21; Isa 65:23

Examples of bad parents:

– Eli: 1Sa 3:13

– Saul: 1Sa 20:33

– Athaliah: 2Ch 22:3

– Manasseh: 2Ch 33:6

– Herodias: Mark 6:24

Example of good parents:

– Abraham: Gen 18:19

– Joseph: Gen 48:13-20

– Mother of Moses: Ex 2:2-3

– Hannah: 1Sa 1:28

– Job: Job 1:5

Mothers: Reflections of God’s Love

One of the reasons God created mothers was to gives us an earthly example of His heavenly love for us. Each stage of motherhood reveals an aspect of His love.

The Pregnancy

Even in the womb the mother loves her baby. She knows his every move – she knows when he’s awake or sleeping or playing. This reminds us of how intimately our God knows us.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:1-5)

The Delivery

Think of how a mother puts her baby’s needs ahead of her own. She’s willing to endure great pain to see her child face-to-face.

The same is true with God who endured the great pain of seeing Jesus on the cross so that we will one day be able to see Him face-to-face.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Nurturing The Baby

Think of a mother feeding her baby. It’s just the two of them. The mother telling her child how much she loves him as he looks into her eyes with complete love. She cares for his every need.

It reminds us of God feeding us His Word. We can picture our heavenly Father cradling us, telling us how much He loves us, providing everything we need, all the while we look to Him with complete love.

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:6-7)

Raising The Child

Notice the mother setting boundaries for her child. Rules are put into place. The difference between right and wrong is taught. She does this to keep her child safe – she only wants the best for him. He rarely understands this though and thinks Mom is just out to ruin his fun. But one day it will become clear to him that she has his best interest at heart.

So it is with God who sets boundaries for us as well and, like Mom, is often view as a “bad guy” because we don’t understand that He’s only looking out for our safety. But, just like this child, one day we will understand too.

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

All Grown Up

No matter how big he is he will always be his mother’s baby, she will always love him with all her heart. And here again we see a reflection of God’s love. He loves you deeply and continually thinks of you (Psalm 139:17-18).

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)


“As a mother comforts
O words of gentle worth!
So will I comfort you,” declares
The Lord of all the earth.

He patient is, as mothers are
Who love their children well;
Our faults and failings He forgives;
His mercies—who can tell!

Parents: Be Examples of Christ to Your Children

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2

Be careful what you do in front of your child. The old saying is true, “He who sins before a child, sins double.”

Strive to be a living epistle of Christ, one that your family can plainly read. Be an example of reverence for the Word of God, reverence in prayer, reverence for means of grace, reverence for the Lord’s day.

Be an example in words, in temper, in diligence, in temperance, in faith, in charity, in kindness, in humility.

Do not think your children will practice what they do not see you do. You are their model picture – and they will copy what you are.

Your reasoning and your lecturing, your wise commands and your good advice – all this they may not understand, but they can understand your life!

J.C. Ryle

5 Kernels Of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. Besides symbolizing a time when many of us gather together to feast on turkey, cranberry sauce, and apple pie, what does the word truly mean? America’s revered holiday was founded by a group of struggling Pilgrims during the fall of 1621.

Peter Marshall and David Manuel’s account, The Light and the Glory, tells how the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock endured extreme hardship to pioneer a new land. Three long months at sea aboard The Mayflower and a brutal winter left them ragged, malnourished, and susceptible to disease. During the first four months of that year, nearly half of the Pilgrims had succumbed to illness and died under the harsh strain of their barren lifestyle.

The Pilgrims’ daily existence was a life-or-death battle to overcome constant hunger, sickness, and exposure to the elements. Crudely assembled houses made of mud daub were their only shelter from the icy New England weather. Because they were not yet knowledgeable about their new environment’s agriculture, planting gardens in the hostile conditions proved virtually fruitless. Every meal was portioned out meticulously. The death toll, a constant reminder of their fragility, rose steadily. At one point only five men were well enough to care for the sick.

Despite their tribulations, the Pilgrims thanked the Lord every day, petitioning Him for rehabilitation. One morning, during an ordinary Sunday worship service, the Lord sent tangible evidence that He had heard their prayers. Their church service was interrupted by an unexpected guest, an Algonquin Indian chief who assessed their hopeless situation and returned with a helper named Squanto. The Pilgrims, who had warred with Indians before and lived with a continuous fear of being attacked by them, were astonished by their new friends’ eagerness to provide much-needed assistance. Squanto, a Patuxet Indian who spoke perfect English, taught the Pilgrims how to hunt game, trap beavers, and plant Indian corn, a staple that would eventually save their lives.

When the harvest yielded more than the Pilgrims could eat, Governor William Bradford, their elected leader, declared a day of public thanksgiving. He invited the chief of a friendly neighboring Indian tribe to join in their tribute of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims were excited to celebrate with their honored guest, but were completely shocked when he arrived with ninety other Indians.

Although God had provided abundantly, their food supply would not accommodate a group of this size, and they had no idea how to feed their visitors. Despite their quandary, all worries were soon dismissed. To their amazement and ever-increasing thankfulness, the Indians had brought with them five dressed deer and a dozen fat, wild turkeys. Over time they taught the women how to make pudding, maple syrup, and an Indian delicacy — roasted kernels of corn called popcorn.

But the Pilgrims’ trials were far from finished; their plentiful autumn was followed by a particularly treacherous winter. Unfortunately, the weather proved to be the least of their ailments. In November a ship called The Fortune dropped anchor in their harbor. Aboard the ship were thirty-five more colonists who had brought with them no provisions — no food, no extra clothing, no equipment for survival. Additionally, the oppression of the physical environment had become almost unbearable after a twelve-week drought dried up their crops and withered their spirits. The newcomers’ arrival had drained already inadequate food rations and there was no obvious resource for sustenance. At their lowest point, the Pilgrims were reduced to a daily ration of five kernels of corn apiece. In utter desperation they fell to their knees and prayed for eight hours without ceasing.

Again God heard their supplications; fourteen days of rain followed. A second Day of Thanksgiving was declared. The neighboring Indian chief was again their honored guest; he brought with him one hundred and twenty braves. The Pilgrims feasted on game and turkey as they had during their previous celebration, only this time one dish was different. The first course, served on an empty plate in front of each person, consisted of five kernels of corn, a gentle reminder of God’s faithful provision for them.

The Pilgrims’ humble response to their affliction is evidenced by their many writings which express deeply thankful hearts. We can learn countless lessons about sincere thankfulness from their example.

God commands us to live a life of gratitude and thanksgiving. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thes. 5:16-18). By teaching our children to have grateful hearts, we can prepare them to respond gracefully to life’s trials.

The impact of thankfulness can extend to every area of life.

1) Being thankful motivates us to look for His purpose in our circumstances.

When we consider the Pilgrims’ story, we can see God’s hand directing their course all the way from England to the New World. We can see how He strengthened them and enabled them to settle a new land. If we’re perceptive and truly thankful we can see His guiding hand shaping our own lives in the same manner.

2) A grateful heart reminds us of our constant dependence upon God.

It changes our attitude toward life. When the Pilgrims thanked the Lord regardless of their destitution and entreated Him to supply their needs, they were able to respond positively to daunting situations and overcome great obstacles. When we thank Him for everything, big and small, we begin to realize that there is nothing we possess that we have not been given.

3) Gratitude increases our trust in God.

When the Pilgrims set sail for America, they couldn’t see the new land. They had to trust The Mayflower’s compass implicitly. Likewise, when they arrived at Plymouth Rock they had no foreknowledge of what would sustain their lives from then on. They had to trust God for everything from food and shelter to a secure future for their families. When we’re thankful for His constant provision, trusting Him with our lives becomes easier.

4) A thankful spirit teaches us to rejoice in every situation.

The apostle Paul, no stranger of tribulation, wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Like the Pilgrims, Paul was refined by a burning fire that yielded a spirit of pure gold. We can be, as well.

5) Thankfulness transforms our anxiety into the peace of God.

The Pilgrims had myriad reasons to fear for their lives. Thanking God in plenty and in want enabled them to celebrate His faithfulness to them. When we focus our attention on God’s provision for us, we begin to see the world through a Christ-centered lens. We become acutely aware that He abides with us continually and we can rest in His peace.

Thanksgiving — the word only has meaning when we can attach it to behavior demonstrated in real life. The Pilgrims gave us their blessed holiday so we could remember how God answered their prayers with rich abundance. But we aren’t constrained to experiencing true thankfulness vicariously. When we meditate on God’s wondrous provision for our nation’s founders, we find it isn’t all that different from His blessings in our modern setting.

By focusing our attention on God and what He is teaching us throughout life, we can, like the Pilgrims, be thankful for even the most simple things.

– IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Honoring Your Parents Part 4; Let The Healing Begin

by Pastor Terry Gurno

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Family is so precious. It’s absolutely priceless.

God knows that, and that’s why he places such high value on the family. Relationship with God, then relationship with family. That’s not by accident, that’s by design.

For those of you we prayed for (In the Introduction), I pray God has been able to speak to you. Really what I am praying for is this would be a freeing message. God is not asking you to live in denial. He is not asking you to deny your feelings. He is asking you to be honest with them, and face them, so that you are not holding on to bitterness or unforgiveness and just passing them on.

Then you can be the training center within your homes that God intended you to be. I want to challenge you, if you struggle with this, find one thing to honor your parents for.

I came from a broken home, an abusive home, and my Dad left. As an adult, I had to find a reason to love my Dad because I knew that God had called me to love him.

Well, I love going to the beach. I love people, I love to talk, I love to learn, I drive around this area and I think we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I love life, despite of how I was raised. And you know what? My dad gave me my life.

So I want to challenge you, find one thing that you can honor your parents for.

Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, taught a class and there was a couple in there by the name of Bill and Kathy Piel.

It was the first day of class and Howard said, “I want you to take out a piece of paper and I want you to divide it down the middle. On one side, I want you to write down all the positive things your parents have invested in your life. On the other side, I want you to write all the negative things.

So the class began to do this and Kathy, who did not have a great childhood or great parents began to list all the negatives. She could not think of one thing positive, not one good influence. A little bit of bitterness and a little bit of resentment mingled with a little bit of pride and she said, “Isn’t it amazing how well I turned out considering all the things they didn’t invest in my life.”

Howard asked the class to put their pencils down and said, “If you cant think of anything to put on the positive side, anything that they did right, then you are living your life from a base of extreme immaturity.”

For those of you who have had some real pain, that can be pretty tough to hear. But it’s the truth. I determined as a young man that I am not going to use anybody else as an excuse for the way I live my life or my emotional well being. I refuse to do it.

God is calling us to grow up. God is calling us to maturity, God is calling us to honesty. This Commandment is not impossible, but in order for it to work we must experience God’s grace in our lives. We need to work out these issues, to resolve them, we need to ask for and receive forgiveness.

It is possible and it is worth it.

Kathy then found a poem that fit right along with this:

“As you travel, my brother, whatever be your goal,
keep your eye on the doughnut, and not on the hole.”

God’s Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit changes lives. If you don’t see your life changing, let me suggest two things.

One: You are not in his Word enough. Two: You are not giving the Holy Spirit the freedom to move in your life.

I challenge you because that is the only way this commandment can be lived out.

Let’s pray…

Jesus, thank you for loving me. I come to you today just as I am and I am receiving your gift. I am sorry for my sin. I have broken your heart and I am separated from you. I acknowledge that, I confess my sin. Please forgive me and I am receiving your love, Jesus.

Thank you for not giving up on me and I ask you teach me how to live for you day by day. Jesus, you know me, my heart, my family dynamics, you know I need you. You know I need this lived out in my life and through my life. I cannot do it on my own, I need your help and I need your Holy Spirit. Jesus, help me work through the issues in my family. Thank you Jesus, thank you for wholeness, in your name, Amen.

Honoring Our Parents Part 3; How We Honor Our Parents

by Pastor Terry Gurno

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Why Should We Obey Our Parents?

Why should we obey our parents? Because God promises you a long life. Notice at the end of this Commandment it says, “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12).

So not only live long, but notice it says, “In the land your God is giving you.” He is not talking about individuals, He is talking about society and when the family unit breaks down, the society breaks down.

Nobody knows that better than the United States of America because it is the greatest battle, and it is the greatest challenge that we face. The preservation of the family unit is the preservation of generations to follow. The family is the backbone of society. “That you may live long in the land as a society, as a unit,” that’s what God is really talking about.

We should obey our parents so that it may go well with you. Nobody cares more for our personal well being outside of our parents than God. God knows this is a blessing that is given to us. Healthy families produce healthy people.

Obeying your parents is the right thing to do. If we really want to learn things about living together in a family and a society, if we want to learn conflict resolution, financial management, love, acceptance, communication, it is the right thing to do.

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20). Do you want to know how to please God? Find out what pleases the Lord. Find out with an intimate ongoing relationship with God. Obeying your parents pleases the Lord. Honoring your parents pleases the Lord.

How do we learn to honor our parents? How is that lived in our life today?

Children…

As children, we are to obey our parents. Obedience to God is learned by obedience to parents, and we can’t accept anything less. We are not to raise a family of negotiators. We need to settle the issue when they are young, because that’s when the issue can be settled. The question that goes through their mind is “Who’s in charge here?” and if we’re not careful, we’ll let them answer and say “I am” and that’s the way they will act.

Obedience isn’t easy. In my own family, our kids are so different. If we had their Christmas gifts in our room, we could tell our oldest, “Don’t go in that room, your Christmas gifts are in there unwrapped and under the bed,” and guess what? She wouldn’t.

Now my son would wait until we were gone, go out to the porch to see that we were out of sight, run up there and not only look at them, he would probably play with them. And my youngest daughter would do the same thing.

Those are our kids, and they are your kids, they have those types of personalities. We are not talking about easy work, we are not talking about teaching obedience, its consistency, its being consistent with what we say,
but as children we obey our parents, that’s how we honor.

Teenagers…

If you are a teenager, you honor your parents by showing them respect. We are not talking about having to like everything your parents say, or even agreeing with it. What we are talking about here is respecting their wishes.

We are talking about acting and talking in a way that shows respect. This means that you do not have the room to show disrespect with your body language or with your words, but if there is something you want to talk about, parents should be willing to talk about it.

Adults…

As adults how do we honor our parents? We treasure our parents. We treat them with dignity.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “When you have children, you understand what you owe your parents.” Isn’t that true?

In 1990, Newsweek magazine came out with an article called “The Daughter Track” and it said, “An American woman will spend more time caring for her aging parent than she will raising her own children.” This is a cycle.

My wife Nancy and I realize our parents are getting older. We’ve talked about this and we will be the ones who will take care of our parents. We’re now very serious about selling our home, buying a piece of property, and building a home that would accommodate them. We are going to this, it’s just a matter of time.

Because you know what? It would be an honor for me to take care of my mom or for Nancy to take care of her parents, and we embrace that. Someday I hope my kids will feel the same way about me.

Honoring Your Parents Part 2; Five Things Family Teaches Us

by Pastor Terry Gurno

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

This commandment is so important because it lists the value of your family. The family is the birthplace of a lot of things, and we are going to talk about five of those things in this study.

1) FAMILY IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF YOUR VALUES

Your family is the birthplace of your values. It teaches us those things that you hold to be important, those things that you would literally give your life for. We know that values are caught much more than they are taught.

By the time that your child is a teen, they identify with their parents values, not by what they said, but by what they lived. The same is true for you. When you were a teen, you could identify with your parents values, not by what they said, but by how they lived.

One of the biggest frustrations, one of the biggest internal battles people face is balancing the things they say are valuable with the way they live their lives. Although we say we value something, unless our behavior matches that, it is incongruent values and it creates this tension inside of us. Values are really taught in the home.

2) FAMILY IS A RELATIONSHIP TRAINING CENTER

The second thing about a family is that it’s a relationship training center. We learn how to interact with one another, how to treat each other, we learn how or how not to express affection for one another

I am very affectionate towards my family, not only verbally, but with touch, and with other people, I am not. Some of us have what they call public space and private space and intimate space. I will admit, as much as I love people, there was a time in my life where I did not appreciate anyone getting into my intimate space by reaching out to simply pat my shoulder or hug me.

It was not uncommon for someone to get close to me and be talking and I would be backing up and tuning them out, trying to reate a comfortable distance between us, not even knowing I was doing that. Some of you do the same thing.

You know why? Because there was no verbal or physical demonstration of love in our family. None. I was so uncomfortable telling my mother I loved her, because I never had. I felt it, but it was a struggle to say those words.

In the past three years, preaching here among this church of huggers, I have been transformed. I have learned that backing away from friendly affection is not someone I am or want to be again. Your relationships at home were the birthplace of how you handle spoken and unspoken conflict and affection..

3) FAMILY IS WHERE WE LEARN ABOUT AUTHORITY

What a person learns about authority in the home will result in how they relate to authority once they leave home. There are many authority figures in our lives: coaches, teachers, government officials, pastors, and ultimately God.

A child learns to obey God by first learning to obey his or her parents. Family is literally the boot camp for life. If we don’t learn respect for authority figures in the home, God will teach us in other places.

There once was a young man who said, “You know what? I am fed up with the rules. I want to do what I want to do. Nobody is going to tell me what to do, where to go, when to come back, when to get up, when to go to bed, I am joining the Marines!” And what’s the first thing the Marines are going to teach him? Respect for authority.

The sad thing is there are some parents who would rather be their children’s friend, than the authority figure in their child’s life. I heard it as a youth pastor, and I have heard it as a Pastor, from teens who think it is so cool that their dad is willing to crack open a cold beer with them and sit down and just talk. They think that is so cool.

Here’s what I believe: I don’t think that child thinks its cool, not really, because we all want values to be modeled for us. We just don’t want someone to be like us, or to act like us, we want someone we can be like. We want models.

4) FAMILY IS WHERE WE LEARN OUR VALUE AS A HUMAN

We first learn our value as a human being in the home. We literally see ourselves through the eyes of our parents, brothers and our sisters. So the way we are treated in the home, good or bad, shapes us. It shapes the way we see ourselves.

If we were accepted, encouraged, praised, if we were ignored, criticized, belittled, all of that shapes us and we determine our worth and value as a human being.

5) FAMILY IS WHERE WE LEARN ABOUT FAITH

Most children leave home with a very similar faith of that of their parents. I know that is true of me. So if our parents modeled a genuine faith in God in the home, there is a good chance by the time the child leaves, or shortly after they leave, they have a genuine faith in their lives.

Not always, not 100%, but at some point, they are going to come back to that. Home is literally a training ground for relationships, not only with one another, but with God.

And so, are we modeling faith? Are we praying together as a family for our needs? Do we believe our needs are needs that only God can meet? Do we allow our children to see the miracles? And does God work miracles? Absolutely!

In fact, a nurse down at the hospital on the oncology floor recently shared a story about a young lady who has had leukemia since September and who has been blind for the past 60 to 90 days. Last night she went into remission and can now see, just like that. I would like to call that a miracle of God. But if we are not praying for those kind of miracles, how can we identify them as miracles?

Honoring Your Parents; Part 1 – When Struggling To Honor You Parents

by Pastor Terry Gurno

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

I know that when I read this commandment there are some people, and I am one of them, who have struggled to work through this commandment in our life. Some of you right now didn’t even like the way that verse read or sounded because honestly you don’t know why or how or what would be the reason to literally honor your mother and father.

The truth is, they did not do a lot for you. You experienced abandonment, pain, neglect, and you have wrestled with this commandment. Even as a Christian, you have wrestled with it. I understand that. I have walked that mile myself.

What I want to do is this, I want to pray that the Holy Spirit would have access into your heart, that you would say, “God, I am open.” Because if you respond with, “I can’t do it, they don’t deserve it,” it tells me there are some walls in your life that are keeping you from knowing God the way He intended.

There is hurt, there are memories that God wants to heal you from and not have you continue to live in. We serve a real God who can help us deal with real life circumstances. The worst thing we can do as adults is to hang on to bitterness and resentments for our parents because it affects our children — we pass this on to them.

Maybe you are a parent and you feel guilty. You are saying to yourself, “There really is no reason that I deserve my children’s honor.” And I want to pray for you as well. That whatever happened, God would give you the grace to assume your role and your responsibility in what happened. Not to shrink back from it, but to assume it. Ask God for genuine forgiveness.

Let’s pray…

Lord, in our relationships with our families, there‘s nothing more important, there’s nothing that prepares us to live in society outside of our homes like what happens inside of our family.

God, you see when that is not right, when that is not intact. It effects the way we see ourselves, the way we feel, it effects the feelings and the emotions that we carry with us. It can help us or it can hurt us.

God, I am opening myself up to hear the message and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life. If I experience anytime through this study that I am not going to do that, that I have resentment, I am going to recognize it as an area where you need to work in my life.

So God, we lay this message before you. We are so dependent upon your grace, in Jesus name, Amen

How To Teach Children About Jesus

by Charles Stanley

For too many children today, Easter is solely a time of painting pastel-colored eggs, searching for treasures on an Easter egg hunt, and digging through an Easter basket for chocolate bunnies

While these festivities are an enjoyable way for the family to participate in something traditional, they can easily trivialize the Christian meaning of Easter.

One of the most important responsibilities Christian parents have is to teach their children about Jesus Christ. Yet countless children grow up knowing Christ only through what they learn from second-hand sources. The sketchy images these encounters with God imprint on their minds can range anywhere from a drill sergeant to . . . well, the Easter bunny.

In order for children to digest the authentic Easter message, Christ’s sacrificial death on a cross, they must have a context in which to put the person of Jesus Christ. When the Gospel is glossed over by lighthearted scenarios that don’t mirror real life, children can be led into thinking Christianity amounts only to an untainted notion of perfectionism. The real story–a story about tarnished and degenerate souls who were saved by Christ’s unconditional love, redeemed by the miracle of His death, and blessed with a living hope for all eternity–is as relevant to children today as it always has been. The story never changes, but, in a modern context, the way we tell it does.

You can provide that context for your children by simply talking about Jesus on a regular basis, by living the principles of your faith, and by praying with your children.

Talk to your children about Jesus.

“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

Children glean an enormous amount of wisdom from listening to their parents talk. References to the Lord and your beliefs should permeate your daily conversations. Give thanks to the Lord not only at meal time but when your prayers are answered. Be specific in thanking Him for His provision and care. Give Him the glory when things work out better than you’d hoped they would, and ask Him for guidance when you face big decisions.

Reading from the Scriptures on a regular basis is a direct and effective way to bring about discussions concerning Christ. Bibles for children and even toddlers are available for parents who wish to begin early. By reading through the Scriptures, you can address personally any questions your children may have about biblical events and monitor their spiritual growth. Taking every opportunity to teach them object lessons about Jesus can provide your children with a framework in which to understand the story of His miraculous life and death.

Live the principles of your faith every day.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It is important for Christian parents to walk their talk. When you make claims about the Scriptures and God’s righteousness, your children will watch to see how you live out those lessons. The closest earthly equivalent to our Father in heaven is our father at home. Christ-like parents are the best witnesses a child can have.

By treating others and your children the way Christ would treat them, your love and respect for Jesus will be an obvious and understood priority. If your children see Christ’s love modeled in their home, they will have a relevant perspective from which to view His love on Calvary.

Part of understanding Christ’s love for humanity is understanding His authority. By making Jesus the boss of your home, you can show your children how God can love them and demand their utmost at the same time. How many times do your children ask why they must do what you ask them to do? It’s easy to answer that question by saying, “Because I said so and I’m your parent.” This response may leave children wondering if their parents must obey anyone. But by submitting yourself to the Scriptures and explaining that obedience to your children, you can give them a sense of accountability that will follow them long after they leave home.

Pray with your children.

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Teaching your children to pray is arguably one of the best ways to teach them about Christ. Many adults today learned to pray by kneeling and reciting scripted prayers. While this can be meaningful, children can develop a more personal relationship with God by praying from their hearts instead of the written page.

Prayer is our direct line to God.

Relationships are deepened when two people open their hearts and tell each other their innermost secrets. Prayer can be enriched by the same candid transparency. Teach your children to share their hearts with the Lord at an early age. Teach them to confide everything in Him. If your child can share everything about himself or herself with God without being ashamed or afraid, you will have gone a long way toward building an essential component in his or her relationship with the Lord–trust. In order to understand and believe the Easter message, we have to trust the One who gave it to us.

The Easter story of Christ’s death on a cross can be a complex, mysterious, and even painful message to understand. However, children who learn a gospel in which poignancy is substituted with germinal customs get shortchanged. Parents need not rely on mechanisms to teach biblical truth. By talking to your children about Jesus, living the principles of the Christian faith, and praying with your children, you can prepare them to hear and understand the most profound truth they will ever encounter.

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Advice For Fathers

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

In the verse above, the relationship between God and His followers is defined. God is our “Father” and we are His “children”. God seems to enjoy being called “Father” more than any other title — He uses it is to describe Himself all throughout the New Testament.

So when God allows a man to be called “father”, He is giving him a very special honor, and with that honor God gives a very special responsibility. That responsibility is this: Earthly fathers are to be reflections of the Heavenly Father.

The key to being reflections of the Heavenly Father is loving your child because God loves us. Even though we are sinful people, even though we rebel against Him, even though we don’t deserve it, He loves us. Nothing, the Bible tells us, can separate us from the love of God. So a father should have a bond with his child that is held together with love.

In order to love your child you must understand what love is (We’ll use 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 to explain what love is):

“LOVE IS PATIENT”

Be patient with your child the same way God is patient with you. We all stumble. We all mess up at some point. Yet God is full of grace, always ready to forgive, and always ready to help put us back on track. Fathers should do the same. I am not saying ignore a child when he or she has done wrong – God will correct those He loves and so should we – what I’m saying is always be there to help put your child back on track. Don’t become easily discouraged when problems occur. Remember, God looks at what we are capable of becoming not necessarily what we are right now. Father should do the same when they look at their children.

“LOVE IS KIND”

Speak kindly to your child. You will probably never truly understand how powerful your words are. So please, think very carefully before you speak to your child. Always say, “I love you”. Always take time to encourage. Always take time for a hug. Always tell your child how they make you proud. Again, we can look to God as an example. He gave us the Bible to tell us how much He loves us and to encourage us.

“LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES IN TRUTH”

God made sure we had a Bible with the truth written in it and He expects fathers to pass that truth along to their children. A father must not only do the things written here, he must also teach his son or daughter to do these things. You have the wonderful joy of teaching your child rights from wrongs, truths from lies (Remember that being an example is the best way to teach. You have to practice what you preach). You also have the wonderful joy of introducing your child to the very God of the Universe! You can say, “This is God. He loves you and created you special. And this is His Son, Jesus, He payed for your sins.” What a privilege! Enjoy it!

“LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES”

Being a father is a great responsibility but it isn’t one we have to face alone. The Lord would not give us the ability to have children without giving us the ability to be godly parents. When the pressures of fatherhood come, take heart! Jesus will be with you every step of the way. We should pray everyday for our children. We should give thanks for them because they are gifts from God. We should ask that we be given wisdom to teach and guidance to direct. We should pray that God would always be head of our home and that we fathers be given the strength and grace to represent Him to our children.