Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pursuing Our Children's Hearts


 "Mother and Child Reading" -Frederick Warren Freer

"May our sons flourish in their youth
    like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
    carved to beautify a palace." Psalm 144:12

As parents we teach our children many things, spoken and unspoken. We want them to learn about the universe, to learn about God, and fill their minds and hearts with God's truth. We we think the hours of pouring ourselves into them the activities, and the money and time poured into their education is going to make them successful. The Bible verses memorized---we think that surely this will lead to a favorable outcome.

There is something more important than all the facts and activities-- pursuing and capturing our children's hearts. Not only to have a good relationship with them for selfish purposes---but that their heart is held captive to Christ.

Children must see their parents walking with Christ. In joy, in mistakes and sorrows. He must overflow from our hearts and minds to our lips. He must be spoken of with such a love and passion that children see that Christ is all and He is life.

Speaking of what Christ has done for us frequently is often mocked and laughed at. But it is what we are called to do, especially for our children. They must hear of what God has done for them, and why it is so important. Leading them to a personal relationship with Christ beyond just facts is our duty as parents. Each child is different, so praying about the heart of that child is of the utmost importance. Praying that God gives us wisdom as parents to know how to best lead each child into relationship with Christ and how to capture their heart is more important than anything else we do.

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deuteronomy 6:7

More children raised in Christian homes than ever before are falling away from their faith. Children involved in the most church activities, the most seemingly stable homes do not truly know Christ. They walk away and embrace the world when their parents "gave" them everything. They gave them things, facts, activities, but they did not give themselves. Christ in their hearts did not overflow in abundance to their children. Most of us come to know Christ in the most intimate and meaningful way because we come to know that He gave Himself for us!

Our children must be allowed to come to us. They must see us stop for them. Their hearts are led to Christ through our example. Did we show them their worth and their importance to us? That the board meeting, the extra paycheck, the next social engagement was more important than them, or do we show them that we have stopped to sit and spend time with them? As adults we find this hard to do.  But learning how to do this with our children means we must also stop to spend time in the presence of God. We get to know God's heart and who He is when we are still in His presence. We get to know our children and capture their hearts when we engage with them fully and show them their worth in our eyes. This is only a small reflection of their worth in their heavenly father's eyes.

 God never stops pursuing our hearts. He never gives up on knowing His children.Our worth to God is greater than we can imagine.

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Matthew 19:13-14

If we are quick to scold our children for bothering us, and we do not stop to pray for them, to pursue their hearts, what do we think the outcome will be? The little children saw that Christ welcomed them, he laid hands on them, stopped His more important work to show them they were the most important of all. He won their hearts by His patience, love, and by letting them come to Him.

Prayer: "God, in this rushed and hasty world show me how to be your hands and feet to my children. Show me how to minister to them and capture their hearts for you God so that they walk in your truth and freedom all of their days." Amen.

"You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you." Psalm 8:2

"Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord." Psalm 22:30

"Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord." Psalm 34:11

"so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children." Psalm 78:6

"The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him." Psalm 103:13
 "I see more and more that I must be myself what I want my children to be and that I cannot make myself over even for their sakes. This must be His work, and I wonder that it goes on so slowly; that all the disappointments, sorrows, sicknesses I have passed through have left me still selfish, still full of imperfections!" Elizabeth Prentiss "Stepping Heavenward"


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