Archive for the ‘Women and Children’ Category

Goals of Child Training

Submitted by Rachel Weaver

One of the biggest problems for parents today is that they work hard at training and instruction their children about the Lord and His ways, but lack a clearly defined goal for that training.  They know they want their children to know God and have godly character, but they are not sure what the final product is supposed to look like….  It would be far better for parents to define a goal and then create a plan to accomplish it.  There is truth to the saying, “If you aim at nothing you will always hit it.”  Christian parents must have a clearly defined target for their children’s growth.

In order to accomplish God’s goals for child rearing we must first identify them.  As Christian parents our most obvious goal is to bring our children to salvation.  Second to that God’s most basic goal for training children is encapsulated in Ephesians 6:4.  There, parents are told, regarding their children, “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.’  The Greek word for ‘bring them up’ holds the key.  The word is ektrepho which means to rear to maturity.  The primary goal, then of training and instruction, is to rear up children to maturity.  For us to bring children to maturity will require that we have a clear definition of what maturity is.

What is Maturity?

Based on a broad study of the Old Testament and a concentrated study of Proverbs, it is clear that maturity is characterized by at least three elements: Self control, wisdom, and responsibility, which can be defined as follows:

• Self control: not being ruled by passions, emotions, desires, wishes or curiosity; freedom from having to do what one feels like doing; the ability to choose to do what is right; fosters the selflessness necessary for the love of others.

• Wisdom: understanding; insight; ability to learn from experience; ability to make sound decisions; handling stressful problems with a level head, possible only when not ruled by passion (self-controlled).

• Responsibility:  accepting personal accountability for one’s own actions; faithful and conscientious work habits; integrity; reliability, possible only when not ruled by passion (self-controlled).

What are the signs of immaturity and self-indulgence?

Self-indulgence is the drive which demands the satisfaction of one’s wants and desires.  Consider the following symptom list.  Do these symptoms generally characterize your children?

They are indulged if they lack self-control.  

• Self-indulgent people rarely say “NO” to themselves.

• They have a difficult time doing in moderation anything that gratifies; they frequently over-do-it.

• They do whatever they feel like or are so used to having their own way that they think they should have whatever they want.

• The satisfaction of their own will is foremost in their life – others are considered second, if at all.

They are indulged if they are self-absorbed.

• Self-centeredness so rules self-indulgent people that they live as if the world revolves around them – life is interpreted by how it affects them.

Whenever self-centered children approach their parents with a question (which may be frequent), it usually involves something they want for themselves.  They have few questions regarding the well-being of others.

• Ones who are self-consumed, push and lobby parents constantly to get what they want; persisting even after being refused.

• May think of others, but only to satisfy themselves.

• Insist on having their ‘rights’ to personal decisions and ‘living their own life.”

• Think they deserve everything that is given to them, and are unappreciative despite the feelings of others; not easily satisfied.

•  They are seldom happy; complain and whine the majority of the time; often discontent.

•  Complain about food or any gift set before them.

• They are preoccupied with fun and self-gratification.

• Expect life to be exciting; demand entertainment; frequently are bored.

• Expect to have their own way; express blatant irritation when desires are thwarted.  Impatient; demand other’s immediate attention.

They are indulged if they lack wisdom. 

• Their desire for gratification rules them, affecting all of their decisions and actions; they are impulsive and lack discretion.

• They consistently squander money (or save it for the intent of spending it on themselves).

• They do not learn from their mistakes; they repeatedly get into trouble for the same offense.

• They cannot be left alone and trusted to make wise decisions.

• In response to attacks and offenses from younger siblings, they retaliate as if they were small children themselves.

• When confronted by problems they foolishly ‘bury their heads in the sand’ and pretend the problem will go away.

They are indulged if they are irresponsible.

•  When they sin they habitually deny their responsibility.

• Nothing is ever their fault.  They are a victim of other’s failures.  Someone or something else is to blame.

• When they get caught for breaking the rules, they do not see the penalty as the consequence of their choices, but hold responsible the one who caught them or turned them in.

• Even their anger is someone else’s fault.

•  They resent work or anything that requires discipline.

• They are lazy; they habitually play during chore time and look for ways to get out of work.

•  They despise opportunities to serve others, especially their siblings.

•  The thought of serving others rarely crosses their mind.

• In response to assigned chores roll their eyes, complain; disappear – before, during, and after the task, do as little as possible.

• After completion of the task, refuse to ask, “Is there anything more I can do?”

Some parents read a list like this and respond with excitement – their children are on the right path!  Others, however, respond with discouragement – they thought their children were heading in a good direction, but they they realize they are off course.  PARENTS – do not despair!  Thank the Lord for the timely course correction.  Yes, there is work to be done, but effort invested into developing maturity is never wasted.

Using the Goal of Maturity as a Basis for Parental Decisions

To restate our premise – a proper understanding of maturity and immaturity is foundational for effective parenting, for without a clear understanding of the goals of parenting we have no frame for reference for parental decisions.  To evaluate our parental decisions we simply need to determine:  What will this activity, organization, or relationship foster within our children – maturity or immaturity?  It is really that simple.

The problem is that as modern American parents we have come to believe the misnomer that children will eventually reach maturity by themselves, and little input from us is needed.  Rather than making maturity our primary goal for them, we mistakenly substitute as  goal – a happy and fulfilling childhood.  Consequently, from the time our children are born, we feed their desire for self-indulgence and accidentally keep them immature.  By the time they reach their teen years they are just like the other ‘normal’ self-involved teenagers who parents also made a fun childhood their chief goal.  Since so many American parents indulge their children, America is filled with immature, gratification-oriented teenagers.  National researchers and experts, not realizing that teenage rebellion and self-absorption is a phenomenon of this century, and unique to only a few affluent nations like ours, have concluded that such behavior is a natural and temporary phase of growing up.  Parents expect and accept it.  Most teens to grow up, but sadly, too few become mature.

Although most of us as parents love our children, our commitment to their happiness harms them.  Indulged children are unprepared for adulthood.  They have been sent the message that their happiness is of supreme importance, so they grow up thinking it is owed to them.  They ultimately lack the self-discipline necessary for successful employment, and their self-centeredness will cause strife in their marriages.  Then when their marriages fail, they will not consider it their fault – they will be innocent “victims” of their spouse’s shortcomings.  From the time they are young, our children must learn that life is not about fun and entertainment, nor is it about personal happiness and self-gratification.  It is about responsibility and serving others.  It is finding joy in honoring God and loving our neighbors.

What has life taught us?

Those of us who have lived at least 25 years have learned that life is hard – things don’t always go our way – we don’t always get what we want in life.  Our children must be prepared in their youth for the challenges they will find in life.  They must learn they cannot have everything they want, and that they can endure quit well with less than they hoped for.  To mature properly, children must learn while they are still toddlers to obey their parents quickly and without resistance, and to endure  hard situations humbly.  With their parents’ help, they can learn as early as possible to die to themselves, preparing them to live for Christ.  Otherwise, as teenagers, they will remain self-centered, rebellious, and far from God.  May we as parents be faithful to do what is right.

©June 1999 by Reb Bradley from The Heartbeat of the Remnant

What’s in a Name? My Children

I’ve always had an interest in names and meanings of names.  When my husband and I named our children, we focused on Biblical names and the verses given to us regarding their names.   It was not until our youngest was about 12 that I saw a pattern in how we named our children.

Jesse, the Stump of Faith

Jesse was our firstborn son.  My husband chose Jesse’s name from Isaiah 11:1-2, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a branch will bear fruit.”   For his middle name we had combined the names of our fathers, Dennis and Harold, to create Harden.  When I was about six months pregnant, we had an experience that showed us that we would have our son, Jesse Harden.   While on a little excursion in Estes Park, Colorado, we saw on the marquis of the Holiday Inn, “Congratulations Jesse and Hardin”.

Josiah, Faithful to the Torah

Josi, our daughter, was our second child.  We liked the name Jacob for a son, but we had no name for a daughter.  One Sunday while sitting in church, I was flipping through my Bible.  I began reading in 2 Kings 22-23 about King Josiah.  I wrote the name Josiah on a piece of paper, crossed out the ‘ah’ so that only Josi was written.  I showed it to my husband and he nodded.  In that moment, we chose the name for our daughter – Josi.  Several months later we had a baby girl.  Her middle name was Leigh after her two grandmothers–Leanore and Bonnie Lee.

Jacob, the Grafting into Israel

Several years after Josi’s birth, I was sitting in the dark in a rocking chair and the Lord spoke to my heart.  He said, “You are going to have a son and you will name him Jacob.”  My response back was that I was not even pregnant.  When I found out several weeks later that I was expecting, I knew that I was having a son and his name was Jacob.  The hardest part of naming our son Jacob was that my sister had a son after Josi was born and named him Jacob.  I was not sure about having two Jacobs in the same family.

When Jacob was born, we were still somewhat unsure about the same two names in the family so we gave my sister the final decision. We called our son Sweet Baby J and played with other names that were derived from Jacob – Jamis, James etc.  We were content with not naming him immediately because we had decided to circumcise him on the eighth day of his life and name him at that time.  My sister finally said she really didn’t care if her son and ours had the same name because we lived 1500 miles apart.  We circumcised our son and gave him the name Jacob after my grandfather.  His middle name, Perry, was the name of my husband’s grandfather.

Jemima, Our Inheritance

Our final child, a daughter, received the name Jemima.  Soon after Jesse was born I learned of the name Jemima from a very strange experience at a cookie exchange.  Each of the women at the party had the name of a Biblical woman put on her back.  She was to ask the other women questions about the person on her back until she could guess the name.  Well, no one knew the person on my back so my questions were futile.  I lost the game, but learned the name Jemima from the book of Job.

Jemima was one of Job’s daughters who received an inheritance along with her brothers and sisters.   “The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.  Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers”  (Job 42:14).  It was my desire to name each of our subsequent children Jemima if it was a girl, but my husband was reluctant as he had visions of  pancake syrup and Aunt Jemima.  When I told him I was pregnant, he said that if it was a girl, we would name her Jemima.  He had changed his mind after seeing the Disney movie, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with the little blonde girl’s name being Jemimah!  I knew I would be having a daughter and she would be Jemima.

A Faith Walk

Without ever having an ultrasound to reveal girl or boy babies, the LORD gave us names that allowed us to know our children from before birth because He knew them before the foundations of the world.  Each of the names He gave us had perfect timing and significance to our walk of faith.

From the stump of Jesse a shoot came forth:  our family.    From the root of that stump, there would be spiritual fruit.  We didn’t know at the time we named our son, but if the root is holy so are the branches” (Romans 11:16).  Fruit from a holy root receives life from living water and would become a significant foundational factor in our walk of faith.

King Josiah, born from the House of David, was eight years old when he became King of Judah.  He was a good King and restored the Torah back to the people.  He tore down the Asherah poles and everything else that defiled the land that made the LORD angry.  He got rid of all the mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols that were in Judah and Jerusalem.    He brought back the celebration of Passover.  “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance to the Torah of Moses” (2 Kings 23:25).

It was soon after the birth of Josi that we realized we needed to get rid of all of those celebrations and doctrinal idols that were not found in the Bible – the unholy roots.  We had to remove other gods and Asherah poles. When Josi was 20 months old, we were grafted-into the Biblical roots of our faith and celebrated our first Passover with Jewish people who believed in Jesus.   We spent the next few years returning to the LORD and being restored to the Torah given to Moses.

Several miscarriages and a molar pregnancy followed the birth of my first two healthy children.   I liken this time to being in the wilderness when the LORD  brought me closer to him and made me walk by faith when I had no understanding of the circumstances.   By the time I heard the LORD’s voice in the rocking chair, our Biblical faith was firmly established in the Holy One of Israel.  We were celebrating the Feasts of the LORD and understanding the depth of Yeshua’s Jewishness –  he was born a Jew, lived life as a Jew, died a Jew and rose from the dead as a Jew and will return to Jerusalem as the King of the Jews. We had rid our walk of foreign celebrations rooted in other gods and idolatry.  Four years after our first Passover experience and a walk in the wilderness we had a very different Biblical faith.   From the twelve sons of Jacob, the nation of Israel was born.  Over a four-year span of time,  we drank living water from the root of the Olive Tree and became part of the commonwealth of Israel.  Into this faith,  Jacob was born.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Sing for joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations.  Make your praises heard, and say, ‘the LORD save your people the remnant of Israel’” (Jeremiah 31:7).

After another miscarriage, we had Jemima.   Jemima took a long time to arrive – from soon after the birth of Jesse until 10 years later.    Yet she arrived.   As I was being wheeled out of the hospital after her birth, an elderly woman stopped us.  She looked at my precious newborn daughter and asked her name.  I said, “It’s Jemima.”  I will never forget her response.  “Oh, you named her after one of Job’s daughters!”  I couldn’t believe my ears.   She knew of Job and his daughters?!  What incredible confirmation from the Lord regarding our daughter’s name.  We gave her the middle name Mae after her two great-grandmothers – Effie Mae and Arrie Mae.    As Jemima received an inheritance along with her two sisters and brothers, our daughter became the symbol of our future inheritance.

“But on Mt. Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17).  

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed of the Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Jesse, Josi, Jacob, Jemima.  Roots, Restoration, Citizenship, Inheritance.  What an incredible way our Father revealed to us His plan for our walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel!

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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