Caring for Your Child’s Spiritual Health

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1, ESV

Caring for Your Child’s Spiritual Health

Our children’s spiritual health is of the utmost importance to Tom and me. Our goal is to introduce them directly to their heavenly Father, teaching them how to have a personal relationship with Him. That way, they will be better equipped to go to Him when they have problems in life.

Using teachings from Brad Jersak’s book, “Can You Hear Me? Tuning In to the God Who Speaks,” we have taught our children the Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. The process is surprisingly simple and extremely effective for children as well as adults and comes from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk.

It begins by asking God to speak to us and giving Him control over the ‘chalkboard of our minds.’ This is our imagination.

Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice

How to Hear God’s Voice

Here is how we can easily connect to God and hear His voice.

  1. Calm down, and get in an attitude of ‘listening.’ “I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:1)
  2. Fix your eyes on Jesus. I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:1)
  3. Pay attention to the flow of spontaneous thoughts in your mind. “I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:2)
  4. Write down what God says to you. “And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

Connecting With Jesus

Being able to directly connect with Jesus has many advantages. There was a period shortly after we moved to Colombia when everybody in the family was having nightmares. Alex, who has the most vivid imagination, had some especially scary demonic nightmares. One night he woke up at 3 a.m. in a panic. He came into our room, woke Tom and they prayed together.

Their prayer went something like this. “God, You tell us that You are always with us and that You will never forsake us or leave us alone. That means You had to have been in that awful dream. Please show me where You were in the dream, Lord.”

As they prayed together, Alex let his thoughts drift back to the dream. He asked Jesus to enter the dream and show where Jesus had been during it. The results were amazing. Alex saw Jesus right behind the demons. Jesus came over and gave Alex a great big hug, at which point the demons disappeared. The best part is that the recurring nightmare never came back again after that exercise!

Praying Before Bed

As a family, we often pray Psalm 91 together before bed. We ask for the Lord’s protection over our dreams. We declare that the ’terrors of the night’ shall not harm us. God is faithful, and everyone’s nightmares have ceased.

Cleansing Nightmares

In addition, sometimes when we are driving into a neighborhood or walking into a building, one of our kids may sense something unpleasant or ‘yucky’, as they say, in the atmosphere. We have learned to pay attention when this happens. 

Discernment is a Gift from God

As Christians, we can often sense the presence of evil. This is a gift from God which alerts us to darkness. For example, a close friend of ours always knows when someone is oppressed and needs deliverance because nausea comes over her every time she is around that person. She uses that gift as an opportunity to release God’s peace and love over that person instead of what the enemy has planned.

We have taught our children that the best way to change a negative atmosphere is to release the opposite. For example, if they feel there is oppression or sadness in a place, they focus on happiness instead. If they feel there is fear, they focus on love, because “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

If we don’t know what else to do, we just turn our eyes to Jesus and begin worshipping Him, because there is no faster way to change an atmosphere of darkness than to focus on His holy, pure light.

The Gift of Spiritual Discernment

The Benefits of Hearing God’s Voice

Our main goal in child-rearing is to raise our kids to be worshippers of the Lord. This brings amazing protection, especially when they begin to hear His voice. Our family has a few favorite examples of people who have heard God’s voice with dramatic results.

One of those, the origin of which I cannot recall, was a Christian businessman who was on a business trip. He was staying on a very high floor of a busy hotel in a large city. In the middle of the night, he awoke to smoke and fire alarms. He quickly became aware that there was a fire on his floor, blocking access to the stairway.

He prayed and sensed God telling him to go to the window and open it. Looking down, he saw a fire escape several floors below. Working quickly, he tied all of the sheets he could find in the room together. Then he tied one end to some sturdy furniture in the room and the other end to his waist. By this time the fire was close and his room was very hot and filled with smoke, making it difficult to breathe.

He prepared to jump, but strongly felt that the Lord was telling him, “Not yet.” He waited a few moments more, praying all the while. He was preparing again to jump when he sensed God’s voice saying, “Not yet”. Although this would sound quite illogical to most people, this businessman had experienced hearing God’s voice before, so he trusted the voice and waited at the window.

Finally, a few minutes later, he sensed God saying, “Jump now!” He obeyed, and just as he did a firetruck ladder swung to the very place he landed. The sheets tied to his waist had allowed him to reach the firetruck’s ladder but hadn’t been long enough to allow him to reach the fire escape. If he had jumped earlier, in disobedience to God’s clear instructions, he would have been hanging there. Worse, the sheets might have come loose and he could have fallen to his death.

Brother Andrew: God’s “Smuggler”

Another favorite story comes from the book “God’s Smuggler,” written by Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary who lived in the mid-20th century. Brother Andrew had a radical encounter with God before becoming a Bible smuggler to the countries behind the Iron Curtain. Since he was a child of the King of Kings, and God didn’t like things hidden, he didn’t believe he should need to hide the Bibles he was bringing in the country.

God seemed to be leading Brother Andrew to bring Bibles into countries in which it was illegal to transport, print or own a Bible. Brother Andrew reasoned that he should be able to leave them unhidden and in plain view of the guards and that God would hide them from the border guards’ eyes. He left some on the front seat of his car in plain view and the others packed in the luggage he knew the guards would open.

Time after time he approached the border of communist countries with a car full of Bibles. He was careful to listen for God’s direction in terms of what to do and say to the guards. God did the impossible time after time, allowing Brother Andrew to make multiple miraculous crossings with the Bibles. God seemed to blind the guards’ eyes, making the Bibles that were in plain view invisible to the border guards! 

These stories serve to remind us that the ability to hear and obey God’s voice is the most important thing we can teach our children. Someday our children will be on their own. Hearing God’s voice for their lives will guide them better than anything else.

Brother Andrew, Founder of “Open Doors”

How to Pray for Your Children

As parents, we have the incredible responsibility and awesome privilege of praying for our children even before they are born. We have prayed for our children and their spouses almost every day of their lives.

Consider how much of an influence your child’s friends can be in his life. In your child’s adult life the greatest impact and influence on them will typically come from their spouse. Therefore it’s imperative that you begin to pray now for your children AND for their spouses.  

  • Pray that they will hear Jesus’ call on their lives, and not be hindered but respond in faith. Ask God to help them grow and develop through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to help them to grow in love toward God and their neighbor.
  • Pray that would not be unequally yoked in marriage or with close friends and that God would help them to focus on positive, God-honoring things. Ask God for generosity, so that they would give to God’s causes with great joy. Also, give God permission to call them as missionaries, and ask Him to help them answer the call regardless of where He asks them to go.
  • Pray for God to uproot any seeds of unrighteousness that may have been planted, either by people or by situations. Ask Him to replace those seeds with the peace, purity, and power of the Holy Spirit. You don’t want anything that’s contrary to God to take root in their hearts and lives!
  • Pray that your children would be a Godly example to their peers, and strong enough to resist temptation. Ask Him to protect their hearts, minds, eyes, bodies, and souls.

Put your children daily into His hands, and ask Him to take care of them. After all, no matter how good of a mother or father you are, God is still going to do a better job caring for your child than you can!

Teach Your Child About Wisdom

10 Reasons Why We Must Teach Wisdom to Kids

The Bible is a great place to start teaching your children about wisdom. When Tom and I correct our children, we generally try to bring in a Bible verse that shows them what God thinks about their specific behavior or the situation at hand. If your children are exhibiting sinful behavior, or are suffering at the hands of someone who is, it’s important to show them what God thinks and desires.

Here are some verses you can use to help teach your children.

  • Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8, NIV)
  • Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18, NIV)
  • In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4)
  • To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. (Proverbs 8:13, NIV)
  • The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
  • As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NIV)
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3, NIV)
  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2, NIV)
  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10, NIV)
  • Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Colossians 3:12, NIV)
  • How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11, NIV)
  • Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. (Proverbs 10:4, NIV)
  • A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (Proverbs 26:15, NIV)
  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, NIV)
  • Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. (Proverbs 12:24, NIV)
  • A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11:13, NIV)
  • Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:16, NIV)
  • Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. (Proverbs 26:20-22)
  • Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
  • Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 1:8, NIV)
  • Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20, NIV)
  • Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25, NIV)
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, NIV)
  • The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27, NIV)
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians, 6:14, NIV)
  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, NIV)
  • A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (Proverbs 13:24, MSG)
  • Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. (Revelation 3:19, NIV)
  • No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)
  • Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1, NIV)
  • Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline. (Proverbs 22:15, MSG)
  • Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17, NIV)
  • Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. (Proverbs 13:18, NIV)
  • Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing. Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure. (Jeremiah 10:24, NIV)
  • Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  (Hebrews 12:7, NIV)
  • The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10, NIV)
  • To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3, NIV)
  • 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. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
  • Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)