Create a Family Legacy |
Monday— “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
The talk show audience was becoming heated as guests discussed how much parental control is healthy for children. The views were radically different. “So Shane and Donna, how are you handling the subject of religion?” asked the hostess. Shane smiled modestly. “We’re letting our children decide for themselves about God when they get older. We don’t want to force them one way or the other.” The audience burst into applause as the hostess turned to Ben and Ky. Ben cleared his throat, “Well, we’re Christians and we’ve had our kids in church since they were born. We read the Bible together and pray every day.” Boos followed this and the hostess frowned. “So audience, is this a form of child abuse?” Wild applause answered her question.
Unfortunately, that scenario is becoming common. Open-minded parents with no apparent moral foundation are celebrated, while Christian parents with structure and discipline are considered oppressive. Society’s attitude may feel new to us, but this divided ideology has been around since the Old Testament. In Joshua’s day, parents were teaching their children to worship idols. Some even sacrificed their babies to the god Molek. So Joshua drew a line in the sand and said, “You’re either for God or against Him. If you’re for Him, then stand up like adults and lead your families! But if not, then stop pretending!”
Final Thought: If we won’t stand up like adults and lead our families to worship God alone, we should stop pretending.
Prayer: Father, am I wavering between gods? Do I claim you on Sundays but live like I don’t know you the rest of the week? Do those around me know I worship you alone or do they consider me a pretender? I’m ready to lead. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— Fathers, do not provoke your children… but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4
While many commands in scripture apply to both men and women, the Greek word translated “fathers” is decidedly masculine. This is a command for dads and it is not negotiable. God holds fathers responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children. Moms have an important role, but the weight of accountability falls on fathers. This verse is a checklist for dads: “Am I harsh with them? Do I needlessly frustrate them? Am I leaving the bulk of their spiritual training to their mom and others? Am I providing a good male role model? Am I able to instruct my kids in the things of God? Do I live what I say I believe?”
Within the last century, a new class of children has emerged: the fatherless generation. Since masculinity was declared “toxic,” many men live as tomcats, prowling for their next conquest. If pregnancy happens, he’ll force an abortion or let her raise the baby. Mom might try her best, but she can’t be a dad. And some moms use the children to punish a father they no longer like. So little boys learn how to be men by watching drug dealers, while little girls try to find male validation by trading their bodies. Society implodes and the Lord’s fury increases. Fathers, you have a God-given responsibility that cannot be delegated. That’s your child. Your DNA. Your obligation. Your privilege. So seek God’s help in leading your kids to Jesus.
Final Thought: Fathers have a vital and God-given responsibility to bring up their children to know, love, and honor God.
Prayer: Lord, when I stand before you, I want to know that I did everything within my power to bring up my kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I will answer to you for that, so give me wisdom and strength not to fail. In Jesus name, amen.
Wednesday— Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
How do we live out our Christianity at home? Love and respect. How do we best show our children what it means to follow Jesus as a married person? Love and respect. It would be easier if we could hurl Bible verses at each other, but that’s not what God requires. He says that we reflect our submission to Him by mutually submitting to the needs and wishes of each other. That can be a tall order, especially if a spouse is unloving and disrespectful. When a husband and wife demonstrate love and respect toward each other, children learn to be loving and respectful. Little eyes are always watching. Little minds are always forming opinions about the grownup world. Whether parents intend to or not, every day they are preaching about marriage.
God’s design for families is a mom, a dad, and their children—with input from loving grandparents. But for many, that homelife is as remote as the Starship Enterprise. Dad took off, grandparents are on drugs, and Mom’s got mental issues. What now? Love and respect. No matter the situation, we’re still responsible for our part. A single mom can demonstrate love and respect by trading blame for a teaching opportunity, helping her children learn from her mistakes. A single dad can demonstrate love and respect when he doesn’t badmouth his kids’ mother, even when she deserves it. Spouses in a rocky marriage show love and respect by honoring Jesus instead of giving way to angry emotions. We obey God even when the other person isn’t.
Final Thought: We’re all responsible for demonstrating love and respect in our family situations. Little eyes are watching.
Prayer: Father, you know my situation. It’s been hard to live this verse, but you want to grow me through it. Jesus obeyed you when it was hard, so I will do that too. Help me be a model of love and respect in my family relationships. In His name, amen.
Thursday— These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 6:6-7
Get up at 5…kid band practice at 6…work by 7…dentist at lunch…get kids to practice and dance, microwave supper, start kids’ baths, get kids into bed, try again, and again, collapse by 10. Oops! Did I pray today? Too tired. Conk out.
That schedule looks familiar to many American families. But Christian parents realize they need to add spiritual training to that hodgepodge. How? Where’s the time? God has it figured out. He says to utilize the natural moments of the day to instill reverence for Him. It will feel forced and preachy unless God’s commands are a natural part of a parent’s heart.
How does a two-year-old learn the lyrics to a rock song? How can an 8-year-old who can’t remember his address quote all the stats of his favorite ball team? They absorbed it. The TV, radio, or smartphone does with our children what this verse talks about. It pressed into their minds what it wanted them to know when they rode in the car, did homework, or chilled with earbuds. God says it should be OUR voices they hear instead. The above schedule could look like this: Wake up at 5 with worship music, pray with kids on the way to school, memorize a verse together on the way to practice, eat together without tv, read Bible stories at bedtime, teach obedience when they balk. Let them see you having a quiet time.
Final Thought: Busyness is no excuse for not impressing God’s commands on ours and our children’s hearts.
Prayer: Father, I justify my disobedience by reminding you how busy and tired I am. But maybe it’s because I’m not budgeting my time and disciplining my kids. Help me learn to manage my time and become intentional about spiritual growth. Amen.
Friday— …God has called us to live in peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15
Have you considered that it is not only a worthy goal but a responsibility to guard the atmosphere of your home? We are the guardians of whatever enters, and the “guests” we allow affect the peace of our homes. We want our homes to be inviting to the Holy Spirit and He cares about atmosphere. Do a mental sweep around your living room. Would the God of Peace enjoy what’s on your TV? Would He like the way you’re talking to your spouse or children? How about the kind of language you allow, whether your own words or someone else’s? Are you taking responsibility for creating a Spirit-infused household?
If we didn’t grow up in peaceful homes, it can be confusing to try to create one for ourselves. If we grew up in a place where fighting, addictions, violence, or filth were acceptable, it feels normal to us now. But when God calls us out of darkness, He wants us to discover better ways of living. We get started by using this filter: “If Jesus showed up for dinner, would I be embarrassed? What would I change?” If we wouldn’t let the F-bomb slip in front of Jesus, why do we allow it in front of our kids? If Jesus wouldn’t like that slasher/porn/foul talking movie, why are you watching it? Is the Holy Spirit welcome in every room? What do people sense when they enter your home? Our spirits crave peace and it’s up to us to provide it.
Final Thought: How peaceful is your home? What needs to change?
Prayer: Father, is your Spirit welcome in my home? Am I excusing my chaotic mess when you want me to do something about it? Help me provide a peaceful atmosphere so that everyone who walks in senses your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.