Modeling Mondays: Series on Teaching Children to Live a Godly Life

As a new mom, I had a lot of worries for bringing children into this world. How could I be a good mom to them? I was clueless how to even raise a child for Christ, and honestly, still am quite often. Really… my children are 4 and 3… so I have much more to learn, but I have learned a lot in the last 4 years.

I want my children to grow up learning to love God and relying on the Holy Spirit. I want them to see an example they can live by. An example of parents who are living a Christ-like life. 

It is my job to teach and train my kids in the way they should go. My job to make sure they know how to live a godly life. What a godly life looks like. Why a godly life is important. Why we serve our God and love Him. What He has done for us and wants us to continue to do for them.

Living a Christian life isn’t always easy, but it comes with great reward.

I want my children to know about His sacrifice. To know His reward for us. To know what God did and why He did it when He sent Jesus. To know what Jesus did for us.

MY job.

Wow! What great responsibility God has given us as parents. He expects us to teach them what they need to know. Especially when they are too young to learn it themselves.

God is showing me these things each and every day. The Holy Spirit reminds me that they are learning from me. My choices. My words. My actions. Where my time and energy is spent. How I react to certain things.

I take the responsibility quite heavily. And I fail daily. Guess what?! We all do. We all fall short.

So should we give up? Give up on being patient with our children? Give up showing them love and compassion when they fail? Give up on teaching them even when we set a bad example sometimes?

Do we want God to give up on us? I DON’T!

I am learning to be new everyday. I have to pick up my cross everyday. I have to teach my children the same.

So join me if you’d like. As I seek out what God wants for me and my family. How I can best learn and then teach them.

Over the next several Mondays I am prayerfully exploring how God wants us to teach our children. I am praying about how I can MODEL to my children a godly life; as I have prayed just about everyday for at least the last 4 years.

These posts will include many things we have already been implementing in our home, and many ways we want to improve and grow.

Here is a list of topics we will cover:

  • 3 Ways to Teach Children to Pray

  • Teaching Children to Memorize Scripture in 4 Easy Steps

  • 4 Steps to Help Children Have Daily Devotions

  • 3 Ways to Teach/Model Worshiping God

  • Teaching Children to Love as Christ Loves Us

What do you think? Are you excited about this series? I look forward to you adding what has worked for you in these areas! 

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Touchy Topic: Seeing Children as a Blessing, Even in Sunday Service

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For a while now, I’ve gone back and forth on bringing my children into church service with me. James and I have discussed it and see pros and cons for both. My husband is the Discipleship and Outreach Pastor at our church, and I’m the business administrator. We are heavily involved in our church and in the service, which makes it easier to use the nursery and children’s church.

Many people encouraged us to take the kids to the children’s church.

“It gives you a break.
You are then free to worship without worrying about your kids.
The kids are presented with the gospel on their level.
Children cannot sit still and stay quiet.”

Obviously, these are all assuming the church has a children’s service offered. Each of these reasons, at one point or another, have been the very reason we have kept our kids in children’s church and we have worshiped without them.

Others have encouraged us to bring them in with us.

“This will teach your children how to worship by watching you.
Children need to learn to sit still and be quiet.
Children are a joy and blessing. They should be with their parents to learn.”

These are the reasons I’ve thought hard about bringing them in the service with us. I’ve also read about children leaving the church when they go off to college and the links between that and children being out of the main service. Also, I am called to teach and train them in the way should go! I AM! Not anyone else. Me!

Now before you yell at me, I don’t think this means we cannot use the help of other people to teach and train our children… sometimes, BUT it is our responsibility to make sure they are taught and trained correctly. Anyways…

I long to see my children as a joy and blessing, always! Can I be honest? Do I always see them as a joy and a blessing? No 😦 But can I be honest again? Looking around at our society and the MANY influences we have around us, it’s not hard to see why this is even more difficult.

Being a mom is hard! It’s not for the faint at heart. But you know what isn’t helping? Facebook sayings like, “I’ve always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. Without kids.” And I saw this in a mom’s group!!!!! What?!? We can also see it all over our movies and television shows.

“Ugh! It’s summer. I hate having to be with my kids all summer?!
When are the kids finally going back to school?!?”

Wow… I am getting way off topic :).

Focus!

We have gone back and forth on what is right for our family. OUR family!

Do I think you should take your kids out of nursery and children’s church? Your call, not mine. Do I think the nursery and children’s church are bad for our kids? Absolutely NOT!

I have decided I want to bring my kids in more. We have Sunday School, Sunday Morning Service, occasional home groups with children’s service offered, and a Wednesday night service. They are getting PLENTY of opportunities to fellowship with other children, and to hear God’s Word on their level.

My first Sunday was on June 2, 2013.

The night before, I went to the dollar store and bought them some fun goodies for the service. I knew this would be important, especially in the transition from the nursery to the main service.

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Then I let Conner pack up his and Elias’ backpacks. I wanted to pump him up and get him excited about coming into service with us. He was so excited about his new backpack and could not wait to go into service so he could play with his new stuff.

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Now, overall this is not my goal; for him to just want to play, but I know it will help the process.

So, the first Sunday, I took them out of the nursery after Sunday school. We went into praise and worship and I immediately gave them their backpacks. They stayed 25 minutes during praise and worship with me, by myself!!! My husband was busy doing church business. Conner was on the floor coloring and Elias was in chair and my arms and did well

overall.

I did have a teaching moment too!!! Conner was standing by me at one point, and said, “Mom do like this” and bowed his head. I said, “You know what’s great about praising and worshiping God? You can do it all kinds of ways. Bowing your head, lifting your eyes, lifting your hands, singing etc.” He got so excited and smiled! Great start I’d say!!!

This last Sunday was our second week. My goal was to not give them their backpacks until after praise and worship time. My sweet husband also adjusted his schedule so he could be in there with us more. Not the whole time, but more.

Praise and worship was a mixture of kids in mine or my husband’s arms, standing in the windows swaying, or spinning around next to the chairs. We are a work in progress. I also did my best to explain to Conner that he can dance but this time is for Jesus so that is our focus.

After praise and worship, during announcements, we got the backpacks out. Elias sat in the window with his Bible (see picture above). Conner asked another awesome question! They were announcing a Missions’ Trip our church is taking in the Fall. Conner said, “I don’t know why we do this.” WHAT?! I am not fully sure he knew what he was asking, but I LOVED that he was paying attention enough to ask such an inquisitive question! AND, had he not been in service, we wouldn’t have had this amazing conversation! Another plus to kids in service.

I explained to him how important it is for us, as Christians, to help others in need, and to share the Gospel with everyone. He thought this was so cool and seemed to understand. James is hoping to take this trip if he can get off work. How great will it be if James can go and we can teach the boys how important this is?!

The boys made it through announcements and then I took them back to the nursery. 50 minutes this time!! Twice as long as last week! We probably could have made it longer, but it is new for me too and I could tell I needed to stop in order to not lose my patience. They did great, but we were starting to make a little more noise and get antsy, and service was about to start.

I look forward to continuing this journey and sharing with you how we are learning to make it work for our family. Tomorrow, I am excited to have a guest post on this discussion from Candace at Sacred Mommyhood!!

What do you think about having children in service?

A Study Through the Bible: James 5:19-20

Did you see James 5:13-18 Post?

Well this is exciting and sad. Today is the last of our study through James! Thanks for joining me. I learned a lot and God really spoke to me. I hope and pray He did the same for you!

Join me next week as I start through 1 John!

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

God, Thank You for the Book of James. It speaks such truth and is still relevant still today. I have enjoyed all that You have taught me and continue to teach me every time I get in Your Word. Speak to me today and guide my heart’s desires. Amen.

Scripture

James 5:19-20

19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (NIV)

Application

What a powerful conclusion. We were all lost at one point. God reached out to us and brought us close to Him. We need to do the same for other believers. I have several friends who were hurt by the church and because of this refuse to attend church and some have still have bitterness to God.

When I hear how they were hurt, it doesn’t surprise me that they left, but it hurts me that no one else has been able to reach out to them and bring them back. We are all human in the church, but as believers we should be held to a higher standard. A standard that shows love, compassion, and understanding, rather than judgement and condemnation. We need to remember “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

When I meet these people, I show them love. I invite them to my church or to church events they may find interesting. I want them to feel the love and warmth of the church through me and the friendship I offer. We are called to bring them back to the truth. That is a big calling so we better get to work. I know too many who are out there!

Closing Prayer

God, Thank You for a strong message today. You have called us to reach the unbelievers, but You have also called us to reach out to those who have fallen away. The church should be a place of love and oftentimes it ends up being a place full of hurt and anger. Help us to remember how our church should be and to reach out to those who have strayed away. Lead me. Guide me. Send them to me. Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 5:13-18

Did you see James 5:7-12 Post?

Oh my gosh! I thought I lost this whole post when I was almost finished with it! To make matters worse, I thought I lost it because I thought my computer had a virus. So far things seem fine. I guess it just needed some rest!

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

God I praise You and thank You for all that You have shown me through the Book of James. You Word is amazing and is still relevant even today! Speak to me and open my heart to hear from You today. Amen.

Scripture

James 5:13-18

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (NIV)

Application

I remember being a youth at summer camp and I lost my favorite bracelet. I had been walking all over the camp grounds, through the woods, up to the dining halls! The bracelet could be anywhere! I was devastated.

Here I was worshiping God all week and seeking His Will for my life and I lost something precious to me. I know this all sounds silly, but remember I was in youth 😉 and don’t we all have those things (even though we shouldn’t put too much importance into things) that we cherish? This was mine.

I knew I would never find it! I began to pray and pray and pray that I would find it. On my way to worship service that evening, as I walked through the woods, I just happened to look down, and there is was!!! Right there in the dirt, in the middle of this huge wooded area!

This story taught me a powerful lesson at such a young age. Nothing is too small a prayer for God. He hears our cries and answers prayers. When I doubt Him, I remember the sweet, young girl who prayed, even for the small things!

It is so easy to begin complaining or worrying when we are in need. It is easy to run to our friends and family to rant, but sometimes, probably most of the time, we should just stop and pray! This seems like the “Christian” answer, but it is true. He wants us to come to Him with all emotions we go through.

We also need to have accountability. We need trusted Christians surrounding us and encouraging us to make wise choices, especially in areas we would normally fall short in. God also wants us to talk to Him and confess our sins. He knows everything so there is no use in hiding, instead we should seek Him and His strength to overcome our failures. He is wonderful and listens and forgives us!

Closing Prayer

God, Thank You that You hear our prayers. Even the small ones that some may think are silly. You answer all of our prayers in both the way we want and in other ways we may not think we want. Thank You that either way You hear us and love us. Thank You also for forgiveness. Without it we would be condemned to hell. You are so amazing and worthy of praise! Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 5:7-12

Did you see James 5:1-6 Post?

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

Sweet Jesus, Thank You for showing me daily how I can improve and grow stronger. Thank You that You give me wisdom to make the right choices, and wisdom to trust You when I make the wrong choices. Speak to me and change me through Your Word today and everyday. Amen.

Scripture

James 5:7-12

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned. (NIV)

Application

What beautiful imagery here. Just as the farmer has patience as his crops grow and as he trusts in the land, we must also be patient and trust in our God. He will prepare us, give the “water” we need, use us, and grow us. We must be patient and trust that His timing is wonderful.

I loved this part, “Our destination is already booked and secured; now, we are to concentrate on what to do while we are on our way to His Way!” We know we have secured out spot in Heaven, now we need to do His work here on Earth. How beautiful and makes me feel like I need to be doing more for Him.

I look to serve Him in everything I do, but I know I am also serving him by being a patient mom. I serve Him by teaching and training my children. I serve Him by respecting and lifting up my husband. God gives each of us our own ministries, and oftentimes these aren’t just at the church (building)!

As a mom and a wife, it can be easy to complain about my work. It can be easy to be short with my children, husband, family and friends, and how much easier to be short or become angry with strangers, but God called me to have patience and love to everyone. I should not waste time fighting with God’s people, but instead show them love. I should put in here that is important to “fight” for justice or wrongdoings of the world, such as abortion, but even these should be done in certain manner not just in anger.

God has given us great examples all throughout the Bible. We aren’t the first to deal with stress, or needing patience, and we certainly won’t be the last. It is important to look to the Word to find these stories and learn from and lean on them especially during difficult times.

Oh and how important are our words! People need to be able to come to us and trust that we say is what is true. I use a lot of words during the day, and I try to remind myself to slow down and pay careful attention to what is coming out. Promises made to my children need to be carried out, otherwise what example am I setting. This can be a huge witness to the unbelievers out there. They should be able to look to us and know we are honest people!

Closing Prayer

God, what an amazing reminder. Often I am impatient with You and Your plan, but I need to trust the rain will come. You are preparing me to grow strong, just as the farmer has patience, help me to also.

Your timing is amazing and I want You to use me on the journey. I know you have great places for me to go to, but I know You want to use me even before then. Show me and guide me. Help me and remind me to trust in You always. Thank You for the peace You have given me on this journey as I seek to better Your Kingdom. Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 5:1-6

Did you see James 4:13-17 Post?

Had a wonderfully relaxing weekend with my family! I hope you did too! Excited to get back into our study in James. We will be finishing up this week so I am looking ahead. What would you like us to study next?

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

God, Thank You for time to relax. Thank You for a rare weekend without many plans. Thank You for an amazing husband, that even with shingles, cooked and took care of me on Mother’s Day! I am so blessed. Speak to me today and remind me how to live my best life possible for You. Amen.

Scripture

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. (NIV)

Application

This passage is near and dear to me. A year ago I worried and relied on me being employed so that my family could pay bills and lead a good life. I knew God wanted me home, taking care of my children, my house, and my husband, but I couldn’t let go of that safety net.

My trust was not in God but in the things of this world. I finally listened to God and I let go and trusted and relied on Him. Our life had to adjust some, but we have NOT gone without! He has provided and we still live rather comfortably. I have no idea how sometimes, well that’s not true, He provides for those who put their faith in Him and listen when He speaks!

That is exactly what James is speaking about here. Do not worry or trust in the things of the world. Do not hoard or trust in the worldly wealth, but in God’s providing. God wants us to be wealthy on Earth, but to do good with it and not trust in the things of the world.

If we struggle, God hears us and will provide. Also, those that are wealthy should be giving and helping those that need our help. We should not cheat others or take from those that we owe, and we should be giving. Being wealthy is not a sin, the sin comes when we hoard what we are blessed with and rely on the things of the world rather than God.

Closing Prayer

God, Thank You for reminding me you have provided for me and my family. Thank You for reminding me to trust in You and listen when You call us.

Thank You for an amazing year of growth and the time You have given me with my children. This year has been wonderful and I’ve been able to enjoy my kids and watch them grow. I’ve seen a change in my husband who stands proud, and comes home to his home that is taken care of and happy! What a wonderful testimony of Your blessings!

Thank You for Your Word and reminding me to continue to trust in You! You provide wealth and want us to do good with it. Thank You. Lead me and I will follow! Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 4:13-17

Did you see James 4:11-12 Post?

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

God, Thank You for reminding me that it is not my place to judge. I have enough to take care of with myself to waste time worrying about other people and what they are doing. Help me to recognize the difference between judging and simply discerning people’s actions and what to do with them. Speak to me today and show me what I need to hear. Amen.

Scripture

James 4:13-17

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (NIV)

Application

OK God I hear you! Be patient! Wait! I will show you and lead you!

I LOVE to plan, so this verse is directly written to me! While there is nothing wrong with planning, the wrong comes about when my plans are not relying on and looking to Him.

Oftentimes I find it difficult to just give it to Him and wait. I need to trust that He is in control and will open the right doors and close the wrong ones, but that I still need to move my life forward. I cannot sit around assuming He will just pick us up and put us where we need to be, but we need to be focusing on Him, His Word, and praying for His lead.

This is so incredibly tough for me. The Spirit is constantly having to remind me, “Just wait. I will show you. It will all fall into place perfectly,” but I rest assured on His promises and I know He is with us every step. And I wait in anticipation for all the wonderful things God is doing and is going to do in and with my family!

He has changed me powerfully over the last few months to just let go and let Him move. Wow! What an amazing life I lead now. Most days, instead of worrying about bills and what we are going to do in our future, I am relaxed and comforted in His arms. We are moving forward, but with Him guiding.

Another song comes to mind, Amazed

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord I’m amazed by You
Lord I’m amazed by You
Lord I’m amazed by You
How You love me

How wide
How deep
How great
Is Your love for me

Closing Prayer

God, You are so amazing. I love living my life in Your perfect plan! I relax and I am at ease knowing You are leading our family and providing for us because we are living in Your will. You called me home and I listened, and You have provided every step. Thank You! Continue to show me peace in Your will. I love You! Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 4:11-12

Did you see James 4:7-10 Post?

Accept my apologies for missing yesterday’s devotional post. I was busy preparing for the day because I took my boys to the zoo! We had such a great time!!!

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

God, Thank You for family and the time You provide for us to spend together. Thank You that as a mom, You called me to stay home with them and I get to do lots of fun things all day! I love my family and I love reading Your Word. Speak to me today and give me wisdom to have the right attitude with them throughout the day. Amen.

Scripture

James 4:11-12

11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (NIV)

Application

Whew! That’s a hard one to swallow! No wonder we are only focusing on two verses here. OK, so here is the problem with church: it is made up of humans! We are all human and all make human mistakes. It is human nature to talk down or gossip about fellow Christians. Especially if we see them doing something terribly wrong, or worse yet, we are jealous of all they are doing right.

Who are we to talk about what others are doing and their intentions? If they are doing something wrong or for the wrong reasons, they will be judged by the only one who can judge.

I remember, very clearly, a long time ago a dear friend of mine telling me that I only sing on stage because I want attention on myself. This hurt me terribly. So much so that I recently realized it is one of the main reasons I no longer sing on stage. I never want my motives to be selfish, but rather to glorify God, so I allowed this person to take me away from that ministry.

Our words are powerful. We have the ability to say such hurtful things that can pull people out of the ministry they are called to. Wow! I know I have been guilty of this.

Just for clarification, we are called to watch people’s motives and to make sure to keep them accountable for their actions. We need to discern whether or not they are bringing others down or speaking evil things, but we are not called to judge them and speak evil over them. What good comes from bad mouthing them or gossiping about them? None!

I needed to hear this terribly. When a church is struggling or going through a transition, sometimes the evil can come out in people. I am only responsible for me and my actions. I will be judged for those actions, so that is where I will try to keep my concerns.

Closing Prayer

Lord, You are so amazing. Thank You for this reminder. I pray You give me the strength to remember to close my mouth. Help me to choose words that lift others up rather than tear them down. Remind me to not gossip or speak evil things about fellow Christians, as sometimes this may be easy to do. Thank You for Your Spirit who helps me in my weaknesses. Amen.

A Study Through the Bible: James 4:7-10

Did you see James 4:1-6 Post?

I am using this free online Bible study website. Join me!

My Prayer

Lord, Thank You so much for reminding me to ask You for things and to ask for the right reasons. I want to bring You glory in all I do and sometimes my need for affirmation gets in the way. You are so amazing and wonderful, and Your Word shows me new things each time I step into it. Please show me what I need to hear today. Amen.

Scripture

James 4:7-10

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (NIV)

Application

God wants ME to choose Him over Satan. I need to submit to God and give Him my absolute all. My husband spoke this last Sunday evening to our church, and he said something I just love. He explained that the devil has no power or control over us. He only has as much power or control that WE give him. That means without us he is nothing!

We are to resist him and he will flee from us. I need to focus my attention on Christ and drawing closer to Him. The closer my relationship is with God, the further it is from Satan. This relationship will shine through on other relationships in my life. I believe the closer and strong I get with Christ, the stronger and closer I will get with my husband, children, family, and friends.

I need to be clean with God and wash away the sin in my life so my relationship with Him and others can prosper. I need to cry out for how I fail Him daily and ask for His forgiveness and strength to overcome. He is a wonderful God who has washed away our sins and simply wants us to recognize them and move past them.

This brings to mind a song, Wonderful Maker by Chris Tomlin

What a wonderful Maker
What a wonderful Savior
How majestic Your whispers
And how humble Your love
With a strength like no other
And the heart of a Father
How majestic Your whispers
What a wonderful God

Closing Prayer

Wow God! You are our wonderful maker. Thank You so much that You whisper into our hearts, and lead us into righteousness. Without You I would be lost and in sin. I would be a mess and without hope. Thank You for reminding me that I need to seek after You and away from Satan. With Your wisdom and guidance I can do all things. Forgive me for my human nature and sin. Show me what You want to do in my life. Thank You for Your word. Amen.