THE SHAPING OF A CHILD’S FUTURE
Last Sunday I addressed the stages of life from Earth Day to Birthday: Conception, Pregnancy, and Birthday. Already I am hearing some good reports of what Go d has beein doing as some of you have been doing the daily reading and journaling as well as how some have been blessed in their small groups I want to encourage you to share your story. It would be so encouraging for others to hear if from you. If you would like to share your story at church please speak with me later so we can arrange an appropriate time.
Scipture: Mark 10:13-16
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might tough them; and the disciples rebutked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I say to you, woever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a small child shall not enter it at all. 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, layin His hands upon them.”
< Let Us Pray>
Today we are going to examing the “Childhood” stage and blessing as it relates to it.
The passage we have just read is very familiar to most of us. It is often read at a baby dedication. I must say that after the things I have been learning through the study of the 40 Days of Blessing I don’t believe I will ever look at baby dedications the same. In fact I don’t know if I will be able to perform them the same way I used to either. God has been helping me to learn so much and I trust he will help you too.
Jesus as we know was a man of perfect peace, patience and selfcontrol. He handled every situation from sarcasim to accusation, to entrappment and even personal injury and injustice with poise and grace
Yet there are two occassions recorded in the scriptures for us when Jesus becam very demonstatively angry. The first occasion was when He got angry in the temple at the money changers and those who were making a business of profit out of selling the animals for worship and sacrifice. He ran through the temple with a whip He had made from cords, kicking over the tables, throwing their money on the floor decrying their wicked use of God’s house.
The second occasion is in the story that we have just read from the scriptures. It was the only time when Jesus got angry with His disciples. He got angry when his disciples ignored the need for blessing little children.
1. YOU BLESS YOUNG CHILDREN BY HONORING THEM AS REAL PEOPLE
· In our scripture today it tells us that when the disciples rebuked the children and the parents who had brought them, that when Jesus saw it “He was indignant.”
· The original word used for indignant in the greek means to “Be Angry at Injustice”
· It is the only time that this word is used in reference to Jesus
· This is a very significant point because it means Jesus is making a very strong statement about the value and worth of LITTLE CHILDREN
i. Three of the Five Elements of Blessing (implied in story)
1. A Meaningful Touch – Jesus Picked them up
2. A Spoken Message – He Blessed them
3. Attaching High Value – Jesus received them when the other wanted to drive them away, and he undoubted listened to them
4. The other two are not specifically mentioned in this story
-Pictuing a special future - though it is probable Jesus spoke of their future
-And an active commitment – while not specifically mentioned, He is the Savior and He will go to the cross for them (that’s commitment)
5. The Major Life Question of Childhood is Who Can I Trust?
6. Think how the children must have felt when Jesus rebuked the disciples and instead told the children; come to me awhile. I will make time for you.
7. Think how his actions would build trust in the hearts of the children
a. The blessing Jesus gave them was not just the words He spoke over them but also the me ssage he was writing into their hearts to help answer that life question.
b. Here is this big adult, who is very important and has all these people coming to see him, and has a bunch a men who are there with him too, and He stops everything to spend time with them, to pick them up and to bless them, Jesus was writing a message of affirmation. Value and worth upon their hearts.
8. Jesus wasn’t just teaching His disciples but he was teaching all of us how to “Bless Children”
2. START A FAMLY HABIT PATERN OF BLESSING
· Pg. 91 in the Power of Blessings – “As the twig is bent so grows the tree”
· Prov 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”
· Many have clung to this verse thinking if I train them up to follow the Lord they will stay faithful to God. But that is a very narrow application of this verse and the depth of meaning it holds
i. How we treat our children early in life shapes the direction they will grow in every facet of life.
· Do you know what one of the greatest joys of being a grand parent is? It’s the “Grandchildren!”
· Tell a short version of my Grandson’s visit this summer
· Why do you think grandchildren have a special place in their hearts for grandma and grandpa? Because grandma and grandpa love to stop and make time just for them. Grandma and grandpa love to get down on the floor and play with them (as long as their body allows them to). Making cookies with grandma, flying a kite with grandpa, go for a walk in the park,visiting the zoo, going fishing, kicking a ball in the back yard, going swing, etc…
· Tell me, what’s so special to the children about those things. I’ll tell you, because when you stop and spend the time with them and play with them, listen to them and try and answer all their “WHY” questions it tells them something very powerful. It says very loudly to them – I Think YOU are Special, that You have Great VALUE and You are IMPORTANT! YOU COUNT
A. How many of you like it when someone makes you feel special and important to them, that your opinion matters? Doesn’t it make you feel good!
B. Well Children are People too! And as someone has said “Little people have BIG Feelings!
ii. Blessing usually isn’t completed in one magic moment of time, rather through a series of events
· Especially true in lives of young children who require repeated messages through words, deeds and ceremonies in order to receive the whole message
· Children never tire of hearing something they like over and over
· If you have small children then now is the ideal time to start developing a family habit of blessing
· Perhaps one of the best times to do this is just before bedtime. It can be one of the most teachable times in a child’s day.
· Think of all the things that can happen in a day, and of all the things that can go wrong or we can say that we wished we hadn’t
· Imagine if you could have an insurance policy that would underwrite the unintentional and accidental hurts that occur.
· As you spend a couple of minutes with your child at the end of the day, no matter what he/she has done or what you have said, you have an opportunity to apply a healing ointment to the wounds that may have occurred and reaffirm your love, your commitment to them, their value and identity. A few simple words and a hand on their head or shoulder can communicate a lot.
· <listen to story of ……Rolf Garborg> DVD #7 (play 0:59 to 5:41)
· Start a family habit patern of blessing. Create your own unique way to bless your child
3. Don’t Trip over a Blessing Blocker
a. It is important to become aware of the commence occurrences in life that can “Block” the blessing in the life of an individual. We call them “Blessing Blockers”
i. Typically they are negative words or actions the send a message of low value or worth.
ii. Experiences that write a negative message or script on their hearts
b. So lets take a quick look at four (4) things that are common blessing blockers (there are many more but we will focus on these today)
i. Improper Punishment
- Of course child discipline is a very big subject and probably requires a complete series of messages to deal with that but we must address it somewhat today.
- You will go into more depth in your reading and small group studies
- But we are all born with a lie, our sinful nature tells us that “If I get my own way I will be happy”
- Prov. 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him”
- Proper discipline and proper punishment will overturn the lie and replace it with the truth
- We often confuse Discipline with Punishment, but the two are not the same thing.
· “Punishment is pain administered as a form of payment for wrong doing.”
i. It may be physical in nature or emotional through the temporary removal of privileges.
· “Discipline on the other hand is the training of the untamed will to make godly choices” to choose right behavior
i. Punishment can be a part of discipline
ii. It the part that is required when the Will deliberately will not choose what is right
iii. Need to distinguish between childish irresponsibility and willful disobedience
iv. Too often Children receive punishment when they haven’t done anything “Willfully Wrong”
v. Gives confusing messages about who we are value statements.
· Punishment is only effective when
i. Punishment is appropriate to the individuals character
1. When my son “STEVEN” was little all we had to do when he misbehaved was give him “The Look” – and he’d begin to cry or sob, because he sought approval
2. Another of my son’s “Whom Shall Remain Nameless” - The Look didn’t work because – well he just wasn’t looking! We needed a different means to get his attention
ii. Punishment must be appropriate to the disobedient act
1. You don’t ground a child for a month because he spilled a glass of milk
iii. Always pre-warned
1. They must know what they are supposed do first, and what the consequences are for not making a godly choice.
2. This is to train the will
3. To use discipline under any other circumstance is unrighteous
iv. Never in Anger
1. Because it is a tool of training
2. It is not for the purpose of you the parent to vent your frustrations
- However, improper punishment will result in embedded anger, and even if hidden when they are young, will remain with them for many, many, years and will almost guarantee that much of the blessing is blocked. Many people who suffer unknowingly from this because they have hidden or pushed the original events out of their memories. Nevertheless the impact of blocked blessings is just as real and devastating.
- Improper Discipline can also take the form of Neglect of discipline
· To not take the time and energy to discipline your child is a form of neglect and it devalues them
· Another big blessing blocker is:
ii. Sexual Experiences including Abuse
- No pre-pubescent child should have any sexual experience
- It a gross violation of TRUST
- As stated and emphasized in both the book and the DVD “Any sexual contact from an older person during this time of life is “ABUSE” and it is NEVER the fault of the VICTIM
- One of the devils favorite lies is to convince the victim that they somehow share in the blame for what happened.
- I want to encourage you … never hide the fact of child hood abuse. If you are someone who has suffered this kind of abuse I want to encourage you to start the process of rebuilding trust by speaking with a qualified professional who shares your spiritual values and will assist you in working through the healing process so that the blessing can flow in your life as God intended it to.
iii. School Experiences (Almost an endless list)
- School yard bullies
- Poor performance in certain subject
- Gym classes for those who were not athletic
- Teachers who willingly or unwillingly embarrassed you in front of your peers
· Of course in all of these and many more
i. How did your parents handle this in your life?
ii. Were they aware of it?
iii. Did they show sympathy and concern
iv. Did they intervene when and where necessary
iv. Accidental Emotional Injury
- Teasing is sometimes done in fun and at other times it can be done maliciously, but either way it can send a deep message to the individuals heart
· Sometimes siblings tease one another growing up
· They may say things in jest, and they may even both laugh at the time, but doesn’t always mean the one who received it is laughing on the outside and on the inside.
- By the way, if I drop a brick on your toe accidentally or if I drop it on your toe intentionally. Which one hurts more?
- Neither, they both hurt don’t they!
- The only difference is you might find it easier to forgive me if I did it accidentally!
- Well, emotion pain is just as painful and just a damaging to our receiving the blessings regardless of whether or not it was received from a malicious intentional act or an accidental one. And we need to deal with them.
- Sometimes as parents we can use words carelessly not realizing the emotional damage they can do. We need to be more care and intentional in our use of Words.
v. Negative Vows
- A vow is a mental agreement that we make with ourselves through an act of our will – consciously or subconsciously – to eliminate certain feelings or actions from our life
- The Vow acts like a Valve in that it regulates and controls the flow of our emotions
- Thus a Positive Vow like our wedding vows can be very helpful as it serves as a constant reminder to “Open our Hearts to our spouse when we perhaps have only a little trickle of feeling of love flowing”
- When a child is old enough to realize that he can use his or her willpower to get what they want they can also use will power to compensate for emotional injury
- Story of the Promise Unkept!
· In the story of HOOK where Robin Williams plays Peter Pan
· He promises to attend his son’s baseball games but because of his work he never gets to the game
· His son’s team is now playing in the final game of the year and Peter (Robin Williams) promises his son – I Will BE There! My Word Is My Bond!”
· But as usual there are a myriad of things that happen and try as he might he arrives at the ball part only after the game has ended and everyone has already gone home.
· His son decides because of this he can never trust an adult (especially his father) again!
· The result is the door to apart of Jack’s heart is sealed closed! Why? Because Jack doesn’t want to get hurt anymore.
· But the door that kept him from getting hurt also kept him from receiving and giving the love he so desperately needed
· A Child can make many kinds of similar vows:
i. I will never let anyone love me
ii. I will never share what is mine
iii. I will never let anyone know how I feel
iv. I will never let anyone touch me
- There may be many other things said but they all have the same effect of sealing off the heart
- A vow is not a demon that you can claim authority in Jesus name and cast out. It is a door that must be opened and it requires a key.
- The key is to recognize it and renounce it the allow God to replace the lie that was originally placed in your heart and mind by the enemy with the Truth of God.
4. YOU CAN’T GIVE WHAT YOU HAVEN’T RECEIVED
- Say that with me, “You can’t give what you haven’t received”
- Now turn to the person on your right and say to them…..
- Turn to the person on your left and say it to them….
- And when you get home…. Look in the mirror and say it again!
- You Can’t give what you haven’t received!
a. We all want to let the past be gone
b. Isn’t it all Forgiven and under the blood
c. Well, yes it is! However though the sins of the past have been forgiven many still carry the wounds and the lies they produced
d. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!”
- Trying to bless someone else, before we replace the lies with God’s truth in our own heart is like trying to use the hose to water your lawn, but the valve is nearly shut off completely. It is ineffective because the flow has been blocked!
- If you want to maximize your effectiveness in blessing others, in blessing your children, your spouse and others, then you will want to take some time and let the Holy Spirit search in your own heart today for the impact of the wounds from the past.
- I want to conclude to day by inviting you to come forward and spend some time with God. Maybe asking him to examine your own life and reveal to you where the wounds have come from, what lies need to be replaced by his truth. What negative vows do you need to renounce today and proclaim God’s truth in their place.
- If you are a parent here today with older children perhaps thinking you have done it wrong but now your children have grown up. I want to encourage you – It is never to late to “Bless Your Children” It is never too late for you to speak the Blessing that God will agree with and energize by his Holy Spirit.
a. Begin this morning, with private repentance before God
i. Don’t try to deny or hide you were an imperfect parent – we all are at some level
b. Ask the Spirit of God to reveal to you the first steps to take
i. Sometimes a letter of apology is appropriate, sometimes it is not
ii. Perhaps consider writing out a blessing and sending it to them after the 40 Days is completed and you have learned more about blessing and how to give a blessing.