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Unchanged…or Changed?

Children Desiring God Blog // Unchanged or Changed?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.—James 1:22-25

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book…and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives.
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Don’t Waste Your Holiday

Children Desiring God Blog // Don't Waste Your Holiday

What’s your plan for the 4th of July? A day at the lake? Grilling brats and burgers in the backyard? A bike ride? Camping? Time with family and friends? Getting caught up on some yard work? And fireworks, especially if you have children?  All of these can be great ways to spend your 4th, but it might also be good to consider spending 10 or 15 minutes reminding yourself and your children about God’s great gift to us called “government.” What we in the USA call “Independence Day” should, in reality, be called “Dependence Day,” as we acknowledge that it is ultimately God who establishes thrones and rulers—or removes them at His will.

It’s important to teach our children some basic things about government. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13. He lived under Roman rule—a government that promoted pagan beliefs and persecuted the early church—and yet he reminds us of the following… (more…)

A Summer Praise Walk with Children

Children Desiring God Blog // A Summer Praise Walk With Children

When I was a child, and even into my teens, I spent most of my free time outdoors. Whether playing active games with friends, exploring the neighborhood woods, or simply laying in the grass and trying to identify different shapes or figures in the clouds, we spent much of our summer disconnected from media or other electronics. Now that I am an adult, I have found I still benefit from enjoying the outdoors, as it evokes praise and admiration of God as I experience first-hand the wonders He has created.

One way we can encourage our children to meditate on and give God praise for His wondrous works is to go on a “Praise Walk.” How? First, read together Psalm 148. Help them identify all of the created things in the verse that are to give praise to God. (more…)

The Most Important Questions

Children Desiring God Blog // The Most Important Questions

At Children Desiring God, we talk a lot about the necessity of teaching our children and youth the whole counsel of God. One measure of how well we have succeeded in doing this is to see whether or not they can answer these crucial questions, with increasing biblical depth, as they age and mature:

  • What’s in the Bible?
  • How should we read and understand the Bible?
  • Who is the Bible about?
  • What’s the main message of the Bible? (more…)

Savior and Spirit Dependent Parenting

Children Desiring God Blog // Savior and Spirit Dependent Parenting

Do you ever feel weak and discouraged in your parenting? Have you “lost it” recently in front of your children? Have you treated them harshly or been impatient with them—even over a relatively little offense? Then here are some good words to ponder:

My children’s greatest need is not a parent who pretends to be perfect. Much more important is a parent who senses his need for the Savior to cleanse and the Spirit to empower. The godliest parent is the one who says, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). (more…)

Sports and Our Children’s Hearts

Children Desiring God Blog // Sports and Our Children's Hearts

When I was younger, I was involved in many athletic activities and participated on various sports teams. Overall, it was very beneficial physically, as well as helping to shape and strengthen positive character qualities. But I was completely unaware of the deeper purpose of sports: Athletics are to serve in understanding and growing in the Christian life, and are to be done for the glory of God. For example, consider these words from the Apostle Paul as he points out some of the benefits of athletics and how they can serve the Christian life:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.—1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV

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Give Your Children the Gift of Pondering + Free Lesson

Children Desiring God Blog // Give Children the Gift of Pondering

Back in the days when I taught science classes to homeschooled children, I used to emphasize the importance of careful observation. As an example, I would have each child choose a flower or a single leaf, and have them quietly study it for at least 30 minutes and record everything they could about it—size, shape, colors, texture, fragrance, etc. It’s amazing what comes to light about something when you really stop to ponder it. “Ponder—to think about, give thought to, consider, mull over, contemplate, meditate on…” The word “ponder” is not often used anymore in this fast-paced, sound-bite, digital media culture. So a verse like this is often readily passed over:

I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:12, ESV

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Teach God’s Testimonies So That…

Children Desiring God Blog // Teach God's Testimonies So That

If you have ever listened or watched David and Sally’s Michael’s three-part “Vision for the Next Generation” series, you know that Psalm 78 plays a prominent role in establishing a vision for faith in the next generations. Consider verses 5-7:

He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God

Pastor David Michael gives a brief summary based on this Old Testament text: (more…)

Good Summer Reading for Children and Youth

Children Desiring God Blog // Good Summer Reading for Children and Youth
Don’t you love summer? Your children can put away the “have to read” books that school demands and the intense schedule of the school year, and have long leisurely hours to…read! The following list of books includes some that your children can read and some that you can read together to not only give them the pleasure of reading, but also to nurture their souls and character. (The list progresses from younger to older readers.)

Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (Vol. 1-4)—Dave and Neta Jackson

Tales of the Kingdom—David and Karen Mains (Also sequels: Tales of the Resistance; Tales of the Restoration)

God Knows My Size! Silvia Tarniceriu—Harvey Yoder

The War for Mansoul—Ethel Barrett and John Bunyan (a contemporary version of Bunyan’s A Holy War). This book is recommended with the Midweek curriculum Fight the Good Fight and is available for a special offer of $8.99, while supplies last. We also recommend this delightful audio version. (more…)

Teaching Children Law and Gospel

Teaching Children Law and Gospel

Here is an aspect of parenting and ministry to children that is crucial for a right understanding of the Gospel:

Children need to learn early about their creature-Creator relationship to God. They are under authority and owe God complete obedience to His commandments…

They need to be helped to think theologically about their failures to obey—that is, they need to learn to see their sin in relation to God. So being dishonest is not only an unkindness to others, it is also a violation of the ninth commandment. Taking something that belongs to another child is not simply carelessness or selfishness, it is breaking the eighth commandment. A child’s disobedience to his parent is not simply hurtful or disrespectful, it is disobeying God’s fifth commandment.

By pointing out these connections to children we can help them see their actions in the light of God’s law… (more…)

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