Christian Values

How to Explain God to Teens

Teach your teen about the personhood of God. Your child is old enough to understand that God is referred to as "He" because we relate to Him as a person, although we have never seen Him. Explain that God is a spirit that is present in the invisible realm. He can see and hear everything that occurs. He is also eternal. This might be intimidating for your teen so remind him that God's spirit is a source of comfort and help even when we don't realize it.

Explain the character of God. Tell him that God is good, loving, forgiving and merciful. Then tell him that God is also a God of judgment, discipline and wrath. Correlate this to the court system. Judges often have mercy on offenders and will sentence them to lighter punishments, but they have to demand accountability. Emphasize that God is the ultimate judge who always dispenses justice correctly.

Teach your child about the actions of God. Explain that God created the world and everything living in it -- human, animal and plant. He is sovereign over the events of the world and controls the weather, including the sunrise and sunset. This might give assurance to your child that someone is in control even when chaotic and unexplained events occur.

Explain God's omniscience and omnipresence to your teen. It might be a bit difficult for teens to understand that somebody can be all-knowing and all-present. To make this clearer, ask your teen to think of God as a parent. Although you would like to know everything about him and be with him everywhere, you are limited by time and space. Explain that God is under no such restrictions.

Use biblical passages to reinforce your explanations. The first three chapter of Genesis give an account of creation. Many of the Psalms tell of God's goodness and the New Testament book of 1st John emphasizes His love. These scriptures might give your child a deeper understanding of God.

How to Make a Purity Pledge

The first step is to make the pledge. The pledge should be taken as seriously as wedding vows. It is not a commitment to be taken lightly. "I will not have sex until marriage". Further still, the pledge implies refraining from "flirting" with the whole area relating to this subject.

A lot of people wonder if you can still have a boyfriend/girlfriend if you've made a purity pledge. Yes. But it is advisable to be forward with your pledge so that it is understood and so that this person will not pressure you, but will respect your pledge. I have found that making this pledge has helped filter through many potential mates that shouldn't be considered to begin with.

Making the pledge can be compared with marriage in a sense. You make the promise of marriage to your spouse and to God, and if you really mean it and are deeply commited, then when temptations come (and they will) you look down at your ring and remember what your heart and soul truly want.

Some people believe that if you have already "messed up" that it is too late for you. Please don't feel this way. God can renew your heart and make you pure again. God is love and it is never too late to make a commitment to Him. Start today new. "Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me"

How to Raise & Discipline a Christian Toddler

Be a model Christian if you want to raise your child with Christian standards, advises the Christian Life Advisor website. Children learn by example and the best way to raise your toddler with the Christian lifestyle is to live it yourself. If you want your toddler to pray each night before bed and before each meal, you need to pray with her. She will never learn to do this if you do not set the example for her.

Say, “I love you,” to your child on a regular basis. According to the Christian Life Advisor website, this is a powerful statement that teaches your toddler not only that you love him but that speaking of his love for others is a trait he should have. Christians are loved by God and raising your toddler in a Christian household means loving one another openly and freely.

Get creative with discipline, advises Lisa Whelchel, author of the book, “Creative Correction” and writer for the Christian website, Focus on the Family. If your toddler is talking back, have her stick out her tongue and literally hold it with her hand for a few moments. Make a rule that your toddler gets one do-over when she’s misbehaving. When she’s misbehaving and you want her to stop, offer her a do-over, which requires her to get up, leave the room and re-enter the room with a better attitude.

Remove the audience when it comes to temper tantrums, advises Lisa Whelchel. If your toddler is having a fit or throwing a temper tantrum, handle it in a Christian-like manner by ignoring the negativity. Instead, walk out of the room and inform him you will return when he has calmed down or simply instruct him to take his tantrum outside and finish it in the yard. He will quickly realize there is no point in throwing a fit or a tantrum when there is no audience around to watch.

Teaching Children About Praying Without Ceasing

Talking with God

Teach your kids that prayer comes in many forms. Sometimes, people pray formally, such as when they recite the Lord's Prayer together during a church service. Other times, people can pray very simply, using their own words to talk with God. Encourage your children to have short talks with God throughout their days, asking for help when they need it and thanking God for their blessings throughout the day. Teach them that they do not have to limit prayer to mealtimes, bedtimes and church services. After all, God is listening all the time and loves it when His children talk with Him.

Rejoice All the Time

Teach your children to find joy in all things. Directly before the command to pray without ceasing, in verse 16, the Bible tells us to "rejoice always." Explain to your kids that there are some times, like when they're playing with a favorite toy, when it's easy to have joy and other times, like when they are hurt or upset, that it's harder to rejoice. Teach them that they can still rejoice when things don't go their way by talking with God about their problems or pains -- and trusting Him to be with them and help them.

Give Thanks in Everything

Teach your kids to approach God with a thankful heart. When your kids understand that life -- including the hard things in life -- is a gift from God, it makes it easier to approach Him. In First Thessalonians 5:18, right after the verse that tells you to "pray without ceasing" it says, "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Encourage your kids to give thanks for both their blessings and their trials. Teach them that when they give thanks, it helps them to stay within the will of God.

God, Guide My Steps

Children are faced with decisions -- large and small -- all day, every day. Teach them to seek God's guidance when they are facing a decision. In Proverbs 3:5, Solomon taught his children to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Teach your kids that God cares about everything in our lives. Nothing is too big or too small to discuss with Him. When kids understand that God will help them make good choices when they ask, praying without ceasing becomes a snap.

Biblical Principles of Disciplining Children

Obedience

Exodus 20:12 commands children to honor their parents if they want to live a long life. The Hebrew word often translated as “honor” means to treat with courtesy, obedience and respect, according to “Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries.” The 10 Commandments are repeated in Deuteronomy 5 and in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, and parents are instructed to teach the commandments to their children. You should repeatedly explain the commandments at home, when you are out and about, ensuring that your children learn godly behavior.

Teach Wisdom

The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest king because he asked God for wisdom above all things. The book of Proverbs contains many of Solomon’s wise sayings, and many of them express wisdom a child should learn. Solomon writes that the purpose of Proverbs is to teach wisdom, discipline, good conduct, doing the right thing and give purpose to children and young people. You can use Proverbs to teach and discipline your child, looking for verses that start, “Listen, my child” or some other designation of instruction to the young. Start with Proverbs 1:8-9, which exhorts the child to listen to the wisdom and teachings of his father and mother.

Godly Examples

Your example is the best teaching method you have. Children imitate a parent’s example, according to Grace Stopani at Focus on the Family. In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul repeats the fifth commandment and then addresses fathers. He warns fathers not to exasperate their children by the way they treat them. Instead, fathers are to love their children, live before them a godly and righteous life and instruct them as God directs. A father’s love and godly example means more than all the words said between a parent and a child. If you do not show your child how to live, your child likely will become angry with your hypocrisy and disregard what you say.

God's Example

In the Bible, you see God teaching his children, administering correction, sending messengers who can provide words of caution and exhortation, and providing reconciliation after correction. His example provides the ultimate role model for parents. You teach your young child by example and direct instruction, providing boundaries and limits that change as your child’s abilities, maturity and understanding change. You administer correction when necessary in ways that teach your child the natural consequences of misbehavior, such as losing privileges when the child demonstrates he can’t be trusted with them.

Christian Communication & Conflict Resolution in Marriage

Speaking Peaceably

Kathy Miller writes in her article, "How to Resolve the Four Kinds of Marital Conflict," that couples should invite dialogue to resolve conflict instead of nagging about faults. When couples choose their words carefully, encouraging each other and calmly solving disputes, communication in marriage flows more easily. Ken Sande, in his book, "The Peacemaker," notes that controlling the tongue helps couples maintain a loving attitude. Christian couples benefit from remembering Proverbs 15:1: "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stir up anger."

Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye

In Matthew 7:5, Jesus instructs Christians, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Sande explains that by overlooking minor offenses, checking your attitude and determining whether engaging in conflict is really worth the effort, couples can avoid meaningless arguments. Responding gently, replacing anxiety with prayer, searching for a clear understanding and putting godly principles into practice reflect godly communication in the face of conflict.

Be Filled with Compassion

According to Dictionary.com, compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering." Miller reminds couples that each sin against each other and that God calls Christians to respond righteously toward each other, rather than self-righteously. Colossians 3:12 advises Christians to " ... put on ... compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another"

Glorifying God Through Reconciliation

In Colossians 3:13, God instructs Christians, " ... if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Committing to a godly communication in a marriage means individually growing spiritually and maturing in Christ. Sande guides Christians to live peaceably by trusting, obeying, imitating and acknowledging Christ in the midst of struggles. Ultimately, couples must offer each other true forgiveness to reconcile after conflict.

How Parents Can Encourage Their Children to Be Active in Church

Encourage Attendance

Although you probably want your child to attend church weekly with you, it’s best not to turn weekly attendance into a power struggle, advises David O. McKay with Brigham Young University. Leave the door open to attending with you, keeping your demeanor relaxed, loving and inviting. Remember, strong-arming someone into doing something might be the way to get him to do it physically, but he isn’t likely to do it with his heart – which should be your ultimate goal for your child.

Building Trust

A child’s faith needs a place to sprout and grow with loving encouragement and care. Help your child connect with leaders and elders in the church by encouraging involvement in a youth program, if possible. As your child feels the security of a connection, trust can develop. While your child will initially feel this trust for the physical people she works with and gets to know, eventually this trust can transfer to God for a lifelong relationship.

Pray Together

Integrate family prayers into your home life to help build a personal relationship between your child and God. When a child learns that God is available to hear his prayer at any time of the day or night, he may be more likely to seek a relationship with Him. In addition, families that spend time in prayer together often enjoy greater unity and values more in line with each other, states the Forever Families website.

Getting Involved

It’s important for children to hear about mission activities to see how these programs can benefit others. However, it’s even more important for children to become involved in servanthood projects, notes Jim Burns with the Christian Broadcasting Network. A church with an active youth group or mission group, working on servant projects both locally and internationally, can be effective for encouraging youth participation. As your child gets involved and feels connected with the church community, she should be strengthening her long-term faith and convictions.