Is God Listening To Me?

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“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” – Psalm 18:6

Sometimes we struggle to even know if God is listening to us, let alone try to explain to our children that he listens to them. We have three primary sources of assurance that God hears us when we pray:

  • God’s Word. The Psalms are a particularly rich source of both desperate prayers and joyful praises for God’s listening and responsive ear. See Psalm 28.
  • Other Christians. The Bible is full of examples of godly men who trusted and proved that God was listening and that he does respond. We also benefit from hearing the testimonies of fellow believers, past and present, as they share of God’s response to their prayers.
  • Ourselves. We should be purposeful in recognizing when God has answered our prayers. We tend to forget how God met a past need, as we quickly move on to our next concern. I have made a practice in the past several years of typing out some of my prayers in a journal so that I can go back and highlight all the ways God has responded.

God is our Heavenly Father. He is listening. What are some other ways to teach your children that God is listening?

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

 

What World are Our Children From?

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See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.1 John 3:1-3

One of the great truths of the gospel is that someday every child of God will get to see and live with King Jesus, in his kingdom, forever. This expectation reminds us of three important points to teach our children about living in this world:

Our True LOVE is not from this World. We have been given the Father’s great love. The measure of God’s love that makes us his children through his Son is astonishing and beyond anything this world has.

Our True HOME is not of this World.  Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). The Father’s amazing love has made us citizens of heaven and foreigners to this world (Philippians 3:20).

Our True HOPE is not in this World. There’s a lot about the future that God has not explained to us. But we do know that someday we will see King Jesus. And when we see him, we will become like him!

The expectation of seeing Jesus should affect the way we live out our lives, in the world and not of the world. As God’s children, we should be preparing ourselves to see our King, who’s great love saves us forever. This broken world is a temporary stopover for us, as we anticipate our future home in God’s kingdom.

Kids Know Where Our Treasure Is

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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21

I recall hearing the humorous story years ago about a minister’s visit to a family’s home. As he sat down with the family, mom told her little daughter, “Go get the book that your mom loves so much.” Her daughter ran off and quickly returned with the Sears catalog.

Kids know where our treasure is because our heart shows them where it is. The things we truly treasure and store up tend to take priority with our time and attention. Jesus said:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus taught that the best investment we can make is in his kingdom. The treasures we store up there will last forever and can never be taken from us.

Where would your children or grandchildren say your treasure is?

Kids Should See Their Church as Family

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Both the One who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. – Hebrews 2:11

Kids should learn to see their church as their family. That’s what the Church that Christ established is. The Son of God, came to save us and make us his family

“To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  – John 1:12

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:17

All who are in Christ are children of God. We’re brothers and sisters of God’s Son. We get to share in the unending inheritance that God has reserved for Jesus. And it’s a really big inheritance, too! (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Jesus refers to God as Father 150 times in the Gospels and teaches us to refer to him as our Father, also. (Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:32)

Jesus made our church a family to work together as we live for him. Every child of God has an important role and place in our Heavenly Father’s family.

For as in one body (family) we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body (family) in Christ, and individually members one of another. —Romans 12:4-5

Teach and show your children that their church is part of their forever family, because of Jesus.

 

3 Sincere and Persistent Prayers for Calloused Relationships

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“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” –Psalm 119:140

God’s Word is his bond. If he calls us to obey his Word, then he will certainly help us when we ask, sincerely and persistently. Sincerely means I’m willing to do my part. Restoring hardened hearts requires us to pray and obey persistently, because they rarely get that way overnight.

Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. –Psalm 88:1

 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. –Hebrews 4:16

Here are three verses from God’s Word to pray and obey, sincerely and persistently, for a calloused relationship:

1. “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”Ezekiel 36:26

Pray that God will give you a heart of flesh and begin looking for ways to act on it. God can turn your stone-cold heart into a warm-soft heart, if you sincerely repent and turn humbly to God.

Search and destroy your pride. In a hardened relationship, pride is present.

“Where there is strife, there is pride.” – Proverbs 13:10

God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” – Proverbs 16:5

2. “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” –Matthew 6:14

Pray that God will help you forgive. Forgiving others is not an option for the child of God. Jesus told a chilling story about how God views our unwillingness to forgive others, considering what he has forgiven us (Matthew 18:21-35). God is for forgiving others. You can boldly ask him for it.

3. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other.” –1 Thessalonians 3:12

Pray that God will make your love increase and overflow for the one you’ve hardened against.  God is love, and anyone who knows God loves. (1 John 4:7-8). God will help you love sincerely if you ask him sincerely and begin to act upon it.

Whenever we ask God to do something in our lives, we need to be prepared to act in obedience. Don’t expect to pray a couple times to heal a relationship that has been hardened by weeks, months, or years of pride and bitterness. Pray and obey, sincerely and persistently.

5 Ways Kids Should Hear Us Pray

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One of the best way kids learn to pray is by listening to our prayers.  Here are five ways we can show kids how to pray.

  1. Earnestly: Don’t yawn your way through praying. Pray with conviction and intensity, like it matters. Elijah was a man with the same nature we have. He prayed fervently, and God listened.

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” —James 5:17

  1. Persistently: Jesus taught us to never give up when we pray:

 Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” –Luke 18:1-8

  1. Daily: If I’m honest, I’d rather depend on myself than God. I’d rather always have everything I needed so that I didn’t have to trust God every day.  But God wants us to trust in him every day.

Jesus said that we should pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” –Matthew 11:6

 “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” —Matthew 6:34

  1. Never Resentfully: God won’t always answer our prayers when and how we want him to. But don’t become offended by God. He loves us too much to give us something he knows isn’t best for us.

 Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” –Matthew 11:6

  1. Working AND Praying: Working and praying go together. When we ask God to do something, we need to be ready and willing to do our part by obeying him. God called us to do good works. We need to be willing to get up and move out for God.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” –James 1:22

Our prayers for our children and grandchildren will outlive us, as God works through them for years to come. Let your kids hear and see your prayers at work.

Show Kids God’s View of the World

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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. – Deuteronomy 6:7

This world can look pretty hopeless through the natural eye. Too many youth struggle to see real hope in the world, when life and death are unpredictable and don’t appear to make sense.

Therefore, we need to consistently show children God’s view of this world, life and death. From God’s view, hope is real and is found in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Lifeway’s Gospel Project provides a superior approach to teach children God’s story of reality and hope in the world they live in. That’s why we use The Gospel Project in our elementary children’s ministry at Cottonwood Creek.

This outline is an excellent guide for teaching children (and ourselves) the real-life view of this world:

  • Revelation – God has kept his Word, The Bible, preserved for us to learn his great plan for our lives and this world. His words are true, reliable and will last forever. The evidence for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as described in The Bible, is overwhelming.
  • Creation – God created all things to be good. He created every person in his own image. God loves and values every soul, including me and my neighbor.
  • The Fall – All people and all creation are fallen and broken because of sin. Every person is naturally born a slave to sin and spiritually dead. The only real hope in this world is God’s plan to save us.
  • Redemption – God loves everyone in the world so much that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, as the The Only Way to take away our sin, save us and give us eternal life with him. Everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ by faith is saved from sin and eternal death.
  • The Church – Everyone who is saved by Jesus Christ is a part of his body, The Church. Jesus gave his Church the mission to glorify God by doing good works and teaching others to know and follow him.
  • Restoration – God’s final plan is to make all things completely new and good again through Jesus Christ. Everyone who is saved through faith in Jesus Christ will get a new, resurrected body and will live in God’s perfect world forever. No matter how impossible things look, God’s love never ends. He is ultimately in control.

The Bible reveals God’s plan of hope. Every page of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, points to the world’s only hope—The Son of God, Jesus Christ. Make sure your children know God’s plan.