Wednesday, June 4, 2008

8 Steps To a Changed Heart

During the last few days, God has been speaking to me about how I speak to my children. He has led me to a book that has been very interesting and very insightful on ways to talk to your children. The name of the book is Raising Your Child, Not Your Voice by Dr. Duane Cuthbertson.
I can tell you so far from reading this book, that I realize now all the times I have belittled my children. I am convicted every time I pick this book up and read. You see, lately I have been raising my voice quite a bit. Starting a new era in our family with the teen years has played heavily on my heart and mind. I want to be able to be approachable for our children. I never want them to feel like I did growing up that if you said or did the wrong thing, you would be disowned.
Anyway, the name of this one chapter is called 8 steps to a changed heart. All the steps were great, but step #7 is the one that really just stood out to me. I thought I would share it with you:
Step Seven: Release Your Rights
Next, we need to give God all rights to our lives. James 4:13-14. "Go to now, you that say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain. How can you say that? For you do not know what tomorrow may bring. For what is your life? It is like a vapor that appears for just a little while, and then vanishes away."
God wants you to give up total rights to your material, psychological, or spiritual possessions. God wants you to give Him complete ownership of everything that is yours. That means you do not own anything-not a suit of clothes, not a car. God owns it all. This involves an excercise of your will.
Years ago I was a director for a Youth for Christ chapter. During the first year of involvement with Youth for Christ, my total salary was $250. The following year my total salary jumped to $1000. One Christmastime, my wife and I sat down with our bills and found that our total indebttedness came to $1000. Our little boy was two years old, and we were convinced that the hospital was going to come and get him for back payment! God had asked us to give up our "rights" to financial security and a prosperous lifestyle of living. But He also was faithful to provide for us. The night after we had added up our debts, a friend handed me an envelope. He said, "Duane, my wife and I have prayerfully had you on our minds. We feel that God wold have us give you this gift. This is not to go back into the Youth for Christ. This is not to be part of your salary. It is a gift from my wife and me to you." He told me to take the envelope home and open it with my wife. When we opened the envelope-thinking optimistically that it might be a check for $50 or $100- we were stunned to find a check for $1000.
The Bible says that God owns a cattle on a thousand hills and that He will do exceedingly abundandtly above all that we could ask or think. Because God owns it all, we have nothing that He hasn't loaned to us. Giving up our rights to things we think we own leads to rich blessings, not impoverishment. That was my wife's and I experience that Christmas.
God wants that house, that spouse-everything you claim as your own. When you recognize His ownership, you have a very different outlook on your home and family. Your will is modified further.
Our children see these patterns in our lives. They can become strong-willed if we are, with no concept of what it means to be humble, clean, broken, or submissive. Or, if we give our rights to God, they can see our example and say, in effect, "Dad, Mom, I want to be like you." It's one thing for us to expect our children to "do as they are told." It's entirely another for them to want to do as they are told.
Can we be so presumptuous that we demand our children's wills without giving ours to God?
This section of this chapter spoke so deeply into the pit of my stomach. How many times have I told my children that they are to do as they are told only to turn around and disobey God? What kind of message am I sending to them? How can I ever expect them to respect and obey if I do not first set the example.
This is just a little to chew on today so I will leave you all with that! I hope that you all enjoy these as much as I enjoy writing them!
Until next time,

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