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If you have kids, you’re no doubt aware of your unique opportunity to show God’s love to them.  You can even be the one to lead them into a personal relationship with Jesus.  As parents, however, we can sometimes become a stumbling block for our children rather than a bridge to God.  For example, out of a desire for their sons and daughters to be successful, some parents keep raising the bar.  For instance, if your child brings home an A, do you look for an A+ next time?

Unless we are careful, our children may mistake their age-appropriate efforts as substandard and disappointing.  Later on, they could assume that pleasing God is similarly out of reach.

As we encourage our children to achieve, we must be balanced and affirm who they are, apart from their performance.  When we do, they’ll know we appreciate them and that God values them, too.

Of course, the desire of all Christian parents is for their children to acknowledge dependence on God and to receive Christ as Savior.  At the end of the day, our own acceptance and appreciation will help them embrace God’s unconditional love and know that He’s both forgiven their sins and erased all condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

Please open your bible to the following scripture reading:  Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Thoughts from Ephesians 6:4…
Parenting is not easy – it takes lots of patience to raise children in a loving, Christ-honoring manner.  God’s expression of His unconditional love is found throughout the Bible.  Although we are commanded to repent our sins and strive towards the way of God, He never stops loving us in our journey.  The Bible shows us that God’s unconditional love never fails and not motivated by personal gain.  We thank God that he has offered us freedom from sin and power to do his will.
“A new command I give you:  Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 

Love is more than simply warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action.  How can we love others as Jesus loves us?  By helping when it’s not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting  energy to others’ welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back.  This kind of loving is hard to do.  Jesus says that our Christlike love will show we are his disciples.

 Key thought:  We are to love each other as Jesus loved us.  We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to practice love:  listening, helping, encouraging, giving.  Give all the love you can, and then try to give a little more.

Blessings from the Youth Committee
References:  God’s Word NIV and In Touch Ministries