By Lysa TerKeurst
THE DAY WAS CLOUDY AND rainy and showed no deference to our plans to play with the children on the beach. After one too many hours cooped up in a small condo with six energized kids, my friend Becky and I knew we needed to get creative.
Our solution? A treasure hunt complete with a map in a bottle, buried treasure, and "X" marks the spot. As soon as the rain tapered off, the hunt began. Six unsuspecting kids ran toward the surf eager to look for shells and crabs.
Then Hope spotted the bottle, and the beach was transformed into a scene from a pirate movie. The map, complete with burned edges, led the children up and down the dunes, around the umbrellas and chairs, and peeking under beach towels and blankets.
This was followed by a wonderful and helpful surprise. Arrows in the sand pointed out the way, under the boardwalk. We warned the treasure hunters to watch out for offshore pirate ships (that resembled shrimp boats) as the kids scampered under the boardwalk and discovered an X. You've never seen little sand shovels dig so fast.
Finally, a silver box was pulled from the sand. It was filled with gold-wrapped chocolate bars and lots of precious, plastic jewels. The kids ran to share their treats with the others on the beach who had witnessed the hunt.
The treasure was safe. We were never discovered by the pirates, although later that night our sleepy little treasure hunters made sure we hid the special box before we went to bed, just in case.
As I tucked my jewel-laden princesses into bed, I thanked God for the rain because it led to such a fun and memorable day. I thought about how raising children is much like a treasure hunt.
The treasure we're in search of, however, is so much more significant than gold and jewels. We're hunting for ways to raise kids who know, love, and desire to follow the Lord.
Ephesians 3:14-21 provides a map to help us lead our children to love God. Verses 14 and 15 say, "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name."
Here we find a valuable gold nugget. Our children must come to know for themselves that God is our heavenly Father from whom we draw our identity. We are called children of God because through Jesus' death and resurrection we've been saved, redeemed, forgiven, and adopted into the royal family.
Talk to your children about what it means to be children of God.
Tell them the wonderful riches of our eternal inheritance.
Share with them what it means to you personally to be saved, forgiven, and adopted as a child of God.
Verses 16 and 17 offer this help: "I
pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being
so that Christ may dwell in your
hearts through faith. And I pray that
you, being rooted and established in
love . . ." A mother can give no more glorious riches to her child than her prayers.
Tell your children that you pray for them and ask them to share specific requests with you. Pray these verses for your children, that God may strengthen them with His power so that Christ always would dwell in their
hearts through faith. Insert their names into the verses as you pray.
Tell your children that you pray for them and ask them to share specific requests with you.
Pray these verses for your children, that God may strengthen them with His power so that Christ always would dwell in their hearts through faith.
Insert their names into the verses as you pray.
Teach your children how to be rooted in their faith and established in love. To be rooted means to be firmly planted. Help them understand how to stand firm in their beliefs.
Explain that roots are also the place from which a tree draws its nourishment to live.
Ask them where we draw our spiritual nourishment from and help them understand what it means to drink the living water of Christ.
Finally, teach your children about Christ's amazing love. Share stories from your own life of times Jesus revealed showed His love for you. Explain that as you have come to know Him intimately His love for you is the solid foundation of which your life is established. Assure your child that nothing he or she has done or ever will do is too much for God to forgive. Pray for your child that he or she will never seek to be filled with anything of this world but only the fullness of God.
I've just given you a small glimpse inside this wonderful treasure chest of the Word of God. Let me encourage you to ask God how you can best place jewels of His love and wisdom in your child's heart.