Category Archives: Christian character studies

Teaching Truth to Our Children — 5 Free Lessons

Hello, friends!

It has been a busy summer at our house — family visiting us, trips to see family, and all the usual summer stuff. I hope to begin writing a new blog series soon. In the meantime, here are five free lessons from the Truthfulness unit of our book, Character Building for Families, Volume 1. There are nineteen lessons in that unit, which will lead you and your children into thinking about truth in speech, actions, and most importantly, truth as an attribute of the heart. I hope you will enjoy the lessons!

TRUTHFULNESS

DAY 1

  1. Introduction
    1. “Today we begin a new unit — TRUTHFULNESS. What would be a good definition of truthfulness?”
    2. DEFINITION: “Truthfulness is saying, thinking, and living what is really so. The opposite of this would be saying, thinking, or living a lie.”
    3. “Why is being truthful so important in God’s eyes?” (God is truth; His Word is truth.)
    4. “God wants us to be like Him. That’s why He teaches us about truthfulness in the Bible.”
  2. Read Psalm 19:7-10. Discuss each verse carefully, emphasizing the points listed below:
    1. 7 — Law of the Lord perfect (no mistakes, complete). His testimony is sure (unshakably true).
    2. 8 — His statutes right, His commandments pure (clean of error)
    3. 9 — His judgments true
    4. 10 — “Therefore, because of His truth, how can we feel about His Word?” (more desirable than wealth, sweet to us)
  3. Read Psalm 119:140, 142, and 160.
    1. “Does God’s Word have error or lies in it?” (v.140 — very pure, v.142 — is the truth)
    2. “Can we trust all of God’s Word as truth, or is some of it just stories?” (v.160 — true from the beginning)
  4. Thank God for the truth of His Word.

DAY 2

  1. “What is our definition of truthfulness?” (Refer to Day 1.)
  2. “Let’s look at a few Scripture verses that tell us God’s Word is completely true.”
    1. Psalm 12:6 — very pure, no imperfections
    2. Psalm 93:5 — very sure, or certain
    3. II Samuel 7:28 — “…thy words be true…”
    4. Proverbs 30:5 — “Every word of God is pure…”
  3. “Jesus also had some things to say about the truth of God’s Word.”
    1. John 10:35 — “…the Scripture cannot be broken.” (proved false, contradictory)
    2. John 17:17 — God’s Word is truth; we are sanctified (made clean and holy) by God’s true Word.
  4. Thank God we can trust in the purity and truth of His Word.

DAY 3

  1. “Would God ever lie to us?” “How do we know He wouldn’t lie?”
  2. Read the following Scriptures and discuss:
    1. Titus 1:2
    2. Numbers 23:19
    3. Hebrews 6:18
  3. “Because of these Scriptures we have just read, and the verses we studied in our last lesson, we can be confident God would never lie to us. It is not at all in His nature.  He says exactly what He means.”
  4. Thank God and tell Him how glad we are He cannot lie.

DAY 4

  1. Review
    1. “What was our definition of truthfulness?”
    2. “What have we learned about God’s truthfulness?”
    3. “What have we learned about the reliability of His Word?”
  2. “Jesus says He is Himself truth.” (Read the following verses together.)
    1. John 14:6 — the way, truth, and life
    2. Revelation 3:7
    3. Revelation 3:14 – “Faithful and True” is one of the names, or titles, of Jesus.
    4. Revelation 19:11 — again referring to Jesus as Faithful and True
  3. “Proverbs 14:5 tells us, ‘a faithful witness will not lie.’ Since Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness, we know He will not lie.  We can trust fully whatever He says.”
  4. “If God is always truth, where do lies come from? Let’s read John 8:44 to find out.”  (read)
    1. “The devil is the father of lies. He never, ever tells the truth.  Even when he quoted Scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, he twisted it by pulling it out of context.  He likes to tell half-truths.  Half-truths are just another way of lying.  They are not true at all.  Can you explain a half-truth to me?”
    2. “This is why we must be so careful to know the whole Bible well, so we don’t get fooled by the devil misquoting Scripture to us, in our minds, or through false teachers.”
    3. “If the devil is the father of lies, does that mean we can blame it all on him when we lie?” (No, we must take responsibility for our own actions.)
  5. Thank Jesus that He is the Faithful and True Witness. Ask Him to keep us from being fooled by the devil’s lies.

DAY 5

  1. Review
    1. “Who is truth?”
    2. “Who cannot tell the truth?”
    3. “Who cannot lie?”
    4. “Whom do we want to be like?”
  2. Read Proverbs 6:16-19.
    1. “What is an abomination?” (a hateful, grossly disgusting thing)
    2. “Notice that at least two of the seven things mentioned that God hates concern lying– a lying tongue and a false witness that speaks lies. ‘A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations’ could also have to do with lying, because wicked imaginations are evil thoughts, which could be thoughts not filled with truth.”
  3. Read Proverbs 12:22.
    1. “What does God have to say about lying?” (an abomination)
    2. “What does God have to say about those that act in a true fashion?” (He delights in them.)
  4. “Today we have talked about three ways that a person can either tell the truth or lie:
    1. By speaking (Prov. 12:22, Prov. 6:17)
    2. In the thoughts (Prov. 6:18)
    3. In the actions (Prov. 12:22)”
  5. Pray for grace to tell the truth in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions.

Unfortunately, the blogging platform I use doesn’t permit me to accurately show how the pages look in our Character Building for Families books. But here is a picture.

Sample page -- Character Building for Families

I hope you enjoy using the lessons I’ve posted! If you think you would like more, please visit us at Character Building for Families! And, if you have found these five lessons useful, please pass on the post link to others who might also benefit from them. Thank you!

Character Building for Families

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Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters (Part 4)

BullyingIn Part 1 of this series, we talked briefly about teaching our children to live as servant royalty — to use their princely positions to bless and assist people, instead of tyrannizing over them. Sons and daughters of the heavenly King are to live by what James 2:8 calls “the royal law,” to love our neighbors as ourselves.

However, those who are not part of God’s royal family don’t necessarily live by that law, and unfortunately, some of the King’s children have never learned to abide by it, either. All through life, our children will encounter bullies, both in the world and in the church — those controlling folks who try to get their way through manipulation and intimidation. We need to teach them how to navigate their relationships with these people in such a way as not to succumb to the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

When we clearly understand that we have full rights as adopted sons and daughters, and that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), this knowledge helps to insulate us from giving in to intimidation. Bully the prince or princess? Seriously?

But, we must help our children discover how to walk out their freedom from intimidation in an attitude of calm, wisdom, and grace, rather than reacting to intimidation with behavior similar to the bully’s. While they do not have to submit to being trampled, the Lord’s way is still to maintain kindness. Proverbs 15:1 is as true today as it was when Solomon wrote it: “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Knowing when to respond firmly with level-headed coolness and when to avoid confrontation altogether takes practice. It also takes staying sensitive to the Lord, so that we know when to speak up and when to let it go. This is one of the very “rubber meets the road” ways that we walk out Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Our children won’t mature into this overnight, and we need to review the concept with them often, as well as help them walk through situations as they arise. After all, this is difficult for those of us who are adults, too!

Our best example of how to handle intimidation is Jesus. Read with your children the passages in the gospels where Jesus interacts with the religious leaders, and also how the apostles handled the same kinds of situations in Acts 4:1-21 and Acts 5:27-29. Balance those stories with what Jesus said about turning the other cheek and blessing those who abuse us (Matthew 5:38-48).

The main thing to get across to our children is what their inner attitude should be, when encountering intimidators. They can respond gently and graciously, and yet know that they are not under the thumb of someone else. We can teach them to stand tall when others try to humiliate them and not receive those taunts into their hearts. And, we absolutely must remind them to forgive, letting go of offense before it takes root inside. Bullies can make outward difficulties for us, but they cannot really rule us unless we give them that permission in our minds and emotions. Children of the King, who know their family connection, are inwardly free from the dominion of anyone but their Father in heaven.

This concludes the series on bringing up royal sons and daughters. I hope it has provided some ideas for how to help your children realize who they are in Christ, and how to walk out their royal heritage in fullness and fruitfulness.

Sonship in God’s family is such a vast subject. What has God been showing you about it? How do you plan to instill those ideas in your children? I’d love to hear from you!

Previous — Part 3

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Character Building for Families

Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters (Part 3)

Crown Free Pixabay imageWe talked in the last two posts about how to instill in our children what it means to be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven — the value they possess because they are part of the royal family, their authority as royalty, the discipline required in order to carry out their royal role well, and how they should use their position to serve and bring blessing to others.

The King’s sons and daughters must also be aware of the privileges which are theirs. If they don’t know what is available to them, how can they put their royal bounty to good use?

Too many Christians live like hopeless, helpless beggars, rather than the royalty they are. They are afraid that God will deny them most of what they ask, to keep them “humble.” Because of poor teaching, many of us have a very sorry notion of what relationship with our Father in heaven is supposed to be like.

We can help the Church break free of the beggar’s mentality by planting biblical truth in our children. They need to know the privileges God delights for them to avail themselves of. He is a generous Father!

The storehouse of royal provision is limitless — “exceedingly abundant above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)!

The apostle Paul said, “… All things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21).

2 Peter 1:3, 4 announces, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who has called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature ….”

How very mind-boggling! All means all, but let’s look at a few specific privileges we possess, which we can study together with our children:

1.) Access to the Father at all times:

Hebrews 4:16“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Ephesians 2:18“For through Him [Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

Ephesians 3:12“In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.”

2.) Provision for all our material needs:

Philippians 4:19“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:25-34 — This classic passage assures us that our heavenly Father wants to meet our basic needs, and that there is no need to worry about whether He will take care of us or not.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 — Verse 8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

One of the names by which God has revealed Himself is Jehovah-Jireh (YHWH-Yireh) (Genesis 22:14) — “The Lord Who provides” or “The Lord Who will see to it.”

3.) Healing:

Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

James 5:14-16“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Mark 16: 17, 18“And these signs shall follow them that believe: in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

There are dozens of Bible verses which tell us that God desires to heal us. Here is a link to more of them.

4.) Answers to prayer for all needs:

Romans 8:32“He Who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

John 15:7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”

This is just a brief starter listing of the privileges which are ours as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. I have a page at my website, Encouragement from God’s Word, which lists many more.

Previous — Part 2
Next — Part 4

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Character Building for Families

Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters (Part 2)

In our last post, we began talking about teaching our children what it means to be part of God’s royal family. I shared some ideas on how to cultivate royalty consciousness and, at the same time, build a servant attitude in them. Let’s look at a few more things sons and daughters of the Most High King need to know:

Royal sons and daughters have authority.

As members of God’s royal family, eventually we will rule with Jesus. The apostle Paul said that in the end of the age we would judge the world and even angels (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3). Even now we possess spiritual authority over many things. We grow in learning to wield our authority effectively as we mature in our relationship with Jesus.

One area in which our children can immediately begin to exercise their authority is prayer. Teach your children that their prayers make a difference and that their heavenly Father delights to answer them. Help them to understand that as they pray for others who have needs, they will make people’s lives better. Encourage them to form the habit of looking for ways they can be a blessing through prayer.

Teach them verses such as John 14:13, 14: “And whatever you shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.” There are many other prayer promises, such as

  • 1 John 5:14, 15
  • Mark 11:22-24
  • Matthew 7:7-11

You might want to study with your children the Bible passages which assure us of receiving answers to prayer. I have a list at my website to get you started.

We can also begin helping them understand how to use their royal authority in spiritual warfare. Even small children need to know what to do when the evil one comes against them — because he doesn’t wait until they are grownups to start. Although young children cannot yet grasp all the concepts connected with spiritual warfare, they can begin to use the basics.

Have them memorize James 4:7“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Tell them that they can call on Jesus to help them if they are afraid, feel worried, have bad dreams, feel tempted to sin, or have bad thoughts. Teach them to say, “Bad thoughts (or fear, etc.), go away right now, in the name of Jesus.” Some children are able from an early age to see into the spirit realm, both angels and evil spirits. They need to know that if they see an evil spirit, they can command it to leave, in the name of Jesus. Emphasize that all of our authority lies in Jesus’ name.

Explain and have them memorize verses such as

  • 1 John 4:4: “You belong to God, little children, and have overcome them [evil spirits]: because greater is He Who is in you, than he who is in the world,” and
  • Luke 10:19: “Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Emphasize that Jesus has promised to protect them, so there is nothing to be afraid of. Tell them that He is infinitely bigger and greater than the devil.

Royal authority does not ever give us the right to tyrannize over people. For instance, an older child might be given responsibility to help care for younger members of the family. He or she would have a measure of delegated authority, but the heart attitude must be one of patience, kindness, and respect for the weaker ones, rather than bossing.

Our royal authority is a large subject, which can gradually be expanded upon as our children mature. However, the next point is inseparable from authority.

Sons and daughters of the King must learn to lead disciplined lives.

Jesus was absolutely without sin, and yet even He had to go through a training process. Hebrews 5:8, 9 says, “Although He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And being made perfect [complete; finished], He became the author of eternal salvation unto all those who obey Him.” Jesus came into the fullness of God the Father’s plan for Him by patiently obeying and enduring trials. We (and our children) have to be willing to go through that process, too.

The apostle Paul said, in Galatians 4:1, 2“… The heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ from a servant, though he is lord of all, but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” There is a time for royal sons and daughters to learn from those who are more mature than themselves. Obedience and submission to parents and others in authority over them is a condition to coming into the fullness of their inheritance privileges.

In addition to obedience and submission, children must begin learning to discipline their tongues and actions to be loving and gracious, according to God’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. James 2:8 calls this commandment “the royal law.”

Next time, we’ll talk about some of the privileges which go with being part of God’s royal household.

Previous — Part 1 
Next — Part 3

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Character Building for Families

 

Bringing Up Royal Sons and Daughters

Imagine with me for a moment that you have gone back several centuries in time, and that you are a noble in a king’s court. Your particular responsibility is to oversee the king’s children, so that when they are grown, they will know how to live their royal life in a way which brings honor to their family line and their kingdom.

Of course, you would see to it that the children were educated in all the knowledge available for that time period. For the young princes, you might instruct them in how to skillfully handle the weapons of war. You would make sure the princes and princesses were strong and physically fit, by getting exercise and healthy food. And you would teach them the fine points of elegant etiquette, protocol, and all the things which would go into carrying themselves with royal dignity.

It’s not that much different from what we should do with our modern-day sons and daughters, for indeed, they are royalty. Besides being ours, they are the children of the King of the universe. They need to be well taught in how the King’s sons and daughters should behave — to be conscious of who they are and walk out their position with great grace.

How can we help our children become conscious of their place in the royal family, and how can we prepare them for the responsibilities ahead? There is a lot to it, but let’s hit some of the highlights.

We start by building a consciousness of their royal heritage in them. We can do this by reading and explaining to them Bible passages which talk about being our heavenly Father’s sons and daughters.

Romans 8:15-17 is a good place to start. It tells us that, through Jesus, we are now God the Father’s adopted children. As such, we are full heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. We can explain to them that adopted children are not second-class family members. They are loved just as much as biological children, and they enjoy equal privileges. It is the same in God’s kingdom. Amazing, isn’t it?

In 1 John 3:1-3, the apostle John declared that we are different from the world around us, because we are the sons of God. He explains that because we are already sons, and will come into yet greater things when Jesus appears, we should prepare now for our future glory by purifying ourselves. He goes on, in 1 John 3:9, 10, to say that a supernatural change has taken place inside of us, so that it is as if we carry God’s royal DNA. Therefore, the children of God behave much differently from those who are not His own. They are “led by the Spirit,” according to Romans 8:14.

Study and discuss these passages with your children.

Build in them the concept of being servant royalty, not tyrants. There’s nothing worse to deal with than people who are spoiled and self-centered. They seem to think that the world revolves around their personal comforts, never stopping to think about the happiness of others. They trample people in the pursuit of getting what they want. We have certainly seen some kings / royal families on the earth who were like this. How unfortunate for the rest of mankind!

Servant royalty, on the other hand, are committed to using their position to better the lives of their fellow men. They are aware of their responsibility to lift up the weak and needy, rather than oppressing them.

Jesus is the best example of how to behave as a servant king. Use Matthew 20:25-28, John 13:1-7, and Philippians 2:3-15 as your textbook in teaching your children how to become servant royalty. In our home, we memorized that Philippians passage. (If you would like a ready-made Bible study which goes into greater detail, my book, Character Building for Families, Volume 1  has two units,  Deference and Servanthood, which delve deeper into this topic.)

In our next post, we’ll look at more ways to instruct our children in the royal lifestyle.

Next — Part 2 

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Character Building for Families

The Rules of Sonship

Crown, via Pixabay Free Images[This is a repost of a light-hearted article I wrote in 2011 for my other blog, Out of the Fire. Lord willing, in the days ahead, I will write a little more extensively on teaching our children how to think and live as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. What better place to learn about our position in the ultimate royal family than in our Christian home schools?]

And all creation’s straining on tiptoe just to see
The sons of God come into their own.
from a song by The Fisherfolk

Romans 8:19 puts it, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits the unveiling of the sons of God.”

I got to thinking one day about what it means to be the sons of God.  (“Sons of God” includes women, by the way.)  And I came up with a list — sort of a “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all understood who we are in Christ and acted that way?” kind of compilation.  So here it is.  I hope you will enjoy it.

#1:  Sons know that since God their Father thinks they are wonderful, Sister Effie’s opinion about them doesn’t count.

#2:  Sons serve each other, but are nobody’s slaves. They don’t let any man “own” them.

#3:  Sons don’t get offended by intimidation tactics. They smile and stand tall because they know who they are, even if the intimidator doesn’t. (I’ve had a hard time learning this one.)

Yertle the Turtle, by Dr. Seuss (affiliate link)#4:  Sons and Dr. Seuss know there are Yertle-the-Turtles in the Kingdom. They just refuse to be part of the stack.

#5:  Sons trust their Father to meet their material needs. He’s got the universe at His disposal, after all.

#6:  A son remembers there are other sons in the family and shares generously with them.

#7:  Sons are secure in their destiny-callings and don’t try to usurp someone else’s.

#8:  Sons also know there is plenty of destiny to go around, so jealousy of other sons isn’t necessary.

#9:  The King’s sons know the privileges of royalty and appropriate them.

#10:  There is no caste system or waiting line to an audience with the King. All sons have equal and instant access.

#11:  Royal sons have a gracious demeanor. They treat others with respect because honor is ingrained in their hearts.

#12:  Sons don’t make a big deal about other sons’ mistakes and faults.  That’s just the way family is, quirks and all.

#13:  Sons know no man can take away from them what their Father has given them.  Their destiny/mantle/calling is secure in Him.

#14:  Sons understand the authority backing them. Their Daddy bears the title, Supreme Potentate of the Universe.

#15:  Sons wear their royal robes inside out. (Their beauty starts on the inside and radiates to the outside.)

#16:  Sons know Father is a God of His Word and can be trusted.

Can you think of any more rules of sonship that I’ve missed?  Why not post them as a comment?

Character Building for Families

 

Character Building for Families

New Discounts and Ordering Options

U. S. Customers:

Character Building for Families SetEverybody likes receiving discounts — and at Full Gospel Family Publications, we like giving them out, too! That’s why, for our U. S. customers, we are offering a 20% discount on orders of 5 or more Character Building for Families (either Volume 1 or 2, mix or match). Put together a group order for  your homeschool co-op or homeschooling buddies and save $3.20 per book. Order at our Character Building for Families homepage.

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Over the years, shipping internationally has become extremely expensive, and I really hate how much we have to charge our international customers to ship your printed materials.

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