Are you raising up godly seed or children of Belial?

One thing I have noticed over the years about the youngsters whom I have encountered and observed out in the world is that kids seem to be getting more and more rebellious. This rebelliousness shows itself in many different ways, whether it is a child's profane way of speaking, their total disregard towards an adult as an authority figure, or their unthankful and self-serving attitude of entitlement. And this rebellious spirit is not just happening during the teen years. No, this froward, impudent behavior is showing its ugly face in children younger and younger. Just the other day a little boy who was approximately five years old actually stuck his tongue out at me because I was giving him a disapproving look. His parents were letting him run rampant in a theater, and I was following his antics with a furrowed brow. The boy noticed me watching him, so he looked me right in the eyes and scrunched up his face and stuck out his tongue. Now, I don't know about you, but back when I was five, I never would have been bold enough (or rebellious enough) to stick out my tongue at an adult.

But I do not believe that the fault lies entirely with that little boy or with any other rebellious child. I cannot help but wonder how are people raising their children nowadays? What are parents doing, or not doing, that is creating this generation of disrespectful, worldly, and spoiled offspring? Well, these thoughts led me to search the Scriptures and write this paper. God's Word has much to say to mothers and fathers regarding the raising up of children. Herein I hope to give parents of today many things to ponder upon. Well, here we go!

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Parents, you want to provide "the best" for your child, but make sure that your idea of what is best lines up with God's instructions regarding what is best.

For many parents, the way they show their child love is through stuff. They want their kids to have the best of everything: the best vacations, the coolest toys, and the most fashionable clothes. All of the little girls have been told that they are (and get to dress up as) little princesses, and all of the little boys have been lavished with boy-appropriate praise and finery. There is a television in every kid's bedroom, maybe a basketball hoop right outside in the driveway, and no shortage of material things for the children to enjoy. People oftentimes feel, "Well, I can afford it, so why not? I want my kid to have all of the things that I didn't have growing up."

But is this how the Lord wants today's parents to raise their kids? Does God want children to be lavished with material things? No. Let's look at a few verses that show us those things that no home should be without:

Isaiah 33:6, "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure."

Proverbs 15:16, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith."

Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold."

Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Luke 12:15, "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."

God's Word shows us that our focus should never be on worldly material things. The Lord wants you to lavish your children with wisdom and knowledge. He wants you to teach them the fear of the Lord. God wants you to impress upon your children the importance of having a good name. He wants you to instruct your kids that their value DOES NOT come from possessions.

So if you really love your children, teach them in the ways of the Lord. Do not buy them everything under the sun, even if you are financially able to do so. Instead, foster characteristics in them such as meekness, a quiet spirit, and humbleness. These are priceless traits that glorify God. This brings us to the next topic.

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You are your child's first teacher, so teach them well.

Children have an amazing capacity to learn. By the age of three, most children already know all about Dora the explorer, Disney, Sponge Bob, etc. They can sing all the words to the popular sing-along songs and nursery rhymes. They can work the TV and video games like little champs. But have you taught your son or daughter the Ten Commandments? Have you read to them out of the Bible? Do they even know the name of Jesus?  Children's minds are little sponges waiting to soak up whatever is introduced to them. Parents, God wants you to start early teaching your children all about Him. They are not too young. Begin to lay a Christian foundation as soon as possible.

2 Timothy 3:15, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Isaiah 54:13, "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Ephesians 6:4, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

3 John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Deuteronomy 32:46, "And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law."

Psalm 34:11, "Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord."

Psalm 148:12, "Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven."

Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Again, you are your child's first teacher, so teach them God's Word, His commandments, His standards for holy living. You are your child's first nurturer, so feed them with living water and the bread of life. You are your child's first priest, so make them to understand the meaning of sin, repentance, and salvation through Jesus Christ's shed blood on Calvary. Your home is your child's main sanctuary, so make it a holy place where Jesus is honored and revered. Your home should be a safe place wherein lies no worldly and/or satanic influences. And now on to our final topic.

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Mothers and Fathers, as head of the household, who or what are you inviting into your family's life? Are you a blessing or a curse to your children?

Throughout the bible there are instances and examples of times when children suffered because of the disobedience, worldly ignorance, or satanic influence of their parents. You would not think that a parent would willingly choose to bring pain, heartache, and even destruction to their own child's life, but continue reading and you will see that this very thing has and does happen.

Numbers 14:33, "And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness."

2 Chronicles 22:3-4, "He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.  Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction."

Psalm 106:34-38, "They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood."

All of the parents in the above verses were a curse unto their children's lives, not a blessing. In the Numbers 14 verse, because of their parents' disobedience, murmuring, and lack of faith, the children had to wander in the desert for 40 years and were delayed in getting into the Promised Land.

The 2 Chronicles 22 verse is referring to a man named Ahaziah who was made king after his father's death. But Ahaziah didn't remain king very long because he followed the wicked counsel that he received from his very own mother and did evil to his destruction.

In the Psalm 106 verse above, we read how the parents chose the sinful things of the world over doing what the Lord commanded them. And ultimately these mothers and fathers slid so far into darkness that they shed innocent blood and made sacrifice of their sons and daughters.

ALL of the above-mentioned children suffered because in one way or another the parents allowed evil to come into their family's life. You might say, "But what does any of that have to do with me and my family?"

- Well, if you are not laying a solid Christian foundation and leading your child closer to the Lord, your offspring may end up wandering: lost, confused, and possibly even hellbound because mom and dad did not show them the way to God's Promised Land (heaven).

- Your children are looking to you for sound godly counsel in many different aspects of their life. Are you teaching them honesty, holiness, righteousness, and reverence for the Lord, or are they learning by your example lessons in lying, fornication, stealing, worldliness, drunkenness, and other wickedness?

- Have you made it a point to show your children that as Christians we are to be set apart, different, and pilgrims (travelers) just passing through? Or, like the parents above, are you mingling with and joining in on the heathenish traditions and fads of this sinful world? Perhaps you are not "physically" murdering and sacrificing your sons and daughters unto devils, but if you are introducing them to things such as Halloween, pirates, wizards, magic, vampires, and sorcery (all under the excuse of "It's only harmless entertainment"), you are inviting devils into your home and into your child's life.

Parents, the bible says in Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." There is a war going on! Satan wants you and your children. Is your home marked with the blood of the Lamb and shut up tight, or have you left the doors and windows wide open, allowing easy access for the Enemy to come in and make your children his children?

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In conclusion, I will ask you now the question that I asked at the beginning of this paper: Are you raising up godly seed or children of Belial? Parents, you never know for sure how your children are going to turn out in the end, but you can and should do everything within YOUR power to lay a solid God-fearing, bible-reading, Jesus-knowing foundation for your children. You CAN be an example of what a saved man or woman looks and acts like. You CAN keep your home and your children's environment free of evil influences. And you CAN choose to be a blessing to your children and not a curse. And after you have done all of those things and kept the Lord and His commandments at the forefront of your family's life, perhaps this verse in Isaiah will be your legacy. Isaiah 61:9, " And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed." What parent wouldn't want that?

(For more on this topic, you can go here: 12 steps to raising a juvenile delinquent And here: Teaching your children)

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