Godly Words
NLT Parenting Devotions

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”
Matthew 17:5




“I have a hard time even praying the Lord’s Prayer,” she said. “The first words, ‘Our Father,’ always remind me how disappointed I am with my father.” Others in the circle nodded their heads, some wanting to say even more. What a sad situation, not to be able to call God a heavenly Father. Part of the problem rises because of definitions. We forget sometimes that God isn’t called heavenly Father because he is like our dads; rather we all have fathers whose responsibility is to remind us by their character and actions of our perfect heavenly Father. Every earthly father disappoints. The tragedy comes when we allow those disappointments to cut us off from our heavenly Father.

In his book Raising a Modern-Day Knight (Tyndale House), author Robert Lewis points out that parents can gain some priceless direction from the way God the Father treated God the Son. These insights are particularly powerful in a father’s relationship with his son. Lewis uses as his starting point the several occasions in which God the Father made public pronouncements about his Son. Those statements include three ideas children need to hear from their parents: 1) I love you (“my dearly loved Son”); 2) I’m proud of you (“who brings me great joy”); and 3) you have skills (“listen to him”). The third one requires extra thought because it is specific to each child, highlighting his or her skills. Read through each of these again and ask yourself when was the last time each of your children heard any or all of these from you.

There are many ways to get these points across, but speaking them must be part of the equation. Parents often try to get by, saying, “I show my kids I love them.” There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s not a substitute for speaking the words. Yes, they can be surprisingly hard today (particularly for men). But many children (perhaps even you) would admit that the most manly, godly thing your father ever did (or could have done) was to put those messages into words for you. Whether or not you heard them, make sure your kids don’t leave home without hearing them from you.