Devotional on God's Grace for children

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Life (2 of 3): God’s Grace for Kids

For dad only:

Gracious Parenting

Do you enable your children or merely instruct them? Do you empower them or just order them around? Do you inspire greatness or demand conformity? Learn the art of grace-filled parenting and watch your children embrace God’s grace, too. Do this devotional on God’s grace for children and watch their understanding grow.

Grace for grace

Children need to learn good graces. They must learn to be polite when making requests, meeting new people, or receiving a gift. They do not learn to be gracious by us just saying, “What do you say?”

Children learn good graces from gracious parents. If you have a habit of “please” and “thank you” they will pick it up naturally. If not, then you will have to force it, which defeats the whole purpose of being full of grace.

Play favorites with your kids

I do not mean you should favor one kid over the other. You should favor each child according to his or her strengths. Does one love to read books? Favor him or her with quality reading materials. Does one enjoy camping and fishing? Favor him with a few trips into the wilderness.

Your kids should look into your eyes and feel worthwhile. They should feel the glow of your favor toward them. It will be a whole lot easier for them to receive the fatherhood of God from a dad like you than from one who demands and screams and threatens.

Expect God’s grace

You cannot be a dad on your own. You need God’s favor to help you. Trust the Spirit of grace to give the right words for tough conversations, the right decision in sticky situations, and the right attitude when your kids are everything but graceful. God’s grace is not a theological abstract, it is a practical necessity—especially for parents.

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Learn more about living by grace vs. living by law at life2o.org.

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Read this devotional on God’s Grace for children:

Grace on Target

 

A man with a cowboy hat and plaid shirt was teaching the men and boys of Rusty’s church how to throw knives.

“Lay the knife across the palm of your hand like this,” he said, demonstrating how it should be done. “If you hold it right, you won’t ever get cut. Then, bring your arm back like this, and throw.” He threw the throwing knife in his hand and hit the target dead center.

“Whoa!” and “Cool,” said some of the guys.

The instructor pulled out another knife. “Okay, so you hold it at an angle across your palm like this, bring it back, and let it go right here.” He stopped his arm before it was full stretched out. “If you let it go too soon, it will fly too high. If you let it go too late, it will hit the ground. The key to successful knife throwing is knowing when to let it fly.”

Rusty looked at Dad. “Do we get to try?”

Dad nodded and whispered, “Just wait.”

The man in the cowboy hat said, “First, you have to pretend you are Elijah whipping his mantle over the Jordan River. Like this,” he gestured with his arm like he was cracking a robe over water. “You want to bring your arm straight down. Can everyone do it?”

Dads and sons tried throwing their arms forward like they were Elijah at the Jordan. The instructor watched them for a moment and then helped correct a couple of them to straighten out their swing. He came to Rusty and said, “It looks like you are trying to throw a baseball. You know how you throw a ball and cross your arm in front of you?”

Rusty nodded.

“That is not how you want to throw a knife. You pull your hand back—see? Like I was holding Elijah’s mantle—and you bring it straight down.”

Rusty tried again.

“Good. That’s it. You should be able to come straight down without hitting your leg. Your hand should pass right beside you. Do it again and keep your wrist straight this time. You do not move your wrist to throw the knife.”

Rusty pulled back with is empty hand and brought the imaginary robe straight down without moving his wrist.

“Perfect!” the man bellowed, almost scaring Rusty. He moved on to help a few others. A couple minutes later, he came back to Rusty. “Look, guys, this fella’s got the idea. What’s your name, young man?”

“Rusty, sir.”

The man smiled and said, “Well, young ‘Rustysir’ here has got the right form. Show them how to bring your arm back and throw with a straight wrist.”

Rusty did as he was told.

“See there? Rusty’s arm comes down beside him. Nice and straight. This is important. If you are going to throw a knife, you cannot stop your arm when you let go of the blade. You want to follow through with the swing of your arm.”

The man reached into his pouch and pulled out a throwing knife. “Here,” he said and handed it to Rusty.

It had a blade on both sides and a straight handle with holes through it. Rusty looked it over for a second and then positioned it across his palm like the man had show them.

“Good. You are a natural! Just hold it with your thumb and two fingers. Don’t clamp down on it or you will mess up the spin of the knife. Just hold it with a good relaxed hold like you would hold the handles on your bike. That’s it. Now, bring that knife down just like you did Elijah’s mantle. Hang onto it without throwing it. Bring it up and drop.”

Rusty lifted the knife and swung it at the target, bringing it down and letting it pass beside him.

“Great! See how that knife does not want you to move your wrist. Just keep it straight and then let it go about halfway down. One good way of starting out is to hold out your left arm, pointing it at the target.”

Rusty did as the man showed him.

“Great! Now, when you bring your right hand down, let the knife go when it gets even with your left hand.”

“You want me to really throw it this time?” Rusty asked.

“Yes,” the man said.

Rusty took a deep breath and looked at the target. He tried to forget that everyone was watching him.

“Relax, son,” the man said. “This is no different than how you moved your arms before. You are not going to try to kill the target. You probably won’t even get the knife to stick this time. You just need to see where the knife lands so you know what to adjust.”

Rusty drew back his arm and threw the knife. It sailed right to the target on the tree and slapped it. It fell to the ground with a sickening sound.

Some of the boys laughed.

“Great job!” the instructor said.

“But I missed!” Rusty said.

“No. You hit the target perfectly. Now we just need to get the knife to stick. Do you know what we have to do to make the blade stick?”

Rusty shrugged, “Throw harder?”

“Nope. You need to take a couple steps back.”

The instructor showed him where to stand. “See, the blade spins when you throw it. You have to learn how fast your throws rotate, then know where to stand so your knife sticks in the target every time.”

He handed Rusty another throwing knife. Rusty inhaled, aimed with his left hand, drew back, and tossed the knife with his right. It sailed through the air, turned over once, and stuck straight in the target, right above the bull’s-eye.

“Great job!”

“I did it!” Rusty said to Dad.

Dad patted his back and said, “Good work, Son.”

As the dads and their sons all took turns throwing knives, the instructor would come back to Rusty often and give him a few more tips. Later, he even gave Rusty a handbook on how to become a professional knife thrower. “You can even make a little money if you win at the contests,” he told Rusty.

When the knife practice had ended, the guys roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over the campfire. Dad had brought some sausage he roasted and shared with the others.

Afterward, they all gathered around the fire and Pastor opened his Bible. He read to them about the grace of God. Rusty didn’t quite understand what he was talking about and let his mind wander for a minute. Suddenly, he heard Pastor say his name.

“I think a good example of grace today was watching Bro. Shefner help Rusty throw a knife. I was watching from the side, and I could see that Rusty really wanted to learn how to throw a knife. Now, some of you were only doing the knife throwing thing because you had to—you really wanted to be down at the lake skipping rocks or paddling a canoe—and we will do some of that tomorrow—but Rusty really wanted to hit the bull’s-eye with that knife.”

“And he did!” Dad bragged.

“Yes, he did. But he only could do a good job of it because of Bro. Shefner’s grace. You see, Rusty had a desire to throw knives, but no knowledge. Bro. Shefner helped Rusty succeed. He showed him how, helped him do it, and encouraged him in the process. I think he even gave you a book on how to throw knives, right Rusty?”

“Yes, sir,” Rusty said.

“Now, Bro. Shefner favored Rusty and gave him extra help and more tips than usual. Why?”

“Because Rusty really wanted to learn Bro. Shefner’s skill,” one boy said.

“Exactly!” Pastor almost shouted. “Bro. Shefner showed grace—or favor—to Rusty because Rusty showed a desire to be like his instructor! You see, God is like that. He is ready to help anyone who wants to be like Him. Bro. Shefner did not force a law on us, saying we all had to throw knives. He did not walk up to Rusty and say, ‘Here, kid, you had better throw this knife right or I am going to throw you out of here.’ He looked for those of you who really wanted to learn and helped you do a better job of it.

“God does not make us serve him, guys,” Pastor went on. “He loves us and he looks for anyone who wants to be like Him. When He finds someone with a desire for Him, He helps that man grow to be like Him. He instructs us, corrects us, and encourages us because He loves us. He gives us His grace and favor because we appreciate who He is and what He does.

“Rusty did not earn Bro. Shefner’s favor by throwing a knife well. His first throw didn’t stick, did it? Instead, Rusty benefited from Bro. Shefner’s graciousness because of his desire—not his ability. God doesn’t care how good we are at doing everything perfect. He just wants to know that we want to. He knows that we cannot save ourselves. That is why He saves us because of His grace. We turn to the Lord and say, ‘I can’t do it myself, Jesus.’

“And He says, ‘I know, but I will help you. I will forgive your sins. I will give you my name in baptism. And I will put my Spirit in you.’ That is God’s grace—He favors us enough to help us live right.

“We do not pray and read our Bibles everyday to earn His favor. We do that because we want to know Him better and hit the target every time with kind words, good thoughts, and godly behavior. Why don’t we all thank God for His grace tonight. And why don’t we also examine our hearts and ask ourselves, ‘Do I want to be like Jesus the same way that Rusty wanted to learn how to throw knives?’”

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Guys, if you get inspired by this Rusty story,

you may want to get Knife Throwing: A Practical Guide

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Now discuss it!

When have you experienced a teacher or other person who gave you special attention and helped you do better at something you were trying to do?

 

What does it mean to you to have God’s favor?

 

Do you think Rusty would have enjoyed knife throwing if the instructor told him he had to throw knives and he had better not mess up?

 

Do you think you would enjoy living for God if He forced you to be nice and do right?

 

What helps you enjoy living for God? How does He help you?

 

 

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Read God’s Word together:

The Grace of God’s Presence

 

Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?”

So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.”

So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”

Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?”

And I said, “No, my lord.”

So he answered and said to me:

“ This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:

‘ Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’

Says the LORD of hosts.

‘ Who are you, O great mountain?

Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!

And he shall bring forth the capstone

With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

“ The hands of Zerubbabel

Have laid the foundation of this temple;

His hands shall also finish it.

Then you will know

That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

For who has despised the day of small things?

For these seven rejoice to see

The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

They are the eyes of the LORD,

Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

 

Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?”

And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”

Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?”

And I said, “No, my lord.”

So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.”

(Zechariah 4:1-14, NKJ)

 

In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening.

They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord. The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord. Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord. This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple.

Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this.

The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad.

When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:

“He is so good!

His faithful love for Israel endures forever!”

Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.

(Ezra 3:1-13, NLT)

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Let’s talk about it!

Do you think Zerubbabel and Joshua were overwhelmed by the task of rebuilding the destroyed Temple for God?

 

In Zechariah 4:6, how did God say Zerubbabel would complete this project?

 

In Zechariah 4:7, what did God say Zerubbabel would be shouting when the first stone of the Temples foundation was set?

 

How did these people need the grace of God to do the work they set out to do?

 

What kind of a temple are we building today?

 

Why do we need God’s grace to accomplish it?

 

Read Ephesians 1:6-7. What does this passage tell us God’s grace does for us?

 

Read Ephesians 2:4-8. What do you learn about the grace of God from this passage?

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Memorize a scripture to go along with this devotional on God’s Grace for children!

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace

are ye saved

through faith;

and that not of yourselves:

it is the gift of God:

 

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