|The Gift of Blessing|
By Dan Vis
March 13, 2017
It's been a while since I posted this, but it seemed especially appropriate given the season. The holidays are full of opportunities to spend time with family. Make the most of that time this year, by giving the gift of blessing...
Every Christian parent wants to see their children grow up to become strong, committed believers. And there is a raging debate about what type of discipline will best contribute to that outcome. But I believe there is an even more fundamental principle, and that is the power of blessing.
The very first thing God did to Adam and Eve was to bless them (Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.). Similarly, the first thing God did after the flood was to bless Noah and his sons (Genesis 9:1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.). He blessed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and each in turn blessed their children. Often these blessings were specific to the characteristics of each child.
Later, through Moses, God gave specific instructions on how to bless the children of Israel, and why it was important:
On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:23-2723 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
In the New Testament, the Father pronounced a special blessing on Jesus at his baptism. And Jesus in turn began His most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount, with a series of blessings. He also made it a regular practice to take up little children in His arms and bless them (Luke 2:28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,, Mark 10:16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.). In fact, this act was so important to Jesus, that He rebuked His disciples when they tried to interfere.
Clearly, blessings are important!
When we bless someone, we inspire them to live richer, fuller lives. We encourage them with joy, and hope. They are motivated to seek after honor and success. There is tremendous power in our words.
Many children, long to hear words of love and approval from their parents. Some wait their whole lives, and never quite get it. When missing, it's easy to turn to unhealthy practices to fill the void. When present, a deep sense of worth and value fills the hearts, and children are more free to live with confidence and purpose.
How do we bless? Look for little opportunities to affirm your children. Here are some ideas:
Acknowledge an ability or talent:
"You are quite gifted. I could see you becoming a great..."
"You did a great job on that. I really like the way you..."
Express love and affection
"You bring so much joy into my life. Thank you for..."
"You are such a special child. I love the way you..."
Show confidence and commitment
"I believe in you. You are going to do well on..."
"I really want you to succeed. I'm here to help you with..."
Let them know you pray for them
"I prayed for you today. I asked God to..."
"I'll be sure to pray for you while you are..."
"That's quite a step you've taken. I am proud of you for..."
"This is really big. We should celebrate how you..."
There are other ways to bless our children as well. Little gifts. An arm around the shoulder. Spending time doing some activity together, or just listening to them talk. Anything that communicates value, honor, and love can be meaningful. But words of blessing are especially important.
Of course, we must learn to do this consistently. We can't send mixed messages to our children: "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.). Even in discipline, we can speak words of affirmation. It can be done in love, and with patience--rather than in anger, out of irritation. We can communicate honor and confidence--rather than insults and shaming words. The law of blessing should govern our words at all times.
According to Proverbs, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.). "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health" (Proverbs 12:18There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.). "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.). Because of the close tie between parents and children, our words have more impact on them than anyone else. By learning to bless our children, we can speak life, health, and even salvation into their hearts. Learn to use this incredible gift.
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In what ways did your parents communicate blessings to you? Share a memorable example. How do you communicate blessings to your children? How do they respond? Share a note in the comments below.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/21/19||MEMBER|
Hi Denise, if you ever want to tag someone, just tap their picture and it will send them a notification you mentioned them so they can see what you wrote...
And thanks for the helpful thoughts! I personally have come to see our time as parents a second chance to be parented ourself. Exactly as you describe. In working with our own children, we have an opportunity to correct faulty patterns we picked up when we were children. If we make the most of that opportunity, it will prove a great blessing in our character development.
There's a note for you below Deanna!
|Posted by Denise Buglino on 11/21/19||MEMBER|
|Responding to comments by Deanna Dekel and Dan Vis: Regarding the EGW counsel to speak gently to children even when correcting them. If you will look in Child Guidance chapters 40 (pgs 215-220 Exemplify Christian Principles) & Chapter 48 ( pgs 279 -287--The Child's Reaction) I believe there you will find the statements you were seeking. i was recently reading CG as my devotional book, and many of the ideas Dan has presented are harmonized in that book (of course they were compiled from many letters and manuscripts she wrote over the years). Great reminder Dan of the need all of us have for acknowledgement and tender regard (blessings) - since we are essentially "grown up children". I highly recommend reading Child Guidance even if you don't have children as it provides helpful insights into how one's own character, temperament, outlook on life and attitudes took shape during childhood. Helpful in finding healing for your heart & mind and in understanding how Christ can re-parent us and make us whole & healthy. We belong to the Family of God, He is our Heavenly Parent and will give us all the good blessings we need each day!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/19/19||MEMBER|
|Praise God for always being there to help us, right Erica? :)|
|Posted by Erica Cameron on 11/19/19||MEMBER|
|I need to grow in this area! Thank you Dan|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/18/19||MEMBER|
|This is an area I think we can all grow in Emmanuel. The more we see the potential in people, the more we want to encourage and bless them...|
|Posted by Emmanuel Ajiroghene on 11/18/19||MEMBER|
I ask for forgiveness from God for all I have done wrong in this regards. I pray for more grace to apply the wonderful blessings this memo revealed tonight.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/19||MEMBER|
|Glad this was a blessing to you Carla! Stay out of the cold if you can. :)|
|Posted by Carla Phillips on 11/13/19||MEMBER|
|I am going to try to print this out . And hand out. Thank you. Hoping it gets warm here in NC, but cold is here to stay, 30's today :(|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|That's great Carole! Nice to stay in touch with family. :)|
|Posted by Carole Bliss on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|My parents always looked forward to our visits. They lived out of state. We stayed in close contact with each other, letter writing, phone calls. I send regular emails to my adult children, they know I am praying for them. In this age of texting, I enjoy getting messages from my children. I do miss picking up the phone. That is best. Blessings. Carole|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|You are so right Narelle! "Perhaps the stigma against Christians from the world's perspective would be different" if we were "more focused on blessing others". But as you point out, sometimes it seems easier to be gracious with strangers than with those with whom we associate most closely! Thanks for the comment...|
|Posted by Narelle Coyte on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
I wish I understood more about blessings before I married. In fact when I was doing my baptismal studies. Because I have come to understand that God speaks blessings to us, His children. And Jesus did the same, in fact he taught us to bless in beautitudes of Matthew. To bless and seek the good in others instead of saying they are "being naughty". Perhaps the stigma against Christians from the world's perspective would be different and I believe there would be less contentious issues in the church too. Thus I see that everyone with or without children of their own, young and old should be more focused on blessing others than to look at the correcting angle of people in close association.... in fact it's very easy to bless a shop assistant for great service than it is to stop and do a formal prayer over them... both actions have the same out come. The person feels loved and cherished. What if we looked for good in the person we find hard to get along with whom we meet each week in church....and bless them for it and do this regularly.. over time what do you think will happen...so I conclude. We are all God's children.
What did Jesus do.... He had no children of His own flesh and blood....
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|You are absolutely right Valerie, it's not just our children is it? We can learn to bless everyone we interact with. :)|
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
This is a very important message. I pray that I can bless my adult children along with my grandchildren with words of affirmation and always love. I hope that I can do that with whomever I communicate.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
You are very welcome Nanette. Enjoy your time with your grandchildren, and children too. Leave them a great blessing...
Yes, Cathy, society does seem to swing back and forth sometimes and it's not always easy to adapt. But the good thing about the Bible is that it conveys the same information century after century. Different generations may emphasize one principle or another more, but the Bible's true balance never changes.
|Posted by Cathy Albert on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|Thank you for sharing this information. It is hard to discipline children differently from the way I grew up. I thank the Bible for showing the information about how to raise a child.|
|Posted by Nanette on 11/11/19||MEMBER|
|Thank you for this post on blessing your children/grandchildren! We are getting ready to go visit for the holidays. We don’t get to be with them very often and I want this visit to be happy memory. This is a good idea. Thanks|
|Posted by Pamela Kendall on 04/08/17||MEMBER|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 04/08/17||MEMBER|
|Pam, go to Memos > Archives|
|Posted by Pamela Kendall on 04/08/17||MEMBER|
I don't have children to bless... except my nieces and nephew which I don't see real often - but I think these principles could be used on others I come in contact with. Everyone can benefit from encouragement - letting them know you believe in them, etc...
I think as a child I mostly just deflected compliments or minimized them because I thought it was proud to just accept them with thanks or that we were supposed to give God the glory and not take it to ourselves. I think sometimes parents think they will foster pride in their children if they affirm them too much. I know I remember hearing that you don't want to let a child know how cute you think their antics are because it will make them proud or make them try to be cute to get attention.
When I first read this post the verses you quoted ( Numbers 6:23-2723 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them. ) complimented a verse I had recently memorized ( Psalms 42:11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. ) or rather more specifically its near cousin ( Psalms 42:5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. ) and started a train of thought that led to a wonderful scripture meditation session with many great connections to other verses - it was hard to stop and go to bed! Thanks for sharing God's word - God's word is blessing!
One question Dan : I'm a little confused on where to find the old/former Monday memos after the new site reorganization... is there an easy way to find them that I have overlooked?
|Posted by Cristina Bastos on 03/30/17||MEMBER|
|Very blessed memo! Thank you, Dan!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/28/17||MEMBER|
Glad this was a blessing Lisa! Always good to hear from you.
Praise God for great Grandma's, Jackie! One of the main reasons I'm a believer today is a praying grandma. :)
|Posted by Lisa West on 03/28/17||MEMBER|
|Dan I really enjoyed this Monday Memo. What a wonderful message for parents both young and old; young because they're starting out and old because it's never too late to change. Blessings!|
|Posted by Jacqueline on 03/21/17||MEMBER|
|My family growing up very dysfunctional we had loving g grandma's. I am learning to trust the Lord to pray and still having trouble reaching Joshua. The court case was dismissed and dealing with his anger is very unnerving Lord help us to be reco ciled.. I need divine help.|
|Posted by Deanna Dekle on 03/15/17||MEMBER|
|Dan, I'll look. I copied it down. I believe it came from Education|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/15/17||MEMBER|
So many great testimonies. And for those that had more difficult experiences, it is encouraging to know others stepped in to provide that support we needed. Truly God takes us up when mother and father are not there for us. Psalms 27:10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up..
I love your post Deanna, about your child saying he felt you saw him as a saint, even though he wasn't quite there yet. So important to see our children through God's eyes, isn't it? And your quote about gentle loving drawing our children, vs harshness chasing them away--so true. Would love the actual quote if anyone stumbles across it.
|Posted by Lillian E. Cepeda on 03/14/17||MEMBER|
My parents were not affectionate at all. My mother grew up without affectionate love from her parents as well as my Dad. I always knew that my parents loved me, I just wanted to feel loved!
I grew up without much love, nor encouragement, but my Granny was very dear to me. Her words of wisdom and encouragement helped me to move forward and upward in life.
|Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 03/14/17||MEMBER|
|I knew love through action and word. I was encouraged to develop talents that were discovered, kissed and hugged even when not required and blessed every morning. There was always a sermon (inclusive of bible texts - Proverbs 29:17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul., Proverbs 3:12For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth., Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it., Proverbs 13:24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. etc) that accompanied the few spankings we got. My parents were never too busy to be involved in any project that my Sister and I decided was important as children. I miss them|
|Posted by Carole Bliss on 03/13/17||MEMBER|
My aunt was the one who showed such interest in me, as well as my
|Posted by Deanna Dekle on 03/13/17||MEMBER|
|All so true. My son wrote a tribute to me last year; it cheered my heart to read how he felt I was looking at them as "saints" though they weren't there "yet". It is trusting in God and listening to His promises and applying it to everyday life that makes it possible. I don't naturally have the kind of love that can graciously look beyond the present faults to the future victories except by knowing the power of God's love and forgiveness for myself. In reality there are times when things look very disappointing and discouraging when raising children and you have to cling to God's word and speak hope and courage instead of harsh criticism. EGW states that the gentle love extended will awaken the heart of our children to respond to the Spirit of God and draw them in; where as harshness will chase them from you and God. Paraphrased as to my memory-|
|Posted by Diane Castanon on 03/13/17||MEMBER|
My father did not like contact and complained that when we kissed his cheek we were kissing his ear, but we were never close to his ear. He never showed love during or after disciplineing us. He treated us like the enemy. He didn't tell me he loved me until I was 37 years old. My mother, on the other hand, always kissed us, hugged us, and frequently told us she loved us.
When I had children of my own, I made sure to show them love through expression, encouragement, and through telling them I loved them, especially after disciplining them...I would always express love and forgiveness. I poured blessings of encouragement upon them that they could become any profession they desired, and that I would support them, as long as the profession did not degrade them as a human being and child of God. I also passed a blessing of them not engaging in my battles and treat others poorly, nor to be angry with them. I always told them that my battles are not their battles, thus freeing them from a potential bondage of hatred and evil surmising.
All three of my children became what they love - a hairdresser, a fireman, and a school teacher, and they are all caring, compassionate individuals with forgiving hearts.
|Posted by Marion Coppock on 03/13/17||MEMBER|
|We faithfully kept the Sabbath, even when we were isolated and couldn't go to church, discipline was firm and with love. We worked and played together. There was no doubt in my mind that my parents loved us.|
|Posted by Lionel on 03/13/17||MEMBER|
|My father loved me, I am in no doubt, but I never heard it from his lips. So since birth by children have be reassured not just through the every-day role of parenting, but especially verbally that I love them. Now they are grown this has not ceased. Correspondence to my adult daughter always ends with “I love you, Precious” and I will not end a telephone call or visit with either of my adult sons without the phrase, “I love you, Son”. Of course I know how vital it is to share more than words, and I endeavour to do that too, but although we all know that words can hurt (James 3:5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!), we are inclined to forget that words can heal. Words of affirmation, assurance and genuine praise can be like a blood transfusion to a weak heart. Mark Twain once said, "I could live two months on a good compliment." A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver (Proverbs 25:11A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.). At www.lrhartley.com/selfesteem there are some free resources to help build up the self esteem of our children. |
Blessing our children is not the same as being a blessing to them. For example, we can even be a blessing to our children by what we don’t do (Ephesians 6:4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord., Colossians 3:21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.), but to intentionally pray and pronounce a blessing upon a child is an act of intimacy that can draw a child closer to you as a parent and closer to God (Remember it is God’s blessing that we are both wishing upon them, and as His representatives – knowing how God loves to give good gifts to His children – we are boldly enabled to pronounce or proclaim that blessing. So I prayerfully proclaim not just to my children and grandchildren, but also to my spouse and readers of this comment, “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-2624 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.).
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