Dr. Donald J. Ralston

Picturing a Bright Future

(Prov. 11:11; 15:1-2, 26 & 26)

I. How could anyone as dumb and ugly as you have such a good looking child? Tim's mother was grinning when she spoke these words to her son - she was referring to the grandchild in her arms

A. To most observers her words might have been brushed aside as a bad joke but it instantly brought tears to Tim's eyes

1. Stop it, he yelled, that's all I have ever heard from you

2. It's taken me years to believe that I'm not ugly and dumb

3. I don't ever want to hear you call me dumb again

B. Tim's mother stood in stunned silence, tears in her eyes

1. She had only meant it as a joke

2. For years, this mother, in ignorance, had kidded her children about being stupid, fat or ugly

3. After all, she had been kidded unmercifully by her mother when she was growing up

I. What kid of future do our words picture for our children?

A. Communicating a special future to our children is an integral part of giving the blessing

1. We need to communicate words like this -

2. God has given you such a sensitive heart. I wouldn't be surprised to see you growing up to help people

3. You're such a good helper, when you grow and marry someday, you are going to be a great help to your husband

4. God has given you such a gift in drawing, it wouldn't surprise me if you grow up to be a great artist

5. You are so well organized you may grow up to direct a large corporation

B. Words picture a bright future for your child

1. By the way, this is true of wives and husbands as well

2. We can encourage and picture a bright future for our mate or we can put them down

3. Look John, you are never going anywhere in the company

4. You're such a foul ball, it's a wonder you have a job

5. Putting down your mate is detrimental to their future

6. We can begin to believe the negative comments, they get inside and we begin to wonder, maybe they are right

7. Subliminally, we lose faith in the future

II. Tim's mother pictured the same negative future for Nancy

A. She was told, nobody would want to date a fat mess like you, as her mom said it, she laughed heartily

1. It's only a joke you say - it may be funny to the mom but it was crushing to the daughter

2. Her mom told her she might as well drop out of geometry - that=s for smart kids

3. So the kid just gives up trying

B. The critical need of every child is to have a special future pictured for them

1. Nancy began to neglect her appearance and became so sloppy no boy was interested

2. The mother could say, I told you so - that=s true she did tell her so, that=s why it was a self fulfilling prophecy

3. Isaac prophesied of his son Jacob - people will serve you, nations will bow down before you, blessed be those who bless you (Gen 27:28-29)

4. When Isaac spoke these words, that blessing was in the future. Jacob didn't have a crowd of people bowing down to him

5. The picture his father presented to him gave the security of knowing he had something to look forward to

6. Like father, like son. Jacob passed on a special blessing to his son Judah

a. Judah, your brother shall praise you

b. Your fathers' children shall bow down to you

c. Judah had a real hope for his future

d. Of all people, our parents need to believe in us

III. We as parents can't predict our children's future with Biblical accuracy

A. But we can give them the hope and direction that will provide them with some meaningful goals

1. Jesus pictured for his disciples a special future (John 14:2-3)

2. Jesus made sure His disciples knew that their future would not end at His death

3. So He gives them the promise of a bright future in John 14

B. As human beings, we have the potential to be all that God wants us to be

1. When God places children under our care, we must be aware that the words we speak shape and develop their thinking patterns

2. Loving words help children develop a positive attitude toward life

3. If a parent pictures for a child that his or her value in life is low, that child will find it difficult to rise above those words

4. Dr. Appleton in his book, "Fathers and Daughters" has an insightful study on father-daughter relationships

5. He found that a woman's achievements in life were directly related to their fathers acceptance of them

IV. Marcia struggled throughout her years in school

A. Her parents were informed Marcia had to be placed in a slow learners group

1. Even this news did not discourage her parents from picturing a special future for her

2. Rather than pushing Marcia to hurry up or read faster, her parents would praise her for staying with her assignment until she finished it

3. After Sunday School one morning, she announced she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up

4. Her mother could have said, "Marcia be realistic, you can never be a teacher."

B. Instead of laughing, they told her if she would study hard, she could become a teacher

1. Marcia struggled through every year of school. In college it took her six and a half years to complete a four year program

2. In spite of her difficulties, she graduated with an elementary education degree

3. While her bright friends with their degrees were looking for a job, Marcia already had one

4. She did such a great job of student teaching at a school, the principal asked her to become the first grade teacher

C. Three people deserved honors at that graduation - Marcia for being so determined and her parents for encouraging her to reach for her dream

1. These wise parents pictured a special future for her even when grade school report cards branded her a slow learner

2. Are you providing your spouse, fiends, and your children with a blessing that pictures a special future for them?

3. The Bible says that God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing

4. Will you receive His blessing - the greatest of which is the gift of life - the free gift of salvation.