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Developing Your Childs Gifts (Condensed Version)

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Daniel 1:1–8 KJV 1900
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.


The nation of Israel was receiving the judgement of God because of their disobedience (Verse 2)
Known as the captivity
A period of 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah
King Nebuchadnezzar had a plan for the Hebrew boys that he was eyeing
Daniel was among these set-apart young men


Every parent believes his or her child is exceptional. We see gifts and talents in our children that others fail to see. We have a vested interest in their success and we have a strong desire to see them succeed!


How do we cultivate our children's gifts while at the same time cultivating and developing character for them to use their gifts wisely?
How do you raise a child who can not only play a great basketball game but knows the right moment to show a kindness on the court?

Consider for a moment the biblical account of Daniel

Arguably, the most gifted teenager in the Bible, Daniel was taken captive from Israel to Babylon. Some commentators believe he was as young as fourteen.
As an exceptionally gifted young man, Daniel would have had eyes to see the impressive features of Babylon. He must have been blown away by the massive walls, buildings, and engineering. Babylon had a reputation as a seat of learning and culture. For Daniel, who already had academic prowess and political aptitude, there must have been a sense of excitement-even awe-in the majesty surrounding him. It would be something like a teenager from rural America visiting Las Vegas for the first time. Only Babylon was even more elite.
For all its culture, however, the religion of Babylon was a problem. The center of the city boasted a towering ziggurat and the Temple of Marduk. It was into this pagan culture that Daniel-a gifted, talented young man-found himself inserted. He was a captive, but his gifts had been noticed, and he was given special treatment with the obvious expectation that he would reciprocate by investing his abilities in his captors' agenda. He now had the opportunity to distinguish himself within the government of the most prestigious and powerful empire of the world.
The story of Daniel is remarkable, not so much because he was gifted, but because he stood for God while using his gifts. His unwavering character and loyalty to God continue to stand as a testimony over 2,500 years later. I have to believe that this is due, in a large part, to the investments his parents made in his life. Obviously, at an early age, Daniel was given tutelage in cultivating his God-given gifts while also being taught to develop deep-seated convictions.
Every parent would like to raise a Daniel. All of us want our kids to have the ability to flourish in their adult careers and to stand out from their peers. But we also want them to stand up for God and for truth. We want our kids to have the courage to live honorably when placed into compromising or questionable situations. We want to know that no one: friend, college professor, drill sergeant, boss, colleague-will intimidate them from standing for Christ.
The question is how? How did Daniel's parents encourage the development of his gifts while simultaneously guiding the development of his character? In this lesson, we'll glean truths from the life of Daniel that help us learn how to develop both character and talent in our children.

Define the Priority of Character

Daniel was obviously gifted but he was also guided! Character must be the guiding force of our children's development.

A. Daniel was a gifted young man

1. He was mentally sharp “…skillful in all wisdom”
Daniel 1:4 KJV 1900
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
2. He was socially poised “…had ability in them to stand in the kings palace”
He was a brilliant young man but he was also able to handle himself in difficult social situations
He had an uncommon level of diplomacy for even an adult
Daniel 1:9 KJV 1900
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
He had the ability to handle and diffuse difficult emotional situations
Daniel 2:12–16 KJV 1900
For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

B. Daniel was a guided young man

The most striking and pivotal verse in this passage is found in verse 8 ...
Daniel 1:8 KJV 1900
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
We often use this verse to challenge young people to follow the leadership of Daniel
Have you ever thought about the impact his parents must have had on his instinct to act this way?
Deuteronomy 4:9 KJV 1900
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
First we take heed to our own lives, diligently obeying God from the heart ourselves.
And then, when we teach our children and grandchildren, we make the emphasis of the heart so that we can embed truth into their souls, not just require rules for their actions.
Illustration: There are many athletes with loads of talent but no character. Bubba Watson is one of my favorite golfers and I remember hearing a golf commentator one time talking about his talent - he said that he was talented but did not have the same level of talent to dominate like Tiger Woods.
That he may not, but Bubba is a Christian and hopefully he will display the character that will dominate and certainly outlast even a great winning legacy!


Once we understand the priority of character we need to look deeper and help our children understand their purpose in life. We do this in three ways...

I. We discover spiritual gifts

A. By observing

You want to notice and encourage the development of what the Holy Spirit is doing in your child's heart. It's amazing how you can see the spiritual development in a child's heart even at a very young age. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 KJV 1900
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
In addition to the fruit of the Spirit, God gives each Christian-including children-one or more spiritual gifts at salvation. This is a divine enablement for the purpose of serving Him.
Romans 12:6–8 KJV 1900
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
These gifts can be summarized simply as follows:
Prophecy-the ability and desire to preach or teach God's Word
Ministry/Helps-the ability and desire to serve and help God's people
Teaching-the ability and desire to clearly articulate truth
Exhortation-the ability and desire to encourage others in their faith
Giving-the ability and desire to give to God's work and God's people
Ruling /Administration-the ability and desire to lead and administrate part of God's work
Mercy-the ability and desire to feel the pain of others and help them during trials
Observe your children, looking for the spiritual gifts that stand out in them. When you see even little evidences of these, praise them!

B. By applauding

When you observe your children doing right, you should have joy! Let your children know when they've honored you.
Proverbs 23:15–16 KJV 1900
My son, if thine heart be wise, My heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, When thy lips speak right things.
Proverbs 10:1 KJV 1900
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

II. We develop spiritual gifts

Proverbs 18:16 KJV 1900
A man’s gift maketh room for him, And bringeth him before great men.
1. Creative Gifts - arts, music, literature...
Exodus 35:30–35 KJV 1900
And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
2 Samuel 23:1 KJV 1900
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, And the man who was raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
2. Practical useful skills
Mark 6:3 KJV 1900
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
1 Chronicles 29:5 KJV 1900
The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?
Notice that these artificers consecrated their service unto the Lord. This brings out an important aspect in developing your child's gifts. Encourage him to serve the Lord even as he is learning his skill. This may mean playing piano in a nursing home, giving drawings or artistic pieces to others, writing notes or articles to encourage others or take a stand for truth, lending time and labor to projects for church or people in need. In any case, don't send the message to your child that she can serve the Lord when she is an adult or gets her talent perfect; encourage her to serve the Lord by serving others now.

III. We deploy spiritual gifts

We must teach our children to deploy what they have learned by using their talents to serve God and we do this by demonstrating it.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 KJV 1900
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV 1900
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
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