"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it" (Proverbs 3:27).

Do you think praising your homeschooled children will cause conceit and pride in their character? Since I received few compliments as a child from my stoic Dutch and German parents, I wondered if my praise would lead to an over-inflated ego in my children. I struggled with this question and searched the Scriptures for an answer until one day I read, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

My children would probably say I was tough on them as a homeschool parent. I didn't grade on a curve, and 96% and above was considered an "A." I used the dreaded red pen liberally in language arts lessons and compositions, and I rarely fudged when playing a board game to let them win. However, even though I was tough, I learned to lavish my children with large amounts of praise. I complimented them whenever they did an excellent job on a paper or whenever they showed initiative and creativity in completing a project. I looked for ways each day to tell them how proud I was of them personally and academically. A few encouraging words made such a difference in their lives!

God created us to give praise — first to Him and then to others. He loves to hear our prayers that proclaim His goodness and our songs of highest praise. God even wants us to bring a sacrifice of praise to Him when life brings difficult times. Are you discouraged today? Is praising the Lord the last thing you feel like doing? Move past your feelings to obedience and bring the sacrifice of praise unto the Lord. God is in control of your life. Whatever the circumstances, He deserves our worship as a holy God. "O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name" (Psalm 74:21).

Father, when I look at the problems in my life, I find it so difficult to praise You. Help me to turn my eyes upon You now and sing glorious praises to You, my King. I worship You, my great and holy God! In Your Son's name, Amen.