Short Thoughts – Week 9: Day 57-63

Week 9: Day 57 – Continuing

Day 57_Conitinuing

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. II Timothy 3:14-15

Churches often have covenants. In these covenants, the church members promise to follow the Lord in a complete way. The church I attend has such an agreement. In it, there is an introduction about following a New Testament pattern of worship and service. Then, these words:

As an organized group of Christian people, we enter into this covenant with one another: to   walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church in knowledge,         spiritual integrity, and godly living; to promote its Christian character by sustaining its              worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrine; to contribute to the support of the total    ministry of the Church; and so to serve, as our talents and circumstances permit, the          mission of the Church.

We will also strive to cultivate, by prayer and meditation, a life of devotion and consecration to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ; to order the lives of our homes so that they may be truly Christian, the dwelling places of God; to bear ourselves in our business and social  conduct becoming to disciples of Jesus Christ.

We see examples of such agreements in the Bible. In the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah those two leaders helped the people see the need for not only some major act of repentance, but also for continuing in the faith. Together, the two books cover the years 537 to 433 BC and chronicle the return of the captive Israelites from exile in Babylon with Nehemiah focusing on the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Jerusalem and Ezra on the rebuilding of the Temple. Wonderful things were accomplished in the face of opposition from local people groups, but even with a strong beginning the returnees needed to be confronted with persistent sins (e.g., use of Temple buildings for secular purposes, Sabbath day violations, intermarriage with idolatrous women, neglect by the people of the Levites). Times of spiritual revival can be followed by times of spiritual failure.

Coming to God through the completed sacrifice of Christ is one thing. Continuing in the faith is another. Proverbs 23:17 urges us to “Continue in the fear of the Lord”. In the New Testament, believers are “urged” to “continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43). Paul defined “continue” as being “stable and steadfast” – as opposed to the instability of shifting away from the faith to something less than “the gospel that you heard” (Colossians 1:23). When writing to Timothy he added that training in the sacred writings instills in us a body of learning that will help us “continue” (II Timothy 3:14-15).

Your Turn:

  1. Read Ezra 10:1-15.
  2. Part of “continuing in the faith” is repentance. Look for evidence of sincerity in the repentance shown in Ezra 10. Is there a vigilance in your life along with a willingness to humbly confess to God the sin you find?
  3. Another aspect of continuing is listening to the teaching of the Word of God – see Nehemiah 8:1-8. Are you subjecting yourself to godly teaching?
  4. A third aspect of continuing is regular worship with others of like faith – Ezra chapter 3 tells about the people gathering from all the towns in Jerusalem where they offered sacrifices on the altar, kept the Feats of Booths, and contributed money to complete the Temple rebuilding. Other places in Ezra and Nehemiah speak of the support given the priests and Levites to carry on the regular work of the Temple. Worship was to be an ongoing facet of the nation. Do you “continue” in regular worship with other believers?
  5. Consider the church covenant quoted at the beginning of today’s meditation. If your own church has a similar covenant, re-read it and let it examine your own faithfulness to God.


Day 58 – Choices

Day 58_Choices

“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people, until there was no remedy.”          II Chronicles 36:15-16

Every generation faces a choice: “14 Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in_faithfulness.  Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and_in Egypt, and serve the LORD.15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD,_choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in_the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you_dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”Joshua 24:15-16

This is illustrated quite graphically in the Book of II Chronicles. From II Chronicles 10 through 36 (also found in I Kings 12 – II Kings 24) we have the history of the southern kingdom of Judah from Solomon’s son Rehoboam through the last king of Judah, Zedekiah –  a period of almost 350 years, from 597-586 BC. This time in the history of the Jewish people saw 20 monarchs come and go. In each case, the Bible records that the next king either did what was right in the eyes of the Lord or did evil. As it turned out, 12 monarchs did evil in God’s sight and 8 did what was right (or a mainly good and some evil).

A study of these reigns and the choices made interestingly shows that the good credited to some kings was matched with a corresponding bad choice by others. Here is a list of the good and bad choices made:

            GOOD                                                                                    BAD

personal repentance and humility                –         personal pride characterized by                                                                                                      marriages to idolatrous women, cruel                                                                                           treatment of one’s subjects, materialism,                                                                                       murder

reliance on or trust in the Lord, evidenced   –         lack of trust in God seen in foreign             

by rejection of the use of foreign troops                 alliances and hiring of mercenaries


removal of the elements of false worship      –        building infrastructure of false worship


setting one’s heart on seeking the Lord         –        idol worship


prayer for repentance and deliverance         –        didn’t listen to God’s prophets; no prayer


efforts to organize proper, biblical worship,  –       copying of foreign nations in false

teaching, and observance, Temple rebuilt              worship practices, including the sacrifice                                                                                      of children and occult practices


Notice that God focusses on the spiritual choices of these monarchs.

Like the people of long ago, we live in times of choice and our choices influence and impact many others. There are ups and downs to our story, too – times when we make wonderful steps forward, but, sadly, times when we proudly make compromises with a world that is opposed to God. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

Your Turn:

  1. Read II Chronicles 33.
  2. How would God assess our political and spiritual leaders? What criteria does God use?
  3. On a personal level, how do you measure up when it comes to humble repentance, seeking the Lord, trust in Him, a faithful prayer life, and observance of public worship?


Week 9 – Day 59: Leave A Heritage

                                                                                                            My mother’s Bible

“For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:39

What will we leave our children? Comedian Jack Benny left his wife, Mary Livingston, a red rose delivered to her home daily, as long as she lived. the television show, “Strange Inheritances” documented such inheritances as a painting the family did not realize was a forgotten Rembrandt worth over $1 million, Winston Churchill’s dentures, and a pair of Levi jeans from the 1800s, never worn.

Today, let’s consider four ways we can leave a heritage for the next generation.

The first is found in II Corinthians 12:14 – PROVISION

Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be aburden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 

The Apostle Paul was reminding the Corinthian church that he had not taken financial help from them during his time in Corinth and added the explanation that usually parents provide for children, not the other way around. Certainly, during the children’s upbringing, parents are expected to provide the necessities of life, but also at death, parents often leave some material inheritance. Even if that is not possible, the provision when younger is something for which the children can be grateful.

For the second way, we go to Acts 2:38-39 – PROMISE

38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Here, Peter refers to a promise from God which is available to the present and future generations. Earlier, he said (quoting Joel 2) that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (v. 21). He also referred to Psalm 16 when he said God would reveal life’s paths and grant full gladness with His presence (v. 28). Then, he said that if they repented and were baptized they would enjoy forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit (v.38). All of these things: salvation, direction in life, His happy presence, forgiveness, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, may be thought of as elements of “the promise” of verse 39. By sharing and living the gospel, parents can leave their children and children’s children these wonderful, life-giving gifts.

Thirdly, there is Hebrews 11:20-22 – BLESSING

20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.”

It was the practice in Old Testament times of fathers to pronounce blessings on their sons. In each of these cases, there was good reason to doubt the future. for example, Isaac’s son Joseph was not yet married and was about to flee to a foreign land. How could he be father of a great nation? Esau was rebellious and showed lack of respect for God’s standards. Yet, their father, Isaac, on his death bed, spoke of future blessings for both, trusting God for what he had been promised long before. We can give those who follow us an example of trust in God’s person and word. The commentator Matthew Henry, dying at age 52, said to a friend, “You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men—this is mine: that a life spent in the service of God and communion with Him, is the most pleasant life that anyone can live in this world.” That example is a wonderful bequest for one’s family!

Lastly, Job 42:15 speaks of EQUITY –

And in all the land there were no_women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 

The last half of the verse shows Job leaving his three daughters an inheritance, just as he did for his seven sons. It was not customary for daughters to receive such consideration. Numbers 278-9 taught that the father left an inheritance to his son, but if there was no son, the daughter(s) could receive it. Job left his daughters an inheritance even though the sons were living. This is spoken of as a commendable act of Job’s, and rightly so. The New Testament teaches that male and female are one before God and heirs of God’s promise to those who believe (Galatians 3:28-29).

We can leave a heritage of provision, promise, blessing, and equity to our decedents and others who look to our example. Doing so, is not only a deathbed thing; it is a lifetime product of a faithful, godly life.

Your turn:

  1. Read Hebrews 11.
  2. Ask yourself, ‘Am I providing physically and emotionally and spiritually for the next generation?’ ‘Am I clearly presenting the good news about salvation through Christ to the next generation?’ ‘Am I trusting God to continue His ministry of love and longsuffering to the next generation?’ ‘Am I treating each individual who follows me with equity – not playing favourites?’
  3. If the answer is ‘No’ to any one of these questions, how can I change that?


Week 9 – Day 60: What Children Mean to Parents



“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gates.” Psalm 127:305 ESV

After the pain of childbirth comes the sublime joy of holding the newborn. Smiles appear on the faces of all concerned. Soon after, proud parents show off their delightful offspring to waiting grandparents, other relatives, and friends. Congratulatory cards and gifts may be presented. Becoming a parent is a joyous occasion.

Then, there are the sleepless nights, the worries, the mischief of the toddler years, and as the child grows, lessons in obedience, in learning how to be a responsible worker at school or music lessons, and the sometimes difficult path of navigating friendships. But throughout the years at home, Mom and Dad also see their child grow in accomplishments and express their love for family. So, on the one hand, parents have times of tiredness and stress and on the other, times of deep pleasure and satisfaction.

Psalm 127-35 and other scriptures point to these latter times that we might call the blessings of parenthood. Three words express this in the Psalm: “heritage”, “reward”, and “blessed”.

            HERITAGE: Psalm 127 is about building a “house”. The house may be an estate of wealth or reputation, but, if the Lord wills, its most precious heritage is a family. Children are said to be the best gift we can leave the world. These children come from the Lord.

            REWARD: Children are also called a “reward”. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “He gives children, not as a penalty nor as a burden, but as a favour.” (Treasury of David, Vol. III, page 85) This is important to remember when they are being disobedient or disrespectful. We take good care of His reward then in how we manage the situation.

            BLESSED: The Psalm likens children to arrows in the hunter’s or soldier’s quiver. Arrows help the hunter or soldier accomplish a purpose. Children can help the parent accomplish things for God now, and then can carry on the parent’s work to another generation. Surely this is a blessing. The verse mentions a full quiver. Spurgeon reflects on having a large number of children and says, “Of course a large number of children means a large number of trials; but when these are met by faith in the Lord it also means a mass of love, and a multitude of joys.” We are “blessed” by the children in our lives, whether few or many, and if a person has no children of his or her own, there are others waiting for guidance who can likewise bring this joy.

Other places in the Bible also talk about these blessings.

            Proverbs 23:24, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.” – When children choose to follow the Lord and apply God’s wisdom to daily life, the parents are full of joy and gratitude to God.

            Proverbs 1:8-9, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”- Parents see in their children the benefits of the years of sound teaching, described here as decorative, lovely adornments in their lives.

            Acts 2:38-39, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are afar off., everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.’” – It is a wonderful thing that God’s promise of forgiveness and the presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life applies to our children when they choose repentance and faith in Christ for themselves.

            Hebrews 11:20, “By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.” – A parent’s faith in God includes God’s future care and provision for the children.

            Job 42:15, “And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.” – Though often we observe inequalities in our world, parents should practice fair and equal provision for daughters as well as sons, and appreciate the beauty of their lives.

In this and some following meditations, we’ll consider family life as taught in the scriptures. Listen as God guides us in the responsibility of parenthood.

Your Turn:

  1. Read Psalm 127.
  2. For today, think of the joy the children in your life (sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, children of close friends, etc.) bring to you. Think of them individually, their unique personalities, character traits, gifts, potential. Thank God for them.
  3. Consider writing down the names of these children in your life and praying for them on a regular basis. In your interactions with them, make mental notes on how you can specifically remember them in prayer.
  4. If your parents are still living, how can you be a blessing to them this week?



Day 61_Discipline

“Discipline your son and he will give you rest; he wil give delight to your heart.” Proverbs 29:17ESV

Discipline is hard to give and hard to take.

The word “discipline” means “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience” (Oxford). The word’s Latin root means “instruction” while the French origins carry the idea of punishment. It is probably the latter root meaning that gives us the most trouble with this teaching. Let’s deal with that aspect first, then the instruction aspect.

I think it is good if the punishment side of discipline gives us difficulty; no one should delight in punishing another, nor in being punished. If we are the one dispensing discipline, we should do so with a fair degree of reluctance and caution. I Timothy 3 speaks of the church elders exercising family discipline “with all dignity”. Ephesians 6 talks about not provoking our children to anger. There is a wrong way and a right way to punish or correct the children in our care.

The verses about the need and value of correcting those in our charge are many – particularly with respect to our children (though discipline is also needful in church, work, school, and other settings). The injunction to correct the child is often accompanied by statements about the blessings that ensue. Some of the benefits of discipline are these: it shows love to the child, the child gains wisdom, parental rest, the child becomes a delight, hope for the child, driving out of folly, respect for parents, salvation, and the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Wow, that’s quite a list! (See the verses referred to here under “Your Turn” below.) Discipline that involves correction is a godly attribute: “For the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12) The “how” of disciplining a child is less clear. The “rod” is mentioned in Proverbs and does indeed refer to a stick of some kind, or, in other words, to corporal punishment. In a few countries, parental use of corporal punishment is not allowed by law (e.g., Scandinavian countries).The law of my country, Canada, as elaborated by the Supreme Court, allows for reasonable physical force in disciplining a child age 3-12, but only by a parent or someone standing in the role of a parent (but not a grandparent or babysitter), and only if the force does not result in bodily harm, and certainly not to the head, nor as an expression of anger. The federal and state laws in effect in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries are not as explicit but generally result in the same cautionary allowance. These cautions are similar to the Bible’s words about not doing things out of anger, and not provoking one’s child by our extreme discipline. Of course, there are many ways to discipline that do not involve corporal punishment: denial of a privilege, a ‘time out’, grounding, allowing the child to experience natural consequences without being rescued from them, and so on. And, there is the preventive discipline of good training.

That takes us to the other origin of the word “discipline”, namely instruction. Instruction can take proactive or reactive forms. A reproof or chastisement is a form of instruction: “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6) Deuteronomy 6 has much to say about instructing the family in the ways of God. We’ll consider more on this in another devotional.  Suffice to say here that within a household the boundaries need to be explained, and as the child is able to understand, the reasons for these limits should also be explained. The Deuteronomy passage charges parents with the responsibility of making clear the statutes and commandments that the Lord has given us. These rules are for “you and your sons and your son’s son”. Expectations need to be made clear. but a home should have grace as well as the ‘law’. Grace can be shown in loving and compassionate ways, as we’re about to consider in the Day 62 devotional.

Your turn:

  1. Read these verses:             Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

                  Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

                  Proverbs 29:17, “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”

                  Proverbs 19:18, “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

                  Proverbs 22:15, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

                  Proverbs 23:13-14, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

                  Hebrews 12:7-11, “… Besides this, we have earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them… For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

  1. How were you disciplined in your upbringing? What worked best? What did not work?
  2. In considering how to discipline, consider also the differences between children. Some need one form of discipline and others another. Were you disciplined inappropriately as a child or student? What would have worked better in your own case?
  3. Can you hug your child as part of your discipline of him or her?
  4. Reflect on the many positives of proper discipline: love, wisdom, rest, delight, hope, driving out of folly, respect, salvation, and righteousness. Thank God for those results you can see in your own life and the life of your children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, and other kids.



Day 62_Loving Compassion

Stained glass window at First Baptist Church, London, Ontario, Canada


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Psalm 103:13 “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.”

How do parents show love to and for their children? Let’s consider some of the ways.

PROVISION >  “But if anyone does not provide for his_relatives, and especially for members  of his household, he has denied the_faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”       I Timothy 5:8

Parents are to supply for the day-to-day needs of their family. Doing so is a sign of love; neglecting this responsibility is also a rejection of God.

COMPASSION > “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13

Children have many hurts and multiple challenges along the way. Parents are to maintain awareness for these times when the child needs a little compassion – not a lecture or a shrug, but some consideration of what the problem means to the child in her or his world.

SETTING AN EXAMPLE > 7 “Show yourself in all respects to be a_model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…” (Titus 2:7) and not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” I Pet. 5:3

Though these verses are found in relation to an elder and a congregation, they can properly be applied to a parent and a child. Parents are to set an example. Children copy so many things they witness at home – the parents’ language, treatment of one another and others, church-going habits (at least for a time), political preferences, and so on. 

PRAYER > Here are three cases from scripture where a father interceded on behalf of his child. 

Case #1:     22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet23 and implored him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well  and live.’ ” Mark 5:22-23

In this case, Jairus, a synagogue ruler, “implored” Jesus to heal his dying daughter. The Lord graciously answered his prayer and raised the daughter to life and the observers “were overcome with amazement”. I should think so! What loving parent is not deeply concerned and caring for a child in need. There are often deep desires we hold for our children and wonder why God has not yet supplied what seem to be logical and even necessary provisions. This should not stop us from praying. God loves heart-felt prayer: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working “(James 5:16) and, “Above all, keep loving one another_earnestly. (I Peter 4:8).

Case #2:     18 And Abraham_said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but…” Genesis 17:18-19a

Some of our prayers are misguided. Abraham was given the answer, “No.” God did not stop there, however, for the “no” was followed by “but” and then God went on to tell Abraham He had a better option than the one Abraham thought he wanted. Sometimes parents think they know what is best but are misled and need to wait upon God a little longer for clarity. God, nonetheless, honours the spirit of their heart’s desire.

Case #3:   “David therefore sought God on behalf of the  And David_fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.” II Samuel 12:16

At other times, we parents ask amiss. David’s prayer (for the healing of his and Bathsheba’s child) was not answered as David had hoped, but he did accept God’s will in this case, as hard as that was. Do we trust God enough to accept His will for our family?

There are other ways to love a child – like exercising proper discipline as discussed in Day 61, and taking time to teach the children, as is our theme in Day 63. In some of these ways, we may need to be taught by someone else who is good at expressing love. Titus 2:3-4 says, “Older women … are to train the young women to love their husbands and children…” (Titus 2:3-4).    

Your Turn:

  1. Read Mark 5:21-43.
  2. Pick out one of the four ways to love a child discussed above: provision, compassion, setting an example, or prayer. What can you do this week in respect to that one area, as you apply the principle of loving your child?
  3. “Your children will become who you are, so be who you want them to be.” (Anonymous) Whether a parent or not, if you had godly examples in your youth, thank God for them. Pray that God will provide such examples for the children in your life.
  4. You love your children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews. Do you believe that God loves them even more? Will you, therefore, entrust them to Him?


Day 63 – Teach the Children


Day 63_Teach


“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I remember awaiting the birth of our first child and thinking, ‘This birth is going to change everything!’ Having a child to care for means sacrificial provision in a variety of ways. It also means instruction – about everything from toilet training and learning to walk to choosing a career path or figuring out relationships. It is a parental responsibility to teach the children.

Though this is a very big task, God wants to encourage us that it is not impossible or without hope. The famous verse in Proverbs 22 says that if done well, the benefits will extend to the ‘child’s’ old age! — “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Charles Bridges in A Modern Study of the Book of Proverbs(revised by George F. Santa, 1978) says, “The hopes of at least two generations hang upon this most important rule.”

As discussed at greater length in Day 56, generations are important in the scriptures.

            Deuteronomy 4:9, “…Make them [the things the Israelites had seen on God’s mighty works] known to your children and your children’s children.”

            Joel 1:3, “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their                             children to another generation.”

            Exodus 10:2, “…Tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that they                  may know that I am the Lord.”

            II Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your                             grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you                          as well.” 

The Hebrew word translated as “train” means to dedicate or to consecrate. The phrase “in the way he should go” means “in accordance with his way”, that is, in a manner characteristic of that particular child. Here’s how one source puts it:

            Look at the rich imagery and wisdom packed into a single proverb. “Training up” calls for a relationship in which parent and child dedicate themselves to a shared purpose, with all the privileges and responsibilities that go along with it. The parent finds ways to encourage behavior that makes everyone happy and satisfies the child’s deepest needs. And it involves guiding a wild spirit in order to give it purpose and direction. (Insight for Living Staff Writers, “A  Better Way to Train Up a Child”. June 15, 2009.)

This proverb is further enriched by the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:4b, “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We have a call to train children in God’s Word and way.

Deuteronomy 4:9, quoted above, speaks to the content of our teaching. We are to tell them of what God has done in times past. This will help them to come to a place of reverence and trust in the Lord.

                  Joshua 4:19-24, “19 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month,_and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And_he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their_fathers in times_to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried_up the waters_of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all_the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.

                  Psalm 78:2-4, I will open my mouth in a parable;

                  I will utter dark sayings from of old,

                  3 things that we have heard and known,

                  that our fathers have told us.

                  4 We will not hide them from their children,

                  but tell to the coming generation

                  the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,

                  and the wonders that he has done.

We are to teach them these things when we sit together at home, when we are travelling, at bedtime, and as we start the day (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:19). In other words, whenever there is opportunity – in fact, we are to lookfor opportunities.

The result of all this instruction is seen in II Timothy3:14-16                                                                                                                 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly_believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you_have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you_wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed_out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Training the children can lead to salvation through their expression of faith in Christ, instruction in the right way and correction when they choose wrongly, righteous living, good works, and completion of what Christ meant them to be. These are worthy goals. They were realized in the life of my grandfather, Fred Wicks, who reported, “My father and mother took my five brothers and two sisters and myself, during childhood, to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday School in the afternoons and to Salvation Army meetings in the evenings. Always in these meetings God’s Word was revered and the result was that in my teenage years the Holy Spirit spoke to my young heart causing deep exercise and concern about my soul’s welfare.” I hope you will see something similar in your family.

Your Turn:

  1. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9.
  2. Did you receive training in God’s word from parents or other family members? If so, what good aspects of their training would you follow in teaching the next generation? What aspects of such training would you like to avoid, or, at least, improve upon?
  3. If, as a child, you had no parental training in the things of God, how did you come by it later on in life? How might you obtain it now?
  4. Consider the different ways your children learn and how best to individually train them most effectively.