The Preparing the Heart

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withed away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell among good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:3-8

The heart of faith is like the soil of a garden.

To build a strong and healthy garden we must first prepare the soil. Soften it. Add nutrition. lay in the seeds. Water it. Tend to the weeds. Enrich the soil with nutrition, and then,we must prune our plants to help them produce more fruit.

When we show children that there is ugly and beauty, that there is good and evil in this world, we are preparing the soil of their heart. When we read the bible with them, talk with them, pray with them, sing songs with them, and generally praise God for everything, we are giving them nutrition and the living water of Christ. Teaching, discipline, working through trials, are all a part of pruning for better fruit in the heritage of their faith.

Children who receive the gospel, but not the training of their Christian heritage are like the seed that falls on rocky ground being scorched by the evil of this world. When their daily lives are being spent immersed in everything contrary to the faith their heart becomes hardened against the ways of God.They will not stay with the faith if they have no roots in the faith.

The heart is the soil through which the roots of the faith is fed. Can a garden be healthy without nutrition and water?
Enjoy the time you have with your children. Sing, pray, praise, read the bible everyday, because they need Jesus everyday as much as you do.

Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears much fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

A Parent’s Righteousness-Prayer For Their Children

“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, Leviticus 26:40

While we are held to account only for our sins, the bible clearly shows that we are to not only confess our sins, but the sins of others. I honestly believe that one of the greatest things you can do for your children, your faith, and your sanity is to talk with your God about everything, and pray as frequently and as often as you can squeeze into your daily life.

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil… 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them , and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. “ thus. Job did continually. Job 1:1 & 4-5

Daniel 9 and the other prophets, even Moses prayed for their people. In Mark 2:1-12 is the story of a man healed of palsy because of his friends faith.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of palsy, Son, thy sins are forgiven. verse 5

I’m not saying here that all your children will chose to follow Jesus or that God will perform a miracle to zap away all your troubles. What I am talking about is your responsibility to pray for your children.

God is a being of action, and he wants you, as well as your faith, to be of action. Your parenting instructions in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 are stated with words of action you are to love God with all you heart, soul, and might. You are to talk of him and his ways as you walk, sit, lay down and rise up.

Prayer is a saving grace which you impart to your children in your effort to: 1 have right relations with Jesus and, 2 to establish right relations for your children with Christ. And such prayer is righteousness.

God’s action was and is Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. Can you sacrifice a few moments to pray for your children? When you give them a kiss or a hug ask God to bless them. Thank him for them. When you lay them down at night say a little prayer. When you rise up in the morning just take 2, better yet 5 minutes to pray for your children. Pray for their future. The day, the week, what kind of spouses they will be, what kind of spouse they will have, their jobs, and schooling.

Are You Afraid of the Dark

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. John 12:35-36

If you are spending your life just keeping on, keeping on, doing what you’ve got to do, without a goal your life becomes nothing more than a wondering in the darkness. And if your life is in the dark so to is your children’s lives.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

However, if your goal is to follow the path lighted by the Word of God you and your children have the capacity to overcome the darkness. (and covid 19)

Active Lord

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, the Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill. Zephaniah 1:12

You can’t walk away from Zephaniah (let alone the Bible) and not think about the mighty power of the Lord. There are great judgments against all the earth proclaimed there.

“I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. “I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. Zephaniah1:2-3

After all the judgments proclaimed, of how all sin is wiped away, there is rejoicing not just by us, but by the Lord our God and Savior Himself.

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:”Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over your gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah3:14-17

There are all these passages in the bible of humans singing praises to him, as it should be, but that he would sing over me, over us. Wow!

But think about it. He created the heavens and the earth. He walked with Adam. He brought Israel out of Egypt with all those plagues. The old testament is filled with all the mighty miracles he has done for mankind. He came down, became a human, suffered all the stuff humans do, and then died on the cross. Anyone thinking God does neither good nor ill are people who don’t know much about God. Or His Words.

Your Heavenly Father is an actively involved parent. He is your example. And you are your children’s example. Praise the Lord for he is good. His mercies are new every morning. Are yours?

What is Your Legacy?

What is your legacy? But that which you leave behind. The things you owned. The things you have done. And, the character of you descendants.

Then he [Joseph] dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers ans said, “Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you. Genesis 37:9 &10

Passed down a love of home and family to my daughter.
In the kitchen with mom.

The dreams of the child. The hopes of the parents. The plans of God. They don’t all match. If you know the story of Joseph you know that he is sold into slavery by is brothers, and then, falsely imprisoned my his master all as a plan by God to place him into a high position in Egypt to save his family from famine.

By the 4th generation from Abraham Judah’s sons were so wicked that they were sent to their death early (Genesis 38:1-10). If you’re paying attention to what has been stated thus far in the Bible you know that the people who call upon the name of the Lord knew the standards of God. And what he expects from them. Yet, like in our modern times knowing God’s commandments and grace, and living by it are two different things. We so quickly fall short and live by worldly standards. This puts me in mind of that famous quote from Ronald Reagan: ” Freedom is never more than one generation away from from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” I believe this is why God set the standard for education in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.

God must be thought of deeply, taught about thoroughly, conversed about extensively, lived by totally, trusted in completely, within our daily lives and through everything we do. One cannot teach a child to rely on the Lord your God and Savior Jesus Christ without doing so yourself. One cannot go through their life thoughtlessly and hope your children will live a better life after you. For they will not know any better than the example you have lead.

A thoughtless life is a life that is sliding backwards into sin. Sin is a rope around your waist constantly pulling you into Hell. Heaven is a gift you must treasure and pass down as an inheritance. The character of your descendants creates future culture. And this future culture is your legacy. If that legacy is God’s loving ways then it is a greater good than any of your possession. For it is love, freedom and an inheritance of eternal life with God.

Are You Missing Pages?

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3: 17 and 17

If you read a book on the assembly of a toy and skip over some of the pages you might get a general clue of how the toy is put together. However, you will be missing informational bits and pieces from the instructions, and therefore you will be unable to put it together in proper working order.

When I was in my twenties and thirties I wondered why the bible didn’t really cover children. Sure it said train up a child in the way he should go, but what did that really mean. I thought that the bible just didn’t get into any detail about raising kids. But the truth was, I was one who hadn’t really covered the bible. When I failed to study the fullness of the bible- that is the new testament as well as the old testament- I found that it is very much about how our service to God includes our service as parents.

Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and their descendants forever! Deuteronomy 5:29

There are a number of verses that say forever for all generations, your children’s children, and it is an inheritance. Keeping this in mind we can say that Christianity and its ways are just as much your children’s instruction as well as it is yours. Prayer, the Word of God, and service to God, to each other, to the poor, and to our children are all tied together for growth in our Christian life. And these are the same things we need for the rising of our children. The greater part of discipline is teaching. Teaching within all opportunities is how you raise a child.

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

Know The Difference

For our children (and ourselves) to have strong and forward thinking minds we must learn an important difference.  Whether the concepts are of an old or “new,” way of thinking isn’t what matters. It’s the ability to identify difference between concepts that follow the world and concepts that follow the wisdom of the Creator of the Universe.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1b

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be open, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis3:4-5

When someone, whether it is a teacher, or a friend, or a group of people, talk of examining our standards,  in their efforts to get us to ponder what our principles are they, more often than not, use this methods as the serpent had done. Thus making the first crack in an effort to split open and divide us from our principles. 

It is one thing to examine our standards to know them better. To be able to express them better or even to remove ones that are wrong. It is something completely different to examine them for the purpose of knocking oneself off a solid foundation. 

The claim of “experts” are used to remove your confidence. And then, your authority over your own life and that of the life of your child. What’s more is it is used to unseat your Creator from his Kingship and his ways in your life. And then, replace it with the government of mankind. Man’s way of thinking. Man’s standards. 

As a Christian your standard was set by your God. And this standard is an inheritance . Not a really neat idea to try and see if it works out. Something to trash when a “new” idea comes along. It is more like a beautiful piece of furniture that lasts for generations not simply because of how well it was made, but also  how you polish it, care for it

Know what is of man and what is of God. Look at the hundreds of sects of Christianity. This exists because man puts his spin on top of what the bible teaches. 

Of all the teaching methods humans have come up with none have worked as well as those that are laid out in Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of  them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

This method not only draws us closer to our children, but it draws our children closer to us. Most importantly it draws both ourselves and our children closer to God