Saturday, September 11, 2021

Family Trio: Triplets of Parenting

 



Today more than ever before, our children are under attack of their physical health because of the COVID-19 pandemic as they return to school, and their spiritual health because of wickedness in high places, as we would expect in these End Times. Thankfully, God's Word provides much valuable instruction for parents to protect their children from these onslaughts.
 
In its simplest form, the family as God designed it is a trio consisting of mother, father, and child, reflecting His Triune nature. Not surprisingly, advice in His Word about parenting also occurs in patterns of three.

God urges parents to remind themselves, their children, and their grandchildren of His faithfulness by remembering all His wonderful works. Hearing God’s Word leads us to fear Him, to live long and abundantly, and to teach our children to do the same (Deuteronomy 4:9-10).

The fear His Word instills in us and in our offspring is respect for His power, which is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). That fear of the Lord is a treasure giving us stability in changing and challenging times and the strength of our salvation (Isaiah 33:6). When we and our children fear the Lord, His Spirit will rest upon us, giving us the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, [and] the spirit of knowledge (Isaiah 11:2).

Parents are to love God with our whole being -- with all our heart, soul and strength – and to teach our child to love God and His Word as part of our daily routine. We are to teach our child diligently, no matter whether we are at home or away from home, and at all times, whether getting up in the morning or going to bed at night. Our whole body should keep His Word, including our heart, hands, and eyes (Deuteronomy 6:5-7; 11:18), to help keep us from sin (Psalm 119:11).

Teaching our children about God and His Word is primarily the responsibility of the parents, not that of the school or even the church. However, families that attend a Bible-believing church that begins teaching Scripture at an early age will have their own teaching reinforced. As the saying goes, “Teach your child to love God, or the world will teach him not to.” God commands the father to make His truth known to the children (Isaiah 38:19).

If parents use God’s Word to illuminate our path (Psalm 119:105), it will lead us to follow His commandments, statutes, and judgments (Deuteronomy 7:11). We are not only to hear His Word, but to study it and do what it says (Deuteronomy 7:12; James 1:22). If we do this, He will love, bless and multiply us, blessing our children, our harvest, and our livestock. He will provide bountifully for all of us with corn, wine and oil (Deuteronomy 7:13).

If we trust Christ, our children are more likely to follow our example and be saved. Parents who are born again (John 3:3-8) by realizing we are sinners in need of a Savior, and by our belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) are living proof of faith.

Timothy’s faith was a legacy passed down through three generations, from his grandmother Lois to his mother Eunice, and then to Timothy. Even though Timothy had to trust God through his own faith, the Godly atmosphere in which he grew up made that more likely by leading and strengthening him and encouraging him to grow spiritually (2 Timothy 3:15).

If we are saved, we set a good example for our children to follow. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter promised salvation to whomever the Lord would call -- his listeners, their children, and even those far away (Acts 2:39).

Zacchaeus, the dishonest tax collector sought out by Jesus, hurried to comply with Jesus’ wish to visit him, came down from his perch high in the tree (swallowed his pride), and received Jesus joyfully. As a result, Jesus said that salvation had come to his house (Luke 19:5-10).

Once the father is saved, his children are more likely to observe, emulate and internalize that faith, although it is no guarantee they will be saved. Each child must come to his own repentance of sin, need of a Savior, and spiritual rebirth. God is the perfect Parent, and yet Adam and Eve disobeyed Him (Genesis 3:6). (In this case, the family trio was not two parents and one child, but One Father and two children).

God had clearly told them what they could do (eat the fruit of every tree but one), what they must not do (eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil), and what would happen if they disobeyed (they would die). (Genesis 2:16-17). This is the perfect example of stating expectations, setting limits, and warning about expected outcomes that we should follow with our children.

In today’s society, there seems to be a trend for parents to want to be their child’s peer, buddy, or playmate, rather than the one in authority. This is clearly not Biblical. Children are to honor (respect and obey) their father and mother, because God has commanded it; because it will lengthen their life; and because they will fare better in life (Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3, etc.).

So let us be parents, and not chums, by disciplining our children in love when needed, just as our Heavenly Father does (Hebrews 12:6). It is not loving to avoid physical discipline when it is needed to protect them (Proverbs 13:24). Discipline should never be done in anger, but to encourage children in the nurture (loving care) and admonition (warning against evil) of the Lord (Colossians 3:20-21; Ephesians 6:4).

May we pray for our children as Jesus Himself prayed for us (John 17). He identifies us as God’s children because we receive the words which Jesus (through His Word and His Spirit) gave us, we know that Jesus came from the Father, and we believe that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to this earth to save us (v. 8). We belong to the Father, and we belong to Jesus, and He is glorified in us (v. 9-10). Jesus prayed that we would be kept in the Father’s Name, that the Father would keep us from the evil in the world, and that the Father would sanctify us through His truth (v. 11,15,17).

May we pray this prayer for ourselves, for our children, and for generations to follow, anticipating great blessings, as we shall see next week!


© 2014 Laurie Collett
Revised and reposted from the archives
children's ministry blogs

Saturday, September 4, 2021

God Notices Your Labor!

 


Photo by Fulton St_4039 2013

As we in the United States celebrate Labor Day this weekend, many may be in less than a joyful mood due to financial worries. For those looking for work, the long weekend may be no different from other days, and just a painful reminder that they are unemployed. Those affected by the terrible storm may have not been able to go to their workplace, yet may have been laboring intensely to clean up and repair their homes and businesses. 
 
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how and where we work, and even how we serve God, has changed dramatically for many. Yet those who are still working are blessed by God's provision, for many are out of work altogether.

Many are working to make ends meet at a job that does not meet their expectations or qualifications. Others find that their job responsibilities have grown because fewer people are hired, but their pay stays the same or even decreases. Even worse, it often seems that our employers, coworkers or clients don’t notice our hard work or appreciate the good job we do.

But God always notices! He knows our hearts (Psalm 139:23), and He can tell whether we’re working in joyful service because of how He has blessed us beyond measure (Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19), or whether we’re going through the motions grudgingly, doing the minimum we need to do to get by.

By forgiving our sin debt (Romans 4:7; Ephesians 1:7), by giving His only begotten Son to die for our sins, and by giving eternal life to all those who repent and believe that Jesus rose from the dead (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), God has blessed us far beyond what we could ever imagine.

And yet, He delights in heaping blessings on us even beyond that, and in great abundance (John 10:10; Luke 12:32; James 1:17). This gives us reason to find joy in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4) and to give thanks for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), even if our sin nature feels we have reason to complain rather than to be thankful (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).

For every task we do at work or at home, no matter how menial or insignificant it seems, there is a reason to find joy in it and give thanks for it. If we are washing our dirty dishes, we can be thankful for the good meal we ate, the family who shared it, and for running water.

If we’re losing patience because of customers’ endless complaints, we can be thankful that there are customers so that we have a job, and we can rejoice in the opportunity to bring them satisfaction and peace rather than anger (Matthew 5:9). In whatever situation we find ourselves, we can thank God by putting our whole heart, soul and might into glorifying Him, making each moment of our life a living prayer to Him. He will always remember and reward us for our service and worship even when no one else notices (Matthew 25:21-23).

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.… 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

As Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), Christians should give a good testimony at work and wherever a job needs to be done because we are willing to go the extra mile and with the right attitude. As the apostle Paul wrote to Titus, servants are to please their masters, or in today’s world, employees are to serve their employers with the same humility of spirit with which we serve Christ. He is our true Master, and in serving others, we are serving Him (Titus 2:9-10).

Even when we assemble for worship in God’s house, no good deed is too trivial to escape His attention! A kind word or smile for someone who is hurting may be exactly what God intended to encourage that person to be faithful to His will (Hebrews 10:23-25).

When Solomon built the temple to glorify God, skilled artisans spent countless hours decorating the tops of the pillars with sculpted lilies, even though none of the worshipers would even see them once they were in position! But God saw and rewarded them for their labor, even though no one else would applaud or praise their work (1 Kings 7:13-22).

When was the last time we gave thanks to the person who showed up early Sunday morning to turn on the air conditioning, or to the person who made sure there was toilet paper in the restroom? Do we even know who these people are? But God knows and keeps track of their faithful service to His children and to all who come to hear His Word.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Our labor is not in vain! Employers, coworkers, and customers, and even family, friends, and fellow Christians, may not always show their appreciation, but God faithfully keeps track of all we do to His glory. We are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). He will reward us in due time, if not in this world, then in Heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-14) where we can enjoy the benefits forever!

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Love in Christ, and may you have a blessed Labor Day weekend!


© 2017 Laurie Collett
Edited and reposted from the archives