Farsighted Vision in Parenting

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

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

This verse may be familiar to you.  Each part of it could be looked into at length. What does it mean to train?  What is the way he should go?  How old is old?  Today I want us to look at the phrase; “even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  As we look into this verse I want to encourage you as a parent to have long-range plans for your child, to have far sighted vision rather than nearsighted vision. Keep in mind who you want your child to look like when he is 30 years old.  What character do you want him to have then.

This farsighted view will affect how you parent day to day while your child is still young.  If you want him to look more like Christ than the world when he is older, your emphasis in parenting will take on a different mind set.  As parents and families we are in the world, but are not to be of the world.  As we train our child, we are to constantly  be guided by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  He knows our child much better than we do.

There are so many activities to be involved in; sports, music, school, church, clubs. The list is long.  It is good for your child to be involved in a variety of activities, though not so hurried that there is no balance in his life or the life of your family.  Nearsighted vision or short term goals tend to be ones for the next few years. Some may be that your child is a good student, a winning athlete, or an accomplished musician.  These goals sound good but in and of themselves they can become idols in yours and your child’s hearts.

God tells us that whatsoever we do, do it for the glory of God.  All the activities are to be vehicles for life lessons to travel on.  Training comes in the midst of life’s daily activities.  For example, sports is not just about winning, but about discipline, teamwork, losing with grace, not quitting, patience in sitting on the bench, and encouraging others.  God’s Word can be applied over and over to bring out the Godly good, those eternal qualities. And when this is not happening and the activity is more important that the lessons in it, then it will be time to lay it down.

So look further down the road.  What are you building now in your child that will form in him the character of Christ when he is 30 or 40 years old. Is your focus on straight A’s or study skills? Is it on winning at all cost or being an team player?  Very few become star athletes or the top student, but what pleases our Lord is a woman or man with a heart to love and serve Him.  What is your focus???? Keep it sharply in view daily…..

Yet, this I call to mind…

         Do you ever feel like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet?  Seems like life is full of hard things with no change on the horizon?  You may have found yourself in a place you never wanted to be and certainly never asked for.  All around you is discouragement and distress.  Well, take courage!  Just as God spoke to Jeremiah, in the midst of his lament,so He also speaks to you in the place that you are in right now.

         In the center of the book of Lamentations we find the apex of the entire book.  The writer seems to pause and say these very strategic words in verse 21 of chapter 3…

       “Yet this I call to mind and therefore, I have hope!”

         What follows are statements of faith that the writer chooses to remember. He makes a will choice to call Truth to his mind. And just what is it that he calls to mind?

Verse 22– Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail.

Verse 23– They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Verse 24– I say to myself,  the Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for HIM.

Verse 25– The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.

Verse 26– It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

     Did this writer’s situation change? (no, just keep on reading). Did he continue to have difficult days? (yes) So the same may be true of us, but I encourage you (while in the midst of the mayhem) to say… YET THIS I CALL TO MIND…

        Make a will choice to remember God and what is true about His love for you.  Do this whether you feel like it or not. Act on faith and not on sight.  All changes in our difficult place when we remember and believe that God is in the midst of it with us .  He is closer than our very breath.  So, say to yourself these verses, speak. cry, or shout them aloud.  And you will relize God was there all the while… And you will have HOPE.

His Mercies Are New Every Morning

             As I walked along a beautiful beach recently on a crystal morning this verse came to mind…

          ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:20-23

            While I watched the waves wash the sandy shore, I thought of the great privilege and blessing of the truth of this verse.  God’s mercies are available each and every day, not only as we awaken, but also as we go to sleep at night and all through the day.  His mercies wash over us as waves wash over the sand, wiping it clean, clear, and smooth. As I glanced behind me, my footprints, disappeared in the rushing water.  Ahead of me was a fresh path, though an unknown path, but never the less one that my Father has marked out for me.

           Yesterdays worries, sins,and problems, if given to our Lord, are either gone or seen through His eyes.  We can have a fresh perspective and not carry the rubble of the past into the new day.  The sin is washed away.  We stand in newness and holiness before our God.  A new start is available each and every morning.  Who would not take advantage of this?  But how often do we not receive the gift before us?  How often do we hold on to the past and continue to look backward,not forgiving ourselves or someone else?

           Embracing God’s mercies that are new each morning allows us to live free and unfettered.  It brings confidence and strength and grace for the new day.  We can be optimistic and hopeful, for we do not live under the cloud of yesterday.  These mercies are given because God has decided not to give us what we deserve and (I love this) He says He will give them “every morning” because He knows we need them every morning, every minute of every day.  He knows our frailties and faults. He knows our weakness and how we waver.  He knows what we need….

         So why not cash in on this truth?  Let’s take it to the bank, embrace it, make total use of what God has given us.  His mercies are always abundant; not just enough but extravagant.  So awaken tomorrow morning and confess this truth, praise your Father God for His mercies and walk through your day like a stroll on a fresh wave washed beach.


Teach Your Children Well

    In Deuteronomy 6:5-11, you will find what you are to teach your children, how you are to teach your children and when you are to teach them.  The instruction is clear and worthy of note ….

    Verse 5 of this passage tells us what you are to teach. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your (mind and ) heart and with your entire being, and all your might.” If your children come to love God like this, all the important things of life will follow and fall into place.  Everything you teach should line up and agree with this command in some way. For example, as you teach them not to love themselves nor their possessions more than God or as you teach them about gratitude, respect, authority, and kindness, you teach what it means to love God most.

    How do you teach this critical truth? As verse 6 says, “And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be (first) in your own minds and hearts (then…)”  If  you do not love God like this or are not growing in this kind of love for God, you cannot teach this to your children.  You must nourish your own soul with His Word, trusting Him, to continually teach you, so you may teach them.  Then verse 7 tells you to teach in such a way that the words penetrate the minds and hearts of your children. It also instructs you to teach with much diligence in order that it makes a lasting impression upon your children.  It will take work, time, and thought but it is a work that will be blessed.  To sharpen means to use creative methods that are age appropriate.  Study your child and discover the best methods of communicating Truth to him. This can be both fun and applicable.

   The second part of verse 7 tells us the when… ” and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.” I love this verse and the “as you go through life” instruction. This also means that you must be present with your children, not just in the same room, but that you are intentional about seeking teaching opportunities. It can take place in structured situations, but more often then not, these times will takes place in unstructured ways, as you live life. Put them to bed with love, prayer and Truth and awaken them in the same way.

    Verses 8-9 tells us that you should remind them and yourself often of the need of God and His Word.  As these verses say, that may mean writing it on notes that go into school lunch boxes or on their bathroom mirrors of framed throughout your home.  This is reinforcement of what you are already are teaching.

    The blessings of teaching these verses are shared in verses 10-11. God will bring us into His land (or Kingdom) and give us safe places (in our hearts) to live.  You will have spiritual blessings of good things. (wisdom, faith, fruit).  You will gain these blessings, not because you earned them but only because of God’s great grace and goodness. So as you go, teach your children what is close to the heart of God.  Trust God and He will show you how to obey this very important scripture.  Make it of utmost priority, for this will be time well spent in your busy lives that will count for eternity.  What can be more important?   So teach your children well!

Passing It On…

“One generation shall tell of Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty works.”  Psalm 145:4

” They shall tell of the Lord to the next generation.  They shall come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born that He has done it.”  Psalm 22:30

” Then, we your people, the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks forever, we will show forth and publish Your praise from generation to generation.”  Psalm 79:13

” The older women are to teach the younger women…” Titus 2:4

     I think we have made this command much more difficult than it really is! God says we must pass Him and His works and His Word on to those who come after us.  Of course, we first must know Him, for we can not pass on what we do not know.  We must  know His wonderful work of salvation and God’s on- going sanctification in our lives.  We must also truly believe in the power and life of His Word.  But we are to obey this command!

     To whom do we pass it on?  Well, first of all, if you are a parent, you must pass it on to your own children.  First and foremost, God wants us to teach of Him to those with whom He has entrusted us.  Friends of your children that hang out at your home will catch this teaching also. As grandparents, you too  have a role, though not primary, to teach God to your grandchildren.  Then we must pass on God’s Truth to those who have not heard; whose own families did not teach God and His ways and word.  We must be spiritual moms to those.  If you do not have children, ask God for those spiritual children, who need you to share your life with them.

     So now you may say, I am not qualified to do this.  I will leave it to the church, the teachers and pastors, the Christian school to pass it on.  All of these are secondary to what God has called us to do first…especially with our own children. What qualifies us?

Do you have the Holy Spirit living with you?

Are you a mother?

Are you an older woman, not as much in age, but you are just a little further along               in your Christian walk than another?

Have you learned lessons from life experiences, both the successes and the failures?

Do you have a heart to pass on God’s Word and His mighty works in your own life?              Why not?

    None of us have it all together.  We all need Jesus each and every day.  We each have our own path, but we can encourage others along the way and point them to the Author and Finisher of their faith.  (Hebrews 12:2)

    What are the rewards of passing it on?

Nothing blesses me more than seeing my children teach their children in the ways                  and words of God.

Nothing refreshes me more than to see God’s Word received by a new believer with               great enthusiasm.

Nothing is more important than  sharing in that which is eternal; the Word and                     Love of God.

Nothing is more satisfying than knowing I have obeyed my Father.

      It only takes one generation to drop the ball and not pass it on.  I do not want to be the one who fumbles and fails to pass on the Truth of God.

      It is a great privilege to come alongside others and teach them how to live life, nurturing them to godliness.

      And more than even all of this; I think it makes my Father God smile…