Examining What We’ve Been Taught

The basis of our faith

My dad’s been gone 30 years. I have a pair of his shoes. Sometimes I wear them.

We may inherit many things from our parents. But what of their values?

Some reject everything their parents believed. Others wear their parents’ faith like a comfortable pair of old shoes.

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Between the two extremes: a carefully examined faith

If our parents believed Jesus is the Son of God, do we believe that because they did—or because we find it supported in God’s word?

If something they believed is not Scripture-based, are we willing to go with the Bible?

The same Jesus who taught us to honor our parents also said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me . . .” (Matthew 15:4; 10:37).

Who has our ultimate loyalty?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Best Kind of Growth

Measuring progress

For years, we kept a tattered chart inside our pantry door for marking our children’s height at different ages.

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“Well-rounded” certainly describes the childhood growth of Jesus. “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Of these four, what’s most important? What’s often most neglected?

Progress of what kind?

Paul commended Timothy for his “sincere faith,” which he also found in Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).

And how did Timothy develop that faith? “. . . from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (3:15).

So, parents, what will it take for our children to grow like that?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Let Them Get Away With It?

Getting Control Back

A convenience store cashier told me he saw a boy demand that his grandmother buy him a candy bar. She said no repeatedly.

“Yes, you are! You’re buying this for me! I’m getting it!”

“All right, but the next time I tell you no, you’re not going to get it.”

To the cashier, it was obvious who was in control. He would never permit a child to talk back like that, not would he reward bad behavior.

Before it’s too late!

Children can be so stubborn. Our job is to out-stubborn them. In a contest of wills, the child must not win, because if he wins, he loses.

“He who hates reproof will die” (Proverbs 15:10b). “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death” (Proverbs 19:18).

Where will that boy be in 20 years? Doing 20 years?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Beyond Duty

Have to

What I told my children, I now tell my grandkids. When they say, “I don’t want to,” I respond, “You don’t have to want to; you just have to do it!”

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Although that’s not what they want to hear, they must learn that the Bible teaches children to submit to parents, workers to supervisors, citizens to government, and all of us to God.

“‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God” (James 4:6-7).

Want to

It takes humility to submit. It takes maturity to submit willingly, with a good attitude.

May God help us mature beyond obeying from a mere sense of duty, to the point where we can say, as Jesus did, “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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And the Baby Grew Up

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Newborn potential

Holding our infant children in my arms, I found it hard to imagine them as adults with children of their own. Yet that’s what they are today!

The song “Mary, Did You Know?” beautifully accentuates the marvelous things Jesus would do and become when He grew up.

Potential realized!

We can be so thankful for the inspired and inspiring narratives of Jesus’ birth and infancy in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Yet by far, the emphasis of all four Gospels is Jesus’ unique identity, ministry, teaching, death, resurrection, and exaltation to God’s right hand as Savior and Lord.

No one ever accomplished what He did. No one comes anywhere close to being what He is.

Yes, the baby grew up!

Aren’t you glad He did?

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A Gift from the Lord

What our children are

A young couple mailed an announcement, accompanied by a picture, so others could rejoice with them on the arrival of their first child.

It’s obvious they treasured her as a precious gift from God.

When Jacob and Esau reunited, Esau asked, “Who are these with you?” Jacob replied, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Genesis 33:5).

After Jacob had lost his eyesight, he asked his son Joseph, “Who are these?” Joseph answered, “They are my sons whom God has given me here” (Genesis 48:8-9).

How we view our children

Would that all parents viewed their children as gifts from God—not as burdens and inconveniences, sources of mess, noise, and bother.

A father told me. “I enjoyed my children.” I expect the feeling was mutual.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

Adapted from an article by JDG in the daily devotional guide Power for Today

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Like a Child

The kind of love children need

A couple of 7-year-old girls were talking about parents’ rules. One said to the other, “If they didn’t care about you, they’d let you do anything.”

Smart girl! She saw rules as evidence of love, and freedom to “do anything” as a disadvantage.

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The kind of love we grownups need

Like children, we grownups have Someone who provides directions for living. When we’ve done as we pleased, we’re not always too pleased with what we’ve done.

We too need guidance and discipline (Hebrews 12:5-6).

The child who identifies parental authority with love is far more likely to be well-adjusted.

Christians who see God in the same way can enjoy their relationship with the Father (1 John 3:1; 5:3).

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