Tag: teaching children

Sunday Rest and Reflection: Children!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a beautiful day of resurrection rest!  Fall is here and seasons are changing with leaves turning color and crops being harvested.  Apples are for sale at the orchard and pumpkins are everywhere!  We have had a bountiful year here for those growing crops and are again blessed as a nation to have an abundant food supply.

As I reflect back over this last week, there is so much that I could write on from Matthew’s Gospel.  Jesus was truly the “Christ, son of the living God”!  He demonstrated that again and again to his followers so they could believe and share their faith with others and ultimately reach the world.  However, growing to be a mature disciple and follower of the Lord takes time and sometimes correction. I want to comment on a short passage found in Matthew 19:13-15.

“Then, children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hand on them and pray for them.  But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  “When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.””

Children are so important in our lives and in the kingdom of heaven.  When children are younger, they are more open and teachable and need to meet Jesus.  It is the parents’ duty to bring their children to Jesus, to pray for them regularly, and lay hands on them.  We must not do anything to hinder them.  It seems that the disciples thought that Jesus did not want to be bothered by parents and small children.  They rebuked them and tried to send them away.  They dismissed these small children as insignificant and felt that one so special as Jesus would want to be left alone.

We need to be sure that we do not make the same kind of mistake!  Many in the church seem to view children as a distraction.  They don’t want to help with children and work to train them.  Children and nursery workers are very hard to recruit and volunteers are hard to come by. Older people seem to feel that they have done their duty or put in their time.  Younger parents say that they need a break.  Many say that children aren’t their calling and they have no patience with them.  We seem to suffer from the same mentality as these early disciples and stand to be rebuked by our master as well!

Jesus set a wonderful example for us all!  He took time for children.  He touched children and prayed for them.  He took them into His arms and blessed them.  He did not make excuses of having no calling, or being too busy, or having more important things to do.  Children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward from Him! (Psalm 127:3-5) They will carry on Christ’s work, should Jesus tarry.  Let’s be sure we are not hindering them and that we are praying for them, teaching and blessing them.

In His Love, Pastor John

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Passing the torch of faith!

Scripture reading for June 18th: Psalms 78-83

Oh how I long to see the next generations know the Lord!  I am burdened for my children and grandchildren!  They are living in a world that is growing increasingly cold and hostile to faith in God.  Humanistic ideas and thinking permeates the school systems.  Families are fragmented and many church people are luke warm or cold in their understanding and knowledge of God and His Word.  Families are so busy that they often neglect their spiritual growth to pursue work, sports, entertainment or success.  Priorities are out of order and problems in our culture spiral out of control.  We need a revival of spiritual life!  We need to pass the torch of faith!

Asaph, the worship leader who served David, wrote about this desire in Psalm 78.  He began with a plea for his people to hear his teaching and the words of his mouth.  He spoke in parables and uttered hidden things, things from of old.  These were things that were taught by the fathers in an age past but were not then being taught.  God often used stories.   Jesus, himself, taught in parables.  Parables are stories from common life that help us to understand spiritual truths if we have open hearts.  Ears that hear do not just mean ears that function.  They must also hear and comprehend.

Asaph gave the plan of passing on these teachings.  The key was to teach the children by telling the parables and stories to the next generation.  The next generation would then, in turn, tell them to their children and repeat this process from generation to generation. (Psalm 78:4-6)  The purpose of telling the stories was to encourage each generation to put their trust in the Lord.  They would remember the works that the Lord had performed and would learn God’s commands in order to obey them and walk by faith.

Asaph stated that the children were not to do as the fathers had done.  They heard and even experienced the stories, yet forgot God.  (Psalm 78:8)  They were a stubborn and rebellious generation.  They did not keep God’s commands or stay loyal to Him.  They saw the miracles but still sinned against God.  God judged them for their rebellion.  These were the stories that were to be repeated each generation.  They were given to instruct those with ears to hear!

Where are we failing today in passing the torch?  Could it be that we do not teach the stories to our children? Have we as parents learned the stories and applied them to our lives?   Have we set a good example as parents by obeying and living by faith?  We ourselves must do what the Word of God declares if it is to have the desired effect!  God promises to work through the parables to bring wisdom and understanding for life and godliness!

“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.” Psalm 78:4

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The Next Generation!

Scripture Reading for February 21st: Deuteronomy 1-4

The name “Deuteronomy” literally means “second law”.  Deuteronomy is quoted directly in 17 of the twenty seven New Testament books and alluded to nearly 80 more times.  This book is a record of four sermons given by Moses to the congregation of Israel in the last months of his leadership.  It records lessons he learned and wanted to pass on to the next generation who would possess the promised land.

Moses has led the nation for forty long years around the wilderness.  A journey that should have taken less than two weeks stretched out because of grumbling and complaining and doubt and unbelief.  (Deuteronomy 1:26-27) Moses, himself, will not get to enter the promised land due to his own dishonoring of God at Kadesh. (Numbers 20:8-12)  Moses seems to blame the Israelites for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 1:37)  God does hold leaders to a higher standard because of the revelation and intimacy they share with Him.  Moses is trying to impress upon this next generation why their parents suffered consequences of the wandering and death.

Moses also preaches to this next generation to inspire faith in God.  His questions to them are typical of the Jewish style of teaching.  In chapter 4 he asks them about God.  “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?”  “And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:7-8) The obvious answer is “none!”  They are a special people marked by God traveling with them.  They are marked by the holiness and love of God’s law which sets them apart from all other nations!  They must be careful to teach these truths to their children and grandchildren!

From these first chapters of Deuteronomy, I see several key lessons for us today.  First, a record of the past history of God’s dealings helps the next generation learn faith.  Moses wanted to pass on the lessons he learned so his children and grandchildren would enter in and possess all God intended for them.  We must honor our elders and learn from them.  Secondly, the Law, represented by Moses cannot take us into the promised land on our own effort. We need grace and faith in the sacrifice for sins and cleansing.  Moses, himself, disobeyed God’s holy Word and was forbidden to enter Canaan.  Third, God promises victory to His followers.  He disciplines and warns them of potential trouble so that they might succeed.  God is truly for his people!

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below.  There is no other.  Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” Deuteronomy 4:39-40

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