Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Please look for an opportunity today to help change the future of a child.

Help a kid learn some timeless principle from scripture.

Or show a kid what it means to be generous or forgiving or self-controlled or patient or some other Christ-like behavior.

After all, don’t you want the kids in your life to become more like Jesus?

Let’s live out the teaching of Proverbs 22:6.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Thanks for caring about the future of the world, particularly that kid’s world.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

When a little kid spontaneously starts talking about God, I listen.

You see, it’s one thing when a child responds to a Christian adult’s leading and recites a Bible verse back to the teacher during a Sunday School class.

It’s quite another thing when the child speaks up to a group of kids on a playground regarding how God is so “special” for making the beautiful sky or speaks up to a group of adult relatives about giving her or him a loving mommy, daddy or pet.

My kids are long past that stage but I still savor the memories of their childhood praises of the Lord.

Particularly those that came without my prompting.

Occasions such as when Melissa, while in 4th grade, prompted a “Prayer at the Flagpole” event for her elementary school with dozens of teachers and students choosing to participate. She did it without my coaching.

It was awesome.

Not sure how the cynic of faith would explain that one….

We live in a time when critics of Christianity believe momentum is on their side.

And the picture is darkening in a spiritual sense, it seems.

But as you and I remember the power of a pure, innocent faith displayed in the words and expressions of children, we’ll be reminded that what we believe is not based on thoughts we’ve conceived but instead received.

Received from God.

Here is the passage the triggered this Morning Devotion and I pray it will prompt you toward more confidence in your own faith.

“You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.” (Psalm 8:2 NLT)

Children don’t have sophisticated mind-control agendas skewed by years of alleged brainwashing by church people.

They’re just kids who speak from the overflow of their hearts.

When they talk about God without our prompting, it’s a reflection of what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them.

Let’s listen to them just as Jesus encouraged when He told us to have the attitude of kids if we want to see heaven (Matthew 18:3).

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Not every Christian adult has biological young adult children. But every Christian adult knows young adults who need prayer.

With all the moral and vocational and social challenges faced today by the young adults we love, there’s no doubt that an abundance of prayer is needed in their behalf, whether they’re carrying our DNA or not.

It’s no secret that Satan works extremely hard to lure and coerce young adults to walk away from the faith of their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and other relatives and loving adults at church.

And, sadly, he’s typically successful.

There are some young adults, though, who have remained close to the heart of God.

They are serving the Lord and serving His people.

They are sharing their faith with the faithless.

I’m convinced that the prayers — and faith examples — of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, other relatives and loving adults at church have contributed significantly to this measure of young adult faithfulness.

It was the case with me when I was in my college years. The influence of those older who were faithful acted like a magnet guiding me toward the narrow path rather than as steel guard rails into which I banged before being forced back into faith.

I need to provide the kind of nurturing intercession for young adults today that was provided for me.

Why? Because Satan is seeking to steal, kill and destroy everything wholesome in their lives.

I need to have the intercessory heart for young adults that Job had for his children.

In Job 1:4-5, there’s a potent insight as to the deep, godly character of Job. I was really moved by this text today. I pray that it will move you, too.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.”

Are you praying each morning for the young adults in your life? Are you remembering that Satan hates them and is committed to destroying their souls?

Listen, we need to pray that the young adults in our lives — whether they’re our biological children or not — are restored to a forgiven relationship with God.

If we aren’t willing to do so, what are we saying to God? What are we saying about those young adults?

Older Christians prayed for us, I’m sure, and we’re stronger as a result.

Let’s do the same for those who are behind us on the timeline of life.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

I preached a sermon Sunday that included a reference to Psalm 127:1 that says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

The point, of course, is that God is to be the architect, foreman and ultimate beneficiary of our efforts to build an immediate family or a congregation or some other faith-based group.

And so I was inspired this morning because of two passages in the devotional reading for today from the One-Year Bible.

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger because they forsook Him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In His anger against Israel the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.” (Judges 2:10-14)

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)

It’s tragic that the Hebrew moms who had been delivered by God into the Promised Land did not teach their children the scriptures given them by God through the pen of Moses.

God explicitly stated in Deuteronomy that if the parents taught their children the Word and will of God, the generations to follow would be showered with blessings and safety.

If they didn’t teach the kids as God ordained, bad things would happen.

Sadly, the moms were “too busy” to teach their kids about God.

Judges 2 clearly states what resulted.

That’s why Proverbs 14:1 is SO chilling.

If we’re not teaching children the ways of God, we’re teaching them the ways of the world.

And that is a sure formula for destroying our heritage and legacy.

Churches are less filled today than in the past because parents are “too busy” to teach their kids about God.

It’s no surprise that family life among too many Christian households is crumbling.

Please, in whatever role you have with your children or grandchildren or nephews or nieces or neighbor kids or any other kid over whom you have influence, teach them as often as possible about God’s love, His Word, His grace, His holiness and His desire for all to know Him through Jesus Christ.

Let’s build God’s household of faith rather than tear it down, one failed stone at a time.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

In Joshua 4:20, an interesting directive is given by Joshua to the leader for each of the 12 tribes crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

I encourage you to read that entire chapter by clicking here, but here is the point that I want to make.

We adults have a responsibility to teach our children about spiritual milestones.

For the Israelites, the lessons were to involve how and why and when and where God delivered the people through obstacles they could not have vanquished without His help.

If kids don’t learn from their parents or other faithful adults about God’s intercessory, delivering power, it’s liklely that most won’t hear it somewhere else.

That means that they’ll be lacking vitally needed information and inspiration for facing life’s challenges.

It is this very deficit that has our nation in a state of moral, ethical, financial and spiritual decline.

Please do your part to break the cycle.

Talk with a child about a time when God intervened in your life and delivered through obstacles that were greater than your ability to overcome.

Share with him or her about a “What do these stones mean?” moment in your life.

Perhaps it was a physical crisis.

Perhaps it was a financial crisis or a family relationship crisis or a physical danger crisis.

Somewhere in your life God has intervened and your life is better because of it.

Tell a child of how God helped you and the effect that has had on your life and faith.

If we don’t tell them, they AND we will be losers.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

God knew that delivering the Hebrews into the Promised Land would not automatically result in perpetual faithfulness among His people.

You see, He knew that humans did not instinctively do all the right things. And that meant that every new generation would have to be taught the ways of the Lord.

That’s why Moses was instructed to write what he did in Deuteronomy 11:19-21.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”

There is no question that the moral and spiritual integrity of our world is fading. I believe it is because most people aren’t teaching children about the Word and ways of God.

What happened to Israel during the time of the Judges — social disorder and rampant dismay — is what will eventually happen in our country if we continue failing as a people with respect to Deut. 11:19-21.

Please do your part this week to teach a child about the things of God. Whether the child lives next door, or is a relative’s child across town, is a child you teach in Sunday School or the child is your own flesh and blood, commit yourself to teach the children about the life of Jesus Christ, about the stories of God’s love in the Old Testament and about the great principles of faith found throughout the Bible.

It’s not complicated. But it is essential if they are to have the better life that God wants for them and for the world within which they live.

You can do it. Just like other faithful people have done for thousands of years.

Make sure the kids are in Sunday School and you’ll get a lot of help with that teaching that the kids need.

I believe in you.

God does, too.

That’s why He wants you to start teaching the kids in your life. And that’s why He’ll want them to do the same for the kids in their lives, should Jesus not return beforehand.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

It’s not difficult to determine if a congregation is focused on its long-term future.

Just look at how it ministers to children.

If the classrooms and teachers are prepared for learning and loving each Sunday or when other sessions occur, a solid foundation is being laid for generations of ministry.

If there are other opportunities at least several times a month for kids — and even their parents — to get together for recreation and education, then the congregation is on the road to becoming a growing, extended family with an infectious nature.

If the above are neglected, the future is not good for the congregation.

This is to be a matter of intense prayer for every congregation, including mine.

Demographic and generational shifts have had a significant impact upon the congregation that I started serving with several months ago. But there are still hundreds of thousands of people within a 20-minute drive, including hundreds of thousands of children.

That means that opportunity exists to reach kids and their parents.

And that means that my congregation, like others in the area, is called to provide classrooms and teachers prepared for learning and loving.

I recognize that I need to pray more for this and recruit more for this and train more for this.

And I need to ask our wonderful roster of current teachers to do the same.

It’s that important, Jesus taught.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:11-14).

Jesus said just before the above statement that whoever “welcomes” a child in His name is actually welcoming Him.

That means that however we minister to children is a reflection of how we want to minister to Christ.

So ask yourself this question: What impression does my congregation’s children’s ministry give visiting parents regarding my/our love for the Lord?

The man in the parable did whatever it took to bring the wandering lamb into the fold.

Are you? Is your congregation?

Are you both rejecting the temptation to see children’s ministry as just another church budget item perhaps needing cut?

Invest in the future, my friend.

God did when He sent you into this world as a child.

Please provide a good return to God for that investment by doing more to help your congregation invest in “welcoming” Jesus via ministry to children.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »