Family Business

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:45-52; John 19:25-27 (day two)  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must about my father’s business? Luke 2:49

Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach had 20 children, and that most of them became great composers or performers? Did you know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father Leopold was a first-rate musician? Is this because these families were predisposed to be great composers? Perhaps, but more often than not, it was just the family business. Bach’s children would likely have the task of copying manuscripts ad nauseam which was a common way of picking up the trade. Even today we often find this familial occupational tendencies. My parents were both teachers, so it made sense. I never felt compelled by them, but I was clearly influenced by how they helped people. I saw the leader that my dad was to his team, and to the school. These were things I wanted to emulate. When Jesus responded that his place was in his father’s house tending to his father’s business it just made sense.

Beyond setting a possible career track for our children, consider what else they may want to retain from our example. How do you love the Lord? Is it in full view of your children, or would they be hard pressed to notice. How do you love your spouse, treat your friends, the lost?

It’s not too late to be the example that will make a difference.

Ears of clay

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:45-52; John 19:25-27 (day one)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”–Ephesians 6:1.  The Bible describes God’s plan for a child with an unusual word.  Hypakouo.  (Hypo=under, thus a hypodermic needle goes under the skin, and akouo=to hear, thus acoustics.)  Hypakouo was both action and attitude.  It described a child who listens as one “under” authority, with the intention and expectation of obedience.  Ever hear someone described as having “feet of clay”?  It is not a compliment!  It means a person who takes a stand/makes a commitment that eventually crumbles away with time.  “Ears of clay”, however,  is a good thing.  Sharp ears.  Soft heart.  Children who learn this suppression of self-will find it easier (later) to take this life-giving attitude toward God.  “Lord, have Thine own way.  Thou art the potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”–George C. Stebbins.

Home field advantage

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day seven)

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth.”–Psalm 127:3-4.  These words stand in stark contrast to the way moderns think and speak.  Children to the ancients were possessions (heritage), wages (reward) and weapons (arrows).  Our fathers in the faith perceived, sometimes more honestly than we do, the conflict and struggle that life is. . .between good and evil. . .between God’s kingdom and man’s pride.  And children are our secret weapon. No single factor has influenced history more than the Jewish (and then Christian) home.  Parents who carefully and prayerfully shape children for the service of God do, indeed, send them out as arrows aimed at “enemies in the gate.”–v 5. Like the old baseball manager said after an away game defeat.  “They got the best of us tonight, but we will beat them at home.”

Along the Way

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day six)

The most significant thing any of us can do for our children, without doubt, is to teach (and model) them to love God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might. Not sure any of us would debate that. Deuteronomy 6 presents to us though, a particular value in discipleship that we do struggle with, a lot. And that is we are called to disciple our children in all of life. We are to disciple our children as we go, or when we rise or lay down. It gives a picture of discipleship that is very different from the one we are accustomed to; we tend to lean towards programming or events to be primary, but in fact as valuable as those may be they were never intended to be. Sunday school or VBS are best served as supplements to what we are called to do with our children in the ongoings of our normal hectic lives.

So, let us all be encouraged to point our children to see and love Jesus in and throughout all of life.


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day five)

Hello from Youth Camp at LeTourneau University.  Our theme for the next two weeks is “Rhythm”.  Galatians 5:25 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”  One of the truths we want our students to understand is that Life in the Spirit is best accomplished with regular and consistent attention and determination.  There is a rhythm needed to keep “in step with the Spirit”.   Worship, Bible Study, Meeting with Other Believers, Prayer, Devotions, and Service are means to a fullness of Life in the Spirit.  The goal for camp is to NOT be a once a year spiritual vaccination to keep us “spiritually healthy”, but rather a reminder that throughout each day and week, that we can and should be regularly and intentionally engaged in activities, conversations, learning, study, and relationships that would point us to the Scriptures and the Author of our Faith.  This same principle is mentioned as a prompt and prescription for parents and those who have influence in the lives of children and teens to bring Rhythm to faith growth and development. See Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

Like a Warrior

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day four)

In the Psalm 127 passage, the analogy is to a warrior.  “Children…are like arrows in the hand of a warrior,”  A warrior gives the picture of one who is skilled and well-trained.  He knows his weapons and how to use them…his arrows are straight and properly fletched so they will fly true to his aim.  Likewise, children who are well trained will be true and accurate.  Training comes by constantly repeating the message until they have mastered the truth.  Deuteronomy says surround your children with God’s truth at home, when traveling, on their hand, on their head, by the door, or by the gate…the picture is to immerse them in his truth.  When they are effectively trained, you will not have to worry.  They will respond in God’s wisdom and power.  We also have the promise that they will not stray from His truth.  What a wonderful promise!  Shouldn’t we get busy training our kids and grandkids?


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day three)

“Children are a heritage from the Lord.”  Pop culture tries very hard to make childhood disappear.  Movies often portray children as people who have the most wisdom of all the characters in the story.  Child celebrities often get celebrated and congratulated when they finally leave behind all the “kid stuff” and present themselves as sexually savvy.  We want people to be smart, cool, sexual rocket scientists who rule the world.  Who has time for children who actually act like children: innocent, vulnerable, and trusting, but also selfish, grumpy, and undisciplined?  If the world has no room for children, the world will eventually have no room for you, because caring for children is what makes people able to care for each other.  How are you caring for children?

Poster Children

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day two)

“Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframe of your houses and on your gates. Deut.” 6:8-9

Do you remember what you had hanging on your walls in your room as a kid? I had a huge poster of Amy Grant (judge not, lest ye be judged). I can picture most of the house where I grew up with excruciating detail. Perhaps that is why this passage from Deuteronomy makes sense to me. Rote learning is the method of teaching that uses repetition. Think of teaching your child the ABC’s, how many times did you sing it to them? My guess is they still remember them, so good job! Once we develop higher brain functions we no longer rely on rote learning, but it is still effective. The images, words, and places that a child is exposed to create long-term memories that will shape their world-view. How often do you speak of the Lord with your children or grandchildren, or any one you have some influence on? These constant reminders of how great our God is will not soon be forgotten. Like my poster.

Next Gen

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day one)  
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall 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.”–Deuteronomy 6:6-7.  “The primary responsibility for discipling a child toward faith and obedience to Christ belongs with parents.  No church can fully or adequately substitute for the influence of a parent’s instruction and encouragement.  The church works in partnership with parents.  We offer training and encouragement as we work together to lead children to Christ and to a life of obedience.”–FBCSA Next Gen Report, 2012.  For 3500 years it has been clear.  Parents are, first, to have God’s commandments on OUR OWN hearts.  From this intense, vital, personal relationship with the Lord, we are to TEACH OUR CHILDREN a similar love. What a privilege!  Lord, help us!

“Holy, Holly, Holy”

RE Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33 (day seven)
“As the church submits to Christ, so also wives must submit to their husbands” v 24.  It is a Guthrie family story.  Holly used to be a church secretary.  One day she typed the song title for the bulletin.  “Holy, Holly, Holy”.  Actually, it is true.  She has been a holy influence on our family.  From her, I have learned much about my own relationship to Christ.  Holly never asks me for things that she thinks are contrary to my own best sense.  She dedicates herself to my welfare, tirelessly shapes the right environment for our sons and their families.  Do I do as well toward the Head of the church?  I hope so!  If wives learn by watching the church respond to Christ, the church is blessed when we see what strong submission looks like by watching them.  Happy Father’s Day!  May all Christian men submit to God and lead our families to Him.