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Thursday, July 8, 2021
"Passing The Faith Along"
Message summary: Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching the next generation well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most is of greatest importance.
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"I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands" (Psalm 78:2-7).
This last Sunday before class I visited with Don Albam who served in missions for many years and also taught cross cultural communications at the college level. He is a colorful man and quite "youthful" at 80.
One individual describes his take on being old this way: "When they talk of older people I never think they're talking about me. Old is always older than I am." Anyone identify with that sentiment?
I also notice as I age a tendency to see different levels of aging. When I was young I just saw "old" people. A young person observing us talking on Sunday would probably see two old men talking yet I felt comparatively young compared to Don at 80!
But now that we are in our mid-sixties we see ourselves as a "young old". At some point we will have to concede to being a "middle old" and then enter what my Aunt Frances called the "bonus years" that is old, old!
Don's wife was sitting right behind us and at the end of our lesson she quoted a portion of our daily Scripture passage about telling the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. I was blessed as both she and Don ended up quoting the passage together.
This passage teaches the God-ordained means for passing on truth from one generation to another.
Teaching well will surely include being kind to others, showing respect to authority, being truthful and so forth. These are not uniquely Christian values, but they sure need taught and modeled by those who hold to these virtues.
Each generation should desire that the next generation be successful. Society has placed some very specific assumptions on what success looks like such as going to college to get higher education, getting a good job, making lots of money and having many nice possessions. In our view many people are successful this way but lack in other far more important ways.
Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching the next generation well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most embodies the essential truths of today's Scripture portion. Being successful based on the world's standards and being successful by God's standards is significantly different.
Within the law of Moses a very specific command speaks to this subject, "Teach them (the commands of God) to your children and to their children after them" (Deuteronomy 4:9). The Apostle Paul commanded parents (specifically fathers) "to bring them (children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). The phrase "bring them up" conveys "to rear up to maturity." Notice the content of the teaching Paul emphasizes which best describes what teaching "well" includes; "the training and instruction of the Lord".
The main goal of godly teaching is that our children and others we influence accept and follow Jesus Christ as their Savior and live in a manner that pleases God, while fulfilling His purpose for their life. (2 Corinthians 5:9) That may include some of the same things the world calls success but not necessarily. Unless given the gift of singleness parents desire their children find a spiritually compatible mate (spouse) and raise another generation for God's glory, being active in Christian service, giving generously of their resources to honorable and godly causes and living a responsible life expressing faith and dependence on God.
The latter part of our daily text defines our goal in teaching well:
1) That the next generation would know them (God's decreed statutes), even the children yet to be born, and they (the children yet to be born) in turn would tell their children.
2) They would put their trust in God
3) They would not forget His deeds
4) They would keep His commands
That to me is what teaching our children "well" means. (I also expand this to grandchildren and all others we may impact for the Lord.) Have you considered what it means to you? Are you taking your duty of passing the faith along seriously? When life, as we know it on this side, is over what matters most will be taking up eternal residency with our Lord and bringing our loved ones along with us. What a day, glorious day that will be!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You've given us tremendous responsibility as we're commanded to train and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. There are many times when we've failed to be faithful in our godly duties as parents. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with the challenges our children present and even more so in this age of modern technology and moral anarchy. Lord, help us to sow seeds of Christian instruction so that we will cultivate children who grow into fruitful, godly adults. Help us not to despair or give up in the present battles we face with our children, for in due time we will reap great blessing from our labor, if we continue to trust You in these matters. Amen.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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