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Devotions for Life

The Church You Want

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
 
As I visit congregations, I notice that each one has its own distinct personality.   I am sure you have heard of “cold” churches “friendly” churches, “critical” churches, “liberal” churches, “ultraconservative” churches, and the list goes on. What kind of church do you want your church to be?

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Train Up A Child

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” Pro. 22:6.

 In 1977, at Denver Seminary, the professor of Hebrew told our class that the translation of Pro. 22:6
was inadequate in most translations, and that the Hebrew literally reads “train up a child according
to his way.” At that time, I didn’t know an aleph from a beth and only had the commentaries to check
the accuracy of his statement. Since then I have often examined the Hebrew text for myself and have
concluded that his comments were correct. In over thirty places, the Hebrew form occurs, and in every
other place, it is translated “his way” or its equivalent. But what is the significance of this observation?

 First, force someone to do something contrary to his will and there is usually half-hearted response.

If someone does not follow the Lord of his own choosing, it will not last. Parents must impart to the child a hunger and desire to do the right things.

 Second, the child must feel it is his way and not his parent’s. Some serve the Lord to please Mom and Dad, but sooner or later the shallowness of this shows up. Maturity is seen in the grown child who serves the Lord because he has made the Way his own way. He has examined the Scriptures for
himself and follows the Lord’s Way and not his parents’ way.
 
 Third, parents should make it their aim to impart this independent quest for truth, and be proud
their children are forming their own convictions rather than molding them into parrots of their own convictions. We should remember if we impart a love for the Lord, and respect for the authority of
His word, then their convictions will not be far off from ours.
 
 How do we accomplish this goal? The text is clear: “train up a child.” The Hebrew word
Hanack is such a beautiful word and the word “train” does not do it justice. Although occuring
only five times in the OT, we can gain rich insight into its tenor and essence. In every other
occurrence, it has to do with consecrating or dedicating a house, and especially the temple of
God (Deu. 20:5, 5; 1 Kgs. 8:63; 2 Chron. 7:5)! Hanukkah, the Jewish feast in December, is
derived from this term which commemorates the rededication of the temple of Jerusalem after
its defilement by Antiochus of Syria.
 
How could a Jew reading this text not see the depth of meaning indicated by its history?
 We can’t give our child over to a Priest like Hannah did, but we certainly can have the same spirit
of dedication that she had (1 Sam. 1:1-28). It was no accident that Samuel became one of the
greatest servants of God in the OT. He was nurtured in spiritual things, and in a spiritual
environment. He was taught God’s word, and obeyed it from his heart.
 
By way of illustration, the Hebrew word is believed to have originated from an Arabic word which means “to rub.” It was originally used in the context of rubbing the palate of a new born with
crushed dates or oil to stimulate the sucking response of the infant. If we had as much desire to stimulate the interest and desire of our children to learn His word and serve Him with deep loyalty
as a a mother does to nourish her new born we would not see so many young people leave the
church as we do today. 

Remember Ephesians 6:4: “Bring them up in discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Be an example to your children, and give them every opportunity to learn God’s word.

Hymn: “How Shall The Young Secure Their Hearts?”

Father, You know the hearts of parents, and their desire to devote their children to You. Give them wisdom and spiritual guidance to accomplish the most important job of their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA

 



Total Commitment

“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
 
What is the one thing that stands between you and total commitment? Why do so many
Christians reach a certain plateau in their spiritual development and stop? Do they feel that
nothing else is necessary and that God accepts them where they are so there is not need for
further growth? Or is there fear that too many things must be given up if one progresses
further?

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