3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
If God has given us children, then we must realize that He has given us a great blessing. In the above passage alone, we are told that children are a gift, a reward, and a source of strength and happiness.
Children are a great blessing, but with great blessings comes great responsibilities. It has been said that children are like lumps of clay to be molded. Taking that lump of clay and molding it into a godly young man or woman is the task that God has given parents. This responsibility does not belong to the grandparents, extended family, friends, teachers, elders, preacher, etc. While these individuals can be expected to provide a good influence upon children, God has singled out fathers and mothers and given them instructions concerning their responsibilities towards the “heritage” that they have received “from the Lord.” Continue reading » Responsibilities of Parents
Behold a sower went out to sow. But before he cast a single seed, he got down on his knees and tested the soil. Here it was too dirty and there it had too much clay and over by the way it was too distant to consider. He tested more soil and decided it was unlikely to receive his seed positively and after a little while came to the conclusion that all the soil around him was infertile and so he went back and sat on the porch until he nearly starved. When his master returned, he was cast off the estate and punished for wasting his seeds and not trusting in their power.
Therefore, hear the parable of the soil tester: When anyone confronts his duty to share the gospel seed with others, he takes it in his heart and mouth and considers where he might sow it in the interest of being fruitful. Sadly, his master never instructed him to waste time testing the soil, but he believes it to be practical and wise to whittle down the field to a few likely spots. Yet all he sees are people in sin; he’s looking for people that don’t seem to need the gospel to share the gospel with! And he is surprised that he can’t find any!
The soil tester turns up his nose at the man with tattoos and the coworker who is trying to quit smoking. He judges everyone under the age of 30 to be too wild and everyone over the age of 30 to be too old to change their ways. At the end of the day, the soil tester has not sown a single seed, but he feels justified because it is the soil’s inadequacies that are to blame. When Jesus returns, however, he is found to have wasted his opportunities as a poor steward of the seeds and he is cast into outer darkness as an unprofitable servant.
The historian Luke, in his gospel, records the only words spoken by Jesus as a child that we are privy to in God’s inspired word. The conversation, between Jesus and his parents, is found in the latter part of the second chapter of the book.
Luke records the devotion of Joseph and Mary, indicating that they went to Jerusalem every year to observe the Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old he was included in the traveling party. When the feast was finished, and Mary and Joseph together with other family members began the trip home, we are told that Jesus, “lingered behind in Jerusalem.”
You can imagine their state of mind as they sought Jesus. It was three days (vs. 46) before they found him. He was in the temple, listening to the teachers there and asking them questions. We are not privy to what Jesus said to these important men, but we are told they “were astonished at His understanding and answers.”
Continue reading » Jesus’ First Recorded Words
The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages. The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers
Since the relationship between an husband and wife is a partnership, it is not surprising that many of the responsibilities each have may be identical. For example, just as the husband is to be selfless, affectionate and kind to his wife, the wife should be the same to her husband.
Paul told Titus in Titus 2:1-10 to give instructions to certain of the brethren in the church. To the older women he charged a responsibility to teach the younger women. They were to admonish them to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (vs. 4-5). This verse can be used as a template for discussing certain responsibilities peculiar to the wife.
Continue reading » The Responsibilities of the Wife
As Joshua addressed the people on the eve of his death, after they had occupied the promised land, he made a statement which clearly shows the influence of a man as the head of his own house. He said, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua’s proclamation was a challenge to all of Israel, and indicates that a nation’s well being is largely attributable to the leadership of the home. As the head of the home, the primary responsibility of the Husband/Father can be summarized in this way. He determines by the force of his will, his good example, and his love for God and family, that his home will serve God. It can rightly be stated that any man who does not make it his primary goal to have a God fearing and obedient family will fail in his responsibilities to them.
Continue reading » The Responsibilities of the Husband
Romans 12:1-2, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NASB)
James 1:26-27, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
I think it valid to consider these passages together. The words “religious” and “religion” used in the James’ passage have to do with the external acts we perform in regard to our service to God. There is no profit in the practice of showing piety in our congregational worship, while neglecting our duties and responsibilities of service and purity of thought and action, specifically, James said, in the area of self control of our tongues. Combining that idea with the teaching of Paul in the Roman letter, our “worship” to God is our service to Him in the presentation of ourselves as renewed and transformed by the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Can We Take Our “Religion” Out of the Closet?