Category Archives: Train Up A Child Series

Train Up A Child Day 7

So just how important is it to drag your children to church even if it be while they are kicking and screaming- pouting and stomping- grumpy and hateful…
Train Up A Child Day Seven

 

7.  Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about public means of grace.
   
Tell them of the duty and privilege of going to the house of God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation.  Tell them that wherever the Lord’s people are gathered together, there the Lord Jesus is present in an especial manner, and that those who absent themselves must expect, like the Apostle Thomas, to miss a blessing.  Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word preached, and that it is God’s ordinance for converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men.  Tell them how the Apostle Paul enjoins us not “to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Heb. 10:25); but to exhort one another, to stir one another up to it, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
  
I call it a sad sight in a church when nobody comes up to the Lord’s table but the elderly people, and the young men and the young women all turn away.  But I call it a sadder sight still when no children are to be seen in a church, excepting those who come to the Sunday School, and are obliged to attend.  Let none of this guilt lie at your doors.  There are many boys and girls in every parish, besides those who come to school, and you who are their parents and friends should see to it that they come with you to church.
   
Do not allow them to grow up with a habit of making vain excuses for not coming.  Give them plainly to understand, that so long as they are under your roof it is the rule of your house for every one in health to honour the Lord’s house upon the Lord’s day, and that you reckon the Sabbath-breaker to be a murderer of his own soul.
   
See to it too, if it can be so arranged, that your children go with you to church, and sit near you when they are there.  To go to church is one thing, but to behave well at church is quite another.  And believe me, there is no security for good behaviour like that of having them under your own eye.
   
The minds of young people are easily drawn aside, and their attention lost, and every possible means should be used to counteract this.  I do not like to see them coming to church by themselves, — they often get into bad company by the way, and so learn more evil on the Lord’s day than in all the rest of the week. 

Neither do I like to see what I call “a young people’s corner” in a church.  They often catch habits of inattention and irreverence there, which it takes years to unlearn, if ever they are unlearned at all.  What I like to see is a whole family sitting together, old and young, side by side, — men, women, and children, serving God according to their households.
   
But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them.
   
I would not have you listen to such reasoning.  I find no such doctrine in the Old Testament.  When Moses goes before Pharaoh (Ex. 10:9), I observe he says, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters: for we must hold a feast unto the Lord.”

When Joshua read the law (Josh. 8:35), I observe, “There was not a word which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” “Thrice in the year,” says Ex. 34:23, “shall all your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.”

And when I turn to the New Testament, I find children mentioned there as partaking in public acts of religion as well as in the Old.  When Paul was leaving the disciples at Tyre for the last time, I find it said (Acts 21:5),” They all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.”
   
Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him. “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him” (1 Sam. 3:7).  The Apostles themselves do not seem to have understood all that our Lord said at the time that it was spoken: “These things understood not His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him” (John 12:16).
   
Parents, comfort your minds with these examples.  Be not cast down because your children see not the full value of the means of grace now.  Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance. Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless you for your deed.

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My husband and I have been blessed to have girls who have never fought us on church attendance. They have always loved to go to church and they always look forward to going.
Even my girls who are up there almost every day while I work in various areas, our church is as much home to them as our house. They help clean it, they help move stuff, they know their way around it, they can tell guest where everything is at because they are intimately involved in the service of our church.
Yes my children are the ones that you will see roaming the halls barefoot because their socks and shoes are piled up in the middle of the gym floor somewhere, and they will be laughing and giggling while most likely they are found standing at white board in a room with a dry-erase marker teaching each other Sunday school lessons.
My girls love to be in the house of the Lord and I believe they love it because they know it’s home. The people there- they love as they love their aunts and uncles and cousins. They are family because we raised them with them. Our church is not a place we show up to for an hour on Sunday and then leave… Our girls are growing up serving in the church, not just making an appearance.
“I do not like to see them coming to church by themselves” I also have to say that this is one of things that has began to disturb me much here lately. The division of families in the church. We seem to have decided that is okay for our children who still live in our home to attend elsewhere than we do just because “at least they are going somewhere”.
My step-daughter moved in with us when she was around 13 years old, her mother and step-father lived in North Carolina. About a year later her mother and step-father moved back to Alabama. My husband and I extended an invite for them to check out our church. They were always welcome in our home as was their family and we wanted them to know that they were just as welcome in our church home. I truly believe that at that point in time, we could have served the Lord with them within the same assembly of believers had they chose to buy a home in our area. Being a family united is just that important to us.
I currently teach children’s church and it occurs during Sunday morning worship and I truly believe the children need to have this time to learn. However, I also believe they need to be in “big church” as well. I believe our children need to see us in corporate  worship. I cancel our children’s church for the Lord’s Supper and special events and holidays because I feel this is time that we should all be worshiping as a family. Communion should be taken together…
“Neither do I like to see what I call “a young people’s corner” in a church.” I have to admit that this is the first time that I have really thought about the youth corner…

 

So as for the youth corner, maybe we would not look over to see so much whispering, so much texting, if every once a while parents said, “No, honey, sorry but you are sitting with me… What your friend comes alone because their parents refuse to come? Well bring them to sit with us as well, and hopefully we can be an example to them for the family that they themselves will have one day…

So parents let us be diligent to teach our children to not forsake the assembly.
Let us first teach by example.
Then let us teach by making it important enough to discipline them over.
“You go because I said go… period”

Train Up A Child Day 6

>Yesterday our main point was to teach our children a knowledge of the Scriptures- to introduce them to the Bible-  to help them become intimately acquainted with the Word of God. This must be a priority.

Our next point is also a priority. As we look at the life of Christ in the Scriptures, He was a teacher. One of the most direct questions the disciples ever asked Jesus to teach them was “Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1

Train Up A Child Day Six

6.  Train them to a habit of prayer.
   
Prayer is the very life-breath of true religion.  It is one of the first evidences that a man is born again.  “Behold,” said the Lord of Saul, in the day he sent Ananias to him, “Behold, he prayeth” (Acts 9:11).  He had begun to pray, and that was proof enough.
   
Prayer was the distinguishing mark of the Lord’s people in the day that there began to be a separation between them and the world.  “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26).
   
Prayer is the peculiarity of all real Christians now.  They pray, — for they tell God their wants, their feelings, their desires, their fears; and mean what they say.  The nominal Christian may repeat prayers, and good prayers too, but he goes no further.
   
Prayer is the turning-point in a man’s soul.  Our ministry is unprofitable, and our labour is vain, till you are brought to your knees.  Till then, we have no hope about you.
   
Prayer is one great secret of spiritual prosperity.  When there is much private communion with God, your soul will grow like the grass after rain; when there is little, all will be at a standstill, you will barely keep your soul alive.  Show me a growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a strong Christian, a flourishing Christian, and sure am I, he is one that speaks often with his Lord.  He asks much, and he has much.  He tells Jesus everything, and so he always knows how to act.
   
Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands.  It is the best weapon to use in every difficulty, and the surest remedy in every trouble.  It is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need.  It is the silver trumpet God commands us to sound in all our necessity, and it is the cry He has promised always to attend to, even as a loving mother to the voice of her child.
   
Prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God. It is within reach of all, — the sick, the aged, the infirm, the paralytic, the blind, the poor, the unlearned, — all can pray.  It avails you nothing to plead want of memory, and want of learning, and want of books, and want of scholarship in this matter.  So long as you have a tongue to tell your soul’s state, you may and ought to pray.  Those words, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (Jas. 4:2), will be a fearful condemnation to many in the day of judgment.
   
Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies in your power to train them up to a habit of prayer.  Show them how to begin.  Tell them what to say.  Encourage them to persevere.  Remind them if they become careless and slack about it.  Let it not be your fault, at any rate, if they never call on the name of the Lord. 

This, remember, is the first step in religion which a child is able to take.  Long before he can read, you can teach him to kneel by his mother’s side, and repeat the simple words of prayer and praise which she puts in his mouth.  And as the first steps in any undertaking are always the most important, so is the manner in which your children’s prayers are prayed, a point which deserves your closest attention.  Few seem to know how much depends on this.  You must beware lest they get into a way of saying them in a hasty, careless, and irreverent manner.
   
You must beware of giving up the oversight of this matter to servants and nurses, or of trusting too much to your children doing it when left to themselves.  I cannot praise that mother who never looks after this most important part of her child’s daily life herself.  Surely if there be any habit which your own hand and eye should help in forming, it is the habit of prayer.

Believe me, if you never hear your children pray yourself, you are much to blame.  You are little wiser than the bird described in Job, “which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.  She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear” (Job 39:14-16).
   
Prayer is, of all habits, the one which we recollect the longest.  Many a grey- headed man could tell you how his mother used to make him pray in the days of his childhood.  Other things have passed away from his mind perhaps.  The church where he was taken to worship, the minister whom he heard preach, the companions who used to play with him, — all these, it may be, have passed from his memory, and left no mark behind.  But you will often find it is far different with his first prayers.  He will often be able to tell you where he knelt, and what he was taught to say, and even how his mother looked all the while.  It will come up as fresh before his mind’s eye as if it was but yesterday.
   
Reader, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let the seed-time of a prayerful habit pass away unimproved.  If you train your children to anything, train them, at least, to a habit of prayer.

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We taught our girls to pray before they could talk. I can remember my little 7 month old Shelby covering her eyes with the back of her hands while her little fingers curled in just slightly as we prayed before our meals and then her little head popping up at “Amen” with this most glorious smile on her face… she was learning to pray. The same came with my Bekah.
Then I remember the day that they were able to to say “Amen”. 
Then I remember the day that they “prayed in tongues” and the only word we could really catch was the ending “Amen” but we knew they were praying right along with us.
Then I remember when my little 2 year old Shelby would say the blessing before a meal and she would thank God for each individual item on her plate… except the item she did not want to eat. 🙂
We would ask her, Shelby why did you not bless the corn, “I don’t like corn” would be her reply…
Then we began the quiet times that were focused for her. And we prayed at meal time, we prayed at bedtime, we prayed at Bible study time… we prayed when we were scared, we prayed when someone hurt us… we prayed with them.
When our Shelby was 3 years old she was sitting on the couch and I was in the rocker giving the infant Bekah a bottle and Shelby out of no where says, “Momma, I need to ask Jesus into my heart.” I was shocked and surprised and simply said, “well okay Shelby, you can do that.” Then she did. She sat there on that couch in her precious 3 year old body and she prayed for Jesus to come into her heart, all on her own, no prompting or leading from me. When the Holy Spirit convicted her and said pray… she was ready… she knew how to pray. 
Several years ago we realized our girls meal time prayer was becoming a mere repetitional ritual that must be done before they knew we would let them consume food. The “God is great, God is good…” is wonderful to teach our children the habit of praying before a meal and being thankful for our food… but it was now time to push them a little farther.
We had them stop this repetition and begin praying with their own words. Then low and behold it did not take long for their own words to become repetitive and ritual, they had turned their own words into a new “God is great God is good…”
So my husband checked them on it and once again he had to remind them to pray for today. To pray with sincerity. To think of someone today who needs prayer for a specific thing, to think of one thing today that they were thankful for, then also thank God for this food today, and thank Him for being God.
We are also teaching our children to pray God’s Word. Now that they are old enough to study it for themselves, it is time they learn to get serious about praying according to God’s will and not their own.
A wonderful study that we have used with them to help teach this is Lord, Teach Me To Pray. If this is an area you struggle with yourself, do this study with your child, trust me you will learn as well 🙂 

Train Up A Child Day 5

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Train Up A Child Day Five

5.  Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.
   
You cannot make your children love the Bible, I allow.  None but the Holy Ghost can give us a heart to delight in the Word. But you can make your children acquainted with the Bible; and be sure they cannot be acquainted with that blessed book too soon, or too well.
   
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the foundation of all clear views of religion.  He that is well-grounded in it will not generally be found a waverer, and carried about by every wind of new doctrine.  Any system of training which does not make a knowledge of Scripture the first thing is unsafe and unsound. 

You have need to be careful on this point just now, for the devil is abroad, and error abounds.  Some are to be found amongst us who give the Church the honour due to Jesus Christ.  Some are to be found who make the sacraments saviours and passports to eternal life.  And some are to be found in like manner who honour a catechism more than the Bible, or fill the minds of their children with miserable little story-books, instead of the Scripture of truth. 

But if you love your children, let the simple Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all other books go down and take the second place.  Care not so much for their being mighty in the catechism, as for their being mighty in the Scriptures.  This is the training, believe me, that God will honour.  The Psalmist says of Him, ” Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name” (Ps.  138:2); and I think that He gives an especial blessing to all who try to magnify it among men.
   
See that your children read the Bible reverently.  Train them to look on it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, written by the Holy Ghost Himself, — all true, all profitable, and able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
   
See that they read it regularly.  Train them to regard it as their soul’s daily food, — as a thing essential to their soul’s daily health.  I know well you can not make this anything more than a form; but there is no telling the amount of sin which a mere form may indirectly restrain.
   
See that they read it all.  You need not shrink from bringing any doctrine before them.  You need not fancy that the leading doctrines of Christianity are things which children cannot understand.  Children understand far more of the Bible than we are apt to suppose.
   
Tell them of sin, its guilt, its consequences, its power, its vileness: you will find they can comprehend something of this.
   
Tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His work for our salvation, — the atonement, the cross, the blood, the sacrifice, the intercession: you will discover there is something not beyond them in all this.
   
Tell them of the work of the Holy Spirit in man’s heart, how He changes, and renews, and sanctifies, and purifies: you will soon see they can go along with you in some measure in this. In short, I suspect we have no idea how much a little child can take in of the length and breadth of the glorious gospel.  They see far more of these things than we suppose. 
   
Fill their minds with Scripture.  Let the Word dwell in them richly.  Give them the Bible, the whole Bible, even while they are young.

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One of the most irritating things to me is reading the curriculum of modern day Bible Study classes for children. The lack of depth, the way they dance around the truth, the way they treat children as though they have no ability to understand the things of God… when Christ Himself told the grown men of Israel to come to Him as children… it honestly makes me sick.
Then to see the youth materials and even the college… oh my… it’s like these writers sit in their smugness of knowledge and tell them they are just too ignorant to understand it all in it’s true depth… perhaps our current day of mediocrity has also swept into the church… or more likely the mediocrity began in the church and made it’s way as an ideal into our society. 
I am a firm believer that as goes the church goes the nation.
And as goes the home goes the church.
Children understand much more of the Word than we want to give them credit for, and they are usually hungrier for it.
Give them the meat.
They can handle it.
We never wasted our time with storybook bibles… we read to our girls straight from the real deal. We explain the words as we go, if we didn’t know it, the girls learned how we looked it up to discover the meaning. We also don’t avoid certain chapters because they will have us discussing uncomfortable subject matter. I can think of no better way to discuss or approach uncomfortable stuff than to do it with God’s Word.
So how much time in your home is devoted to you as a parent teaching your children the Scriptures? 
How often do you read the Scriptures with them?
When a problem arises do your children see you seek answers and direction from the Word of God?
When your children have a question do you answer them from your own opinion or do you say, “well let’s see what God has to say about this?”
It’s really just that simple 🙂
Our Bekah began having nightmares. She began to fear that someone would come in during the night and hurt her while we all slept. This fear had crept into her mind and she could not get it out. How were we to help her?
We sat down with her and we opened the Bible. We shared Scriptures with her that showed her how God was with her. We looked at several different verses and had her read them to us. Then we prayed with her.
We taught her how to get help from the Word of God, from God Himself…
A few mornings later she came running into our bedroom and joyfully exclaimed, “Momma, God took all those bad dreams away!” She had experienced the mighty hand of deliverance of her God and she knew it was God who had done it and not us and not her own strength or mere mind power or chance. God had once again showed Himself to be God.
As a Bible study teacher I have finally come to realize the truth that Mr Ryle points out in the beginning of this post, I cannot force anyone to fall in love with the Word of God and love studying it the way I do… but that doesn’t mean I stop teaching.
That doesn’t mean I stop trying.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t keep asking… have you had your quiet time this morning? 
I can’t force love of the Bible, but I can lay a foundation of it’s truth, and teach my children to respect it.

Train Up A Child Day 4

 

Train Up A Child Day Four

4.  Train with this thought continually before your eyes — that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.
   
Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love them, think often of their souls.  No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests.  No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die. The world, with all its glory, shall pass away; the hills shall melt; the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll; the sun shall cease to shine.  But the spirit which dwells in those little creatures, whom you love so well, shall outlive them all, and whether in happiness or misery (to speak as a man) will depend on you.
   
This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children.  In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, “How will this affect their souls?”
   
Soul love is the soul of all love.  To pet and pamper and indulge your child, as if this world was all he had to look to, and this life the only season for happiness — to do this is not true love, but cruelty.  It is treating him like some beast of the earth, which has but one world to look to, and nothing after death.  It is hiding from him that grand truth, which he ought to be made to learn from his very infancy, — that the chief end of his life is the salvation of his soul.
   
A true Christian must be no slave to fashion, if he would train his child for heaven.  He must not be content to do things merely because they are the custom of the world; to teach them and instruct them in certain ways, merely because it is usual; to allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because everybody else reads them; to let them form habits of a doubtful tendency, merely because they are the habits of the day.  He must train with an eye to his children’s souls. 

He must not be ashamed to hear his training called singular and strange.  What if it is? The time is short, — the fashion of this world passeth away.  He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for earth, — for God, rather than for man, — he is the parent that will be called wise at last.

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I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have heard my children say, “I am not allowed to watch that” or “read that” or “listen to that” or “play with that” or “go there”. But I am always so proud of them because the times I have overheard it, it was said with firm conviction. I pray that it will always be that way.
Our Shelby is 10 now… so there are beginning to become times when I catch a hint of sarcasm or disappointment when she mutters her restriction… but she mutters it still. Though I would rather it be said because she also fully believes and understands the why… at these muttered times I will accept the unhappy obedience, because at the very least she chose to honor our standards instead of going her own way.
Once again I pray that this is choice that our girls continues to walk in…
I also can’t tell you the times that I had teachers look at me like I was crazy because I came in with a book that was sent home for my child to read and explained to the teacher why it was not an appropriate book for her to be reading and she would take a zero on the project before she placed the lies in the page in her mind.
To one of these occasions the teacher replied, “I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years and the kids have always read and enjoyed this book, it’s mere fantasy
I wanted to say with great sarcasm, “ummm yes and the children who read these kind of books are the ones who are now running our country, making our tv shows and movies, and singing our songs on the radio, and writing new books, including our public school curriculum, and what a wonderful, wholesome, moral, and godly job they are doing.”

But I kept my mouth shut and walked away because I felt I had made my stand by returning the book and sometimes you just need to shut up and led God do the point proving.

Not a one of us want to see our children ridiculed.
Good grief, not a one of us wants to be ridiculed.
But we must be willing to be ridiculed, mocked, even hated if that’s what standing for Christ and His truth leads to.
We must also teach our children this confidence by example.
When they see we are willing to go through the fire to stand for righteousness, to stand on the side of the Lord, then they will see we really believe what we ask of them.
So many will spend hours with their children training them to be skilled golfers, skilled baseball players, skilled pianist, skilled mathematicians, skilled beauty queens and cheerleaders… focusing them on how to get the most out of this earth. How to have more than they had, always more, bigger, better, more success here on earth, but yet they have taught their children nothing of eternal value.
How much are you investing in the eternal soul of the little ones in your life?
Are you training them to please men?
Or are you training them to please God?

>Train Up A Child Day 3

>So far in this journey of learning what it means to train up a child we have looked at how important it is for us to teach our children the truth of the Word of God. We have looked at how important it is for us to be purposeful in teaching our children how to think with God’s thoughts.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

When God gave us this passage of Scripture He did not give it to tell us that we could never understand Him or His ways, although often that is how many choose to interpret it. He simply is saying you, we, us, me cannot on our own think the way God thinks. We need to trust in His Word not our own thoughts or ways. Our thoughts will not be His thoughts and our ways will not be His ways, that’s why He gave us His Word. His Word is filled with His thoughts and His ways. We are to line our thoughts and ways up with His and be guided by His thoughts not our own. And this is how we are to teach our children to think.

We also saw how although our children need to respect and obey us, we are not to bring this about in them through fear and intimidation. We must first be sure that our children fully understand how much we love them with true affection and kindness. This kind of love of course is not gained though giving them everything they want and desire… it is not meant to be a pampering love… it is meant to be a perfecting love. Our children must first understand that they are loved before they will be willing to obey and love back with joyful obedience.

  There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casts out fear,
 because fear involves punishment,
and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 
We love, because He first loved us. 
1 John 4:18-19
So now we move on to point 3 in JC Ryle’s, The Duties of Parents
Train Up A Child Day Three
3.  Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you.

Grace is the strongest of all principles.  See what a revolution grace effects when it comes into the heart of an old sinner, — how it overturns the strongholds of Satan, — how it casts down mountains, fills up valleys, — makes crooked things straight, — and new creates the whole man.  Truly nothing is impossible to grace.  Nature, too, is very strong.  See how it struggles against the things of the kingdom of God, — how it fights against every attempt to be more holy, — how it keeps up an unceasing warfare within us to the last hour of life. Nature indeed is strong.
   
But after nature and grace, undoubtedly, there is nothing more powerful than education.  Early habits (if I may so speak) are everything with us, under God.  We are made what we are by training.  Our character takes the form of that mould into which our first years are cast. 
  
We depend, in a vast measure, on those who bring us up.  We get from them a colour, a taste, a bias which cling to us more or less all our lives.  We catch the language of our nurses and mothers, and learn to speak it almost insensibly, and unquestionably we catch something of their manners, ways, and mind at the same time. 

Time only will show, I suspect, how much we all owe to early impressions, and how many things in us may be traced up to seeds sown in the days of our very infancy, by those who were about us.  A very learned Englishman, Mr.  Locke, has gone so far as to say: “That of all the men we meet with, nine parts out of ten are what they are, good or bad, useful or not, according to their education.”
   
And all this is one of God’s merciful arrangements.  He gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay.  He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away.  Once let slip, it is gone for ever. 

Beware of that miserable delusion into which some have fallen, — that parents can do nothing for their children, that you must leave them alone, wait for grace, and sit still.  These persons have wishes for their children in Balaam’s fashion, — they would like them to die the death of the righteous man, but they do nothing to make them live his life.  They desire much, and have nothing.  And the devil rejoices to see such reasoning, just as he always does over anything which seems to excuse indolence, or to encourage neglect of means.
  
I know that you cannot convert your child.  I know well that they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of God.  But I know also that God says expressly, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and that He never laid a command on man which He would not give man grace to perform.  And I know, too, that our duty is not to stand still and dispute, but to go forward and obey.  It is just in the going forward that God will meet us.  The path of obedience is the way in which He gives the blessing.  We have only to do as the servants were commanded at the marriage feast in Cana, to fill the water-pots with water, and we may safely leave it to the Lord to turn that water into wine.

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I don’t know about you, but I honestly can say that I do not know one parent who has ever said, “Yeh well, I just as soon my kid spend eternity in hell.” I can’t think of one parent that doesn’t hope or even expect their child to go to heaven. But how many of these same parents are pro-active in educating their children on how to be saved?
How many choose to never teach their children the Word of God or even put them in a place where it can be taught to them by some else, yet expect them to be good and righteous enough all on their own and just slide right on in to heavens gate all on their own.
How many don’t make the Word a priority?
How many don’t make church a priority?
How many don’t make Christ a priority?
Think about it?
How many churches have turned the children’s ministry into playtime and babysitting and have not even bothered to do more than keep the kids out of the way of the adults?
Oh precious ones lay a foundation of education.
Our God is a God of knowledge and He desires His children to grow in the knowledge of Him.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
Hosea 4:6
Perhaps you are reading this and you missed the boat with your own children. Maybe you were not born again in Christ until your own children were grown… it’s not over. A parent never stops teaching their children. You teach them by your own obedience to the Word. You can lead them by example even when you are old and they have children of their own.

I know that is only by the grace of God that He saved me when He did. I thank God that He saved me in enough time to teach my children His ways, because I know left to myself… I never would have. I would have just hoped for heaven like many others. Therefore, I cannot ever condemn a parent for missing the boat, but I will encourage and exhort you to get on the boat now!

Teach your grandkids.
Teach the children in your neighborhood.
Teach in the nursery or in the children’s ministry.
Teach.
Educate.
Make known the way of salvation.
Make it known to all who will sit and listen.
then teach them the statutes and the laws,
and make known to them
the way in which they are to walk
and the work they are to do.
Exodus 18:20

>Train Up A Child Day 2

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Train Up A Child Day Two
2.  Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience.  I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean that you should let him see that you love him.
 Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct.  Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, — these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, — these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart. 
Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive.  There is that in all our minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience.  We are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them at all.

   
Now children’s minds are cast in much the same mould as our own.  Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back.  It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door.  But let them only see that you have an affectionate feeling towards them, — that you are really desirous to make them happy, and do them good, — that if you punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that, like the pelican, you would give your heart’s blood to nourish their souls; let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your own. 

But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is ever to be won.  And surely reason itself might teach us this lesson.  Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment.  We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good.  They are like young plants, and need gentle watering, — often, but little at a time.

We must not expect all things at once.  We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear.  Their minds are like a lump of metal — not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows.  Their understandings are like narrow-necked vessels: we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost.  “Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,” must be our rule.  The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. 

Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done.

Nothing will compensate for the absence of this tenderness and love.  A minister may speak the truth as it is in Jesus, clearly, forcibly, unanswerably; but if he does not speak it in love, few souls will be won.  Just so you must set before your children their duty, — command, threaten, punish, reason, — but if affection be wanting in your treatment, your labour will be all in vain.

Love is one grand secret of successful training.  Anger and harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will soon cease to have his respect.  A father who speaks to his son as Saul did to Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:30), need not expect to retain his influence over that son’s mind.
  
Try hard to keep up a hold on your child’s affections.  It is a dangerous thing to make your children afraid of you. Anything is almost better than reserve and constraint between your child and yourself; and this will come in with fear.  Fear puts an end to openness of manner; — fear leads to concealment; — fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and leads to many a lie. 

There is a mine of truth in the Apostle’s words to the Colossians: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Col. 3:21).  Let not the advice it contains be overlooked.

~ JC Ryle

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When I was nineteen years old I discovered myself to be pregnant out of wedlock. I had discovered this a month or so after I had finally ended the unhealthy relationship that I was involved in. I did not know what to do, but I did know who I could go to. 
I was blessed with parents that knew how to discipline me, but also knew how to love me. I have never in all my life ever doubted my parents’ love for me. I have heard the angry voice of both my mother and father yet even through the few well deserved belt whippings, the multiple groundings, the priviledge removals, and the countless verbal rebukes to straighten up I always felt loved.
I hope and pray that my girls know this secure love from me as well.
At barely nineteen and pregnant I knew that the first ones I should and could go to were my parents. Now I was a Daddy’s girl and I couldn’t stand the thought of the look of disappointment that I knew would have to cross my Daddy’s face, so I went to my Momma first and let her break the news to Daddy. She was my advocate, as she should be. That’s what Mom’s are for…
I remember the anxiousness that I felt when I wondered what my Daddy would do when he saw me after he had heard and processed my situation. But my Daddy loved me. He was hurt. He was disappointed, but he loved me still. 
My parents raised me with tenderness, kindness, and affection. I had a healthy fear and respect for my parents, but I was not afraid of them. So even though I had my moments of lying and not sharing all the info in order to try to get by with things that I knew they would not approve of… I never lied out of the fear of speaking openly with them about my opinions, thoughts, or questions. And when caught red-handed and called upon to give an account I didn’t fear giving the truth and taking the consequences (even though I would rather have not gotten caught, lol).    
The simple truth is that the children in our lives need to know that we love them regardless.
Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
Proverbs 27:5
The children in our lives need affection, they need attention. It is not a want, it is indeed a need. It is so needed that they will choose negative attention over no attention every time. They will choose forced discipline for purposeful disobedience over no affection every time. Even worse, many children will also accept flat-out abuse over being ignored. Oh how they need our love.
Look around you. Look in the eyes of the children around you. Pay attention. Know that we adults must be sincere. We must speak and be truth to the children in our lives. We cannot fake affection. They are not stupid and they cannot be fooled, they know if you truly have affection for them or if you are just dealing with their presence. A child’s spirit can be quite sensitive to the true character and motives of an adult. Love them with sincerity.
Love the children in your lives with the 1 Corinthians 13 love…
Be patient
Be kind
Be humble
Be the adult
Be unselfish
Be stable
Be forgiving
Be the example of Christ 
Bear their tantrums
Believe they can be mighty men and women of God
Hope in their future in Christ
Endure their immaturity, their personality, their lack of understanding
Love them in spite of themselves

Train Up A Child Day 1

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

I came across this article by JC Ryle entitled The Duties of Parents. In it he has this to say about the Scripture verse above:

But, after all, how little is the substance of this text regarded! The doctrine it contains appears scarcely known, the duty it puts before us seems fearfully seldom practiced.  Reader, do I not speak the truth? It cannot be said that the subject is a new one.  The world is old, and we have the experience of nearly six thousand years to help us.  We live in days when there is a mighty zeal for education in every quarter.  We hear of new schools rising on all sides.  We are told of new systems, and new books for the young, of every sort and description.  And still for all this, the vast majority of children are manifestly not trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up to man’s estate, they do not walk with God.  Now how shall we account for this state of things? The plain truth is, the Lord’s commandment in our text is not regarded; and therefore the Lord’s promise in our text is not fulfilled.

Reader, these things may well give rise to great searchings of heart.  Suffer then a word of exhortation from a minister, about the right training of children.  Believe me, the subject is one that should come home to every conscience, and make every one ask himself the question, “Am I in this matter doing what I can?”

I read this and I did have to ask myself if I was indeed, in this matter, doing what I can to fully regard this text, this promise of my God, this instruction in His Word. Because I want to. I want to be a parent who leads my child in the way God would have them go… not my way, not their way, but His way.

So I am going to dig into this verse with Mr Ryle and I invite you to join me. His article contains 17 points. I plan to dig into one point a day, because the article was quite overwhelming to try to take it all in one bite.

Perhaps you are reading this and you don’t have children or you have already raised your children… well these are the words of JC Ryle to you concerning this subject:

It is a subject that concerns almost all.  There is hardly a household that it does not touch.  Parents, nurses, teachers, godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, — all have an interest in it.  Few can be found, I think, who might not influence some parent in the management of his family, or affect the training of some child by suggestion or advice.  All of us, I suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly, and I wish to stir up all to bear this in remembrance.  

So don’t disregard this information no matter what your “stage” is in life. If you live in this world you will have an influence on those around you, especially any children who are watching you, even if you don’t want to admit or claim yourself responsible for what ever behavior others see in you. They still see. Little eyes and hearts and minds are always watching and recording and processing.

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Train Up A Child Day One

1.  First, then, if you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they would.

Remember children are born with a decided bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong.  The mother cannot tell what her tender infant may grow up to be, — tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish he may be any of these things or not, — it is all uncertain.  But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. 

It is natural to us to do wrong.  “Foolishness,” says Solomon, “is bound in the heart of a child” (Prov. 22:15).  “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15).  Our hearts are like the earth on which we tread; let it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.  If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one weak and blind; but for pity’s sake, give him not up to his own wayward tastes and inclinations. 

It must not be his likings and wishes that are consulted.  He knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body.  You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he shall drink, and how he shall be clothed.  Be consistent, and deal with his mind in like manner.  Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies.

If you cannot make up your mind to this first principle of Christian training, it is useless for you to read any further. Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a child’s mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.

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Oh, we hold our newborn babes in our arms and we look into the eyes of this precious, glorious creation of our God and all we can think is how absolutely perfect they are…

We cannot imagine that within that beauty in our arms is a cold, sinful, wicked heart that is inclined to evil and rebellion against everything good, right, and holy. Yet inside this small, weak, infant frame is indeed a deceitful heart that left to itself has no bounds on wickedness. 

From the very beginning we need to begin to teach our children the will and the way of God through the Word of God. It is never too soon. I became a wholly surrendered believer when my Shelby was 6 months old. She was drug to precept classes from the time she was 7 months old. She sat in the floor and played while the teacher taught and I believe with all my heart that she soaked up as much as me. Her mind was open and her ears were listening though her hands made her appear to be occupied with toys.

When I was pregnant with my youngest I would sing to her all the time… well actually I just sing around the house all the time period. One of the songs I sang the most in my last pregnancy was “You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all…” One day, several years later, while doing the laundry I began singing this song again. My youngest turned to me and said, “Mommy you used to sing that song to me when I was in your tummy!

Wow!

Needless to say I was floored to tears!

Teach your children the way of God.
Begin teaching them in the womb, and never stop.

Do not leave them to figure things out for themselves.

I mean how easily do you understand your own wants and desires, and how and why they so contrast with what God says is right, good, and holy? And yet we expect our children to make heads and tails of this on their own?

Our children need us.

Children need us.

Teach them.

The world knows how to teach them how to think.
If we don’t teach them how to think, I can guarantee you that the world, that Satan, will.

If you have any doubts of the power of the world on your child’s thought process, if you choose to not be purposeful and active in teaching them the will and way of God according to the Word of God… just remember the Holocaust. Hitler knew what he was doing. He went after the children, Propaganda and Children during the Hitler Years.

We need to be proactive in teaching our children instead of just trying to un-teach what has already been taught. Your children will either weigh other’s words and teachings against what you have already taught them or they will weigh your countered words against what others have first taught (that is if they even think to question what they were taught or remember to share with you what all has been taught). 

If we put our children in public school we have a precious five years to fill their minds and hearts full of a foundation of truth that we must continue to build on.  A precious five years to give them a plumb line. A plumb line that they will have to use to weigh, to line up, the words of teachers and friends for years to come. It is our job to give them the tools that are needed to discern truth from error when we are not there to help them. 

Are we doing it?

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God  and of Christ Jesus,  who is to judge the living and the dead,  and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the word;  be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort,  with great patience and instruction.  For the time will come  when they will not endure sound doctrine;  but wanting to have their ears tickled,  they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

2 Timothy 4:1-3