Thursday, February 27, 2014

Like a Shepherd 4: Bringing the Word: Parenting as Prophet

Our Wednesday MOMs bible study continues to work through Joel Beeke's excellent book on parenting and we find ourselves this week looking at how we parent as prophets, bringing God's word of both blessing and solemn warnings to the minds and hearts of our children. Prophets speak the Word of God to God's people and in doing so, we teach our children what they are to believe concerning God and what God requires of them. The word is applied through instruction, correction, comfort, and the modeling of the Christian life by their parents.
Far from mere intellectual ascent, like the prophets, proclaiming the Word of God to our children should be an irresistible calling lit by the fire of faith and love. Jeremiah's love for the Word was "in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones. I was weary of holding it back and could not." Jer.20:9.
The words of Deut.6:4-9 are so rich in teaching. Here are but a few take-aways plus some additional helps:
1. Our parenting as prophet finds its authority in the God of the covenant. The Lord our God is one. God is identified here as Israel's Supreme Commander. This authority is not cultural or situational and is applicable forever.
2. Our parenting as prophet is motivated by love for God. How we parent is an indication of our love for God and His Word. If you love me, keep my commandments. All that we do should be an overflow of our love for God. His commandments are pressed, or embossed on the hearts of His people.
3. Our parenting is to be done as we live. While we as Christian parents should desire and carry out times of formal bible reading, praying and family worship, we are to teach our children as we live, or as Lou Priolo  author of Teach Them Diligently calls it, teaching in the milieu. Any place, any time, at home, wherever life takes us. His commandments should govern what we do, what we say, and what we think.
4.We as parents are ultimately responsible for our children's spiritual education. Home is the little kingdom, the nursery of heaven, a greenhouse for God where
seeds are planted the minds and hearts of our babies, where they are watered in love, pruned with discipline and correction, and protected from outside elements that would be harmful.
5. The voice of his mother is the sweetest sound in a baby's world. Our role as prophet begins at the moment of conception and we know that baby hears every word his momma speaks. We would do well to begin reading, praying and singing the words of scripture to baby from the moment his presence is known.
6. Use events throughout the day to apply the truth of scripture to Junior's life. Do everything without complaining or grumbling. Phil.2:4. God tells us:
Do. Do what? Everything. God is interested in all of life. Do how? Without complaining or grumbling. Junior, you may not argue or complain when:
 
*you don't like your breakfast
*you must stop playing
*you are told it's bedtime
*you are told to finish your school work
*what you want to do is forbidden by God or your parents
This verse reminds us that it is difficult, even impossible to do all that God commands us, and that is why we need Jesus.
7. Pray the scriptures with your children with their names in the verses. Romans 12:9,10: Help Junior to be honest. Help Junior to hate what is evil. Give Junior goodness to cling to. Teach Junior to be kind and affectionate with brotherly love, teaching him to let others go first.
8. Sing with them. As we heard this last Lord's Day, worship is the result of missions. Singing is the sound of heaven. Sounding like Pavarotti is not the goal. Filling the hearts and minds of our children through the singing the psalms, hymns, and songs of the faith is the goal. Our children will be filled with something and while they are young you still get to choose. Choose well.
9. Model godliness as you live. Luke tells us blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it. 11:28. Children (and their parents :) learn more easily, eagerly and quickly when we are living for the purpose of doing. This is how Jesus taught. He used every event to talk to His disciples and followers about God. He used fig trees, sparrows, parties, wheat, foxes, wine, camels, gates and doors, sheep and lambs, pearls, mustard seed, weather, money, dirt, and the hair on their heads truth that was useful for living that would bring glory to God. As parents we are to model godliness. Our children should see that their parents labor daily, shoulder to shoulder with a firm commitment to Jesus Christ. They need to know that their parents love one another and hate sin, that Jesus is their only hope, that forgiveness is offered and accepted, that life in Christ is the source of true joy, that children are a cherished gift from God.
10. Being a parent is not the primary goal in having children. They are to be reared for God's glory to fulfill His purposes for their lives in His kingdom.  We are rearing them to grow in wisdom, favor and stature with God and man and to leave home for the purposes to which God has called them.
 
 





Monday, February 24, 2014

Mentoring in a Nutshell

Here's a repost on mentoring  especially for the ladies from the Women in the Church leadership training this past weekend.
"Most Christians would rather die than think-- in fact, they do," said Bertrand Russell, mathematician, philosopher, social critic and all-around fun guy. That statement clearly indicates he never met the women of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS. Actually, we should probably take a break every now and then. My friend the CE Director and I have a standing dialogue. When she answers the phone I say, "I've been thinking." Then she shrieks, "Oh no!"
Romans 12:2 reads "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Being conformed to the image of Christ is a process of the heart and mind that is transformed by the Word of God. In response to that Christian "mindset" our Women in the Church ministry and the Christian Education ministry provide numerous opportunities for us to rub shoulders and lives with other women in order to serve as iron sharpening iron. It's called mentoring.

While many are trying to forget high school English in these days near graduation you may still remember Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who was left in the hands of Mentor while his father marched off to the Trojan War. The very word "mentor" means to cause another to think. Just what are we encouraging one another to think about? The Gospel.

The apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2 writes, "But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our lives because you had become very dear to us." Mentoring is stewardship of the Gospel. How?
1. A mentor is approved by God. God confirms or commends His people as stewards of His word in order to protect it as Paul later writes in Titus 2. "...that the Word of God may not be blasphemed." In the faithful day to day living of our lives the truth and fruitfulness of the Word should be evident.
2. A mentor is entrusted with the Gospel. To put into trust is to invest and the stewardship of the Gospel is performed with full confidence that what will result is the multiplication and maturation of believers.
3.A mentor speaks not for the pleasing or praise of men, but to please God who tests our hearts. The primary goal of mentoring is God's, not our own. The fact that God tests our hearts is a conviction, a guard against self aggrandizement and a comfort in that He knows the motives of our heart at all times.
4. A mentor ministers with sincerity. Flattery is sinful insincerity used to manipulate the heart and affections of the hearer toward the flatterer or toward the hearer. Its aim is to make one or both think more highly of herself than she should, but especially to the benefit of the flatterer. Mentoring is not about increasing self-esteem. It is about filling another with the truth and practicality of the scriptures.
5. A mentor seeks to promote the spiritual well-being of the other but is not a demanding superior. The apostles fought this battle all the time as they shooed away from Jesus those whom they determined to be pesky interlopers. Mentors always have the glory of God and the good of His people foremost in their ministry.
6. A mentor is gentle as a nursing mother cherishes her children. Not how I tend to think of Paul. We love because God first loved us. The sin-cracked love of man is nothing to be compared with the enduring, complete, nourishing love displayed on the cross of Christ.
7. A mentor shares the Gospel. Every woman's greatest need is the Gospel of Christ. My Sunday School teacher's lessons this semester have been how the answers to life's greatest questions are generally found in our theology. A mentor knows and gives the life-giving Word of God. Anything else is merely advice.
8. A mentor lives life with the other. "...we shared not only the Gospel, but our lives..." Being a mentor is not just giving someone a book. It is living the Book with them. It is "follow me as I follow Christ." The Gospel in the Word and the Gospel in a life are a powerful force that changes the lives of men and women, boys and girls, now and forever. Mentoring is a partner in the process of sanctification.

How can this happen? How can I be a mentor or how can I be mentored? While we don't want to try to engineer relationships, we can nevertheless provide platforms where the opportunity for rubbing shoulders and lives is made possible. Bible studies, discipleship groups, community groups, book clubs, prayer groups, crafts for missions or shut-ins, etc. all provide a platform for women to get to know one another beyond the "Hi, I'm fine how are you."  If you'd like to mentor someone, pray that the Lord would send you one. If you don't want to mentor, you'd better not pray for this to happen! God sends his sheep. And don't forget living in the niche. We sit in the same pew each Sunday, visit afterward with our personal friends, hope the sermon speaks to our needs, and lunch with those who make little or no demands. It's called comfort zone. My challenge is that instead of looking for your niche be the niche for someone else.

And one more something to toss in. Remember Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18? Paul came and stayed "some time" with them as they together made tents and headed for Paul's evening preaching at the synagogue. Later they came upon Apollos who was a fine preacher of one sermon. Aquila and Priscilla taught him a better way, a more complete Gospel. Their mentoring ministry was a family way of life. And how about Elizabeth as she mentors Mary the mother of the yet to be born Jesus. Talk about ministry in a time of crisis. Elizabeth served as counselor to the mother of the Wonderful Counselor who intercedes for us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. All of our mentoring and counsel must, like Christ's, be awash in prayer and partnered with the Holy Spirit.

This is probably enough thinking for one day on this subject, so I leave you a few bullets:
*Be obedient to answer the command to mentor in Titus 2.
*Be available. You can't be everything to everyone but you can be something to someone.
*Be purposeful while not excluding the work of Providence.
*Be biblical in what you say and live.
*Be real. There's more than enough phony baloney out there as it is.
*Be yourself. God has given each of us a unique ministry.
*Be a good listener.
*Be aware of your every day need for the Gospel.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Benj's Valentine Blog

Hey Grammy. This will make a good blog.
Why don't you make a blog.
We're covering strawberries with chocolate.
 Hey.I want to put eyes on this one.
And a nose and a white beard. 
 Hey. Let's put a beard on an Oreo.
Hey. Look at this one, Grammy.
He has six eyes.
 Then we all went out to play basketball.
We played G-R-A-M-M-Y.
Whoever loses has to hug Grammy.
Feeling the love this Valentine's Day.

Like a Shepherd 3: Truths You CAN Teach Your Children

In this world of "maybe for you but not for me," there are truths that you can teach your children.  Mind you, there are more biblical truths than are expressed here, but for those swirling days of uncertainty, here are a few of which moms and their little lambs can be sure. As you read through, remember this is a summary of much, much more. CDs of our time on Wednesday mornings are available in the Learning Resource Center at First Pres Jackson.


1. There is a God and He can be known. In teaching our children we always begin with God because everything is to be seen in relation to Him. In the bible God begins with God. In the beginning God. That little sentence is packed with wondrous truths to tell Junior.
*God always has been. There has never been a time when He was not. God cannot be contained by time, which is a product of His creation. Time tells us that God is orderly and dependable. We can be sure the sun will come up every day. Ps.104:19-23. Time teaches us to make good use of each day Ps.90:12, when it is time to work and when to rest, that though our days may be ordinary and routine (ordinary and routine is a BLESSING) they are nevertheless an opportunity to be filled with God, knowing Him, loving Him, enjoying and bringing glory to Him as we live.
*God is everywhere! God is not scurrying around trying to be here and there all at once. God's omnipresence means He cannot be contained or measured by space. Tell Junior He is in the front seat and the back seat of every car everywhere all the time. Stack a series of bowls in the sink and fill them with running water. Let Junior try to  keep that water from filling the next bowl and the next bowl and the sink....God fills every space everywhere with Himself all the time. He cannot be contained.
*God is here with us. He is transcendent, or over all, but He is imminent, or very near. We are never alone. His nearness brings us comfort, courage, strength and helps us to obey. He hears what we say and knows what we think. Ps.19:3. We need never feel alone and the wicked should never feel safe.
*We know God by what He has created. Ps.19:1;Romans 1:20a. We can see the work of nature. This is called general revelation where God reveals His creative and sustaining power in all we see. God also reveals Himself to certain people in certain times and in certain ways. This is called special revelation. God reveals Himself in His Word, through the visions, dreams and announcements we read in the Bible and especially and most fully in Jesus. God "took on" flesh and skin to reveal Himself to us.
2. Man is made by God and we must respond to Him. God reveals Himself in the Bible and we believe the bible is God-breathed truth. Since we believe the bible is true, we must believe what it says about us and our lives. Man is made in the image of God and is different from anything else God made. Gen.1:27. He made us in His image in order for us to live in relationship with Him and others. It is God who has made us and we are His. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Ps.100.

3.God tells us in His word how we are to live through the moral law. The ten commandments of Ex.20 tell us how to live with God (1-4) and how to live with our neighbor (5-10). We love God's law for many reasons. Here are three:
*The law shows us what God expects of us.
*The law show us that on our own we cannot live in a way that pleases God.
*The law shows us that we need Jesus.
The law is like holding a mirror up in front of our faces helping us see what we really are like. When we love God we want to see what we are really like so that we can bring glory to Him by being made more and more like Jesus.
4. Sin and its consequences are very serious. Sin is doing what God forbids and not doing what He commands. Sin will take you further than you planned to go. Sin will keep you longer than you planned to stay. Sin will cost you more than you planned to spend.
*No matter who we hurt, sin is always first against God Ps.51:4.
*Sin separates us from each other and from God. Adam and Eve hid from God and then began blaming one another for what they had done.
*All sin needs to be punished and paid for. Romans 6:23; Heb.10:31 We cannot pay for our sins with tears, hard work, or money.
5. Jesus is God's provision for sin. John 3:16,17.
*God loves you. God's love is not a feeling, it is an action. He loved so much that He gave.
*Jesus came to live for you. Jesus is holy and sinless. He never disobeyed His parents, He loved God's law and obeying the law made Him happy. Jesus came to love God and to live perfectly for us.
*Jesus came to die for you. God insists that our sins be paid for and Jesus paid that price in His suffering and death on the cross. All of the sins of all of those for whom He died were piled on Him on the cross in unbearable suffering. When Jesus said, "It is finished," as He died, He tells us that His life and death for us were enough and forever satisfying to meet God's requirements.
6. Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. To be forgiven means to treat another person as if they had never hurt you. To be sorry for sin is to say with my mind and heart and mouth that I know and see that what I have done has broken God's heart and your heart.  In order to be forgiven by God we must hate our sin and turn away from it because it is displeasing to God. Then we must accept the gift of faith that God gives us through Jesus in order to be forgiven. Eph.2:4. Ps.120:16 tells us that the best thing to do with that wonderful gift is to take it and call upon the name of the Lord.
7. True faith in God is an absolute security that cannot be taken away. John 10:27-30. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand! God holds us tighter than anything and anyone. No true believer in Jesus Christ can be separated from God our Heavenly Father. Ro.8:38,39.
8. God intends for us to be holy, which is the pathway to happiness. There is no way to begin to do this truth justice in a paragraph. God has attributes that He does not share with man: Self-existence, immutability (He never changes and cannot change), eternity, omnipresence, simplicity (a subject for another lesson). He has attributes that are shared with man: knowledge, wisdom, patience, wrath, jealousy, order, kindness, etc. God is holy because He is wholly all of these attributes in their full perfection all the time. Try to wrap your mind around that. In this life we will not be holy because of our finite humanity and our sinfulness. But 1 John 3:2 assures us that one day when we are with Him we will be like Him as we will no longer sin, and until that day we are to continually purify ourselves. In acting in a way that is always in concert with His attributes, God is about the business of bringing everything together under one head, Jesus Christ. His work is holy in that it is about a special sacred purpose. We are to be holy as well as in being set apart for use in God's kingdom in order to be salt and light, bringing glory to Him with all of our heart and soul and might. The blessedness of the Sermon on the Mount speaks of happiness that comes from joy in living for use in God's kingdom. There is nothing on earth that will satisfy us and our hearts as Jesus does.
9. Heaven is a real place of joy where those who trust in Jesus will live forever.
Heaven speaks of the blessed marriage of holiness and happiness. We must teach our children that eternal rest in heaven is a glorious place prepared for us where we will live in perfect holiness, worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ with the saints forever. This is a wondrous hope and promise that should thrill us to tell our children and live in such a way that speaks of the glory to come for those whose hearts trust in Jesus. In the meantime we pray with our children Col.3:1,2 If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on the things of earth.
 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spiritual Conversations as You Live

cu·ri·ous adjective \ˈkyr-ē-əs\

: having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone.
Do you have a young child who constantly asks questions? Good! Curiosity, inborn or cultivated, can be a tremendous asset in teaching children in general, and in teaching them about God specifically. And how fabulous if both you AND Junior are curious. Curious about what? People, places, history, art, music, plants, architecture, weather, languages, athletics, physics, cooking, economics, books, mathematics, crafts, chemistry, electricity, and on and on and on. Except that list looks, well, boring. And how do I get from weather to Jesus if I'm wanting to have a conversation with Junior of some spiritual depth? You've got to get to know Junior first. That involves time together away from distractions, busyness and electronics.
 
Get to know this Junior, for example. Ever since he was a little tapper he'd say, "Grammy, let's go sit on the porch and have a drink." Apple juice in a little bottle, that is. And we'd talk. "Benj, how do you suppose those clouds got in the sky?" Without taking so much as a breath he answered, "God took the corners of the world and shook 'em. And there were those clouds." Great opportunity to tell him, "Right on!" God told Job that He made the clouds like a sweater for the ocean to wear. Some of those clouds look like sweaters to me. What do they look like to you? And on you go with conversation about the magnificence of creation and what that reveals to us about God.
You also get to play "Which would you rather?" Apple juice or ginger ale? Ginger ale or ice cream? Ice cream or a movie? The Fox and the Hound or Cars? Getting to know the mind of a child, what he's interested in, and just keeping the conversation going over the days, weeks and months is important. If you want Junior to talk to you when he's 11, or 16, or 26, learn to converse with him while he is young.
 
Read to and with Junior. C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know we are not alone." Stories take you to places you've never been, to people you haven't met, to events past and future, to situations and circumstances that force the reader to ask, "What would I do?" We can live vicariously through the adventures of another on the written page. And most of all, we gain access to the primary way that God communicates with us. The Bible. Christians, more than anyone, should be book-lovers. THE BOOK-lover. The Living Word, Jesus, speaks to us on the pages of scripture. He is the ultimate word-crafter and inspires us to think, read, and write. Introducing your children to the world of books and good authors provides another way to talk with them about what they are thinking, what they fear, and what they would do. "Why do you suppose Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden) is so disagreeable?" Hmmm? "Where does Mary find comfort when she is sad? Where can children find comfort when they are sad? Where can you go when you are sad?" That's how you can use The Secret Garden to take them to Jesus.
After Junior becomes proficient at playing games like "Go Fish!" you can move on to something like this card game that has been a family favorite for five generations. It's basically the same as Go Fish! except each suit is a famous author and the four cards in each suit are one of his or her books. With intriguing titles like The Gold Bug, Kidnapped!, The Prince and the Pauper, Eight Cousins, our little readers are learning authors and their books, are committing the titles to memory, and are reading the books whose titles they've heard over and over. Spiritual conversation from a card game? Sure. Imagination, God-given creativity, words are vitally important...take it from there. I want to know the God who was able to make these authors with such imaginations. The Globe Theatre is pictured on the back of the cards. I've made it a game to figure out what that is on the card. It took only 8 years for one member of the family to find out. :)
 
FYI, you can find these games at Amazon.
 

Inventors, American Authors, Women Authors and
Composers!
 
Now, Composers is a bit more difficult with many German and French names and pieces of music. But stick with it. I know you're thinking Junior doesn't want to sit down and listen to Rachmaninoff (I probably don't want to either.) But if you would like to introduce Junior to the symphony, take him here to The Typewriter Song.
Which introduces the next thing to talk about with him which will hopefully pique his curiosity. While this is fun to listen to, Junior doesn't know what a typewriter is, so pull out your copy of E. H. Gombrich's Little History of the World
 
and tell him about the monks of the dark ages, especially the pillar saints, the Stylites, who thought they could get close to God by sitting on top of a pillar. Ask Junior if he could really get close to God by sitting on top of a ladder.
 
Their friends had to hoist their meals up to them with a rope and bucket. Would you like to try having your supper that way tonight, Junior? Let's see if you can get closer to God that way. Then do it. Every little one in your family will want to have supper hoisted up in a bucket and report whether or not they were any closer to God.  From there you can go to St. Benedict and his monks who gathered scrolls and manuscripts to study and they copied them all by hand. Can you imagine copying a whole book with a pen? Junior, who is struggling just to write a sentence will be impressed.
Which takes you back to The Typewriter Song. You tell Junior what a typewriter is and then about the invention of the printing press which enabled the bible to be put in the hands of common man and when you take Junior to Washington D.C. on vacation you make sure he sees the Gutenberg Bible and yes, God made all of this possible so that we could come to know Him in His word. Isn't He a magnificent God. I want to know Him! This is getting exciting!
Now that Junior likes The Typewriter Song, but isn't ready for a full course in music appreciation you show him the Bugs Bunny cartoons which are take-offs on famous operas.

Once those songs and others are familiar you have opportunity to play Name That Tune. How many times did my girls hear me say, "I'll give you a dollar if you can tell me the name of this piece." Sometimes bribery is profitable for both parent and child. You ask, did you really rear your children this way? Yes. One summer we learned the famous choruses and plot lines of operas. And you are wondering if my kids liked this. Sometimes.  A lot of times. This was just the way we lived and learned.
Take Elmer Fudd and Brunhilde in the video. One thing leads to another. Brunhilde and the music in "What's Opera Doc?" is from Wagner's Ring Cycle and the Ride of the Valkyries which you are hearing as Kill the Wabbit will forever stick in their minds. Research the role of the Valkyries in Norse mythology and then have a conversation with Junior about how we get to heaven. Never mind that Wagner was a Nazi sympathizer (action figure also available at Amazon.com)
 
who was married to Alma Mahler who just happened to be a friend of Adele Bloch-Bauer in Vienna. You know Adele. You just forgot you know Adele. She was the subject of what up until just a few years ago was the most expensive painting ever sold.
 
The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Gustave Klimt
Read an earlier post about Adele's niece Maria and how she rescued this painting here.
 
Maria, her husband Fritz and brother-in-law Bernard Altmann escaped Nazi Austria and eventually settled in Los Angeles. Bernard was a textile manufacturer who introduced the cashmere overcoat to the United States. Everything is connected and now you have reached the end of the internet.
What in the world does this have to do with spiritual conversations with your children? Everything. Every blessing, gift, ability, etc. that God gives us can be used for His glory or can be used for less than or evil purposes. We are not alone. There is deep connection between every square inch of this world, all of which belongs to God. The choices we make, the lives that we live deeply affect other people and can bring glory to God or can shame our testimony. Being made in the image of God demands a response from us toward Him. While we see God's hand print everywhere, we learn to love and obey Him in the Bible alone. Jesus is the Son of God and our only way to Him.
It just requires a little curiosity. Hmmm, curiously, this hat looks like Elmer Fudd's Siegfried hat in "What's Opera Doc?" Quick now, tell me about Brunhilde and the Valkyries! 
 
 
 

Like a Shepherd 2: Leading Lambs to the Shepherd

Lesson two comes from Mark 10:13-16.  And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
First, it is possible that as parents we, too, can be an unintentional hindrance to bringing our children to Jesus.
*When we are apathetic, self-reliant, or just so busy that we fail to go to Him ourselves. Our greatest need is the same as our children's. Jesus.
*When we fail to live lives of integrity. Our children's view of God and parent is skewed if we say one thing with our mouths and live another.
*By allowing our children to grow up thinking they are the center of the universe. The Christian life is an ever-increasing "my life for yours."
*By failing to show sincere love for the body of Christ, the church. We can teach our youngest children love for the body of Christ by consistent participation in Sunday School. Their being there teaches them and their peers, "I care about you."
It is our duty as Christian parents to bring our children to Jesus. When our children are very young and so dependent, our living is by the tyranny of the urgent and duty becomes an unpleasant word. One of my daughters was explaining family responsibilities to her young sons. "It is," she explained, "your DUTY to your family." One of the very little tappers grinned at his brother, "Hey, Mama said duuuuu-ty. Eeeeuw." That's how we often look at parental duty. Eeeeuw. But duty becomes delight when it flows from an apprehension of the love of God in Christ.
Bring your children at every age as did these parents who brought their children to Jesus. The disciples followed the thinking of the day that rabbis were too busy for children, too important to be bothered by the youngest. But Jesus was not too busy and chastised the disciples for prohibiting them. Jesus is not too busy for our children. More often, our children are too busy for Jesus.
 
Expect opposition from many fronts.
*From your children themselves. Their inborn sin nature is resistant and opposed to the gospel from birth.
*From their peers. We live in an ever-increasing world that is hostile to believers in Christ. Prepare them for ridicule and opposition, reminding them there is something worse than being a lonely Christian, being lonely and without Christ.
*From YOUR peers. Motherhood can be a lonely place, especially if you are committed to biblically based parenting. But always be ready and willing to use your role as a Christian mother as a gentle and joyful opportunity for sharing the gospel. In a culture where we feel enormous pressure to be the same, look the same, think the same, blah, blah, blah, be willing to be iron that sharpens iron, as one person sharpens another. Prov.27:17.  Remember there are God rules (we will be kind, we will not take what does not belong to us, we will be truth tellers) which apply to everyone and there are house rules which are established in individual homes (screen time on weekends only, bedtime is 8 o'clock, etc.)
How do I bring my children to Jesus?
*In prayer. Even before they are born we should be praying earnestly for our children. Heb.2:13b Here am I, and the children whom God has given me.
*In baptism. While children are not saved by baptism, they are visibly set apart from the world and placed under the covenant promises of God within the context of the covenant family.
*In daily family worship, bible reading and prayer. This is how God speaks to us. Begin small. Read from children's bible story books and pray brief prayers with a sentence of thanksgiving, a request for others and one for Junior, always remembering to take Junior back to the Lord to thank Him for answered prayer.
*In memorizing the scriptures and the catechisms. God's word hidden in the heart of a child is a sword to be used in temptation, a light to guide his way and food for his hungry soul. The concise statements of doctrine that are the catechisms inform and instruct our children in what we believe. These truths will last a lifetime.
*In public worship in the Lord's house on the Lord's day. I encourage you for the well-being of your mind, heart, body and soul to make public worship in your church a non-negotiable in your family as long as your children are under your roof. There is so much more to say about this, but remember that worship of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only activity that will last for eternity.
*In speaking to them about spiritual things as we live. I'm going to follow this post with another including some ideas and very practical things you can do in your home to promote a very natural way of communicating the truth of God's word to your children as you live. This is how Jesus communicated in His earthly ministry. He went where the people were, talking to them when and where they lived.
These verses from Deuteronomy are the foundation of bringing our children to Jesus. Love for the God who first loved us should cause our hearts and minds to burst with joy and desire to bring our children to that God. Our homes are the little kingdom, the nursery of heaven. Bringing your children to Jesus isn't a list, it's life. Now and forever.
What is your expectation? Once again, Jesus surprises us with the depth and lavishness of his response to those who come to him. The parents in Mark 10 brought their children that Jesus would touch them. What does He do? So much more! He picked them up and as the Greek says, he "in-armed" them. He wrapped them in His arms. (Which is just what our theme verse from Isaiah said He would do!) He laid His hands on them showing the favor, ownership, adoption, "these children are mine" laying on of hands. He blessed them. Jesus in His power and authority as the Son of God called down the promises of God upon these children! They came to be touched, and Jesus did so much more. Consider your expectation of what Jesus will do in the lives of your children as you bring them to Him. He is able to do exceedingly more abundantly than we can ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20,21. As parents we must live in the light of that Jesus.