The disease, disasters, outrage, destruction, despair, and death we've seen in the past year can, if left unchecked, bring forth hopelessness. Consider learning the hymn "Christ Our Hope in Life and Death" together as a family. Sing it over your younger children and encourage your older children to sing along with you.... More
Have you ever had ambitious plans for starting a new and exciting project but then partway in, your enthusiasm dwindles and you’re tempted to give up? Unfortunately, family devotions can follow this same kind of pattern. At the beginning of the school year, we’re all geared up and excited to commit to regular family devotions but maybe days or even weeks later, we’re ready to throw in the towel. Sound at all familiar?... More
Parents, if you aren’t already doing so, sing God’s truth over your children. Consider including it in your bedtime routine. Sing over them when they are fearful and troubled. Sing over them when their hearts seem far from the Lord. Sing over them in times of celebration—always pointing them toward the unshakeable, all-satisfying, unending joy found in God alone, through Christ alone. Sing!... More
It is amazing to me how many times—especially in life’s most difficult situations—the words of great hymns come to mind to guide my thoughts and emotions.
…though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet…Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one.—This is My Father’s World
…The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him—His rage we can endure, For lo his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him.—A Mighty Fortress
…Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love: Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.—Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Many Sunday school classes incorporate a time of singing in the morning schedule. But often the main purpose and goal of this time is not so readily grounded and communicated within a larger context of children’s formal biblical education. Why do we sing? What do we sing? In what manner do we sing? These are all important questions that should be addressed and should serve to transform this time into something of greater significance than simply singing songs, filling time, and engaging the children.
I have to confess that, over the years, my prayers on behalf of my children and students have often been smaller in scope and weaker in depth than they should be. In part, this is the failure of my mind to more intentionally ground prayer in the powerful truths of Scripture, and the failure of my heart to truly and fully love and embrace these truths—eternal truths, such as the immeasurable greatness and worth of God. Truths that clearly communicate God’s purposes and promises for His people, enjoyed through Christ alone. Truths regarding the almighty power of the Holy Spirit to bring life, growth, and maturity in our children.
Recently, I listened as children from our church practiced singing for their Christmas program. I was delighted as the director carefully explained, stanza by stanza, the meaning of the words of a familiar Christmas carol. As a young child, I remember memorizing this carol with ease, but I had no clue what many of the words meant. Unfortunately, that was true for most of the Christmas carols I sang.
Recently my husband and I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-law. They made a special dinner and had the table set with the “fancy” tableware. But there was one hitch to this elegant dinner—four children were included, too; our grandchildren, ages 1-to 5-years-old. Let’s just say that the children put a distinctive twist on the ambiance of the meal. Even with all the challenges and distractions, we were glad they were there. Though their parents have employed a type of system for mealtime that minimizes the mess and helps both children and adults, it was a joyful mess!
How are you praying for the next generation?
Over the past several months we are concentrating our prayers on the larger purposes of God for our children, our grandchildren, the children in our church, and the children we have the opportunity to teach--the kind of prayers that we are confident align with the will of God and can be assured of His answers. For example, right now, the church where I serve needs about 90 more workers to volunteer in the next two weeks. Certainly we should not hesitate to ask God for those 90 workers, but we want to concentrate our prayers on larger purposes for which those workers are needed. The challenge for us has been to “seek first” these larger purposes for our children and trust God that all the other things (like the 90 workers) will be provided.
I remember asking my Dad if I needed to tithe on my small allowance when I was very young. How could a dime make a difference to the work of the church? I wondered. “I think I should wait to start tithing until I have more to give,” I said, as he handed me my dollar. “If I had a hundred dollars and could give ten, it would matter more,” I said. “And it would be a lot easier then, because I’d still have 90 left to spend,” I thought. “If you don’t learn to do it with a small amount,” he said, “you’ll never do it when you have more. It gets harder, not easier.” I never forgot his wise counsel and have often thanked God for giving me my Dad who taught me the importance of gladly giving back to God. But it’s not just generosity God wants from his people, no matter how young. He wants their attention. And ultimately, their worship.