Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
Gen 18:18-19 “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I know him and have chosen him, so that he will command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.”
It was 26 years ago. I was sitting in our family room one evening watching a little evening television. Stephanie was our first child at that time and was about eight months old. I had her sitting on a blanket next to me surrounded by baby paraphernalia – all the things she could stick in her mouth and bite on and play with to be happy. She was sitting there adorable and content. I was watching the television. When a commercial would come on, I would lean over and play with her for a couple of minutes until the show I was watching came back on. As the next series of commercials came on I would give Stephanie a few more minutes of attention.
This happened on and off a few times when suddenly the Lord spoke to my heart. “Is this the way you are going to raise your daughter – between commercials?” I was stunned when I heard this in my heart from the Lord. I just sat there for a minute. I turned off the TV and continued to sit still. The presence of the Lord was there with me. Stephanie continued to sit quietly and content.
The Lord reminded me of the Sunday morning of Stephanie’s baby dedication. I had been water baptized as a baby. When I gave my life to the Lord and started reading my Bible, I could not find any scriptural reason to baptize a baby. The Bible teaches that if anything happens to a child when they are young, they go to Heaven. There is an age of innocence. That’s why Jesus said in Luke 18:16, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” We all want to believe that little children go to Heaven when they die and rightly so. It’s true. That was the reason for baby dedication instead of infant baptism. Children already belong to God. This was more about parents dedicating and taking responsibility to raise their children in the Lord so that one day they would know Him and be able to make the choice themselves to follow Jesus. Then they could be baptized because of their own personal choice, something an infant can’t make. Receiving Jesus as Savior is an individual and personal decision that each person makes on their own.
Anyway, the Lord reminded me of that Sunday morning dedication. I remember the Pastor talking about today’s Fresh Manna verse – about how God chosen Abraham because He knew Abraham would direct his children in the things of the Lord. I had pledged in my heart to do what made God so pleased with Abraham. I promised to properly raise my children to know and follow the Lord. There was a powerful promise that is a part of this verse. It says that because Abraham will do this, the Lord will be able to bring about all that He promised. It says, “…For I have chosen him, so that he will command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.”
I was instantly convicted in my heart that playing with Stephanie between the commercials wasn’t it. I went upstairs to talk to Renee about this experience with the Lord. She agreed completely and that night we made a pledge to the Lord. We would not turn on the television until they were in bed. Instead from the time dinner was over, we would play with her (later it was with them as we had four children,) and then spend a good hour each night just finding fun little ways to teach them about the Lord. We ended up doing so in the morning before school and at night. Deu 6:6-7 “And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning.”
We bought animal puppets that we named and made up personalities for. We used them to create little life situations and stories to help teach the kids. The kids love it. As they got older they wanted to take the puppets and make up the stories while Renee and I watched them. We’d memorize scripture together. We always read from different kinds of Bible books that were age appropriate. We played music about the Lord and occasionally watched Bible videos. We did many fun little things along the way. We had little money in those days but what we had, we invested in things that would help them learn all about the Lord. We would always pray together as a family. Each one of the kids would pray from their heart unto the Lord out loud.
We had daily devotions with our children until they no longer lived at home. It became their way of life. When my daughter started dating her future husband, they ended almost every night together sitting on our couch reading the Bible and praying together before he went home. They all love the Lord and are serving Him today.
I’ve heard people say, “One Word from God can change your life.” That statement is so true. That night 26 years ago started us down a road that has led us to more blessings than I could ever express. My children loving God is the greatest blessing of all!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.