Deut. 6:6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
My daughter and her husband went out of town this weekend for a conference. Consequently, we had our two granddaughters who are 4 & 5 years old stay with us. It’s been sheer delight.
Monday morning with my granddaughters brought back all the wonderful memories of our busy morning routine from when our kids were small. We all got up early which is normal for Renee and I anyway, to get the girls ready for school. I delayed preparing and writing Fresh Manna so that I could do with the girls what I always did with my children. I had devotional time with them.
When my kids were little, we’d all get up at a certain time. They’d dress, make their beds, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and then meet me in the living room for Bible time by a certain time. God’s Word spoke to me about the importance of teaching our children His Word and ways. Today’s Fresh Manna says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Renee and I had created a motivational plan to help motivate them to get ready each morning that worked wonderfully. We’d then have morning devotions.
Prior to having children I’d spend time my own quiet time with the Lord and in His word each morning. As I spent time reading and teaching them the word each morning, my own personal devotional time seemed to erode away. At first I’d feel guilty about that but wasn’t sure what to do. Each of the kids had a Bible book that was age relevant and each of them wanted me to read a story from their own book. Because we had four children, that would take about 30 minutes by the time I’d read and we’d all talk about each story. Then we’d all pray together. When they were little and didn’t know how to pray, I’d pray and have them repeat what I prayed. It helped them learn to pray the Word and pray for others. Over time, each learned to pray from their heart. One of the wonderful by-products of teaching them to pray out loud was that they weren’t intimidated to pray in from of others when their teacher or someone would look for a volunteer to pray.
As I said, at first I’d feel guilty because my personal time with God had been replaced with helping them with devotions. One day I was talking to the Lord about it and the Lord stopped me and said, “When you read the Bible stories to your children, do they speak to YOUR heart?” The answer was – Yes, they did! Before I would read to the kids, we’d always pray and welcome the Holy Spirit and ask Him to teach us from the stories we were about to read. As I would read them, they spoke to me just like my own Bible. When the Lord asked me that question, I almost felt ashamed to say “Yes Lord, those children’s Bible books really speak to me.” But then the Lord continued with me, “If they are ministering to your heart, then aren’t we having devotional time together?” I was immediately set free from guilt because I realized that the Lord and I were having time together. My children just happened to be a part of it.
This morning, as I had devotions with my granddaughters, I began by praying and welcoming the Holy Spirit, asking Him to teach us and bring revelation to our hearts. The book I was reading from was for a child’s Bible for the age group 4 to 7 years old. I was reading them about the story of Elisha helping a woman in trouble with debt and need.
2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT) “One day the widow of one of Elisha’s fellow prophets came to Elisha and cried out to him, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting the jars aside as they are filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons brought many jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and there will be enough money left over to support you and your sons.”
Even my little granddaughters saw and understood that what Elisha did was a miracle. In their child-like faith they know God is a God of miracles. They believe in miracles. This woman believed the prophet and she received her miracle. That oil didn’t pour miraculously for the rest of her life. It was His miracle for her at that point and time of her need. That is what God does for us. We respond and do our part like this woman did, and God miraculously helps us in our time of need. Then we live a life of thanksgiving understanding that we serve a compassionate God who does miracles and cares about all aspect of our life!
My Granddaughters got taught and built up this morning but so did I! Obeying God and ministering the Word to our children blesses them – but it blesses us just as much if we are expecting God to speak to us – even from children’s Bibles!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.