by Pastor Tim Burt
I gave my life to the Lord, receiving Jesus as my Savior at the age of 24. Early on in my young walk with God, I was seeking God for three things that I felt were very important to the life I was seeking. First, I felt this great desire to become more intimate with God. Secondly, I had an intense desire to help my young children to know the Lord. And thirdly, I wanted to know and understand more about this call of God I thought I felt upon my life. I had been reading about Abraham and why God had chosen Him as the one He would establish a covenant with. In studying it, I hoped I would learn something about Abraham that would help me with these three heart quests I was feeling!
We see these words in Genesis 18:18-19 NIV, “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him so that he will direct 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.”
These verses are so powerful in so many ways. First of all, Abraham had to have been a seeker of God which was unparalleled at that time. It wasn’t like He had a written Bible to study God from. He could have only known what was passed along to him, through the lineage of Adam and Eve. At some point, like all human beings, he began to seek to know the God whom he knew in his heart existed. Abraham was a seeker and it pleased God! Proverbs 8:17 (NIV) says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God did what He does with anyone that truly and sincerely seeks Him—God revealed Himself to Abraham.
We don’t know all that God revealed to Him but we do know that Abraham developed a heart devoted to seeking God, and because of it, God chose Abraham. These verses spoke to each of the things I was seeking God for. It showed me that when you are willing to worship and seek God, He will reveal more and more of Himself to you. Jesus confirmed that truth in Matthew 5:6 NIV, saying, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” These verses in Genesis also showed me that God chose Abraham because he would teach and direct His children and household to know Him and His ways. That desire was intense within me and confirmed that this was God’s will. Finally, these verses talked about the plan of God for Abraham’s life. The three things I was seeking God for were addressed regarding Abraham. I knew God would address them for me.
It was that day that I made the decision to daily get up early every morning, go into our living room and read God’s Word, worship the Lord, and pray. From that very first morning, God began to speak to me and lead me through this verse: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV “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 acted upon this verse and as we did, some interesting things began to happen. Renee and I began to read to each of our children daily from the time they were six months old. We had bought some children’s Bibles that were specifically for young children. I put Stephanie on my lap and read the same book to her over and over each night. When I first started doing this, she was six months old and more interested in eating the book (sometimes she tried) than listening to it. But it didn’t take long for her to begin to enjoy our reading the same stories to her over and over again. Of course being that young, she didn’t understand anything at first. But the repetition was impacting her. When she was just shy of two years old I had an experience that astounded me.
One evening after dinner, I was reading to her. It had been a long day and I was exhausted from work. I was so tired I could hardly keep from passing out. I read through the first story quickly and then started the second story. I thought, I’m just going to read the first and last sentence of each story to her. She won’t know the difference. She had gotten used to me reading her the whole book each time and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay awake that long. As I begin to read skipping quite a bit of the story, she stopped me. She was quite articulate for a child just less than two years old. When I had skipped part of the story, she looked up at me and said, Daddy, that’s not it! I said, What do you mean honey? She said That’s not how the story goes. I said, Well then, how does the story go? She began to recite the entire story, word-for-word from the pages. My mouth almost dropped to the floor. We had been reading her this book almost daily for over a year but I had no idea a child was capable of this. I turned to the next story and said, What does this say? She recited the entire story word for word. There were about 12 stories in the book and she knew each one by heart.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I hollered to Renee, Renee, did you know that Stephanie can quote every word in this book by heart? She said, Oh yea, I’ve known it for a little while. I forgot to tell you. At that point, Renee and I realized the power of reading and consequently read to each of the kids every night from then on. We made the local Library our home away from home.
I told you this story to help you see something. Renee and I didn’t know that what we were doing, was ministering to our children to the degree it was. Because our heart was desirous to teach them about the Lord, He was leading us even though we didn’t realize it. This revealed to us what a child was capable of learning, and only increased our desire to put more of God into them which we did.
The point of today is not just about training young children. Today’s point is about how God will meet you wherever you’re at when you are desirous to know Him more! God is faithful and He will find a way to speak into your life! Today just know that when your heart’s desire is to draw close to the Lord—to know Him and to share Him with your children or with anyone else, God is there to help you. Of all things He wants you to succeed at, it’s this!
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV “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.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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