Godly Men Disciple Their Children

fathers_origEphesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Every Father’s Calling

I love my kids. I love being with them, reading, wrestling, talking to and listening to them. I like beating them at Boggle. I love being beat by them at Boggle. One thing I really love is discipling my kids – teaching them every day, all day (Deut. 6:4ff) the things of God. This is every father’s greatest calling, joy, and responsibility.

Faithfulness in this can bring about a legacy that could last many generations. If you are a father, you should know, whether or not you are evangelizing and discipling anyone else, (and, of course, you should be), you surely ought to be evangelizing and discipling your children. To be sure, God commands it, but it is also one of life’s great joys.

By the very nature of things, this will be a 24/7/365 task. There are at least two reasons why this is the case.

Humble Consistency

First, you can’t pass along a platitude occasionally and expect it to take root. The lessons of our faith must be repeated over and over again in a variety of ways – when you sit down for breakfast or dinner, tuck them in at night, drive them around town, have family worship, do chores together, and so on. No one gets it right all the time, but even in our parental blunders, our mistakes and shortcomings are opportunities to teach lessons such as forgiveness, repentance, humility, and perseverance. But, we are indeed called to “practice what we preach,” for our own sakes as well as to model godly behavior before the wee “watching eyes” in our homes.

Going Against the Cultural Grain

The second reason we must devote so much prayerful time and effort to discipling our children is because we live in a culture that does not cultivate Christian character. Our world’s default key is stuck on sin, rebellion, and evil. If I want to change the font on my computer, I have to consciously make the effort to find and select the one I want. So too, if we want to nurture our children in the things of God, we have to make an intentional and considerable effort, for such effort will go against the grain of the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is simply the way it is.

Let’s Be Faithful Stewards

Let’s join together in raising kids who know and love the Lord. Let’s produce and reproduce faithful disciples in our homes who will one day serve Christ and take his gospel of the Kingdom and extend it into every sphere of life. Such children will not arise accidentally. But, by God’s grace, they will become such as they are educated, equipped, and encouraged by loving parents who honor God by being faithful stewards of the most precious treasure entrusted to their care.


Walking Points

• What are two or three of the hardest areas of being a father for you? Why do you think that is?
• What’s your favorite part about being a dad?
• Find two other Christian fathers and share with them your struggles as a dad, as well as your hopes and dreams for your children.
• Begin meeting regularly with these Christian dads to talk together and pray for your children, as well as for yourselves as Christian fathers living in today’s world.


Prayer

God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Father too. You have entrusted precious children to my care. Remind me that as much as I love them, you love them even more. I do not own my children but am your steward of them. As such, please help me lead and guide them in a way that draws them close to you. By my lessons and behavior, enable me to faithfully shepherd them into the life of a faithful disciple of Christ. In his name I pray. Amen.


This Week’s Prayer Guide

[You can use this prayer guide in your own personal prayer time. However, I encourage you to use it with a group of Christian men. Each week you should spend time praising God for who he is, confessing your sin to him (be specific) as well as expressing gratitude to him for his gracious forgiveness. Also, don’t forget to thank God for the many ways he has poured out his goodness in your life. Then, focus on the following areas of supplication, which will change from week to week.]

Petitions – prayers for yourself

• Help me to grow in wisdom and become who you created and redeemed me to be.
• Renew my mind and enable me to cultivate a godly perspective and attitude regarding the various spheres and circumstances of my life.
• Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

Intercession – prayers for others

• My family, immediate and extended
• Those struggling with sin, illness, or relational difficulties
• Other needs

Children’s Bible Stories

A photo by Samantha Sophia. unsplash.com/photos/NaWKMlp3tVsLots of Versions Out There

Trying to find a good Bible storybook to read to your young children is often a challenge. Some aren’t much more than “Jesus loves you” messages – page after page – with a few baby cherub pictures thrown in. And children, as well as adults, need to hear that message. Then there’s a variety of other versions that add value in other ways. And, of course, it’s hard to beat simply reading a regular version of the Bible to your child. However, I believe a good children’s Bible storybook can shepherd you children in very helpful ways.

My Favorite

A few years ago I came across a set of Bible stories I have read to my children ever since. These stories come in a ten volume set, entitled, The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. You can learn more about the book and the author by clicking here.

The series covers the entire Bible. No story, (I’m pretty sure), has been left out. Because the purpose of God’s Word is not always to give us every detail of a person’s life (example: Jesus’ childhood), the author respectfully (and, I think, faithfully) “speculates” about such things. He never makes up things a Bible character said or did. And if he’s just exercising a little “imaginative wonder,” he clearly communicates that.

The pictures are fantastic. Very colorful. My kids love the pictures as well as the stories. We bounce back and forth between an Old Testament volume and then a New Testament volume.

One of the things I like most about the series is that it was written in the 1950s. I know there is no golden era of the Christian faith, however, I really like the fact that this is not yet another children’s book trying more to be “relevant” to the child than faithful to the text. Who needs that? The author gives a faithful rendering of the story (with many bits and pieces of the actual biblical text interspersed  throughout the story). His winsomeness has given my children a real love for the stories and a deep desire to hear them again and again. You can’t beat that.

Here’s the link again to the website that sells this series:

The Bible Story
More than four hundred stories in ten volumes covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation
by Arthur S. Maxwell

I encourage you to buy this series at once and begin reading the stories to your children. You won’t regret it. It’s an impacting and fun way to shepherd your children. And as I said earlier, you just can’t beat that.

Caveat: The author is a Seventh Day Adventist and his view of the Sabbath is apparent to the discerning reader. But those who do not share his view can take the time to explain why they celebrate the Lord’s Day on a Sunday instead of a Saturday.

​Finally, let me add a children’s catechism would be a good addition to begin shaping your child’s theology.

Grace and Truth,
Dale