Ted: Hello, friends! I hope you have been blessed during this special “Christian Home and Marriage Week,” and that you were able to read the wonderful chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 each day—it is such a beautiful reminder of how to put true, godly love into practice! And I am delighted that once again my dear wife, Nancy, is here with us as we will be sharing about the Christian family.
Nancy: You may remember that last week we talked about marriage and how it all began in the Garden of Eden when God created a man and a woman and united them in the first ever marriage ceremony. He blessed them and told the couple to “Be fruitful and multiply. . .” encouraging them to have children.
Ted: In Psalm 127:3 we read from the New Living Translation— “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” And what a privilege and important responsibility the Lord has given to parents to raise these little ones for Him! We were blessed to have three wonderful girls who are now grown and married, and we now have 11 grandchildren!
Nancy: You know, the minds of young children are just like little sponges—they absorb everything they see and hear! Recently, our youngest daughter, Catherine, shared an experience that really illustrates this point. She, and her husband, Bob, have four children—the youngest being Joshua Paul—we call him “JP” for short! After JP finishes eating, Catherine removes him from his highchair, cleans him up, sets him on the floor and tells him, “Be free!” as he crawls away very fast and happily. Just the other day as JP’s 5-year-old sister, Hannah Grace watched her mother clean up JP and set him free, she exclaimed, “Mommy, that reminds me of how God sets us free from Satan and sin!
Ted: Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” As we consider the influence we have on our children and grandchildren, how important it is to be sure that we ourselves are converted, surrendered fully to God and to His will. When we are in tune with the Lord, praying and reading His inspired writings, He gives us just the instruction we need.
Nancy: In the very helpful book, Child Guidance by Ellen White, we read: “It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. . . . with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life—lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home!” (p. 17).
Ted: One of the most effective ways we found in leading our children to Christ was through family worship. This is a wonderful time when the family comes together to sing songs, to read God’s word together in an age-appropriate way, and to help the children realize that this is not just some ancient book that was written for people thousands of years ago—but rather, it is the living word of God, that contains promises just for them!
Nancy: I believe that a Christian home is a place where Jesus is the center. When there are problems—and there are problems in every home on this sinful earth—Jesus is the One we naturally go to to find guidance and help in working through those problems. A mother’s and father’s main role is to train up their children to see Jesus as their personal Friend, to whom they can take all of their cares, who wants what is best for them and wants for them to be happy!
Ted: We tried to be very transparent with the children, and when there was a problem, we would pray about it. We would also pray together when there were big decisions to be made, and we would pray for others. Prayer is a wonderful way to bring the family close together and close to the Lord. In today’s world, there are so many challenges facing the family, and we need to be praying more than ever for God’s wisdom, guidance, strength, and courage. May He bless you, and your family, as you reach out in faith to Him!
Let’s pray together. Father in Heaven, bless the families in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Give them encouragement, each one: fathers, mothers, children. Lord, give them guidance. Bless those who may have homes with only one parent, encourage them. Lord, fill in the gaps and sustain and encourage each one. Lord bless children who are orphans, blessed in their experience. Help them to know that they have a heavenly father guiding them. Lord, bless your families in a special way and one day soon we know when you will bring us into the courts of heaven, we will live together as families. Families that have remembered their Creator and the beautiful aspects of worshiping him and we will be part of the greater family of God. Thank you for hearing us. In Jesus name, amen.