Parenting and the Gospel

I distinctly remember the first time the weight of parenting struck me: my daughter, Talitha, was barely a week old and I was singing to her before putting her to bed for the night. As I started singing the children’s song Have you heard about Jesus by Sovereign Grace Music, the words “Have you heard about Jesus” had barely rolled off my tongue when the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: No, Talitha hadn’t heard about Jesus. In fact, she had barely even heard His name being uttered within her hearing since she’d been born. And no, she had not even begun to comprehend what His name is all about!

A lump formed in my throat as I sat there holding my newborn daughter, trying to grasp the magnitude of the fact that Isaac and I would be the primary people in her life that God would use to teach her about Jesus and show her the way to the cross.

I believe many, if not all, parents who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, would agree with me when I say that we long for our children to come to know Christ as their personal Savior, for Scripture clearly tells us that all have sinned and are in need of rescuing.

In light of this, what is our responsibility as parents?

We are to train our child.
One of Scripture’s specific instructions to parents is that parents are to “[t]rain up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6).

So what is “the way he should go”?

While the principle concerning training a child “in the way he should go” can be applied to many areas of parenting, Hebrews 11:6 clearly states that “without faith it is impossible to please him….” For this reason, outside of a saving faith, no matter what else a child does that may appear to be pleasing to God, a child cannot do anything to please God. Thus, we can conclude that pointing our child towards the saving power of the cross is the primary direction we should point our child.

We can pray for the salvation of our child.
A comprehensive understanding of salvation reveals that it is ultimately God, through the Holy Spirit, who does the convicting work in the heart of the unbeliever (see John 6:44). Consequently then, it is God, through the Holy Spirit, who leads the sinner to the cross.

We can present to our child the truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the payment of sins, but the child is the one who has to make the personal decision to believe on Jesus Christ as his Savior, trusting Him for the forgiveness of sins. We cannot make the decision for him.

And so we pray that the Spirit will reveal the truths of the Gospel to the heart of our child.

We pray that the Spirit will convict our child of his sin before a holy God.

We pray that God will extend mercy and grace to our child.

We pray that God will draw our child to Himself and redeem him through Christ’s atoning blood.

We can model the Gospel and Christ’s love to our child.
As we’ve already discussed, we understand that it is God who ultimately draws a sinner to Himself. However, we also understand that God uses very practical means to do this. Romans very plainly lays it out: “…And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14) Yes, one does not simply, out of the blue, with zero outside influences, come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Rather, as the Apostle Paul has explained here in Romans, God uses the preaching of His Word to convict and draw a sinner to Himself.

In the context of “preaching the gospel” to a child, a very tangible way of doing this is to model it before them in real life.

Deuteronomy 6:7-9 gives us an example to follow, for we find Moses instructing Israelite parents on how to train their children:

“You shall teach them [the the words Moses had previously commanded them] diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit down in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

We see here that in every area of life–even in the most ordinary, mundane routines of the day–we have opportunities to teach our child about the Lord and to model before him what the Lord has instructed.

So what are some practical ways that this can look?

  • We can preach the gospel to our child by intentionally reading Scripture to him. The Word of God is living and active, powerful to convict (Hebrews 4:12).
  • Regular church attendance is another way for our child to be directly confronted with Scripture through the intentional preaching and teaching of the Word.
  • Discipline also provides unplanned opportunities to lovingly point our child to the cross and his need for the Savior.
  • Humbling ourselves and asking for forgiveness when we have wronged our child is another way to point towards the transforming power of the Gospel. A child often learns more from our actions than from our words.

These are just a few of the many ways that we can live out the message of the gospel and Christ’s love in front of our child, and in turn “preach the gospel” to him. As parents, it is imperative that we be attentive to the many gospel opportunities that arise out of the ordinary events of life.

And so, even though Talitha is not even quite two years old, I realize I cannot take lightly my role as a parent to point her towards the Savior and her need of Him.

(All Scripture is quoted from the ESV)

Please follow and like us:
0

Christ in the Passover

What an event the first Passover must have been for the children of Israel. The swirling emotions: anticipation, fear, excitement, tension, joy, confusion, urgency, perhaps even doubt. The Israelites had been in Egypt for 400 years. Was the time of deliverance truly at their doorstep? And what of these explicit instructions that God gave for one evening, one meal? Blood on the doorpost. No leaven. Eat standing. Just to name a few! Why?

To Remember.

God wanted His people to remember their deliverance from slavery and to never forget His act of grace. So that when He would send His Son to die in order to deliver mankind from the bondage to sin, they would also remember and believe!

The Passover is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ; the one who ultimately fulfilled the Passover!

Below are just a few of the ways that Jesus can be seen in the Passover.

The Lamb

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.” Exodus 12:5

The lamb that was to be killed that first Passover night was to be perfect, spotless, only the very best.

Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God over thirty times in the New Testament!

Jesus is God’s Son, perfect, untainted by sin, blameless, the only One whose blood could satisfy God’s righteous demand.

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:2

Unleavened Bread

“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” Exodus 12:8

The Israelites were to make their bread in haste, not giving it the time it needed to ferment and rise.

In the New Testament, leaven is a symbol of sin. First Corinthians instructs believers to purge out the leaven, or sin, in their life because Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, was sacrificed for them.

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:6-7

Believers no longer have to live controlled by sin because Jesus, the Lamb of God, died and conquered sin that Passover weekend 2,000 years ago!

Blood on the door

“And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” Exodus 12:22-23

Smear blood around the door of their home? This must have been the strangest instruction of all for the children of Israel.  However, those who acted in faith received the blessing of continued life for their sons!

In the same way, those who are to be saved from eternal death must have the blood of Jesus applied to their account!

One must believe that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, took the punishment for the sins of the world on Himself, shed His blood, died, and rose again!

 

It is no coincidence that Jesus died on Passover weekend. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover, the ultimate Redeemer from the bondage of sin and death!

Hallelujah what a Savior!

Please follow and like us:
0

Personal Post – A Salvation Story

 A four-year-old girl lay on the living room floor, propped up on her elbows, looking at Bible illustrations that were leaning up against a pair of large feet.

She listened as her Papa told her the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

“Why did Jesus have to die?” a tender little heart wondered. 

“Because everyone is a sinner and on their way to hell because of their sin.”

“Yeah,” the little girl thought…”I know I’m sinner. I’ve been mean to my big brother, I’ve told mommy things that are not true, I’ve disobeyed my Papa.”

“Jesus loved Annie and died for her sins so that she would not have to spend forever and ever in the Lake of Fire.”

Papa explained that sin has the consequence of death.

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord .” Romans 3:23.

But God, made a way so we could be saved from death and hell.

“God so loved the world, that He gave His begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” . John 3:16.

“I want to get saved” the small voice piped.

That night, a little four-year-old girl understood God’s grace to save her from hell and trusted Christ as her Savior.

That little girl, Annie, was me!

My testimony is not a long story, it is not a drastic account, it has no huge surprises; it is short and simple, yet it is still a rescue story from sin and death and still displays God’s profound love and grace!

Today, as I think back to the night that God accepted the simple child-like faith of a little four-year-old I am so very thankful and praise God for His amazing grace!

 

Only BELIEVE!

~ Rachel

Please follow and like us:
0

Recipes For Your Easter Table

 

He is risen!

Easter Sunday is such a special day! I love starting out the day worshiping our risen Savior with fellow believers then gathering around the table with family or friends to share a meal together!

Here are some recipes that we enjoy.

———————————————————————————————–

Potatoes Romanoff

These potatoes have been a long-time family favorite!

2 lbs potatoes, cooked, peeled, and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green onion or onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 cup cheddar cheese (divided)
Paprika

Mix together all ingredients and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Spread into a greased 9×11 baking pan. Top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle paprika on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden.

———————————————————————————————–

Vegetable Casserole

This side dish has become one of my cousin’s specialties to make during the holidays… and we all love her for it! It’s delicious!

 

 

Casserole:
2 cans shoepeg corn, drained
2 cans french green beans, drained
1 cup celery, chopped
4 T. onion, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
2 cans cream of celery soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and place in a 9×13 pan or casserole dish.

Topping:
2 packs Ritz crackers
1 stick butter, melted

Crumble crackers and mix with melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

———————————————————————————————–

Peaches and Cream Pie

This recipe is like peach pie and cheesecake all rolled into one! It’s so yummy you’re sure to want another slice!

Makes 1 – Deep dish pie

Crust:
¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3.5 oz Cook and Serve vanilla pudding mix (NOT instant!)
1 egg
½ cup milk

Filling:
3.5 cups sliced peaches (canned or fresh), reserve the juice or syrup

Topping:
8oz cream cheese (softened)
⅓ cup sugar
3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup

Heat oven to 350*
Combine crust ingredients and beat for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased pie plate.
Arrange drained peaches over batter.
Combine topping ingredients and beat for 2 minutes.
Spoon mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of edge.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is set up.

———————————————————————————————–

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

I’m likely to drool just thinking about these yummy little treats that have become an Easter family tradition in our home.

1 cup margarine
1 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese

2 ½ lbs. confectioners sugar
21 oz. peanut butter
3 lbs. chocolate

Cream butter/cheese. Slowly add the confectioners sugar, alternating with the vanilla and peanut butter until completely mixed. Chill two hours. Use a 1 tablespoon scoop and shape into eggs. Re-chill in fridge or freezer. Dip in melted chocolate to coat. Cool. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Trim off any excess chocolate.

———————————————————————————————–

Pineapple Sauce for Ham

This turns a generic ham into something extra special! My family always makes this sauce whenever ham is served!

Yields about 2 cups

 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1-20oz can pineapple, tidbits or crushed
4 teaspoons mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one minute. Serve with ham.

—————————————————————————————-

 

As you gather this Easter Sunday we hope the fellowship around your table is sweet because of Jesus Christ!

He is risen indeed!

Please follow and like us:
0

Victory in the Resurrection

Two days had passed since Jesus’ death and all seemed hopeless.

Imagine the anguish, the hopelessness of those who had placed their trust in Him: He was dead!

Dead.

How could they expect help from Someone who wasn’t alive? How could they expect help from Someone who ultimately suffered the same consequence to sin as every other human being did? What good was Christ’s perfectly lived life, if it still resulted in death? Their minds must have been so confused, their hearts heavy, and their doubts many.

The third morning, some women made their way to the tomb of this One in whom they had placed their trust. They came early in the morning, just as the sun was starting to rise. Perhaps they felt that the sun had no right to shine when their own thoughts seemed so dark. They were fully prepared to anoint a dead body; to see the face they had loved, now gray with death. I can’t imagine that there was much conversation, other than puzzlement over how they were going to move the stone that was barricading the entrance to the tomb.

However, when the women got to the tomb they were greatly surprised to find “the stone [was] rolled away from the sepulchre” as a result of an earthquake (Luke 24:2-5). I think if I had been there I would have been a bit wary about trying to go any further, much less about trying to go into the actual tomb. An earthquake can do severe damage, and although Christ’s body had already been beaten and pierced, the women had no way of knowing what it would look like now. Yet it is recorded that “they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus” (Vrs. 3). This left them even more confused. Had the body been stolen? Had the earthquake somehow moved it?

Well, “it came to pass as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.” (Vrs. 4) Now filled with fear, the women “bowed their faces to the earth.” (Vrs. 5)

Though I don’t think they were any less confused, they knew that something special was happening. The angels then speak, bringing the words of life that would bring hope to their souls and to the billions of lives that would follow after.

“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is RISEN!”

And in that incredible declaration of the Resurrection,  all was well again. The doubts were erased, the fears were put to rest.

All of the women go rejoicing on their way, except Mary. For some unknown reason, she did not enter the tomb with the other women but instead stayed weeping outside. She sees the two angels sitting; they ask her why she is crying. She tells them that she does not know where the body of her Lord is, but then not expecting them to understand her sorrow she turns away. That’s when she saw Him. It was her risen Lord, but she did not recognize Him. He too asks her why she is weeping and who she is seeking. Mary answers in the same way, and once again not expecting much help, turns away. Then Jesus says one word:  “Mary.” I wonder if that single word–her own name, spoken by her Lord–sent tingles down her spine. “The sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice” (Jn 10:3-4). “She turned herself, and saith unto Him ‘Rabboni; which is to say Master.” (Jn 20:16)

However, Jesus says “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren…”

And what was Jesus wanting His brethren to know after He had risen from the dead?

“…and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and YOUR FATHER; And to My God, and YOUR GOD.” (Vrs. 17) That’s what His death had accomplished!  Our sins were washed away and we were given the right to become the sons of God. What a merciful God!

“God treated Christ as a sinner, so He could treat sinners like Christ.” (Rand Hummel)

Romans tells us that “The wages of sin is death.” This was our sentence to pay. Jesus had never sinned. He did not owe this debt. Yet He willingly paid it for us, and the resurrection is proof that God accepted His payment. Christ’s death and resurrection has given us direct access to the Father once more. And this good news was what Christ wanted to share with Mary and His disciples on that Easter morning so many years ago.

Time passed. Jesus was going to go to His Father again, now that he’d made it possible for us to join Him someday.  
“A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father [who is also now YOUR Father].  In that day, ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. ” (John 17:16, 26-27).

“And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.” Their response? No more sorrow! “And they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”  Knowing the resurrected Christ certainly changed their outlook on everyday life, but even beyond that, we see their lives (and ours!) being changed for all of eternity!

Because of Christ’s death, bodily resurrection, and ascension, we now have the confident hope and expectation that one day
“the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of the sin is the law.  But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Cor 15:52-58)

There IS hope. He IS coming back. And for those of us who have chosen to accept His finished work on the cross, there WILL be an eternity to spend with Him. The resurrection is proof of this.

Can’t wait to meet my Savior in person, throw myself at his feet, and thank Him for all He did.

I am forever indebted.

Please follow and like us:
0