Have you ever noticed when adults talk to babies they lose their minds? We talk to them in some of the most embarrassing ways like we are children too? We speak words we would never speak to another adult or even children who are a little older. Even our tone changes when we are speaking to children. It is soft and soothing (or at least we hope it is.) We baby talk our babies.
When Elijah wanted a snack, those little baby cookies or an animal cracker he would say he wanted a “go go.” I have no idea where he came up with that word but he did. One of my nieces used to call hot dogs “dadogs.” Another niece called grasshoppers “hoppergrasses.”
I am not making fun of the way children speak. They are just learning. The amazing thing to me is that adults pick it up too. If Elijah was acting hungry I would ask if he wanted a go go. If my niece was hungry I was ask her if she wanted a dadog. If we were outside and saw a grasshopper I would ask the other niece if she saw that hoppergrass.
As adults we even encourage this type of speaking. We call bottles bobbies. We call pacifiers passies. There is nothing wrong with that as far as I know. We have just developed a way to speak to our children in terms they can understand and tones that show our love. That is our loving parent voice.
Parents also have another voice too. I call mine the daddy voice. This voice is reserved for special occasions. You parents know those occasions. They are when our children are doing something we do not want to do.
Suddenly all the childish words are gone. The tone is no longer soft. We try to project authority into our voice so our children know we are serious when we say no. We want them to respect that voice. We even want them to fear that voice a little.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Genesis 3:8-10 KJV
When God created Adam and then Eve they had no fear of his voice. When they sinned against God his voice took a different tone. Or at least it sounded different to their ears. It was no longer a voice of tenderness calling them to fellowship. It was now a voice of retribution calling them to judgment. God did not need to do anything other than speak to them for them to know they were in trouble.
It was not God’s desire for Adam and Eve to fear him. He wanted them to love him and he was prepared to love them in return. But they had done something he had told them not to do. Not only had they done something that he had forbidden they had done something that turned out to be to their eternal detriment.
People often ask the question, “Why am I here?” They do not mean in a particular place at a particular time. They mean why do I even exist? The short answer is God created us for his pleasure. God created us because he expected joy from us.
The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
Proverbs 23:24-25 KJV
This verse tells us what should give parents pride and joy in their children. Sadly it is not always so. Many parents get joy out of children who are neither righteous nor wise. They do so because they are either not righteous or not wise. Maybe they are neither.
God is of course both righteous and wise. The only children he takes pleasure in are those who are meeting these conditions. Of course, we being sinners by nature and choice, are not naturally righteous. But we may be declared righteous through Jesus Christ. If we have received this righteousness, the righteousness that comes by faith, then we are also wise in the sight of God. In fact finding this righteousness is the height of wisdom. If I had a choice between knowing everything there is to know in this world but not knowing the way of righteousness or knowing the way of righteousness and being ignorant of everything else I would chose righteousness. When we get to the judgment there will not be a SAT style entrance exam. Biology, geology and all of the world’s wisdom will not matter at all. All that will matter is, are we righteous in the sight of God, that is have been born again.
God does not us just to be righteous because of what Jesus did. He wants us to live righteously. By this we make him rejoice because we are doing what he himself would do, in fact has done through Jesus, himself. Living this way shows we respect God.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:15 KJV
I have never asked my parents why they decided to have children. Maybe they never thought about it. I cannot say for certain why my wife and I wanted children. It certainly was not that we were grasping out immortality through procreation. I know we both loved children and part of it was no doubt because we wanted a child or our own to love.
Of course loving someone feels best when that person loves you back.
I have three nieces. Whenever I see them two of them give me a hug and say they love me. Taylor, who is the youngest, does not. She is younger, by a month, than Elijah. I like it when they tell me they love me. I do not remember when they older two started telling me they loved me but it was after they were a little older than Elijah or Taylor.
Elijah and Taylor by contrast do not tell anyone they love them. I think they love people but they are still a little young to speak in sentences like that. In fact they may be a little young to understand abstract concepts like love. In fact, neither one are reliable for giving hugs either.
Whenever I leave or get home. I ask Elijah to give me a hug. Sometimes he will start towards me with his arms open but he never makes it all the way to me to actually deliver the hug. I guess I could assume he does not love me because I do not get the hug. But at the same time I remember how he calls out dada dada whenever I get home. I remember the smile on his face when he sees me. These things tell me he loves me even if he does not give me a hug. Still I would like to get that hug sometimes.
God wants love too. He wants it from his children and Jesus told us the way to show that love is not through hugs, though he might enjoy them, but through obedience.
I desperately want to take Elijah to Disney World. I love Disney World. I am sure he will too because I have seen how my nieces love it. I want to do a lot of things for my boy that will make him happy. It’s in my nature.
It is in God’s too. God wants to do good things for his children just like we want to do good things for ours. He will not give his greatest blessings to children who do no love him though.
His greatest blessings are given to those who not only say they love him though. They are held for those who prove their love by obeying his word. When we disobey God’s word we rob both God and ourselves of a blessing. Think about it. How much do you enjoy giving your child something they will love? Doesn’t God feel the same way? It’s much better to give your child something fun than to give them a spanking is it not?
I do remember one day when I had made Alexia mad. She was only three probably. She was in the kitchen at my mom’s house and I had done something that she did not like. I do not remember what it was but in an attempt to make things right I told her I love you. I remember clear as day her response, “Well I don’t love you!”
I trust none of you would ever do God that way. You would not say it aloud I mean but when you disobey him you might as well shout it from the rooftops.
If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:7 KJV
Growing up my idea of cleaning my room was making the bed. My bed was pushed up against the wall on two sides. The head of the bed and one side were adjacent to the wall. That left the foot end and one side exposed to the rest of the room. I was always careful that the blankets touched the floor on these two exposed sides. Why? Because I had shoved everything in the room under the bed and was trusting the covers to keep my secret hid!
Obviously these are not the footsteps my wife and I want Elijah to follow in so my wife has been teaching him how to put everything in its place. We are not real picky about what toys or even how many he takes out of his toy boxes (Yes he has so many he has to have toy BOXES! In our defense they are not really big toy boxes) at any given time.
Every night Elijah seems to love to take the majority of the toys out of the boxes. He takes each one out one at a time. Next he plays with it for a few moments. Then he grabs another one out and repeats the process till there are more toys out of the box then in it. This, of course, is not surprising.
What is surprising is what happens next. Every night before he goes to bed the toys are all put up. At first I thought those little cobbler elves had given up making shoes and were now full-time house cleaners. Then I decided my wife must be picking them all up.
I was wrong on both counts. Well partially wrong at least. Elijah helps pick up the toys. I was amazed to see it knowing he is my son and my own past. Okay my own present is not a lot different from my old days with toys.
I watched it happen one night though. Tracy would say something to the effect of let’s pick up your toys. She picked up the majority of them, don’t get me wrong. But he did help with quite a few.
Now his idea of putting them up was a little rough. There was some dropping and almost throwing but hey he’s a little guy and coordination has not exactly set in so I was just glad to see him getting them in the box.
As he put each one in my wife said something to him. She told him either good job or good boy. I think she may have even clapped as he did it. At first I thought this was a little over the top but I noticed something. He seemed to enjoy being told he was doing a good job. God was telling Cain the same thing. If he would do well God would be proud of him. The same applies to you and I. Discipline is not all about chastening it is also about rewarding good behavior.
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:17 KJV
As I watched Elijah put his toys up I experienced a good feeling. I was proud. I had been proud of him before. A lot of that pride had come from who he was though and not what he was doing. Because he was my son I was proud of him. He is mine. This time I was proud because he was doing something good.
I am almost forty years old as I write this. I have a good relationship with my parents but it has not always been an easy road. I spent a few years doing things that did not make them very proud. I was sowing my wild oats if you will. To anyone out there who might be considering doing the same thing I want to give you a word of advice from the scripture. If you sow those wild oats you will reap them too. It is a lot more fun to sow them than it is to reap them. Those oats are also the gift that keeps on giving. Long after you quit sowing them you will still be harvesting them.
Fortunately in my case that period of my life was pretty short. I would love to say I just grew tired of doing wrong but it is closer to the truth to say it was the grace of God that made me change my ways. He was dealing with my conscience and reminding me that I was his child and he would deal with me in ways I did not want to know about. It was not a lot different than the times someone had wanted me to misbehave as a child and the only thing that kept me back was the fear of my father and mother finding out. The biggest difference was I knew God not only was going to find out but He already knew.
So I went back to church and got involved. I got heavily involved as a matter of fact. It was not long after that God reminded me of a calling he had given me some years earlier. That calling was to the ministry. I began to try and apply myself to the word of God.
Today I have been in the ministry for almost 17 years. The last nine I have been serving as a pastor. I am not claiming to have done a good job. I am not even claiming to have done the best I could at all times. None of us honestly do the best we can all the time. I do claim to have made a serious change in my life direction. I still sin but I am trying to keep it under control and spend more time serving the Lord.
My father is also a pastor. In fact he was the pastor of a church in Greenfield, Indiana and when he gave up the position they called me to fill it. It was my first pastorate. When I left the position they called him back.
There is a question that strikes me at night sometimes or when I am feeling a little depressed. I never ask the question of anyone because I am afraid that pride is at the root of it. I have enough issues with pride as it is so I don’t want to indulge myself but sometimes I really want to know the answer to that question. The question is not one I can ask of just anyone though. I would have to ask my dad. I just want to know if he is proud of me.
Maybe it is something that is built into all of us because I have met and counseled a lot of people who want to make their parents proud. If your parents have a good standard there is nothing wrong with that I suppose. Of course if your father has set bad standards we do not want them to be proud of following in their footsteps.
I hope that my father can echo the words of our heavenly Father at the baptism of his Son but even more I hope my heavenly father can at least sometimes say the same thing about me. He may not do it audibly as he did at the Jordan but he does do it through his Spirit. My prayer is both Elijah’s earthly and heavenly fathers will be able to praise his character and works too.
If you have not read the previous entries in this article start here.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 KJV
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Colossians 3:21 KJV
Growing up I heard a story about a family that had “whipping time.” When the stepfather, who was a heavy drinker at the time, would get home he would line his stepchildren up against a wall and take his belt and whip them. It did not matter if they had done anything or not it was whipping time and a whipping was going to be given. As you might imagine every time I was at this house I had a certain amount of fear even though the stepfather never laid a hand on me.
Whipping a child for no reason is not what God intended when he told us to use the rod. In fact such a practice is not discipline it is abuse and it breaks my heart to think of not only this situation but so many others where parents are taking a God given responsibility and perverting it. Sometimes it is for their own pleasure, sometimes because it is what they learned as a child and sometimes simply because they know no better. Whatever the cause of such behavior God sees it. It does not please him and such parents better be aware that God will repay that kind of treatment in kind either in this life or in the judgment.
We must also be careful that we do not push them away from the Lord in our attempt to discipline them. Our children must understand that we discipline them out of love and not out of anger. If a parent punishes a child because he or she, the parent, has finally had enough and is angry we do our children harm. There is no place for letting our anger get the best of us. A child must be aware that what we do we do out of love. They must know that we are not pushing them away in our discipline but trying to draw them closer.
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
God intends us to discipline for the benefit of our children not for our own pleasure. Discipline is a tool to help shape them into something the Lord himself can be proud of it. When we carry out discipline we must make sure we are carrying it out for that reason and no other.
When we correct a child we should be discouraging them from a behavior that is contrary to the Lord’s will for their lives. In order for discipline to be effective the child must understand what they are being punished for. We certainly do not need to be punishing them to make ourselves feel better. We do not need to punish them out of anger either. We must punish them for a Godly purpose.
If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.
Shortly before one of my nieces turned one her mother announced that whipping season was about to be open. The mother, my sister, was totally joking but it brings up an interesting question. When are you children too young to be corrected? When are your children to young to be spanked?
Have you ever heard parents complain about how their children turned out? Do you think it is possible they bear some responsibility for their children grow up? I think it a lot of cases they do. It is not that they do not want to train their children. It is because they do not want to hurt their children either physically or emotionally. To feel better in the short term they risk the long term.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Proverbs 19:18 KJV
When Elijah was just a month old he had his first doctor visit. It was time for him to get a shot. Tracy was on one side of the room. I was with the doctor. My job was to hold him still while the doctor gave the shot. It was not an easy job for me to look down at the beautiful baby boy my wife and I had waited so long for and hold him down while someone hurt him. But I did the job. Of course the minute the needle broke his skin he began to cry.
I am sure the doctor did not like making Elijah cry. I did not like hearing him cry, especially since I was the one to hold him down. Mommy did not like hearing him cry either. In fact when I looked at her she had a tear or two running down her face.
Everyone in the room, with the exception of Elijah, of course, understood that what we were doing we were doing to save him something that would hurt him more. Parents cannot afford to take the short view on shots. They hurt your child but it is truly for their benefit. Discipline them well whether they cry or not.
When parents refuse to discipline their children because they cry they are putting those same children at risk. Children need to be taught about boundaries. They need to be taught about consequences. They need to learn to respect authority. If we fail to teach them these things we risk not only their lives but their souls because they may form their view of who God is based in part of their view of who their parents are.
Some parents believe they cannot discipline their children because they love their children too much. I disagree. The lack of discipline is the result of too much love but it is not the case of a parent loving a child too much. It is the case of a parent loving himself or herself too much. We do not want to have to go through the pain of hurting our child. That is selfishness. What we are really saying is we cannot stand to hear them cry.
Children will grow up to have lots of friends. Your job as a parent is not to be a friend. It is to be a parent. That means you have to correct your children for their own good. Too many parents want to lay down the job of parenting and be a friend instead. Sometimes it hurts to be a parent.
Parents used to say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you!” Kind of makes you wonder how many children volunteered to switch places does it not? When Elijah came along I understood what the parents meant at least. It hurts me when I have to discipline Elijah. But I love him so I will put up with that broken expression and those little tears for his own good.
If you have missed the earlier sections of this article click here.
There is something rewarding and peaceful about holding a baby in your arms and feeding him or her. The first time I got to hold Elijah and feed him was the day after he was born. It was a Sunday. The church where I pastor was starting revival that night and I felt like I really need to lead my church that Sunday morning and help them prepare spiritually.
So I got ready early and headed down to see Elijah before I went to church. He was still in the NICU because they were making sure he did not have any viruses. As I looked down on him he looked so small as I caressed his little hands.
The nurse came by and said it was time to feed him. She asked if I would like to feed him. I had fed other babies but I had never fed my baby so I checked my watch. I had time so I went ahead and fed him. The nurse offered to let me change his diaper too but I was too “pushed for time” to do that.
A few days later we took Elijah home and I learned that newborns do three things. They eat. They get rid of what they ate. They sleep. That’s about all newborns do and they do a lot of all three it seems. Unfortunately they do not eat a lot but they do eat often. Therefore you get up every three to four hours to feed the baby.
Fortunately newborns do not get a lot of variety. Pretty much it is either momma’s milk or formula but as they grow the dietary variety increase. Did you know that there are rules to what a baby can or cannot have? In fact there are lots of rules! Your baby cannot have this but can have the other. For example peanut butter and seafood are out. Rice and vegetables are in. Fruit comes later. It is a lot to remember. Fortunately Tracy kept track of all that and just told me what to feed Elijah.
Of course every rule is designed to make sure your smiling little bundle of joy grows up to be healthy. Just as your baby’s body needs some nourishment to grow and mature your little one needs some nourishment from the word of God to grow up. Pediatricians set the rules for what your baby can eat. God sets the rules for how to feed a child spiritually.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1 Peter 2:2 KJV
The word of God is the best source of spiritual food for your child. Of course you do not need to put a Bible in their hands from the moment they are born but when they get to the point they can start learning they need to learn what God has said to them. I cannot emphasize the importance of teaching your child the word of God from an early age. The word of God is designed to keep them in the will of God and also to show them what to do when they get out of the will of God. If you wait till they are mature enough to understand everything about the word of God you may have waited too late. By then they may have already learned to take the word of God for granted or completely discount it. Do not wait for them to form their own ideas from a world that is consistently undermining God. Build a foundation upon which they can judge everything else. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
As Elijah has grown he has left the bottle behind. Now we feed him baby food and some big people food. But we do not just throw it at him. We have to give it to him a little at a time. Sometimes we have to demonstrate to him that it is good by tasting it ourselves. Of course you cannot just throw the word of God at your child either. I must give him what he can handle and I have to prove to him that it is good by living it.
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15 KJV
One rule I learned about feeding babies is vegetables come first. That is when they start getting baby food you do not go immediately to the sweet and sugary fruits. Nor do you start with candy. They have to learn to appreciate what is good for them. They have to develop a taste for those vegetables. If they get the sweet stuff first they may reject the vegetables later.
So you cannot raise your children on fairy tales and cartoons alone. They must begin to have the word of God early in their life. If they do not they may come to reject God’s word just as surely as they would the green beans.
If you missed the previous sections of this article begin here
I cannot stop at prayer though. Too many people pray about something then leave everything in God’s hands. There are times to do that. If you are standing at the Red Sea and Pharaoh is behind you there is nothing you can do but stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. There are other times where we need to pray then take action, what many people call putting some feet on our prayers.
Some years ago I heard a somewhat humorous story that illustrates this point.
There was an old man who lived in an area where there was a good deal of flooding and it looked like it might reach his house. So he prayed and asked the Lord to help. The water forced him to the upstairs of his house and the sheriff came by in a boat and told him to get in so they could get him to safety. “God will save me,” the old man said. He prayed again. Finally the man was forced onto his roof, the water swirling around his feet. The sheriff came by again. This time he was in a helicopter. He told the man in no uncertain times unless he climbed up into the helicopter he was going to do. “God will save me,” the old man said one last time before he was swept into the flood waters and died.
As the man entered heaven he admitted to God that he did not understand how he, God that is, could let him die in a flood like that. God answered, “I sent the boat and the helicopter didn’t I? It’s not my fault you wouldn’t get in.”
Sometimes we have a tendency to do the same things after we pray. God is a God of miracles. There is no doubt about that. But he is also a God who has given us the Bible as a guide to our behavior. When we look at our lives and wonder how we ended up in the trouble we are in we need to ask if we followed God’s instructions. It’s the next best thing to useless to ask God to do something we should be doing for ourselves. How we raise our children is no exception.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 KJV
As a minister I have heard a lot of older couples ask prayer for their children. In some cases it is heartbreaking because you see parents who seem honestly to have done their best to train up a child. In other cases you want to look at the parent and ask why they are surprised their child turned out the way he or she did. After all that was how you trained him or her to be. Honestly what you want to say is you broke him you fix him.
I do not pretend to be able explain completely what God is telling us in this verse. As I have said I have seen good parents turn out rotten kids. I have also seen rotten parents turn out good kids. The verse does not seem to indicate it is impossible for a child brought up to love and serve the Lord to turn from the paths of righteous living. It only indicates that he is more likely to live a good Christian life his if parents give him a good foundation of Biblical teaching.
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3 KJV
God was speaking expressly to the Elder’s of the church in this verse. He was telling the elders that preaching at the church was not enough. They needed to be living sermons on the righteous way of the Lord. By extension if they were to provide an example the rest of the church was supposed to follow it. If the elders were to teach by example then parents should teach by example too.
Teaching by example is scary. I work a lot with young Christians. Sometimes young Christians ask a lot of questions. I never mind discussing any scripture they may have a question about or anything they may be facing in their lives. I am glad to answer these questions.
But there is a certain set of questions I dread. Those are the questions that bring up my past. None of us are perfect. This rule applies to even ministers. All of us have done things we are ashamed of. Well at least we should be ashamed of. When young people ask me about my mistakes I get nervous because I want to be an example. In a lot of ways I can be but there are certain things in my past that I want to leave there. I do not want my bad example to become their excuse to make the same mistakes I have made.
I do not have a time machine to go back and undo my mistakes. Neither do you. We cannot change the past but we can change the now and the future. I want to live daily now before my son so that I can be proud if he follows in my footsteps. In fact, a large part of training means I leave some good footsteps for him to follow.
As for my mistakes that I have made, am making and will make all I can do is ask the Lord to help. Sometimes it takes time to get our past behind us but if we work diligently at it, it can be done.
Paul, who started life as Saul, had the same problem with his past. He had been a man who hated Jesus and the church and took every opportunity to hurt the church anyway he could. After he was saved people did not immediately accept him. He had to prove himself and he did by working as hard for Jesus as he had worked against him. Eventually people began to accept him.
If you have a life like Paul’s that you are trying to live down do not give up. Keep doing the right thing. Right now people may be pointing out all your failures and using it against you. Eventually you may be able to change their attitude with consistent good living. Eventually they may give God glory for getting you out of your old sinful behavior patterns.
Whether other people accept your change or not we still have an obligation to train our children. Train them by example.
If you missed part one click here.
I, like most people probably, do not like to be told what to do under any circumstances. I do not want the government, for example to tell me how to raise Elijah. He is not the government’s child. He is my child. Or is he?
I remember when Elijah was only a couple months old and we were at church. He would be cradled in someone’s arms. His arm would be up over his head and he would shake it backwards to forwards in a throwing motion. Several people commented that he was going to grow up to be a football player.
I said I hope not! I said he was preaching like the old preachers did. I have nothing against football. If he did grow up to be a football player and made it to the NFL I would probably be able to retire in comfort but have you noticed when they play football? They play football on Sunday.
God tells us to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. He gave us six days to labor and one day to rest and worship at his house. I understand that some people have to work on Sunday. I would hate to go the hospital, for example, and find them closed because it was Sunday. Jesus covered this when he mentioned your ox falling into the ditch. But if you are not pulling oxen out of the ditch and you are working on Sunday you are sinning against God and yourself.
If you are hoping your son grows up to be football player you are hoping he grows up to sin against his creator. You may be training up your child to make you proud but do you have that right? I do not mean in the sight of the government but in the sight of the Lord.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Psalms 127:3 KJV
At first glance one might think God is telling us he is giving us children. In one sense that is true. Children certainly come from the Lord and are a blessing. However, we must remember that we are ourselves are not even our own. We are bought with a price. We belong to the Lord. Therefore everything we have also belongs to the Lord. Whether it be houses, money or children they are not ours to do with as we please. We are only holding on to them for Him. In fact everything on Earth belongs to God.
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalms 24:1 KJV
Because Elijah is not my own I do not have a right to decide how to raise him. I must raise him as God would have him raised. I must train him to do the things that make God happy not me. If I truly believe this and if I do this then I will have a son who will not only make me proud but one who will make God happy. Unfortunately too many fathers worry about making their son the next NFL quarterback and never consider God may have something entirely different and better planned for him. They try to live their dreams through their son. It happens in a lot of other ways too. Children pushed into modeling, acting, sports and every other thing under the son. It is not right though.
The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Proverbs 23:24-26 KJV
This is not say I do not have hopes, dreams and aspirations for Elijah. I do. I pray regularly that he will grow up with all my strengths, not that there are a lot, and none of my weakness. I pray he will grow up to be a good servant for the Lord, a man who is tender hearted and affectionate regarding the Lord’s cause. This would make me happier than if he had a Superbowl ring on every finger.
For part three click here.
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:7 KJV
Between our dining room and the kitchen we have a baby gate. Even with all the safety devices on cabinet doors Tracy and I prefer that Elijah not wander around in the kitchen. Perhaps part of this can be explained by an experience some dear friends had. The Lord had truly blessed them and their quiver was full. They had two toddlers and an infant all at the same time. One day momma went into the kitchen to find their oldest was having a snack. She was eating macaroni and cheese…out of the trash. Maybe that is part of the reason we have a baby gate to keep Elijah out of the kitchen.
We are currently remodeling our house slowly. Mainly we are doing it slowly because I am a procrastinator. If I had not mentioned that I meant to I was just putting it off a little bit. Because we are remodeling the house my office and computer are in the kitchen. Fortunately our kitchen has a built in desk.
Lots of times when I am at my desk working (okay I’m playing sometimes, you busted me!) Elijah will come waddling up to the gate. More often than not he has a toy or something else in his hand. I guess he must be a normal boy because he seems to really love throwing his toy or whatever is in his hand over the gate. As soon as he throws it, or sometimes before he throws it, he yells “Uh oh!”
As you can imagine my wife and I have tried to discourage this behavior. One day he comes up to the gate and looks at me. I can see it in his eyes. He is going to throw it. I tell him not to. I tell him very firmly not to throw that toy over the gate. He throws it and yells, “Uh oh!” I immediately come out of my chair calling his name. He does an abrupt about face and runs off in that cute way that babies do. All the while he is running he is yelling, “Uh oh!” Bad Daddy had come out.
Doing my best not to laugh I went and got him and we had a little talk. When I told everyone else the story I did not bother to try to keep back my laughter.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8 KJV
When Adam heard that voice he had us “uh oh” moment. Running was not going to do him any good though. Now here is something you might not have known about Adam. He was a sharing person. That is when he had his uh oh moment he shared it with all of us. We are still having that uh oh moment in this world today.
Consider some of the things that took place because Adam did not obey God. These are the things enumerated in Genesis Chapter 3
- Women bring forth children in sorrow
- A woman is subject to her husband
- The Ground is cursed for man’s sake
- Thorns and thistles come forth
- Work is no longer a pleasure it is work. It became by the sweat of the brow
- He no longer had access to the Tree of Life
- He was kicked out of the Garden of Eden
Some would ask why Adam did not die. God said he would. The short answer is he did. His inner being was now dead. It died and was no longer alive unto God. The body was going to catch up too though. In fact it was already on the way to catching up. Before he sinned Adam was capable of living forever. I don’t even think he aged. After he sinned every moment he lived was one less moment he was going to live. Every moment he got a little older and we all know what happens when you get older. You get those aches in places that you didn’t even know you had places.
As I said Adam did just ruin it for himself though. He ruined it for all of us too! Some would say that is not fair that one man ruined it for all of us. I disagree with that idea. You may rebel at the idea that one person ruined it for all of us but remember that one person, Jesus Christ, also restored it for all who believe.
In the next Part we will demonstrate that God is fair and that everyone of us would have done the same thing Adam did.
Thanks for stopping by. This is Part Four of an article called when the Children Cry. If you have not read parts one through three click here.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:17 KJV
God gave us boundaries for our own good
God had only one rule for Adam. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It should have been easy for him to keep. He had plenty of other trees to eat from. It is not like he was starving to death. But even that one law was too much for him to follow. You can debate why Adam decided to do what he did. There may be multiple answers but in the end there is one answer that is at the foundation. Pride. He had heard what God said. He had no reason to doubt what God said but maybe he doubted that God could carry out what he had said. Maybe he doubted God’s word. Adam, at the root, thought he knew what was better for himself than God did.
So he ate of the fruit and when he did he found himself in a whole new world. In one sense the promise of the serpent, who said they would be as Gods, was true. Adam had created a whole new world. Well, maybe created is not the right word. He had taken a world that was ideally suited for him and created a wold of problems. The world that had once worked with him would now work against him.
The world was not the only problem though. Before he had eaten the fruit he and God had walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. Can you imagine that? Eve asks Adam, “Honey, where are you going?” Adam answers, “It’s time for my walk with God.” Can you imagine the joy? Not just the joy Adam felt but the joy God felt!
Elijah is happy baby, most of the time. Of course he has his moments when he’s not but for the most part he is laughing and smiling. He normally smiles at everyone! But Tracy says he has a special smile for me. At some point before he could walk but after he could crawl he developed a habit. If he saw me go outside he would go to the bannister at the stairs. We of course had a gate to keep him from going down the stairs. There at the bannister he would yell for me, not a crying type yell but the kind of yell babies make to get your attention before they have learned to use words. The smile and the reaction I would get are so precious. Even today, when the door opens he will run to the bannister and yell “Daddy!” He’s glad to see me and I am glad to see him. I imagine Adam and God felt much the same way when they shared their walk in the garden.
When Adam took that bite it was over.
One day Tracy, Elijah and I were out at my mom and dad’s for our biweekly family gathering. My niece Alexia, who was and is adjusting to no longer being the only child in her family, was doing something her mother told her not to do. My sister took her for a little walk to the bedroom. As you might imagine neither mommy nor Alexia were very happy. While the two were in the other room I could hear my sister explaining that Alexia needed to listen or some such thing. Then it got kind of quiet. All of a sudden I heard Alexia cry out in that voice that is half-way between crying and talking, “Bad mommy!”
I thought I would die laughing. Here was my sister telling my niece why she was in trouble and I was just certain Alexia was accusing her of being a bad mommy. It’s just like something she would do. She is a sharp little five year old and can really crack you up! She is also very sweet, praying for the babies in mommy and Tracy’s bellies and taking the time at the hospital one night that to tell me she loved Tracy, and Elijah and me. This without prompting.
When my sister came back into the living room we, my brother and I, had to tease her a little bit about being a bad mommy. It’s a long standing tradition because she is the baby of the family and that is what older brothers do. I try to be careful, however, not to contradict her parenting. She is mommy and I am uncle. It’s her job to discipline her child not mine. This doesn’t mean if I thought she was making a very serious mistake I would not talk to her about it. However, I would not talk to her about it in front her daughter or any one else for that matter. Some matters need to be handled privately. I have never seen the need to have one of those talks though.
After we teased her a little she explained that during her little talk she asked Alexia what happened when she was bad. The answer was bad mommy. Alexia had not been calling her mother a bad mommy she had been answering her question. Evidently bad mommy is a code word for if you keep it up you are going to get into trouble.
Look for my next post when I find Bad Daddy…