Kelly and I have strived to include our children, ages 11 and 9 at the time of writing, as part of our ministry team as much as possible. I have to say I am quite proud when they argue over who can lead family devotions from time to time. Each one wants to, and we use these times as teachable moments. I count it as a tremendous blessing to have children who want to serve the Lord. I count it as joy for children who strive to be the best they can be in what the Lord has created them to be and do.
Yesterday was Father's Day here in the United States. We sent out a message on the CLCTC Facebook page as well as tweeted a "Happy Father's Day". I included a verse found in Ephesians. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4. I often hope and pray that as a father I am not exasperating my children, though I am sure I do sometimes. I was praying that when the children asked if they could lead family devotion time.
It was wonderful listening to them read scripture and foster discussion about the love of God the Father found in Romans and 1 Corinthians. It was amazing to hear them tie that together with advice and instructions from Moses in Deuteronomy about not forgetting the Lord our God and that He is the source of all blessings, good things, and abilities. I should not have been surprised when the children added thoughtful questions for us to discuss and then a children's church style game of acrostics to list and discuss the characteristics of God.
I am thankful that I have been adopted into the family of God and have become a co-heir with Christ in the family of God. I can look to God as both father, and dad. I can know He is not going to exasperate me, but teach me and train me in His ways. He'll rebuke me and throttle me as necessary so that I can become and do all that He has created me to be and do. He'll also bless me and provide for me as I have need and desire.
In all, I could not have had a better Father's Day present. Thank you Lord for the gift of my children and what you have instilled in them, and what you have given me so that I can train them and instruct them in your ways.
So, friends, my advice to you is simple. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; acknowledge Him in all that you do; don't exasperate your children, but raise them up in the Lord.