A Parent’s Best Gift

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Let’s go back to the Sears Christmas Wish Book I mentioned yesterday.  So many memories..

Here’s a few of them:

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Wow! A banana seat bicycle!  Pop a wheelie!
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Can you taste it?
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This was serious right here!!

How many times I would pour over the pages of the catalog, mark what I wanted, then proceed to my mom and dad and say, “You know what I want for Christmas?”  And how many times did I hear them say, “We can’t afford that.”

What could they afford?  The same thing that every parent can afford—time.

When I survey Scripture, I see God’s instructions to parents taking time not money.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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

  • To train, discipline (which is teaching, instructing, and correcting) and nurturing takes time.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

  • Often children get into trouble because they are just crying out for someone to pay them some attention. They want to know where you will draw the line.  It takes time to teach what is right, what is wrong, what to do to stay right, and what will happen if we choose to go our own way.

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

  • Please note again the meaning of discipline and the need to take time to be diligent to fulfill the complete picture of discipline/discipleship. If a child does need a spanking, it should not be a quick strike out of anger, but a time of loving correction and training.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9        And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit 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.

  • Once again, you cannot teach, train and disciple on the run. It is your lifestyle.  It takes time.

Parents, your greatest investment on this earth will be your children.  They don’t need you to buy them things to make up for where you have failed.  They need your love, attention, character-training, and fun times.  They need you to teach them the Word of God.  They need to hear how you came to salvation.  They need you to pray with them.  They need you to make spiritual applications of life with them throughout the day.  They need you to teach them how to work, how to eat, how to be hospitable, how to serve others, how to talk, how to be a blessing to others, how to make their beds, how to get up and make the day count, how to cook, how to do life in general by the grace of God.

They need you.  They need you every day.

Parents, this Christmas, rather than spending so much money, spend a lot of your time.  Give your children something that will eclipse that banana-seat bicycle.  Give them the best gift—your time; give them you.

Sabbatical Journey #3 – Time

Beauty Spot, Unaka Mts, TN

We have had several folks ask us what we did on our sabbatical.  Well, here’s a brief look into this blessed 31-day journey.

Going into the month, our goals were, as mentioned in Sabbatical Journey #1, to rest, refine, replenish, recharge and refocus.  My wife and I greatly anticipated TIME . . . TIME to pray, read, seek the Lord, think, prepare, pray, seek the Lord, study, read, pray, think, seek the Lord, etc.  The Lord graciously gave us our hearts desire.  James 4:8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

How wonderful it was to begin the morning meeting with my Lord in such places as our back porch, by a creek near a waterfalls, up high on Beauty Spot, in the sunroom at my in-laws or on the back deck of a lake cottage.  During these days, I read portions of or completed the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. My, how the Lord did speak to my heart!  One of best parts was reading the Truth and then watching the Lord make connections that day either through a book I was reading, situations I found myself in or conversations I had with others. My journal is a treasure to me of what God clearly spoke to my heart!

On August 25th as I sat all alone on the Appalachian Trail with Bible, journal and pen in hand, having just read Colossians 1:24-29, I wrote the following:  As I look down the AT, I see a marker pole with a white blaze, and I am reminded of Jim Eliot’s quote, “Lord, make me a crisis man.  Bring those I contact to decision.  Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”  The more TIME you spend with the Lord, the more you want to be that kind of man.

Thank You, Lord, for TIME to meet with you, uninterrupted and with no time limit.  Eternity will be awesome!!

16.8 Christians

Here are some common numbers often thought about in reference to time each week:

  • 7
  • 24
  • 8-5
  • 168

168?  What does that number represent?  This is the total number of hours in a seven day week.  We know that all 168 hours are a gift from the Lord. Since every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:18), we are to be good stewards of those hours.  When we think of stewardship, we most likely think of money which is a gift from the Lord as well.  Since we are exhorted to tithe, what about our time?  If you were to give a tithe to the Lord for His gift of time, how much should be given each week?  That would be 16.8 hours-a-week.

Now let’s consider that 16.8 hours in your week.  It comes out to be 2.4 hours-a-day.  In your week, how much time do you give to the Lord in absolute concentrated devotion of study, prayer, communication, meditation, singing, memorization, and listening?  If you really gave Him your undivided attention in Sunday School and the church services as well as on Wednesday night, that would leave you approximately 12.3 hours.  Divide that by six and you have 2.05 hours-a-day.  Now, I’m not suggesting that we literally clock our time with the Lord, but shouldn’t we give the Lord each week an offering of our very best time?  Mary got it right as recorded in Luke 10:38-42.  She chose what was necessary, the best part (10:42).

We tithe on God’s money; shouldn’t we tithe on God’s time? Since God is sovereign over all, we can trust Him with our finances and our future.  He rescued you from hell to enjoy fellowship with you.  He knows what your day holds; He made it.  Give Him the gift of your best time in fellowship and see how throughout the day He orchestrates your life.  You might find that you will be singing in 16/8 time. 🙂  How about joining forces, and let’s be 16.8 Believers?

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce (Prov. 3:9).

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord (Psalm 4:5).

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7).

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need (Malachi 3:10).

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:31-33).

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name (Psalm 63:1-4).

Thanks to Missionary Milo Tomas (Philippines) for his example and leadership to be a 16.8 Christian!  He is definitely a man who treasures “Christ in the midst” of his life (John 20:19-22).