Tag: God’s word

The Main Character

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

…and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).

When I read a book, one of the first things I notice is whether the voice is written in first or third person. I often think those written in first person are done so to provide a closer identity with the main character. The character in the story is telling his or her own story. There’s no wondering who the story is about when it begins with: “I woke up one day to find that I was in the hospital.” “It was a dark and rainy night and I couldn’t find my way home.” “No matter what I do, nothing seems to work.”

Sometimes it is a little more difficult to discover the main character when the story is written in the third person. Occasionally you have to read several pages or maybe even a chapter or two to discover the main character. Stories that begin like this, for instance,

“As the ship set sail, the passengers were all settling in for their much-anticipated voyage. No one seemed to be worried at all. They should have been.”

leave you wondering, is the main character one person on the ship, a storm, or is it set during time of war when the ship could come under fire and the story is about the ship itself and the entire crew?

Most people know at least one story from the Bible. They can tell you the story of Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Jonah and the big fish, Moses and the parting of the Red Sea or Mary and the nativity. They tell the story as if Adam, Noah, Jonah, Moses and Mary were the main characters. In reality, they are not. When we read the Bible, God is always the main character. Whether the human writer used the first or the third person (both are used and sometimes mixed – such as in Daniel where the first of the book is written in the third person and the last part of the book is written in the first person), the voice is always God’s because it is His story about His relationship to man.

From beginning – In the beginning God… – in the middle – It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man – to the end – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen, the Bible is about God.

That’s why it is called God’s Word.

© Stephanie B. Blake

July 2019

Seven Parenting Hints from the Word of God


 Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward (Psalm 127:3)

“There are no illegitimate children – only illegitimate parents” (Leon R. Yankwich, judicial opinion, 1928). Not every child is planned by his parents, but every soul is planned by God. Parenting is perhaps the hardest, but most rewarding job there is. There is no greater calling.

Unfortunately, just as in marriage, much of parenting is on-the-job training. Some of us had good examples of parenting modeled before us. Some of us had terrible models. Only God can give us the guidelines needed for raising children that will honor Him.

Raising children is a bit like growing an orchid. One expert said that growing an orchid requires experience, education and to be preventive in respect to problems. In raising children, add a great deal of nurturing, time and love, and you have a start in the process.

Sow a thought, reap an act;

Sow an act, reap a habit;

Sow a habit, reap a character (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

A Christian has an advantage in that God’s word is a living tool to help cultivate the life that has been entrusted to a parent for a few years.

1.  The godly parent must tell his children of God’s work in his life.

God chose Abraham so that he would direct his children and their families to keep His way and do what is right and just.  Abraham’s blessings were not for him alone, but for future generations.  God expected him to guide his family, especially his children, in His ways.

God told Moses He performed the miraculous signs in Egypt so Moses would be able to tell the wonderful stories to his children and grandchildren that would prove that He is the Lord.

What children see, they copy. The best compliment or most searing criticism could be, “Your child acts just like you do.”

Read and discuss Genesis 18:19 and Exodus 10:2.

2. The godly parent must teach his children the Word of God

The Bible is life’s operating manual: a parenting guidebook. Humans are tri-dimensional: physical, mental, spiritual. Some parents make sure their children are nourished physically, send them to school to get education, but leave the spiritual until they can make the decision for themselves. God makes it clear He expects parents to be in charge of their spiritual development.

The Jewish people were very serious about this instruction from the Lord. Christians should be as well. God told His chosen people to devote themselves to His words: teach them to their children, talk about them at home, on a trip, going to bed at night and rising in the morning, in other words, at all times.

From his childhood, Timothy was taught the scriptures by his mother and grandmother. Paul instructed him to remain true to those things he had been taught. Paul reminded him that God’s word teaches us what is true, helps us recognize what is displeasing to Him, and how to straighten out things that are wrong. God’s word equips us for all He wants us to do.

Read and discuss Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Proverbs 22:6, 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-17.

3. The godly parent knows how to lovingly guide his child

No one likes being constantly criticized, scolded and ridiculed. God tells parents (especially fathers) not to provoke or discourage their children. That can cause them to quit trying. Rather, discipline them with the discipline of the Lord.

You may have had godly parents. You may have had very bad parents. Don’t duplicate the bad habits of ungodly parents. You can stop the pattern.

It is the responsibility of the child to learn to be obedient. It is a parent’s responsibility to love them enough to do what is necessary to mold their character into God-honoring humans.

Listen to your child. Quality time comes out of quantity time. You cannot set 10 minutes aside and say, “OK, now we are going to have quality time.”

A godly parent has the most input into the lives of their children through their actions and their words. If your words do not match your actions, your children will know the difference.

Read and discuss Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20-21

4. The godly parent comforts his children

God, the Holy Spirit, is called the Comforter. He promises to comfort us as a child is comforted by its mother.

Life is tough. Children need someone to lean on, to count on. Children need to learn how to handle difficulties while at home. It prepares them to handle the challenges of the outside world.

Paul told the Thessalonians that he and his friends dealt with them as a father deals with his children: encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God.

Although you should be the primary teacher in your child’s life, many others are also training him: teachers, neighbors, people at church. Some reinforce your training. Some do not. It is easy for a child to be confused. Lead by example and your child will see the difference. If you tell your child not to lie, but you lie, he will not trust you nor will you be able to adequately comfort him when he encounters trials in his life.  It is important that you let your child know that you also need God and His comfort – that you are a sinner and you need His guidance.

Accept your child for who he is. His personality may be the opposite of yours. God gave your child his personality, his temperament. Your job is to help him build his character. You will be unable to comfort your child unless he knows you respect him.

A child who knows he is loved and accepted will be able to take the discipline necessary to mold his character.  Reinforcing positive behavior will often prevent the need for discipline. If he makes his bed (even if it is not as you would have done), take note of it and don’t remake the bed.  If he is careful to watch after a sibling, say something about it.  Praise goes a long way with a child.

How many of us felt we could not measure up to the standards set by our parents – that we were never good enough at music, art, sports?  Are there negative comments that keep popping up in your mind?  That is preventable in your relationship with your children.  It is not necessary to say anything untrue, but every positive action can prompt a compliment from you. “I really enjoyed hearing you practice the piano,” is better than “You played that piece perfectly.”

Read and discuss Proverbs 15:1, Isaiah 66:13,  Colossians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:11

5. The godly parent provides for his children

Parents are instructed to provide for their families, especially their children. This is such a strong teaching in God’s word that those who refuse to provide for their own are said to have denied the faith and are worse than unbelievers.

Read and discuss Matthew 7:9-10, 2 Corinthians 12:14, 1 Timothy 5:8

6. The godly parent is in charge

Is being in charge a scary thing for you? If so, are there some things that you need to change before you can become a good example to your child?

Don’t leave your child guessing what you believe or what your values are. Joshua took his place in his family seriously and declared that he and his whole family would serve the Lord.

Foundation for a strong family is to put God first. You are in charge of the development of your child for a short time. The best gift you can give them is the knowledge that God is in control.

Your children will never know what your values are if you are not around. A qualification of those in leadership in the church is that he must manage his own family well with children who respect and obey him.

Your child wants you to be in charge. Surveys of children from divorced families revealed that children given an opportunity to choose their parent most often chose the parent who is in charge. That parent made the child feel safe and secure.

Read and discuss Joshua 24:15 and 1 Timothy 3:4-5

7. The godly parent must correct his child

Discipline has as its root disciple. It is not a negative word (like punishment). Discipline involves firm, reliable and kind guidelines. Your child should know what is expected of him.

Discipline is most effective when begun early. If both parents are involved in raising the child, the discipline should be agreed upon.  It is confusing and damaging to a child for one parent to say one thing and the other something else.

If you don’t discipline your child, who will? Discipline comes from a Latin word meaning to teach.  Paul was able to tell others to follow him as he followed Christ.  That is the primary duty of a Christian parent.  Model the teaching you have learned from God.

We are born in sin and must learn what is right. Observe a two year old who has never had any instruction. Left to himself, no one wants to be around him.

Remembering that God disciplines each of His children, decide to discipline your own the same way God disciplines you. As a child of God, we still need discipline.

Read and discuss Proverbs 3:11-12, 13:24, 23:13, 29:17, Hebrews 12:7-11

As Christians, we are children of God. God, the Father, is the best model of a parent. What He does for us, we should do for our own children. If you are a true Christian disciple, your children will know it. Your example will prepare them for whatever God has planned for them.

Each generation can make known Your faithfulness to the next (Isaiah 38:19).

© Stephanie B. Blake

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Treasures of the Written Word

I have a mixture of modern and old-fashioned preferences in my communication habits. The instant communication that is now available allows me to do so much more than I used to do. I have sometimes thought that the growth of the internet came about just in time for me to do international work. Social media sites enable me to keep up with friends, family and business acquaintances while I am out of the country. Sometimes an e-card is my only possibility to send a friend or family member a birthday greeting. I take advantage of all the online resources.

120px-Libri_booksHowever, my real preference is old-fashioned paper and pen. I love to receive notes in the mail from friends and family and I still do the same for them. There is something about going to the mailbox, seeing my name on an envelope, a friend’s name in the return address and the anticipation of what might be inside. That’s actually my first love and I will never get over it (that is, unless the U.S. Post Office goes out of business).

I never sent my father an email because he never owned a computer. In going through his things after he died, I found all the letters and pictures I had sent him from overseas. He kept every one and put them in a special notebook. Some he put his own comments on. As I read back through those letters, I could visualize his smile as he read the letters and saw the growth of my family. Although I am thankful that I wrote him fairly regularly, I wish I had written more. It was obvious he treasured those letters.

547396_3527358137646_407129404_nIn my dad’s last years, he started reminiscing about his days in World War II. Dad enlisted in the Army in May 1942. He was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, and served as a corporal in the 487th Bombardment Group. Desperately wanting to fly, Dad eventually had to give up that dream because of airsickness. He became a Link Trainer Instructor and served in England.

After hearing some of his stories, I asked him to write them down. I wanted to have them and pass them down to my sons and their children. Dad did just that. The notebook he gave me is filled with notes of where he was, what he did, pictures taken during that time, maps, his address book and his honorable discharge on October 11, 1945. The pages of the notebook were typed on an old manual Underwood typewriter interspersed with handwritten notes. I wouldn’t give anything for that notebook. It is a treasure.

120px-Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01My Heavenly Father wrote an entire book. I love it so much that I have several copies of it, with my notes interspersed throughout. Sometimes I feel like it was written just for me because I know He took special care to make sure it had all the information about Him I would ever need.

Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee (Psalm 119:11 NAS).

Spending Time with God: Digging for Treasure in His Word

Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his son (Hebrews 1:1 The Message).

God loves to communicate with His family. That is why He sent His Son, the Word, to live among us. That is why He gave us the Bible, His written word. That is why He puts such an emphasis on prayer.  He is so intent on making Himself understood that His Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of His believers. Unlike false gods, He is totally engaged with His people.

If someone wants to know what God has to say, he studies the Bible.  Unfortunately, Bible “study” is often viewed as an obligation rather than an exciting privilege. However, the psalmist did not feel that way. I have put my hope in your word. . .  How sweet are your promises to my taste. . . I gain understanding from your precepts. . . Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119: 81,103, 104, 105 NIV).

Reluctance to spend time in God’s word is usually more prevalent in a society where Bibles are readily available.  In countries where access is limited, if a Christian owns a Bible, it is his most precious possession. He can say with Job, I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread (Job 23:12b NIV).

There are many ways to study the Bible: a careful word-by-word exegesis of a particular passage (such as John 3:16), an in depth study of a book (such as Genesis), a character study (such as Daniel), and many more.  The important thing is to set aside time each day to hear from God – through His word and through prayer. I get excited about discovering threads of truth that run from the beginning to the end of God’s word or “connecting the dots” about a Biblical theme.

Although the Bible was written by many people over several hundred years, it has one underlying theme.  It is, after all, God’s word. It is all about God and what He is doing. The theme of every story, book, and character is how God used that person or circumstance for His redemption of fallen man. Redemption is through Jesus, the Word of God. He appears in the Old Testament in pre-incarnate forms and comes as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies in the New Testament.

Jesus revealed Himself as God: I Am (John 8:58), the Bread of Life (John 6:35), the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Door (John 10:7), the Good Shepherd (John 10:14), the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and the True Vine (John 15:1).  Although these statements are unique to Jesus, He shared the characteristics of one of them with His believers. This is the theme of the Bible study on this site: Living in the Light: Looking Up and Lighting the Way for Others to Follow.

© Stephanie B. Blake

May 2011

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