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Lowell Brueckner

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The Glory of God in a Home III


Priorities in the Home

Dan & Shelly, Raquel & Tom
Raquel: “We were brought up in the ways of God.”

“I am so thankful to have had parents, who taught us early about Him. And family devotions were going to happen no matter what.  I remember when Steve got a job and had to get on the train to Munich early every morning. We just had to get up extra early to have family devotions before he left.  There was no skipping. And there were family devotions at night too. Dad would share what God was teaching him at the time, would always encourage us to know God for ourselves and not just what we are taught.”

“And we were always memorizing a new Bible chapter or reviewing a past one. They stay with you always.”

Raquel as a little girl
“I was still young (six-years-old), when I realized that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. I remember, I was playing outside under a big tree. My older brother, Steve, told me that if the tree would fall on me and kill me, I would go to hell, because Jesus hadn’t saved me. That shook me up and I didn’t feel like playing anymore. I wandered around our yard, pondering what I should do. I finally went to find Mom. She took me into Dad’s study, where she explained to me that everyone was a sinner and needed to be saved. When she asked me if I wanted to pray to Jesus to ask Him to save me and live in my heart, I became excited. I was very happy after praying. I wasn’t afraid of trees falling on me anymore, because Jesus had saved me!”

Daniel: “We had ‘family devotions’ every day before being picked up for school. Scripture memory, listening to testimonies, reading through the Bible together and then praying.”

“You wouldn’t allow us to go places where other Christians were letting their kids go. We’d ask, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ and sometimes you’d answer, ‘What is right with it?’ As I look at where many of them are today, I’m so thankful you didn’t let us go all the time where we wanted to go. Thank you for saying, ‘No.’”

“One night after a service there I can remember being so concerned over the state of my soul. A fear came over me because I knew I was a sinner deserving of hell. I remember standing behind Dad’s seat as we drove home asking questions. Dad took me into Grandma & Grandpa Peterson’s sewing room and explained the gospel to me and I remember you leading me in prayer to receive Christ (I think I was around 5 years old or so).”

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

I don’t know how to better start this third and final article on the Christian home than to place before you this beautiful poem, written by our daughter-in-law, Karyn:

Good and Faithful Parent

A child so fearfully and wonderfully made,
Into my arms you have graciously laid.

A precious heritage sent from the Lord,
Fruit of the womb, an undeserving reward.

O Lord what a blessing!  What gratitude do You expect?
To be wise, not a fool and walk circumspect.

Not only train him in the way he should go,
But by word and action the right way to him show.

Take up this arrow in your quiver and aim
Down My separate path, do not mock My name.

Show My law perfect, My testimony sure,
That fear of Me is clean and will forever endure.

Help him love Me and seek Me with all of his heart,
Do not be lazy, it’s not too early to start.

Write on your doorposts; make sure I am heard,
While his heart is like sponge, soak him in My word.

Faithfully teach him my statutes to keep,
Be diligent, in this child - what you sow you will reap.

Redeem your time, seek My kingdom first,
He will be watching where you quench your thirst.

You won’t need to tell him I am your life’s authority
Because he will see how you give to Me first priority.

Together on your knees come and worship at My throne
Until he is able to come on his own.

Do not be anxious; come with him in prayer
And with thanksgiving your requests with Me share.

When his heart is broken and for salvation he cries,
His simplicity and youthfulness do not despise.

The work I begin when his heart is committed
I will be faithful to finish, but you must be submitted.

To walk humbly before Me is what I require,
Find out what pleases Me and of My ways never tire.

With you I have entrusted this tiny, little talent;
Invest in Me and I will name you a good and faithful parent.

And not only this child that inherits your name,
But of one born spiritually I ask you the same.

Remember how you treat him, as to Me it will be,
And you’ll have no greater joy than to know he loved Me.

Karyn, Steve and family
There is no mistaking the fact that the Bible teaches that parents are responsible for their child’s spiritual education. It is not primarily the Sunday School teacher, not Veggie Tales or songs and stories on Christian children’s videos, that provide this foundation for such a tender life, but Mom and Dad. They are to take time to teach the great Bible stories to their children and ground them in the principles of the Word of God.

There should be a regular time of family devotions, something my parents called ‘family altar’. Raquel and Dan, in their comments above, said enough about what that time should entail, but I will reaffirm that the main events must be Bible reading and prayer. It is an excellent time also for Scripture memorization. Then the father, as priest of the home, should share his knowledge of the ways of God and his personal relationship with Him. I can remember also giving the older ones a chance to give a short Bible study to their siblings (and parents).

I have heard some parents foolishly state that they don’t want to force Christianity on their children. They feel that the child must enter with his heart by his own free will. Such do not even begin to understand the role of Christian parents. Karyn stated it so well above: “Together on your knees come and worship at My throne, Until he is able to come on his own.” He is to be disciplined in the ways of God until those ways become his pleasure. The things of God are not an option for children brought up in a Christian home. They are to be taught in the home and in the assembly of the saints, that God’s way is the only way.

I have in my mind hundreds of Bible verses that were memorized from the time I knew how to talk. My parents told me that at 18 months of age, I could quote 1 Peter 1:23-25. Someone might say, “That was no use to you at that age” That’s right, but now it is of immense use and advantage. Also in church I learned hundreds of hymns that I didn’t understand, but now they come back to me and enrich my soul on a daily basis.

It is the parents’ responsibility to procure their offspring’s salvation. That ought to be the one great priority motivating them. No, they cannot save him or ultimately decide for him, but they can press upon him his need to be saved. They can show him that he was born a lost sinner in a desperate condition before God and this can be done, when he is quite young. Any indifference that they manifest in this matter will be observed by their son or daughter. If he or she does not know that this is the most important thing in the world, as far as his or her parents are concerned, he or she will certainly procrastinate in the matter. I remember my dad and mom asking me, more than once, when (not if) I was going to surrender to Christ.

No child or teenager is ever going to place priority in the things of God, if it is obvious to him that his parents put other things first in their lives and in the home. In a practical way, if their work, duties, sports, entertainment or anything whatsoever, are put first in their lives, their children will certainly discern it. Christianity to them, as to their parents, will become a pleasant pastime, reserved for Sundays and maybe one other evening in the week.

A good Christian parent will find himself saying ‘no’, far more than saying ‘yes’. There is a phobia against negativism in Christian circles in these times, when it is more necessary than ever for parents to deny their children those things and circumstances which are detrimental to their souls. They must say no concerning matters of dress and make-up. They must say no concerning much TV, computer, and phone entertainment. They especially must say no to damaging companionship.

Steve, Dan, Mike, Dave together, March 2020
On the other hand, a parent must not be stubborn concerning personal prejudices or religious standards handed down to him from his own past. There are times, when he must give way, if it becomes clear to him that a certain practice may not be sinful, but simply displeasing or uncomfortable to himself. To give examples of my own, I changed my mind on two issues, to which, in the beginning. I said no. One was when David asked if he could learn to play drums and the other was when all three boys wanted to join the wrestling team. In both cases, in time we found that these activities were actually beneficial in their lives and a blessing and testimony to others.

One of the greatest problems I see obstructing the work of God in young people is the parental pride in the matter of higher education for their children. For some parents this is clearly seen as the priority for their children, beyond the will of God. Usually it is justified by the argument that their children can better serve God, if they graduate from a university and get a degree or two. From a biblical standpoint that premise is highly debatable. Parents often put undue pressure on their children to perform academically. I sometimes hear them comparing notes with other parents on their children’s achievements as students. I think an honest confession in most cases would be that they want their children to be recognized as successful in society, which is a very dubious ambition.

After 9 years apart, Raquel gets a surprise visit from Deborah
I will close this final study on the home by referring briefly to a biblical example found in Luke 1… that of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Please meditate on the comment made by the angelic visitor to Zechariah: “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord…” (Lk.1:14,15a). They did not have a chance to rejoice over John Baptist’s achievements in the schools of men. He was in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel (v.80). They were not able to rejoice because of his sophisticated demeanor in society. He wore camel’s hair, a leather belt, and ate locusts and wild honey (Mt.3:4). Jesus asked concerning John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!” (Mt.11:7,8) They could not rejoice in his reputation among the upper echelons of society, because there, he was considered a demoniac (Mt.11:18).

Luke listed the elite of the day in chapter 3:1 and 2: “The reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Alilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas…” These were the great influences upon the society of that day, but they had no contact with the seat of highest authority. When God choose his mouthpiece, “The word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.” What do you want from your children? You can’t have the best of both worlds. Be honest and make your choice!


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