Welcome to Sharpened Words. In Psalm 144, the Psalmist David likens our sons to “plants grown up in their youth.” The picture here is of a mature plant that has just reached the point of bearing fruit. It is still young and vibrant, not old, and it is bearing fruit. This surely is the goal of every sincere parent. There is nothing else quite like a godly young person who is full of holy, God-glorifying fruit. This stands out even more in the present state of our nation. Generation X has very little purpose. They stand for nothing. This is not entirely their fault. Very little has been put into them by their parents. The plants have not been nurtured.
There is much insight that we can glean from King David’s graphic words. Raising up a generation of children who bear godly fruit in their youth is just like raising up tender plants to the fruit-bearing stage. It requires much time and attention. If you neglect the basic principles of farming, guess what—you won’t get much of a crop! Our precious children are much the same, only the growing season is about twenty years instead of four months. We only have one opportunity. It is important that we read the grower’s manual often and follow its directives with care.
Teaching and training these little plants is like nurturing a small tomato plant. This process is likened unto watering, pruning, weeding, and fertilizing the children God has entrusted into our care. We desire to be a help and an encouragement to you as you seek to fulfill your calling with your children. Happy teaching. –The Editors
God bless you as you teach!
Vessels in God’s House
For this little meditation, you will need to gather a few different kinds of vessels from around the house, both inside and out. You are looking for a variety of vessels, each with a different purpose, so that the children can easily see that there are different kinds of uses for vessels. A good text for this lesson is 2 Timothy 2:20-21. You want a couple of vessels that would be used for good things in your house. Maybe a nice glass goblet, or an ornate bowl for special occasions could be used. Then you also want to find a couple of regular, old vessels that have very little importance. Finally you want at least one vessel “unto dishonor.” At our house, we have a vessel that we use to hold our garbage. Read the verses, consider each of the vessels, and then ask the children, “Who would like to be the garbage vessel?” You will not get any volunteers for this one. Then explain that in God’s economy, the way to become a vessel of honor is through cleansing. At this point, you can lead the family into a little family revival.
The Gift of Time
You need a loud ticking clock in order to get the best use out of this illustration. While you are holding the clock in your hand and it is ticking, begin to talk about time. It would be helpful if you would hold the clock up to the children’s ear from time to time while you are teaching. Time is a gift from God. The present, is a present handed to each one of us, every day. The Bible says we should redeem the time. In Psalm 90:12 the psalmist says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” There are many points that can be made once you have established the main idea of the lesson:
1. Time is very valuable. Use it carefully.
2. Don’t waste time, for God gives nothing that is waste worthy.
3. We never know how much more time we will be given. This puts a higher value on it.
4. As in Revelation, there will come a time when time shall be no more. This also happens to every one of us. The clock will stop ticking and that is it.
5. Once time has gone by, you can’t get it back. What you have done with your time you have done, and there is no changing.
The Dangers of Pride
Go to the store and buy a few large balloons. Make sure you buy enough of them to be able to give one to each child when you are finished with the teaching. Start the lesson by blowing one of the balloons way up until it pops in their faces. By doing this slowly, you will gain the attention of everyone. Since the children don’t know that you are going to pop it, they will breathe with you on every breath. When the balloon explodes, get another one and start blowing it up all over again. You will want to use this one for teaching purposes, so don’t blow it up too far. We can learn many lessons about pride from the balloon. Remind them of the phrase “he popped his bubble,” and explain that this is referring to pride in someone’s life. There are many verses in the Bible that warn us about pride. Many of them have clear points that relate to the balloon:
1. Pride brings destruction. Just like the balloon popped very unexpectedly, so also pride brings trouble and many surprises. Often the person who is blowing the balloon up is feeling so proud. He blows the balloon larger and larger, but then, “Boom!” It’s over.
2. Pride brings blindness. Just as the balloon was blown up with a blindness to the possibility of an explosion, so we are blind to the coming damage of pride.
3. Pride makes a person unstable and easy to blow every which way in life. Show them how easily the balloon is moved around, tossed about, etc.
4. Pride is often very hasty. You can take another balloon and blow it up really well. When it is full of air, just release it out of your mouth. It will fly everywhere with no real direction. This is how many youth make big mistakes.
5. Pride will always bring you down, just like the balloon that goes up in the air always comes back down.
The Lust For Flesh
Here is one the children will never forget. Pick a day when your wife is planning to have chicken for supper or lunch. Have your wife place a piece of raw chicken on small plates. As the children sit down for family devotions, tell them we are going to have a little snack. Then place this raw chicken before them and wait for the reactions. You know that their faces will contort with all kinds of reactions for you! After the dust settles, give them a couple of crackers to munch on and start explaining what gluttony is. Tell them the story of the Israelites who were so lustful that they ate quail before it was cooked. Tell them about the judgment that God placed upon many of them for their gluttony. Remind them that raw flesh is often the end of a gluttonous spirit. There are many people in this land we live in that eat raw flesh or almost raw. Many eat meat with the blood still oozing out of it. God calls us to moderation and temperance in the area of eating. Many of us are caught up in the spirit of the age in which we live. Much of that spirit is in eating way too much, way too often.