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Fortifying Our Families

(Psalm 78:1-8)

Lesson 5 -- third quarter 2002
June 30, 2002

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications

"My parents aren't very spiritual."

Let's face it: We parents are every bit the failure-prone humans that you are. We fall short of God's expectations as individuals and as parents. At times we don't do as we ought. At other times we don't talk as we ought. I am sure most of us don't do enough of "shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4). I know for sure that I don't; just ask my children.

So what's a child to do with parents like that?

Pray for us. What a concept! The very idea of a child praying that his parents would be better, more faithful parents seems strange and upside-down. But it will bring faster, better results than criticism and disrespect. So ask God to motivate us to show you His praises, His strength, and His wonderful works. Ask God to fill us with spiritual vitality and vision. Most of us don't want to hide God and His works from you, so ask Him to remind us.

Ask us. If you sense that we are doing poorly at this kind of historical communication (or at any manner of communication, for that matter), ask sincere questions. "Mom, if you were to say, 'Praise the Lord!' about something today, what would it be?" "Dad, tell us about a time in your life when you saw God do a neat thing." "Do either of you remember any inspiring stories that your parents or grandparents told, or that you have read about?" You might even ask about a verse, doctrine, or concept you would like clarified, or about a difficult situation you are trying to figure out.

Listen to us. When we parents speak, we need our children to be attentive. We need you to listen to us with your ears; otherwise, how will you hear what we are saying? We also need you to listen to us with your hearts, doing your best to put to practice what you hear. As wrong as it is, at least some of us parents have a way of giving up (or at least growing discouraged) in the face of inattentiveness. So please give us your ears and your heart.

How is your generation doing?

I know that using others as our yardstick is not a wise thing. Comparing ourselves among ourselves is dangerous because this leaves us with no fixed, unchanging standard. It also leads to self-righteous and judgmentalism. The measure of our spiritual life and progress should not be the spiritual life and progress of someone else. God and His Word should be our unit of measure.

As you might guess, though, I ask my question in the context of verse eight: "And might not be as their fathers." No human, no parent leaves a record too good to be improved upon. So challenge yourself and your peers to improve on our relationship with God and our obedience to Him. Don't be satisfied with merely keeping our faith. Expand and strengthen it in your own lives!

When Microsoft recently released its new XP operating system, it didn't release a mirror image of the previous system. And I certainly hope the new OS isn't inferior to the old one! When it comes to computer software, each succeeding generation is supposed to be an improvement on the preceding one. The new release is supposed to improve the strengths, eliminate the weaknesses, and add new improvements and capabilities.

Similarly, when the next generation of children comes along, it should be an "upgrade" to the previous generation. Ask God to work that effect in you!

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