Generations | House Rules
Monday— This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ Jeremiah 6:16
“This ain’t your grandma’s religion!” the TV preacher shouted at the camera. “At Unity Online, we take spirituality to a whole new level. The Bible should be a guidebook, not a rulebook. That old rugged cross stuff went out with the horse and buggy. God wants you to develop the Christ consciousness, to make the world a better place. Start by sending a gift for $99.99.”
We’re suckers for anything claiming to be new and improved, even when it comes to God. Each generation wants to believe they have discovered a better way than their parents did. And while it can be good to challenge assumptions or traditions, there are some things that cannot be updated. Gold is gold regardless of the era in which it is discovered. Water is water. Oxygen is oxygen. And truth is truth. But our natural inclination is to try to tweak truth a little to fit our sensitivities. We read that Jesus said we must die to ourselves. That He is the ONLY way to God. That saving faith is obedient faith. And we say, “No, that’s not the road we want.” So we invent a Jesus that is more like us. He winks at sin, overlooks our rebellion, and blesses our selfishness. Meanwhile, the true God is calling, “Stop! Look around! Ask for the old, godly way and walk in it.”
Final Thought: We don’t have the power to update God or His word. Wisdom accepts nothing but the old, godly way,
Prayer: Lord, have I been guilty of trying to update you and your truth? Your word is timeless. It can’t be improved. Help me walk in it and be a part of guiding the next generation to accept nothing but the old, godly way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— “I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” Genesis 18:19
The Visitor smiles and quietly takes a seat on your couch. He opens a legal pad and begins to jot notes as He watches your family. The kids are going at it again and your temper is rising. The TV is blasting, dog needs to go out, and somewhere down the hall, someone is whining. You grab the phone on the fourth ring to hear a robotic voice asking if your car’s warranty has expired. Does that scene sound familiar? How would your Visitor describe it? What’s He writing down?
The thought of someone dropping in to evaluate our lives gives us cold chills, doesn’t it? Yet, that’s what God does and He urges us to live in light of that knowledge. Doing so is what the Bible calls the fear of the Lord. It’s the awareness that our loving heavenly Father is watching and evaluating everything we think say, or do. We’ll have to answer for it. Living with the fear of the Lord makes us careful about what we say, what we do, and even what we think about. Fear of the Lord guards us from stupid choices and intentional sin. And when we live in the fear of the Lord, our children know it. It directs every decision we make, and those decisions set the course for future generations. When God revealed Himself to Abraham, He expected Abe to change his old way of doing things and “keep the way of the Lord.” When he did, God could bless Him. His children and grandchildren would also benefit. Future generations benefit when we model what it means to live in the fear of the Lord.
Final Thought: Teaching our children to live in the fear of the Lord is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.
Prayer: Father, I want to develop the fear of the Lord in my life so those around me are blessed too. I will start picturing you in the room with me, taking notes. It’s not to judge me, but to guide me. Help me pass that on. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78:4
“We’re gonna let little Micky decide for himself whether or not to believe in God or attend church,” said Ms. Enlightened Mom.
Mr. Woke agreed. “Yes, because who’s to say which God is the right one? I believe there’s a God, but that’s my private view.”
“I agree with you both,” said Mr. Intellectual. “I don’t talk about God at home. It might cause my children anxiety. I want them to choose a religion that fits who they want to be.” Well, aren’t they open-minded? Does this enlightened talk impress the Lord?
No. God condemns that kind of idiocy. All through scripture, the Lord commands parents to teach their children about Him. In fact, Deuteronomy 6:6-7 instructs parents to be diligent about training their children from morning to night. We expect to teach children about everything else: manners, speaking, walking, healthy eating… So why would we withhold from them the most important piece of information in existence? We don’t do that about driving (’I’ll just let Junior figure it out for himself”). Or the law of gravity (“We’re gonna let Sally decide for herself whether she wants to believe in gravity”). To do so is irresponsible. It is also irresponsible when we neglect to teach our children that there is a God who made them, loves them, and wants them to know Him. But we can’t share what we don’t have. We can only train the next generation when we’ve let God train us.
Final Thought: If we would never hide food from our hungry children, we should never hide God ‘s truth from them either.
Prayer: Lord, have I been diligent in sharing all of who you are with those you’ve placed in my life? Am I giving you the priority that you deserve? Help me not be ashamed of you and your word so that everyone who knows me knows I’m yours. Amen
Thursday— …showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:6
The Ayers were well-known to local law enforcement. Grandpa had been a rebel-rouser with a rap sheet longer than his arm. Junior followed suit, drinking and stealing cars by the age of 12. Before he went to prison, he fathered a flock of babies by various women and those babies grew up to cause headaches for everyone. The Beggs were also well-known to local law enforcement. They were always giving, lending, helping, and serving the community. The children were respectful, the parents honest, the grandparents wise. The parents served at church and kept foster kids while two of their children became police officers—and routinely arrested the Ayers. Two families. Same opportunities. Same city. Same income. Big difference. Why?
The media tells us it is society’s fault. It must be due to income inequality, racial inequality, educational inequality, or corrupt government. God tells us it is due to the generational rejection of Him. One family had no use for God’s word; the other built their lives on it. One family passed down a legacy of evil, the other a legacy of honor. One family taught its children that addictions were the answer; the other taught its children that addictions were wrong and that Jesus was the answer. That’s the point in this verse. If we don’t renounce the idolatry in our own lives, we hand it to our children, and they hand it to their children. But when we say, “This stops with me! I refuse to pass this on!” we begin a new legacy. We have the power to invite God’s blessings on our great-grandchildren by the way we live now. If we begin obeying God, we can create a new legacy.
Final Thought: What legacy were you handed? What legacy are you leaving behind?
Prayer: Father, you know the legacy I was left. It’s time to stop blaming my family for what I didn’t have and ask your help to leave something better for my children’s children. I renounce the idolatry in my family tree and choose to live for you. Amen.
Friday— Fathers, do not exasperate your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4
-“I send my kids to church so they can learn about God.”
-“I work sixty hours a week. Their mom can teach them right and wrong.”
-“I can talk about football, golf, and making money, but I can’t talk to my kids about God. Makes me uncomfortable.”
While many instructions in scripture apply to both men and women, this verse is talking directly to fathers. It’s calling out the dads who leave most of the child rearing to the moms. Many dads have no problem yelling, criticizing, complaining, and playing video games, but they find patient instruction too difficult. Often it’s because their own fathers never showed them how. So God steps in to instruct dads on parenting. He warns fathers that they have the power to build up or tear down their children by the way they respond to them. Fathers instill fear and mistrust when they react in anger or indifference. But they can instill truth, strength, and wisdom when they hold themselves accountable for their child’s attitude towards life and towards God.
Final Thought: Fathers, are you accepting full responsibility for your children’s attitudes toward life and toward God?
Prayer: Lord, have I shifted my own responsibility to someone else? Am I blaming others for my family’s problems? Please forgive me and set me on the right path. I accept the responsibilities you’ve entrusted to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.