(A Bible study for mothers)

Raising Children! What an awesome task young mothers have in this age in which we live!

My heart aches for each of you as I think of the responsibility that rests upon your shoulders! And yet, raising children is the Lord's plan and He gives us many instructions from His Holy Word to help in this wonderful, awe-inspiring calling!

As I am thinking of all of you and your children, it makes me think of my own precious grandchildren. I thank God for them every day and pray for them so often. I look at each one and I can see such potential for the work of the Lord. They are each so different and yet what a blessing each one is. My most fervent prayer for them is that they will all do great things for Christ's sake. Every one of our "grace" children are just as precious in God's sight as my own grandchildren. My prayer for all of you is that you will raise your children so that they too will do great things for the Lord.

This is a wonderful vocation, a "calling" you have. The apostle Paul admonishes, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called". (Eph. 4:1) Mothers, you have a vocation given you from the Lord. God created you for this task. You already have everything you need to accomplish this task. You have the inborn abilities needed, and you have the completed Word of God with it's perfect instructions to enable you. You must raise your children according to the instructions given you within His Holy Word in order to do it God's way. You cannot walk worthy of this vocation without doing it God's way.

I am sure this "calling" is overwhelming at times. I remember so well when I felt that way quite often. I am trying to think even now of what I can say that may help you and encourage you to do your very best to raise these precious ones in a way that the Lord can use them for great and mighty things. The future of the Lord's work is in their hands, if the Lord tarries!

1. Upon reflection, I think the first and surely the most important thing to remember in raising children is to pass your faith on to them. You must remember that children don't just "absorb" what you believe without your telling them and sharing your faith with them. They must hear what you believe as well as see the fruits of it. The old adage, "I'd rather see a sermon any day rather than hear one" isn't enough for children. I know of too many parents who have merely taken their children to "church" while rarely talking of their faith in their homes. They believed their children would learn and believe what they, the parents believed, with little outward teaching and sharing from the parents. Many of their children have gone the way of the world.

We can't expect "the church" to teach our children all they need to know about the Lord and the Bible and spiritual things. For one thing, many children of parents who know the scriptures and who "rightly divide the Word of truth" have no Sunday school to attend or special classes on their level to attend.

Some parents I have known, have opted to go the way of the world and to take their children to certain local churches for such classes and have thus exposed them to erroneous teaching. Do not think, young mothers, that if you do this that your children will be any better off. I am living proof that it did not help me at all. If you have read my testimony, ( www.understandingyourbible.com/test1.htm) you may remember how the denominational system that I was in, actually hindered my salvation. And on top of that, I taught Sunday School for years while in my lost condition! How many teachers out there are lost, while teaching children, just as I was?

Besides, which "Bible" would your children be taught out of? Your children do not need some phony teacher teaching them some phony doctrine out of some phony Bible! A parent must be sure of the teachers and of the doctrine that their children are exposed to.

Another reason you cannot depend upon the church to teach your children is that you must consider how few hours your child will actually spend in a good class, if he has one to attend. Less than one-half hour per week is usually all that is allotted for actual teaching in most local churches in their Sunday school classes. This is a very small amount of time compared with the time you are with your child in a week. Very little can be taught in this short teaching period (I know, because I have taught children for years) and yet parents believe they have done their duty by sending their child to these Sunday Schools and classes.

Also, television is teaching them for hours on end, and their peers and other influences in their lives are doing the same. What chance does less than a half-hour of teaching a week in Sunday school have against such odds?

The Lord says in Eph. 6:4, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The Lord has given this calling to parents! No one else! We must be fervent in this duty of teaching our children ourselves!

What is this "nurture" of the Lord? "Nurture" is only found in this one verse, but in the dictionary it is said to mean, "that which nourishes; food;" or "that which promotes growth; education; instruction; training."

What will cause our children to grow spiritually and "nurture" them? What will give them spiritual education, instruction, and training? It is the Word of God! Fathers are told to bring their children up in the "nurture" of the Lord. The nurture of the Lord is the food for their souls! We must feed the souls of our children as well as their physical bodies! It is the only way they will grow spiritually and the only way to train them effectually for Christ's sake!

Young mothers, don't be disheartened because the verse says, "ye fathers". Yes, it is a wonderful thing when the father in a home takes this responsibility seriously and does what the Lord calls him to do. These children are very blessed. But what about homes where the father doesn't do this job, for whatever reason? Should mothers take the position that it is only the father's job and therefore do nothing? No, dear mothers, the Lord doesn't leave you wondering what to do about this. He gave us at least two precious verses to assure us that a mother can have a great and powerful influence in the spiritual lives of her children, and that mothers, too, should be teaching their children the Word of God.

II Timothy 1:5 says, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." Chapter 3:15 also says, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Timothy's mother and grandmother both passed their faith on to Timothy! They taught him the scriptures! Timothy's father was probably an unbelieving Gentile, so in this home the spiritual training was left up to the mother and grandmother. What a wonderful job they did! By the time Timothy met Paul, he knew much of the scriptures, which "are able to make thee wise unto salvation" and he was ready and willing to be taught the "gospel of the grace of God."

Parents, you are to prepare your children in the Word of God so that they can be saved, when the Lord's timing is right.

Timothy was saved under Paul's teaching, thus Paul calls him, "My son", in I Timothy 1:2:

1 Timothy 1:2:
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."

Isn't it wonderful to note here that Grandmothers can have a great part in this teaching and "nurturing", too? All of us, fathers, mothers, and grandparents, must work together for these precious ones to see that they receive the spiritual training God wants them to have!

2. The only way we can do this is to study the Bible for ourselves, for how can we give out to our children what we ourselves don't have? A sponge can only squeeze out what has been soaked into it. We are like sponges, as we soak in the Word of God for ourselves, we are only then able to squeeze it out for others. When we get excited about the Word of God, it will naturally squeeze out and even pour out for our children. They will get excited about the Word of God, too!

3. And thus, The Word of God will equip them for a future that honors the Lord.

The Word is God is "quick", it quickens, it makes alive the soul! This is what will equip our children to serve the Lord.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12)

"I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me." (Psalms 119:93)

4. The Word of God will also make our children wise. We all want this for our children and we must remember the only real and true wisdom comes from the Lord. The verse quoted above (II Tim. 3:15) says the scriptures do this for us:

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

We are told in the following passage what true wisdom is:

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?... Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men... But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty... But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (I Cor. 1:20-30)

5. Mothers, you will never regret teaching your children the Word of God. You may regret many other things you do in raising them, but teaching them the scriptures will never be one of them. Take every opportunity you possibly can find to teach, and nurture your children in your faith, in the Word of God! Before too very long these little ones will seem to slip through your fingers and be gone and your opportunities will be few and far between! Use the time you have now! Teach them yourselves, and the Lord will bless your efforts. God says His Word will not come back void.

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

Redeem the time you have with your children. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:15-16) Don't let this time you have slip away without doing what the Lord would have you to do.

Believe and obey Proverbs 22:6, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Do this for your children's sakes but more than that, do it for Christ's sake!

My prayers go with you all in this God-given task,
Mary Atwood