You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Did you know that God studies His children? He does! He is a student of your ways and my ways, and He is intimately acquainted with everything about us. Just as God studies His children, we parents should study ours. We should become “intimately acquainted with all their ways,” because every child is different. For that reason, we must learn to give our children the kind of love they need. We may be great at telling our child that we love him, but what he’d really respond to is a hug. If we haven’t studied that child and observed his particular bent, we won’t know. Parenting is not easy. It’s not for cowards. But when we study and discern the uniqueness of our children, they are honored and affirmed in who they are.
When the writer of Proverbs instructed parents to “train up a child in the way he should go,” he did not mean the way we think he should go, but in the way he is already bent. You don’t try to make an artistic child athletic, or vice versa. You don’t try to force a shy child into public speaking. You discern the natural, God-given bent of your child and do all you can to encourage growth in that direction. It is impossible to do this kind of training in scheduled, five or ten minute “sessions.” Intense, focused “quality time” is a child-rearing myth. Quality time is a result of quantity time. The high moments of parenting are unscheduled and fleeting. We must be present when they happen to participate. Given a choice between “quality time” and “quantity time,” a child will choose quantity every time. Be there. Study your child. Encourage his growth in the bent that you see.
~ Dr Edwin Young ~
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Bob McAllister met Rusty Wellborn on death row. Bob was the Assistant to the Governor of South Carolina; Rusty was an inmate. Bob was a Christian man who routinely visited death row to talk to prisoners. And Rusty was one of the worst. He had been physically and emotionally abused, and had never known a loving home. He had been on death row for ten years for a brutal crime spree that involved four murders. The first few times Bob visited, Rusty never spoke. He lay curled up on the floor, broken, filthy and unresponsive. Gradually, Bob got him to talk, and eventually, to read the Bible with him. Weeks and months passed, but finally God broke through—and Rusty Wellborn received Jesus Christ. When all appeals for Rusty’s life were exhausted, an execution day was set. Bob visited him the night before, and Rusty asked him to read from the Bible until he fell asleep. When Rusty’s breathing was even and his eyes closed, Bob closed the Bible, crept over to Rusty’s bunk, pulled up the blanket and gently kissed him on the cheek. The next day as he was led to his death, Rusty turned to the guard who was escorting him, and said, “It’s sad, isn’t it, that a man has to wait until his last night on earth to be kissed and tucked in?”
When we receive Jesus Christ, it is as if we are kissed and tucked in each night by the Holy Spirit. He watches over us, and makes our sleep sweet. But we are also to “kiss and tuck in” one another—as Bob did for Rusty, to show the love and compassion of Christ at every opportunity. Rusty was right: no one should have to wait until his last night on earth to be kissed and tucked in.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
~ ROMANS 11:33 ~
Do you ever look around you and wonder if God knows what He’s doing? When His promises seem a long time in coming, do you wonder if He will make good on them at all? If you answered “no,” I wonder if you are human. If you answered “yes,” you are in good company. Even Abraham, the father of the Jews, wavered in his faith. When he and Sarah were still childless a decade after God promised them descendants, he did what we do many times. He began to rationalize and second-guess God. Then he tried to “help.” He had sexual relations with his wife’s maid Hagar, and she bore him a child. Needless to say, it was not what God had in mind. It is easy to see how Abraham could have made such a poor decision. But what we need to understand is how he could have made a better one.
What do we do when we are faced with a dilemma? How do we make difficult decisions, especially those related to faith? Here are a few suggestions. First, we need to listen to Godly counsel. Abraham did not. He listened to Sarah, who thought the surrogate mother program might be a solution. Second, we must exercise patience. Patience. Wait on the Lord. Finally, take the long look. Short-term solutions are not always best. Look far into the future, and try to imagine the long-term ramifications of the choice you are making. (I doubt that either Abraham or Sarah imagined their choice would affect Jewish-Arab relations several centuries later!) Nearly every choice you and I face is a choice between our way or God’s way. “My way—or Yahweh.” Which will it be?
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
-1 CORINTHIANS 15:55
Emperor Philip of Macedon was awakened every morning by a slave who spoke these words: “By His divine decree, by His imperial order, Philip, you too will die.” Every morning Philip faced the certainty of his death. He wanted to be reminded that he would not live forever, and that he should do what he could do now—because tomorrow was not guaranteed.
Death is a sure thing. Unless Jesus Christ returns in our lifetime, all of us will die. One day the obituaries will contain our name, and we will not wake again. Death is sure…but it is not a comfortable subject. No one really likes to talk about it. I was an adult before I ever attended a funeral service…and I was the pastor officiating! Death is sure…but for the Christian it is not threatening. For those who believe in Christ, the sting of death has been removed.
A mother died, leaving her husband and daughter. After the funeral, the little girl asked her dad, “Daddy, why did Mother die?” The father did not answer right away. He was struggling to find the right words. A short time later, the two were walking together when they were passed by a large truck. As the truck came close, it cast a shadow over the two of them, and the father saw his answer. “Do you remember asking me about Mom, and what happened to her?” The daughter nodded. “Well, let me ask you a question. When that truck came by just now, did it hit us?” The girl shook her head. “But something did hit us, didn’t it? Something dark?” Her eyes lit up. “Yes, Daddy,” she said, “the truck’s shadow hit us.” Her dad said, “That’s what happened to your mother. Death did not run over your mother. Only its shadow did. And shadows don’t hurt. I don’t know why it happened, but I know that she’s okay.”
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
Your Bible is No Ordinary Book
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart…
My earliest remembrances of my childhood in Laurel, Mississippi are of nightly Bible reading. Every night, without fail, my mother would open the Bible with my brother and me, she would read from scripture, and we would pray. My dad did not participate in this time of family altar until years later when he became a Christian, but mother was not deterred.
I discovered early on that when the Bible is being read, something important—something supernatural—takes place. God’s Word has a way of breaking down barriers, crumbling defenses, melting hearts. The Bible is no ordinary book. The Bible is unique in its distribution. There are more copies of it in print today than any other book. Year in and year out, the Bible is a bestseller. It is also unique in its translation. The Bible has been translated more than any other book in history. It has been translated more than 1,280 times, and new translations in many dialects are constantly being completed. The Bible is unique, too, in its accuracy. In the manuscript world, the number of copies extant verifies the accuracy of a book. There are over 20,000 copies of Bible manuscripts. Other classical writings with less than 50 copies are considered highly accurate.
Not surprisingly, the Bible is unique in its infiltration. It is truly amazing where Bibles can be found. When Christians were banned from China fifty years ago, there were nearly 25 million Chinese believers. Today that number is eight times greater. How could that be if there were no preachers, no missionaries? There were Bibles—and they were treasured and shared and read and memorized. There is quite simply no book like this book. It is living, and it contains the power to change lives.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow…”
~ 1 KINGS 18:21 ~
Abram did not go directly from the land of Ur into Canaan. He made a 15 year detour in a place called Haran. Haran was not a bad place, but it was not the place God was calling him to remain. Haran is a symbol of compromise, of partial obedience. And it is a place with which most of us are quite familiar.
How many of us have joined a church, gone through the motions of repentance and commitment, and stopped short of God’s destination for us? We’re living in Haran—not Canaan—and we may be satisfied, but God is not. We’ve exercised enough faith to make a start, but we are seriously lacking in follow-through. Maybe you are in Haran right now. You’ve made a break from an ungodly relationship, moved out of your cultural comfort zone— maybe even cleaned up your language or your lifestyle…but you are still in Haran. You’ve broken a few worldly habits, but you are still sold out to the world’s agenda.
I have a personal theory that those who leave Ur and stop in Haran are more miserable than those who never left at all. How tragic to hear the call of God and obey it only partially! Compromise is the saddest place in the world to live, because it yields neither the fleeting pleasures of sin, nor the full-weighted blessing of complete obedience.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse….
When a person steps out in faith to follow Jesus Christ, he becomes identified with Christ. Abram’s faith and obedience caused him to be forever identified with God—to the degree that God’s enemies became Abram’s enemies, and God’s friends became Abram’s friends. A Christian soon discovers that those who would curse God do not hesitate to curse him, and those who would bless God, bless him, too. It’s a family thing.
While I was away for a short while from the church where I pastor, my son Ben preached in my place. A woman who had never visited our church before but had watched our services on television attended for the first time. At the end of Ben’s message, this woman came forward to receive Christ, and she told the counselor she spoke with afterwards, “You know, the pastor looks so much younger in person than he does on television… someone should see if they can touch up the tape!” The counselor laughed and said, “That wasn’t the pastor—that was his son!” Like it or not, my boys are often identified with me. There is a definite family resemblance. The fact that people identify me with my sons has always been a pleasure to me. I am proud of them. They are fine men. But I wonder if God is always so proud of our family resemblance? Do my actions as a son bring Him honor? I pray they do.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~