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April 02, 2018

Start Young

Talk to your children about the Lord and His mercies continually. This is what Moses told the children of Israel. It is also what King David and the prophet Joel, among other biblical authors, instructed us to do. These passages are too clear to be misunderstood.

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalm 34:11

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done . . . so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Psalm 78:4,6

One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:4

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.
Joel 1:3

My great-grandmother was a saint who understood that God required her to pass along her faith to her family. She talked about the Lord continually, it seemed.

When I was five years old, I was standing with her in our backyard as a plane flew overhead. She looked up and said, "Oh my, we have to pray for the pilot of that airplane."

"Why, Nanny?" I asked. "Is he going to crash?"

"No," she said, "but there is a man up there God knows and loves. We need to pray for him and his family."

I know now that Nanny was referring to the fact that our country was involved in World War II and that the young man in the plane might soon be engaged in mortal combat, although as a child I didn't understand those implications. What I did understand at the time was her concern about other human beings and our obligation to pray for them.

I hope you will take advantage of every opportunity to tell your children that faith in God is extremely important and that He cares about them too.

Begin this introduction to spiritual truths when your children are very young. Even at three years of age, a child is capable of learning that the flowers, the sky, the birds, and even rainbows are gifts from God's hand. He made these wonderful things, just as He created each one of us. The first Scripture our children should learn is, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). They should be taught to thank Him before eating their food and to ask for His help when they are hurt or scared.

In a 2003 nationwide poll, researcher George Barna observed that children ages five through thirteen have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ as their Savior. That rate drops dramatically to just 4 percent for kids ages fourteen through eighteen. And those who have not become Christians before age nineteen have only a 6 percent probability of doing so during the rest of their lives.3

There is no time to lose!

From Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Girls

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