Teach Them Diligently

Deuteronomy 6:7”and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Isn’t it funny, God’s direction to us is to “diligently teach” the scriptures to our sons (children) … not to be diligent to make sure they go to church, not to be diligent about making sure the Bible is read in school, but to be diligent to TEACH them?

Look too, at where and how we are to teach them … “talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Now lest any may misunderstand, please know that having your children (in fact your entire family) habitually involved in church activities and services multiple times a week is an absolutely marvelously excellent way of life! The writer of Hebrews stated this very eloquently when he wrote in 10:23-25”Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”

There is a joy that comes from participating in organized meetings that are about instilling hope, love and good deeds into the lives of people. David said it this way in Psalms 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.'”

Liberation, empowerment and strength are realized through the purposeful act of going to spend time in the praise and worship of our Creator and Savior! Which is why David also encouraged us in Psalm 132:7 “Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool.”

At the same time, if our Christianity is about going to church, then it becomes something we do, and not who we are. Also, if we leave the teaching of scriptures to our children for the church or school, we have shirked an enormous part of our responsibility as Christian parents. That is not what God intended. How can I speak so boldly of God’s intentions? Because in Deuteronomy 6:7 God commands us to be Christian everywhere and all the time … “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

In addition, God lays the responsibility of teaching scripture to children squarely on the shoulders of their parents … “you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them”.

WOW! That’s a big burden to lay on someone! I mean, not everyone is a Bible scholar, and life is already so busy just taking care of the kids and meeting their physical needs. Soooo… how is an already frazzled parent supposed to add scripture teaching to their over-packed schedule!?!
Once again, the answer to this quandary is found in Deuteronomy 6:7 “talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” You don’t have to add to your schedule, but simply use the moments you already have to your advantage. For example:

We don’t so much walk now-a-days, but when you add up all the “to and fro” time, we do spend lots of hours traveling. I would venture to say that for most Americans, that means time in a car. Well, what occupies that time? Is it silence? Is it keeping everyone busy with books or electronic gadgets such as games or videos?

How about replacing silence with talking about scriptures? Start simple by engaging everyone in remembering details of a well known Bible stories. As time goes on, start keeping a Bible in the car and challenge someone to look-up, confirm and/or add to the details. What an incredible way to have family time and TEACH SCRIPTURE.

As for busy activities, what books are the children reading, or what videos are they watching? What electronic games are they playing? These questions are extremely critical, because whatever they are spending all these traveling hours on, is what is getting lodged in their brain and forming their thought processes.

It is absolutely essential to know what children are ingesting through their eyes and ears, and unfortunately a little extra effort is required to take the time to actually read, view and even play their books, videos and games. One thing that can help is finding trusted sources. Ask Sunday School Teachers and Children’s Pastors what sources they use. Visit Christian Book/Supply Stores in your area. Checkout the resource pages on web-sites such as, www.sonpoweredpub.comwww.goodseedcreation.com, www.discoveryandfun.com or www.focusonthefamily.com.

The point is, God wants us to “teach them diligently”, starting now! So don’t delay, get on your way!


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A journey through the Old Testament on Route 3:16

Haven’t been here in a while. The last several months have been busy and difficult. Praise the Lord we were able to visit Dad in late January, because by February he was no longer with us. Praise the Lord, too, that his suffering was very minimal with the cruel disease that took him so swiftly.

One of the most difficult parts of the last few months was trying to give a proper and fitting tribute to my Dad at the memorial service held in his honor. Dad was a great man. Not in riches or fame, but in the legacy he left. A legacy of having taught us what truly should be important to a man. God, Family, Friends and Country. As I journey through this life, I always had and always will have a great example to follow. My Dad.

Thank-you for indulging my few moments of personal thoughts.

Speaking of journeys, a while back the Lord impressed on my heart to take a journey on route 3:16. Which is to say, following a path that consists of the verses found at chapter 3 and verse 16 of each book in the Bible. In the following, you will note that there are some books missing. That is, of course, because those books do not have a verse 3:16.

When first mapping out this journey, the steps (verses) seemed disjointed and not at all a path, but as I progressed, what unfolded was very much a flow of thought and progression. As you read the following, I encourage you not to just take my word for what is written here. Take the time to examine each step in its context. Go to your Bible. Read the verses that precede and follow. I am sure it will encourage, strengthen and bless your heart as it has mine.


Man had let sin into the World through his disobedience, and the Lord was angry. He cursed the ground and increased the toil of man, and then He turned to the woman.  (Genesis 3:16) To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

Even in His anger, God did not abandon His creation. (Exodus 3:16)  ’Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying,’ I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.

God even made a way for His creation to seek forgiveness. (Leviticus 3:16) ‘And the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’S.’

God also provides means to help His creation remember to whom they belong and who they serve. (Numbers 3:16) So Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, just as he had been commanded.

God blesses and cares for His creation. (Deuteronomy 3:16)  ’And to the Reubenites and to the Gadites, I gave from Gilead even as far as the valley of Arnon, the middle of the valley as a border and as far as the river Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon;’

God sends His creation and goes before them clearing the way. (Joshua 3:16)  that the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.

God imparts wisdom on His creation for dealing with the enemy. (Judges 3:16) And Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length; and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak.

God desires that His creation recognize His blessings and share them. (Ruth 3:16)  And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’ And she told her all that the man had done for her.

God imparts true wisdom on those who seek Him and appoints wise councilors. (1 Kings 3:16)  Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him.

God provides for those who obey His commandments. (2 Kings 3:16)  And he said, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’

God provides for all generations. (1 Chronicles 3:16)  And the sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.

His creation shall rise up to praise their Lord in all their works. (2 Chronicles 3:16)  And he made chains in the inner sanctuary, and placed them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates and placed them on the chains.

We are called to care for and tend to all that God has provided us.  (Nehemiah 3:16)  After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, official of half the district of Beth-zur, made repairs as far as a point opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men.

Without the Lord we are lost.  (Job 3:16)  “Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, As infants that never saw light.”

The Lord is a just God. (Proverbs 3:16)  Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.

The world is unjust. (Ecclesiastes 3:16)  Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.

The Lord sees our indiscretions. (Isaiah 3:16)  Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud, And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps, And tinkle the bangles on their feet,

We are to follow after the Creator, not the created. (Jeremiah 3:16)  “And it shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again.

The wrath of God is severe. (Lamentations 3:16)  And He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.

Wait upon the Lord and He will speak to you in the midst of your strife. (Ezekiel 3:16)  Now it came about at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

All situations may be answered by quietly resting in God. (Daniel 3:16)  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.

The time will come when the God will distinguish between those who love Him and those who do not. He will pour out His wrath on those who deny Him and draw close to them those who seek Him. (Joel 3:16)  And the LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.

We must not fail to recognize when we are plundering that which God has created for us, and amend our ways to be good stewards. (Nahum 3:16)  You have increased your traders more than the stars of heaven– The creeping locust strips and flies away.

To rejoice in the calamity that will befall those who deny the Lord is to fail to understand the heart of God. Instead seek diligently to enlighten them, and mourn over their unwillingness to hear. (Habakkuk 3:16)  I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us.

Our eternal strength in is the Lord. In Him we have hope that far exceeds the trials and tribulations of this life. (Zephaniah 3:16)  In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.

To “fear” God is to abide in Him, obey His commands and devote ourselves in service to Him. God remembers those who belong to Him and “fear” Him. He protects them and provides for them. (Malachi 3:16)  Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

In conclusion, an interesting note: There are many who teach that it is not important to study the Old Testament, because the New Testament brought a “new covenant”. Yet as we have traveled along Old Testament Route 3:16, verse after verse has revealed answers to the oft asked question, “Why Jesus?” (Why His incarnation…why His tragic death on the cross…why His rebirth…why His ascension…why should one surrender their life to Him…) Study of the Old Testament is critical to gaining understanding of Jesus. Besides, Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets (what we now call the Old Testament); I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

PS: I am currently on route 3:16 in the New Testament and will share sometime soon.

Thank-you for reading.

Please know that I pray Numbers 6:24-26 for you!


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The Calling of Men of God

What you are about to read is not brand new.  It actually comes from a devotion I shared with a Men’s Fellowship group a few years ago. At the same time, it very definitely contains one of those “AHA” moments, when I recognized something really HUGE in a small two line passage of scripture. This and the words of challenge and encouragement  God inspired me to pass on to men, make it well worth the time to re-share it here…

When we as men of God join our hearts together we are better enabled to move ahead in one accord, stave off attacks of the enemy and temptations of this world and accomplish the task to which God has called us…The task of winning our families and community into the body of Christ!

In Acts 21: 8-9 Luke wrote: “And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea; and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.”

To a casual glance, this simple two verse passage of scripture may not speak much, but truly it is crammed full of examples of truth and wisdom that should greatly inspire the life of every man!

1 – Philip was obedient to the call of Christ!

2 – Philip, the great winner of souls, did not neglect his family!

3 – Philip was also a great witness for Christ!

Please allow me to elaborate a little…

1 – Philip was obedient to the call of Christ!

As Saul and the Jews ravaged the church in Jerusalem, Philip fled the city along with many others, but they did not leave behind their salvation or the Gospel message. From Jerusalem Philip went to Samaria and when he got there he couldn’t help but to start preaching to them the GOOD NEWS of salvation through the Blood of Jesus! The result…people were getting saved! This was no quiet, in a corner, event. Revival had hit Samaria in such a big way that the apostles in Jerusalem heard of it and came to help! Now we might think that the next logical thing for Philip to do is establish a church and settle in at Samaria, but God had other work for him to do.

Next we see Philip obediently witnessing to a man being driven in a chariot. This was apparently a man who at least had access to wealth. After he received salvation and had asked Philip to Baptize him, this man might well have used his resources to help Philip build a huge church wherever he wanted, but God had other plans for Philip.

As Philip and the man came up out of the water, God snatched Philip away to Azotus, and he just kept right on moving from city to city preaching the Gospel, until he finally came to Caesarea where he  apparently settled down to raise his family.

2 – Philip, the great winner of souls did not neglect his family!

Philip was a blessed man of great reputation, but he did not allow this to keep him from fulfilling his role as the priest of his family.  In Acts 21:9 an  enormously important fact is stated in a few simple words. “Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.”

To be prophetesses, his four daughters must surely have been SAVED, SANCTIFIED, and FILLED WITH HOLY SPIRIT!  This does not happen by accident. This happens when a father is active in the lives of his children. Sharing with them the Gospel message and serving as a living example, by a life dedicated to Jesus.

What a testimony for any man!

 What an example for every man!

While I in no way am inferring an equal standing with Philip the evangelist,  I felt led to share at this point some of my own…PERSONAL TESTIMONY:

2011 is my 24th year in Children’s Ministry.  Prior to and along with ministry, I have had a career as a non-degreed electrical engineer spanning well over 20 years.  Today there are places all over the world where you can go and see machinery operating to which my name is connected.  I helped design and build equipment for the Publishing, Passenger Elevator,  Container Handling Bio-Tech and Food Processing industries. In many cases this equipment operates in full automatic mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I take pride in the contribution I have made in these areas, but I am blessed far more by how God uses my life as it is surrendered to Him.

Over the many years we have ministered to children, my wife, Patti and I have been blessed to help countless children establish a firm foundation in Christ. A foundation from which, as they continue to grow physically, they also continued to grow spiritually.  Whenever Patti and I visit a Pen-Florida Assemblies of God District Council, we are blessed to encounter young ministers and their spouses who grew-up through our Children’s Ministry.  We also keep tabs on many who have graduated from our Children’s Ministry over the years and are even now in Bible College preparing for a life of serving God.  Many of our graduates are involved as volunteer ministers and/or on-staff at their local churches.

Many times we’ve had children who came to church only because we picked them up and brought them. Today we get reports not only of the many of them continuing to serve God, but also some of their parents have been saved and serve in their local churches.

In addition, God has blessed Patti and me with two wonderful children. As parents our lives have been about sharing Jesus with them. We are doubly blessed to know that their lives are surrendered to Jesus and He has saved them and filled them with the Holy Spirit.

To me it is very exciting to be able to count blessings this way, and at the same time, know that God is not finished using my life for His glory.  I have shared this bit of personal testimony not out of a desire of bragging or presenting anybody extraordinary…but, I share this with you out of a fervent desire to inspire and encourage YOU.  I can assure you that I am no more than an ordinary man with a yearning to serve God and glorify Him.  But God can use ordinary men in extraordinary ways…

The Bible doesn’t tell anything of Philip before he became a deacon, other than that he had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. There is no reason to believe that before coming to know Christ, Philip was anything more than an ORDINARY man, living an ORDINARY life.  Yet God used this ORDINARY man named Philip to win countless souls unto Salvation and into the Kingdom of God, including the souls of his own daughters!  Yet God didn’t stop there with Philip…

3 – Philip was also a great witness for Christ!

Have you ever thought about where we find the most accurate record of the Ascension?…Mark speaks of it in his Gospel…Paul eludes to it in the letter to the Ephesians…but God inspired a physician named Luke to truly chronicle the event and give the most explicit details…now Luke was most likely from the area of Troas and was most likely not present on the hillside the day the Lord rose up to Heaven in the site of 500 of His followers…so how and where did Luke learn the details?  According to Acts 21:8, Luke was with Paul the GREAT world evangelist when he arrived at Caeserea and spent time in fellowship at the home of Philip, the FIRST world evangelist. (Luke wrote “we departed and came to…”)  Sometimes I like to stop for a moment and imagine being “a fly on the wall” at this most likely unassuming and yet massively historical event:

Two men (Philip and Paul) who had already been used of God to powerfully impact the world for the cause of Christ, and yet both chose to remain humble obedient servants to their Savior and Lord.  Imagine being able to just sit and listen to these two giants of the faith swapping stories about how they had witnessed the move of God: the salvations / the healings / the moves of the  Holy Spirit / the Revivals they had experienced throughout the lands!  And there was Luke…drinking it all in and recording it for all the generations to come…for us, some 2,000 years later to read about and share these great and humble lives!

No doubt, much of the book of Acts may have actually been penned in this very “number of days” that Paul and Luke stayed with Philip in Caeserea.  That would make this unofficial summit of a few MEN…recorded so simply in just two lines of scripture…ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH!!!

This event, so briefly mentioned in the pages of scripture, should scream to each of us how very important it is for MEN of GOD to fellowship with one another…Whenever men come together and share what Christ has done in their lives, the world is impacted and changed!

In addition to your family, God also wants to use you in the lives of other men. Start seeking now for the men God wants to encourage through you!  Make a point to really get to know them. Get beyond just shaking hands during greeting time at church…sit down with them over a cup of coffee…find a common interest or hobby to share…find a project to do together…invite them to be with you in church / keep inviting until they come / when they come go out of your way to include them / and then invite them again and again and again…Whenever men come together and share what Christ has done in their lives, the world is impacted and changed!

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Why another blog?

Looking at the world of internet, some may question whether there really needed to be another blog out there. Maybe the internet didn’t NEED another blog, but I do. God is simply laying things on my heart that I just need to share with as many people as I can possibly reach.

As the name of this blog implies, what you will find here is a study of the Word of God. What may be different from other blogs will be the all out attempt to be absolutely sure the Word is studied IN CONTEXT.

It is actually relatively easy to pull words out of the Bible and then twist them to mean just about anything the human mind can conjure up. This is not OK!!! The study of God’s Word MUST be an exercise in attempting to understand what God is telling us, and that can only be done by studying the words within the context in which they are written. Consider the following example:

1 Timothy 6:10 reads, “Money is a root of all sorts of evil”. This can preach! This thought can be expounded to explain why living in poverty is the only Christian way to live! It can even be supported by other biblical accounts. For example, Jesus told a rich young man that in order to follow after Him, he would first have to sell all his possessions and give to the poor!

Problem is, a sermon manufactured in this way would most assuredly have to be targeting people of means. It basically carries a false message that people need to be  poor before they are worthy of salvation. (The truth is, no one is worthy of salvation. Reference Romans 3:23.)

Now, if we do the right thing and place the selected quote back within its context (in other words put in the stuff in front and following it), it really says: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.” 1 Timothy 6:10 Yep, that’s actually the whole verse, and what does it really say?

Does it say money is evil? NO, money can’t be evil. It is an inanimate object.

Does it imply that people who have money are evil? Nope! When you consider the whole verse, it is easily applicable to all people, rich or poor.

This verse tells us that the LOVE OF MONEY gives root to evil in our lives. It does not matter whether you have none, a little, some, or a great amount, to avoid evil, one thing you definitely must do is abstain from the LOVE OF MONEY! The message here is that when you are obsessed with what you have or what you don’t have, you simply set your self up for grief (“many a pang”)!

What about the rich young man? Oh, yes, refer to Mark 10:17-27. Jesus was not actually concerned with the material wealth of this individual, but here, as we have seen with other accounts in the Bible, He was concerned with the condition of the young man’s heart. Jesus did tell him to sell ALL his possessions. (In other words, let them go.) Jesus did tell him to “give to the poor”, but Jesus did not say the young man had to give it ALL away.

The bottom line is, while Jesus does not call us to vow poverty, He does want to be more important to us than anything and everything we do or do not have in this world!

I hope you will continue to follow this blog, and I surely welcome your insights and/or questions.

Please know that my postings will not necessarily follow a regular schedule, as they will be inspiration driven. (Each time the Lord gives me an “AHA!” moment, I hope to share it here.)

Thank-you for reading!

Praying Numbers 6:24-26 for you!

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What really happened in the synagog in Nazareth?

Today I found something really cool and profound in Luke chapter 4.  I came to a new understanding of the account recorded in verses 16 – 30. Not a new revelation. The information was there all the time, and I just hadn’t processed it correctly. As I pondered this in my own mind, I wondered how many others had the same misunderstanding I had, and decided I needed to share my new understanding with others, so here we go…

As the scripture records, Jesus, who had started His traveling preaching ministry, came to His hometown of Nazareth. Taking His usual approach, He went into the synagog on the Sabbath and stood up to read. The reading He selected was from the book of Isaiah. (In modern Bible translations it is filed as chapter 61, verses 1 and 2) “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME. BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, AND TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

After Jesus read the passage He said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

All of this prompted a question from those in attendance, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Now here is where a new understanding begins. You see, I previously understood that the question from the people was a raised as a challenge to the Lord’s proclamation that the Scripture had been fulfilled. I have heard it preached and taught, and I am sure I have taught it myself, that the people were challenging Jesus based on the fact that He was only the son of a carpenter, but that is not what went on there that day!

When we look further to the word’s of Jesus recorded in Luke 4 verses 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 and examine the question fully within the context, we find that the people were not challenging the authority of Jesus. The Lord knew and spoke against not what the people said, but the condition of their hearts, and what they were about to ask.

By their question, the people in that meeting were recognizing Jesus as the son of Joseph (and Mary). The one who performed the miracle of turning water to wine in Capernaum. By His reading from Isaiah and proclamation they were  suddenly enlightened as to whose presence they were in.  Their problem was not that they refused to recognize Jesus, but that they DID!

Their problem was that because of the condition on their hearts, their enlightenment did not result in a time of praise, adoration and worship for the Lord. Jesus immediately knew that the condition of their hearts was about to turn them to the selfish objectives and ambitions of seeking the miracles He could perform.

What occurred that day in Nazareth happens to this day, and is something we must be careful to guard ourselves against. Enlightenment in Jesus is not supposed to be about seeking the miracles He may work for us. Enlightenment in Jesus is supposed to be about seeking Him and having fellowship with Him through praise, adoration and worship!

Yes, God is a God of miracles, but if what we are seeking is miracles, we have missed the message.

(Note: All excerpts are from the NASB published by Holman in Nashville, TN.)

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