By Rev Angela Bosfield Palacious
FOR those of us who are adults, we have a real responsibility, as outlined in Exodus 12: 25-27 (NIV), to teach from the example of our worship, our living and lifestyle, to build strong characters in children by modelling excellence ourselves:
"When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?', then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians'."
Then the people bowed down and worshipped.
Joshua 4: 5-7(NIV) reminds us to teach our children what God has done for us in our lives. We have to let the present be more meaningful than the past, and concentrate on keeping our anointing by reading the Word daily, praying almost without ceasing, worshipping with predictable regularly, giving tithes and offering generously, and sharing with them what serving God has done for us:
"Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?', tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."
1 Chronicles 28: 8-10 (NIV) speaks of the need to be sensitive to our children's gifts and talents not imposing on them our hopes and dreams, but to see what God seems to be choosing for them to do. Let them inherit your godliness, your holiness that surrounds them all day long as you put God first:
"So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.
"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work."
In the home, in the classroom, in civic and church groups let us build them and each other with our praise, encouragement, example and godly counsel. Let them see a clear path of righteousness: No shacking up or sleeping around, no cursing, no violence, no pornography, no cruelty in the name of training them up, and no lying, cheating or stealing.
To our young adult, recent graduates, youth and children, I offer Proverbs 1:7-9 (NIV):
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools[a] despise wisdom and instruction. Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."
Proverbs 2: 1-4 (NIV):
"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding--indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,"
As we look around at the various persons in our country who have different stories to tell about life, let us all listen and learn. There is strength in unity, there is prosperity with justice, there is peace with mutual respect. If the Lord builds our spiritual character we will be a great nation, standing firm and immovable on the rock of Christian principles and active faith. We have a great future ahead of us if it is God's plan that we follow.