"Nurture and Admonition"
April 22, 2008
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Children don't come with an instruction manual.
Every parent wishes they did, but the truth is plain: children don't come with instructions. As a result, we parents make mistakes in raising our children; we all do things we wish we could do over.
Parents learning to be parents were not the kind of things being talked about in last week's report issued by Atlanta's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC was addressing the problem of parents who failed to meet an infant child's basic needs in regard to housing, clothing, feeding, and medical care.
In the one-year study, the government experts were shocked to find thirty thousand newborns had been abused before they were one week old and ninety-one thousand infants had been ill treated before they celebrated their first birthday.
Relying on verified reports submitted by medical professionals (sixty-five percent), law enforcement officials, relatives, friends, neighbors, and protective services, the study spoke of problems that should never have occurred.
We encourage the readers of our Daily Devotions to pray for the safety of those children as well as for their parents. Ask God that the mothers and fathers of these little ones be brought from hurting their children to helping and loving them.
Although the study was thorough, you should know the database of abuse cases did not, in fact, could not, report on spiritual mistreatment directed toward children.
Even so, my personal observation says the percentage of children spiritually abused and neglected is very high. Too often I have seen believing and unbelieving parents who regularly feed their baby's body but decline to do the same in regard to his or her soul. I cannot count the number of Christian parents who forgot the promises they made to the Lord when their child was baptized.
Although spiritual abuse is never reported on the evening news, its occurrence can have eternal consequences. This is why I invite you to pray for parents everywhere. May the Spirit move them so they see the importance of bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Pray they understand the value of helping their little ones trust the Savior who gave His life so they might have eternal life.
By God's grace may we be able to say about everyone: "from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You have entrusted children to us for but a short time. May we make the best use of these days and do all we can to introduce our children to You, the One who loves them even more than we. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries