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Just dropping by ... Bible lessons

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 October 2018

Today’s children know more about Rick and Morty, Steven Universe and Hey Arnold than they know about Adam and Eve. I wonder, if this trend continues, how much will the future generation understand about real life and the pathway to success?

The Bible was designed as the history book of success principles. It has been for centuries a how-to book on navigating the complex realities of human nature. We are doing our children and grandchildren a disservice when we allow them to be taught solely by the media.

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Children’s minds are sponges from the minute they are born. They process data and store it as truth whether it is true or not. They believe what they are taught until they reach their teens. Peter Pan really flies, squirrels really talk, and dragons really blow out fire. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are at the top of the list of tickly fun lies we tell our children because we love their wide-eyed excitement about magical things.

I am not a killjoy, and I think children need their imagination stirred with mystery and excitement, occasionally, but a steady diet is like having candy for every meal. It is not good for the soul. Children need constant doses of the truth. They need heroes who stand as sentinels to guard them against the mind traps they will encounter as they journey through the canyons and murky rivers of life.

They need the story of the creation firmly planted in their minds before they are propelled headfirst into Darwin’s Theory of Evolution or get blown up with the Big Bang Theory. They need to know it takes a greater leap of faith to believe either of those theories than it does to believe God had a master plan and implemented it in seven of His days, which are a thousand years of our time.

They need to know Adam was planned to be a man, and Eve was planned to be a woman, but they were both created in the image of God, both equally important in His sight. Before they go to school, children need to know girls do not grow up to be boys and boys do not grow up to be girls. In our society, they will encounter the mind trap kids and parents have a choice in the matter.

Children need to learn from the story of Adam and Eve that honesty is best, even in the face of retribution. Adam didn’t lie about his choice. Though he blamed Eve, he knew it was his conscious choice to eat the fruit because he didn’t want to be alone in the garden.

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Eve blamed the serpent. She didn’t fabricate a story, trying to get herself off the hook. She simply said, “I did eat.” Both ultimately received the consequences of their actions with dignity. Children need heroes who teach them how to take responsibility for their actions, right or wrong.

The Cain and Abel story is a good place to start teaching children about sibling rivalry, jealousy and family loyalty. Cain killed Abel because he did not understand he should be his “brother’s keeper,” not his rival. Christ’s teaching of “Love they neighbor as thyself” can be woven nicely into the story.

The Noah story leaps out as a story about peer pressure. It could not have been easy to listen to the ridicule and mockery of the people who stood on the sidelines to watch him build this monstrous ship and start to gather the animals. After all, a huge boat in the middle of the dry land, so far away from the sea, could not have been easy to explain. Noah knew who he was and what God expected him to do.

He did not waver in the face of persecution. Children must be taught they have a mission to perform, and it doesn’t matter what your peers think or do to dissuade them. They must stick to the plan and complete the project. They must stand up and be proud of who they are and want to become. If they don’t have a firm conviction of who they are, they will be sucked down into the sewers of life and will have a hard time climbing out without having swallowed infested water.

Abraham and Sarah are examples of those who wait for their dreams to be fulfilled and are willing to give up all to serve the Lord, no matter the cost. They wanted children, and it wasn’t until Sarah was past child-bearing age the Lord blessed her with a miracle son. Abraham always stood on the right side of the issue. He didn’t want the slightest gossip to tarnish his reputation.

He would not even take a thread from the spoils of battle because he didn’t want the world to assume the kings of the world made him rich. Abraham is an excellent hero. Children need to know they live in the world, but they don’t have to be a part of it. If they follow the Lord, they will find more treasure than the world will ever bestow on them.

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The story of Jacob and Esau is a marvelous story about putting importance on the things that really matter and not on our appetites and passions. Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, or meat stew as we would call it. A birthright in those days was given to the eldest, and with it came property and honor. Esau was not looking at the future. He was looking at the here and now.

Many of our children face the same situation. They see their friends making poor choices and figure they will be able to try a few vices without getting caught. In effect, they sell their birthright for drugs, pornography and illicit sexual activity and spend the rest of their lives trying to get back what they have lost. There is repentance, but the journey back is harder than one would ever imagine.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the story of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, not the least of which is charity and forgiveness. He was able to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery, where he suffered much. He was willing to look at the progress of his life and realize the Lord had a plan.

He used the poor choices of Joseph’s brothers to place Joseph where he could use him to bless the nations and save Israel. Could the Lord have taken Joseph to Egypt without using the unkindness of his brothers? Yes. The Lord doesn’t force people to make poor choices to bring about His master plan. He simply allows people to make their own choices and then shapes the outcome to our benefit if we are willing to follow Him.

Joseph is a shining example of someone who makes the best of any situation. He was sold as a slave and became the best slave he could be. He was wrongfully put in prison by a deceitful woman. He didn’t pine away his time feeling sorry for himself or plotting revenge. He used his time becoming the best prisoner he could be. He gained the respect and admiration of the warden as well as the other prisoners.

Joseph did not aspire to be Pharaoh’s right-hand man, but the Lord had a plan and, because Joseph was willing to follow him, the Lord gave him the highest position in the land. Our children need to know the Lord has a plan for each of our lives and they will see it unfold even if they must go through hard times and don’t always understand what the adversity is teaching them.

The Bible is full of success stories that need to be taught to our children, not in a Hollywood movie where the hero is made into an unrelatable superhero.

These stories must be taught in a knee-to-knee, heart-to-heart conversation starting when a child is big enough to understand words and taught over and over again day after day if they are going to be prepared to combat the teaching they will receive from a world racing to a godless hedonistic society bent on self-destruction.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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