Ephesians 6:1-4 and Mark 4:26-34
(Quoted scripture is New International Version)
Proverbs 15:14, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash”
Pastor Rick Warren starts off his devotional for June 13, 2018 with this proverb. Then he writes, ‘our minds control everything about us. Our thoughts influence our feelings. Our feelings impact our actions. What you think matters because everything starts in the mind. To be a responsible person, you have to control your thoughts.’
‘But let me relieve you of a little false guilt. You’re not responsible for every stray thought that passes through your mind. Stray thoughts enter our minds for a variety of reasons – conversations you hear by accident, things you see, stuff the devil puts in your mind, etc.
‘You are responsible for how you deal with those stray thoughts. Martin Luther said it like this: “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.’
‘God will hold you accountable for what you allow to enter your mind. I’m amazed by what some people watch – not to mention what they let their children watch. Many true followers of Jesus spend their time watching trashy TV, and movies and listening to trashy radio. They pay good money to see deviant behavior as entertainment. People watching such shows have told me. “When I go see those kinds of things, it just doesn’t phase me. It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t affect me.”’
‘But that’s just not true! Scientists have done study after study that says you never really forget any scene you see. Even if you don’t consciously recall the scene, that idea will come right back to your mind – in living color – when something else stimulates the thought.’
‘In other words, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What you put into your mind will inevitably bear fruit in your behavior and beliefs. In fact, when trashy entertainment doesn’t bother you anymore, it’s a warning light that you’ve already passed the threshold.’ – Warren, Pastor Rick, June 13, 2018 devotion
There is a video game titled Active Shooter, in which a student is shooting students in their school. It was developed by Anton Makarevskiy, a 21-year-old from Moskow, Russia, and is marketed by Acid Software. I did a paper for a college class that was a study whether violent video games influence violence in children and youth. In the Paducah, Kentucky school shooting on December 1, 1997, a student opened fire on a group of praying students, killing three and injuring five more.
They found a video game in that fourteen-year-old’s home, that proved that fourteen-year-old shot those students in the same body location that he had practiced in that video game. I believe that violent behavior in people, no matter what age, is the result of violent video games, movies, TV shows and even songs with words that glorify violent behavior. We harvest what we plant, in our minds and the minds of our children. ‘Garbage in, garbage out!’
Jesus tells us in this passage from Mark, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (4:26-27).
Joe and I just attended the college graduation of our oldest grandson. It seems just yesterday that he was a little boy playing outside on the swing set in our back yard. Where did that time go! Tyler has become a wonderful Christian young man and he became that because of the seeds his mother and father planted in him. Seeds of faith, they attended church as a family. Seeds of responsibility for his words and actions, he was lovingly punished when he made poor choices. Seeds for completing a job and doing it well. Seeds of good morals and integrity in everything he says and does. We harvest what we plant and Tyler’s parents planted good seeds and they harvested a fine young man.
What we say and what we do are like seeds planted in the hearts, minds and spirits of our children. Jesus makes it very clear that often times it’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference in our faith. The same can be said about parenting.
We read in Ephesians 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” As parents and grandparents, we need to remember that we harvest what we plant. We must plant good seeds!
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our children will not only imitate us, but in many ways, they will grow up to be like us simply because we’re their parents or grandparents. Surveys show that parents still have more influence than peer pressure, even though the kids might rebel.
In Colossians 3:21, Paul writes: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
If you constantly barrage your kids with negative phrases, if they’re constantly told how dumb they are and they’ll never amount to anything or they can’t do anything right, it won’t be long until they live down to your expectations.
What we say, what we tell our kids makes a huge difference in who they are and who they will become. Some of us were raised in a negative home, where we were told we were no good and we could do nothing right. We can overcome that negative environment we were raised in, with the help of God our Father. Our Father God is a God who will love us and encourage us, and be with us to help us overcome our past. God will let us suffer the consequences of our choices, yet He is always ready to forgive us when we sin and welcome us back with open arms when we repent. As parents and grandparents, we need to follow God’s example.
As parents and grandparents we have to tell our kids how much we love them, and we also have to show them. Words aren’t always enough. Sometimes we have to show our children through our own actions because, as a we all know, actions speak louder than words.
Today we celebrate Father’s Day. Fathers have great influence over their sons and daughters. The majority of men and women in prison, never a had a father who planted good seeds in them as a child, if they had a father around at all. Most men and women in prison were raised in broken homes or raised by their grandmother, because their mother was an addict and their father was absent.
Sons need a strong Christian father who will model for them what a good man should live like. Daughters need a strong Christian Father so they know what kind of a man they should marry.
Our American culture fosters violence and the only way to counter that influence is with the Word of God and planting good seeds in our children. You and I must stand up and make a difference; with the words we speak and the behavior we model.
If your children or grandchildren have poor behavior, take responsibility, speak up and tell them how they should behave. Too often we say, ‘I let my child or my grandchild choose whether to go to church or not.’ Really! We make sure they get a secular education in our schools to help them learn how to make a living, yet we do not make sure they get a Christian education to help them learn how to live and how to cope with life.
We have to stop making excuses for the young people in our country and how they behave. We have to stand up and be counted as adults who want to make things right. Remember, We Harvest What We Plant! Plant good seeds and you will harvest good people!
Pastor Rosemary DeHut