Category Archives: Grandparenting

Practicing the Spiritual Act of Benedictions

What is a benediction? How do we give one?

The word benediction derives from two Latin words that mean, “to speak well of,” and people in every culture and generation look earnestly and intently for a final word of divine kindness from God through His ordained agents of blessings.

We long for our parent’s blessing before each of them dies. The last thing said in the Bible is a benediction. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22: 21). It is only fitting that our last words to others in life should be a benediction.

On the occasion of each of our grandchildren’s births, I speak down a rich and full blessing from on high upon grandson and granddaughter. Here I met James for the first time to bless his head.

Before you leave off just now, dear reader, please receive this one for you:

May you be lost in wonder, love, and praise, so that through every

period of your life His goodness you pursue, Until our Lord comes

again. And now to God’s elect, Whom He has upheld since they were

conceived, Carried since they were born, Hear His good promise;

“I am He; I will sustain you, I will carry you, I will rescue even to your

old age.”

 

 

This is an excerpt taken from Robert Davis Smart’s Legacy from Christ: What’s My Message? (Kindle Locations 461, 560-564). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

Fatherhood for Father’s Day

Fatherhood involves three things; namely, vision, life on life formation, and a story of salvation. In Deuteronomy 6:1-12, 20-21 God’s people had experienced an amazing salvation, and God emphasizes the value and importance of fatherhood.

In the Old Testament family included a wider circle of at least two generations and also servants, widows, orphans, also aliens, who were all protected under the father or patriarch’s headship. Children were named by the father and were known as his children; for example in the gospels John and James sons of Zebedee or Jesus bar Joseph.

The ideal father is God and manifested in commands concerning fatherhood, not so much in the narratives. At best, we see determined fathers like Joshua, Job, and Solomon (Proverbs 1:8), who declare that their families will serve the Lord and will listen to biblical instruction.

Since the family makes a nation and a church strong, God starts with a vision in Deuteronomy: “Fear God, you your sons, and your son’s sons that you may enjoy long days in the land and that you may multiply greatly” (6:2-3). Before having children, a man should sense a calling and a vision for children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the context of an experiential knowledge of God (Fear of God means just that this). In our culture we think so much about the now (secular time) that we aim and fall short of the Glory of God’s vision for our lives. Suddenly, we  find ourselves holding the little hands of our grandchildren (see photo). The time has flown bye. Fatherhood begins with vision for succeeding generations.

Second, fatherhood is life on life spiritual formation. As the word of God sets on a father’s heart, he then instructs his children “diligently” (6:7). How? By a father’s life loving on his children. When?  “When you sit in your house” and “when you walk by the way” and “when you lie down” and “when you rise” (6:7-8). Fatherhood is life on life spiritual formation or discipleship, just as Jesus called His disciples to be “with Him” (Mark 3:14). Spiritual instruction is the primary domain of the father, not the mother nor the church nor a school. It is not a classroom environment; it is a home context of life on life formation.

Thirdly, fathers must tell how they were saved by God’s mighty Hand. In fact, God tells the first Israelite fathers to make their children regularly ask the question about how papa bear and mama bear were saved. When your children ask what the meaning of all this worship and instruction is, father bear should say: “We were slaves . . . and the Lord brought us out and give us (heaven)” (6:20-21). Tell your children how the Lord showed signs and wonders in saving you from slavery to sin and Satan and idols of our culture, like money, power, and so forth. “Dad, why is our family serious about Christ in a secular culture?” Father: “We were slaves to sin and Satan, even the gods of money, work, and pleasure. But God in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, delivered us out of such darkness and brought us into His marvelous light – a kingdom of light.”

Fatherhood begins with a vision, continues for eighteen years per child with life on life spiritual formation, and constantly tells the testimony of salvation to the generations to come.

The bible doesn’t give examples of human fathers that we can model off of, but only of broken fathers in need of restoration to the hearts of their children and to God. God the Father gave His only Begotten Son to redeem fatherhood and to save both the parents and their children, and children’s children.

Five Ways to Invest in the Lives of the Next Generation’s Sense of Identity in Christ

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—” Deuteronomy 4:9

~ This is grandson Micah, son of Nathaniel, son of Robert, son of John, son of Samuel, son of Isaac, son of William, son of John Smart, son of John G. Smart, son of John (1720s Scotland).IMG_3462

In the above passage it as if the Lord is saying to me: “Papa, just make certain you stay alert to your calling. Keep a close watch over yourself. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen of God’s doings. Don’t let your heart wander off on later years. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and eleven grandchildren.”

Growing older teaches me that I am not in control, but God is. I keep loosing a sense of control over children and time and health, but that doesn’t mean I am loosing a sense of self-control about my purpose and calling to invest in the lives of the next generations.

Five Ways to Invest in the Lives of the Next Generation:

  1. Take the initiative to bless your children by taking each son and daughter on a “date.” Last year I took each son for an overnight to a cabin, and this year took each to a MLB game. I gave each daughter the book From Fear to Freedom to read and discuss over dinner in a fine restaurant.
  1. Offer to watch the grandchildren for a night or two so that your children may renew their marriage and find refreshment from the milieu of busy lives.
  1. Plan an annual vacation for the family to gather each year at a familiar place. We always go to a beach near Santa Rosa, Florida & stay in a townhouse (now two) to spend the week together. We swim, eat out together, and have a skit night. Of course it is difficult for all five of our children’s families to attend every year, but the invitation stands open.
  1. Listen to them. My wife reminds of this all the time, since our adult children are wise and probably do not need a lot of advice. They do appreciate a listening ear.

5. Help them in the times of transitions – moving, new house jobs,    graduations, new babies, and especially times of great trial.

Okay six, not five. Begin a Life-On-Life-Missional-Discipleship group with five younger men or women, and meet one one one during the week with each, for bible study-equipping-accountability-scripture memory-and prayer.