WHEN DO WE START?
“And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make the wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
A baby does not wait to start his or her life at birth; he is already participating in life in the womb. He bonds with his mother in the womb. Especially in the third trimester, the baby senses the feelings of the mother and shares her emotions. If she is stressed, his heart-beat goes up. If she is contented, he is contented. Researchers have found that a stressed mother produces stress hormones called catecholamines, which affect the emotions of the baby.
If a mother does not want her baby and rejects it, the baby will often be aware of this rejection and even exhibit signs of rejection after birth. This is why a baby that is taken away from the mother at birth may find it hard to recover emotionally. Although I am a great advocate of adoption, and it is very much on the heart of our heavenly Father, I have to concede that it often has its challenges. Even in the most loving, caring and embracing home, a child can subconsciously long for its biological mother. Even though the child is totally loved, he or she may battle with feelings of rejection, because the womb-bonding was terminated. That bonding was meant to continue from strength to strength.
The baby in the womb reacts to sound, tastes and sights. At 15 weeks the baby can be responsive to touch and can feel vibrations of music even if he can’t yet hear. Usually by 24 – 28 weeks the baby can hear noises outside the womb. In fact the sense of hearing is the most developed of all senses before birth. That mean he is getting to know the sound of your voice. That means the best time to start reading God’s Word to your child is while he or she is in the womb!
One of the many words God uses for babies is the Greek word, brephos, which comes from a root word meaning “to nourish.” This word describes:
- An unborn baby being nourished in the womb. When Mary came to visit her cousin, Elizabeth and saluted her, “the babe (brephos) leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:41, 44).
- A newborn child being nourished at the breast. “Ye shall find a babe (brephos) wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12, 16).
- Older infants (Luke 18:15).
This is the same word that is used in 2 Timothy 3:15 when Paul writes to Timothy, “And that from a child (brephos) thou hast known the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). Timothy was taught the Scriptures from a babe, or maybe even in the womb.
You don’t have to wait until your children can intelligently understand before your establish the habit of Family Devotions and begin reading the Word to them. Start when they are in the womb, or when they are nursing from the breast. Little children may not understand the words being read to them, but God’s Word is alive and active and will do its work in their heart. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that the Scriptures have the power to prepare a child for salvation. They release faith to believe God and to understand salvation. The sooner and the more, little children are filled with the Word of God, the sooner they will come to salvation.
Is it important for a little child to know Christ when they are young? Yes. The devil is vying for the minds of your children from an early age. The sooner Christ takes control of their minds and hearts the better. Norman V. Williams writes, “The parents’ great privilege during the first six years is to make his child acquainted with Christ as his Maker and his loving Friend. Before the child is three and one-half, he should be saved and know that Christ made him and loves him.”
Is this possible? Will a decision made at such an early age last? Most of our children received Christ Jesus into their hearts at age four and all are walking with the Lord today. Evangeline says, “God saved me at four years of age. Even today, it is still the most vivid and powerful experience of my life. My mother came into my room and said, “Stephen has just asked Jesus to come into his life. Would you like to also?” At that moment the world stopped and the fight between the powers of darkness and heaven began. My whole body was shaking. With all my heart I wanted to ask Jesus into my life, but the pull from Satan was so strong.”No, no, no…” the voice of Satan pulled at my heart. The struggle was powerful.
Eventually I said, "Yes” with all my heart. I followed my mother in prayer asking Jesus to come into my life. At that moment I knew God. I experienced the reality of God. He came into my life and filled me. He opened my mind to Him. I was saved for life—no turning back! I have know his powerful presence in my life ever since. Instantly I felt peace. Instantly I was not afraid of the big owl outside my room, or of anything. I have never been afraid of anything from that day.”
What about some of the other great saints? Jonathan Edwards was seven, Billy Graham was six, Catherine Booth was six, Corrie Ten Boom was five, Ruth Graham was four, Amy Carmichael was three and James Dobson was also three. These men and women have impacted the world for God.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Father, please help me to never forget the power of your Word in the lives of my children, from babies to the older ones. Help my husband and me to make it a priority to daily read and speak your life-giving words into their hearts. Amen.”
No activities in our lives are as important as Daily Family Devotions.