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Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV)
My dad, who went to be with the Lord back in 1999 at the grand old age of 96, was a pastor for 65 years. He insisted on having family devotions every night after the evening meal, and all family members had to attend. It didn't do any of us any harm. My two brothers, two sisters, and I are all still involved in Christian ministry in churches in Australia.
I think the difference is that even though my dad was quite a strict father, he also had a very loving and tender side. I can remember the times when I needed to be punished for something or other. Dad would take me to his study, and after being punished appropriately, I would be sent to my room. About half an hour or so later, though, dad would come into my room, sit down beside me on the bed, put his arm around me, and talk very gently to me about how much he loved me and also about how much God loved me. Then, after a few minutes, he would say, "Come on, lad, let's go outside and kick a ball around for a while." He always found time for all of his children.
I am really looking forward to going to heaven and meeting up firstly with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Then I hope to give my mom and dad a big hug again. I wonder if dad will say to me, "Come on, lad, let's go and kick a ball around for a while."
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we thank You for families, and we thank You that we who love You will be reunited in heaven one day. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.
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