The book of Proverbs prepares the reader with instructions for daily living in a world not yet reconciled to the fact that God is going to judge all mankind one day. In light of this. the Believer is expected to live righteously in the fear of the Lord and refrain from the seductive ways of the world. Solomon is responsible for three thousand wise sayings like these found in the book of Proverbs, yet he appears to be the most tragic figure in all of history. Though he was to be a type of Christ in the O.T. he turned out to be a living anomaly, for though he was favoured by God and granted great wisdom and had promising beginnings, he faded badly and failed to practise the wisdom that he was known for and taught during his forty year reign over Israel. You could say that he did not practise what he had preached! Another thing for certain is that in the later part of his life he appears to have lost a sense of God`s magnificence and glory, and one who had turned to the seductive ways of the world instead. In our thinking this conjures up a fork in the road from which Solomon chose to leave off the righteous path to follow after folly. That may be why Proverbs speaks so much about two separate ways of existence leading in two different directions with two entirely different endings on most every page from start to finish of this wonderful book. Small wonder then that the first nine chapters of Proverbs instructs and urges the reader to fear God for it is the beginning of wisdom from which the Believer is to adopt a perspective on life that belongs to God alone. True wisdom then must see life through God`s eyes or stated another way that our reliance must be on the Lord at all times and under every circumstance in life and that humble submission to his Lordship is needful from any who truly wish to know success and joy in life. Thus, the exhortation to embrace wisdom is illustrated for us in chapter 1:8 ff by a domestic situation where a father prepares his son for life in the world: Listen, my son, to your father`s instruction and do not forsake your mother`s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

This plea to listen to divine wisdom is a familiar one. Many Christian parents have indeed taught their children to receive wisdom from God and not to be led away or enticed by the world to leave off the old path of faith which godly parents have kept and not to join those who mock God and hate any knowledge from Him. Can there be anything more sorrowful for a Christian parent then to see their son or daughter reject the gospel and divine knowledge and instead claim a false and precarious way of life, steeped in sin and falsehoods? Conversely, great joy is felt when our children keep the paths of the righteous and have understood what it means to live in the fear of God.

Our hope for everyone of you whose children have been delivered from sin`s enslavement and punishment is that you rejoice and are thankful about the great work God has done in our families. Yet, for those who are waiting on the Lord to save their children, we must not lose hope but remain faithful and be vigilant to live godly lives and to petition God always trusting that one day we may see our children lay hold of the gospel with all their hearts. Doubtless that is a parents greatest passion for their children.

Recently, I sent a letter to my son in appreciation for what God had done in his life (enclosed below is the letter sent on his 22nd birthday while he was out of town serving at a Christian camp). God`s saving grace and mercy had been shown to him early and His grace has continued to be demonstrated in my son to this day. I can fully appreciate the words of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. (Prov. 10:1) We who are parents have every reason to delight in Christ and in our children when Christ makes them His own. The father of a righteous man has great joy, he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad. (Prov. 23:24, 25)

Happy Birthday son,

We will carry on the tradition of taking you out or ordering in for a meal, whatever you like, once you return to us in a few weeks from your camp service. We all miss you. Yesterday, during our prayer time many prayed for you.

I have been thinking about you and Mom these last few days and am reminded that I am a blessed man for sure. When we had you people around us thought you were the near perfect baby. You made little fuss and really were a treat to take to services or any other place. Mom and I were very pleased to show you off. I think some even wanted one like you for themselves. Anyway, as you grew up we enjoyed your development at every stage. I will always remember in Marathon at the Church that you would take your blanket and retreat to some area of the rug to take a nap, and the many times we watched cartoons together or I told you stories while you dozed off. You were very teachable and that made for an easy upbringing. I can only hope that when you have a family that your kids are like you and then you will realize first hand the joy of parenthood as we did. You accepted our faith and our practices and made them your own. That is the most important thing for us is that you are a Christian and have shown it over the years. What parent can say that their son has been ministering to kids since the age of fifteen and has continued to this day. The fact that you will do anything that needs to be done from teaching to cleaning is a mark of a servant in God`s Kingdom. We love you very much for many things so it is not easy to define each one, but to say that our Daniel is a man after God`s own heart. You are not a blabber or a boaster, but quietly go about Christ business and in so doing make quite an impression and influence folk around you in the most positive manner. I suppose you call that integrity and being upright. You got it and praise the Lord we have had the experience and the right to call you our son. The Lord has gifted us with you and continues to enrich our lives by you. I am a proud father and a blessed man much in the way that Joseph must have been when he saw his son Jesus develop before his eyes. Of course you are not perfect like Him, but you are a good replica of what manhood is really all about. I love you very much and Mom does too!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL!

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