As I told you recently in my blog, I was deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Dr. Gary Smalley almost two weeks ago.
Hundreds of you responded on my blogsite and through Focus’ various social media outlets with your condolences, fond memories, and thoughtful recollections about the countless ways Dr. Smalley positively influenced your marriages and your families.
The Smalley family and close friends are honoring Gary in a memorial service tomorrow in Branson, MO, at the College of the Ozarks chapel at 3PM CST.
I detailed some of Gary’s many professional accomplishments in my previous blog. But recently, I’ve been reflecting more on his friendship and his legacy as a husband and a father. As I think ahead to his funeral, I can only reiterate what I ended my blog comments with last week:
Those of us who are followers of Jesus will see Gary again. But for now, we grieve while at the same time thanking God for his life and work. We also pray for the Smalley family. While I know they are comforted by the hope of heaven today, the earthly separation is painful. They would appreciate your prayers for divine strength and comfort.”
Today, in honor of Gary’s life and the wealth of timeless material he created, we’re re-airing one of our favorite broadcasts he recorded with us. It’s titled, “Helping Kids Hide God’s Word in Their Hearts,” and it reflects the depth of Gary’s love for Christ and for families.
A key role of parenting is influencing our kids to write positive messages on their heart because those messages ultimately help determine who they are. It’s important that we as parents do that because the enemy is seeking to write his own messages in their hearts.
Here are four of the most damaging:
- Seeking things of the world more than God.
- Seeking pleasure, fun, entertainment, and thrills more than loving people.
- Complaining about our difficulties and thinking of life’s challenges as negative circumstances to be avoided.
But there are four opposing messages Christ wants us to write on our kids’ hearts:
- Scripture tells us that humility is fearing the Lord in awe and that the wages of humility are riches, honor, and abundant life.
- Love Christ. Matthew 22:37: “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
- Love others. Matthew 22:39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Rejoice in trials. Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
How do we imprint these messages on our kids’ hearts?
We help them learn and memorize Scripture.
That may sound daunting to a lot of parents, but don’t worry. Gary has you covered with fun and practical ideas that will often have your kids learning the Bible without even realizing it.
Be sure to tune in today for our full discussion on your local radio station (as always our program is available anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app). You’ll be blessed by what Gary has to say, and maybe the sound of his voice will serve as something of a trip down memory lane for you.
I’ll close for now, but to my friend Gary I echo this heartfelt sentiment: “Because our hope is in Christ, this is not ‘goodbye,’ but ‘until we meet again.’”