Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 1, 2015

Parental Guidance

Parenting in the 21st century has its share of hurdles. It has changed dramatically since my wife and I raised our daughter. Raising children in my parents’ generation equates to living on another planet compared to today. I walked to school (and everywhere else) and my parents released me into the wild (neighborhood) daily without a thought for my danger. Today’s children live with technology as their friend, often can’t leave their own yard without a parent, and almost never walk to school. But parenting is no easier or harder than it was for my wife and I, or my parents. There have always been challenges in protecting, providing and building the lives of our children … even with the first couple of the New Testament!

You’ve probably heard of the first couple.  We can only imagine what life-altering changes Jesus’ virgin birth had already caused Joseph and Mary, but now they have to go to Egypt for protection from Herod. That’s right! God directed Joseph to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt. It was 75 miles to the border, and then possibly another 100 miles of travel for safety. Can you imagine what that trip was like with a young child?! After a period of time they are led by God to return to Israel because Herod was dead. Tough trip, but Matthew states prophecy was fulfilled — “I called my Son out of Egypt.

Then, there was more trouble. Upon returning to Israel, Joseph realized that Herod’s son Archelaus was ruling in Judea. Bad news! God then leads Joseph to take his family to a not-so-nice city called Nazareth for protection. Admittedly, this is a lot of travel for a young family with no great form of transportation. Mary and Joseph were originally from there, but there was a greater reason for this move. Matthew 2:23 gives us insight. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

God’s divine providence is all over Jesus on the run, but as I read about Egypt and Nazareth (in the light of parenting today), my thoughts are directed toward Mary and Joseph. Although directed by God, Joseph wasn’t a robot. His life (and Mary’s) was altered significantly by the unusual requests of the Father. Their obedience to His plan meant personal sacrifice. God’s journey for Christ was placed in the hands of an obedient young couple … and they followed His directions!

If you are a parent, you are also nurturing someone’s journey. Listening to God is important. There will be times when you think God’s plan makes no sense (I wonder if Mary and Joseph had questions). But it always does! Someone’s future and spiritual journey is attached to our response to the will of God. It does not have the significance of raising and protecting the Son of God, but our obedience still matters. Are you in a place today of listening well and responding to God’s leadership in your life? Your children may be young or already adults, but theirs lives are affected by your personal obedience to the Father.

Our children (young or old), need to see that faith works. There will always be a new challenge to navigate, and our obedience to His will is vital.   Joseph’s obedience to directions from God was significant in the epic journey of Christ. Sure, Christ was perfect, but his parents had the responsibility to protect and raise Him.  Just like Joseph, Mary and parents of every generation, you and I have an important role in someone’s journey. Who benefits when you and I listen to the Father well? Someone else … that we love! Are your children (young or old) benefiting from a parent who is listening well?

SPECIAL NOTE:  Today starts a journey of learning a little more about the story of the men and women of the New Testament. We trust that their stories will be meaningful and helpful for your personal story.



  1. So true ! It’s not easy being a parent today or ever but He gives us the timeless blueprint and always has from generation to generation
    We must read it (the Word) and show our children
    Thanks for the encouragement and insight — you are All incredible in your writings and we are blessed to be on the receiving end

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