Monday, September 5, 2022

Watercolor Fruit and Flowers

While I LOVE creatures, especially furry ones and feathered ones, I admit that they are fairly challenging to paint (the fuzzy fur, the fluffy feathers, and those EYES…..)… 

When I first started painting, flowers did not strike my fancy. But now that I am learning to do more detailed (sort of almost realistic) watercolor, flowers and fruit are actually very interesting. I love the bright colors and the shadows and highlights.

So I have been enjoying the tutorials in Anna Mason’s School of Art. Here are some more of my completed pieces from the last few weeks.

Blueberry

Persimmon

Blue Anemone

Tulip

The tulip, finished today, was inspired by a beautiful bouquet that my daughter-in-law brought to my home for the final session of the Ford Girls Book Study (we read the book “Giddy Up, Eunice” by Sophie Hudson and discussed it together). The four of us: Myself, my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and granddaughter-in-law.


#watercolorbotanicals #watercolor #watercolorblueberry #watercolorpersimmon #watercolorblueanemone #watercolortulip

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Viola (Watercolor)


VIOLA

In the last few weeks I have painted a few botanicals (plants and flowers). When I shared them, with the “caveat” that they are not my “favorite” to paint, several people suggested that I may have “missed my calling,” so I’ve been thinking about painting more botanicals. I gravitate to the little animals (birds and furry creatures) because of my love or them, but I do LIKE flowers as well, so why not paint more of them. Actually, botanicals are easier to paint than animals and birds.

My mother was a lover of flowers and was quite knowledgeable about them. She knew the names of most flowers, and even as recently as a few years ago, I would send her a picture of a flower for her to identify. (She passed away in 2013.)


Violas in a basket on our Patio here in Ridgefield, Washington

We have some violas on our patio. I had thought they were pansies, but as I was reading about pansies and violas when preparing to paint this piece, I learned some things.

Pansies look and act a lot like violas but they have a much larger flower, and larger leaves as well. Another difference between the two fall favorites is that pansies usually only have a few flowers at a time whereas violas have a smaller flower but more blooms.

Also, Pansies were actually derived from violas, so technically all pansies are violas but not all violas are pansies. Violas are often called Johnny jump-ups in the US, as they tend to self-seed and can spread throughout your garden on their own.

Fun Fact: If the flower has four petals pointing upward and only one pointing downward – you’re looking at a Pansy. If the flower has two petals pointing upward and three petals pointing downward – you’ve got a Viola.

Since I’m interested more in botanicals than I thought I would be, I am doing some tutorials with Anna Mason, whose signature style is detail and realism, and she paints mostly botanicals. I think I will enjoy the change from the loose, wet-on-wet style that so many artists seem to be using now. 

#watercolorviolas #violasarenotpansies #annamasonartschool #hotpressedpaper #WinsorandNewtonwatercolortubepaints #realisticstyle 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Creative Outlets

So, I have realized that as I continue to practice my watercolor painting, I should cease trying to find a single “style” that is mine. I realized this as I recently observed that the artists that I “follow,” and take lessons from, those whose tutorials I attempt, do not themselves have a single “style.” Perhaps I try different styles to discover what I most enjoy, while for them, it’s likely an attempt to prevent boredom!

These two pieces were painted by following lessons from the same artist, and I feel they are actually quite different, and yet I enjoyed both.




It has been a couple of weeks since I painted anything, because I have been catching up with scrapbooking. I now have a pattern of doing two months at a time, so I did Jan-Feb, and then Mar-April, and I just finished May-June. It’s an exercise in self-discipline for me to keep up with this, and I was analyzing that fact as I worked the last few days.

When I started scrapbooking in 2003, it was my very first inkling of perhaps, maybe, a bit of creativity lurking somewhere way beneath the surface in my mind/heart. I had never thought of myself as being the least creative, honestly, and even the bulletin boards in my elementary school classrooms were often the result of my students’ work.

But when I was introduced to scrapbooking, which I “took to” like a duck to water, I saw it as mainly something I LOVED because it combined two of my favorite things in the world: photographs and life stories. Still hidden beneath the obvious was what I now recognize as a love of creating a “layout” — dare I say, an “artistic representation” using those photographs and stories. Seriously? Who knew!

At that time, the trend in scrapbooking was to create very elaborate layouts. Many of the trend-setters in those days would even use one tiny photograph and then embellish the page(s) in a ridiculously ornate fashion. Even then, I rejected that style, because did I mention, PHOTOS and STORIES. Still, that hobby did provide what I now see as a creative outlet.

I “progressed” in my artistic endeavors to doing “mixed media art journaling,” beginning around 2012, and I hung out there for a period of years, designing journal pages and wooden blocks with acrylic paint, fabric, patterned card stock, pages from old books and music, twine, brads, metal embellishments, stamp ink, lettering, and so many supplies that I needed a large room and lots of shelves just to store so many things to choose from when creating a page.

I recently came across a picture of one of those creations. It was fun.


Meanwhile, I continued with the scrapbooking with elaborate layouts, usually placing 5-8 photos on most 2-page layouts. This is a sample page (one side of a 2-page layout).



I usually completed 2-3 large (12x12) scrapbooks per year. So now I have more than 50 albums.



While I continued with the scrapbooking and the mixed media art journaling, I added Bible Journaling. I have four Bibles that contain that work. Example:



So, here I am. It became too cumbersome to maintain an inventory of supplies for mixed media and elaborate scrapbook layouts. Once I began my watercolor journey (ca 2019), with the simplicity of supplies and the challenge of creative output, I discontinued mixed media at such a prolific level, and I backed down on the complicated scrapbook layouts as well. 

Now, I still do some Bible journaling (mainly with watercolor), and I still scrapbook, but I focus on the simplicity of photos and stories. The scrapbooks have become more a record for posterity and not a creative outlet at all anymore, actually.

That was an overview of my “creativity journey,” with a sample from each of the main areas (I didn’t even touch on the tag-making era—or the Smash journal era—all while I was doing the aforementioned projects). If you’re crazy enough to want to see my “creations,” my Pinterest is @bkford. Profile

Now I’m focusing on maintaining the Scrapbooks (life records) and improving on watercolor painting.

Along with the increase in cooking/baking I’ve been doing recently, I stay pretty busy.

And that’s a good thing.

#watercolor #mixedmediaartjournals #Biblejournaling #scrapbooks #CreativeMemories #photos #lifestories #creativeendeavors


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Being Resourceful (in the early 60’s)


This is a story that involves fashion history, a personal story from my memory.


In 1954 the first pair of seamless stockings was created. In 1959 panty hose were invented.


Prior to that and for a while after, until everyone caught up with the changing trend, women wore individual nylon stockings, usually with seams up the back, each stocking fastened at the top, to a garter belt, or secured with a garter (like the blue one that is still often “thrown” at weddings).



When I was a sophomore in high school in the early sixties, we were just beginning to transition from “nylons,” both seamed and seamless, to seamless panty hose. 

In my house, between Mother and my sister and me, sometimes we had an odd number of individual seamed stockings and individual seamless stockings (odd number because we tossed the ones that had “runners” — can’t go into that description right now, but wearing hose with a “runner” would’ve been the height of NOT chic), and we only had maybe one pair of panty hose (always seamless). 


For high school choral concerts, we were required to wear a dress, which also meant wearing hose (we would never have gone with bare legs back then). One evening as my sister (a freshman) and I were getting ready for the concert, we discovered that we had a total of one pair of panty hose and then a single seamed nylon and a single seamless nylon.


With our combined memories, we are not positive about which one of us got stuck with the one seamed/one seamless nylons, but I’m pretty sure it was my sister. But together we came up with the idea for a solution. 



I took Mother’s Maybelline brow color with the little brush, and after my sister put on the nylons, I actually DREW a line up the back of her leg to simulate a seam. Honestly, you couldn’t tell the difference in her two legs! So, she wore “seamed” nylons that night, and I wore the seamless panty hose.

Yeah, we were resourceful like that. We made things work!


#fashioninthesixties #resourcefulsisters #maybellinebrowcolor #pantyhose #seamlesshose #seamedhose #howbrilliantwerewe #weareamazingstill

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Catching Up


We may have gone directly from winter to summer here in the PNW, but no complaints from me. Though we still have the predictable rainy days, we have had several beautiful days of sunshine and warm temperatures. In our little back yard, I was struck by this view from our patio: in the foreground is our Missouri Dogwood Tree (the state tree of our native state), and immediately to the left of the dogwood tree, yet in the far distance, is a lone Hemlock Tree, the state tree of Washington (the state where we live now).

It’s now warm (and sunny) enough for me to enjoy walking outside, and that is a huge benefit in getting all my “Fitbit” steps without having to do so many steps indoors (not fun).


We no longer have our Missouri home where we daily watched many birds and animals in the woods behind our house, but we do enjoy the beautiful goldfinch (state bird of Washington), “flocking” to our feeders here.


We also have a pair of barn swallows who have decided to make their home just under the roof over our patio. Their nest is visible from the dining table, where I work. They don’t mind us at all, and while we have lunch or coffee on the patio, the momma bird just continues to sit on her eggs.

I have three new art pieces that I’m fairly proud of. Full disclosure: I threw one attempt at a kitten in the trash in the midst of completing these. I am finally learning that I simply do not do well with the art style that saturates the paper and then basically throws paint on, hoping the colors and placement will somehow reveal the subject. (Oh, I see yellow with green below it—it’s a sunflower!) That style is simply not me, and while many artists do very well with that style, I finally know, NOT ME.


This beautiful horse has turned out to be one of my favorite pieces so far, and I didn’t even know I could do it, until I tried (lesson there?). When I think about it, though, no feathers, no fur = much easier in many ways.


This one was fun, probably because I do love bright colors, and I love cherries.


This is maybe my second botanical. I do not really love to paint flowers, but I totally enjoyed this simple “plant in pot.”



On to family things, my “girls” and I are about to start a book study (tomorrow). I found a book by Sophie Hudson that is about cross-generational women/relationships in the Bible (Elizabeth and Mary, Ruth and Naomi, Lois and Eunice). I can hardly wait to delve into this with my daughter-in-love, granddaughter, and granddaughter-in-love (while my great grand babies play nearby). We know we will enjoy having fun and studying together. (Today I took my first peek at the content, and already in the Introduction, I had a big cry……I’m overcome with emotion when it comes to generational things……I am SO blessed.)

Hope to be a little more faithful with the blog in coming days. Thanks to those who follow, read, and send me emails/leave comments!

#watercolor #watercolorcherries #watercolorhorse #watercolorplantinpot #giddyupEunice #crossgenerationalrelationships

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Daily Prayer: Surrender, Trust, and Choose

There are many well-known Scripture passages that refer to God watching over the birds. I think of those verses quite often when I see birds or paint them.

"Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26)

Today I am sharing a couple of watercolor hummingbirds. They were very easy to paint, each only requiring a few minutes, and their colors are so bright that one might even think there is not a real bird that looks like that.

So, I’ll include the “reference photo” for each of these two birds.

I will conclude with a “daily prayer” that I have had in my notebook for years. It is copied, but I have no idea the original source.










Daily Prayer
I SURRENDER any illusion of control I have about today.
I TRUST you, Lord, with my children. They are yours.
I TRUST you, Lord, with my life and my future.
I CHOOSE this day, and every day, to choose faith over fear.
I CHOOSE to believe your promises are true.
I CHOOSE to be comforted by your presence.
I can’t control the future, but I can CHOOSE to TRUST you.

Yes and Amen.

#watercolor #watercolorhummingbirds #hummingbirds #faithoverfear #surrender #trust 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Flora and Feathers

Most of the time my watercolor subjects are animals, mostly birds. I love birds. But along with my birds this week, I also painted a little rosebud. This is very uncharacteristic of me, but I did enjoy it. I may do more. 

Apparently I have been in a “Permanent Rose” (by Winsor and Newton) mood here lately!

After finishing the rose, I had fun painting a bird that we would never see in the US. He is so pretty!


Little Rosebud



Australian Rose Robin

For inspiration, here is a verse that I pray most mornings:


🌅“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8


#AustralianRedRobin #WatercolorRosebud #Ps1438 #watercolor #watercolour #LouiseDeMasi



Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Watercolor Style (Mixing it Up)

While my life is not totally controlled by the climate/weather, I do find that it plays a significant role in my mood/attitude, which in turn does at least AFFECT, if not control, my life.

Here in the PNW, spring is certainly not bursting forth with all things fresh and new, like I’m wishing would happen. Instead, she is dragging her feet, reluctant to leave the cold and dreary winter climate behind.

While I’m waiting, my paintings are a bit “unsettled” (in terms of inability to focus in on one style), which is somewhat a reflection of my mood (the blame for which I place on… you guessed it, the weather).

Here are some recent works.



I followed a tutorial by Maria Raczynska for this window. I almost didn’t attempt it, mainly because it is not my usual style/subject matter. But I decided maybe that was a good reason TO try it. I enjoyed it and may do more of that type in the future (I do prefer wet on dry, which was used here, but I usually paint birds and animals).



This little duckling was part of a trial to see if I might like the style and method of Emily Olson. I decided against it, but I did start this little duckling with her instruction. I didn’t like hers, midstream, and so I ended up just doing my own thing and not following her instruction to finish it. I do like it (was fun to have it out for Easter).



Another Easter theme, I loosely followed a tutorial by Louise De Masi. 



This little hummingbird may be my favorite among these four. One of my favorite instructors, Maria Raczynska, has a new series on painting birds, with somewhat of a loose style and yet not just throwing paint on wet paper (as many wet on wet artists do). This one took less than an hour and was very enjoyable. For one thing, I love the colors (mostly a combination of Veridian Hue, Cobalt Blue, and Indigo).

While I wait rather impatiently for spring, my next painting will be an attempt at a rose bud. Along with landscapes and seascapes, botanicals are rarely my thing, but I’m in the mood for some bright color in a flower. So, bring on the Permanent Rose and the French Ultramarine. 

#watercolor #watercolorpractice #hummingbird #bunny #watercolorwindow



Friday, April 15, 2022

Consider the Birds: A Simple Observation


As I was watching the birds (pine siskin at the moment), I was thinking how nice it is that hubby (the birds call him “that man”) just refilled the feeder with sunflower chips. Seeing the feeder all full makes me feel like the birds are well-provided for.

But then I thought about the birds’ perspective. They have no idea (nor concern) about whether the feeder is full or not. They don’t need to know that it is full. They are only interested in the fact that there is always food in the tray that surrounds the feeder, where they perch. 

While one might call this “living in the moment,” this scene this morning made me think about us and our Heavenly Father (THE Man). Sometimes we think we need to see the feeder all full, so that we can feel confident that our needs will be met in the future. But, God is our Provider, and He makes sure we have what we need, when we need it. Seeing the future (the filled feeder) should not be necessary for us.

I need to learn to rest in the assurance that God will make sure the tray is sufficiently filled to meet my needs.

Matthew 6 (NIV):
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”

#JehovahJireh #birdsdonotworry #GodsProvision #pinesiskin #backyardbirds #birdfeeding #pleasetellthatmanthatheneedstorefillthefeeder #PNW #Matthew6

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Spring is Coming (Right? Soon? Glimpses…)

The calendar doesn’t lie. So I know Spring is officially here. And yet, it is still pretty cool (some days, cold) and often does not feel very much like I EXPECT spring to feel. 

I’m ready. Spring always lifts my spirits. I need that. I’m feeling rather down, and since I know better than to “opine” or “pontificate” when I am feeling like this, I’ll just post a few of my recent watercolor art pieces, and at least will feel like I’m a bit caught up with blog postings.


This Goose was fun and easy.




The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of Missouri (I miss our Missouri woods).

The last two posted here are inspired by a book by Matthew Palmer,  Ready to Paint in 30 Minutes: Animals in Watercolour. They were fun, quick and easy (admittedly, they look like they were quick and easy, but that’s okay sometimes). I chose these animals because they remind me of Spring and of Easter.


Little Lamb



Little Bunny



Lastly, I’ll just mention a new daily devotional that I am enjoying. I actually used this one some time back but am trying it again. It’s called “First 15” and is available in an app and/or by daily emails. 

It is particularly inspiring to me right now because I am listening to it (an option) with air pods each morning, while I am holding a hot pack on my eyes (treatment for an eyelid condition that prompted a doctor visit that resulted in an easy treatment plan). So, the quiet and darkness while the hot pack is on my eyes is actually enjoyable for me as I relax and listen to the podcast.

#watercolor #watercolour #matthewpalmer #MissouriStateBird #First15 #watercolorgoose #watercolorbluebird #watercolorbunny #watercolorlamb #spring #Easter #whiner

Monday, February 7, 2022

Watercolor Creatures



Red-eyed tree frogs inhabit areas near rivers and ponds in rainforests and humid lowlands on the Atlantic slopes from southern Veracruz and northern Oaxaca in Mexico, to central Panama and northern Colombia. They also live on the Pacific slope in southwestern Nicaragua and southwestern Costa Rica to eastern Panama.




Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea. The name is onomatopoeic of its call. The loud, distinctive call of the laughing kookaburra is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve an Australian bush setting or tropical jungle, especially in older movies.




Eurasian blue tits, usually resident and non-migratory birds, are widespread and a common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe and the western Palearctic in deciduous or mixed woodlands with a high proportion of oak. They usually nest in tree holes, although they easily adapt to nest boxes where necessary. 




wallaby is a small or middle-sized macropod native to Australia and New Guinea, with introduced populations in New Zealand, Hawaii, the United Kingdom and other countries. They belong to the same taxonomic family as kangaroos and sometimes the same genus, but kangaroos are specifically categorised into the four largest species of the family. The term "wallaby" is an informal designation generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or a wallaroo that has not been designated otherwise.

*Information from Wikipedia


#watercolor #watercolour #wallaby #bluetit #redeyedtreefrog #kookaburra

Friday, January 21, 2022

Keeping Busy with Watercolor Birds

These are crazy days. The pandemic still rages, although I do believe (not an original thought with me) the widespread, contagious nature of the Omicron variant will likely spell the end of the pandemic—everyone will pretty much have already gotten it. 

It is the most highly contagious disease I have never witnessed. And though the symptoms seem much milder than with the original Covid and the Delta variant, there are some who have gotten very sick with it. And it doesn’t seem to matter the vaccination (and/or boosted) status.

All that to say, for me, I have been staying in a lot lately. Not because someone mandated it. Because it makes common sense to me. People are contagious without knowing it. I don’t want to get it, nor do I want to be the cause of someone else getting it. My own common sense, when it comes to my personal health care management, has served me well for MANY years. Right now it is telling me to avoid unnecessary contact. 

So, I don’t mind so much staying in a lot, since (1) it’s MY decision and not a mandate; (2) it’s raining every day here in Washington anyway!

I’m enjoying doing some more watercolor practice, and for some reason, I am “drawn” to painting birds. I’m especially fond of birds that are found in Missouri. We had a lot of cardinals on our five acres there (before we sold out and relocated full-time to Washington state). I always loved watching them. I have painted several, and for this one (as well as the bird below it), I “loosely” followed a tutorial by my art teacher from Australia, Louise De Masi (who has been extremely ill with Covid, complicated by her asthma). Interesting that she painted these two birds that are “Missouri birds” to me.



Cardinal (not found in Washington but MANY of them visited our woods in Missouri)




Barn Owl

This is a Barn Owl. I didn’t see one of these in Missouri, as they are of course nocturnal. I researched it some and learned that there are seven owls in Missouri:  
Barn Owl

Screech Owl

Long-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

Great Horned Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Barred Owl


This was the reference photo that Louise used:




I also found this information about Barn Owls (from animalhype.com):


With their heart-shaped face, Barn Owls are one of the most adorable owl species in North America. These birds do not belong to the true owl family and are the lone species of their genus.

These birds have irregularly placed ears, with the left one slightly above and the right one slightly below the eyes. Because of their irregular ears, they have the strongest hearing capabilities among all owl species and can pinpoint the exact location of their prey.

Louise De Masi sometimes paints in a fairly realistic style (the cardinal might be an example of that), and at other times, in a fairly loose style (as is the case with this barn owl). So, if a professional artist can switch around with painting styles, I suppose it’s okay for me to do that, as well.

On my art table for soon: more birds!

#watercolorpractice #watercolor #watercolorbarnowl #watercolorcardinal #LouiseDeMasi #BirdsofMissouri

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Sparrow and Me


This is a sparrow. My art teacher from Australia, whose tutorial I followed to paint him, said “It’s a sparrow.” I researched, and apparently, looking at the “cheek patch” as an identifying characteristic, it is a Eurasian Sparrow, to be precise.

I like the reference(s) to the sparrow in the Bible, and I also like the OLD song about how God watches over the sparrow, so how much more does he watch over his child (ME)!

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29–31).

His Eye is on the Sparrow (Lyrics by Civilla D. Martin)

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
    • Refrain:
      I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

#watercolorsparrow #HisEyeisontheSparrow #EurasianSparrow #watercolorpractice #LouiseDeMasi

Monday, January 3, 2022

Trees and Fruit and Generations

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the passing of time, and what that means. I’ve always had an extraordinary sense of “eras” and “seasons;” intentional remembering has always been important to me.

Probably because we now live full-time in the same town as our son/wife and grandson/wife/their babies, I am acutely aware of “the generations.” (There are four now.)


My husband and myself with our son and daughter-in-law (far left) and our grandson and his wife and their son and daughter.



My husband with our daughter (2 days out from hip replacement!) and her husband and son.

(Not able to celebrate in-person Christmas with us this year, our granddaughter who is a missionary in Mexico and another granddaughter and her husband.)

Yes, we are so multi-generational now. How did this happen so quickly? See what I mean about the passing of time? Even for someone who is constantly aware of it, it’s still shocking how fast we got here!!

As a Christ-follower, I think about what these things mean for me— phrases come to mind, like…
Aging gracefully
Finishing well
Successful aging
Bearing fruit
Teaching the next generation
My Legacy

In today’s Bible study, I was looking at some relevant verses.

From Psalm 92:12-15:

12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree

and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
13 Planted in the house of the Lord,

they thrive in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,

healthy and green,

15 to declare, “The Lord is just;

he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.”


Then when I queried for the passage about “generations,” this came up in my search. After the passage is an article about that passage.


Psalm 78:1-8
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,

that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,

    so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
8
 and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast
 whose spirit was not faithful to God.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATION


June 5, 2017 by Mike Livingstone (Lifeway editor)


In Psalm 78 Asaph addresses the importance of the home and the vital role of parents and grandparents in leading the next generation to know, love and serve God.  The psalm answers four critical questions regarding our responsibility to future generations: who, what, why, and how?


WHO?

Who’s responsible for teaching the next generation? Take a look at verses 5-6: “He [God] commanded our fathers to teach … their children so that a future generation—children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children.” Notice at least three, possibly four generations are mentioned in these verses—fathers, their children, the children yet to be born, their children.

From the time God established His covenant with Israel, He commanded parents (dads are to take the lead) to teach their children, who in turn would teach their children, who then would teach their children. The “command” to which the psalmist was referring in verse 5 is likely Deuteronomy 6:6-7. The same command is found in the New Testament, “bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The responsibility to disciple children falls squarely on the shoulders of parents, and this requires a strong intentionality on our part.


WHAT?

What must we teach the next generation? Again, the answer is in verse 5: “He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children.” The first two lines of verse 5 are parallel, meaning “testimony” (or “statutes,” “decrees”) is synonymous with “the law.” The word testimony is sometimes used in the Old Testament to refer to the tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written (Ex. 25:16). This word relates to what God has required of His people. The word for law here is torah and means “instruction. In this context, it refers to the commandments in the Mosaic law. The emphasis in verse 5 is clear: it is God’s inspired and authoritative Word we must teach to our children.


WHY?

Psalm 78 also answers the “why” question. “So that” in verses 6-7 means “to the end that” and points to the desired outcome of an action.

  • So that they “might know” God through His Word (v. 6)
  • So that they might trust Him (“put their confidence in God,” v. 7)
  • So that they would obey Him (“keep his commands,” v. 7).

We teach so that the next generation will know, trust, and obey God. This desired outcome goes beyond just hoping our kids will stay out of trouble. For us, it means we seek to raise up faithful and passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

 

HOW?

 How are we to teach the next generation? Again, Psalm 78 provides answers.

  • Tell the stories of things God has done (“the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed,” v. 4).
  • Teach what God requires of us (v. 5, “a testimony … a law”).
  • Warn against sinfulness (v. 8)

All of the above requires that we be intentional about our responsibility to make disciples of the next generation.

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Volumes could be/have been written on this topic. These are just my thoughts today.


#generations #aginggracefully #successfulaging #finishingwell #bearingfruit #legacy