September 23 Daily Devotional


Charles and Norma Ellis

Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 1:1-10

1The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
2To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
3It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
4Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
9Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.


Our task is not that of Jeremiah. Yet sometimes, as we look at parenthood, we feel that it is too much for us. 'Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child' (1:6). One day our oldest daughter said in jest, but surely out of a heart of real apprehension, 'When our children get into their teens we are going to ship them down to you.'

The task of parenthood comes upon us suddenly, despite the nine months of warning and anticipation. As we look at that little being, a real person whose responsibility has now become ours, all the courses in family living and child psychology, and all the books on raising children, suddenly become inadequate.

Have you known parents who feared their children? Have you known parents who gave up family prayers because their son objected? Or parents who could not refuse something they could not really afford because of temper tantrums that greeted them? Have you known parents who all unawares were taken in by schools of psychology which denied the basic concepts of God's Word? Have you known parents who read only the parts of God's Word which speak of love, skimming over those which speak of discipline? It takes real courage to be a parent.

What does God say to Jeremiah? 'Whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces ... ' (1:7,8). Parents need courage from God. We are to follow His directions for child-rearing and leave the rest in His hands. His words must be in our mouth. The faces of sulkiness, of pleading, of tears, of rebellion are not to cause us to fear. Our strength is in the Lord!

We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."

Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.

Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.