Monday, April 30, 2018

THE POWER OF FAMILY Series: Our Children!

Children are a heritage from
the LORD, offspring a reward
from Him. ( Ps. 127:3)
Satan hates women! Let's take the lid off a well-kept secret.  The devil reserves a special hatred for women. We know he hates all mankind.  but he has a particular animosity against women...

Satan does not like the fact that women can have children. 
He hates our ability to reproduce...  

When we do conceive, he will try to devour our children before they are born.  After they are born, he will do all he can to make the children we have ineffective against him.  He will use our children to cause us some of our greatest pain.  If he does not succeed there he will persecute us as women just because we bring children into the world. (Excerpts from book: Chosen Vessels: Women of Color Keys To Change by Rebecca Florence Osaigbovo, DaBar Services, Detroit, MI)

In a previous blog I stated that our enemy, Satan is doing everything possible to destroy the family (John10:10).  Why? Because godly families are a powerful threat to him and his minions and on earth they reflect the glorious image of the Godhead! Thus, he strategically targets first, the husband and wife to scheme upon and then moves on to the children!

You don't have to be a bible scholar to see that the Devil is trying to take our children out! Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually!  What is most devastating to me is to watch the ways he is turning them away from the Truth of God's Word and toward the insidious darkness of self-destruction!  (Prov. 14:12 -There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death).  

In most of the conversations I've had concerning this sad commentary, fingers immediately point toward the parents!  True, many children are suffering from poor parenting skills and a culture that reinforces, even glorifies, their irresponsibility and spiritual neglect.  But can you blame a house that falls down for its leaky roof, rotten beams, or broken windows?  These are structural things that can be easily repaired.  But what can you do with a  faulty foundation?  Unless it is fixed no cosmetic work you do on or around the surface will last!

I believe that's what psychologists, politicians, and even some misguided social scientists have been trying to do.  Do a Makeover of the family without addressing the crumbling or in some cases non-existent foundation.  Our children deserve better and there's enough blame to go around for everyone!!  Let's look at some tools needed to offset the damage:

Quality Time with Your Children  - Deuteronomy 6:6-8 
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Children today are pacified with electronics and entertainment. These have become baby-sitters for tired, overworked, and sometimes selfish parents.  But what children really want is time with  with their mothers and fathers!  Time not "doing" but just "being" with them.  They want to feel that you are listening to them, care about them, actually want to be with them. 

The greatest life lessons producing godly living is not necessarily taught in church, but in the home.  As the above scripture says, powerful tools for living are sharpened as you talk, and walk with them.  During a meal shared or at bedtime.  Children need quite and calmness in their life! Our culture overstimulates them.  Parents need time to train, discipline, and model God's best for them. A good parent knows that there is a time to Shut the World out...and Let God In!

Communicating in the Language of Love! - I Corinthians 13:1
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Would it surprise you to know that some children rarely hear a positive word from their parents?  We must learn how to communicate wisely with our children.  Adjusting not only our tone but choosing the right words in the right way to make what we say count! 

Gary Chapman, author of the renown, Five Love Languages, has expanded his principles to help parents teach children how to properly give and receive love.  One, I've already mentioned - Quality Time.  The next two, Acts of Service and Gifts are intuitive.  But, the ones I think relate well to the topic of communication are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch.  Proverbs 18:21 says that Death and life is in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. 

Children generally believe what their parents tell them, until we show them different! If we tell them they are smart, valuable, and loved, then demonstrate it with consistency they will hold onto that image of themselves.  However, the same is true for the opposite.  Belonging, Love, and Esteem rank high on Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory.  The Bible ranks it high too!  Subsequent verses in I Corinthians 13 tell us that faith, hope, and love is important to the growth to any person but the greatest of the three is love! (vs. 13)
Shaping their Spirituality - Proverbs 22:6, 2 Timothy 3:5; Ephesians 6:4, Deut. 6:6-9
Here are a few practical ways you can lay a strong foundation of healthy spirituality in your children's life:
--Pray, not just for them, but with them - communicating our hearts to our heavenly Father is one of the most personal, intimate, and beneficial things we can do while here on earth.

--Challenge them to read and memorize God's Word - This will help them understand more about God's lavish love for them.

--Model forgiveness - By all means, hold your children accountable for their actions. 
(Reprint from EMBC bible study: Strengthening Parents and Children Relationship, October 24, 2007)
Summary:  The Bible is the Antidote for Satan's Poisonous Arrows Destroying Families
  • The answer to divorce, infidelity, and same-sex marriage is respecting and honoring God's design for marriage.
  • The answer to the gang affiliations, gun violence, and mind altering cults is Quality Time empowering children for success (Bible reading and study, instituting boundaries, and showing unconditional love.)
  • The answer to promiscuity and unwed pregnancy is Affirmation of your child's worth that teaches them that their body is a precious gift to be treasured and preserved for marriage 
  • The answer to drug use and pornography is embodying for non-Christians the biblical definition of love, intimacy, and God-ordained expressions for experiencing pleasure.


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The Power of Family Series Continues: Target Three: Our Church!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The POWER of FAMILY Series: The Husband and Wife!

For this reason I bow my knee
before the Father, from whom
every family in heaven and
and earth is named.
(Ephesians 3:14-15)
They come in all sizes, colors, and shapes! Few and in great numbers! We don't often get a chance to choose them and when irritated, try hard to deny them! But each member is a necessary contributor to the essence of who we really are!

What am I talking about?  FAMILY!

I just spent a wonderful time with a Sister Niece (one who is more sister than niece) from Illinois last week and it got me thinking about how powerful familial connections are to a person's total well being, i.e. emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

In the Garden of Eden after preparing everything needed for His creations, God said to Adam: It is not good for man to be alone, (Genesis 2:18). Voila!  Along comes Eve,  the mother of all living beings and they became progenitor of what we call family!   It is the first institution established in the world and done right, sets the foundation for every relationship one will ever have in life!

That being said, it should not surprise you that we're barely out of Eden when we find the family under violent attack!  Adam and Eve's son, Cain filled with jealousy kills his brother Abel over a preferred sacrifice and its downhill from there!  Families are STILL under attack today and rife with violence! Sometime from within and often externally.

Our enemy, Satan is doing everything possible to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) God's ideal for the family.  He's on a campaign to viciously wipe out any godly vestige of it in our current culture and on many levels, appears to be winning. Why is the family unit such a formidable target? Because he fears the strength and unity that resides within it when used to the glory of God! Shrewdly he undermines its definition.   Then its authority.   Finally, its purpose as he preys upon the vulnerability of each family member:

Target One: Husband and Wife - Understanding Headship

If you want to defeat an Enemy cut off his head!  The rest will implode from sheer chaos!  When a husband and wife ceases to present a united front, the entire family is at risk. God has put into the human flesh a unique and complex being-the male and female gender (Gen. 1:28).  Each was made intentionally with specific personalities, responsibilities, roles, and modus operandi(ways of doing things).

These entities were designed to reflect the holiness of God; to keep the family secure, and to reflect authority as in The Trinity.   In the Christian family it is called headship. When this Divine Design is embraced in obedience to God (Ephesians 5:21-29) the plan works!  But abuse of this authority or rebellion against it creates a perfect climate for evil infiltration and painful consequences.

Perhaps you were like me
.  Nearly fifty years ago when I said I Do to my husband; I had no idea that as a Christian I was agreeing to the Biblical View of Marriage.  Heck, I didn't even know what it was! So you can imagine things got pretty rocky and confusing!  Now that the Holy Spirit has enlightened me and Experience has tempered me I find it less confusing but at times still difficult!

This is not news to God! After the fall of mankind into sin, headship became it's first casualty! A simplistic interpretation of Genesis 3:16 is this: Because of sin, woman will have the urge to oppose, control, and go against her husband and the man will rule over her in ways that are sometimes harsh and inappropriate. (excerpt from A Vision for Biblical Womanhood: The Desire to Control, Nancy Leigh Demoss Wolgemuth, Revive our Hearts) 

Often described as the Battle of the Sexes, it is really an engagement of conflict in what is call ed Spiritual Warfare. It is here the enemy exploits our sinful desires of pride, power, and superior knowledge to put a wedge between the head and his home and thus alienate the entire family from God's authority in their lives.

It is an ancient military strategy but works well against those who are ignorant of its devices.  That's why the bible uses a military term to defeat it and safe guard the family.  A Greek word found in Ephesians 5: Strong's #5293 - hupotasso (pronounced hoop-ot-as'-so) from 5259 and 5021' meaning to subordinate, reflexively, to obey; be under obedience (obedient); to rank under authority. To subject or to submit.

This word submission is dreaded by most women as being prohibitive, but when studied and taught correctly describes a mutuality of respect and honor.  Everyone submits: husband to God, wife to husband, children to parents; government to God, church to elders, etc.  It is a beautiful picture of the Holy Trinity bringing blessings of unity, peace, and efficiency in these relationships.  (See Ephesians 5, Romans 13, and  Hebrews 13)

The Enemy hates the unity that man and woman in sync with God and each other represents. Not only in marriage but in other areas as well. It shows God's original intent of beauty and order for this world and Satan as you know is the author of confusion.

Whether it is the cultivation of the egalitarian mindset of feminists espousing equality with power! Or the cultural popularity of same sex, polygamy, and cohabitation devaluing the sanctity of marriage; Satan diligently seeks ways to divide us!  Much of what has become media hot topics or cultural debates, like the gender issue are nothing more than a ploy to make God's truth trivial and is a push for acceptability with no accountability.  In other words, provide a distraction to diffuse the Power of Family!  Don't buy into it!  Let's not bow down to the Altar of Self.  Gird your loins with the truth and prepare for the fight of your life!


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The Power of Family Series Continues: Target Two: Our Children - A Heritage of the Lord!