What Your Children Say About Your Life…

texting

The purpose of this article is not about me, or my children, but in some sense it is about me and my children. The whole summation of this begins with a question. What is the purpose of children? Why do we have them? How many times have you heard it said, “why would I want to bring children into this world?” The inference is that the world is so incredibly evil that I wouldn’t want to have my children suffer the consequences.

But the reality is a focus on self. Those of us that steward children realize that it’s hard work. There is rarely a time for a “break”. Even in the middle of the night there are bad dreams, or illness and countless other issues. So why bother? I guess it depends on the camp you reside, and if that camp is Christianity, then the way you raise your children speaks volumes about your life. Quick disclaimer: my children are as bad as yours, and I have the same problems raising them that you do, so this is not an article that claims I’m the model of parenthood. Lord knows my daily failures. This article hopes to encourage, and to spur the believer on to love and good works.

I’ve written on Psalm 127 before, and it always bears repeating… Children are a blessing, children are a heritage from the Lord, and children are to be raised to perpetuate the gospel. They are to be trained and they are to be sharpened that they might be sent out into the world to be arrows, to pierce through the hearts of sinful man with the sword of the gospel. That is obvious, and notice that this Psalm begins with this little phrase, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” – Psalm 127:1

If you are not raising your children for the glory of God, if you are not allowing the Lord to build the house, you are laboring in vain, and I suppose you have not considered this verse, and possibly your eternal standing before God. I hope you will give that consideration today if that is your situation.

For those that desire to raise children to the glory of God it’s important to think about those children as a testimony to our lives. The children you nurture in your home are speaking loudly to the world around you. I have several examples from my own life, and I only desire to talk about those to point people to Christ, not to say what a great parent I am. Jesus said that wisdom is justified by her children, and this means that our salvation becomes evident to all by the fruit that is produced through our lives. Our children bear witness to our lives.

The biggest question that a Christian can and should ask themselves is do your children look different than the rest of the world, or do they blend quite nicely? I’m not necessarily a proponent of our girls wearing matching calico print dresses with little napkins on their heads to be different, but how they act and the message they give out when they are around other people speaks about the training they receive in the home. We certainly don’t have to go very far to see how the world justifies her children. It’s pretty obvious that a kid will have their head stuck in their cell phone, and they can’t engage an adult in much more than a one word answer. They are a rebellious sort, with a sarcastic look on their face. Of course not all of them, because we also get the outwardly compliant child.

This also is a danger, that we raise them to be well behaved. We train them to be counter-cultural only in their external actions. We can train them for our own benefit. To be different, for sure, but it is training in self-righteousness. They can justify themselves through their “good” actions, when inside they are dead men’s bones. It’s a virtual mine-field of parenting to know which side to land on. The bible makes no absolute promises that the children of believing parents will become believers, although I know some groups that try and claim that. I don’t fall into that camp, and I realize from conception my children are hostile to God. They come out of the womb sinners, and I must present the law and the gospel to them and trust in God’s mercy for their souls.

However, when I disciple my children to the glory of God, they will look different. There is just no other way around it. They will be a testimony to the change in my heart, wrought by God. Are we different because we are home-schoolers, or because we attend a certain church? Yes, but that is not the point. The point is to raise your children to see their need for Christ. It always comes back to man’s greatest need is for salvation in His name. He came to seek and save the lost, and for those that have no understanding of their “lostness” then He is not worthy of their pursuits.   He must be the greatest treasure, the pearl of great value.

That is the point. That is why we, that call ourselves Christians, must train and disciple our children. We must do so with great effort. All day, every day.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. – Deuteronomy 6:7

Kevin

Will Your Children Be Saved?

child-baby-hand-in-father-dad

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. – Psalm 127:3

Indeed children are a reward, and how can we look upon our precious little ones and not consider them a gift of God. Children are also a heritage says the word of God, they are like a treasured possession that God has given to us for many purposes, one is in the hopes we pass down a godly line and continue to perpetuate the gospel. That is my hope, and that should also be your hope for your children. My hope is in the Lord, that He will save them, and that He will do all His good pleasure.

But what if that doesn’t happen?

I believe completely and trust fully in the Sovereignty of God. In some circles, I suppose I’m called a “Calvinist”, in that I affirm the doctrines of the Bible that John Calvin taught. This is a four-letter word to many in the professing Christian world, but can I trust in a God that sits back and does not have His hand upon everything; even the salvation of destruction of my children? Oh what a difficult topic this is to write about…

The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. – Proverbs 16:4

Have we not read the Scriptures? Do we avoid the hard topic of the reality of salvation? Do we assume because we are faithfully following the Lord that our children will automatically do that? This is a reality, which a Christian must embrace; because there is no guarantee of salvation for our children. We won’t explore the covenantal aspect in this post, but if we only take a cursory glance at Scripture to see how many disobedient children followed their obedient parents, it becomes obvious there is no guarantee.

“But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” – Jonah 2:9

Do we really trust that salvation is of the Lord? This is a very good question to ask, but it’s a hard question to ask. You can do all the right things. You can take your children to church, you can catechize them, you can teach them the Holy Scriptures, but you can’t guarantee their salvation.

So what do you do now? Do you “let go and let God”? I sure hope not. I sure hope you and I will be diligent, because we also have God’s commands, and the thing I believe is more important than anything else in this conversation is our obedience; if you are a believer, than you MUST be obedient to the Scriptures.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 see also Ephesians 6:4

Believing parents, and especially fathers are commanded, you’ve been given an order that you must obey, to train your children, all the time. Not part of the time, not some of the time, but at every opportunity you have. You have a responsibility to carry out the commands of the King.

Our children have a responsibility in this equation. They are commanded to repent and turn from their sin. They are without excuse, as all of mankind is without excuse, if they don’t repent and turn from their sin. There will be no “out clauses” on judgment day.

Listen to the testimony of Charles Spurgeon, in how his mother would conduct family worship and plead with them. Would you do this with your children? Would they understand the gravity of their situation, should they go unconverted? Would you not do anything and everything for your children that they might come to know the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

“It was the custom, on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay at home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading; there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm, or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat round the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord. Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is grey. I remember, on one occasion, her praying thus: “Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Could you say this to your children? Would you love them this much, to have them consider that you would testify against them?

Kevin

Vanity…

avanity

Most of us believe that whatever we are doing is important. I know when I wake up in the morning it’s really easy to begin focusing on the tasks at hand and all the things I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming day. Each day we have a brand new opportunity to be productive. Most of us will go to our jobs and provide for our families. This is a good thing. This is biblical and it’s God honoring. Isn’t it?

Well I guess it depends on your perspective.

Unless the LORD builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the LORD guards the city,

The watchman stays awake in

   vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,

To sit up late,

To eat the bread of sorrows;

For so He gives His beloved

   sleep. – Psalm 127:1-2

There is something very interesting about the Word of God. It’s mostly, easy to understand. There is nothing difficult about what this says.   We don’t need an in depth study of each word to understand the message. There are two groups of people that will read this and take away very different understandings.

There is a warning contained in this passage for the unbelieving. This warning is clear. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ everything in your life is vanity. The word vanity in short means “useless”. Your existence is useless. It means that it is literally and figuratively ruined (morally). The unbeliever has a morally bankrupt life, and yet they have no concept of this. They believe their existence matters.

If I was to interview Oprah Winfrey, she would believe that her work is really making a difference. She would believe that her building of schools, her building of wells to provide water and educating young girls, is having a positive effect on the world around her. She believes, without a doubt, that she is building a city and it has meaning. I can feel the pushback already, because when I hear her words, and I know what she believes, then I lay her words on top of God’s Word, these two don’t go together.

Her building is vanity. It’s useless, because it is not built on Christ. It is not built by the LORD. It is vain for her to rise early and to stay up late. When we really get past the emotion of this, we can see that all of this is vanity.

Then we have a call to the Christian. For the Christian these things do matter. This is not permission to be lazy in our efforts.   Christian’s should be the best workers they can be, and should always give full effort to what they do, in no way is this a call not to be diligent in our work.   However, we should not call upon our own desires and our own wisdom in taking on these endeavors. All good things come from God, but we must act. There will be effort on our part, and that effort will be toil and difficult. God Himself has said that would be His curse upon the sons of Adam.

What are we to do with all of this, because it’s really difficult for most of us to think about how much vanity is all around us? I know that I’m challenged in my life when I think about it. I must really consider how many people I pass in a day that their lives are ultimately useless. I say that not to be hard but to awaken my conscience to their dire condition. I must preach to them because it’s their only hope.

If you are a believer, consider those around you and the message we must give that will be unpopular. As I said at the beginning, most of us believe we matter. Every person on this earth is created in the image of God and are therefore valuable and we have no idea how God will use them. We know that many will perish in their sin, but as far as we are concerned we have a job to do. We must tell them that God is holy, and there is coming a day of judgment. Will you build your house in vain, or will you build your house for the glory of God?

 

Kevin

Birthday’s & God’s Sovereignty

Lydia below the St. Louis Gateway Arch. There is NOT a spike sticking out of her head

November 3rd is my birthday and I will turn 47 years old.  Unless God has ordained something different I’m probably half way through my life.  I don’t think I’d want to live hundreds of years like Noah or Methuselah (ever wonder how their teeth held up for all those years…) and I believe God has planned my life perfectly so I feel nothing is special about getting older but for the simple fact I am hopefully growing in wisdom.

Every other Wednesday I meet a friend for breakfast and this week a man I know was also meeting in the same place.  I’ve known this gentleman in a roundabout way for quite some time although not very well.  We had a brief conversation and I shared with him some convictions we came under a couple years ago about allowing God to be sovereign in the area of children, i.e. no birth control.  The result of this was our beautiful Lydia Faith a year ago.  I expected we were like minded in this area.  He has five daughters and I believe we were both blessed by our conversation.

At 47 for me, and with Jen being 40 something, haha, I don’t know how many children the Lord will bless us with but I’m all in either way.  I enjoy seeing my brothers and sisters that have big families.  There is something so incredible about the faith they place in God to provide for them.  God promises to provide for His children, but do we really embrace this theology?  Do we really trust that God will provide if He gave us lots of kids?  Or do we think we need to be in charge?

This post is for Believers.  I don’t expect non-believer’s to buy into what I’m saying, nor should they.  I also expect many Believers will “push back” at what I’m writing.  But I’d like for you to consider the reason for push back, if that is welling up inside of you right now.  At the root of this whole issue is trust.  Do we trust the promises of God or do we trust that we have better ideas.

Psalm 127 Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.  In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food – yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.  Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, children a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth.  Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.  Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate. – Holman Christian Standard Bible

I chose the Holman version of this chapter for a very specific reason.  I read out of the New King James Version but I love the way this captures my role as a man of God.  I am happy when I fill my quiver…This requires an action on my part.

There is so much depth in this very short chapter that I can only scratch the surface of what is being said but let’s notice four things.

The LORD builds His house

If your house is not being built on the foundation of Christ it is in vain, no matter how few or how many children you have.  Could this possibly be anymore clear?  Solomon writes a whole book on the subject and concludes with this in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Children are a reward

I don’t think most people believe this.  I believe they love their children as we loved our children before we were converted.  But I couldn’t wait till….  (You name it) we could sleep through the night, they were out of diapers, they could move into a booster seat, they were out of a booster seat.  Two kids were plenty; I never considered children a reward, more as a duty.  Take a quick moment and think about which child you wouldn’t want once you’ve had them.  If you had two would you only want one?  So why wouldn’t this apply to ten?

They are warriors

I have a wonderful opportunity to affect God’s kingdom through the raising and training of my children.  I am responsible for teaching and preaching the gospel to them.  I must set an example of what a Godly man looks like for my daughter’s so they will know what to expect in their future husbands.  In Voddie Baucham’s book “What he must be, if he wants to marry my daughter” he lays out the plan for a multigenerational vision for the family.  I need to be thinking three and four generations down the road.  Just imagine how the kingdom can be impacted by these little warriors.

I will be happy

eh’-sher happiness; only in masculine plural construction as interjection, how happy!: – blessed, happy.  I can only attest to this happiness in my own life.  I think often what it would be like to have more kids and I look forward to that opportunity if God decides to bless our efforts.  This is the kind of blessing that the Lord Jesus speaks of in the Beatitudes.  Makarios – supremely blest; by extension fortunate, well off: – blessed, happy (X -ier).

Brothers and Sisters I hope you will be encouraged to be fruitful and multiply.

Kevin