Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bring Forth Godly Seed—Command or Option? A Summer Series #2

As some of you may remember, I embarked on a journey to read the Bible through late last year. Well as an aside note to this post, I am now reading in the book of Psalm. I believe that is about half way through. It has certainly been a journey, but I will have to save that for another post.

In this post, we are contemplating Malachi 2:15 where the Holy Spirit, through the writer of the text, makes it known that God seeks a Godly seed through the union of a husband and a wife. Before we go there though, I want to share just one of the tiny but huge ideas from the Bible regarding children that just seemed to leap off of the pages at me as I was reading in the early books of the Bible.

As God was “laying down the law” (quite literally), His thoughts about children from Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 18:10 jumped out at me:

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire…

The reason these seemingly quiet, and seemingly sideline sort of scriptures stood out to me was because I saw God’s heart for children kind of up-close and personal. I’d been told that “God loves all the little children of the world,” and I’d believed that He does, but to read His thoughts about children during a period in history when children were sacrificed on the altars of idol gods, just gave me a personal view of God’s love and passion for children. For Him to single out a parent’s relation to their children during His presentation of do’s and don’ts for this new culture that He was establishing, stood out to me as a subject that was very important to Him although it was seemingly hidden in all of the “super-important” stuff of Old Testament scripture.
Now let’s look at Malachi 2:15:

And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

Here, the Holy Spirit reveals that God desires a godly seed from the union of a husband and wife.
This leads me to the point of this post. As parents, we have been given permission to raise our children according to godliness. I use the word permission here intentionally. I know that being a parent today is difficult. One minute we are solid and resolute in our conviction and passion to raise our children according to biblical values. The next minute, we find ourselves torn, and trying to determine what’s too much and what’s not enough. When in actuality, we should know exactly what to do if we have singleness of purpose. This verse gives us the permission to have that singleness of purpose. If our purpose is to do what Malachi 2:15 says, then our purpose as parents is clear –bring forth a godly seed.

What does that look like?  How can we do that? I believe that it entails, steering our children’s thinking and their doing to line up with those ideas that we are convinced that God stands for and is pleased with.

For example, your kid lies to you, you deal with it according to the scriptures. You correct the action instead of ignoring it. Your kid mistreats another kid. Do you ignore it, or do you correct it? Yes, you correct it.

Seems pretty simple; however, after society adds its pressures of the media and entertainment, after kids at school add in the influences of their home life, and after your own child’s natural inclination toward sin, a parent can grow pretty tired of correcting.

But I want to encourage all of us through this post to press on and correct those things because it gives our children the compass that they will need to navigate this life. 

Society will tell us that our kid’s compass should come from going to school, and being with peers. Or that it should come from exposure to pop-culture. They argue that in order for a child to grow into a balanced adult who knows how to maneuver in our society, they have to be immersed in it. 

I disagree, I do believe that they should be exposed to certain aspects of culture as they grow, but that exposure needs to be age appropriate and guided by loving, purposeful parents. And in order for us to do that, we have to be resolute in what matters most in the raising of our children. We can’t be persuaded to let this slide or that slide or buy into the idea that they are children and will turn out how they will turn out-- no matter what (I had a friend to actually say this to me). No, we have to be engaged and connected. We have to be convinced and convicted to parenting God’s way!

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter!

previous post in this series...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Raising Godly Children in a Seemingly Godless World--A Summer Series

The Generation Gap
Raising children can be difficult, especially in the age that we are living now. We have all sorts of outside forces, seen and unseen, vying for the attention of parents and children alike. It is no wonder that the generation before us looks at us and openly declares that they would not want to be parents with the responsibility of raising children in today’s world. I know that I have personally come across this sentiment from Grandparents on the playgrounds and at birthday parties of my children’s friends.

Granted, each generation causes the one before it to gasp in disbelief at what we allow our kids to do, or to get away with. I remember my mother and father saying things to my brothers and me like, “If I’d said that to my parents when I was your age, I’d be getting up off of the floor right now.” Implying that we’d overstepped a boundary that they were expected to live within, but over the course of a generation, those very confines that set the limitations of their behavior had since been lifted for us.

However, this blog series is about more than just the natural expansion of the interior walls that define how a child should behave from generation to generation. I hope you will find helpful information shared by “real-time” moms on what they do to instill sound principles in their children when all else around them pulls against the standard that God has lovingly laid out for families to abide by. This series is about the daily tug-of-war that we parents are feeling in how we choose to train our children today.

The Effects of Society on Parenting

I believe we are living in a society that is driven by the desire to obtain the latest version of this gadget or that. I feel that a strong sense of competition and jealousy is spawned by the mere advertising of the smartest smart phone, the flattest T.V. screen, and ironically the most economical car—among a plethora of other things streaming unannounced  and perhaps uninvited minute by minute into our daily lives. I believe that large corporations along with our media are doing one bang-up job on our psyches by creating the largest “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude that we’ve ever seen.

Marketers and advertisers are smart. They know that if they get to our children, our children will get to us. That’s why some parents have taken to protesting, writing letters, and signing petitions to stop some of the marketing to children that has sprouted in the last 10-15 years. It, among other things, has indeed made parenting harder.

For instance, I saw a television commercial once that simply said “Say ‘yes’ more.” And there was an interaction between a mom and her daughter above the statement. I instantly felt the tiniest pang in my belly because I entertained the idea that I don’t say ‘yes’ often enough to my children. It was an ever so slight but effective measure taken that got me to begin doubting my parenting choices with no real evidence for even considering this idea.

Being Settled and Strong in Your Parenting

We have to be strong and settled in how we choose to bring up our children, so as the winds of distraction and deception blow God’s word will anchor our souls, and our convictions as parents will navigate the rough waves of doubt and unsurety without faltering; especially if the Bible is your guide as it is mine and some of my very close friends and associates who will write posts in this series. Contrary to societal beliefs the Bible is not an antiquated, outdated book, no more than the attributes of patience, compassion, and discipline are, that are found within its pages.  It is the light for our feet, and the lamp for our paths (Psalm 119:105) in this life, and those virtues are traits that I venture to believe we all endeavor to exhibit as adults, and desire to see in our children as they grow and become adults. 

Why Did God Choose Abraham

In Genesis 18:19, we find the criteria by which God chose Abraham to be the man through whom all families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). 

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

God chose Abraham because He knew that Abraham would teach his children.

What an indictment to today’s parent if we are instead allowing the media, the schools, or the family down the street to dictate to us what, when, and how we teach our children. I have been guilty of it. I have made parenting decisions based on what I thought other parents might think of my family or based on what other parents were allowing their children to do, to wear, or to have; although those choices didn’t quite line up with my family’s goals or standards.

Let us parent with the courage of our convictions, fully persuaded that He who called us to this, the loftiest of duties, is well able to perform His good pleasure through us and our children.
This series topic is near and dear to my heart. It is a passion of mine. Some of the topics this 15-post series will cover (not in order of occurrence):

The Power of a Parent’s Blessing
Instilling Affection Toward God
Discipline…Exactly What is it and How Do I Do It?

Linking up at Mama's Notes and here.

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