As a child I grew up in a home where there was enough of all that we needed. If at times there were shortages, they were never so severe that they left a negative impression on me. My brothers and sister and I were permitted the freedom of simply being children. We enjoyed the freedom unique to farm children and we climbed trees, had cow dung fights, peppered each other with wet, smooth clay, did horse riding, swam, hunted porcupines, fought bush fires, climbed the rugged hills and did everything else a child’s heart can desire. The Word of God was read every evening in our house when the family came together and we sang hymns and prayed as well, but to me this ritual was only a habit formed by custom and tradition. My heart was, and stayed unresponsive to God.
During our childhood we were also exposed to different types of people and levels of society under different circumstances. Beggars could, by dint of telling a very persuasive tale, secure a warm niche to spend the night and we were introduced to professors, doctors, pharmacists, psychologists, farmers, teachers and people from numerous other vocations by means of the riding club that my parents owned and organized.
As a young girl I often went into the hills, fell on my knees and called and prayed to the God my heart yearned after, but whom I did not understand. I could not come to the point of trusting Him and I often found myself doubting, doubting the existence of my Lord and Master because between my heart and the hearts of my parents there stretched a yawning abyss.
During my secondary school career I learnt to strengthen myself against the disappointments, shocks, hurts and misunderstandings between my parents and I, but the Lord mercifully stopped me at the age of seventeen by allowing my back to suffer a total collapse. This was grace indeed and His Almighty hand used the opportunity to pluck me out of the power of Satan into His kingdom of light and love.
The very first barrier that the Lord broke down was the broken relationship between my parents and me. In the Light of His immeasurable love, grace and forgiveness, I could find the ability to forgive and to find forgiveness. The Lord Himself had to search my heart and had to purify and heal me of a deeply rooted rebellion, resistance and hatred. He reconciled our hearts with His Spirit of love and reconciliation and through Christ I was able to start building on all the positive and admirable qualities that my parents had taught me and almost immediately after I had made my peace with my parents I experienced that I was able to love, trust and obey Jesus much more… amazing grace.
The older I became, the more I realized that parents are the hands of God who form their children, the clay, to the honour or dishonour of God’s name.
Chapter 2: “And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:6)
God alone knows the true depths of our deceitful hearts (Jer. 17:9-10) and the Lord can only reveal our hearts to us if we are willing to rejoice in His light shining on our hearts through His Word and His Spirit (Ps. 36:10). Although I have always loved the Truths contained in God’s Word, I had to pray fervently for a love for the truth concerning my own heart and life. This process is a mighty battle, not against flesh and blood, but the day finally came in which I realized that it is a privilege to walk with my life in His Light and also a privilege to keep my words and thoughts constantly exposed to God’s Light. In the light of God’s truth, peoples’ opinions become completely insignificant and there is no desire left for peoples’ admiration and approval. One does not want to earn God’s grace or prove oneself anymore and one no longer hankers for honour and acceptance and one’s vision and one’s whole life becomes contained in a single great desire: to be well-pleasing to God and to become like Jesus. When this comes to pass you know that it is only grace if your ‘self’ can die and that you can take pleasure in giving your daily plans to Jesus, because you know he infallibly always knows best.
The Lord took me through deep valleys and dark nights to teach me to trust him with childlike simplicity and to love Him wholeheartedly. As a teacher I taught in reformatories and clinic schools. In one of these schools we worked with youths from the ages of thirteen to twenty one. Generally they were very intelligent children. They came from all levels of society: the children of prostitutes, children of businessmen, children of ministers, and many others, yet they all had this in common; they had all closed their hearts to their parents and to God whom they did not understand and they inevitably found their escape in drugs, dagga, alcohol, fornication, felony and some had even committed murder. The minister’s child often told me, “Ma’am, I was compelled to go to church twice every Sunday, but do you know what? In church my father was an angel, but at home he was the devil himself!” The businessman’s child said to me, “You know ma’am, my father and mother gave me money, money, money, but they never gave me love; they never had time to play or do something with me! I don’t believe that God cares for me.”
Others said bitterly, “Our parents expect us to always be top achievers so that they can palm in all the honour and glory.” Some of them despised their parents wholeheartedly because of foul language, the abuse of alcohol, and sexual immorality. Still others despised and made a mockery of the name, ‘Christian’, because their parents lived lives founded on pretence and falsehood: at home they had swearing, railing and abusive mothers and violent and aggressive fathers, but in front of company they suddenly found themselves in possession of meek, lamblike parents!
Most young people from broken homes rejected God and said, “It is impossible and unthinkable to believe in a God of love who has allowed my parents to be divorced.” Many cursed God, blamed Him, reproached Him and held Him responsible for all the disappointments, hurts, shocking experiences and confusions that had occurred in their lives. They did not believe that God exists and that He is Almighty and a lover of their souls.
With many tears, love and in wisdom I tried to make them understand and even pleaded with them to forgive like Jesus forgave, else their hearts would remain cold and dead (Luk. 23:34 and Mar. 11:25-26). I pleaded with a variety of these children not to despise their parents (Deut. 27:16). I warned and pleaded against the destruction of hate (1 Joh. 3:15 and 1 Joh. 4:20-21) and also against rebellion (1 Sam. 15:23 and Heb. 3:15) and yet my words did not have sufficient power to move them; giving the appearance that the Enemy was grabbing up the seeds before they had any opportunity to start growing.
In the end of this term of my life I could only stand dumbfounded before my Saviour and it was at this point that He asked me if I would be willing to fall into the ground and die like a grain of wheat. I was willing, but I could not then imagine how deep the process of dying would be. What a grace it is if we can daily understand the cross of self-denial (Luk. 9:23). This dying process is the secret source of all spiritual victory and growth, in the raising and education of our children as well. It is through our death that Christ can bring life.
Chapter 3: “Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
I can still vividly recall the joy, excitement and peace in my heart when I was expecting our firstborn. Through God’s grace I can say that I experienced the same sense of joy and expectancy in my heart with each of our following four children.
In my heart I realized what an honour and privilege it was that the Lord was willing to entrust me as a mother with a fraction of his heritage and that He was rewarding me with a child who was being woven together in my womb by his Godly hand (Ps. 139:13-17). It is inevitable that we can only receive an inheritance when someone has died, and when this realization dawned I chose with my whole heart the way of the dying of the flesh so that God’s life would be able to flow to each of my children. I came to the realization deeper and deeper that it is a wonderful privilege to call unto Jesus daily for help in every situation. He has all that we do not possess: wisdom (Jam. 1:5), grace and mercy (Eph. 2:4-5) and advice and authority (Is. 9:5).
Again and again the Lord took my thoughts back to those deeply damaged young people and children of the reformatories where I taught. I realized that for most of them the root of their rebellion and resistance against God and life had already started while they were still in their mother’s wombs because their mothers themselves were full of a rebellion and resistance against the life that God had created. Many mothers cherish thoughts of hate and revenge which they then pass on to their small unborn children (Heb. 12:14-15). Many parents consult fortunetellers, witchdoctors and other workers of iniquity and thus draw a curse onto their children (Ex. 20:5-6 and Rev. 21:8). Parents follow the desires of their flesh and the pleasures of the world completely and then expect God to bless their children; this is impossible (Jam. 4:4-5). A rejected child easily rejects his or her parents as well as his or her God and Creator.
Many mothers and even fathers have no scruples in considering and getting an abortion. Parents murder their unborn children! Does this not cry out to God’s throne of mercy and righteousness? God is the avenger of such evils and it is necessary that we know and understand this.
If our children have problems, or have chosen the world and have become bound by the Enemy, let us as parents bow the knee before God. “Let us turn to God with all our hearts, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning; and rend our heart, and not our garments, and turn unto the Lord our God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of evil” (Joel 2:12-13). It is well-pleasing to God if we as parents seek for a contrite brokenness and repentance. The hope in him shall never be ashamed because it is his desire to build up the old waste places and to raise up the foundations of many generations (Is. 58:12), and to exalt every valley and to make low every mountain and hill (Is. 40:4). The Lord is a steadfast Rock, storms can rage; wind and hail can beat against and try to destroy our spiritual homes, but in Jesus Christ the victory is certain if we endure to the very end.
Chapter 4: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
a. As born again children of God we know that the key to heaven is obedience:
As born again children of God we know that the key to heaven is obedience. Obedience is one of the most difficult and most impossible characteristics to teach our children if we ourselves do not even understand it and have not yet learnt it. Through the crosses in our lives we learn to know our Heavenly Father as the one who chastises and disciplines us because He loves us and has adopted us as children and heirs (Heb. 12:5-8). By difficult circumstances, problems, disappointments, shocks, hurts, differences and whatever else that has happened or will happen in our lives, our Father teaches us that all things work together for good.
Through all that happens He teaches us the hidden walk of, “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”. If we do not understand even a small part of this as parents, the responsibility of disciplining and chastising our children will inevitably be difficult and confusing because the framework in which all chastisement should take place is within the bounds of his love, grace, truth and heavenly authority. Let us share out of the Word of God.
b. A parent remains a parent 24 hours out of 24 hours:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11:13-23 also says, “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do – to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him – them the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.”
A complete surrender to God means that I serve Him at all times, whether I walk, sit, work or relax. In a most natural manner it then becomes your deepest desire to become more and more like Jesus: to love and forgive like Him because He changes us when we choose to be Christians who really act.
I am grateful that I realized that my firstborn was completely dependant on me when she was still just a few months old. I realized that my eyes, my hands and my lips could serve as signposts, directing the way to Christ, or I could choose to close the door to Him. Since she were very small I have enjoyed singing to her and praying with her and I realized that my life and actions would draw a picture for her of how she would see Jesus. Education and discipline go hand in hand and together with Christ it forms a heavenly foundation on which our children can build if they want to serve Jesus. Without Christ there cannot be any foundation.
It is saddening that we live in an era where many parents tear themselves loose from this responsibility and leave it in the hands of others. May the Holy Spirit engrave in the heart of each parent that the education and disciplining of our children cannot be bought with money or earned with further studies. God alone can cultivate a heart relationship between us and our children if we choose a walk with Jesus in love and prayer.
c. Teaching discipline is an act, not only a thought or a dream:
“The rod and the rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Prov. 29:15). There are many ways of disciplining children: by administering corporal punishment, by withholding privileges, by giving extra duties such as washing dishes or weeding the garden, by having them stay in the bathroom for a while, etcetera. As parents we also have to make very sure that we do not punish our children because they irritate us (actually they do this in order to gain our attention), or because they are just too much for our tiredness or emotional fluctuations. We must discipline our children, as God expects us to for the up building of our children. A natural human reaction of us as parents is to leave the child to his rebellion, stubbornness and resistance because disciplining our children entails that we apply self-discipline to ourselves. The greatest mistake that the parents of a teenager can make is to leave the teenager to himself because they rapidly loose their child when he irrevocably chooses to serve the world. This educative process is a daily battle and a daily opportunity to practice talking to Jesus so that He can give us guidance in the treatment of our teenager, but we can become rich in Christ if we can understand that through our death, life flows to our children.
Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” and proverbs 14:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Proverbs 15:10 also says, “Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die.” Because we still love the freedom of our own will and we are not always so inclined that we daily want to bear our life’s crosses, you may someday find that the impulse arises in your heart to kill your child. All the very human reactions that we suppress lead to fury and murder, but the grace of God exists and is sufficient to help us.
“Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” (Prov. 23:13-14). Genuine love for our children has one desire and goal: that our children enter the gate of heaven one day and that they may find God’s plan for their lives while on earth. In 1 Samuel 3:11-14 we read about Eli who did not honour God because he would not rebuke his sons; let us take heed of this.
The Lord had to enlighten my heart very deeply with His Word and Spirit to show me all my pious, human characteristics that were in enmity with Him. The human parts of our characters that set our children before God and feel wrongly sorry for them, or choose to please our children rather than God, or prefer to be more loyal to our children in their sinfulness (because we understand it so much better) than to be loyal to God. His Word was and is a sharp sword (Heb. 4:12) that has cut deeply and is still cutting deeply into my flesh in the process of raising my children.
Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men or god? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men (or children), I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Our human love only lasts up to a point, but His heavenly love never fails. His heavenly love can only work in and through us if we stand and walk in His will. The fruit of the flesh works against the Spirit of God and seeks only to destroy. Christ alone can save a soul, our child included!
d. Behind every cross there is a hidden glory:
A Christian mother once said the following, “‘Then He took a little child…’ Christian children are a gift from Thee, only borrowed for a time. Between all their laughter and tears, their wants’ and wills’ they cross your will, desires and longings for them daily! How deep they cut, these little crosses, for they are beloved so deep… Help me embrace these crosses and not push them aside or break them in half, for at the end of our lives I do believe that You will make of all these crosses One Big Cross to enable us to enter heaven’s door.”
May we, as parents, take heed to what the Word of God says in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Let us ask God to circumcise our hearts and the hearts of our children so that we can love Him with all our heart with all our soul, so that we may live (Deut. 30:6).
The times in my life when the love of Christ touched me the most were the times when I least deserved it. Let us remember this in the education and disciplining of our children.
God uses the lives of parents that constantly honour and praise the Him to awaken a longing in the hearts of their children that makes them want to seek Jesus and want to serve Him.
Chapter 5: Religiousness in the education of our children.
a. “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16):
As a young mother I realized that there were two possible religions I could initiate my children into: a knowledge religion in which we could teach them all the ‘should’s’ and ‘should not’s’ from a very young age and a salvation they could earn by good works. A religion in which they can serve God as they want to with one foot on the narrow way and one foot on the broad way! A religion in which I make decisions and take the lead and Jesus must follow. A religion that teaches our children to go to church on Sundays and gives them permission to live exactly as they please for the rest of the week because we, their parents, are ‘Sunday Christians’. This hypocritical religion has the appearance of godliness, but has denied the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5). This religion is dead and leads to everlasting death.
The other possible religion I could teach my children is a religion in which my life, my walk, my words and my attitudes daily introduces them to Jesus our Master. It is a religion in which we can daily give our children to God to do with as He wills and to bless with His love and light. In this religion we know that our children are not our possessions. According to 1 Peter 1:18-19 Jesus bought us with His precious blood so that we no longer belong to ourselves, but to God and our children are also seen as a heavenly gift that is only being lent to us for a time.
In this religion we can win our children without any words because our lives testify of Jesus Christ that is alive. By our lives they learn to know Jesus as a Shepherd who has given his life for the sheep and who really cares. By our fear of God they learn to honour and respect God’s Word. By our surrendered lives they learn to know the love of Jesus as being unconditional, impartial and full of mercy and truth. They know that they can trust God because the child-like faith and trust of their parents in God is a signpost indicating the way to their heavenly Father.
A young teenager wrote the following:
A Poem for Mother
The hand that rocked the cradle
Is truly the hand that rules my world.
These hands can feel, can touch, can comfort,
And these hands are also so weathered.
Mother’s eyes have taught me that eyes have much to say,
They laugh, or think or reprimand
And are so hurt when I rebel,
But most importantly they tell me love.
Words have gradually acquired value
Because mother weighs her words
And a few quiet sentences
Can touch the deepest core.
By mother’s attitude of heart
I learnt to know Jesus.
Mother’s reverent words
Gave me respect for God.
Mother, thank you that you are always available.
b. “But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:6-8):
Religion means serving God. As parents we have to be sure that we have a love for serving, else we will firstly have to pray for our own hearts before praying for our children. Do we have a love for serving: each other, our children, our fellow Christians and our enemies?
The Lord gives wisdom, guidance and authority to help us teach our children from a very young age to be of service to others. Genuine love and service starts at home. By practical chores and responsibilities our children can learn this attitude of being willing to help from a very young age. It is a privilege to be a servant and to serve others. Our Master, the King of kings became a servant and served us out of love.
From their infancy one can play it into their hearts and pray for it that they will be willing to go and help others that are not members of their own homes. By giving ourselves to Jesus completely we become rich in His heavenly blessings.
Spoilt children who have their every desire granted will not find it easy to enter by the narrow gate of the Word, (Matt. 7:13-14) because they have learnt to live according to the freedom of their flesh since their infancy. Bend the tree while it is still young and supple.
c. The power of love, unity and prayer between a father and mother:
Jesus will teach us to love, serve and forgive like Him if we choose the way of the cross. “To give, and not to count the cost; to labour and seek for no reward.”
Love that is genuine, unconditional and willing to bear and forgive remains into eternity. The evidence of such heavenly love can never be obliterated from the souls of our children. Heavenly love can never be divided from the will of God and we can always fall back on 1 Corinthians 13:13 in any situation, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
We know that we have to correct, discipline and reprimand our children daily, but may we also realize that we have to encourage and praise our children daily too for all the sincere and beautiful things they do so that we can be examples, pointing to the Lamb of God.
It was the Lord’s purpose that husband and wife be a help for each other in life (Gen. 2:18). It is the Lord’s desire that there be a heart relationship and a heavenly cooperation between father and mother. The cross is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18) and in Christ, husband and wife can learn that it is not about what we want, but about what God wants. Our purpose is not to be man-pleasers, but God-pleasers. Our goal in life is not supposed to be centered on self-life or fleshly desires and as parents our vision ought to be to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that all things might be added unto us (Matt. 6:33).
At the cross we can love and accept each other just as we are because we all need grace. We can even have differences and pray for each other in love. We can strive for peace and love each other out of pure hearts and God can use the heavenly unity between us as parents to be the first bricks of the foundation built on Christ in the hearts of our children. It is an inner security and harbor for our children and it becomes a signpost towards their Heavenly Father whom they can blindly trust and believe. Our children can then experience God as an immovable Rock.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who sees in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matt. 6:6). It we, as parents, seek and love this secret place of prayer in Christ the blessings thereof will multiply, also in our children’s lives. Our inner room is one of the most precious places that God can use to cause our fleshly man to die.
It is there where we come to the realization more and more that we are as nothing and that God is GREAT, ALMIGHTY, OMNIPRESENT, full of GRACE and MERCY, JUST and HOLY… In the light of His presence we can hope and wait on the promises of His Word because they are yes, and amen!
It is there, in our inner rooms, where we learn to cherish repentance and brokenness because prayer from such hearts moves the hand of God, (Is. 55:15). It is the place at the feet of Jesus which Mary of Magdalene chose that can never be taken from us. There Jesus fills us with His Spirit of grace and supplication and there He teaches us to worship Him in spirit and truth.
Promises from the Word that have been alive in our hearts since our children were very small are: Psalms 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Psalms 112:2, “His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” Lamentations 2:19, “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” Acts 2:17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” Matthew 9:18, “While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.’” Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” Psalms 102:27-28, “But You are the same, and Your years will have no end, the children of Your servants will continue and their descendants will be established before You.” Psalms 103:17, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” Isaiah 54:13, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Psalms 22:27, “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Malachi 4:6, “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Psalms 115:13, “He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great.” Isaiah 48:18-19, “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; His name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me.” Job 8:4-6, “If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression. If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place.” Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” Psalms 78:5-7, “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”
Chapter 6: “I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Is. 43:1)
a. If one out of two parents is willing to be a grain of wheat that dies, life will flow from that grain of wheat to the children:
Timothy is one of the most encouraging examples in the Bible. He was the son of an unbelieving Greek father and a Christian Jewish mother. He was a youth who had an uncompromising and genuine faith in God and he lived with his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim. 1:5). The blessing from the lives of his mother and grandmother was stronger than the curse from his father’s life and lack of faith.
Paul also advised the Corinthians not to get divorced when there are differences in faith, but to take up the battle in Christ and he said in 1 Corinthians 7:14, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.”
The life of a single parent who chooses to strengthen and delight him- or herself in the Word of God can be an indicator to Christ. In a practical walk of self-denial, perseverance and sanctification, Christ freely gives streams of Living Waters.
b. “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.” (Psalms 27:10)
In this modern era many children do not enjoy the privilege of being raised by their own parents and what an unfathomable pain this circumstance causes; but there is Someone who has known you from before your birth who knows you better than you know yourself; Someone who can give you a vision and a hope and who wants to make you realize that life on earth is only temporary and who is freely offering you eternal salvation. There is Someone who wants to help you to forgive and who wants to heal your deepest hurts. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who went through the pain of: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). He says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus says, “Follow Me. I have given My life for you out of love; live on my Words and you shall live…” Jesus reminds us of the abundant promises that tell us of the Father heart of our God and our Saviour. The Word of God is an indicator pointing to your Heavenly Father. Hosea 14:3 says, “For in You the fatherless finds mercy.” And Psalm 10:14 says, “You are the helper of the fatherless” and Psalm 146:7 says, “Who executes justice for the oppressed.” Jesus Christ is the Redeemer by whom we can say, “Abba Father.” (Rom. 8).
Chapter 7: Overseers of God.
“If a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money.” (Tit. 1:6-7)
“One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.” (1 Tim. 3:4).
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hos. 4:6).
The longer we know Jesus and serve Him with an undivided heart, the more mysteries He reveals to us by His Spirit and the more we realize that if we sow in tears we shall reap in joy. We know that it is a privilege to continually weep and to bear the wheat… one day He will reap the last harvest.
If we have not learnt to win the hearts of our children for Christ with and in God’s grace, we are compelled to leap over a void when working with other souls and we have to try to win souls for Christ with insight and knowledge instead of with spiritual guidance. If we as husband and wife do not have a heart relationship with Christ, we have to tell other souls of the power found in heavenly unity partly in dishonesty and deceit. The first sheep of an overseer, whatever position he holds in God’s kingdom, is his wife and the first sheep of an overseeing couple, whatever their calling, is their children. No parent on earth can save his child’s soul, but there are too many promises in God’s Word telling us that He will save our children if we are only willing to be grains of wheat that have learnt to love the daily process of dying. Heavenly love will flow out of our dying process.
It took Jesus Christ only six hours on the cross to die to His flesh. He was in Death for three days and now we serve a Risen Lord who is truly alive! Hallelujah! For us it takes a lifetime to die to our flesh (depending on how willing we really are) but with the commencement of the death of our fleshly ‘self’ the power of the resurrection already starts working in us. The Lord wants to be honoured and our children and the world must be able to see the life of our Living Saviour in us, whatever the circumstances might be.
As overseers it might be necessary for us to ask ourselves, does death work in us and life in our children and other precious souls? (2 Cor. 4:12) Paul, who was not an earthly father, understood it very well. By his willingness, surrender and obedience God could make him a powerful instrument to His glory and honour. This same Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, “For you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
May God find willing ‘overseers’, even in our time. He is calling fathers and mothers who are willing to build spiritual walls through their lives and prayers; walls of prayer around their homes, around their children and around precious souls. He, the Rock, has never changed and will never change. His grace and peace is available for each of us and it is completely free.