Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Week in Review

2nd and 3rd generation of children. This picture is of my 3 girls, my oldest sister, Arma's 3 girls, Dariana, Lacretia and Sonya standing in the rear (her son was missing). My brother, Keith's daughter is standing next to Sonya, my brother Antonio's daughter in all yellow is standing next to Keith. Sonya's daughter is standing behind my two youngest daughters. My sister, Emma's daughter was not present at the wedding.

Family First!

(As presented at the WCG Conference in 2005)

Our goal as parent/care givers is to have children that have these attributes going for themselves: “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD;” Isaiah 11:2 KJV
Let’s take a few moments and look at this scripture. In this scripture from Isaiah, the prophet is talking about Jesus and what characteristics/attributes he has.

1. He first has God’s spirit - The only way that our young people will be successful in this life is when they have a relationship with the Father. Godly success is different than what the world says it should be. I’m not talking about having a good job or career or being famous or having lots of money, because none of those things can satisfy like the Lord and they are not using the Lord’s measuring stick. I’m talking about a child that grows into an adult and no matter where they are in this life they are walking with the Lord and growing. Yes the world’s standard may say that your child is a failure because her or she hasn’t gained a fortune, but in God’s eyes he or she is precious. What does it profit a man (or child) to gain the whole world, but lose his or her soul? Paraphrasing of Matthew 16:26

2. He has wisdom and understanding – To have wisdom means to be able to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting. To have understanding means to perceive or comprehend the nature and significance of something. To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with. Jesus had wisdom and understanding because he knew what was true and what was right. He understood the Father because of his long contact and experience with the Father. If we are to help our children grow in wisdom and understanding we must make sure that we are giving them what is true and what is right in the Lord. We also must make sure that their experiences and contacts bring them to a place to know more and understand more about the Lord.

3. He has counsel and might – Advice or guidance especially from a knowledgeable person. He grew in might, might is the power, or force or influence held by a person. Jesus had the spirit of counsel and might meaning he was a knowledgeable person and was able to guide others. He also had power and he was able to influence others. We want to raise children that are knowledgeable about the things of God. As they grow in their knowledge then they can give help to those that are around them. We also want to raise children that have influence as they walk in the power of God. Influence for good and not for evil.

4. He had knowledge – Familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study. Jesus was familiar with the ways of God. He was aware of his presence. He had experiences with God, so he had knowledge of God. We want to make sure that we help our children to become familiar with God so that they are aware of what his will is and to understand his voice. We are to help them gain understanding through their study as well as the things that they will learn from life’s lessons.

5. He had the fear of the Lord – This fear means having extreme reverence or awe toward God. When we have reverence for God, we are careful in the things we do. It’s no different than if you were invited to visit the king of a country or the President. You wouldn’t just walk in and have a seat. You would be careful to know what do I wear before the king? How do I speak before the king? What is my behavior to be? You would want to know what you are to do and how to do it. That’s what kind of reverence we want to teach our children. You are going before a Holy God. Make sure that what you present to him is worthy of who he is. We must make sure that we are an example of this before our children as well.

Now don’t leave me. I know this looks like a tall order to achieve especially when for a mother just getting dinner on the table can cause you to have to pray and fast for answers. I am sure however that this can be accomplished. Why? Well first God would not give us the task, if it were something we could not obtain. God doesn’t set us on a path of impossibilities. He sets us on the path of success, as long as we remember we are walking with him.
In part III, of Raising Healthy Children, we will take a deeper look into how we can begin the process in our own families to bring these things about.

The Week in Review

Jewel's Gems
“The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth”
Originally preached by Jewel D. Williams at Faith COG 8/06
(Part II)

In this book, the author said, if Disney made a movie of what is taking place in our churches, it would be called, “HONEY WERE SHRINKING THE GOSPEL”. How is this happening? First, we have grown into a Christian society that does not present the gospel in its entirety.

We either remove the cross from the story because we feel it is too much and it is not necessary to the story of Jesus, or we do not tell of Christ resurrection, because we don’t truly believe it. Or we simply water down who Christ is and make him of no affect. We see it all the time, many preachers, writers and speakers that come across the airwaves that preach a softer, gentler Christ so that the people can stomach the gospel.

They preach the spiritually correct Christ. Or either we have the “ten easy step messages”, those are the ones that tell you how you can have wealth, health and success, but they never say you have to change or let go of anything you are doing in your life. They tell you that you can have it all, without ever telling you that you need to repent of your sins, where is that in the Bible? I heard of a popular preacher who said he doesn’t mention sin in his messages. He also said how people of all religions say they enjoy his sermons. That is because he isn’t preaching the gospel, for the gospel either calls you to repentance or it will offend you because you refuse to heed or change your ways.
Or we have created a new doctrine of salvation that is full of heavy man-made “to do,” types of things, and because of it, we make it hard for individuals to understand the simplicity of salvation. I read about a well-respected theologian who was asked to explain in detail his understanding on Biblical things. He stated this, Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. He gave his answer from the simplicity of the Bible. Jesus came to save souls and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We have become a society that is shrinking the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the truth, uncut and unchanged?

In Colossians chapter 1:21-22, it presents what the simply truth is “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” The truth of this simply message is this, the cross was necessary for your salvation. Without Jesus’ death on the cross you or I cannot stand before God, we are guilty before him and are on our way to hell. We were enemies of God, we were not on his side, but stood against him as one in another camp. Yet when we should have received death for being an enemy, we were instead invited into his camp and given life instead.

On the cross with Jesus was nailed every sin that men commit against God and against each other. So whatever sins you do and whatever sins have been done against you, were nailed on the cross. Jesus took them because you and I could not pay the cost of the offense of our sins. You and I were guilty. It doesn’t matter what you have done, nor does it matter how good you think you are, because even if you are not as bad as the next person, if you have failed to keep even one of the commandments, then you are guilty of breaking the law of God and you stand accused on all points of the law. The interesting thing is this, if it were not for God's prevenient grace you or I would not even know we were in need of a savior. This simply means God gave the same Holy Spirit that indwells in us (the believer) to help to draw us (the sinner), to prevent us from going to hell. He offers mercy to us and beacons us to come to Christ. So he helps us in those moments of clarity to realize how depraved we are so we can say yes to his calling. And do not think you have forever to refuse him. Today could be your last day that God’s Spirit will beacon you and then you are on your way to hell because you have refused God’s grace.

Reflection: Do you think there comes a time when a person can refuse God’s grace and miss the opportunity for heaven?

If you missed part I of this message you can go to "Week in Review" on April 13, 2008 to read the first part.