Jul 10, 2014

Comfort for Christian Parents of Unconverted Children

All Christian parents wish that God would show us something to do to secure our child’s salvation, and then “we’ll do it with all our might” because we love our child so much. Yet, God has not made salvation the effect of somebody else’s faith; our son or daughter must come to Christ on his or her own. John shows us that all Christians are born into God’s family “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, [that is, somebody else's will] but of God.” (John 1:13)

Although salvation is the work of God and not something that we can do for our child, there is hope. Consider the following:

1. A true burden in prayer for your child is a gift from God. A persistent burden may indicate that God intends to give your child eternal life because authentic prayer always begins with God. Though we cannot be absolutely certain that we know all that God is doing, we should be optimistic if the burden continues.

2. The miracle of the new birth is no less possible for God if our child is attentive to Him or running away from Him. Our child is like all other children when it comes to God’s grace. He is dead spiritually whether he is in church or not, whether he listened well to the truths we tried to teach him or did not, whether he has some interest in God now or has none at all. He may be converted in the pig pen or the pew and we do not know in this case what is preferred by God.

3. God does hear our prayers. Though God has taught us that He chooses all who are His before the foundation of the world, He also taught us that we should pray, and not only pray, but expect the answer to our prayers. It is true that God is sovereign and it is just as true that He answers prayer. In fact, He could not answer prayer if He were not in control of all things.

4. We may have hope because of God’s election of those who will come to Him. Every child is on his way to hell unless God stops him. God’s election is our friend. We would have no hope for our child’s salvation without it, because no child would turn to Christ if left in his or her depravity (Romans 3:9-11). But given God’s election of people for Himself, we can be encouraged.

5. Your child has some clear knowledge of what it means to be a true Christian. The Spirit certainly may bring this to bear at any time if this is His chosen method. Though it is no less a miracle for a knowledgeable child to be converted than a child with little knowledge; God always uses the gospel seed in every conversion.

6. Your own disobedience in the past will not ultimately keep your child from becoming a believer. It is pointless to berate yourself for any wrong behavior on your part as if it were the reason your child is without Christ. This doesn’t mean that we as parents should not repent and do better, and even admit wrong to our children. But the reason your child is without Christ is ultimately related to his or her own sin. Every Christian parent is inconsistent in some way and is in a process of sanctification that leaves the parent short of perfection. This has never been a barrier to God if He desires to save your child. Illustrations abound of children who come from far less godly families who are nonetheless converted to Christ. In fact, this may have been the case in your own experience.

7. Some children may need the experience of being away from parental care in order to face up to their own need for Christ. The sense of need for many may be discovered only in the context of difficulties. We should not be surprised if it takes some solo flying before a child learns that he or she really needs another as his pilot.

8. Remember that there are lots of people who have come to appreciate their history prior to coming to Christ. I’m not saying that these people would not have wanted conversion earlier, but that the pain of the their pre-conversion history has left them with compassion, understanding, knowledge, testimony, and a burden that they would perhaps not have had any other way. They’ve seen God’s wisdom in the timing of their conversion. This may well be so with your child. Paul said that there was a reason he was chosen to be converted even though he was a murderer, blasphemer and violent aggressor—so that people will see and have hope that God can save anyone. God has a unique journey for each child.

9. You cannot save your child yourself no matter how hard you try. You are in a position of trust alone. This is good because it is the only way to please God (Heb. 11:6). Your rest in God, while simultaneously praying to the God who answers prayer, will be an encouragement to others in the same situation. It will also help you respond to your child more positively, and will make your life far more joyful than your anxiety ever could.

10. Finally, remember that God has a purpose in all He does. We will one day rejoice that God has done a perfect job of ruling His universe. When we acknowledge this and put God even above our children, we will actually demonstrate to our child the way a Christian is to live.

- See more at: http://www.ccwtoday.org/article/comfort-for-christian-parents-of-unconverted-children/#sthash.566AHZDi.dpuf

Jul 8, 2014

For Mothers Who Struggle With Guilt

EJournal_women_magazine I became aware of the 9Marks eJournal on pastoring women because it is carrying a review of my bookRadical Womanhood. But the article that captured my attention is one by my friend, Jani Ortlund, who graciously and winsomely encourages young mothers who are struggling with guilt.
This was a timely piece for me to read because I had just been listening to a mother talk about the common temptation to think she was failing her children. I say "common temptation" because I hear that from nearly every mother I speak with. I know countless women who are making incredible sacrifices for their children and yet feel they are falling short. I strongly believe part of that is spiritual warfare--lies from our Enemy who wants mothers to lose sight of God's grace and quit the ministry of pointing rebellious children to a redeeming Savior. Jani fills out this idea with the opening of her article:
Guilt is a young mother’s habitual shadow. It has a nasty way of soaking through many of her efforts at nurturing, serving and loving others. “Am I doing enough for my children? For others? What do they think of me? What does God think of me?”
As a young mother everyone wants something from you—your family, your church, your boss, your neighbor. And most likely, you give way more than you ever thought you could. But along the way guilt nibbles at your soul, eating away your inner peace and joy. And it often lingers through the years, even after your children are grown and gone.
Dear young mother, don’t waste your guilt!
Don’t waste your guilt, but instead listen to it and evaluate it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in the light of Scripture. Lay out your feelings before Christ. Is this guilt legitimate conviction of sin? Then confess your sin, receive his forgiveness and ask him where and how he wants you to change.
But maybe your guilt is a nagging, self-focused fear that if you were just a bit better or worked just a little harder, then you would be noticed and admired enough to feel okay about yourself. That is false guilt, rooted in pride. It will hurt your family and hinder your relationship with your grace-giving Father. If this describes your guilt, then remind yourself that through Christ’s death and resurrection, you’re accepted by God. The solution to false guilt, as to true guilt, is the gospel.
Paul speaks of these two kinds of guilt in 2 Corinthians 7:10. There is a godly grief that produces repentance, and a worldly grief that produces death. Ask yourself this question: is what I give my time and energies to driven by life-giving repentance or life-depleting pride?
Article from Radical Womanhood  

Jul 7, 2014

Dealing With Grumbling

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14).
Children grumble. So did the Israelites.
Children (and parents) who grumble are grumbling against the Lord.
Sometimes, like the Israelites as they faced the Red Sea with the Egyptians at their backs, our children grumble because they are afraid. We can challenge them with our questions and instruction:
“What are you afraid of?”
“Is God strong enough to take care of that?”
“What has God done for you in the past?”
“Let’s pray and ask God to help us trust Him.”
Sometimes they grumble because they’re impatient, like the Israelites who weren’t getting water fast enough to relieve their thirst.
“What do you need that God is not able to provide for you?”
“Does God love you? Will He take care of you?”
“Do we love you? Will we help take care of you? Did we take care of you yesterday and the day before that?”
“Does God want you to learn to wait?”
“Can you ‘close your lips’ and wait quietly while we get what you need?”
“Let’s pray for God to help you be patient.”
Sometimes our children grumble because they just don’t like what we have given them. Like the Israelites who were tired of manna, our children often ungratefully complain about the food put before them, or which park we took them to, or which story we are reading to them. They want something else instead of what they have been given.
“Who has given this to you?”
“Are you being thankful if you complain?”
“Are you going to be thankful for this, or would you rather not have anything?”
“Can you say thank you?”
“Let’s stop and thank God for this, too.”
Sometimes they grumble because they don’t trust God to lead through us,like the Israelites when they stood at the threshold of the Promised Land and panicked at the report of those who had returned from spying out the land. They were ready to choose new leaders and go back to Egypt!
“Who made us your daddy and mommy?”
“Who is in charge of us?
“Who are we supposed to obey?”
“Who are you supposed to obey?”
“What do Daddy and Mommy have to do if you choose not to obey us?”
“Let’s pray that Daddy and Mommy will obey God, and that you will obey us.”
When our children grumble, they are really grumbling against God.Moses recognized this when the Israelites continually complained to him. We must remember the same thing when our children grumble and complain.
“…The Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8). They are not really grumbling against us, but they are grumbling against the God who made them and takes care of them. Our job is to help them be thankful.
 Article from DoorPosts
(Photo from Shutterstock)

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