And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 KJV
We are called to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As fathers our desire should be to reflect our Father in Heaven. He was revealed through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus we know that our Father is full of grace, mercy, and love. His love for us is unconditional and eternal. He desires to teach us through every mistake and that we would continue to grow to deeper maturity in Him.
This should be our desire for our earthly children. We should love them with an every lasting and unconditional love. Yes our children will make mistakes, but our desire and aim should be to teach them through every short coming. We must develop within them a deep study and understanding of God’s word and prayer. This only comes as we daily set the example before them in the way that we live our lives and pursue the Lord with our whole heart. May we understand that our children are not our own, but ultimately belong to the Lord. May we be wise stewards of our children and do all things by the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
Proverbs 23:24 NIV
It is a wonderful blessing when our children serve the Lord and walk with the Lord. But this doesn’t happen by accident. Every parent has been given stewardship over their children by the Lord. Our children actually don’t belong to us, they belong to the Lord. While they are under our care we are called to build within their lives a firm foundation of God’s kingdom.
This comes as we teach them how to pray and study God’s word. It happens as we live our lives out before them on a daily basis, setting a Godly example for them to follow. The ministry of any parent to their child is an essential one and sadly today many have allowed the enemy to hijack this through entertainment and other means.
Let us always remember we are not called to be our child’s friend and we are not called to make them the center of everything. We are called to be their parent and to teach them to walk with the Lord and pursue Him all the days of their lives. We must guard against allowing things that have no eternal value to have a more prominent place in the life of our child then the Lord Himself.
If our children are to walk in righteousness and pursue God’s kingdom with their whole hearts then we must daily sow into their lives God’s kingdom on a daily basis. As we pray with them daily and share the word with them daily, the Holy Spirit continues to work in their hearts shaping and molding them. We must pray continually for our children that the Lord would watch over and protect them, that the Lord would lead and guide them, that every plan and purpose that God has established for their lives would be manifest and come to pass.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:13 NIV
Our Father in Heaven has created us with purpose and with destiny. We are not saved by accident or coincidence. The Lord chose us before the foundations of the earth. He has gifted us and He has anointed us. He desires to pour out all that He has planned for our lives. But it all comes as we seek Him in the place of prayer.
God has created the earth in a way that He chooses to operate through the prayers of His people. We will never fully understand how prayer works until we stand before the Lord in His kingdom. But we know that time and time again we are called by the Lord to pray. He not only calls us to pray but tells us that He hears us when we pray and He responds.
There is much that takes place in the spiritual realm that we cannot see nor fully understand. But we are called to pray and to do so by faith. The Lord has called us to ask, seek, and knock. He has even told us that if men who are evil know how to give good gifts to their children when they ask, how much more will our Father in Heaven respond at the prayers of His children.
The enemy will always try to discourage us from the place of prayer. But we need to recognize that it is simply a lie and deception. God has called us to pray in His word. He has called us to pray without ceasing. He has called us to pray according to His will and in the name of Jesus. This is not complicated, we need to simply open our mouths and press into the place of prayer. May we flood the throne of Heaven with prayers and may our prayers never be limited by our fears or our human understanding. May we simply pray as the Holy Spirit leads and simply be obedient. May we simply be a people and a house of prayer.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. – Psalm 19:1-2 NIV
God has revealed His glory in His creation. When we stop and simply observe all that God has created it is incredible. He has spoken all things into existence. The Lord will continually teach us about His kingdom through His creation.
There are some who would look at the beauty of creation and reject the existence of God. But people are without excuse. His beauty and glory surrounds us on a daily basis. The more we draw near and seek Him, the more we simply become consumed by Him. May our whole hearts be given to the Lord. May we desire to simply glorify and honor His name.
12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. Colossians 3:12-13 AMP
We are God’s chosen people. We are called to be holy because He is holy. As we live our lives for Him each day our lives become a vessel of his glory. Our lives have been set apart for His purposes. As we walk with Christ we are sanctified on a daily basis.
We are called to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Simply put we are told to put on the character and nature of Christ. As we seek the Lord and abide in Him our hearts are transformed. Our hearts become one with His and we begin to see the world around us as Jesus sees it.
We are called to bear graciously with one another. We live in a world of broken people and even in the body of Christ we are a people in process. We have people who are at all different growth and maturity levels and because of this we must bear with one another. God because of His grace and His mercy has poured out His love upon us and therefore we must pour out our love on one another.
We must be willing to forgive one another. One of the greatest weapons of the enemy is offense. He has used offense to create divisions in families, marriages, and churches. But if we are to truly have the heart of Christ it is a heart of forgiveness. It was Jesus who cried upon the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” as He hung upon the cross. Let us love one another and be the sons and daughters God has called us to be.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 AMP
We are commanded by the Lord to enter through the narrow gate. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is only one way to the Father and it is through Him. What is interesting is that in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But today on earth there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ.
Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will find it. We live in a culture and day where people claim to believe all types of things. Our culture will claim there are many ways to God or that God doesn’t exist at all and a person is simply their own god. But the truth of God’s word has not changed. Jesus is the only way to the Father. What is very said about this verse is that Jesus says many will find the broad road that leads to destruction. One of the reasons I believe this is is because to follow Jesus a person must be willing to make Him both Lord and Savior and where many struggle is making Him Lord.
But small and narrow is the road that leads to eternal life. It is not an easy road. A decision to follow Jesus Christ is a decision to die to ourselves on a daily basis. Our sinful nature and our flesh desire to be comfortable. They desire to chase after the lust and desires of this world. But for us to live for Christ each day we must abide in Him. It is only through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do this. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for all things.
No matter what the world and our culture claim there is only one way to God and that is through Christ alone. For a person to be saved they must confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is truly Lord. It is through Him alone that forgiveness can be found because of His precious blood that was shed at Calvary.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. God’s word is full of promises. He is always faithful to His word. He is our Good Shepherd and no matter where we find ourselves in life the Lord is always leading us.
As we draw near to Him each day we come to know His voice. As we draw near to the Lord we grow in intimacy and maturity with Him. It is vital in this day and age that we are able to discern and distinguish the voice of the Lord. There are many voice out there trying to garner our attention. But the one voice we must listen to is that of the Lord.
When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Sometimes the challenges we face in life can seem like a mighty river that is simply trying to drown us. We can feel overwhelmed and feel as if God has almost abandoned us. But it is in these moments when the Lord is doing His deepest work. It is when He is leading us through the river that we learn to stand upon His word and not rely upon our feelings.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. As I meditate upon this it reminds me of the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In the face of opposition and under the threat that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace, they stood their ground and held fast to the faith they had in Jehovah. They trusted the Lord and knew that the Lord would surround and protect them. Even though the furnace was turned up seven times hotter they were not touched by the fire nor did their clothes have the smell of smoke. But the soldiers who brought them to the furnace died as they themselves encounter the heat on the outside of the furnace.
It is vital that we study God’s word daily. It is based upon His promises to us to sustain and lead us. He will always meet our needs and He will always bring to pass His plans and purposes in our lives by His love, grace, and mercy. In our most difficult moments we must simply fix our eyes upon Him and His promises for our lives.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
Habakkuk 3:19 NIV
The sovereign Lord is my strength. The Lord is the strength of our lives. He is the one who holds all things together by His mighty power. He holds our very breath and moment in His hands. So many times we allow our hearts to get focused on circumstances that are nothing compared to the God that we serve. The Lord desires that we would cry out to Him and ask Him to move according to His will.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights. It is the Lord who enables us to do the impossible. In a world filled with darkness, wickedness, and deception, it can seem that things are in chaos and out of control. It can seem that it is impossible for the advancement of God’s kingdom. But these are simple deceptions of the enemy. The Lord desires that we would come to know His word and His heart. That our prayers would be shaped by His character and His love. Because we know with Him that nothing is impossible.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. – 1 Chronicles 29:11 NASB
God is the only one who deserves to be worshiped. So many times people in this world spend their lives worshiping celebrities, people in power, and even those in ministry. But when we examine God’s word and take time to meditate upon the greatness of God we see that He alone deserves our worship.
Satan’s greatest mistakes was in his pride he believed he deserved to be worship. He allowed pride to fill his heart and his eyes to become focused on himself. Today he still tries to steal the worship only God deserves. It is when our worship is given to God alone that we truly experience all that God has for us. And worship is not merely the songs we sing it is the way we live our lives. The more we come to know the Lord and grow in Him, the more He simply becomes our obsessions and our pursuit.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His loving kindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:18-19
To fear the Lord means to reverently worship and live for Him each day. It doesn’t mean that we live in terror of the Lord because those who fear Him are those who truly have come to know His love and His grace.
Everything God does in our lives is because He loves us and wants what is best for us. There are times when He closes doors and allows difficult circumstances because He knows and understands what He is accomplishing is our lives.
He protects and watches over those who serve Him with their whole heart. It is impossible to experience all that the Lord has for us if we fail to walk in obedience to the Lord and seek Him. Those who simply treat God like some genie that they only cry out to when they want something fail to understand Him and fail to truly know Him.
The Lord has promised to meet our every need. Even in the midst of a famine the Lord would still provide our every need. He is our good Father and Shepherd. He holds all things in His hands and nothing is too difficult for Him. May we seek and cry out to Him daily. May we commit our whole heart unto Him. He is returning soon and is calling us to remove anything from our lives that would hinder our relationship with Him.