Lately, I've been sending a little note out to our congregation through our yahoo group (Rockportnews), just to give a small preview of the message coming up that week, and to encourage prayer for me as I make preparation to bring God's Word to His people. I originally posted this on on my "personal" blog, but Aaron suggested it would be good to put it here also, so here goes (with just a wee bit of editing). And my apologies to any of you who may actually read both sites!
As we look forward to Sunday and what will be the last of our short series on "Raising Children Who Delight in God", I've really been enjoying God's teaching on wisdom, (or as I see it, "the God-centered life") found in Proverbs 1:7-9. This is what we are to train our children to see! That all of life relates back to God...and life is sterile and empty if anything but him takes center stage!
It also occurred to me this weekthat the Bible's emphasis on family is not something we should see as exclusive, as if those who are single or no longer have children in the home, are left out. The Bible's emphasis on family is "inclusive." We as Christ's church are meant to see ourselves as a "household of faith" (Eph 2:19). Thus we are commanded to open our lives and homes to one another so that all the benefits that are designed to flow from a healthy home into the lives of the children of faithful parents, can also flow out of our homes into the lives of those around us who are hurting, lonely, or just in need of seeing the beautiful picture we find on display of the in Christ whenever we do see a biblical, .
I also have found great encouragement in the fact that there are no perfect families. Nor does it take perfection for God to work in the life of our children. 2 Tim 1:5 and 3:14-15 give us a window into Timothy's home life: an absentee father, raised and trained in Scripture by his mother and grandmother -- anything but ideal! And yet Timothy was trained well because of the God-centered faith and love of these two women who brought him up (1:5). It seems that God's grace can make up for an awful lot that sin would otherwise destroy! So it's true, no one comes from a perfect home. And yet, no matter what kind of home you may have had, God's grace is sufficient, and more than able to make up for what sin has stolen. What a joyful thought! When our lives are shaped by His Word, His presence heals and corrects, strengthens and solidifies us into men and women who are able to know the joy of living to the praise of His glorious grace!
Now certainly this does not excuse parents to slack off and just "let grace handle it". Far from it (See Romans 6:1f)! We can do much to set our children on a God-glorifying path -- and we must do all we can as we prayerfully seek God's help! But it is a great encouragement to those who feel deeply the loss of not having a solid home life to find that God really is able to restore all that sin has broken! And he does that through the larger family we all 'the church" when it really is being "the church", the "household of God" There wounded hearts can heal, the fatherless can find a Father, and the unloved outcast finds that he has a family who cares for him very deeply and will not let him go. And there, by the patient love of a church family, built on the solid structure of healthy families, God will use what Satan meant for evil, in order to bring about great good! What a wonderful plan our Father has for His children of grace!
Well, that's a small taste of what we'll be thinking about together .! I pray you who live near Arnold, MO will be able to join us!
God is at work. I'm looking forward to worshiping with my beloved family in Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria,