Monday, November 21, 2011

Children ARE A Blessing!

(This is the beginning of what I'm preparing for Sunday, Nov. 27 at Crossroads.  Still a work in process!  This Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent, a season of preparation before Christmas.  The Thanksgiving-Christmas Season is a time when our hearts turn, more than any other time of year, toward family.  The message God has put on my heart for this Sunday is an encouragement to trust God for our kids, even when we are tempted to worry or hover or, on the other hand, just give up on kids that just seem too far out of control.  God has given us promises we can trust about our children.  That's the encouragement the Lord is calling me to bring this week)

Children are a blessing.  That should be obvious.  Often, however, children bring anxiety.  So much about kids is beyond our control!

Scripture promises that children are a blessing from God. (*See below for some of those Bible promises.)  We all know that God's plan is for us to "be fruitful and multiply," and children into the world.  Another big clue as to God's blessing is that God chose to come into the world by means of a family -- and I'm not only thinking about the once-in-a-world way that God came to be born into a family headed by Mary and Joseph -- God chose a family line beginning with forty times great grandparents Abraham and Sarah.

God used those families--Abraham and Sarah and their children, Isaac and Rebecca and their children, Jacob & Rachel and their children (and on and on times forty) to bring Jesus into the world.  And those little family units were so often dysfunctional, often horribly so.  Still, God promised that their children would be blessings in the end, and they were!  God was true to the promises he made.

And, you know what?  When you and I come to trust in God as our Father through Jesus Christ, the promises that God gave that family come to your family too. 

Did you know that?  Did you know that you honestly do not need to worry about your children?

Oh yes, pray for them!  Love them!  Treasure them!  But do not worry about them.

As God protected Isaac, and Jacob, and Judah, and their wives and their children and grandchildren and great grand children, making them such a blessing, so God will do for your kids.  No matter what happens, God will protect them.  No matter what things may look like now.  Just keep praying.  Continue to trust.  And love them always!

All God asks from you is trust and love.  Trust in his Word.  Trust in the One who came through the family of Abraham and Sarah, that is, Jesus Christ.  And love them as best you can.

According to Romans 4:16, for example, the promises given to Abraham and his family are now given to you when you trust the One who gives the promises.  And those promises come to your children as well.

Parents - Do your best.  But then trust God.


*Here are some Bible passages about children:

Psalm 127:3
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him
Prov 17:6
6 Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
Psalm 128:3–4
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing
for those who fear him.
Genesis 1:28
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Genesis 15:4–5
Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Genesis 24:60
60 They gave her this blessing as she parted:
“Our sister, may you become
the mother of many millions!
May your descendants be strong
and conquer the cities of their enemies.”
Genesis 33:5
Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”
“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied.
Genesis 41:51-52
51 Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” 52 Joseph named his second son Ephraim,* for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
Genesis 48:4
He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful, and I will multiply your descendants. I will make you a multitude of nations. And I will give this land of Canaan to your descendants* after you as an everlasting possession.’
Deuteronomy 28:4
Your children and your crops
will be blessed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be blessed.
Joshua 24:3–4
But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
1 Samuel 1:19–20, 27; 2:20-21
19 The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, 20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him. ... 27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.” ... 2:20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” 21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 28:5
And from among my sons—for the Lord has given me many—he chose Solomon to succeed me on the throne of Israel and to rule over the Lord’s kingdom.
Isaiah 8:18
18 I and the children the Lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion.

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