2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Last night, our neighborhood celebrated what's called "Beggars Night", which is kinda like the Christmas Eve of Halloween.
My wife and I were shocked by how many inappropriate costumes we saw young boys and girls dressed in. Even more so by the parents who stood on the sidewalk smiling as their 7 and 8-year-olds pranced up the steps as pimps and prostitutes (I kid you not!).
At one point, I quipped that it was a sad commentary on the state of America when these young babies show up on your porch, knocking on your door, and by the way they're dressed you'd think they were expecting to receive condoms instead of candy. I joke, but it's not funny at all. It's not funny when the "eye candy" on the streets outweighs the amount of candy being handed out. That's just not right.
Look, Mrs. JRed and I are far from being "prudes" and we're hardly "old" (I just turned 30 and she just turned 29). We just think it's wrong for parents to let their young children out of the house dressed as pimps and prostitutes -- at any age -- for any reason (I don't really care if "it's just one night" or "a little harmless fun on Halloween").
All of this reminds me of the root cause of this one particular issue: Bad Parenting. Now, I don't want to get too deep into this discussion today (and I certainly don't want to go off on a tangent), but I think it's safe to say that when it comes to this specific issue you're a bad parent if you think it's "funny" to sexualize your children who are less than 10 years of age all in the name of "fun". Anyway, these are our opinions and we're sticking to it.
That brings me to an article I just read earlier this week by Bill Keller. It is a few months old, and he was writing about the tragic death of John Travolta's son at the time. Here are a few key excerpts for us to think about:
A chilling reminder to parents of your most important job. This Devotional today is a sobering reminder of how brief life is and the FACT that when it is over, each person will stand before God and their eternal soul either welcomed into the glory of Heaven for all eternity, or cast into the eternal flames of hell.
This is a wake up call for all parents. There is NOTHING you will ever do for the Lord more important than being mom or dad to your children and raising them in the admonition of the Lord. NOTHING! I don't care if you pastor a church of 10,000, if millions worldwide come to hear you speak about the Lord, if you write best-selling books about the Christian faith, there is absolutely no ministry that you will ever have in this life more important than being mom or dad to your children. Your children are a blessing from God, and He has entrusted those children into your care. You are to protect them, provide for them, love them, nurture them, and raise
them in the Christian faith.
The better percentage of two full generations don't go to church and are not Christians, meaning most children are growing up today in homes void of God. Sadly, many children and young adults are growing up in homes where their parents have embraced the perverted teachings of some cult or false religion. Well over 50% of the children grow up today in broken or blended homes and are influenced by a whole host of people, other than by a mother and father who are married and providing the stable, loving, nurturing, environment a child needs.
Each person who ends up influencing a child, influences them based on their beliefs whatever they may be. That is why God's plan calls for children to be raised by a mother and father so that they, and they alone, are the primary people to shape the thoughts and beliefs of their child, not some other family member or outsider!
Listen parents, you can't force your children to accept the Truth of the Bible and faith in Christ. That is a place they must come to on their own, just like each person must. However, you have the responsibility of shaping the thoughts and beliefs of your children by raising them in the Word and to love Jesus. That IS something you can control and God will hold you accountable for.
Never forget the wonderful promise of Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." You can't force your child to embrace faith in Jesus Christ, but you are responsible for laying that foundation of faith in their life.
I love you and care about you so much. Pray for John Travolta, his wife, and their family as they still grieve over the loss of their son. I pray that this horrible tragedy will open their hearts to turn from the lies of Scientology and to seek out the hope there is in Jesus Christ. He is our only true hope in this life and for all eternity.
This is a wake-up call to you moms and dads today that you better take the responsibility God gave you seriously in the raising of your children and the nurturing of their minds. At some point, your children will be old enough to decide for themselves what they believe. However, God has given you the job of raising your children in the Christian faith, teaching them the Scriptures, and laying a foundation of Truth from God's Word in their life. I will be praying for you today as you take this great responsibility seriously. God has blessed you with your children and raising them in the admonition of the Lord is your job as a mother or father.
You should pray for that child in the womb, dedicate your baby to the Lord, pray over your baby every day, teach that child the name of JESUS as soon as he/she can speak, read the Bible to your child every day, teach your child how to pray, have your child in church, create a loving and nurturing home environment where your child can grow up knowing that he/she is loved and cared for, have your home a place where the name of Jesus and the Truth of God's word is honored, teach your child the Scriptures as soon as he/she can start to read, encourage your child to seek out a real relationship with Christ for themselves, challenge your child to grow in their faith through activities at church and in serving the Lord, and make praying with your child a part of EVERY day.
All of these are things you can do as a mother or father to lay that foundation of faith in your child's life. Never forget, as they get older they will start making their own choices, choices you are not responsible for. Even if at some point they choose to turn from the faith, know that the foundation is there and in their darkest hour it will sustain them. I will be praying as you open your heart to the Lord today and accept this incredible job He has given you to not just be mom or dad to your child, but to be their spiritual guide as you help raise them in the Christian faith. It is the greatest ministry you will ever have. The eternal soul of your child is at stake!!!
What a powerful message for all of us. I know it rocked me to my core when I first read it a few days ago. You know, it's so easy to forget just how important we are to our children. It's also just as easy to forget that they watch what we do to see if it matches what we say.
I know that every situation is different and that everyone has their own unique set of circumstances that makes parenting their child/children challenging in its own way. This message is about motivating you to assume your rightful place as the most important person in your child/children's life (aside from Jesus Christ of course). This message is not about pointing the finger and condemning, but about encouraging and motivating you to greatness in just this one area of your life.
I know so many single mothers and single fathers who struggle raising young children and/or teenagers, and yet they're often times doing a much better job than those families with two parents present in the home. There's something wrong with that, isn't there?
I also know that there will be some who will think my comments and criticisms here today are too harsh for this day and age. They'll charge me with being another "hypocritical, judgmental Christian" who has no right to do such a thing. I admit, I am a sinner and I do fall far short of the glory of God. In fact, I still stumble from time to time and commit sins that grieve my heart.
So, what gives me the right to react this way? Well, I'm not sure I'd call it a "right", and I'm not sure anything does. However, I do know that what makes me different from those who claim I can't call out such things is that I'm admitting my sins and I'm praying to God for Him to deliver me and forgive me from them. In other words, I'm at least attempting to do my small part in the process of repentance and sanctification, which is to say I'm merely acknowledging the truth of my errors and seeking God to set me right.
Can you say the same about yourself if you're one of the parents who dressed your 7-year-old son up as a pimp and outfitted your 8-year-old daughter as a prostitute because it made you laugh? Will you be laughing when you and your family gets caught up in a lifestyle of sin that threatens to destroy lives before they've even begun? Do you even care?
You should because you're employed in the most important job on the planet -- being a parent to your sweet, innocent child/children.
Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
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