Thursday, July 23, 2009

Loving Children

I was listening to a good sermon this morning, a sermon on discipling children. I found it to be a good challenge to me in many ways. I probably don't agree with the speaker at all points, but I appreciate his 'shoot from the hip' style of speaking on family matters. I also appreciate that he agrees with me on a lot of the family issues - which made the challenge even more of a challenge, I couldn't dismiss him out of hand for not having a proper view of the family. You can listen to the sermon here:

I may have it easy in part of this aspect, I have always loved children, and for the last 10-12 years have been convinced that biblically, the number of children I would have is not up to me, but up to God. For this reason, Jen and I have not, and will not practice any form of birth control. We have heard comments from many about "Well, what if you have 8 kids?" (Only two to go, then!), or "But we have a responsibility to not have more children than we can afford" (Even though we live in one of the wealthiest nations on earth - afford? Really?) We haven't broadcast our views on the subject, so often have heard "Have you figured out what caused it yet?" And I'll have to admit, the comments have, at times, soured my view of children.

My main point today: I want to encourage you to have a positive view of children. God's Word tells us children are a blessing from the Lord. We pray that God would bless us, we pray that God will bless our church, we hold out our hands and sing "Showers of Blessing" at church, but then we turn our noses up at one of God's most precious gifts. How many other things in Scripture are directly called a blessing or reward from God? Children must be one of his best. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everyone should have 20 kids, I'm just saying that I think most of us could use a biblical attitude adjustment from time to time and should ask God to help us see children for the blessing that they are. When we do, we won't be counting how many children we have, or worrying about the expense of another pair of sneakers, we'll be basking in whatever blessing God brings our way - whether in our own family, or in families around us.

"Except the LORD build the house,
they labour in vain that build it:
except the LORD keep the city,
the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is
vain for you to rise up early,
to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows:
for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
- Psalm 127

Monday, July 6, 2009

Success in Marriage

I know, coming up on my 10th anniversary this year, I don't have a lot of experience to share, but I can share what I've learned from others. You see, last week we celebrated my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. All of us kids got together and had a banquet to honor our parents with a nice meal, family togetherness, and sharing with them what the strength in their marriage has meant to us.

When each of us kids got married, our dad picked a verse to go with our wedding day (He got the idea from Ron Smith in Wappingers Falls, NY) For example, I got married on August 7th, 1999 - and my verse was Song of Solomon 8:7 -
"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."
So I spoke about the fact that I have seen in my parent's marriage the strength of their love for each other. Through illness & injury (most of the injuries were mine), through blessing and trial, through the good and the bad their love has stood unquenchable. But love does not just happen. At times, the feelings can come in waves of joy and gladness, but at times love means doing that extra something for your mate, and love always means sacrificing ourselves to our mates: husbands in a sacrificial love, and wives in sacrificial obedience. When love involves giving, it cannot be quenched.

There were other characteristics shared as well. Contentment with "such things as ye have," and contentment with the "wife of your youth." Godliness - which has value in all things. And the priority of putting God first - seeking God early and often.

Our parents have been faithful to one another for 40 years. Not a ground-breaking landmark, but certainly a good opportunity for us to honor them, their faith, and their success in the marriage God has blessed them with.
Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!