Yesterday, we had a baby dedication at church for three new babies. It’s always a beautiful service, full of meaning and commitment for the parents as well as the church family.
Today, we read in the news about a family of four in our dear state of Pennsylvania who were murdered: the daughter shot her mother, the son-in-law shot the brother, and the father shot the daughter and son-in-law. So, all that remains is the father. How could relationships go so wrong that something like this would happen? In one moment, a man is watching TV with his wife and son; the next minute, an estranged daughter and her husband come to the door – and life is over for all but a father!
Two different scenarios, separated only by a few hours and one hundred miles, but oh how different the outcome! Three sets of parents pledged the following:
1. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication to the Lord, do you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Saviour?
2. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication do you acknowledge your duty to bring up this child in the fear and admonition of the Lord?
3. Will you present your child(ren) to the Lord by being faithful in personal and family devotions, the regularly and specially scheduled meetings of the church (in particular Sunday School) so that he/she will be exposed to the word of God that it might pierce his/her heart?
4. Will you dedicate yourselves with great concern to the presentation of the Gospel that your child(ren) may be wooed by the Holy Spirit at some point in his/her life to confess his/her sin and place his/her faith in Jesus Christ as his/her own personal Saviour?
5. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child into full time Christian service?
6. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child away from you to some foreign land for His service?
7. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) back to the Lord should He call this child back to Himself in death as a child, teen, or young adult?
Will these seven commitments insure these parents that they will never have a child put a gun to their head? ONLY IF THEY PRACTICE THEM! It’s easy to answer ‘yes’ to a list of questions; it’s another thing to put them into practice. If there is one “most frustrating” aspect of the ministry, it is this: people want the results of God-loving, obedient, serving children, but they will not make the commitment necessary to accomplish the goal.
Why do I not lose weight – Because I do not make the necessary commitment to accomplish the goal. For example, if I would count the calories and keep to the exercise program I WOULD lose weight. How do I know? Because I’ve done it before!
At times, we deceive ourselves in spiritual matters, convincing ourselves that they are different from physical matters. How do we get God-loving, obedient, serving children – by leading them in our example. “Just say yes!” When God calls, just say yes, whatever the task, no matter how great or small. It works!
My husband and I were thanking and praising God this morning for His hedge about our family. There are times when I feel guilty for the blessing He has poured upon me; but may I say that GOD’S WORD WORKS! The following is two quotes from a dear friend’s book, (Song for all Seasons – Wilma Sullivan pgs.37,39):
I’ve learned to say a little phrase that has helped me to turn over the control of things in my life to the Lord. It’s simply “It’s okay!” “It’s okay, Lord, that that person doesn’t respond the way I want.” “It’s okay, Lord, if I can’t buy that thing I think I need.” “It’s okay, Lord that my plans for today must be cancelled.” “It’s okay, Lord, whatever that group thinks of me.” “It’s okay, Lord, that I can’t control these circumstances in my life.” “You, Lord, are in control of all these things. May Your will be done.” When I consciously and willingly respond in such a way, I deny my “self,” giving over my rights to God’s control.
God’s Holy Spirit does live in us, and by His power – not ours – we can habitually put to death the promptings of the flesh. Our flesh cannot control our thoughts and actions unless we give in to it. We must make the choice. By letting Christ reign in our hearts, we can then claim the power of God to tell our old flesh to “drop dear” when it tempts us to sin. We can rest assured that, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9a)
Take the time to be holy – you will never regret it. In fact, you will rejoice with your Savior and your children and children’s children throughout all eternity; and what’s seventy-odd years compared to that?!