What parent does not want to prepare their children for a bright and hopeful future? Sadly, there are those who are more consumed with meeting their own pleasures than preparing or even providing for their offspring, but I would tend to believe that most of my readers fall into the first category!
As I was reading Acts 21-22 this morning and then turning to my friend, Matthew Henry for his wonderful insights, several thoughts came to mind—one more than any:
“Every experience GOD gives us, every person HE puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” Corrie ten Boom
Acts is an exciting book of the Bible. It is a great book to study: learning where all the cities are which Paul visited, linking people and places together, understanding the related vicinities of towns and churches which were being established. All give a better understanding of Paul’s letters.
In Acts 21, he has returned to Jerusalem after his second missionary journey. (He made three such journeys before ending up in Rome.) There’s been some conflict with the Jewish believers concerning his teaching of the Gentiles, and he is now in Jerusalem to straighten things out. He has just been in the temple, completing a purification ritual with four other men, when some of the Jews from Asia spot him and stir up the crowd, to the point that Roman soldiers intervene and rescue Paul from probable death.
While extracting Paul from the mob and hauling him off to the garrison, Paul tells this centurion that he is a Roman. The soldier’s entire attitude changes. Instead of looking at Paul as a rabble rouser, he now looks at him as an equal; and when Paul tells him that he did not obtain Roman citizenship by purchasing it but is Roman born, the man’s respect is even greater.
Matthew Henry says this:
Some think he became entitled to this freedom by the place of his birth, as a native of Tarsus, a city privileged by the emperor with the same privileges that Rome itself enjoyed; others rather think it was by his father or grandfather having served in the war between Caesar and Antony, or some other of the civil wars of Rome, and being for some signal piece of service rewarded with a freedom of the city, and so Paul came to be free-born.
We don’t really know what Paul’s circumstances were which made him a Roman citizen, but could it be that a father or grandfather had forethought, knowing the great privileges of Roman citizenship, and made a point to serve in a war so that his children or grandchildren would have that privilege? Did Paul’s predecessor know that his son or grandson would be a great warrior for Jesus Christ and need that protection on more than one occasion? Probably not, but if the above scenario is true, that parent unknowingly was used by God to prepare His messenger!
It could also be that Paul’s patriarch was just doing the right thing1
“Every experience GOD gives us, Every person HE puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” Corrie ten Boom
How are you preparing your child to be successful? Where do you think he/she will need to be successful—in what area of his/her life?
Do you wonder what the benefit is for running a child to every sport practice, every dance lesson, and every social group? All of these activities are fun and have developmental benefits, but will they prepare that child for a future that only God sees, especially when it interferes with biblical training?
The following is a quote from All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton who was stationed on the battleship Arizona and is one of the few living survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. “We were ordinary men. What was extraordinary was the country we loved.”
That ‘Greatest Generation’ had something that we’ve lost in America: a strong spiritual foundation and direction. We have moved from a society where nearly everyone went to church to a generation which thinks that church doesn’t matter. There’s a strange thing about church attendance. While it is true that attendance can be ritualistic and actually harmful when thought of as a merit for salvation, it seems impossible for a family to be truly on-fire for God while not attending church regularly. Why?
BECAUSE WHEN A FAMILY IS PLUGGED INTO GOD’S WORD AT HOME, THE SUPERNATURAL OUTCOME IS A DESIRE TO BE WITH GOD’S PEOPLE IN GOD’S HOUSE.
Only God knows the future our children will have to face, but the future doesn’t really matter. When we are consumed with giving our children all they can get concerning God and His Word, they will be prepared to face whatever their future holds!
For I know him, that he will command his children and hishousehold after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. Genesis 18:19