02. Foreword

FOREWORD

It is abundantly evident that Satan is waging a most vicious war on our children. He is fattening them for the slaughter, while putting the parents to sleep. Who can say that this is not true?!

Children are bombarded with images and messages promoting immoral living. They are brainwashed into believing the lie of evolution and serving the god of “humanism”. They learn about and stand on their “rights”, instead of fleeing from the “wrongs” (like Joseph and Timothy). They are conditioned to believe that there are no absolutes, no right and no wrong. They learn to see all morality as “relative”. They are taught to debate and reason with their parents and elders, to have “a mind of their own” – without realising that it is (most of the time) the mind of the world, the carnal mind, the mind of Satan. They think they know better than their elders. They are disobedient to their parents. They love the world and the things that are in the world: the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. They are hooked on their computer games and addicted to their rock music (even so-called “Christian” rock music). They are lured into witchcraft through web sites and books (like the “Harry Potter” series). They are pressurised into religious “tolerance”, while denying the truth as it is in Christ. They are taught (at school and in compromising churches) to betray Christ with a kiss. They are systematically drilled into frowning on fundamentalism as foolish, forgetting that “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it...”(Matt 7:14). They want to be free to sin, free to live for “self”, free to be like “society”, free… to be slaves. Oh, may God have mercy on us and our children!

Parents today, generally speaking, are “blind... dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, they love to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10). They don’t see what’s wrong in their child’s behaviour or attitude, and if they see, they don’t bark, …and if they bark, their bark has no bite! Jesus said, “There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire” (Matt 26. The Message). They see, but they don’t see, they hear, but they don’t hear. They are drugged with passivity. They are dulled through permissiveness. They are muzzled through sin. They see a child do wrong or not listening to them, but they do not correct it consistently. They may speak once or twice, but then keep quiet, or look away... to “keep the peace”. God says, “They have healed also the wound of the daughter of My people lightly and neglectfully, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace”(Jer 6:14; Ampl.). They constantly seek to divert the will of their child, instead of lovingly, firmly breaking it into submission, as God intended it to be.

Most parents have become weak, because they do not have a clear conscience before God and before their children. They say, “What can we do?!”; “How can we stop the tide?!”. They are not like Caleb who (at 85 years of age) said: “Give me the mountains”, where the giantlike Anakim are (Jos 14:12). He could say that, because there was a different spirit in him – God’s Spirit. Oh, may God raise us up to be godly parents like Abraham and Joshua.

Jeremiah saw what we see today and said: “For these things I weep; my eyes overflow with tears, because... The children are desolate and perishing, for the enemy has prevailed”(Lam 1:16). “My eyes fail from weeping, my emotions are deeply disturbed, my heart is poured out upon the ground [in grief] because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and nurslings faint in the streets of the city. They keep crying to their mothers, Where is corn and wine [food and drink]? as they faint like wounded men in the streets of the city, as their lives ebb away on their mothers’ bosom”(2:11,12). The children are weak and wounded by sin; they are out on the streets and come to a fall there. Spiritually, their mothers (and fathers) do not have something to feed them with.

He said, “The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets; my maidens and my young men have fallen...”(2:21); “...the daughter of my people has become cruel like ostriches in the wilderness [that desert their young]”(4:3). They commit abortion. “Those who feasted on dainties are perishing in the streets; those who were brought up in purple lie cleaving to refuse and ash heaps”(4:5)! How many children were brought up in a royal way, and even dressed in the best, only to end up in a prodigal’s pig sty or a refuse heap, cleaving to and holding on to their ash and dung?!

“Our inheritance has fallen over to strangers, our houses to foreigners”(5:2). Our homes are invaded by the “foreigners” on the devil-vision (the tele-vision). We are weak like babies, who can’t even switch off, never mind separate with our one-eyed god. “They ravished (raped) the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah”(5:11). If not physically, then mentally. “We have become orphans and fatherless; our mothers are like widows”(5:3) – our fathers are absent, they are not in the place and position where they are supposed to be. Even when they are present, they are absent. Jeremiah said, “Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we have borne their iniquities”(5:7), “...the persons of elders were not respected”(5:11). “Woe to us, for we have sinned!”(5:16b).

In light of all this darkness, Jeremiah cried, “Behold, O Lord, how distressed I am!.... Outside the house the sword bereaves, at home there is [famine, pestilence] death!” (1:20). This is the heart of the matter we are facing. Outside the homes, the enemy is wounding, robbing, kidnapping and killing our children; while inside the homes there is (spiritual) famine, drought, disease and death!! It may even be that the children go “outside”, because of what they find or don’t find “inside”…

God is speaking to us through Jeremiah and He says, “Yes, we have an enemy outside, but the problem is primarily inside” – in our homes and in our hearts. In our own hearts, and in the hearts of our children. “We have sinned!” (5:16b).

That is why the weeping prophet says, “Let us test and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord! Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven...” (3:40,41) Why? For “the Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].”(3:25)

“The hearts [of the inhabitants of Jerusalem] cried to the Lord. [Then to the congregation, I, Jeremiah, cried]…O..., let tears run down like a river day and night; give yourself no rest, let not your eyes stop [shedding tears]. Arise [from your bed], cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward Him for the lives of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street”(2:18,19).

One man who did this, like Jeremiah, was Charles G. Finney (1792-1875). He was completely broken and humbled before God, saved, sanctified and anointed with “power from on high”. God used him to bring a true Revival in many places and people across the world. At the height of his ministry, he wrote letters to the Christians who were converted in the revivals. Some letters were addressed to ministers, some to young Christians, some to older Christians, and others specifically to parents. I have not come across any other letters or teachings that speak so clearly and so practically, and with such conviction and life-giving power on the topic of raising our children for God, as these.

It was thought that by making these letters more readily available to as many as possible people, many children (and even parents) may be helped and even saved. It will be a great help and a spiritual blessing even to those who do not have children of their own. It is taken from “Principles of Discipleship”, published by Bethany Fellowship. It provides Biblical principles for training children in the way that they should go, not just for parents, but also for teachers, Sunday school teachers, relatives, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

To return to the Lord and to cry out to Him for our children are essential, but more than that is needed. We also need to learn to train up our children in the way that they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. It is my prayer that the Lord may use these letters to revive us, restore our homes, renew the way we train up our children and (most important of all) redeem our children – to His glory.

The Compiler.
January 2004.

Ps. After preparing this booklet for print, I came across the following portion that touches on the heart of our God-given task and privilege of training up our children. It is taken from “Weighed and Wanting” (reprinted as “The Gentlewoman’s Choice”) and written by George MacDonald in 1882.

“Although a wise mother and a far-seeing father, they had made the mistake common to many parents of putting off teaching their children obedience until it was more or less too late. If this is not begun at the first possible moment, it will be harder every hour it is postponed. The spiritual loss and injury caused to the child by their waiting till they decide he’s ready to reason with is immense. Yet there is nothing in which parents are more stupid and cowardly, and even stubborn, than this. A home where children are humored and scolded and coaxed and punished instead of being taught obedience is like a moral slaughter-house instead of the training ground it was meant to be. So-called ‘Christian homes’ can be the worst of all in this regard.”

“The dawn of reason as a child grows will no doubt help to develop obedience; but obedience is even more necessary to the development of reason. Where there has been no prior obedience there can be no rightly directed reason. For a parent to require of a child only what that child can understand is simply to help him to make himself his own god – that is a devil. That some children mature well enough and seem so little the worse for their bad training is no justification for lack of disciplines. So many others display attitudes and behavior that clearly reveal the consequences of their parents’ foolishness.”

“Then Manoah prayed to the LORD:
‘O Lord, I beg you…
teach us how to bring up the boy…”
Judges 13:8
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