Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

It's hard enough to be a Christian parent in this world. How do we combat the forces of evil while at the same time raise our children to desire to walk in God's light? By seeking His face, His Word and inspiration from each other as we stumble through this parenting process together. You will find all the instruction, encouragement and resources you need right here at The Greatest Mission Trip You'll Ever Take to help you be the most effective witness to your child that God would have you be. Look around and come back often. Let's learn together.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Following The Forefathers?

While sitting around the dinner table last night, my husband began discussing all the recent catastrophic events around the world - the devastating earthquake in China, the cyclone in Myanmar, tornadoes here in the U.S. that seem of increased frequency and intensity, and certainly the tsunami of Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina of not too long ago. So much destruction, so much loss of life.

He asked the children what the Bible says of such things. This is kind of an uneasy subject for them, especially my daughter. At fifteen, her heart’s desire is to enjoy the blessings of marriage and children, but talk of end times doesn’t fit into her adolescent perspective of things. Teens tend to look at time only as it’s relative to their world of experience. If I say Jesus’ return is probably still quite a ways off, she’ll assume I mean within the next year or so (while I have an opinion about Jesus’ coming given the progress of certain geopolitical current events, don’t think I have some inside line on when it’s going to happen!).

My husband explained the beginning of birth pains as spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:6-8, and then asked them what they thought heaven would be like. Since he’s doing a Bible study on heaven with other men from church (they’re using Randy Alcorn’s book and study guide), the information was fresh in his mind.

The children began describing what they knew from their own Bible reading - no sorrow or tears, no more pain, utter joy, lots of singing angels. We pulled out a Bible and our concordance and looked up several references to heaven. We opened the Book of Revelation and Bill read what the new heaven was going to look like. He described the layers of precious stones that make up the city walls and that the twelve gates will each be made of a single pearl.

“Man,” my daughter interjected, “that’s gotta be one big oyster!” We had to stop and imagine what those oysters would look like. Brief pause for chuckling and head nodding.

My husband ventured an opinion that our new glorified bodies in heaven would have no limitations in what we could do. Right now we’re restricted by gravity, frail bodies and physical limitations to our movement.

“So if I were to reach out to punch James in the nose,” my husband said, extending his fisted hand six inches shy of our youngest son’s face, “I wouldn’t be able to reach him on earth. But in the new heaven….”

“You could rip my nose off!” my son finished in mock glee. “That’s right!” Bill answered, keeping his straight man face on. “I could rip it right off your face!”

“Yeah, but,” James pointed out, a grin spreading across his face, “it wouldn’t hurt!”

Now we’re laughing, and the uneasy subject of end times has dissolved into a relaxed discussion of what we know about heaven. I had to wonder, though.

Is this how Martin Luther did devotions in his home? John Newton? John Calvin? The other great reformists of the Reformation? Did they laugh and giggle and joke while reading from the Bible or talking about God and His truths?

I bet they did. God’s Word is alive and real, filled with hope and answers for today’s real world. While we’re called to be sober-minded in our Christian walk, it’s not to the exclusion of enjoying the beauty of God’s gift of laughter. In other words, enjoy your family devotions and times of spontaneous discussion. Have fun.

We ended our family time around the dinner table by imagining what it would be like to walk the streets of gold and run into someone really important.

“Dude, you’re Isaiah!”

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