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This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Eleven, Conclusion)

Part Eleven

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:25-29 KJV

When God gave him to us he wanted us to teach him all things whatsoever he has commanded us. First and foremost is to teach him the way to heaven. That teaching must start early. In fact it cannot start too early. But it can start too late.

I have witnessed something at my parent’s house on multiple occasions. Until last year we only had one youngster running around the house. I do not recall many times when her mom was there. Yet when the poor child was doing something wrong she suddenly had three of four “moms” telling her what do. That was bad enough but they also contradicted each other a lot of times.

Often real mom would try to discipline her child and the other “moms” would disagree. The worst was when real mom would forbid the child from having something and the other “moms” would give it to her behind real mom’s back.

Is it any wonder our children are confused? Is it any wonder children learn to play adults, especially mom and dad against each other? When mom says no I will ask dad! Or if dad says no I will ask mom!

Children are entrusted to their parents. Sometimes we may not like how those parents are handling the task but it is their task and not ours.

Speaking of that task, parents need to remember it is theirs! They cannot delegate it to grandparents, churches or especially schools. It is the parents’ job to get done not anyone else. Of course these others can help but only in as much as they strengthen what the parents are doing.

Of course, as I have mentioned previously, when parents speak to their children and try to teach them they need to teach them from the word and precepts of the Bible. We must make sure we do not confuse our children. We must teach them with one voice. That voice must be the voice of God. Don’t confuse them with many voices, some from God and some from the world. Don’t confuse them by letting them see our public Christian face while in private we are sons of Belial.

Ultimately our children may get away with ignoring what mom and dad say but they will not get away with ignoring what God has said.  He has spoken before through the prophet Moses. He will speak again and when he does everything that is not anchored to the rock will pass away. Let us so labor that our children have that rock, Jesus, as their firm foundation. Teach them from a child to know Jesus, love Jesus and serve Jesus. God is a consuming fire and he will destroy eternally all those who do not believe.

Does it hurt to be a good parent and discipline? Certainly it does. Part of me wants to give my son everything he wants. But he is a sinner and sometimes what he wants is not good for him. It is my job to bite the bullet, accept the tears he cries knowing they are for his benefit and not my pleasure. It huts him. It hurts me. It hurts us both. I did not understand that as a child but I sure understand it as a parent!

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Eight)

If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.

Part Eight

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7 KJV

One of the toy boxes.

Growing up my idea of cleaning my room was making the bed. My bed was pushed up against the wall on two sides. The head of the bed and one side were adjacent to the wall. That left the foot end  and one side exposed to the rest of the room. I was always careful that the blankets touched the floor on these two exposed sides. Why? Because I had shoved everything in the room under the bed and was trusting the covers to keep my secret hid!

Obviously these are not the footsteps my wife and I want Elijah to follow in so my wife has been teaching him how to put everything in its place. We are not real picky about what toys or even how many he takes out of his toy boxes (Yes he has so many he has to have toy BOXES! In our defense they are not really big toy boxes) at any given time.

Every night Elijah seems to love to take the majority of the toys out of the boxes. He takes each one out one at a time. Next he plays with it for a few moments. Then he grabs another one out and repeats the process till there are more toys out of the box then in it. This, of course, is not surprising.

What is surprising is what happens next. Every night before he goes to bed the toys are all put up. At first I thought those little cobbler elves had given up making shoes and were now full-time house cleaners. Then I decided my wife must be picking them all up.

I was wrong on both counts. Well partially wrong at least. Elijah helps pick up the toys. I was amazed to see it knowing he is my son and my own past. Okay my own present is not a lot different from my old days with toys.

I watched it happen one night though. Tracy would say something to the effect of let’s pick up your toys. She picked up the majority of them, don’t get me wrong. But he did help with quite a few.

Now his idea of putting them up was a little rough. There was some dropping and almost throwing but hey he’s a little guy and coordination has not exactly set in so I was just glad to see him getting them in the box.

As he put each one in my wife said something to him. She told him either good job or good boy. I think she may have even clapped as he did it. At first I thought this was a little over the top but I noticed something. He seemed to enjoy being told he was doing a good job. God was telling Cain the same thing. If he would do well God would be proud of him.  The same applies to you and I. Discipline is not all about chastening it is also about rewarding good behavior.

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:17 KJV

As I watched Elijah put his toys up I experienced a good feeling. I was proud. I had been proud of him before. A lot of that pride had come from who he was though and not what he was doing. Because he was my son I was proud of him. He is mine. This time I was proud because he was doing something good.

I am almost forty years old as I write this. I have a good relationship with my parents but it has not always been an easy road. I spent a few years doing things that did not make them very proud. I was sowing my wild oats if you will. To anyone out there who might be considering doing the same thing I want to give you a word of advice from the scripture. If you sow those wild oats you will reap them too. It is a lot more fun to sow them than it is to reap them. Those oats are also the gift that keeps on giving. Long after you quit sowing them you will still be harvesting them.

Fortunately in my case that period of my life was pretty short. I would love to say I just grew tired of doing wrong but it is closer to the truth to say it was the grace of God that made me change my ways. He was dealing with my conscience and reminding me that I was his child and he would deal with me in ways I did not want to know about. It was not a lot different than the times someone had wanted me to misbehave as a child and the only thing that kept me back was the fear of my father and mother finding out.  The biggest difference was I knew God not only was going to find out but He already knew.

So I went back to church and got involved. I got heavily involved as a matter of fact. It was not long after that God reminded me of a calling he had given me some years earlier. That calling was to the ministry. I began to try and apply myself to the word of God.

Hoping to take him to see the mouse someday because I just love to see him happy and judging from my experiences with his cousins, he will be!

Today I have been in the ministry for almost 17 years. The last nine I have been serving as a pastor. I am not claiming to have done a good job. I am not even claiming to have done the best I could at all times. None of us honestly do the best we can all the time. I do claim to have made a serious change in my life direction. I still sin but I am trying to keep it under control and spend more time serving the Lord.

My father is also a pastor. In fact he was the pastor of a church in Greenfield, Indiana and when he gave up the position they called me to fill it. It was my first pastorate. When I left the position they called him back.

There is a question that strikes me at night sometimes or when I am feeling a little depressed. I never ask the question of anyone because I am afraid that pride is at the root of it. I have enough issues with pride as it is so I don’t want to indulge myself but sometimes I really want to know the answer to that question. The question is not one I can ask of just anyone though. I would have to ask my dad. I just want to know if he is proud of me.

Maybe it is something that is built into all of us because I have met and counseled a lot of people who want to make their parents proud. If your parents have a good standard there is nothing wrong with that I suppose. Of course if your father has set bad standards we do not want them to be proud of following in their footsteps.

I hope that my father can echo the words of our heavenly Father at the baptism of his Son but even more I hope my heavenly father can at least sometimes say the same thing about me. He may not do it audibly as he did at the Jordan but he does do it through his Spirit. My prayer is both Elijah’s earthly and heavenly fathers will be able to praise his character and works too.

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Six)

If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.

Part Six

Elijah asleep with Mr Bear

Shortly before one of my nieces turned one her mother announced that whipping season was about to be open. The mother, my sister, was totally joking but it brings up an interesting question. When are you children too young to be corrected? When are your children to young to be spanked?

Have you ever heard parents complain about how their children turned out? Do you think it is possible they bear some responsibility for their children grow up? I think it a lot of cases they do. It is not that they do not want to train their children. It is because they do not want to hurt their children either physically or emotionally. To feel better in the short term they risk the long term.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

  Proverbs 19:18 KJV

When Elijah was just a month old he had his first doctor visit. It was time for him to get a shot. Tracy was on one side of the room. I was with the doctor. My job was to hold him still while the doctor gave the shot. It was not an easy job for me to look down at the beautiful baby boy my wife and I had waited so long for and hold him down while someone hurt him. But I did the job. Of course the minute the needle broke his skin he began to cry.

I am sure the doctor did not like making Elijah cry. I did not like hearing him cry, especially since I was the one to hold him down. Mommy did not like hearing him cry either. In fact when I looked at her she had a tear or two running down her face.

Everyone in the room, with the exception of Elijah, of course, understood that what we were doing we were doing to save him something that would hurt him more. Parents cannot afford to take the short view on shots. They hurt your child but it is truly for their benefit. Discipline them well whether they cry or not.

Elijah getting his first hair cut from his Uncle Mark

When parents refuse to discipline their children because they cry they are putting those same children at risk. Children need to be taught about boundaries. They need to be taught about consequences. They need to learn to respect authority. If we fail to teach them these things we risk not only their lives but their souls because they may form their view of who God is based in part of their view of who their parents are.

Some parents believe they cannot discipline their children because they love their children too much. I disagree. The lack of discipline is the result of too much love but it is not the case of a parent loving a child too much. It is the case of a parent loving himself or herself too much. We do not want to have to go through the pain of hurting our child. That is selfishness.  What we are really saying is we cannot stand to hear them cry.

Children will grow up to have lots of friends. Your job as a parent is not to be a friend. It is to be a parent. That means you have to correct your children for their own good. Too many parents want to lay down the job of parenting and be a friend instead. Sometimes it hurts to be a parent.

Parents used to say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you!” Kind of makes you wonder how many children volunteered to switch places does it not? When Elijah came along I understood what the parents meant at least. It hurts me when I have to discipline Elijah. But I love him so I will put up with that broken expression and those little tears for his own good.

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Four)

If you have missed the earlier sections of this article click here.

Part Four

A photographer uses many techniques to get the child to look in the right direction. We should use every technique we can to get them to look in the right direction too. God is the right direction.

There is something rewarding and peaceful about holding a baby in your arms and feeding him or her. The first time I got to hold Elijah and feed him was the day after he was born. It was a Sunday. The church where I pastor was starting revival that night and I felt like I really need to lead my church that Sunday morning and help them prepare spiritually.

So I got ready early and headed down to see Elijah before I went to church. He was still in the NICU because they were making sure he did not have any viruses. As I looked down on him he looked so small as I caressed his little hands.

The nurse came by and said it was time to feed him. She asked if I would like to feed him. I had fed other babies but I had never fed my baby so I checked my watch. I had time so I went ahead and fed him. The nurse offered to let me change his diaper too but I was too “pushed for time” to do that.

A few days later we took Elijah home and I learned that newborns do three things. They eat. They get rid of what they ate. They sleep. That’s about all newborns do and they do a lot of all three it seems. Unfortunately they do not eat a lot but they do eat often. Therefore you get up every three to four hours to feed the baby.

Fortunately newborns do not get a lot of variety. Pretty much it is either momma’s milk or formula but as they grow the dietary variety increase. Did you know that there are rules to what a baby can or cannot have? In fact there are lots of rules! Your baby cannot have this but can have the other. For example peanut butter and seafood are out. Rice and vegetables are in. Fruit comes later. It is a lot to remember. Fortunately Tracy kept track of all that and just told me what to feed Elijah.

Of course every rule is designed to make sure your smiling little bundle of joy grows up to be healthy. Just as your baby’s body needs some nourishment to grow and mature your little one needs some nourishment from the word of God to grow up. Pediatricians set the rules for what your baby can eat. God sets the rules for how to feed a child spiritually.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

1 Peter 2:2 KJV

The word of God is the best source of spiritual food for your child. Of course you do not need to put a Bible in their hands from the moment they are born but when they get to the point they can start learning they need to learn what God has said to them. I cannot emphasize the importance of teaching your child the word of God from an early age. The word of God is designed to keep them in the will of God and also to show them what to do when they get out of the will of God. If you wait till they are mature enough to understand everything about the word of God you may have waited too late. By then they may have already learned to take the word of God for granted or completely discount it. Do not wait for them to form their own ideas from a world that is consistently undermining God. Build a foundation upon which they can judge everything else. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

I would rather he grew up to be a servant of the Lord then a famous athelete but it is still a cute picture.

As Elijah has grown he has left the bottle behind. Now we feed him baby food and some big people food. But we do not just throw it at him. We have to give it to him a little at a time. Sometimes we have to demonstrate to him that it is good by tasting it ourselves. Of course you cannot just throw the word of God at your child either. I must give him what he can handle and I have to prove to him that it is good by living it.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV

One rule I learned about feeding babies is vegetables come first. That is when they start getting baby food you do not go immediately to the sweet and sugary fruits. Nor do you start with candy. They have to learn to appreciate what is good for them. They have to develop a taste for those vegetables. If they get the sweet stuff first they may reject the vegetables later.

So you cannot raise your children on fairy tales and cartoons alone. They must begin to have the word of God early in their life. If they do not they may come to reject God’s word just as surely as they would the green beans.

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Two)

If you missed part one click here.

Part Two

I, like most people probably, do not like to be told what to do under any circumstances. I do not want the government, for example to tell me how to raise Elijah. He is not the government’s child. He is my child. Or is he?

I remember when Elijah was only a couple months old and we were at church. He would be cradled in someone’s arms. His arm would be up over his head and he would shake it backwards to forwards in a throwing motion. Several people commented that he was going to grow up to be a football player.

I said I hope not! I said he was preaching like the old preachers did. I have nothing against football. If he did grow up to be a football player and made it to the NFL I would probably be able to retire in comfort but have you noticed when they play football? They play football on Sunday.

God tells us to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. He gave us six days to labor and one day to rest and worship at his house. I understand that some people have to work on Sunday. I would hate to go the hospital, for example, and find them closed because it was Sunday. Jesus covered this when he mentioned your ox falling into the ditch. But if you are not pulling oxen out of the ditch and you are working on Sunday you are sinning against God and yourself.

If you are hoping your son grows up to be football player you are hoping he grows up to sin against his creator. You may be training up your child to make you proud but do you have that right? I do not mean in the sight of the government but in the sight of the Lord.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalms 127:3 KJV

At first glance one might think God is telling us he is giving us children. In one sense that is true. Children certainly come from the Lord and are a blessing. However, we must remember that we are ourselves are not even our own. We are bought with a price. We belong to the Lord. Therefore everything we have also belongs to the Lord. Whether it be houses, money or children they are not ours to do with as we please. We are only holding on to them for Him. In fact everything on Earth belongs to God.

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Psalms 24:1 KJV

Because Elijah is not my own I do not have a right to decide how to raise him. I must raise him as God would have him raised. I must train him to do the things that make God happy not me. If I truly believe this and if I do this then I will have a son who will not only make me proud but one who will make God happy. Unfortunately too many fathers worry about making their son the next NFL quarterback and never consider God may have something entirely different and better planned for him. They try to live their dreams through their son. It happens in a lot of other ways too. Children pushed into modeling, acting, sports and every other thing under the son. It is not right though.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:24-26 KJV

This is not say I do not have hopes, dreams and aspirations for Elijah. I do. I pray regularly that he will grow up with all my strengths, not that there are a lot, and none of my weakness. I pray he will grow up to be a good servant for the Lord, a man who is tender hearted and affectionate regarding the Lord’s cause. This would make me happier than if he had a Superbowl ring on every finger.

For part three click here.

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part One)

This Is Going To Hurt Us Both

Part One

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 KJV

God is our father. In the most general sense He is the father of all but that is not the sense the Holy Spirit is using Paul to convey here.  This entire chapter, indeed as much of the book of Romans is, is directed at those who are born again. To those who are born again He is the father not only because of creation but because of regeneration. Because he is our father in this second sense we do not have to cry out in fear but we cry out in love, Father.

We should know what to expect from God our Father. He told us in multiple places what he expected of us lesser fathers. We have been told to train up our child in the way he should go. We have been told to punish our children when they do wrong. Do you remember the craze from a few years ago when everyone was wearing the WWJD bracelets? The idea behind the bracelet was every time you made a decision you would look at the bracelet and ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” God has told us how to train up our children. God is no hypocrite. He told us to both train our child to do right and punish him when he does wrong. As his children we should expect him to do the same thing to us. So when it comes to our children we need to ask, “What would God do?”

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 KJV

While Tracy and I were waited for a long time for our first child we have some friends who were abundantly blessed. They had multiple toddlers running around their house at the same time and one in infant. I know how hard it is to keep up with just Elijah. I cannot imagine how they did it with more than one at one time. I am surprised either one of them have any hair left.

We did not become close to these friends until after their children were a little older but one night at their house they told us a story.

While mom was busy chasing down one of the children when the oldest got hungry. She wandered into the kitchen and got herself a snack. She was three to four years old at the time. Sometime after she started her snack but before she finished it mom came into the kitchen to look for her.  The child was busy eating some macaroni and cheese. Normally this would have been fine. Unfortunately, though, the macaroni and cheese was in the trash can!

As you might expect mom was a little disgusted and felt bad but children have a mind of their own and they are going to do things parents do not want them to do. We had a similar thing happen to us not long after Elijah started moving around on his own.  He came up to us one day with a huge smile on his face and something else. We could not figure out what the something else was. We did know he had been eating something and whatever he had been eating was not food. After looking around we found out he had gotten into the rabbit food.

Fortunately for us rabbit food is really just hay beaten and bound into pellets. There was no harm done but all that fiber made some interesting diapers!

It is impossible to keep them from doing things like eating trash. The best we can hope to do is curb these habits and keep them from actually hurting themselves. We have to train them. Part of that training is putting things out of reach that will hurt them. Thank you Lord for baby gates, cabinet locks and the like!

So if we do not want our children eating mac and cheese out of the trash or rabbit food what do we want them to eat? We want them to eat food that will help them grow up to be healthy.

God wants you to keep your children safe too. He wants us to put up some emotional and spiritual baby gates. In fact, He has put some gates up for us as his children.

Click here for part two.

When The Children Cry (Part Nine)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

In the previous entry I mentioned some causes for the suffering of children. But are those the only reasons children suffer. No they aren’t. In this section I will look at some other causes of suffering.

I don't think he liked having his picture taken! An example of the 3d ultrasound

My wife was almost 35 when we found out she was pregnant (I’m still old-fashioned enough to say she was pregnant and not we were pregnant. She was the one doing all the hard work after all!) That caused both of us to worry about the baby because the risks of problems increase with age. She worried about that more than I do though.

My worry was not so much about the development of the baby as the delivery. For some reason for years I had experienced an unreasonable fear that something would happen to Tracy during child birth and I would lose either her or the baby. I don’t know if it was a warning from God of my own paranoid feelings. Where ever they came from though, they were real to me and caused a lot of anxious thoughts and prayers.

Because of all her worries we had a 3d ultrasound. If you haven’t seen those things they are amazing! It’s like a clay sculpture of your baby! Much better than traditional ultrasounds and much more expensive! I could not believe it when I saw the results. You could see Elijah smiling in some of them and frowning in another. My coworkers thought it was some kind of fake when I showed them. What mattered most, though, was not how much we could see him as what we could not see. There were no problems to be seen at all. Thank you Lord, right?

That was not enough for Tracy though. She wanted one of those wonderful little home monitors so she could listen to the baby’s  heartbeat when ever she wanted.  I was reluctant to get one though. I was afraid she would freak herself out with it if she could not find the babies heart beat. She got one anyway. Fortunately she never had any problem finding the babies heartbeat.

(Regarding heartbeats for those of you out there going through the pregnancy process now: Tracy went to the BuildABear shop in the mall and purchased the sound recording device they offer. Then she recorded the sound of the babies heart beat and took it back to BuildABear. Now we have a bear that when you squeeze it plays Elijah’s heartbeat when he was still in his momma’s belly! She did the same thing another time and we have Elijah “singing”  DaDaDaDaDa in almost a perfect scale! He loves both of those bears.)

Still there were some problems. We had some complications but never anything serious. We did end up with some extra hospital visits though. Everything always came back fine which reassured her but added to my worries.

Finally the big day came. Unfortunately it came about four weeks early. I still remember the day though. It was about 1 o’clock in the morning. I had been up all day already. If I had known what was coming I would have taken a nap! But I heard Tracy yelling for me. Turns out she had to yell a lot because I was in the kitchen/office with head phones on! Either way I finally heard her and went to check and see what she needed.

It is ironic that the very day Tracy’s water broke she had told me that they have it all wrong on TV. When the water breaks, she had told me, there is no big gushing and all that. Maybe just a little. Turns out TV was right and Tracy was wrong. When her water broke it broke!

Tracy called the doctor. The doctor said no hurry just be at the hospital within an hour or so. I asked, I know what you are going to to say, if I had time for a shower. She said sure. So I showered and packed my stuff. Of course Tracy had hers packed already but hey I still had four weeks to procrastinate! We called everyone, I updated my Facebook and we were off to the hospital. Here is note for you expecting mothers out there. It was one in the morning. Tracy was in labor for 25 hours or so. Her last meal had been dinner that evening and her next one wouldn’t be till after the baby was born. She said if she had to do it again we would have hit a drive thru on the way! Now I am not recommending this. I’m just saying.

The Weekend Is Here!

This weekend I am going to revival in Indy. A good friend of mine is helping in the revival. His mother, who is also a good friend, will be there as well. Looking forward to a good service in the Lord.

Sunday, which is a day of rest for most people, is my busiest day of the week. Normally I teach one Sunday school lesson and preach two sermons every Sunday. This Sunday is no exception. We are also having a baptism this week. I get to baptize a young lady who is like one of my own children! What a blessing. Please pray for these services and all the services where people are trying to serve the Lord.

Because of my schedule I probably will not be doing much blogging this weekend. Thanks to those who have stopped by, followed me and commented. This is my first real week of blogging and I have discovered it is hard work. I am enjoying putting my thoughts down though. I just have to resist my greatest hindrance when it comes to writing. I have a compulsive desire to go back and rewrite everything. Over and over! I am trying to approach this differently though and do minimal editing. So if things seem a little less than fluid or perfect I apologize.

My purpose in this blog is to write down all my thoughts on the subject of parenting and then go back and reorganize them into a publishable form. I pray the Lord gives me the staying power to get the job done. I ask your prayers too.

Thanks again if you are reading this! If you can follow me and leave some comments. You can discuss the post or criticize my style and content. I don’t care. I appreciate good criticism.

May God richly bless you not only today but forever!

When The Children Cry (Part Six)

In When The Children Cry Part Five I said we would talk about how it was fair for the God to condemn every man, woman and child for the disobedience of one man. To do that I need you to answer some questions for yourself. Have you sinned? Does that make you a sinner? What evidence can you provide that you would have done any different if you had been Adam or Eve?

Years ago my cousin’s son said the first thing he was going to do when he got to heaven was kick Adam’s butt. It’s natural to blame Adam for everything that is going wrong in the world today. He started it. But is it fair?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Matthew 23:34-35 KJV

In this passage Jesus is talking to men who were born hundreds if not thousands of years after the murders he says they would bear the responsibility for. Talk about an accessory after the fact!

Why did Jesus say they were responsible though? To understand that you have to understand to whom he was speaking. He was speaking to people who had rejected his message. They had rejected him as Messiah. They had rejected him as the Christ. They had rejected him as the Son of God. Because they rejected Jesus, who was the one who was greater than Moses, said they would have rejected Abel and Zacharias too. In essence he was telling them they would have done the same thing and because they would have done the same thing they were just as guilty as if they had done the actual killing. They had the motive they just did not have the opportunity.

There is something about the judicial system here in America that has always confused me. If you murder someone you get charged with murder. If you try to kill someone and fail you get charged with attempted murder. The penalty for murder is more severe than that for attempted murder. Why? Both people may have had the same motive, and they may have had the same weapon even, but the guy who does not get the job done gets less of penalty? In their hearts they were both going to murder someone. One guy just failed to get the job done.

God does not look at that way though. He looks at what was going on in our hearts. He knows that no matter which of us had been placed in the Garden each of us would have ended up making the same decision. We would have all sinned. So yes it is perfectly fair that we all live in a sin-cursed world.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23 KJV

We should also consider this fact, we are all sinners. What is the penalty for sin? It is death. Not only are we dying this world is dying around us. It is cursed for not only Adam’s sake but for ours as well. Unfortunately that curse also falls on our children.

When the Children Cry (Part Five)

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:7 KJV

                                                                  Bad Daddy

Between our dining room and the kitchen we have a baby gate. Even with all the safety devices on cabinet doors Tracy and I prefer that Elijah not wander around in the kitchen. Perhaps part of this can be explained by an experience some dear friends had. The Lord had truly blessed them and their quiver was full. They had two toddlers and an infant all at the same time. One day momma went into the kitchen to find their oldest was having a snack. She was eating macaroni and cheese…out of the trash. Maybe that is part of the reason we have a baby gate to keep Elijah out of the kitchen.

We are currently remodeling our house slowly. Mainly we are doing it slowly because I am a procrastinator. If I had not mentioned that I meant to I was just putting it off a little bit. Because we are remodeling the house my office and computer are in the kitchen. Fortunately our kitchen has a built in desk.

Lots of times when I am at my desk working (okay I’m playing sometimes, you busted me!) Elijah will come waddling up to the gate. More often than not he has a toy or something else in his hand. I guess he must be a normal boy because he seems to really love throwing his toy or whatever is in his hand over the gate. As soon as he throws it, or sometimes before he throws it, he yells “Uh oh!”

As you can imagine my wife and I have tried to discourage this behavior. One day he comes up to the gate and looks at me. I can see it in his eyes. He is going to throw it. I tell him not to. I tell him very firmly not to throw that toy over the gate. He throws it and yells, “Uh oh!” I immediately come out of my chair calling his name. He does an abrupt about face and runs off in that cute way that babies do. All the while he is running he is yelling, “Uh oh!” Bad Daddy had come out.

Doing my best not to laugh I went and got him and we had a little talk. When I told everyone else the story I did not bother to try to keep back my laughter.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8 KJV

When Adam heard that voice he had us “uh oh” moment. Running was not going to do him any good though. Now here is something you might not have known about Adam. He was a sharing person. That is when he had his uh oh moment he shared it with all of us. We are still having that uh oh moment in this world today.

Consider some of the things that took place because Adam did not obey God. These are the things enumerated in Genesis Chapter 3

  • Women bring forth children in sorrow
  • A woman is subject to her husband
  • The Ground is cursed for man’s sake
  • Thorns and thistles come forth
  • Work is no longer a pleasure it is work. It became by the sweat of the brow
  • He no longer had access to the Tree of Life
  • He was kicked out of the Garden of Eden

Some would ask why Adam did not die. God said he would. The short answer is he did. His inner being was now dead. It died and was no longer alive unto God. The body was going to catch up too though. In fact it was already on the way to catching up. Before he sinned Adam was capable of living forever. I don’t even think he aged. After he sinned every moment he lived was one less moment he was going to live. Every moment he got a little older and we all know what happens when you get older. You get those aches in places that you didn’t even know you had places.

As I said Adam did just ruin it for himself though. He ruined it for all of us too! Some would say that is not fair that one man ruined it for all of us. I disagree with that idea. You may rebel at the idea that one person ruined it for all of us but remember that one person, Jesus Christ,  also restored it for all who believe.

In the next Part we will demonstrate that God is fair and that everyone of us would have done the same thing Adam did.