Disciples Taught of the Lord by Sarah Primus

As parents we must always remind ourselves that our children are the Lord’s; and we are their stewards. They have been given to us to train as disciples, taught of the Lord, so that His glory may be known in the earth.
This awareness brings us into the fear of God in the decisions we make regarding our children. We must ask ourselves, “What are we are building into their lives?” 1 Cor. 3:10b tells us that we are to be careful how we build upon the foundation of Christ. Verse 12 tells us that we are either building with gold, silver, precious stones; OR; wood, hay, and straw. Through obedience to the Word and continual instruction, we build eternal truths into our children that cause them to fear the Lord and desire to please Jesus in their own lives. This is the gold, silver and precious stones. Helping them discover their God-given graces and finding ways to develop and use these graces is what “faithful stewardship” over our children looks like.
 
My oldest son went through quite an adjustment period in kindergarten. We had to continually remind him that his obedience was of primary importance. We never “finish” instilling obedience into our children while they are in our care. If we train our children to obey us whether we are present or absent, they will know to obey God. This sets them up for a life of success and reward! And they will know how to hear His Voice and will follow His leading.
He came home one afternoon with a craft that he was very proud of. He had done a wonderful job, BUT he had been disruptive in class and disobedient to his teacher. It broke my heart that we had to first deal with his disobedience, rather than simply marvel with him at his job well done. The Lord spoke to me through this instance. He showed me this is what it will be like when we present our works before Him on judgement day. Any thing that we build ourselves, outside of our obedience to Him, will be as the “wood, hay or straw” spoken of in 1 Corinthians 3. This served as a reminder for my own life as well as in my child training that it is so important to build things that are eternal. Jesus desires above all that we take delight in Him. It’s OK to have fun and do things merely for the enjoyment of our kids, it’s much more important to teach them that in His presence is fullness of Joy, delight, and all that our hearts long for.

As our children come to know Jesus for themselves they are able to access the fullness of God through the Holy Spirit, just as we are. They are capable of understanding far more than we give them credit for or even realize. I’m amazed at how much I learn for myself of God’s goodness simply by taking the time to come alongside my children and teach them how to have this relationship with God for themselves. Let’s make sure we’re taking the time to daily introduce them to Jesus and watch them grow into the spiritual houses the Master Builder would be pleased with.

Cultivate - by Kimberley Byers

During every season of the year there is always something that needs to be done in the garden, but spring and summer have got to be my favorite.

In the Spring, it makes my heart happy to see so many great changes pop up in my garden. After winter, all the unseen plants and flowers I’ve planted with purpose and design start to spring up and become visible. Gardening is work and takes a lot of time and that has me thinking about our relationships on many levels. Parent to child, friend to friend and spouse to lover. 

The phrase "cultivate love" has been rolling around in my heart and mind for a few months. The definition of cultivate is to grow or raise (something) under conditions that you can control.

If we are the ones that control the conditions then we must understand that it is our responsibility and ours alone to plant the necessary things that our relationships need to grow strong and deep. We must “sow” into our children, our friends and into our spouses and at the same time “weed out” from our own souls the hindrances that hold us back from living a life of love.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit who gives me the help needed to do things when I don't feel like it! 

As parents, friends and spouses, we must allow ourselves to be transformed through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1–2) and the power of the Holy Spirit who produces in us self-control (Galatians 5:23). We need daily input of scriptural principles, a desire to grow in the knowledge of God, and time spent meditating on God’s attributes. This must be our highest mandate. 

When you go to God’s word first, only then are you able to exhibit grace in the face of disappointment, forgive readily, and disallow the little things to spoil the seeds that you have already cultivated. Weeds can take over so quickly that if we aren't careful to give love, plant joy, exhibit patience, dole out gentleness and kindness and allow faith to be at work in our relationships, soon bitterness, resentment and selfishness will take over and destroy all that was planted with purpose. 

Make sure you are planting the right things into your relationships daily.

Be sure your environment is a safe place to grow.  

Enjoy these last days of summer!       xox Kimberley
 
 

Kimberley Byers pastors alongside her husband, Craig at Keystone Chilliwack, Chilliwack,B.C. www.keystonechilliwack.com

 

 

 

Life after Graduation - by Maria Siemens

Our oldest child has recently graduated and as I watch her go through this season I have so many thoughts.  I’m surprised by the amount of times she’s asked “What are you going to do with your life?”.  

I realize as I hear this asked of her over and over that one of the best things we could have done as parents is to instill in her that she is a child of God (regardless of her job, etc.) and that she is what 1 Peter 2:9 says,  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us… it could be easy at this stage to feel like her self worth is based off her plans, her schooling, her current job, etc, but really before she was formed in the womb she was known and set apart. (Jer. 1:5) 

Jeremiah goes on in 29:13 to say, “You will seek me and find me when you see seek me with all your heart.”  But if we don't seek Him how can we find Him? How do we know what those plans are?  

The dictionary defines seek:  to go in search of, look for, to try to discover.

That’s not something you get by just sitting.  It requires action, movement and purpose and not something which necessarily comes easy to anyone, let alone a teenager. But I'm knowing that if it’s something that taught’s at a young age, seen at a young age with consistency, and then modeled, it’s something that can bring only peace and comfort to every situation.  It’s a tool that will never fail her.

I don't want to raise a child that's looking to always please people (her parents, friends, bosses, etc) but one that holds fast to her beliefs and knows without a doubt who she is in Christ, what her Heavenly Father has planned for her, and knows it’s because she's sought him and knows his voice. The biggest thing we can instill in her is her having her own relationship with God.

So we’re quite happy with the response to “What are you going to do now?” Being, “Seeking God and finding out what His will is for me.”  We don't expect her to have life all figured out the week after graduation.  We want her to grow into the woman she’s supposed to be, and want her to be able to have the right start in a safe environment; our home, where, if there are struggles, we’re able to help if needed.

When she was smaller it felt like we had forever with her, time to teach her and show her. As I look at today I realize in the blink of an eye that time is gone and I wonder - have we done everything we should have and could have? Did we teach her the right way, God’s way in all instances? I realize that although we may have missed the mark on moments, she has the best resource to find all the answers.  

 

April 2017 - by Jeanne McGrew

There’s a battle raging and it’s contending for the soul of our children.  Ephesians 6 tells us “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces that are in this world”.   2 Cor. 10:4 reminds us Satan is the god of this world. Ephesians 2 calls him the prince of the power of the air, working, seeking whom he may devour, blinding minds so hearers won’t believe the gospel.

 

As parents we see this every day.  It’s the wrestling and contending over the will of the children.  It’s resisting the whining, pouting, and complaining when they aren’t allowed to have their way.  It’s the continual stand against the “Why not, every one else can?”  This is a battle and the bible tells us we are to train our children up in the way they SHOULD GO.  (See Prov. 22:6.) Ephesians 6 tells us to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of THE LORD, not provoking them to wrath. 

Training and discipline are required to bring their will into submission to the word of God.  

Training is always two fold: It’s by instruction and example.  It’s the consistency of words and actions. This demands our lives as parents be living examples of righteousness and purity.  

 

We do parenting just like anything else assigned to us in the Kingdom; by the grace of God.  In faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit who works the love of God in and through us, our children are able to see a spiritual reality in our righteous words and life.    

 

A common pastoral conversation with parents is the discussion about their child “needing” friends and socialization. While true, the temptation to compromise spiritual integrity for the sake of soulish development is doomed to fail from the start. It is a rare child, who needs socialinteraction, who has the strength of character or spiritual maturity to influence their friends for righteousness.  A child with the spiritual strength and that character to begin with does not seek wrong company.

 

We are truly touched by the need of children.  We understand the desire for friends, but we also understand, evil communications corrupt good manners and a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  We share defining points in our children's lives.  The first is when they as children leave our protective homes and engage in the broader culture of the world.  School used to be the first, now with so many parents working, day care has become the substitute for early child care.  Off to school, and whether it is secular or christian education, you are faced with the others standards that challenge yours.  This then begins the norm in your home.  It’s like you fight this rear guard action as the things of the world work their way into mindsets and personal appetites. We as parents must stand on guard for the souls of our children. Hebrews 13:7 gives this exhortation.  Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Parents are the leaders of their homes. 

 

Parenting is so much more than governing behavior, it is first about instilling spirituality.  A heart for God, his word, His will.  Training them in spiritual matters is not the churches job.  This starts in a home where God is first and foremost in all that is said and done.  We think simple instruction is enough, but in reality the care needed to raise a godly seed is so intense that to do it right, requires all of you, all the time, to be all in.

There are no short cuts to raising a godly seed and yet there’s a grace to do this.  

Wherever you find yourself on family’s pathway, make sure you access God’s Grace and trust Him to work beyond your abilities and hindrances. 

 

Contending - by Jeanne McGrew

Families are designed by God to be the foundation for all training in righteous relationships.  We know as parents that the window of opportunity to instill rightness into a child’s heart and mind is extremely limited and once they begin interaction with others the contending for their souls begins in earnest. 

Jude 1:3 reads, Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

From the Discovery Bible HELPS Word-studies we learn the Greek for the word contend: 

1864 epagōnízomai (from 1909 /epí, "focused on" and 73 /agṓn, "a contest, competition") – properly, to contend (literally, "struggle upon, appropriately"), i.e. with skill and commitment in opposing whatever is not of faith (God's persuasion).

Never before has there been such a need in our homes to contend for the faith.  Not methods, not preferences, but the faith that holds us to Christ in and through our daily expressions. 

Acts 17:31 tells us that God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man (Jesus Christ) whom he has appointed... 

In other words Jesus Christ is the standard of righteousness or the way to be right in God.  You can not take the world standards and try to fit them into Christ.  You take Christ’ standard and set them in the home and you guard them and keep them.  As adults we know what kind of courage and commitment this takes. 

Our job is not to keep them out of the world, but like Jesus did, from John 17, we prepare our disciples with a deeply rooted relationship with the Father, knowing Him and knowing His word.  As parents, while they are with us, we have kept them in His name and guarded them.  We live our lives sanctified to the truth that they might be sanctified. 

Christ in us, us in Christ, perfectly one with him so that they may be one even as we are one. 

This is the standard of Christ.  This is the stewardship we have been given.  There is a grace to parent.  All must be done in faith, hope and love. 

The world offers much information on the how to's of family life we could adapt to, but in doing so, we must ask ourselves this one question ~ how does this measure up to the standard in Christ?  We can never violate His standard and have the promises of God fulfilled in our lifetime.  

God is generational.  He looks to one generation for hearts that are His, wills that are submitted and minds that hold His in order that the next generation can be strong and do the exploits God has designed for them.  

There are no shortcuts.  There are no easy answers.   There is just a daily commitment to hold fast to the head and in everything endeavor to discover His will and His way that through these we are able to find the peace in our homes that come from being in order and submitted to HIM.

The Blessing of Unity - by Jeanne McGrew

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 133, expressing the heart of God regarding the blessing of unity~ How pleasant it is when the brethren dwell together in unity!  For it is like the oil that runs down the beard of Aaron and covers the hem of his garments. It is like the dew on Hermon and there (in the place of unity) the Lord has commanded the blessing life evermore

Unity holds a 3 fold blessing; the anointing, a refreshing and the commanded blessing of life. I want this in my home, in our church and in His body. It is in this place of love and unity that others visibly recognize a work that can only be done by a supernatural force ~ God and His Spirit. 

Amos 3:3 Asks the question, ‘Can two walk together unless they be agreed’?  The answer is an obvious ‘no’.

From Matthew 12 we find Jesus teaching us three things through his conversation with the pharisees who’ve accused him of casting out the devil by the devil.  Verse 25 reads,  “Every Kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and no city or house divided against itself will stand.  And if Satan casts out Satan he is divided against himself how then will his kingdom stand.  Jesus addressed the destruction of division in three areas, a Kingdom, a home and the individual himself.  Malachi emphasizes “God hates divorce” and Jesus later tells us the only reason divorce occurs is because of hardness of heart. 

The whole purpose of God, Christ and the church is to be found in the context of oneness.  One with the Father through His son, one with each other in every God ordained relationship.  It is this unity that is always under attack. It is this unity that must be guarded at all cost. It is this unity that promises the presence of His anointing, His refreshing and His life. 

There are things that we cannot get alone.  We are divinely connected for the purposes of God and when we severe those, we step into destruction. It doesn’t matter how we color it or how we deny it, where there is division and strife, there is every evil work. No wonder God said, what God has joined together let not man put asunder.

This is so much bigger than just our marriage union but since we are talking “family matters” please consider today the places where you are “dis-agreeing” with first of all God and His word and then within your family, spouse and children. 

Mindful that the blessing only lies in the unity we hold - with God and with each other. 

 

Family Matters by Jeanne McGrew, A new series beginning 2017

By way of introduction ~ 

I want to engage in a new series for the purpose of strengthening hearts and minds regarding home relationships because ‘family does matter’. God, as the Father, from whom all family derives it”s nature, has a plan for every individual life to be rooted in a family.  

God’s original design for family is the only one guaranteed to succeed and MUST be followed according to directions in order to achieve the promise.  Those who choose to adhere to His standard are going to enter into different seasons with different battles that require different strategies to produce His desire of a godly seed on this earth.

Wholeness and fruitfulness are not for the faint hearted.  You must engage in the fight of faith on every front and at all times.  You must sustain and strengthen your relationship with the Lord daily, as it is the only thing that will keep you daily and that is the root relationship all others draw their life from.  

God’s grace abounds with a special grace for every step you take towards joining your life with your spouse to fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.  He who finds a wife finds a good thing. As you become one you recognize that you are heirs together of this new found grace for marriage.  In your obedience to be fruitful and multiply you discover His grace to parent.  May I say strongly and as loudly as I can on a written page ~ 

                It matters who you marry!

My intent is to begin this series simply out of obedience and allow it to develop it as progresses . I can’t promise a weekly article but for now will endeavor to do something monthly, that way if I exceed that - well, bonus :)  

My thought is to include other articles, comments and even occasional writings by those who have a proven record in these areas and are able to set before us Godly wisdom and insight.  Since humor is not one of my stronger writing traits, I will endeavor to find things that bring levity to life while doing my best to keep it real.  Nobody’s perfect, but as I always say, God looks for the heart that is perfect towards Him.  In other words, lighten up, learn to enjoy what you have, when you have it. Do you best while you are always depending on God and His grace to help you. This pleases the Father.  

David and I have been married for 45 years - raised three of our own children (rejoicing over eight current grandchildren) and through our 35 years of ministry, traveling, mentoring and pastoring we know some things about family matters. We offer our wisdom to you for your well being and prayer for you to do better than we did.   

A P.S.  This in no way replaces the Good Word I will continue to write weekly and can be found on our website @ keystonevictoria.com - which I hope you read too.