Over the next few weeks it's a scene that will be repeated again and again across America. A mom and dad have a final good-bye with their son/daughter. Then as they drive away they comfort one another, "We can always call, text, or Facebook . . . and before long Thanksgiving will be here." But, mom and dad have something else on their mind. Will they be ok? This is such a big place; such a different place from home (as they pass two men walking along holding hands, while across the street a line forms outside one of the college bars) Have we taught our son/daughter enough about the world?
In our world today, as described in the opening illustration, there's more to being a parent than paying for college. For our children (young and old) our world is growing more hostile to Christianity. Paul's words to the Ephesians 6:12 come to mind, there is evil at work everywhere around us. For this reason we need an orientation. Now I'm not talking about the kind of orientation colleges offer new students, but I do refer to a kind of (compass reading, direction, point of reference) orientation. It's what Paul was talking about when he wrote, "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds . . . Put off (Paul writes) your old self which belongs to your former manner of life . . . and be renewed in the attitude of your minds." Ephesians 4:17, 22-23
Orientation – We need a compass, a point of reference. We need Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, and faith to know that He is always looking out for us, especially in His Word! There is no better point of reference to give your loved ones than what we read in Holy Scriptures. For example see Isaiah 5:2, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." In recent years many have proclaimed a "new normal" which really isn't new at all. It is in fact sin, a rise of pagan culture in America not seen since the time of our founding as a nation. There will always be those who want to persuade, cajole, and shame us into calling bad things good and the good things of God . . . bad. See again Isaiah 5:2
So . . . What is a Christian to do? What does God's servant do in the face of evil? Read 1 Kings 19: In the face of evil queen jezebel, Elijah ran away and hid, despaired of his life. Is that it for us? In the rising tide of wickedness and opposition to God's truth, should we hide away and shut out the world? Sound's crazy right?? But in fact that's what many today are doing. That's what they are doing when they ignore what's going on and "mind your own business" and keep the door shut and the TV turned to (anything but all the bad news). Fact is, for the time being many of us do hide. But our kids can't.
Our children, young and old, have to engage the "new normal" of hostility to God's truth and godliness. One point in case, all of our children being instructed (not according to God's truth recorded in Genesis) but only in Darwinist evolution. What to do? Recall what the parents in opening illustration asked one another. Have we taught him/her enough? A former church member once commented, "Going to church for me was like working in my garden." One gardener to another, I asked what she meant. "It's about cultivating my faith." It's about planting and watering the seed of the word of Christ. This is about hearing God's Word, preaching, teaching, our own devotion as we personally take up what Peter said, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Finally . . . As children most of us learned to sing the song, This little gospel light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine! For this reason I say to you, "Raise the priority of our Lord's Gospel in your life". Let your light shine by joining in the Divine Service each week. For families with children, bring Jesus' little ones to Sunday school and yourself to bible class. And keep Jesus and His word in your home by remembering to pray regularly with thanksgiving, by keeping personal and/or family devotions, and in any other way God might give for you to express what Jesus means to you.
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