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Starting Out With

Jesus T

he starting point of the journey of becoming a woman of Godly purpose and therefore, God’s building engineer is starting a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Without first experiencing a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, embarking on this journey will be fruitless. It will

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be like adding new information to a virus infected computer. Everything gets infected with the virus. The sin virus is present in every human being born of a woman, including you. The irony is that you are powerless to save yourself from the sin virus and its eternally deadly consequences. If you want to know how you got it, please see my


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book— Saved for What? The sin virus in your life must be dealt with before you can embark on the journey of becoming God’s building engineer. If you have not experienced the freedom from this sin virus which God offers through Jesus Christ, and you sincerely desire freedom from your sins but don’t know what to do, consider the following steps below. Step 1. Recognise that you are presently separated from God

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Step 2. Understand the awful nature of the sin virus in you The sin virus is present in every human being born of a woman, including you. The irony is that you are powerless to save yourself from the sin virus and its eternally deadly consequences. Now that you are willing to recognise and admit that you are separated from God, it is very important that you understand the appalling and terrible nature of the sin virus in you as in all other human beings who have not made peace with God through Jesus Christ. Sin is deadly. That is not an idle statement. When we hear that someone has got cancer, there is often a deathly chill and gloom that sweeps through among the family members because there is an eerie certainty that their loved one would die. Sin is deadlier than cancer because unlike cancer which shortens the life of its victim on earth, sin condemns the sinner to an eternity of misery, pain and separation from God his Maker. Those who fail to see the exceeding evilness of sin trivialise its dreadfulness. You probably have done that before. But as you will see, it is only a fool who sees his house on fire and all he cares about is how soon he can get away to play a game.

Jesus Christ utterly despicable and detestable in the sight of God. First, Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, disobeyed God’s command to them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). The result of their disobedience was that sin entered into the world. The Bible tells us that it was through one man’s disobedience that sin entered into the world (Romans 5:12). “What is sin?”, you may ask. Sin is disobedience to God’s word. Sin is lawlessness. It is the breaking or violating of God’s law by evildoing or neglect. It is being unrestrained and unregulated by God’s commands and His will (1 John 3:4). That’s what our first parents demonstrated in the garden of Eden when they fell for Satan’s seductive lies that they would not surely die if they disobeyed God but that instead, their eyes would open and they would be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil, and, blessing and calamity. When they believed Satan’s lie and sinned by disobeying God their Maker, they fell from the lofty height of the glory of God’s purpose for them into the depravity of the rebellion of Satan. Their eyes did indeed open but all they saw was their own nakedness and the shame that accompany such discovery. They did not become God by any stretch of the imagination, rather, they found to their horror that they had lost the peaceful and loving nature of God their Creator gave them.

The sin virus is present in every human being born of a woman, including you.

The sin virus is present in every human being born of a woman, including you. The irony is that you are powerless to save yourself from the sin virus and its eternally deadly consequences.

Consider briefly what God said in His word about our misery without Christ so that you can see and appreciate better the awfulness of sin. This is the only way you will appreciate the dark depths of human depravity which makes all those who have not entered into a relationship with the Saviour

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As a result of their fall, they came under the control of the prince of the power of the air— the devil (Ephesians 2:2). They exchanged the Godloving and God-fearing heart they received from God at their creation with a rebellious heart that is


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deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) which they got from the devil. As Adam and Eve did not have any children before they sinned and started having children after their fall, all their descendants, which is

me”. Everyone is born in sin and recognising that explains why you are separated from God. The sin nature with which we were born explains why it is natural to us to do wrong things. I bet that the first

time you told a lie, it was not your mom or dad who taught you to lie. It came from within, from the inside of you. As a result of our sinful nature, we live and conduct ourselves in the passions of our flesh. Our behaviour is ruled by our corrupt and sensual nature. We obey the impulses of our flesh and the thoughts of our sinful mind. Our cravings are dictated by our senses and the dark imaginations of our hearts. So, the next time you hear someone say, “follow your heart”, you know that is the most foolish thing to say. Like our first parents Adam, our hearts are rebellious toward God, deceitful and desperately wicked towards ourselves and against our fellow human beings. The Bible says that all these make us to be by nature the children of God’s wrath and heirs of His indignation (Ephesians 2:3). All these

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because the same spirit of the devil which controlled our first parents from the time they disobeyed God continue to control anyone born into this world until the person comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour and Lord.

Step 3. Recognise your utter powerlessness to help yourself If your heart has been stirred and the horror of your sin and its consequences have dawned on you, the true cry of your heart and the question on your heart at this point would be “what must I do to be saved?” The frightening reality is that you like everyone else are powerless to help yourself out of this dreadful situation. You don’t have what it takes to change the state of your spiritual condition. You are helpless to help yourself. The Bible says that we are “dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). This is how God sees you. Sin has exposed you to the wrath of God and you are powerless to save yourself from it. All the vain attempts you make at being religious only qualify as filthy rags to the eyes of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6).

the question on your heart at this point would be “what must I do to be saved?”

The spiritual condition of our lives as fallen creatures is that we are undone, unclean, lost and spiritually dead and alienated from God (Isaiah 6:5; Ephesians 2:1,5). There is an eternal judgement and condemnation hanging over the head of every human being born into this world including you, but you are neither aware of it nor have you cared to know up until now. John 3:18 tells us that he who does not believe in Jesus, the Son of God, is judged and condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. The basis of the condemnation is that God’s Light came into the world but people loved and preferred darkness rather than the Light (John 3:19). The reason people prefer darkness is because their works and their way of life are evil (John 3:20).

Sin has effectively separated us from God and so cut us off from the only source of all happiness and holiness. It destroyed our bodies and souls and killed our spirits. It filled our bodies with sickness, disease and finally death. In our souls, it battered and destroyed the image of God in which we were created. As a result, we love sin and hate God. The true state of our hearts in our fallen state is that our hearts have been hardened by deceit and wickedness. In turn, deceit and wickedness has blinded us from seeing the true state of wretchedness and ruin in which sin has imprisoned us.

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If your heart has been stirred and the horror of your sin and its consequences have dawned

attempt to convince God of your righteousness through your own efforts. This rich young ruler was by all human standards a model of moral excellence and religious achievements. But like every other person who is convinced that their works is sufficient to take them to heaven, he was not aware that God’s law is spiritually discerned and that he did not really understand the true


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essence of the law. He also did not recognise the One standing before him because he was blinded by his confidence in his pretended ability to keep the law. All it really took to expose his pretence was to touch the real god he worshipped— his possessions. When the Lord Jesus told him to “go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come be my disciple”, his proud confidence in his pretence of keeping the law disappeared. Not even the promise of riches in heaven could lessen the heaviness of his heart and “he went away sad, grieved and in much distress because he had great possessions”. What about you? What is the true state of your heart right now? Do you feel humiliated and offended by all these details of your corruption and depravity as a human being or has it helped you to see clearly the repulsion and defilement of your heart caused by sin? If the horror of sin and its consequences have dawned on you, the true cry of your heart at this point would be as Isaiah puts it: “Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man/woman of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). Like the jailer in the city of Philippi who guarded the prison doors of apostle Paul and Silas (Acts 16:30), the question on your heart now should be, “what must I do to be saved?” This is the most important question you can ever ask because the answer you give and the step you take in response to your answer will make the difference between being lost and eternally separated from God, or having eternal life and fellowship with God starting from now. If this is the cry of your heart and the

question on your mind, you are ready to go to the next step. Step 4. Recognise the person and work of Jesus Christ Becoming a Christian is not accepting a complex system of rules or formula. It is not opening your mouth and making statements of belief you don’t really understand. Nor is it mindlessly repeating prayers said by someone else even though you know within yourself that you are not really committed to what you are saying. Sin is so terrible because of the majesty of the One we are sinning against. If your heart has been stirred by the disclosure of the dreadfulness of sin, you know that this is no time for pretence but the moment of truth. You are coming to the Saviour, Jesus Christ the Son of God. Who is Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God. He is the Second Person in the Trinity. The Trinity is the Godhead. It simply means the Threein-One God or the God who has revealed Himself in Three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These Three are One (1 John 5:7). Jesus, the Second Person in the Trinity, created you and everything else. Whether they are things in heaven or things on the earth or beneath the earth, and whether they are visible or invisible to the human eyes, He created them all and they all exist for His pleasure (Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).

Jesus said, “you must be born again”(John 3:3).

Becoming a Christian is starting a spiritual life that begins when you enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “you must be born again”(John 3:3) Becoming a Christian is starting a spiritual life

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that begins when you enter into a

He is the undisputable Light that shines through the gloom of sin and condemnation which is ravaging proud and restless human beings today. The countless number of saved souls who have responded to His invitation for reconciliation is evidence of His power to save men’s lives from the terror and tyranny of sin. To know Him is to be at peace with God and to have the assurance of living forever. To have saving faith in God is to believe that Jesus Christ is God’s revelation of the true meaning and purpose of every human being on earth. It is to recognise and accept that Jesus Christ is the true destination of every man. To receive Him into your life is to accept that He is the incarnation and reproduction of the true God in our personal selves, and that it is only in Him and through Him that we and the rest of creation

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come into our divine inheritance. Since all of our human race has been corrupted by the sin of Adam, no human being was therefore qualified to rescue our human race from the Fall and its consequences. Amazingly, despite our sin and disobedience, God still loved us and Jesus agreed to set aside His glory and majesty which He shared with His Father to take up our human nature in other to come down to us and save us from our sins (Philippians 2:5-9). He took on our nature and settled among us so that He could pay the penalty which God’s justice demanded against our sins as fallen human beings while at the same time showing us the exceedingly great love God has for our human race. This is why Jesus Christ is our Saviour— the Saviour of all mankind because His death on the cross was the payment made on behalf of all human beings (John 3:16). When He was on earth, He said He came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). As you can see, becoming a Christian is not something that deserves flimsy attention from


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The sin virus is present in every human being born of a woman, including you. the question on your heart at this point would be “what must I do to be saved?” Jesus said, “you must be born again”(John 3:3).

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"Thank you for the cross, my Friend." - Matt Redman

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D

uring my days as a single woman and a believer in Christ, I attended numerous marriage seminars. I loved to hear discussions on marriage. I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what I was expecting out of them. But, with time, the marriage seminars began to become monotonous. It was like a repetition of what I have learned without any substantive difference from one seminar to the other. Soon, I began to lose interest in attending yet another ‘monotonous’ seminar. I decided to find out the reason behind my loss of interest. However, as with other things in my life in those days, I got distracted and forgot about it. After I got married and began to experience the challenges of the married life, I wanted to make use of the information I gathered from the numerous marriage seminars I attended as a single woman. That’s when I discovered that the lack of substantive issues I observed in those seminars was real. I recalled the key issues addressed in those seminars and found that they were deficient in touching the core issues and root causes of unhappiness in marriage, marriage failures and marriage breakdowns among Christians. Examples of some of the key issues addressed in many marriage seminars are: A definition of marriage. Here, marriage is correctly defined as an institution put in place by God between a man and a woman but without capturing the real purpose in God’s heart when He decided to make marriage a part of man’s experience on earth. The purpose of marriage. Here, the purpose of marriage is given as:

the EDITOR reproduce or participate in the ‘creation’ of more people – procreation- is not said. Submission - the need for the wife to submit to her own husband. Yet again, no one tells why God planned it that way. Love - the need for the husband to love his wife. The husband is told to love his wife and great efforts are made to tell him what that means and involves. Jesus loved the Church and gave His life for her and so should a man love his wife. And what’s God’s intent for that? Zilch! No one tells. Basically all the marriage seminar topics I attended gravitated around these issues. God’s purpose for marriage, what He planned to gain out of it was neither taught nor emphasized. The focus centered around the individual needs of the couple while the need of the Author of marriage was forgotten. It is still the case in many marriage seminars today. Do you wonder why an alarming number of Christian marriages are ending up in divorce and extreme unhappiness? What is God’s purpose for marriage? What is marriage as God intended it? Get more from my upcoming book MARRIAGE AS GOD INTENDED IT.

Reproduction - or procreation & Fellowship - (It’s not good for man to be alone). But, again, why God chose that man should

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"the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands" (Proverbs 14:1).

God's Home-Building

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assume that you have already started a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you haven’t, don’t despair. Just do the following: 1. Download Starting Out – It’s a booklet that introduces you to the Savior Jesus Christ. It shows you how God sees you, why you need the Lord Jesus as your Savior and how to start a personal relationship with Him. 2. Read Starting Out. Once you have downloaded it, read it carefully to understand what it is saying. 3. Respond to the suggestion to surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ by repenting of your sins and asking Jesus to become your Savior and Lord of your life. You can follow the suggestion on how to pray if you don’t know how to say what you want to tell God. 4. Having repented of your sins and sincerely surrendered your life to Jesus and promised Him that from henceforth you are going to live your life according to His teachings in the Bible, you are ready to start learning the skills to become God’s building engineer. Now that you have started a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s explore what it means to be God’s home building engineer. Young lady, you are God’s home-building engineer! The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1 NKJV). Other phrases used for “pull it down” from a few other translations include: tears it down NLT, “plucketh it down” KJV , “can be destroyed” CEV.

Did you know that as a woman, you are God’s engineer for building God’s kind of home? As a young Christian woman hoping to get married some day soon, has it ever occurred to you that God is counting on you to build the kind of home He will be pleased to identify with? If you don’t know this, it will not be surprising to discover that you also do not know that you need to acquire the skills to build a God-honoring home before you marry. I have quoted Proverbs 14:1 above to help you make the connection. This proverb is an eye opener to what God expects from His women, young and old. God has called us to be His Home Building Engineers for the construction of homes in which His glorious eternal purpose is upheld and nurtured for the maturity and fruitfulness of all the members of the home to the glory of His name and kingdom. When you think of building a house, what comes to mind? You think of design skills (architectural designs), structural engineering skills, construction skills, foundation laying skills, bricklaying skills, plastering skills, roofing skills, painting skills and so on. All these skills and more are required if a house is to be successfully built. No one who wants to go into the business of building houses jumps into it without thinking it through, how he will acquire these skills in his business before starting out. A lot of preparation goes into it including serious professional training to acquire the skills. Some people spend as long as five years in training in universities and polytechnics to acquire the skills. Others go to vocational schools where they do hands-on training. There is a lot of serious reading, studying, practical exercises, tests and examinations which must be passed in order to qualify as a building or construction engineer and

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before people are willing to recognize a person as a qualified building engineer they can trust the construction of their homes with. People go to all these length to acquire the skills required to construct houses that can be lived in today and moved out of for another house a year or more latter. However, building a successful home is one profession which the career seekers [all those, -men and women- who desire to get married] delight in and desire so much but never think that a conscious preparation is required to achieve desired results. Unfortunately, like building houses, building a godly home requires multiple skills for a successful one to be achieved. Why young people don’t acquire the necessary skills before getting married First, many young people are not aware that special skills are required to build a successful home where each member is spiritually fulfilled and fruitful to God and His kingdom. At the root of

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this lack of awareness of the need to deliberately acquire necessary wisdom and skills for building Godhonoring homes is the reality that many young women do not have a vision of married life beyond the regulars – having a trouble-free home, a devoted husband, raising up their children and satisfaction with their material welfare. I remember when I was in my early 20s and desiring for my own husband. My preoccupation had nothing to do with any challenge of the married life. I was not concerned with whether or not God had an interest in my marriage or what His stakes were. I was only interested in the fancy of my preferred guy coming along and making the proposal. That was of course until God poked the question – “What legacy will you leave behind for young unmarried Christian women after you get married?” The nonexistence of a vision for marriage among young people is on its own a factor of the understanding and approach to life which characterized the upbringing (or lack of it) of many young people. This approach to life is nothing else but vanity or vain-ness of life. Many young people don’t really understand what


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life is all about, let alone, what marriage is all about, until they have married. Trust me on this. My own life growing up was characterized by this vanity and lack of attention to what is really important. And my friends all shared in this. A vision for marriage A vision of marriage as God intended it is not the primary concern of most young women and you don’t blame them. Many times, our marriage seminars do not address these issues. They are equally shallow and largely human-needs based rather than eye openers into more grandeur matters of God’s purposes for godly married lives. God’s purpose for marriage and what it takes to achieve it are not in the picture. Generally, most young Christian women longing for marriage take it for granted that they know what to do and how to build godly homes when they are married. They assume that all that matters is to fall in love with the right guy and the rest will sort themselves out. But take a look at today’s marriages and you’ll see that the high rate of divorce and discontent is not only among unbelieving women. Divorce levels are also rising among Christians including pastors and others.

make my marriage a successful one.” However, what you have not thought about is what the “whatever it takes” really are. Do you want to start thinking about them?

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Introducing...

LifeVisionBookshops.com Spiritually uplifting books that really stick to the word of God. 16 | October 2011 | Volume 1


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“A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” - Maya Angelou

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THE TERRIBLE

CONSE

OUR

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EQUENCES OF NEGLECTING

CHILDREN

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ne of the horrifying developments in the body of Christ today is the ugly reality that Christian parents are raising unsaved unbelieving children. It is distressing to see moms and dads who claim to love the Lord so passionately, while their children are unsaved. Their children don’t love the Lord and don’t want anything to do with His ways. Their lifestyles are so despicable that they rival and many times even overtake the ungodliness seen in the lives of children whose parents have never known the Lord or His ways. What is even more distressing is that most churchgoing Christian parents are so clueless of their godly responsibilities to their children that they don’t recognize the spiritual implications and the eternal consequences of their failure to raise their children up for Christ. Despite the commitment of most parents to their local churches, the children of the majority of Christian parents are unbelievers. They are not just unbelievers, but, they are so rebellious and sinful that they completely reject the gospel and have no sympathy for any instructions to them based on the authority of God’s word. The sight of children, from homes where moms and dads profess loving the Lord, living lives which are anything but godly is an evidence of the superficial relationship most Christian parents have with the Lord. Failure in our parental responsibility to raise up our children who love the Lord as believers and followers of Christ is a loss for our God, a defeat of His purpose for setting us up as godly parents, a loss for the body of Christ and a loss for the parents themselves. Why would God forbid us from marrying unbelievers if all He ends us with are ungodly children from us? (See 2 Corinthians

6:14-18; 1 Corinthians 6:15-16; 1 Corinthians 3:1617). A terrible penalty is paid by the children themselves through the m ultiple dangers many of them get involved in as a result of their poor judgment and bad choices. It is a loss to everyone. To think of these children leaving home for institutions of higher learning, most of which have become anti-Christian in their positions, makes the likelihood of winning the souls of these children for Christ increasingly remote. Yet, these are children who should have left home adequately prepared to represent the Lord and fully armed and confident in their knowledge of the Lord and fortified by their personal communion with Him. Sadly, this is not the case.Eli the priest – an example of failure in godly parenting The story of Eli the priest is a clear example and warning to us of the terrible consequences of neglecting our parental responsibilities to God in the upbringing of our children as Christian parents. Eli was a priest of God. He was a descendant of Aaron (1 Samuel 2:28). But, he had a poor view of his Godassigned responsibilities toward his sons. He misunderstood God’s purpose for giving him those sons. God chose his forefather out of all the tribes of Israel to be His priest, to offer upon His altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Him and He gave unto the house of his father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire (1 Samuel 2:28). And Eli was of this priestly line of Aaron. While the details of how he raised his children during their childhood are not provided in the story, we don’t need to look any further than the fruit, i.e. the behavior of his children which is a direct result of whatever training he gave them, to see that he did not do a good job. He neglected his godly duties toward his children and made a mess of raising them up

Most churchgoing Christian parents are so clueless of their godly responsibilities

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in the ways of the Lord. God’s word says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18). From the behavior of Eli’s sons and from their attitude toward the things of God, which is the fruit of how they were brought up, we can see whether or not their father, Eli, taught them the fear of God and raised them in the ways of the Lord. Sadly, Eli did not raise up his children in the fear of God. We are told, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:12). What an indictment? The children of the priest, “sons of Belial?” That’s a terrible condemnation. The Amplified Bible says “They were base and worthless; they did not know or regard the Lord.” They had no regard for the Lord God of Israel, the God their father served. Think about that. And think about the children of the majority of believers in Christ today! Could anything be more similar? Let’s consider the behavior Eli’s sons as a result of the training their father gave them, these “scoundrels” or “good-for-nothing priests with no faith in the LORD,” as The Complete Jewish Bible and God’s Word Versions call them : “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant would

come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw." And if the man said to him, "Let them burn

the fat first, and then take as much as you wish," he would say, "No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force" (1 Samuel 2:13-16 ESV). Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:17 NKJV). Can you imagine that? The sons of Eli sinned greatly against the Lord through their behavior. They showed no fear of God. They had no sense of the majesty and presence of the God they were sinning against. They had no

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respect for His holiness or justice, the very things they were meant to defend and promote as members of the priestly line. As a result of their horrendous behavior before the people of Israel, men began to abhor the offering of the Lord. The people began to treat the LORD’s offering with contempt as a result of the behavior of Eli’s sons. It was infuriating and unacceptable to them to bring their hard earned offerings to priests who ignored God’s Law and treated His rules guiding the offering of the sacrifices with such contempt. Provoked by this flagrant abuse of the sacrifices, the open display of greed and the sexual immorality of these priests (1 Samuel 2:22), the people themselves began to despise the sacrifices and to neglect bringing them. What an abuse and corruption of ministry and God’s power provided to discharge the duties of that ministry ! What a promotion of infidelity toward God among God’s people by the priestly sons of Eli who were supposed to teach and encourage the people to honor God with their offerings! And what a terrible reality that all these were due to a parent’s failure to raise his children in the fear of the God he served and worshipped! The consequences of Eli’s failure to raise his sons for God The Judge of the whole earth is just and will therefore punish sin and disobedience wherever it is found. Though He may exercise patience, giving men extended opportunities to repent, He has promised that “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 11:21). And, though many who call themselves God’s children may protest at the mention of God’s judgment, yet it remains true that God will not strive with the spirit of man forever (Genesis 6:3). The consequences of Eli’s failure to raise his

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children to honor God in their lives were catastrophic. The sins of the sons of Eli escalated to the point where they were not only defiling the sacrifices offered to the Lord by God’s people, but, they were also desecrating the Tabernacle of the Congregation (the Tent of Meeting, the place of worship), by sleeping around with the women who served at the door of the Tent of Meeting. Well, the day finally came when God had had it with Eli and his sons. God sent His messenger to Eli who said to him: "Thus the LORD has said, 'Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?' Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,' but now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.’ Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do


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according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, "Please put me in one of the priests' places, that I may eat a morsel of bread"'" (1 Samuel 2:27-36).

Parents’ culpability

rebellious sons - Hophni and Phinehas- on the same day. Worse still, those who survived the violent physical death would be spared just so that they could experience bitter pain, weeping their eyes out with grief in their hearts. The rest shall beg for bread or money to buy it, looking for jobs as priests and finding none. Even more painful is that they would be completely replaced from being priests. None from the line of Eli would ever qualify again to be a priest unto the Lord. What a grievous punishment and all for failing the parental responsibility of bringing up his children in the fear of the God of Israel, the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! It is noteworthy that even though Eli’s sons were the ones committing the horrible sins against God, God’s judgment and condemnation were sent to Eli. “Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” God charged. God’s judgment was against the house of Eli. Why? Because Eli was the parent and he knew what his sons were doing but did nothing against it. God said, “On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have

The consequences of Eli’s failure to raise his children to honor God in their lives were catastrophic.

God’s judgments above against Eli and his sons were severe and terrifying. God Himself described it to young Samuel as “a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle” (1 Samuel 3:11). God would cut off the strength of Eli and the strength of his father’s house, meaning, He would stop him and his household from being priests unto God. This was the position which made him and his sons popular and powerful in Israel and a position which his children abused to their corrupt hearts’ content. It’s not a surprise then that a new priestly order, the order of Melchizedek, was instituted to replace the Levitical priesthood of Aaron, Eli’s forefather. The cutting off of Eli’s strength also included physical death to him and his two

He honored his sons above God. Eli loved his sons more than God.

He honored his sons above God. Eli loved his sons more than God.

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spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:12-13). He was the one commissioned by God as a parent, to train up his children in the way they should go, so that even when they are old, they would not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). And what did he do instead? He honored his sons above God. Eli loved his sons more than God. He loved his sons at the expense of teaching them the ways of the God of Jacob who owns those children in the first place. As a priest of God, he was in a pole position to know God’s command concerning parents’ responsibility to teach His words to their children. “NOW LISTEN and give heed, O Israel, to the statutes and ordinances which I teach you, and do them, that you may live and go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land which you are entering to possess. So keep them and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. Only take heed, and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your [mind and] heart all the days of your life. Teach them to your children and your children's children-

- Especially how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, the Lord said to me, Gather the people together to Me and I will make them hear My words, that they may learn [reverently] to fear Me all the days they live upon the earth and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2,56,9-10). By not teaching his children God’s word as God commanded, Eli the priest “diminished” God’s word and the results were disastrous for himself, his sons, and his father’s house. His children lacked the wisdom and understanding they should have had and instead of being ambassadors of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they became the sons and representatives of Belial. It didn’t stop there. The rotting result of that failure cascaded into the lives of God’s people and changed their behavior towards God’s sacrifice by influencing them to despise it. What a horrifying result. How about us as God’s present-day priests and parents on earth? Are we any different in our approach to parenting our children? When you think of this, that we as parents are willing to pamper our children as they indulge in their flesh and in all the pleasure-drunk madness of the world, we begin to understand the root of our failures in bringing up our children for Christ. Today, most Christian parents are so preoccupied with work and the challenges of meeting the ever- increasing and insatiable material and emotional needs of their young ones to be concerned with the spiritual needs of their children. Like Eli, we will go to any length to provide for the material comfort of our children even at the risk of compromising our personal devotion to the Lord through the personal study of His word and communion with Him through His Spirit. Slowly but surely we “forget the things

We are so careless with the spiritual needs of our children...

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which our eyes have seen” and our fervent devotion to the Lord and obedience to His word slip away unnoticed. Caught in the cycle of material pursuit for our children, making time to sit down with our children to teach them God’s word and His ways until they understand it enough to yield their lives to the Savior is forgotten. We are content with sending them to church programs we assume will take over our responsibility of feeding their spirits and by so doing we assume that our spiritual job of discipling them is done. Even in the church programs we send them, we don’t care about the content of what they learn. In these days of the abundance of false preachers and false teachings, when the pastors of most churches no longer subscribe to truth according to the Bible, how can we not care about our children are learning and who is teaching them? How can we be unconcerned about the impact of what they are learning, if any, on their lives and personal relationship with the Lord? We are so careless with the spiritual needs of our children because our preoccupation with getting the economic means needed to secure their physical and material welfare has taken up all the time needed for our personal devotion to the Lord where we identify and sort out our true priorities. It is our primary duty as priests of God to lead our children to Christ and to educate them in the ways of the Lord during the early stages of their lives. Our children should be our first targets for soul winning.

chances coming from parents who believe and obey His word (Malachi 2:15). When we neglect our primary parental responsibility of leading our children to Christ, we fail God so badly. It is inconceivable and unacceptable that we who claim to love the Lord with all our hearts should fail to lead our children to know Him, His Laws and His ways, as part of our commitment in raising them up. God’s Law commands us to bring up our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). If each married Christian couple and all those intending or about to get married would commit to obey this command and diligently fulfill it, we would have a different situation in our homes, our churches and the world. We would be confident that our children who leave home for universities and other institutions of higher learning will represent Christ and not be torn apart by or add to the ungodliness sweeping across most institutions particularly in their lecture rooms. The increasing rates at which young people are leaving church, a growing concern among parents and pastors alike, would not be the case. While this may sound like a pipe dream, particularly in this apostate lukewarm age we live in, the real issue lies with the personal fellowship of parents with the Lord. Parents who are in a living and obedient personal relationship with the Lord will do whatever it takes to lead their children to Christ and disciple them to be effective in their walk with Him. Those who are not in such lively communion with the Lord will find excuses to justify their actions. This article is a call to parents both to reconsider their commitment to the Lord to bring up their children as God has commanded and also to

It will be mission accomplished for you as you look at them in the future

Being directly responsible for bringing them into the world gives us a headstart to do a good job on this. That’s what God expects when He commanded us not to marry unbelievers. He is head-hunting for godly children. And He saw His best

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reexamine the quality of their personal love, obedience and devotion to the Lord. Can you pause and picture what this world would be like if all the children of all believers in Christ were also believers in Christ who passionately love the Lord and display it through obedience to His word and dependence on the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Can you imagine, even very briefly, what it would look like if children from believing parents are believers themselves and have lifestyles that honor the Lord among their peers? Eli’s sons were called the sons of Belial, worthless and good-for-nothing children. Their father knew the Lord but failed to teach his children and exercise his parental authority over them when they were growing up. When his children became adults, they became, not the children of God, not even the children of Eli, but the children of Belial. When God judged the case, Eli was severely punished for his failure. If we believe that God never changes and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, should we expect any less judgment from a God who has provided us with more grace and spiritual resources than Eli had at his disposal? Dear Christian parents and future Christian parents, I appeal to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to wake up from your careless response to the parental responsibility of raising your children for the Lord. Arise with passion from the endless and exhaustive pursuit of material satisfaction of your children’s needs. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). There you have it. Your children are included. While the material needs of our children are important, they are not as important as their spiritual and eternal needs of knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior and the Lord of their lives. They should learn to live for Him

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who died to set them free from the power of Satan, sin, the flesh and the world, while still under your parentage. Please take time to teach your children to fear God, disciple them to hold God’s word in high esteem as the standard for their lives. It is the lamp for their feet and the light to lighten their path in life (Psalm 119:105). “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). Raising your children to value God’s word and obey Him will be wisdom and understanding for them. It will be mission accomplished for you as you look at them in the future to see how fruitful to God’s kingdom their lives turned out to be. This is not the time to walk as fools. God’s word says we should see to it that we walk and live our lives vigilantly, “not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Therefore, get serious, be determined and diligent. It is a desire of our heavenly Father to gain godly children from our marriages. Start early, for those who have just started childbearing. Be an example to your own children in your own personal devotion to the Lord. Let them learn from you the importance of reading and knowing God’s word. Let them see how precious the Lord is to you and how you depend on Him for all decisions in your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you know when to be firm and when to be merciful. Don’t ignore firmness for mercy and fondness and don’t underrate the place of mercy and fondness with your children. It will be a shame if you are a believer in Christ and your youth dies prematurely and you can’t even attest to whether he is with the Lord or has perished. The souls of your young children are in your hands. The eternal consequences of continuing to neglect your parental responsibility of raising your children for Christ is incalculable. God has graciously given you the assurance that if you would train


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them in the way they should go in the nurture and admonition of the Lord- they will not depart from it as they grow older. It doesn’t matter where they go, they will stick with God’s truth you buried in their hearts and modeled to their conscience. Please don’t ignore this call for the sake of the eternal destiny of your children. May the Lord strengthen you and may the hope of glory stir you passionately in this task.

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Contents Contents Beginnings Starting out with Jesus p2 The Editor: Divorce Why is it so rampant in the Church? p11 Women God's Home-Building Engineers p12 Parenting The Terrible Consequences of Neglecting Our Godly Duties to Our Children p18

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10 16 17 Volume 1 | October 2011 | 29


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