Author: Bruce Cook
In a Wednesday evening prayer service my daughter expressed her deep heart felt concern about children and parents that may never know about the Lord. They may only see the inside of a church for vacation bible school, or as a visitor at some other church function, but they never commit themselves and accept Jesus.
So with God’s nudging I decided to lay aside what I was working on and write about the family.
I obtained the material for this article from the Bible, notes from television sermons, church sermons and internet material on Christian families on ChristianLivingInstitute.org and FamilyLife.com.
This past father’s day my son and daughter-in-law bought me a book about Heaven written by Randy Alcorn. They said it would be something that would be on the lighter, brighter and happier side for me to read and study for a change.
My main focus for the past couple of years in my writings has been to try to make people more alert and aware to what the cost of sin is, why and who the instigator of our sins really is - the father of lies and deceit, Satan.
In the cosmic warfare known as human existence, Satan attempts to neutralize the church and family in order to destroy humanity and all of creation. It is the devils final battle plan, to cripple the church in order to affect, enslave and ultimately destroy the family and mankind. 2 Cor. 11: 14-15 tells us that Satan will use his back up plan to infiltrate their ranks dressed as an angel of light. Then he will bring a veil over all that is good, beautiful and true and take them captive through their own religion.
There is a God. There is good and evil, truth and lies, life and death. Unless the Lord returns each and everyone of us will die. The mortality rate is 100%, and death is forever and ever. Father Corapi begins each one of his talks by saying that you and I, when we die are forever going to either Heaven or Hell. There are no other alternatives.
I started reading and searching for information on the study of Heaven. Before I got half way through the book it was as if God kept placing before me in my mind the thought about families and spiritual warfare. I started to think about how Satan has launched a major all out campaign on our families of today. But you see this didn’t all just happen today.
As I thought about our families and what has happened to them, my thoughts went back to just before World War II and my younger years. In most homes there was a mother at home nearly all of the time. You knew that she was always going to be there, that dad would be home at the end of his work shift and they were always available for us. We knew that Sundays were for Sunday School, Church, rest and visiting. Even though we didn’t have much in the way of material things we felt safe, secure and loved. You might say we were the Beaver Cleaver families with their values. Most families went to church together, and worshipped together. Sunday School was an important part of our lives.
As children growing up, it was safe to play all around the neighborhood, even into the dark of evening without the fear that we have today of the horrendous acts being committed against our children and adults. We were able to walk the entire length of the city at nighttime going to and from the store, school events, church activities and movies, which by the way were nearly all family oriented, and we could do this without fear.
When World War II started I was 13 years old. Husbands, sons, brothers and some women were leaving home to enter into the armed services to fight for our country. Wives and mothers were required to leave children at home for periods of time to work at jobs vacated by the men and vital to our survival as a nation. Teenage children from sixteen years of age and up worked night shifts on jobs and went to school during the day. Young men were drafted right from high school, some of them not never graduated. Those under sixteen worked at other jobs that needed to be done such as family businesses, farms or other necessary jobs.
Because of mothers and wives working, children could be left home at times by themselves for periods of time that today would bring all kinds of agencies swooping down on them. In reality they grew up and become adults before their natural time. This provided millions of opportunities for Satan to invade our family structure, as we had known it. At first if you weren’t paying attention you would hardly even notice what was happening. But it was the beginning of the self-destruction of our families.
As we went out into the work place or into the armed service we were exposed to swearing, drinking, smoking and many other forms of sinful activities. There were some spouses that we’re not faithful to their mates, this also applied to a number of service personnel who were even worse while away from home. It was the beginning of what was to become a fast moral decline in our nation and it has continued on a fast decline reaching a new low of moral values that we thought would never exist. We were a generation that won one war by fighting and out producing our enemies, but we allowed the forces of evil to assault us from within in another spiritual war.
Over the years we repealed blue laws that had prohibited selling non-essential items on Sundays. We began to demand more things of pleasure that took up so much time and money. We have even changed some of our holidays for long weekends to take more time for pleasure. My generation and the generation we raised along with their generation slowly began to leave God out of the equation.
Adults and children slowly became a generation not reading or studying the bible, and rarely if ever attending church or Sunday school. Many gave little or no thought about religion or God, Heaven or Hell. As a result whole families are being lost, and churches are closing. We became families that needed two wage earners to keep up. You see spiritual warfare truly involves the family through compulsion, habits, vices, alcohol, drugs, gambling, television, pornography, abortion, abuse of children, spousal abuse, divorces, lust in men and women through homosexuality, and just about any other way that you can imagine. We seem to be inventing new ways to glamorize and break the Ten Commandments.
The family is the basic building block of society, to deny this fundamental fact is foolhardy and reckless. Like any war this one has weapons, tactics and strategy. A battle plan is essential. The family is the basic unit in God’s army, and it is either battle ready or it isn’t.
Satan has attacked our families every way imaginable. The Christian family has traditionally been at the very heart and foundation of our country. We are ignoring the sanctity of human life through abortions, so called same sex marriages, accepting homosexuality and living together without marriage. The sanctity of marriage has come under violent attack in recent decades, undermining the stability of the family and ultimately society itself. The church should teach us that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman that is not to be violated but see as sacred.
Scripture provides us with guidance and values that effectively cross cultures and centuries. The commandment to honor our parents is universal. There is a sacred trust between husband and wife that should not be broken through adultery. The parable of the prodigal son stresses the father welcoming home the wayward child- and calls the elder son to forgive. Do you know anyone today who is not a prodigal son or daughter? We are all sinners in some way.
The Bible offers us principles by which today’s family structures can be judged and by which today’s families can live. Families thrive when they are guided by the biblical values of love, compassion, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, truth seeking, accountability, and stewardship of resources.
Much in our culture today undercuts the biblical principles that support families, such as unchecked materialism, consumerism, and an ethic of individualism that allows us to be unaccountable to one another. In families, we - children and adults- can be protected and nurtured. We can learn to love, sacrifice, and support one another. There we form the moral and social values that guide our lives. In families, we have the opportunity to be intimately known and unconditionally accepted. As Christians the church is called to be “the household of God”, a spiritual family. The lack of Christian leadership in a family leads to instability, communication disappears, Spiritual roots disintragate, and relationships struggle.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING
Every day in the United States
4,219 teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases.
2,329 teenagers unintentionally become pregnant.
908 teenagers who didn’t intend on becoming pregnant obtain abortions.
1,000 adolescents begin drinking alcohol.
500 adolescents begin using illicit drugs.
16,000 crimes are committed on school campuses.
Young people are taught in our schools and colleges that ethics, morals, right and wrong depend upon the situation. Some teachers and professors use the concept of Values Clarification to instruct students that their desires represent valid moral and ethical values. Many of these people have come of age and are among our highest leaders today.
Morality is important in all areas of society. It is the critical education young people receive that imparts ethical values that provide lasting benefits. Today’s teachings produce mixed results.
Some differences among the general population by teenagers are as follows:
1. Drug use by teenagers is 59% less when parents set clear rules.
2. Drug use among teenagers participation in school related activities was 50% of the rate for those students not participating.
3. Drug use was 2.4 times higher among non religious students than for those participating in religious activities.
4. Drug use is 4 times higher among students receiving poor grades than those receiving good grades.
Note that non religious students use drugs 2.4 times more than those participating in religious activities.
Youth without Objective Standards of Truth are:
48% more likely to cheat on an exam.
2 times more likely to get drunk.
3 times more likely to use illegal drugs.
6 times more likely to attempt suicide.
It is vital that you understand the objective standard of right and wrong. The principles of the Ten Commandments, VS, right and wrong being fluid and changing, depending on the situation and desired outcome. This is the philosophy of much of postmodern society today.
It is also vital that you understand these two ethical positions that have come about because they affect our way of life. Views of morality affect your health and safety, they affect crime, they affect business, they affect government and they affect your future and they affect your families. Our secular schools are probably not teaching objective moral standards. You will not observe objective moral standards on network television programs. It is vitally important to our families and our religious institutions to pick up the slack and re-establish basic objective moral principles among our people. Family is mentioned 179 times in the bible. So we might ask ourselves how important was family to God? In Genesis we find that God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to have a family and populate the earth. In Genesis 19:15 it says that Lot, his wife and two daughters were taken by the hand and led out of Sodom before it was destroyed. (Note that it was done as a family). In Genesis 7:1 The Lord said to Noah, “Go into the Ark you and your family, because I have found you righteous in this generation”. All others were destroyed by the flooding waters.
God made sure that His Son Jesus was born into, raised and nourished as a family by Joseph and Mary. Jesus himself graced a wedding at Cana in Galile, the union of a husband and wife to form a family. There are probably others we could name, but this shows how important family is to God.
When Satan’s army attacks your country and takes over the town in which you and your family live, they will seize and control city hall (political and taxation control.) They will pass and interpret laws that will undermine our way of life. They will control the newspapers, radios and television stations and phone companies controlling the means of communication. They will control the banks and financial institutions gaining monetary control. They will control the major businesses including the electric power and water plants controlling the means of production. They will also eventually seize control of the churches and schools. Psychological warfare is interwoven throughout all of this control and these demonically oppressed souls are control Freaks! Just look at what has happened to us in our country today, and ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar to you. Politicians are spending our tax money to support evil schemes.
To quote Father Corapi “Spiritual warfare truly involves the family”. The family is the basic building blocks of society. To deny this fundamental fact is foolhardy and reckless. This war is real. It is a war for our families. This is a war to end all wars, the consequences of which are eternal. Most people and families today just ignore the battle or give up, surrendering their eternal future to chance or the enemy himself. Surrender is not an option. Fight or die. Satan has attacked the family every way imaginable.
When we look around today’s society we can see the continuing breakdown of family life. What is the answer to reverse this sad trend? Words alone won’t do it. In today’s world we are bombarded by words, sitcoms depicting family situations far from the Christian ideal and advertisements creating desires we often can’t fulfill in our own families.
What Jesus needs now are families ready to become witnesses. What is needed are actual examples of good Christian family life. We aren’t talking about spoken testimony. Real life examples of families who are living out the kind of family life God is calling us to that will attract others. Seeing what works speaks volumes.
Instead of wringing our hands about the erosion of the family as an institution, we can look at this as an opportunity. People will take notice of a family where the parents show mutual love and respect, and the family has learned to live well together. “A truly Christian home is a place where sinners live; but it is also a place where the members of that home admit that fact and understand the problem, know what to do about it, and as a result grow by grace.”
The Christian Home, then, is a place where sinful persons face the problems of a sinful world, yet they face them together with God and His resources, which are all centered in Christ. Sinners live in the Christian Home, but the sinless Savior lives there too. That is what makes all the difference.
Colossians 2:3, Christ in whom are all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge. If we follow in the foot steps of Jesus in our families, it will influence everything our family does. Preparing our family to be the kind Jesus needs now, it may not be easy, but it is not very complicated, just cultivate the family’s relationship with Jesus Christ. We can start by claiming our households for the lord. Psalms 127:1 says that: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. To me this means that each member of the family needs to experience the forgiveness, love and acceptance which God offers us in Christ. A good place to start is with us as parents. Our children need to see parents who know how to love and live with each other. Helping them to understand God’s unconditional love is the most precious gift that we can give our children.
Today with over half our marriages ending in divorce and unmarried couples living together, one of the greatest fears of children are not if their parents are going to get a divorce, but when their parents will be the next statistics. This causes them to be insecure, have problems of depression, behavior problems and anxiety disorders. So parents give your children consistent, solid assurances that you love your spouse beyond a shadow of a doubt and that you are going to be there for them.
The home is being attacked from without and within. Marriage as an institution is being attacked openly. Some are advocating the idea of an “Open Marriage” or “Trial Marriage”. The so-called “Women’s Liberation Movement” belittles the role of wife and mother and generally undermines the structure of the home and family. Problems that arise from within the home which weaken and destroy, are jealousy, envy, strife, financial problems, sexual problems, etc., these all work from within the home. Divorce is looked upon by many as an easy way out.
Abuse whether sexual, physical, emotional, or mental is a very real and crippling problem in our families today. Young adults, couples and elderly struggle with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sex addiction, abuse, incest, sleep disorders, divorce, mid-life illness, death and many more problems.
The family has dramatically changed over the last 30 years. Resulting in deteriorated morals, values, beliefs, priorities, and life styles. This launched individuals and couples, young and old into a time of unprecedented personal liberties. The outcome is well documented with mental, emotional, spiritual and physical illness statistics.
With all of this erupted within the American Society, confusion and disorganization reigns. And can you believe they say that no one knows how to fix it. As Christians you and I know how to fix it, but this is how unaware of our God that society is today.
We need to do our best to protect our children from the exploitation of sex in our culture. As Christians we need to protect our children and families, to hold ourselves apart from it as well. To recognize and teach that it is a sacred realm, and that we need to refrain from all casual sex; that is all sex outside of marriage, in heart, body and mind. This means no sex before marriage. Once you cross that boundary things begin to blur the lines in this area, it becomes very difficult to hold to principle.
We are dealing with the fall out from relationships that are not committed, that lack maturity, that do not embrace the sacredness of Christian marriages and families. Teen pregnancies, single parents struggling in poverty, children growing up in unstable homes, adults bereft of emotional and spiritual support, abuse and domestic violence and of course abortions - that most serious consequence of sexual recklessness. There is so much to be said for maintaining the traditional marital boundary that it’s surprising that we find it so hard to defend it.
I want to leave you with this little illustration. A young man in prison received a Bible from his mother by way of the chaplain’s office. He said,” take it back and tell her the first drink I took was from her hand and that I learned to gamble in her home”. What do your children learn in your home? Do they learn to pray and study the Bible? What kind of associations do you provide? We must teach our children that the Bible is the most important book in the world, and will have all of the answers of life.
We must help them get their priorities in proper order:
God must be first.
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