Special Insights No. 4
First Quarter 2006
Families in the Family of God
(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)
Living With Lambs
We are living in the last moments of earths history. Societys plunge into evil has even left many secularists aghast. The devil has come down with great wrath because he knows his time is short. And nowhere is this struggle for souls seen more fully than in the present generation of children and youth.
In 2 Timothy 3, the Apostle Paul wrote a stinging description of what the state of things would be in the last days. Specially noted was the fact that children would be disobedient to parents.
This weeks lesson, Living with Lambs, discusses some of the typical issues facing parentsresponsibility, discipline, stewardship, and momentous decisions. It rightly points us to Christ, who tends his flock like a shepherd and gathers the lambs in His arms (Isaiah 40:11).
It brings to mind the heart of the Shepherd and how He must feel as millions of children are abused, neglected, and enticed to evil each day. This is not something for scholarly discussions in walnut-paneled board rooms. From heavens view we are in crisis.
We are living in an age in which righteousness and evil are both developing to their fullest extent. As Seventh-day Adventist Christian parents, we of all people on earth should be most alert to the sophistries of Satan. But many of us sleep while the devil seduces our children. May God help us!
The principle of Satans kingdom from the very beginning has been self-exaltation. Pride, self-worship, and the desire to be first are his trademarks. But the Lord has not left us helpless.
Commensurate with the times in which we live and the unthinkable temptations to which we are exposed daily, the Lord in His mercy sent a most precious message to our church beginning in 1888, a message powerful enough to overcome the devil in all his artful forms.
It was the simple yet infinite message of the cross. At no time in the history of the universe has the self-denying love of God for our race been more fully revealed than in that terrible, unspeakable event. Leaving the loving companionship of His Father and heavenly hosts, our precious Savior did not despise the shame but humbled himself, taking the form of a servant and finally experiencing the complete darkness and separation from the Lifegiver that sin brings, even the death of the cross.
How does this emphasis on the cross of Christ impact our study about Living with Lambs this week?
Sundays lesson discusses our responsibility to God as stewards of His children. Children are a most sacred trust. At most we have but a few years to shape and mold their characters for this life and the next. We have the priceless opportunity of sharing with our children the story of Jesus, of reading to them from His Word, of repeating lessons from nature, of teaching them to pray, and of studying lessons from sacred history. The family circle is sacred and embraces the very throne of heaven. It is our privilege to unite the hearts of our children in love to each other and to our Maker.
The gospel message gives courage to those struggling to decide whether or not to have children (Mondays lesson). It is possible to raise godly children in a godless age because the grace of God is so much greater than the power of sin. Satan is not the winner. He has already lost this battle. In faith, we claim Christs victory as our own and for our children. Indeed, we are called to have children in order that they might bear witness to the saving power of the cross to our dying world.
The story of the cross reveals the heart of our heavenly Father (Tuesdays lesson) toward our fallen race. He suffered with His Son as Jesus died on the cross. The heart-wrenching agony that the Father experienced in losing His Son makes Him the most sympathizing, understanding Father this world has ever known. His Fathers heart sees ever tear and feels every injustice heaped upon His children. We are precious in His sight.
Raising children (Wednesdays lesson) enables us to experience the gospel in very practical ways. It is our privilege to pray for and claim the fruits of the spirit as a promise in our lives and the lives of our children. How often do you see a family in which love, joy, peace, self-control, temperance, order, and patience are manifested? These all result from living a life of self-denial.
The cross also provides the key to discipline (Thursday and Fridays lessons) for it is here that we see mercy and justice mingled together. When our children fall to temptation, it is our privilege to lead them to the cross. We teach them of One who was rich but became poor for our sake, that we who are poor, might experience the riches of His saving love and win others for His sake.
When Jesus comes again, will He find faith on the earth? Will there be any children who have followed Him in the path to the cross?
Here is a promise that such will be the case: Here I am and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in
Patricia L. Guthrie
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