Protecting Our Families

door-1089560_960_720It’s bedtime Saturday night, and I do what we are careful to do in my home every night. I ease through the house bolting doors, turning out lights, telling each family member that I love them and “good night.” It’s routine yet it gives me a measure of security to know my family is tucked in behind locked doors.

Sunday morning arrives and I go to worship the Lord with good brethren. I smile and shake the hand of security team members at the entrance to the building. I feel a sense of regret that such measures have to be taken in a house of worship but still I’m thankful to know my family’s safety is being carefully guarded by good men.

Come Monday, I take advantage of the opportunity to visit my grandson at school and enjoy a nice lunch together. The check-in procedure is a slight inconvenience but nevertheless, a certain calmness is felt. I know this is done to help insure that my grandson makes it through the day with no harm coming to him. He smiles at the school officer like they are old friends.

And then it hits me. I am taking all these precautions and rejoicing in the efforts of others to protect my family from an outsider, but the chief threat to my family’s security is an insider. ME. My own sin and rebellion.

Certainly, there have been families here and there who have been hurt by unwelcomed intruders. Yet, far more have been hurt by dads and moms who did not guard what mattered most—their own hearts. And because they did not, they fall into sins that devastate the family, leaving behind a lot of insecurity.

Perhaps it is an adulterous affair with someone at work that ends up destroying a marriage. Maybe it’s the pressures of the daily life that led to a gradual addiction to alcohol or prescription meds. Or it could be something far more common, like becoming a work-a-holic who has little time to really know one’s children and be involved in their lives. It might even be inconsistency in one’s relationship with Christ, fired up some of the time but neglectful most of the time. Locking doors at night but letting the devil slip into our hearts day-by-day.

God’s word says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). Every day, at every moment, I must make sure my heart is remaining true to the Lord. I must be on high alert any for lapses in my integrity. My family’s future depends on it…and so does yours.

If you are the leader of a family, the devil will always be looking for his opportunity to catch you off guard. He will wait for you to become distracted and a little lax. He will then gradually ease in upon a heart that has been left unprotected. We must “watch and pray” lest we enter into temptation, knowing the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41). We must not “give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). Some versions say “give no opportunity to the devil” or “do not give the devil a foothold.” We simply have to watch and pray at all times for “your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

And if you need a Biblical example, do you remember that one event in King David’s life that did so much harm? He committed adultery with Bathsheba and afterward his family spiraled out of control. The man after God’s own heart guarded Israel well with His mighty skills as a warrior, but on one given night, with boredom setting in, he failed to guard himself. Don’t you know he wished many times over that night had never occurred? I wonder if he was able to look back with 20/20 hindsight and clearly see every moment of slippage that went undetected at the time.

So, the next time I lock a door in my house, I think I’ll stop and remind myself to lock my heart. I’ll remind myself that my own integrity and loyalty to God is the greatest protection I can give to those sleeping under my roof. And of course, I’ll ask God to keep me close to Him and supply me with His wisdom that will preserve me and keep me (Proverbs 4:5-6). Have you locked the door of your heart? Is your family safe tonight? May God watch over you and those you love.

 -Jeff May

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The Saved and the Innocent: Making Heaven Brighter

fatherchildIt is hard to imagine a world so bright and glorious that even the sun and moon could add nothing to its illumination.  But there is such a world.  For Christians, it’s the world to come, and it’s called heaven.

As John saw the heavenly city, he described it as a place that “had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.  And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it” (Revelation 21:23-24).

There is something fascinating in that description.  God’s glory illuminates heaven.  There is no need of sun nor moon.  Yet, MORE glory and honor is brought into the city by those who inhabit it.  It’s as if, unable to be made more glorious by any physical source of light, heaven is somehow beautified by the light-filled beings who enter in.

Every human being who as ever lived will inhabit eternity…somewhere.  Those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus will dwell eternally in heaven (Revelation 5:9).  Other beings will be there as well.  Angels to be sure, but also innocent children.

When a husband and wife, through the providence of God, conceive a child in this world, an immortal soul has its inception.  If the child passes from this life in the womb, or anytime before adulthood, the Scriptures indicate that the child is safe and will enter the heavenly abode — “for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:13-14).

It is a painful and traumatic experience to lose a child; it is an experience that my wife and I have had, and that my parents also went through.  But there is comfort in the hope of being with the child in the world to come.  When King David’s infant son died, he said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23).

The desire of a loving parent to spend eternity with an innocent child who has passed on can be very powerful.  In fact, it can change the entire trajectory of a person’s life.  And ultimately, it changes heaven itself.  In the glorious light of God’s presence, the sweet presence of innocent children will surely make heaven all the more extraordinary.

May every adult who has been touched by the loss of a child be inspired to seek the comfort that the child as found in heaven.

 — Steve Klein

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