Are You on a Collision Course?

Our family was returning home from a trip to Lawton, Oklahoma. Happy, enthusiastic talk filled the van as we rolled down the interstate. Ahead of us on the other side of the highway, I noticed a car that was just merging onto the other side of interstate headed the opposite direction from us. Suddenly, I saw the car abruptly make a sharp 180 degree turn and strike out toward seventy-mile-per-hour oncoming traffic—a nightmare scenario.

In horror I said aloud, “Oh no!” and I cried out, “Lord Jesus, help them!” As we passed the car now traveling the same direction as us, I saw a woman driving with several small children in the car. I glanced ahead. There were two cars bearing down on her. To the Maxwell family’s relief, she pulled over and stopped on the median shoulder as the cars safely whizzed by her.

Our excited chatter had been replaced by a momentary deathly silence. Now everyone was voicing a similar thought. What if she hadn’t pulled over then? We realized we had just narrowly missed being eyewitnesses to a freeway head-on collision. We could not fathom what possessed that woman to make a U-turn and head the wrong way down the interstate toward oncoming traffic. How could she have risked her life, the children’s lives, and those of the people in the other cars?

Praise God that she realized she was heading in the wrong direction and took appropriate action in time to avert a disaster. How heartbreaking it would have been to watch something terrible happen had she struck one of the two oncoming cars.

For quite a while now, Teri and I have had heavy hearts as we read e-mails, read message board posts, and observe Christian families losing their children to the world. These families are busy with normal life until, all of a sudden, they are in the midst of a crisis. The child, who has been nurtured and taught for so many years, begins making choices that reflect the negative influence of the world.

Our sadness is nothing compared to what the parents of those children have experienced. The disappointment and anguish they suffer is horrible. But where is God in all of this? Does not His Word offer hope for the rest of us? Is it simply the destiny of a fixed percentage of families to have a child who will embrace the world?

It can be discouraging for parents when they look around and mostly see teens who are very worldly. Is there nothing that can be done, or do we just wait until they’re grown to see how it will all turn out?

We have found encouragement in these verses. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:2-5).

As we look at these verses, it is clear that they are intended to be the litmus test of a man to see if he qualifies to be an elder or overseer of the church. Let me briefly list the meaning of the requirements: blameless, have one wife (one marriage), vigilant (circumspect or temperate), sober (self-controlled), of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not a drinker, not violent, not greedy, patient, not quick to quarrel (peaceable), not covetous, rules his house well, and having reverent children. Also, in Titus 1:6, it is added that the children would be faithful.

As we look at those requirements, we see how none of them have to do with the color of the man’s hair or how tall he is. Notice that the first thirteen all have to do with things that are affected by his personal choices of obedience to the truths of God’s Word. For example, a man makes a choice as to whether he will be self-controlled or gluttonous, greedy or generous, patient or angry. In the same way, this man of God who is qualified to lead the church has made decisions that have allowed him to rule his house well and raise obedient children. The fruit of that man’s walk with Jesus Christ are children who are reverent and faithful. His home is to be a miniature representation of the church.

The focus of the elder’s heart and his efforts are on fulfilling his God-directed, God-given, and God-taught responsibilities. He is proving himself to be a follower of God, by walking in love and obedience, and therefore he is qualified to lead the church.

Frequently, we see families who are on a collision course with disaster. At first they aren’t aware of it, but in time, they realize all is not well as they sense they have lost their children’s hearts. Our prayer is that they will realize it before it is too late. They need to hit the brakes and get off the road they are traveling down.

The problem is that, often, those needing to change direction are comfortable because they are with so many others. Someone once told me he was okay going to hell because all his friends were going to be there as well. Unfortunately, when the results of that decision are realized, it will be too late, and hell will not be the party that he was expecting. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Whether you are following the crowd or on your own, I plead with you, don’t propel yourself into a similar situation as that woman we saw. Praise God she finally made the right decision before it cost her, her children, and others a horrible consequence. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Matthew 24:45).


Turn Your Heart

Malachi 4:6 says, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” From this verse it is obvious that parents’ hearts turned toward their children are important to the Lord Jesus. As Christian homeschooling moms, I expect each of us would say that we have our hearts turned toward our children because the Lord has called us to this job. If our children weren’t our highest priority after our relationships with the Lord and then our relationships with our husbands, we wouldn’t be homeschooling. It seems that homeschooling is a proof to us that our focus is on our children. But I wonder if this is always the case.

I have discovered that having my heart turned to my children involves a choice on my part. Homeschooling certainly plays a role in that. However, I can mechanically homeschool without my heart truly being turned to my children. For me the fruit of a focus on the children is observed through my attitude toward school. Do I look forward to school time as a joy, or do I dread it as an unpleasant task? Do I smile at my children, or is my forehead knit together in frustration with them? Do I speak encouraging words to my students, or do I criticize their attempts to accomplish their schoolwork?

No matter what my feelings are toward school, Scripture tells me that I have a responsibility in what I think about and how I act. The Lord wants me to have my heart turned to my children. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This tells me that if I am struggling with negative feelings about school, then I can take those thoughts captive and bring them into the obedience of Christ by thinking the truth of God’s Word. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

If I feel down and discouraged, I can choose to replace those thoughts with the truth of the Word. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). If I feel like lashing out at the children rather than using sweet, encouraging words, I can recall, “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21).

What might be other demonstrations that my heart is turned to my children? I believe one would be what I do with my time. Do I always stay busy with housework so that there is no time for the children? Am I prone to sit at the computer rather than reading a book to the children, playing a game with them, or teaching them a productive skill? What I have found in my life is that it is often easier to vacuum or do something at the computer than it is to spend time with the children. When my heart is turned toward myself, I spend my time doing what I want to do. However, when my heart is turned toward my children, I spend my time doing what they like to do with me or what is productive for them.

I want my children to remember a mommy filled with love for them that was evidenced in part by the time she spent with them. I desire that they grow to be adults recalling special shared memories rather than how clean our home was. Don’t misunderstand me. I have time scheduled in my day and week to keep up with housekeeping. That is a part of the responsibility the Lord has given me as a keeper at home. However, I still have discretionary minutes and hours. When my heart is turned toward my children, I will invest that time in them rather than in selfish personal pursuits. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:24-26).

Dr. S. M. Davis says that keeping our children’s hearts is the most difficult task facing Christian parents today and that it should be their highest priority. Keeping our children’s hearts begins with a mom turning her heart toward her children and a dad turning his heart toward his children. May we be moms who know the importance of turning our hearts toward our children. May we continually ask the Lord to turn our hearts toward our children. May we be submissive and obedient to the Lord as He prompts us to turn our hearts toward our children.