The story continues - a look at the Whitson family.
| Growing Up Christian - - - Or Not!
Jess, Carol and the boys were sitting around the table ready for lunch. The family held hands as they went to the Lord in prayer.
Jess was leading the family "Dear Lord, we thank you for our life and all the things you've provided for us which make our life possible. I want to thank you for Carol and the boys, whom I love very much. My life would be empty without them. We pray that you will help us to love and appreciate each other and give us the wisdom to help each other overcome the temptations Satan throws in our path everyday. Give us the ability to show your love to everyone we meet each day and forgive us when we fail to do the right thing. We ask these things in Jesus name; Amen."
Each member of the family started to help themselves to the food as they passed the bowls of food around the table. "Billy please try some peas, they're good for you." Carol urged "You need to eat a balanced diet if you want to grow up big and strong like Daddy." Eight year old Billy gave out a groan but he took a spoon full of peas because he knew his mother loved him and wouldn't tell him anything that wasn't right. He loved his mother and he wanted to please her. Carol said "Thank you Billy." and smiled at him.
Ten year old Timmy said "Hey Dad, how can we be sure that God hears our prayers? Some of the kids at school say ‘There's no God’ and that I'm just wasting my time when I pray to God and try to do what the Bible says."
"Well Timmy, that's where faith comes in but we don't have to have blind faith. There are people who have blind faith in what they believe or what some religious leader tells them. Some people believe everything that some supposed ‘messenger from God’ says. They never check the Bible for themselves to see if what that leader says is true. There are even several religions that use ideas which were made up by some man and they think its fine to change beliefs any time their religion doesn't suit their fancy. There are even religions that claim all religion is wrong. A few that come to mind are Atheism, Humanism and Communism."
Carol added "There are people who make a religion out of money and power which they can get from politics, sports, education, sex or their own or someone else's physical appearance. In Short, anything that takes the place of God in your life is a false religion."
"We don't have to have blind faith in God and that what He says is true.” Continued Jess “All we have to do is look around and see the results of the life styles which are created when a person follows his own false religion. Sometimes it takes several years to show the results of these life styles but eventually false religion will lead to disgrace, ruin and death."
"Even if a person with one of these false religions gets lucky and gets along fine all his life, remember the Bible says ‘It's appointed for men, once to die and then comes the judgment.’ The person who serves God through Jesus will also die but there'll be a big difference at the judgment."
"The sins which people commit cause great pain to God and we can't be in God's presence if we cause Him pain.”
“Everyone does things which cause God to hurt but He still loves each one of us. Because He loves us, God came to earth in our physical likeness. Do you know who that person was Timmy?"
"Jesus!" responded Timmy.
"That's right, Timmy. It was God's plan before the world was made. Jesus was to be sacrificed for mankind’s sins and who ever would turn from sin and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior could be forgiven by God. You see, Jesus took the guilt of our sins upon him self and then took the punishment which we deserve. Jesus paid the price to save us so we could become Children of God. If we ignore or reject Jesus we'll be lost forever."
"That's why we have to be careful not to distort God's word. There are a lot of churches that claim to be Christian but they leave out part of God's word and add what they ever want to His word. Tim, do you think we can please God if we change His word around to suit ourselves?"
"No!" exclaimed Timmy. "We can't do that and still please God."
"That's right Timmy. We have to believe and trust God if we want to be God's children. One of the main things God tells us to do, and many people just ignore this, is to treat other people the way we would like them to treat us. It doesn't matter how they treat us, we still have to love them. This command, which Jesus gave us, is called ‘The Golden Rule."
"Anyway, back to your question. After you've been a Christian for a few years you'll be able to see that God is in control of everything. You'll see things happen that could only have happened, if God caused them to happen. Some times we ask God for foolish things which we don’t need or things that are not within His will but we have to trust God to give what is best."
"Just the fact that the Bible has survived for thousands of years is pretty good proof of God's existence. Some governments, liberal institutions and stupid people have been trying to destroy the Bible and its influence for all that time but God has seen to it that we still have His Book to guide us."
"Does that answer your question Timmy?"
Timmy nodded in the affirmative.
When everyone had finished with lunch they all got up and cleared the table. As they were doing this, Carol started singing a hymn and the rest of the family joined in. The song was "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine".
The things Jess had reminded them about caused their faith in the Lord to grow and helped them gain a greater understanding of the power and faithfulness of their Lord.
Growing Up Christian - - - Or Not!
Jess had gone to the new property which the family had decided to purchase. The family, minus Jess, was sitting down to the evening meal. After giving thanks, Timmy had another question.
"Mom, some of the kids at school say their Dad doesn't live with them any more. Do you think our family will ever be that way?"
Carol touched Timmy's hand and smiled "No Timmy, we don't have to worry about a thing like that happening to our family. You see, Daddy loves God and he loves me and you boys. He would never leave us because of his love for us. And besides that, when Daddy and I got married we took a long hard look at the responsibilities we were taking on. Daddy promised God and me that he would always love me and provide for his family. If Daddy doesn't keep his word to God, It would hurt God and set a bad example for everyone who knows that we are Christians - it would show the community that we don't think much of God."
"God's word says that if a man doesn't take care of his family, that man is worse than someone who doesn't even believe in God. The same thing applies to a wife and mother as well. I made the same kind of promise to God when I married your Daddy. So you see, you boys don't have anything to worry about. As long as Daddy and I are alive we'll be with each other and take care of you boys. Even when you're grown and able to take care of yourselves, we'll still be concerned about both of you and pray for each of you everyday."
"Speaking of praying for you, Daddy and I have been praying that both of you would go forward at invitation time during worship service and accept Jesus into your life. Both of you boys have been taught about the Lord all your lives and both of you have been living like a Christian should live for several years. Daddy and I think both of you are ready to become a part of God's family and be an example for others.
The Bible says that Christians will judge the world and put the world to shame by the life and example which the Christians exhibit."
"But you have to make that decision for yourself. If someone chooses for you and makes you get baptized, it would be against God's word. You wouldn't really be born again or be a part of His Kingdom. Remember, if you take Jesus as your Savior it has to be forever. You have to try to please God no matter how much you're tempted to sin or how hard it is to stand your ground against others who don't believe God."
The Boys looked at each other and smiled. Billy exclaimed "We've been talking about accepting the Lord for a while but we thought people might think we were too young. Since you and Dad think we're ready, we know it's time. We love Jesus and want Him to be our Lord and Savior and we want the Holy Spirit to come into our heart to help us do God's will." said Tim.
Carol began to weep and the both boys got up and ran around the table to comfort her. They didn't understand what was wrong. She assured the boys nothing was wrong, she was just crying because she was so very happy about the boy's decision.
She knew the boys would have to face difficult and dangerous situations in their lives but she also knew it would be much better to face these times with Jesus, rather than without Him. So many young people today have been committing suicide because they have no hope. When you walk with Jesus a person always has hope.
Carol hugged the boys for a minute then they all started to clean up the table, as they sang a song in praise to Jesus. Carol started them out on the song, ‘Jesus Loves Even Me’.
As soon as the dishes were washed and set in the dish drainer to dry, Carol and the boys went to the living room. It was Billy's turn to read from the Bible tonight. The place where they were reading was Luke 14:1-14, where Jesus talks about people who try to exalt themselves.
After Billy read the passage he turned to his mother and said "It seems to me that several people in our congregation are always trying to exalt themselves. When ever we have a special speaker come to church or when we get a new preacher, there are some people who act like the church belongs to them. They seem to want the new person to think they are the most righteous people on the planet but I think it's obvious to everyone, what kind of people they really are. In the light of what Jesus says here, what they try to do doesn't seem right."
"I've also noticed that these same people are the very ones who treat the new preacher like a dog after a couple of years of service with the congregation” said Timmy. I think the preacher has learned for him self that these people are not perfect and that just about mortifies them. They have to get rid of the preacher no matter what they have to do to get the job done."
"I have to agree with you, that a lot of people who claim to be Christians don't act anything like Jesus says we must act” said Carol. “I’m afraid they just don't get it. If anyone tries to point out their error in this kind of attitude, they just rear back in self defense and say ‘Why, you're judging me and the Bible says you can't do that.’
"The only advice that I can give you boys, about this kind of situation, is to let the Holy Spirit deal with them. They won't listen to anyone. We can only pray for them, that the Holy Spirit might convict them of this sin and that they will finally see the harm they're doing to the church and to other people and also to themselves. We need to pray to our Heavenly Father about this problem and that we may never have this kind of attitude."
Mother and sons knelt down and went to the Lord to ask for His blessing and guidance for their lives and they asked Him to be with Jess and keep him safe while Jess was away from them.