Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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If a flight attendant ever faints during a safety briefing on a flight that I'm on, I think I could take over. I've heard about the seat belt, and the seat and the tray being in the right position. Now, there's one thing that they mention that I have never experienced, and that's fine with me-the oxygen mask. It goes something like this, "In the event of a sudden change in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down from the compartment above your head." They even have this video that shows a low-tech guy like me how to use the mask. And then they explain this, "If you're traveling with a child, please make sure you put your mask on first, and then put it on your child." That's a good idea. Make sure you can breathe, and then take care of your child.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Breathe It Yourself First."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Deuteronomy 6. I guess I'd call it flight instructions for parents. It's addressed to parents who are raising kids in a culture that is more pagan than the one they grew up in, where their kids are going to be handed what their parents had to work for. That's pretty true of the generation this was written to, and it sure is true today.

Deuteronomy 6:5, the flight instructions begin this way. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your heart. Then impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads and hands, and write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."

But Verse 12 warns, "Be careful that you do not forget the Lord." Well, the Bible says here that your children are going to need a love relationship with the Lord if they're going to make it, where they love the Lord their God with everything they've got. That is an inner guidance system that you can plant in a child that keeps them from crashing when you're not with them. It's that internal spiritual strength that keeps them from collapsing when the external pressure on them is intense. They need this deep, real, personal relationship with the God who made them, who is the key to their purpose for living.

But you've got to breathe that spiritual oxygen before you can give it to them. That's why it says this has got to be impressed on your heart before it can be impressed on theirs. You've got to love Him first. Frankly, there's nothing like the needs of our kids' lives to expose the needs of our own lives. Look in your son's or daughter's eyes, and you're face-to-face with your own inadequacies, your needs, your pain, your failures; parts of you that you may want to deny or excuse. When we look at our kids those things stare at us in the mirror right there in the lives of our children. And their spiritual needs? Well, they're the mirror of your own. We can't lead them where we haven't been.

Maybe it's time for you to experience for yourself as a Mom or Dad this love relationship with God. First, we have to recognize why we don't have one. Because of this monster called sin, it's the self-rule of our life really. Secondly, we need to recognize how we can have that relationship. And the Bible makes it clear it's by visiting the cross where God's Son took the rap for our sin and made it possible for the sin wall between us and God to come down. And then thirdly, we need to pin all our hopes on that Savior; telling Jesus that He's in charge from this day on and then beyond that commitment.

We can't settle for a relationship that's mostly rules and rituals and religion and meetings, and beliefs. They're not going to sign up for that. The only Christianity that our kids will breathe themselves is one that is lived out before them in the real stuff of everyday life. Our children and our grandchildren need the oxygen of God's love as never before.

It's a stifling world, and they're meant to get that love from Mom and Dad. But if you've never experienced Jesus for yourself, you can have Him change your family by changing a Mom, by changing a Dad. By saying, "Jesus, I bring you all of my needs and my failures, my mistakes, my sin, my inadequacies and I lay them at your cross where you died for me. Beginning this day I'm Yours."

I'd love to help you nail down that relationship with Jesus for sure. Would you meet me at our website? It's ANewStory.com. It will be a new story for you and for your family.