"Children should be seen but not heard."
Do you remember your parents or grandparents correcting you with these words? Popular from Victorian times, this phrase is still used today to correct or silence children. I distinctly remember hearing this from adults in my childhood, especially around the dinner table! Harmless? Maybe on the surface. I highlight the phrase today because it epitomizes a deep wound between the generations that needs healing.
I know of a family whose father would not allow his children to appear downstairs until he had left for work in the morning or gone to bed at night. These children rarely ate meals together as a family, since their father and mother ate in peace - alone. It made for a peaceful home on the surface - and angry children who grew up essentially fatherless. Not one of these children ever had a decent relationship with their father, and even as adults, only a fraction of the anger with their mother has been resolved.
You might think this is a rare exception, or just a sad story I chose to illustrate my point. Older generations might even feel justified; after all, if we cater too much to a child's emotions and demands, they'll never make it in this world, right?
Actually, the opposite is true. The world is tough enough on its own, and impossible to survive without some kind of family support. In the absence of their fathers, children turn historically to their peers. Devoid of wisdom and real love, they flounder. Not because they're not tough enough - they are, in fact, much tougher than their parents - but because they lack mentors and do not trust authority. I do not have room to cite the statistics of escalating suicides, self-mutilation, alcoholism, and addiction. These are children whose behavior has been modified by rules, but whose hearts do not trust their fathers.
What Does God Think?
God has harsh words for those who ignore the brokenhearted:
"They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace. "Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD.…
Today's younger generations have largely rejected God, believing that He does not want to see or hear them, either. Thankfully, He does see, and He does hear. He saw Ishmael when Abraham and Hagar abandoned him in the desert. His response was: "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation." (Genesis 21:17-18, NKJV; see also Genesis 16:8-15).
Through Jesus, God revealed Himself as one who gladly welcomed children when adults turned them away. The healing of a daughter (Mark 5) was as important as the healing of a disciple's mother-in-law (Matthew 8). God heard a little boy who had the boldness to offer his meager lunch to Jesus. He honored the boy's generosity and sat down with him to the biggest family dinner ever prepared! (John 6).
A New Anointing of Glory Is Here
It is interesting to me that when Moses asked God to reveal His glory on Mount Sinai, God revealed the heart of a father. He stood Moses up on a rock (almost like a kid who needed to be lifted up higher), saying: "Here is a place by Me!" (Exodus 33:21). Then He covered him protectively with His hand as He passed by in all his wonderful glory. He declared Himself to be merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in goodness and truth, and forgiving generational iniquities and sins.
Look at the similarities: Hagar was told to "lift up the lad, and hold him" with her hand, just as God lifted Moses up and covered him with His hand. As we reach out to the broken generations around us, this "glory" of God will envelop and heal every one we touch. We'll know the ones operating in the glory anointing when we see them taking extra children under their wings, as spiritual mothers and fathers. They'll be the ones repenting for the sins of their generation and praying for the addicts and the outcasts.
Think about it: God definitely did not exclude Moses from what He easily could have called "adult" conversation! He didn't brush him off, saying, "My ways are higher than your ways!" Instead, He entrusted the plans for an entire nation to a timid man who was once a murderer. Incredibly, He expects the under-qualified to rise up and become great!
I believe it would be impossible for God to fully release the anointing of His glory without turning the hearts of our fathers to our children. In fact, when God speaks in Malachi of turning families' hearts, He prefaces it by saying: "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for Israel." Remember that first unveiling of My Presence! Remember the essential nature of who I Am! I am a Father who loves His children!
It is my fervent prayer today that the older generations among us be softened to hear the heart cries of the children. And that the younger, fatherless generations be restored to their Father in heaven, who sees them, hears them, and loves them unconditionally
c. Deborah Perkins, 2015
Deborah Perkins is passionate about helping others to connect with God.
She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice at His Inscriptions.com.
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What makes one person thrive while another barely survives? Why do some people seem to live almost effortlessly, while others go through life hanging on by their fingernails? Even Christians are not exempt. We cling to the Gospel's wonderful hope of heaven. But is that all there is? What about the problems in this present life? What do I do between now and eternity?
I believe there is a key difference between survivors and those who thrive in life. Or for Christians, between the survivors and the revivers! It's not just a difference between rich and poor. It's actually a different state of mind.
To describe this, let's look at the law of the jungle.
There's a big lie that the devil has promoted among God's people since the beginning of time. It is so big, and so successful, that his strategy really has not changed much over the years. From Genesis to Revelation and right into the present day, Satan and his minions have invested untold amounts of time and energy into marketing this lie. Do you know what it is?
It is this: "Did God really say...?"
What do you think of when someone mentions the word "shelter?" Where is your "safe place?" Do you think of your home, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood? Are you reminded of the steel roof of an underground bunker, bomb-proof and secure? Perhaps you are in the arms of a loved one stronger and wiser than you, who protects you or with whom you have built an implicit trust?
Shelter, for me, conjures up many different images. When I was a little girl, there was a willow tree out in back of our house, with a child-sized picnic table underneath. For the first six years of my life, this was my favorite place to be. Here was a secret hiding place where I held court with my dolls, served tea to imaginary dignitaries, and peeked secretly out at the world through draping, sun-kissed branches. Sometimes, my best neighbor-friend, Wendy, would come visit me there, slipping through the stand of trees that divided our backyards. It was the perfect escape for a little girl!
My old willow tree now shelters other children, and as the years have passed I have known many other forms of shelter: new homes, private retreats, loving relationships, just as I'm sure you have. But the most powerful image in my mind is that of a shelter that protects my life, not just my body or my soul. (See Ecclesiastes 7:12). It is the shelter found in the Name of God.
The Blessing is in the Name
When we become believers, a divine transference takes place. Through adoption, we receive the Name of God as our own. This doesn't just mean we call ourselves "Christians" from now on; it means that the essence of God - the manifestation of His Spirit, nature, and Presence - is imparted, or "rubbed on," as an anointing. Hebrews speaks of God engraving His nature on our hearts and minds. Numbers describes the priests "putting My Name on the people of Israel, so that I will bless them." (See Hebrews 8:10; Numbers 6:24-26).
So how does His Name become a shelter? Deuteronomy clarifies this for us:
All the people of the earth shall see that you are called by the
Name (or the Presence) of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.
Deut. 28:10, AMP
Think briefly of Israel's journey through the wilderness. We often attribute the pillars of fire and cloud only as easy-to-follow "road signs" out of Egypt, when in truth, these manifestations of the Presence of God were for shelter and protection as well. The cloud sheltered them from oppressive desert heat. It darkened the path behind them. And no enemy would dare approach a traveling caravan protected by a supernatural column of scorching fire!
Exodus 14:19 connects the movement of the Angel of God to the movement of the pillars of cloud and fire. When the cloud moved, it literally "came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel...so that the one did not come near the other all that night." (Ex. 14:20, NKJV). In this way, the Name, or essence of God manifested over His people, sheltered and delivered them from Egypt.
David also knew this kind of protection, writing of it often in his Psalms. Psalm 31:20 reads, "You hide them in the shelter of Your Presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in Your Presence, far from accusing tongues." (NLT; for more examples, see Psalms 27, 91 & 138). Because of our relationship with God, we are able to run in to our Father's arms and find safety from physical or verbal threats (Proverbs 18:10).
Why is all of this important? Because the days to come will be more challenging than ever before.
This morning's headlines included yet another Asian plane crash, a commuter train wreck in New York, more Syrian executions, and record-breaking snowstorms in New England. We need the kind of shelter that only the anointing and Presence of God can provide for these times. Fortunately, Isaiah gives us a promise of what this looks like for a redeemed people:
... then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion,
and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining
of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.
And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat,
for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain."
Isaiah 4:5-6, NKJV
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are living under the covering of His anointing. Anything that touches you must pass through the fire of His Presence first! You are shielded and sheltered under His wonderful Name, the Name that is above every other Name! (Philippians 2:9-11). He is "tabernacling" with you daily, overshadowing you with His glory. He is both leading and protecting you. Glory to His Name!
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever.
May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You.
Psalm 5:11, HCSB
Deborah Perkins is passionate about connecting people with God. She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice at HisInscriptions.com. To subscribe to her blog, click here.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.