The Blessing of Children

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of [children]. Psalm 127:5a

In the United States, it takes 2.1 births per woman for each generation to replace itself (keep the population stable apart from immigration). As of 2012, the average American woman was birthing only 1.88 children—a record low. This “below replacement rate” birth rate is also happening in other major nations. While many reasons can be cited for declining birth rates, this phenomenon begs an important biblical question: Why are people opting out of something God says is a blessing?

In post-Christian nations like America, the lack of biblical understanding keeps many adults from having children. But from a biblical perspective we need to remember, “children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3, NASB). Who would refuse a gift? Who would turn down a reward? Rather than an expense and a liability, the Bible pictures children as an investment and an asset (Psalm 127:5). Children (Hebrew banim) are the builders (Hebrew bonim) of the future (Psalm 127:1, 3).

If you have children, count your blessings! If you don’t, enjoy the children in your life-circle as the blessing they are.

Are You Equipped to Do His Will?

Exodus 3:1-14

I’ve met people who know the Lord has called them to do something, but they are so focused on their perceived lack of ability that they keep telling Him, “I just can’t.” Did you realize this is a form of rebellion? It amounts to telling God that He isn’t powerful enough to equip you—and that His will being done on this earth depends upon your natural skills.

On being called to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained that he was the wrong person for the job and offered an excuse of not being a good speaker (Ex. 4:10). God’s response underscores that not only was He more than able to equip His chosen leader, but He also planned to accomplish His purposes with or without Moses.

The Lord is the one who gives us the ability to live within His will. It’s a divine promise: If we believe Him and move forward in obedience, He’ll show us what we’re to do and then will energize us to get it done. Philippians 2:13 says that God Himself “is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” There’s nothing to fear: You never have to take on His work in your own strength, and He won’t ask you to do anything that He will not enable you to carry out. The Father is committed to equipping His children to do whatever He asks.

As a follower of Christ, you have a personal responsibility—first, to say yes when God calls, and second, to allow Him to achieve His purposes through your life. He won’t let you down. Watching Him work through you will strengthen your faith and further the process of conforming you to His Son’s image.

The Christian’s Prosperity

“God and Father . . . who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

Given our high position in Christ, it follows that God would provide whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes in and for us.

The Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 provide a good illustration. Each blessing is designed to meet a need or fulfill a desire of God’s chosen (Ephesians 1:4). The poor, meek, and persecuted are given ownership in the Kingdom. The mournful are given God’s special comfort. Those who hunger for righteousness are filled. The merciful will obtain mercy, the pure in heart will see God, and the peacemakers are identified as God’s children. The longings of our souls and characters are all met by God.

The practical needs of “wisdom and prudence” are met, too (v. 8). Wisdom is knowledge focused toward useful application, and prudence is the ability to develop successful activities based on wisdom. The Word of God is the source of wisdom (Deuteronomy 4:1-6; Proverbs 1:1-6) and is inspired of God to be “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Furthermore, He has “made known unto us the mystery of his will” (Ephesians 1:9). “Kept secret” in the days of the Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25-26), it is now made clear to us so that we can show “unto the principalities and powers . . . by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). These spiritual resources are available for every believer “to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7). We must pray that we do not waste these resources like the “wicked and slothful” servant in the parables of the talents and the pounds (Matthew 25:26; Luke 19:22). HMM III

A Consistent State of Mind

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. —Psalm 34:1

Worship must always come from an inward attitude. It embodies a number of factors, including the mental, spiritual and emotional. You may not at times worship with the same degree of wonder and love that you do at other times, but the attitude and the state of mind are consistent if you are worshiping the Lord.

A husband and father may not appear to love and cherish his family with the same intensity when he is discouraged, when he is tired from long hours in business or when events have made him feel depressed.

He may not outwardly show as much love toward his family, but it is there, nonetheless, for it is not a feeling only. It is an attitude and a state of mind. It is a sustained act, subject to varying degrees of intensity and perfection.

Whether I feel like it or not, whether I see Your hand in my circumstances or not, whatever enters my life today, “I will bless the LORD at all times” (Psalm 34:1). Amen.

Where Is Your Radiance?

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. (1 John 5:10)

I keep looking, but with little success, for a distinguishing radiance in life and testimony among our evangelical Christians.

Instead of an inner witness, too many professing Christians are depending upon logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts. They have no witness of an encounter with God, no awareness of inner change!

I believe that where there is a divine act within the soul, there will be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is its own evidence: it addresses itself directly to the spiritual consciousness.

Thankfully, there are elements that are always the same among men and women who have had a personal meeting with God.

There is the compelling sense of God Himself; of His Person and of His Presence. From there on, the permanent results will be evident in the life and walk of the person touched as long as he or she lives!

Note the glorious personality of the promise: I will

“And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.“—Jer. xv. 21

Note the glorious personality of the promise—I will, I will. The Lord Jehovah himself interposes to deliver and redeem his people. He pledges himself personally to rescue them. His own arm shall do it, that he may have the glory. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into the account, but the lone I, like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in all-sufficiency. Why then do we calculate our forces, and consult with flesh and blood to our grievous wounding? Peace, ye unbelieving thoughts, be still, and know that the Lord reigneth.