Friday, November 1, 2013

Guarding Innocent Minds

"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
I Corinthians 15:33
(KJV)


The other day, I stood and watched Zach and Austin in the barn
behind Mom and Dad Smith's house.

These two dear boys find such pleasure in such little things.
They are so full of adventure and still in that phase of life
where everything is pure...and simple....and childlike.

As they watched the cattle feed from the trough under their feet,
their goal was to get at least one of them to eat out of their hand.
They tried and tried.
Austin came really close.
One particular bull was almost persuaded....the feed was mighty tempting.
In the end, he backed away, with a snort,
and Austin finally just threw the feed back into the trough.

They are such good boys.
Very sweet and tender-hearted...both of them.
Realizing they are still in that precious, innocent stage makes me cry.

I can't explain it really.
It is like they stand....at the very ledge of a precipice of danger....
and I just want to pull them back and hold them right here....
where they are safe and innocent and shielded from it all.

Something about it just brings a deep-down sadness to my heart.
Not because they are still so sweet and innocent,
but because I know what is out there....in this evil world.
I have lived a long time.
Been through so much.
Fought so many face-to-face battles with satan.
Struggled in hand-to-hand, toe-to-toe combat...
with many forces of evil.

I wish I could make this world pure.
I wish somehow, I could remove all of the evil....
for their sake.
The mother-heart in me longs to protect and shield and preserve their innocence.....
so much so that it pulls tears from my eyes time after time.

I love them so much.
I want them to love Jesus with all their hearts and souls....so bad.
I fear for the welfare of their souls.
Oh, I cannot put it all into words....
I know any Godly parent reading this will completely understand.

Raising children who will grow up to live Christian lives in the midst of today's society 
is like swimming upstream in a raging river.
The current we continually fight against is strong...and unyielding.
It would be easier to throw up our hands,
give in to the downward pull,
and just go with the flow.

But, we must not.
We must never give up....never give in.

The eternity-bound souls of the precious ones entrusted to our care
are much too valuable and important.

I don't know about you, but I have never seen or heard of a time where evil is more rampant,
more pronounced, more blatant, or more powerful.

I do not make this statement lightly.

Airwaves are charged with filth, corruption, evil, and moral decay.
Technological advances, though good in and of themselves, have managed to accelerate 
the promotion and perpetuation of satan's agenda by monumental proportions.

We place in the hands of our innocent, untainted-by-sin, pure-minded children and young people 
tiny gadgets that possess the capability of tapping into the vilest forms of debauchery and immorality.  

Remember the good old days?
Back when in order to view pornography, someone had to be over 21 years of age
and sneak furtively in order to view an X-rated movie?

It amazes me how satan has mastered the art of downsizing.
Through his trickery, and through the use of well-intentioned channels,
he has managed to down-size and condense what used to cover 
a theater-sized screen that was viewable only behind closed and restricted doors 
down to the size of a one inch screen tiny enough to fit comfortably inside a toddler's palm.

We send our children off to their rooms with their promises to "be careful",
 and we choose to ignore the magnitude of temptation's strength.
Children aren't mature enough to process 
the gravity of repercussions.
God has placed them within our care, to guard their minds,
to protect their surroundings,
to keep boundaries in place.
It really doesn't amount to a hill of beans what others think of us.
One day, you and I will give an account of our stewardship
and what we did and did not allow in the homes that have been committed to our trust.

Once the mind is polluted,
irreversible, irreparable, unfixable damage is done.

Unlike being able to remove internet browsing history with the mere click of a mouse,
viewed images stored inside young minds are indelibly & permanently embedded,
to be replayed and revisited time after time after time.
There is no going back....once the images are downloaded to the human brain.

The view of what God created to be deemed sacred and private 
is forever skewed, cheapened, and desecrated.
Even though God forgives, and Jesus' blood cleanses from all sin, 
seeds that have been carelessly tossed and planted
have taken root and cannot be plucked up and retrieved.

What we sow will grow.

I wonder how much thought we really put 
into the boundaries and parameters we set or fail to set, as parents.  
God has placed Heaven-quality innocence in our hands - to guard, protect, defend, and preserve.  
We have an awesome and overwhelmingly heavy responsibility.

We no longer have to just worry about our children being exposed to a magazine 
or an undesirable movie while visiting a friend.
 It goes way beyond that now.  
The phone we bought for them to be used in case of an emergency has the potential to provide full access 
to taking unlimited, forbidden peeks into images that will taint their purity and alter the rest of their life.

How many young people currently go forward to altars of prayer 
or seek pastoral counsel for deliverance from pornography addiction?  
How many enter courtship and dating struggling to overcome seeing the one they admire 
as something other than a means of satisfying sexual desire?

Addiction starts with one taste.

I don't think we can be too careful.

We go to such lengths and expense to make sure they have name-brand shoes and clothes,
the most up-to-date conveniences, 
proper food and nutrition, 
enough sleep, 
and the best of education.  
In all of our careful parenting, are we neglecting what is most direly important?

In our quest to make sure they stay competitive and worthy of the "in" crowd, 
are we putting the most valuable part of them at risk and in jeopardy of destruction?

Curiosity killed the cat.
Evil communication corrupts good manners.
A taste landed Adam & Eve on the outside of Eden.

There is absolutely no way around being affected by what we see.

I am convinced that, to a great degree,
the root cause of the disrespect and insolence so prevalent in today's youth 
is coming from what they are filtering through their minds.

Seeing men and women in demoralized situations
distorts and perverts their opinion of every man and woman they meet and look at, 
making it difficult for them to view any male & female relationship in a healthy and virtuous way.
Indulging in the viewing of obscene images feeds the depraved spirit of lust.
The spirit of lust is a powerfully destructive force.
The more it is given in to, the more control it seizes.
It eats away at and erodes moral character like a cancer consumes and destroys a physical body.

We are stewards, my friend.
Not just over their material possessions, but over the innocence of their hearts and minds.  
Is handing them an I-phone with free rein, 
kissing them goodnight, 
and sending them to the privacy of their rooms really in the best interest of their eternity-bound soul?
Have they really earned that level of our leniency?
Is it wise?

There comes a time when doing what is best trumps our child's opinion of us as a parent.  
There are moments when it really doesn't matter what they or their friends think.
They will look back one day and thank us for saying no.

Growing up, I didn't fully appreciate the "strict" rules my parents laid out.
Looking back, I couldn't thank them more.

I am amazed now....looking back through hindsight....at what we considered "bad", in my youth.
Some of the things we deemed inappropriate or sinful appear rather benign
when compared to the things our children are dealing with in today's world.
We didn't have personal computers with internet access in our bedrooms,
and we could never have even imagined that a blackberry was ever to be
anything other than the sweet fruit that grew on the vine.

We didn't have anywhere near the things to deal with and fight against that our children are having to withstand.

My heart goes out to this generation.
I feel sad that they will never know or live through those "good old days".
It burdens my heart to see the level of temptation,
the magnitude of available channels with potential for evil,
and the blatancy of sin with which they must continually contend.
It is like they are born with a majorly unfair disadvantage.

Protecting the souls entrusted to us by Almighty God is absolutely
the most important thing we could ever do for them.
He has given us a vision of how things still ought to and must be.
The Bible has not changed, and its standards have not been lowered
to accommodate the influx of evil in our world.

God is still a holy God.
He still seeks holiness in the lives and hearts of mankind.
He not only seeks it, He demands it.
No matter what our atmosphere is like.
Regardless of how low the morals have sunk.

I know we can't shelter them from everything.
I realize that.
But we can protect them from some things.
We can't control what they contend with outside the walls of our home,
but we can completely govern what happens on the inside of those walls.
We not only can....we must.

God has called us to be "keepers at home". (Titus 2:5)
The word keeper in this Scripture, literally means "guard".
It is our commission...our God-given duty....our moral obligation...
to guard and "keep that which is committed to our trust." (I Timothy 6:20)

God help us to draw the hard lines.
To show the tough love.
To swim against the current.
To never grow weary of reinforcing righteous walls.
To diligently and earnestly war for the souls of our children.

Sure it is going to take everything we've got...from morning until night.....every, single, passing day.
We will never have the luxury of letting down our guard.
Ever.


It is worth it, my friend.
They are just that important....and that precious.

One day, when we stand before Him Who commissioned us to be parents,
we will be eternally thankful that we were faithful at our post.


14 comments:

  1. My Husband and I have been taking about this very topic. We have two boys, a few years younger than yours. They go to a fantastic public school, with great teachers and staff. Even in 2nd and 4th grades, they are asked to do online homework. I never worried too much about it (their computer is in a common space) but after listening to a Focus on the Family boadcast about the age at which most kiddos "stumble" upon pornography (10!!!), I went out that night and bought a parental control protection device. It will help, but Satan is so very clever, I worry about their little eyes and minds. Oh, I am thankful for other Mommys like you. Sometimes I feel there are so few of us left.

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    1. Bless your dear heart! Thank you so much for keeping your vision strong and putting those boundaries in place. Surely we fight a difficult battle, but Christ is our Captain, and He will see us through. I am so very grateful for your kind comments and trust God will richly and abundantly bless you the way you have blessed me today! Please come back anytime, and keep encouraged...it will be worth it all one day. Love, Cheryl

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  2. I loved your photos. Yes, we must surround our children with prayer, and do read the Bible to your children especially the New Testament a chapter a day. At night I told my children an old testament story from memory and applied a life lesson. Mornings it was read the Bible before they went to school. May God grant you wisdom with these two lovely boys. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thank you, Hazel, for stopping by and for your kind words. Thank you for the link-up! You are loved and appreciated. Blessings to you, Cheryl

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  3. Beautiful photos. There is much power in a praying mother.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday!

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    1. Thanks, Jenifer! Yes, the worth of a praying mother is beyond telling. I am so thankful for my dear, precious praying mother and will forever thank God for every prayer she prayed for me. I miss her SO much! Love, Cheryl

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  4. Cheryl,
    Praying with you today that God will protect your boys and all of our children's minds and hearts.

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    1. Thank you SO much, Dolly, for praying for us and for all of the children of the world. We live in a spiritually-perilous time, but God is still God, and He still hears and answers prayer, praise His name! Thank you for stopping by today! Love, Cheryl

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  5. I've read the Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian and wow! They say there isn't a manual for raising our kids, however I believe this book should be handed out as you leave the hospital with your newborn! I have learned so much from reading and re-reading this book over the past few years. I believe in the power of prayer and this book touches on all the important aspects of a childs life. Like Stormie says, "we can't leave our kids lives to chance..."

    God Bless!
    Julie @ Strawberry Adventures

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    1. I have heard of this book, but never had the opportunity of reading it yet. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the tip! Love, Cheryl

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  6. The mother of sons-only - sometimes I think we're called grow great strength and courage in these sons - sons who have grown since Adam to be great warriors for God. Psalm 139 tells how He put everything in them -equipped them, I believe, for the times they would live in - and He equipped them to be over-comers! For hundreds of years, the gospel of love was not fully given to an illiterate people. Today, the gospel of love is freely available in our country - and great missionaries taking it to places where it isn't. He knows - He isn't surprised. I think moms of sons only have a great responsiblity - and we need to encourage each other in prayer - praying for you friend - in this great task you've been given!
    Maryleigh

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    1. Yes, my friend, our responsibility is awesome, and we certainly need the prayers and support of one another! Thanks so much for stopping by today. Love, Cheryl

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  7. Hello Cheryl, I know exactly what you are talking about just like you said. We can shelter our children but their heart will be pulled to the world if that is their bent even though we have kept as much of the world out of our home as we possibly can. It grieves a mother's heart and ages her when she has a child choose the world instead of God. An evangelist, Bro.Keith Daniel from Cape Town, South Africa spoke of this very thing this weekend at our church. It was a powerful message. He said a prodigal child will keep the godly parents on their face every day before God crying out for their child. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Wednesdays.

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    1. Thank you, Judith! I appreciate the great link-up each week. God's peace be with you. Love, Cheryl

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