Father God, we come again to ask for the outpouring of Your spirit. Not because we feel that You must be convinced before You will give that gift to us, oh no. We recognize that You long to give us Your gift, Your most precious gift, more than anything else. But we ask because Jesus has said, “ask and it shall be given”. We ask because in the asking we prepare our hearts to receive by acknowledging our need. We freely confess to You Father, that because of Adams sin our spiritual faculties, our capacities to discern spiritual things are so damaged, that unless You supernaturally quicken them we will be unable to come to know the truth to the point of freedom. So by the Spirit of Truth Father, enlighten our minds, give us that spiritual hearing aid, that will enable us to hear what You want us to hear, to recognize it’s importance and to accept it and incorporate it into our lives. That we as parents, might raise our children to Your Glory. Father, again, condescend to use this earthen vessel, I pray. I’m trusting you in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Study #3 in our series, entitled “Train Up A Child”. The first one we dealt with the goal of Christian Parenting. The title of that presentation is was “That He may be glorified”. And we came to the conclusion from our study in Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy, that the object, the grand goal of Christian parenting is to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the development of a Christlike character in our children. Particularly, in helping them get off to a good start by laying a solid foundation. By inscribing the principles of God’s law upon the fleshly tables of their hearts, that they themselves, might then learn to bring their own thoughts and feelings into compliance with those principles.
Remember, “our thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character”, in other words, “our intellect and our affections”. We studied this morning however, the fact that there is an opposition factor to our endeavors to develop a Christlike character in our children. And that opposition factor is the inheritance that is theirs as descendents of Adam. “By one man’s disobedience” was the title of this mornings study. “By one man’s disobedience”, what happened? “the many were made sinners”. Made, ordained, constituted. And we considered how, in two ways we were made sinners by one man’s disobedience. Legally in the sense that he was the representative head of the race, and when he sold out, Adam, man sold out in him. And we fell under the tyrannical, diabolic, reign of the prince of darkness. And our NATURE was radically changed, for he, Adam, was the noble father as well. And he was given the capacity to procreate in his own likeness, and when his nature became fallen and corrupt, when he developed in his own heart, a bent towards evil, an enmity against God, he destined every one of his posterity. You and I and our children, to be born with the same.
And this is something that we must take into consideration as we study this morning. And we must learn that there is no natural means of overcoming this bent towards evil. Therefore we must be totally dependent upon supernatural power. It should drive us to our knees, this awareness of the fact that all in the natural realm, militates against our efforts. We need SUPERNATURAL power don’t we? Supernatural power. We spoke this morning of the inheritance factor in the general sense, our inheritance as descendants from Adam. But there is a more specific inheritance factor that we must address ourselves to, tonight. A more immediate inheritance, and that is the particular inheritance that we as our children’s parents pass onto them. This too is most definitely an opposition factor. It can vary significantly the degree or strength of opposition, dependant how radical a bent toward evil we have passed on to them.
Oftentimes we bemoan Adams fall and rightly so, but brothers and sisters, I submit to you, that if Adams fall was the only fall that we were dealing with, our children would be far ahead of where they often are. Listen to this statement. Manuscript 18, 1887 “We moan over Adams transgression and seem to think that our first parents showed great weakness in yielding to temptation BUT, if Adams transgression were the only evil that we had to meet, this world would be in a much better condition than it is. There has been a succession of falls since Adams day.” A succession of falls. Every parent that is a descendant of Adam, will either increase the disadvantage that is passed on, or decrease it, depending upon his or her obedience, to God’s law.
To illustrate this concept, I’d like to use analogy from the tangible realm of nature. Both scripture and spirit of prophecy do this of course don’t they? They use nature as an object lesson, to teach us profound spiritual truths. Nature is something that we can see, something that we can comprehend readily. And it gives us insights into the less tangible realms of what happens in the spiritual dimension of our being.
Here’s the illustration that I would like to use, 4T606 “The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit.” Ok, what’s our illustration? “The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit.” What are the seeds? Let’s expand our analogy here a bit. What are the seeds? They are the principles, they are the principles that have been implanted in the mind. These principles will take root and grow and bear fruit that evidences what principles they are.
What is the condition of the soil of the mind garden of our children? The answer to that question lies in the title for this particular study. And that title is taken from Gen 5:3, turn with me there. Gen 5:3, what is the condition of the soil of the mind garden of our children? 5:3 “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son IN HIS OWN LIKENESS, AFTER HIS IMAGE, and named him Seth.” What’s the condition of the soil of the mind garden of our children? It’s just the same as the soil of the mind garden of the parents.
AH 200 “You [parents] have before your own door a little plot of ground to care for, and God will hold you responsible for this work which He has left in your hands.” And those of you have done gardening know that to intelligently and successfully undertake turning a little garden plot into a productive plot, requires a certain knowledge of the soil. We must KNOW its deficiencies, its needs. We must be aware of what it can produce well, and we must garden accordingly. What is the condition of that little garden plot in our own back yard? Our children’s mind garden?
Brothers and sisters, again, it’s very similar to the 120 acres from which it was parceled off when we gave it to them. Very, very similar. What does that garden plot tend to naturally grow? Oh I can tell we have some gardeners in our midst. What is the natural thing for a garden plot to grow? Weeds. Is it very difficult to get a garden plot to grow weeds? No, it certainly isn’t. And brothers and sisters, this is a very direct and profound insight into the nature of man.
Turn with me to Gen 3:17. Our Lord was giving us this profound insight, to what is commonly referred to as the curse pronounced upon man. Gen 3:17 “Then to Adam He said, ‘because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you saying, ‘you shall not eat of it’, Cursed is the ground FOR YOUR SAKE. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life”. Verse 18 what? “Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth FOR YOU, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the SWEAT OF YOUR FACE you shall eat bread.”
Note, immediately after God pronounced a curse upon the soil, what does He remind man of? Look at the following line? (V19) “Till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you shall return”. What is God saying? God is saying that the very condition of the ground that you are seeking to till, and plow, and use to produce a crop, is an object lesson of your own heart Adam. YOU are made from the dust, YOU are ground, and this is a tangible illustration of YOUR present state, because of sin. You will now naturally grow what? Thorns and thistles. Because of your transgression. 4T203 “As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.” Weeds are very visible in nature aren’t they? And so it is with the human soul.
Paul himself, refers to himself as a what? As an “earthen vessel”. 2Cor 4:7. Brothers and sisters, on the account of the fall of man, our mind garden, NOW, NATURALLY, produces, “thorns and thistles”. And what does it take to cause them to bring forth fruit which is of value? “By the by the sweat of your brow”. It no longer comes naturally, in other words. It takes diligent effort. The thing that comes naturally are weeds. And if you ever doubt that, take on a garden sometime, and I suggest to you brothers and sisters, that there is little that you can do with your children, that has more profound potential to teach them spiritual lessons than gardening. It’s a tremendous classroom full of profound spiritual object lessons. More on that latter.
“Both thorns and thistles” it shall produce. Where do these come from, these thorns and thistles? They come from weed seeds. Where do the seeds come from? THREE MAJOR SOURCES. Note them with me and we’ll consider them together as we study. I would suggest that there are three major sources for the weed seeds, that are to be found in the garden of our children’s mind. That directly influence their character.
1) Those that are inherent, inbred, inborn. They are received as an inheritance from the weedy character gardens of us, our children’s parents. The first source of weed seeds, they are inherent. They are passed on at the moment of conception.
2) Those that are implanted while the mother is carrying the child. They’re called prenatal influences.
3) Those that are acquired along the way, implanted by the enemy, especially and most typically through his human agents.
Did you get those three sources? Those that are inherent, inbred, inborn, passed on at the moment of conception by the law of heredity. Number 2, those that are passed on while the mother is carrying the child, through prenatal influences. And thirdly, those that are acquired along the way, after birth, implanted by the enemy, typically through human agents.
It is important for us to recognize these sources brothers and sisters, and to take appropriate measures. So lets give them some careful thought now.
First lets consider the inherent, the inbred, the inborn weed seeds, or tendencies to evil. Do we have to go out, if we’re going to garden, and go to the store and ask the man to sell us a packet of weed seeds, in order to get the garden to produce them? Oh, no. They are inherent aren’t they? I don’t know of any garden plot that doesn’t quite naturally produce weed seeds, do you? I submit that this side of holy flesh, there is none, there is none.
4T202,203 “The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.” Now they will produce what? They will produce “weeds and brambles”, unless what? Unless good seeds are implanted. Do you have to implant the weed seeds? No you don’t, they’re there by nature. If that little mind garden is going to produce the fruit of a Christlike character, brothers and sisters we must take definite measures to buy those seeds from the master gardener Jesus Christ. Bring them home and diligently implant them into the mind garden of our children and then daily cultivate them. Otherwise they will not grow.
Manuscript 48, 1897 “Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death.” Our what? “Our NATURAL tendencies, have in them the” what? “the seeds of moral death, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God.” Praise God for the Holy Spirit.
Another statement that really uses this illustration and amplifies it is found in ST Apr 16, 1896 “The most patient unremitting culture is required in order that children and youth may be preserved from the formation of habits that will deteriorate their character. Parents, with much prayer, should carefully guide the inexperienced feet of their children into safe paths. To let the child do as it pleases is to insure proficiency in evil. Satan will manage to make children wise in disobedience, in selfishness, and in all manner of waywardness. Look upon a field that is left unworked, and what an unsightly place it is. Weeds and tares overshadow the precious plants, until finally nothing of worth appears. Early childhood is generally a period when marked depravity is made manifest.” In our study this morning, what is the essence of depravity? Selfishness. “Early childhood is generally a period when marked depravity is made manifest. The child manifests a strong inclination to evil, and it requires a firm, wise hand to control the little one, or it will grow up in sin, a disagreeable, evil element of society.”
No, these weed seeds brothers and sisters, are inherent, natural, and they must be diligently dealt with and recognized. What variety of weeds will our children’s mind garden invariably produce? There are lots of different weeds, aren’t there? What determines the particular type of weed that comes up in their mind garden? Just the same variety that was growing in our mind gardens, when we parcelled off that little plot to them. Just the same ones. Isn’t that a rather disheartening thought?
Oh, there are so many times, when I have seen disagreeable character traits in my precious blood bought children. And it causes me much pain when I realize that I am responsible for having passed them on to them. But do I despair? No, I pray for God to give me the grace to bare patiently with my children, recognizing that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control, and pleading for the power of the Holy Spirit, for that ALONE, can enable us and our children to overcome EVERY hereditary tendency to evil. Praise God for such a power.
R&H Aug 22, 1899 “Bear in mind that they have received their perversity as an inheritance from the father or mother, and be patient with the children who have inherited your own traits of character.” Be patient with them dear parents, they got it from you.
MH 371 “What the parents ARE, that, to a great extent, the children WILL BE.” Listen. “The physical conditions of the parents, their dispositions and appetites, their mental and moral tendencies, are, to a greater or less degree, reproduced in their children.” Isn’t that a remarkable list of weed seeds? 1)Physical conditions of their parents,
4) mental tendencies, and
5) moral tendencies,
“are to a greater or less degree, reproduced in their children.”
But do there have to be only weed seeds in all these areas? Here is a positive thought brothers and sisters. I submit that this same principle that works in the negative direction, through the law of heredity, can be a blessing. Can we not pass onto them positive physical conditions if we have such to give them? Can we not pass onto them positive dispositions, well controlled appetites, mental and moral tendencies for right? Can we not? Oh we can pass on special advantages. But lets do not conclude that we can pass onto them, a regenerate nature. We can pass on certain advantages, but every child that’s born the first time must be “Born again.” There is no-one born converted. Because no matter what advantages we pass on to them, every child is still subject to the disadvantages received from Adam.
Reading on, the positive aspect here. MH 371 “The nobler aims, the higher the mental and spiritual endowments, and the better developed the physical powers of the parents, the better will be the life equipment they give their children. In cultivating that which is best in themselves, parents are exerting an influence to mold society and to uplift future generations.” Oh praise God, that though these principles can work in the negative direction and can have devastating negative consequences, they can also work in the positive direction. And they can be a real blessing to our children.
This principle, particularly as it works in the negative direction, is behind the lamentation of many children today. That lamentation that is recorded in Lamentations 5:7 “Our fathers sinned and are no more, but WE BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES.”
What is this principle bases on? None other than the words of God Himself. Ex 20, you know it in the 2nd commandment don’t you? Ex. 20:5 “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” In what sense does God “visit the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” This is a very important concept to come to grips with. In what sense does He visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children? Does He do so by imputing to them the guilt of their parents sins? Not unless they participate in those sins.
But, how are they visited? They are visited in the sense, that they are inherited from their parents, these tendencies to sin. But, brothers and sisters, it is very typical and usual that those tendencies that are inherited, are the same ones that are cultivated. So the children not only inherit, but often they participate in their parents sin, and thus they receive, not only the inherited tendencies, but they bring upon themselves the guilt as well.
Listen to the inspired statement that makes this clear. It’s found in PP 306 “It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents.” Why? How? Listen. “By inheritance and EXAMPLE the sons become partakers of the father’s sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth generation.” [i.e. “Visiting the iniquities of the fathers unto the children to the third and fourth generation.”]
But please note it is not guilt that’s visited upon them, unless they what? Unless they participate in their father’s sins. But the same parents, typically, that passed on those tendencies through inheritance, will model those tendencies to their children. And as their children behold that, on account of their imitative nature, what inevitably will happen? They will participate in those sins.
2T 391, again this concept, “Children are born with the animal propensities largely developed, the parents’ own stamp of character having been given to them………The sins of the parents will be visited upon their children because the parents have given them the stamp of their own lustful propensities.”
Oh brothers and sisters, how this should cause us to think seriously, before we even decide to bring children into the world. How we should carefully approach this tremendous privilege that God has given us, recognizing that equal to the privilege is the responsibility. “Visiting the iniquities”. Unfair? Is it? It certainly isn’t unfair of God, but it is unfair of us, isn’t it, parents?
How tragic for us to give as a birthright to our children, a terrible disadvantage, when we could have done otherwise, THAT’S unfair. Visiting the iniquities is no arbitrary punishment on the part of God however. And the ever increasing degradation which is the consequence of parental transgression is certainly not God’s will. But it is His will that effect follow cause, in a regular dependable fashion, that is by LAW.
His will for the human family however, is that the cause would be an honoring of His law, that the effect might be a reaping of the inherent blessings therein. But the law of cause and effect, which is His will, cannot work in the positive direction without also working in the what? In the negative. Visiting the iniquities, is just the negative side of the coin that God intended to be visiting the righteousness of the fathers upon the children. That’s the way God intended it to work. But Satan gets a hold of these principles and he uses them as a curse. And fathers and mothers, forbid that we should co-operate with him in the process.
This concept of visiting the iniquities is very markedly illustrated to us in Genesis, chapter 9. Turn with me there please. Genesis 9, you know the event. Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Gen 9:20 “And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.” Verse 21 “Then he drank of the wine and was drunk and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.” What was Noah’s response? “So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.” Verse 25 Listen, “Then he said, cursed by Canaan, a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren, and he said blessed by the Lord, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.”
Now tell me. Did this proclamation of Noah apply only to the three sons? No it applied to their posterity as well, didn’t it? Was this some kind of an arbitrary decree on the part of Noah? No it wasn’t. Listen PP 117 “In Shem, Ham, and Japheth, who were to be the founders of the human race, was foreshadowed the character of their posterity.”
In PP 118 we read these words again, “The prophecy of Noah was no arbitrary denunciation of wrath or declaration of favor. It did not fix the character and destiny of his sons. But it showed what would be the result of the course of life they had severally chosen and the character they had developed. It was an expression of God’s purpose toward them and their posterity in view of their own character and conduct. As a rule, children inherit and dispositions and tendencies of their parents, and imitate their example, so that the sins of the parents are practiced by the children from generation to generation. Thus the vileness and irreverence of Ham were reproduced in his posterity, bringing a curse upon them for many generations.”
Do you see how it works? Is this an arbitrary decree of God? No, it’s simply God recognizing the law of CAUSE AND EFFECT. And recognizing that these three men were going to determine largely the character of the human race. This principle, as we’re indicated, works not only negatively, as in the case of Ham, but it works positively, as in the case of Shem and Japheth.”
R&H Jan 24, 1907 “Children inherit inclinations to wrong, but they also have many lovely traits of character. These should be strengthened and developed, while the tendencies to evil should be carefully guarded against and REPRESSED.” And what? “repressed”. Now that’s a word that is very unpopular in modern child physiology. But brothers and sisters don’t imbibe of that psychology and philosophy, it is of the power of darkness. Yes repress, in spite of modern trends.
If we fail to repress, what will happen? Those iniquities, brothers and sisters, that we visited upon them, will on judgment day, in turn by visited upon us. Listen to this statement found in FE 140 “When parents and children meet at the final reckoning, what a scene will be presented! Thousands of children who have been slaves to appetite and debasing vice, who lives are moral wrecks, will stand face to face with the parents who made them what they are. Who but the parents must bear this fearful responsibility? Did the Lord make these youth corrupt? —Oh, no! Who, then, has done this fearful work? Were not the sins of the parents transmitted to the children in perverted appetites and passions? and was not the work completed by those who neglected to train them according to the pattern which God has given? JUST AS SURELY AS THEY EXIST, ALL these parents WILL pass in review before God.”
Oh brothers and sisters Rev. 14:7 “Fear God, and give GLORY to HIM, for the hour of HIS judgment has come.” Here are words of encouragement for those who have had a poor inheritance and a poor upbringing. Are they without hope? No they’re not. MH 44 “His [Jesus] heart is drawn out, not only to the best-trained and most attractive children, but to those who by inheritance and through neglect have objectionable traits of character. Many parents do not understand how much they are responsible for these traits in their children. They have not the tenderness and wisdom to deal with the erring ones whom they have made what they are. But Jesus looks upon these children with pity. He traces from CAUSE TO EFFECT.” He not only looks upon them with pity, but He has unlimited power to help them overcome those terrible disadvantages.
There is a second source of weed seeds as we have indicated. And these are those that are implanted while the mother is carrying the child, through prenatal influences. Mother, please, think seriously on these things with me. MH 372 “The effect of prenatal influences is by many parents looked upon as a matter of little moment; but heaven does NOT so regard it.” Judges chapter 13, you know the story. Judges 13:3 “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Now therefore'” at what time? When he’s born? No, “NOW THEREFORE, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat any unclean thing.” Manoah got the message, he came back to ask for himself, verse 12 “And Manoah said, Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?” And what did the Angel say? “So the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.” Twice it’s repeated by the Angel of God, these words of warning, “let her beware”.
ST Feb 26, 1902 “‘Let her beware’, the angel said. Let her stand prepared to resist temptation. Her appetites and passions are to be controlled by principle. Of every mother it may be said, ‘LET HER BEWARE’. There is something for her to shun, something for her to work against, if she fulfils God’s purpose for her in giving her a child. If before the birth of her child she is unstable, if she is selfish, peevish (impatient, in other words), and exacting, the disposition of her child will bear the marks of her wrong course. Thus many children have received as a birthright almost unconquerable tendencies to evil.” Do you see then that weed seeds can be most definitely implanted during that prenatal period dear mother? In fact we can so load that garden with weed seeds that it can produce an “almost an unconquerable” crop of weed in mind gardens of our children.
TE 171 “The thoughts and feelings of the mother will have a POWERFUL influence upon the legacy she gives her child. If she allows her mind to dwell upon her own feelings, if she indulges in selfishness, if she is peevish (irritable, impatient) and exacting, the disposition of her child will testify to the fact. Thus many have received as a birthright almost unconquerable tendencies to evil. The enemy of souls understands this matter much better than do many parents. He will bring his temptations to bear upon the mother, knowing that if she does not resist him, he can through her affect her child. The mother’s only hope is in God. She may flee to Him for strength and grace, and she will not seek in vain.”
Sisters, has it not been your experience that when you were carrying your children, you were subjected to some very trying experiences? You were faced with some very irritating circumstances. Was that by accident? No. That was by the design of the prince of darkness, knowing that if he could cause you to respond in a negative, selfish, irritable way, he could thereby very effectively plant weed-seeds in the mind-garden of your child.
This prenatal influence mothers, we’ve considered it as it has potential to be negative. But please recognize with me that it has potential to work in the positive direction to doesn’t it? Listen, ST Feb 26, 1902 “If before the birth of her child……she unswervingly adheres to the right, if she is kind, gentle, and unselfish, she will give her child these traits of character.” Plant GOOD seeds mothers, plant good seeds.
For many of you it is too late, this is not an issue anymore. But to those of you to whom the Lord will give the privilege of bringing children into the world, please think seriously on these things. AH 258,259 “Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, cheerful, contented disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid TENFOLD in the PHYSICAL, as well as the MORAL, character of her offspring.” Tenfold, your efforts will be rewarded.
In the periodical Good Health February 1880, one more statement. “The basis, the basis of a right character in the future man is made firm by habits of strict temperance in the mother, prior to the birth of her child.” Remarkable concepts aren’t they?
Remember we said that there were three sources though didn’t we? Who’s the third? What’s the third? The other source of weed seeds are those that are sown along the way after birth, implanted by the enemy, the weed seed sower, called Satan. Remember Christs parable regarding the wheat and the tares? The disciples asked “who has done this”. What did He say? “An enemy has done it” Matt 13:39. Satans favorite time to sow weed seeds in the garden mind, the mind garden of our children, is when they are relatively empty, and very soft and fertile, impressionable. If he can get a head start, on sleeping parents, he will certainly take advantage of the opportunity.
Turn with me to Matt 13. When is it that the enemy does his work? May I paraphrase? Starting with verse 24, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.” Let’s paraphrase it. Another parable He put forth to them saying, child rearing, may be illustrated by a father and mother who implanted the principles of God’s love in the mind gardens of their children. But while they were sleeping– while they were off guard for just a moment, their enemy came and implanted selfish principles in their minds and went his way. But when these implanted principles came to fruition and produced a character, then the sinful, selfish, and rebellious traits appeared.
There’s a lag time though, between the sowing and the reaping, isn’t there? And many times dear parents we may go blissfully for sometime thinking that our children had no weed seeds planted within their minds. But please recognize that if we have been careless, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. That crop may not evidence itself for a long time, but if we have been careless, by the law of sowing and reaping, it will appear sooner or later.
In ST Apr 16, 1896 “If parents neglect to properly instruct their children, and the youth are left to have their own will and way from the days of their childhood, their characters will be GREATLY PERVERTED” Why? “for the enemy will step in and rejoicingly take into his hands the work of training the children and youth.” Parents if we’re asleep on the job, who can we count will not miss the opportunity, to step in and do the work that we ought to be doing? Satan himself. He’s more than happy to do the job that we fail to do.
CG 302 “Young children, if left to themselves, learn the bad more readily than the good. Bad habits agree best with the natural heart, and the things which they see and hear in infancy and childhood are deeply imprinted upon their minds, and the bad seed sown in their young hearts will take root and will become sharp thorns to wound the hearts of their parents.”
R&H Oct 27, 1885 “The lessons of early life are most firmly stamped upon the mind. You cannot afford to let Satan sow the first crop.” “You CANNOT afford to let Satan sow the first crop.” Oh dear parents, Satan plants weed seeds most effectively through evil associates doesn’t he?
CG 460 Beware. “They [parents] let them [the children] visit other young friends, form their own acquaintances, and even go from their parental watch care, some distance from home, where they are allowed to do very much as they please. Satan improves all such opportunities and takes charge of the minds of these children whom mothers ignorantly expose to his artful snares.” Oh parents, don’t sleep on the job. Satan will watch for every opportunity, and the most efficient way of planting weed seeds in the mind, the character garden of our children, is through evil associates, and he will never miss a chance. He’ll never miss a chance.
Parents, our work is before us. We have a little garden plot in each back yard. The mind is the garden, the fruit is the character. The seeds, the principles, are up to us to plant. It’s by the sweat of our brow. It does not come naturally on account of the fall, but our efforts will be richly repaid.
I read , in closing, from ST Aug 12, 1913 “God has given parents their work, to form the characters of their children after the divine Pattern. By HIS grace, they CAN accomplish the task;” By His what? “By HIS GRACE, they can accomplish the task; but it will require patient, painstaking effort to guide the will and restrain the passions.” In other words “By the sweat of your your brow.” Reading on. “A field left to itself produces only thorns and briers. He who would secure a harvest for usefulness or beauty must first prepare the soil and sow the seed, then dig about the young shoots, removing the weeds and softening the earth, and the precious plants will flourish and richly repay his care and labor.” And brothers and sisters, our children can bear fruit to the glory of God. They can develop a character that is a reflection of the character of Jesus Christ. They CAN glorify Him, but they need God’s help and they need our help. Let’s don’t let them down. Shall we pray?
Father in heaven, thank you for the little garden plots that you have assigned to us. Help us Lord, to co-operate with the master gardener Jesus Christ. That we may consciously and diligently implant in those garden plots principles of truth and help us Lord to be on guard. Help us to recognize that those garden plots have inherited from us, weed seeds. Help us to watch for them and then gently, and yet firmly, and lovingly, pull them up when we see them, and cast them aside. Help us to recognize as well, that through the time that the mothers carry the child, weed seeds can be planted and may they take appropriate measures Father, and use that prenatal influence to be a blessing. And help us as well Father to recognize that the enemy is always waiting to sow seed. Help us to never be asleep on the job, but help us to tend diligently and carefully, our garden plots, to protect them from the weed sower, and from his associates. Oh Father, may our children, and may we ourselves, bear character fruit, to Your glory, both now and for eternity, in Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.