6.2.2 The Heart of Fathering and Mothering

6.2.2 為父為母的心

Teaching and Witnessing Shared by: Teacher Ming

A true intercessor:

While preaching in a church, the Holy Spirit enlightened me on what a true intercessor is; one who intercedes as Moses did. Moses was a man who stood between an angry God and a rebellious people and interceded.

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Nowadays, we can't find such a person like him. Moses' intercession was to have his name along with the name of his brothers, sisters, and the Israelites be removed from the Book of Life, this was one of the intercessions of Moses; therefore, Moses was the father of intercession and a true shepherd.

In Numbers 11:12, “Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?” This is God's heart to Moses. If you are a true shepherd, you must have a fatherly and motherly heart.

During the difficult journey through the wilderness, Moses built up a deep bond with these people who were judged by God as rebellious, unfaithful, and dishonest. Moses was able to do this because of his heartfelt love for the people, which was an inseparable emotional connection. Therefore, Moses was an intercessor and shepherd with a fatherly and motherly heart.

Characteristics of Parents:

One of the characteristics of parents is that they do not abandon their children regardless of any circumstances. Even though the people repeatedly angered Moses, Moses did not abandon them easily, so he is a good example for us to follow.

I looked up some information on the internet, and the meaning of a fatherly and motherly heart is:

● You give the best to your child, you accept him unconditionally, even if he betrays you like a prodigal son and wastes his money, you still accept his repentance, you still give unconditionally, you still cultivate him, you still love him unconditionally, and you are even willing to stand up for him when danger comes.

● If your child is in trouble, you are willing to bear the burden for your child, and if he/she is in need, you are willing to pay the price.

There are examples of this in the Bible, such as Jesus to his own disciples, or Paul to Timothy.

Paul taught Timothy:
But the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all, teaching, patient, admonishing with gentleness those who resist, or God will give them a heart to repent, that they may come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Ti 2:24-25)

This means that if you are a spiritual parent, you need to have the heart of a father and a mother, just like what is mentioned in Numbers 11: "Take them in your arms as a nursing father takes his nursing child".

When we are parents, we are more likely to be gentle in our exhortations than we are to be harsh in our condemnations. Just as a mother who breastfeeds her child is careful in every action, whether it be changing clothes, feeding, or showering, lest her child be injured, shepherding the flock requires such care.

Imitating the Heart of a Father and Mother:

A fatherly and motherly heart is required of a leader, just as a mother shepherds her children. Paul said to the Corinthians:

“Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” (I Corinthians 4 15-16)

Paul treated the Corinthians with a fatherly and motherly heart. He led by example; he knew how to raise children to obey God's will and was willing to lay down his life for them. We should emulate Paul's fatherly and motherly heart, which is missing in this modern age.

This is a Generation of Fatherless and Motherless:

5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Mal 4:5-6)

This passage speaks to mothers as well as fathers in Malachi's day, as it was a generation where fathers and mothers were absent.

In our generation, you may see many people who are called fathers and mothers but there is a lack of fatherhood and motherhood, which is common in our Chinese culture, we find that the hearts of our children are not at home. We have cell phones, internet, 5G, etc. Our society is progressing, yet our relationships are becoming further away from us.

Social media networks provide a hotbed of sin along with convenience, and society is beginning to confuse what sin is, and we are becoming devoid of values, morals, and ethical standards. We believe that some of our cultures are Godly, but most of them give rise to sin-ridden values such as sexual liberation and gender neutrality.

When these issues are brought up, it gives people a reason to go against God and does not need to hold oneself accountable to God, and so the fallacies of the age arise. When I was doing my spiritual research, I realized that many young people in this world believe that their ancestors came from a distant galaxy or evolved, and because of the lack of a father and a mother, they do not have a purpose for their existence or a proper sense of identity.

From Orphanhood to Sonship:

We know the Lord's Prayer: Our Father who art in heaven... When this passage comes up, Jesus doesn't say Our God who art in heaven, but Our Father who art in heaven.

The world needs a Redeemer, but the Father sent His Son to us, and the first thing He did was to tell us about the Father. Where are we being redeemed? We are to be redeemed to our homes.

When we recover our identity as sonship with God instead of orphan, we begin to have a complete family, and we will stop wandering, we begin to have a lot of brothers and sister, have the Triune God as our father, that's what the Lord's Prayer talks about.

The word father is used 613 times in the Old Testament and 313 times in the New Testament. Of these, 613 times in the Old Testament, only 4 times represent God, and the remaining 500 times represent the word Father.

The Bible has clearly shown that our Heavenly Father is first our Father and then God.

The Social Impact of the Absence of a Father and Mother:

The National Center for Statistics in North America shows that more than 75% of inmates grow up without a father and mother as role models, and 90% of homeless people come from fatherless homes. There is another statistic that is even more frightening: 70% of black children are born outside of the marriage covenant; while 50% of the children of Hispanic families are born outside of the marriage covenant, and the statistic for whites is over 39%.

The first thing that was taken away was God's standard, and when that was taken away, a fatherless generation emerged, and soon society became sick because the parents wouldn't set an example. If there are no spiritual parents in the church, then the church must be a Pharisee church, with no mercy, but only laws and rituals.

The Importance Of Fathers And Mothers In The Development Of Children:

The father is the protector, the provider, and the father are the brave one. The father will teach his child not to negotiate with enemies, he will teach his child how to overcome fear, how to win prizes, how to conquer the field, and how to win the race. This is the contribution of the father's culture.

A father also teaches his children how to raise a family, how to conquer, how to win, and how to have more than enough; he also teaches his children how to get rewards, how to fight for the promise, how to get a future, and how to fight in order to get the things that are in their dreams.

We know that many athletes train for ten years. Do you know that they suffer so much just for that medal? Not just for the medal, but the father teaches the child to discover who he is.

In Psalms it says, God is the Father of orphans and the Judge of widows, that God fills the gaps in our lives. He removes the spirit of orphans from us, and God has come to save our culture.

“15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” (I Cor. 4:15-16)

A Father's Purpose For Teaching His Children:

“17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?” (I Cor. 4:17-21)

In these verses Paul talks about a couple of things. He talks about how you may have a lot of teachers, but you don't have any fathers among you. Paul was called the father of Corinthian church through the gospel, but a lot of people teach the gospel but aren't fathers themselves. Verses 20 and 21 talk about a father's right to discipline his children.

We need to realize that all fathers teach, but not all teachers are fathers. The most important thing for a father to teach his child is to let the child know the father’s knowledge; so that the child can imitate the father. A father teaches by letting his child know what he knows; his purpose is to make the child a man like himself.

Why Is Inheritance So Important?

“17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” (Heb 13:17)

Sorrow means sadness, and if the leaders are sad, it means that there is something wrong with the people they are leading. Those leaders would be sad because they have to pay their dues to God, this is an inheritance. We know that in the Bible, Moses nurtured Joshua, Barnabas nurtured Paul, Paul nurtured Timothy, Titus and Luke, Samuel anointed David, and Elijah nurtured Elisha.

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As the spiritual fathers is in the front, spiritual sons and daughters will be right after that. Hence, the mission of those legendary spiritual men and women needed spiritual children to carry the baton.

When Joshua died without a successor, the Israelites entered a chaotic era of division; when Elisha died without a successor, the period of splendor after King Solomon came to an end.

The Bible says, "The LORD is my shepherd," but we can't see the shepherd with our naked eyes, so God did one thing, He gave the church a figure of authority so that we could have an example to follow.

Many of us work in the corporate world, but each boss is not necessarily a Christian. When our boss gives us something to do, we are happy to do it, and we can do it because we want to make money; but when we come to the ministry and the church, many of us don't want to give others power over ourselves; many of us can work for money, but we won't do it for love.

“8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” (Heb 12:8)

There is a difference between an illegitimate son and a true son, the difference is discipline: you will be disciplined, and you are willing to receive discipline. Jesus said that we are His disciples, the word disciple comes from discipline. To follow Christ, we must be disciplined since it separates us from illegitimate sons and bastards.

An illegitimate son is unwilling to receive discipline, however, an orphan has no privilege of receiving discipline from anybody. Today, where fatherlessness and motherlessness are prevalent, people have lost the principles of parenthood, and that is why this society has become an orphanage. What did God intend to bring as He designed the father of a family? It is to discipline, so one of the principles of fatherhood is discipline.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”(Prov. 13:24)

The Bible teaches us that you are to obey the word of your parents, and when the word of your parents is not contrary to the principles of God you are to submit to that authority.

“My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart, fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.” (Prov. 6:20-22)

The lowest level of life is a curse, and the highest gain for a person is inheritance. That is why the Bible mentions inheritance many times, and it means you going to inherit assets. Inheritance is not something you deserve because you work hard, but it is something you get for free from someone else's labor. Matthew tells us that the birds of the air do not sow or reap or store up in barns, which means they get it for free.

This generation needs to "turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents" in Malachi 4:6. The contents of the Bible are not separate, for example, Abraham received the prophecy and it was fulfilled hundreds of years later.

My family story:

My mother's family is very large, and I lived with my grandmother when I was a child. My grandmother was still alive at that time, and the whole family lived in two buildings, which were privately owned. My grandmother was on the third floor, and my grandmother's house was also on the third floor. My grandmother had a very big bed in her house, and I loved to play on her bed, but the big family had a lot of rules, and to us, it meant that we had to obey a lot of rules.

My grandmothers and grandfather were the heads of the extended family. My grandfather managed the business, and my grandmother set the rules of the family. There is a very long ruler in my house, a wide one, and I once witnessed my grandmother enforcing the family law on my uncle. When my grandmother was enforcing the family law, I could see red marks on my uncle's body, but my uncle still honestly did not resist. My grandmother never hit me with the ruler.

One day when I came home late and my whole family was waiting for me to eat, my grandmother used the lightest spike on the broom to lightly whip me in front of my uncles. Every time I was beaten, it would trigger the discontent of the children of the same age, which is discipline.

One year, I don't know what happened in the family, but everyone didn't move their chopsticks and waited until 9:00 p.m. for my grandmother to come home. When my grandparents passed away, their estate was inherited by their children.

The point I'm making is that when you honor your elders, you get an inheritance, and that kind of honor is disappearing from our culture. The book of Proverbs says, "A good man bequeaths property(inheritance) to his children and grandchildren, but a sinner lays up treasure for the righteous. What does that mean? It means that inheritance is left to you by your ancestors.

Covenant With God Is A Legacy:

“He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them.” (2 Kings 13:2)

“Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel.” (2 Kings 13:4)

“Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoash[b] his son succeeded him as king.” (2 Kings 13:9)

“But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.” (2 Kings 13:23)

Why did God have mercy on the evil king Jehoahaz? Surprisingly, it was because of his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; so we will get inheritance from our forefathers, and this is a legacy.

We Are Picking Up the Last Baton:

God promised a lot of people and things in the Old Testament, and the last fulfillment was in the Book of Revelation, and the ancestors before them did not really receive the rewards.

It took 700 years after Abraham's death to see the fulfillment of God's promises. Many of God's promises in the Old Testament will be fulfilled in the last run of the baton, and that is why the Bible says, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit through the bond of peace," because destiny has to do with the Kingdom, which involves all spiritual people throughout the ages.

We Are Surrounded By Clouds Of Witnesses:

Everyone plays a different role, and ultimately they are on this destined path to fulfill the will of the Kingdom of God. None of our forefathers before us saw the fulfillment of the promise, and we are surrounded by clouds of witnesses who watch over us.

If we, the last sprinter in this final lap, had won this end prize, the same prize would have been given to Moses, Paul, David, John, and others.

This is the parable of the laborers in the vineyard mentioned earlier, there were those who came in the morning, those who came at noon, and those who came at night, but they were all paid the same price for their work, and those who came before them were not paid until the work was done; so this final lap we are not running for ourselves, but for the saints who came before us, and for those who are walking with us, and even for the child you are carrying in your womb.

God's Promises Will Be Fulfilled In Our Generation:

The last book of the Bible is Revelation, and as we come to the final lap, do you believe that the promises that were given to us, the last generation, will be fulfilled?

Do you believe that the second heaven will be out-of-bound for the armies of Satan? Do you believe they're going to be imprisoned on the earth? So, the last sprinter, will also be the fastest runner, which is this generation, do you believe that you will receive God's inheritance?

We will not be bored with our current responsibilities, as the cloud of witnesses is around us, watching us from the heavens. We are all interrelated since Adam, early Christian saints, until our generation, the sacrifices we make now will benefit our descendants.

Original title: 6.2.2 The heart of a father and a mother 20200107
Source: Omega Ministry Pastoral Department
Article Optimization: Omega Ministry Editorial Department