First things First!
I have been thinking about this message for some time.
Most of us want what is best for our children but many have seen our
"family and domestic violence courts" ordering things that will
destroy them. We often find that the court will order full custody for the
parent that is abusing these precious children and although those in Shattered
Men know that most often this is the mother, we also know from others in
Shattered Men that many times abusive fathers are the ones that get custody. Of
course, all of this is for "the good of the children"! Or is it?
Often what we think may be for a child's good, could endanger them. Let me give an example. When we board an airplane, we will be given safety instructions. Part of these instructions will be on what we are to do if the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling. If we are
flying with young children, our first impulse as a protective parent would be to put the mask on our children then take care of ourselves but if we do this, we could actually endanger them. Those that know best tell us to put our mask on first...then put the mask on the
children. If we do not, we could well lose consciousness and be unable to help our children. This does however go against all of our impulses.
We see this with many other disciplines too. Fire fighters will take a moment to put on their air tanks before trying to rescue anyone because they know it does no one any good if someone has to rescue them too.
Sometimes it is hard to believe, but most fathers and mothers do want what is best for their children however, when a mother and father stop loving each other, when they start working against each other, far too often the children are caught in the cross fire and far too often, they may be used as pawns in the battle of the parents.
My friends, no matter how good a divorce may be, no matter how easy it is and by that I mean no matter how agreeable both are to it, I assure you any children WILL be hurt. This damage will last long into adulthood. Since this is true for the best of divorces, how
much more damage do you think there will be for a heated divorce full of bitterness, anger and hate?
This is exactly why Shattered Men would like to strength problem marriages rather then destroy them. (1) Now what I am about to say is intended for those who are Christians but it applies to everyone.
I have talked with many who have told me they will serve GOD…IF……! This if often includes things such as "IF God answers my prayers. If God gives me my children back! If…… (You fill in the blank) My friend, if you are telling GOD this, whatever follows that "if" has become your god. If you have any other god ahead of the Living GOD, God will not and can not answer. Read PRAYER! WHY NOT ANSWERED (2) to see why these prayers can not be answered
For those in Shattered Men, the one thing most have asked for most often is simply to be able to have a relationship with their own children. Although society has been told that men only want to keep contact with their children in order to control and abuse their ex, this is far from true. 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father's visitation on at least one occasion, to punish the ex-spouse. One study found that 77% of
non-custodial fathers are NOT able to "visit" their children, as ordered by the court, as a result of "visitation interference" perpetuated by the custodial parent. In other words, non-compliance with court ordered visitation is three times the problem of non-
compliance with court ordered child support and impacts the children of divorce even more (3) I could say so much more about this but that is not the purpose of this message. The purpose is to show that we must put first things first.
I have had times in which when my children or grandchildren have asked for something, I had to say no for their own good. Many of those times, I was told I did not give it to them because I was cheap, or that I did not love them and that they hated me. I am sure that you too have heard…"if you love me you would….."! Let's bring this closer to home. I have talked to many men and women who have told me that God did not love them because they asked Him to bring their wife or husband back to them. Others simply wanted a spouse.
They told me they have prayed for this for a long time and GOD did not answer. Well maybe HE did! Some of our greatest blessings are unanswered prayers. How often have we insisted on buying a certain item because it looked so good only to find that it was a lemon?
More to the point, how often do we want only the thing we are told we can not have?
Many of you may well be saying "Hey wait a moment, how can it be wrong to want my kids" Well my friend, it can be very wrong and this is what I want to bring out in this message. I pointed out earlier that anytime we tell GOD I will if You…..we are on very dangerous ground.
Proverbs 14:12 tells us: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"
Yes it does seem right for us to want our children. That is a desire given by GOD but when it replaces GOD, it is a way that seems right but it will lead to destruction. We can easily see this by reading the daily newspaper far too often. We can often see reports about suicide and often murder/suicide because someone lost everything they have worked for all of their lives, including all contact with their children after a heated divorce. Many men and women who have done this had everything invested in their family so that when a divorce occurred, they had nothing to lean on. They had no friends or support outside of the marriage. Many reading this feel this exact same way and we do want to give you support, to give
Yet I have talked to many who have said they prayed but God did not answer their prayer. When questioned, we often found out these prayers were conditional. They were prayers such as "God if You bring my spouse or my kids back, I will do what you want me too.
Others have simply said "God if You love me, You will give me…..
My friend, when you are I do this…we are sinning against a Holy God and He can not answer our prayers. Whatever we want as a condition to doing what God wants us to do has become our god.
I have told those who have said things like this that Matthew 6:33 states" "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." And that I felt safe to assure them that if they did not do this, they would not see their prayers answered but also I could not assure them that if they did that they would get what they wanted.
I also know that some have tried to manipulate God by saying what they thought GOD wanted them to say but they did not mean it. They may have started attending church simply to get their own way. They may have started to do things they thought GOD wanted them to do but it was only done to get what they wanted. My friend, we can NOT
manipulate God. (4) He knows the thoughts and intent of our heart. We have to actually put GOD first and not just go through the motions.
Let me give an example of this. In Daniel 3: 17-18 we read about the answer three young men had to serving an idol: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Notice that they did not place any conditions on serving God. They were going to do it regardless of the result.
Why is it so important to put GOD first in our life" Matthew 16:26 tells us why:
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Stay with me for a few more moments and we will bring this home. We know that if we put anything ahead of GOD, it is sin. Sin always cost us more then we can afford and it always cost others then the one doing it (5) Let me remind you of a very likely cost of putting your children ahead of GOD.
We have had several that have thought of taking their own life and as we said above, many have done just this. My friend, we are told in the Word of GOD that if someone does not trust in the LORD, that they can not have eternal life. The BEST way for our children to
see their need to trust in the LORD…is to SEE it in their father or mother. If they know that one of the two they loved the most did not have enough faith in GOD to trust in HIM, they are very unlikely to trust a GOD their father or mother did not trust.
Think of this for a moment….IF you gained the whole world but lost your soul….your children will be far more likely to lose THEIR soul too! Is this a chance you are willing to take? What are your priorities? (6)
Many of you reading this may be having problems understanding this.
It all sounds like foolishness. If it does, there is a reason and
you can see this reason in 1 Corinthians 1:17-27 (7)
Once again, these things are written to those who know the LORD but if you do not know that you have eternal life, you too can get the desires of your heart but the FIRST STEP….is to accept HIM! You can find out how right here!