PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families
A Man’s Enemies Will be the Members of His Own Household


This month, Jon and I felt compelled to address an issue that has always been a source of confusion and grief for many of our homeschooling families, but has of late reached a fevered pitch as we have witnessed an ever increasingly hostile environment towards our homeschooling families within their own families, their church families, and even amongst other homeschooling families.
 

Homeschoolers have always been ridiculed, ignored, ostracized, and slandered by family and church members, but of much more concern now is the boldness with which others are working against our homeschooling parents to turn the hearts of their children away from them and towards independence.

Most of us began homeschooling because we believed that it was our covenantal responsibility to raise up our children in the admonition of the Lord. Unfortunately, thinking that by just keeping our children out of that ungodly environment would keep them safe from the enemy’s influence, we unwisely relaxed our vigilance around others, because, quite frankly, we did not expect it to come from those we personally knew, often those closest to us. Yet once this avenue of access to our children was closed to Satan, he cleverly devised other modus operandi in which to reach them. And indeed, God repeatedly warns us to be sober and vigilant to protect ourselves from the evil one who constantly schemes for our destruction. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

First, let us begin by sharing some of the personal testimonies of the persecution that many members of our body have suffered, and then we will offer some scriptures and personal advice that we have given to many other homeschoolers in the hopes of helping you in your present situation or quite possibly sparing you needless heartache. It certainly comes as no surprise to most of us that homeschooling families receive a certain amount of ridicule from their families, but the degree that some of this hostility has reached may be somewhat of a shock to you.

Most of us have had to deal with inappropriate gifts in past years, but now it seems that more and more grandparents are pushing their grandchildren into romantic books and books of the occult, even pressing them later as to whether they actually read the books that were given to them. Many have gone on then to plant ideas of rebellion in the children’s hearts by telling them that their parents are being too restrictive by not allowing them to read such materials. Even in many churches, these books are promoted as healthy for our children.

Then of course there is always the constant barrage of questions our children face at family gatherings and church functions alike: “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” “Where are you going to college?” “When are you going to move out to be on your own?”

Parents spend an exorbitant amount of time deprogramming their children after these encounters of persuasive and damaging propaganda. Often this comes from visiting with their peers who fill their heads with talk about boyfriends, sex, movies, and music. Many mothers say it takes weeks to deprogram their children after youth group outings. One mother recently told me that it actually took her six months to deprogram her child after visiting with cousins over the holidays.

Pastors are ridiculing parents for not having their children in youth groups. Some are pressured into attending or losing their positions in their churches. One pastor even pointed his finger in the face of one of our mothers and said that she would live to regret her decision not to allow her son to go to youth group. When one of our mothers found out that the church kids encouraged her middle school aged son to make out with the girls at church camp and she went to the church for help, many of the families ridiculed her for her feelings and assured her that this was natural.

Some families have told parents that they are abusing their children by spanking them, or by not allowing them to date, or because they do not allow them to go with their friends to movies and dances like normal parents, and then have gone on to give ultimatums to the parents. One of our families even received a signed letter from every member of their extended family threatening them that if they did not make the changes that the family members deemed appropriate that they would take matters into their own hands. A pastor even turned one parent in to DFS because he did not agree with the method of parenting.

Many of our families are accused of being controlling, abusive, and unloving, but remember it is Satan who accuses the brethren before the throne of God day and night. And just like their father, who is the father of lies, our enemies will most often accuse the brethren of the very things that they themselves are doing. “… the accuser of our brethren … who accuses them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and church members are ever increasingly trying to woo the hearts of the children from their parents’ standards by trying to convince them that they need to be their own persons and make their own decisions (which inevitably includes dating, going away to college, and having their own apartment) so that they can become independent, experience the world, and have some fun. Not surprisingly, they are housing these kids while helping to establish their independence from underneath their parents’ covering.

Can you imagine the wrath that they are storing up for themselves for being so arrogant as to think that they know better than God what is best for these children? We shudder every time we hear another testimony of such rebellion. Let us just share the following scripture to show how strongly God feels towards those who cause a child to stumble. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). As a result, they will inevitably reap what they sow because God will not be mocked.

Sadly, we even receive calls about other homeschooling families encouraging children to rebel against their parents, keeping them in their own homes while they help them find jobs.

Let us assure you that these are not isolated incidents, but are occurring all the time. For the past couple of years we have received these testimonies and pleas for advice and prayers almost weekly.

Let’s be frank. Why don’t we associate with pedophiles? Then why would we associate with those who would rape our children of their godly principles? Think about it!

We place ourselves in serious peril when we remove our guard, allowing the enemy into our children’s hearts, for we will have to give an account to the Lord for our stewardship of the precious lives that He placed in our care. Unfortunately for many parents, they were clueless that family members and church members would work to turn their children away from them until it was too late. Do you know where your family, your pastor, your church family, and your friends stand on the principles that you hold dear? Are you certain that they will stand with you in helping your children fulfill God’s mandate to be obedient to you and to Him?

Contrary to man’s thoughts, parental authority was not invented by parents just so they could “control” every aspect of their children’s lives; it is a mandate from God that is not up for speculation or debate. And let us be reminded that indeed it is this obedient relationship that brings our children the blessings of a long life. Without question, anyone who interferes or supersedes a parent’s authority puts himself in contempt of God’s Law, for God clearly calls children to be obedient and to continue to heed their parents’ teachings throughout their lives. We have only to read the following scriptures to see God’s commands to children to hear, to accept, to give attention, to listen, to keep, to delight in and to obey their parents’ teachings, while also reading His warnings to them not to forget, depart, abandon, forsake, or reject their parents’ teachings: Proverbs 1:8; 2:1; 3:1,2; 4:1,2,5,10,20-22; 5:1,7; 6:20,21; 7:1,2; 10:1; 13:1; 15:5; 17:6; 23:19,22-26; 30:17; Ephesians 6:1-3; and Colossians 3:20.

Now allow us to take a few moments to dispel several misconceptions that many parents possess that have been the cause of dashed expectations and much grief. Following these, we will offer scriptures for guidance and direction back onto God’s course.

Regardless of the particulars, homeschoolers are most often viewed as rigid, unyielding, and judgmental, which is interesting since for a conflict to exist, these same accusers are most certainly rigid, unyielding and judgmental towards homeschoolers themselves. However, it is true that we are rigid and unyielding in our standards, because God calls us to be steadfast to His Word. And in our determination to adhere to God’s standards and not the world’s, we make ourselves prime targets for persecution. And the closer we walk with God according to His standards, the more rigid and unyielding we become to the wiles of the world, which brings even more contempt upon us.

However, it is this same uncompromising stance that caused others to accuse all our great patriarchs, and even Jesus Himself, of these same things. Remember, God warns us to beware when all men speak well of us. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). For the closer we walk with God, trusting in His ways instead of our own, entirely dependent on His righteousness, the harder Satan battles against us, and the more men will speak vilely of us.

To be sure, staying God’s course is hard because we are ever trying to stand firm in the face of monumental waves of worldliness that continually try to knock us over so as to give in to its ways. But what is even harder is the realization that most “Christians’” concept of God is so corrupted by their deplorable lack of biblical knowledge, and so perverted by their own thinking, that they, too, believe that God is tolerant of independence and sin, when indeed there is nothing farther from the truth.

However, do not be deceived into thinking that you can talk your way into their hearts and make them understand God’s point of view, for the world cannot, we repeat cannot, understand us no matter how much we wish and pray they could. But quite frankly, herein lies the problem. For we have not been trained to look at all situations biblically, so lacking in biblical direction, we rely on our own reasoning. We all certainly desire peace with our families and expect their support of our endeavors to raise up our children according to God’s Word, yet God says that He did not come to bring peace, but division.



Our Enemies Are the Members of Our Own Household



“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53).

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:34-39).

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matt. 10:21,22).



Some Solutions



First of all just let us say that we believe that we should continue to honor our parents as best as we can as long as they live—but never at the expense of our children. Let us repeat that we should never jeopardize our children’s souls under any circumstances! This can pose very difficult situations, requiring both firmness and love. For instance, this may mean that even though grandparents want the grandchildren to spend the night at their home, if they are not thoroughly of like spirit and mind, we should not subject our children to such intimate times alone with them. Grandparents’ relationships with their grandchildren can run very deep, so we need to be careful of the opportunities they have to influence them contrary to God’s Word. We also should not allow our children to stay at their grandparents’ home if they refuse to turn the television off while the children are visiting. Remember once a child’s innocence is lost, it is lost forever, so we should not place them in situations where they will be exposed to pictures and words that will harm them. Besides, the very things that we are exposed to while young formulate our thoughts on love and marriage.

Instead, we can make dates with our parents when we are present and in control of the environment. This may mean that we keep our visits confined to our own homes where they do not have access to a television, or we can offer to take them out to lunch and dinner. We must always be available to help our parents if they need anything and continue to talk with them, but we should not allow our children to spend time with them if it is going to injure our children’s thoughts in any way. This rule of thumb also applies to spending time with cousins, church families, and friends. Vigilance and discernment are absolutely necessary when determining our course of action for spending time with anyone outside our own immediate families.

Now, with that said, let us say that some grandparents and other extended family members are just negative and possess sharp tongues, which they use to put down others. Under these circumstances, we see no reason why children shouldn’t be exposed to this kind of treatment in small doses. Indeed they will be faced with these kind of people all their lives and how much easier it is to learn to show self restraint and forbearance at a young age when they can return to a loving home where parents can cuddle them and comfort them afterwards. Yet, on the other hand, we should not expose our children to disrespectful attitudes, for this influence is another matter entirely, and again needs to be dealt with as an enemy.

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, ‘The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (1 Pet. 3:8-17).

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life …” (Phil. 2:13-16).

Also, let us assure you that your parents, your brothers and sisters, and many of those who call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ who are indeed nothing more that tares among the wheat do not hate you, but the Holy Spirit who is in you. For what fellowship does light have with darkness?



What Fellowship Has Light with Darkness?



Never underestimate the power of the tongue. And never underestimate the power others wield over our children. We must live in this world, but we should not be of this world, and that means being friends with those who are not of the same Spirit or hold the same standards. Let the following scriptures guide you in the decisions you make for yourself and your family.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but is the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:23,24).

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous men, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them … Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:3-11,15-17).

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer … Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:25-32).



The World Will Never Understand



Certainly, we reason, others must see the difference in our children compared to the world and therefore appreciate what we are doing. Well, they may very well see the difference and appreciate the difference most of the time, but they cannot understand that this is due to the fact that we are raising them according to God’s Word. So then we reason that if we could just talk with our close associates and explain our position that certainly they will understand. Yet, here again, lies the problem because we are using our own reasoning and not God’s Word to determine our actions. For if we really study the scriptures, we find that our enemies can no more understand that the fruit of our labor is due to God’s standards, and that these standards are the best for everyone, any more than a baby can comprehend calculus or physics. It is foreign, and no amount of reasoning and explaining on our part will change their thinking unless the Lord intervenes.

Simply put, no one can understand spiritual things unless the Holy Spirit comes into their lives and reveals those truths to them. This is not to say that we are not supposed to give a reason for the hope that is within us, because we believe that we should use every opportunity to preach the gospel to the lost, but again, we must understand that the hope that we possess can only be received by others if the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you…. If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me…. He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:37,42-47).

“But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:7-16).

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Eph. 4:17-19).

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).



Christians Have Always Been Severely Persecuted



Many wonder why they are being persecuted for their beliefs and standards of raising their children, yet again this thought prevails for lack of studying God’s Word and His Story thoroughly, because we plainly see that throughout history God’s children have always been persecuted. It really began at the very beginning of time as we read in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed …”

For what reason do others hate, revile, and slander you? “… Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:12,13).

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:18,19).

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12).

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets” (Luke 6:22,23).

“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20).

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:3-9).

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name…. Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Pet. 4:12-16,19). Please take note of the last verse that says “those who suffer according to the will of God.”

Again, our hope lies in knowing that the persecution that we suffer is for our own good. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn, among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:28-39).



Remember That We Were Once Like Them



“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:1-10).

We were once like them and need to have compassion on their souls by sharing the gospel with them; however, if they refuse the gospel message, we should continue to pray for their souls, but we should not sacrifice our children on their behalf.



Life on Earth Is One Ferocious Spiritual Battle



There is a fierce battle raging constantly over the souls of our children. Satan wants them, for hell is never satisfied and will stop at nothing to possess their souls. Indeed the enemy is relentless in trying to steal them. If we were now living on the frontier during the times of the Indian uprisings where the kidnapping of children was common, we certainly would be very vigilant to protect our children by keeping them close to us and out of harm’s way. How much more vigilant should we be to protect our children from being taking captive by the devil.



God’s Standards



“We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is. 40:8).

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13-19).

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:8-10). “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thes. 5:21,22).


Be Strong in the Lord

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:10-18).

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:5,6).

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).


Our Prayer for You

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:14-21).