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Nearly every parent can fill an evening with stories of the "human jungle-gym" season when children are at the climbing stage, somewhere between the ages of three and seven. If there isn't a logical reason to climb up the daddy or mommy tree, children will invent a reason.
Some weary parents may celebrate the day they ceased to be their children's favorite climbing toy, but the truth is that we are ordained to be platforms and elevators for our children all of our lives.
One of the most important and overlooked passages in the Old Testament is tucked away in a biblical "corner" just before the far more spectacular story of God's judgment over Sodom and Gomorrah.
God said of Abraham, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."
Success involves more than the conveyance of title and authority from father to son or from mother to daughter. Destiny is more than just good training and education in the things of God, although that is a good place to start.
The fulfillment of God's purposes in our families and churches demands nothing less than the successful impartation of anointing and passion for God's presence and principles from one generation to the next.
You may not have any childhood memories of times spent on your daddy's shoulders. Your earthly father may have been absent or even abusive, but your heavenly Father said He would be a "father to the fatherless." The scriptural principle of adoption allows you even to adopt childhood stories of others as your own.
Allow the scenes described in the Bible to form a powerful picture and reveal the spiritual significance of what it means to ride on the heavenly Father's shoulders. This is a portrait of the purpose and plan of God for every generation.
Without that picture, it may be difficult to harness the power and personally become a platform to help your descendants ascend to their God-ordained destiny.
Turn the Tide of Destiny
with One Life
As far as the spirit realm is concerned, your "loving lift" literally empowers your children to start out in life as millionaires! It gives them a leg up on the world with a real advantage and opportunity to make a greater difference in the world. You have an obligation to teach your children and those you've "adopted" that it is possible to turn the tide of destiny with one life-their own.
The modern nation of Israel would not be the same today if it were not for the destiny and determination of a Lithuanian Jew named Eliezer Perlman. In 1880, he launched himself into the impossible task of reviving the Hebrew language, even though it had been dead for many centuries!
He changed his name to Eliezer Ben Yehuda (son of Judah) and immigrated to Palestine (Israel as a nation would not be reborn for 67 years). He and his new bride decided to set up a Hebrew-speaking home just to prove to other Jews that it could be done.
On a Quest to Reclaim the Ancient Biblical Language
Eliezer Ben Yehuda edited a number of Hebrew-language newspapers and used them to introduce freshly translated Hebrew words and to coin new modern words to update the ancient language. Despite tremendous persecution, even from other Jews and especially from enemies of the Zionist cause, Ben Yehuda continued to conduct research and scour the libraries of Europe in a quest to reclaim the ancient biblical language of his people word by word.
He had an odd habit of writing tidbits of research on tiny pieces of paper and "filing" them with thousands of others in a cluttered office. Yet in the end, he always seemed to know where they were. How gratifying it must have been to finally have the pleasure of hearing Hebrew spoken by people in the streets of Palestine's cities.
Author Lance Lambert wrote in his book The Uniqueness of Israel that "by 1916, 40 percent of the Jewish population in Palestine spoke Hebrew as their first language." Hebrew was declared to be the national language of Israel when that nation was reborn in 1948, and to this day Hebrew scholars continue to carry on Ben Yehuda's work.
"That [Hebrew] is today a language used for everything from football to nuclear physics is owed largely, under God, to one man, Eliezer Ben Yehuda," Lambert writes. "I say 'under God' for, in my opinion, there is no adequate explanation for the miracle of the rebirth of Hebrew other than that God was behind it."
Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah with these words: "And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver He has hidden Me."
You and your children are also "polished," or select, arrows in the quiver of God. He fully intends to shoot you into the future toward the mark of your divine destiny and purpose.
Polishing perfects, straightens and removes splinters. Without it, destiny will be aborted. The launching point of daddy's shoulders is only achieved after the lifting parent reaches down. To launch you must lift. To lift you must exert.
Too often as parents we want someone else to polish and perfect our little arrows.
Arrows must be aimed, so make preparations now to ensure that your children receive a double portion of God's best because of your faithfulness and diligence. Make sure you invest your life to further the Kingdom through the legacy you leave to your descendants.
Set your heart and soul to help your children and your grandchildren go further and do more for God than you have ever dreamed. Polish them-lift them! This is God's way of making your life and legacy prosper and bringing to fruition an incorruptible inheritance.
The God Father
When you were born into the world, much of what you came to understand about God and His creation resulted from observing the people around you. We all learn how to relate to others by observing how our parents and other adults around us relate to one another. We also learn how to handle adversity (or cave in under the pressure) by observing how the adults in our lives handled the challenges that came their way.
Our knowledge of God is literally a composite of the things we've observed and filtered through the lives of others around us. We can never overestimate the power of praying grandmothers, faithful Godfearing uncles and grandfathers who model integrity in business, personal relationships and their dealings with our children.
Only God knows the full impact that our lives make on others, but we can be sure He notices. It seemed to be one of Jesus' chief concerns. He even said:
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Skewed, Rude "Filters" Make the
Have you ever met an unfriendly or rude resident from a particular city or country? In most cases, we can't help but wonder if all the inhabitants of that place share the same traits, opinions and obviously unpleasant manners as the embarrassing ambassador we had the misfortune to meet.
Most of us have heard stories about unfortunate experiences with cab drivers in large cities. Unless those bad experiences are countered by good experiences with more pleasant people from the same city, the "victims" will permanently link their rude experiences with the city and its inhabitants.
In a very real sense, those rude people became filters or translators that colored, or skewed, the impression made about their culture or region.
In most cases, our parents become our first and most important filters through whom we see the world and its creator.
Every search for true identity begins and ends with God. If you are searching for your identity on the earth, God is the only forefather you really need to know. First He created a plan, and then He made you specifically to fulfill that purpose. He knew you before you were born, and He set you apart before He formed you in your mother's womb.
You were God's idea, so accept it! Once you know the heart of your creator, you will begin to know His purpose for your creation. As you think about all the care God has invested in you, you will want to know Him more and experience Him every day as your Father. You will long to know Him as the creator of your physical body and your eternal destiny.
Parents and mentors have a responsibility to teach their children or students about the things of God. But which is better-to teach them using static one-dimensional representations of the invisible God, or to throw away the copies and share the real thing?
All too often we try to copy what we have in the form of a program or formula and pass it down to our children or to others under our care. Isn't it better to show them how to grow fruit and cultivate a real relationship with God for themselves?
This isn't always the most popular choice because it takes a little work and a lot of faith in God's ability to step in and fill the gap. Wise parents and mentors know they shouldn't step in and take over; their chief role is to guide them gently and encourage them strongly. The Scriptures tell us, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Teach them to "taste" and to trust!
Once children, new converts or students taste the fruit of God's love and abiding presence, they will no longer be content with mere technical descriptions of what God is like. They will have tasted the real thing and they know for themselves that He is good.
Have you ever met someone who can describe what a relationship with God looks like but has never touched Him or tasted the exquisite richness of His presence? The sad truth is that he or she has settled for a pitiful imitation of the real thing.
Dare to take a risk and entrust your child to God. Yes, you could answer all of his or her questions and keep him or her thoroughly informed with your own personal descriptions. The problem is that information without inspiration-data without a personal encounter with God-won't give your child the breakthrough he or she needs.
It is easier to seek and find the real thing when all substitutes are removed. Your children will be grateful if you refuse to let yourself become a copy but instead point them toward what is authentic. Your personal introduction may leave them hungry to obtain this fruit in their own lives.
Now that we understand where we come from and whom we come through, it is time we know why. God created us in His own image and forged a level of intimacy that only He can reach.
A scientific adage states, "Nature abhors a vacuum." The creator of nature also created a vacuum in us, knowing we would be drawn to Him to fill it. It reminds me of the TV infomercials that repeatedly say, "You can't get this anywhere else!"
God has cornered the market on fulfillment for you. He created a space that only He can fill. Then He announced, "You can't get this anywhere else!" Satisfaction begins for us when we find out that what we need does exist and is available. There is one catch, however: He desires a passionate exchange. (If you don't believe this, then offer God a lukewarm drink of passionless praise and wimpy worship and let me know what happens.)
He is asking for intimacy; casual friendship won't do. He isn't seeking mere admirers; He wants sons and daughters. He does not want us to hold Him at arm's length just long enough for a feel-good experience. He wants a marriage, a two-sided commitment for eternity.
Many people feel uncomfortable linking talk of God with discussions of marriage and intimacy, but it was God who chose the marriage relationship to characterize His relationship with the Bride of Christ, the Church.
Passion Determines Whether
Marriage Is a Paradise or a Prison
Some see marriage as a paradise and some call it a prison. Those who are distracted and indecisive about love are most likely to view their marriage vow as a prison. But to the one who is deeply and passionately in love, it is a paradise.
A marriage relationship is a rite of passage that you must embrace to experience. It is a covenant relationship that requires you knowingly to eliminate certain levels of interaction with others. Behavior that was fine before the commitment will no longer be acceptable afterward. You simply choose what you want and make no room for what you don't.
All of this sounds foreign to people who view ministry strictly as a lecture directed toward other people from behind a pulpit or as something reserved solely for seminary graduates. It may definitely include these forms of ministry, but all of us are called to minister to Him, not merely to people.
Birthed through god-ward passion
and sacrificial pain
When Eli the high priest and his sons failed to minister to God properly, the Lord went outside the established pattern of lineage in leadership to install Samuel in their place. Samuel didn't come by the office of high priest and prophet by bloodline alone; he was birthed into it solely through the God-ward passion and sacrificial pain of one desperate woman.
God is still calling people into full-time ministry. He is still selecting many who do not come from a long line of preachers. Many of them were "adopted" by spiritual fathers who lent them their own shoulders to help launch them into their destiny and spiritual inheritance.
Every Christian needs to be mentored in the things of God. In essence, before you can stand on Daddy's shoulders-even the shoulders of an adopted mentor such as Eli-you may have to be birthed out of a mother's prayers and nursed in her lap. This is God's way of mentoring us into ministry. (In other words, you don't have to be born into a preacher's home or stand behind a pulpit for God to consider you a minister.)
God Called to Samuel and
Used Eli to Confirm It
Have you ever wondered why God didn't introduce Himself to young Samuel the first time instead of calling his name out three times? God wanted to include Eli the priest in the process of introduction.
Excerpted from On Daddy's Shoulders by TOMMY TENNEY AMIE DOCKERY Copyright © 2003 by Tommy Tenney and Amie Dockery
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.