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Part 1—Pastor Megan Cloninger

Text: Exodus 1:22, Exodus 2:1-11

Since becoming a mother my eyes have really been opened to what motherhood is really like, and it is not at all what I expected. It has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding seasons of my life.  I have found that one of my main jobs is to keep my 2-year old, Madelyn alive, by protecting her. I have had to protect her from a lot of things that I never thought I would have had to protect her from. It’s like as soon as I became a mom a switch inside of me went on! I am not just about talking protecting her from the things of this world but the germs of this world! I have had to teach her that licking the floor at church is not okay nor is licking the dog!  When parents are entrusted with children, we are called to protect them. Our job is to protect the next generation because they have a Divine purpose that will change this world. God will equip us as parents and as the church on how to protect the next generation and who or what we are protecting them from. Let’s look into one mother’s journey in Exodus 2:1-11 and see a mother who went to great lengths to protect her son from death because she knew that he was special. If it wasn’t for this mother’s faith in God and will to protect her son a whole nation wouldn’t have made it to the Promise Land. The mother I’m referring to is Moses’s mom. In the face of the Pharaoh’s order to kill the Hebrew baby boys, she chose to risk her life and her family’s life to save her son. She helps us answer some questions we need to be asking this morning!
  1. Why are we called to protect the next generation?
In Exodus 2:1-2 it reads, “About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for. Three months.” Here we see two reasons why we are called to protect the children in the next generation.
  1. They are special.
          • In our text we see that Moses’ mother saw that he was special or good. Maybe your translation says that he was “fine” child. There was something unique even just about the way he looked. 
          • Like any mother she loved Moses and knew that it was her job to protect him.
          • We need to understand that the next generation is special and deserves to be protected.
  1. They have a Divine purpose.
          • Moses’ mother knew that he had a future of greatness ahead of him.
          • Many times, beauty was sign of greatness or Divine favor.
          • Moses’ mother had great love for her son and great faith in God to keep him in hiding for three whole months.
          • It was her faith that was the first step of the deliverance of Israel. The child she delivered would later deliver her and her people out of the bondage and lead them to the Promise Land.
          • You see, Moses needed a miracle to survive and his mother was ready to make sure that would happen. (Mom’s you have the power and authority in Jesus to be miracle-makers for your kids!)
          • The next generation needs to be protected because God has a plan for them that is life-changing for others! We need to be advocates for them and go to great lengths to ensure that happens like Moses’ mother did!
There is this saying or thought that every mother believes that their baby is the prettiest baby in the world. There are those who would agree with that statement and there are others who would say you would have to be the baby’s mother to think they are cute. A mother when she holds her baby for the first time sees someone who is special, someone that has great potential, and someone to protect. Moses’ mother looked at Moses’ through the eyes of a mother and saw that he was special, and that God had a Divine plan for him. When we look at the next generation, we need to understand that God has a Divine plan for them, and it is worth protecting. If you are a young person, do not look at your parent’s protection as something that is keeping you from fun or being cool, but look at it as them guarding the Divine potential that God has for you. Another question we must address is…
  1. What are we protecting the next generation from?
In Exodus 1:22 it reads,Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.” We are protecting our children from a real enemy:
      • The Egyptians were living in fear because they were afraid if the Hebrews got over populated then there would be an uprising and they would lose their Egyptian control. So, the Pharaoh was trying to control the Hebrew population by murdering their male children.
      • The enemy, Satan who, through pharaoh, attempted to destroy Israel in its infant state.
      • The enemy is still working this way! Satan tries to destroy the future of the Kingdom of God by stealing and spiritually assassinating our young people!
      • We need to be parents and a church that risks everything like Moses’ mother did for the next generation by protecting them from the enemy!
      • The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10 The devil wants to steal our young people by exposing them to the things of this world. He wants to rob them of their innocence through the things that are presented in the media. He wants to strike fear in every parent’s heart when they send their child off to school each day! (We just heard of yet another school shooting this week. The threats are real!)
      • But as parents and as the church if we do what God has called us to do which is protect our young people by being a light to them, we are saving our future. 
The list of things to protect our kids from is seemingly endless. All of the things that threaten this generation come from the enemy trying tear down and destroy the next generation. We as believers are called to put a stop to these things by proclaiming the Word of God and by being the light to them. It is time to stand up and take back what the enemy has stolen from our young people and our families. The final question that we must ask ourselves is…
  1. How do we protect the next generation?
In Exodus 2:2-3 reads, “She saw that he was special and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.” There are three ways that we can protect the next generation which are…
  1. Entrusting the next generation to God.
          • I can imagine that as Moses got older his mother could no longer hid him in their home and so, she had to think of something else to do to keep him safe.
          • Moses’s mother created a basket, but it was more like a mini ark and she placed him in the basket in the Nile River.
          • Moses’s mother had to have great faith in God to trust God to care for him.
          • It was through her faith in God that Moses was alive as an infant.
          • We as parents need to diligently pursue protecting the purposes God has for the lives of our children which is what Moses’ mother did.
  1. Praying for the next generation.
          • I am sure that Moses’ mother prayed for her son and his safety, but if you look at the basket or the ark that she placed him in you see that it kept him safe from outside physical elements.
          • Prayer is much like this basket or ark the Moses was placed in. Prayer covers you and protects you from the things of this world. It protected him from the enemy.
          • As parents the greatest thing that we can do for our children is to pray for them and pray with them.
  1. Instill wisdom in the next generation.
In Exodus 2:11 it states, “Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went to visit his own people, the Hebrews.”
          • Moses, through the influence of his mother, knew who he was. He knew that although he was raised in the palace by the Pharaoh’s daughter, he was truly a Hebrew. 
          • We need to teach our who they are in Christ by teaching them how to view the world and life decision through the lens of Christ and what He says about them.
I can remember, the first year of Madelyn’s life how I wanted to protect her from everything and everyone! My mind was consumed with worry and fear that someone would hurt my daughter. But I got to a place where I had to trust God to keep her safe when I wasn’t there, and I began to pray fervently for her and her future. Now that she has gotten older, we have begun instilling in her the knowledge of who she is in Christ. Parents and church, it is time for us to rise up, to do whatever it takes, to protect our children and entrust the next generation to God by praying for them and instilling in them what God has called them to be.

Pastor Melissa Pratt’s Portion of the Message

2 Timothy 1:5 5  I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NIV) 14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15  and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

In II Timothy, Paul is writing young Timothy, a guy who had become a spiritual son to Paul, to encourage him to stay faithful to walk in the way he had learned as a child and to live boldly for God. Paul recalled the names two women who taught him and shaped him to prepare him to become a powerhouse for the Kingdom of God. They were his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.

Moms and Dads, we are our children’s first teachers. Grandparents, you are extremely important when it comes to the training of children. You know the saying, “It takes a village,” and it really does. Not only were Eunice and Lois instrumental in teaching young Timothy, but so was Paul. Men, don’t underestimate the role you could play in someone’s life as you mentor or act as a father figure in the lives of young people around you. As we consider what it means to prepare the next generation, I would say that first and foremost we need to Teach children to rely on God.

It is clear from Paul’s words that the faith Timothy possessed was in part the result of learning what the Scriptures say. “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 Moms, grandparents, and mentors, it is imperative that we make sure our children are frequently engaging with the Word of God, and it needs to happen when they are young. Bring your kids to Sunday School. Get them here for the midweek services on Wednesday. Make Sunday morning worship an absolute priority and not something you just fit in if there is nothing else to do. We have to be intentional in instilling the Word in our kids.

Every day your kids are hearing messages that are countering what God’s Word says. Every day Satan is prowling like a roaring lion, looking for someone to isolate and devour. Every day they need to be reminded that God is for them, that He is there with them, that they can turn to Him for encouragement and power to stand, even if they have to stand alone. But that confidence comes, that power comes, that courage comes from regular exposure to the Word of God.

The best way to prepare them for life’s challenges is with the Word of God. How do you defeat Satan’s lies and deceptions? You do it with the Word of Truth! I encourage you to Let biblical truth saturate your everyday conversation. Text your kids a Bible verse. Interject the truth of God’s Word into conversation now and then. Ask what your kids learned in Sunday School, Kids’ Church or what they heard God say during the sermons each week. Make sure your kids have a Bible at home and that they know how to look up Scriptures on whatever topic they might need to read based on what they are going through. And if you aren’t sure yourself, Google it! You can google, “Scriptures for depression” or “Scriptures for handling peer pressure” or “Scriptures for anxiety.”

Start spiritual conversations with your kids. If you never ask, “What do you think God thinks about that?” or “How are you doing spiritually?” most kids won’t have a reason to talk about God. And when they share something spiritual, take it to prayer. You can sneak extra prayers in at mealtime. You don’t just have to pray over the food that is being eaten, but you can add something about the test at school the next day, the conflict with the friend, or the uneasy feeling they might be having about an upcoming audition. You teach your kids to rely on God when Bible reading and prayer are a regular part of their lives.

Here are some other things you need to teach if you are going to prepare the next generation to live well.

Teach conflict-resolving skills.

Here is what I would stress with your kids: Peace is important to God. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. One of the things He emphasized in the Sermon on the Mount was this: “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) If you want your kids to have a life of blessing, they need to learn how to pursue peace. Help your kids understand that in ever conflict, no matter how big or how small, the goal is peace.

I have been praying about a situation some friends of mine are dealing with. They have two sons. One is engaged. The other is dating a girl. Both girls were friends, but the girls have had a falling out and refuse to speak to each other or be in the same room together. How many of you know that will hamper your family dynamics? I reached out this week to ask how things were going. I found out there had been no change. I encouraged my friends to speak to their adult sons and help their sons see they needed to lead in this situation. Setting the tone early regarding how conflict is going to be handled is so important in a marriage or dating relationship. My text to my friends reflected my prayer for these girls which is simply this: Somebody is going to have to get humble.

Even if you are the one who is “right” or the one who has been “wronged” in the situation, being willing to talk things through and listen to the other person is so important. We need to let our desire to please God be more important than how we feel in every situation. Matthew 5:24 tells us to go and be reconciled to our brother. That means, we take initiative to get conflicts resolved.

Teach about the value of service and mission.

If your kids ever ask you what God looks like, tell them He looks like a servant. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. (Mark 10:45) Kids, by nature, are self-centered. We all are. We have to be taught to value serving others. Teach them to serve by helping them learn to serve in the family. Your kids need to help with some household chores. They need to be encouraged to look for ways to spontaneously serve the family. Maybe take a month and call it “Family Service Month” where you reward your kids for acts of service they initiate themselves.

A week from Monday, we are scheduled to join forces with the Putnam County Rotary to plant flowers at the Hurricane Senior Center and then a week from Tuesday, we are planting them at Valley Park. Bring your kids to those events and talk to them about why it is important to help make our community a better place.

Teach how to save, spend and share.

Many people deal with the suffocation and burden of debt because they haven’t learned how to live within their means. Kids need to be taught to save ten percent of what they make, tithe ten percent of what they make, and live on the remaining 80%. Teach tithing early, Mom and Dad, because it helps kids understand that we are called to share with others. One way we do that is through the ministry of the church. Maybe your kids have more toys than they need, why not go through their toys with them once in a while and ask them to pick out two or three toys they could share with another child who may enjoy them? Help your kids save for the special items they want rather than just buying them for them. If they earn what they want and wait for it, they will value it so much more and will take better care of it. It will also instill a sense of pride in them.

Here are some verses to use when instructing them:

Proverbs 21:20-In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

Proverbs 21:5The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Proverbs 3:9-10-9  Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Teach about motivation and initiative by helping them set goals.

When you help your kids set goals, you help them understand they have a purpose. We aren’t on this planet just to be takers or just to be along for the ride. We are here for a reason. Maybe your child could benefit from some physical goals like exercising so many times a week or being able to do so many sit ups. Perhaps it is finishing their piano book by the end of the school year or training to beat a school record. Maybe it is raising their grades or raising money for a person in need. Perhaps it is the goal of reading so many chapters of the Bible or memorizing a certain number of Scriptures. Ask your kids what personal goal they could set and what spiritual goal they could set each month and then help them evaluate at the end of the month how well they worked to achieve that goal.

2 Chronicles 15:77  But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Setting goals helps your kids learn how to persevere and not give up!

Teach recovery skills and how to accept personal responsibility when they experience failure.

God’s grace is sufficient for us whenever we need a do-over. (II Corinthians 12:9) The story of the disciples and how they all scattered and walked out on Jesus when they should have been His best support and how, except for Judas, they recovered to go on and do greater things than they had done before, ought to inspire us that anyone can start again.

One thing that might be missing in the character of many people today is the willingness to accept personal responsibility for their failures. When Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, I think Jesus was asking Peter to think through what he had done, to think about how he had failed Him not once, not twice, but three times. In order to move on, we need to own where we have been.

Failures are never a waste because they can become the greatest motivators and teachers to help us achieve our greatest successes. Let your kids know it is OK to fail, but it isn’t OK to let failure define you or derail you. Getting back up and moving on always has to be the goal.

Teach them how to get out of tempting or dangerous situations.

Lord Jesus, help me” has to be a prayer that is right on the lips of our kids’ mouths. Talk to your kids ahead of peer pressure situations. Help them develop an exit strategy for the moments when they need to find a way out of something or a way home from something.

1 Corinthians 10:13 13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Parents and grandparents, each of these lessons build a Christ-like character and can help you equip the next generation for the Kingdom of God. Parenting your children is the most important thing you will ever do. Let’s protect and prepare them so that God can use them in the way He has planned.

 
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