Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Children of God

On Sunday nights I teach the High School boys at church. Last week I had a lesson stirring in my soul after reading Genesis chapter 4 and the account of Cain and Abel’s offering. Verse 4:5 says, “The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast.” I couldn’t get the next verse out of my head. “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you furious? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you, but you must master it.’”

What Cain was doing was going through the motions with God and became offended when God didn’t play along.  “Sin is at your door”, He told Cain. God could see the evil intent of Cain towards Abel and He was warning Cain that the murder he was tempted to commit would bring the curse of death and shame upon him, ending his life. “You must master it” “You must rule over it” Cain receives this clear warning and instruction by God; however in the very next verse he says to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”

I couldn’t wait to deliver this message to our High school boys. It had changed my heart and I wanted to plant this seed in their heart too. Since the weather was good we had twenty youth walk to church. Nearly every kid who usually comes to church brought a friend.

After worship me, Tara, who teaches the girls and her helper Deborah loaded up in the van to go to Freddy’s. We have been “taking over” the ice cream shop on Sunday nights until the weather is nice enough to use the patio again.

We are really at an introduction level with these kids. By that I mean I had to stop the van before we left the apartment complex parking lot to explain that there would be no use of the “f” word, insulting anyone’s momma, or starting gang drama between here and the ice cream shop. They actually listened for the ride over.

I had the boy’s attention as we walked through the hand out for our lesson. I gave them some verses to memorize and we had a good discussion about how much easier it is to just give in to sin than to fight it. Their memory verse was, James 4:7 “Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”

Meanwhile, the girls were distracted by a fight brewing between two of the new girls. Tara had split up the group, but they continued to be disrespectful of the time. As soon as I parked the van at the church they jumped off and started fighting right in front of the church doors. Chad calmed the crowd and dispersed everyone back to their homes quickly. 

As I was driving kids home I thought about how Satan really hasn’t changed his tactics. He’s still pulling the same tricks. Just like Cain the youth received a warning from God’s word and turned in their next breath to say, “. . .come on down to the field.”

The good news is, Satan’s playing a losing game. After dropping everyone off, I parked the van at the gate and declared my refusal to give up on these girls, two of whom are pregnant. I refuse to give up on these young people, these children, these adults. God’s word is true for me and it is true for them and I believe it has the power to transform their hearts! Basically, I was putting the devil on notice.

Last night I got a call from one of the girls who was an instigator Sunday night. She wanted to know if I would take her to school this morning. I told her I would but the other girls she had been fighting with would also go with us. As they got in the car they apologized to me and to each other for what they had done Sunday night.

Over breakfast, the oldest girl started talking about all the things in her life that are making her afraid.  She’s pregnant, she was on track to graduate in May but has been skipping class, altering her report card and is in trouble with her probation officer. On and on she went. The other kids started snickering and making light of her problems until she shouted them down by saying, “How you gon’ disrespect me in front of the gospel lady!”

We made a list of all the things she’s avoiding and came up with a plan to work through them. As we pulled up to the high school this big bully girl started crying. She could hardly get the words out “Miss Anna . . .I love you. . . and I don’t even say that to my momma!”

Thank you Jesus for redemption. We don’t have to accept the same fate as the sons of Adam. We can be called sons and daughters of the king through Jesus Christ.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Romans 5:17

Thank you Jesus!

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