“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them were given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been were complete. Revelation 6:9-11
Yes, they were children, and yes, they were asked if they would deny Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and become a Muslim. As missionary and Christian aid workers reported, children were beheaded in front of their parents. This took place in the city of Qaragosh as ISIS advanced throughout Iraq. Going from house to house, as Crisis Relief International (CRI) team members reported, ISIS demanded of the children of Christian parents to deny their faith in Jesus and they refused, and were then martyred as a consequence of their stalwart faith. Yes, this is taking place in our world in the 21st Century as the Book of Revelation continues to be fulfilled before the eyes of the world as the Day of the Lord draws ever nearer.
If these were your children what would they do in the face of such demands? Is there a greater test of the responsibility and work of a Christian parent to faithfully and lovingly evangelize and disciple their children than this; to present them back to God who placed them in their care in the first place? The very fact that the savage and evil ISIS murderers were not moved to tears and repentance by the faith of these children exposes the iron fisted control which Satan has on their hardened hearts; every bit as hardened as the heart of the Pharaoh of Moses’ day.
As a Christian parent it would behoove you in the face of such stalwart testimony to discuss the seriousness of faith in Jesus as a family, examining the kind of faith which was tested and found genuine in these children’s hearts and minds. It would also be a warranted, God-directed exercise to examine the state of your parenting of your children to the present. How does it stand up to the test of what is happening today in the world like this example from Iraq? How will your parenting stand the test of the persecution promised in the days before Jesus returns? It is of utmost seriousness that we personally revisit our Lord’s own question: “However, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?(Luke 18:8) God has given numerous promises to parents concerning their children’s spiritual future if parents will but take those promises to heart and act with faith and discipline in the face of myriad distractions which turn you from what should be your highest goal as a parent.
Study together as a family Hebrews 11, this Hall of Fame chapter of faith, which speaks so powerfully to living out faith in Jesus Christ in the face of fierce persecution, the schemes of Satan the great masquerader, and the sword of the enemy who hates the person of the Sovereign Lord and all, young and old, who pledge their allegiance to Him. If these children in Iraq can understand their faith where they are willing to lose their lives for Jesus, your children can as well. Never underestimate the power and knowledge of faith in the heart and mind of a child. It is not something reserved for their adult life; it is a power and a matter of life and death in their experience as a child. Do not restrict their access to life in Jesus because you are unwilling or too lazy to invest spiritual truth into them from the earliest age onward.
These present day examples, not unlike what we can read today at the end of Hebrews 11, are filtering out to us in the West from faithful missionaries who will not run in the face of bloody persecution. We must pray for our brothers and sisters, and take to heart their faith that our own might be strengthened, and that we may give our all to the responsibility we have as parents. Train up your children in the way they should go as followers of the Lamb; even when they are faced with persecution they will not depart from their faith. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!
“Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, but the King’s own army none can overthrow: round his standard ranging, victory is secure; for his truth unchanging makes the triumph sure. Joyfully enlisting, by thy grace divine, we are on the Lord’s side, Savior we are thine.
(4th verse of Frances Havergal’s hymn, “Who Is On the Lord’s Side?, 1877)
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