Sunday, June 2, 2013

MIke Shreve: Claiming God's Promises for Your Children

      This article written by Mike Shreve for Sid Roth's newsletter, "Mishpochah", is great encouragement for parents.  It also shows the necessity of knowing God's Word.  How can we agree with and declare His promises for our children if we don't even know what they are!

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When facing challenges as parents, we need to focus on God's promises.

Claiming God's Promises for Your Children
By Mike Shreve
For years I had studied the soul-strengthening subject of the Promises of God. (There are 7,487 according to the respected author, Herbert Lockyer.) But this was different! God had just given me a flash of inspiration—it dawned on me that He has given a number of promises that specifically concern the sons and daughters of those who serve God.

I knew I had just tapped into a mother lode in God’s Word (a primary vein of gold). Knowing God’s promises is essential because that gives His people a basis for their faith. Once promises are known, believers do not need to beg God to do those things He has already pledged to do. Instead, they can come to Him boldly, confessing His Word, fully expecting a manifestation. Too often mothers and fathers do the opposite. They pray in desperation, begging God to move in the lives of their children. That “pleading” approach went out the window forever when the breath of God breathed this insight into my spirit. One of the first promises He led me to was Deuteronomy 7:9:

“…He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

“How amazing!” I whispered, shaking my head. I knew a generation, biblically-speaking, was 100 years long (see Genesis 15:13-16), so I quickly concluded, “A thousand times a hundred years! Wow! If I sincerely walk with God in this life, an invisible blessing will pass down through my family line for 100,000 years.” (Of course, this is most likely not an exact figure, but a symbolic one, showing how dependable and long-lasting this promise is.) “If we have that long,” I mused, “then long after I am gone, God’s covenant will hover over my offspring to empower them and a reservoir of mercy will be there to restore them in time of need. And if that works for a thousand generations, how much more powerful it is for the next two or three generations!” It was a Holy-Spirit-saturated moment that opened my eyes to the enduring impact of a life committed to God.

I concluded, “Never again will I plead for a move of God in my children’s lives.” Instead, in the words of Psalm 2:7, I began to “declare the decree.” In ancient times after a king made a “decree,” he would send representatives into every corner of his domain to “declare the decree,” establishing as universal law what was initially a decision heard only by those present in the throne room. Because the enthroned King of all creation has decreed these promises over our children, now it is our responsibility to declare them—to verbally reinforce God’s laws in this natural realm, defying everything that opposes His purpose.

So I began praying prophetically, “I choose life for our family! The death-dealing elements of this world WILL NOT destroy our children. According to God’s promise, He will circumcise their hearts (cutting away the influence of the world) and awaken within them love for Him and love for the truth. Yes, I claim it. He will pour out both His blessing and His Spirit on my seed.”

Within a few months of praying this way, my five-year-old daughter was baptized with the Holy Spirit. After lying on the floor for about 30 minutes, crying and speaking in tongues, she fell into my arms and whispered, “Daddy, Jesus filled me—He really filled me.” Was the timing just coincidental? I don’t think so. Actually, my wife and I have had to fight the good fight of faith just to have a family. We were told initially that it was impossible for us to have children, but we prayed and the God of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah did it again. He healed Elizabeth of barrenness. Then my firstborn, Zion Seth, suffered oxygen deprivation during a very traumatic birth. The attending doctors claimed it would definitely result in serious mental and physical challenges, to the point where he would probably never function normally. Instead, he entered college three years ago in the top honors society on campus and physically he has no problems.

The challenges escalated with Elizabeth’s next pregnancy. Around the fifth month, we went in for her normal check-up. With a very grim look on their faces, the doctor and his attending nurse showed us the ultra-sound image explaining that our daughter had spina bifi da (a hole in the spine) and would be crippled as a result. Next, he advised that she would also have cretinism (a type of retardation) because of a thyroid condition Elizabeth was battling. Much to our surprise, even though he knew we were committed Bible believers, he suggested an “alternative’”(we knew he meant abortion). Our response? We agreed never to return to his office again, but instead, to rely on the Word of God.

Often we prayed Psalm 138:8 (“the Lord will perfect that which concerns me”) and Psalm 139:13 (“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb”) expecting the curse to be reversed. Then we chose a name for our daughter—prophetically calling her Destiny Hope (to counteract the prognosis they gave of no hope and no destiny). It worked. At some point in the next few months, the healing took place and Destiny was born perfect.

I believe these miracles happened because we dared to believe the PROMISES God gave in His Word. In a variety of ways and means, this is a major part of what faith is all about—each generation transferring to the next what we have received from the Everlasting Father. This is God’s perspective too. For instance, when He revealed Himself to Noah, God made a pledge that continues even to this day:

“As for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you… never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:9-11).

Even if your children are presently walking in darkness and refusing to acknowledge the truth you embrace, don’t give in to discouragement. If you are a lover of God, He has actually adopted your children as His own. Read the following promise carefully:

“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth — Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:5-7).
The Shreve family, Mike and Elizabeth with their miracle children, Destiny Hope and Zion Seth. Mike is the author of eleven books and the founder of Shreve Ministries.
Notice God initiates this passage calling them “your descendants,” then He commands, “Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” Apparently, because they belong to you, God claims them as His own (since what belongs to you is “on the altar” and actually belongs to Him). So the Redeemer promises to place His canopy of protection and provision over their lives. Though satan and his demonic underlings are constantly fighting for the control of their lives, God has uttered the war cry:

“I will contend with him who contends with you; and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:25).

That settles it! You and I had better not put a question mark where God has placed a period! As far as He is concerned, “It is done.” He just needs you and me to pray the prayer of agreement, then make a commitment to wait on the Lord.

Surely by now you can sense the tremendous power of knowing and confessing these promises. You need to become well acquainted with all 65 promises, and start building a spiritual “wall of fire” around your family (Zechariah 2:5).

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