Baby in the Womb

A lovely young couple are currently expecting their first child. I recently felt to encourage the young dad to speak to his unborn baby. I asked if he spoke to the baby in the womb. He replied that his wife spoke to the baby at times, but he didn’t do it.

That prompted me to reflect on how we respond to the baby in the womb, especially the first one coming along.

New Relationship

Each new baby opens up for us a new relationship. With the first child we open up a whole new level of relationship. And like all new things we often face them with no real preparation. Often we don’t know that we have left things undone until many years later.

I have seven children and I have a unique relationship with each one of them. I can’t say that I have built the most exemplary relationships with them. In fact, at first, I assumed that relationship would just happen automatically. As a consequence the relationships are not as sweet or deep as they could have been.

Learning to Relate

I stumbled into relationship with my children. Because I didn’t have a concept of building relationship I ended up having to maintain relationship as a reaction to what went wrong, rather than as one building correctly from day one. My relationships grew out of the upsets, the good times and the bad times along the way. I thought that was the normal way to build relationships.

Many people do not have strong relationship skills. We usually have weaknesses in our ability, based on our own past failed relationships.

It is important to learn to relate to the child, as a conscious skill development. The new relationship is very important and needs to be pursued with intention. For those who are about to enter into relationship with a child about to be born it is important to promote the relationship rather than to just let it happen.

How to Build Relationship

Here are some suggestions for getting started on a good relationship, even whieh the baby is in the womb.

Value the relationship. Good relationships with children are incredibly valuable. Just ask anyone who lives with a broken or poor relationship with their child. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t be too casual about it. Be determined to build relationship and to so connect with your child that you are closely bonded for the rest of your lives.

Speak to your baby. There are lovely testimonies of people who have been strongly influenced by what they heard before they were born. One testimony speaks of a newborn baby in distress who settled immediately on hearing their father’s voice in the hospital ward. The baby had heard the father read the Bible to it each day as it formed in the womb. That baby knew its father’s voice from the womb and felt security from it once it was born.

Speak comfortably to your child. Over the years and from an early start, tell your child how valuable and special they are in your life. Speak of your love for them and your commitment to them. You are your child’s champion and hero, so speak into that role and encourage your child to walk in confidence because of your commitment and support.

Cast Godly vision for your child. Speak often to your child about your vision of their on-going place in your life and your on-going place in their life. Talk to them about how you are going to introduce them to God and often take them into God’s presence with you. Talk about how you are going to help them find God’s wisdom in the many challenges they will face through their childhood and youth. Speak about the times you will hug them and comfort them in the future and wipe away their tears.

If you have a daughter you can cast the vision of walking her down the aisle on her wedding day, to marry a young man who you have tested out to be suited for her. If you have a son you can cast the vision of them walking into their own areas of responsibility with the skills which you have taught them over the years and with your active support.

Love Your Child

The new relationship you will enjoy with the baby about to be born will be a relationship of love. You will have a new person to love for the rest of your life.

If you are casual about the relationship then it may never become a healthy and happy relationship. A love relationship requires that you love the child and encourage them to love you in return.

Don’t see this child as just a ‘baby’ or ‘another mouth to feed’. This child is potentially the most special person in your life. While the marriage union is always to be held above relationship with the child, yet the bond and delight that can come from the child can be incredibly enriching to your life.

Alternatively you can raise a child who despises you, cannot relate to you and who brings great pain and trouble into your life.

Get Started Now

Don’t wait until your child is old enough to help you in the kitchen or workshop. Don’t wait until they are adult. Don’t wait until they have gotten past their childish ways.

Get started now. Start building close and intimate bonds with your child from the moment they are conceived. Build it for life, not for a temporary moment.

If you are a new parent please take it from me as an older dad, that you need to take the relationship seriously, not for granted.

You have no guarantee of the child’s affection for you. If you send them to pre-school and school they will be sorely tempted to bond with their peers and not with you. When you let them down, or they feel like you have – even if you haven’t – they will pull back from you.

Make a priority of building special relationship, right from the start. Get connected with that baby in the womb.

Affection Impacts Children

I heard the other day from a young woman who was thrilled to report on the affection shared by her mum and dad. Her delight reminded me how much lovely positive impact comes on children when their parents show affection to each other.

I recall in my own childhood the delight I felt when my dad teased my mum. He would come up behind her while she was doing the dishes or busy at the kitchen bench and he would begin to tickle her or kiss her neck. She would tell him to go away and leave her alone, since she had work to do, but he would persist. A mock fight would result, with them both laughing as he persisted in showing affection to her. My brothers and I would rush into the room, laughing and delighting to see this sport between our parents.

I had not thought about those happy memories for a long time, until I heard the recent report. The young lady who greeted me with her happy news told me with obvious joy in her voice, that her parents had recently enjoyed a mini-date. They had been left with time to kill while running an errand and so they had gone for a walk holding hands.

It’s a simple enough thing for them to do and could easily be passed as of no real significance. The daughter’s delight signalled the true significance of the event. The parents’ affection represented a refreshing of their relationship. The simple action of strolling hand in hand attested to renewed happiness in their being together and a refreshing of their fellowship one with the other.

I know that in some homes parents go out of their way to hide any affection between themselves. They may think affection is inappropriate. Take it from me that wholesome happy affection being displayed between the parents is nourishing to the soul of the children. Affection impacts children in a wonderfully positive way.

Sensuality is not for public display, nor is argument and pain. But wholesome affection, where husband and wife affirm their devotion to each other, feeds the soul of the family and genders security within the children.

Bless your children today – give your spouse a hug when and where the children can see and be encouraged.

Are Curses Genetic?

Now that researchers have been able to observe chemical changes within a person, directly linked to that person’s past experiences, there is a better understanding of how experiences can be translated into genetic changes. Those genetic changes may then be passed down to descendents.

Are these findings bringing us closer to understanding how curses are passed down from one generation to the next? Are curses genetic, and is there any scientific basis for understanding how they work?

I teach in my family seminars and explain in my flagship text, Family Horizons – Creating Families of Destiny (available from Family Horizons – www.FamilyHorizons.net) that the Bible teaches the reality of curses and of family curses. The Biblical case is for curses becoming part of the genetic inheritance of the family.

Here is a quick summary of some Biblical points to show that curses are genetic. At the giving of the Ten Commandments God specifically describes Himself as ‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me’ (Exodus 20:5). This process is clearly one of passing to the children some form of curse or negative outcome, which continues for four generations. This is effectively a genetic curse.

When Eli the priest failed to give honour to God, but supported his sons’ evil activities instead, God pronounced a curse on Eli’s family that would be there ‘for ever’ (see 1Samuel 2:31-33). That curse was confirmed a few years later when the young lad, Samuel, first heard God’s voice. God told Samuel that Eli and his sons were going to die for their sins and that a curse would be on Eli’s family for ever (1Samuel 3:13).

Eli’s curse is that none of the males will grow into old age. They will all die in the prime of their life. This curse was not going to work for three or four generations, but would persist for ever.

Some evangelical Christians find it very hard to accept that curses could exist today. My answer is to ask, Is the curse of sin and death still operating in the world? The answer is, Yes. Where does it come from? The answer is, Adam. What is your connection to Adam? The answer is, I am his descendent. So, there you have it. Every evangelical clearly believes in family curses. We all believe that the curse of sin and death comes upon all people today, even after the resurrection of Jesus, as a curse we receive from our ancestor. This is a family curse!

Allow me to leave the doctrinal case there. The question I have posed is, Are Curses Genetic? Since the Bible clearly shows that they are, we should expect there to be some scientific clue to a physiological reality. That clue is now uncovered.

Since our DNA prescribes the range of options available to us in our species, and even limits us to the collection of features that have been successfully passed to us from our immediate ancestors, it could be argued that there is no real room for a ‘curse’ to impact the DNA. Dominant genes will assert themselves over passive genes. It is completely unlikely that some new gene will suddenly appear in the DNA as response to some ‘curse’ being placed on our life.

But genetics has moved beyond DNA as the sole prescriptor of our genetic options. Related genetic process work on the DNA to cause various genes to be activated (expressed), or not. A simple protein molecule might be all that is required to switch on or off some genetic capacity. The consequence can be such things as disease, mental instability, personality changes and so on.

Recent findings indicate that suicide is being triggered in some men who have been abuse victims in childhood. Brain research on 18 such men indicates that, while the essential DNA is OK, the methylation process accompanying gene activity is different in these men, compared with non-abused men.

This finding points to the importance of the switching process. A curse can theoretically be switched on or off in your life, by a basic act of cell chemistry. Your genetic DNA won’t change but the function of your genes will.

And that may very well be how God goes about the process of activating a curse in a person’s life, which is passed down through the family.

So, are curses genetic? I can’t be adamant in my answer, but I can see how it is possible in the light of current genetic understanding. One thing is for sure, family curses are Biblical and real.

My book, Family Horizons, does explain how to break curses. So please don’t have sleepless nights trying to protect your DNA from rebel proteins.

Cursed by Our Choices

You and I are impacted by the choices we make and by the choices we have made. This simple truth is so important that I teach on how we are Cursed by Our Choices. The choices we make can reverberate through our entire life.

Let me explain a simple example. Imagine a child who is bullied at school each day. At first he complains to his parents and teachers, but he soon realises that they are not able to resolve the problem and they want him to somehow get on with life without their help. As the problem persists the child will eventually be forced to make a choice. And that choice may well curse them for the rest of their life.

You see, what we choose to do in response to a problem is far more significant than the initiating problem itself. Now, that statement flies in the face of pop-psychology and our cultural mindset today. But before you write me off take a few moments to think the issue through, and to see what the Bible has to say on the subject. Follow me a bit further and see if the scenario I am about to describe for you isn’t pretty close to what often happens.

Let me assume that the boy gets fed up with being bullied and decides to be ready for the bully, to go after him and to try his hardest to make the bully feel some pain. The boy has chosen to ‘fight’! He may not be good at it at first, but as he flails his arms and does his best to inflict pain he is coming under a curse for the choice he has made. It is highly likely that in the decades that ensue he will find himself responding to pressure situations with a strong impulse to lash out.

Alternatively let me assume the boy decides to being a crying, whining sulk. He may decide to lie on the dirt, crying until some authority figure comes along and takes some responsbility for him and his situation. Once he has made that his choice he will likely spend the rest of his life under its power. When he is under pressure he will tend to head into self-pity and seek a welfare solution, where others take responsibility for him.

Yet again, what if he chose to become hyper-protective, distrusting and cagey, to ensure that no-one hurts him again? This too will lead to a curse. For the rest of his life, especially under pressure, he will slip into a self-protective mode of behaviour.

Many people today, maybe you included, are living out patterns of behaviour they chose when they were in primary school. They are still Cursed by their Choices! Now, if it’s true in life it should be accounted for in the Bible. So let me show you a verse from the Bible which says that how we respond is more important than the stimuli that prompted that response.

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart diligently, because the issues of life come out of it“. Note that the issues of life are not how you are treated, what people said to you, who neglected or abused you, or how deprived your childhood was. The issues of life come OUT  of you, not into you. They come from within you. They come out of your heart. (Oops – I’m back on the heart again, aren’t I?)

When you make a choice about how you will respond, even unconsciously, you bring a curse on yourself. The issue is not who did what to you, but what came out of your heart in response. Keep this in mind, because I’m sure to want to chew on this point with you further in time.

Journey of the Heart

WHY DID GOD PUT ME IN THIS FAMILY?

Life is an Adventure – with a Sting in the Tail!

Welcome to Kindergarten!!!

 

It’s how you respond that counts!!

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

 

When God chose for you to be born into your family He “set you up” for the chance to go to the top of the mountain, into the Holy of Holies and into the heights of human experience.

He did that by carefully choosing your mum and dad, brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins.

He also did that by choosing a wilderness for you to go through and giving you some tough times, then throwing in some high points – to see how you respond.

He dumped some garbage onto you and sprinkled some gold-dust as well.

 

And then He watched what you did with it all.

He gave you time, even patient when you messed it up – not giving you what you deserve as soon as you deserve it, but waiting and watching to see what your heart will do in response to all the good, the bad and the ugly of your life.

 

He did all that, as your “Kindergarten”.

 

If you flunk kindergarten you get stuck in the sandpit for the rest of your life, fighting with the other kids for the broken fire-truck and sun-bleached plastic spade.

If you flunk kindergarten you get to go back week after week and year after year to the same old squabbles, insecurities, petty jealousies, empty dreams, play acting, hurtful words and treadmill existence.

If you flunk kindergarten you get to carry a bunch of enslaving reactions and attitudes for the rest of your life.

Even when you grow old you will still be salve to the same childish struggles which trapped you in your childhood.

 

But if you succeed in kindergarten you move up to the next grade. You get to face some tougher challenges and more meaningful issues, which lead you to even more challenging situations where you can do much more decisive things which impact far beyond the sandpit. In time you may even stand on the mountain and God and see what God sees. You may hear His voice and feel His heartbeat about things that are yet generations away. You may change the course of nations and impact multitudes who don’t know your name.

 

How few ever rise above the first ridge! They tangle their tread with the cords of their selfish heart – snared by a mouth pouring venom from their beating chest. Rage and unforgiveness, outrage and intolerance, pride and indignation swirl churning in a stew of surging shame.

 

They trudge back to the sand-pit,

dirty shirted children,

bogged in a mire they cannot comprehend.

Fierce in their rebellion,

demanding explanation,

they jeer or cower or trudge on to their appointed end.

They raise a laugh and titter

and scramble for the glitter

of things that have no value, save to a vanquished soul.

They remonstrate and make demand

while others come and rake the sand,

and all this nonsense doesn’t make them whole.

 

So, is it any wonder

the world is torn asunder

and very few achieve the heights for which their life was born?

Very few have seen the light

that leads them through the darkest night

into the dazzling brilliance of the dawn.

So where are you upon this way;

in the sand-pit to this day?

Or have you found God’s Grace and made a start?

The road is very close at hand,

it starts with one foot in the sand,

for it’s a journey made within your heart.

 

Be diligent to keep your heart

from wrong reactions which then start

to poison all you have and all you are.

Forgive and trust and pass on grace,

to those around you in this race,

and you are sure to your journey high and far.

God bless you as you make a choice

to trust in God and then rejoice

in all that He has done for you and me.

God bless you as you trust Him still

and go His way each day until

you compass all that is your destiny.

 

Welcome to the Graduation!