21 Oct 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
“In this day and age, it’s difficult to raise children,” said Pastor Susan Koh of the Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) of Kota Damansara on October 19th. She talked about how we can turn our rocky family into a family that is built on the Rock. The service began with the dedication of babies and children, quoting 1 Sam 1:27-28 and Jer 1:5.
When we look at our children, we look beyond their age to their future and the potential of all that they can be. Likewise, when God looks at us, He sees beyond our appearance to the potential of all that we can be, as father or mother and husband or wife. That is why when God sees Gideon, He sees a mighty man of God. (Jud 6:12)
Looking at our own families, sometimes we may question God, “Why has He place us in our family?” Your father may be fierce and your mother may be a nagger. Nevertheless, they are still the closest in familial bond to us—even our irritating brother and sister who grew up with us are closest to us. There is a purpose of why God has placed you in your unique family.
“Today’s message is for young men and young women of God. What is it about young men and young women today that God wants to speak to us? When we talk about building a family, it means that we want to make it strong and not tear one another down, it’s so simple,” said Pastor Susan.
But many times, we tear each other down and our children down by patronizing them with seemingly harmless words. We say to our children, “You are stupid and nobody wants you.” Another particular phrase often hurled around is, “Hopeless fella!” which we conveniently add after rebuking our children. Can we hear ourselves say, “You can’t even bring the Milo from the kitchen to me without spilling? Hopeless fella!” When we speak carelessly, we are actually tearing our children down, lodging these hurtful words deep into their hearts. How does Pastor Susan know? This is because she had been a child before and she knew how hurtful words could burrow in her heart and carried into adulthood.
“The house that is built on the rock, is the one that will be strong and will not fall down,” said Pastor Susan.
How do we build a house on an immovable rock? The mantra shared by Pastor Susan is:
“to form by ordering and uniting materials by gradual means into a composite whole.”
‘To form’ means that building a house is not automatic but a consistent decision you make every time. When you get married to your knight in shining armor or beautiful wife, happily-ever-after does not just happen like the Disney fairy tales.
“There are many adjustments to make to build a family. Take it easy on each other. We really need the grace of God to build a family. We think separation is the better option but marriage gets better when the days go on,” said Pastor Susan.
Sometimes, we look at happy families and wonder if we could ever experience that in our household. Seeing a tight-knitted family in church whose bonds mimic a deep friendship, she told herself, “It’s possible to have a good family and I will do my very best to have a family like that” (versus her neighbor who was always screaming at her children). And now, her grown-up children would say to her, “I want to be like you, Mama and Papa.”
Next, ‘to order’ means that there is no random way of building a family. Like making a pizza, you need to lay the dough first, followed by spreading the tomato sauce, placement of peperoni, and sprinkling of cheese.
“Sometimes, we think we know better. But God who makes us know best,” said Pastor Susan.
And after forming and ordering, it’s ‘to unite’ a man and a woman who not only had gender differences, but also family cultures, habits, and preferences.
“How many of you, young couples, find out that your beautiful wife and handsome husband that she or he is so different that you cannot stand it to the point you want to leave?
“Suddenly, the handsome man would leave all his clothes on the floor and the amount he eat is so much more than you. You find that you are living with someone who’s totally different from you,” said Pastor Susan who truly salute couples with interracial marriages.
Although Pastor Susan and Pastor Koh both grew up in church with the influence of the Baba and Nyonya Peranakan family culture, they began to intimately discover the differences between each other in their first year of marriage. Difference in gender in itself has already marked a difference.
“God has made us different and there must be a purpose. For example, girls communicate by thinking and talking to each other. But guys are not complicated at all.
“Sometimes, women project on men all kinds of thoughts. Sometimes, I mistaken my husband’s stomach discomfort for anger. We think our husband is angry or upset when actually they don’t feel that way at all.
“Women are also guilty of projecting thoughts to our men when in actual fact, they are not aware of our crazy thoughts and feelings. Women too are guilty of cursing our man in our minds. We must rein in this negative thoughts; they are destructive to your relationship,” said Pastor Susan.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)
Young women are told to be reverent to God, teach what is good, love their husband and children, be pure, be busy at home, be kind, and be subjected or submissive to their husband. (Titus 2:3-5)
“But in this day and age where feminism is on the rise, we find it very hard to submit to our husbands. Of course, the Bible says submit to one another, but we need to submit to our husband even if they don’t live up to our expectations.
“Let the man lead and allow them to do it. All we need to do is to respect them. God would work something in their lives. It doesn’t mean that because we have equality with God, we are the same.
“We are not the same. The world tries to blur the lines. I was telling my family, ‘Actually I can be a very good feminist.’ But I choose to follow the order of God by submitting to my husband because God’s Word says that even though they don’t know the Lord yet, our gentle and quiet spirit would win him,” said Pastor Susan, emphasizing that men and women have different functions though they have the same rights.
What about young men? They are told to be self-controlled, do what is good, and show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech. (Titus 2:6-8)
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:6-8)
“Do not tell lies to your wife and children because sometimes, it’s easier to lie. But speak the truth in love. We need to live a transparent life, so that the opponent or enemy will be put to shame.
“There’s an enemy out there and it’s not your husband or your wife but the devil. There’s tremendous pressure in the world but we don’t realize that men are fighting the battle for God.
“But we ladies always have a ‘cop-out position’ and say, ‘I am a woman.’ But when a boy breaks down, they are called to ‘suck it up and be a man.’ That’s not very fair for the man,” said Pastor Susan.
She shared while we look for our knights in shining armour, the true man is measured by how tarnished his armour is.
We need to remind ourselves that we can have a good and redeemed family in God because we have great values in Him. Like a crumpled or trampled dollar note, our life experiences do not change our value in God’s eyes.
“Marriage is not easy and it’s even worse when you have children. But splitting up is not an option. You got to say, ‘I am here for the long haul.’
“Engineers would tell you that the foundation of a building takes the longest to build because it needs to be strong. Children need to feel safe at home but that cannot happen when parents kept saying, ‘I am leaving you,’” she said.
Hence, turning a rocky house to a house built on the Rock takes a conscious decision to form by ordering and uniting all the right materials into making a composite whole. And this does not happen overnight, but gradually over mistakes and fumbles over the years. It will not be easy, but it is worth it!
To put it simply, building a house on the rock is like making a wholesome and delicious pizza starting by laying the dough, ordering the ingredients, and finally melting them all together in the oven.
“Parents, you are the base of the pizza. If the dough does not hold together, you don’t get to hold the slice and eat it. And children, you are the cheese—that stringy, delicious, sticky, gooey, melting, and messy—but super yummy cheese! Imagine pizza without cheese! Children add deliciousness and goodness to the family.
“And parents, we are the base and we need to be strong for our children. As for children, how do you become that sticky, gooey, and delicious cheese? You got to stick to the base and obey your parents. Adhere, be close, and listen to them,” said Pastor Susan.
Thus, we bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that from this day onwards, your house will no longer be rocky but it will be like a house built on the rock.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it foundation on the rock. (Matt 7:24-25)
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