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Just dropping by ... Of broken cisterns: Part 2

Yevet Tenney Published on 06 May 2015

Last month I shared an article I had written several years ago. The crux of the article was taken from the words of Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, who spoke of broken cisterns.In the early days, a cistern was a place capturing and storing rainwater.

If the cistern was not cracked, the water could be kept most of the season or until the rains came again. If the cistern was cracked, the precious life-giving water would be lost.

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Jeremiah says that nations have forsaken their God and made cisterns that cannot hold water. In other words, the nations are worshipping the work of their own hands and forgetting the Lord, who has been their true source of strength and who has helped them prosper.

They have allowed the Living Water, who is Christ, to seep out, leaving an impending drought in the future.

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

—Old Testament; Jeremiah 2:10-13

In my article, I hinted that our society was following a trend shaping up for worse things in the future. I said, “Our children are being sacrificed to false gods” while we slept. My comments, even to me, seem harsh and unfounded, but I wonder as I look in retrospect over the years.

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When I wrote the article, cell phones, tablets and the Internet we know today was just a dream. Email was the new invention. Nowadays, Internet is passé if it is not connected to a smartphone. Even many children carry cell phones and can access whatever they choose on the Internet.

They have tablets with the latest apps and programs. Talk about worshipping the works of our own hands. Smartphones seem to be an extension of the teenage body.

Now you say, “You are being old-fashioned. Smartphones have made life better. We have instant access to our children. We know where they are and what they are doing in an instant. The Internet is a tool like any other. We can get an answer to almost anything in an instant.”

I agree, smartphones and the Internet are wonderful blessings, but with every blessing, there is the exact opposite – a cursing. The blessing is the information highway, where you can get almost any answer or commodity you desire. On the other hand, smartphones and the Internet, if not used properly, are thieves.

They steal precious time, relationships and memories while they deaden spiritual communication with God and other human beings. In simple terms, they crack the cisterns of our heart and allow the “Living Water” to seep out so gradually we hardly recognize it is gone until we come to a crisis in our lives and realize we are in a spiritual drought.

What is to be done? Are you suggesting that we go back to the Dark Ages and toss out all technology to save our children? Certainly not. I like my phone and the convenience of having such a wonderful tool. Smartphones, like automobiles, are here to stay. We must learn to use them properly while we teach our children to be wary users.

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We can no longer sleep through the trends, saying, “We got through all right. We made our mistakes and so will our children. They will turn out all right.” Think again; the path our children are walking is very different from the path we traveled, and the dangers are bigger than we ever imagined.

There are a few things we can do to help our children avoid the traps and pitfalls. You will not be able to avoid them all – there are too many – but you must build a shield and give them a sword to fight against what is out there.

I could give you the secular answers to the problem. Put on the security guards. Limit the time your child has on his or her device. Use a password and make sure to follow through on the history, making sure they are not going places they shouldn’t, but really those are only patches over a gaping wound.

Children must learn to discipline themselves from their own desire in order to please God. That is the only power that will save them from the sacrificial knife that hangs over our society. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians contains an answer, but it is not an easy one:

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

We must teach our children the truth as it comes from the pages of scripture. Sunday school teachers, Bible schools and Christian retreats won’t do the trick. Your child must hear you speak the truth and see by your actions that the truth will work in his or her life.

Virtue really has a price far above rubies. Honesty and integrity do make a difference in your life. Jesus really is an anchor if we build our house upon His rock. He can calm any storm if we are in His boat. He is truly the Bread of Life and the Living Water that will sustain us in every adversity.

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

We must walk daily in peace with our fellow men. We must learn the gospel and make it meaningful in our lives. Our children must see our “good works,” then they will learn to glorify God.

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The shield of faith doesn’t just mean believing in God. Faith is power to stand against professors who say, “It is foolish to believe.” It is power to say, “This is not right and I will not partake.” Faith is power to discern right from wrong. Our children must have that faith. We cannot give it to them.

We can help them see ours, but they must experience the gift of faith by themselves before they will ever be able to stand alone against the legions of darkness we face today. Parents must petition God for their children to learn to use the power of faith.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Our children must know the word of God. It must be the helmet of every thought. It must be paramount in their minds. Every philosophy of the world must be weighed against the word of God. If it does not match, it must be abandoned.

Parents can’t force that mindset. It must be fostered and nurtured from the cradle. Then it must be given wings to make mistakes and corrections on its own. That is the hardest part of all. Sometimes children make different choices than we would like them to make.

Sometimes it is painful to watch them suffer the consequences of their choices, but it is necessary. It is vital that you don’t spare them the pain of their consequences. God cannot teach them if you don’t allow them to make choices and allow them to be accountable.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Finally, prayer and supplication is the best weapon we have against the knife of sacrifice. Notice Paul didn’t just say, “Pray.” He said supplicate. That means to plead and to struggle. No grocery-list prayers will suffice.

The most important defense against the impending darkness is the triangle relationship you have with God and your child. Your child belongs to God also. God can do more through you than you can do for your child by yourself. God can help us mend the broken cisterns and again fill them with “Living Water.” PD

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