It’s time for bed! Sighs. “OK…but read us a story.” Those are the words my girls always said before bed and now are the words my grandchildren say when they have sleepovers. But what kind of story?
In 2015, the Islamic State for the indoctrination of children began a campaign to parents to start reading bedtime stories about martyrdom to their children and get them ready for militant work. They encouraged parents to get toy guns and video games so that their kids would know from an early age how to use real guns as soon as possible. “Don’t underestimate the lasting effect of what those little ears and eyes take in during the first few years of life.” the pamphlet instructed. The parents were further instructed to get their children trained and enrolled in the Islamic State’s program “cubs of the caliphate” program.
No, this is not the kind of bedtime story I will be reading to my grandchildren and I hope you won’t be reading to yours either. Or, how you want to prepare your children for the future. Sadly, this is the world we live in today.
So how do we push against it, and bring love and not hate into a child’s life or even a young adult’s life who has been brought up in this kind of evil culture? How do we bring God’s suave of healing to the eyes and ears of those who have been deceived?
First, we pray.
It sounds so simple and possibly even naive to start there but it’s where Jesus said to start. He taught us that God the Father is listening and hears our prayers and where there is hate He brings peace and love. We cannot fight the unseen forces of this demonic world, but He can, and He does. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Prayer works. It’s us that doubt. So, take a bold and fearless stand by praying fiercely both for the children who have been brainwashed and those who have perpetrated their minds with evil.
Interestingly, I believe God is calling Christians to prepare children for death. For thousands of years, parents did. Death rates for children were astronomical because of diseases like the plague that killed thousands from unsafe living conditions. Death was pondered and prepared for. However, life expectancy rates have greatly increased in modern times due to advancements in science and technology. More people are living to be 100 and beyond in greater numbers than ever before. With that great news also comes the reality that we have forgotten that life is still fragile and unpredictable. We forget that with our ability to find cures and replace worn out body parts that with this knowledge and freedom comes responsibility. However, we don’t always choose good and healthy. We make science and technology our savior, but they can’t save us in the end. God holds those keys. We will eventually die and how we choose to live our life matters. What we choose to teach our children and the legacy we leave matters and the Islamic state knows it as do many other evil and manipulative organizations that would choose to change the precepts God put in place for us to follow in order to live at peace.
The old nursery rhyme, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take” isn’t taught to our children in our modern era. Parents think it’s morbid and not healthy. But in truth, it is. We do need to remind our kids and ourselves that God is to be feared and that death can’t be ignored. Maybe if we thought this way more, we’d take our faith and daily choices more seriously. As the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.”
I Thessalonians 5:17.
Second, we support those who are on the front lines.
There are some incredible ministries that are working on the frontlines in global communities to bring the love and peace of Jesus to displaced and deceived lives. They know how to speak the language of the culture and bring the restoration story and hope of Jesus. Are you supporting them? Here are a few you can research for yourself and might want to assist.
Sat 7 A great organization bringing God’s hope and restoration through media in dynamic ways especially through children’s media programming.
One Hope International Founded by Bob Hoskins and now lead by his son, Rob, this global organization has don outstanding work to bring the light and love of Jesus to children and adults.
The Salvation Army I have to disclose that I am on the National Board for U. S. Salvation Army. One of the comments I hear about the Salvation Army is that people often hear more about donating to them but don’t hear much about their work. It is the primary reason I came onto the board. To change this perception. The Salvation Army does over and above in giving and helping others than what it takes in. Research their numbers. They are not a disaster relief ministry (though they do lots of that) but are a ministry that serves 24/7. They never close their doors. Someone is always on call to help in over 130 countries. And they serve everyone without discrimination. Whatever the need, the Salvation Army is addressing it and doing outstanding work. I travel globally producing media and speaking on subjects of media, leadership, culture and faith. In each country I visit, I make it a point to check out the local Salvation Army whenever possible and have always been overwhelmed with what the care they do in their local communities. They are a selfless boots on the ground global organization.
Global Hope Heather Mercer was a missionary in Afghanistan and was captured and put into prison there for almost 4 months before the Marines came in and rescued them at the beginning of the Afghanistan war. She now has a Hope Center in Iraq and is providing much needed Hope to the people there.
Let us not go to bed yet on assisting those in need. Let us not fall asleep on the job of parenting and grandparenting our children. Let us read and teach the stories of old and the men and women who trusted God and followed His truths written in the Bible. The world is a scary place, but we have no fear of death – there is no sting when we know the Keeper of Life.