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He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction. Malachi 4:6 NIV

You would have been watching The Waltons if you were at my Grandparent Chambers on Thursday nights between 1972-1981. Some of you may remember the show well, but for those who don't, it was about an extended family living in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. Grandma, Grandpa, Ma, Pa, and seven children living under one roof; every evening throughout the house, you heard them calling "good night" to each other. Though it was a fictional account, it was based on a real family. Though at times there were disagreements in the family, they were always resolved through love and respect, elders for children, and children for elders.

Today's verse is a prophecy of a time when God will send Elijah before the day of judgment. It's a time when people will return to the faith of their parents; it's also a time of forgiveness and healing. Discord and dysfunction in the family are replaced by care, love, and respect, parents for children, and children for parents.

The darker side of the prophecy is what will happen if that healing doesn't occur. When the fabric of the family becomes so thin it's practically transparent, and its edges frayed by the sinfulness of disobedience and pride, destruction will come on the land.

As children of our Heavenly Parent, we must teach our children about the God of our forebearers. To show the love and respect of Jesus Christ for his Father to our earthly parents and do the same for our children. We acknowledge none of us are perfect; sometimes, we fail to be the people we seek to be. In those times, we ask forgiveness of God and each other.

While we may never become The Waltons, the hope for our land is in the strength of our families. A hope only made possible through Jesus Christ.

God, thank you for your compassion for us. Please help us to be the caring, compassionate, forgiving, loving, and respectful children and parents you want us to be. We don't need TV families to show us how things should be, for we've experienced the perfect love of the Father and witnessed Christ's perfect love as a child. Grant us courage, peace, and strength for what may seem impossible. By the Holy Spirit, guide us as a land in healing our families. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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