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Far too often instead of choosing to follow the advice of wise and successful people, teenagers choose "the school of hard knocks." It can be heartbreaking and stressful to parents when their children make wrong choices.

The Lord is very empathetic to the heartache poor choices by children cause to those who love them. He experienced the heartache of infidelity when His chosen people, Israel, turned away from Him to worship false gods.

So, if your children are estranged from God, don't become discouraged. The Word of God declares that this is the season when our sons and daughters will return!
Lift up your eyes and see! For your sons and daughters are coming home to you from distant lands.
(Isa. 60:4 The Living Bible)
How can we be discouraged or troubled when God has promised that our household will be saved (Acts 11:14)? God will always turn what the devil designs for evil for our good when we put our trust in Him. It is our responsibility to rest on the promise until we see the full manifestation fulfilled.

Behavior And Attitude Are Important
Unfortunately, many parents hinder the work of God during this time. They don't know how to treat their estranged children while resting in God's promise. A wonderful example of how we are to behave toward our children is given to us by the prodigal son's father.

Notice the reaction of this father when his son finally returned from the distant land:
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and  ran and embraced him, and kissed him.
(Luke 15:20)
Notice the father didn't withdraw into his room, overcome with heartache and sorrow. Instead, he got up each morning and looked toward the horizon, fully expecting to see his son return!

He was not depressed or despondent, and as a result, one day while gazing into the distance his hopes were fulfilled. He saw his son returning "while he was a long way off."

Our attitude must be like that of the prodigal's father—expectant.

When we really believe that God will do exactly what He has promised, we will act expectantly instead of being discouraged and depressed. That doesn't mean we are not waging warfare. Instead we must act like the overcomers that Romans 8:37 says we are.

In fact Paul said that when we act fearlessly toward what the enemy brings our way, it becomes a sign of his defeat (Phil. 1:28).

The next thing the prodigal's father did was to feel compassion for him. This exhibits the heart of a loving father. The father was not angry because his son had squandered the family's hard earned money.

No, he felt the compassion that only the love of God can produce. This compassion compelled him toward his estranged son, embracing and kissing him—not reprimanding him.

Remember that 1 Corinthians 13:8 says love never fails. Love is the greatest force in the universe. You can try every other method to reach your alienated children, but only love will guarantee their return!

Although it can be difficult to love a rebellious person, that is God's way to win him. I like the assurance Paul exhibited regarding the love of God in Romans:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom. 8:38)
Dennis Burke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Vikki Burke
Web site: Dennis Burke Ministries
Vikki and Dennis began as youth pastors in 1973 in Southern California where they received tremendous insight into the work of the local church. In 1976, they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Vikki worked with KCM for three years before entering full-time ministry with her husband. Since that time, their relationship and involvement with Kenneth Copeland Ministries has continued. Vikki and Dennis have had numerous articles published in the Believer's Voice of Victory magazine.

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