Home' South Florida Times : SFT 052115 Contents 4B | MAY 21 --- 27, 2015 | SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES | SFLTIMES.COM
"Children are a heritage from The Lord,
offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in
the hands of a warrior are children born in
one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver
is full of them." ~ (Psalm 127:3-4 NIV)
consists of a
er and chil-
er's role is
of wife, fa-
ther's role is an offspring of husband, and
together both raise and do the parenting
of their children.
Today, the traditional family is in
decline for many reasons, but espe-
cially because of the high divorce
rate, now over 50 percent. To-
day, a single parent raises
most children. Oftentimes
it's the mother; but in-
creasingly it's the
father. What God
wants most is
for His children
to be correctly
guided to grow
and bring hon-
or and glory to
This past Moth-
er's Day, God called
me to address all par-
ents, regardless of gen-
der, who are taking on the
role of raising His children. He
called me to do this by teaching
the real meaning of "Parenting
Psalm 127:3 says,"Children are
gifts, a heritage from The Lord, offspring a
reward from Him." Moreover, if God sends
us a mouth to feed, He will feed it if we
trust Him. Children can become a great
support and defense to a family.
The psalmist in 127:4 says, "Children
are like arrows in the hands of warriors,"
when they take flight out into the world,
they are shot out of the hands of prayer-
fully good parents and once released it
becomes too late to call them back and
give them proper direction.
These little arrows in the hands of bad
parents often in mid-flight turn around
only to come back and shoot their parents
in the heart, thus causing painful grief to
their parents. These little demons are not
Ephesians (6:1-4) gives us family
instructions on how to raise God's
children. It is a word to both parent
and child. Paul, speaking first to
God's children says, "Children
obey and honor your father
and mother." Then to
"Fathers (parents) do not provoke your
children to wrath, instead bring them up
in the training and instruction of the Lord."
If we train God's children according
to His word, generally children become
well-directed arrows who grow up to be
a parent's delight. They grow up remem-
bering their obligations to their parents.
Well-raised children are a parent's joy
and crown, especially in their latter years.
If parents are patient, and do not to im-
pose unreasonable discipline or punish-
ments on children, and seek to insure all
punishments fit the crime, children grow
to become just parents and good citizens.
Both God and nature give parents au-
thority over children, as long as the par-
ents are subservient to God. If children
are obedient to God-fearing parents,
they become God-fearing adults. They
become as fair to their children as their
parents were to them.
By the way, Christ teaches the same
lesson but is a bit sterner saying,
"For God said, 'Honor your father
and mother and anyone
who curses his
father or mother must be put to death."
Parenting God's children in this way
causes things to go well for all. Obedient
children are often rewarded with outward
prosperity, and parents become proud
of their children. This may not always be
the case, because there are times obedi-
ent children do meet with hardship and
sometimes for no apparent reason.
For instance in Genesis 37 and 39,
Joseph is an obedient child, and yet he
faced constant hardships. However, as
God's child he remained obedient. In
the end Joseph triumphed, becoming
governor of Egypt and saving his family
from famine (Genesis 41:41).
When parents cautiously counsel and
correct children, they do not provoke
them to wrath. When parents prudently
deal with children, seeking to convince
them of their wrong actions, chil-
dren grow to make wise deci-
sions. Using reason in front
of kids shows them how
to reason. Then they too
reason well, especially
when parents are not
Giving them bibli-
cally based training,
using sound theologi-
cal principles filled with
the Holy Spirit insures we
are "Parenting God's Chil-
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Wil-
lis is pastor of the Church of
the Open Door UCC in Mi-
ami's Liberty City commu-
nity. He may be reached at
305-759-0373 or pastor@
"Parenting God's Children"
R. JOAQUIN WILLIS
By VICTORIA KOERNER
CUMBERLAND, MD. (AP) --- Artist Tim Revels recalled
the moment when, after he earned second place in a
citywide Halloween-themed art contest, his elementary
school art teacher took him aside.
"She told me I had real artistic talent," said Revels,
who was in third grade at that time. "Those words always
stayed with me."
The soft-spoken Revels recounts his time growing up
in the Baltimore city neighborhood of Canton.
"I got into a lot of trouble as a juvenile," he said.
Revels dabbled in drugs as a teenager and eventually
became addicted to heroin and prescription medications.
A turning point came after his arrest on drug charg-
es in 2000. As he sat in a police cruiser, the pastor of the
church he attended approached the car and spoke to him
through the window.
"God still loves you," the pastor said.
Revels said that although he attended church regular-
ly, until that time he really didn't understand the meaning
of forgiveness or salvation.
"At central booking, I got hold of an Our Daily Bread
devotional and I got a Bible at the city jail," he said. "I re-
member asking God, 'Give me knowledge, wisdom and
understanding of your word.' "
After his arrest, Revels struggled to stay sober. Al-
though he attended church regularly, he found himself
backsliding spiritually and succumbing to the "chemical
strongholds" that plagued him.
In 2007, after moving to Cumberland with his wife,
Deborah, daughter, Kearsten, and two stepsons, Tony and
Richard Watson, Revels was arrested a second time, which
led to a six-year prison sentence at Eastern Correctional
Institute on Maryland's Eastern Shore. At ECI, Revels went
through a six-month drug rehabilitation program.
He completed his service work at the Catoctin Youth
Summit and found speaking to young people about his
struggles to be a healing and rewarding experience.
"I told them, 'You don't have to try everything, you
don't have to learn the hard
way,' " he said.
Revels became a math
tutor, completed a Bible
college associate's degree
program and became a
church deacon while at ECI.
"I learned what it was to
serve," he said.
During that time, Revels
turned to his artwork as a
kind of therapy.
"It was like meditation
for me," he said.
He began producing
sketches and greeting
cards for other inmates and
studied graphic design.
Upon his release in
2013, Revels came home to
Cumberland and one day
found a flyer on his front
door announcing a fall fes-
tival at Calvary Chapel on
Revels and his family
had visited a few churches
but hadn't found a church
home. After attending the
festival, he and his fam-
ily were invited back to the
church and have been reg-
ular attendees ever since.
Revels became involved
in decorating and remodel-
ing projects at the church,
building the platform,
installing laminate floor-
ing and painting murals
in the nursery and chil-
dren's classrooms. For last
year's fall festival, Revels
designed and painted an
elaborate castle with indi-
vidual booths inside for the
festival's "armor of God"
He also set up a studio
in an outbuilding behind Calvary Chapel in Cumber-
"Pastor Rob really believes in me and is helping out a
lot," Revels said, referring to Calvary Chapel pastor Rob
The new workspace allows Revels freedom to pursue
his artwork, which he hopes to develop into a full-time
A self-described realist, Revels said he does his best
portrait work using reference photos.
His self-penned idea book shows off his versatil-
ity and is filled with plans and designs for everything
from automotive graphics to airbrush techniques.
His short-term goals include a portable airbrush
booth that features custom hats, shirts and other ap-
A graphic designer, Revels also creates brochures,
pamphlets, flyers, banners and other custom print jobs.
His future goals include an automotive airbrush booth.
As he comes full-circle from the Halloween art
contest he entered as a child to making a fall festival
a reality, Revels is excited about the possibilities that
"I realized God was going to give me another
chance," he said and smiled.
At central booking, I got hold
of an Our Daily Bread devo-
tional and I got a Bible at the
city jail. I remember asking
God, 'Give me knowledge,
wisdom and understanding of
-- Tim Revels, artist
draws on his faith
PHOTO COURTESY OF CALVARYCUMBERLAND.ORG
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