Friday, September 26, 2014

Children


Children

Psalms 127:3
Lo, (behold, observe) children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Children are an heritage from the Lord and God has given them to us, as parents, to be responsible for their training. The word “responsible” means: it applies to anyone who is in charge of an endeavor or to whom a duty has been delegated, and who is subject to penalty or blame in case of default. It is not an easy task to train children in a world that is negative and bent on destroying the family unit. God designed men and women to marry for life and raise children to love and honor God.

There are several Scriptures in the Bible that instruct parents in how to raise their children. Ephesians 6:4 says; “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Instructions are found in His Word and in John 17:17 it says; “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” To sanctify means: dedicated to God, to consecrate, to make holy, to set apart through the truth of the Word of God. We as parents are to instruct our children in the ways of God, teaching them of His wonderful attributes and moral character portrayed in His Word.

The foundation or starting place for training children is to teach them to honor their father and their mother. I recently saw a little three year old trying to kick his mother for not giving him what he wanted. That is not a picture of honoring a parent. The mommy/daddy relationship is the first relationship a child will encounter and therefore, must be the first moral principle a child needs to learn. The apostle Paul taught through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that, the fifth commandment comes with a promise. This is the only commandment that comes with a promise. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” We, as parents, can all attest to this statement: “It is no easy task to teach a child to obey.” It is a full-time job and sometimes we feel that we lack experience, training and diligence. It is hard! Obedience comes naturally to no one because of Adam’s sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12).Parents face two major hinderances in training their children: one is the world they live in and two, they themselves have a sinful nature. Children will struggle with their own sin nature within and the corrupt world without.

As children grow into their teen years, rebellion is at the forefront of our society. Entertainment has taken the place of parents teaching the Word of God in the home and they grow up with the idea that sin is fun and sin is exciting–––all because sin has been glamorized. What children watch when they are young is a springboard to what they may live out in their teenage years and older. So many programs are geared towards, drug use, immorality, violence, and profanity, and the grossest kinds of evil. (Parents, be careful and mindful of what your children are watching. Of course, not all programs are wrong to watch but some will affect them in ways that you may not realize until later). 

How can parents teach children to obey? Children need encouragement and caring instruction. They need correction whether it be corporal punishment, (spanking), a last resort, or loving verbal instruction with the loss of something they enjoy. Parents cannot afford to be passive or inconsistent because children need a parent’s good example to inspire them. If the parent is obeying what is virtuous, moral, honorable, and honest, the child will have a much greater potential to obey as well. Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

Thought: Parents, you can crush the spirit of a child very easily with excessive discipline and being to eager to punish. You can cause your child to become angry when they are pressured to achieve, but are never encouraged or comforted when they fail. Be careful not to over protect them they need room to grow in freedom and trust. That’s a sure way to provoke a child to frustration and maybe even rebellion.

As a parent, you need to “bring them up” in the training and admonition of the Lord–––they don’t learn this on their own. You need to nurture them diligently as you teach them in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6,7). A parent is to be mindful of this duty and not neglect it. As much as possible, train your children with a positive spirit and by faith, be consistent to the the biblical principles laid out in the Word of God.

My prayer for you, dear parent, is that your family will be truly blessed and strengthened, as you put into practice the truths of the Word of God in child training.





Friday, September 19, 2014

Nerves, Anxiety, Exhaustion!


Nerves, Anxiety, Exhaustion!

There are people that say, “My nerves are out-of-control.” Why? What causes people’s nerves to be uncontrollable? Sometimes there is friction in the home causing unhappiness and tired nerves that largely cause people to be overwrought. Tension comes from cutting things we say, our criticism, causing irritated nerves. We say cruel things to even our best friends and to those we love most when our nerves are on edge from fret and worry. We say things we would not have said for the world but for the irritation, the sheer exhaustion, that robbed us of self-control. How many people carry cruel wounds for years, perhaps for a lifetime, which were thoughtlessly inflicted by a dear friend in a moment of anger when their physical standards were low.

There are only three ways to handle problems in life. You either break out and get a rash, have a panic attack or get angry. You break down, and silently withdraw getting all kinds of psychosomatic illnesses; or you break through in victory. You either break out, break down, or break through. To breakthrough is the only way to live. To be really alive to the fullest is to break through the trouble and come out victorious.  

Probably the best-known passage on anxiety comes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. Our Lord warns us against being anxious about the various cares of this life. For the child of God, even necessities like food and clothing are nothing to worry about. Using examples from God's creation, Jesus teaches that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and cares about them. If God takes care of simple things like grass, flowers, and birds, won't He also care for people who are created in His image? Rather than worry over things we cannot control, we should "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be added to you" (verse 33). Putting God first is a cure for anxiety.

Many times, anxiety or bad nerves are a result of sin, and the cure is to deal with the sin. Psalm 32:1-5 says that the person whose sin is forgiven is blessed, and the heavy weight of guilt is taken away when sins are confessed. Is a broken relationship creating anxiety? Try to make peace (2 Corinthians 13:11). Is fear of the unknown leading to anxiety? Turn the situation over to the God who knows everything and is in control of it all (Psalm 68:20). Are overwhelming circumstances causing anxiety? Have faith in God. When the disciples became distressed in a storm, Jesus first rebuked their lack of faith, then rebuked the wind and the waves (Matthew 8:23-27).  As long as we are with Jesus, there is nothing to fear.


All Your Anxiety

Is there a heart o'er-bound by sorrow?
Is there a life weighed down by care?
Come to the cross--each burden bearing,
All your anxiety--leave it there.

Refrain:
All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat--leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus.


Thought: If ever there was a friend that could sooth the heart, it’s Jesus. And if ever there was a friend that truly cared, it is the Lord. So why do you worry and why do you fret? The One who made the universe; put each star in place, designed the birds to fly and fashioned each fish to swim. Could He not help you with your anxieties, your nerves, and with all your fears? We can count on the Lord to provide for our needs, protect us from evil, guide us, and keep our souls secure for eternity. We may not be able to prevent anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response. Philippians 4:6,7 instructs us to, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth (surpasses) all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Thank you, Lord, for your watchful eye and loving care over us.













___________________
1. Excerpts taken from: gotquestions.org
2. Orison Swett Marden, The Joys of Living, published 1912
3. Edward H. Joy, 1920, “All Your Anxiety”



Friday, September 12, 2014

Are You Living a Joyful Life?


Are You Living a Joyful Life?

Psalms 5:11
 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

How many people do you know that are really happy, really joyful? They are trying to be happy and really want to be joyful, but are not. The ability to obtain enjoyment from all sorts of sources is a divine gift. To be able to extract the beauty from a flower with its brilliant colors and perfumed fragrances, or from the breathtaking mountains that majestically grace our land is a gift that God has graciously given for our enjoyment.

We are rich and joyful when we seek the secret of happiness, a cheerful contented mind. “He is poor who is dissatisfied; he is rich who is contented with what he has,” and can enjoy what others own. There are many joys which are ours and God, in His compassionate love, has sent them our way, but, sometimes, we don’t see them for what they truly are. Most people do not draw out ten per cent of the happiness possible in their everyday life. Their minds are blank and muddled with mundane daily routines they have stamped in their brains.

How quickly we exhaust life! Everyone we meet seems to be late for an appointment. “Hurried” and “Anxious” are stamped on their faces and Oh, how they take life much to seriously. We should regularly spend time praising and thanking God for His creation. He who made the majestic Redwoods, painted the desert flowers, and dressed the lilies of the field. Joyful living is in lifting our hearts to God who made all things beautiful for our pleasure and enjoyment. How long has it been since you enjoyed the beauty of God’s handiwork and praised Him for it?

Not only should we be joyful in the glorious creation of our Great God, but we should be rejoicing in His “so great salvation,” He has freely given to us. When a repentant sinner recognizes he can’t achieve his own righteousness by works and truly repents calling on the mercy of God, the Lord covers him with His righteousness by grace through his faith. Joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel of Christ being produced in them by the Holy Spirit because they receive and obey the Word of God while experiencing trials and keeping their hope fixed on the glory which is to come.”  Quote by John MacArthur in his study book on Philippians.

Isaiah 61:10 ~ “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels”

The most unhappy people have gradually become so by forming the habit of unhappiness. The habit of complaining, of criticizing, of faultfinding or grumbling over unimportant things, the habit of looking at the negative side, is the one most difficult to overcome, especially in early life, for after a while the victim becomes a slave to it. Nothing contributes more to the success  of a good habit than seeing the bright or positive side of things. Whatever misfortunes or hardships may come to you, make up your mind resolutely that, come what may, you will get the most possible real enjoyment out of every day. This increases your capacity for enjoying life as you endeavor to find the things worthy of praise throughout every experience of the day.

 Philippians 4:8 ~ “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Thought:  How's your joy today? Do you question why or where to begin? You begin with dealing with the sin in your life, confessing it to the Lord, yielding to the Spirit of God and letting the Spirit produce joy. The fact that you have been given true salvation, a glorious life in Christ, the privilege of intercessory prayer, access to God at any time, and that God has filled your life with so many blessings you couldn’t count them all, should cause you to be constantly filled with joy. Don’t allow circumstances to steal your joy, rise above the trials and circumstances of life and walk in the Spirit of JOY!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit


Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patient), gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

These are nine wonderful characteristics that can be examined in the light of God’s Word. The “fruit” of the Spirit is a blended description of all the Christian character traits we are to demonstrate in our lives. They are to be complete; nine portraits of the riches of a Christ-centered life. 

Self-Control

Though self-control is last on the list of fruit, it is certainly not the least of them mentioned. Temperance, self-control is the ability to live with restraints. The world today tells us to: let it all hang out, do your own thing, be free of all control. But, we are instructed to manifest self-control that we may be Christ-like. Self-control is a form of worship and plays a major role in the maturing of a believer. Self-control involves the proper use of freedoms for which the Apostle Paul gives a Scriptural foundation; “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (I Corinthians 9:19,22b). Paul became all things to all men for the gospel’s sake, that he may share with them Christ’s eternal blessings. It is possible for the old nature to counterfeit some of the fruit of the Spirit, but the flesh, the old nature, can never produce the fruit of the Spirit. When the Spirit produces fruit, God gets the glory, but when the flesh is at work, we are inwardly proud and pleased with ourselves when others give us a compliment. 

Self-Control ––– Controlling Our Passions

Paraphrasing James 4:1-10–––“Where do the conflicts and the quarrels among you come from? Are they from the passions that battle inside you? You desire and have not; so you murder. You envy and cannot obtain, so you keep fighting and quarreling. You don’t have because you don’t ask; then you ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives–––so that you may waste it on your pleasures.” What is the biblical solution to wrong passions? “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (Read I Timothy 6:6-10).  

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary –– CONTENTMENT, n. l.  Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence. Contentment, without external honor, is humility. Godliness.

Self-control is taking action against being friends with the world. James calls this passion, “enmity with God” or “an enemy of God.” Friendship with the world is considered a form of spiritual adultery. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The is a metaphorical description of spiritual unfaithfulness; to which the Jews especially understood. The Old Testament describes unfaithful Israel as a spiritual harlot in Hosea 1:2; 4:15; 9:1. Friends of the world are those with a deep and intimate longing for the things of the world; giving evidence that they are not Christians. Throughout Scripture, the Lord teaches us that the enemies of God are unbelievers. Be careful making the world your friend. 

Self-Control –– Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit 

Cultivating fruit to be eaten must be grown in a climate where it can blossom and mature. The fruit of the Spirit must be cultivated in a climate where one may “walk in the Spirit” in self-control, and in all the other characteristics of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is for the benefit and well-being of others that they might be helped, and Christ may be glorified. The flesh can produce a form of fruit that brings praise to us, but the flesh cannot bear fruit that beings glory to God. The cultivating of the fruit of the Spirit of God takes patience, and being willing to walk in the light of God’s Word with a sincere desire to honor Christ.

Thought: We must remember that fruit is produced so it can be shared, not admired, or put on a shelf as a display. People all around us are starving for love, and are hungry for all the other wonderful characteristics of the Spirit that we can share with them. They know we have something they lack, therefore, we do not bear fruit for our own pleasure, but for the benefit of others, a labor of love, that Christ may be praised and glorified.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit working in the life of a believer. Scripture tells us to examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith.  1 Corinthians 13:5 ~ “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Put yourself to the test to see if you are in the faith! Do you recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? If the Spirit of God does not have residence in your life, there is no fruit of self-control or any other godly characteristic, and indeed, you have failed the test! Trust Christ today, believe that Christ did for you what you could never do for yourself.