Monthly Archives: June 2009

17 posts

Manipulation – Not a Good Thing

One of the benefits of intimately knowing and trusting the word of God is the ability to avoid coercion and manipulation in dealing with others, especially your children. It is an easy thing to slip into manipulation rather than to trust God’s methods and direction. Manipulation provides an all too accessible short-cut for trusting in God to work in the lives of your children. Manipulation is trying to get someone else to do what you want them to do simply because you want them to. This kind of behavior is quite different from what Proverbs 16:12 teaches:. Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. Notice how authority is secured – through righteousness. Manipulation, no matter how noble […]

Good and the Celebrity Culture

Psalm 73 is the story of a troubled soul who wonders about the goodness of God in the face of the apparent prosperity of people who openly mock God and delight in wickedness. As we have seen, the psalmist needed to redefine his concept of good, and he needed to stop seeing the actions of the wicked in light of a momentary perspective. Among other reasons, this psalm is recorded by the Holy Spirit because faithful servants of God throughout history face similar situations. All of us can identify with the theme of this psalm. It is painful to see the wicked prosper. We sometimes question whether it is worth it to keep trying–is it in vain that we have […]

Guard Your Heart! Love What is Truly Good

This post is a last minute addition to the series on Psalm 73. The absolute necessity of being able trust God to define what is good for you has been painfully illustrated by the sad announcement of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s infidelity. Sanford decided that his “good” was a relationship with a woman who was not his wife. In his news conference, the governor appeared to struggle with giving up the “goodness” of his extra-marital relationship. Even though this relationship brought nothing but pain to his wife and children and dishonor to God, his struggle seemed to focus on how hard it was to end his adultery. Mark Sanford had defined good on his terms, not God’s. The nearness […]

What is Good?

Psalm 73 is about someone who struggles with the question of what is good. The psalmist looks at others–at people who don’t care for God–and determines that they have what is good and he doesn’t. This realization brings him to the brink of despair. We end up in the same place when our lives are not centered on worship to God. The psalmist is particularly discouraged by the prosperity of the wicked (vs. 3). Psalm 1:3-4 says it is the righteous who should prosper and wicked are the ones that should suffer. So the psalmist trusts his own understanding and begins to doubt. That doubt turns into envy and bitterness (verses 3, 13, 14). You can almost hear his cry […]

What Is “Good” for You?

What is good for you? How would those who know you well answer this question? What do you live for? How would your children answer? What brings you the most delight? How would your spouse answer this? The answers to these questions reveal much about you. Yet, as is often the case, we are often oblivious to what others see in us. Our focus tends to be on what we want others to think of us. In other words, we have a problem being objectively self-aware. Because of this inward focus, we cannot always be confident that our perception of what is good for us is also good for those around us. This lack of accurate self-perception is not a […]

June 21, 2009 – A Promise Kept

Yesterday, June 21, was Father’s Day. It was a time of appreciation for Dads. But yesterday was also the summer solstice. While this date holds significance for various pagan and cultic groups, it is also an important date for Christians to remember. The beginning of each of the four seasons should be a reminder to you that God keeps his promises. With the beginning of each new season, God is keeping the promise he made to Noah for all mankind. After the destruction of the Flood, God made a promise that the seasons would continue as long as the earth endures. Even though man is evil, God promises he will never again destroy all living creatures. Here is the promise […]

A Thought for Father’s Day

Fathers have authority. However, one is much more likely to hear how that authority has been abused rather than to hear how it has been used well. Frequently, fathers are not sure how to apply their authority in a way that is honoring to God. Then, the use of authority is uneven–sometimes too harsh and sometimes too weak. The result is frustration for all concerned. Let’s take a brief look at some biblical principles that will make the application of authority more productive.

Father’s Day – a Call for the Gospel

Fathers are in the instruction business–the business of instructing their children to live obediently for the glory of God. Our culture has come to scoff at and even disdain this notion. Parents, and fathers in particular, are seen more as caregivers than as leaders charged with the responsibility of building lives. Words like leadership and accountability don’t sit well in today’s politically correct world. In this world everything must be done for the child in order to serve the child. According to this view, parents must provide care for their children while being careful not to contaminate their minds with stuff about authority and religion. The most important contaminant to be avoided is the idea that they are sinners deserving […]

God and Planes

Some of you may recall the post “Landing on the Hudson: Whose Miracle?” It was written after the emergency landing of US Air Flight 1549 in the Hudson River this past January. There was, amazingly, no loss of life due to the competency and skill of the pilot and the quick reactions of first responders getting to the downed plane. The abundant news reports that followed credited this to almost everyone except the one who really was in control–God. However, if we are going to acknowledge God’s power in preserving the lives aboard flight 1549, we must also acknowledge his power over flights that come to a less-than-desirable ending–in particular Air France Flight 447 that was lost off the coast […]

Fathers, Your Attitude Should Be Like Christ’s

This is the final post in this series. We have been looking at the implications of Philippians 1:27-2:5 for family living. This is an important passage for establishing guidelines for relationships in the church. As we have seen, this passage also has much to say about your family. Paul begins this section with these words in verse 27: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Then, in chapter 2:5, Paul, in effect, summarizes what he has just said a with this statement: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus….” Paul’s admonition is to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel by having your attitude be the same as […]