Monthly Archives: August 2019

16 posts

What is Dorian About?

As I write this Hurricane Dorian is approximately 350 miles east of West Palm Beach moving on a westerly course. Dorian is a powerful storm with winds of 150 mph.  A storm of this intensity will be catastrophic to any land area that it strikes. After thinking the storm would move into Florida, forecasters believe the Dorian may turn north and move along the east coast for several days. This would threaten several hundred miles coastline with high winds, damaging rains and devastating storm surge.  What are we to think of this kind of raw power? The Holy Spirit provides insight with these words in Job 37:1-13: My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. Listen […]

Excuses and Stress

Excuse making is one connection to stress and anxiety. Excuses keep us from trusting God, erode human relationships, and weaken character. The default mode for the excuse maker is to shift blame. This means the ability to trust God by exercising repentance is significantly reduced. Living a life of faith characterized by repentance brings hope and peace. Excuses result in frustration and blame-shifting. This is how the Holy Spirit describes the difference: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Concealing sins—that is, making excuses—destroys trust in God. But repentance yields mercy and the blessing of God. Listen to yourself. Listen to your children. If you hear responses like these, […]

Created for Friendship

The DNA of Eternity is Relationship. Eternity exists because God exists. God is about the ultimate relationship of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, eternity is about relationships. In this context, people were designed for relationships, both with God and with each other. Humans did not evolve into relationships, we are made for them. Specifically, we are designed to thrive in the climate of friendship. In the beginning, these friendships were based on total trust and fidelity. Think of the wonder of the whole planet being united in mutual dependence, submission, relationship, and purpose. That would be nothing short of joy on earth.  However, because of the fall, we will have to wait for heaven to see […]

Fear and Forgiveness

Are fear and forgiveness opposing concepts? Forgiveness includes acceptance, freedom, love, and understanding. Fear involves dread, terror, and rejection; so how can fear and forgiveness be connected? There is another meaning associated with fear. The American Heritage Dictionary’s third listing for fear is this:  Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power. The third meaning is one of being overwhelmed by greatness. In the Bible, God is described as so good, so great, and so powerful that fear of Him is an automatic response. Isaiah experiences this when he encounters the living God: “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and […]

Courage and Prayer

It is easy to pray for good things. We want our loved ones to be healthy and safe. We desire for our country to turn to God in repentance. It is good to pray that our children will come to know and love Christ more deeply. These are good things. But do we have the courage to pray for something more? We sell God short in our prayers when we only ask for things that seem to good to us.  In the prayer of our Lord, Christ gives us something better to ask for: he asks that God’s kingdom will come and that his will be done. This request requires trust in God. This is a request for God to […]

Idol Children

We live in the age of the Child. Children are accommodated. They are the center of family life. They are the focus of the educational process. Instead of training children to worship God in all of life, our modern world idolizes them. Education thus becomes a means to serve children rather than to teach them to sacrificially live their lives for God. So parents live for their children instead of God. Children then follow their parent’s example and also live for themselves. When this happens, nothing good is accomplished. Marriages are weakened because of this wrong-headed focus. Children can never meet the expectations of parents who worship them. Divorce and child abuse increase. In the end, all that is left […]

Thought Habits of a Healthy Heart

What you think shapes who you are. Worry or peace are the fruit of your thoughts. God makes a big deal about how and what you think. What you think determines your level of anxiety as well as your level of contentment and peace. Your thoughts are both the expression of your heart and the gateway to your heart. Your thoughts direct you to joy or to fear. Your thoughts produce worry or peace, not your circumstances. Your thoughts will lead you to God’s peace. In return, God’s peace will guard your thoughts in a way that surpasses human understanding and frees you from the tyranny worry and fear. Paul describes how your thoughts guard your heart by bringing God’s peace […]

Faith or Trust

TRUST is believing and doing what God tells me in the Bible, even when it is hard to do. DOUBT is attempting to find another alternative in the face of clear biblical teaching. FAITH is knowing the difference between trust and doubt and doing what God says over what I want or fear. FEAR is listening to doubt instead of faith. Thus trust is a biblical response to fear. The world is often a scary place. Life is full of things that you and I cannot control. We cannot eliminate the things that bring fear from our daily lives. We cannot will our children to safety. In response to fear God calls us to trust him: In God, whose word […]

Healthy Everyday Talk

Verbal communication is part of everyday life. Perhaps nothing else brings such a combination of joy and frustration than the way we talk with each other.  James expresses it the way: With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. The Holy Spirit has provided tools and directives to keep your talk both healthy and holy. Here are some of them: Check your Heart Attitude:  Consider others more important than yourself. (Philippians 2:3-5) Let love be in control:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not dishonor […]

Instruction for the Heart

Biblical instruction is designed to impact the lives of your grandchildren. It is not about changing behavior for the moment.  It is about heart change. Proverbs 6:22 defines the goal of biblical parental instruction. It is to change the hearts of your children. Look carefully at these words: When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. This passage in Proverbs mirrors Moses’ command in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.  Truth is to be passed on from one heart to another heart. The goal of biblical instruction is to have your children own the truth of Scripture for themselves!  This is what will make the difference for generations yet […]