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Which Question Will Your Teenager Answer?

Posted on September 2, 2019 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences, Teenagers

An unexpected temptation arises in the life of your teenager.  She was not planning to make a life-altering decision, but the moment arrived nonetheless.  When this moment occurs, your teenager will ask one of two questions: “What do I want to do?” “What does God want me to do?” Joseph was confronted by a passionate and powerful woman demanding to have sex.  He was alone in a pagan land.  Rejecting the advances of this woman would surely bring both pleasant and unpleasant consequences. Yet he had just one question on.. read more

What is Dorian About?

Posted on August 31, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Worldview

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.. read more

Excuses and Stress

Posted on August 30, 2019 · Posted in repentance

  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.. read more

Created for Friendship

Posted on August 28, 2019 · Posted in 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.. read more

Fear and Forgiveness

Posted on August 26, 2019 · Posted in Fear of the Lord, Gospel

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.. read more

Courage and Prayer

Posted on August 23, 2019 · Posted in 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.. read more

Idol Children

Posted on August 21, 2019 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Gospel, Parenting

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.. read more

Thought Habits of a Healthy Heart

Posted on August 20, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Peace, Peace, Wisdom, Worry

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.. read more

Faith or Trust

Posted on August 16, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Fear, Wisdom

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.. read more

Healthy Everyday Talk

Posted on August 15, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Wisdom

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.. read more

Instruction for the Heart

Posted on August 13, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

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.. read more

Self-Protection: A Destructive Response

Posted on August 12, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Parenting, Wisdom

When someone is unkind or attacks you, especially someone close to you, your first response is likely self-protection. If it is, things will go from bad to worse. The best way to protect yourself make sure you are honoring God with your response. For example, your 14-year-old says: “All you care about is your stupid rules! You care about your rules more than you do about me! Thanks a lot for not caring.” You feel hurt, disrespected and defensive. Your child is unable to appreciate the good you are trying.. read more

Instruction: Blessing or Curse?

Posted on August 10, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Godward Orientation, Parenting, Proverbs and the Gospel

Most memories of being corrected don’t evoke happy or pleasant thoughts. Often correction means stern or harsh warnings, even when given with the best of intentions. However, in the Proverbs instruction is to be received as precious jewelry, something to be worn with honor. How does this disconnect happen? Why is something that is intended for good and blessing become the equivalent of a curse? Proverbs 16:20-24 provides a guide for how to make instruction valuable. Solomon stresses the obvious, but neglected value of instruction. Those who pay attention to.. read more

Marriage and School

Posted on August 8, 2019 · Posted in Parenting

Summer is practically over. It is time for school. There are multiple lists to check: clothing, textbooks, supplies, transportation, after-school activities and more. You know the drill.  However, there is one important matter that you don’t want to overlook – your marriage. The challenges of school can be a challenge to your marriage. Time, relationships, and communication are consumed by the demands of school.  The relationship between mom and dad can easily shift into one where scheduling and time pressure become the main focus. In this climate relational energy is quickly.. read more

Why Aren’t You safe?

Posted on August 6, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Current Events, Fear, Herein is Love, World View

A Texas superstore, a Dayton entertainment district,  a school… These should be safe places, but they were not. Why? The Holy Spirit wrote Scripture knowing exactly what fears you would face in this your life. The face of terror is ugly and unnerving. Cafes, concerts, sporting events, and church are common gatherings that traditionally have provided places of safety and refuge. But as the terror of the dark human heart is revealed before our eyes, the reality is that there is no place apart from God where anyone is truly.. read more

Hang On To God in Hard Times

Posted on August 5, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Current Events, Worldview

Psalm 46 was written for difficult times, times like this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton. These opening verses are filled with the drama of life-dominating events. But even in chaos and turmoil, God is our refuge, the one we can hang on to: God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains.. read more

You are Made for Gratitude 

Posted on August 1, 2019 · Posted in Uncategorized

God made you a new creature in Christ.  He also designed you to be a creature fueled by thanksgiving. Only someone who comprehends the mercy of God extended in Christ the capacity to express thankfulness from an eternal perspective. Gratitude for someone who does not know Christ is limited to the here and now. Many are truly thankful for the immediate blessings of life. But the true healing joy of eternal gratitude is for those who know the love of Christ. When you lack thanksgiving you are being contrary to.. read more

Gratitude or Impurity

Posted on July 31, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Gratitude, Parenting

Gratitude or impurity—you can have one but not both!  The language of the heart and mouth is an indication of the direction of the heart. People whose speech is dominated by a thankful spirit are often people who are grateful for the mercy extended to them by God.  However, impure, profane speech reflects just the opposite of gratitude.  This kind of talk frequently indicates an angry heart and movement towards the impure and profane. For example, the Ephesians had woven impure speech into the life of the church to the.. read more

Pleasant Words, Healing Words

Posted on July 30, 2019 · Posted in Communication, Parenting, Proverbs and the Gospel, Wisdom

There is a prescription available that will improve the physical and spiritual health of your family.  This prescription is what the Proverbs call “pleasant words” or “gracious speech.” The Holy Spirit says this kind of talk will bring spiritual and physical health to your family. Failure to use this medicine as directed may result in frustrated parents, children who resist instruction, drained emotions, as well as the physical and spiritual exhaustion for the entire family. Yes, pleasant words are that important! However, there is a heavy cost for this prescription… read more

Parenting Is About Faith

Posted on July 29, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Parenting

Biblical parenting is an exercise in faith. This fact makes biblical parenting different from every other parenting methodology. A journey of faith cannot always be accurately measured by visible markers. Other forms of parenting are measured by evaluating immediate responses—if the behavior doesn’t change quickly, then something must be wrong. Thankfully, God calls us to trust him in faith. In biblical parenting, the primary objective is not to simply change behavior but to bring about a change in heart that leads to repentance, which leads to faith in Christ. This,.. read more