Godward Orientation

181 posts

When Christmas Hurts, Hope in Christ

Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving but not for everyone. Amid the colored lights and wrapped presents there are hearts that are as empty as the open gift boxes under the tree on Christmas morning. Christmas brings good memories but also the hard ones of broken dreams and relationships. When we are struggling, it is tempting to ask where is the joy in life?   David asked these same questions long ago. He wanted to know why God had abandoned him. He wanted to know why his prayers were not answered. He cried out to ask why God does not answer his pleas. So he writes these words in Psalm 22: My God, my God, why have you […]

Our Kids Are Like Us

Why do your children fight? The short answer is, the same reason you do! They fight because they do not have what they want. As adults, we think we have moved beyond childish selfishness, we have developed “mature” reasons for our arguments. However, if you strip away the adult “sophistication” of our arguments, you will find that you are not much different from your children who squabble over a favorite toy. We believe the lie that if we are hurt a robust defense is justified. Getting into a fight seems like the right and necessary and “real” thing to do; we have to protect ourselves! Our kids are like us. The hard truth is that you and I fight because […]

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 […]

Instruction: Blessing or Curse?

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 instruction do well. Understanding is like a fountain of freshwater to those who are thirsty. Instruction flows from wise lips and is to be desired. This description of loving understanding […]

Is Purity Worth the Cost? (Part 2)

(continued from Part 1) The songwriter asked, “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?” Your child may think, “Purity? I don’t think so, no way!” Parents, these thoughts are daggers pointed at the hearts of your kids. It is foolish to ignore them. It is equally foolish to answer these questions by simply enforcing rules and being angry at wrong behavior.  The pursuit of purity is a choice to live.  To reject purity is a choice to pursue death. There is no middle ground!  You see, life is about control. Will you be controlled by the Spirit of God or by the desires of your flesh? Again, there is no middle ground. This is what Paul is teaching us […]

Is Purity Worth the Cost? (Part 1)

Is it worth it to be pure? People have been asking this question for thousands of years. The pursuit of purity seems to be out of touch with a life of enjoyment. Purity means dull, boring and unexciting, at least that is what conventional wisdom believed for millennia. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a commercial shouting out the value of being pure and decent?  A songwriter felt this tension 3,000 years ago. In frustration, he complained that fat cats got whatever they wanted. God and biblical morality were mocked in his world, very much like they are today. People lived for pleasure and suffer no harm from their lustful pursuits. The songwriter observed that people were not […]

The Curse of “Whatever”

“Whatever.” This is not usually a word of encouragement or optimism. It is what we say when we feel let down, betrayed, discouraged. So, “whatever” is said in a way that is intended to communicate that you don’t care. However,  the irony is that it really means that something matters very much. We continue to be surprised at being disappointed. People have this problem called sin. Sin comes from rebellion to God. At its root, rebellion starts with believing a lie. We believe we can be happy apart from dying to ourselves. We believe that the people we love will not hurt us. We believe that we deserve what we desire. We believe things will be better next time. We […]

Churchill and My Dad

My father served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister of Great Britain. My father served in the Pacific Fleet. Great Britain is in the Atlantic. My father earned the respect of the 120 men he led as skipper of his warship. Churchill earned the respect of millions with his brave leadership against the Axis powers. My father admired Churchill. Churchill never knew that my father existed. “So,” you might be asking, “why is this article is titled the way it is?” In the providence of God, Winston Churchill made a decision that impacted my father’s life. Churchill was concerned about how Allied Forces could successfully invade European beaches and drive out a […]

In the Presence of My Enemies 

Psalm 23 ends with God stating what is always true. A feast is always available for the sheep of God’s pasture. This psalm reminds us that no matter what our circumstances appear to be, the good Shepherd is always caring for his sheep.   What does this mean when you inhabit the dark valleys of life?  The human heart is capable of journeys immeasurable delight and equally immeasurable despair. David, the shepherd, the king, the father, the sinner knew these highs and lows. He danced with joy and he wept bitter tears of loss. He won conquests against overwhelming odds. However, he, like us, often lost his battles with his flesh. As this psalm says, David knew the peace of […]

What Captures your Heart?

What is it that captures your heart? What matters more than anything else? Whether you are conscious of it or not, these questions drive both you and your children. Jesus graciously leads us into this discussion in Matthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. This man found a treasure. He quickly buried it again hoping no one noticed. Filled with joy, he went off and sold everything so that he could buy the field and possess the treasure. He did not sell all out of a sense of obligation. Can you […]