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Archive for the 'Sanctification' Category

The Unexpected Blessing of Criticism

Posted on September 17th, 2019 · Posted in Criticism, Sanctification, Social Networking

Proverbs has some profound things to say about receiving criticism.  Solomon warns against living for the praise of others. Learning to wisely receive criticism is a life skill that will serve you and your children well. This skill offers protection from everything to falling prey to sexual temptations or from making poor business decisions. For example, a little boy who craves praise may well grow into a husband who will be angry and disappointed when he is not constantly praised. He can easily be prone to self-pity. This can lead.. read more

Don’t Let Truth Slip Away

Posted on September 12th, 2019 · Posted in Parenting, Sanctification

It was time for Israel to grow up!  For forty years Israel had known God’s special protection very much like what you provide for your children before they leave home. Manna was provided for them every day. The lived under the safety of the giant cloud that provided shade during the day and light at night. Their clothing and sandals did not wear out. Once the people crossed the Jordan River things would be different.  The Israelites had experienced the direct hand of God in their lives in ways that.. read more

The Devastation of a Wandering Heart

Posted on September 3rd, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Culture, Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Teenagers

Solomon warned about the destruction of an unguarded, wandering heart in Proverbs 4:20-27. Verse 23 gets most of the attention in this passage: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. However it is important not to miss the warning that follows to keep your feet and eyes, that is, your heart and your body, from wandering away from what is right: Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be.. read more

Which Question Will Your Teenager Answer?

Posted on September 2nd, 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

Mr. and Mrs. Lot: “We Can Handle This!”

Posted on July 5th, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Worldview

Abram and Lot had a good problem. The Lord had blessed them abundantly, so much so, that they needed to separate because the land could not sustain them both. Abram offered a gracious plan to Lot. He told Lot to choose the direction he wanted to inhabit and he, Abram, would go in the opposite direction. It was a generous offer! However, Mr. and Mrs. Lot made a choice that did not reflect the honor of God as Abram’s did. Standing on the high plains, they looked down at the.. read more

Are You a Hypocrite?

Posted on June 27th, 2019 · Posted in Parenting, Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Hypocrisy is something you cannot avoid. You tell your children not to fight and then you argue with your spouse. You tell your children God is in control and then you become angry or despondent with the circumstances of life. You tell your children to put God first, and then you realize you told them that for selfish reasons.   Your children are intimately aware of your hypocritical tendencies. It is as if a child is born with a fully-functioning, super-sensitive hypocrisy checker built in. Hypocrisy: something you and I.. read more

In the Presence of My Enemies 

Posted on May 23rd, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Godward Orientation, Sanctification, World View

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.. read more

Aggravating People

Posted on May 10th, 2019 · Posted in Anger, Sanctification

When was the last time you encountered an aggravating person? It is possible it was only a few minutes ago!  The truth is, you should not be surprised when people are aggravating. God wants you to be prepared for aggravation. It is time to stop being shocked that people sin or see things differently than you do.  Isn’t that negative thinking? No, it is just realistic thinking. The Holy Spirit tells you to be ready to deal with people who are aggravating and irritating. Being prepared can turn potentially negative.. read more

The Unique Gift of Joy

Posted on May 9th, 2019 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Wisdom

God provides his people with unique gifts that make life special. One of those gifts is joy. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can bring the wonder and endurance of joy to the human experience. Joy is the fruit of his Spirit given to you by virtue of your new birth in Christ.  The world around you knows a sense of joy because of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. (Acts 14:17) However, the fullness of joy is found only in the wonder of Christ. Because true joy.. read more

Praying for Fun

Posted on April 28th, 2019 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Sanctification

If you are like most people, you like to laugh and have fun. And if you are like most people you seldom pray for God to help you have fun. If you are a teenager praying to God to have fun may appear counter-productive: what does God have to do with having fun? That is a really good question!  As strange as it may seem, fun is God’s gift to us. If it was not for God we would have no clue that fun was even a thing! All the.. read more

Specks & Planks

Jesus was the most extraordinary communicator in all of human history. He was the ultimate guide for bringing truth to everyday life.  So it is not surprising that his craft as a carpenter provided rich illustrations for his teaching.  Specks of sawdust were part of his life. He used words with the skill and grace of the ultimate master woodworker. His crafted vivid word pictures that connected his hearers to everyday life. Thus, in Luke’s gospel, he uses the common elements of his carpenter’s life to connect to my life.. read more

Who is the king of your heart?

Posted on April 2nd, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Ruling Desires, Sanctification

It was about mid-day on a Friday. An anxious Roman governor named Pilate plead with the Jews for the life of Jesus. Pilate knew that this Jesus was innocent and though he claimed to be a king, he was not worthy of capital punishment.  But the Jews responded harshly to Pilate’s attempt to spare Christ. They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Blinded by rage and anger at Jesus, the.. read more

Patience: You Can Trust God!

Posted on March 26th, 2019 · Posted in Sanctification

A judgmental spirit is a dangerous thing. It leads to doubt, mistrust and broken relationships. But there is another form of judgment that is even more destructive: the practice of judging God. When you begin to question God’s faithfulness, when circumstances are not what you wanted, you are actually judging God. When your general response to life is that life stinks, you are judging God. Why? Because the Holy Spirit says that God is causing all the events in your life to be a good thing for you. So, when.. read more

Does your pastor know you?

Posted on February 22nd, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Does your pastor know you?  It’s an important question! You are struggling with financial issues and are battling fear and worry — does your pastor know you? You are feeling overwhelmed with your obligations as a parent — does your pastor know you? You feel the weight of anxiety and depression — does your pastor know you? Your teenagers have questions about their faith — does your pastor know you? Tensions in your marriage are rising — does your pastor know you? You are burdened about the political and social.. read more

Mom! I’m So Bored!

Posted on February 11th, 2019 · Posted in Parenting, Sanctification

Is it wrong to be bored? Given that boredom is a common complaint, especially with children, this is an important question. When your children announce that they are bored, how can you respond in the way that is most helpful to them? Often the response to an expression of boredom would be, “Well, go find something to do!”  But this response is not productive because it does not provide any positive direction. It is important to ask whether it is wrong to be bored. Let’s attempt to answer this question.. read more

I don’t like correction!

Posted on January 24th, 2019 · Posted in Anger, Sanctification

I don’t like correction. There I said it. I like to be right. More importantly, I like it even more when you think I am right.  By admitting these things I have also shown a propensity for stupidity. This is but another reminder of the danger of being wise in my own eyes. If I care most about being right, I care most about myself. This desire to be right is destructive to relationships, especially relationships in families. This is not wisdom but stupidity.  If I am to learn, I.. read more

It’s Too Busy In My Life!

Posted on November 30th, 2018 · Posted in Holidays, Prayer, Sanctification

A prayer for the busy Christmas season. Dear Father, it’s busy in my life. Crowds are everywhere. My heart is busy, too many gifts, not enough money, not enough time. This time is supposed to be about Jesus. But even at church I feel more busy than thankful for his birth. There are people to see, events to attend. All of this is supposed to be about Jesus, but it feels more and more like it’s all about me. Jesus came to bring peace, but my life is full of.. read more

Motivation and your teenager

Posted on October 23rd, 2018 · Posted in Parenting, Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Teenagers

Kevin, a teenage boy, has an opportunity to be alone with Tiffany, a girl that he is attracted to. If he thinks that he might get caught and his parents will find out, or that he might get a sexually-transmitted disease, he might decide not to be with her. However, suppose he thinks no one will find out and he can use protection to keep him safe. In addition, he and Tiffany have devised the “perfect” plan to hide their encounter. Thus, the fear of consequence fades against the powerful.. read more

Discipline and Anger: A Toxic Mix

Posted on October 15th, 2018 · Posted in Gratitude, Sanctification

“There, I told them that was the last time! I finally got fed up and did something about their disrespect and disobedience. Maybe this will change their attitude. Yes, I was angry, but something needed to be done!” Mom might feel good for the moment, but she has actually made things worse. Human anger and biblical discipline do not mix. Your anger will not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:20) God did not give you your children so that you could teach them to follow your.. read more

Joy in Suffering

Posted on September 1st, 2018 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Worldview

The way to ever deepening joy in God is suffering. There are joys unspeakable and glorious in knowing God. Do you want to experience the fullness of Christ? Do you want to be overwhelmed with the vision of this one who is the chief of 10,000? Do you want to be emptied of yourself and swallowed up in Christ? Would you want to see his glory as the mediator between God and man? Do you long to have a full sense of his wonderful, pure, sweet grace and his meek.. read more