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Archive for the 'Shaping Influences' Category

What is a father?

Posted on June 16th, 2018 · Posted in Shaping Influences, Worldview

A father is a man who knows his life is not his own. A father is a man whose identity is formed by what God has called him to be. A father first and foremost protects, nurtures and loves. A father’s love is dominated by how he shows the beauty of Christ to his wife. A father’s love to his children is strengthened by his love to his wife. A father nourishes rather than punishes. A father defines sacrificial love for his family. A father knows the captivating power of.. read more

The mixed bag that is Father’s Day

Posted on June 15th, 2018 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Everyone has a father. That much is obvious. The problem comes when Father’s Day becomes a one-size-fits-all event. Everyone has a different life-experience regarding having a father, being a father or not being a father. Many are blown away by the faithful sacrifice of their dads. Sadly, many are also devastated by the selfishness of fathers. There are men who are thrilled with the joy of being a father. There are others who are not. There are still others who long to be fathers but are not. There are fathers.. read more

The human side of the gospel

Posted on June 2nd, 2018 · Posted in Gospel, Parenting, Sanctification, Shaping Influences

God has a role for you to play in illustrating the atoning power of the gospel. No, you have nothing do to with the sacrifice that Christ made for your sin. But, yes, you have an important part to play in defeating the impact of sin here on earth.  Proverbs 16:6 demonstrates how you can show the beauty of the atonement: Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil. With these words Solomon reminds us of how important it is.. read more

Humility: helpless as a newborn baby

Posted on February 21st, 2018 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

No one accomplishes anything apart from the express will and plan of God. We seldom think of God with that amount of reach and power into our personal lives. However, James gets it right when he says: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes… read more

Patience is not natural

Posted on January 29th, 2018 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

We often refer to patience as something that we can lose – as in “you are really causing me to lose my patience.” But how would it sound if you were to say “you are really causing me to lose my love for you?” If love is patient, then “losing” patience can be equated to losing love. Said this way the idea of losing patience is not a pretty one. Have you ever said something like this to your kids? “Sorry I was upset. You know that I love you,.. read more

Delight In God’s Commands — Really?

Posted on January 17th, 2018 · Posted in Authority, Parenting, Shaping Influences

Law and delight — these are two words seldom seen as companions. You can have the law or you can have fun. Young people excited about God’s laws is not exactly the first thought that comes to mind. Instruction over iPads? I don’t think so. These comments are both comical and sad. Why? Because they both ring true. We don’t typically expect our young people to be excited about obeying God. And you can agree there is sadness connected to this fact. So how do we address this? Allow me.. read more

Believable lies

Posted on November 27th, 2017 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Your enemy knows better than to present his real plan for what it really is. Subtle, clever deception is designed to keep you and your children from seeing the true ugliness of sin. Prepare your children for these attractive schemes. Biblical faith and love for God are the only real defenses for these deceptive tactics. For example: entertainment often uses humor to portray lust, adultery, jealousy, gossip, hatred, greed, etc. I’m not just talking about X-rated movies. “Light-hearted, fun” PG movies fit the profile as well. It so easy to.. read more

Life is about relationships

Posted on August 1st, 2017 · Posted in Culture, Parenting, Sanctification, Shaping Influences

The most important part of our lives are our relationships. Relationships, whether good or poor, live on in the landscape of our minds. God made humans for relationships; they shape our perception of who we are and provide us with our sense of self-worth and purpose. Relationships are most fulfilling when they are rooted in the trinitarian God who is the source and model for all good relationships. God’s ultimate expression of relationship to people was to send his son, Jesus Christ, to show you and me what makes relationships.. read more

Repost: Flee and Pursue

Posted on June 7th, 2017 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Parenting, Sanctification, Shaping Influences, Teenagers

Indulging sensual desires has become an entitlement for young people.  The message is loud and persistent: You can have it. You can have it now. You deserve it. Advertising that targets our nation’s youth is built on these three components of youthful desires or lusts. A cultural shift has occurred. It is one that is based on gratifying youthful desire. Having sex outside of marriage is the new social normal. Virginity is an indication of a dysfunctional personality.  The notion of drinking responsibly doesn’t mean restraint, it means finding a.. read more

Stress can be a good thing

Posted on May 24th, 2017 · Posted in Shaping Influences, Worry

Stress is part of life. There is no way to avoid it. But what you can avoid is the fatigue and disorientation of continuing stress. When stress comes you can either turn to God and his word or you can rely on your own judgement and watch the stress deepen. Trusting in God leads to peace. This means stress can lead to peace. When you attribute short, curt answers and a contentious spirit to stress, the stressful situation has overcome you. There is much in life that can be overwhelming… read more

When God doesn’t do what you want

Posted on April 26th, 2017 · Posted in Shaping Influences

When it comes to life, you and I are often poor script writers. And that is a good thing! Okay, how can I say that this is a good thing? Most of the disappointments that you face in life come because things did not work out as you had planned. This does not mean that what you had planned was necessarily bad or wrong. And this where the difficulty comes. You wanted and prayed for something you thought was good. Perhaps you prayed for the health of someone you love.. read more

Toxic bodies, whole lives

Posted on March 18th, 2017 · Posted in Gospel, Shaping Influences

Cancer attacks healthy tissue and turns it toxic. Modern medicine attacks these toxic cells with surgery, poisonous medications and lethal radiation. The question becomes whether the human body can survive the treatment. Two years ago the decision was made to attack my cancer with a combination of toxic chemicals and targeted radiation. The plan was to eliminate the toxic cells.before they spread throughout my body. Your battle with sin is very much like my battle with cancer. Sin attacks what God made to blessings and turns them into something ugly… read more

Through the eyes of your child

Posted on March 8th, 2017 · Posted in Parenting, Sanctification, Shaping Influences, Uncategorized

Instruction and correction can easily be misunderstood. This is particularly the case when parental authority is being exercised. When correcting your children you can give them the impression that you are delighting in their failure, or that you are fixated on their shortcomings. Since disciplined training in righteousness must be thorough and ongoing, a child may think that your only purpose is to delight in telling him how wrong he is. This is where you have to look at your child’s world through his eyes. It is huge that in.. read more

Lost in the Middle, featured in World Magazine

Posted on March 7th, 2017 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

World Magazine recently asked several Christian authors what one book would they like to see on a list of books read by most Christians. Author Carolyn McCulley chose Paul David Tripp’s Lost in The Middle, ”with its helpful teaching on trusting and obeying God when life doesn’t turn out the way one expects.” Here is an excerpt from Paul’s book which highlights its value navigating the difficult passages of life. “Scripture in a very natural way understands people by locating them in four fundamental relationships. The first and most foundational.. read more

Psalm 23: Your Guide to 2017

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

  In Psalm 23 the Holy Spirit provides what you need to make your life count for God in 2017. Whatever issues you may face this Psalm provides the biblical framework for you to make a difference for God. Here are two principles to get your started: God is your shepherd (verses 1-2). The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. The first two verses of Psalm 23 make a strong statement: God is.. read more

Finding the love of Christ in the mess of life

Posted on December 17th, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Being a parent is a consuming job. The unexpected and unplanned for circumstances just keep on coming. In the mess, Christ can become distant. In Psalm 73, the psalmist had become overwhelmed with the seeming futility of following God. Survival mode had become the norm. He was thinking, “I just can’t do this anymore.” But here is the reality that the crush of daily life can obscure—Jesus is right there with you in the middle of the mess of your life! Trusting Christ in the mess of life is what.. read more

People pleasing – a fatal attraction!

Posted on September 30th, 2016 · Posted in Fear of the Lord, Ruling Desires, Shaping Influences

Luke recounts a story in Acts about how the early Christians were caring for each other’s needs. He specifically mentions a Cypriot Levite named Joseph who sold a field and brought the money from the sale to the apostles. Joseph was such a blessing that the apostles called him Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. This was a good thing. There was a married couple who apparently observed Barnabas’ good deed and the appreciation he received for it. So they sold some property that they owned. But something happened to.. read more

The shopping trip

Posted on September 7th, 2016 · Posted in Authority, Shaping Influences

Once I was shopping at the grocery store. An eager four-year-old started to wander off from her mother. The mother spoke to her child in a calm but icy voice. She said something like this, “I knew it was a mistake to bring you shopping. If you don’t come here right now, I’ll never take you shopping again.” The little girl sadly turned back to her mother with her head down. She was being treated as her mother thought she deserved. Mom seemed pleased that her power play worked. Often.. read more

27 Years

Posted on September 1st, 2016 · Posted in Shaping Influences

Today is moving day; moved into this house 27 years ago. 5 kids under the age of 9. New state, new church, new opportunities, new people. Our lives were all in front of us. I tried to remember what I thought life would be like looking ahead into the future. It is not surprising that what God unfolded was nothing like I had imagined. Now 27 years later I’m moving again. Only this time instead of moving with my wife and 5 children, it is only me. The Lord took.. read more

Excuses or repentance

Posted on August 26th, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Ruling Desires, Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Excuses keep us from trusting God, erode human relationships and weaken character. The default mode for the excuse maker is to shift blame instead of looking to God in repentance. Repentance brings hope. Excuses result in frustration and blame-shifting. This 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—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.. read more