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Archive for the 'Shaping Influences' Category

Churchill and My Dad

Posted on May 27th, 2019 · Posted in Fear of the Lord, Godward Orientation, Shaping Influences, Worldview

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.. 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

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

The Gift of Adornment

Posted on January 7th, 2019 · Posted in Discipline, Parenting, Shaping Influences

The Holy Spirit makes a vital connection between adornment and protection!  You care about your children. You want to protect them from harm. So you take the obvious precautions: you use car seats, you dress them in warm clothing, you install a security system, you take them to the doctor and you do everything possible to keep them physically safe. But what about spiritual protection? Children who are spiritually adorned are also spiritually protected. It is the fear of the Lord that will keep your children from being deceived by.. read more

Your Guide to 2019

Posted on January 2nd, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Shaping Influences, Worldview

In the twenty-third Psalm, the Holy Spirit provides what you need to make your life count for God in 2019. Whatever issues you may face this Psalm provides the biblical framework for you to make a difference for God. This wonderful psalm is for everyday life and the trials and pressures of each day. The psalm provides two great truths to give stability and comfort for your life:  God is your shepherd (verses 1-2). The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in.. read more

School and your marriage

Posted on August 13th, 2018 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

It is August and summer is practically over. School is starting. There are 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 demand much of a marriage. Time, relationship, 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. Is your marriage ready for school? Don’t.. read more

Short answers

Posted on July 30th, 2018 · Posted in Communication, Shaping Influences, Teenagers

You observe your teenager talking non-stop with friends. Then you think about the typical conversations that you have had with your son or daughter. Instead of a lively back and forth your attempts at conversation tend to collapse into strained monosyllables.: “Did you have a good day?” “Sort of.” “How was your test?” “Okay.” “Do you have homework?” “Maybe.” “Do you have plans this weekend?” “Not sure.” “Is anything bothering you?” “No.” “Did you clean your room?” “Not yet.” “I thought maybe we could talk later on.” “Why?” “What did.. read more

Realities Unseen

Posted on July 6th, 2018 · Posted in Authority, Shaping Influences, Worldview

The most significant parts of life are those that are unseen. If your view of reality is limited to what you can see, your understanding of life will be ill-informed. The culture tells us that life can be measured by what is seen: how much money do you have, stock market reports, opinion polls, how healthy we are. Thus, our assessment of these measurable things becomes the basis of our security, and more importantly, the basis of our fears. However, such thinking is unsound. As Elisha said over 2,500 years ago,.. read more

Meek and Powerful

Posted on June 29th, 2018 · Posted in Authority, Shaping Influences

These are troubling days. The wicked appear to have the upper hand. But the word of God assures us that things are not as they seem. King David wrote a song that was used in worship to remind God’s people that the wicked have limits. David says that the meek shall inherit the land. Some 1,000 years later Jesus quotes these very words as he begins the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was letting his followers know that even though they would face persecution God would not abandon them or.. read more

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