Shaping Influences

125 posts

Believable lies

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 be amused by behavior that God hates. We fall for the lie: “It’s no big deal, it’s just fun”? But what is presented as fun results in horrific outcomes in […]

Life is about relationships

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 work. When asked about what was the most important of all the things God commanded his people to do, Jesus answered simply and directly. Love God with everything that is […]

Repost: Flee and Pursue

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 designated driver. Products from hamburgers to whatever are sold with one message – you deserve this. Against this rising tide, a plea that says “don’t do that!” comes across as […]

Stress can be a good thing

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. But God remains in control of his world. Stress can and should remind you that God is faithfully in control. So, stress can lead you to peace. Proverbs 3:7-8 teach […]

When God doesn’t do what you want

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 or asked for a relationship to be restored. Maybe there was a gift you wanted to give that you could not. What about the day off you planned to spend […]

Toxic bodies, whole lives

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. Sin is far more deadly than cancer. Sin has plagued my body and spirit since my birth. There is no medical cure for sin. The only cure is to take […]

Through the eyes of your child

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 the process of correction, that your words follow the direction of the Spirit and be pleasant ( Proverbs 16:20-24) and gentle (Proverbs 15:1). Anger and irritation reinforce the idea that […]

Lost in the Middle, featured in World Magazine

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 relationship is my relationship to God. Everything I am and everything I do is shaped by the health and vitality of this relationship. No matter where you are (location), what […]

Your Guide to 2017

  In the twenty-third Psalm, 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 your shepherd! What kind of shepherd do you think God is going to be to you? Will he be forgetful of your needs? Will he ignore you when you […]

Finding the love of Christ in the mess of life

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 gives stability to your soul. He has brought together all of the events, frustrations and demands of your life to point you to him. Jesus is not some distant bystander. […]