Shaping Influences

117 posts

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 […]

Help! Someone I Love Has Cancer

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 […]

Guiltless Living

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. […]

People Pleasing—A Fatal Attraction!

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 these two when they collected the money from the sale. While we can’t be exactly sure of their thoughts, Luke does tell us about the plan that they conceived, a […]

The Shopping Trip

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 this tactic does not work, but for this little girl, earning her mom’s approval was all that mattered. For her part, Mom had no idea of the devastating impact of […]

Twenty-Seven Years

Today is moving day; moved into this house twenty-seven years ago. Five kids under the age of nine. 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 twenty-seven years later I’m moving again. Only this time instead of moving with my wife and five children, it is only me. The Lord took Ruth home three years ago after a 3-½ year chapter entitled brain cancer. The kids are all grown and have their own homes and families. Twenty months ago I was […]