2017: Why Read through the Bible in a Year? + FREE Devotional

Featured

 

Why read through the Bible in a year? - 2017: Why read through the Bible in a year? Could it put you in the path of Jesus in a new way? How can you stay on track if you've tried and quit before?

 

Why Read through the Bible in a Year?

 

Before you know it the New Year will be here. I hope your New Year’s plans include reading through the Bible in a year in 2017. Reading, studying, meditating on and obeying God’s Word should be our lifelong adventure.

No matter how much you have gotten out of your reading in the Scriptures this year, you will get abundantly more during the next and the next and the next!  Continue reading

“Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!” December 8

 

Love & Tolerance, Not Always the Same - Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers and to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers, to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.

Also read about God’s promises to Israel, the futility of running from God, and how a fool and his words get into trouble.

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 7 & 8
Psalm 139.7-12
Proverbs 29.20
2 John 1-13

 

Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!

 

2 John 1-13:

This is Love

 

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here in 2 John, the apostle makes it clear that the way we love God and others is by being obedient to His Word:

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (v. 6).

Sometimes obeying God’s Word seems contrary to what the world considers loving behavior. The world often defines “love” as “tolerance.” Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2, Matthew 18.15 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 teach that we are to warn believers and unbelievers alike so they can repent and turn from their sin.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we go around pointing out every sin, but when we see a professing believer caught in a lifestyle or pattern of sin, we should be willing to lovingly confront them, when necessary, and perhaps come alongside them. With unbelievers, we need to prayerfully consider sharing the gospel with them and, at times, warning them of the judgment to come.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27.6).

Neither does it mean we should be harsh or self-righteous. In fact, this is a time to first examine ourselves and be sure we get the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7.3-5). When we do approach someone we are to be gentle and tentative, not tentative about the truths of God, but tentative about their behavior by not jumping to conclusions.

Perhaps you have a married female friend who has mentioned to you that she and a male co-worker have had lunch together a number of times or you’ve observed her playfully flirting with someone. You see all kinds of red flags, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Instead, you can lovingly warn her of the danger of spending time one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex or talk to her about the dangers of flirting. You might use an example from your own life where you thought something was harmless, but later realized it was a slippery slope.

Or maybe you have a co-worker who announces he or she is getting “married” to  their same-sex partner and hands you an invitation. You know refusing to go will not be taken well, but you know you can’t support your friend’s choice.  Continue reading

“Do you think you are saved?” December 7

 

Do you think you're saved? - “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” (Matthew 7.21-23, NLT). Strong words! What did Jesus mean? How can we know that we won't hear those terrible words, "I never knew you"?

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” (Matthew 7.21-23, NLT).

Strong words! What did Jesus mean? How can we know that we won’t hear those terrible words, “I never knew you”?

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 5 & 6
Psalm 139.1-6
Proverbs 29.19
1 John 5.1-21

 

Do you think you are saved?

 

1 John 5.1-21:

Assurance of Salvation

 

praise worship

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (v. 13).

God used the Apostle John to write the gospel of John so that, “… you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20.31). Then in 1 John He inspired him to write so that believers might have assurance of their salvation.

He wants us to be confident that we have eternal life! But eternal life is not just a reality when we die, we can have eternal life now, because eternal life is in a person—the person of Jesus Christ!

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (v. 11).

If you are “in Christ” and He is “in you,” you have eternal life.

 

Believe you are saved?

 

Do you believe you are saved? On what do you base that belief?

Have you placed all your faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone? Or do you believe that your salvation rests on something you do? Do you understand that you could do nothing to save yourself (not baptism, not sacraments, not being good enough)?

“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2.8-9).

We’re saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

But in Matthew 7 Jesus warned us that there will be many people who think they’re saved, but aren’t:

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” (Matthew 7.21-23, NLT).

Was Jesus contradicting other passages that say we’re saved by grace through faith? No, the “doing the will of my Father” is grace-powered and love-driven obedience. It’s the kind of obedience that flows from genuine heart change. It’s the fruit of our salvation.

But He was driving home the point that “good works,” even religious looking good works can’t save us. Only knowing Him personally, having an intimate relationship with Him by acknowledging that we’re sinners who can do nothing to save ourselves and by putting our faith and trust in what He did for us on the cross can save us.  Continue reading

“Could we turn the world upside down?” December 6

 

Turn the world upside downIn the US (and many other countries), we have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and look at the consequences! It has affected education, politics, business, family life and more. Lawlessness is at an all time high and, if that’s not bad enough, we continue to see a rise in terrorism around the world and here at home. But, could we, like a handful of faithful men and women in the first century, turn the world upside down?

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 3 & 4
Psalm 138.8
Proverbs 29.18
1 John 4.1-21

 

Could we turn the world upside down?

 

Hosea 3 & 4:

God’s Mercy

 

What a beautiful picture of God’s mercy with His people and the fact that He will, eventually, redeem the true church and the nation of Israel.

Verse 3.1, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.’ ”

 

But … Our Choices, Like Theirs, Are Not without Consequences

 

As I’ve said before, it doesn’t mean there are no consequences for sinful behavior.

It’s impossible not to see some of the parallels between America and rebellious Israel. We have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and loved a lover, a god, of our own making—one who allows us to live however we desire. Look at some of the phrases in chapter 4:

“…no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land … swearing and lying … killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint … bloodshed upon bloodshed … you have rejected knowledge … forgotten the law of your God … they set their heart on iniquity.”

No truth or knowledge of God: He has been “kicked out” of our schools, our government and the public arena. And sadly, we’ve thrown common sense out the window, too.

Swearing and lying: In politics (if this political season has taught us anything), in business (whatever it takes to make a buck), and the list goes on.

Killing and stealing: Just turn on the nightly news.

Committing adultery: We excuse and justify it when it’s our life or our side of the political aisle, but broken marriages, serial relationships, abortion, and the lowering of every sexual standard are the result. Even a sitting President can get away with sexual immorality and argue the meaning of the words.

Breaking all restraint: We have demanded and won the freedom to live out almost any lifestyle we choose.  But we’re no longer happy to be allowed to live in sexual sin, we demand that everyone else accept, even applaud it. And we’re willing to destroy anyone who disagrees, dares to tell us we’re wrong, or refuses to participate in our choices!

Bloodshed upon bloodshed: Rioting, gang violence, wholesale murder in some of our inner cities.

Rejection of knowledge and the law of your God: Anyone holding to a biblical standard will be mocked, accused of ramming our opinions down their throat, or worse.

Hearts set on iniquity: There are those who live to lie, cheat, and steal.

The prophet also shall stumble with you: Even some churches have removed a biblical standard and a call to holiness, refusing to use the word sin or to say anything that might offend anyone, ordaining gay clergy, and looking the other way concerning abortion, just for starters. And, sadly, far too many religious leaders have fallen personally (4.5)

And look at some of the consequences:

“Therefore the land will mourn … everyone who dwells there will waste away … even the fish of the sea will be taken away … you shall stumble in the day … I also will forget your children … I will change their glory into shame … they shall eat, but not have enough …” (4.3-10).

Look at the condition of our nation as a whole. There is a lack of morality and justice. Our economy continues to falter. Selfishness rules the day and everyone does what seems right and feels good to him.

 

The Only Answer … Revival

 

baby upside down

“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days” (3.5).

Revival, personally and corporately, is the only answer. So what can we do? Continue reading

“Are you growing in Christ?” December 5

 

Are you growing in Christ? - Are you growing in Christ? While we don’t earn God’s love through good works or stay in His graces because of them, a life that has truly been changed will produce different fruit. In fact, Jesus said, you will know a tree by its fruit (<a class="bible-gateway" href="http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%26quot%3BLk.&version=NIV" onclick="biblegwlinkpop(this.href,'"Lk.',800,950);return false;" target="_blank">"Lk.</a>). The amount and quality of our fruit is often a good indication of our spiritual maturity. Today's New Testament reading talks about some of that fruit. Are you growing in Christ? While we don’t earn God’s love through good works or stay in His graces because of them, a life that has truly been changed will produce different fruit. In fact, Jesus said, you will know a tree by its fruit (Lk. 6.44). The amount and quality of our fruit is often a good indication of our spiritual maturity. Today’s New Testament reading talks about some of that fruit.

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 1 & 2
Psalm 138.4-6
Proverbs 29.17
1 John 3

 

We have finished the “Major Prophets”—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel. Now we are beginning the “Minor Prophets”—Hosea through Malachi. In the New Testament, once we finish 1 John we have only three epistles (letters): 2 John, 3 John and Jude, before we begin the book of Revelation.

On to the Word …

 

Are you growing in Christ?

 

1 John 3:

We Shall Be Like Him

 

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (vss. 1-3).

Think about that, “we shall be like Him.”

Jude said it this way:

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault” (Jude 24).

God who saved us and declared us righteous is working in us in the present. He is using the “all things” of Romans 8.28-29, to help us become progressively more and more like His Son. But one day, when we stand before Him, He’ll finish the work He started in us (Phil. 1.6) and cause us to stand before Him without a single fault!

Keep GrowingIn the meantime, we need to read and study and memorize and meditate on God’s Word (Ps. 119.11; 2 Tim. 2.15) and with His help seek to become more and more like Him by obeying His commands. Jesus said the greatest of those commands is to love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40).

Verses 16-18 of today’s reading:

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Let’s ask ourselves: How am I doing in that process of spiritual growth? Am I loving others sacrificially? Am I “laying down my life”—willingly giving up what my sinful heart desires in order to do what is best for others? Am I loving, not only “in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth”? Am I becoming more like Christ?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Hosea 1 & 2:

Adulterers and Adulteresses

 

In this rich little book the prophet is commanded to marry a prostitute so he would be a living example of God’s love for His people in spite of their spiritual adultery.  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil - Last week in "Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households," we began looking at ways to deal with the different rules and expectations between your household and that of your ex in a God-honoring way. We looked at how to evaluate whether or not to make an issue out of any situation and began talking about how to respond when you ex isn't willing to work on issues. This week we'll discuss more ways we can seek to live in peace and solve problems.

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil

 

Last week in “Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households,” we began looking at ways to deal with the different rules and expectations between your household and that of your ex in a God-honoring way. We looked at how to evaluate whether or not to address any situation and began talking about how to respond when you ex isn’t willing to work on issues. This week we’ll discuss more ways we can seek to live in peace and solve problems.

Click here for previous posts in this series.

Last week I left off with the question, “What if, after all your planning and attempts to handle a particular situation wisely and well, your ex is not willing to work with you or solve the problem?”

I said your first reaction might be to return evil for evil or at least to withhold any good. I encouraged you to remember that is not a God-honoring option (Rom. 12.17-21), that God will not allow you to be in any situation that you cannot handle in a righteous way (1 Cor. 10.13), and that He promises to use every situation for your good and His glory by helping us become more like Christ (Rom. 8.28-29).

Now let’s look at that Romans 12 passage again:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This passage instructs us to do all that we can to live at peace with others. There’s no exception for former spouses. It also says that we are not to seek revenge or return evil for evil. And unless an ex or the new spouse is doing something illegal (in which case we need to involve the proper authorities), we are to overcome evil with good.

Returning evil with evil comes naturally and returning evil with good feels awkward, at first. And there are, usually, well-meaning friends and family members telling us to do the opposite. But this is an opportunity to determine to live in ways that are pleasing to God (2 Cor. 5.9), rather than ourselves or others.

What are some ways we can overcome evil with good?

 

Returning Evil with Good

 

Ways to return evil with good:

  • Take your children shopping to buy Christmas or birthday gifts for your ex and his or her spouse.
  • Be flexible with visitation.
  • Allow him or her to have the children for a holiday or another special day.
  • Acknowledge them and, possibly, sit with them at events in which your children participate.
  • Invite them to your child’s birthday celebration, graduation party, or other special event.
  • Send cookies or some other treat when the children visit.
  • Speak well of them to others.
  • Meet a need (send a meal when someone is sick, etc.).
  • Buy birthday or special occasion gifts for your children’s step-siblings.
  • Pray for them.

Brainstorm other ideas and share them in the comments section.

 

As Much as It Depends on You

 

Notice verse 18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” We are to do our part and leave the results with God. We’re not to quit because our efforts aren’t appreciated, fret about it, or expect something in return.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm (Ps. 27.7-8).

When we do something only to get a certain result, our motives are wrong. Our desire should be to please God (2 Cor. 5.9), not to get our ex-spouse to change. Things may change, but if that’s our primary motivation, we’ll quit if we don’t get the result we desire.

We, also, need to have a biblical view of success. We’re successful when we obey God. If we’re right with God in our attitudes and actions we can have peace and joy whether or not our circumstances change.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn. 10.9-11).

A note of caution: While we should apply these principles, we always need to remember that our current spouse is our priority. Don’t pour time and energy into your relationship with your ex that rightfully belongs to your spouse and be careful to include him or her in your plans to overcome evil with good.

 

Prepare for Life in a Sin-Cursed World

 

We live in a sin-cursed world and we need to know that people will sin against us.

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.14-17).

So we need to prepare for it. My husband told me once that every day as he prays, he chooses in advance to forgive anyone who sins against him. We need to plan to forgive and extend grace to others whether or not they deserve it. It’s the way God deals with us. We, also, need to plan how to overcome evil with good. Even when we know we should, it won’t just happen.

One of the hardest times to do it is when we believe our children are being hurt by the other parent’s inconsiderate or sinful behavior. For example, it’s your ex’s week-end to have the kids, but he or she never shows up.  Continue reading

“The Rise of Evil & Our Comfort” December 4

 

The Rise of EvilThe rise of evil today is unprecedented. All we need to do in turn on the news: mass shootings, terrorist attacks, violent protests, murder, sex trafficking, child pornography and more. Could there be any connection to all that and the rejection of God’s law in our individual lives and as a nation?

Daniel saw the rise and fall of several pagan kings along with evil attempts to destroy the people of God and their faith in Him. God, also, gave him a vision of the calamities that would come on future generations. But God didn’t leave him without hope. That hope is the same one we need to hold onto as we see the rise of evil all around us.

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 11 & 12
Psalm 138.1-3
Proverbs 29.16
1 John 2.1-29

 

The Rise of Evil & Our Comfort

 

Proverbs 29.16:

The Rise of Evil

 

We are seeing an unprecedented rise in evil today. All we need to do in turn on the news: mass shootings, terrorist attacks, violent protests, murder, sex trafficking, child pornography and more. Could there be any connection to that and the rejection of God’s law in our individual lives and as a nation?

“When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall.”

The more people there are who are willing to forsake God and live the way they please, the bolder the ungodly get. Like misery, this passage tells us, evil loves company.

The rise of evil is happening before our very eyes. Yet, while they decry the violence, many maintain their right to live anyway they please.

How are believers to respond? Like Daniel, as we’ll see in our Old Testament reading, we should continue to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to God with an eye toward eternity. And while the wicked, are emboldened by sin, we must allow the Holy Spirit to embolden us to share the gospel and speak the truth in love to a lost world.

 

The Righteous Will See Their Fall

 

And remember the latter part of that verse says … “the righteous will see their fall.”

As we will see, God comforted Daniel by revealing to him, not only the trials which would come on his people, but also the end of the story—that God and His people would prevail. So, we too, need to take comfort in the fact that we know the end of the story and “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6.9).

 

Daniel 11 & 12:

Go Your Way & Take Comfort in Eternity

 

In Daniel 11 the angel Gabriel begins to lay out an incredible prophetic view of future historical events. These prophecies are so detailed that people have tried to use their accuracy to discredit them, saying they had to be written after the fact.  Continue reading

“Are you a Christian fatalist?” December 3

 

Could you be a Christian fatalist?Could you be a Christian fatalist by failing to get actively involved in what God is doing? Are you failing to pray, and instead, passively waiting for God to do what He’s going to do?

Also read about praying for our enemies, the result of not parenting God’s way, and the importance of walking in the light.

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 9 & 10
Psalm 137.7-9
Proverbs 29.1
1 John 1.1-10

 

Could you be a Christian fatalist?

 

Daniel 9 & 10:

Are you doing your part?

 

In chapter 9, Daniel had learned from his study of the Scriptures that the 70 years of captivity was close to its end. But instead, of passively waiting for that to happen, he humbly prayed, confessing the sins of his people and asking God to fulfill His promises.

Too often, we take a “Christian fatalist” view that God’s going to do what He’s going to do. We fail to understand that God desires to use the prayers of His people as part of the process of fulfilling His will in the earth. Prayer doesn’t change God, but it ushers in the promises of God and changes us as we get involved in what God is doing!

Notice, though, Daniel didn’t pray based on what they deserved. He didn’t say, “This isn’t fair,” or “Why are You letting this happen to us?” (9.5-12). And even though he wasn’t personally guilty, he confessed their sins to God as a nation and asked for mercy. Then he asked that God move because of who He is:

18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (9.18-19).

In chapter 10 we see a glimpse into the heavenly battles which are behind the events of human history. Even though demonic powers are at work to influence nations and individuals to rise up against God, His people, and His work in the earth, it is God’s will which will stand.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 137.7-9:

Praying for Our Enemies

 

prayer 3

This psalm was probably written toward the end of the captivity in Babylon. Perhaps the people saw the weakening of Babylon and looked forward to the defeat and complete annihilation of the enemy who had so pridefully and harshly oppressed them.

As believers we, too, should look forward to the time when God’s enemies will be defeated and destroyed, but not out of malice or personal revenge. In fact, we should be praying for our enemies in the hope that: Continue reading

“How Blameshifting Leads to Despair” December 2

 

How Blameshifting Leads to Despair

 

Blameshifting … believing we are merely the victim of chance, circumstances, biology, or the actions of others can lead to hopelessness and despair. How can we help others and ourselves respond in ways that are pleasing to God and lead to peace, joy, blessings, and genuine life change?

Also read about Daniel’s incredible prophecies, the challenges of praising God in the midst of life in a fallen world, and see another example of how the Old Testament and the New fit together in one story … God’s story.

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 7 & 8
Psalm 137.1-6
Proverbs 29.14
2 Peter 3.1-18

 

How Blameshifting Leads to Despair

 

Proverbs 29.14:

Provision Not Entitlement

 

“If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.”

Faithful leaders are those who judge fairly. They don’t allow the poor to be taken advantage of because of their poverty, but neither do they make special allowances for them because of it.

Notice I said allowances not provision. The Bible clearly talks about providing for the genuinely poor. Farmers were to leave behind some of their produce so the poor could gather it. If you read the book of Ruth you see a beautiful picture of this. And other passages in Proverbs and elsewhere clearly say that we should have compassion on the poor (Prov.14.21, 31, 19.17, 21.13 and others).

I would love to expand on that idea of the “genuinely poor,” but that will have to be the subject of another post. Suffice it to say that we have allowed an entitlement attitude to take root in our nation that has hurt people more than helped them.

 

Blameshifting & Finger Pointing

 

finger pointingBut the other issue is making special provision, really excusing sinful behavior, because of poverty. Consequently, blameshifting and finger-pointing are at an all-time high. No one wants to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

Girls aren’t responsible for sexual misbehavior because their fathers “weren’t there for them.” I’m not saying it doesn’t influence behavior, but it doesn’t determine it. A bad or absent father may be a stumbling block or make it easier for his daughter to sin in that way, but she can still choose to do what’s right and is responsible for her choice.

Teenage Boy gangYoung people aren’t to blame for getting involved with gangs because they “just want to belong.” Single moms and poverty are to blame instead. Again it’s true that the breakdown of the family has contributed greatly to the condition of our culture, but as individuals, we are responsible to make wise and right choices.

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right (Prov. 20.11).

Thieves are not to blame for their actions. Poverty and a lack of education are to blame.

Drunkards are not responsible for bad behavior and fatalities. They have a disease, alcoholism, and lawyers stand ready to defend them.  Continue reading

Posts in the “Blended Families” Series:

Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

 

Blended Families Part 1: The Losses & the Gains

Blended Families Part 2: The Same Only Different

Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other

Blended Families Part 4: The Goal of Life

Blended Families Part 5: Favoritism & Other 4-Letter Words

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children

Blended Families Part 7: Provoking Children to Anger

Blended Families Part 8: “You’re not my dad!”

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting

Blended Families Part 10: Behavior Contracts

Blended Families Part 11: How to Start Dealing with Ex’s

Blended Families Part 12: Seven A’s of Confession

Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil