“I’m Going to Hell Anyway!” October 16

 

Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don't let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don’t let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 17 & 18
Psalm 118.25-29
Proverbs 27.11-12
1 Thessalonians 3.1-13

 

I’m Going to Hell Anyway!

 

Jeremiah 17 & 18:

God’s Faithfulness to Those Who Remain

 

Even in the midst of God’s judgment, verses 7 & 8 say:

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

It’s important to remember that there were faithful believers among those who would soon be conquered and exiled, including Daniel and the other young men we read about in the book of Daniel. Even though their nation and their way of life suffered, God blessed and watched over His faithful remnant. Daniel would find favor in spite of plots against him and political and military upsets. He would, eventually, serve under eight pagan kings.

 

Our Deceitful Hearts

 

Verses 9 & 10 are two verses which we often share in counseling:

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

It’s so easy for us to believe that we know what’s going on in another person’s heart—what they’re thinking, what their motives are, what they’re going to do in a given situation. But the truth is we can’t even fully know our own hearts and we certainly cannot know someone else’s. Our own hearts can deceive us, causing us to believe we’re somehow “OK”—justified in our actions, even when we’re focused on ourselves and not the glory of our God.

We must constantly stay connected to God, asking Him to search our hearts and show us the sin and deceit that resides there.

 

Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don't let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.


“I’m Going to Hell Anyway!”

 

Chapter 18.11-12:

11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD. “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”’”
12 And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.”

We’ve all met people like that. They know what God’s Word says about the way they’re living, but they aren’t willing to do what God requires, so they just say, “I might as well live anyway I want, because I’m going to hell anyway!” Continue reading

“Should You Follow Your Heart?” October 14

 

Should You Follow Your Heart? - The world says, "follow your heart." But the Bible has something entirely different to say about the heart. Also read about God's discipline of His children, godly friendship, and how Paul handled the need to offer constructive criticism.

 

The world says, “follow your heart.” But the Bible has something entirely different to say about the heart. Also read about God’s discipline of His children, godly friendship, and how Paul handled the need to offer constructive criticism.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 13 & 14
Psalm 118.15-20
Proverbs 27.9
1 Thessalonians 1.1-10

Should You Follow Your Heart?

 

Jeremiah 13 & 14:

Profitable for Nothing

 

In chapter 13 God used an object lesson to illustrate the filthy spiritual condition of the people. He had the prophet bury a dirty sash (probably an undergarment) in a hole instead of washing it. He was instructed to leave it there until it began to rot. Then in verse 10 God said:

“This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing.”

Their sin and rebellion had rendered them useless to God!

These people thought since they were God’s people, that they could live any way they wanted. They could “follow the dictates of their own hearts.”

Today, one message the world sends is “follow your heart,” but another passage in Jeremiah says:

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jer. 17.9 NLT).

So our wicked hearts tell us we are OK with God because we had some experience, prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, got baptized, or became the member of a certain church. Our ticket to heaven has been punched. So we …

… act selfishly at home with our spouses and children.

… make work or friends or children or a hundred other things a higher priority than our personal relationship with God.

… drink to excess, feel justified in our anger, refuse to forgive, or dozens of other things that God says are sin.

When we do, we, too, become just like Jeremiah’s sash—“profitable for nothing”! We negate our testimonies, especially in the eyes of the people closest to us. “Following our hearts” is our own undoing!

It is true, however, that as we grow in our Christian walk and our faithfulness to obey God’s commandments, He works in our hearts.

Psalm 37.4 says God will give us the desires of our hearts. This verse is often misunderstood to mean God gives us whatever we want. But let’s look at it in context:  Continue reading

“Standing Up for the Truth” October 13

 

Standing Up for the Truth - These are challenging times to be a believer. There is a huge clash of world views. The truthfulness of God's Word is being attacked on many fronts. Perhaps, you are being attacked personally for standing for the truth. How should a believer respond to those attacks?These are challenging times to be a believer. There is a huge clash of world views. The truthfulness of God’s Word is being attacked on many fronts. Perhaps, you are being attacked personally for standing for the truth. How should a believer respond to those attacks?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 11 & 12
Psalm 118.10-14
Proverbs 27.8
Colossians 4.1-18

 

Standing Up for the Truth

 

Jeremiah 11 & 12:

Responding When People Reject Truth (& Us)

 

These truly are challenging times to be a believer, and while it is going to get more and more intense as this world of ours spins closer and closer to the 2nd coming of Christ, it’s not new.

There was a “clash” in Jeremiah’s day, too. Chapter 11.21-23:

21 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, lest you die by our hand’— 22 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts. ‘Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.’”

There were people who didn’t want to hear the truth and who threatened Jeremiah. In fact, they threatened to kill him if he continued to speak God’s truth. But God said, don’t worry about them, Jeremiah, I’ll deal with them in My time and in My way.

despising yourselfThere will be people who are not going to like it when we speak the truth. They may be family members, co-workers, supervisors, friends or enemies. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, but how should we respond?

First, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for His name (Acts 5.41).

We shouldn’t try to fight evil with evil. Remember Romans 12.21 tells us: Continue reading

“Take the Test” October 12

 

Take the test: look into the mirror of God's Word and ask yourself, "Which of these characteristics describe me and which don't?" What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?Take the test: look into the mirror of God’s Word and ask yourself, “Which of these characteristics describe me and which don’t?” What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 9 & 10
Psalm 118.5-9
Proverbs 27.7
Colossians 3.1-25

 

Take the Test

 

Colossians 3.1-25:

The Mirror of God’s Word

 

In chapter 1 of James’ epistle, he compares the Word of God to a mirror (Jas. 1.23) and goes on to say that “if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25).

Here in Colossians, Paul commands us to “set our mind on things above, not on the things on the earth” (v. 2).

This chapter gives us a great summary of what a mature Christian life should look like—kind of a composite mirror image of Christlike character. Read back through Colossians 3 and take the test. Ask yourself what you are reflecting to the world.

 

The Test

 

□  Are you putting sinful desires to death? Do you repent when you recognize them (v. 5)?

□  Do you covet what others have, either relationships, material things, or prestige (v. 5)?

□ Are you worshiping anything besides God alone (v. 5)?

□  Do you allow yourself to get angry or malicious (v. 8)?

□ Do you use unwholesome or filthy language (v. 8)?

□  Do you use the Lord’s name in vain, even those OMGs (v. 8)?

□  Do you lie to avoid conflict or problems, cover sin, or mislead (v. 9)?

□  Are you seeking to become more like Christ (v. 10)?

□  Are you merciful and compassionate (v. 12)?

□  Are you kind to friends, family, co-workers and strangers (v. 12)?

□  Are you proud (defensive, self-righteous, demanding, selfish …) (v. 12)?

□  Are you patient (longsuffering) (v. 12)?

□  Are you willing to bear with (put up with, be inconvenienced by) others (v. 13)?

□  Are you forgiving (v. 13)?

□  Do you demonstrate the love of Christ (v. 14, 1 Cor. 13.4-7)?

□  Do you have God’s peace (v.15)?

□  Are you thankful (v. 15)?

□  Are you growing in your knowledge of God’s Word (v. 16)?

□  Are you growing in the wisdom of God (v. 16)?

□  Are you sharing God’s Word with others (v. 16)?

□  Are you willing to speak the truth in love to others (admonish) (v. 16)?

□  Do you have a worshipful heart (v. 16)?

□  Do you do all things in the name of the Lord (is what characterizes your life pleasing to Him) (v. 17)?

□ Wives, are you submissive to your husband (v. 18)?

□  Husbands, do you love your wife biblically or are you bitter toward her (v. 19)?

□  Children, do you obey your parents in all things (v. 20)?

□  Parents, do you provoke your children to anger through your ungodly attitudes and behavior (v. 21)?

□  Employees, do you obey and submit to your boss or supervisor (v. 22)?

□ Are you a man-pleaser, instead of a God-pleaser (v. 22)?

□  Do you fear God (worship, respect Him and His Word) (v. 22)?

□  Do you do all things heartily (v. 23)?

None of us will do all these things perfectly. In fact, that’s why Christ died, because we can’t … and certainly not in our own strength. But as we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit working through us, we should see growth in these areas.  When we read prayerfully through passages like Colossians 3, we allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and show us areas where we may need to repent and seek God’s help to change.

What do your answers reveal to you? What do they say about your relationship with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?

“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25 NLT).

 

Take the test: look into the mirror of God's Word and ask yourself, "Which of these characteristics describe me and which don't?" What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 9 & 10:

Tongues like Arrows

 

I love the imagery in the Bible. As you read, think about what some of these images portray.  Continue reading

“The Battle for Peace of Mind” October 9

 

State of Mind

What is your state of mind? Is it full of anxiety or is there peace? Are you meditating on some wrong done to you or how God has blessed you? Are you content or striving for more? Your state of mind leads either to peace or to turmoil.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 3 & 4
Psalm 116.15-19
Proverbs 27.2
Philippians 4.1-23

 

The Battle for Peace of Mind

 

Philippians 4.1-23:

Pray & Be Thankful

 

Yesterday I talked about some of my favorite passages in Philippians. Today I want to share a few more from chapter 4:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Be anxious for nothing …” It’s a command, not a suggestion.

Worry is sin! We’re to put off (Eph. 4.22) fear, worry, and anxiety. In its place we’re to put on (Eph. 4.24) prayer and thankfulness.

We know we’re supposed to pray about our concerns, but how often do we think about the second part of that command? Be thankful.

Everything in our lives is filtered through God’s hands. Our trials are uniquely designed by a sovereign God to grow us in the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8.28-29).

Are you thankful? Are you thanking Him for His work in your life?

The more we come to know Him, to trust in His sovereignty and goodness, the more His peace will guard our hearts and minds. The level of our peace depends on the quality of our relationship with Him and our willingness to humble ourselves under His hand (Jas. 4.10).

 

Think About This

 

The battle for peace takes place in our thinking. The enemies are discontent, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Paul goes on in verses 8 and 9:

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Instead of playing the video tape in our minds of that hurt, sin, or some real or imagined wrong done to us, we must learn to meditate on what God says about our situations. Instead of thinking about what someone has that we don’t or something we think we deserve and believe God is withholding, we need to think about the blessings in our lives. We need to be thankful for what we have.

Proverbs 4.23 in the New Century Version says:  Continue reading

“Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God” October 5

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God - Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we're warned not to provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4). One way we do is through hypocrisy, telling them one thing while doing another. Before you proclaim your innocence consider today’s reading in Ephesians.Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including our children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we’re warned not to provoke our children to anger. Two ways we do that are by living an hypocritical lifestyle, telling them one thing while doing another, and parental role-reversal. Both of which we’ll look at today.

We’ll also talk about the armor of God, what it is and how we put it on.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 61 & 62
Psalm 115.9-13
Proverbs 26.24-26
Ephesians 6.1-24

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God

 

Ephesians 6.1-24:

Parent-Child Relationships

 

Over the last few days we have been talking about Paul’s description of a Spirit controlled life from Ephesians 4 and 5. If you missed the earlier posts, you can read them here and here. In this chapter Paul addressed the parent-child relationship.

Children should honor and obey their parents (vss. 1-3). Parents should raise their children “in the discipline and admonition of the Lord” and not treat them in ways that would provoke them to anger (v. 4). Many of the ways we provoke them involve living a hypocritical life—teaching them to act one way while we act another. For example:

We can’t discipline our children for lying and then “call in sick” because we don’t want to go to work.

We can’t teach our children not to steal and then pilfer from our employer.

We can’t preach respect for authority while we disdainfully talk about “the cops” or brag about what we can get away with.

We can’t discipline them in anger or chastise them because they have “broken our law” by bothering or inconveniencing us.

In this week’s Mondays at Soul Survival I listed 25 ways we provoke our children to anger. The list came from a book by Lou Priolo, The Heart of Anger. Some of the other ways on the list are: marital disharmony, having a child centered home, being inconsistent with discipline, and parental role reversal. You can read the rest of the list here.

But I’d like to talk a little more about parental role reversal. In Ephesians 5 Paul said:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

And in verses 31-33:

31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

As wives we are to submit to the leadership of our husbands (v. 22) and show them respect (v.33). Husband’s are to love their wives with the same kind of servant love with which Christ loves His church (v. 25),

Submission is a concept that is often misunderstood and certainly not a popular in today’s world. But lack of submission is nothing new. It’s part of the curse of sin, as is, the failure of husbands to love and lead biblically.

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3.16).

The New Living Translation says, “you will desire to control your husband.”

As wives our sinful desire is to usurp our husband’s leadership and theirs is to rule over us harshly or to withdraw and refuse to lead at all.

When this happens, it creates all kinds of problems in the marriage. One of those problems is its effect on our children.

God’s command to submit has nothing to do with our worth as women. It has nothing to do with intelligence or ability. It has to do with God’s design. Look at verse 32 again, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The design has been in existence since eternity past. It’s the same design He has for the church. The design is the Trinity. 

In the Trinity, Jesus submitted to the Father (Matt. 26.39; Jn. 8.28) and the Holy Spirit proceeds from and glorifies the Father and the Son (Jn. 16.7, 14). In the church, the church is to submit to Christ and the congregation is to submit to and respect her leaders and Christ. In the family the wife is to submit to the husband. The children proceed from the mother and father and are to show them honor and respect. It’s God’s design.

Satan, as the ruler of this world and the enemy of God, hates God’s design. In the garden, he deceived Eve into acting independently, ignoring both her husband’s leadership and God’s authority. It should come as no surprise that he continues to attack God’s social institutions of marriage and the church.

If you’d like to read more about this subject, I’ll list some resources at the bottom of this post.

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God - Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we're warned not to provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4). One way we do is through hypocrisy, telling them one thing while doing another. Before you proclaim your innocence consider today’s reading in Ephesians.


The Spirit’s Control in the Workplace

 

Our relationship with God should, also, affect our employer-employee relationships. If we work for someone else, we should be good, faithful employees. We should work hard, not just when the boss is looking, but all the time, out of a desire to please God, who sees everything (Eph. 6.5-8). Bosses should treat their employees and subordinates well, again out of a desire to please God (Eph. 6.9).

 

The Armor of God

 

Then in verses 10-17 we have the “armor of God” with which all believers should be equipped. We need to wear the “belt of truth” by getting rid of anything in our lives that will hinder us from having victory in the battle. Unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, and the like have no place in a believer’s life and will hinder your walk and spiritual growth.  Continue reading

“Sin Now … Ask Forgiveness Later” October 3

 

Sin Now ... Ask Forgiveness Later - The deceitfulness of sin tells us that we can go ahead and sin even though we know it’s wrong, then we can ask God to forgive us and that’s all there is to it! But that’s rebellion against God and you can’t be both rebellious (determined to go your own way) and repentant (willing to go God’s way) at the same time. But there’s an even bigger problem with this kind of thinking.The deceitfulness of sin tells us that we can go ahead and sin even though we know it’s wrong, then we can ask God to forgive us and that’s all there is to it! But that’s rebellion against God and you can’t be both rebellious (determined to go your own way) and repentant (willing to go God’s way) at the same time. But there’s an even bigger problem with this kind of thinking.

Also read about chocolate covered dirt, foolish talk and dirty jokes.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 57 & 58
Psalm 114.1-8
Proverbs 26.22
Ephesians 5.1-15

 

Sin Now … Ask Forgiveness Later

 

Isaiah 57 & 58:

Abusing God’s Patience & Mercy

 

In chapter 57 God, through the prophet, is rebuking his people for their continued turning to and reliance on false gods. God poses the question, “Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?” We might say it this way, “Do you keep sinning because I haven’t been hard enough on you?”

Is that true of us? Do we abuse God’s patience and mercy by thinking we can live any way we want and believing He isn’t going to deal with sin and faithlessness? Hebrews 3.13 says:

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

The deceitfulness of sin tells us that we can sin now and ask forgiveness later, even though we know it’s wrong, as if asking for forgiveness involves some magic incantation or get out of jail free card. That’s rebellion against God and His Word. You can’t be both rebellious (determined to go your own way) and repentant (willing to go God’s way) at the same time.

Sometimes we understand the choice to sin will have consequences. Yet we can be like a stubborn, rebellious child, determined to do it anyway and just “take our licks.” The problem is that, while we can choose to sin, we don’t get to choose our consequencesContinue reading

“Does Your Life Picture a Mature Christian Life?” October 2

 

What does a mature Christian life look like? Is it the things we do or the things we don't do? What did Paul mean when he said, "live a life worthy of the calling ...?"

What should a mature Christian life look like? Is it the things we do, like going to church or reading our Bibles? Is it the “big sins” we don’t do, like getting drunk or stealing? What did Paul mean when he said, “walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4.1)?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 55 & 56
Psalm 113.5-9
Proverbs 26.20-21
Ephesians 4.1-32

 

Does Your Life Picture a Mature Christian Life?

 

Ephesians 4.1-32:

What Does a Mature Christian Life Look Like?

 

Verse 1 begins with “I, therefore, … beseech you …”

Therefore! Because of all the things Paul had just explained in chapters 1-3—because we are “in Him”—saved, redeemed, sanctified, justified, blessed, set free—we should “walk worthy of the calling with which [we have been] called” (v. 1)!

Now in these last three chapters of Ephesians, Paul begins to tell us how those truths should be lived out. Chapter 4 says:

We should work to have unity and peace in all our relationships—in our family, in our church, in the workplace—wherever God places us (v. 3).

We should no longer be spiritual babies, tossed to and fro by every appealing sounding doctrine or new spiritual experience that comes along (v. 14). Babies need constant attention, are easily upset and will believe in every “Santa Claus” that comes along! We need to be rooted and grounded in the truth instead of wanting someone to make us feel good or think we need to be entertained all the time. We need to “grow up” (v. 15)!

arguing silent treatmentWe are to speak the truth in love (v. 15). That means three things should happen. We should speak—not clam up or give someone the silent treatment—ever! Nothing justifies that behavior in the life of a believer. Second we must “speak truth”—not half truths, not omissions of the truth, but truth! And third it must be spoken “in love”—not because we want to give them a “piece of our minds” or unload on someone!

We should not act like pagans who don’t know God (v. 17). That means we can’t justify our behavior because, “Everyone else is doing it,” or because, “This is not the first century!”

That, obviously, means we don’t commit fornication or adultery. But it also means we don’t flirt if we’re married and we don’t flirt with someone who’s married, even if we’re single.

Ladies, it means we don’t dress like the covers of most magazines or some actress (and husbands, don’t ask your wife to dress that way, unless it’s in the privacy of your home). It means our beauty is to be primarily inner and spiritual. It does not mean we have to dress like a grandmother or be drab or unattractive.

It also means we don’t live with someone if we are not married to him or her … period! Having him stay at your house 2 or 3 times a week, or even occasionally, while you’re not technically “living together” is no better. You’re only deceiving yourself.

We’re not to be lewd, unclean or greedy (v. 19). No dirty jokes or sexual innuendos. No lies because “how else are you going to get ahead in business.”

We are to put off those habits and lifestyles of the old sinful nature (v. 22).

We are to work at renewing our minds (v. 23)—spending time in His Word, reading good theologically sound books, memorizing Scripture and meditating on it—thinking about how it is to be lived out in our lives personally.

We are to put on new righteous habits and lifestyles (V. 24).

We are to stop lying, deceiving, omitting, hiding and coloring the truth; and become open and honest in all our relationships (v. 25).

We are not to sin in our anger, but deal with it quickly (v. 26). There are some things that should make us angry, but we cannot use that as an excuse to sin. We must deal with those sinful thoughts, feelings, and actions quickly (don’t let the sun go down on them). If we don’t, we’re giving the devil an open window to crawl—or charge—through (v. 27).  Continue reading

“Could You Be Provoking Your Children to Anger?” + LINKUP

 

Could You Be Provoking Your Children to Anger? - One of the most concise instructions for parents appears in the book of Ephesians. It says, “… do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Some of the ways we provoke our children to anger seem obvious, but others may be less so. Could you be provoking your children to anger in ways you haven’t realized?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival

 

Could You Be Provoking Your Children to Anger?

 

Parenting … it’s both one of the greatest privileges and one of the greatest responsibilities we have. And our example is a hard one to live up to … it’s God Himself, the One Perfect Parent.

Thankfully, God knows we won’t do this perfectly and He gives us His grace everyday. All the wisdom and help we need is available to us for the asking (Heb. 4.15-16; Jas. 1.2-5), as is His forgiveness when we fail (1 Jn. 1.9).

Often that grace is extended to us through the very children against whom we occasionally sin. When we humbly go to them and seek their forgiveness, they usually extend it readily and quickly.

But God does expect us to be faithful to study His Word, to pray for ourselves and our children, to be humble when we fail, and to grow in any area where we may lack understanding (2 Tim. 2.15, 3.16-17).

The book of Proverbs is jam-packed with principles for parenting and all the biblical principles for other relationships apply to the parent-child relationship, as well. But, one of the most concise instructions for parents appears in Ephesians 6.4:

… do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

We’ll talk more about training and admonition in a future post. But let me just say that fathers and mothers are responsible to educate their children morally, spiritually, socially and in every way. It’s not the church or the school that is primarily responsible, it’s us, as parents.

We’re to help our children understand that we are not the ultimate authority. We are under God’s authority and, as His agents, are responsible to raise them in ways that are pleasing to Him.

Training and admonition include both reproof and encouragement. Our goal, as parents, should be to raise children who have a reverence for God, a love for His Word, respect for parents and others in authority, an understanding of Christian principles, the ability to exercise self-control, and a desire to please God.

But in today’s post I want to focus on the first part of this verse, “do not provoke your children to wrath.” The NIV says, “do not exasperate your children.”

We must be careful not to provoke or exasperate our children by being harsh, unreasonable, unfair, angry, cruel, selfish, or by showing partiality. Even godly discipline and instruction should be gentle, fair, and done in love.

Lou Priolo in his book The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children gives us one of the most thorough lists of ways parents provoke their children to anger. I’ve shared them before, but they are worth reviewing.

Lou’s book is one of my favorite parenting resources. He’s been a biblical counselor for over 30 years. He’s a Fellow with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and an instructor with the Birmingham Theological Seminary. But more important, he’s a parent and his books are practical, readable, and applicable to the daily realities of parenting. 

I often recommend it in counseling as a tool to help parents take the principles home and work with their own children. But it’s easily usable by any parent who wants to help prevent or deal with anger in their own children. It will not only help you get to the heart issues your children may face, but will deal with your own heart, as well.  Continue reading

“Despised and Rejected” October 1

 

Despised & Rejected - “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."“He [was] despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” … even while He took the punishment for our sins.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 53 & 54
Psalm 113.1-4
Proverbs 26.17-19
Ephesians 3.1-21

 

Despised and Rejected

 

Isaiah 53 & 54:

As He Took the Punishment for Our Sins

 

Chapter 53 is perhaps the most complete Old Testament picture of the sufferings of Christ and all that would come about as a result.

Verse 2b “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

He was born to poor parents in a stable. There was nothing kingly about Him from an earthly perspective—nothing that would make people say, “Listen, this is a man of influence.”

Verse 3, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

Relatively few recognized Him as the Messiah, instead, they despised Him because He exposed their hearts.

He took the punishment for our sins, and God’s wrath was poured out on Him instead of us (53.4-6).

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (v. 6).

He didn’t defend Himself. He remained silent before His accusers (53.7).

He died with the wicked, between two thieves, yet He was buried in the tomb of a rich man (53.8-9, 12).

Verse 12, “… And He bore the sin of many” (including you and me if we have placed our faith in Him).

He even “… made intercession for the transgressors (53.12)—“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23.34).

What a Savior we have in Jesus!

 

Despised & Rejected - “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 113.1-4:

Praise the Lord!

 

These four verses proclaim what should be our response as we understand more and more just what He did for us:  Continue reading