“4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord” February 26

 

4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord - How well do you handle "waiting on the Lord"? Do you have an "I'm waiting ... I'm waiting ..." while you drum your fingers on the table attitude? Do you ever find yourself thinking, "I've prayed, but nothing seems to be happening!"How well do you handle “waiting on the Lord”? Do you have an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting …” while you drum your fingers on the table attitude? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I’ve prayed, but nothing seems to be happening!”

Why does God allow us to wait, anyway? Can “waiting on the Lord” be a good thing? Can we learn to trust Him … really trust Him as a result? And if so, how? See today’s reading from Psalm 27.


Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 21 & 22
Psalm 27.10-14
Proverbs 10.13-16
Mark 5.21-43

 

4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord

 

Psalm 27.10-14:

Growing in the Waiting

 

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13).

When are we most tempted to lose heart? It’s often when we’re faced with difficult circumstances or life isn’t going the way we thought it should. Maybe we’re being attacked in some way and God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers.

David said he would have lost heart if he didn’t believe in the goodness of the Lord, not just in the promise of heaven, but here and now … in the land of the living.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that we don’t encounter problems or have struggles. Jesus said it this way:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

But we’re sometimes tempted to lose heart, become impatient, or take matters into our own hands, because we have failed to believe in His goodness toward us. We fail to trust that He knows what’s best and will bring it to pass in His perfect timing.

David had problems. He had enemies. But he believed that God’s faithfulness and goodness would prevail.

We, too, can go through troubles knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), that he will not give us more than we can handle without sinning (1Cor. 10.13), that He is using them for good (Rom. 8.28), that we are not alone, that others have gone through and are going through similar trials (1 Cor. 10.13), that we can count it all joy knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance, patience and maturity (Jas. 1.2-4) and as Jesus said, we can be of good cheer knowing that He has overcome them all!

Verse 14 tells us twice to “wait on the Lord.” This is not to be an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting … I’m waiting for You to do something, Lord!” while we drum our fingers on the table! This is a patient waiting and trusting in the Lord and His timing.

But how do we get there? How do we go from knowing these truths to KNOWING these truths? Here are 4 keys to growing in the waiting: Continue reading

“Why does the Bible talk so much about blood?” February 24

 

Animal sacrifices, circumcision, murder, the blood of Christ ... why does the Bible talk so much about BLOOD?Animal sacrifices, circumcision, murder, the blood of Christ … why does the Bible talk so much about BLOOD?

What about the different kinds of laws? Leviticus talks a great deal about the ceremonial laws including the blood sacrifices, but what about the moral laws having to do with sexual sin covered in chapter 18? Why is it one set of laws still applies and another doesn’t?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 17 & 18
Psalm 27.1-3
Proverbs 10.9
Mark 4.21-41

 

Why does the Bible talk so much about blood?

 

Leviticus 17 & 18:

The Sacrificial Law

 

Blood … blood … blood … why does the Bible talk so much about blood?

When Adam and Eve sinned against Him, God Himself shed the blood of animals and symbolically covered their sins by covering their nakedness with the skins (Gen. 3.21).

When God confronted Cain for murdering his brother, He said, the voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Ex. 4.10).

God commanded animal sacrifices to cover the people’s sins and we see here in chapter 17 that He took it very seriously when that blood was offered to demonic gods (vv. 3-4, 7).

God commanded the men of Israel to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant they had with Him (Gen. 17.9-14) … more blood. And not everyone understood; in Exodus 4 Moses’ wife called him a “bloody husband” when her son was circumcised (Ex. 4.25-26).

Then there were commands not to eat meat with the blood, commands to sprinkle blood, and just before the exodus, blood was applied to the frame of the door to protect God’s people (Ex. 12.7, 22).

And the New Testament is full of references to the blood of Christ and its significance. Continue reading

“Contagious Sins” February 21

 

Contagious Sins - Sin is disfiguring and highly contagious. Paul warned that we can catch it from others and that it's better to be thrown into the sea with a weight around our necks than to be a carrier spreading it to others. Have you exposed yourself to some contagious sins? Are you guilty of spreading some sin to others?Sin is disfiguring and highly contagious. Paul warned that we can catch it from others and that it’s better to be thrown into the sea with a weight around our necks than to be a carrier spreading it to others.

Have you exposed yourself to some contagious sins? Are you guilty of spreading some sin to others?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 13
Psalm 25.16-22
Proverbs 10.4-5
Mark 3.1-19

 

Contagious Sins

 

Leviticus 13

Unclean! Unclean!

 

Leprosy! What could God possibly have for us in all the discussion of bright skin, white skin, scales and scabs?

Notice that God called this leprosy an uncleanness, not a disease. It was not the same disease we refer to today as leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). It is said that Pharaoh (of Moses fame) was infected with it and may have died from it. So it may have been associated with the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians. Even in the New Testament, when Jesus came in contact with lepers, it says He cleansed them, not that He healed them.

Leprosy in the Bible is a type, or a picture of, sin. When God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt, he told them:

“If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15.26).

God used leprosy as an immediate judgment on sin numerous times in the Bible. When we get to the book of Numbers we will see Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with leprosy when she murmured against her brother. She was cleansed when Moses prayed for her.

We know that the Israelites frequently disobeyed God’s commands by involving themselves with the pagan culture around them, so at times, it may have been a judgment on sin, either in the individual’s life or on the nation, as a whole.

 

Contagious & Disfiguring

 

sin

What does this picture for us? As with sin, leprosy didn’t kill outright in most cases, but it greatly disfigured its victims. And like leprosy, sin is extremely contagious! Paul said

“Do not be deceived. ‘Bad company corrupts good morals'” (1 Cor. 15.33).

Not only can we catch sin from those we associate with, but we’re warned not be carriers!

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9.42).

Sins like anger, bitterness and gossip, as well as others, are highly contagious.

Just as leprosy resulted in separation from the rest of the people, sin separates us from others! First and foremost, It separates us from God. In the case of unbelievers, sin separates them from the life of God here and from spending eternity with Him. If we are truly believers we don’t lose our salvation, but it hinders our fellowship with Him when our hearts are clouded by sin.

There are, also, times when we are commanded to put sinners, even our brothers and sisters in Christ, outside the fellowship, or “camp,” where God alone deals with them (1 Cor. 5).  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 6 “Weaving 101” + LINKUP

 

Marriage Made in Heaven "Weaving 101" - We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we're struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?Weaving: We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we’re struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?

We’ve been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Last week we started talking about “weaving” and today we’re going to go a little deeper on the subject.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving 101”

 

As you remember, our foundation Scripture is:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As I’ve said, the three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage. They are “leaving,” “cleaving,” and “weaving (becoming one-flesh)”

Three weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Two weeks ago, we talked about cleaving, including the fact that marriage is a covenant relationship.

Last week we began discussing what it means to become one-flesh.

Again, this one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically. It’s a sharing of everything: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures.

 

2 Kinds of Math: “1 + 1 = 2” or “1 + 1 = 1”

 

Because my husband and I have done so much marriage counseling over the years, we often notice how couples interact with one another. One of the saddest things we’ve observed is how often older couples go to a restaurant for dinner and eat the entire meal with hardly a word exchanged between them.

How does a couple who were once newlyweds, excited about marriage and each other, become so distant they can spend a hour sitting across the table with nothing to say? It happens one day, one choice at a time.

When God said, “they shall become one flesh,” we could say God’s marriage math is “1 + 1 = 1. That kind of math doesn’t happen by default. It takes effort. It takes laying down pride and selfishness. It takes making the time to communicate. It takes putting the other person’s preferences ahead of your own. And it takes being vulnerable and open to change.

Sin, selfishness, and pride are the enemies of a one flesh relationship. And without God’s help to change us from the inside out (2 Cor. 5.17), we are all selfish and prideful at our core. Even as believers in Christ, we’ve got to choose to put off pride and selfishness and to do those things that contribute to a strong, thriving marriage (Lk. 9.23-24).

But with many couples, the process of weaving never really happens or it gets short-circuited along the way.

Sometimes short-circuiting begins almost before the honeymoon is over.  Continue reading

“The Importance of Preaching the Gospel to Yourself” February 18

 

Preach the Gospel to Yourself Everyday

When do we need the Gospel? Is it a one-time thing? Does it have anything to do with our ongoing walk with God? Could focusing on it help us love God more?

Also, are we responsible for our own spiritual growth or is that the responsibility of our pastors and teachers.

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 7 & 8
Psalm 24.7-10
Proverbs 9.10-12
Mark 1.1-22

 

The Importance of Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

 

Leviticus 7 & 8:

Walking in the Truth of the Gospel

 

We’ve been reading about all the offerings under the Levitical system. Notice that a sin offering had to be made for Aaron and his sons just like all the rest of the people (8.14).

Even those God has placed in the ministry as leaders today are imperfect men and women. They are neither sinless nor infallible.

All of us must walk constantly in the truth of the Gospel. You might think, “Well, I accepted the Gospel once so that has nothing to do with me any longer.” It is true that when we accept the Gospel (the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, His forgiveness and cleansing, and are made His sons and daughters), it’s a one-time decision. But it is, also, true that until we get to heaven, we will have the pull of sin constantly at work in us (Rom. 7.13-25).

We need to run back to the cross and remember that it’s only by His grace that we are able to walk in obedience, rather than any inherent goodness in us. The Apostle Paul said:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom. 7.18).

When we realize we have sinned, we can run back to the cross. The same grace that saved us is available to help us live the Christian life. God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sin (1 Jn. 1.9).

Some have called this “preaching the Gospel to yourself.”  We need to remind ourselves that He died for all of our sins: past, present, and future.

The more we contemplate that and understand His goodness, mercy, and grace, rather than giving us a license to sin, it should give us a greater desire to please Him in return.

 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk.7.47 NASB).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 24.7-10

The King of Glory

 

Verse 7, “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

According to Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible, this pictures Christ’s ascension into heaven after His death and resurrection, and the welcome He received there. He paid the price with His blood for entry, not just for Himself, but for us, also, so that we can enter in with Him! What good news!

 

Proverbs 9.10-12

Truth & Lies, Wisdom & Scoffing

 

Dollarphotoclub hands over ears

Verse 12 says, “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

We are constantly reminded in Scripture that we alone are responsible for our acceptance or rejection of truth (Ezek. 18.20; 2 Cor. 5.10). We can’t blame our pastors or our teachers or our family. The Word and the wisdom that goes with it are there for all to see and to accept or reject.

That, also, means we are responsible for our own spiritual growth and for whether or not we are hearing solid biblical teaching. No matter where we attend church or whose teaching we sit under, we must be good Bereans.  Continue reading

“Could you be raising little hypocrites?” February 17

 

Raising Little Hypocrites - Hypocrites! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders with that accusation. Could we be guilty of hypocrisy, too? And what about our parenting? Is the goal to have well-behaved children and could we be in danger of raising little hypocrites?Hypocrites! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders with that accusation. Could we be guilty of hypocrisy, too? And what about our parenting? Is the goal to have well-behaved children and could we be in danger of raising little hypocrites? How does understanding the deeper issues help us point our children to Christ?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 5 & 6
Psalm 24.1-6
Proverbs 9.7-9
Matthew 28.1-20

 

Raising Little Hypocrites

 

Leviticus 5 & 6:

Open My Eyes, Lord

 

Sometimes we find it challenging to read about all the sacrifices and the instructions for them. But it is important to remember that 2 Timothy 3.16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable …” Notice those words “all” and “profitable.” God inspired these passages and included them in His Holy Scriptures for a reason. We need to remain faithful and open our hearts to the truths contained in them.

Anytime we are reading a passage that is less exciting to us, we can ask God to show us what He has for us. There are always nuggets if we are willing to dig for them.

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Ps. 119.18).

Ask Him to help you see, “Is there a command here that I need to obey? Is there a sin I need to forsake? Is there a relationship I need to reconcile? Is there a truth I need to understand?”

 

Sacrifice Alone

 

With that in mind, notice Leviticus 5.4:

‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.

Sometimes we sin, either by speaking harshly or in some other way, and the Holy Spirit convicts us. What we do at that point is so important. Do we harden our hearts and refuse to repent or are we quick to repent and seek forgiveness from God and others we’ve sinned against?

And 6.1-2:

¹ And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor …

Anytime we sin, we’re not just sinning against people, we’re sinning against the Lord.

But I’d like to focus on 5.5 today:

“And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing.”

Even at this point in history, sacrifice alone was not enough. It had to be accompanied by faith, repentance, and obedience.

How does that verse speak to us today?

How many times have we been guilty of doing all the outward acts associated with Christian living and yet in our hearts we were filled with doubt instead of faith? Or gone to church and lifted our hands in worship while there was anger and bitterness in our hearts toward a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend?

Were we just “playing church,” as if that would make us right with God?

How many times have we insisted that our children say “I’m sorry” to a sibling when we knew it was not genuine?

True repentance involves “confession,” that is to agree with God that what we did was sin. It’s more than, merely, saying “I’m sorry,” because I was “caught” or as if it’s some form of penance. It’s about heart change. That is, a change in thinking which leads to a change of actions.

 

Hypocrites

 

“Hypocrites” is an ugly word, but that’s what Jesus called those who did “religious things” outwardly without true worship from the heart. If that’s you today, go to God, seek His forgiveness and cleansing. Ask Him to make you a true worshiper.

 

Little Hypocrites

 

And the next time you’re tempted to tell your child, “Say you’re sorry!” Think about it … are you teaching your child to be a hypocrite? You need to take the time to help him see that what he did was sin. Use the Word of God to share with your child, prayerfully asking God to convict his or her heart.

Saying “I’m sorry,” certainly isn’t the only way we teach our children to be hypocrites. We may inadvertently do so any time we address behavior without addressing the heart issue behind it.

Let me share an explanation and example from Tedd Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It’s a little long, but worth taking the time to read it:  Continue reading

“Idols of the Heart” February 4

 

Idols of the Heart

Idols of the Heart: We are repeatedly warned, even in the New Testament, to avoid, in fact flee from, idolatry. But giant statues aren’t the only kind of idols. What “idols of the heart” do we worship that can hinder our relationships with God and with others?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 19 & 20
Psalm 18.37-45
Proverbs 6.20-25
Matthew 22.23-46

 

Idols of the Heart

 

Exodus 19 & 20

The Ten Commandments

 

ten commandmentsIn chapter 19 God displays His power and majesty so that the people will have no doubt that He is God and that Moses is His representative. The need for them to be outwardly clean was a visual representation of the inward cleanliness with which they were to approach a Holy God.

Then in chapter 20 God gives the Ten Commandments to the people Himself. Later He will write them on stone tablets.

The first command is “Have no other gods before me” (20.3). This, of course, was a prohibition against worshiping false gods of any kind. It was spoken to people in a culture where most nations believed in and worshiped many gods, polytheism.

The second was to “Make no images, no likenesses of anything in heaven or on earth” (20.4). They were not to make an image of anything that was in heaven (angels, God Himself, or people who had gone to heaven) or on earth (man, woman, animals, or anything else). This command did not forbid artistic expression, but forbids the use of these items as part of our worship.

 

Idols of the Heart

 

We must also guard against idols of the heart: things that are more important to us than God.

Ezekiel 14 says, “these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity” (v. 3).

Almost anything can become an idol—success, money, power, prestige, having a better home, children, or a spouse. When addressing their “idols of the heart” God told Ezekiel to tell the people:

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'” (Ezek. 14:6-8).

Think about that phrase, “[he] puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity.” If you take something, even a good thing, and put it in front of your face, it’s hard to see Continue reading

“Difficult People & Strong Willed Children” February 3

 

Difficult People & Strong Willed ChildrenHow do you handle difficult people? Do you respond with sinful anger and frustration or do you respond as Moses did? What about parenting difficult or strong willed children?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 17 & 18
Psalm 18.28-36
Proverbs 6.16-19
Matthew 22.1-22

 

Difficult People & Strong Willed Children

 

Exodus 17 & 18:

Difficult People

 

What a group these Israelites were! Once again they turn on Moses. Even though they were being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, instead of turning to God in prayer, they blame Moses for their thirst. His response is to go straight to God and again God meets their need supernaturally.

What do you do when faced with difficult people? Do you go straight to God or start talking to your girlfriend, your buddy, your co-worker, or someone else?

I wonder how many times God has been ready to help us, but we failed to acknowledge our dependence on Him by going to Him in prayer and asking for His wisdom and favor.

 

Strong Willed Children

 

Sometimes you have to wonder why God chose the Israelites as His covenant people. But these were the “children” God had chosen and asked Moses to shepherd. Whom has he asked you to shepherd? A strong willed child? A dawdler? A talker? Several unruly boys? An alien who inhabits your teenage daughter’s body? Or maybe it’s a class of rowdy 6th graders or a group of high school students?  Continue reading

“Journaling & Self-Examination” February 1

 

Journaling & Self-Examination - As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We'll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal. And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 13 & 14
Psalm 18.13-19
Proverbs 6.6-11
Matthew 21.1-22

 

Journaling & Self-Examination

 

Exodus 13 & 14:

The Value of Memorials

 

lightstock communion sq

As the Lord delivered the Israelites out of their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he gave them several things that were to act as memorials for them. First, was the Passover itself.

He, also, told them the first born of all their children and animals belonged to Him. They were to sacrifice the “clean” animals (more about that later) and were to redeem or offer another sacrifice in place of those animals not appropriate for sacrificing (13.13) and they were to offer sacrifices for their firstborn sons. This was to remind them of how the Lord had spared their sons and animals when He brought the final plague on Egypt.

As we continue with our Old Testament narrative, we will repeatedly see God instruct the Nation of Israel to set up memorials. We, too, need our own memorials. It’s so easy to forget what God has done for us and, instead, get focused on what we think He hasn’t done: the prayers He hasn’t answered our way or how He hasn’t blessed us like He has blessed someone else. We need to remind ourselves about the things from which He has already delivered us and the things He has done for us.

Even, if He never did another thing, we should remember the price He paid so our sins could be forgiven. That is the central focus of the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament counterpart to the Passover. It is a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (emphasis mine)

 

Self-Examination

 

Memorials & Self-ExaminationAnother focus of the Lord Supper is to remind us to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament leaven or yeast represented sin. As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt and each time they took the Passover, they were to examine themselves and see if there was sin in their lives. We, too, are to ask God to show us if there is unrepentant sin in our lives before we take the Lord’s Supper.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11, emphasis mine)

This isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23-24Continue reading

“Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?” January 31

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants? - How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant …”

How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11 & 12
Psalm 18.1-12
Proverbs 6.1-5
Matthew 20.17-34

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?

 

Matthew 20.17-34:

Selfishness & Self-Promotion

 

Verses 20-23:

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

What a picture this passage is of our sinful, selfish nature apart from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Later we will see the change in the Disciples after the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them and the other believers for the first time.

But now the Disciples, who have been with Him for a large portion of His ministry, listening to Him teach and learning from Him, are still focused on themselves. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, grown men, either convince or allow their mother to come and ask Jesus if they can be His two top advisers when He starts to rule.

It’s obvious they still don’t understand the kind of a kingdom He has come to establish. The Jews expected their Messiah to come and overthrow the oppressive Roman government, but Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom.

The rest of the Disciples weren’t much better, “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers” (v. 24). The text continues:

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (vv. 25-28).

I have to wonder if there wasn’t a bit of a sigh, a “Don’t you guys get it?” But instead, He explained how godly, Christian leadership should look.

No matter what we are called to do in the body of Christ, whether in our personal and public ministries, or in our personal, familial and secular lives, we are called to have servant hearts. That means we are to have servant attitudes in our marriages, with our children, with our extended families, in our neighborhoods, in the work place, and in the church.

 

Raising Servants

 

girl in hoodie parenting teenHow might that look in our parenting, for example? It does not mean we wait on them hand and foot and neglect teaching them responsibility. It means we cultivate a desire to teach them respect, responsibility, and obedience, not out of a desire to make our own lives easier or to look like successful parents to others, but out of our desire to see them grow up to be godly men and women.

Serving our children includes godly, loving discipline and doing it consistently, even when we’re tired and would rather keep watching TV. It means disciplining when you have worked all day and feel guilty about it, because you know it’s what they need!

Spoiling them, catering to their every whim, giving them every toy or gadget, always letting them do what they want, is not being a loving servant to them. When our children grow up thinking they are the center of the universe and “deserve” everything they can get, we have done them a huge disservice! In fact, we have sinned against them! Ask yourself, “Am I raising the kind of son or daughter I’d want to be married to, have working for me, or have as my boss?”  Continue reading