“Do Your Kids Know You LIKE Them?” May 16

 

Do Your Kids Know You LIKE Them? - I counsel a lot of people who struggle because of words that were spoken to them as children. Certainly, God can use it for good as He helps them find their identity in Him, but how sad when our kids have to overcome our parenting, rather than remember it with gratitude. You kids will be grown before you know it. How will they remember you? They may know you love them, but do they know you like them?I counsel a lot of people who struggle because of words that were spoken to them as children. Certainly, God can use it for good as He helps them find their identity in Him, but how sad when our kids have to overcome our parenting, rather than remember it with gratitude. You kids will be grown before you know it. How will they remember you? They may know you love them, but do they know you like them?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 3 & 4
Psalm 62.5-12
Proverbs 16.13-15
John 4.31-54

 

Do Your Kids Know You LIKE Them?

 

Proverbs 16.13-15:

In the Light of the King’s (& Queen’s) Face

 

Verse 15, “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.”

Leaders have a great opportunity to be a blessing by encouraging those under them. My husband recently picked up a book about the top 10 mistakes leaders make. One of the big 10 was failing to encourage!

No where do we have a greater opportunity to encourage (or discourage!) than in our homes with our spouses and with our children.

That’s one reason why husbands are commanded to live with their wives in a understanding way (1 Pet. 3.7) and wives are commanded to show respect for their husbands (Eph. 5.33) and to have a gentle spirit (1 Pet. 3.2). Even when we must reprove one another we are to do it with gentleness (Gal. 6.1).

As parents, Colossians 3.21 instructs us to “not provoke [our] children, lest they become discouraged.” Parenting is not about giving our children everything they want (far from it!) or allowing them to do what pleases them, but we can and should parent in a way that encourages them and not in a way that discourages them.

Do your kids know you LIKE them?Megan Scheibner and her husband Steve have a website called “Character Health.” In her blog she wrote:

There are many things that my children know. They know how to read, they know how to pray, they know how to do their chores, etc. But, there are just as many things that I assume my children know without ever making sure that my assumption is correct … The first is this: don’t assume your children know you like them. Yes, my children know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love them, however, do they know that I like them?

How are your relationships with your children? Is it all about what they do wrong? Is it all about getting their homework and chores done? Is it all about the next scheduled activity? Do you ever take the time to just let your kids know you like them and enjoy spending time with them?  Continue reading

“How to Respond to Imperfect Authority” May 15

 

How to Respond to Imperfect Authority - How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?

Also, what’s wrong with living together? Many people today argue that a marriage license is “just a piece of paper”! What does the Bible really say?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 1 & 2
Psalm 62.1-4
Proverbs 16.10-12
John 4.1-30

 

How to Respond to Imperfect Authority

 

2 Samuel 1 & 2:

Well, we have passed another milestone, another Old Testament book under our belts. Now we are on to 2 Samuel.

 

Proper Respect for Authority

 

In chapter 1 David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, especially Jonathan with whom David had a special covenant relationship. I believe it was Jonathan’s faith in God and sensitivity to what God was doing that led him to make a covenant with David.

We also see Jonathan’s loyalty to his father, although he didn’t allow that loyalty to cause him to sin. Instead, he kept his covenant to protect David. He warned David of the threat against him and spoke the truth to his father, telling him what he was doing was wrong. But in the end he refused to desert his father, even though it cost him his life.

What a beautiful picture of how we should respond to those God has placed in authority over us.

salute authorityAll of us are under authority. Wives are under their husbands’ authority. Children under their parents. Students are under the authority of teachers and administrators. Employees under their bosses and supervisors. We are all under the civil authorities: police men and women, judges, governors, all three branches of our federal government and others. Christians are under the authority of their pastors and elders. And we are all under God’s authority.

The only perfect authority is God’s.

All other authority is imperfect.

That doesn’t let us off the hook.

Ephesians 5 instructs wives: Continue reading

“Handling Anger Biblically” Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Anger Biblically - While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. No matter how we express it, anger can be extremely damaging. Today's post is part 2 of our discussion on "Handling Anger Biblically."While it may take different forms, most of us have struggled with anger. Some of us turn our anger inward by clamming up or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Some of us explode at the least provocation. No matter how we express it, anger can be extremely damaging. Today’s post is part 2 of our discussion on “Handling Anger Biblically.”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Anger Biblically – Part 2

 

We have just wrapped up a series on God’s design for marriage. If you missed it, you can access the lessons here. We’re in a new series “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Last week we started talking about anger. Today we’ll discuss when and how anger becomes sinful and steps to overcoming sinful anger.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll also talk about:

Depression
Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

I hope you’ll be here each week (post goes live at 5 PM MST on Sundays).

 

Last week we said that since God is the One who created us and everything else, all sinful anger flows out of our unwillingness to accept the fact that He is the Creator, and that He gets to make the rules.

presumptuous sinsWhen we get angry we’re really saying, “I don’t like the way You’re letting things work out in my life!”

We get angry because we want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong for us. We should be asking, “Lord, how do you want to use this in my life?” Instead, we allow the “feelings” to take over.

We also talked about the fact that emotions like anger, sorrow, guilt, depression … are not sinful in and of themselves, it’s what we do with those feelings that makes them sinful or not.

We discussed the different kinds of anger and said that anger is not just an emotion, but an issue of the heart (Matt. 15.18-20).

So, it’s not enough to just “control or manage anger.” The heart issues must be addressed if we want any lasting change and the kind of change that’s pleasing to God.

 

Different Expressions

 

We may express anger in different ways:

Sometimes we try to keep it under the radar. We say or do something mean … and then claim, “I was only kidding, can’t you take a joke?!” This kind of anger is deceitful and vengeful.

Prov. 10:23 says, “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.”

And Prov. 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”

Sometimes anger is explosive. We may yell, slam doors, hit something or someone.

Sometimes we clam up, give others the silent treatment, or turn it in on ourselves.

No matter how it’s expressed, anger, when not dealt with in God-honoring ways, is destructive and sinful.

 

Why Anger?

 

Why would God give us an emotion that can be so damaging?  Continue reading

“When You’re at Your Wits’ End” May 14

 

When You're At Your Wits' End - David was at his wits' end, even his own men had turned against him. Yet he wasn't at his faith's end. Instead, David strengthened himself in the Lord? How can you strengthen yourself in the Lord when you're at your wits' end?David was at his wits’ end, even his own men had turned against him. Yet he wasn’t at his faith’s end. Instead, David strengthened himself in the Lord?

How can you strengthen or encourage yourself in the Lord? What should you remember about God’s sovereignty, goodness, justice, and mercy? How might God be using this for good so that as Romans 8.29 says, you can become more like Christ?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 29, 30 & 31
Psalm 61.5-8
Proverbs 16.7-9
John 3.18-36

 

When You’re at Your Wits’ End

 

1 Samuel 29, 30 & 31:

A Man after God’s Own Heart … Are You Kidding?

 

What was David thinking?! Wanting to join the Philistines and go to war against Israel! God used the princes of the other Philistine clans to prevent him from doing such a foolish thing.

But God wanted to get David’s undivided attention. So while he was off involved in a situation in which he should never have been involved, God allowed the Amalekites to burn down his city and carry off all the women and children.

“… they did not kill anyone, but carried them away …” (v. 30.2).

 

Unmet Desires

 

God would allow them to recover their families, all their possessions, and even take the spoil of the Amalekites. But David and his men didn’t yet know the outcome. They came home tired and anxious to see their wives and children only to find the city burned and their families gone. After they wept over their losses, their emotions turned to anger against David.

Matthew Henry in his commentary on the Bible says they had joined David because they believed he would become king and they expected to all be princes by now. Instead, it looked like they had lost everything. Their grief was coupled with discontent, impatience and disappointment over their unmet desires. To quote Henry, “Their own discontent and impatience added wormwood and gall to the affliction and misery, and made their case doubly grievous.”

 

At His Wits’ End

 

David, on the other hand, demonstrated what made him “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13.14). He didn’t turn on his men. He didn’t point out their wrongs. He didn’t give in to fear over their threats. Instead, he “strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (30.6) and sought His counsel (30.7-8).  Continue reading

“White Magic, Jesus & Resisting the Devil” May 13

 

White Magic, Jesus & Resisting the Devil - Is there any such thing as white magic? Is it OK for Christians to read their horoscopes or study astrology or numerology? Is there anything wrong with tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, and palm reading? Have you ever dabbled in those things? Would you know how to talk to someone who has? If there is a spiritual world out there, should we be afraid of them? How do we resist those things?Is there any such thing as white magic? Is it OK for Christians to read their horoscopes or study astrology or numerology? Is there anything wrong with tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, and palm reading?

Have you ever dabbled in those things? Would you know how to talk to someone who has?

If there is a spiritual world out there, should we be afraid of it? How do we resist those things?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 28
Psalm 61.1-4
Proverbs 16.6
John 3.1-18

 

White Magic, Jesus & Resisting the Devil

 

1 Samuel 28:

Mediums and Spiritists

 

This is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible and difficult to understand at first glance. The chapter opens by telling us that Samuel has died and that Saul has banished all the mediums and spiritists from the land. Then when God won’t answer him, he resorts to seeking out a medium himself.

How about you? How do you respond when answers to prayer are slow in coming? Do you continue to wait on God or resort to your own solutions?

We can’t put God in a box or demand that He do things on our timetable. Just because we have decided to walk in biblical love and forgiveness toward our spouse, doesn’t mean God is, immediately, going to cause him or her to change.

Just because we give financially doesn’t mean all our debt will disappear or we’ll instantly have the job of our dreams. In fact, our expectations are often part of the problem. We are to obey God out of a desire to please Him, not to get some desired result. Instead, we need to trust Him for the right result. It’s not that blessings don’t come as a result of our obedience, but our attitude is not to be one of “giving to get something.”

 

White Magic

 

God has always forbidden His people to seek after spiritists and mediums.

Deuteronomy 29.29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

In fact, under the law anyone practicing such things was to be put to death! And God’s attitude about them has not changed. There is no such thing as “white” or harmless magic, witchcraft or spiritism, even if its practitioners claim to believe in God or talk about Jesus. It’s not the Jesus of the Bible. Remember, the devil Continue reading

Journal Prompts for your Prayer or Scripture Journaling

 

Journal Prompts for your Prayer or Scripture JournalingIn his book How to Keep a Spiritual Journal, Ron Klug said:

“I consider the time spent writing in my journal as Sabbath time – a time of rest and solitude, a time to come apart to be with God and to reflect on his Word, to search for his will, and to record the insights I receive. My journal has been the channel of many blessings” (p.17).

 

Journal Prompts for your Prayer or Scripture Journaling

 

Throughout the centuries, some of the greatest men and women of God have kept journals. But journaling isn’t just for spiritual giants. It’s for you and me.

If you find it hard to concentrate in your quiet time, a journal can help you focus on God and His Word.

Recording Scripture in a journal can help you remember and meditate on God’s promises.

If you have a desire to leave a record of your spiritual journey for your children or others, a journal is a great place to do so.

A journal can be a great place to capture ideas and pray for God’s timing and will.

It’s, also, a good place to record prayer lists, concerns and answers.

 

So What About You …

 

Do you keep a spiritual journal? Maybe you call it something else: a prayer journal, a Bible study notebook, or a Scripture journal.

Maybe you’ve thought about keeping a journal. You hear other people talk about it, but you think it would take too much time.

Maybe you hated writing in school and you can’t believe you’re even thinking about writing in a journal.

But a journal can be anything you want it to be. It can be handwritten or in an electronic format. Computers and tablets have dozens of apps and programs to fit every personality.

You can write a paragraph or a page, record a verse or a passage of Scripture, a prayer need or a prayer list. You can write everyday or only occasionally.

 

Here are Some Prompts to Try Out as You Journal or Experiment with Journal Keeping:

 

Start with the simple word “Yesterday …” then record the events of the day. At times this may lead into prayer for people or situations.

Continue reading

“The Christian Two-Step” May 12

 

Christian Two-Step - The Christian two-step: one step forward, two steps back. Have you ever felt that way? I know I have.The Christian two-step: one step forward, two steps back. Have you ever felt that way? I know I have.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 26 & 27
Psalm 60.6-12
Proverbs 16.4-5
John 2.1-25

 

The Christian Two-Step

 

1 Samuel 26 & 27:

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

 

In yesterday’s reading, Saul was repentant and had given up trying to kill David. But now in chapter 26 he’s at it again. David, on the other hand, in spite of God’s continuing faithfulness, started to believe the worse. Instead of being encouraged, he decided that sooner or later Saul will probably kill him. So he resorts to his own foolish solution, going into enemy territory where he knows Saul won’t go. But as the story unfolds we’ll see that this only leads to more problems. One step forward, two steps back.

Have you ever felt like that’s the story of your life? I know I have. We may know intellectually that God’s way is the right way, but when it goes against our feelings, feelings often win out. We could call it the Christian two-step!

We know Matthew 5.23-24 says we aren’t to hypocritically worship God, while we ignore unresolved issues with family and our brothers and sisters-in-Christ. But instead of seeking reconciliation, we avoid people, move to a different church, gossip, or pretend things are fine.

We know we’re playing with fire when we flirt with a co-worker or scan the internet for that old “friend,” but we’re so tired of feeling unappreciated and it seems so harmless, and besides, we think, “I can handle it!”

We’re heard our share of teaching about confronting a sinning brother or sister, but it’s just too hard! And besides, “Who am I to judge?”

We hear a good sermon on discipleship or prayer or growing in the Word and we decide, “I’m going to read my Bible more,” or “I’m going to spend more time praying,” or “I’m going to finish that Bible study I started.” Then the alarm goes off and another 30 minutes of sleep wins out.

One-step forward, two steps back.

 

Dancing to a New Beat

 

Like David, when the struggles keep coming or when we think we’ve failed God again, we’re often tempted to give up and think things will never change or we’re never going to get it.

But it doesn’t matter how many times we have fallen or how difficult the circumstances, Continue reading

“God’s Homework” May 11

 

Does God give homework?Has it ever happened to you? You are growing in the things of God and have dealt with some area of sin when all of a sudden you find yourself dealing with the same issue again. Could it be God’s homework?

Also, do you ever find yourself bored with your prayer life? In his book, Praying the Bible, Don Whitney poses the question, “Why don’t Christians pray more?” He gives the startling answer that we don’t pray more because we tend to pray the same old way about the same old things, day after day, and prayer becomes boring! Read more about how to pray the Bible in today’s post.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 24 & 25
Psalm 60.1-5
Proverbs 16.3
John 1.29-51

 

God’s Homework

 

1 Samuel 24 & 25:

Why Am I Here Again?

 

Do you ever feel like God shows you something and you think, “OK, I’ve got it!” And then, almost immediately, God gives you an opportunity to put that truth to the test. We sometimes think, “Wait a minute. Why am I here again? I thought God was pleased because I had responded the way I should.”

I think it’s kind of like a teacher who gives homework to solidify something you learned in class. Without the repetition and practice, we may understand it on one level, but we haven’t had the opportunity to develop the skill and make it a habit.

That’s how I see these two chapters in 1 Samuel. First, David is hiding in a cave when, low and behold, Saul comes into that same cave to relieve himself. This is too good to be true! Has God delivered him into David’s hands?

But David recognizes that this is a test. If he had killed Saul he would have been getting ahead of God by taking matters into his own hands. David responded rightly and Saul, convicted by David’s righteousness, goes back home. Good job, David, now everything should be smooth sailing from here on, right? Continue reading

“What Do You Need to Do to Be Used by God?” May 10

 

What do you need to do to be used by God? Is there some change you need to make?Is there some training you might take? Is there something you need to leave behind? Too often we look at others and wish we had their gifts and talents. We think about our mistakes, our education, our family history and we wonder … can God really use me? What do you need to do to be used by God? Is there some change you need to make?Is there some training you might take? Is there something you need to leave behind?

Too often we look at others and wish we had their gifts and talents. We think about our mistakes, our education, our family history and we wonder … can God really use me? I hope you’ll take some time to read and consider today’s post and who God used in this passage.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 22 & 23
Psalm 59.6-17
Proverbs 16.1-2
John 1.1-28

 

What Do You Need to Do to Be Used by God?

 

1 Samuel 22 & 23:

Mighty Men & Women

 

Have you ever wondered about your spiritual gifts? Or lamented the fact that you don’t have certain talents? Even wondered if you were good at anything?

It’s so easy to look at someone with great musical abilities or teaching gifts or success in the business world and wish that were you.

Perhaps it’s education you believe you lack … or experience … or opportunity.

Or maybe it’s your past mistakes or your family history or even your race that you believe keeps you from being used by God.

I hope you’ll take some time to read and consider today’s chapters here in 1 Samuel. Look at the men described here … men who would later be called David’s “mighty men.”

“… everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented …” (v. 22.2).

These were not the elite or the talented. These were not the princes or the royalty. They were probably not well educated or polished. They were the guys not making it some place else.

Yet … God would make a mighty army out of them. They would one day march into Jerusalem. They would become the king’s men.

But what if they had stayed home and simply bemoaned the fact that they weren’t well bred or well educated or born into different circumstances? Instead, they took a risk. They had to leave something behind and go where God was working.

What do you need to do to be used by God? Is there something you need to leave behind? Do you need to quit grumbling and complaining and get in motion? Where do you see God working? How can you join Him there?

keyboard computerMaybe you don’t have a degree in theology. Maybe you don’t have a degree at all. But you can go to a Bible study. You can pray and look for someone to disciple you. Perhaps you need to start working on that degree or get some other training. Maybe you can take classes online. You can read books … or listen to podcasts. There is a wealth of information out there!

Perhaps you don’t have the experience to teach a class right now. But you can volunteer to be an assistant and let that teacher mentor you. Maybe you aren’t the soloist, but you can join the choir. Start where you are. Use what you have available to you. God can do great things with those who will humbly and obediently make themselves available to be used by Him.

 

One Example

 

I spend a lot of time helping and encouraging men and women who want to be involved in Biblical counseling. There are many resources and opportunities to get trained today. Many of them are free and doable from home even with kids and jobs and other responsibilities.

Maybe you just want to be better equipped to help or able to answer questions when friends ask for advice. There is a wealth of information and training available through the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship … much of it absolutely FREE!

Many Bible teachers offer their sermons and notes online. There are podcasts, audios, and even, video recordings. (I’ve listed a few other websites below.)

Get in motion! God can and will use you, if you’ll be faithful with the opportunities you have (Lk. 19.11-27)! God is a great Rewarder of faithfulness!

 

It’s Not Always Smooth Sailing

 

Let’s go on with our passage. Notice how David sought God in these verses, and as he did, God blessed and protected him.

Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”
And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”
But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord once again.
And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah (1 Sam. 23.2-5).

But also see how his decision in chapter 21 to deceive the priest, Ahimelech, had far reaching consequences. Continue reading

“How Do You Respond to Instruction?” May 9

How do you respond to instruction? Do you have a teachable spirit or do you quickly reject anyone else's input? What does your answer say about you and could it have a cost in your life?

 

How do you respond to instruction? Do you have a teachable spirit or do you quickly reject anyone else’s input? What does your answer say about you and could it have a cost in your life?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 20 & 21
Psalm 59.1-5
Proverbs 15.31-33
Luke 24.36-53

 

How Do You Respond to Instruction?

 

Proverbs 15.31-33:

Disdaining Instruction

 

How do your respond to instruction? Do you have a teachable spirit or do you quickly reject anyone else’s input?

 

“He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.”

Refusing to listen to wise counsel is the same as hating oneself, but the one who listens grows in wisdom and understanding.

What keeps us from wanting to hear wise counsel? It’s that ugly 5-letter word, P-R-I-D-E.

I wish I could remember where I found this, but I think it’s one of the best definitions for pride, “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”

Did you notice the words, “inordinate” and “cherished in the mind”? Pride doesn’t just keep us from listening to instruction when we do, perhaps, know more than someone else, but when we have an inflated opinion of our own knowledge or ability!

Even when we are familiar with a skill or subject, there are always things we can learn, if just how to be graceful and polite!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

1 Samuel 20 & 21:

Our Own Schemes

 

In chapter 20 God continued to show His sovereign control over the events of David’s life through his covenant with Jonathan. But God still had a few things to teach David before he would be ready to be king. In chapter 21, instead of trusting God, he relied on his own schemes to protect himself, first by deceiving the priest and then by pretending to be crazy. But in David’s life, just as in ours, God’s ultimate plan and purpose would prevail.  Continue reading