“Sins of the Fathers {& Mothers}” March 8

 

Sins of the Fathers {& Mothers} - What does it mean that God visits the iniquity or the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and forth generation? Are those children doomed spiritually? Are they bound to repeat their parents sins? Will they bear the guilt or the punishment for their parents sins?What does it mean that God visits the iniquity or the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and forth generation? Are those children doomed spiritually? Are they bound to repeat their parents sins? Will they bear the guilt or the punishment for their parents sins?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 13 & 14
Psalm 31.19-24
Proverbs 11.15
Mark 10.32-52

 

The Sins of the Fathers {& Mothers}

 

Numbers 13 & 14:

Sin & Its Consequences

 

Verse 14.18 says, “The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.”

What does that mean? Are those children doomed spiritually? Are they bound to repeat their parents sins? Will they bear the guilt or the punishment for them?

Let’s look at another passage of Scripture:

“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezek. 18.20).

Scripture never contradicts Scripture. So we need to dig a little deeper to understand our passage from Numbers.

It’s my understanding that when the word translated “visited” is used it refers to physical consequences. And children do, often, suffer physical consequences for their parents’ sins.

They may be exposed to horrible lifestyles, suffer physical or sexual abuse, live in poverty, or be neglected in many ways.

Other choices and lifestyles affect children, too. For instance, when parents choose to divorce, the children are tossed back and forth between two households, sometimes put in the middle of arguments, and have limited time with one or both parents.  Continue 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

“Why me? Why now? Why my family?” August 11

 

why me

“Why me?” It’s a question that is often on our lips. Why is this happening? Why me? Why now? Why my kids, my family, my job, my health? But … are we asking the right questions?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 13 & 14
Psalm 94.12-19
Proverbs 22.26-27
Romans 11.1-18

 

Why me? Why now? Why my family?

 

Job 13 & 14:

Demanding Answers

 

In chapter 13, after strongly rebuking his friends, Job turns his attention directly to God. He is at a loss to understand why all this calamity has come on him. In chapter 14 he talks to God about the frailness of humanity and seems to prepare himself to die, perhaps even yearning for it.

Be sure to read MacArthur’s notes for today’s readings. He jumps ahead to some of the later chapters as he explains that Job’s problem was not the belief that he was righteous, as his friends thought, but his over-familiarity in demanding an answer to why he was suffering such hardship.

We, too, can be tempted to demand answers to our “whys.” While I don’t believe God is put-off by sincere questions from his hurting children, we need to remember that He is God and we are not! Isaiah 55.8-9:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

In chapter 40 we will see Job’s reaction after God responded to all his why’s. He said, “I lay my hand over my mouth” (v. 4).

So what should we ask when going through a test or trial? Continue reading

“The Danger of Education & Wealth” May 31

 

The Danger of Education or Wealth - Can the very blessings of God hinder someone's relationship with Him? What is the danger of education or wealth? What can we learn from the life of Solomon and from Paul's writing in the New Testament?Can the very blessings of God hinder someone’s relationship with Him? What is the danger of education or wealth? What can we learn from the life of Solomon and from Paul’s writing in the New Testament?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 69.1-4
Proverbs 17.18-22
John 11.30-57

 

1 Kings 9 & 10:

The danger of education or wealth

Can you imagine a time in history when the blessings of God were so great that silver was accounted for nothing? The gold that was given or paid to Solomon was measured in “talents.” A talent was 100 pounds and would probably be worth over $5,000,000.00 today.

And it wasn’t just the monetary blessings, but the blessings of wisdom—so much so—that the Queen of Sheba would travel 1200 miles at a time when there were no jets, no trains, not even cars, only camels, horses and carts—just to see if it was true!

But then to see how the sinful nature of man can allow even the blessings of God to become a snare as Solomon began to accumulate wealth in a way that he had been forbidden to do. It’s not that it’s wrong to “save” or to have money in the bank, or even to have material goods. Remember, God gave Joseph the wisdom to set aside stores of food to last Egypt through 7 years of famine and enough to sell to people from other nations. Continue reading

August 11 “Why me?” & LINKUP

imagesCAS1KE9J“Why?” It’s a question that’s often on our lips. Why is this happening? Why me? Why now? Why my kids, my family, my job, my health? But … are we asking the right questions?

Today’s Readings:
Job 13 & 14
Psalm 94.12-19
Proverbs 22.26-27
Romans 11.1-18

Job 13 & 14:

Demanding answers

In chapter 13, after strongly rebuking his friends, Job turns his attention directly to God. He is at a loss to understand why all this calamity has come on him. In chapter 14 he talks to God about the frailness of humanity and seems to prepare himself to die, perhaps even yearning for it.

Be sure to read MacArthur’s notes for today’s readings. He jumps ahead to some of the later chapters as he explains that Job’s problem was not the belief that he was righteous, as his friends thought, but his over-familiarity in demanding an answer to why he was suffering such hardship.

We, too, can be tempted to demand answers to our “whys.” While I don’t believe God is put-off by sincere questions from his hurting children, we need to remember that He is God and we are not! Isaiah 55.8-9:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

In chapter 40 we’ll see Job’s reaction after God responded to all his why’s. He said, “I lay my hand over my mouth” (v.4).

So what should we ask when going through a test or trial?

praying, thinking

First, we should ask God to help us examine our own lives for reasons.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting (Ps. 139.23-24).

Is there some area of unconfessed sin?

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Prov. 28.13).

We can ask Him to help us grow in our trial.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (Jas. 1.2-4).

We should ask for His wisdom to respond righteously to our trial.

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (Jas. 1.5-8).

Tests and trials come for many reasons, some because of our own actions and others as a result of living in a sin cursed world. But nothing can happen in our lives that is not first filtered through God’s loving hands. Even when He allows a hardship for his holy purposes, He always mixes it will His blessings and His grace … if we will but look for them.

He promises that those trials will not be more than we can handle if we stay connected to Him and rely on His strength (1 Cor. 10.13). And we can trust His promise to use our trials for good and to help us become more like His Son (Rom. 8.28-29).

Finally, when we think about asking “why,” let’s also ask, “Why His blessings and favor?” and, especially, “Why would His die for us when we were still His enemies?”

Continue reading

May 31 “The danger in wealth and education”

Is there a danger in wealth and education? Can the very blessings of God hinder someone’s relationship with God? What can we learn from the life of Solomon?

danger in wealth and education

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 69.1-4
Proverbs 17.18-22
John 11.30-57

1 Kings 9 & 10:

Solomon’s great wealth and wisdom

Can you imagine a time in history when the blessings of God were so great that silver was accounted for nothing? The gold that was given and paid to Solomon was measured in “talents.” A talent was 100 pounds and would probably be worth over $5,000,000.00 today.

And it wasn’t just the monetary blessings, but the blessings of wisdom—so much so—that the Queen of Sheba would travel 1200 miles at a time when there were no jets, no trains, not even cars, only camels, horses and carts—just to see if it was true! Continue reading

January 31 “Are you raising rulers or servants?”

Happy kids

“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 …” 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?”

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11.1-10 & Exodus 12.1-51
Psalm 18:1-12
Proverbs 6:1-5
Matthew 20:17-34

Exodus 11.1-2 & 12.1-51:

The first Passover

Here we see the institution of the Jewish Passover. God is about to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. But before Pharaoh will let them go, there will be one last plague–death of the first born.

Each Israelite family was to sacrifice a lamb and put some of the blood on the frame of the door to their house. When the death angel saw it, He was to pass over that home.

Jesus, on the night before He was arrested and the events leading up to the crucifixion began, was in the upper room celebrating the Passover with His disciples. On that night, as He was about to become the final Passover Lamb, that celebration or ordinance became what we call “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper.” It was changed because there was no longer a need for a sacrificial lamb to be slain to temporarily cover sin. Jesus fulfilled that need once and for all. Praise be to the Lamb who was slain for me and for You! Continue reading