“Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees” July 31

 

Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees - Most of us are familiar with the proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But we all know kids who were raised in church and, yet, have walked away from God. What went wrong? Did their parents miss something? Did God fail to keep His Word? Do we have a guarantee that our children will continue to walk with God?

Most of us are familiar with the proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But we all know kids who were raised in church and, yet, have walked away from God. What went wrong? Did their parents miss something? Did God fail to keep His Word? Do we have a guarantee that our children will continue to walk with God?

We’ll also read about:

As we start the book of Esther, we’ll look at what God was up to, and the un-fairy-tale like ending for the other young virgins taken as “potential queen for a night.”

Yesterday in Romans 1 we read about God’s rebuke to “wise fools” who reject God and the downward spiral of sin that follows. In today’s reading in Romans 2, God speaks to believers, warning us of the danger of self-righteously judging others.

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 1 & 2
Psalm 89.38-45
Proverbs 22.5-6
Romans 2.1-29

 

Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees

 

Esther 1 & 2:

Young Virgins & a Selfish King

 

The book of Esther takes place sometime between the time the Jews began to return to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel and the second return under Ezra. It’s quite an interesting book. Though the name of God is not mentioned at all, He is seen everywhere, and is in control of the events of this book in a grand way!—as He is in all the events of history and the world.

The book starts out with a party and what a party it is—7 days, free flowing wine, everyone has been invited (the men, at least!), golden goblets, entertainment … wine, women (probably the entertainment) and song, as the saying goes.

Finally, the drunken king decides to show off his wife and she refuses to come. The men were faced with a problem. If word got around that the queen didn’t obey the king, all the women would refuse to obey their husbands! So, at the other men’s urging, he strips away her crown.

But when the king sobered up and got over his fit, he realized what he had done. He missed the queen, so the men devised another plan—to bring all the beautiful women in the kingdom to the palace and let him choose the one who suited his fancy as the new queen.

palaceAs glamorous as it might sound to have a chance to be queen, this was not a good thing for these young girls. They were probably mostly very young teenagers. And notice it says, “Esther also was taken” (Esther 2.8). This was not voluntary; these girls were taken to the palace.

Each of them was to spend one night with the king and never to be with him again unless she was chosen. In the meantime, they would have lost their virginity to a lecherous king who cared little about anyone but himself. And in that society, what was left for them in the way of marriage and family? They probably would be supported afterwards, but I think it would have been a lonely existence—never to have a husband or children of their own.

But God was at work in the situation and was setting the stage to use this pagan king and Esther to do something great.

 

Psalm 89.38-45:

God is Always at Work

 

From the viewpoint of the psalmist it looked like God had forsaken his people, but we know He had not. Sometimes we feel that way, but we must know that God is at work even when we can’t figure it out.

 

Proverbs 22.5-6:

Parental Guarantees

 

Verse 6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This is not a guarantee that our children will always walk with God. What it does mean is that if we are faithful to train our children in God’s ways, they will never be able to get away from the truth they’ve learned. It will follow them like their shadow! So even if they make bad choices, the truth will be there to guide them back, when they repent, just like the prodigal son in Luke 15.

Our job is to be faithful: faithful to take our children to a good Bible-believing church. Faithful to teach them by example and as we go about our daily activities.

Deuteronomy 6:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We should also teach God’s Word to our children in a formal, systematic way. That is not, primarily, the church’s responsibility, but ours. Family devotions is one of the most neglected responsibilities in the church today. There is nothing that will impact our children and grandchildren more than to see us faithfully read and study God’s Word individually and to faithfully and formally have times where we read and study God’s Word together as a family.

Randy Patten, the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC) for many years, says we must remember there are three factors at work in our children’s lives: there is our teaching and training, there is their will, and there is the Holy Spirit.  Continue reading

“Hypocrisy & Little White Lies” June 21

 

Hypocrisy & Little While Lies - If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 5 & 6
Psalm 77.1-3
Proverbs 19.10-12
Acts 5.1-21

 

Hypocrisy & Little White Lies

 

Examining Ourselves

Acts 5.1-21:

 

Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and pretended to give all the proceeds to the church. They didn’t have to. There was no universal command to “sell all you have.” But they wanted to look good.

I wonder if God dealt with sin in the same way in our churches this Sunday, how many of us would walk out of there? Even though we may not often see this quite as vividly, God’s attitude toward hypocrisy and lying hasn’t changed!

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.28-32:

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Though Paul is talking specifically about the Lord’s Supper in this passage, we should be examining ourselves on a daily basis. Notice that Paul says, “many are sick and weak … and many sleep (have died)” because of a failure to examine themselves.

Why not pray as David did in Psalm 139.23-24:  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 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.

Also in today’s New Testament reading, we’ll talk about the armor of God. What is it? How to 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

father with his son parenting

This chapter continues to illustrate how a Holy Spirit controlled life should be reflected in various relationships.

Children should honor and obey their parents (Eph. 6.1-3). 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 (Eph. 6.4). One way we provoke them to anger is by living a hypocritical life—telling them one thing and while doing another.

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.

We can’t say one thing while we do the other without being parental hypocrites and without the strong possibility we will provoke our children to anger.

In his book The Heart of Anger, Lou Priolo lists 25 ways parents provoke their children to anger including: marital disharmony, having a child centered home, being inconsistent with discipline, and parental role reversal, among others.

In the Workplace

office work coffeeOur 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