“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

“Bored with the Things of God?” April 3

 

Bored with the Things of God? - Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we're no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become "ho-hum" about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we’re no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become “ho-hum” about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalm 40.1-5
Proverbs 13.9-10
Luke 7.1-30

 

Bored with the Things of God?

 

Deuteronomy 29 & 30:

When We Fail to Seek Understanding

 

In chapter 29.2-9 Moses was recounting what God did for them those 40 years in the desert:

“You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”

In his Daily Bible, John MacArthur says, “The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it.”

Perhaps, they took God’s work in their lives for granted. Perhaps, they found trying to understand and know Him too difficult or too much trouble. Perhaps they were bored with the things of God and found life in the pagan nations around them more exciting.

Marilee Bible study Scripture memory cardWhat have you not “seen” because you have not sought it? God desires to show us more and more, to take us deeper and deeper into His truth, for us to know Him better and better, but we must want it, seek it, and ask Him for it. Do you study God’s Word with that attitude?

In Matthew 7.7-8 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

But on the other hand verse 29.29 reminds us that there are things God has not yet revealed to us and, while we can pray for answers and understanding, we’re not to seek to know things apart from the Him. You can read my post from a few days ago about fortune telling and witchcraftContinue reading

“Disorder, Self-Sufficiency & Over-Commitment” March 2

 

Disorder, Self-Sufficiency & Over-Commitment - Do you struggle with disorder, over-commitment, and self-sufficiency? Do you ever feel like God isn't taking care of things on your schedule? Could your frustration and stress stem from a common problem?Do you ever feel like God isn’t taking care of things according to your schedule? Could your frustration and stress stem from a common problem? Do you struggle with disorder, over-commitment, and self-sufficiency?


Today’s Readings:
Numbers 1 & 2
Psalm 29.7-11
Proverbs 10.26-29
Mark 7.14-37

 

Disorder, Self-Sufficiency & Over-Commitment

 

Numbers 1 & 2:

Make no decision without prayer!

 

Well, we’re into a new month and a new book.

As I read these two chapters I couldn’t help thinking that God is a God of order. He specified who was to lead each tribe, where each tribe was to camp and even the order in which they were to break camp when they moved. He gave “the who, the where, and the how” of it all. And we know from other passages that He also told them “when.”

In Mark 6 when Jesus fed the 5,000, He had them sit down in an orderly way, “… He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties” (Mk. 6.39-40).

Like most of you, I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want or think I should be doing. That can easily lead to disorder in my life. It’s easy to forget Continue reading

“Titles, Oaths, Judging & Pride” February 5

 

Titles, Oaths, Judging & Pride - In Matthew 23, Jesus made some unusual statements: "Do not call anyone on earth your father ..." "... he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it." "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" In another passage, He said, "Do not judge, lest you be judged." So, are titles wrong? What about oaths? Should we strengthen our commitments by swearing by things bigger than ourselves? And what did Jesus mean when He said, "Do not judge ...?"In Matthew 23, Jesus made some unusual statements: “Do not call anyone on earth your father …” “… he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.” “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” In another passage, He said, “Do not judge, lest you be judged.”

So, are titles wrong? What about oaths? Should we strengthen our commitments by swearing by things bigger than ourselves? And what did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not judge …?”

And in our Old Testament reading, why would God lay out such an elaborate systems of laws and regulations? Did those laws limit or enhance freedom? Do they have any connection to our laws today?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 21 & 22
Psalm 18.46-50
Proverbs 6.26-29
Matthew 23.1-22

 

Titles, Oaths, Judging & Pride

 

Matthew 23:1-22

Titles & Authority

 

Sometimes verses must be studied in the light of other verses and passages in the Bible. If we take one or two verses and isolate them, we can easily read more into them or something different from what was intended. Also, studying the texts in their original languages can help our understanding. That doesn’t mean that we must be Greek or Hebrew scholars. We are blessed to live in a time when there are many excellent and understandable references and commentaries written by people who have studied the texts carefully and prayerfully.

Verses 8-10, for instance, where Jesus said:

“… do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.”

Jesus is not condemning titles. The Apostle Paul called himself a “father” to the Corinthians. And in Ephesians 4:11-12 where Paul is talking about spiritual gifts, he says:

“He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Rather Jesus was condemning the religious leaders who set themselves up as the final authority on spiritual matters as if they were the source of the truth. God through His Word must always be our source of truth. No man or woman is infallible, only God.  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 5: Favoritism and Other Four-Letter Words + LINKUP

 

We've been talking about the challenges blended families face and also some of the ways their struggles are common to us all. Today we're going to look at one of the biggest issues parents, step-parents, and children face when two families become one ... favoritism. - We've been talking about the challenges blended families face and also some of the ways their struggles are common to us all. Today we're going to look at one of the biggest issues parents, step-parents, and children face when two families become one ... favoritism.

 

Blended Families Part 5: Favoritism and Other Four-Letter Words

 

We’ve been talking about the challenges blended families face and also some of the ways their struggles are common to us all. Today we’re going to look at one of the biggest issues parents, step-parents, and children face when two families become one … favoritism. We’ll also look at the need to view the blended family as one and how to avoid having a child-centered home.

In the last blog, I said the overarching goal of blending a family and for all of life is to please God (2 Cor. 5.9)—not to get along, not to have our needs met, not to feel loved or appreciated, but to please God.

I also discussed the importance of biblically loving one another, rather than merely getting along or even liking each other (Blended Families Part 3). And last week I started discussing the priority of the husband and wife relationship (Blended Families Part 4). Today we’ll look at some specific ways we can strengthen the marriage relationship, even while handling tough parenting issues.

 

Joe’s & Liz’s Story

 

Do you remember Joe and Liz (Blended Families Part 4)? Week-ends were rough with the added dynamic of Joe’s son from his previous marriage. How might they plan to have a better week-end the next time Joe’s son is with them?

 

Praying Together for God’s Wisdom

 

James 1.2-8 says:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

God promises to give wisdom to those who ask in faith and have a heart that’s willing to obey. And later in his epistle James added, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (Jas. 4.2). Parents in blended families need wisdom and, yet, how often do we actually stop and ask?

Failure to ask for God’s help and wisdom is foolishness, at best, and more often a form of pride, since we’re really saying, “Lord, I don’t need Your help. I can figure this out for myself!” It’s so easy to think the way that seems right to us is the right way. But Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14.12). Whether we’re faced with a stressful, potentially mine-filled week-end or just day-to-day events, we should be praying regularly for God’s wisdom.

 

Family Not Families

 

It’s important to see your family as one and your children as yours jointly and to prayerfully make decisions as a team. Practice taking time to talk over issues, in advance, considering the needs of all the children and your family as a whole. It’s especially important not to make special rules for children who aren’t in the household full time or to favor your biological children over your step-children.

 

Favoritism … The Other F-Word

 

Favoritism is quite possibly the biggest destroyer of the blended family. It weakens the husband and wife relationship, hinders the step-parent’s relationship with the other children, and leads to anger and bitterness. And, ironically, it often hurts the favored child as much as anyone else. Trust me on this one; it will create chaos and can drive a wedge between family members faster than you can imagine.  Continue reading

One Verse that Could Change Your Marriage Forever

 

One Verse that Could Change Your Marriage Forever - Is there really one verse that could change your marriage forever? Could it change other relationships, as well? I believe there is!Is there really one verse that could change your marriage forever? Could it change other relationships, as well? I believe there is!

 

First, let me say that knowing this verse won’t change your marriage. Even memorizing this verse won’t change your marriage. Using it like a club over your mate, definitely, won’t change your marriage … not even praying it will do it!

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in praying the Scriptures and this verse (actually two verses to be more precise) would be a great passage to pray for your marriage and other relationships, but it can’t stop there.

And I believe it’s important to know the Word of God. The Scriptures were given by God, in part, to teach us how to have good relationships, beginning with our relationship with God Himself.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3.16-17, NASB)

It not only teaches us, but it reproves us … shows us where we’re going wrong, corrects us … shows us how to get it right, and trains us so we can make godly living a lifestyle.

I, also, believe this would be a great verse to share with your spouse as something the two of you could work on together, though, we need to be sure we’re taking the logs out of our own eyes before we try to tell someone else where they’re going wrong (Matt. 7.3-5).

I believe in memorizing Scripture. Psalm 119.11 says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”  Continue reading