PARENTING IS A BIG RESPONSIBILITY!

My having shared thoughts on being a mother and father it is equally important to understand what the Bible has to say on parenting. Numerous books and magazines have been published on this topic but only one matters which is the Bible.

Parents today continue to seem confused about their roles. They can be arrogant, distressed, indulgent and the list goes on nearly forever. The Bible is clear on their responsibility. They are to protect such as Moses parents did (Hebrews 11:23). That requires being careful of ALL that your child is exposed to as they develop. Being a very hands on parent.

Children are also to be taught most especially about the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). This requires being informed yourself through study and taking (not dropping off) children at church and its many ancillary activities. Furthermore the wisdom of the elders as it is passed down (Deuteronomy 4:9) and added to through a parents own life experience is to be shared with children in order that they can learn from the mistakes and experiences of others.

Correction is also a part of being a good parent. If a child is not corrected for bad behavior it may well open the door for such additional behavior and even worse. A wild horse may be beautiful to watch but unless it is broken and trained it is of little value to others. There is indeed truth in the old saying that to “spare the rod is to spoil the child”.

Finally parents are to provide for their children and not vice versa (2 Corinthians 12:14). In a world where things change so fast that the younger are needed to help the older understand is one thing but ultimately parents need to provide for their offspring. Indeed PARENTING IS A BIG RESPONSIBILITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Parents are to protect and provide perpetually.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “Train a child in the Lord”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me grace to always be a good parent.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What did you learn from your parent?
  2. To what extent should ‘the stick’ still be used?
  3. What wisdom can you share with a child?
  4. How do parents provide in a fast paced world?

HOW WE COME BEFORE HIM

One topic I have yet to address that is very evident throughout Scripture and evident in so many ways in our society is that of nakedness. As Christians that which causes us discomfort or unease we like to ignore yet it (nudity) affects us in so many ways. Daily we read stories of incest, adultery, pornography and more. We observe nudity on the street, television, theater and art museums. It is even a part of the necessity for care and healing in a medical setting. So what should we think?

God cannot by His nature create that which is sinful. I believe all God’s creation is beautiful including our very physical presence. Adam and Eve understood this (Genesis 2:25) when living in a righteous state. The problem as it is with everything is when sin came into the picture. Nakedness is a natural state until we fall into sin (Genesis 3:10-11). We are born as a special creation of God without clothing, yet original sin requires that our life in all its aspects (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) must come to God fully clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10-11 and Revelations 19:8). What God cares about is HOW WE COME BEFORE HIM.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Nakedness was natural until sin found a necessity for clothing.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 2:25 “the original state of mankind”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I fully understand Your plan for me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What sinful acts make clothing necessary?
  2. Is seeing the unclothed human frame acceptable in any situation (ex. museums, hospitals, care facilities, etc.)?
  3. Is there any spiritual significance to our being born naked?
  4. What is necessary to grow in righteousness?

LEAD THE WAY

Recently I wrote about womanhood so it is only appropriate to write what Scripture shares regarding masculinity and its characteristics. Society and academia have tried to convince us that we need to be more gender neutral. Not as God would have us be defined but as a few ‘elite’ believe a man and woman should be. When mankind removes God’s Word as the source of all truth and place themselves in the position of God this is what happens.

My truth is God’s Word and God defines for me what it means to be a man. First of which is self-control as recorded in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. Sadly, many  men fail big time here loosing control seen in various levels of anger. Often doing harm to members of their own families.

A man is also someone with mature understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20). This requires getting rid of all childish ways and for me that only comes with a growing knowledge of God’s Word. Despite this we see fewer men bringing their families to Houses of Worship and staying for adult Sunday School or Bible classes.

Third men are to be the ones who show courage. Abisha addressed this when defeating the Ammonites as told in 2 Samuel 11:12. Courage in battle was once the sole purview of men, at least at the front lines of conflicts. Today social engineers are trying to redefine that Scriptural viewpoint. At least as they would understand life apart from God.

Finally we receive instruction in 2 Timothy 2:3-5. Here we see that mankind is meant to endure hardship. We are to live life by the rules and whatever hardships come along persevere for ourselves and as an example for our families. A great many men in the Bible showed us the way in these areas such as Joshua, Daniel and others. Now it is our turn to LEAD THE WAY.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Manliness manifests itself best in a marriage where the Lord is the Master.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “Manliness begins with self control”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I be the man You want me to be.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are childish ways that prevent mature understanding?
  2. How is society trying to redefine manliness?
  3. What is the danger of the gender neutral movement?
  4. What additional masculine characteristics are there?

 

MOTHERHOOD IS INDEED SPECIAL!

It is always awkward for a man to write or speak out on any matter related to women. Yet Scripture does not have a volume control depending on who is reading what verse. The Bible speaks loud and clear to all people at all times. This is especially so on the issue of motherhood.

Let me begin by saying that in the framework of faith there were women in leadership and valued beyond the boundaries of the home. Three of those were Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe. That being said I believe the Bible is clear that God’s purpose for women is motherhood. In fact God’s plan was made perfectly clear in Genesis 1:28 telling mankind to “be fruitful and multiply”. When a woman brings forth and/or raises a child she is fulfilling divine law and no greater fulfillment exists than that no matter what present day society  asserts.

Two additional aspects of motherhood are first of all it should be joyful (Psalm 113:9). Joy being one of the graces of God that we are blessed with. Many  in society today have put under attack (motherhood) what God meant to be a blessing and sadly many wrapped up in themselves have fallen for what I believe is this demonic lie.

The second aspect of motherhood is that within this act of love lies salvation as 1 Timothy 2:15 tells us. Through the act of childbirth God sends us packages of love and in our love and trust of God we raise another precious soul for His Kingdom. MOTHERHOOD IS INDEED SPECIAL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Motherhood is like unto divine music sung to our Master from the mountaintop.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 1:28 “motherhood fulfills divine law”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for mothers.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What were the roles of Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe?
  2. How can a woman without a natural born child fulfill the role of motherhood?
  3. What does it mean to bring forth and/or raise a child?
  4. How has society put motherhood under attack?

MARRIAGE MODELS THE MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL BLISS

Marriage though not commanded by Scripture is certainly encouraged. The key as with all matters of life is to understand it properly. The cornerstone of marriage is for one man and one woman to unite themselves in the holy bonds of matrimony and create the integrity of one flesh. This to be emblematic of Christ, the Lamb of God, and His bride the church (Revelation 19:7).

In this marriage the husband must love the wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). That requires an understanding that all things have order (1 Corinthians 11:3) and that in that order submission comes out of the love already in place and not demanded before the love is given.

Important in marriage is that we know any form of sexual immorality is considered an abomination to God (Hebrews 13:4). Numerous passages throughout the Old and New Testament affirm this and list these abominations. If caught up in one of these practices we must turn from the sin and what is necessary for it to no longer be a problem. Christ shares His Words with us on that as one example in Matthew 5:27-30. There is forgiveness but repentance and correction is necessary.

There is a great deal more that can be said about matters such as the physical relationship aspect of marriage and how marriage should be handled between a believer and non-believer which should be avoided. For today it is important to understand that MARRIAGE MODELS THE MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL BLISS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Marriage manifests the Master’s Eternal plan.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Genesis 2:18-24 “God’s design for marriage”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always honor Your gift of marriage.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is sexual immorality?
  2. How does God want us to understand the physical relationship in marriage?
  3. How does a believer and non-believer marriage need to be handled?
  4. What is the message the church needs to convey to the world today?

CHILDBIRTH

I begin today’s thoughts with a disclaimer. As a man speaking about childbirth it seems somehow out of place yet the Scripture has much to say on the subject which I now share with you.

Motherhood is certainly in harmony with God’s plan. Trusting and loving God and living a Holy life Scripture tells us will remove some of the pain (1 Timothy 2:15) that came with Genesis 3:16 and original sin. For many these verses are difficult to accept or understand as we want to be in charge rather than live under God’s authority. Yet when we accept the truth of Scripture we see the beauty of childbirth which is symbolic of the restoration of life. Symbolic of our return to the Garden of Eden. Symbolic of Christ’s and our own resurrection some day. Childbirth truly is the best symbol of the new birth we experience as Christians.

Most all understand the fear, pain and hazards that can accompany childbirth but remaining focused on the joy afterwords get us through. Two thoughts go along with this. The first is a traditional Jewish view that as God added pain to childbirth in Genesis 3:16 so also the cries of pain at child birth will reach the Lord Who will open the womb. I do not know how many mothers who at that exact moment of delivery consider it a love gift from God but that is exactly what that newborn is.

A second thought is how mankind in its ignorance chooses to interfere with childbirth (God’s promise). We have not only abused this promise with acts of abortion but also by means of surrogacy, test tubes and more. Galatians 4:22-23  shares the story of Abraham who had one child come by promise and one by other means. Not placing trust in the miracle working power of God has resulted in many of the difficulties we are facing today.

The Jewish Talmud writes that God gave His Son Jesus Christ 3 keys that He alone could open the doors to. They were rain, resurrection of the dead and childbirth. Mankind today seems obsessed with controlling in some fashion each of these though that will never happen to the extent they believe they can. Today we give thanks to our Lord and Savior for His part in CHILDBIRTH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Childbirth in the name of Christ has eternal consequences.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Galatians 4:22-23 “Abraham’s poor decision”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for the gift of childbirth.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Options to consider when unable or choosing not to have children of one’s own?
  2. Explain all the symbolism in childbirth?
  3. In what ways is abortion the antithesis of childbirth?
  4. How has Abraham’s decisions impacted today’s world?

 

HAPPIER HOMES AND A BETTER WORLD!

There was a time when the worst behavior of our youth defined them as ‘juvenile delinquents’. To be labeled as such was an embarrassment almost beyond recovery especially by the parents. Today being embarrassed is seldom seen and behavior continues to get worse while rules and laws protect the truly guilty often more than the innocent.

Juvenile delinquency has been around since long before the time of Christ. The sons of Eli were such in their disrespect for honoring the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Only the day before I write this I saw youth wandering the streets on a Sabbath morning in my nearby community. For my  family the Sabbath was a day of worship of God and time with family and not focusing on self.

Samuel’s sons (1 Samuel 8:1-5) likewise were juvenile delinquents. Placed in authority there favor was able to be bought. That same scenario exists today where ‘truth’ is sold to the highest bidder. What many do not realize is God’s truth can never be compromised. God as ultimate judge will see to that. Numerous other examples of juvenile delinquency exist in Scripture but the real question is how do you provide safeguards against this reprehensible behavior.

First it is necessary to have parents who pray. One of the best examples is Hannah (1 Samuel 1:9-28). Her faithful  prayers for a child who would be dedicated to the Lord were heard. Today parents need again to return to prayer.

In addition to prayer there needs to be strict discipline. The old adage of “spare the rod (you) spoil the child” is still true. In fact it is Scriptural found in Proverbs 13:24. Not only should discipline be used when bad behavior occurs but as vs. 24 tells us it should be done promptly.

Finally juvenile delinquency would be less of an issue if early training on proper behavior occurred (Proverbs 22:6). There may be some truth in the adage that “it is never to late” but proper training from conception on using the Bible alone as your guide will make for HAPPIER HOMES AND A BETTER WORLD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Juvenile delinquency happens when human judgment replaces divine judgment.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  Proverbs 22:6 “early training is a safeguard against juvenile delinquency”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep my family in Your truth.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How are today’s rules and laws affecting juvenile delinquency?
  2. What factors reinforce juvenile delinquency?
  3. How do people try to compromise truth?
  4. How does the Bible understand discipline?

THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY!

In a post modern world such as we live in absolute standards are thrown out the window. At least those which we once considered pillars of lifestyle. Watching those who control the message we receive (news media, movies, television, etc.) it is far different than what the Bible would tell us. Our free will here has to make a choice. Obedience to God or obedience to man.

So the question is: what is immoral (a wrongful act). First we must consider the sanctity of the body God has given us. Our body is a temple of God not meant for fornication (sexual relations between unmarrieds) as 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 points out. In verse 18 we are directed to flee from it and flee we must without excuse.

The answer to sexual immorality is in the traditional marriage between one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2). No other combination or arrangement is acceptable according to the teaching of God’s Word. In the process of our sanctification which is to grow in the image of God abstaining from sexual immorality is a must (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In fact it should not even be as much as talked about (Ephesians 5:3) other than that it is forbidden.

One day when Christ returns it will be judged (Revelation 19:2) for the evil it is and the great damage to millions of souls it has done. That is THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Immorality removes the image of God from our identity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 7:2 “traditional marriage is one answer to immorality”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord open our eyes.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is fornication by God’s definition?
  2. How is fornication seen in our world today?
  3. Why is immorality seemingly growing so rapidly?
  4. What is Biblical marriage?

FREEDOM FROM SIN AND GUILT AWAITS US

We often look at the smallest of children as symbols of innocence. Free from any sin or guilt yet it isn’t long before that innocence goes away and human nature appears through acts of disobedience and defiance. As Christians we believe this is innate in all of us through the original sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5;12). Only Christ can save us from this (vs. 16) and return us to a right relationship with God.

The Word of God speaks of 4 kinds of innocence toward which we should strive. The first is the absolute innocence just mentioned which comes through our relationship with Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:21). Second our lives should be conducted in a manner in which Christ’s was which is to assure ourselves of legal innocence much like Pilate proclaimed of Christ in Luke 23:4. Making every effort to follow in Christ’s footsteps will help keep us on the right path.

Their are two remaining kinds of innocence. The first is moral innocence. This requires we conduct ourselves in a manner where our conscience remains clean based on our being obedient to God’s law. The last is spiritual innocence. We should be as 2 Peter 3:14 tells us found by our Lord and Savior “in peace, without spot and blameless”. As I have shared often before this requires we live lives displaying the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A life of innocence in union with our Lord and Savior can be ours. FREEDOM FROM SIN AND GUILT AWAITS US.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Innocence often comes through instruction and influence.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 5:12 “innocence lost by disobedience”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord make me clean.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Why is Christian parenting so important in the life of children?
  2.  Why does evolution (macro) conflict with original sin and need for Christ?
  3. What is necessary to remain morally innocent?
  4. What is necessary to remain spiritually innocent?

PASS IT ON

As citizens of the United States of America we find ourselves today in the midst of a great celebration. A celebration of freedom for which many have fought and died and continue to do so this day. A land with a rich history that needs to be understood and passed on.

Sadly for many our heritage as a nation and as individuals is most often given little attention other than we can make a party  out of it. That is certainly not God’s plan as heredity (the transmission of physical and mental traits) was often sovereign as in the example recorded in Romans 9:6-16. Once a child of God it is important we transmit that great heritage and faith to others which for me is first and foremost to my children. Transmission that should also include the blessing of a free nation.

What sadly is transmitted to our children is our sinful nature (John 3:6-7) but if we as parents and adults are born again of the spirit that also can be passed on (along with all which accompanies it) to those we love most.

Certain hereditary traits are automatically passed along to our children through DNA. The image or likeness of a parent is often seen in children (Genesis 5:3). Sadly what does not always get passed on is a parents love for God as seen in the example of Samuel and his sons (1 Samuel 8:1-5). With all this being said we are called to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior and do all we can in remaining faithful to our heritage by PASSING IT ON.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual heredity is helpful when we heed the words of our heirs.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 31:30 “individual responsibility for our lives”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for my family foundation of faith.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What hereditary traits do you have?
  2. How do hereditary traits and being an example tie together?
  3. How are mental traits transferred?
  4. What faith foundation are you setting for your family?