Posts Tagged ‘Parent’

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HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE RIGHT? – Dec. 24th

December 24, 2012

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”Judges 17:6

I think that I may need to reduce my consumption of wordpress blog reading. A tear has come to my eye on several occasions while reading the words of the lost.  Their own words cry out to their hopeless condition and need of a savior.

I have been shocked at the number of atheist blogs whose sole purpose is to attack people of faith, particularly the Christian faith. In general, these atheistic blogs rage against a god that they don’t believe exists, cast insults at me for beliefs that they don’t really understand, and scoff at a book that they have never studied. I tend to recoil from their aggressive hopelessness.

I stumble through a consistent stream of blogs pouring forth a confusing volume of spiritualisms that are probably best described as agnostic; an expression of a futility in searching for the absolute truth. Their words express to me a sense of defeat. They cannot use their own reason and logic to prove or disprove God so they punt – they settle for second best. A life of principles developed on what suits them the best.  I am astounded by the gamble they take in a belief system of their own creation; it will all work out if I am just a good person – that is a monumental gamble. It is a desperate hope.

The “Christian” blogs present a surprising wide spectrum of beliefs. I have read the words of those who have been hurt deeply, those who have been excluded, those who are running, those who are in rebellion and those who are wolves trying to destroy and tear down all in the name of true faith.

I don’t know how God handles it all because the magnitude of the lost and seeking is overwhelming to me.

One would have hoped that with all the fulfilled prophesies and proofs of the Bible that the times of doing what was right in our own eyes would be diminishing. From what I can see, “everyone did what was right is his own eyes” can be a motto for our generation. I am not sure how the Israelites of Judges can have us beat at doing life our own way.

I have become a little numb to conversations starting with “I think” or “can’t mean that” or “my god wouldn’t do that” but contain no or only selective scriptural support.  I am no longer surprised by the disregard shown to faithful theologians of old, who have searched the scriptures with much more vigor than I have, by being tossed aside as relics of an uninformed or intolerant past.

I guess what I am most confused by is trust that people place in themselves.

I know myself.  I know that I can be deceived. I know that I have inherent biases that will skew my decisions. I know that there is so much that I don’t know. I know that teachers of God’s word will be judged based on what they teach. I know that wolves will come into the faith and lead many astray. I know that I am to be examining myself.

Most of all, I know that my sanctification is not complete. Therefore, what seems right in my own eyes is probably wrong. My sinful nature is not inclined to follow God. Why would I trust it?

English: The Bible

English: The Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I need a sure foundation.  I need something absolute that I can trust.  I need a filter that I can use to sieve all the opinions of this world to discover the nuggets of truth.  We have been given such a tool. The Word of God, the Bible, is our standard. God has given us what we need so that we will not be deceived by ourselves or others. We need to be like the Bereans in Acts.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

This is why we need to know our Bibles.  God has given us his Word for our own good. I want to be like the Bereans – the only way I examine myself and have assurance is to be a man of the Word. The only way to be a man of the Word is to be in it daily.

Let’s learn how to use His word for His glory and our benefit.  Let’s dedicate ourselves to being people of God; a people of the Word.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you for not leaving me on my own to try and figure this confusing world out.  Thank you for protecting me from the wolves that roam about trying to lead me astray.  Lord, open my eyes to the truths of your word. Father, fill me with your Spirit – teach me to know your ways; help me in my unbelief.  Don’t leave me like I am. Transform me more this day into what you want me to be.  You are so good to me, beyond anything I could ever merit. I praise your name for you are my God.   Amen

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GUARANTEES IN PARENTING – Dec. 23th

December 23, 2012

“O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8

I think this is the prayer of every parent’s heart. We parents feel the incredible responsibility of raising and nurturing another life.  No responsible parent wants to fail at that task. One has to only investigate the parenting section of a bookstore to see that there is a significant demand for the answer to this question. Psychology has a whole branch devoted to investigating and researching child development to answer this question. Science is employed to discover the right methodology for raising our children to become well-adjusted adults.

I suspect that every responsible parent has looked at the precious little life asleep in those dark hours with a sense of fear and self-doubt – “I don’t want to screw this up. What am I to do with this child”.

It is the manufacturer’s operating manual that we seek. We want to be taught what to do with this child who has been given to us. The story of Samson encourages and discourages me. It reveals a reluctance in my heart to trust God. I want a guarantee; I want a standard operating procedure that will ensure the salvation of my child, if diligently followed. Unfortunately, the scriptures do not give such a guarantee.

Samson came from a home of devoted and dedicated parents who believed the promises of God. Yet, Samson was far from a Godly man. So, what went wrong with Samson? What did his parents do wrong?  Here is the hard part – probably nothing.  I have heard some teach that Samson’s parents were too indulgent.  They may have been. It is equally possible that his parents were not indulgent enough since they raised him as a Nazarite.  I am not sure how being over-indulging and the requirements of a Nazarite vow go together. However, look at how easy it is to fall into the “methodology mindset”. If Samson’s parents had only followed the right method, then Samson would have turned out different.  The problem with the methodology mindset is that we are missing a key ingredient – God.

The Blinded SamsonI don’t believe that God looks at Samson with a shrug and goes, “that is too bad; not what I really had planned but I guess it will have to do – if only Samson’s parents had done a better job.”  I believe that Samson was clay in the master potter’s hand from his conception and that his life played out exactly as God had intended.

Nothing went wrong.

Each and every person is responsible to God for the decisions that they make, there is nothing that we parents can do to program our children’s hearts to get the decisions that we want.

That can either discourage or encourage us.  I choose to be encouraged.  I have screwed up a lot of things in my life.  I have been like Samson more times than I care to remember. I don’t have to worry about screwing up my kids’ faith but that doesn’t mean I am relieved of any responsibility.  Parents are one of the tools the Master Potter uses.  My Dad gave me some simple advice when I became a father.  I have modified it a bit but here it is:

Love God with all that I am,

Love my kids as myself,

Love my neighbors as myself,

Teach my kids how wonderful God is,

Train them how to follow God,

Do the best I can and trust God.

God is faithful and good.  My kids’ faith is too precious for God to leave in my hands as a sinful parent.  My kids are in the hands of their Creator; the hands of the Master Potter. The question for me is whether I trust him to mold them into what he has planned for them.

God is good and he knows what he is doing. There is no need to fear.

PRAYER: Father – Thank you for the precious gift of my children that you have given me.  Lord, I know that their lives are in your hands. I know that nothing is impossible for you. Lord, I pray for their salvation; draw them to yourself; set them apart as your children; give them hearts that are wholly devoted to you.  Lord, may they glorify you all of their days.  Father, help me to be a faithful parent to them; teach me how to teach them.  May they look upon my faith and desire to emulate that. Keep my feet upon the rock; don’t let me stumble.   Amen

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