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                                   Help My Unbelief!

By Wayne Jackson

 
It is an episode fraught with mystery; one about which we wish we knew more. A man brought his son, who was possessed of a demon, to the Lord’s disciples. He wanted the Master’s men to cast out the evil spirit, but they could not. Jesus pinpointed the problem; the disciples’ faith was lacking (Mark 9:17-19; cf. Matthew 17:20). Accordingly, the lad was brought directly to the Savior himself. As they came near, the malignant force threw the child into a convulsion, and the boy fell to the ground, foaming at the mouth.
 
The father subsequently informed Christ that this had been going on for a long time, and the lad had suffered much damage. The gentleman then said to Jesus: “If you can do anything, help us.” Note carefully that “if” (Mark 9:22). The Savior then said, with something of a rebuke, “If you can!” The meaning obviously is: “What do you mean, if I can? All things are possible to him who believes.”
 
There are two points to be noticed here. First, the Master was saying this to the father: “The issue is not my power; it is your faith!” The man obviously had some faith in Christ or he would not have approached the Lord. On the other hand, his trust was not at the level it needed to be. He still had some doubts. Perhaps he was growing; but the fact is, he was struggling.
 
Second, the Lord’s affirmation that “all things are possible to him who believes” is limited by the context. The Lord was not asserting that one can do anything he believes he can do. You may be led to believe that you can spread your arms and fly off the Golden Gate Bridge, but regardless of what you believe, you’ll fall straight into the bay. Here is a point that must be understood. The supernatural works that were possible during the ministry of Jesus are not possible today, inasmuch as God himself has removed miraculous phenomena from the church (see Miracles).
 
In response to Jesus’ challenge, the father cried out, with the sort of agony that only a parent could know: “I believe; help my unbelief” (9:24). What a strange statement. Does it not contain what appears to be a contradiction? “I believe; help my unbelief.” Jesus did not so view the matter; rather, he immediately rebuked the unclean spirit and commanded it to leave the boy—never to enter him again (9:25).
 
The spiritual confusion of this father is so typical of the intellectual and emotional turmoil that can plague any of us at a given moment in our lives. No one is characterized by a “red-hot” faith around the clock.
 
We know there is a God who made us. The evidence is so utterly overwhelming that only a foolish person can deny it (Psalm 14:1; cf. Romans 1:20-23). Furthermore, intellectually we know that our Heavenly Father cares for us. The historical fact which demonstrates that he gave his precious Son for us is ample evidence of his boundless love. Nobody can argue that God doesn’t care—in the face of the cross! “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
 
Be that as it may, sometimes, when we are hurting so badly (and pain can generate confusion), our hearts may overpower our heads. By that we mean this: our agony forces clear logic to the side, and we begin to “think” with our feelings. We still believe, but we are angry. We feel neglected; we don’t understand why the Lord doesn’t rush to our beckon call. Sometimes we pout. We refuse to talk to him (i.e., we don’t pray). We think we will punish him by refusing to assemble with other Christians for worship. We may even say harsh and thoughtless things to him, almost literally shaking our fist in his face.
 
At times like these we need to get hold of ourselves and give ourselves a good shaking. We need to cry out, “Lord, help my unbelief!” We need to ask for his patience. We need to weep before him. We ought to analyze our situation and attempt to determine if we have contributed to our own problems; and if so, is there anything we can do to help remedy the circumstance. What we absolutely must not do is give in to our frustration. Once we cease struggling with our faith, and let it slide, we are headed down a slippery slope that may lead to eternal ruin. What a horrible thought to contemplate. Lord, I believe; but help me in my times of unbelief!
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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THE WONDERFUL GRACE OF JESUS; HIS GRACE MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON

Transforming ourselves into the Image of God. 

 
 
 
Growing can sometimes painful. Growing spiritually compels us to leave our comfort zone. It causes us to stretch, to set goals for ourselves and to change for the better. The purpose of this lesson is to help us learn how we can live more in the image of God and to set goals to help us achieve this.Here is what I think God wants for us; God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be “JUST LIKE JESUS”
 
 
 

Paul gives us a goal in 2 Corinthians 3:18

 
 
 
What is the goal? To continue to be transformed into the image of Christ. If we have become comfortable with some of our ways and with some of our thinking and in our attitudes, then changing those to align ourselves with the image of Christ might bring some discomfort.
 
 
 
In this lesson we are going to look at four ways that we can bring ourselves into alignment with the image of Christ.
 
 
 
Goal # 1) Always remember that we are the temple of God. We live in the image of our Lord through our habits and lifestyle.
 
 
 
Read 1 Corinthians 3:16
 
Recall this epistle was written to the collective church in Corinth. The Lord’s church is the temple of God. The warning in this verse is that anyone who defiles the temple will be destroyed. So what does this mean?
 
 
 
2 Corinthians 6:16-18, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters,
 
Says the Lord Almighty.”
 
 
 
2 Corinthians 7:1
 
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
 
 
 
Christians must cleanse themselves from anything that can harm us either physically or spiritually. We must be continually examining ourselves in search of anything we are doing that can harm us either physically or spiritually and get rid of it. Any type of bad practice or bad habit, any type of immoral action is what falls into this category. And once identified, it must be cleansed from our personal lives.
 
 
 
Why is this so important?
 
1) It effects our destiny
 
2) The world is watching us to see how we live. We must always bear in mind that wherever we go, or whatever we do in the world, we constitute His temple and that whoever does anything to defile His temple will be destroyed. The best lifestyles are lived as examples for others to follow.
 
 
 
Goal # 2) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must mind our own business and not meddle in the affairs of others.
 
 
 
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. “
 
 
 
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
 
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
 
 
 
Notice the connection in both passages between not working and busybodies. When one is not working, they have much more time to meddle in the affairs of others. Work is good for Christians. Good works keep Christians out of all kinds of trouble and helps keep us from sticking our noses into the affairs of others.
 
 
 
Christ was not a meddler. He did not get into other people’s business, he was not a busybody.
 
 
 
Goal #3) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must be careful how we dress.
 
 
 
The women of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s time were not acting or dressing like God’s people.
 
 
 
Read Isaiah 3:16 and following. What were these women doing? They were being seductive and flirtatious. They were drawing attention to certain parts of their body by the things they wore and the way they acted.
 
 
 
Because of their behavior and dress God said He was going to strike them down and being them to shame.
 
 
 
Read Matthew 5:27-30. If men can be guilty of adultery of adultery just be having lustful thoughts, then can women be guilty of harlotry by just promoting those thoughts in men? Is a flaunting walk and a seductive outfit a form of harlotry? Since men can be guilty of adultery by having lustful thoughts then women who promote those lustful thoughts are just as guilty.
 
 
 
Proverbs 7:10, “And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart”
 
 
 
Notice how she is described. She has the dress, the attire and the adornments of a harlot. Both men and women can fall into condemnation because of how we dress and how we act.
 
 
 
Goal #4 ) If we want to transform ourselves into the image of God, we must cleanse our speech.
 
 
 
Ephesians 5:3-7 “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. “
 
 
 
We must cleanse ourselves of filthiness. This word carries the meaning of obscenity, something that is deeply offensive to morality and decency.
 
 
 
Foolish jesting and course talking means being crude, vulgar and irreverent, especially in things dealing with sexual matters. These are language habits that are corrupt and debase. It is sometimes called gutter language today. These are things that should not come out of a Christian’s mouth.
 
 
 
Psalms 59:12, 1 Peter 3:10, James 3:5-10
 
 
 

Jesus Christ would never have engaged in this type of language practice, therefore if we are going to transform ourselves into the image of Him, we cannot do it either.

 
 
 
 
 

The image of our Lord:

 
 
 
We could not imagine our Lord abusing His body with smoking, drugs or alcohol.
 
We could not imagine our Lord being lazy and not wanting to work.
 
We could not imagine our Lord meddling or being a busybody in other people’s business.
 
We could not picture Jesus dressing in some type of vulgar, gaudy or expressive attire.
 
We could not imagine Jesus having a vulgar, foolish, gutter language manner of speech.
 
 
 
If our goal from 2 Corinthians 3:18 is to be transformed into His image, then that means we have to work on those things. Our dress, our manners, our speech, what we do physically, where we go, who we are with because the world is always watching.
 
 
 
Someone else is always watching too. Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
 
 
 
What image are we really reflecting. Does the world see us as a people who are really trying our best to transform ourselves into His image, or is the world seeing a bunch of hypocrites?
 
 
 
We talk about Christ and about being religious and things spiritual, but do our lives reflect that? Which of these things does the world see in us? What we teach or how we act?
 
 
 
We need to be constantly scanning and examining ourselves. Our goal is to be more like Him at the end of the year than we were at the beginning; To be more like Him at the end of next week, than we are this evening; to be more like Him tomorrow than we are today. The Christian life is to be one of constant progress. We must strive to be more and more like Him in every way, every day.
 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM SOME LAZY LESSONS

                   WHAT THE SCRIPTURES TEACH US ABOUT LAZINESS

 

Intro.

 
1. God has always intended for man to be engaged in meaningful labor, Gen. 2:15; Col. 3:23; 1 Ths. 4:10-11; 2 Ths. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:8 – Diligence, as unto Lord, honestly, to provide for self & others.
 
2. Lazy: “Not eager or willing to work or exert oneself, slothful…slow & heavy; sluggish.”
 
3. Are we lazy? At our secular jobs? At our spiritual work? (Rom. 12:11)
 
 
 
I. JESUS WAS NOT A LAZY PERSON.
 
A. He Understood the Work Given Him, Jno. 4: 34-35 (Lk. 19:10).
 
1. Understanding it, He urged seizing it!
 
2. cf. Servant, Mk. 10:45.
 
B. He Was Driven To Do His Work, Jno. 9:4.
 
1. Couldn’t meet crowds, instruct apostles, confront many enemies, etc. & be lazy!
 
2. Gospel of Mark (action) – “Straightway.”
 
3. He was compelled to do what had to be done:
 
a. Didn’t wait until He “felt like working.”
 
b. Until “everything was just right.”
 
4. These excuses breed complacency, procrastination & laziness!
 
 
 
II. LAZY LESSONS.
 
A. Prov. 6:6-11: Can Keep from being Lazy by Watching and Learning how Others Work.
 
1. v. 6 – Cf. the industry of the ant.
 
a. v. 7 – Self-starter (No prodding needed).
 
b. v. 8 – Uses time wisely for future needs.
 
2. v. 9-10 – Sluggard stays in bed too long!
 
3. v. 11 – Leads to poverty & want.
 
4. Spiritually: Learn spiritual work by watching those who do it! Phil. 4:9
 
a. Self-starters, using time wisely (Eph. 5:16). 1 Cor. 9:25-27
 
b. Don’t lie down on the job – Deprived of spiritual. blessings! 1 Tim. 4:12
 
B. Prov. 19:15: Idleness Breeds Laziness.
 
1. Many get used to not working – like it!
 
2. Without exertion & labor, hunger comes.
 
3. Spiritually: Can condition ourselves to be satisfied with idleness!
 
a. Exercise yourself, 1 Tim. 4:7.
 
b. Don’t be content….Grow! Heb. 5:12-14
 
c. Develop eagerness! Jno. 9:4 (Rom. 13:11; Eph. 5:14).
 
C. Prov. 12:24: The Lazy Man will Always be Controlled by Others.
 
1. With little effort to provide for himself & his own, he becomes subject to the control of others.
 
2. Spiritually: Laziness makes us susceptible to being controlled spiritually:
 
a. False teachers, Jude 3 (1 Jno. 4:1).
 
b. Other’s convictions – Just following w/o resolve, faith & grounding!
 
c. By sin, 2 Ths. 3:11; 1 Tim. 5:13.
 
d. Be diligent! 2 Tim. 2:15
 
D. Prov. 18:9: Laziness Wastes One’s Life and Opportunities.
 
1. Prov. 24:30-34 (Field, vineyard) Advantages were neglected & squandered!
 
2. How many lives destroyed by laziness!
 
3. Spiritually: We must be good stewards of the blessings we have been given!
 
a. Trustworthiness, 1 Cor. 4:2.
 
b. Lk. 16:1-2, 9-12 – Having been entrusted with the gospel & salvation, we must dispense it in a worthy fashion.
 
E. Prov. 21:25: Laziness Produces Nothing Beneficial, While Industry Brings Results.
 
1. Lazy man sits around dreaming of gold & silver, but gets nothing! (get rich quick schemes, etc.). The industrious person gets busy & does what is needed.
 
2. Spiritually: We must get busy to improve our spiritual condition!
 
a. Personally, 1 Pet. 2:1-2 (2 Tim. 2:15) – Knowledge, teaching, exhorter, etc.
 
b. Church growth, Acts 8:4.
 
F. Prov. 22:13: If You Don’t Want to Work, any Excuse is Good Enough!
 
1. Spiritually: Don’t look for excuses not to work for the Lord! Acts 24:25
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
God has given us meaningful work in the kingdom – must not be lazy toward our work, 1 Cor. 15:58.
 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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QUESTION: ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

                       The Legacy We Leave Our Children”

 

Intro.

 
1. We are adept at raising monuments to events, places, people.
 
2. But, time fades memories (Eccl 1:11), and monuments become tarnished (cf. Statue of Liberty).
 
3. What do you want your legacy to be?
 
a. Financial security to your children? cf. Eccl 2:18-19
 
b. Power? Can be abused (Solomon — Rehoboam).
 
c. Prestige / Fame? It is certainly not long-lasting.
 
4. We can leave a memorial which won’t fade nor be tar­nished — Christ living in the hearts and lives of our family and friends!
 
5. Parents: What kind of legacy are we leaving our children? Eph 6:4
 
-“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD… (Psa 127:3)
 
 
 
I. THE LEGACY OF OUR LIFESTYLE, Psa 101:2.
 
A. “An Example is the Best Teacher.” (Actions speak louder than words!)
 
1. Certainly true of family life. (Children will take on the character traits of their parents.)
 
2. Bible insists upon godly example being set for children within the home:
 
a. They will learn by parents’ actions, Exo 12:25-27 (Passover)
 
b. Their actions would provide opportunity to teach their children. (cf. Worship, morals, language, etc.)
 
c. Neglect contributes to sin and ruin, 2 Chrn 30:26.
 
3. Where is there more need for our “lights to shine” than in our homes before our children?! Matt 5:14-16
 
B. “Do as I Say, Not as I Do.”
 
1. Losing battle when parents teach w/o living what they teach.
 
2. If good examples promote good character, then bad examples foster corrupt character, 1 Cor 15:33.
 
3. How do our children see us dealing with:
 
a. Family quarrels (strife), cf. Eph 4:31-32; 5:22, 25.
 
b. Honesty and integrity in work, cf. Eph 4:28; 6:5.
 
c. Conflicts with neighbors, Rom 12:17-18.
 
d. Relationships with brethren (backbiting, etc.), Jas 4:11.
 
e. Priorities of Christianity, cf. Matt 6:33.
 
4. If our children see unrighteousness/hypocrisy in us they can be disillusioned with the gospel and Christianity! Col 3:21
 
C. “Christ in our Hearts – Faith in our Lives” (Eph 3:17).
 
1. Things of God, not worldliness, Col 3:1-2.
 
2. This must be the legacy we leave our children.
 
 
 
II. THE LEGACY OF A WHOLESOME, SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT, Eph 6:4 (cf. 1 Sam 1:27-28).
 
A. Put the Word Of God into Our Children’s Hearts, Deut 6:6-9.
 
1. What will achieve this? Daily Bible study and talk.
 
a. Word must first be upon your heart, 6:6.
 
b. Takes diligent, deliberate effort to train our chi1dren, 6:7.
 
c. Consistency: Make Bible study a part of home’s routine, 6:7
 
d. Repetition: God’s word a constant part of life; 6:8-9. (Don’t assume a point once heard is forever learned!)
 
e. Study yourself: You can’t impart what you don’t know! Plus, your example in this is vital.
 
2. Training doesn’t just happen; it takes effort, Prov 22:6.
 
B. Worship Together, cf. Deut 12:12.
 
1. Make going to worship God a pleasant, joyful event — Not a dreaded burden. (By how we prepare, talk about it, etc.)
 
2. Set the pattern of its importance by removing all obstacles that can prevent your presence, Heb 10:25.
 
3. Sing, pray, study together at home – Worship isn’t confined to a church building!
 
C. Insist on Godly, Moral Entertainment (for you and children).
 
1. Phil 4:8: “Garbage in, garbage out.”
 
2. Monitor Internet, TV, movies, music, etc.
 
3. Provide alternatives to school dances, swimming parties, etc. where immoral behavior occurs.
 
 
 
III. THE LEGACY OF RESPECT FOR GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE, Matt 10:37.
 
A. Be on the Lord’s Side When Decision Time Comes, Exo 32:25-26.
 
1. When our children are out by themselves (date, school, work), what will they do?! What we have taught them?
 
2. Joshua influenced his family to fear God above all else, Josh 24:15 (cf. Abraham, Gen 18:19).
 
3. On the other hand, Eli, in fail­ing to stop his sons’ ungodly actions, honored them above God, 1 Sam 2:29; 3:13.
 
4. What a tribute, to know that your children will honor God’s will above all else because you taught them to do so!
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. We must be concerned with the legacy we are leaving our children!
 
2. Epitaphs fade, memories fail and monuments erode, but the works of the righteous have a lasting impact on the world.
 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A MESSAGE TO ALL OF OUR GRADUATES BOTH PAST AND PRESENT

                              GOD’S ADVICE TO OUR YOUNG GRADUATES
 
Intro.
 
1. The state of our youth (Socrates, c. 400 BC; sermon in AD 1274).
 
2. Young people are facing & making choices that will stay with you for the rest of your life (education, dating/marriage, drugs, alcohol, gangs, etc.). – cf. Deut. 30:15
 
3. Most important decision you can make is to serve God.
 
4. Eccl. 11:9-12:1 – Wise advice to young people (any age).
 
 
 
-[Three R’s for educating young people.]
 
 
 
I. REJOICE IN YOUR YOUTH – 11:9.
 
A. Being Young Is A Blessing From God – cf. 12:3-8.
 
1. Strength – Prov. 20:29. (cf. 1 Sam. 17:35-37; Psa. 27:1)
 
2. Adventure, new things to learn, explore, experience.
 
B. God Wants You to Enjoy Being Young!
 
1. Rejoice – “To be glad, to cheer up, be happy” – Pursue wholesome pleasure – 3:12-13, 22; 5:18; 11:8.
 
2. Remember: Something does not have to be sinful/wrong for it to be fun! (Smoking, drinking, violence, dirty jokes…)
 
C. God Wants You To Know That You Will Answer To Him For Your Conduct While You Are Young.
 
1. Chose your activities knowing they will be judged.
 
2. Cf. Parents fill role of judge for a time (teach the lesson).
 
3. God sees all / judges all [you will answer for all].
 
4. Some grown-ups do not want to put this responsibility upon their children (or themselves) — But God already has!
 
a. Do you understand sin? Is there sin in your life? What will happen to you if you are not saved from your sins? Who Jesus is? What He did for you? What should you do for Him?
 
b. Accountability means you are responsible & that you will answer for your conduct. – 2 Cor. 5:10; Eccl. 12:14.
 
 
 
II. REMOVE THE CAUSE OF SORROW: SIN – 11:10.
 
A. Being Young Is Not An Excuse To Sin.
 
1. Sin brings spiritual death/present difficulties.
 
2. Find genuine joy in your youth by removing evil which causes pain & sorrow – cf. Lk. 2:52.
 
3. Being young is not completely satisfying (“vanity”).
 
B. Remove Sin From Your Life (The Cause Of Sorrow) – Psa. 119:9. (We all sin — it is what we do about it that makes the difference!)
 
1. Become a Christian (H-B-R-C-B).
 
2. Live for Jesus – Be faithful (Matt. 7:21).
 
3. Run from sin & to good – 2 Tim. 2:22.
 
4. Be careful of the friends you choose – Prov. 1:10-16.
 
-2 Corinthians 7:1-
 
 
 
III. REMEMBER GOD – 12:1.
 
A. Think About God Now…Today And Every Day! – Prov. 3:1-2
 
1. Joseph – (Gen. 39:1) – At 17 (37:2), he remembered God though in a far away land!
 
2. Samuel – (1 Sam. 3:10) – As a child he was ready to hear God speak.
 
3. David (1 Sam. 17:33, 37) – He remembered God’s power to save. (Great faith).
 
4. Josiah (2 Chrn. 34:1-3); At 16 he began to seek God & aggressively combat sin. You can seek God & defend truth, too.
 
5. Daniel & his companions (Dan. 1:8-16) – Remembered it is more important not to defile themselves than to go along with the crowd.
 
6. Timothy (2 Tim. 4:12) – Remembered to set an example of godliness from his youth up.
 
7. Jesus (Lk. 2:49) – Always remembered to obey God.
 
B. Things That Will Help You Remember God:
 
1. Make up your mind…Now! – Josh. 24:15
 
2. Learn the Bible – Rom. 10:17.
 
3. Obey God – Heb. 5:9 (Jesus saves those who obey).
 
4. Pray – 1 Ths. 5:17.
 
5. Praise (worship) God – Psa. 148:12-13.
 
6. Eccl. 12:1 – You are setting a pattern for the rest of your life right now!
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
1. Eccl. 11:9-12:1 – Youth are to rejoice in all good things that give the heart true happiness (v. 9).
 
a. Put aside sin because it interferes with true joy (v. 10).
 
b. Know that only by remembering God while you are young will you find true happiness throughout life (v. 1).
 
2. Eccl. 12:13 – This is your duty, too!
 
 
 
 
 
Citations
 
THE STATE OF YOUTH
 
 
 
“Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority—they show disrespect for their elders and love to chatter in places of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food, and tyrannize teachers.”
 
 
 
(Attributed to Socrates, c. 400 BC)
 
Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953)
 
 
 
 
 
 
“The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.”
 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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TO ALL THE GODLY WOMEN OUT THERE; “THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR THE FAMILY”

                          “HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY”

 TODAY, LET US CELEBRATE ALL OUR MOMS FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE!!! “MOM, I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!!”

Both men and women need to be taught how to be good parents (Titus 2:3-5). As Christians we have the wonderful opportunity to help people in the world who are struggling with parenthood, and plenty are, for many young parents did not have a good role model of parenting when they were growing up and thus have no clear path to follow. We can show them.
Mothers Worry
 
Mothers worry about all sorts of things. One writer noted a mother who was “worried sick her little girl is going to end up a brat or die young or be disliked or be too impulsive or have addictive tendencies or never develop self-control” (A Mother’s Worries, Amy Henry, Worldmag.com). We can equally disproportionately fret about everything from food preservatives, white sugar, mean kids, their fingers getting caught in the car door, touching something hot, catching the latest flu bug and inexplicable fevers. I like how God helps us with our fears.
 
He first wants to hear every one of them: 1 Peter 5:7
Secondly, He asks us to trade all lesser fears for what really matters. He wants us to come to Him and refinance or restructure our worry debt. If we trust Him, all our fears can be reduced into one simple “payment”, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
That is, our one overriding concern in parenting is seeking to help our kids make it to heaven. If they make it to heaven, then it does not really matter what else happened or did not happen to them, and if they don’t make it, then all the other stuff that we sought to protect them from – was all for naught.
 
A Mother’s Love
 
Being a mother has never been easy, especially when the mother is dealing not only with Satan, that roaring lion who is after her children (1 Peter 5:8), but also all the human expectations that our society tends to place on mothers. Do we have our children in all the right classes at the right ages, how did our kid’s birthday party measure up to the other parties? All these rules and countless others are all in constant flux. Once again, the Bible is our liberator. There are two basic areas that will demand your focus.
 
Love your husband: Titus 2:4
 
If your kids don’t clearly see this, then everything you are doing isn’t going to make much of a difference. Love that dad, speak respectfully and kindly of him, back him up, and stand together as the team you were designed to be (Genesis 2:18). Ayelet Waldman received flack in 2005 over her New York Times essay, ‘Truly, Madly, Guiltily”. She stated that she loved her husband more than her children. That she loved them, but wasn’t ‘in love’ with them. The people who really got on her case, were other moms. I did not read all the article, but she was right about one thing, there is a difference in the love one has for one’s mate and the love one has for one’s children. Be “in love” with you husband. Kindle your romance. The security of knowing the stability of a warm and solid marriage will benefit your child immensely. It creates a burden for the child when the child realizes that a parent is “in love” with them, that is, has all their hopes and dreams wrapped up only in that child.
 
Love your children: Titus 2:4
 
What wisdom was demonstrated when God created the human family to be composed of a union between a man and a woman – that God selected the female to be the mother and the male to be the father. Women can have an abundance of wisdom about really practical things, such as relationships. I am reminded that it was the mother of King Lemuel who gave the excellent advice about sexual fidelity (Proverbs 31:3), the dangers of alcohol (31:4-7), having the courage of speak up when justice is on the line (31:8-9), and the type of woman and a king (and all other men) needs to marry (31:10ff).
To the young, unmarried Christian woman. Do you want to be able to enjoy mothering your children in a peaceful, joy-filled home? Do you want your children to look back upon their childhood with warm, fond memories? Then don’t even date a man who:
 
Physically abuses you (hitting, slapping, pushing, shoving, etc.)
Making excuses for abuse “I was drunk”, “I Can’t control my temper”, “I was joking”.
Makes you feel unworthy, inadequate, or crazy.
Twists the truth to make you feel guilty for their own actions.
Threatens to harm you or harm themselves if you leave the relationship.
Demands to know where you are at all times.
Falsely accuses you of flirting or looking desirously at others.
Becomes jealous when you want to spend time with friends or family.
Pressures you to have sex, or engage in lascivious acts.
Tells you they would not abuse you if you were change.
Tells you what you do is never good enough – constant criticism.
Their emotion for you runs from hot to cold, and is used to manipulate you.
Makes you nervous so that you have to tiptoe around him to avoid his wrath.
Treats you as a servant rather than the love of his life.
Calls you degrading names.
Insists you drink or do drugs with them.
Does things to scare you as a means of punishing you – hits walls, drives dangerously.
Keeps money from you; keeps you in debt; has money secrets.
Breaks things when he is angry – including your things.
Keeps you from getting ahead, going to school, getting a job; wants to keep you dependent on them for everything.
Uses you as a kind of temporary stop-over as they are waiting for the next relationship.
Acts one way in front of others, and another in front of you.
They spend money on you and then expect sexual favors in return.
 
Healthy Relationships
 
They honor and respect you in both deeds and words: 1 Peter 3:7
They seek to understand your needs, thus they listen carefully.
They are joyful to be with you: Ecclesiastes 9:9
They sacrifice for you and protect you: Ephesians 5:25
They bringing out the best in you and help you move closer to spiritual people and God. Nourishing a relationship in which you can grow and thrive. 5:29
They have your back. Genesis 2:18
They do you good. Proverbs 31:12
You fully trust them. Proverbs 31:11
They value the truth, especially the truth about their own short-comings.
They are not suspicious. 1 Corinthians 13:7
They acknowledge responsibility for themselves, and admit their own mistakes.
Together you search for win-win solutions, and do things that each of you enjoy.
They fairly share the work load.
They disagree with you without threats or name-calling.
They giving genuine compliments, not selfishly expecting something in return.
They help without keeping score.
They encourage your success in those things that are meaningful and important to you. They do not ridicule your goals or dreams.
 
Honoring Your Mother as An Adult at Home
 
Turning 18 does not exempt one from the rules and responsibilities of the family. Mom and Dad are still expected to follow the rules and pitch in, so is everyone else in the house, no matter the age.
Parents should never feel like they are strangers in their own homes and should never feel uncomfortable in their own homes. Add to the joy and peace of your home.
Verbal disrespect is never tolerated, “honor” is an ageless principle.(Eph. 6:1-2).
Submit joyfully to the rule of God in your household (Joshua 24:15), and honor him. Be grateful for all the blessings that spring from being in a Christian home.
Parents always have the right to speak the truth. Listen to your mother Prov. 31:1ff
When possible, help with the rent or other household expenses.
Be grateful when your mother allows you to suffer for your foolish decisions, and does not constantly prevent consequences. Consequences can be a good thing. Thank God that He is allowing life to also parent you.
 
I would like to close this lesson by saying, “After all, don’t worry, things will just work out”, they will turn out okay – and yet we know that this is not always the case. Teach them about God, inform them about the devil, give them everything you have, pray hard, reinforce them everywhere you can – and know that you are the best person qualified for this task. God is with you in this! When you give it your all, God promises a “Well done good and faithful servant”.
 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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MY GREAT EXPECTATION WHEN I OPEN THE WORD OF GOD

                               Psalm 119:1-8

           “WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO READ YOUR BIBLE?”
 
I. When you open your Bible, what do you expect from it?
 
II. Some Expect a Rule Book
 
A. Just the other day I was asked “Where do I find a list of God’s laws in the Bible?”
 
B. The Bible is not a reference book where you can look up “Cheating” and find everything you need to know on the subject. Nor is it a set of statutes commonly found in lawyer’s offices where you find related items index and provisions listed by topics.
 
C. God’s laws are contained between the covers of the Bible, but the laws are presented in a variety of ways.
 
1. Stories that make the needed information readily memorable
 
2. Letters discussing problems and solutions
 
3. Historical accounts showing how laws fit into the context of events
 
4. Genealogical lists
 
5. Poems
 
6. Collections of wise sayings
 
7. Accounts of dreams and visions in symbolic terms
 
8. And yes, there are occasional lists of things to do or not to do.
 
D. It might strike you as an impractical way to relay information
 
1. But if you look at man’s history, it is the way we have been doing it since the very beginning
 
2. When is the last time you met someone who was memorized Webster’s dictionary? Or who knows the IRS tax code by heart? Better yet, who would want to memorize such boring things?
 
3. Yet millions of people have memorized all or significant portions of the Bible – Psalm 119:97-103
 
E. The Bible contains a wealth of information – II Peter 1:3
 
1. That is a broad subject matter for such a relatively small book.
 
2. I have dictionaries bigger than my Bible.
 
a. Try carrying the Encyclopedia Britannica around sometime.
 
b. I wonder how many rooms I would need to hold all the rules and regulations of the United State’s government.
 
3. Yet, God says He has managed to tell me everything I need to know about life and godly living in one book that I can easily carry with me.
 
F. The Bible’s error correcting abilities
 
1. In computers, we know that it is dangerous to keep only one copy of a piece of information.
 
a. One small change can make a significant loss of information
 
b. We are encouraged to make back-ups.
 
c. But even internally, a computer duplicates information.
 
(1) Memory contains check bits to detect alterations
 
(2) They use error-correcting information so that small changes can be repaired.
 
2. Imagine if God only mentioned every subject just once.
 
a. A copying mistake or a lost of passage would severely alter what God would have us to know.
 
3. People have attempted to alter the Bible in the past, but they always get caught.
 
a. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible alters John 1:1 to say “In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” because they refuse to believe that Jesus is God.
 
b. It has been rightly rejected because this is not the only verse mentioning Jesus’ deity.
 
c. The same information is located in the Bible multiple times in a variety of ways – some blatantly obvious, but others subtly hidden amongst other things.
 
d. Because of the interlocking information, we can even used the altered New World translation to show that it is in error because the alterations create internal contradictions.
 
4. I don’t know of any comparable book written by man with this capability.
 
III. Some Expect Immediate Understanding
 
A. Pentecostals believe that the Holy Spirit gifts them perfect understanding.
 
1. Thus they spend little time studying the Bible. Instead, it is used as a proof text.
 
2. Their mind is already made up, after all they understand! So phrases and verses are quoted and referenced to back up their preconceived ideas.
 
B. Some sit down and expect to read through their Bibles like a novel, but when they lose track of the plot, the put it down in disgust.
 
C. The Bible is meant to be understood – Ephesians 5:17
 
1. Psalm 119:25-27 – Much of the design of the Bible lends itself to easy recall
 
2. Stories of events and characters
 
3. Parables
 
4. Even the Psalms with their parallel and contrasting thoughts make them easily recalled.
 
D. But there are hard sections – II Peter 3:15-16
 
E. Even more, the Bible is meant to be studied – II Timothy 2:15
 
IV. Some Expect Total Confusion
 
A. Several denominations, most notably Roman Catholics, teach that the Bible too difficult to understand by the average layman.
 
1. Many, therefore, walk away with really trying
 
B. While portions are difficult, the whole is not
 
C. Christians have the words as a part of them
 
1. Word is to dwell in us – Colossians 3:16
 
2. It is truth that lives in us – II John 1-2
 
3. Hidden in our hearts – Psalm 119:9-11
 
D. Some are assigned the task of helping others gain better understanding
 
1. Under the Old Law – Nehemiah 8:8
 
2. What Paul did – Acts 17:2-3
 
3. What Philip did – Acts 8:30-31
 
E. But these people didn’t tell other to listen to their own words. They taught people how to understand the word for themselves.
 
V. Some Expect it to be Outdated and Irrelevant
 
A. Mankind in its arrogance and ignorance believes that they are different from all past generations.
 
1. They believe that society has changed and evolved so that past understanding cannot be applied to today’s situations.
 
2. Yet, the Bible warns that nothing really changes – Ecclesiastes 1:10-11
 
a. Rather, each succeeding generation forgets what has happened in the past.
 
b. Newness is only an illusion brought about by ignorance
 
B. People have the same flaws as they had in the past. They face the same sins. They need the same solutions to their problems – Luke 17:26-30
 
C. God doesn’t evolve or change – Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 102:25-27
 
D. Morality or ethics taught in the Bible doesn’t evolve or change – I Peter 1:22-23
 
VI. Learning from the Bible
 
A. A reading schedule
 
1. Read the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
 
a. They repeat, but they are eye-witness accounts of Jesus’s life, each written from a different person’s point of view.
 
b. Unlike multiple witnesses among men, they harmonize perfectly
 
2. Read Acts and see how people responded to the gospel message and the impact that message had on the world
 
3. Pick several of the letters in the New Testament written to churches and see how people dealt with applying the laws of Christ to their day-to-day lives.
 
4. Turn back to the Old Testament and learn the history of God’s dealing with man. See how we came to point of the New Testament.
 
a. Read: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, Jeremiah, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
 
5. Return to the gospels and suddenly you will notice things that you missed the first time you read through them.
 
6. Now read all the letters to the churches.
 
7. Study the books of wisdom: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalms
 
8. Read through Isaiah and then start again
 
B. With each pass through the Bible, expand on what you learn by examining a few more books.
 
1. If something doesn’t make sense, make a note of it, but move on.
 
2. Something you read later will clarify what you didn’t understand earlier.
 
3. The Bible is one of those rare books that becomes more meaningful each time you read it.
 
C. My father in-law always mentions that there wasn’t a day that he took up his Bible that he didn’t learn something new from it, and he’s been preaching the Gospel for nearly close to sixty years.
 
D. Give attention to reading – I Timothy 4:13, 15-16
 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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