A Thought for a Dad.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old , he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

I just want to think for a moment about what we should teach our children.  I would like to take a different direction.  Yes, we should teach our children about the Gospel and about walking with God.  Yes, we should take them out with us when we go soul winning.  Allow me to take a different thought.  We should teach them what they should be interested in.  In other words we should help them to develop a non electronic hobby.

The average kid has one hobby, video games.  Then parents complain that all their kids do is play games.  Well, duh.  What are they being taught?  What about model cars, baseball cards, hunting, or fishing?

I have a unique hobby, it is straight razor shaving.  I have three razors that I have learned to hone and take care of.  It takes time and I enjoy it.  We live in a high tech world and we lack a high touch experience.  So for me, it is something I enjoy.  As my son gets older he will grow accustomed to that as my hobby and may develop an interest in it as well.  I hope to teach him the necessary patience and work that is needed to sharpen and maintain a blade.  I hope to teach him to set aside time every day to do something that he would enjoy and allow him to meditate.

I don’t mind the occasional game.  I played them as a kid.  I would prefer that he develop other interest.  That interest could be traditional shaving, or it could be something else.  What ever it happens to be it is my responsibility as dad to guide him towards an interest that he would enjoy and that would help teach him some valuable life lessons.

 

 

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A Word for Mom

This weekend is Mother’s Day.  I know, it just seemed like we just put away the Christmas tree.  Well most of us have.  Any ways, back to the subject.  I have been doing much thinking about the lady we call Mom.  I am addressing husbands and children in this post.  I have been studying the book of 1 Peter in preparation to preach a series entitled, “A Call to Faithfulness..”  1 Peter 3:7 speaks to the husbands about being a faithful husband.  Studying this verse has helped me to fall more in love with my wife.

Mother’s Day is a day that we honour our mothers and the mother of our children.  She is a special lady deserving of our love, tenderness, and support.  The best Mother’s Day gift we can give is our love.  Men, let me challenge to fall in love with the mother of your children all over again. 

A Burden We Should All Bear.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:30

When I read this verse I always picture an animal such as a horse with a large pack on his back.  He is traveling with a burden.  This is his job.  There is a reason he is a beast of burden.  I want us to think how that we are intended to travel through life   We are to find our rest in the Lord as we are carrying a burden.  What is that burden we should all bear?

Consider the Gospel as the burden we should all bear.  We are familiar with the fact that we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.  It is hypocritical to support worldwide missions if we will not be missionaries where we are.  Can we be involved in worldwide missions and neglect reaching those around us?  Of course not.

To that end think of that message that we are delivering to those we see.  Whose message is being delivered?  It is God’s  He made it a simple message.  Because it is so simple many may say it is too easy to believe.  However, it is so simple we may have a hard time delivering it the way that it is written.  It is easy to muddy up the Gospel.

Romans 10:9-13 explains to us that all a person has to do is believe.  In other words all a person has to do is reach out their hand and receive the gift of salvation.  It is so easy to add to that message.

Adding to the message of salvation is false doctrine.  There is no way around it.  If we add our opinions to the Gospel it becomes a false doctrine.  If we teach a false doctrine that would make us a false teacher.

I get the opportunity to stand before my church three times a week.  My greatest fear is not standing before people, but delivering a false message.  God made salvation easy.  It is not my job to add to that simple message.  I am to deliver the Gospel message just as clearly as God wrote it.

My burden, simply put, is this.  I do not want to muddy up the Gospel.  We should all bear that burden.  By the way, if we do it God’s way we will find the rest He is speaking about in Matthew 11.

Wisdom and Discretion

One of the best things we can do for our daily walk with God is read a chapter of Proverbs.  We think we are wise, but if we neglect the wisdom that God gives in this down to earth book we are foolish.  Proverbs 2 is a powerful chapter.  It deals with discretion which we will think of as the result of wisdom.   Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:   Proverbs 2:11  
Everywhere we go there seems to be a lack of discretion.  We lack discretion with what we do, what we say, what we think, what we read, etc.  The list could literally go on until the end of this article.  My prayer today needs to be my prayer for the rest of my life.  “God, give me discretion.”
Take the time to read the entire chapter, but focus in on the first five verses.  The key word here is “if.”  If we want wisdom and discretion we must search for it.  If we want wisdom and discretion we must use what we read.  This is the greatest error we are all guilty of preforming when it comes to walking with God.  We do not put to practice what we read.
The Bible was written with the intention of being used on a practical level.  When was the last time we have heard a message that we needed but we did not use?  The same question could be asked about our daily devotional life.  God speaks and we often listen and we often forget.  
Wisdom is found in the Bible.  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.   Proverbs 2:6  God does not hide it from us.  It is written for all of us to have.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher.
A closer examination of verses 12-19 shows us the clear danger of ignoring the wisdom of the Bible.  Living a day without discretion would create situations we would need delivered from in order to survive.  The wise writer speaks of those who forsake the guide.  If we are without discretion it is our own fault because we are forsaking our guide.  God promises wisdom to those who ask it.  The answer is found in the pages of God’s Word.  
This chapter ends with a reward for obedience.  Really whatever decision we choose for today has its own reward.  If we seek after wisdom and use the wisdom we find through discretion we will be rewarded the blessings found in verses 20-21.  
My prayer for those of you who read this article is that you will have a desire to have discretion today.  This means that you will practically apply God’s Word you your life.  This practical application will make us more like Him.  God give us wisdom and discretion. 
wisdom-sign

A Thought on Pastoring

I have only been a pastor for a couple of months. I am by no means an expert. There is one lesson that has come to my attention rather quickly. There are battles that we are facing as a family that would not be waged if I was not a pastor. I am not speaking about people problems, counseling issues, etc. These are personal issues. These personal issues make the ministry the most exciting and the most difficult job in the world. Life has been a roller coaster from day one. People have been moved by the preaching. Visitation is making an impact on hearts in the community and in the church. God is working. So is the devil. Allow me to lift one verse from Galatians 6. This is an application of the the verse. It is Galatians 6:2. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. I want to encourage you to help your pastor carry his burden. How can you help your pastor? The first thing that comes to mind is to pray for him. He needs you to lift him up in prayer. The devil has him in his cross hairs. When your pastor came to pastor your church he placed his family on the devil’s hit list. He needs to pray for a hedge of protection around him and around his family. He needs to pray for him when he is discouraged. He needs prayer as he prepares messages. He needs prayer before he preaches. He needs prayer as he plans. He needs prayer as he does the job of a pastor. Not only does he need prayer as a man of God, he also needs prayer as a family man. He is a husband and a father. If he looses his family you loose a pastor. He faces the same struggles every family faces. His family is not perfect. He wants to see his children grow up and serve God, but many children do not. Pray for them. So many speak of the pastor. They do not like his preaching, his direction he is leading the church, his people skills, etc. Criticism does not help him. Praying for him is also praying with him. You will be bearing his burdens with him in prayer. Make this a daily issue in your prayer life.

Count your Blessings

One of the songs I enjoy singing in church is “Count Your Blessings.” It was written in the late 1800’s by Johnson Oatman, Jr. The first verse speaks of discouragement. What do we always focus on when we are battling the devil? We think of the battle. Some have said that if Satan is not fighting you then you must be doing something wrong.

 It is true that as Christians we should see our battles through the lens of a spiritual warfare. The fight we may have with people, things, and circumstances are not fights with people, things, and circumstances. They are part of our spiritual warfare. We grow weary in the fight and become discouraged.

 Why do we focus so much on the battle? Scripture leads our focus elsewhere. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalm 68:19 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Psalm 103:2 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12

 We are told not look at our circumstances, we must count our blessings. It is so easy to be discouraged. It is so easy to have the attitude that leads us to sing the song, “Woe is me. Everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.”

 What did the Psalmist say? He said that we are loaded with benefits. Psalm 68:19 ends with a musical term, “Selah.” This word means to think about what you are singing. Remember that the Psalms are songs. When was the last time we thought about the hymns that we sing in church? We are creatures of habit. We tend to sing “Count Your Blessings” while we are thinking about a fight we just had, or while we are thinking about a bill that needs to be paid. Perhaps we are dwelling on a mistake we made. The point is we do not always think about what we are singing.

 If the purpose of the song service is to prepare our hearts for the preaching of the Word of God then we must meditate on those words we sing. This would lead us to the doctrinal truth this hymn was written to teach us. That truth is we are so forgetful of the benefits that God has given us. Let us stop what we are doing and just see how good God really is.

 My friend, are you dreary, are you heavy hearted? Then, “Count Your Blessings,” and just as the song says, “It will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

The Will of God

One of the major topics of concern with many believers is the will of God.  What does God want me to do?  I have come to think that we misunderstand the will of God.  We approach it this way.  We devise a plan and we pray that God will bless us as we launch out.  All though it is admirable to launch out into the deep, it is foolish to launch out into something God never intended for us.

I am trying to change the way I think by asking myself one or two questions.  First, where is God working?  Second, what is God doing?  We need to get in on His plan for this world instead of us trying to convince Him to get involved in our plans.  If we do this we are submitting to what He wants.

Christian, are you struggling in knowing what the Lord has for you?  I challenge you to immerse yourself in the Scriptures for the simple fact that we all need to know God better.  Develop a relationship with Him.  From there look for where He is working in your church, in your community, or maybe even in another location completely foreign from where you are.

We are living in the last of the last days.  These days are the most exciting days to serve God.  Get in on it.