Uncategorized

THAT’S JUST NOT FAIR!

 

Joshua 17:14 “Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the Lord has thus far blessed?’”

How many times have you heard your children say, “That’s not fair, Mom!” Perhaps their sibling got an extra dollar in their allowance for doing an extra chore. Or maybe their brother was taken for an ice cream cone because they had cleaned their room without being asked.

Our kids see everything! And they don’t like it if they think they are being cheated “their fair share.” This passage today talks about how the sons of Joseph was complaining to Joshua because they thought they deserved more than they were given. While other tribes had conquered their portion of land and taken possession, these folks were reluctant because the enemies they faced had iron chariots. They were afraid to take them on. They had forgotten one huge thing – God was fighting on their side! Also, the land was already their land. They just had to claim it.

I love what Joshua did. He was a good parent to them. He said, “If you want it, go get it.” He didn’t do it for them. He told them it was their job to possess the land. We parents can take a lesson here. Stop doing everything for your kids. They must learn to do those things on their own. They must experience “the fight” sometimes. They must feel the tiredness in their bones after completing a chore. They need to see how a task looks after THEY complete it. Stop enabling your children just because little Gertrude whines and says, “Mommy (Daddy) I don’t know how!” You have shown her a hundred times. She knows how.

Don’t you want strong, independent children? Don’t you want them to be able to stand on their own two feet? Don’t you want them to make good decisions? Then teach them life’s not fair. But….God is! He always will do what’s best for them. Allow them to build that trust and faith in God by stepping out sometimes. They will always succeed if they are trusting the Father.

Standard
Uncategorized

DOWN AND DIRTY

 

Luke 5:19 “But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.”

We always concentrate on the healing that took place in this story. Of course, that is the point, right? But what about the poor homeowner? I mean, come on, there is a 6 foot by 3 foot hole in his roof now. It would have taken a hole about that big to let the man down on his pallet without dumping him out on top of the Savior.

How about the mess on the floor? All that roof top material had to go somewhere. People were crowded into the house to hear Jesus and all of a sudden stuff starts falling. What do you think they were thinking? And the poor house servant or wife! What a mess to clean up!

Our children need to know that sometimes faith can be messy. It’s not all about dressing up in our Sunday best (not that many people do that anymore –that’s a whole other lesson) and going to church to show our faith. Sometimes when we exercise our faith we can get dirty. Sometimes when we show Christ’s love for others we can get dirty. Sometimes when we reach out to lend that helping hand we can get dirty.

In fact, let me encourage you to get dirty. Take your kids out and do a mission project somewhere in your neighborhood that requires you all to get dirty. Then tell them this story. Those men who lowered that pallet got their hands dirty digging through that roof. But their friends healing meant more than clean hands. The servant or wife who saw the dirty floor didn’t care when she saw that man get up and walk. So get dirty for Jesus! Bet you haven’t heard that before!

Standard
Uncategorized

OOPS! DID I DO THAT?

 

Joshua 10:14 “There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.”

In order to get a clear picture of what I am going to say you should go back and read Joshua chapter 9 and the first 13 verses of chapter 10. Israel, specifically Joshua, made a big mistake right off the bat after they had entered the Promised Land. They mistakenly signed a treaty with a city which they should have destroyed because they didn’t take the time to seek the Lord about it. Gibeon becomes an ally when they were in fact living inside the land which the Lord told them to wipe clean of the foreign presence.

But then we see how the Lord used this to incite the other cities and people of the land to attack Gibeon and eventually come after Israel. Perhaps the Lord knew that the people of Israel would need a little incentive to attack and wipe out the pagans and unbelievers who threatened their existence in this land God had promised them. I don’t believe God planned for Gibeon to trick them into a treaty, but He allowed it to happen and then used the circumstances to escalate Joshua into action.

Have your children (or you) ever made a mistake? Have they ever made a decision that they know the Lord would not approve of? Of course! Haven’t we all? But God, once we come back to him and surrender to His Will, can take that mishap, that circumstance, and use it to teach us and direct us. Now God is not asking us today to go in and possess a physical land. But He is asking us to stake a claim in the name of Christ in a dark and foreboding world.

Your children can learn to stand up for righteousness. Just as Joshua and the people of Israel stood with Gibeon because of the treaty (they had given their word to them to protect them) your children can learn to stand for the cause of Christ. Even when they may have first missed it, they can allow the Lord to redirect them into a holy stand for Him.

Mom and Dad, will you do that? Will you take that stand? Will you surrender your mishaps to His divine Will and allow Him to make lemonade out of lemons? He will!

Standard
Uncategorized

GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN ME

 

Luke 4:13 “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”

Don’t you just love the audacity of Satan? Jesus, the Son of God, was led by the Holy Spirit (another part of the Trinity) into the wilderness. He hadn’t eaten in 40 days. He was hungry and probably a little tired. And when everything was JUST RIGHT Satan pounced. He pounced even though he knew he was taking on the Son of God. Jesus was not a stranger to him. But that did not deter Satan from trying to thwart God’s plan for mankind.

This is a great truth for our children to learn. If Satan would take on the very Son of God, he sure will try to lead us astray. He will try to tempt us in the same ways he tempted Jesus – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our children need to know that Satan is a real threat. But…..just like Jesus, with the power of God, not our own power, we can defeat him and resist the wiles of the devil. Greater is He that is in me!

That song has a verse that says, “Satan’s like a roaring lion, roaming to and fro, seeking whom he may devour, the Bible tells me so.” Before we are in the gentle, protective hands of Christ, we are nothing but devil’s food. But once we are in Christ, allowing Him to rule and reign in our hearts, Satan literally has not power over us. We are free! And Satan goes on a diet. lol

But he won’t stop coming after us. Just look at the verse for today. He left Jesus after the temptations until another time presented itself. Boy is he stubborn! He wants us to be useless for the kingdom of Christ if he can’t have us for himself. The secret for our children (and us) to remember is that Jesus is the key. He is the One who will make Satan flee. Let Jesus be the One you run to when Satan comes after you physically, emotionally or spiritually. He truly is greater, and He lives in every believer through the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!

Standard
Uncategorized

DIDN’T YOUR MOM ALWAYS KNOW?

 

Joshua 7:16-18 “16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken.”

I truly believe God gives Moms a sixth sense about some things. My mom always seemed to know when I was lying when I was a little boy. She could spot a lie from a mile away. As I got older I learned how to lie better, but I believe she always knew when I was doing wrong. I think she was the first one to say, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Lol

Seriously though, that saying is very true. Just look at the passage for today. Achan knew the rule. Don’t take anything from Jericho! But he just couldn’t help himself. He saw something he wanted and took it. That foolish choice cost him and his entire family their lives. Consequences!

But the point I wanted to make about this passage is how Joshua found out who was the guilty party. As the tribes, families and men came forth, God revealed to him who it was. Verse 14 tells us that they “threw lots” to find out. God told them to do that, so He was the one directing the choice. First the tribe of Judah, then the family of Zerah and then Achan. Don’t you know Achan was sweating as the choices narrowed?

Our children need to learn early that even if they do manage to fool us, no one can fool God. He knows the choice they are going to make before they make it. He knows we are going to make poor choices sometimes. All He wants is for us to come to Him in repentance and ask for forgiveness. There may be consequences for our sin, but even in that there is His mercy. Rest little children knowing God loves you and has set up guidelines to protect you.

Standard
Uncategorized

LOST OR NOT

 

Luke 2:49 “And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?’

Have your kids ever disappeared from your sight? I will never forget the time when our daughter, who was probably 2 or 3 at the time, vanished inside our home. We couldn’t find her anywhere. I was frantically calling her name and looking in every nook and cranny in our house. I knew she couldn’t have gotten out the door, but she was nowhere to be found. Finally, we heard her. She was hiding inside the fold of our closet bifold doors. She had become so frightened when she heard me hollering and getting more excited that she was afraid to come out.

My first thoughts as I read this familiar passage is how my parents would have responded. Man, I would have been in so much trouble. My bottom would have been warm for a week. Lol. But of course, I also wasn’t the Messiah. I would have disappeared out of disobedience, not obedience.

Jesus wasn’t lost. He was exactly where He should have been. He was far more at home in the Temple than He was with His earthly parents. We can only speculate on what kind of child He was. Scripture is noticeably silent on His childhood years. But it is apparent from this passage that He was familiar with the surroundings in which they found Him after their three day search.

Are your children at home in God’s house? Are they familiar with the surroundings? Do they know their Pastor(s)? Are they so comfortable at church that they had rather be there than anywhere? Jesus felt at peace in the Temple because of His relationship with His Father. How about your kids? Are they at peace with their heavenly Father? If not, maybe it’s time you introduce them.

Standard
Uncategorized

HOW DO YOU SPELL SUCCESS?

 

Joshua. 1:8 “’This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.’”

The world defines success differently than the Lord. Just look at this verse. The Lord is speaking to Joshua. Now, don’t miss that point. Up until now He had only spoken to Moses, but now Moses is dead. He has been buried somewhere on the mountain, and Joshua is the new leader of Israel. He was uniquely qualified because he had been Moses’ right hand man for 40 years. He had heard the Lord speak to Moses, so he knew His voice. And now God tells Joshua to go in the Promised Land.

But God tells Joshua that the measure of his success won’t be the amount of land he captures or the amount of gold, silver and precious stones he collects as the booty of war. No, the measure of success that the Lord uses is how well he keeps God’s Word. Do you understand what He is telling Joshua? He is basically saying, “Joshua, the battles you will fight over there are the easy part. What is hard and will determine your success is how well you keep my Law.”

Your children are going to have wins and losses. They are going to fall flat on their faces at times. They are going to bring home the 1st place trophy. Both of those, the triumph and the defeat, are part of growing and learning. But the real victory they will have in their lives is knowing and living the Word of God. That is where you play a huge role, Mom and Dad. How well are you doing helping them learn the Word?

Helping your child memorize verses will be a gift of success that YOU can give them for the rest of their lives. And YOU get to watch them succeed in life each and every time a verse is recalled in a life experience and lived out. Don’t measure your child’s success by the grades they make or the job they obtain. Watch success follow them as they apply God’s Word in their daily walk. “’…for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.’” Amen?

Standard
Uncategorized

THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

 

Luke 1:1-4 “ 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”

Don’t you just love to read books to your kids? I still remember my Mom holding my little sister and I and reading to us. She encouraged us to read. We would spend hours at the local library (yes, they had those back then, lol) reading and checking out books to bring home. They even had a program where you could compete with other kids on the number of books you read over the summer. I still love to read.

Luke is writing a story for Theophilus here. But it’s not just any book. He is telling him “the exact truth.” He wanted to make sure that he got the whole story and not just some rumors of what happened. Boy, isn’t that important! I can just picture Theophilus when he got this letter from Dr. Luke. He probably read it straight through without stopping. He hung on every word. He devoured this inspired Word of God penned by Luke.

Is that how you read these familiar passages? Luke is one of those books of the Bible that we have probably read hundreds of times. We are familiar with the stories, maybe too familiar. Do you understand that it is still “the exact truth”? The words penned by Luke through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are still the real story. Not make believe, not fable, not fairy tale. It’s real, and it happened just like Luke wrote it.

As you read God’s Word to your children, make sure you point out the truth that is in every word. Every word! No matter how unbelievable the miracles may seem or the story being told may appear, it is THE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth.

Standard
Uncategorized

WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG, BAD WOLF?

 

Deuteronomy 31.8 “’Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.’”

Dreams! Nightmares! The Boogie Man! The big, bad wolf! Do you remember your childhood fears? How about your children? Do they have bad dreams at night? Are they scared to go to sleep at night without the light on? We have all had those fears as a child or our child is having them. So what do we do with that fear? How can we not be scared?

These words in Deuteronomy were spoken by Moses to the people of Israel right before they were to enter the Promised Land. He is telling them, “Don’t worry about anything! God’s got this! He will always be with you. You just have to trust Him.” Moses knew that the people were scared, and not just because they were going to face obstacles in the land promised to them. They were going to cross the Jordan without him. Moses, their faithful and fearless leader of the past 40 years, was not going with them. God had told him he couldn’t enter because of his disobedience at the waters of Meribah. The people were panicked. “What do we do? How can we go in without Moses?”

Our children are going to have to face obstacles as they grow up. Mom and Dad aren’t always going to be there. When they face “an enemy” in the lunchroom, you won’t be there to hold their hand. When they are taking a test and are tempted to cheat, you won’t be there to tell them “no.” When they face those tough decisions between right and wrong, you may not be around or available to give them the answer. But…..”God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

What a perfect lesson for our kids to learn from this verse. As a believer we have nothing to fear. John tells us perfect love casts out all fear. There is no obstacle too big for us to face if we trust the Lord to guide us. And if He is guiding us, He is also protecting us. Nothing can touch us unless He allows it. So who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf? Not me!

Standard
Uncategorized

JUST GOTTA TELL SOMEBODY

 

Mark 16:8-11 “8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. 9 [Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.”

It is interesting that Mark is the only Gospel that implies that at first the women who came to the tomb on Resurrection morning and saw the angel did not immediately tell others what they saw. Verse 8 says “and they said nothing to anyone.” But you just can’t keep that kind of story to yourselves.

Have you ever heard good news and decided to keep it to yourselves? Maybe you had been trying for months or even years to have a baby and you finally get the news that you are expecting. You may, for a little while, keep it to yourselves, but eventually you tell everyone you love. Heck, you may even tell a perfect stranger. Lol

The news of Christ’s resurrection is just as exciting today as it was when the women discovered the empty tomb. It is still empty. He has still risen. He is still seated at the right hand of the Father. The women, as recorded here in Mark, kept the news to themselves out of fear. But they had to tell someone.

So how do we teach this truth to our kids? By getting excited about it ourselves. We need to make a big deal about the Resurrection. We need to live as if we actually believe He rose from the grave rather than that He is still in it. We need to show them we believe that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for all who have accepted Him. We need to – TELL SOMEONE! Have you done that? Your children will imitate you, you know. What better trait for them to imitate than your passion to share Christ with others.

Standard