Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Does God have confidence in your family?

Genesis 18:19 reads, "For I have know him, so that he will command his children and household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment, that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken about him."

This is a really neat verse. It is a powerful statement about the Abraham's faith in general; and God's faith in Abraham specifically. In this passage God had no problem putting all his eggs in one basket so to speak. He made a statement of fact when He said that He knows that Abraham will command his children and household after him and that they will keep the way of the Lord.

This got me thinking, does God have that same type of faith in me? I think he probably hopes great things for me as a father and husband. But I'm not sure if He were referring to me that he could make the same statement (that He did about Abraham). That's actually a little embarrassing. Usually, I do a good job. And I am pretty consistent. But it's those times when I get frustrated too easily. Or those times when I am too tired to sit down and read the Bible to my kids. Or, here's one you might relate to, when I get frustrated when I'm driving. My kids are always watching - and learning - from everything I do and everything I don't do.

What about you? What would God say about your family? Do you think He KNOWS that your family will follow Him and all His ways? This verse sure is a great reminder of our responsibilities. Do yourself two favors: even if you answered yes to the previous verse, think of three things you could start doing better. It could be your families' church attendance. It could be praying before you eat. It could be having better control over some personal sin issues in your life. It could be reevaluating some parenting practices that you have been thinking about. It could be modeling personal spiritual disciplines for your children - like reading your Bible and personal prayer time.

Here's the second favor I hope that you would do for yourself: share this list with your spouse AND your children. Talk about it with them. Believe me when I say that I know how difficult this idea is. But you would be surprised at just how rewarding it could be.

May God bless you and your family. Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Temptation - The Devil's Playground, pt.4

Well, it's only been about three weeks since the last post. It's about time I get back on here. You ever feel busy? Busy like three weeks go by and you don't realize it? Anyway - here we go with the fourth and final post on this little series on how the devil works to attack us and what we can do to combat his efforts. No recap needed - so let's get right to it.

This is the good news edition. We've heard what the devil does - now here's what we can do. First, (prepare yourself because you're about to get blessed with a deep theological truth) know your specific challenges. Yep, that's the first step. Know what you struggle with. We all have natural tendencies that are both good and bad. There are sins that others struggle with each day that I can turn my nose up at. Both there are also things that I know I have to stay from away from that wouldn't bother others in the least. So I suppose this point really has as much to do with having the courage to admit and face your struggles as it does with knowing what they are. This reminds me of a passage in 1 John 1, where it says that if we say we have no sin then we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins He is faithful and will forgive us and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. This scripture really teaches us that we have to know what sin we have in our life. And in order to confess it, we have to have owned up to and confronted it.

The second thing we've got to do is to remember that whenever temptation comes it is from Satan. It's not accident and it's not from God. This is really a common sense idea. You can't beat an opponent if you don't know who it is you're up against. Just like any ball game. You know who you're scheduled to play - and in a lot of cases you'll even have a scouting report on them. Fighting against the devil is no different. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we're not fighting against flesh and blood but against the ruler of the dark world and against spiritual wickedness in high places. Remember that it's him you're up against and that you have a game plan to beat him - the Bible.

If these first two don't completely do the trick - then check this out. Every sin we get into has consequences, spiritual and physical consequences. The biggest consequence is obvious. Sin leads to spiritual death and spiritual death is separation from God. That's what Jesus' purpose was in coming to earth - to remove that separation and bring you and I back into relationship with our Heavenly Father. But aside from that big one, there are many other tangible consequences that we have to live with every day. I often hear people question God for the terrible things that happen in our world. Often those questions even turn into blame. I don't kid myself into thinking I have any answers to these question. I don't. If I did I would have written a book and gotten well off of it. But here's one thing I do know. Most of the problems that you and I deal with, and most of the problems the world deals with, are a direct result of someone's sin. There's always a consequence - we shouldn't ever forget it.

Ok, here's the fourth. Know specific scriptures that directly to challenges that you face. Being able to respond with the Word of God is the best weapon we have to use when Satan shows his face. But in order to use it, we have to know it. Reading our Bible every day is better than any medicine or vitamin in the world. It'll help keep you healthy and strong!

Here's the last one - remember that the war has already been won. Jesus won the war when He gave Himself up on the cross and then beat death. We are really just fighting those last few skirmishes and battles - and you can win. Remember what James 4:7 says - submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The battle is yours to win. God Bless!