Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 4, 2013

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members." Romans 7:14-23
A funny thing happens when I am preparing to hit my tee shot and looking down the fairway I see a water hazard. If my last thought is, "Don't hit it in the water!" Guess where the ball goes?
It is the same thing that happens when someone tells you, "Don't do that!" It makes you want to do it!
That is the nature Paul describes in Romans 7. He makes the argument that knowing the law causes you to break the law because the law says what you can't do. The does and don'ts in the law runs afoul with your rebellious sinful nature. His basic argument is "the law can't save anyone." It can't save the pagan (7:7-14), nor can it save the one trying to live by the law (7:15-22), nor can it even save the man with a new nature (7:23-25).
This explains why you or I cannot save ourselves. We cannot manage sin. We cannot regulate sin or control sin. We cannot escape the power of sin.
Paul describes it this way, "You are married to sin. Like a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives, so you are bound to sin as long as it lives in you."
Says who? Says the law!
Living with sin is like living in a bad marriage. You can't be happy and you can't get out. The Christian can be the most miserable because there are two natures warring within. He is double-minded and unstable.
So, what's the answer? Death of that tyrant is the only way out.
How many times have you heard someone try to justify their own goodness by claiming that they "keep the commandments"? Maybe you have said that.
How many religious people try to save themselves by doing good works? The hope is to tip the moral scales in their favor by doing more good things than bad things. Is that you?
A desperate problem requires drastic action. Your sin nature has to die. The spiritual nature must live and grow. Nothing else will work but complete surrender to the Holy Spirit of God.
Are you ready to empty yourself to be filled with Him?

August 3, 2013

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6
Wisdom dictates that Christian parents are to "train" their children "in the way" they should go and if they do the child will not depart from "the way" when he is older.
What a great promise!
We have been studying the various meanings of the word "train" in the rearing of children and we identified for important concepts - "define", "direct", "discipline" and "dedicate". In today's post I have shared a Biblical example of each concept.
DEFINE - Joshua
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the godswhich your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LordAnd if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
When many of God's people were forsaking Him and pursuing idols, Joshua stood and defined what the Joshua family was going to do! They were going to serve the Lord!  From that day forward the children of Joshua knew where they stood and what would be expected of them.
That would mean obeying God and keeping His Commands. That meant Joshua and his family would despise idols and offer sacrifices to the Holy God Jehovah.
"For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”  And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.  Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth,  two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark."  Genesis 7:4-13
It is hard to imagine that there was just one man in the whole world who was faithful to God, but that was the case! Noah, alone, found grace in the eyes of the Lord and he stayed in God's grace because he followed God's directions to build an ark!
For the 120 years it took to build the ark, Noah was preaching repentance to his neighbors and directing his family to assist him in this massive life-saving project. Noah was directed by God and then directed his family according to God's will. Together, "they worked out their salvation with fear and trembling."
'For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”If  you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:4-11
The example of discipline is the greatest Father all, Heavenly Father!
If the most loving Father EVER doesn't hesitate to discipline His children, shouldn't you?
"So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young.  Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.  Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there." I Samuel 1:24-28
This dear lady is the best example I can think of when I consider this issue of dedicating a child to the Lord.
When God had mercy on this barren woman and granted her a son, she did as she  had promised and gave this son (Samuel) to the Lord.
Many of you have dedicated your children to the Lord but you didn't literally take them and hand them over to the preacher for life. Hannah did!
Hold your children precious but don't shy away from standing for what you know to be right!
Parents, you have your orders! "Train up" your child(ren) in God's way and according to His Word!
Define for them what it means to be a Christian in your household!
Direct them and their decisions based on the Word of God!
Discipline them to say "yes" to what God desires for you and "no" to your own sinful desires.
Dedicate them to the worship, the service and the intercessory prayer ministry of God!
Do you need to "wise up" in your parenting? Are you willing to follow this "training" regimen for your life and lead your children in that way as well?