VIDEO Walking the Talk at Home

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

In one family, the dad spends all his time landscaping the yard. In another, the mom lives on the phone. In another, parents read Bible stories and pray with their children every night. And in yet another family, the parents talk about how much they love their church family and friends. It reminds us of the saying, “Careful what you do, ‘cause little eyes are watching you.’”

It’s not hard to notice what peoples’ priorities are. It matters less what we say and more what we do. Saying is important at the right times, but we need to spend more time doing in the home than talking; our actions speak louder than our words. If someone interviewed our children and asked them, “What’s the most important thing to your dad and mom?”—their answers might be revealing. When we manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our home (Galatians 5:22-23) on a consistent basis, and lead our family in the things of the Lord…our children will notice.

As we imitate Christ and our children imitate us, they will have godly models to follow.

Fathers have one of the greatest privileges—to imprint young lives, who will carry on into future generations. Dennis Rainey


Parents, Do Not Provoke Your Children (Ephesians 6:4)

Give It All You’ve Got

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.  2 Corinthians 9:7

Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.”

When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like?

Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.

That Is It: Trust and Obey

Joshua 6:1-5

Joshua needed God’s guidance as he faced one of the most crucial moments of his life. He already knew the outcome of the battle against Jericho since the Lord had promised him success. The specific strategy God gave him, however, was so atypical that it must have made his jaw drop. But despite any concern they may have felt, Joshua and the entire army believed the Lord and followed the unusual plan to the letter.

Although we won’t face that exact situation, there will be times when obedience to God’s Word will be a challenge because it goes against our natural reasoning. Therefore, we hesitate, rationalize, or make excuses why we can’t possibly do what He says. For example, consider these commands:

  • Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray about everything (Phil. 4:6).
  • Forgive one another just as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:32).
  • Fix your hope, not on the uncertainty of riches but on God (1 Timothy 6:17).
  • Consider it joy when you encounter trials (James 1:2).

Just as Joshua’s instructions didn’t seem reasonable, these directives don’t always make sense to us either, but God insists they’re for our good. It’s our job to trust His wisdom and obey.

Forgive Him, Oh Yes Forgive

“Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

The third verse of the majestic hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” relates how the crucified but risen Intercessor, Christ, pleads with the Father to save a sinner and why His prayers are heard.

Five bleeding wounds He bears, Received on Calvary.
They pour effectual prayers; They strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, oh, forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die.”

When Jesus was crucified, they “pierced [His] hands and [His] feet” (Psalm 22:16) and “pierced his side” with a spear (John 19:34). After His resurrection, His disciples would view these five wounds (Luke 24:39; John 20:27). It was from these wounds that His blood flowed, “and without shedding of blood [there] is no remission” of sins. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:22, 28). Our text for today declares that it was His “stripes,” literally “wounds,” that heal us of our deadly sin sickness. His death provides life and health and righteousness.

If “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16), surely the pleadings of Christ, a perfectly righteous man, are of infinite strength. “Neither pray I for these alone [i.e., His disciples], but for them also which shall believe on me through their word…[that they] be with me where I am” (John 17:20, 24).

As a truly repentant sinner comes in faith to God seeking forgiveness for his sins, Christ pleads, “Forgive him, oh, forgive.” “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). JDM

You Must Meet God Alone First

... immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

—Galatians 1:16-17

Nothing can prevent the spiritual rejuvenation of the soul that insists upon having it. Though that solitary man must live and walk among persons religiously dead, he may experience the great transformation as certainly and as quickly as if he were in the most spiritual church in the world.

The man that will have God’s best becomes at once the object of the personal attention of the Holy Spirit. Such a man will not be required to wait for the rest of the church to come alive. He will not be penalized for the failures of his fellow Christians, nor be asked to forego the blessing till his sleepy brethren catch up. God deals with the individual heart as exclusively as if only one existed….

Every prophet, every reformer, every revivalist had to meet God alone before he could help the multitudes. The great leaders who went on to turn thousands to Christ had to begin with God and their own soul. The plain Christian of today must experience personal revival before he can hope to bring renewed spiritual life to his church.   SIZ015-016

Lord, send revival to Your church today; begin the work in me and then let it spread one person at a time. Amen.

 

A Thankful Heart and Tongue

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

—2 Samuel 22:50

 

All good and beneficial things the world affords are gifts of Almighty God and come to us out of His lovingkindness. Add to these all the wealth of grace which comes to us through blood atonement: revelation, redemption, mercy, the gift of eternal life and in the indwelling Spirit. For all this, for everything we are in debt to God forever. We can never repay our heavenly Father for the least of His goodness.

In view of all these things, a thankless man must be a bad man if for no other reason than that he is thankless. Ingratitude is a major sin.

The man of enlightened mind will always feel deeply humbled when he considers God’s goodness and his own insignificance. He is likely to be very modest about demanding anything further; he will be too conscious that he already enjoys far more than the circumstances warrant. TET003-004

There are…holy tongues, yielded to the Holy Spirit and under the control of the fire of Pentecost. The good tongue is often a silent tongue. We all talk too much. Hand your tongue over to God; ask Him to take it and help you to remember it is not your own. PC070

 

God’s Kindness

Titus 3:4-5

A part from the bold intervention of reconciling mercy, a spiral of violence may quickly accelerate even into furies of mass murder and ethnic cleansing. Witness the vain efforts of United Nations peacekeepers to hold opposing forces at bay long enough to find a path to peace.

This kind of thing can begin in ordinary human relationships, in families and marriages, as well as in communities and nations. The Bible states that the coming of God’s own Son into our world was to break the cycle of angry reprisals in order to bring about peace with one another and with our heavenly Father. “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”

(Titus 3:4-5). In loving kindness and tender mercy, God has moved toward us, risking our rejection and anger against His sinless Son, in order finally to embrace us in His love.

God’s kindness was displayed in stark contrast to the meanness of the situation into which Jesus was born. Excessive taxation and the cruel exploitation of their Roman oppressors fed smoldering resentment among the common people. A petty king’s paranoia sent ruthless goon squads into the surrounding countryside to brutally murder defenseless children in an attempt to destroy the presumed future heir to his throne. Before the drama of Jesus’s birth was fully played out, His own parents found themselves homeless, poor and refugees fleeing for their very lives.

Sadly the world has not changed much over the centuries. Nineteen million people are currently acknowledged to be refugees on our planet. Frantic efforts are underway to stop the senseless killing of innocent civilians in ethnic clashes in Europe and Africa, while fresh violence breaks out elsewhere. Children have become the most numerous, as well as the most helpless, victims of such wars. Family violence is tearing communities apart. Children are abused, abandoned and aborted. AIDS claims ever more victims. The streets of some of the world’s most sophisticated cities have become virtual battle zones. Into this cauldron of cruelty and human anguish stepped the kindness and love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

We might have expected an angry God of judgment. But it was kindness, loving kindness, that appeared. God’s kindness created a whole new world of possibility for every person, family, community and nation. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NRSV).

Paul A. Rader, The War Cry