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You love your children! You want them to be the best person possible and to bring glory to God. But sometimes your children’s actions, decisions, or even mannerisms can be so exasperating! How can you encourage your children in a way that will build them up and also please the Lord?
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When I come up against a difficult problem, I throw all my weight against it. I say, “I’m tough, I’m tough.” Sometimes, when I give it everything I have, I find that problems give way. But there are those times when every ounce of strength I can muster, every bit of creativity at my disposal, every talent I can apply leaves me helpless with my problem.
The Book of Revelation has variously intrigued, baffled, alarmed, and comforted millions of Christians over the centuries since it was written by John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos. It has been interpreted in many different ways from many different perspectives. For some, the prophecy is disturbing, containing terrifying visions of armed horsemen, winged scorpions, a dragon, and beasts. For others, the words are comforting, for they assure us of Christ’s final victory, His presence with His people, and the day when God Himself will wipe the tears from every eye.
“In the beginning was the Word . . . .” This simple but profound statement is the opening of the Gospel of John. Looking at the other three Gospels, Mark began his record with the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Matthew and Luke began their Gospels with the wonder of the Incarnation and the miracle of the virgin birth of the Lord. But John’s Gospel commences with a statement of the eternality of the Lord Jesus Christ, reminding us that the life of Jesus existed eternally before He took on human flesh and dwelt among us.
Have you ever been discouraged by the fleeting stability of earthly governments and kingdoms? Kings come and go. Empires rise and fall. Nations rise from obscurity to power, enjoy prosperity for a time, but then sink into the mists of history. Of the vaunted glory of ancient civilizations, such as the Aztec and Inca in the Americas or the Egyptian and Sumerian in the Fertile Crescent, only a few scattered remnants remain of their existence.
The hills of Scotland have afforded a lovely playground for many generations of young Scottish lads and lasses. In the midst of the heather growing on the wind-swept hills, the lowing of the Highland cattle, the bluebells dotting the land, and the craggy ruins of ancient castles inciting curiosity, all provide an enticement to exploration that is irresistible for a little boy.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the ultimate keeper of the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:13). He came into this world to give, not to take. Leaving the glories of Heaven, Jesus willingly entered our world of sin and suffering. He took nothing from this world; yet, He gave everything to redeem it. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Corinthians 8:9).
The emaciated monk wept bitterly, kneeling on the floor of his cell at the monastery. Try as he might, he could not break the chains of impurity and sin in his life. The pious monk had renounced the world. He had tried unsuccessfully to flee all temptation. He had taken the Augustinian vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In his search for absolution, the man had left a promising legal career and had given away all of his worldly belongings. He had come to the monastery to find peace and seclusion from the world. However, even there away from all evil, he had discovered to his horror that his own heart was full of sin. Masses, candles, beads, fasting, penance, and even painful flagellations (beatings) could not drive lust, pride, and sin from his heart.
We want our children to continue on in the faith. This outcome does not happen by accident. It is necessary to have a loving relationship with our children in order to influence them for the Lord.
An example of a man who started wisely in life but took a tragic detour into the path of pleasure and vanity is King Solomon. Thankfully, he repented of his sins before his life was over and recorded his experiences so that future generations might learn from them. His success and failure in life rose and fell in direct proportion to how well he honored the instruction given to him by his father and mother.
Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, shared some practical truths drawn from his many years of experience. How can we in daily life give to our parents the honor that is due to them?
Timothy is the only individual with two inspired epistles addressed specifically to him. Yet his own family life was far from ideal. How did this son with a believing mother and unbelieving father keep the fifth commandment?
Obedience from the heart requires a great deal of humility. Sometimes we must set aside our own opinions and personal preferences in order to honor our parents. But isn’t this the key to every successful relationship? Doesn’t a husband have to lay aside personal preferences to honor his wife? Doesn’t a wife often make sacrifices for her husband? Doesn’t a good parent set aside pleasures and hobbies to spend time with his children? Learning to honor our parents will yield blessings in every relationship. More importantly, our obedience in this matter of the fifth commandment is “well pleasing unto the Lord.”
To send a young boy alone on such a journey seemed foolish, but Rochunga's father had prepared him well for his journey. Mountains would be climbed, rivers would be crossed, and wild beasts would need to be avoided. But Rochunga was not afraid. He knew that his father would be praying for him on this mountain.
If ever a child was born who had the right to claim superiority to His parents, it was Jesus. He was the perfect Son of God, and yet He was placed into the home of a carpenter and his wife. In this human family, we find that Perfection submitted to imperfection, and the Son of God became the Son of Man.
In the last verse of the Old Testament, God gives us a remarkable hope for the blessing of family restoration under the Messiah. Malachi announces: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6). How interesting and very fitting that the last words of the Old Testament dovetail perfectly with the first words of the New Testament!
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In the Old Testament, the word fool is actually a translation of five different Hebrew words that reflect subtle differences in types of fools. Sadly, the English translation makes it more difficult to identify the characteristics of five types of fools, but with a careful search of Scripture these differences can be distinguished.
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Understanding how to honor the role God has given parents, church leaders, government and other authorities, and learning how to respond when those above me violate God’s will
Our attitude toward our parents is closely linked with our attitude toward God. According to Leviticus 19:32, a connection is suggested between honoring elders and fearing God. This special relationship between parent and child is one that God has ordained. For this reason, our attitude toward our parents, whether or not they would be considered aged, is closely related to our attitude toward God Who gave our parents to us.
Many men find great satisfaction in their work. It is natural and healthy for a man to find satisfaction in the success of his vocational achievements. Nehemiah in the Old Testament provides a splendid example of God’s prescribed pattern for work, rest, and worship. Nehemiah is best known for his tremendous accomplishment of building the walls of Jerusalem, but his faithful legacy of remembering the sabbath day to keep it holy is worthy of our consideration. This biographical sketch begins in the year 444 B.C. at Shushan, the winter retreat palace of the Persian monarchs. A few years earlier, Esther and Mordecai had been God’s choice instruments to spare His people from destruction in this same city. Zerubbabel, a royal descendant of King David, had led the first return of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem and had begun the construction of the Second Temple. Prophets such as Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people of Judah to keep their priorities right and to finish the construction. Ezra the scribe had led a second return of exiles to Jerusalem. He also instructed the priests regarding some areas they were neglecting to obey in God’s Law: to sanctify themselves, to keep the appointed feasts, […]
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