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Archive for October, 2013

Post on Hopelessness

10-07-2013 – David, and his soldiers are devastated. His army is so furious with David that they threaten to stone David to death. In the midst of his own mourning David inquires of the Lord what he is to do. The Lord instructs him to go after the enemy. David pursues and rescues all of the families and takes considerable spoil. 

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Raise up a Child

RAISE UP A CHILD

Raising children is a difficult task. Some children make it easy for the parent yet are terrible adults. Others were terrible children yet wise adults. Some children are untrainable.

That may sound contradictory. However, if a parent will observe some simple, yet complex rules they will find that in the end the child does well. Not judged according to the parents opinion rather the Lord’s judgment.

Two important passages in scripture presents itself to help the parent to raise up a child. Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Proverbs 22:6. The former is rarely followed and the later mostly misunderstood.

The RSV for Deuteronomy states:

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it; that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them; that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Unfortunately most of the problems in child raising occurs because of a failure to observe this Command. The reason for our failure is due to the fact that we consider it and Old Testament Command that does not binding on us. Or this is not a command rather just a suggestion. Either way failure to heed these words brings us considerable heartache. 

The second passage comes from Proverbs. The RSV translates the verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The problem is the translation not only in this version, and in most, tend to leave and incorrect interpretation. We read it as if whatever we teach the child he will stay with even unto the end of his life.

A much better view of the passage would be “train up a child according to his gifts or how he is bent, and when he is old he will not depart. In other words train up a child according to how God created him and he will stay with it.

From my perspective this means first of all knowing and training a child up according to one of the seven motivational or spiritual gifts accorded him in the womb, and spelled out by Paul in Romans 12:4-8. Secondarily train up a child according to his birth order.

Moreover, Train up a child according to the specific skill and abilities the Lord placed in the child in the womb. When this is done the child cannot depart from the path.

However, in this paper we are focused on the word teach or train. There is an outline the Lord provides the godly parent in this chore. The outline is provided as earlier quoted in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This is the outline, the God ordained standard to be followed in this training.

I want to give credit to much of what I have to say to my mother. Words like respect, disrespect, authority, obedience and especially ‘bad attitude’ were words constantly in her vocabulary.

So what areas should we focus on?

In my opinion there are at least three primary areas the parent should focus on in training up the child. Those areas are;  authority, respect, and fear.

Teach a child proper attitude towards Authority

Whatever position of authority we find ourselves, whether it be small or great, there is one thing we must realize about it;  that it is a sacred charge before God and we must give an account for how we use it. 

This should be a fearful thought for most all of us exercise some authority,  somewhere, sometime. The mass rebellion to authority, I believe, finds it’s real answer in the unfaithful manner in which those possessing it exercise it.

Authority is a power which is entrusted to the individual by either God or man.  To fulfill this trust one must in some manner assume responsibility regarding others. If there is no human being involved, there is no authority involved.

We are not a people that can easily comprehend authority.  We do not live under a strict disciplinary government.  On a whole, we are not accustomed to heavy discipline in our jobs and our homes. Thus, when we are confronted with the authority of God we have little in our background to help us comprehend its significance.

To reverence authority is to reverence God because the Word of God says all authority is ordained of God. He is saying that truth and authority are synonymous. The Centurion comprehended authority this is why his faith was so great. (Luke 7)

It is difficult for us to comprehend the price we pay for resistance and rebellion. Perhaps, the parent themselves struggle with authority. So how do we start teach a child about authority?

Children learn by observation. Because we are all human we make mistakes in our relationships. So when one of the adults does something that violates authority in front of the child immediately, one of two things should occur.

The person sinning against authority should say aloud that this behavior is wrong, it violates God’s expectations of obedience to our authority figures. 

This procedure can be accomplished in another manner. When one finds themselves speaking in a derogatory manner about others. They immediately say aloud, I am sinning. The Lord tells me not to speak wrongly about my authorities.

The lesson can be even more forceful. Just say one is out driving and the driver is not obeying the speed limit. The person or other adult says ‘the law is clear the speed limit is 60 mph you are violating the law. The driver immediately states. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. You are correct, I am wrong, I am not obeying the law, I will correct that right now.

In this very simple manner the child learns what is right and wrong, and that even adults need correction. If an adult needs correction, and must obey instruction so must the child. Moreover, they see a proper attitude being played out.

Thus, we are teaching a child correction, discipline, and acceptance of direction. The ultimate purpose in not to just discipline, correct, or direct. Rather to bring the child to self correction, self discipline, and self direction.

We must remember in this process to teach a child who are authority figures. That includes Federal, State, and City government, as well as teachers, church leaders, and parents, grand parents and other responsible adults.

The parent must teach proper submission to authority. This involves attitudes as well as behavior. The first attribute necessary to proper use of authority is humility.

Neither should we leave out the response to abuse of authority.

One major problem I have seen in adults who were abused as children by non parent figures is the failure of the parent to teach the child to immediately tell the parent or other authority of the abuse.

Silence on the part of the child or refusal to listen by the parent undermines all future lessons on authority. It is a major problem when the child fails to tell their parent of abuse. When this failure occurs in childhood then when grown the adult will struggle with authority issues.

The two major reasons for failure to report abuse when a child usually given by those counseled with are fear they will not be believed, and fear of unjust punishment. Either excuse points to a serious parenting problem.

There is nothing in all of creation more powerful for the human than obedience. Nothing affects man’s existence, regardless of his religiosity more than this quality. It governs intellect, emotions, and physical ability. Obedience to authority is important regardless of one’s religious beliefs – or lack of them.

The major reward for obedience to authority is longevity. Well over one hundred passages in the Old and New Testament emphasize this one concept. Life and obedience go hand in hand. 

Teach a child Respect

You cannot teach a child respect, unless you first have a respect for the child. This is the point of beginning.  Attitude and emotions speak an unmistakable language which no amount of lecturing can disqualify.

A child comprehends the behavior and attitude of respect for another by experiencing in the lives of those around him.  Young people are failing to develop proper respect mainly because of the warped and inconsistent teaching they are receiving.

Too often we ask a child to respect us on the basis of being an adult parent or teacher.  This is no basis at all. All human beings are worthy of respect.

A child’s capacity to respect is developed by a careful and consistent guidance in his sense of values.  In other words, respect is a process of growth.  We do not demand respect in a child.  We guide him in his development of it.

Many find it difficult to teach their children to respect their father because he is an imperfect model of manhood. 

But respect is taught on a much deeper level than this.  A part of it is based on God’s authority.  The rest of it is based on a greater value than that of simple outward behavior. 

A child respects his parents first because it is a commandment of God.  When God gave this commandment he was not ignorant of the parent who would be neglectful, abusive, or one who spends his life on a bar stool.

God knew all these failures in human beings when He gave His Fifth Commandment.  No, man is worthy of respect, because he is God’s creation.

This places the reason for respect with God, not man.  Man is endowed with the most valuable of all gifts – a living soul.  Though a child should be taught to appreciate the good in his parent, it is not his good that makes him worthy of respect, but the power of God. 

Too often in trying to teach respect, we only teach respect of persons which of itself is sin. Respect is taught from early childhood and it is not based on age, but humanity. 

You should not permit your child to speak to another child insultingly anymore than to you.  Another child is a human being, a creation of God, therefore, he is worthy of respect. 

Many try to apply respect to age or ones parents. When it fails they wonder why it doesn’t take.  Much harm is done to the child and their whole adjustment to life because they have been taught a false set of values.

All that has been taught is really. a “respect of persons” rather than a “respect for persons”. One is to respect others because they are a living soul, which is direct from God Himself.

One may ask,’how do I even start to teach my child about respect?’

Very good question, I am glad you ask. Children learn by observation. Therefore, when and adult says or does something disrespectful in front of the child. Immediately, the person being disrespectful should say aloud that they are wrong, what they said or did violates God’s expectations of how to treat others with respect. 

In this very simple manner the child learns what is disrespectful, and that even adults need correction. What you do not do is teach a child to respect God.

Teach a child about Fear

A child from an early age should be taught the Fear of the Lord, when it is appropriate to fear others, and the difference between fear and anxiety.

Our society tends to teach parents that children are friends. This make about as much sense as making a favorite doll or animal a friend. Parents are not friends they are parents with responsibilities. The child may become a friend once they are mature but not before.

This is crucial for it lays the ground work for teaching the concept of the Fear of the Lord. Look at all of the teachers who are confused about the Fear of the Lord and teach that it is just a matter of respect towards God and nothing more. That is the logical consequence of trying to bring God down to mans level.

The Scriptures tell us that understanding the fear of the Lord and how it is acquired is one of the most profitable endeavors that man can undertake. Unfortunately, there are some difficult barriers to reaching this goal.

The chief barrier is man himself. When I was a child, my mother raised me believing and trusting in fear of Him. She would point out the ridiculous notion of popular preachers of the time, that one need only ‘respect’ God, or perhaps revere but never fear.  This notion persists today.

After forty years of studying God’s Word, I can confidently say there is no biblical basis for such nonsense. God expects us to fear Him. This is evident in the words used in Scripture to denote the concept of fearing God.

It is unfortunate that linguistically the concepts of reverence and respect in our time are somewhat diluted and do not actually represent the power and majesty originally invested in them.

When reverence and respect are terms used in the sense that recognizes the tremendous power of God, then they most certainly become good synonyms for the Greek and Hebrew words that describe the experience that one is to have before God Almighty.

Perhaps the following experience from the life of Isaiah gives us a more accurate view of reverence.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.   And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’  And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.  And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’). Isaiah 6:1-6

Oh yes. I strongly suspect that this experience defines reverence rather nicely, particularly when the earthquake occurred. Any idea what it would be like to experience force ten earthquakes?

I do imagine the experience would put the fear of God in you. It most certainly has others.

But we do not like thinking of God as one to be feared. We wish to use words like love, kindness, and gentleness to describe what we feel, and who He is. If we see reverence as a bit of patriotism as when one salutes the flag at the playing of the national anthem, then we miss the point.

I doubt that anyone near Mount St. Helens, when it exploded with a force of 27,000 atom bombs, felt anything but pure terror. One can hardly sit in a cellar while an F-5 tornado sweeps away everything in its path without shuttering—so it is with the reverence or fear before God. No matter how righteous one may be. Even Moses and Daniel quaked with fear before the living God.

While obedience promises longevity and to a lesser degree a measure of peace, fear of the Lord promises thirty or more specific benefits. Among them are wisdom, knowledge, insight, prolonged life, prosperity, abundance, the desire of one’s heart, food, confidence, healing and the list goes on.

Acquisition of the fear of the Lord might be compared with putting on a heavy coat in mid-winter or an armored vest worn by a police officer. Fear of the Lord is a protective coat that protects us from evil and dangerous temptations.

The Scriptures tell us that understanding the fear of the Lord and how it is acquired is one of the most profitable endeavors that man can undertake. Unfortunately, there are some difficult barriers to reaching this goal.

How does one learn how to fear God? Fear of the Lord is grounded in laws, ordinances, and statutes. Fundamentally, fear of God is rooted in authority. This is significant when we see how difficult it is for some to fear God. They might love, adore, believe, trust, but somehow they find it difficult to fear. That is because we tend to be a rebellious people. Rebellion is against authority, and fear of God is fear of authority.

Authority is established by God

Fear of the holy one is not something that is acquired accidentally, or inborn in the nature of a person. Teaching is a must.

After the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 B.C. the inhabitants of the land started experiencing severe difficulties. They were advised to have someone come and teach them the laws of the land. “So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD” (II Kings 17:28).

This passage spells out the necessity of teaching one to fear the Lord. The context of the passages emphasizes the continual danger the people were in because they were strangers in the land and knew not what God required. 

Therefore, they are told how to resolve the issue. Call for someone who can teach what the Lord requires is what they were told.

Acquisition of the fear of the Lord is essential to our warfare against the authority and power of Satan. The fear of the Lord defends against destruction by the enemy. It protects the heart by humility and the spirit by meekness.

However, there is another arena that the child needs to be introduced to which involves fear.

There is a world of difference between anxiety and true fear. Fear is a quality that God bequeath to his creation to aid in the preservation of life. Anxiety is the substitute that Satan gives mankind to mimic fear in order to destroy mankind. God’s gift saves Satan’s destroys.

Teaching a child the difference and more importantly learning to fear properly is crucial on the parents part.

However, few understand fear. Confuse fear and anxiety. Or find it difficult to teach proper fear. That is why teaching the fear of the Lord is so important. Even a child can acknowledge the fearsome power of the almighty.

When properly appreciated then all a child has to be taught is there is nothing more fearsome than the Lord God. Nothing. Without this knowledge of godly fear there is no strength nor humility reinforcing authority or respect. Without fear of authority rooted in fear of the Lord there is only anarchy.

It is necessary to teach the child physical responses that indicate a real threat is present. The threat may be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Each of these have there own indicators. Each have there own purpose supporting self preservation.

One does not step out in front of a speeding vehicle. One does not get into a vehicle with a stranger. One does not use alcohol or drugs for recreational purposes. One does not take the name of the Lord in vain. One does not violate others. All of these are dangerous pursuits leading to personal destruction.

In contrast to fear is anxiety. Worry has no righteous purpose. While no form of benefit is to be found in anxiety it most certainly can be said that it is favorite pastime of mankind. Pharmacies are ready at any moment to provide over forty different kinds of anti-anxiety medications.

The child learns to worry by observing adults or listening to Satan. Quieting those voices and providing a God approved antidote is the task of the parent.

Now how can a parent teach a child not worry, if the parent is teaching the child the necessity to worry by their behavior?

We have introduced some of the fundamental principles a parent may utilize in teaching their children. It is not an easy task. It is a daily endeavor that will bear much fruit. Good fruit if following the Lord’s pattern, spoiled fruit if we use humanistic approaches. 

    

 

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Post on Hopelessness

10-04-2013 – Another example of helplessness in the face of the enemy is found in I Samuel 30 where David’s wife is kidnapped. It is shortly before the death of Saul. David has been released from employment by the Philistine King Achish. So David returns to his home at Ziklag to find that the dreaded Amalekites have raided the town burned it and taken captive all of the people, including his wives Ahinoam and Abigal. The whole town, men, women, and children have been taken captive to be sold into slavery. 

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Post on Hopelessness

10-02-2013 – Now the Lord deals with Elijah’s hopelessness by first confronting him and then revealing His tremendous power and finally by giving Elijah something to do. It is a short version of the story of Job in a way. The lesson we come away with is that the Lord is the Master and obedience eventually leads us home and deliverance from the world of sin and woe.

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