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Archive for August, 2018

A Word to the Wise

8-31-2018 – A Word to the Wise: On Respect

The attitude of respect for another I’ve addressed before, but bears repeating. Often there is a lot of misunderstanding about Respect, what it is and how you teach it to children.

So again:
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 experiec-
ing it first for another. Young people are
failing to develop the proper self-respect
and respect for others mainly because of
the warped and inconsistent teaching they
are receiving. Too often we ask children to
respect us on the basis of an adult , parent, or, teacher relationship. The basic truth is 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, the one on the bar stool, ect.
He knew all these failures in human beings
(and this is what parents are made of) when
He gave his commandment.
No, man is worthy of respect because he is God’s creation.
This places the reason for respect with
God, not man. He 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 it to the age or parents and
then wonder why it doesn’t take. Much harm
is done to the childs whole adjustment to life
because you have taught them a false set of
values. All that has been taught is really
a “respect of persons” rather than a “respect
for persons”, a living soul.

Every human is worthy of respect because he is created of God. To respect the person is to respect the God who made him.

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A Word to the Wise

8-30-2018 – A Word to the Wise: Satan’s lies

Very early in life usually about two or three Satan begins to plant seeds in the hearts of children which then bear fruit throughout their life. They are very simple ideas based on the actions or behaviors of others. Examples of seeds might be ones parents are not dependable based on failures to keep promises. Or both parents working dumping the child in a day care center may result in the seed of abandonment. Sexual abuse by an authority figure results in rebellion towards authority. All of these seeds have simple beginnings yet Satan carefully nourishes them with events in the child’s life that reinforces the original lesson.

Perhaps a father promises to take his child to the show. The child waits all day for his father to come home and fulfill his promise. Something happens at work and he gets off late. He comes home and has forgotten his promise the child has not forgotten and Satan merely says to the inner child “I told you he could not be trusted.”

Jesus addresses this in His parable the wheat and the tares. “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

One may glean from this passage important direction for dealing with Satan’s lies.

Awareness of the lies is essential they must be gathered up and marked for destruction. However, at this point in a child’s life they are not rooted out because if they are then the good plants can be destroyed as well. Now how is this possible how can the good be intertwined with the lie in such a manner that it is at risk?

In the example the father may not even remember the event in which case nothing can be done. However, knowing the adversaries tactic what will probably happen is the child will be prompted to remind the father. The father will justify, explain, deny the promise and the situation has now been worsened in the child’s spirit. The father could simply admit to his failure ask for forgiveness and the child would probably forgive but tends not to forget. The wise father could make a record of his failures and later on in life when the child is now a father himself sits down with him show him the list of failures which would indicate to the child that those promises and failures were important to the father. Now the seeds could be completely removed, and forgiveness, mercy and gratitude replacing bitterness and failure.

Examples; in my own life very early in life Satan told me that you could not depend on others. They would, abandon you, reject you or die on you. He reaffirmed this lie throughout my youth and I accepted it as a reality that I never challenged.

When I married, the first year Satan told me a bald faced lie; my wife he said would die before our twentieth anniversary. Based on the abandonment and deaths early in life the lie was believable.

Obviously this worked in my emotions and caused me to put emotional distance between us. After all she was going to die. So I never allowed her to get close because she would die. In our twenty-first year the Lord prompted me with a question, “how long have you been married?” Twenty one years Lord, you know that. “I thought Mary was suppose to die before you had been married twenty years? Immediately the lied was apparent and immediately I could see the consequences of the lie.

When Satan lied to God and told him Job would fail the only thing God said was prove it!

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A Word to the Wise

8-28-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  I wonder, is there a simple test for wisdom? How might one know if what they say is wise or foolish?

Wisdom is not knowledge; rather the use of knowledge. Wisdom is power and is capable of transforming mankind. Wisdom benefits all of society. Wisdom is even the primary source of longevity. Wisdom is not religion but requires godly boundaries if it is to be utilized for good. Wisdom flows from the heart but is regulated by the mind. Most women are born with it, few men seek it, and all of us need it.

The purpose of wisdom is to render justice. Wisdom’s purpose is seen in the nature of its creation. According To Proverbs 8:22, wisdom was created by the Lord before the creation of the universe. Moreover, wisdom accompanied the Lord in the creation process. Wisdom is the chief testimony for God’s existence and His intervention in the affairs of men. Now, if all of this seems rather complex –then believe me, it is. The subject of wisdom and its acquisition is a complex subject. Solomon says however, obtaining wisdom surpasses any other goal one could hope to achieve. Ultimately, the wisdom received will glorify the Lord and not ourselves.

We tend to think of wisdom as a thought process rather than a heart process, yet scripture plainly states that wisdom resides in the heart. Wisdom is not related to intelligence, for even the intellectually slow may be wise.

There are three types of wisdom. The first two are of heavenly origin; their source is God. The first type of heavenly wisdom functions in the heart of man and deals with the affairs of men. The second resides in the spirit and is concerned with the affairs of God. The third, is earthly wisdom its source is the devil. James 3:15-16 describes some of the differences between heavenly wisdom and that which is unspiritual.

Silence must reign if one hopes to acquire wisdom. “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise,” a wise person must be silent. Why is silence so important? Because the tongue is the source of foolishness. To restrain one’s words, to limit them to the bare necessity, is prudent for it limits one’s opportunities to speak inappropriately.

The purpose of silence is to listen. One cannot talk and listen at the same time. Silence is not withdrawal, nor is it inattentiveness. Silence with no intent to speak intensifies the hearing process. Everything we think, feel, or are, eventually comes out our mouths. What a person says gives insight into what motivates that person to change. These jewels are useless if we do not hear them. There is a time to speak, but never before you have heard.

So, what does one listen for? A person’s character is the sum total of all that he thinks. What a person thinks is exhibited in what he says and in what he does. The wise person listens to the flow. Arguing, in contrast is like trying to stop a flood of water. “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”

The best way to maintain wisdom is to guard diligently ones response to foolish statements. Silence is the second-most important quality of wisdom following the fear of the Lord. Silence alone may be mistaken for wisdom.

Wisdom is a social gift. It is not given to be exercised on one’s self. It is a gift for the whole community. If a person truly believes, then that faith will be illuminated by the things she does. In the same way if one is wise, wisdom will be shown by her good deeds and wise behavior.

A believers’ good deeds are their heavenly clothing. John describes it in Revelation 19:8. “It was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure–for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” The good things we do here on earth will be apparent in heaven. I suspect that women will be the best-dressed occupants in the hereafter.

Wishing for wisdom is not enough. Wisdom is a treasure more precious than gold and silver. One must search diligently if it is to be found. Once obtained, it must be valued highly. Wisdom cannot be given to or taken from another. A teacher can impart knowledge but not wisdom. Wisdom literature does not give us wisdom. It points the way to wisdom and motivates us to seek it.

James points out that wisdom is from God who gives to all men generously. Asking for wisdom is essential to obtaining it. James also says getting wisdom is means asking in faith. One must believe God will give him what he is asking.

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A Word to the Wise

8-25-2018 – A Word to the Wise: What is the proper manner for the conduct of war?

For sixteen hundred years following creation, Satan stirred up in the hearts of men rebellion against God leading to the vilest of behaviors. Finally, when the evil population numbered in excess of seven billion and the Godly population numbered eight, God acted.

Reconnaissance on earth revealed, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. God was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). So the Lord God declared war.

The Lord’s war on mankind was a surprise for the demons. Perhaps they expected a rehash of the heavenly battle so many years before when a third of the angels defecting with Satan were beaten in battle and hurled down from heaven. The demons expected an earthly battlefield—but not the whole earth. (Revelation 12:7-9).

Regardless, the battle began with reconnaissance. The Lord determined the extent and nature of man’s rebellion. But one last deed to do. God wanted to warn mankind, and he used Noah to preach warnings to his generation for a hundred years. However, God’s long-suffering came to an end. The ark completed, the Lord ordered his eight souls to take cover along with a protected portion of His creation (Genesis 7:13ff). The door to the ark was sealed shut.

The demons roared with laughter. Seven days later, the attack began. Laugher turned to screams of terror. God used nature to create havoc. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and rain continued for forty days and forty nights. The whole earth groaned under the weight of combat. Every person died except the eight souls in the ark.

Do not be deceived, God conducts unconditional warfare.

The Flood reveals important patterns in divine warfare. The goal of warfare is to strike terror in the hearts of man and demon. God fulfilled His goal.

Terror was so intense among the survivors that knowledge of the flood passed down to every generation. Historically, every major ancient civilization, 133 in fact, have flood narrative transmitted to successive generations.

God does not take prisoners. He does not make treaties. The lesson for modern military commanders is this: conduct unrestricted warfare.

The ability to strike terror in the enemy is the chief trait God looked for in Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Saul, David, and others. The ability to strike terror in an enemy is a rare quality.

Recent history would see the generals Sherman and Patton with this profile. The South to this day hates the name of Sherman for his burnt-earth policy during the Civil War. The Germans were deathly afraid that Patton would be leading the invasion of Europe.

Peter struck terror in the whole church when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit—and the Lord struck them dead. The passage concludes with this observation: “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events” (Acts 5:11).

God’s people crave a leader who instills fear in the enemy. By chance, do you possess this quality?

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A Word to the Wise

8-24-2018 – A Word to the Wise: Who Did Jesus not Like

Most of us feel loved by the Lord. We have been taught all of our lives “For God so loved the world…. Yet I firmly believe there is a difference in being loved by the Lord and being liked by the Lord.

Even among the apostles there were those singled out for a special relationship. This is seen in the events surrounding the Transfiguration and then again in the Garden before His death. There are some in scripture who befriend Jesus. John at Jesus death the women who provided for His ministry are but a few.

It is obvious that there are those who Jesus forms bonds with, those He is fond of. His family members were not a part of this group. In fact they are often at odds with Jesus and His ministry. There are others as well.

In John 5 we meet a man who Jesus heals then singles out for a later admonition. In verse 14 Jesus warns the man not to return to his sinful behavior or he will be worse off. The man then turns and betrays Jesus to His enemies. I doubt Jesus liked the man…He loved him, used His power to heal him, yet Jesus is not fond of the man.

In contrast John 9 gives us another personal encounter. Jesus heals the man and goes on His way. Subsequently the man is challenged and ridiculed by the Pharisees. Jesus makes a special effort to find the man and talk to him. There is a bond between the two.

The healing of the demoniac reveals this same type of encounter between Jesus and another person.

These few form quick and long lasting bonds with the Lord.

The enemies of Jesus, though He died for them, it is evident that He did not like them. I suspect in our time the same may be true. Those the Lord loves are many those He likes are few. Which are you

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A Word to the Wise

8-21-2018 – A Word to the Wise: THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

Have you ever wondered about the pearl of great price Jesus refers to in Matthew 13:45? Jesus says that it is something for which a man will sell everything that he owns to purchase.

I have pondered for many years the answer Jesus hides in this parable. The parable just before it speaks of a man finding a treasure in a field, going, and buying that field with all that he had. So the two parables are similar in nature.

There are not many things in life worth selling all one owns to buy, or are there? I know many a soul who sell all they own and much not owned to buy drugs, alcohol, sex, or a host of other things. Cheap things without any true value. When purchased they bring no satisfaction, nor peace or joy.

Yet Jesus, says that there is something worth selling all ones worldly possessions, what is it?

I have no doubt that the Pearl of Great Price that for which I would sell everything is friendship with the Lord.

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A Word to the Wise

8-17-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  There are somethings I must constantly remind myself. Primary among those things is feeling good about myself. Thus the reminder:

Often we look to others, or good circumstances to make us feel good. However, morale is not a gift. It cannot be injected by people. It is earned by acquiring more character assets and by learning to cope with our liabilities.

Confidence comes when we do battle and succeed. It comes when we accept the challenges of life instead of running away from them. It gains strength when we lick our wounds after a defeat and return to the fray. It goes down when we grow morbid and bathe in hostility and self-pity. It rises when we confront ourselves and accept our limitations and given potentials, despite these limitations.

Morale built any other way by praise and circumstance is nothing but a pumped up flat tire. There is no real strength of character within to hold it up. The world will not do it—and God will not let them. We must grow into it by living and being what God expects of us.

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