And fortunately, there’s a solution.
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As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me… —Genesis 24:27
We should be so one with God that we don’t need to ask continually for guidance.
Sanctification means that we are made the children of God. A child’s life is normally obedient, until he chooses disobedience. But as soon as he chooses to disobey, an inherent inner conflict is produced. On the spiritual level, inner conflict is the warning of the Spirit of God. When He warns us in this way, we must stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind to discern God’s will (see Romans 12:2). If we are born again by the Spirit of God, our devotion to Him is hindered, or even stopped, by continually asking Him to guide us here and there. “…the Lord led me…” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design. If we are born of God we will see His guiding hand and give Him the credit.
We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the growth of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God’s appointed order. Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere.
Beware of being obsessed with consistency to your own convictions instead of being devoted to God. If you are a saint and say, “I will never do this or that,” in all probability this will be exactly what God will require of you. There was never a more inconsistent being on this earth than our Lord, but He was never inconsistent with His Father. The important consistency in a saint is not to a principle but to the divine life. It is the divine life that continually makes more and more discoveries about the divine mind. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than it is to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.
— Oswald Chambers, Discovering Divine Design
From John Chapter 8 – When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
No condemnation – Just stop sinning. #Jesus.
Is Unconditional Love a Biblical Concept? This topic came up Tuesday night at our church Bible study. Some were convinced that love is unconditional, while honor is not. I had been of the mind that both love and honor were unconditional. Now I’m seeing that this may not be the case:
God says anyone who makes an idol and bows down to it or worships it hates him. When the Israelites did that, it made God jealous since they were worshipping something, or someone (demon), other than him who was their Creator. Notice that God says herein that he loves people who love him, and they love him by keeping his commandments. So, this text says God’s love is conditional in that he loves us when we keep his commandments. Much of this biblical truth is contrary to what generally has been taught by modern psychology. It says such stringent requirements are legalistic and thus contrary to love and intimacy.
Give the whole piece a scan. The cultural roots of “unconditional love” are interesting.
Thankfully there are very few conditions on love and honor in our home. We decided long ago to chose to love and honor one another, warts and all, and those feelings grow deeper every day. But were I to dishonor my family by cheating on my wife, I should not expect them to honor me as husband and father anymore. Were she to do the same, the conditions of my love for her – trust and fidelity – would also be broken.
God’s love is everlasting, as is His power and might which are always worthy of honor. But He puts conditions on it. Accepting the atoning sacrificial grace of Christ is the fundamental one. Following Christ’s example we are commanded to honor one another in that love, which must be Spirit-filled and deliberate to overcome all the grime of sin that collects on us during the week. But that love-line in the sand still exists:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
There are no limits to the white light of Love, but sadly, there are also conditions by which people remain in the shadows.
Still, always focus on the the light.
Asking the eternal questions: What’s the difference between holiness and legalism?
And that night in a vision, God told Daniel what the king had dreamed. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven, saying,
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and all power. World events are under his control. He removes kings and sets others on their thrones. He gives wise men their wisdom and scholars their intelligence. He reveals profound mysteries beyond man’s understanding. He knows all hidden things, for he is light, and darkness is no obstacle to him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers, for you have given me wisdom and glowing health, and now even this vision of the king’s dream and the understanding of what it means.
— From the Book of Daniel, 2nd Chapter
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies at the gate.
— Psalm 127
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
— from St. John’s first epistle, second chapter
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
— Old Testament Proverbs (various)
To: The seven churches in the province of Asia
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Remember what the prophet Daniel said: “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.”
And remember what the prophet Zechariah said, that all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
And finally, remember what the Lord God said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
— from The Revelation, Chapter 1
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.
— from the Last Chapter of the Old Testament Book of Job
I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
— from St. John’s First Epistle, Chapter 2
Then they gathered around him and asked him,
Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
He said to them:
It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
— Jesus, speaking to the Disciples, from the First Chapter of Acts
Somebody’s son or daughter will see this Economist article on socially mediated polyandry in rats and think this is a potentially human trait.
Gently remind them that God created people in his image, and made them transcendent beings like Himself.
If God were a rat, He would have told us long ago.
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
— from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Chapter 4
How I long for the months gone by,
for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
When I went to the gate of the city
and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
the voices of the nobles were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
The one who was dying blessed me;
I made the widow’s heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth…
— From the Book of Job, 29th Chapter
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the Promise.
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to son-ship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces?
Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
— from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, 3rd and 4th Chapters
Patricia Dickson: Michael Brown’s parents responsible for his demise.
It is clear by the video images showing Michael Brown grabbing a much older and smaller store clerk by the throat that the young man did not have respect for authority. The fact that there was some kind of confrontation with a police officer reveals that this young man had issues with authority. The first authority figure in a child’s life is the parent. If parents do not teach and demand that children respect them, there is a good chance that the child will not respect any other person in authority (e.g., teachers, police, and other adults).
Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you, that you may live long on the earth…
The approval a son receives from his mother is almost guaranteed while that of his father must usually be earned. And the boy desperately wants it. Should there by any surprise that a boy will ultimately try to leave the shade of his mother for the shadow of his father? And if no male is there he will find what he believes is a suitable replacement even though that choice may produce the worst possible outcomes. There comes a time with the boy is inexplicably drawn towards the company of other men – because he wants their approval.
Much like my father I find it hard to give what I never completely received. Yet through my own story, I have become keenly aware of the power my approval and acceptance will have on my children’s futures. My childhood has also made me conscious that my approval should never be solely tied to a game won, grade made, or chore completed. In my mind, if I’m showing appreciation and acceptance for my children only when they do something worthy – I’m better off showing nothing at all.
If I hope to instill in them feelings of confidence that their fathers approves of them no matter I must become conscious of the small ordinary moments in their lives and not just the big game or dance recital. Those times when, if parents aren’t looking, pass by without a second glance. In other words I must show them I accept and approve of them for who they are – that eight-year-old boy who fights dragons, jumps on the furniture, and can’t seem to stop annoying his sister and the ten-year-old daughter who is addicted to tween-aged fantasies, daydreaming, and creating a train wreck in her room – and not just when they score the winning basket or get straight A’s.
Some of my greatest life lessons have come as a consequence of my most significant life challenges. I don’t condemn or hold my father responsible for what he couldn’t give me, in fact, I appreciate what he did – because he showed me the importance of a father’s approval.
Father wounds are the deepest because the Father’s Love is the oldest.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah vowed to the Lord:
If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried,
Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.
My father, you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request. Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.
And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.
— From the Old Testament Book of Judges, Chapter 11
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
— From Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, Chapter Three
Sing to God, sing in praise of His name,
extol Him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before Him — His name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God brings the lonely and desolate into his family;
He leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
— From the 68th Psalm
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said,
I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.
Abram fell face-down, and God said to him,
As for me, this is my covenant with you:
- You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
- I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
- I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
- The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
— From Genesis, Chapter 17
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels in heaven
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
— The 8th Psalm
The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham (he was Canaan’s father) and Japheth. These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.
Noah, a man of the soil, planted a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay naked in his tent. Ham (Canaan’s father) saw his father naked and pointed it out to his two brothers outside.
Rather than dishonor him, Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.
When Noah awoke from his wine and found out how his youngest son Ham had dishonored him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” He also said,
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.
After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.
— From the Old Testament Book of Genesis, 9th Chapter. More on this passage here.
In the Torah, keeping this commandment was associated with individual benefit and with the ability of the nation of Israel to remain in the land to which God was leading them. Dishonoring parents by striking or cursing them was punishable by death.
In the Talmud, the commandment to honor one’s human parents is compared to honoring God. According to the prophet Malachi, God makes the analogy himself:
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?'” — Malachi 1:6 (NIV)
In the gospels, Jesus affirmed the importance of honoring one’s father and mother. Paul quotes the commandment in his letter to the church in Ephesus. In his letters to the Romans and Timothy, Paul describes disobedience to parents as a serious sin.
According to the Catholic Catechism, the import of honoring father and mother is based on the divine origin of the parental role:
The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood. This is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. … It is required by God’s commandment. — Catechism of the Catholic Church 2214
The Post-Reformation theologian John Calvin also refers to the sacred origin of the role of human father, and comments that the commandment does not therefore depend on the particular worthiness of the parent.
C.S. Lewis, on the Trinity:
The First Person is called the Father and the Second the Son. We say that the First begets or produces the second; we call it begetting, not making, because what He produces is of the same kind as Himself. In that way the word Father is the only word to use. But unfortunately it suggests that He is there first-just as a human father exists before his son. But that is not so. There is no before and after about it. And that is why I think it important to make clear how one thing can be the source, or cause, or origin, of another without being there before it. The Son exists because the Father exists: but there never was a time before the Father produced the Son. (More …)
Dads, are you feeling worried about your family responsibilities today? Try this one on…
Jesus told his disciples: “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and a body more than clothes.
- Take birds for instance. They aren’t farmers and they don’t have a barn to store crops, but God still feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds! Who of you by worrying can make your life longer by just an hour? Since you can’t do this very little thing, why do you worry about all the rest?
- How about wildflowers? They don’t work or make clothes but I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field – which is here today and tossed into the fire tomorrow – how much more will he clothe you? You have such little faith!
- Don’t get all wrapped up in what you will eat or drink, and don’t sweat it. The pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. Make His kingdom the most important thing, first and foremost, and all this stuff will be given to you too.
Do not be afraid of thinking this way, Little Flock – it gives your Father a lot of joy to have given you His Kingdom! And this thinking frees you up to be generous: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. You’re making wallets for yourselves that won’t wear out, and treasure in heaven that will never fail. No thief can come near it, or moth destroy it.
Never forget that where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.
— Jesus, from Luke’s Gospel, the 12th Chapter