Wednesday, January 20, 2010

8 Ways to Help the Children Love Different People

The Lord used Pastor Piper to preach a much needed, on time sermon this past Sunday. It was about teaching our children how to love different people. He explained that "different" can mean race or disability. Here is a list of the 8 ways that he mentioned. The whole manuscript is definitely worth reading.

8 Ways to Help the Children Love Different People

1. Help the children believe in God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness in creating them with the body that they have.

2. Help the children believe in God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness in making other people with the body that they have.

3. Help the children believe that they and all other children and adults are made in God’s image.

4. Teach the children that God tells us to do to others as we would like others to do to us.

5. Teach the children and model for them that their own sin is uglier than anybody they think is physically unattractive.

6. Teach the children that God loves them in spite of the ugliness of their sin and that he proved this by sending his Son to die for our sins and give forgiveness to all who would trust him.

7. Teach the children that because Jesus died for them and rose again, he becomes for them an all-satisfying Friend and Treasure.

8. Teach the children to love others who are different from them, not in order to be accepted by God, but because they already are accepted by God because of Jesus.

Should We Really Call It a 'Quiet' Time?

A good article by David Powlison.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please Pray for Haiti and Our Sponsored Child

We've sponsored a child in Haiti through Compassion International for almost 4 years. His name is Kensly Pierre and his 12th birthday is tomorrow. An email we received today read as followed.

"The catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday has resulted in unfathomable chaos and devastation for hundreds of thousands of children and families.

Compassion sponsors and donors serve more than 65,000 children in Haiti. At least a third of them live in the areas that were hardest hit.

Be assured that we are working to locate your child and determine his specific situation as quickly as possible. We will share this personal update with you as soon as we have that information."

Please pray for:
1) The rescue and recovery efforts (protection & guidance).
2) The people as they recovery from this devastation (comfort & healing).
3) That even through this tragedy God will be glorified and that many hearts will turn to Jesus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Which One Would You Choose?

Okay, here's a random question -

What if you were told that all your Bibles would be taken away, but that you could choose one of the 66 books of the Bible to keep, which one would you choose???

I know that you may think of several, but which one rises to the top in your mind?

I don't have an answer yet, but what's yours? :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

“Why Lord?”

*Why does one teenager die in the car accident while another walks away without a scratch?
*Why does a faithful, believing father suffer with a debilitating disease while an uninvolved, unbelieving father lives to a ripe old age without any health issues?
*Why does one family birth 5 healthy, typical children while another family births 2 children with severe disabilities?
*Why does one house get totally destroyed in a tornado while the house next door only has to repair a fence?
*Why does one child live to adulthood while another dies of leukemia at a young age?
*Why does a disloyal, dishonest man still make six-figures while another man full of integrity loses his job and struggles to provide for his family.
*Why do millions of couples have abortions each year while many Christian couples desire to be parents but cannot conceive?

Unfortunately I could go on and on. God knows I’ve had a hard time trying to understand His sovereign plan. Although we live in a fallen, sinful world (Romans 5:12-14) and that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), God is in control over all things that happen. Why does He allow so much pain and suffering? The answer: He has an ultimate good plan in it all (Romans 8:28-29). He's not about making us comfortable which is temporal; but He desires us to have Christ-like character which is eternal. Many times we will not like or understand what He allows, but we must remember that He is the All-knowing and All-perfect Creator and we are fleeting, imperfect creatures. For example, Job definitely knew about suffering and He questioned God. God responded, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). Then God went on for 4 chapters questioning Job and describing God’s sovereignty. At the end, Job humbly responds by saying,
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? 'Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:2-3).

However, even knowing these truths doesn’t make it any easier to endure the sting of suffering. I like what Elyse Fitzpatrick has to say about God’s goals in our suffering. She says:
• God permits troubles so that we’ll experience His comfort and learn to comfort others and trust Him and not ourselves (2 Cor. 1:3-10).
• God permits tribulation so that we can grow in hope (Rom 5:3-5).
• God permits trials so that we will grow in holiness (Heb 12:10-11).
• Troubles are the seed-bed where faith grows (1 Peter 1:7).
• Experiencing God’s help through our trials strengthens us (James 1:3-4).
• God wants our character to reflect Christ’s (Rom 8:28-29).
• Troubles humble us and cause us to run to Jesus (I Peter 5:5-7).
• Our suffering produces God-focused rejoicing (I Peter 4:13).
(Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety p. 133-134)

In conclusion, the two things that believers must always remember when we are suffering are: 1) God is with us and 2) God loves us dearly! So, as each us endure pain in this short life, may we look forward to the day when God will dwell with His people and “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

What do you resolve to do in 2010??? Many people make New Year's Resolutions (NYR). Of course, it’s the normal thing to do at the beginning of each year. I goggled NYR and found 54,600,000 results. If you’re into them, there’s lots of info out there for you. For myself, I can’t stand NYR!

I stopped making NYR a few years ago. For me, it was a set up to fail. For example, if my NYR was to eat right and lose weight, I would start off strong. I would avoid all tempting foods & places. The first week of January would be easy and I would think, “Wow, this isn’t too bad. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.” Then the 2nd week would come and I’d do pretty well. Then the 3rd week would come and I’d have an event to attend and eat many of the foods that I avoided the first 2 weeks. I’d feel disappointed and tell myself that it’s okay to take the rest of the month off and start again in February. Then Feb. would come and the vicious cycle started all over again. By March, I called it quits!

The reason why I think they’re a set up to fail is because as the days go on and you get further away from Jan 1 and you haven’t been consistent you think you have to wait until another "big" day to start. For example, if you start on Jan 1 and mess up, I think you’re more prone to say I’ll start again on Feb 1 and so forth. Likewise, if you make your big decision to change on a Monday and fail on Wed., you may say, “I’ll just start again on next Monday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure hundreds of people have made NYR and stuck with them and were very successful. I’m only talking about the rest of us millions of people who’ve made them and failed.

So, what’s one to do? As I’ve mentioned many times in My Freedom Journey, it’s a matter of the heart. I actually started my journey on a Friday night in October ‘08. God called me that night to surrender my will to His and allow Him to do a work in my heart. Of course it would have been great to say that I started that year off right and began my journey on Jan 1, but that’s not the case. It wasn’t til late Oct when I started to see my sin of gluttony as Jesus sees it and my eyes were open to the truth and I desperately wanted to be set free. Has it been easy? NO WAY!!! I still sin in this area, but Praise be to God, I am not enslaved to food anymore.
If you choose to make NYR this year, I would suggest you look closely at a sin area in your life. Try these 6 tips:
1) Acknowledge that it is a sin (it’s not just a struggle, stronghold, or weakness).
2) Confess your sin to God.
3) Confess your sin to a trusted friend for accountability.
4) Pray for God’s strength to overcome this area.
5) Write down & memorize verses in the Bible that deal with this specific sin.
6) Constantly remind yourself of the Gospel - who God is, who you are in Him, what He has done for you, and that He is always at work in you!

In this New Year, may Jesus help each of us to, "walk by the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).