Saturday, April 30, 2011

The spies and the children of Israel

This story has applications for all of us, as well as applications about parenting our children like the Lord parents His children.

Num 13:27-33  And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.  The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.   And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.  But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.  And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

This story starts with the spies that Moses sent out into the land of Canaan returning with their report.  The report was not a good report.  It was a report that people of the land were so great that the children of Israel would not be successful in the conquering of the land.   Caleb's report was that they could go up and possess the land, but his report was overshadowed by the other's evil report.

Num 14:1-4  And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.   And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!   And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?   And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 

It is interesting how the children of Israel reacted.  First they spent the night crying, then they started to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and then they came up with a plan.  Their plan was to find a new leader and go back to Egypt!  They completely forgot that they were not the ones in control, the Lord was in control.  The people had a complete lack of faith in the Lord;  He wasn't involved anywhere in their thought process!

Num 14:5-10  Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.   And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:   And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.   If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.   Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.  But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

Now we see the voices of reason.  Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb plead with the people to trust in the Lord, because He would give them the land.  They beg them not to rebel against the Lord, but the people didn't listen to them.  In fact they were ready to stone Moses and Aaron.  Then the Lord steps into the picture.

Num 14:11-12  And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?   I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

The Lord was ready to destroy the people because of their sin. Fortunately for the people, Moses begged the Lord to pardon them (vs 13-19)

Num 14:19-24  Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.   And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.   Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;   Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:   But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

The Lord does pardon the people, but they still had to face the consequences for their actions.  The people would not be allowed to enter into the land of Canaan.

Num 14:28-35  Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.   But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.   But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.   After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.   I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. 

The Lord tells the people that they would be wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  They would all die in the wilderness, and their children would have to wander in the wilderness because of them.

Num 14:36-39  And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,  Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.   But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.   And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly

The men that caused the people to sin were punished as well.  They died in a plague that the Lord brought on them.  Caleb and Joshua escaped the plague and the judgment because they had done what was right.

The people's sin deserved great consequences, the Lord was ready to destroy them!  The Lord in His mercy did not give them the death they deserved immediately, instead he condemned the people to wander in the wilderness until they all died.  The spies that caused the people to sin had their own judgment, they immediately lost their lives because of their sin.

Now the application.  First an application about trusting the Lord, then we will get to the parenting application.  The children of Israel faced a huge challenge and trusting the Lord wasn't even an option.  What about us?  When difficulties come our way to we cry, complain, then come up with our own plan that has nothing to do with what the Lord wants for us?  Living by faith means that no matter what challenges we face we trust the Lord that He will lead us through!

Now the parenting part.  We see the Lord punishing the people very severely for their sin, not as severely as it could have been, but still, wandering in the wilderness and not being able to enter Canaan was a rather severe consequence.   As parents are we leery about giving severe consequences?  The Lord also punished the spies more severely than the people because they had caused the people to sin.  If one of our children is causing others to sin, does that child receive a punishment greater that the others that were led into that sin?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Miriam and Aaron

Just diving right into this one today.

Num 12:1-3  And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.   (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 

Miriam and Aaron sinned here because they complained against Moses.

Num 12:4-9  And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.  And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.  And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.  My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.  With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 

The Lord heard the complaints that Miriam and Aaron had against Moses, and he quickly confronted them.  He called out to them, correcting them for speaking against Moses.

Num 12:10-15  And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.   And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.   Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.   And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.  And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.   And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

When the Lord was done talking to Miriam and Aaron, Miriam received the consequences for her sin.  She became a leper!  When Aaron saw what had happened to Miriam he immediately turned to Moses begging for forgiveness and for Miriam to be healed.  Moses cried out to the Lord pleading with Him to heal her.  The Lord decides to heal her, but she would have to be outside the camp for seven days.
This story shows us God swiftly dealing with the sin that Miriam and Aaron committed.  He first confronted them about their sin, then he handed out the consequences.  After the consequences have been given we see that the Lord has mercy on Miriam after Moses pleads for the Lord's mercy.

So how can this apply to our lives?  As I have been studying how the deals with His children it is interesting that He deals differently with each child.  Even in this story Miriam and Aaron are dealt with differently even though their sin seems to be the same.  Miriam is the one that receives the physical punishment for her sin.  Aaron did not receive a physical punishment, but he did receive a verbal reprimand. 
As we discipline our children do we discipline with a one size fits all philosophy, or do we consider the hearts of our children and tailor the discipline to their needs? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Manna in the Wilderness

The story of the Lord providing manna and quail for the children of Israel shows us not only how the Lord provides for His children but also how He teaches them to work.

Exo 16:2-3  And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

The children of Israel had a big problem; they had nothing to eat.  Unfortunately, instead of asking the Lord for something to eat, they were just like a typical child, they started to whine and complain.

Exo 16:4-12  Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.  And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:  And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?  And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.   And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.  And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

In these verses we see the Lord explaining that He would be providing for the needs of the children of Israel in the morning as well as in the evening.

Exo 16:13-15  And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.   And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.   And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

The Lord provided for the needs of the children of Israel in a miraculous way.  In the morning the ground was covered with manna and in the evening the camp was covered with quails.  The food that was provided had some instructions that had to be obeyed.

Exo 16:16-21 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.   And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.  And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.   Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.  And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

The first part of the instructions was that the children of Israel gathered just what they needed for the day.  If they did not gather enough for the day they went hungry.  If they gathered more than they needed, the next morning they found a bowl full of worms that stunk.

Ex. 15:22-29  And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.   And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.   And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.   And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.   Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.  And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.   And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?   See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

The second part of the instruction was that on the day before the Sabbath the children is Israel were to gather enough for two days.  In this story we see that both parts of the instructions were not obeyed by all of the people.  In order for the people to get the manna obedience was required.  The Lord gave the provisions, but the children of Israel had to get up early to gather it, if they didn't they would go hungry.

So let's apply this story to our lives.  Do our children have everything handed to them on a silver platter, or do we make them work for things?  The Lord provided the manna, but the people had to work to get it.  The Lord didn't fill their manna pots every morning(something He could have easily done); He made them work for it.  We need to start teaching our children as soon as possible how to work.  A simple example: if they want to eat dinner they need to help set the table, even a one-year old can carry a plastic cup to the table!  Let's consider how we are teaching our children to work.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moses at the burning bush

This story is an interesting story to be looked at from a parent/child relationship standpoint.  We see the Lord introducing himself to Moses and stating his plan, then Moses tries to come up with every excuse he can think of to avoid doing what the Lord wanted him to do, and in the end the Lord chose someone else to do part of  the job.

Exo 3:1-7  Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.  And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.  And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.  Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.  And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

In this passage we see the Lord telling Moses who He is.  When Moses heard what the Lord had to say he was fearful.  The Lord tells Moses who He was and what His plan was (vs 8-10).
  And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.   Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 

Moses, when he heard that he was to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt started to think of every excuse possible to avoid the task that he was given.  For every excuse, God has an answer.

Exo 3:11  And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 
Exo 3:12  And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.  

Moses asks, "who am I?"  While the Lord replies that He will be with Moses, and tells what the proof will be.

Exo 3:13-15  And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.  

Moses' next question was, "Whose name am I going in?"  The Lord responds with His name, then continues on in the next several verses to tell Moses exactly how to speak to the leaders of the children of Israel.

Exo 4:1-5  And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.
 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.  And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:  That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 

Now Moses is not even asking a question, but instead is stating that that the people will not believe him.  The Lord replies with a question, "What is in thine hand?"  Then the Lord uses what Moses has to show His power.  The Lord then gives Moses two more signs to show the people if they don't believe.

Exo 4:10  And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
Exo 4:11  And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
Exo 4:12  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say

Moses now states that he can't do it because he was not a good speaker.  The Lord answers that He made man, and that He would teach Moses what to say.

Exo 4:13-17  And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.   And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.  And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.   And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. 

Moses tries one last time to get out of his job, by asking the Lord to send someone else.  At this point the Lord became angry with Moses, and gave the job of speaking to Moses's brother Aaron.

Exo 4:18-19  And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.   And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 

In this story we see the Lord giving a command to Moses, then Moses responding with questions to the command.  The Lord patiently answers every one of Moses's questions explaining even further what Moses is to do.  Finally after answering all of Moses's questions Lord becomes angry at Moses because he is trying to avoid the job.  The Lord provided Aaron to speak for Moses, but Moses still had to do the job the Lord had for him.

So what can we learn?  Do we patiently answer all the questions that our children have about instructions we given them?  Are we sure they clearly understand what they should be doing?  It is interesting that after all the legitimate questions have been asked the Lord becomes angry after multiple excuses.  Do we get angry when our children are giving excuses as to why they can't do something or at the point when they are asking questions for clarity purpose?  As a perfect Father, we see the Lord angry at Moses because of the excuses; He did not sin, but He was rightfully angry.  If we do become angry with our child, is it because they have gotten on our nerves, we have lost our patience, or is it because we are angry about the sin that has occurred?
We want to often avoid the subject of anger, mostly because the majority of us have no control over our anger, but the Lord was angry.  Eph 4:26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:   It is okay to be angry, it is not okay to sin in that anger.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day

Earth Day is tomorrow, and it is a day that I dislike very much.  Mostly because I see so many Christians caught up in the whole environmental hype.  So let's go to the source of truth and find out what the Bible says about the earth.

Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 
Gen 1:31  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 
Gen 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 2:15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gen 3:17-18  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Great place to start, in the beginning God created the heaven and earth; and when He was done He said that it was very good. Then He put Adam in charge of taking care of the creation.  Unfortunately Adam sinned, so the earth that God created was cursed.

Isa 40:21-26  Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?   It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.  To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

I read these verses this morning in my devotions and thought they were appropriate for the topic.  Do we get it?  The Lord created the heavens and the earth;  we are but grasshoppers in comparison.   These verse ask the question who are we likening the Lord to?  The whole environmental movements seems to be all about making man like the Lord.  Environmentalist tell us that planting a tree, using green products, turning off all our lights for a certain amount of time, using reusable grocery bags, paying a carbon tax and the list goes on and on will "save" the environment.  I did a google search for ways to help the environment, the lists are long!  Are some of those things in and of themselves wrong?  Absolutely not, but to an environmentalist those things give man the "power" to change the environment-a power expressly belonging to God (Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Is. 40:26).

The trouble for Christians is the fact that we are cannot escape the hype.  From grocery store ads to food packaging to television commercials and facebook ads and emails (like the one I just got from Lowes) environmentalist ideals surround us.  Since tomorrow is earth day there will be posts all over facebook, twitter etc. with people discussing what great things they are doing to help "save" the environment.  We can't allow ourselves to be caught up in it.  We need to be good stewards of the environment that is the job man was given all the way back in the Garden, but we need to remember that if we do what we do to "save" the environment we are attempting to usurp the power that is the Lord's alone.

Rom 1:20-25  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:   Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The relationship of the Lord and Abraham encompasses many things, but the aspect I want to focus on today is the Lord's patient teaching of Abraham.

Gen 12:1-4  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

The Lord has a promise for Abram:  the Lord was going to make a great nation from the descendants of Abram and all the earth would be blessed because of him.  This is the first time we see the Lord's teaching of this promise to Abram.

Gen 13:14-18  And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:   For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

This is after Lot and Abram had gone their separate ways.  The Lord reminded Abram of the promise that He had given.

Gen 15:1-6  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

More time has passed, and the Lord is again reminding Abram of His promise.  The Lord in the rest of Gen. 15 uses illustrations and examples to teach Abram the promise.

Gen 17:1-2  And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.   And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 

Twenty four years have passed since the Lord first told Abram of his promise.  The Lord once again reminds Abram of His promise.  In this chapter not only does the Lord change Abram's name to Abraham, but He also instructs Abraham to circumcise all the males of his household. 

Gen 18:10-14  And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.   Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.   Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 

The Lord appears once again to Abraham.  This time the Lord reveals to Abraham that Sarah would be having a son, a seemingly impossible task.

Gen 22:1-3  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Now it was time for the test of Abraham's faith.  Had Abraham learned the lesson that the Lord had been teaching him for many years? 

Gen 22:11-12  And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 

Abraham passed the test with flying colors! 

Gen 22:15-18  And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,  And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:   That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;   And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 

Abraham passed the test, and the Lord once again tells Abraham of the promise!

What a patient teacher the Lord is in this story.  By our standards today Abraham was not just a grown man, he was an old man, but his age didn't affect the teaching.  The Lord many times comes and talks to Abraham about the promise.  He didn't just tell Abraham once and that was the end of it; it was over and over and over.  The Lord used examples in Gen. 15, circumcision in Gen. 17, and the birth of Issac in Gen.18-19 to teach Abraham the promise.  Then when the Lord thought that Abraham was ready He gave the test, and even when the test was passed, the Lord teaches it again.

So let's apply this to our lives.  As a parents are we patiently teaching our children the lessons we want them to learn?  Parenting involves a lot of teaching.  Teaching our children how to obey, how to sit in church, how to eat at the dinner table, how to clean their room, how to be respectful, etc.  We so often expect our child to listen to our instruction, then for the rest of their existence do exactly as we instructed.  If the Lord didn't expect Abraham who was a grown man to remember his lessons; why do we as parents expect it of our children?  Maybe instead of yelling at our kids because they have failed to follow instructions that we may have given them hours, days, or even weeks before; we should take a few minutes to remind them of the instructions.  Through out Abraham's life we see that on several occasions he tried to do things his own way showing that he had not yet learned the lesson the Lord was teaching.  When that happened, the Lord just stepped in and taught the lesson again.
Let's strive to be patient teachers of our children.  Maybe that room isn't getting cleaned properly because our child just needs another lesson.  Maybe that chore isn't getting done they way we expect because another lesson is necessary.  Before we get angry, let's take the time to teach the lesson again!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


We are heading back to Genesis with a look at the life of Lot. The story of Lot could be summed up by these verses from James.
Jas 1:14-15  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

2Pe 2:6-8  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

 I know there are some that do not believe that Lot was saved.  These verses seem to indicate that he was saved. Verse 7 calls Lot just and verse 8 calls him a righteous man, which is ample reason to study the relationship of God to His child Lot.

Gen 13:7-13  And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.  And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.  Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.  And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.   Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.  Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.  But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. 

We see Lot making a decision, innocent as it seems, that will eventually land him in a lot of trouble.  He turned his tent toward the wicked city of Sodom.

Gen 14:11-13  And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.  And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.  And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

Notice where Lot is now, instead of just having his tent pitched toward Sodom, we find Lot living in Sodom.  Perhaps this incident was the Lord trying to get Lot's attention.  Unfortunately, Lot was content in his place.

Gen 19:1-3  And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.   And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

Lot was found by the two angels at the gate of the city of Sodom, he was definitely not in a place that pleased the Lord.

Gen 19:4-11  But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,   And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.   Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.  And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.  But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.   And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 

These verses show us the utter perverseness of the men of the city of Sodom, and how Lot had been pulled into their sin.  If it had not been for the angels who knows what would have happened to Lot and his family.

Gen 19:12-14  And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:  For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.  And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

 Perhaps the saddest part of the story.  Lot went to his family to beg them to escape from the destruction that was coming, and he was laughed at.  His own family thought he was crazy.  When he made that decision to pitch his tent toward Sodom he had no idea what it would do to his family.

Gen 19:15-26  And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.   And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.   And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.  And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:  Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:   Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.  And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.  The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.  Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;  And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.  But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

The next morning Lot, his wife and two daughters were literally dragged away from Sodom.  He enjoyed his sin so much he did not want to leave it, but God in his mercy forced him to leave.  When Lot was told to flee to the mountain he did not want to go, so at Lot's request, the Lord allowed him to go to one of the cities nearby.  Because of his sin, Lot lost everything.  He was once a rich man; a man with a wife, sons, daughters, servants, a home and large flocks.  He lost his wife, his sons, his daughters, his home; all he had was the clothes on his back and his two daughters.

The Lord's punishment of Lot was severe.  There was mercy involved, He did spare the lives of Lot and his two daughters, and He did allow him to go to one of the nearby cities rather than having to flee to the mountains.   But this story overwhelming shows the justice of the Lord.

What about us?  Are there times when our child needs us to discipline with more justice than mercy?  Notice, the love and mercy are never gone in this story, but the justice is at the forefront.  Are there times when the consequences we use do not get our child's attention and something else would work better? 
As a parents are we leading our child in the way of the Lord?  Lot neglected the spiritual needs of his family because he was so wrapped up in doing his own thing.  We need to strive to avoid the tragedy that Lot faced when he was laughed at by his family when he warned them of the coming judgment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Love of a Father

Yesterday, we looked at the justice and mercy of the Lord, today we are going to look at the love of God the Father.

Joh 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.   He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I am sure we could all quote these verses in our sleep, but do we stop to think about them?  God loved the world so much that He allowed His Son to take the punishment for our sin.  His love fits beautifully in with his justice and mercy that we looked at yesterday.  His love is the reason that He sent his Son to suffer all the pain and agony that He went through, so that we would no longer be condemned for our sins.  That is a love incomprehensible, unimaginable, and amazing.

Rom 5:1-9  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:   By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

 The Father's love is a love that is freely given.  His love was given to us, not because we were righteous, but because we were sinners with no hope of justification.  There is absolutely nothing we can do to get the love of God because He gave it to us before we even realized that it we needed it.

Eph 2:4-9  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,   Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The Father's love is a great love.  While we were still rotten, wicked sinners He gave his Son to pay the price for our sins.

Rom 8:32-39  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Father's love is inescapable.  We see in these verses a love so great that there is absolutely nothing that can take us away from the love of God.  These are great verses on eternal security, nothing can separate us from the love of God that was manifested in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So how can we apply this to our parenting?  How much love do we show to our children?  Not just saying the words,  "I love you," but showing it in our actions.  Are our children afraid that if they do something wrong that mom and dad will stop loving them?
God loved us with a sacrificial love, how much sacrificial love do we show to our children?"  Do we stop the "important" (i.e. facebook, blogging, get the idea) things we are doing to spend time demonstrating our love toward our children?   What better way is there to teach our children about the great love of God than by showing that love to them as we raise them.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Justice and Mercy of a Father

I have been going back and forth today between two topics, both great studies and I will tackle the other one tomorrow, but today's study is just going to scratch the surface.  In my Sunday School class this morning the story was the death and resurrection of Christ.  As I was studying the story yesterday in preparation, and mulling over yesterday's study I thought it would be an appropriate topic.

In the story of Adam and Eve we saw that God in His mercy did not give Adam and Eve the ultimate consequence that they deserved; instead, He gave them the promise of a Savior. Now we are going to look at that promise fulfilled.

Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  

The consequence for the sin that Adam committed was death.  That price had to be paid, but God in His mercy was going to provide One that could pay that price.

2Co 5:17-21  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.   For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

These verses show us God's mercy, through His son Jesus Christ, He reconciled (restored) our relationship with Him.  No longer are we condemned to death; we can be made righteous through Christ.  That reconciliation occurred because of Christ's death on the cross, the fulfillment of God's justice.

The fulfillment of God's justice was not a pretty sight, in fact far from it, but it is something we should ponder.  The full and total consequences of sin were poured out on Christ.

He was betrayed by one of his disciples
Mat 26:14-16  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Mat 26:47  And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Mat 26:48-49  Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.  And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

He was forsaken by his disciples
Mar 14:50  And they all forsook him, and fled.

He was falsely accused
Mar 14:53, 55-59  And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.  And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.  For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.  And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.   But neither so did their witness agree together.

He was hit and spat upon
Mar 14:65  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

He was denied by Peter.
Mat 26:69-75  Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.  But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.   And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.   Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

He was falsely accused and mocked in front of Herod
Luk 23:8-11  And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.   And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

He was scourged, beaten and mocked.
Mar 15:15-20  And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.  And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,  And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.   And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
Mat 27:28-30  And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

He was crucified on the cross.
Joh 19:16-18  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

Even while he was on the cross he was mocked.
Luk 23:35-41  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,  And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

His Father forsook Him
Mar 15:34  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

He died.
Luk 23:46  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The story of Christ's death on the cross is the ultimate example of God's justice.  The sin had been committed, the consequence had to be paid, and that consequence was paid by the only One who could pay it in full.  The story of Christ's death is also the ultimate example of God's mercy.  Every single thing that happened to Christ is what we deserve. Instead of making us suffer the consequences for our sins, God put the consequence on His Son.

So what is the challenge for us as parents?  How often do we stop to talk to our children about what Christ did for us?  Every time we talk to our children about their sin, do we talk about how that sin is why Christ had to die?  As Easter is coming up this week, have we taken the time to teach the Reason of Easter, or do our kids think that it is all about the Easter bunny and the Easter egg hunt?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adam and Eve

We are studying this story from a parent/child relationship.  As we look at it we can break it down into three parts. The Lord giving the instruction, Adam and Eve disobeying the instruction, and the Lord handing out the consequences. 

Gen 2:15-17  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Here we see the instruction.  The Lord instructed Adam to eat of every tree of the Garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The Lord also told Adam exactly what the consequences would be if he did decide to disobey the command: Adam would die.

Gen 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?   And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:   For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Here we see the disobedience.  The serpent tempted Eve, convincing her that what God had to say was not really true.  If she ate of the fruit she would be like a god; dying was not something she would have to worry about.  For Eve, the thought of trying that fruit and becoming wise was appealing, so she tried the fruit.  When she brought it to Adam and he ate of the fruit as well.

 Gen 3:8-13  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.   And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?   And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?   And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.   And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Now the guilt set in, Adam and Eve began to realize what they had done.  Just like a child that has done something wrong, Adam and Eve go about trying to hide their sin, and just like a parent the Lord knew exactly what they had done.  This part of the story sounds so much like the typical conversation with a child that is in trouble.  When the Lord asked them what they had done Adam immediately blamed his wife and Eve, not willing to take responsibility for her sin, blamed the serpent. 

Gen 3:14-19 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.   And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Gen 3:22-24  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:   Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.   So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The Lord now hands out the consequences for the sin.  Something I noticed in the parent/child relationship here: the Lord never loses His temper, lectures them or berates them for what they have done He simply hands out the consequences.  The serpent is cursed.  Eve's consequence was multiplied sorrow and now Adam would rule over her.  Adam's consequence was the curse of the ground and in the end, death.  Adam and Eve were also driven from the garden.  Very severe consequences for simple disobedience, but not what they deserved.

It is interesting that the consequences show the Lord's mercy with His justice.  We see the justice in the fact that Adam and Eve received the consequences for their sin. In His mercy, the death that was promised was not immediate.  Adam did not receive the ultimate consequence for his sin until he was 930, when he died.  His justice is what drove them out of the garden, but it was His mercy that clothed them in the skins of animals. The ultimate demonstration of mercy, in this story, is found in verse fifteen of chapter three:  the promise of the Savior.   The consequence of sin must be fulfilled because His justice; but the promise of the Savior shows us His mercy.

So what is the challenge for us as parents?  Do we give clear instructions complete with what the consequences will be?   When our children disobey, do we yell, berate, lose our temper; or do we hand out the consequences with calmness.  Do we parent with justice tempered with mercy or does one take preeminence over the other?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The philosophy

Last year at Teen Extreme Youth Camp with our teenagers one of the speakers challenged the teenagers to read four chapters of the Bible daily.  Never one to back down to a challenge, Nick and I both decided to take on the challenge ourselves.  There have been days that I haven't succeeded in the challenge, but reading the Bible four chapters at a time has changed the way that I look at the Bible.  I now enjoy reading through the Bible much more, and I am learning much more as I read. When I read large portions of Scripture rather than smaller sections it is so much easier to see at as a whole rather than a small portion. 

In light of this, all of the study that I will be doing will be looking at large passages of Scripture rather than small portions.  Often the trouble arises when we focus on one or two verses rather than the whole context; false doctrines have arisen because individuals use a couple verses to create an entire doctrine.

Some of the frustration I have had with discipline topics is that often the philosophies are based on just a few verses.  From what I have studied "grace-based discipline" is based on verses such as: Eph 6:4  "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."  While "authoritarian discipline" is bases on verses such as: Pro 22:15 " Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."  One focuses on the attributes of God's grace and love; the other focuses on the attributes of God's justice and righteousness.  God is not just grace and love or just justice and righteous; He is both.  His grace and love fit hand and hand with His justice and righteousness.
As a parent if we are following the example of the Lord as we raise our children then we should be balancing grace and love with justice and righteousness.  Hence my desire to study the Lord as a parent rather than try to weed through a multitude of books.
The plan is to start in Genesis and work my way through the Bible.  If anyone has any suggestions comment and let me know.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog!  I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, but there are times it is nice to put my thoughts down. 
Just like the name of my blog my family is learning how to daily live by faith in Jesus Christ.  My deepest desire is to live a life completely surrendered to the Lord. 
My husband Nick and I have been married for almost ten years; through the years we have seen the Lord guide our steps.  From the church where we are serving at, to the home we live in, we have seen the Lord's hand guide us every step of the way.  This year we embarked on a brand new journey as my husband left the job as full-time youth/assistant pastor of our church to train to be a chaplain in the United States Navy.  This journey has given us a new understanding of the concept of walking by faith and not by sight.  We are trusting the Lord to provide for our needs as Nick is now a full time student and we are living off savings.
We have three children that are a wonderful blessing from the Lord.  Each one is a joy and a challenge to raise and train in the Lord.  Our two oldest children have accepted Christ as their Savior, and we are praying that as our youngest grows older that he too will come to have personal relationship with the Lord.

Part of the reason that I have started this blog is because of a topic that Nick and I have been discussing recently.  One of my friends posted some thoughts about discipline and that got us talking. I have a degree in early childhood education, so part of my course work was reading many books about disciplining/raising children.  After my children were born I was given a few books on the same topic.  As I think about the books I have read, I have realized that while many of those books have some great ideas about how to raise/train/discipline a child something is missing.   Many Christian authors claim that the Bible is the source of their ideas, but the extent of the Bible in their work is a couple Bible verses sprinkled here and there.  When you check the bibliography most of their ideas/philosophies come from man not God, or the author has chosen one specific attribute of God and used it as the basis for a philosophy of discipline.

Why not have a book on discipline start with an intensive study of the best example of a parent: the Lord? Instead of reading books written by men with a myriad of different ideas and philosophies, why not go to the ultimate source of wisdom and study that first.  Often I have heard the statement about discipline books "take the good, leave the bad."  Why not go to the source that never requires that philosophy; there is nothing "bad" in the Bible.

After having numerous discussions with Nick about it, he challenged me to do my own study of the Lord as a father; studying His relationship with His children, how He disciplined them, how He taught them, and how He trained them.  The only prerequisite is that the relationships studied must involve His relationship with His children, not the wicked (i.e. David not Jezebel).  As I study how the Lord deals with His children, my prayer is that my life will be changed in how I deal with my children to reflect the Lord.