Parenting doesn't come with instructions when kids are born.Sometimes you have to make up the rules on the fly!And that's OK, as long as parents are more in love with the Lord than they are with their children.The balance between giving them everything and allowing them to earn their own way while making a few mistakes is the difference between self-respect and self-destruction.Erma Bombeck (not the best theologian of our day), provides this humorous advice in her book Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.
"We made a speech: 'We know you won't understand this now, but someday you will.We no longer want to deprive you of the poverty you so richly deserve.The HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN BANK OF PROSPERITY is closed!Money is not related to love.It's only a shallow substitute.What you really need is a ton of self-respect.'He sat there for awhile in silence.Finally he said, 'Do I have to buy it with my own money?'We smiled.'It's the only way you can buy it.' " (page 159)
Self-respect is not bought, it is earned!And parents are an important link to teaching children how to earn it.Erma's idea is a good one to teach a child the value of money and the joy which comes from earning our way.
Another way might be to memorize a brief passage from Proverbs, chapter 3:3-6:
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when the sunset years are past and I am only a memory to my sons, let them not recall the many times I failed as a father, but let them know that I tried to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And may their children experience confidence and self-respect because they had the advantage of a godly home.Amen and amen.
Ironically I had learned of this man, Martin Luther, during World History in 10th grade. And then he slipped from my mind until recently. Last semester, he showed up in a not so likely class, “20th Century Music.” I'll take this moment to point out that this was in my second semester of my senior year of high school. From there his name has only surfaced more and more, through a game I bought at Books A Million, from a book I recently finished reading, and even as a research paper topic. Although I thought he was an interesting person two years ago, I can't help but think that God is trying to tell me something with Luther's example. So who is this Martin Luther? What did he do that makes him so famous in history?
The location is Wittenberg, Germany during the 1500s where the predominant religion was Catholicism. On a cool crisp morning, people had poured into the city to hear Martin Luther speak. After what he's done, who wouldn't? Luther had openly and directly criticized the Catholic Church and the pope himself. But not only that, he had taken it to the next level... Luther wrote 95 things he found wrong with the Catholic Church, known as the 95 Theses, nailed them to the door of the church. Let that sink in. During THAT time period, Luther had insulted and criticized the Pope of the Catholic Church. Because he refused to recant his statements, Luther was excommunicated. But more importantly, he sparked a fire that would spread far and wide across the religious community.
So what's the point of this story? Luther took a stand when no one else would! Do you think that Luther was the only one to notice the flaws? Certainly not, but he was the only one to take action against them.
We should follow Luther’s model today, when many churches focus more on tithes and attendance numbers than the words taught from the pulpit. What!? I don't believe it says that anywhere in the Bible: “Attendance and tithes take priority over the teachings that people are there for.” Yes, the Bible says to tithe and pay taxes. And yes, we should bring others in to the church so that they can be taught about God and do not have to face an eternity in Hell, but NEVER should these take priority over God Himself. For when we step through that door into the church, we should NOT be doing so to appease anyone or just to see certain people. We should be stepping through that door with an open mind and heart for God.
Should we be as bold as Luther and nail papers to churches? Well, that's your discretion on how far you will go. But be sure, if you see problems within the church, report them. If there are faults with the institution where you go to learn about the Most High God, they need to be corrected. That’s not to say that the church can be perfect, for the church is not the building you enter to worship God. The church is the members that congregate in the building where you sing and worship God. But the point is this: Any fault that goes uncorrected in the House of God may become a stumbling block for fellow Christians. The next time you find something wrong in what someone says, or the way something is being handled, or what someone has done in a holy house of worship, speak up!
S.I.C. Ryan McCammon
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Offering timely words of response in the name of Jesus is a special acknowledgement of faithful service to a fellow Christian.What a blessing it is to be around a person who ministers in that way!We would call someone like that an Encourager.
"But I don't serve God simply because I expect a pat on the back," you may protest.
I received an email from a pastor who responded to one of the GospeLines devotionals:
Thanks, friends.That is a good story.I had seen it before; was glad to read it again.As I read the part where the two teens talked to the older minister after the meeting, I thought, "At least they said something to him!"Too many times, I've heard nothing afterwards; and have been nearby when people said nothing to other ministers, as well.I'm not referring to the usual statement, "I enjoyed your message, pastor," but to some comment or question that would indicate even the tiniest bit of interest in God's Word and spiritual growth.My heart is breaking... Surely, somebody is hungry... You know, it seems to me that we are nearer to Jesus catching His bride away than we realize!
Maranatha!*See you on the way up!
Pastors are people, too.I don't know how you view your pastor, but from experience I can tell you that he is in need of encouragement from you.Tell him you love him.Let him know his words helped you.It will bless your heart and he will know that God has used him to meet your needs.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, remind us that those who are anointed to preach the Gosel are in need of encouragement, too.Open my silent lips so that I may boldly speak the words of appreciation which are on my heart, yet often remain private.Challenge me to become more sensitive to the efforts of others by sharing words of love and affirmation.Amen and amen.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
I read a story about a new young partner in a law firm. The senior partners had set extremely high standards and had coached him carefully. He did well in some minor trials but he lost his first big case. When the partners reviewed the trial, they pointed out his errors and suggested different strategies. Even with all their critique, he lost the next big one. He felt terrible. Were they ready to give him the boot?
Then one of the partners took him aside. “Look,” he said, “you’re learning. Just keep going. You’ll start winning. Meanwhile, your position is secure. You’re one of us.” Those words were exactly what he needed to hear.
Have you ever experienced this kind of compassion when you were feeling hopeless? If we’re believers, we have. The Lord has taken us aside and said, “Yeah, you’ve made some mistakes, but don’t worry — your position is secure.
Know that God has provided your security today. Rest assured in Him — and be sure to convey that same kind of compassion to struggling siblings in the faith. All of us need to be reassured once in a while.
A man planted a crepe myrtle tree with lavender blooms on his front lawn. During the first year it produced beautiful flowers with rich colors which blessed everyone who saw them. The flowers remained the same year after year.
Hoping to duplicate the color elsewhere in the yard, he rescued the small volunteer sprouts that popped up from the fallen flower seeds. For three consecutive years he shared the offspring with neighbors and added color to his back yard as well.
The first offspring grew nicely, but the flowers were not the same as the parent plant. The buds were a faded, washed-out lavender color; pretty, but not the same as the original.
Flowers from the third generation were a deep pink, not lavender at all.
And the fourth generation crepe myrtle produced flowers which were a very, very pale pink color.
There seemed to be a generational deficiency in the experiment. The plants farthest from the original root stock displayed the most differences. No one would think that there was any relationship at all in the trees which came from the seeds. The glorious original colors of the parent are now disappointingly faded in the offspring.
There are two truths to be learned from this parable:
First, Christian testimonies never fade or waiver when they are rooted deeply in Jesus Christ. The more we become like people around us, the more we move away from the original root of our Lord and Savior.When our witness becomes weak and faded, it loses the glorious beauty it had when we were first enjoined with Jesus.Consequently, the kingdom promises we once accepted matter-of-factly are less promising, not because God has changed but because our lives have gradually shifted away from Him.
Secondly, Christianity is not inherited from our parents.It is the Faith born deep within each individual heart which brings eternal security through Jesus Christ.One is not born into Christianity by physical birth, nor is salvation inherited by our nationality or race.Grace comes independently to those who ask by faith.
Reclaim the glory of yesteryear and let your light shine as it did before.Walk not in your own understanding but follow the unchanging message of the Father.
GospeLines Prayer:Blessed Creator, keep me close to the Root of Salvation; guard my soul so that I may testify of your everyday activity in my life.May the fragrance of my witness be a testimony of your grace and everlasting glory.Let Your message of hope and peace burst forth in victorious song.Amen and amen.