Monthly Archives: August 2013

Meet the Teacher: You!

cross-trainingSchool starts this week. Algebra and adverbs. History and health. Social studies and Spanish. Teachers enjoy a captive audience as they share their particular passion. Kids teach lessons too through the power of peer pressure.

So where do parents come in? What are we to teach? David tells us in Psalm 34:11, it’s the most important lesson of all:

“Come, my children, listen to me; and I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

Fear, not in that we are afraid, well, maybe a little, but fear in that we have a proper perspective of who God is and who we are.

A recent trip to the beach reshaped this perspective for me. The ocean’s vastness astounds me. Yet Scripture says God stores it in jars. (Psalm 33:7 NIV) Really? The Pacific Ocean fits in one of God’s jars? My Texas mind sees images of Mason quart jars filled with canned veggies. I picture God’s pantry shelves loaded with jars neatly labeled Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and so on. As my picture of God grows, so do my fear and respect for Him. The God who stores the sea in His personal Mason jars can handle anything coming my way. He’ll do the same for you. For your kids and mine.

School is back. Class starts today. What are you teaching?

Questions:

What things have colored your picture of God?

Are you familiar with the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”? Does nature affect your view of God? How?

Disrespect is rampant in our culture. Do you have personal struggles with respect, especially with authority figures?

How does our culture encourage disrespect?

Does this culture clash make it difficult to give God the respect He deserves? The time He deserves?

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Unchained

cross-training“Paul replied, ‘Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’”(Acts 26:29)

Shackles.

Unwieldy things. Heavy. Noisy. They don’t go with anything, yet Paul wore these less than lovely accessories for over four years. Look at the final verse of Acts:

“Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about

the Lord Jesus Christ.”(Acts 28:31)

Boldly, clinking and clanking with every step, yet without hindrance.

Are you dragging some chains? Demands at work? Demands at home? A wounded heart? How about the kids? Oh, kids wear chains too. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can cause internal bleeding and sometimes, chains. Chains like:

Anxiety over tests and grades

Sibling rivalry

Body or image issues

But look at Paul. Boldly. Without hindrance. In spite of his chains.

Paul’s God was bigger. So big, the chains were overshadowed and forgotten.

God’s bigger than our chains too. Look past the chains and focus on Him. Allow the shackles to dwindle in the light of His Presence. Be bold. All things are possible.

Questions:

What chains are you dragging? Worry, pressure, hurt feelings, insecurity?

How have they hindered you? What have you been afraid to do because of ___________?

Paul is arrested in Acts 21. Skim through Acts 21-28. Look at Paul’s physical situation and contrast it to his spiritual state.

Bring your chains to Jesus and ask for help in overcoming them. Keep a journal over the next several days and weeks. Record His response.

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This Person Will Self-Destruct in Five, Four. . .

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“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.”(Proverbs 19:3)

Have you ever tried to help someone who was obviously in need only to have them refuse your help? Then, you watched as they went their own way, only to crash and burn. A brother or sister, a best friend, even a child?

Look at the verse above. Scripture defines folly as foolishness or poor choices, especially when one knows better. Solomon says folly ruins one’s life. We’ve all seen it. A choice you knew was a bad one—but they chose it anyway. Choices to:

  • Disobey
  • Hurt someone
  • Take unnecessary risk

Solomon tells us this person’s heart rages against the LORD and His loving correction. Like my dog Zuno when his ears hurt. He snaps at me when I try to help. When he yields and lets me put medicine in his ears, he gets better.

Do you snap or submit?

Do you stop and listen to wise counsel? Or, when someone tries to head off a wrong choice, are you like Zuno who snarls and runs from the medicine? Learning to stop and count the cost takes practice. Keeping emotions and a strong will in check requires a partnership with God. Now is not too early to start.

Cultivate a responsive spirit instead of one that will self-destruct.

Questions:

How do you respond to correction? Be honest.

How can we test the counsel of others to see if it is wise and to see if it applies to us?(Not all counsel is good.)

What can help you submit rather than snap? (Phil. 4:4-9 How many ideas can you find in this passage?)

How can you cultivate a responsive spirit to God? (Colossians 3:23-24, Galatians 5:16-17,22-25)

How can you give good counsel and increase the chances of it being received? (Phil. 4:3-11)

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Pick Up Please

cross-training“Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3)

Sometimes I don’t hear my phone.

Sometimes I choose not to look when I receive a text.

This drives my family crazy, but I refuse to be tied to the thing. Especially when certain children text me from school (Aren’t you supposed to be doing something–like school work?) asking me to pick up sundry items while I’m at the grocery store. Really?

Thankfully, God is different. He doesn’t mind being on call 24/7, 60/60. When I call, He always picks up. When I shoot a quick text, His reply may not be immediate, but His attention is. I’m not just some random number. I’m in His contacts.

Are you?

If so, He hears. He knows. From the toddler praying over a boo-boo to the mom praying over an undiagnosed lump, He hears. He cares. He’s picking up, even as we speak.

Talk to Him. His plan includes unlimited texts and minutes, free long distance, and no dead zones.

It’s the family plan, so call.

Questions:

What are your thoughts when a random number appears on your phone versus a name you recognize?

Do you respond differently to the two? Do you think God’s response is different for one of His children versus one who is not a believer yet? (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9)

How about close contacts? Do you have a special ringtone for them? What would God’s ringtone for you sound like?

Does the fact that God’s response is not always immediate affect your belief of whether He is listening?

How can you and your family cultivate the habit of calling God first?

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