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Archive for January, 2012

Last time we talked about technology stealing our children’s hearts. How and why do you think that occurred?

The first generations not spanked by their parents were the “X and Y” kiddos. Their discipline came in the form of a time-out. What does a child learn of eternal value in time-out?  God says, “He who spares his rod hates his son. But he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24 NAS). In Hebrews 12:5 and 6 (NAS) God says, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It’s easier to give our children things that will keep them quiet and entertained, rather than teach and discipline them or listen to their tantrums and tears if we say no. We have created spoiled children who demand what the market place provides. We give them things rather than giving them ourselves. Then we work harder to give them more. The spiral continues and multiplies because neither parents nor children comprehend the meaning of no.

But God says no, for our own good. When folks complain that God doesn’t answer their prayers, is it possible that God said no and they refused to listen? We can’t teach our children what we refuse to accept or understand ourselves.

Are our minds blank computer screens when it comes to the Word of God? Is there any memory of His Word saved on the hard drive that will provide His wisdom and solutions during times of trouble, trials and tragedies?

And so, generational sin continues.

In the Book of Deuteronomy we find the children of Israel poised on the banks of the Jordan River ready to go into the land promised to them by God. These young adults and their parents wandered the desert for 40 years because the parents rebelled against God’s instructions to conquer the land. So God told them no! No, you will not inherit the land. He would not allow anyone over the age of 20 to experience the blessing of His promise. They would die in the desert and their children would inherit the land.

Moses instructed the generation that finally went into the land: “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” ( Deuteronomy 6:4-7, KJV).

In Chapter 11:19, Moses reminded them they were to “teach these things to their children.” God promised them blessings if they obeyed and curses if they disobeyed. Moses told them in Deuteronomy 30:1-4 when they disobeyed God and were suffering the consequences of their rebellion, if they and their children returned to the Lord and obeyed Him with all their heart and soul, then He would have compassion on them and gather them from the places He scattered them.

God judged Israel for their rebellion. In light of his immutability, isn’t it reasonable that He will judge our nation too?  America has turned her back on God. We have failed to teach His inerrant Word to our children and require them to obey. We have allowed the minority to toss God out of the schoolhouse, the courthouse, the White House, and most of our houses.

Is there a solution? Yes. The same remedy God offered to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:1-4 when they turned their back on Him. He said we must call our actions what He calls them—rebellion and sin. We must recognize that we have not obeyed the Lord our God and cry out to Him. And repent. Then we must return and obey Him with all of our heart.

We don’t need new words or a new translation of what He said. We need the commitment and courage to obey what He has already instructed. In Psalm 40:8 David says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God. And Your law is within my heart.”

My question is this—Do you delight to do His will? Have you hidden His Word in your heart? If you live these two statements at home, at the office and especially at church, would it change your life?

If we repent and turn perhaps God will have compassion on America. And forgive us and gather us from all the places we’ve been scattered. Then perhaps the time will return in our nation where Jehovah God is Lord over our hearts and the hearts of our children. But that decision has to begin with you and me. The alternative is bondage. Just ask the people of Israel how well that worked out for them.

NEXT: 2 Chronicles 16:9 and Psalm 328b

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TEXTING GOD

Are we raising a generation of young people who are incapable of understanding the deep bonds of love and the necessity of personal relationships with others and with God?

I believe we are.

Christmas morning my eleven-year-old grandson texted me to say he had received a brand new phone for Christmas.

“Great,” I texted back. “Now you can call me more often.”

He quickly returned my text. “No, Mimi. Now I can text you faster.”

I sighed and typed this response. “Focus on calling, sweetheart. Mimi loves to hear the sound of your voice.”

This grandson came for a visit between Christmas and New Years and for some unknown reason, in the middle of the week, his new super phone screen went black. He could receive calls but was unable to text. The boy had a momentary melt-down. His communication to the outside world—ceased! But as the week progressed we had time to talk. He had a wonderful time and the world did not end—even though he couldn’t text.

Texting, emailing and all the other time-saving technological conveniences of this age are no substitute for face-to-face, one-on-one, verbal communications with family, friends, and especially with God.

“Relationships.” Do kids even have a clue what a relationship is?

My grandkids may have 200 “friends” with whom they text and email on Facebook, Twitter or whatever. They believe these are relationships. But, they are mere acquaintances—if  that. Three and four word texts, via electronic device, cannot weave lasting emotional bonds between people.

And talk about “text,” what about the Bible?

Are today’s young people even able to read passages longer than a three line text or comprehend the eternal consequences of ignoring or rebelling against The Lord God Almighty who is the same yesterday, today, and forever? They can text and operate all this plethora of high tech machinery, know the lyrics of every song on their Ipod, but have trouble believing or caring much less connecting the dots from creation, to the cross, and into eternity. And forget about “hiding God’s Word” in their hearts (Psalm 119:11 NKJ). They will tell you they don’t have the time nor inclination to do so.

Throughout scripture God tells of His people crying out to Him, His hearing and answering their prayers. King David says, “I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1-2 NAS).

God created me in His image and for His pleasure. I was made to have an intimate, personal relationship with God the Father, and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Without that kinship there is an empty chasm in my heart and soul. But, there can’t be a relationship unless there is time spent together, unless there is truth and respect, and unless intimacy exists between the parties, whether it’s between spouses, friends and family or especially God.

I love to hear my children and grandchildren’s voices. Have you considered that God loves to hear your voice too? Not just in a three or four word text, muttered in a time of tragedy or despair or when you’re about to fall asleep. But from the depth of your soul and the need of your heart, on your knees—quiet and still, before the only One who hears and answers your prayers.

Next: Deuteronomy 6:6-7

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What God Says

 

Have you ever walked along the beach, waded into the waves, having a cut or scrape on your leg that stings like a bee? Why? Because saltwater is an antiseptic. But when you come out of the water the abrasion to your flesh will be on the road to healing.

Salt heals many things from a sore throat, to mouth sores, to a scraped toe. Salt will clean your teeth. Salt will preserve meat and it flavors food.

Jesus said to those who trust Him for salvation, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). I am to be a fragrant flavor of Truth in the lives of others. Problem is I forget that I ‘m salt. I’d rather be oil. Instead of penetrating lives and preventing spoil, I’d rather duck, cover, and run.

I’m instructed to speak words of healing. Words that will direct people to the only One who can forgive their sins, restore their lives, and put them on the straight path toward an intimate relationship with Christ.

There are folks within my sphere of influence whose lives are train wrecks. They stumble along with hearts and minds that are injured and bleeding—suffering from the consequences of wrong thinking and rebellious acts toward God. I am to sprinkle, not saturate, the salt of the Word of God onto their lives. It may sting as I speak those salty truths, but God’s truth heals.

Jesus warned, “If the salt has become tasteless, it is good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matthew 5:13). Has my life become tasteless from the lack of speaking the truth of the Word? I have been guilty of being more afraid of hurting a friend’s feelings than helping them find the path that leads them to obedience and salvation.

Jesus said I am to “judge myself so that I will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1-5). The salt of His truth stings deep and causes me great pain when I realize my thoughts and actions toward Him and towards others are out-of-balance with His Word.

In Deuteronomy 30:1-3 God told Israel, “. . . when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the cursing which I have set before you and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Emphasis added)

Jesus said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John1:9).

The good news of the gospel is “it’s not three strikes and I’m out.” That’s a lie from the pit of hell that I believed for years. The moment I turn from actions and thoughts in rebellion to God’s Word, confess them as sin, and make the choice to walk in obedience to His Word, He forgives me, cleans me up, and restores my life. Regardless of the sins I’ve committed because that’s what He promised to do, because of the blood Jesus shed for me. And unlike me, God always keeps His promises.

Next: Texting God

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