Sunday, June 20, 2010

What should we fear?

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." 
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Is this true?

I think not! So where can we find a basis for a refutation of this statement? Scripture of course! :)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Prov. 9:10
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. 10:28
“Now fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.” Joshua 24:14

We have to make sure that we don’t just accept ideas before taking them to Scripture!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer and Productivity

Summer and productivity are not two words often seen together.  Summer is equated with relaxation, rest, and fun, right?

Summer typically has less busyness, less structure, and thus less productivity. It’s incredibly easy to waste away the summer sitting around and not accomplishing much. So how can we actively prepare for this summer to make the most of our time?

Set goals. Determine what you would like to accomplish. Summer is the best time to try to institute some habits and accomplish tasks that are hard to tackle during the school year.

Establish priorities. What is necessity? What is optional? Choose based on your priorities. Don’t just think of your own personal priorities though; be sure to keep it in the family context. What are your family’s goals and plans for the summer, and how can you structure your time to bless and serve them?

Eliminate distractions. Do you need to take a break from the computer or TV; set aside some things?  Do you need to take a week to make a dent in a specific project or focus on a certain goal?

Put on an others-first, me-last attitude. Summer is the time we often think we should have more time to do what we want to do. But we need to eradicate that selfish attitude and choose to think of others first. This would first involve your family, but then possibly others outside of your family that you need to take the time to serve.

Structure your time. I know having a rigid schedule may intimidate or even annoy you, but structuring your time at least generally will help you better use your time and accomplish what you want to do. When I have a “to do list” or a schedule, I accomplish a lot more because I can focus on what I need to get done, rather than wander, forgetting half the things I need to do.

Embrace accountability. The easiest way to neglect doing something is when you’re the only one who knows about it. If you can get a parent, sibling or friend to do what you’re doing with you, that’s great, but even if they don’t do it with you, have them keep you accountable by asking you if you’re doing it. Even the accountability of someone asking you daily if you’re using your time wisely will be greatly beneficial.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blessing of Protection

God has given each of us earthly protection. Protection is not bad or negative, but a very great blessing, because even God shelters and protects us!  Protection is implemented for our good, despite how it might not always seem that way. 

But we can run from that authority and step away from that protection. How’s that?

When we begin to reject the God-ordained authority, we put ourselves in a dangerous place. 1 Samuel 15:23 states, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as the sin of idolatry."

Our dog exhibits a perfect example of this. We have a golden retriever, who when given the opportunity, will bolt out our front door. Usually he manages to get out in the midst of someone going in or out the front door if the door is held open just a little too long. Once he’s out, he runs free and wild, ecstatic that he has no boundaries. But not being a very smart dog, he has also had multiple close encounters with cars. Because he is not in the boundaries of our home, he is also outside of our protection, making him vulnerable to danger. His roaming free has almost taken his life before and opens him up to whatever is out there.

The same is true with us. When we choose to disobey, we put ourselves in grave danger. We are susceptible to Satan’s influence and grasp. And there will always be consequences for our choices, whether now or in the future. We have to keep this in mind, because it’s easy to think that we’re not hurting anything with our present bad choices because we don’t see immediate consequences. Oftentimes we are tempted to think that we know better than our parents and are wise enough to make our own decisions. Isaiah 5:21 rebukes this attitude by saying “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes”! Disobedience to parents is a serious sin, listed alongside murder in Romans 1:29-31 and 2 Timothy 3:2-3. We’re tempted to wander because sin looks desirable, but we must remember that in the end it leads to death.

Pastor Paul Washer discovered a common factor among street people that he worked with at one time. He described it by stating: “Their life turned for the worst as they began to disrespect and dishonor their parents. It all began with rebellion in the home.” Could it be that those people were facing some of the consequences for disobedience and dishonor to their parents?

I say all this to encourage you to embrace the blessed protection God has provided in your parents. Even if you think they are being too strict or limiting your freedom, keep in mind that they are doing it for your good, and God will bless you for submitting to their authority. It’s not a matter of who is right or whether you agree or disagree with them—it’s about obeying God’s Word and honoring your parents by your attitude and actions.

Let us strive to obey the Lord by completely and joyfully submitting and obeying our parents!