Category Archives: Jesus

The Sultan and Satan–A Lesson for all!

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An ancient legend from the East tells how a great Sultan–who was known for being a devout man of God–overslept and didn’t awaken at the hour of prayer. When the Devil saw that the hour was passing, he came and waked him, urging him to get out of bed and pray.

“Who are you?” said the startled Sultan, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Oh, it’s not important.” replied the shady figure. “The important thing is that I woke you up in time! Otherwise you would have missed your prayers for the first time in ten years!–And it IS very good to pray, isn’t it?”

“Yes, that is true!” replied the Sultan smugly. “I wouldn’t dream of missing my prayer time.–Not even ONCE!

“But wait a minute! I think I recognise you. Yes, I know your face. Of course, you are Satan, and no doubt you have some evil motive for your appearance.”

“I’m not really as bad as you think!” exclaimed the intruder. “After all, I was an angel once.”

“That is all very well,” replied the wise old Sultan, “but you are the Deceiver, THAT is your business! So I demand in the name of God to know WHY you, of all people, want me to get up and pray!”

“Well,” huffed the Devil, having grown impatient with the Sultan’s persistence, “if you must know, I’ll tell you. If you had slept and forgotten your prayers, you would have felt very SORRY for it afterward, and would have been quite PENITENT. But if you continue on as you have, without missing a single prayer for ten years, then you will become so SATISFIED with yourSELF that it will be worse for you than if you had missed one and had repented of it, asking God for forgiveness! God loves your FAULT mixed with PENITENCE much more than your VIRTUE seasoned with PRIDE!”

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What an important lesson this old story imparts. Often it is actually GOOD for us to make mistakes! If we didn’t make some mistakes, we’d most likely become so proud of ourselves and self-confident, that we’d no longer feel we needed God nor the help of others. But in reality, when we feel so PROUD and SELF-satisfied, it is because we are NOT closer to GOD, but closer to OURSELVES!

Of course, in this modern World of today many people are taught to believe that pride is quite a virtue.–But in GOD’S eyes, pride and self-righteousness are recognised for what they really are–SINS of the heart! In fact, the Bible says that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall!…and God RESISTS the PROUD, but He gives GRACE unto the HUMBLE” (Proverbs 16:5,18; James 4:6)

Quite frequently, the way God helps us keep our pride in check is through our MISTAKES, which serve to keep us humble and broken, more needy of the Lord’s help and more dependent on HIS strength and not our own. It may surprise you to know that the Lord even WANTS us to fail in some things so that we don’t get to thinking too highly of ourselves, thinking that we are so perfect!

Out of what seems like defeat come some of God’s greatest victories!–“Victories? But what kind of victory is that?” you may ask. Well, God very often uses humiliating experiences to make of you a better person, more compassionate and understanding of the errors of others, more loving and patient, when otherwise you might not have been so.

Isn’t it encouraging to realise that your failures can be looked on as something positive, to see them from a positive viewpoint?–Not as though the Lord were merely trying to crush you to the ground, but that He’s using your mistakes to teach you many important lessons that perhaps you would not learn otherwise WITHOUT such humbling!

Of course, in order to do this, we must be honest with ourselves and willing to confess our mistakes and attempt to rectify them. But as they say, the hardest words in any language are, “I was wrong!” And the hardest one to CONFESS our faults to is usually OURSELVES. This takes humility of the kind that only God can give, because it is the inborn sinful nature of man to want to appear perfect and faultless, and consequently he becomes unable to confess his mistakes.

But if we want the truth, and we desire God’s blessing, then we’ll honestly and humbly admit and confess our faults and failings, taking comfort in knowing that we are wiser today than we were yesterday. Contrary to what some folks think, an admission of error is a sign of strength rather than a confession of weakness!

Besides, God knows you’re anything but perfect. In fact, He knows you CAN’T be perfect and will NEVER be perfect. So the crux of the matter is NOT whether you are perfect or not, but if you depend on the LORD totally, trusting in HIM and HIS grace and His Love and mercy. Do you give HIM all the glory and credit for anything GOOD that you do? Whenever you accomplish something good, do you say, “Just thank JESUS, don’t thank me!–If I have done anything good, it’s only because of the Lord’s help!”

A good rule to follow is to give GOD all the glory for anything GOOD you do, and yourself the blame for anything BAD. And it will help keep you from falling into that horrible trap of self-righteous PRIDE, which is the BASIS of virtually ALL SIN!

So whenever you make a mistake and are tempted to get down and discouraged, just remember what was said to that Sultan: “God loves your FAULT mixed with PENITENCE, more than your VIRTUE seasoned with PRIDE!”

PRAYER: Lord, help us to realise that even our mistakes are good for us. Help us to be honest with ourselves and others about our faults and shortcomings. We confess that without You we are nothing (John 15:5). Help us not to fight Your breakings and remakings, which actually help us to become more yielded, more humble and most of all, more useful for Your service. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Stand Up and Stand Out for Jesus!

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

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There was once a young man who was a lumberjack. He worked chopping down trees in the vast forests of northern Canada. One day he went for a few days leave to a nearby town where a Christian pastor witnessed to him on a street corner and led him to Jesus.

“Now that you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart, Jake, your life is going to change,” the pastor said.

“How?” asked Jake, leaning over to take a closer look at the Scriptures that the pastor was showing him from his Bible.

“Well, look, it says right here in God’s Word, `If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, all things have become NEW!’ (2Corinthians 5:17). So I want to warn you, Jake, that when you go back to that lumber camp, it’s going to be very difficult for you!”

“Why’s that, pastor?”

“Because, as you know, most of those lumberjacks are tough, hard, wicked men, and they don’t like Christians!”

“That’s for sure!” agreed Jake, eyeing two of his friends engaged in a drunken brawl at the other end of the street.

“But, Jake, you’ll no longer be the same as you were before, cursing God, speaking foul language and doing evil things!–You’re going to be so different they’re going to PERSECUTE you!”

“Oh!” said Jake.

So Jake went back to the camp and a few months passed before he came back to the town for his next leave. He wondered if he’d run into the pastor again, and yes, there he was, standing on a street corner passing out tracts. One could hardly miss him, his happy smiling face seemed to light up the whole street, as he beamed the Love of Jesus on all who passed by.

“Hey, pastor! Nice to see you!”

“Hi, Jake!” exclaimed the pastor, very glad to see the converted lumberjack again. “Tell me, how did it go at the lumber camp?”

“Oh, fine, just fine!”

“I told you it was going to be difficult to live a Christian life there, didn’t I?”

“No, no,” replied Jake, “it wasn’t hard!–Not at all!”

“You mean they didn’t persecute you or make it tough for you?” the pastor asked, surprised.

“Oh, no! You see…they never even found out that I WAS a Christian!”

* * *

THAT kind of a sample is NOT being a real CHRISTIAN! Something you BELIEVE in, you TALK about! If you believe in your football team, you talk about them! If you believe in your political party, you talk about it! If you like your work, you talk about it!–And if you really believe in and love JESUS, you’re going to talk about HIM and share His Love with OTHERS!–Like Sophie, the washer-woman, who was made fun of one day by someone who said they had seen her talking about Jesus to a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store! Sophie perked up and replied, “Maybe I did; my eyesight isn’t so good any more! But talking to a wooden Indian about Jesus is not as bad as being a WOODEN CHRISTIAN and never talking about Jesus to ANYONE!”

Jesus said, “If men have a candlestick, they don’t hide it under a bowl or a jar.”–They don’t sit alone in some corner and hope nobody will find out that they’ve become a Christian.–But “they put the candlestick on a STAND so that it will give light to the WHOLE HOUSE!” (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16). They stand up and TELL others why they’ve had such a miraculous change in their life! Once you’re saved it should be IMPOSSIBLE to hide the Love of God and the Truth of Jesus! If you have Him in your heart and you have His Love, He wants you to SHOW it and to try to SHARE it with OTHERS! It’s the LEAST you can do for Him Who gave His LIFE for YOU!

Look at most COMMUNISTS today! Look how much you hear about THEM and THEIR cause. They’re certainly dedicated, often very sacrificial, determined and active, willing to even lay down their LIVES to reach their goal of World domination! Can the same be said of the vast majority of CHRISTIANS?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of so-called Christians today are afraid to do anything that would make them stand out as being peculiar or different from the crowd. They’ve lost their TEETH, they’ve lost their CONVICTIONS, they’ve lost their BOLDNESS to take a definite stand for Jesus and be utterly fearless about what people say or think about them! So many try to figure out just how far they can go and yet not hurt their reputation. They’re like some of the man-pleasing Jews in Jesus’ day, of whom the Bible says, “Among the leaders, many believed on Jesus. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise from MEN more than the praise from GOD!” (John 12:42,43).

They don’t want to be real outstanding Christians for fear of being called fanatics, or “fools for Christ’s sake” (1Corinthians 4:10), like the Christian businessman who walked down a busy street in London with a sign pinned to the front of his hat which said, “I’M A FOOL FOR CHRIST!” When passers-by turned to have another look at the man they thought must be a religious fanatic, they saw another card on the back of his hat which said, “WHOSE FOOL ARE YOU?”!

How sad that so many Christians rarely dare to be different, or venture to vary from the norm. They try to tiptoe along very daintily in their walk with the Lord and not disturb anybody! How unlike the Christians of the Early Church, of whom it was said, “These are they that turned the WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!” (Acts 17:6). They were called disturbers alright! But names like Paul and Peter and Stephen and Philip live on to this very day, and their influence is still felt, while the passive compromisers–like so many half-hearted Christians that are drifting around today–just faded into oblivion!

Naaman is a dandy bad example of just such a compromiser: He was a man who, if he had stood up for his faith, could have converted the entire nation of ancient Syria to faith in the true God. Naaman was the second most important man next to the King. He was the top general, the Minister of Defense. He had gotten miraculously healed from leprosy when he went down to see Elisha in Israel, and he even started witnessing to his wife and handmaid and a few close friends that there was no other God but the God of Israel. But when the King of Syria asked him to worship with him in the Temple of Rimmon, the heathen, pagan, devil-god that the Syrians worshipped, he failed to stand up for his new-found faith, and he weakly apologised to Elisha, “The Lord pardon Thy servant in this one thing that I do.” (2Kings 5).

What kind of witness was that to the nation when they saw him walking into the Temple of Rimmon with the King? They must have doubted the stories they’d heard about him being healed by the God of Israel. “Maybe it was the god, Rimmon, who healed him. After all, we see him worshipping there every day with the king!”

There is no such thing as “neutrality” or compromise in the Christian life! Jesus said, “He that is not FOR me is AGAINST me!” (Matthew 12:30). The Christian life should be an on-fire, all-out, 100%, dedicated life devoted to the cause of winning the World for Jesus! The day has now come for Christians to stand up and give bold expression to their convictions, to rise up and FIGHT the forces of darkness that are at work in the World and that are pressing in on us at such an alarming speed! But there isn’t any place in the battle for “chameleon” type Christians who change colour with every crowd and melt into the surrounding World without any convictions or moral courage! That’s the real problem of Christianity today–all the supposedly “secret” Christians who are merely trying to smuggle their own souls into Heaven without anyone else finding out!

Do YOU practice your religion secretly for fear of the opinions of men?–Or do you have the conviction and Christian courage to stand openly with the other great Christians of all ages, to stand up for your faith at every opportunity no matter WHAT the cost in popularity or position! Jesus says, “I wish that you were HOT or COLD!–But if you are LUKEWARM, I will spew you out of My mouth!” (Revelation 3:15,16). With God, it’s usually ALL or NOTHING at all! There’s no halfway with the Lord! He abhors the halfhearted, the lukewarm, the indecisive, the compromisers, the “so-far-and-no-further” folks!

Jesus Himself “made Himself of no reputation, was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was despised and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:1-3). Yet most Christians today are not willing to be the least bit despised for Him and speak out when and where they should for Jesus, to shun the opinions of men and to dare to take a stand for the right, for the TRUTH of God’s Word! Look how much JESUS suffered for US, and yet how little many of us are willing to suffer for Him!

The Bible says, “This is how we know what God’s Love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And WE ought to lay down OUR lives for our BROTHERS!” (1John 3:16). We ought to be willing to lay down our lives to do WHATEVER we can to win as many lost souls as we can while we still can in these last dark days! There’s NO greater work in the World than to witness the Words of God, to preach the Gospel, to tell people about God’s Love, to show them the Love of Jesus!

There is a very meaningful true story about an old lady whose son was appointed “the Ambassador to the Court of St.James”, meaning he was appointed to be American ambassador to England. That was always considered to be the greatest ambassadorship in the World, especially in the days of the zenith of the British Empire’s glory. But when friends came to her with the great news, instead of being overjoyed she nearly wept. She just sadly shook her head and said, “To think that he might have become an ambassador of the GOSPEL, and he dwindled down to nothing but an ambassador to England!”

Think of that! He could have been an ambassador, not of the United States, but of the Kingdom of HEAVEN!–Of the GREATEST King of all, the King of Kings, JESUS! He could have been an ambassador not just to a little country like England, but to the whole WORLD, an ambassador from the greatest Kingdom there will ever be, and could have had a palace forever On High!

THAT’S an appointment that’s open for YOU! Will you TAKE it? In this whole World there is no higher position than to be a child of God, and no greater honour than to stand up for Jesus and be a witness for Him!

Stand up for Jesus TODAY!–You’ll be GLAD you did, and so will God!–And all those who receive your message of His Love!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Metanoia = A Change of Life

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe term “metanoia” is derived from the Greek prefix meta, meaning “over,” “after,” or “with”—and nous, meaning “intellect” or “mind.” Translating literally, metanoia means a change of one’s mind or purpose. The term is generally used in two different contexts, both of which retain this literal meaning. In the Bible, the term is most often translated as “repent.”

The Christian scholar Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225 AD) argued that, in the context of Christian theology, metanoia is best translated as “change of mind.” In this specific context, the change of mind may be taken to refer to the change from nonbeliever to believer. Furthermore, this particular kind of change of mind is expected to entail a wholesale change in the person’s behavior and disposition; the person who experiences metanoia is expected not only to embrace a pious attitude but to act accordingly. Hence the word “repent” refers to renunciation of sin in both thought and act.

—Robert Arp
 

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According to Mark’s gospel, John the Baptist went about “preaching a baptism of repentance [metanoia] for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) From Matthew’s perspective, the essence of the Baptist’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2) Metanoia here and elsewhere in the Bible means “not just a change of inward disposition but a complete turn-around of one’s life, with all that such a re-direction implies of the need for God’s help on the one side and of ethical conduct on man’s side.”

—Lewis and Demarest

 
A change of mind and purpose

Simply put, metanoia is a word filled with remarkable meaning by the preaching of Christ and the apostles. … The word means “after-mind” and signifies a change of mind: thinking one way, but then afterwards thinking another. …

The gospel is what the change of mind is about. The preaching of Jesus and the apostles speaks to the nous [mind], and men change or don’t change their mind as they hear it. When a man changes his mind at the preaching of the gospel, he has experienced metanoia. Thus, the proclamation of metanoia at the beginning of the New Testament is the doorway into the entire rest of the doctrine of the New Testament: Change your mind! About what? Listen! A radical mind-shift in the religious world is about to happen … no, it is happening now… What we thought about God and the law and righteousness and forgiveness is all about to change. Hear! Metanoia and believe the gospel!

New Testament metanoia is a divine call to a radical mind-shift in the way men think about religion. Therefore “repentance” is an entirely unsatisfactory translation of the amazing word “metanoia,” which gives a completely different feeling to the preaching of Jesus and His apostles. Was the major proclamation of Jesus and the apostles “Repent! Feel sorry for your sins”? Or was it “Metanoia! Think a new way”! Do you see what a difference these two words make? Which one is in keeping with the gospel of grace as we know it from the New Testament? Not the first, but the second.

The gospel calls us to a new way of thinking about religion. Whereas men think that they are good, and that obedience to the law is the way of salvation, and that the law only requires partial obedience, and that most people won’t perish, Jesus calls us to believe that there is none good, and that no one will be saved by obedience to the law, because the law requires perfect obedience, and that is the broad road that leads to destruction. The apostles call us to believe that the cross of Christ is the power and the wisdom of God, the only way whereby we are saved, and live, through faith, while the world thinks that the cross is foolishness.

—Eli Brayley

 
Genuine repentance

True repentance is metanoia, Greek for a complete change of direction. Many people are sorry but never really change, like King Saul. Poor Saul never learned. He apologized and was sorry many times, but he never really repented, he never turned and went the other way. Saul would break down and weep before the prophet Samuel, but he didn’t weep because he was repentant; he wept because he was sorry he was about to lose the kingdom. (1 Samuel 15:24–30) He didn’t really confess and forsake his sin, the evil root beneath the outer show. (Proverbs 28:13)

Though King David also committed great sins, he had great repentance and a genuine change. Therefore God had great forgiveness for him. David sought God’s heart. (1 Samuel 13:14; Psalm 51) David deeply loved God, and he really wanted to glorify God and please Him. God loved David in spite of all his sins and mistakes because David was willing to confess and change—and he went on to become one of God’s greats, in spite of himself.

So true repentance is not just being sorry: it is “metanoia,” a complete change of mind and heart and direction—a whole new man, a new personality, a new creature in Christ Jesus—born again! Only God can do it, but we must put forth the effort of a believing will.

You’ve had a genuine repentance when your heart is changed, your life is changed, you’ve had a complete change of mind. It means a complete turning around and going the other way!—Like when you’re driving your car down the street and you decide you want to go the opposite direction, you have to make a U-turn.

When you do, you’re doing exactly what the word “metanoia” translated in our New Testament means: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17) Do you know what Jesus was saying when He said that? He was saying, revolute your life—for the kingdom of God is at hand! He said, turn around and start going the other direction. You cannot keep on living the same way. You cannot travel the same way anymore. You cannot go back and be a slave of mammon and serve God. You cannot serve God and mammon. It’s impossible; Jesus Himself said it. You’ll either “love the one and hate the other, or hold to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24) Which are you serving?

—David Brandt Berg

 
Repentance for salvation

When Paul calls for the elders of Ephesus to come to the island of Miletus, he tells them that he publicly and from house to house was “thoroughly testifying both to Jews and Gentiles repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21) Then, when standing before King Agrippa, Paul says, “I did not become disobedient to the heavenly vision, but I declared first to the ones in Damascus and Jerusalem, and unto all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and that they should turn to God, while producing works worthy of repentance (metanoia).” (Acts 26:19–20) Paul is proclaiming the same message as that of John, Jesus, and Peter, continuing to present that repentance is necessary for salvation and that the fruit or works worthy of repentance (literally, a continuous process under the control of the Holy Spirit) indicate true repentance.

The Bible also teaches that repentance is a gift from God. In Acts 5:31, Peter and the other apostles tell the Sanhedrin, “God exalted this One to His right as Ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Then, after Peter explains his calling from the Lord to go to the Gentiles with the message of salvation, his Jerusalem brethren respond by “glorifying God, saying, ‘Then God also gave to the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11:18)

In our day and age, the condition of repentance is largely absent from the message of Christian salvation. Too often salvation is offered as a free ticket to Heaven, a ticket costing us nothing. However, the Bible teaches that both the call to repentance and the condition of repentance are absolutely necessary for the salvation process to take place: The verb form [of metanoia] expresses the call for the action of making the decision to change the direction of one’s life; the noun form metanoia states the condition necessary for salvation. Only when these two are present will the fruit of repentance follow. Simply put, a person must perceive that he needs a change in the direction of his life. He must make the decision for change, and then surrender his life to Christ, receiving Christ’s Spirit into his own spirit. Herein lies the cost, the surrender of his life. This is necessary because, as Biblical language makes clear, no person has the ability to change himself; spiritual change comes only from God. The good news is that repentance is God’s gift to all who surrender to Christ.

—Bill Klein

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Activated

Points to Ponder: The Peace of God

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Inner peace

 
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:7

 
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.
—John Bunyan (1628–1688)

 
Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.
—Unknown

 
Our daily lives can easily become filled with stress, pressure, and confusion. But we can stop at any moment and slip away into the presence of God’s Spirit through prayer and meditation, and there find peace and refreshing.
—Mottos for Success

 

Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
—Edith Willis Linn Forbes (1865–1945)

 
Jesus lay in the boat sleeping. The waves rose, the wind blew and the storm battered the small vessel about. His disciples were afraid: afraid of the wind, afraid of the waves and fearful for their lives. They came to Jesus, woke Him up, begging for His help. The answer lay in His power. He said, “Peace, be still,” and there was peace. The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (See Mark 4:35–41) No matter the turmoil of our life, we too can find peace if we turn to Jesus for His help.
—Marge Banks

 
Let My Spirit rest upon you and fill you with peace. Let My Spirit flow through your thoughts, mingle with your spirit, and give you strength.
—Jesus

 
Peace with those around us

 
Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
—2 Corinthians 13:11

 
All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.
—Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)

 
All works of love are works of peace. … Peace begins with a smile.
—Mother Teresa (1910–1997)

 
Jesus gave us the key to happiness and harmony when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) And remember, “neighbor” doesn’t only mean the one who lives next door; your neighbor is anyone He brings across your path.

When people don’t treat others with much love, of course they’re going to have problems. In fact, many of the evils in the world today can be traced back to people’s lack of love for God and one another. The simple love of God and one’s neighbors is still God’s solution, even in such a highly complex and confused society as ours. If we love God, we can love others, and follow His rules of life, liberty, and the possession of happiness.

—David Brandt Berg (1919–1994)

 
Sometimes it can be difficult to do the right thing, especially when the person you’re dealing with hasn’t done right to you, but I didn’t say, “Do to others as they do to you.” My code for living is far above that normal perception of fairness. I want you to live on a higher plane. Anyone can be nice to those who are nice, but the person who can be nice to those who aren’t is the bigger person and more blessed by Me.
—Jesus

 
Peace in a world of conflict

 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
—Matthew 5:9 KJV

 
We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.
—William E. Gladstone (1809–1898)

 
Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely an absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
—Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964)

 
Pray for those who are touched by war at this very moment. They need your prayers, and each one needs Me, the Prince of Peace.
—Jesus

 
Peace with God

 
Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
—Romans 5:1

 
“In the fear [reverence] of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26) This place of refuge is promised to all believers, yet so few venture therein. I say unto you, come aside, My dear one. Come under My wings, into My place of refuge, that you may experience My love and My peace.
—Jesus

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You can have God’s peace in your own heart by inviting His Son, Jesus, to come in. He says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20 NIV)

Dear Jesus, please come into my life and give me Your peace. Forgive me for the wrong things I’ve done, and help me get to know You better and share You with others. Amen.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Activated

Stressed Out

By Marie Story

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I have a six-year-old nephew who loves video games. The other day I was sitting with him while he was playing a racing game on his Wii. The levels were getting progressively more difficult, the speed was faster, and the courses were more hazardous. I could see him becoming more and more stressed—his face was turning red, his hands were getting sweaty, and he couldn’t stay in his seat.

Finally, it got to be too much for him. He burst into tears and yelled, “I can’t take it anymore! I’m just too stressed out!” All of a sudden, this game that he had been enjoying became sheer misery. I had a little chuckle at his dramatic outburst, then turned off the TV for a bit so he could take a break.

The very next day, I felt like yelling too. Several big projects came in at once, and deadlines were tight. I usually enjoy my work, but I felt the pressure building up and I wanted to yell, “I just can’t take it anymore!” I didn’t burst into tears, and I didn’t throw a tantrum, but I sure did feel like it.

Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental, or emotional response. Life is a delicate balance, and while some stress is natural and can be healthy, too much pressure in any area can produce negative effects, such as trouble sleeping, withdrawal, emotional instability, and health issues. The longer you wait and allow it to build, the more hazardous it can be.

So what are some ways to deal with stress? Well, stress isn’t a new development—it’s a problem that’s been around for ages. Because of that, the Bible is full of solutions. Here are some important ones:

 
Talk with someone

The apostle Paul tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2 ESV) Others may not be able to solve your problem, but often just being able to unload your troubles to a listening ear can be a tremendous relief. And many times, once you’ve talked it out, your problems don’t seem so formidable anymore and you can tackle them without feeling stressed or overloaded.

 
Break down goals into smaller chunks

If we’re under too much pressure, it could be because we’re trying to tackle too much at once. Jesus tells us that His yoke (or workload) is easy, and His burden is light. (See Matthew 11:28–30) So if your burden is too heavy, maybe you need to set some of it down for a while.

 
Set realistic goals

If you or others can’t meet your expectations, maybe you haven’t thought them through enough. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it?” (Luke 14:28 CEV)

 
Focus on things you can control

Jesus tells us, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” (Matthew 6:34 NLT) There’s enough to think about today without stressing over stuff in the future. And “tomorrow” isn’t just talking about the day after today—it means anything you don’t have control over. If you can’t do anything about it, just trust that God will help you handle it when the time comes.

 
Take care of yourself physically

Often when everything’s piling up, personal care is the first thing you cut out. But that’s the opposite of what you should be doing. If you’re eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising, you’ll feel better physically, which will help you to face challenges with more confidence and energy. Paul explained: “You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. … So use your body to honor God.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 CEV)

 
Take breaks

Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” Sometimes all you need when you’re stressed is a little break. Taking time to rest and relax will help to clear your head, and you’ll come back to your task refreshed, happier, and more focused.

 
Take time with Jesus each day

Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

King David, who faced extreme stress in his life, advises us: “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV) Peter also tells us to “cast all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV) Talk to Jesus about your troubles and ask Him for His solutions and advice. He has promised an easy yoke, so if yours is too heavy, He can show you how to lighten it.

Remember that Jesus understands the pressures you’re facing. “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are.” (Hebrews 4:15 NASB) As you take your cares and concerns to Jesus, He’ll give you the strength to handle each task and responsibility—without getting stressed.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Anchor

The Unchangeable Nature of God

By Peter Amsterdam

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe immutability of God—or His unchangeableness or constancy—is part of His divine nature. It means that God doesn’t change in His being, His perfections, His purposes, and promises. He doesn’t change in His nature or character.

The universe and all that is in it changes. There is transition, movement from one state to the next. People, for example, age; and as they do, they change. They grow or diminish in size, as well as intellectually and emotionally. Someone can also change morally, going from being a bad person to being a good one, or vice versa. Someone can study and practice a skill, and in the course of doing so, learn and eventually become proficient in what they have studied. These are all examples of change, which is part of life within creation.

However, God transcends creation. He doesn’t change. If He did, He would become either better or worse. He’d either grow in His intelligence and knowledge or diminish in it. He’d become more loving or less loving, more holy or less holy. But as God, He is infinite in all of these things. He therefore doesn’t improve or deteriorate in them. If He did, He wouldn’t be God.

All of creation is “becoming”—it’s becoming something different than what it presently is. God, in contrast to this, is “being.” He is. Always. He doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17)

God’s character, His attributes or perfections, don’t change. He is always good, loving, just, righteous, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc. There is never any varying in these things. He is constant.

If God’s character varied, then we couldn’t be certain that the God we know to be good and loving would remain that way. If God was subject to change, then at some point He could start thinking that sin isn’t so bad after all; He could eventually degenerate to the point where He would begin to do evil things Himself, and even eventually become an all-powerful evil being. But His character and attributes do not and cannot change. They are constant; there is no variation.

God doesn’t change in His purpose, His will, and His plan. Once He has decided that He will bring something about, He does it. His plan of salvation is something that He determined before the foundations of the world, and He carried out His plan as promised. Prophecies, predictions, and judgments throughout the Old Testament were fulfilled. His purposes of saving people through Jesus, of Jesus’ return, of eternal life for believers, of judgment, of heaven, don’t change; they remain firm. (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)

God doesn’t change in regard to His Word and His promises. If He stopped honoring His promises, if He acted contrary to His Word, then He couldn’t be trusted. The promise of salvation, of eternal life, and His willingness to answer prayer, would all be in question. If God could change, then these bedrock foundations of our faith could change. But His promises and Word remain forever. “Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89 NIV)

 
Does God change His mind?

When God’s unchangeableness is presented, the question often arises about the times God seems to have changed His mind, such as when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to announce that in forty days the city would be destroyed. (See Jonah 3:3–10) Another example was when He gave the ailing king Hezekiah fifteen more years of life, after having told him he was going to die. (Isaiah 38:1–5)

When considering these examples where it looks as if God changed His mind, we must remember that God is a personal being who interacts with humanity. Within this interaction, God responds to man’s choices and decisions. When someone is doing evil, God is displeased with that person’s actions, but if the person repents and changes, then God’s relationship with that person changes. His overall love for the person never changes, but there is a response from God depending on the choices made by the person or people. In the case of Nineveh, because they were wicked, God’s response was that He rightly was going to destroy them. He told Jonah to tell them so. When Jonah did, the people repented, and God’s response to their repentance was mercy.

With Hezekiah, God declared he was going to die, yet when Hezekiah prayed and wept, God responded to his prayer and healed him.

In these cases, God was responding in mercy and love to changes made and prayers prayed by the people involved. In neither example did God change His character or nature, nor His overall purpose and plan. God didn’t change, but the people changed, and God responded in accordance with His divine nature.

Author and theologian Wayne Grudem explains it this way:

These instances should all be understood as true expressions of God’s present attitude or intention with respect to the situation as it exists at that moment. If the situation changes, then of course God’s attitude or expression of intention will also change. This is just saying that God responds differently to different situations. The example of Jonah preaching to Nineveh is helpful here. God sees the wickedness of Nineveh and sends Jonah to proclaim, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The possibility that God would withhold judgment if the people repented is not explicitly mentioned in Jonah’s proclamation as recorded in Scripture, but it is of course implicit in that warning: the purpose for proclaiming a warning is to bring about repentance. Once the people repented, the situation was different, and God responded differently to that changed situation. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 165)

Another factor to keep in mind regarding the scenarios above is that the Bible uses anthropomorphic descriptions of God, such as the mention of God having “relented” in the story of Jonah. These are best understood as descriptive language within human comprehension.

On this matter of anthropomorphic language, William Lane Craig says:

It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives—they’re stories about God told from the human point of view. So a good storyteller will tell his story with all of the vivacity and color that he wants, to enhance his narratives. And so you’ll find stories in the Bible about God told from a human perspective, where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what is going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.” (Genesis 18:20–33) Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge but His knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in other anthropomorphic terms as having nostrils and eyes, arms and other sorts of bodily parts, wings, and if you take all these literally, God would be a fire-breathing monster. These are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. (Video transcript excerpts from interview “Can God Change?” PBS “Closer to Truth” show)

In each of these situations, God didn’t change in His nature, character, purpose, or promises. In fact, He was constant in all of these by being just, loving, righteous, and personal, and acting within His overall purpose.

God’s immutability—His constancy and unchangeableness—is central to our faith in Him. If He was inconsistent, if His nature or character was regularly changing, if He improved or deteriorated, then we couldn’t trust Him. We couldn’t trust His Word or His promises.

But God doesn’t change in His Being, nature, character, purposes, promises or plan. He can be counted on, for He is faithful and true. He is the rock that we can build on, the one we can trust in this ever-changing world, because He is the unchangeable God.

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

The Secret to Child-Training: Love!

free-bible-studies-online-the-secret-to-child-training-love

It’s true, almost everyone loves their own children. After all, the Lord made them so precious, so sweet and beautiful! Even the hardest of hearts are touched by a child’s loving little hugs, kisses and warm smiles, which certainly brighten our lives and cause us to respond to them with love and affection also. But besides this natural affection that parents feel for their children, there is an even GREATER and more precious and lasting Love that we as Christians can give our children. A SUPERNATURAL Love that will help them to be truly happy, fulfilled and well-behaved: GOD’S LOVE in JESUS!

To explain more about how we give God’s Love to our children, we’d like to now share some practical, tried-and-proven ways of “training up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), that have been a great help to us in raising our little ones. We hope that you will find these tips a help and blessing to you and YOUR children also!

 
FIRST AND FOREMOST: EVERY CHILD NEEDS TO RECEIVE JESUS, and the sooner the better! Receiving Jesus is so simple that even a TWO-YEAR-OLD can do it! It’s our RESPONSIBILITY as Christian parents to see to it that our children, WHATEVER age they are, come to know and receive the Lord and His wonderful Gift of Eternal Salvation!

You can constantly point a child towards the Lord, even from the time he’s born, just by your example and your love, even before he learns to talk, by talking to him about Jesus. As any parent will attest, you can hardly find anybody more sincere than a small child. We have found that two years old is an ideal age to actually lead your child to receive Christ, because that’s usually when he’s learned to talk and he understands the words you’re saying and he will be happy to follow you in a simple prayer.

If you have faithfully shown and taught your child WHO Jesus is (Children’s Picture Bibles are a great help for this), when you simply explain to your two-year old, “If you pray this little prayer now with Mommy (or Daddy), Jesus will come into your heart and save you,” your child will believe YOU, and he’ll believe in JESUS. If he’ll simply pray after you: “Dear Jesus, please forgive me for being bad. I believe You died for me to take my spanking for me. Please come into my heart and help me to be good and to love You!”, and Jesus WILL come in!

“VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS A LITTLE CHILD, HE SHALL NOT ENTER THEREIN.” (MARK 10:15)

As long as any child or person, no matter WHAT age they are, simply believes and prays for Jesus to forgive him and come into his heart, Jesus surely WILL come in, just as surely as He has promised, “Ask and ye shall receive!” (Matthew 7:7). So lead your child to Jesus so he can be eternally saved, simply for the asking! There’s no greater gift of Love you could ever give your child than Eternal Life and Love in Jesus!

 
NEXT MOST IMPORTANT: FEED YOUR CHILD THE WORD OF GOD. What could be more valuable and vital and faith-building than feeding your children GOD’S OWN WORDS, giving them God’s answers to all of their questions and problems? “FAITH comes by hearing the Word of God!” (Romans 10:17). You can pass a knowledge of the Bible on to them by daily using Bible story books, Bible pictures and flannelgraphs, posters, readers, Bible-based songs and Scripture etc., and your children will soon be “ROOTED and BUILT UP in the Lord, ESTABLISHED in the FAITH!” (Colossians 2:6-8).

If you are faithful to give them the TRUTH, they won’t be fooled or deceived by this World’s false teachings or poisoned by the lies, violence and spiritual garbage found in so many books and on most TV programs! There will be no need for your child to wander around aimlessly searching for answers, Truth and satisfaction in life if you’ve directed him to GOD’S ANSWERS through His Own Word, the Bible!

We have found that just as we ADULTS need to read and feed on GOD’S WORD in order to GROW spiritually, so our children also must be fed the wonderful Word of God if they are to make spiritual progress. The WORD OF GOD is the MOST POWERFUL TRUTH on Earth and in God’s Word they can find the answer to EVERY question, EVERY problem that they will EVER have in life! If they know the Scriptures, they will have the answers for EVERYTHING!

“FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.” (2TIMOTHY 3:15)

The BIBLE gives us God’s principles and standard to live by, and having learned the Scriptures while very young, your children will grow up with solid Christian convictions, knowing what GOD has said and promised in HIS WORD! This is the key to true happiness for everyone, children and adults alike: To know JESUS, and to know what GOD says right there in HIS WORD! Be faithful to give these to your child, and you’re BOUND to get good results!

 
INSPIRE YOUR CHILD TO DO GOOD BY GIVING HIM A PURPOSE IN LIFE! If you’ve led your child to JESUS and you make it a point to faithfully teach him GOD’S WORD, he will learn and understand that Jesus is his very BEST and closest Friend Who is with him ALL the time. As he learns how much JESUS loves HIM, and how much Jesus has DONE for him by dying for him, so he can have a wonderful life in HEAVEN, your child will soon learn to want to please the Lord and do what HE can for JESUS.

This is one of the greatest rewards Christian parents can receive: To see their child begin to do things for JESUS, to actually SERVE the LORD! If your child is taught that this is what he is here FOR, to love and please the Lord, then from a very early age he can start living a genuine Christian life by learning to be loving, kind and considerate to OTHERS, praying for his family, friends and playmates etc., as well as coming to the Lord in PRAYER when he personally needs help.

“I HAVE NO GREATER JOY THAN TO HEAR THAT MY CHILDREN WALK IN TRUTH.” (3JOHN 4)

If your child learns to really LOVE THE LORD, knows the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD and has a genuine desire to please and serve Him, he will have the personal CONVICTION to withstand the many temptations he will encounter in school and from Worldly children who don’t know the Lord. So it certainly PAYS to do your best to teach your child to “LOVE THE LORD with all thy heart, and to LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

 
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, STRIVE TO PROMOTE AN ATMOSPHERE OF HONEST, OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN. Encourage each child to feel free to honestly share what is on his heart with you. Of course, it’s very important to avoid reacting in a critical, condemning or condescending way to a child who is pouring out his heart, confessing a mistake or sharing a fear etc. If your child meets such a negative reaction from you, he will probably have second thoughts before sharing his heart with you next time.

We have found that “SPECIAL TIMES” of open-hearted discussions, combined with lots of loving embraces, greatly assures young children of our love and genuine concern, as we strive to intently listen to and understand them! Your child will never forget such special times spent with you. In most cases, these are the moments that WE treasured most when we were children: When our parents invested their love in the form of PERSONAL TIME and attention with us, just TALKING about things together.

“TO DO GOOD AND TO COMMUNICATE, FORGET NOT: FOR WITH SUCH SACRIFICES GOD IS WELL PLEASED.” (HEBREWS 13:16)

Of course, before we can expect our children to be honest with us, WE must be HONEST with THEM. It greatly encourages children to know that their parents are not exactly perfect. (Besides, you can be sure they’ve noticed!) By your own honest admission of YOUR mistakes and weaknesses, you are setting a good example for them of what HONESTY and HUMILITY are all about, and your children will love you the more for it!

As in any kind of honest communication, it can’t be emphasised enough how important it is to be a GOOD LISTENER to the one who is talking. A good, listening parent is not busy reading the newspaper or making a cup of tea while his or her child is pouring out his heart about the loss of a best friend, or communicating his innermost worries and fears. As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is our sincere INTEREST in them and their problems, as manifested by our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and uninterrupted LISTENING whenever possible.

By the act of simply LISTENING, you are telling your child: “I want to understand and help you. I think you are WORTH listening to, and I want you to know that I have FAITH in you. You can always TALK to me because I LOVE you.”

ASK QUESTIONS. (Kids shouldn’t be the only inquisitive party!) When genuinely communicating with children–or with anyone for that matter–asking questions helps to draw them out and shows your concern and interest in them. Get THEM to talk.

And when they are asking YOU the questions, be careful not to philosophise or pretend to be something you’re not. Just stay SIMPLE! And don’t offer any advice that you wouldn’t want to practically apply yourself.

LEARN TO PRESENT YOUR ADVICE OR ANSWERS IN WAYS THAT ARE EASY FOR THEM TO ACCEPT. MAKE IT “EASY FOR THEM TO BE GOOD” by allowing them to think that it’s at least partly THEIR idea too. For example, “I liked your comment on needing to change things a bit. Let’s try your idea!”, or “What do you think about trying this idea?”, or, “Haven’t you found that this works better?”

WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO BE TOO QUICK TO JUDGE A MATTER. There are always at least TWO SIDES to every story, and it helps greatly to hear ALL SIDES from all those who are involved. Most of us have made the grave mistake of making a snap judgement or acting impulsively, resulting in a child being unjustly accused and deeply hurt. A mother could hear a crash in the room, and run in to find her young daughter in tears beside a shattered vase on the floor. To immediately whack the child with no explanation adds insult to injury, when by merely asking what happened first, the child could explain that she was attempting to stop the cat from climbing on the table, trying to shoo it away, when the CAT knocked the vase over, not she!

Remember, as Christian parents, we are trying to establish our child’s CONFIDENCE in both the Lord and ourselves. Jesus forgives US in love, and, thank God, does not spank us for every mistake or sin we commit. Likewise, we should forgive our children and be as fair and merciful with them as possible. But by continually passing quick harsh judgement on them, our children could easily lose such trust and confidence in us. And could wind up being AFRAID to confide in you and confess things that they really ARE guilty of or need help with!

And that’s another point: NEVER LOSE FAITH IN YOUR CHILDREN! If you can’t determine what’s right or wrong when a child claims innocence in some situation, and there’s no way to prove otherwise, it is almost always the wisest thing to let it pass, rather than risk punishing or judging unjustly for something. Try taking your child’s word for it! Such love will prove your faith in them and will inspire them not to disappoint your trust. Showing a child that you TRUST and BELIEVE in him shows him that you LOVE him.

 
TRY PUTTING YOURSELF IN YOUR CHILD’S PLACE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This will give you a much better understanding of him. Make it a habit to try to see things through THEIR eyes and understanding. Ask yourself, “What if this were I? How would I want to be treated in this situation if I were in his shoes? If I were only 5 years old and were the one being laughed at by the adults, how would I feel?”

What may seem cute or funny to US, may be very embarrassing and humiliating to a CHILD. Most of us know what it’s like to be embarrassed, hurt or slighted by others. Realising that such unpleasant experiences can be much more traumatic and painful to a small inexperienced child should cause us to do our best to spare them from such incidents.

“THEREFORE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO TO YOU, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM!” (MATTHEW 7:12)

By putting yourself in as close a situation as you can think of to your CHILD’S situation, imagining how YOU would feel, you will gain a much better understanding of him and his feelings.

 
TRY TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. Not of some kind of a perfect, sinless saint which your child may feel he could never measure up to, but of an honest, happy, humble example of a friend and loving parent, someone whom kids can look up to and trust. YOU have to try to be what you want your CHILDREN to be.

“THOSE THINGS WHICH YE HAVE BOTH LEARNED, AND RECEIVED, AND HEARD, AND SEEN IN ME, DO: AND THE GOD OF PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU.” (PHILIPPIANS 4:9)

Children are great mimics, and this is largely how they learn, by imitation. Children seldom forget what they SEE. They go more by what they SEE than by what they HEAR, more by your ACTIONS than just your WORDS. Children will learn more from your ACTIONS and even your ATTITUDES than they will from what you SAY! THINK of what you would like to be in the eyes of your child and BE that parent!

Likewise, if you need to leave your child in the care of SOMEONE ELSE, you should do your best to find someone who will be the kind of GODLY EXAMPLE that you would want your CHILD to follow. As a parent, YOU are responsible to make SURE that your child is left in good TRUSTWORTHY HANDS when you are not with him. So it’s important that you have good honest communication with those who help care for your little ones, and that they understand and agree to uphold the CHRISTIAN principles and guidelines which you follow.

It’s also very important to try to reach and relate to children on THEIR OWN level, and not expect TOO MUCH of them. After all, a child is a child. But if you make an effort to make your lessons easily understood, so they can easily be learned by your child–you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child will learn and grow!

 
LOVE IS ALSO DISCIPLINE. Children are happiest when they know the boundaries and limitations that adults have set for them, not when they are totally free to go wild, and thus end up in big trouble! A spoiled and demanding child becomes a spoiled and demanding adult, so the importance of teaching a young child obedience, submission, yieldedness and unselfishness is evident. Failure to instill these virtues in a child will result in his failure in these same areas later on in school, business and the social world.

It’s best to start when your children are quite young, and practice consistent, loving discipline by setting limits and boundaries for them to follow for their own good. There’s never been a child yet who didn’t need it, because, as the Bible says, “We are ALL sinners”. (Romans 3:23). Parents need to make it very clear exactly what the rules are, and one of the best methods of establishing the rules is to get the children to help make them, or at least to agree to them with you.

The best kind of so-called punishment should be what the Bible calls “chastening”, which literally means “CHILD-TRAINING”, something that will TEACH them something, train them and help them to learn the lesson so they’ll not want to make the same mistake again. Of course, to win and lovingly PERSUADE children to obey out of LOVE may seem to take a lot of time and patience, but they’ll turn out to be far better children and much more obedient in the long run if they are persuaded to OBEY through LOVE, rather than by trying to break their will and FORCE them to obey merely for FEAR of punishment.

This is another reason why it’s so important to first of all lead your children to JESUS and fill them with HIS WORD, because a child who loves the Lord will WANT to obey his parents out of LOVE for you and JESUS.

Discipline is a form of Love that is very, very Scriptural. Even God Himself disciplines His children when they need it! He says, “Whom the Lord LOVES He CHASTENS, and disciplines every son whom He receives!” (Hebrews 12:6). In learning obedience and submission to their ELDERS, our children receive and see a visible example of their own relationship with the LORD. Children who benefit from such Scriptural training grow to be happier and better behaved individuals.

“FOOLISHNESS IS BOUND IN THE HEART OF A CHILD; BUT THE ROD OF CORRECTION SHALL DRIVE IT FAR FROM HIM. THE ROD AND REPROOF BRING WISDOM: BUT A CHILD LEFT TO HIMSELF BRINGETH HIS MOTHER TO SHAME.” (PROVERBS 22:15; 29:15)

Earthly parents are an EXAMPLE, a picture, to a child of how GOD, our HEAVENLY FATHER, is with US, HIS children. If a child learns good Godly disciplinary standards of behaviour when YOUNG, he’ll find it much easier to submit to the LORD as he grows up and eventually is on his own.

Even if it hurts you, the parent, to have to sometimes spank or punish your child, you’ll benefit from obeying this Scriptural commandment, and be rewarded by seeing your child’s improved behaviour.

 
PRAISE AND ENCOURAGEMENT ARE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF CHILD TRAINING. Be generous with praise and APPRECIATE your child’s good intentions and strong points. For example, if your son makes a failing grade on his school work, you can still find something to commend him for, his neat handwriting, perhaps. There’s always SOME good to be praised and appreciated.

“FINALLY, BRETHREN, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE HONEST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE JUST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT; IF THERE BE ANY VIRTUE, AND IF THERE BE ANY PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS.” (PHILIPPIANS 4:8)

All children thrive on praise. It’s more important to PRAISE a child for his GOOD deeds and his good behaviour than it is to SCOLD him for his BAD behaviour. Try to always accentuate the POSITIVE!

Of course, it’s important when giving praise and appreciation to remain HONEST and SINCERE, and it must relate to him or her. For example, YOU may consider your pre-teen daughter to be beautiful, but if she perhaps doesn’t compare favourably to many others her age, in spite of YOUR opinion and feeling on the matter, she could think that you are being insincere or falsely flattering if you are constantly telling her how beautiful she is. So why not commend her in some OTHER positive area in which she excels and shines: Her eloquence of speech or her good grades or her loving, sweet character and spirit–which the Bible says is one of the most beautiful virtues a woman can have. “The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price.” (1Peter 3:4).

Be outspoken with praise for your children. Just about everyone loves kids, but it’s extremely important that the children know this by hearing you SAY it and seeing you SHOW it.

 
CONCLUSION: All these suggestions and pointers are ways to put LOVE into ACTION! Love is not “real” or practically applied without a living EXAMPLE by you and me, today’s parents who are molding the future! The World of tomorrow is what the mothers and fathers of today make it, according to the way we raise our children!

So try LOVE, it NEVER fails! Do you show YOUR children the genuine Love of JESUS? Will they grow up learning to love the Lord and share His Love with others? God BLESS and help you to be a loving parent and example to your little ones! We LOVE you!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International