What better way to start the new year than to KNOW that you are saved. The Bible is clear: we CAN KNOW we are saved. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)
Here is a great article that explains it all better than I could! Read and be sure of your salvation!
I hardly ever go to movies at the theater, and I rarely recommend movies
especially not one that is rated PG-13, but I have to make an exception for a
movie that was in theaters this past fall and is coming out January 13 on DVD.
The movie is Courageous. It was made by the same group that produced
Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof. They are all
good, exceptionally clean movies with a moral and religious tone to them. The
Kendrick Brothers, who wrote, produced and acted in the movies, are from a
Baptist church in Georgia, so some of their theology is askew, but the emphasis
they put on family, faith, marriage, and parenting (Fatherhood particularly,
especially in Courageous) is worth the problems in acting skill and
Flywheel was about a hypocritical car salesman who decides to turn
his life around. It was never rated and never widely released in theaters.
Facing the Giants, a story about a struggling football coach who puts
his trust in God, received a PG rating because the coach has a discussion with
one of the players about Jesus and choosing to follow Him. They decided that
some people might be offended by the conversation and so they wouldn’t give it a
Fireproof is a story about a firefighter who is struggling with his
marriage and also received a PG because of the dramatic firefighting scenes.
If you haven’t seen them, I would recommend any of them as good family
entertainment with a teaching edge. Just keep in mind that they are from a
denominational viewpoint, which is also true for the newest movie they
Courageous is a movie I think every father in America should see (men
who expect to be fathers someday, moms, and young ladies who are looking for a
man to be father to their children and pretty much anybody else that I haven’t
covered.). Some will ask why it is PG-13 if it is such a good, clean,
religiously-themed movie. Quite simply, it is about police officers and their
lives are not G-rated. There is NO foul language in the film even though there
is a gang and drug dealers. Even though there are drug references it is not
portrayed in a positive way like it is in many movies that Hollywood produces,
rather the pain and suffering that it causes is highlighted. There is NO nudity,
sexual scenes or even immoral innuendo. There is some mild violence including a
shoot out between the police and drug dealers, but there is no blood and guts
Watching this movie made me realize the shortcomings that I have as a father
and encouraged me to work on being a better father. If you make it through with
dry eyes you are a more heartless man than I am.
If you haven’t seen one of these movies put it on your list, and put it high
enough that it will get done.
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)
This morning my older girls and I read about the destruction of Sodom in Genesis 19. As we were discussing the fate of Lot's wife, my ten year old asked incredulously, "Why did she look back?!" My eleven year old spoke up before I could answer, "She had daughters there! It would've been hard not to look back." Through all the times that I've read this account and all the sermons I've heard on Lot's wife, I've always felt just the way my ten year old did, incredulous at the lack of faith that caused her to disobey God. I was always quick to disassociate myself from Lot's wife, but my eleven year old made me realize today that she's more relatable than I thought. Her sin was great to be sure, great enough that it cost her life, but what if those were my girls being destroyed with Sodom? Matthew 10:37 is a hard teaching, but God does require our complete commitment. We cannot serve God and the world, even when the world includes loved ones (Matthew 6:24). Incidentally, in looking back toward her older daughters, Lot's wife set her young ones up to commit grievous sins of their own. Had she obeyed and survived the escape from Sodom, her daughters probably wouldn't have seduced their father. No, her obedience couldn't have saved the ones left behind in the doomed city, but it could have saved her husband and surviving daughters from the costly sin of incest (and later Israel from the affliction of the Moabites and Ammonites that were born of that incest). In the chapter on Lot's wife and daughters in Women of the Genesis, Cindy Colley says "Sin's consequence is always worse than the sinner expects it to be." Conversely, hard as it may be at times, remaining faithful to God is always best for everyone involved and the reward will be great!
...he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
"The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." (Proverbs 16:23-24)
"There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health." (Proverbs 12:18)
As mothers and keepers of the home, we should be concerned with creating the calmest, healthiest environment possible for our families. Our words, both our choice of them and our tone, can either promote peace in the home, or they can destroy it. If I frequently give in to the temptation to yell or speak in anger, my children won't remember my words fondly as "sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." While we're thinking about New Year's resolutions, I think this is a good one; resolve to bless your family with pleasant words as often as possible.
If you homeschool or not, this website should be useful to you. Digger Doug's friend Iguana Don once quoted his science teacher, Mr. Badger, that there were no scientists that believed in Creation. Well, here is a website that lists some Creation scientists for you to study with your children. Be sure to select the scientists carefully before sharing with your children. You may choose to skip some or be prepared to discuss some aspects of theology with your children. Everything is a good learning situation, use these opportunities wisely!
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K
With the New Year approaching, many are thinking about new beginnings and resolutions in 2012. Physical fitness, better nutrition, and getting organized are all great aims for the Christian mom, but don't forget to set goals for spiritual growth, too. Consider talking to your husband and kids about setting spiritual goals to work toward as a family as well. Here are a few suggestions for personal and family resolutions:
"A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth."
I don’t know about you, but one of the greatest difficulties that I face as a father (or in any area of life for that matter) is consistency. We talked some about God and His giving of perfect and good gifts, but there is something else of interest in the same verse. James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." I know from personal experience that it is easier and better when I can know what to expect. A relationship with someone who has wild mood swings or who can’t make up their mind whether to be friends or enemies is nearly impossible to maintain. There are many parents who are this way with their children. Our children need to be able to depend on us as something stable in their constantly changing lives.
Problems arise when we are inconsistent in our expectations and/or discipline. First lets look at the expectations. If I expect my 6 year old to sit at the table and eat with her fork and spoon like a human being and then let my 10 year old eat spaghetti with his hands or stick his face down in the plate like a dog and don’t say anything about it my 6 year old may be frustrated that the same rules that apply to her don’t apply to him. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be flexible or even change the expectations at some point. In fact, the expectations certainly should change as they grow up. We don’t and shouldn’t expect the same abilities from a 2 year old that we do from a 10 year old, but we should expect both to obey what they understand and have been trained to do, when they are commanded to do it. This inconsistency can also be a problem for the older children when they were not allowed to do something until they were 14 and then the little sibling is allowed to do it at 10. There can definitely be some resentment about why they didn’t "have to wait like I did."
The second part of the problem is in discipline. If 5 days ago my son calls me ‘fatso’ and I laugh about it, then 4 days ago he does it again and I spank him, then 3 days ago he repeats it and I call him names back, then 2 days ago he says it yet again and I ignore it, then yesterday he says it and I sit him down and talk to him about his feeling, my feelings, and how it is unkind to call him names, then today he does it and I put him in "time-out"; what can he expect the next time? Your guess is as good mine. This may seem a little absurd, but similar things happen every day all over this country and perhaps in your house as well. Certainly, the above is not an actual course of events, but it shows the problem of inconsistency. That doesn’t mean that we should always punish an action in exactly the same way, but the punishment should fit the crime and if there is any variation it is that there is an escalation of the severity of the punishment with repeat offenses. (Remember we have already discussed in former posts the importance of making the rules clear and understandable, as well as warning the child of what punishment will occur and carrying it out as warned.) If a child does what he shouldn’t, but didn’t know before then give him a warning and explain why it shouldn’t be done and what the consequences are the next time. If there is a next time carry out the punishment as warned remind him of the last time and why you are disciplining this time, then set a more severe punishment for the next time. Remember that the punishment must be something that will hurt (physically, emotionally, mentally) without harming(no permanent damage is caused). For me to tell my son that he can’t play Barbie dolls with his sister wouldn’t be a good punishment, because he doesn’t want to anyway. That would punish her rather than him. For me to tell him that he can’t play with his legos or read his favorite book series would hurt him, but of course not harm him. In fact, maybe I could make him play dolls with his sister without complaining. That would punish him and bless her at the same time.
We usually make poor and inconsistent disciplining decisions when we do it in the heat of the moment. Our anger and frustration come out and we say ridiculous things like, "You won’t leave this house till you are 30!" or "I wish you had never been born!" or "I’ll beat you black and blue if you do that again!" (Unfortunately, some carry out on that one.) Those are the kind of things that cause real harm to children, but loving discipline (including physical punishment properly administered, on the bottom with love and not in anger) will help rather than harm in the long run. Proverbs 19:18 "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." Proverbs 23:13-14 "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (14) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Do we believe God or not? Leaving a child unpunished for wrongs will warp his soul and bring him to eternal suffering, better a little pain now to avoid that.
In today's Bible reading, I read two verses together that I've never connected before. One is so often quoted separately that I often don't analyze it in its context. Here are the two verses:
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"
I know this has been taught, that not attending worship times or Bible studies with our fellow Christians is a willful act of disobedience, but there it is. It is in black and white. Missing services for no reason is sin. Let's keep that in mind this weekend when so many peoples minds won't be on worshiping our Lord and Savior. Our attitude should be one willing to worship Him when and how He demands.
Sometimes in studying the Bible, it can become necessary to consult a reliable commentary. There is a good one available on-line. Add this to your toolbox and when you need it you'll have it. Disclaimer: I do not know anything else about the site this is on and cannot whole heartedly recommend everything on this site. Remember that this is a commentary that was written by a man and there will be mistakes in it.