Thursday, July 28, 2011

Help for very special people

I have a special place in my heart for single parents.  Know why?  Because I was raised by one.  My mother is a woman of incredible fortitude and tenacity.  She has seen more hardships than I'm capable of writing about.  And I was no picnic to raise, let me tell you!  But she did an outstanding job -- raising three children to be responsible citizens. 

I wrote this book to help single parents deal with practical issues like:
  • How do you discipline your children?
  • How do you resolve conflict between children?
  • How do you resolve conflict between you and the child?
  • How do you provide a living and still "be home" for the kids?
  • What are the problems with pursuing a new relationship?
This book answers these questions and also deals with many other problems faced by the single parent.  Statistics paint a grim picture about how children of a single parent will fare in the future.  But it doesn't have to be this way.  If you know a single parent, give them this book.  If they even get one idea from it that helps, it will have been well worth it.  It is available today on the Kindle but the paperback will be out within a few days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Lesson from My Son

Okay, I'll admit it. As a dad, I get excited when I see my children growing up to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts. This last Sunday, I sit listening to my 21-year-old son teaches 12 lesson on the Divided Kingdom. It is entitled, "The Life without Faith." It deals with the life of King Ahab but also explains two seemingly unrelated incidents – the hidden sin of Achan and the open rebellion of a man named Hiel. 

Just in passing, Richard made a statement that I think has a powerful impact for those of us who are parents. "Open rebellion is always preceded by hidden sin." Richard demonstrated that principle from Scripture. As a dad, I have seen this play out in the lives of my own children. As a parent, you must be aware of the signs of hidden sin. Have your children lost the brightness in their eyes? Do they have difficulty looking you in the eye when you are speaking to them? Have they grown cold in their spiritual walk? Have they grown non-communicative and spend a lot of time by themselves? All of these things can be signs of hidden sin. If you do not deal with the hidden sin, open rebellion will eventually occur. I would encourage you to listen to this lesson to see how this principle is demonstrated in Scripture. 

Another principle unveiled in this lesson is that God chastises his children or judges a nation according to what is most important to them. He judged the nation of Judah with a drought because they were an agricultural nation. What are our gods today in our society? Sex and money seem to reign supreme. Isn't it interesting that we are plagued with rampant venereal diseases, AIDS, and are now looking at the near-certain collapse of our economy due to a dependence on debt and a fiat currency? Could it be that God is judging us based on what is most important to us as a society? Will we be smart enough to recognize the message? Will we learn before it is too late that it is time for us to call once again upon God and admit our dependence on Him?  Listen to this lesson to see what gems God has for you.

I thank God for a son who has committed his life to Jesus Christ and is using the gifts given to him by his Savior of the glory of God.  Thank you, Richard.  Your Dad is proud of you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fwd: Seen Logos for Android? Awesome! 3000 books on my phone. Added William Barclay today. 1 of my favorite commentators.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Does clutter bother you?

We are told in Scripture to lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us. I don't know about you, but I struggle for maintaining my focus. It is difficult to make sure that I am always focused on the task at hand. Sometimes, when I need to be working, I find other little projects to work on instead of the main project.

Several years ago, my oldest daughter and I cleaned out our garage. It was just the two of us. We worked hard and it was immaculate. You could have eaten off the garage floor before you parked the car in there. Over time, however, other members of my family would put things in the garage – but not put them in the proper place. Or, we would acquire some new thing – like an easel for chalk art – and it would just get put into the garage. Needless to say, I can no longer parked in the garage. I say this to my shame. I really want to park in there. But to rectify the situation will require some time and effort that I currently am unable to give.

Before his death, Larry Burkett – a wonderful teacher of biblical financial concepts – commented that he could tell the state of a person's finances by how well they kept the interior of their car clean. He reasoned that a person who did not take time to clean out his car would also fail to take time to complete a monthly budget and do proper bookkeeping. These failures would lead to poor financial management. His observation has proven true in the people with whom I have counseled and in my own life throughout the years.

I wonder if the amount of clutter we have in our lives is not a reflection of our spiritual condition. You see, clutter can be more than just material possessions. We allow our lines to be cluttered by activities and distractions that take our focus off of the most important tasks in life. The important tasks would include Bible study, prayer, exercise, playing with the kids, and talking with your wife. As men, we need to be sensitive to the fact that the good often distracts us from the best. At the end of your life, you will realize that spending time with family was far more important than all the other things that you did.

Join me in a fresh commitment to eliminate the clutter in our minds and hearts. And while we're at it, maybe we can go clean the garage as well…

Did you know you were a house?

I am constantly amazed how I can think that I understand the passage of Scripture for 30 or 40 years and then suddenly come to the realization that I never really understood it at all. Case in point:  Matthew 21:13 -- And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Obviously, the historical context of that passage is when Jesus drove out the money changers from the Temple. The "house of prayer" would have preferred to the Temple built by Solomon and later rebuilt by King Herod. Prior to the Temple, the house of God could have been a phrase to refer to the Tabernacle.

But in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the Bible says that each of us – as Christians – is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.  "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

So let us do a bit of logic here. The house of God was a phrase to refer to the Temple. Our bodies are the temple of God. The Temple is to be a house of prayer. Therefore my individual "Temple" – that is my body – is to be a place of prayer. Since my body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, there are some important ramifications to this.  There are some things I need to do to be an effective individual house of prayer.

How to Be a “House of Prayer”
  1. Dedicate your “house of prayer” with a living sacrifice (Leviticus 9:23-24; Romans 12:1).
  2. Cleanse your house of prayer --Get rid of sins and spiritual “weights” that hinder our effectiveness for Christ. This is part of being transformed (Romans 12:2).  This would include separation from unequal yoking with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1).  (Of course, if you are married to an unbeliever, 1 Corinthians 7 commands you to remain married to them and work for their salvation.)
  3. Maintain daily cleansing by the Word.  When King Hezekiah supervise the cleaning of the Temple, he began with the inner most parts of the Temple. If the priests had started from the outside of the Temple, then the outside would continually be made unclean every time they came out from the more inner parts of the Temple. By beginning with the and most portions of the Temple, they were able to maintain the ceremonial cleanliness of each portion thereof. Similarly, it really doesn't work for us to try to clean up our outward actions until we first deal with our inner attitudes. We desperately need to cleanse ourselves with the word of God. In John 15:3, Jesus makes it clear how we are cleansed: “now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you”; (see also John 17:17).
  4. Be in harmony with other "houses of prayer." Other believers are also mobile "houses of prayer." Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17:21).  One of the purposes for having communionis so that we can have a period of examination to determine whether we have wronged another believer.
I don't know whether you have ever had the thought that when Christ said "My house shall be a house of prayer," that he was referring to you. Wherever I am, there is to be communion with the Lord, prayer to the Lord, and worship of the Lord. I have a responsibility not to defile my Temple by where I take my body, what I do with it, or what I put into it.

May God help us all to be mobile houses of prayer!