Remaining faithful through the “Bochim’s” of life

So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord.” (Judges 2:4-5)

The name Bochim (bo-keem’) means weeping, and in case you’ve never noticed, the children of Israel were well accustomed to shedding tears.

In the particular case mentioned above the children of Israel as a whole were on the verge of resting from war and enjoying the land that had been delivered into their hands. But this moment of great joy was preceded by a day of great pain. And for what reason? What were the words of the Lord’s Angel that had cut them so deeply? What was it that changed their shouts of triumph to shouts of grief? What led them to name a location as a reminder of their pain?

It was because they were told that their children would walk away from their God – from the God!

But despite the fact that their children would turn their sin hardened hearts away from the law and grace of God, give special note to what this generation of Israel did in the face of the dreadful news. They stayed near to the Lord with hearts wide open, refusing to sacrifice their faith for their family. In fact, they sacrificed to the God of Heaven and Earth – the God of their Hormah (devotion) and their Bochim (weeping). They remained faithful through this great time of weeping, this great “Bochim” moment of their life.

As I consider the lesson that this section of scripture contains I can’t help but think of the pain that still comes from watching a loved one walk away from God. It can be stifling. It can lead to a branding of certain days in our life as a “Bochim” that’s difficult to accept much less forget. But I believe whole-heartedly that the Lord understands. He knows the pain of loss! He acknowledges the difficulty that lies ahead. While living upon the Earth, the faithful will always face such hurtful faithlessness and we must be prepared for it.

As those who are closest to us make their own decisions concerning their relationship with God let us not forget that if we stay near to his side, if we remember the sacrifice that he offered for us, if we allow the Spirit of God to produce a faithfulness in our heart, soul, mind and strength that refuses to turn back, then God will take care of the tears that came from every “Bochim” moment in our life as we enjoy the privileges of the promised land.

Stay faithful to the Lord my brothers and sisters in Christ.

for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)

#faithfulness, #family, #parenting, #parenting-difficulties, #trials

“I want to go as long as I can.”

Lou Davis Higgins, 94 years old, lives in the Woodbury, TN area, and is my husband’s aunt. Aunt Lou Davis, as we call her, became a Christian at the age of 13 years. She was baptized by brother Lidge Martin in Lucky, TN. She said, “I remember how wonderful I felt when I came up out of the water, and I feel more wonderful now.”

Lou Davis Warren married Brady Higgins, September 9, 1939, and to this union came four boys: Jimmy, Glenn, David and Steve. They were married almost 56 years when Uncle Brady died.

When visiting in Tennessee recently, we were blessed to visit and talk with Aunt Lou Davis. It was on a piercing cold, Wednesday afternoon. Aunt Lou Davis was making plans to go to Bible study at the Woodbury Church of Christ that night. She said, “I want to go as long as I can.” One might ask, “Well, why shouldn’t she?” Aunt Lou Davis is blind. She could easily have made any number of excuses for not going on that bitter cold night. She could have said:

1. “It’s Wednesday night. It is not absolutely necessary that we attend Bible study on Wednesday night.”
2. “It’s freezing weather outside. It’s just too cold to go. I might get sick, and it would be the death of me.”
3. “I’m 94 years old. The Lord doesn’t expect people my age to attend every service. He understands.”
4. “I’m blind.”
5. “I can’t drive anymore, and I don’t want to put people out to come help me back and forth to church.”

She could easily have offered these excuses. When I shared my thoughts with her about this article, she said, “That’s what they would be…excuses, not reasons.”

Thank God for those devoted saints who trudge on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, setting a perfect example for us to follow.

#christian-living, #example, #faithfulness, #family, #love, #obedience

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(#159) The Proverbs of Solomon 22:6-Well Begun, Half Done

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Children are not computers or robots to be programmed with perfection. God created humans with free will to make choices about their life’s activities, so when Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had chosen to violate God’s Rules for them He asked them: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11). They had obviously chosen a different decision which the serpent had offered.

Parents’ duties are summarized thusly: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is up to both parents, husband and wife, to keep God’s Word before their child, and not leave it up to grandparents, video games, school teachers, neighbors, or TV! This training should start “from childhood” (literally, “as a baby,” 2 Timothy 3:15); from mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5); under direct guidance of the father (Ephesians 6:4). The tragedy of single-parenting is that this burden often becomes too great for one to adequately, evenly achieve.

Parents’ must individualize God’s instructions to each child, and begin them on the right way (“he should go”). Teach the child what is expected, fill each child with a hungering and thirsting for God’s Word. “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). The joy of parenting is seeing God’s Word being internalized by each child. The successful parent has placed their child’s hand in God’s Hand. God knows that even as adults, we should be like the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). No child will mechanically make all the right decisions, but sin and forgiveness of sin is what life is about, and God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Parents’ must realize that God does not hold them responsible for their children’s adult decisions! Even in God’s Law through Moses this was true: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16). David phrased it right in Psalm 34:11: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

Parents are only responsible for how they start their children in life, not for the end result of their lives!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #children, #family, #fathers, #god, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #single-parenting, #train-up-a-child, #wisdom

Thankful for…

Yeah, I know that this isn’t the time of the year when we’re supposed to talk about what we’re thankful for but I’m going to talk about it anyways.

I’m thankful for family and friends who encourage me to do right. For family and friends who make doing the right thing easy. For family and friends who enjoy the company of fellow Christians. For family and friends who love me with a Christ-like love.

The world doesn’t care for me. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out in the world with “good” hearts – but what that does mean is that the world isn’t interested in the welfare of my soul. The welfare of my belly, of my house, of my children? Sure, there are people who care about those things and I’m glad that they do for the sake of our society. But they don’t care about my soul, or else they wouldn’t be in the world. And the welfare of my soul outweighs the welfare of all else.

It’s easy to take those who are closest to us for granted, but once a little bit of space of time and distance and the world enters the picture then we quickly remember who means what to us and who we really mean something to.

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)

#blessings, #family, #friends, #thankfulness

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(#137) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:19-Can You Forgive Your Brother?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

Contentious statements that divide brethren are “like the bars of a castle,” that is, they defensively fortify brothers from each other. Enemies can be converted and changed more easily than a relative, and it seems the nearer the relationship, the more difficult it is to effect that change! The first brothers, Cain and Abel, were separated by Cain’s anger that his brother obeyed what was right (Genesis 4:1-12; Hebrews 11:4) but Cain was evil (1 John 3:11-12). Jacob and Esau were separated by Esau’s profaning his birthright (inheritance, Genesis 25:29-34), Jacob’s deception to receive that birthright (Genesis 27:1-46), and Esau’s bitterness and hatred for his brother. They were separated for years before they could reconcile (Genesis 33:1-15), but reconcile they did! Since the Jews come from Jacob, and the so-called “Palestinians” come from Esau, the modern-day Middle East should read the Bible and reconcile their differences as their progenitors did! Brethren in the flesh can be meaner, more violent, and destructive to each other than their enemies who are not related!

Spiritual members in a church of Christ can become as bitter as Cain, and hateful as Esau, toward their brethren. The reason is the same, they have developed “an evil heart of unbelief” and departed from the living God (Hebrews 3:12). Their contentious words become “bars” to keep them inside their castle of ugliness. “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:13-15). This brings eternal damnation upon the contentious brother. No amount of attendances, giving, singing, or prayers can disguise the real intent of wrong brethren. “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21).

The message of Jesus Christ, to His churches of Christ, is that of “reconciliation.” “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#anger, #bible-study, #bitterness, #brethren, #church-of-christ, #contentious, #family, #hate, #jesus-christ, #jews, #love, #palestinians, #proverbs

Thanksgiving and Family

Thanksgiving adds value to our family in several ways. Here are a few to think about:

  • It causes us to realize that there are things in life that we don’t control by encouraging us to look to the One who controls all things
  • It makes the little things of life such as the minutes and hours, and not just years, that we spend with each other large enough to be seen
  • It causes us to be grateful by saying those words that mean so much when they’re said with the heart – thank you
  • It makes us appreciate those in our life who have shared their love and most importantly, if it’s there, their example of a faithfulness to God that knows that life doesn’t always work out the way we think it should, but nevertheless we have a God in our life who has worked out what we need the most by his grace

So many words are contained in the single word thanksgiving that I don’t know if they could all be counted, but that’s why it adds value to so many things including our family when we understand what it is.

Remember, the Bible never uses the word thanksgiving in connection to a day that America celebrates, but it does use it in the same way that we can we celebrate this coming day in America – and that’s with an open heart.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” (Philippians 4:6)

#family, #personal-insights, #thanksgiving

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(#100) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:25-True Home Wreckers

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:25:  “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

“The proud” probably would bring down their own “house” even before God would “destroy” it. “Proud” is a sin listed along with “disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2), and home and marriage require humility (Ephesians 5:33-6:4). Since “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), then “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 16:5). God hates this destructive attitude (Proverbs 6:16-19), therefore “the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:17). “Being puffed up with pride,” causes one to fall into the same “condemnation as the Devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). “God resists the proud” (1 Peter 5:5).

God has done as He said, whenever He has wanted to: “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11). This has been done many times: the world-wide flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:5-8); the Babylonian Empire (Isaiah 13:17-22); the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28); the Jewish Nation (Luke 21:20-24; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16); and will be done for the end of all empires (2 Peter 3:9-13).

“The boundary of the widow” is provision for her support, so all those who submit to God in every age are aware of the provision(s) God has for “widows.” He is Jehovah, “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. (Psalm 68:5). The hallmarks of “pure religion” for Christians are “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). “The proud” overlook the welfare of widows, and greedily price, tax or devour widows out of existence! This proverb is still true!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #family, #home, #humility, #practical-lessons, #proud, #proverbs, #widows

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(#97) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:20-Home-grown Heartbreak

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:20: “A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother.”

“A wise son” has learned God’s Wisdom and nothing is more satisfying than for a father to see that in his son! “A foolish man” has rejected God’s Wisdom and nothing hurts a mother more than to see her son “despise” (lightly regard, disregard, disdain) her! Too often the son who is overindulged and overprotected by his mother is neither prepared to love and appreciate her, or any other woman, for that matter! Before marrying any man, a woman should know, firsthand, his attitude toward his own mother! Reverse the proverb for the father and it reads: “A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25). Both parents share in the “grief” and “bitterness” when their “son” is “foolish.” There is no joy, and only anguish, when parents see their son a “fool.” Another proverb shows how it could be even worse: “A foolish son is the ruin of his father, And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping” (Proverbs 19:13). The situation becomes intolerable for both the father and the son if the woman engages in “a continual dripping” (nagging, blaming, berating) for that condition! Each soul has made free choices and is responsible for his, or her, own. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). No son can justify his disrespect of his parents, disregard for others’ safety, or disgraceful conduct by what his parents did, or didn’t do, if he is trying to “be his own man!” Yet another proverb shows that the son who pushes away from his parents has nothing of which to be proud: “He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach” (Proverbs 19:26). Still another proverb shows what parents can anticipate when home values work: “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:24-25).

“Whoever loves wisdom makes his father rejoice, But a companion of harlots wastes his wealth” (Proverbs 29:3). Jesus used such a “foolish son” who “wasted his possessions with prodigal living” to show how the father (like the Father in Heaven!) waited in hopes that his son would repent and return of his own humbled choice, which happened (Luke 15:11-24)! Many treasures and family fortunes have been squandered in wasteful sins which helped no one in a beneficial way. God has waited for foolish sons to come to Him, for “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Isn’t it about time you returned to God? “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #bitterness, #delight, #family, #father, #foolish-son, #glad, #grief, #mother, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #prodigal, #proverbs, #rejoice, #salvation, #sin, #wisdom, #wise-son

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(#95) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:17-One Ingredient Makes All Food Better

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:17: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred.”

Huge houses, heavily-laden tables, fancy cars, loads of recreation, none of these can take the place of “love” within the family! “Love” makes a little a lot! People who are raised in a loving home frequently comment, “We didn’t know we were poor.” Riches and poverty are states of mind, more than something in the hand! There is much more to life than working to have things, so “Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease!” (Proverbs 23:4). Solomon later will write there is, “A time to love” (Ecclesiastes 3:8), and we must love in this life, for when we die, our earthly “love” perishes with us, so we must “Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9). Without a loving home, life is empty, shallow, and vain! With a loving home, it matters little what possessions we may not have. After life’s experiences had tumbled in, Solomon wrote: “Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:6).

No proverb says it better than Proverbs 15:17, but other proverbs emphasize this truth: “Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice” (Proverbs 16:8); “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9); “Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed” (Proverbs 27:5); “A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).

Jesus clearly taught this Wisdom when He said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15); and the Holy Spirit echoed it through Paul, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Job #1 is to make our homes full of love, designed to build up each member with truth, honesty, and forgiveness. Paul’s commands surely apply within the home: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8); “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). No one who loves their child will say the horrible things we hear said in public. Truly “above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).  How are your meal-times?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #children, #family, #home, #little, #love, #poverty, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #riches, #wisdom, #work

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(#74) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:1-Home-wreckers Need Not Apply!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”

“Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established” (Proverbs 24:3). It takes a wise woman to build her house (not talking about the building, but the life in it). Truly, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). Finding a good wife means knowing her family, and this cannot be done over the Internet! Jesus gave insight into home-life when He said a “house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).

The “foolish” woman destroys her own house by being:

1. Foolish, that is, ignoring or challenging God’s rules for living right. Every good marriage involves 3: the husband, the wife, and God (Colossians 3:16-21)!

2. Contentious (“dissing,” chiding, scolding, fussy, fretful), a tyrant by tantrums.

“Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9); “Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19); “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 25:24); “A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand” (Proverbs 27:15-16). There is no relief from a leaky roof “on a very rainy day,” and so a contentious woman can literally drive her family up the wall to the attic, or out the door into “the wilderness.” She is as impossible to deal with as “the wind,” or the fragrant odor of “oil” (perfume) once it’s in the hand. She has turned against her mate who should be her support, and her children who would unconditionally love her. The home should be a refuge, not a hunting ground!

3. Selfishly Independent, that is, she must be willing to uphold her place in the home. Too many, it seems, are like young widows, not ready to settle down into being a wife and mother. “But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:11-13). Some mothers dress and act like they are still in the “singles scene,” looking for a mate, not like they have taken themselves “off the market” because of responsibilities at home (1 Timothy 5:14).

Some women disrespect God’s Word by not marrying, not being a good wife, not being a proper mother, or by making her own home-life miserable!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#attic, #bible-study, #busybodies, #children, #contentious, #family, #foolish-woman, #gossips, #housekeeping, #jesus-christ, #leaky-roof, #marriage, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wilderness, #wisdom, #wise-woman

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(#73) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:24-It Doesn’t Take A Village To Raise A Child Who Has Both Parents!

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”

The old “spare the rod, spoil the child” is truthful but not a quotation of Scripture. No amount of beatings can ever replace the effect of parental love, understanding, patience, and instruction. Children are to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), but fathers are specifically commanded “do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers must “bring them up,” not beat them down! Discipline includes instruction and enforcement of what is “right,” not dictatorial and tyrannical outbursts arbitrarily enforced with a “rod!” THIS PROVERB GIVES ABSOLUTELY NO PERMISSION TO ABUSE CHILDREN! Listen to the other proverbs on the subject: “Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction” (Proverbs 19:18); “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15); “Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die” (Proverbs 23:13); “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15); “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). “The rod” is the last line of discipline to be applied (not the first or only line), but children must be reminded that there is a limit placed on their actions, beyond which they must not go in respect for parental authority. There is a time limit on good parental guidance, and that is “while there is hope,” or while the child is formative. It is “the rod and rebuke” that “give wisdom,” not just “the rod” without explanation and corrective instruction, but not “rebuke” without “the rod.” All the “rod of correction” is designed to do is sober up the child’s attitude and focus on the seriousness of the parent’s instruction, basically, “wipe that smile off your face!” Unfortunately, in this society filled with divorce and remarriage, custody battles, sexual relations without marriage commitment, a child is “left to himself.” The mother or father who thinks the child can handle things all alone is self-deceived and has abdicated the greatest authority on earth: nurturing a soul. They will give account on the Day of Judgment. Every child raised without proper discipline is a child raised without proper love, for discipline indicates loving care. The “father,” specifically, should be the obedience school for a child.

Every male who sires a child without a marriage commitment to its mother is: (1) profaning god’s sacredness of life; (2) disrespecting the mother of a life; (3) ignoring the God-given responsibility to properly instruct and guide the child’s life; (4) creating an illegitimate child without love (Hebrews 12:5-11); (5) and will be held accountable on the day of judgment for each and every soul he has neglected! It still requires a married couple (male and female) to properly raise every child.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#abuse, #bible-study, #children, #correction, #discipline, #family, #illegitimate, #instruction, #love, #marriage, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #spare-the-rod, #teaching, #wisdom

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day to all. We had a cookout this afternoon at my sister’s house, with our parents, and all our kids and grandkids. In Brazil “Workers Day” is May 1st. Do  you see a difference in emphasis between “Labor” and “Workers”?

• Polishing the Pulpit was a great experience for The Missus, The Maiden, and me. The Maiden stayed the weekend, The Missus and I, the whole week. I have something up on BNc about it.

• In great connected America, our hotel was without wifi the whole week. The events center where PTP was held couldn’t keep all 3,200 attendees connected during several days. Technology is great when it works. I actually didn’t miss being unconnected, too badly, since our days were filled with good things.

• Is the Saturday before Labor Day Walmart’s best day of the year? The Missus, The Maiden, and a DIL stayed there there for a long time …

• Temps were in the low- to mid-90s this afternoon in Arkansas. I stayed indoors in the air conditioning and and had them feed me the burgers through the door.

• Christians’ thoughts inevitably turn to their Lord with every theme, and Labor Day is no different. What a privilege to work in the kingdom of God! What a difference that saints make, through the Spirit of God, as they bring others to eternal salvation! Our service in the body of Christ is yet another sign of grace.

#corollaries, #family, #labor-day

“Too big for his britches”

Douglas and I were visiting in the home of some new friends recently. The two brothers and two sisters live together and care for each other. One of the two men shared how his daddy had helped a cousin financially when the cousin was growing up, He related how that cousin came regularly to see his daddy, and he’d always leave with the money that his daddy gave him. But now after the father is no longer living they never hear from the cousin. He said the cousin seems to think he is too good to associate with any of their family, and they seldom ever see him. I could sense the disappointment in his voice, and said, “Grandma would say, ‘He got too big for his britches.’” Continue reading

#christian-living, #family, #practical-lessons

What is a Good Return on Investment?

How do we determine whether we get a good “return on investment (ROI)?” The question came to my mind when I read an article that named ten universities and argued that they did not give a good “ROI.” While I was greatly relieved to see that the schools I attended did not make the list, it intrigued me that several “Christian” universities were listed, primarily because the cost of their tuition was several times the average income for their students’ dominant major field, religious studies. Other universities listed focus on the arts; apparently the average income for an artist is less than the average income for a high school graduate with no more formal education. There are other areas in which such a study might adduce a poor ROI: supporting a missionary in an impoverished area, a degree in education (also mentioned in the study above as one of several occupations that society values, but reimburses poorly), or donating to a losing political campaign.
How do we determine whether we get a good return on investment? Time spent with our children may not produce apparent income, but may help mold them into productive, law-abiding citizens and faithful Christians who appreciate beauty in the world around us and respect authority. Money spent preparing for ministry may not yield a financial fortune, but may enrich one’s life with friends, faith, and hope. The basis for valuation in the article I read obviously was financial return. I suggest there may be areas in which this is not the only variable and some in which it may not even be a factor.
I baptized an man the first Sunday I preached at a church over thirty years ago. I remember it well because he was taller and heaver than me; I dropped him as I brought him up from the water. In the months that followed, I invested time in visits, study, and prayer with this person. Despite that inauspicious beginning, when I visited that church a few years ago, he was there and helped lead the service. I gained no money from the experience, but I was elated; I felt rich.
Near the end of the book of Hebrews, its author penned these words, “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Le us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:12-14). Money does not provide the only means of valuing success. Neither does popular acclaim. Some of the colleges mentioned in the study may be poor choices, but others may equip their students to introduce joy, peace, hope, and faith into our world despite their failure to enrich them. If we earn the respect of our family and those with whom we work, if we enjoy what God has given us, and if we look forward to the future (even to meeting God after death), then I suggest that we have an excellent return on investment. What do you think?

#book-of-hebrews, #christian-living, #family, #hope, #investment, #time-management

One of America’s Greatest Scandals

It’s a problem that faces all of mankind’s cultures, but in America it seems like an epidemic in particular areas of our culture. I would even dare say it’s one of America’s greatest scandals. What is it? It’s the huge stumbling block of the abandonment of children by their fathers!

The Bible says in Matthew 18:1-7, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

In verse six the Bible uses a very interesting Greek word, and I almost believe we would be better off if it was transliterated instead of translated. It’s translated as “sin” in the above NKJV, as “offend” in the KJV, as “a cause of trouble” in the BBE and as “to stumble” in the ASV, but if we were to transliterate this interesting Greek word it would be done with the word, “skandalizo.” Can you hear our English word scandal in that?

In a culture in which there are some who pride themselves in not “needing” a father to raise a child, or having multiple children with multiple women on welfare, or even a “I’ll write a check, but then I’ll write them off” mentality, it’s our children who are bearing the brunt of foolish behavior and thinking. Yes, one of America’s greatest scandals isn’t what’s being done in the single White House – it’s what being done in the millions and millions of American homes every year!

I also know that every dad isn’t religious, but I do know that every dad has a responsibility regardless of their interest in that responsibility. America has some great dads, and thank God for them, but America has more scandals than what the headlines could cover if they would, for it seems as if in the face of all these “modern families” walking around that we’ve become oblivious to the millstones hanging around our necks.

And by the way, try looking up the original meaning of scandal…you might be surprised what the word originally meant.

#children, #culture, #family, #home, #matthew-186, #millstone, #parenting, #relationships, #scandal, #sin