Category Archives: Alertness

Wesley’s Expectation of Persecution

wesleyJohn Wesley was riding along on his horse one day when it dawned on him that three days had passed in which he had suffered no persecution. Not a brick or an egg had been thrown for three days.

Alarmed, he stopped his horse and exclaimed, “Could it be that I have sinned and am backslidden?”

Slipping from his horse, Wesley went down on his knees and began interceding with God to show him where, if any, there was a fault.

A rough fellow on the other side of the hedge, hearing the prayer, looked across and recognized the preacher. “I’ll fix that Methodist preacher,” he said, picking up a brick and tossing it over at him. It missed its mark and fell harmlessly beside John. Whereupon Wesley leaped to his feet joyfully exclaiming, “Thank you, Lord! I know I still have Your presence.”

J.G. Morrison

Make Sure Your Lantern Is Lit!

railroad-lantern-lamp“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
 
A night watchman was a defendant in a court case. He had been on duty at a railway crossing on the night of an accident in which a train had struck a car resulting in some serious injuries. No one else had witnessed the crash. The watchman testified that he had swung his lantern to warn the driver of the approaching train. The court found the watchman blameless and placed the responsibility for the accident on the motorist. Greatly relieved by the verdict, he whispered to a friend, “And all the time I was afraid they would ask me if the lantern was lit.”
 
The problem is not in what the watchman did, but in what he didn't do.
 
Sin can be divided into two distinct categories. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are the things we do that we shouldn't do. Sins of omission are the things we omit to do that we should do!
 
Think of all the commands and exhortations you’ve ever read in the Bible. For example:
  • Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1).
  • Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not (Romans 12:14).
  • Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
  • Speak not evil one of another, brethren… (James 4:11).
Think of the all the sermons and Sunday school lessons you’ve listened to over the years. Think of all the practical application of Biblical Truth that you have been exposed to during your lifetime. We know what is right. We know what is expected of us. Someone once said to me, “Most Christians have the right aim in life; we just never get around to pulling the trigger.”
 
Our greatest problem today might not be so much the things that we do, but the things that are left undone. There are words or encouragement and kindness that your children, your spouse and others need to hear from you today. There will be those that need your understanding and forgiveness. There may be others that the Lord will providentially bring into your life today with whom you will have the opportunity to share the Gospel.
 
Make sure your lantern is lit!
 
Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

The Conditional Promises of Scripture

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me” (Psalms 18:20).

God’s blessings are not automatic. It’s as we begin to develop Godly character that we begin to see the rewards of God’s blessing upon our lives. As we’re truthful, we get the blessings of truthfulness. As we’re diligent and respectful to authority, we get the blessings that accompany these qualities.

Scripture is full of promises; but have you ever considered that many of these promises are conditional?

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” God has promised to give us the desires of our heart but they’re conditional upon our delighting ourselves in Him and in His character. Our desires will then be a reflection of Who He is and God will then delight in giving us those desires.

Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee…” Do you know any young people today and things aren’t going well for them? Many times it can be traced back to a violation of this conditional promise.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” God has certainly promised to guide and direct us, but that guidance is conditional upon us acknowledging Him in all our ways.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee…” Peace is the birthright of every child of God. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). But that peace is contingent upon structuring our lives around Him. If we are dwelling upon the lies of the enemy rather than upon the truth of God’s Word there will be no peace – only discouragement and distress.

As you find promises in the Word of God, stop and consider the condition that may be attached. God’s promises and blessings are not ours to enjoy regardless of how we live the Christian life; but it’s as we die to self and learn the character of Christ that we begin to see the rewards of God’s blessing upon our lives.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

The Reticular Activating System

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).

The Reticular Activating System is part of the brain that causes us to sense things around us. This is what causes us to be more alert to others who have the same model of car as the one we recently purchased. We never noticed those cars before; but now, it seems, they’re everywhere! It also makes us more alert to the sins of others which we are guilty of ourselves.

Nathan the prophet told David of a man who had wronged his neighbor. “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die…” (2 Samuel 12:5). David was quick to criticize and judge the actions of the individual in the prophet’s story because he was guilty of the same sin. “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man…” (2 Samuel 12:7}. We tend to react the most to the very same sins which we are guilty of ourselves.

Teenagers will react to the defiance and disobedience of the toddler they’re babysitting, yet fail to see those same attitudes in themselves. Parents respond in anger toward the rebellious attitudes of their teenager, yet are unaware of their own disrespect towards authority. We tend to be particularly harsh with the failures of our own children which are a mirror of our own wrong attitudes.

Several years ago I spoke with a respected church leader who shared with me his concerns about a rebellious teenage son. In that same conversation, this church leader boasted about travelling down the highway at 125 mph in his new car. He also reacted against a new government tax by insisting that he for one wouldn’t be paying it. Yet this man failed to see the correlation between his son’s rebellion and his own rebellious attitude.

After a long stretch of road construction, a sign read: “End of construction. Thanks for your patience.” Someone commented that those words would be a fitting inscription on a Christian’s tombstone. Oh, how we need to be patient with one another – especially those in our own family. Let’s not be so quick to react harshly to one another; but to pray as David prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Be Alert to The Times

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

The Bible makes a significant statement about the chosen men of Issachar. They were men who had “understanding of the times.” If ever there was a time we needed to be aware of what is taking place in our culture it’s now. We need to understand the times in which we live. As men especially, we need to be alert to the spiritual dangers which affect our families.

In today’s culture, we are seeing the fruits of a belief system that has rejected any idea of absolute truth. Some people say that it doesn’t matter what you believe – just so long as you live right. But what you believe determines how you live.

If you believe that you are the product of evolutionary chance and that you are not responsible to God for your actions, then that belief system will be reflected in your behavior. If you believe that you are created in the image of God and will one day stand before Him, then that will have a profound impact on how you live your life.

Postmodernism is the term used to describe the time period in which we currently live. A time in which we are told that everything is relative. What might be true for me is not necessarily true for everyone else. Truth, we are being told, is what you believe it to be. This kind of thinking now dominates our culture through the media and our education system.

But knowing the truth is the most important issue in life. Pilate asked the greatest question to the greatest authority – he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Truth is God’s perception of reality, not ours. And the Bible is our source of ultimate truth. The more I seek God through His Word and understand who He is and what He requires of me, the more I understand what is true.

If ever there was a time we needed to get back to the absolute truth and authority of the Bible, it’s now. Make sure that you pass on to your children the conviction that God’s Word is our source of ultimate Truth – not Hollywood or the media; not their teachers at school or lecturers at university; not their peers or even what they feel in their emotions.

Truth is what God says and it’s who God is. And whatever contradicts the words and character of God cannot ever be truth.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Divorce Worse Than Concentration Camp

I was listening to a radio broadcast by Russian-born Helen Richards in 1993.

She told how she was placed in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. She described the terrible horrors of that place. Can you picture in your mind right now what that camp was like? Can you imagine a worse experience in human life than to have been through a Nazi concentration camp? Try to imagine the deprivation, the torture, the abuse, and the lack of care for all basic human needs.

After she was released, she met an American serviceman, married and came to America. They were married for 24 years. Her husband was unfaithful and then abandoned her; and then he asked her for a divorce. (I was listening to it on the car radio, and as soon as I could, I pulled over and wrote down a paraphrase of what I heard her say.) She said, “The hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life was that divorce. I’ve been through a Nazi concentration camp and a divorce, and I have to say, honestly, the divorce was the more terrible of the two experiences.”

From a sermon by Dr. S.M. Davis

Children and Divorce

An article in the August 11, 1997 issue of USA Today said:

“The more divorces and remarriages a child lives through, the more likely he is to divorce, and the more failed marriages he is likely to experience as an adult.  Previous studies have shown a link between experiencing divorce as a child, and getting one as an adult. But this is the first to look at how multiple divorces, which became increasingly common in the 1970’s, affect a child’s marital future.”

The Costly Consequences of Divorce

A 1996 report, The Costly Consequences of Divorce, explores the changes in America’s attitude towards marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and parenting. Then it takes readers though a step-by-step analysis of the potential adverse physical, emotional, psychological, and economic stress that occurs for adults and children as a result of marital destruction. Here are their findings:

  • Men who are separated or divorced receive hospital or psychiatric care 20 times more frequently than married men do.
  • Men who divorce heighten their risk of cancer about as much as if they had taken up smoking a pack or more of cigarettes per day.
  • Divorce now ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in large U.S. cities.
  • Family factors such as marital disruption, parental conflict, or rejection play important roles in determining who might abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Children who have experienced a divorce often score worse on measures of self‑esteem, psychological adjustment, academic achievement, and emotional and behavioral problems, than do children living in intact families, or even than children living with single mothers who have never been married.
  • Children in disrupted families are more likely than those of intact families to drop out of high school.

Lost Presence of Mind

A man submitted a claim for numerous injuries, but all that he put on the claim form was “lost presence of mind.” Because of the size of the claim, the insurance company requested more information. The man gave the following response:

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in block number 3, with reference to my accident where I put “lost presence of mind” as to the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust these details will suffice. 

I’m a bricklayer by trade, and on the day of the accident, I was working on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 600lbs of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them down in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up on the roof, swung the barrel up, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 600lbs of bricks. You will note in block number 11 of the reporting form that I weigh 135lbs. Due to my surprise at being jerked up off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and I forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down and this explains the fractured skull and the broken collar bone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep in the pulley — and this explains the lacerations on my right hand. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and I was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my great pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my weight of 135lbs in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building, and in the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel coming up — and this accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of my leg and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me down and lessened my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks — and fortunately only three vertebrate were broken. I’m sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain, unable to stand, looking up at the empty barrel six stories above me, again I lost my presence of mind and I let go of the rope.

The Monkey’s Clenched Fist

In North Africa the natives have a very easy way to capture monkeys. A gourd, with a hole just sufficiently large so that a monkey can thrust his hand into it, is filled with nuts and fastened firmly to a branch of a tree at sunset. During the night a monkey will discover the scent of food, and its source, and will put his hand into the gourd and grasp a handful of nuts. But the hole is too small for the monkey to withdraw his clenched fist, and he has not sense enough to let go of his bounty so that he may escape. Thus he pulls and pulls without success, and when morning comes he is quickly and easily taken.

If You Aren’t Praying, Then Who Is?

“And that 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” (2 Timothy 3:15).

If you aren’t praying for your children, then who is? Given the pressures placed upon young people in our society today, your children need prayer! And if you aren’t praying daily for them, then it is very likely that they have no one else to plead for them before the throne of grace.

But what should you be praying for your children?

Above all else, pray that they will know Christ early in life. Ideally, we can begin this teaching and training before the child is even born – while he is still in the womb. This is confirmed by the Greek word Paul used for child in 2 Timothy 3:15. It’s the Greek word “brephos.” Its precise definition in Strong’s Concordance is “an infant (properly, an unborn infant).” The same word is used in Luke 1:44 when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and the unborn “babe” (John the Baptist) leaped for joy when he heard the voice of the Saviour’s mother.

Paul says to Timothy, “And that from a child [while you were still in the womb] thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Lois and Eunice the grandmother and mother of Timothy faithfully read to Timothy the Word of God before he was even born – while he was still in the womb – and Paul states that this was instrumental in Timothy coming to faith in Christ.

There is no greater joy or blessing for Christian parents than to lead their children to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Never take the salvation of your children for granted. Just because they have attended church all their lives is no guarantee that they have ever accepted Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. Pray for your children and your grandchildren. Pray that those children will come to know Christ as Saviour at an early age.

D.L. Moody was once asked how many people were converted at a meeting where he was the preacher. “Three and one half,” he replied. “What? Three adults and one child?” asked the man. “No. Three children and one adult,” said Moody. “The adults have already wasted half their lives but those children have practically all their lives to live for God.”

Many parents are quick to cast the blame for their children’s disinterest in spiritual things upon the church or youth group; but we need to remember that leading your children to Christ is not first and foremost the responsibility of the church or the Sunday school, but the responsibility of the home.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Man’s Anger Is Always Wrong

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath…” (Ephesians 4:26).

The initial emotion of anger is not sin. It’s a signal. Everyone experiences certain physiological symptoms that accompany the emotion of anger. These may include teeth grinding, fists clenching, flushing, paling, numbness, sweating, muscle tensions and temperature changes. This is God’s way of alerting us that we are about to do or say something that we will regret. If that anger is not quickly and Scripturally dealt with, it will turn into wrath and become sin.

Our anger is wrong and will never accomplish anything good. James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Our anger will never accomplish God’s righteous purposes. Instead, it will leave a trail of broken relationships and wounded spirits.

One of the biggest reasons we don’t get victory over anger is because we feel we don’t need to. We feel justified in our anger. We feel we have a cause for our anger. We feel we have a right to be angry.

I heard of one man who explained the reason for his anger as: “It keeps the family in line.” He said, “I know it’s not a good way to raise kids, but it works. When I get mad, they quiet down and do what I tell them to do.”

That man’s approach will probably work for a while. But you cannot violate Scripture without there being consequences. If he is controlling his family with anger, he will ultimately pay a very heavy price because he is sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion in the hearts of his family.

Don’t justify your anger by calling it “righteous.” Don’t excuse it by labelling it as “passion.” Anger is just plain wrong; and if we have hurt or damaged others by our anger, then we need to take responsibility for it and ask for their forgiveness.

Beware of Offending a “Little One”

“It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).

Anna Rose loved children! She had a foster home, and would take in the children nobody else wanted. She tells in her book, Gentle House, about one little misplaced boy from Latvia, who, during the Second World War, was taken to America, and passed from one foster home to another. Nobody could deal with him. The fact that he could hardly speak a word of English made the situation even more difficult. Finally they asked Anna Rose if she would take him. She said, “Yes!” She relates the story in her book:

”And so it was settled and [he] was allowed to come with me. As we drove home in the May sunshine, I said to him, ‘You know, my house isn’t big and grand like the one you were staying in before.’ To this he replied, ‘No worry. Big house, no matter. I want a gentle house.’ I wondered exactly what he meant by a ‘gentle house,’ but he did not yet have the words to make me understand.”

Later, when he was going off with the scouts to camp for the first time, she watched him…”and as he stepped out on the porch, he paused, put out his hand and stroked the porch railing. Then he spoke – almost in blank verse: ‘Good-bye, house – my dear, dear house. You are my home. Try to be here when I get back. You are a gentle house.’ ‘What is a gentle house?’ I asked him. He was indignant: ‘How is this, you do not understand? A gentle house is a place where you feel so safe.’

One of your children’s greatest fears is that their mom and dad will divorce. Since one out of every two marriages is ending in the divorce courts, chances are that some of your children’s friends at school come from split homes. They’ve watched them try to deal with the emotional struggle that affects all children in a divorce situation. They’ve seen the hurt and the sense of rejection, and they secretly wonder when the same thing might happen to them.

As much as divorced parents try to avoid offending and damaging their children, it is unavoidable. And the hurts and scars will often be carried by them for the rest of their lives.

Not only do we need to provide our children with the security of our love and acceptance of them; children also need the security of knowing that mom and dad love each other and that there is no hint or possibility of divorce.

Today would be a good time to reaffirm your marriage commitment to your spouse. Then, assure your children of your commitment as a couple and give them the security of knowing that divorce will never be a consideration for your marriage.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Not Every Thought You Think Is Your Own!

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2Corinthians 10:4-5).

If we are to know victory in our Christian lives then we need to be involved in active spiritual warfare and we need to recognise how the enemy works in our mind. We need to understand that not every thought that comes into our mind is our own.

In Matthew 16:13-15, Jesus asks His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Now what’s Jesus saying here? He’s telling us that Peter’s understanding of the true identity of Christ was a direct revelation from God the Father. These were not Peter’s own thoughts. They were thoughts that were placed there by God Himself.

But just a few verses later in this same conversation, Jesus explains that “He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Then in verse 22 it says that “Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Now where did Peter get that thought from? Verse 23 makes that very clear – “But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

In this same conversation, Peter had two thoughts and neither of them were his own. He had a wonderful thought that was placed there by God; but he also had a thought that was placed in his mind by the enemy and he never realised it.

Not every thought that comes into your mind is your own; that’s why Paul says we are to take “every thought captive.” Many Christians struggle with negative self-critical thoughts and they don’t realise that these thoughts have been placed in their mind by the enemy of their souls. When we believe the lies of the enemy he is able to place us in bondage; but Jesus said the Truth will set us free (John 8:32).

Don’t just believe every thought that comes into your mind. If it does not line up with the Truth of God’s Word then consider its source and reject it.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Reason We Loose Our Kids

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” By the words we speak, we have the ability to impart life or the ability to bring about death and destruction to our relationships.

One of the major reasons why we as Christians are loosing our children to the world is not because we are being over-protective (most aren’t protective enough); not because our standards are too high (are our standards higher than God’s?); but because of the negative, critical atmosphere that exists in many Christian homes.

We criticize our spouse. We criticize our children. We criticize our church leaders. We criticize other church members. A cartoon in a Christian magazine portrayed a pompous church member exclaiming, “Faults in others I can see, but praise the Lord there’s none in me.” Don’t believe that for one moment. Compared with the spotless, sinless character of Christ, there is a multitude of character deficiencies that you and I possess.

It’s not that we are essentially good and that there are just a few bad things in our lives keeping us out of heaven. It’s that – as the Bible teaches – In us “dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). There is an infinite gap – not just between God’s goodness and our badness – but between God’s goodness and our “goodness.” Isaiah 64:6 tells us that “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

In the first five chapters of the book of Isaiah, the prophet is busy pronouncing woes on all the people around him. Finally in chapter six, he has a vision of God in all of His holiness and majesty and he says, “Woe is me.” Because the closer we get to God the less we see of others’ faults (especially those in our own family) and the more we see the condition of our own sinful hearts.

Let’s rid our homes of that negative, critical atmosphere; and let’s choose life by choosing to bless and praise and encourage those around us.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Spiritual Warfare and How to Pray for Your Husband

The following list is designed to pray one request per day, thus enabling you to pray through it each month. Pray…

1. That he would totally submit himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

2. That he would love the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and strength.

3. That he would be a man of wisdom, viewing himself, me as his wife, our children, others, and circumstances the way God does.

4. That he would grow in brokenness of spirit and humility, longing for God to reveal areas of needed growth.

5. That his heart would hunger and thirst for a closer, intimate relationship with God.

6. That he would understand that though he is a husband and father, he is a man under authority, respecting his authorities, as he desires his family to honour him.

7. That he would give first priority to spending time with the Lord every day in Bible reading, mediation, and prayer, and that it would be a source of encouragement and strength to him.

8. That he would realise his position of victory and power in Jesus Christ, casting down imaginations, and bringing every thought into captivity.

9. That he would experience God’s perfect sacrificial love for him and because of that knowledge, love and cherish me, his wife, so that our marriage would clearly typify Christ’s love for the Church.

10. That he would be committed to and experience moral freedom, making a covenant to not look upon strange women to lust after them, and setting nothing immoral before his eyes.

11. That he would fully accept the way God has made him and me, understanding our differences as male and female, and enabling us to reach out to each other unselfishly.

12. That he would continue to grow in the skill of intimate, honest communication, reaching out to me in sensitive understanding, allowing a greater oneness of spirit between us.

13. That he would be committed to making his marriage a priority, delighting in me as a woman, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

14. That he would be filled with wisdom to be the loving, wise, sensitive spiritual leader of our home.

15. That he would (continue to) make it a priority to lead our family in a regular devotional time.

16. That he would be a wise protector, shielding his family from the onslaughts of Satan and the world.

17. That he would value and understand each of our children’s needs and strengths, being and doing all he can for their spiritual and emotional growth.

18. That he would know how to express his love and acceptance to each of our children, alert for opportunities to praise and affirm them, and be enabled to meaningfully communicate with them.

19. That he would make it a priority to spend quantity and quality time with our children.

20. That he would be a loving, consistent disciplinarian of our children, not provoking them to anger.

21. That he would grow in meekness, not given to anger, but when failing be given the grace to humbly ask to be forgiven.

22. That he would trust the Lord for the spacing and number of children in our family.

23. That he would make wise financial decisions, being committed to tithing our income, and remembering that God is the ultimate Provider for our family.

24. That God would protect and guard him from spiritual, emotional, and physical danger.

25. That he would be blessed with good health and strength.

26. That he would have a life purpose bigger than his occupation, keeping the vision of service and missions before his eyes.

27. That he would use his job to encourage and share his faith in a dynamic way with others.

28. That he would not compare himself with others, being concerned of God’s evaluation of him.

29. That he would view the irritations of family life, occupation, and all of life’s trials as God’s best tools to build and refine his character, and be given the grace to delight in the Lord when the stresses of life increases.

30. That he would experience purpose in life and enjoy God’s smile of approval as he lays down his life for his family and others.

Be Sensitive to The Touchpoints of Love for Each Family Member

People express and receive love in different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies these as the five languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

If you express love in a way another family member doesn’t understand, he or she won’t realize you’ve expressed your love at all. The problem is that you’re speaking two different languages.

Perhaps your husband needs to hear encouraging words, but you feel cooking a nice dinner will cheer him up. When he still feels down, you’re puzzled. Or, maybe your wife craves time with you; and the flowers you gave her just don’t communicate that you care.

Do you know each family member’s love language? Here is an exercise that your whole family can try. Within each group, rate the sentence 1 to 5 according to what would make you feel most appreciated and loved. The number 5 represents what you most appreciate; number 1, in contrast, is what you least appreciate in each group. (No individual grouping can have a number repeated twice.)

 

Group One

A___ Mom or Dad says, “You really did a great job on that. I appreciate it.”

B___ Mom or Dad unexpectedly does something in or around the house or your room that you appreciate.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a surprise treat from the store.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to go on a walk just for fun and to talk.

E___ Mom or Dad makes a point to give you a big hug and kiss you before you leave the house.

 

Group Two

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much he or she appreciates you.

B___ Mom or Dad volunteers to type your homework for you so you won’t have to.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a special food treat from the local bakery.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to sit down and talk about your day.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a hug even when you are just passing by room to room.

 

Group Three

A___ Mom or Dad during a party shares about the great grades you got in school.

B___ Mom or Dad helps pick up your room.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a present you didn’t know you were getting.

D___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a special afternoon trip.

E___ Mom or Dad holds your hand as you walk through the mall or stands by your side with an arm around your shoulder at a public event.

 

Group Four

A___ Mom or Dad praises you about one of your special abilities.

B___ Mom or Dad brings you breakfast in bed.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a book you always wanted.

D___ Mom or Dad plans a special night out for the two of you.

E___ Mom or Dad will personally drive you to an event instead of you having to go on the old, crowded bus with the team.

 

Group Five

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much his or her friends appreciate you.

B___ Mom or Dad takes the time to fill out the long forms for school that you thought you were going to have to fill out yourself.

C___ Mom or Dad sends you something special through the mail.

D___ Mom or Dad kidnaps you for lunch and takes you to your favorite restaurant.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a back rub.

 

(Transfer your scores from your test questions to the scoring profile below.)

Encouraging

Words

Acts of

Service

Gift-Giving

Quality Time

Touch

Group 1

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 2

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 3

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 4

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 5

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Totals

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

 

Compare your score with your spouse/child/parent. Write down from the primary to the least of the love languages of each family member.

1.______________________

2.______________________

3.______________________

4.______________________

5.______________________

Designed by Gary and Joy Hanson – Copyright © 1999 by Growing Families International. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

 

Beware of the “New” Tolerance

Twelve to 24 months from now pastors,  leaders, and parents in churches across our country are likely to wake up and say, “What happened to our young people?” The answer will be summed up in one word … tolerance.

In almost every Christian home, you will find two definitions of tolerance — one held by the parents, the other by the kids. Both think they are saying the same thing — but they aren’t. And parents are realizing it too late.

The traditional definition of tolerance is: “to recognize and respect (others’ beliefs, practices, etc.) without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary). This is what you and I were taught.

But today’s definition — the one our kids are being taught — is vastly different. It says “every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles, and truth claims are equal.” In other words, all beliefs are equal. All values are equal. All lifestyles are equal. All truth is equal.

So what’s the problem? What happens when your child is taught that his beliefs and values are no different from a Muslim –or a homosexual — or someone involved in pre-marital sex? This is today’s tolerance. And it’s the number one virtue in America, especially among our youth.

Our kids are being taught that all truth is relative to the individual.  Knowing Right from Wrong doesn’t matter. To say something is right or wrong is  not being tolerant.

Josh McDowell – www.Josh.org

Prayer Targets – A Little Known Resource for Victory over Temptation

If Satan has a stronghold in your life, particularly in the moral area, and you are overcome time and time again by this particular sin, the following plan of action using designated prayer targets can help bring victory.

The first step is to assign temptations to specific prayer targets. Think of three individuals you know. Think of someone you know who isn’t a Christian, but if they were to trust in Christ as Saviour they would make a great impact for the kingdom of God. Next, think of someone you know who is a backslider or carnal Christian but who could be tremendously used of God if they would only repent of the sin in their lives. Third, think of a Christian leader – someone on the front lines of spiritual conflict such as a pastor or missionary. Assign these individuals to specific temptations which you regularly face.

For example, if Satan tempts you with impure thoughts, assign that temptation to your non-Christian friend and start praying for his salvation. If Satan tempts you to be angry, start praying for the Christian you know who is a backslider – pray the God would convict him and that he would repent of his sin. If Satan tempts you to be fearful, start praying for your pastor and pray that God would strengthen him and equip him for the conflict.

Begin to take the offensive whenever you are tempted. When Satan tempts you in a certain area, take the initiative by praying offensively for a predetermined prayer target. The next time you are tempted by a particular sin, that will be your queue to start praying for these individuals using prayer as an offensive weapon against the kingdom of darkness. Now whenever you make this a consistent regular practice, two things will happen: 1. You will see answers to your prayers 2. You will experience less trouble with temptation in that particular area because Satan is not going to tempt you in that area if he knows that the temptation will be met with an immediate offensive attack upon his kingdom of darkness.

Lifetime in Minutes

Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, in his book, Time for God has a mathematically calculated schedule which compares a lifetime of “three score years and ten” with the hours of a single day from seven in the morning to eleven at night.

If your age is:

  • 15, the time is 10:25 AM
  • 20, the time is 11:34 AM
  • 25, the time is 12:42 PM
  • 30, the time is 1:51 PM
  • 35, the time is 3:00 PM
  • 40, the time is 4:08 PM
  • 45, the time is 5:16 PM
  • 50, the time is 6:25 PM
  • 55, the time is 7:34 PM
  • 60, the time is 8:42 PM
  • 65, the time is 9:51 PM
  • 70, the time is 11:00 PM

Thy Brother’s Blood

THE tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step . . . it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down “Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew a the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and I called—but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was—the Cry of the Blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. “And He said, `What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground’.”

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?

God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!

-From THINGS AS THEY ARE by Amy Carmichael of the Dohnavur Fellowship.

Family Iniquities and Curses

Parents who keep their eyes from evil and their minds from impure thoughts will not only receive blessing in their own lives but also in the lives of their children. Their own past failures are less likely to be repeated in their children’s lives.

Family iniquities, or self-will in a particular area of life, can be passed from generation to generation. How do we stop the cycle and find freedom in Christ? Here are four basic action steps…

1. Acknowledge the specific iniquity. For help in how to pray, read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:3-19.

2. Ask God to cleanse the iniquity in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Ask God to reclaim any ground given to Satan and tear down every stronghold.

4. Claim Psalm 103:17 that from now on, the righteousness of your family will be your heritage for your children and for future generations. Also, commit this great verse to memory. For the breaking of a curse, here is a suggested prayer you may find helpful:

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come to you desiring to be free from all curses and their results. I thank you for saving me and cleansing me of my sin. I confess that I belong to you. I now confess and repent of all my sins, known and unknown. I now confess the sins of my forefathers. In the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ I break and renounce the power of every demonic curse that was passed down to me by the sins and actions of others. I now renounce, break, and loose myself and my family from all demonic subjection to any human being who has in the past or is now controlling me or my family in any way contrary to the Word and the will of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, I break the power and hold of every curse that has come to me through disobedience-mine or my forefathers. I claim release and freedom through the blood of Christ. Amen.

-from Reclaiming Surrendered Ground by Jim Logan – Moody Press

New Testament Bible Verses Related to Alertness

The numbers enclosed in the brackets refer to the numbering system of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Each number refers to a Hebrew or Greek word that has been translated into an English word related to this character quality.

  • Mr 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware <991> of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
  • Mr 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware <991> of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
  • Ac 13:40 Beware <991> therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
  • Php 3:2 Beware <991> of dogs, beware <991> of evil workers, beware <991> of the concision.
  • Col 2:8 Beware <991> lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • Mt 19:20 The younf man saith unto him, All these things have I kept <5442> from my youth up: what lack I yet?
  • Mr 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed <5442> from my youth.
  • Lu 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping <5442> watch over their flock by night.
  • Lu 8:29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept <5442> bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
  • Lu 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth <5442> his palace, his goods are in peace:
  • Lu 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep <5442> it.
  • Lu 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware <5442> of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
  • Lu 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept <5442> from my youth up.
  • Joh 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep <5442> it unto life eternal.
  • Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept <5442>, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
  • Ac 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have <5442> not kept <5442> it.
  • Ac 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep <5442> him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
  • Ac 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep <5442>, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
  • Ac 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest <5442> the law.
  • Ac 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep <5442> themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
  • Ac 22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept <5442> the raiment of them that slew him.
  • Ac 23:35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept <5442> in Herod’s judgment hall.
  • Ac 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept <5442> him.
  • Ro 2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep <5442> the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
  • Ga 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep <5442> the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
  • 2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep <5442> you from evil.
  • 1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe <5442> these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
  • 1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep <5442> that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
  • 2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep <5442> that which I have committed unto him against that day.
  • 2Ti 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep <5442> by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
  • 2Ti 4:15 Of whom be <5442> thou ware <5442> also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
  • 2Pe 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved <5442> Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
  • 2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware <5442> lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
  • 1Jo 5:21 Little children, keep <5442> yourselves from idols. Amen.
  • Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep <5442> you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

 

  • Mt 6:1 Take heed <4337> that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
  • Mt 7:15 Beware <4337> of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
  • Mt 10:17 But beware <4337> of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
  • Mt 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware <4337> of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
  • Mt 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware <4337> of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
  • Mt 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware <4337> of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
  • Lu 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware <4337> ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
  • Lu 17:3 Take heed <4337> to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
  • Lu 20:46 Beware <4337> of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
  • Lu 21:34 And take heed <4337> to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
  • Ac 5:35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed <4337> to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
  • Ac 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed <4337> unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
  • Ac 8:10 To whom they all gave heed <4337>, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
  • Ac 8:11 And to him they had regard <4337>, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
  • Ac 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended <4337> unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
  • Ac 20:28 Take heed <4337> therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
  • 1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed <4337> to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
  • 1Ti 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given <4337> to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
  • 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed <4337> to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
  • 1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance <4337> to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
  • Tit 1:14 Not giving heed <4337> to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
  • Heb 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed <4337> to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
  • Heb 7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance <4337> at the altar.
  • 2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed <4337>, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: