John Wesley’s Advice on How to Vote in an Election

wesley“October 6, 1774
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

― John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley

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

“But the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness…” (Galatians 5:22).

God is more concerned about what we are than what we can do. He is actively at work in our lives and His purpose is to change us from the inside out. In Galatians chapter five He lists the fruit that He is working to produce in each one of our lives.

One of those important qualities on that list is goodness. The actual Greek word has a wide range of meaning, but F.F. Bruce suggests that in its context in Galatians, it most likely means “generosity.”

Generosity is “realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes.” 

We have a tendency to think that as long as we tithe, we can choose how to spend the remaining 90% however we please. But as stewards, we are responsible for all that God entrusts into our care. 

Joseph was a steward in Potiphar’s house. He was in charge of everything but he owned nothing. God wants us to have that same attitude toward our finances.

Our generosity and willingness to give to meet the needs of other Christians is a reflection of our true spirituality.

Not long after my father accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he became very interested in missionary work. He was informed of a specific need for £5.00. And although he couldn't meet that need himself (for in those days after the war, £5.00 was more than a week's wages), he prayed that the Lord would provide. After he prayed, he heard my grandmother — who wasn't a Christian at that time — come up the stairs, past his door and into her room. A short time later, he heard her come out and stop at his door. Then she came in and said, "Here, I'm sure you can use that," and put a large white £5.00 note into his hand. 

God use the abundance of one Christian to meet the needs of another.

When was the last time that God prompted you to give to the needs of another Christian? Did you obey God's prompting?

But generosity involves much more than just money. We are to be generous with our praise, our time, and our forgiveness. And God has promised, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). 

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

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Character And The Will of God

mapUsually when we are asking questions about God’s will there are two primary concerns. We want to know what we should do and where we should go. We are chiefly concerned about our vocation and our location.

But when we ask these questions first, we miss the most important aspect of the will of God. Paul says, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). That’s not something we have to pray about! We are told exactly what God’s will is and it is the same for every Christian. God’s will is our sanctification.

Sanctification is the process by which we become less and less like ourselves and more and more like Jesus.

God’s will is not primarily a matter of our location or vocation – it’s a matter of the condition of our hearts. It’s not where we are or what we’re doing that is of primary concern to God; but it’s what we are that matters most to Him.

When we make Christ-likeness our chief concern, the other questions will find their answers by default. God will open up doors of opportunity and service. As long as we continue to develop the character of Jesus Christ we will continually have the guidance to stay on the right path and keep in the will of God.

The writer of Proverbs 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” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The word “acknowledge” means “to know” Him. In every situation know and understand how Jesus would respond.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” How would Jesus respond to this person who just wronged and hurt you? 

If you get angry and bitter toward someone rather than showing forgiveness, that’s when you miss God’s will. It’s when you rebel rather than being obedient that you miss God’s direction. It’s when you lie rather than being honest that you get off the right path.

Make the quest for character and Christ-likeness your chief concern. If you are continually developing and demonstrating the character of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for you to miss the will of God for your life in these other areas. “The integrity [character] of the upright shall guide them…” (Proverbs 11:3).

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

God Is Still on The Throne!

RiversOfBabylon“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1).

Not everything in life goes according to plan – according to our plan at least. There are circumstances we find ourselves in that we never dreamed possible. 

Daniel, his three friends, and many others like them were cruelly taken from their home by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:1-4). They had done nothing to deserve this personally. These terrible circumstances were the direct result of sin and disobedience in the lives of their present and preceding kings in the nation of Israel.

As the king went so went the nation. When the king followed God’s ways and sought Him with his whole heart – these were times of revival and blessing. But when the king was given to idolatry and sin – the nation suffered. Now the Babylonian captivity was the ultimate consequence and judgment for their disobedience, and tragically there were many innocent people who loved God that were taken captive into Babylon.

What do you do when your adverse circumstances are the result of someone else’s wrong choices? How do you respond if you’re the victim of a DUI or a spouse that has been left for someone else?

Certainly there is time for grieving and reflection; but ultimately God is still in control. This is just a new path He has given you to walk and He has promised to walk it with you “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Whatever your circumstances, He has promised to guide you and provide for you.

These are the truths that you need to keep constantly before you because the enemy will fill your mind with his lies of hopelessness and discouragement. He will present you with a multitude of “What ifs.” Don’t go there! 

Focus your mind and heart on the Truth of God’s Word – spend time especially reading the book of Psalms. Dedicate yourself afresh to fulfilling God’s will for your life whatever path that journey might take. God is still on the throne!

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

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

Character Training Should Take Precedence Over Academics

A wise parent will begin early to teach their children character and will be constantly evaluating where their children are at and what character qualities they need to develop.

Think about the children that God has blessed you with. Do they have the necessary character traits to have a successful marriage and a successful life?

Do they know how to yield their rights and give in, or are they constantly arguing and fighting so that they can have things their way?

Do they know how to forgive, or are they angry and bitter toward others who have hurt or offended them in the past?

Most conflicts in marriage, church and the workplace can be traced back to the absence of needed character qualities.

If a young lady is not submissive to her parents then she will not be submissive to the leadership of her husband and there will be all kinds of conflicts and problems.

If a young man is not kind and loving to his mother and his sisters, he will be unkind and selfish toward his wife and they will experience all kinds of tension in their relationship as a result.

Teaching Godly character should be the goal of every Christian parent. And if you have young children especially, your main goal is not to teach 1+1=2 – as important as that knowledge is. Following their salvation, your main goal is to teach your children the character of Christ. 

There is a Biblical order given in 2 Peter 1:5 – “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” Virtue – or character – should take precedence over academics. That doesn't mean that you throw out the textbooks! It’s simply a question of priorities.

By investing in their character training now, you could be saving your children’s future marriage from the tragedy of divorce and failed relationships.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

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Making Your Home A “Heaven Upon The Earth”

“That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:21).

Jesus said to His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you…” (John 14:2). God is preparing a place for His children! It’s a wonderful place. We call it “heaven.” As parents, we are responsible to provide a place for our children. Whether it’s a trailer, a semi-detached or a castle, we have the responsibility to make that place “…as the days of heaven upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 11:21) for our children.

One of the many characteristics of our heavenly home is that Heaven will be a place of security.  It will be free from fear and anxiety.  We need never worry about ever being separated from our Heavenly Father (John 10:27-29). 

God is providing for us a place that is absolutely secure. That is the pattern that we are to follow for our children: we need to provide a home that is safe and secure, a home where the children know that mother and father love each other, and each child is loved and accepted unconditionally. We need to provide a home where our children feel safe, a home where there is absolutely no possibility of divorce. A home that is totally secure!

Do you realize that many of the children in your street or neighborhood come from split homes? One of your child's greatest fears may be that one day mom and dad are going to divorce just like everybody else. You need to assure them that you're not like everybody else. That means you don't raise your voice in anger at each other in front of the children – or at any other time for that matter.

This means that you make your marriage relationship top priority. There is a philosophy of child rearing today that is commonly accepted in our culture called child-centered parenting. The danger with this method is that it does not provide children with the security they desperately need. If you center upon meeting every whim and desire of your children rather than upon meeting the needs of your spouse, you will destroy the security that your children need and crave.

One expert says, "Children know intuitively, just as you and I knew when we were growing up, that if something happens to Mom and Dad, their whole world will collapse. If the parents' relationship is always in question in the mind of a child, then that child will always live his life on the brink of collapse."

If you want to provide for the emotional security and well-being of your children, then you need to provide a home that is totally secure, a home where mom and dad love each other, a home where there is no threat of divorce and where each child is loved and accepted unconditionally.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries


Loyalty Requires Honoring the Covenant of Marriage

The Bible speaks of marriage as a covenant (Proverbs 2:17 Malachi 2:14), not a contract. 

A contract is something that can be broken by mutual consent; a covenant is something that can never be broken regardless of the circumstances.  

People sign a contract because there is responsibility on each side to meet certain conditions.  One party is going to do “this,” and the other is going to do “that.” Each party says that he will take responsibility for a certain thing.  

Tragically, many people today think of marriage as a contract instead of a covenant. Their thinking is: “If you’re not giving me as much as I’m giving you, then I’m going to get a divorce.”  
A contract is a legal agreement between two people, but a covenant is a spiritual commitment between you and God and that other person.  A contract may be voided by mutual consent if problems arise.  A covenant has no escape clauses.  

Marriage is a covenant, not a contract! Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. It requires 100% from each person. And if your spouse is only giving 20%, you still are responsible before God to contribute 100%.

In Old Testament times whenever a covenant was established, an animal was sacrificed and split in two and the two parties making the covenant would walk between the two halves of the slain animal and by doing that they were saying, “May I be divided and destroyed if I break this covenant.”  (See Genesis 15).

That’s part of the rich symbolism that’s represented in the marriage ceremony. That’s the reason behind why the congregation is divided in two. The groom’s family and friends sit on one side. The bride’s family and friends sit on the other side.

And when the couple have said their vows and the wedding ceremony is over, they walk out together between the congregation – between the two sides – symbolizing their binding covenant with each other.
A covenant is to be broken only by death. A proper marriage vow says essentially, “No matter what, we will stay together till death do us part.”

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

The “I Wills” of Joyfulness

​There is a special strength that emanates from a joyful person. This not only benefits that person's own life but also causes him or her to be an energy-giver to all those around.

  • I will look for good in all things
  • I will smile at adversity
  • I will not give in to discouragement
  • I will not allow my emotions to rule my mind
  • I will take time out of every day to laugh and to sing

Achieving True Success, Character First!

Your Investment in Your Children Now, Pays Benefits Later!

Meekness has always been a characteristic of the Godly (Psalm 37:11). It’s the only quality that Jesus ever ascribed to Himself – “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

So what is meekness? The Greeks used the word to refer to the taming of a wild horse. The animal hadn’t lost its strength, but all of the power of that animal had been brought under control. To be meek is to be under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. It involves our submission to God's authority and it involves the yielding of our rights. It is linked with what the Bible refers to as being filled with the Holy Spirit.

If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour then you have all of the Holy Spirit that you’re ever going to get. The Holy Spirit is a person. You can’t just have a bit of Him. Either you have the Spirit of God or you don’t. Paul says in Romans 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

The filling of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with getting more of the Holy Spirit but it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit getting more of you.

The Holy Spirit wants to fill and control every area in our lives; but He does not force Himself upon us. He wants us to yield to Him the right to every single area of our lives until they are under His control and Lordship. This is the way of blessing and success.

The meeker we become the less upset and angry we will be when we don’t get our own way. Meekness is the antidote to anger.

Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” And because He was willing to yield His rights, God has exalted Him and given Him a name above every name. If you want to be exalted in the eyes of your family, don’t fight for your rights. Don’t demand their respect – earn it! If Jesus yielded His rights and became a servant then how much more must we.

If you invest in teaching your children this Christ-like quality of meekness, you will be investing in the success of their future marriage and relationships. And the best way to teach it is to model it! Show them what meekness is like by demonstrating what a Godly life looks like.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

True Security

safeWe have a tendency to build and structure our lives around certain people, possessions or positions. The trouble with doing this is the devastation that is caused when they are lost or taken away from us.

An accident or illness can suddenly claim the lives of those we love the most.

Recent banking and Stock Market scandals prove that even respected, financial institutions cannot guarantee absolute security of our money. Hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters can leave us homeless and vulnerable.

And in our fast changing world, job security is a thing of the past. Record unemployment has affected individuals and families on a global scale.

None of these things can provide us with the security we so desperately seek. God can take away from us every person, every position, and every possession; and if we are structuring our lives around any of these, we will be absolutely devastated.

True security is only possible as we build our lives around that which can never be taken away from us – the Lord Jesus Christ. We can loose every possession, every person, and every position; but if we are building our lives around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal principles of His Word, we have the assurance that He is using each and every circumstance for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.

Who or what are you building your life around? Don’t hold so tightly to those things which are temporal and which can be gone tomorrow. Build your life around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and around the eternal principles of His Word. We can loose everything else, but He can never be taken away from us. That is absolute, total security.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

Veins Running Fire

jane-eyre-charlotte-bronteThe awful struggle between spirit and flesh is best known by those who believe that the difference between them is of very great importance. Mr. Rochester’s agonized plea to Jane Eyre expresses that terrible conflict exactly.

"One instant, Jane. Give one glance to my horrible life when you are gone. All happiness will be torn away with you. What then is left? For a wife I have but the maniac upstairs: as well might you refer me to some corpse in yonder churchyard. What shall I do, Jane…?"

"Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven…"

"Is it better to drive a fellow-creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law…?"

This was true: and while he spoke my very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with crime in resisting him. They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamoured wildly. "Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger — look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair — soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"

Still indomitable was the reply — "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth — so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane — quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot."

Lines must be drawn — in advance. “Foregone determinations” she called them. Principles. These established guards in advance, destined to prevent us from faltering when our steadfastness may be put on trial.

Quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in Chapter 7 of her book, Quest for Love

Act, Don’t React!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

How we respond when we have been hurt or wronged is an eloquent indication of the depth of our walk with God.

As Christians we are called to a higher standard than the world. That standard highlights our inability to live the Christian life in our own strength. We can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are totally inadequate for the task.

The following passages of Scripture reveal the standard to which we are held accountable as Christians:

• Luke 6:27-29 – But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
• Romans 12:21 – Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
• 1 Peter 3:9 – Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Two wrongs do not make a right. The writer of Proverbs says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We do not need to treat others in the same way that we have been treated. It is clear from these passages of Scripture that we need to act – not react. Neither should we simply be passive; but God’s Word confirms the need to actively rise above the tit-for-tat behavior that characterizes so many failing relationships.

This is what should set us apart as Christians; and why we need to daily draw on the power of the Risen Christ. The wrongs committed against us are opportunities for us to grow in our walk with God as we acknowledge the Truth of His Word and submit ourselves to be governed by its principles rather than our emotions.

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

Home Is The Boot Camp for Life

Boot-camp“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8).

Daniel had been taken from the security of his home and family into the corruption and sensuality of Babylon. He was a teenager. His decisions, however, were not governed by hormones but by inward convictions. As a young man, Daniel purposed in his heart to do what was right. Where did he learn that? He learned it at home.

Home is the boot camp for life. It’s the Basic Training that helps prepare a child for every eventuality. The Training Manual is the Word of God. Parents have sixteen plus years to build God’s Ways into the life of each child. That sounds like a long time but it quickly passes.

Parents, if you want to pass on to your children a purpose that’s worth living for, then you need to start teaching them and passing on convictions that are worth standing alone for. If our children do not have a purpose worth standing for, then they have absolutely nothing worth living for.

Life is meaningless apart from Jesus Christ, and it is the responsibility of every Christian parent to communicate this to their children. The most effective way to communicate this truth is not only to teach it but to practice it. Show them that Jesus Christ is important to you by spending time with them in God’s Word. If they ask you a question, don’t just tell them what you think. Ask them what God thinks and take them to the Word of God for their answers. Don’t just tell them they can’t do a certain thing, explain the Biblical principle behind the restriction.

Following Scriptural principles represents a far superior way of life than anything else that the world has to offer. When a Christian stands alone in doing what is right or refusing to do what is wrong, he is saying to the world, “I have something worth standing for.”

The world today is frantically looking for meaning and purpose in life and they’re not going to find it in Christianity unless we as Christians are willing to make a stand for the Truth of God’s Word without compromise.

Give your children the desire to follow God’s ways by being a living demonstration of its truths and principles.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

God Wants Us to Ask for Wisdom

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.” Without knowing what to pray for, we too tend to pray for the wrong things.

But Jesus says in John 16:24, “…ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” What should we ask God for? Every day we need to ask God for His Wisdom.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective. It’s recognizing the relationship between our problems and our violation of Biblical principles. It’s understanding why things happen and being able to see God’s purposes behind our difficulties and conflicts (Romans 8:28-29; Philippians 1:12).

Life is held together by a very intricate series of cause-and-effect relationships. You cannot obey God’s ways without being blessed; but you cannot ignore God’s ways or disobey them without there being consequences in your life and in your relationships with others. Scripture speaks of this in Galatians 6:7 – “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This is true in every area of our lives.

Many times we fail to appreciate and understand this truth. When we encounter difficulties or conflict, we just think we’re having a spate of bad luck; but there’s no such thing as bad luck in the Christian life. Our lives are not governed by chance but by our attitude and response to the eternal truth of God’s Word.

That’s why instead of getting angry and bitter toward people that hurt us; we need to see them as tools in God’s hands that He is using to accomplish His plans and purposes. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says “…for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Anger is never a wise and appropriate response from the Christian.

Joseph was able to forgive his brothers because he understood how God used the wrongs committed against him to accomplish His sovereign will. He was able to speak softly and kindly to those who had treated him harshly. Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

More often than not, the difficulties and conflicts of life are used of God to conform us more and more to the character of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). Ask God daily for His wisdom to know how to respond to life situations and to clearly see His sovereign purposes behind why things happen.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

A Loving Relationship Is Foundational

“For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth” (Psalm 26:3).

There is a direct relationship between how God deals with His children and how we should parent our own children. This is illustrated by two great works that God has set out to accomplish in a person’s life.

First, God takes the life that is alienated from Him by sin, and by His grace and mercy, He establishes a relationship with that individual. He cares for that person, and provides a secure relationship with “round-the-clock” access into His presence. He demonstrates unconditional love; and He is so deeply interested and concerned about the well-being of that one individual that if he had been the only person who had ever sinned, God would still have sent His Son to die on the cross. Theologians call this great work “justification.”

The second great work in which God is involved is the process of changing our behavior from the ways of our old sin-nature to that of the new standards taught and demonstrated by Christ; the process by which God transforms a person into the image of His Son. Theologians call this process “sanctification.”

But the point that I want to emphasize is that before God begins to change our behavior, He first establishes a relationship with us. He does not begin the process of sanctification until He has first completed the work of justification. This, I believe, is of vital significance!

Many parents are quick to emphasize the importance of changing the child’s behavior and completely miss the essential prerequisite of first establishing and building a loving, unconditional relationship with the child. In God’s framework of redemption this must come first – justification, then sanctification. First, He establishes a relationship with that individual, then He begins His great work of lovingly changing that person’s behavior until it conforms to His own will and standards.

We completely miss this essential element in the parenting process today. Behavior modification is important but it cannot be successful unless a meaningful relationship is first established with the child. Quality of relationship is more significant than the quantity of time we invest.

One Christian leader has observed that the reason why our young people are turning their backs on the church is because they have been raised with programs and events, not with a process-driven ministry where the Word of God was internalized into their lives. They have a lack of relationship with Mom and Dad, with leaders in the church, and with other significant adults in their lives.

Truth without relationship leads to rejection. Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Opposite of Love Is Selfishness

“Therefore hear now this, thou…that sayest in thine heart, I am, and there is none else beside me…” (Isaiah 47:8).

Isaiah describes the root of every problem that you will experience in your marriage: Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” That’s the root of all sin. That’s the cause of every crisis and conflict you will ever experience. Sin comes in many different forms but the underlying motive behind every sin is “I am and there is none else beside me.” I just do what I want to do.

Let me illustrate this for you in the area of marriage. The experts tell us that there are four things that rip marriages apart: money, sex, children, and work. Let’s look at “money.” He says “I want a new boat.” She says “I want a new coat.” You say “Oh, it’s a matter of money. If they just had more money then they would be able to resolve their problems.” It’s not a matter of money. The problem is: “I am and there is none else beside me.”

Your issue may be financial, it may be marital, it may come under one of a hundred different labels, but its root cause is always the same. Behind every broken relationship lies this root of sin. Marriages are ripped apart because one or both partners say, “I am and there is none else beside me.”

But the opposite is also true. Strong relationships are forged when we are willing to die to self and put the needs and wishes of others ahead of our own. Marriage provides us with those daily opportunities to die to our own rights and to learn the character of Christ. The conflicts that the enemy intends to use to bring about our destruction can actually serve as motivations for us to grow to new depths in our Christian life.

When Christ was on earth, His continual attitude was “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). If we have the attitude that says, “I will do this no matter what anyone else says or thinks,” then we are not following the example of Christ but of Satan. Satan says, “I will….” (Isaiah 14:12-14). The Lord Jesus says, “Father, not My will, but Thine be done.”

Look for ways today to die to self rather than fighting for your own rights. Welcome those challenges as opportunities to grow in Christ-like character and to demonstrate to others the love of Christ.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

Discipline – A Biblical Balance

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

When it comes to child discipline there are two extremes.

There are some who teach spanking as the predominant aspect of Biblical child rearing, but it’s not. It should be the exception rather than the rule and only when they have intentionally disobeyed. Don’t discipline a child for just spilling a glass of milk if he didn’t intentionally do it on purpose.

The key factor in child rearing is not discipline – if that’s you’re emphasis then you’re headed for trouble. The key factor in child rearing is to win the child’s heart (Proverbs 23:26; Malachi 4:6). If you discipline without having the child’s heart then you are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion. The more you have of your child’s heart, the less you will need to discipline.

There is also a fine line between discipline and abuse. If you discipline in anger then you have stepped across that line (Proverbs 22:8). Don’t ever discipline a child if you’re angry. And if you do, you need to take responsibility for your anger and you need to sincerely ask that child’s forgiveness. You may also need to make yourself accountable to your spouse or church leadership.

The other extreme refuses to discipline at all. The parents themselves may have been abused. They may have witnessed the frustrated mother exploding in the grocery store and they associate any form of physical discipline in a very negative light. But the right kind of discipline is not negative – it’s positive. There is nothing violent or abusive about discipline if it is done Biblically.

The motivation of Biblical discipline is not to punish but to teach the child. Proverbs 29:15 says “The rod and reproof give wisdom…” It would be inapt for a parent not to correct his child’s math allowing him to believe that 1+1=3; but it is also inapt for the parent not to correct his child’s selfishness and disobedience allowing him to believe that his inappropriate behavior is acceptable.

The Bible is very clear that God expects parents to discipline and teach their children. It’s not the job of the school, the day-care, the church or even the state. It is the parent’s responsibility to “… bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Anger: A Giant Every Person Must Conquer

“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

When David went to meet Goliath, he chose five smooth stones. One of those stones he used to kill the giant, but Goliath had four bothers which David failed to destroy and they plagued and haunted him throughout his adult life. On one occasion, David’s life was threatened, and if it wasn’t for the quick response of Abishai, David would have been killed (2 Samuel 21:16).

Anger is a giant that every person must conquer; and if we fail to deal with it in our youth, it will cause all kinds of devastation throughout our adult life.

Anger is the leading contributor to two of the biggest problems that destroy families – divorce and teenage rebellion. If offenses are not dealt with properly, and forgiveness is not sought or given, then the tension that accompanies those offenses will not go away! That tension is cumulative, and this is the reason why a list of minor offenses over a period of time can produce a build-up of anger which can destroy a relationship.

The first step toward dealing with anger is to acknowledge it and take responsibility for it. 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 right to be angry. But anger is sin. Look at what the following verses have to say about anger:

  • “Cease from anger and forsake wrath” (Psalm 37:8)
  • “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment…” (Proverbs 19:19)
  • “Anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
  • “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath…” (Galatians 5:19-20)
  • “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger…be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31)
  • “But now ye put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication…” (Colossians 3:8) 
  • “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20)

Our anger is always wrong. Its fruit is always destructive and it will never accomplish the righteous purposes of God.

Do you love your spouse and your children enough to deal with anger in your life? Don’t justify your anger or ignore it. Acknowledge it and take responsibility for it. Ask God for forgiveness and then follow through and ask forgiveness of those you have hurt and damaged with your anger. As we are willing to humble ourselves, God can begin to rebuild those broken relationships.

Morris Hull, Home Life ministries

The Royal Law – A Family Exercise

“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).

One mother I know had a little notice posted on her dining room wall. It read, “All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen.” That’s a simple request; but if we want others to treat us like royalty, then we must first be prepared to treat them in the very same way.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” The order here is significant. We sometimes paraphrase this verse by saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, this misses an important but overlooked ingredient. The order of Matthew 7:12 indicates that we must first decide all the various ways we would want others to treat us, and then resolve to do those same things for them.

This would be a useful exercise to do with your family. Have each one compile a list of how he or she would like to be treated by others. We must be careful, however, not to make this a list of personal expectations because no one can ever live up to such a list. Expectations destroy relationships. Even with the best intentions, we will still disappoint, offend, and hurt each other – especially those we live with and love the most.

The purpose of this list is to ascertain how we can and should treat others even if we are never treated in these same ways. Let’s higher the expectations we have of ourselves and lower our expectations of others. Let’s purpose to do good, not for what we can get from others in return, but for how we can demonstrate Christ’s love to them.

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

Circumstances Are The True Test of Character

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

God is constantly working in our lives to build in us the character of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). That’s His purpose for each one of us; and He will use the changing circumstances of life to accomplish that task. Circumstances are the true test of Christian character. God uses the tough times to reveal our rough edges.

Circumstances have a way of bringing out our anger, selfishness, impatience and lack of forgiveness. It’s not that circumstances make us this way. Sometimes we have a victim mentality that believes that we are the way we are because of our circumstances. But circumstances do not make us what we are; they merely reveal the kind of person that we are already. The anger, selfishness, impatience and unforgiving spirit are what we are really like on the inside and serve to highlight how much we are in need of God’s mercy and grace so that He can change us to be more like Christ

Circumstances are unpredictable – we don’t know what a day holds – but our response to those circumstances is a deliberate act of the will. We may not be able to control our circumstances, but our circumstances do not have to control us. We do not have to respond in anger toward those who show anger toward us – “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We do not have to be bitter toward those who wrong and hurt us – we can respond with the kindness and forgiveness of Christ (Ephesians 4:32).

Recognize that God is at work in your life today. He will present you with a variety of circumstances and challenges to help you grow and learn the character of Christ. We would never learn how to forgive if we had never been hurt. We would never learn meekness if our rights were never challenged.

Ask the Lord today for His enabling grace to help you learn the character of Christ – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries