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Time And Growth

Time And Growth

Recently I read about an incident that occurred back in 2004.  A fight broke out among the residents of a nursing home in their dining hall.  One man was playing with the lettuce in the serving line with his bare hands.  From that a fight ensued.  A 62-year-old and an 86-year-old started to trade “punches.”  Then a 79-year-old was bitten in the arm.  The mother of the 62-year-old man was cut in the arm and a 92-year-old man was shoved to the floor as other residents ran away from the dining hall.

The point of sharing this story is that time and age does not ensure a person grows “out of” anger issues.  We cannot hope that one day the wrath of a person is appeased because he or she becomes a certain age.  The only way to grow out of any sin – is to grow more like Jesus.  What we do in and with our time, is more important than how much time has expired.

Ephesians 4 clearly teaches how to replace the sin with righteousness and goodness.  God can help you grow in these areas!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “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.”

Please observe the first sin listed: Bitterness.  Wrath, anger, clamour (outcry of grief), evil speaking (vile and blaspheme), and malice (badness) are all a result of the first sin: Bitterness.

Bitterness leads to faulty vision, angry thinking, and heated words.  Time does not heal bitterness.  Jesus alone can heal bitterness.

A life submitted to God will bring the hurts, pains, resentments, and seeds of bitterness to God and let God take care of them.  When we hold onto our “rights,” our pride, and our bitter spirit, the bitterness sprouts up into a garden of deceit, pain, and turmoil that chokes out all the positive things God is doing in our lives.  Nurturing bitterness ensures a garden of sin and grief is cultivated in a person’s life.

Replace the bitterness with forgiveness.  Replace the anger and wrath with kindness. Replace the harsh words with tenderheartedness.

While some people seem to “mellow out” over time, it is not just because of the passing of days. Time alone is not enough to grow out of sin and to find healing from the control of sin.  Growing in Jesus and learning to follow his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to see victory over the sin of bitterness and anger.  What we do with the time God gives to grow closer to Him is what really counts.

 

 

 

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Making the Teacher Happy

Making the Teacher Happy

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:52

It makes sense to me.  Want good grades?  Want to not earn demerits?  Want to not be punished by your parents for wrong doing while at school?  Then make it a goal to “make the teacher happy.”

Don’t get this wrong.  Just about every week, the news tells us about impropriety and immorality between a teacher and student.  That is not how to make the teacher happy.  Making the teacher happy in the sense of gaining their favor in the classroom is something that should be expected.  Earning the esteem and admiration of the teacher should be like “second nature” to a student.

Here are some ideas to gain the favor of the teacher, earn good grades, and to become a more complete boy or girl for Jesus.  Parents, these are expectations you should have for your son/daughter.

  1. Work on your attitude. A student with a good attitude can do anything and become anyone that God wants him to be.  A student with a rotten attitude will not be able to achieve all God wants – because of the bad attitude.  As a parent, this is the most important area to work on.  If an attitude is demanding, selfish, reluctant, pushy, sarcastic, or manipulative, then the student is heading for a disastrous life unless there is an intervention.  Parents, work together with the teacher to remedy the attitude.  Rules do not make a bad attitude – a rebellious heart makes a bad attitude.  Attitude is a choice of the heart – not the circumstances. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  And Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”  The attitude, good or bad, is a reflection of the heart.
  2. Know the score. Each student should know what is expected in each class.  Jr High and Sr High school students rotate between classes and teachers and there will be variations of expectations in each class.  The student should learn each nuance and expectation and adjust accordingly.  If the student does not know what is expected, he should ask for clarification.  For example: One teacher may want the student to sit more straight in the chair, while another teacher looks for the students name to be printed on the top right (instead of to the left) of an assignment.
  3. Think before you speak. The classroom interaction should remain positive and encouraging.  When a teacher corrects a child, it is not the same thing as disciplining a child.  For example: a student is disrupting the class and talking out of turn.  When the teacher says: “Stop talking” – she has offered correction – not punishment.  The embarrassment of being called out may impact the student, but no discipline has happened. If the student talks back by giving an excuse for disobeying the rules, then he should be punished for acting and speaking the rebellion in his heart.  Demerits and detention are examples of punishment.  When correction is noted and told the parent and when actually discipline talks place in school, I believe it is best that the parents follows up with their own personal discipline and punishment at home.  Students misbehaving at school are a reflection of the parenting, or lack of parenting in the home. Parents are advised to train their children to “think before they speak.”
  4. Respect everyone. A student does not have to understand a rule, just agree to live by it.  Institutional rules are not intended to be morally right or wrong, but to give order and structure to the organization.  Disobeying a rule is morally wrong, even when the rule has no moral bearing.  A majority of rules in a school have to do with respecting other people.  In this era of education, most people are focused on individual rights.  Surprisingly, some Christians have also adopted this humanistic philosophy.  The Bible and traditional education is more focused on the rights of others.  For example, an clothing outfit that is distracting to others is ruled against in order to not interfere with the learning of the other students.  Another example – talking and disrupting class with sarcastic remarks is not allowed so that other students are able to focus on their studies.  Teach your student to be considerate of others when he comes to the classroom.
  5. Expect more. Many parents allow their child to talk back, complain until the parent changes his mind, and even manipulate the decisions of the parents with emotional instability, constant nagging, and a persistent bad attitude.  I encourage you to expect more and demand less.  Expect more of a submissive attitude and demand less negative talking.  When complaining starts – stop it. When a sour expression glosses over the face – stop it.  Expect more. When teachers and others in authority inform there is a problem – get to the root of the problem – the heart.  Defending a student, making up excuses, or taking sides will not help develop the heart of the student for the Lord.  Dross is never removed from the gold until the heat is applied.  Just like gold, a student will not be worth much in life if all the dross and impurities of a bad attitude and selfish life are removed.  It is ultimately the student’s choice, but a parent, like the goldsmith, can make a big difference.
  6. Honor God. Each student wanting to honor the Lord willingly submits to the authority and the education the Lord has called him to.  While a student may not have a “paying” job, the Lord has called each student to the “full time job” of learning.  It is hard work to focus, pay attention to detail, write papers, and study for tests.  Being a student is a “Calling” with lifelong implications and dividends.  If a student does not develop good study habits, personal disciplining relationships with authority and peers, and make decisions that honor God while in his youth – it is much harder to learn it later in life.  Thank the Lord for many who have been saved, or saved people who have been restored to fellowship later in life.  But think of the years wasted, the relationships ruined, and the witness for Christ diminished during that time.  Help your student to honor God today.

By the Way:  The Jewish boys would become a “son of the commandment” at age 13.  In the years before age 13, the parents would do all they could to help the boy mature and develop into a respectable and responsible young man.  That is the context of Jesus “increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”  Mary and Joseph taught their boys before age 13 to put God first in their lives.  Parents, you do not have much time to help your student learn to “Be” and to “Do” right.

Learn to make your teacher happy. It will cause your educational years to be both enjoyable and productive.

 

 

 

 

 

Overnight Success

Overnight Success

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3

Mushrooms can grow fast! Because of the way they absorb moisture, some mushrooms appear to grow overnight!  Then in the heat of the day they shrivel back down.  Some mushrooms will instantly shrink when confronted with a rain storm.   Trees connected to a good water source however grow – but at a much slower rate.  Their growth is not stunted by the heat, wind, rain or elements. Christian men and women should desire to be “like a tree…”

We all want to live blessed and happy lives.  We hope to see the Lord prosper and provide all our needs.  Most of us want even more than merely our needs met.  Many Christians want overnight success.  They want to be in the fast track to “success.”  In the Bible, success is not the next promotion, the next vocation, the next location to live or the next vacation.  Success is not the bank account, the number of friends, or the amount of “free” time you may have.  Golf courses and ball games do not even factor in.

Success in the Bible is being more like Jesus.  The Lord told Joshua to study the Bible to achieve and live a successful life.  Joshua 1:8 says, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Since being successful is being more like Jesus, we must find ways to grow, develop, become disciplined, and have a strong desire to be more like Him.  There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. The legendary, winning, and Christian basketball coach John Wooden said: “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. So don’t look for the quick, big improvement. Seek the small improvements one day at a time – that’s the only way progress happens – and when that kind of progress happens, it lasts.”

Determine each day to be more like Christ.  Perhaps the best place to start is a spirit of humility.  No Christian will ever succeed at the Christian life without first banishing pride from his life.  Speaking of Jesus, Philippians 2:8 says, And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

  • What is your plan for growth?  You must have a plan.
  • What personal discipline needs to be defined and applied?
  • How is your meditation (Bible reading and prayer) going?

Spiritual growth is like the tree planted by the rivers of water.  Do you want God’s blessings in life?  Do you want to live a happy Christian life?  Are you desiring to be more like Jesus?  It will take daily time, daily effort and daily commitment to being more like Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Godly Mothers Care

A Godly Mothers Care

Thank the Lord for every mother who has fulfilled her God-ordained role to nurture, cherish, and guide her children.  Mothers have the greatest influence on the next generation and an underestimated impact on society as a whole.  One person accurately said: “The hand who rocks the cradle rules the world.”  Mothers have such an important part in the direction and development of the world because of their commitment and sacrifices they make for their children.

Perhaps an unusual reference to cite for Mother’s Day, but please note Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Why would a child be left to himself?  Perhaps “babysat” by Disney or a TV program?  Perhaps dropped off on the lap of other people for convenience reasons?  Perhaps not much discipline due to lack of involvement?  Two people can be in the same house or even the same room and not have interaction. It is a tragedy. This can potentially cause shame later in the life of a mother.

Reading this verse teaches me that time and attention are two motherly needs every small child has.  Every mother would do well to include her child in her life.

“From the ages of 1-4 a child will learn more than they will learn for the rest of their life.”  That is an amazing statement that I heard at an educator’s conference years ago.  Children under 4 learn several key factors for life including: coping skills, how to react or respond, obedience, consequences, discipline, value, purpose, peace, contentment, care, tone of voice, attitude, friendliness, appropriateness, emotional control, and how to share, care, and demonstrate true love.  Much more could be listed.  The point is – the disposition, deportment, and direction of a life is mostly aligned in the youngest years of the human life.

What mom does with those years are of utmost importance.

Here are several ways Godly mothers impact the most formidable years of a young life, from the perspective of talking to a person, once a child and now a grown adult.

Notice Mom’s Care:

  • Mom carried you in her body to delivery.
  • As an infant she nursed you, feeding you many times in the day and night.
  • Mom changed your diaper, changed your diaper, and changed it again.  Every day and night.
  • Mom cared for you, running you to the doctor, checking your temperature, and making sure that you had the finest food she could get.
  • At age 2 your crawling became a stand (against chairs and tables) and then the first few steps came.
  • Mom cheered you on as you began to run around the house.  Then came climbing.  Anything that could be touched became a joyful obstacle course for climbing.

It is funny that after cheering our toddlers on to stand, walk, and run, that as they get older, we say: “sit down!” or “stop running!”

  • She sang songs about Jesus and lullabies that encouraged sleep as she cuddled up with you.
  • She read books and Bible stories to you, praying all the time for you to love Jesus.
  • From ages 1- 4 she did everything with you like walking the mall, and shopping for clothes (because much of her clothes were not fitting right after you came along.)
  • When mom was sick, she took you with her to her doctor visits.
  • She showed you how to shop for food at the grocery store, rolling you up and down each aisle as people commented on how “cute” you were.
  • She told you about her “secret” plans to surprise daddy with a birthday gift or a party.
  • She included you in every car ride, carefully buckling you in and making sure you were safe and comfortable.
  • Mom took you to the park to run and play.
  • She bundled you up in the winter, and made sure you stayed cool in the hot summer.
  • She transported you to church where she learned about God, sang to the Lord, and grew in her Christian life and motherly calling.  You enjoyed the nursery and learned how to trust God’s people by your mom’s example.
  • As she cleaned, you learned about vacuuming, dusting,  and how “Everything has it’s place.”  She even let you let you fold the wash rags while she folded laundry to make you feel important.
  • When mom cooked, you were right there watching and learning about food preparation.  She even let you help “stir stuff up!”
  • From ages 1 to 4, mom was with you almost every moment of every day.  Or better said – you were with mom.

Before Kindergarten you were with mom nearly 24/7.  And it was good.  She had her moments of being tired and discouraged.  She joyfully gave up sleep, money, entertainment, and made other sacrifices to invest everything she could in seeing you grow, develop, and become a person who could find and fulfill the will of God in life.  She included you in every part of her life.  No mother who has invested that much time and effort into a child has regretted it.  While there were moments of struggle, she would do it again.  The time and attention shared was worth it.

The developmental years of ages 1-4 are the most critical to our emotional, relational, and spiritual development.

  • At age 4 or 5 she sent you off to Kindergarten. It was more hard for her, but your thirst to learn academics needed to be met.  You were ready for Kindergarten.  Mom had been reading to you, training you by living life with you, and all those hours and days with mom paid off as you already knew how to interact with people, respect authority, and carry yourself with a good disposition.
  • Each year mom was there.  She helped you adjust to relationship issues, grow up emotionally, physical, relationally, and spiritually. The pains of childhood were lessened because of mom.

By the Way:  If your mother passed into eternity before you reached adulthood, thank the Lord for the time that you did have with her.  Be encouraged in the motherly figures that God placed in your life to influence you.  God had a plan, even if you do not yet understand.  This thought should motivate us to cherish each moment we have with our loved ones today.

We could list so much more, from teenage to college years and beyond.  You can take the idea and run with it for yourself.  The point is – a Godly mother shows consistent care for her children.  She invests time and attention. Especially in the most innocent and precious years of life.   A Godly mother’s care really is – her time and her attention.

So, Mom – thank you for not leaving me alone.  The time spent, the sacrifices made, and the loving care means the world to me.  A Godly mother does not leave her child on his own.  She takes care of those early years so the child will have a lifetime of success in loving Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Readers Are Leaders

“Readers are Leaders”

The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.  2 Timothy 4:13

“Readers are Leaders” It is a thoughtful statement.  As learned as Paul was, he continued to read the Bible (Parchments) and books.  This is a good example for us today.  The Bible teaches us to continually grow spiritually, personally, relationally, and professionally.  Reading is a good way to accomplish this.  Make sure you are “especially” reading the Bible.  In addition, here are several suggestions for your library.  In a day of disclosures, please note: While recommended, not everything may be endorsed.

 

General:

The Calvary Road, Hession

I Am a Church Member, Rainer

Church Still Works,  Chappell & Reed

The Pastor in Prayer, Spurgeon

Be Committed, Weirsbe

The Power of His Presence, Rogers

How God Answers Prayers, Towns

Key Words in the Christian Life, Wiersbe

Understanding the Times, Ham

The Plan B Prayer, Zacharias

 

Marriage:

A Firm Foundation, Chappell

A Faith Full Marriage, Chappell

The Right Romance in Marriage, Rice

The Love Dare, Kendrick

How to Save Your Marriage Alone, Wheat

Christian Living in the Home, Adams

The Five Love Languages, Chapman

The Christian Home, Sexton

Making Home Work, Chappell

Live Lighter, Love Better, Schmidt

The Love Dare Day by Day, Kendrick

 

Retirees:

Fourth Quarter, Sisk

How Do You Feel Today, Harness

 

Parenting:

Basics of Biblical Parenting, Chappell

Do You Mind If Your Kids Don’t, Rice

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tripp

 

Ladies:

The Choice is Yours, Chappell

A Joyful Heart, Gibbs

Wisdom from Women in the Bible, Maxwell

 

Men:

The Steps of a Good Man, Sisk

Lest You Fall, Hummell

Turn Away Wrath, Hummell

One Being a Servant of God, Wiersbe

Living Beyond Your Capacity, Chappell

Learning From The Giants, Maxwell

Great Hunting Stories, Chapman

 

Teens:

Discover Your Destiny, Schmidt

Just Friends, Mike Ray & Cary Schmidt

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens, Maxwell

Money Matters for Teens, Burkett & Wooding

Boyhood and Beyond: Practical Steps to Becoming a Man, Schultz

 

Young Adults:

Boundaries in Dating, Cloud & Townshend

Before the Ring, Coleman

Starting Out Right, Burkett

 

Finances:

How to Manage Your Money, Larry Burkett

Giving & Tithing, Larry Burkett

Never Enough?,  Blue & Guess

 

What book are you currently reading?

What book has helped you in your Christian life the most that you read in the last year?

Please leave your encouraging comments.

When God’s Word Grows

When God’s Word Grows

 “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”  Acts 12:24

People were being saved. Lives were changed. The church was overcoming intense persecution.  More people were saved.  Many were added to the church.  Church leaders were imprisoned.  The Lord led several jail breaks.  In Acts chapter 12, Peter is released from jail by the Lord and walks to a church prayer meeting in the upper room at Mark’s mothers house.  Rhoda answered the door and did not believe it – Peter was supposed to be in jail.  The Lord did a miracle in this escape.  So many miracles are accounted for in the Book of Acts.

When the Bible says: “The Word of God Grew” it does not mean that their “Bible” was getting bigger.  While the entire Bible was not yet committed to parchment, it does not mean new books of the Bible were being written.  It means two things:  The number of Christians increased and the level of discipleship increased in each believer.  Consider how we as Christians are responsible to put ourselves in a place where we see the Word of God growing in our lives.

More People.  Many churches and individual Christians settle on the idea that spiritual growth is exclusive of numerical growth, but that is not correct thinking.  When the Word grew in the book of Acts, more people were saved and numbers of more people were added to the local church.  Avoid spiritualizing the lack of visitors at church, or the lack of people being saved as a “sign of the times” or a lack of spiritual interest on the part of others.  It could be we do not see the church grow because we do not care that it grows, do not think that it can grow or in selfishness do not want it to grow. May the Lord grow His word in our hearts so that we in response live it and give in and the yield can be an increase in the numbers of people attending church.

Greater Maturity. Spirit growth is a goal in each Christians life.  Becoming more like Jesus is what the Christian life is all about.  Philippians 2:5 says imperatively: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Developing the mind of Christ happens when we not only read through the Bible, but let the Bible get through us.  To think, speak, and act like Jesus is a natural progression for a spiritualy focused person.  Each day we are striving to be more like Him.  This can only happen as we read the Word, hear the Word preached, and practice living the Word.

Bible reading and Bible study can change your life.  There was a man named William McPherson who read through the Bible faithfully.  The American Bible Society reports: “He was the superintendent for a stone quarry when a blast severely injured him. He lost his eyesight and both hands in the explosion. He was determined to read the Bible, and learned to read raised letters with the tip of his tongue. It is said that he read through the Bible four times in this manner.”  The Word grew in his life.

For some of us when God’s Word grows in us, we will go to church more often.  Others will read the Bible more frequently.  Some will step up to a teaching or support role in the church.  There are many needs in a local church for Christians who are continuing their spiritual growth.  If you have arrived spiritually, please do not apply for a position. Churches need people who are consistently allowing God’s Word to grow in their lives.

No matter what may happen to you in the coming days, you can rely on God’s Word to help you.  Persecution, trouble, health issues, job loss, loved ones hurting – no matter what – the Bible will help you get through it.  The miracle for us today is the same as it was back then.  We will not see jail doors open or the laying on of hands for healing, but we can see the miracle of people being saved, lives and families being changed, and new people coming to church.  We can see the Word of God multiplied in our lives and in the lives of those around us as we decide to be more like Jesus each day.

When God’s Word grows, it includes more people developing greater maturity in allowing the Word to shape their mind to be like Christ.