Tag Archives: teach

When Violent Death Hits Home

When Violent Death Hits Home

I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.  Amos 4:10

Could it be that when school and mass shootings take place, that it is an indicator that God is judging that nation?  It is very possible.  Please consider Amos and his warning to the Hebrew people in ancient Israel.

In Amos 4, the Lord sends Amos to give a warning.  He preaches that God would send judgment in an effort to see the people turn back to God.  Read the chapter if you like.  5 times God says: “Yet have ye not returned unto me.”  In each verse, the Lord describes various forms of judgment; taking away food, rain, sending famine, pestilence and more are warned of.  Instead of turning to the Lord, the people of Israel are said to have been led away with a hook and a fishhook in verse 2.  Like a carrot on a stick, they followed what was in front of them to satisfy their perceived need and actual greed.

When Amos ministered in Israel, the people were still very prosperous.  They had wealth.  They had money.  They had stuff.  When God started to take all that away – they kept looking for more material things.  Food, money and stuff.  They had become so “self-sufficient” that they neglected to turn back to God.

Then in our verse above we find God even begins to allow their children to be “slain with the sword.”  This indicates violent deaths for their young people in their land.  Anytime a child dies it is particularly difficult for the parents and family.  When you add uncalled for violence to the mix, it adds another level of pain. Our prayers go out for all those families who have lost children.

When God judges sin, there is collateral damage.  Just like the wind, rain, and sunshine falls on everyone, so does the judgment of God.  Not only are the people He is judging affected, but others are affected as well.  Look back at the 10 plagues that God judged Egypt with in Exodus.  Most of those judgments affected God’s people too.  In Amos 4, the seemingly natural weather events like drought impacted everyone.

Back to the school shootings.  Whenever young people die violent deaths, it could be part of God’s judgment on that nation.  Think of it this way, instead of people turning to God and training their kids to love God (who in turn teaches us to value and cherish human life) we are teaching our kids naturalism, materialism, and humanism.  Instead of telling our kids about God, we are told (as a whole) there is “no God.”  God wanted His people to turn back to Him and He used Amos to give warning, but when they did not turn back, the Lord finally sent His judgment.

It may not be that God is even judging the specific children that die in a mass shooting.  They are the sad casualties of a society that has turned its back on God.  Like the weather patterns, everyone is affected.  I have believed for years now that abortion is also part of God’s judgment on a people who have rejected Him.  Anytime humans start killing the most innocent and needy among us, we are in deep trouble.  Abortion is a violent form of killing and is another example of choosing personal (sexual) sin instead of choosing Jesus.  In abortion, the pre-born baby is paying part of the price for the parent’s sin.  It is a form of judgement on a people who are against God.

Kids are needlessly dying today.  May God help us.  We must follow the admonition of Amos 4:12 – “prepare to meet thy God.”  When homes and families begin teaching the Bible and turn to God through His Son Jesus Christ – then and only then, will lives be changed and human life valued like it should be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Teachers’ Difference

The Teachers’ Difference

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.  2 Timothy 2:24

During teacher appreciation week (which concludes today) I noticed several “thank-you” and notes of appreciation on social media.  Many people were lauding their teachers from childhood and high school.  Amazingly my name was listed in some of the postings.  Around 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to be a High School Science and Biology teacher.   I was blessed to see that one of my former students posted that I had made Chemistry/Biology “fun.”  I am encouraged that his perspective and recollection of our class created, not just head knowledge of a subject, but that he enjoyed and benefited from the classes.  In other words- he did not just get data, or knowledge, he also learned some things about life.  Christians can be joyful and live happy, healthy lives!

As Paul is writing to Pastor Timothy, he speaks about the servant of God being apt to teach.  This is definitely a quality that is needed in ministry and certainly in classrooms of any kind.  Teaching and learning is part of the plan God gave to mankind.  We even have a Bible written by God so we can learn of Him.  We must be able to read in order to study and read His Word.  Thank the Lord for education and learning!

Who taught you – English with thoughtfulness?  Who taught you – math with order and purpose?  Who taught you and motivated you for history – so that the bad parts of history are hopefully not repeated?  Be thankful for those teachers who took the time to teach in the classroom and made the effort to mold and shape you in civic and Christian ways.

All teachers make a difference.  Some seem to make more an impact, and others less.  Some teachers make a difference in areas other than merely the subject they are teaching.  All teachers make some kind of a difference.

Every student knows the strong points and weak points of the teacher.  Each student takes away specific memories from the classroom.  Some memories are fond and are good.  Other memories are difficult, or sad.  Sometimes what is etched in the student the most are not the lessons, but the deportment, cheerfulness, or encouraging nature of the teacher.  Teachers can and should be terrific motivators.

One word spoken harshly could define the teacher in the mind of a student.  One off the cuff remark could ruin a reputation of the teacher in the mind of the student.  One kind word could make an eternal difference in the life of a student.  One expression of care or interest can make a big difference.  Christians, who are also teachers, can even make an eternal impact because of the Gospel of Christ!

  • Teachers reading this – thank you for doing what you do!  What kind of difference will you make?  Good or bad?  A positive and encouraging or a discouraging difference?
  • Students (and former students) will you look back and be thankful for the joyful moments and also be thankful for even the difficult lessons you learned in the classroom from a teacher?

Truly, teachers could be considered “servants of the Lord.”  Teaching is definitely a calling.  Thank you for being a difference maker in the lives of so many.

 

 

The “Success Sequence”

The “Success Sequence”

Prophecy News Watch is a website that keeps readers aware of current events of Biblical nature.  I enjoy their weekly emails.

One recent article suggested there is a “Success Sequence” for major life choices that impact whether person avoids poverty or lives in poverty.

The article in part said: “The Brookings Institute ‘demonstrated way back in the early nineties that Americans only need to do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age 20… Sociologists today say that this ‘success sequence’ still works. One study of millennials found that 97 percent of those who earn at least a high-school diploma, work, and get marred before having kids will not be poor as they enter their 30s.”

97 percent of those who followed this “Success Sequence” are not living in poverty today! It is hard to argue with those numbers.  With all the “Do what you want to do” teachings and instant gratification kids are taught; coupled along with homes that have very little discipline or moral expectations – no wonder poverty in America seems to be increasing.  Case in point:

  • 2-3 families living in under the same roof.
  • Cohabitating with several people, not related, is heard of more.
  • Young adults past college age still living at home.
  • Living pay check to pay check with no plan to pay off credit cards.
  • Kids with little education and no aspirations constantly playing on cell phones.
  • A major uptick in drug addictions, marijuana smokers, and the recent opioid epidemic.
  • An increase in screen addictions. Parents who allow cell phones and tablets risk not only the addictions to the pornography industry, but also the distorted development of a mind that is relying on a tablet or cellphone for information.
  • Personal debt is at an all time high.
  • There is an increase in people renting instead of buying homes.

Years ago Solomon taught in Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”

It could be stated that in different terms, the report is saying the same thing that Solomon said.

  1. Finish High School. Vocational and college training is also a consideration here.  (Prepare)
  2. Have a career and then get married. (Make Fit for Thyself in the Field)
  3. Have children following marriage. (Afterwards Build Thine House)

Perhaps one word to describe this “Success Sequence” is very simply – “Stable.”  Stability ensures you will avoid poverty.

One more warning on those little screens and social media: Couples who maintain separate social accounts many times have a more distant relationship with each other resulting in possible unhealthy choices, conflict, and perhaps even divorce.  This could contribute to a reversal of the “Success Sequence.”  When divorce occurs, no matter the wealth previously accumulated, cycles of decline begin, an estate is divided resulting in wasteful spending patterns and eventual poverty.

Stability will ensure that you do not live in poverty.  Better yet – Biblical stability will ensure you live a “successful life.”   Parents, teach your kids this plan.  The future of their lives and the future of your possible grandchildren depend on knowing this Bible truth.

 

 

 

 

As Dumb As A Cow

As Dumb as a Cow

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Proverbs 12:1

No one wants to be known as being dumb. Foolish. Or especially stupid.  However, some of us are living as if we really are dumb.  The following are unpleasant statements: “You are as dumb as a donkey!”  or “You are as stupid as a dog.”

What about being as dumb as a cow? That is what this proverb is speaking about.  While loving instruction and knowledge will bring about the wisdom of God for daily living; he that hates reproof is as dumb as a cow.

The Hebrew term for “brutish” is a term associated with “cattle brutishness; stupid: brutish, foolish.” “Brutish” according to Merriam Webster is “Resembling, befitting, or typical of a brute or beast.”

Our extended family have farms and I frequented my grandparents farm while growing up.  The cows down on the farm are good at several things:  They can walk.  They can lay down.  They can find water in the creek or pond.  They can identify grass.  They can eat grass.  They can follow the hay wagon with the dried grass in it.  They can sleep standing up.  They can even make “cow patties.”  It is cool how a cow can swat at flies with its tail!  They can do these things every day for their entire life. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  I mostly like it when the cow becomes a cheeseburger, but that is something they are not capable of by themselves!

The point is – an animal – a cow is not that smart.  They are creatures of habit with limited ability.  God made them that way and that is OK.   They have simple minds that focus on the most basic things of life.  They are fulfilling their role in the pattern of life that God established.

The problem is that when human beings act like cows, we are demeaning our humanity, defacing our image of the Lord, and dishonoring the God Who made us.  We act as dumb as cows when we refuse instruction.  God expects so much more from the pinnacle of His creation – you and I.

The word “reproof” is used here.  Reproof is a form of chastisement or correction.  For example, when we correct our children of wrong thinking or wrong actions, we are helping them develop thinking and actions that reflect godliness, instead of reflecting cows!

Ask yourself several questions:

  • Have I learned all that God wants me to learn?
  • Do I have room to grow?
  • Do I get angry when someone points out how I can do or be better?
  • How will I grow and develop in Bible wisdom?

Just saying “I want to grow” is good, but you need more specifics in your path to growing.  Reading 3-5 chapters of the Bible, setting aside time to pray, determining to not only attend, but participate in the services of your church.  (We have 4 growth opportunities each week: Sunday School, Sunday Morning Worship, Sunday Evening Praise, and Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study.)

When people talk to you about things to “do better” or challenge you to “Grow” in an area, do not take offense to that – learn, embrace, and become more like Jesus.  Don’t be a cow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Call to Ministry is a Big Deal

A Call to Ministry is a Big Deal

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:19-21

Have you ever been to an ordination council?  Have you observed the questions that season pastors and preachers asked the candidate for ordination in the “interrogation?”  It is fascinating and I love being on the ordination councils for these men.  It is a good challenge to read the doctrinal statements and attempt to encourage and add insight to the candidate that will help him in future ministry.  What an honor it is to recognize the calling of God on a man for the ministry.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah runs away to a cave from the hateful Queen Jezebel.  After the Lord meets with Elijah, God encourages him that he is not alone that there are many others who are faithful to serve the Lord.  God then gives Elijah an “assistant prophet” named Elisha.

Elisha comes from a wealthy family with many oxen.  He is a hard worker, plowing in the family fields when Elijah meets him the first time.  From there – Elisha follows and helps Elijah everywhere, “ministering” to him.  I am thankful for the assistants the Lord has given me over the years.  I need help in ministry!

When Elisha is called by God to assist Elijah, he asks if he could go home and explain it to his family.  There are many men in ministry today whose families do not understand.  “How could he leave the business world, his hometown, or the family farm?” are common questions.  Elisha kisses his mother and father goodbye but then he throws a celebration.

Elisha takes 2 oxen, butchers them, then has a gigantic cookout.  I love barbecuing on a grill or over an open flame!  That is what he does.  He cooks the beef and throws a celebration to mark the day he answered the call and entered into ministry.

Whenever a man enters ministry – it is a thing to be commended and celebrated.  I hope that when ordination events are held at your church that you do everything possible to be there and to participate because it is a big deal.

  • It is a big deal to God because a man has willingly answered the call to vocational ministry.
  • It is a big deal to family because a son and a husband is entering into the ministry.
  • It is a big deal for the church because they are ordaining and commissioning a man to the gospel ministry.

It is hard to imagine, but Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah. (2 Kings 2:9). It all began when a man answered a call to ministry.  It was recognized by all around him and a feast to mark the special occasion was celebrated by all.

We may have cake and a chicken dinner today.  Whatever is used to mark the occasion – know that it is an occasion worthy of respect, honor, and recognition.

 

 

 

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.