I didn’t know that a husband and wife could hate each other to that level. Their marriage didn’t get “there” overnight. It took years of unresolved offenses piling up until the “dam” broke loose. They were both to blame, but God held the husband to the greater responsibility. How do I know that? Because God gives husbands greater authority and therefore holds them responsible for its use.
That husband once told me, “But you don’t know my wife.” Likely others might say the same thing about their wives, but they shouldn’t count on the Lord’s sympathy. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus died a horrible death to purchase His bride with His blood. I am commanded by God to love my wife to the extent of dying for her. One thing about a dead man hanging on the cross—he isn’t going to argue or get angry.
Do you want to treasure your wife? Invest in her. The more you invest, the more she feels valued, and the more you will treasure her. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 5:21). Why not invest to the point of being thrilled with your love for her?
(BTW: The dad I mentioned above is dead now due to a serious health problem. Coincidental? I don’t think so. I believe God took him out.)
Two angels challenged the group that was still looking upwards after Jesus ascension. They said. “… Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). I imagine it wasn’t very long between Jesus’ departure and their “encouragement.” The angels were indirectly telling this group, “Stop looking. Get busy reaching the lost and making disciples.” Such is the introduction of the Acts of the Apostles as they got to work.
How much longer until Jesus returns? Only the Father knows. How serious are we taking Jesus’ command? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Hopefully, our children will one day be disciple-makers. An essential aspect of their preparation is our example. Do we have a mind to work – Kingdom work, that is? How long and exciting would a book be if written on our “acts?”
Any man who reads his Bible will likely remember Jehu. Elisha anointed Jehu king and gave him instructions from God. Jehu was to eliminate many wicked people from the nation, and Jehu was zealous in his obedience.
All appeared to be good with Jehu until 2 Kings 10:29-32, where we learn of Jehu’s struggles. Jehu was enslaved with the same thing that also brings many believers down today–idolatry. Do you know you likely struggle with idolatry too? Today our idol appears to be “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). The idols we covet may be food, pleasure, entertainment, sports, beauty, or whatever the idol du jour may be for you.
Brothers, lay your hearts and lives open before the Lord. Ask Him to examine your life, then repent of whatever your idolatry might be, and follow Him.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Colossians 3:5-7).
My heart aches hearing of challenges some are facing. Is God still good? Yes, beyond measure! Has He forgotten His children who are struggling? Of course not.
Have you noticed how two people can face identical difficult circumstances but have far different attitudes? May we seize this time as an opportunity for growth and wring out every bit of good we can.
First, purpose in your heart and prayers to have something incredibly good and positive to show for it as a result. “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11:23).
Next, be constantly aware that those around you (your family) are watching you. “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him…” Mark 6:20.
Are you complaining and fearful or praising and joyful? Brothers, your wife, and your children need you to be strong. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
As you have needs, lay them before your Lord. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).
Keep a journal and capture all your needs and God’s answers for future encouragement. God is always good, always
Recently, a dad was sharing how the current pandemic is affecting them. He wasn’t the first to say that he is allowing his son more online game time to pass the time he isn’t in school. Inwardly I groaned.
Why did I groan? This young man is missing what could be a great blessing in his life. Time is the most valuable thing we have. Not only is there the question of what we redeem our time for, but also what appetites are developed or fueled by time usage. Rather than helping their son redeem his time, this young man’s parents appear to be encouraging him to waste it and create appetites for more time-wasting in the coming years by allowing him more gaming time.
When I am cutting down a tree, how I notch it, will determine whether it falls on a fence or in the clear. The appetites created in your children’s lives right now impact what their time is worth to God’s kingdom now and in the future and it also impacts their future family.
Challenge your children to learn information and skills that will make their time valuable. Create an environment in your home where learning is desirable, the norm, and where entertainment is considered wasteful.
If you have a TV, this is the perfect time to get it out for the trash pickup. Brother, lead your family by example. If you need encouragement, read with your children Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free, Equipping Your Son. Then after reading these books, if you still need some ideas and encouragement, let’s talk.
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want” (Proverbs 21:5).
What do Noah, Abraham, David, and Judas all have in common? What came to my mind is that each was living normal life and suddenly a significant, unforeseen opportunity was presented to them. In response to that opportunity:
- Noah could have told the Lord he knew nothing of shipbuilding.
- David could have followed worldly wisdom and chosen not to fight Goliath.
- Abraham could have said he wouldn’t sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.
- Judas could have said he would follow Jesus and not betray Him.
A real measure of a man is when he is presented with a challenge. How does he respond? Your family and others are watching your response to the current world situation and possible disruption to your “entitlements.” Are you focused on self or others? Are you at peace and purposing to redeem the time?
My brothers use every minute. Invest in your family, love them, be at peace and full of praise for the Lord Jesus Who is worthy.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Children with an entitlement mentality will seldom (ever?) be pleased, grateful, or content. Unless they get what they want, and when they want it, they are bitter and complaining. Might the children of Israel be an example worth considering?
The Israelites were Egyptian slaves and had been in Egypt for 400 years. God sent Moses, the meekest man in the world, to lead them out. There were hardships as they traveled, but they should have said, “We are free. Thank You, Lord, for every breath of air You give us outside of Egypt. We are on our way to the promised land!” Instead with every hardship, they grumbled and complained.
How could your family learn from the Israelites? During family Bible time, read and discuss the exodus. Might there be other examples in Scripture that could be learned from as well?
Through this study, you can seek agreement in the family that:
1. We don’t want this mindset.
2. We agree to work on thanking and praising God for all that He provides.
3. Everyone (Dad and Mom too) is looking for bad and good examples in their lives and the lives of others with the eventual goal of sharing good and bad examples at the end of the day.
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:27).
A brother wrote after last week’s Seriously asking, “How does one avoid or reverse an entitlement mentality in children?” Here is what I’m learning about this.
Always at the top of the list for discipling children is the double-edged sword of the parent’s example. Nothing will do more harm or more to reverse negative behavior/attitudes in the children than the parent’s harmful or beneficial example in daily life.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That describes the relationship of abiding in Christ (John 15). When we abide, we ask, and God answers. As God responds, we acknowledge, we praise, and we thank Him for Who He is and what He does. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Does that describe us or at least the desire of our hearts and the direction we are headed? A grateful heart connects to a mouth overflowing with praise to our God for His blessings. That sort of heart also notices, appreciates, and verbally expresses all that is done around and for us. That is much different from the man who notices and complains about all that doesn’t fit his liking.
Our children are watching us! Which example are we?
To be continued.
Parents who love their children delight in blessing them. However, have you noticed how consistently doing the same kind thing for someone can (usually does) cause that blessing to become expected? Then if for some reason that blessing is not done, the blesser (you) is resented instead of appreciated. If that continues, over time bitterness is likely. Oh, how quickly the flesh develops an entitlement mentality.
Some symptoms your child is developing an entitlement mentality might be: ungratefulness, laziness, and resentment toward you. Real gratitude is deeper than him replying with a simple “thank you.” Observe how he responds when an expected blessing is not forthcoming, or you ask him to do an additional job?
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
You find a church you want to try that lines up with the doctrine that God has impressed upon your heart. Then you begin attending. Be careful not to have the expectation of changing them. Expect to see weaknesses. Is there is a spirit of love for souls and the desire to grow in Christ?
In time, seek some private time with the Pastor to get to know his heart and where he believes God is leading the assembly.
A church family is vitally important and therefore justifies a great amount of prayer. Know where the Lord is leading and don’t just settle because it is convenient.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
(A requested problem topic)