Have you ever wondered if you might be guilty of heresy (belief or opinion contrary to orthodox Christian doctrine)? To most, that might be a shocking thought, but there is an expression that heresy is some aspect of truth carried to an extreme.
Here is an example that I’m inclined to think is common today. “Jesus is my very best friend. He loves me so much. He understands that I make mistakes. Sure, He doesn’t want me to make wrong choices, but He knows I’m a normal man with passions and desires…”
Do you recognize that as breaking the first Commandment by making and worshipping this “custom-created god? “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth” (Deuteronomy 5:6-8).
It is easy to change God into someone that He isn’t. One that doesn’t hate and punish sin. Yes, He forgives, but He is holy and righteous and doesn’t ignore sin. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15).
When David counted his troops, it cost 70,000 (1 Chronicles 21:14) men their lives when God chastened him. May we not presume upon God’s mercy and forgiveness.
It happens, and is never expected–his wife is unfaithful. Crazy emotions flood the husband: jealousy, fury, betrayal, hurt, devastation, and rejection. Thankfully, most have not been in that situation, but many likely have known a dad who has experienced it. It is a heartbreak situation and often destroys the home.
However, what about the dad who mentally or visually cheats on his wife through Internet sites designed to give men a thrill? One doesn’t have to go to those sites but can have plenty of “eye candy” at stores, around town, and even at church these days, which prompts impure thoughts.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
My brothers, fear of God, is a necessary thing.
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.)
I was reading Psalms recently, and the Lord convicted me to make the most of every opportunity to proclaim God’s praise. Daily, I communicate with people in my family, when Teri and I walk, when I am out in our community (not right now with Covid-19), when I’m on the phone, or when I am writing emails. Those are opportunities to praise a loving and gracious God, and sadly, I’ve missed many. Then, as if to highlight that point, a Brother emailed me, and in his brief email, he had six praises to the Lord. This Brother proclaimed God’s goodness and grace six times instead of grumbling and complaining. His email blessed my heart as he glorified the Lord.
May praise for our blessed God and Savior flow from our lips, pens, and keyboards in all our communication. It is easy to complain, but our God deserves praise. He is worthy!
“Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Psalm 96:3-9).
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
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).
If you could choose between driving on a smooth road or a potholed-cankered one, which would you choose? Since smooth would be the expected answer, why do you think so many “homeschooling homes’” are so “chaotically-bumpy” when they could be “smooth?”
The natural tendency of the flesh is toward disorder, and it takes effort to make things orderly. Order enables getting things done (productivity) and teaches self control.
Smoothing the bumps is worthwhile. You get to choose—peace and productivity or unproductive chaos. Sounds like a great time for you to lead and take the first step in helping your wife. Managers of Their Homes is a tool that will be helpful. Remember you are responsible for the level of productivity and peace in your home. I plead with you my Brother, come alongside your wife and help her. Your wife and children will thank you. We can help you.
“… having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6).
I hate conflict and love unity. Is it possible you feel the same way? I will do whatever I can, without violating my conscience, to avoid strife and maintain unity.
Whenever there is a spark of conflict, I try to remind myself of the root cause of contention before things escalate. “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10). It takes two proud people for strife. Since I’m one of the two, I can immediately do something to quench the conflict – repent of my pride. Maybe not so easy, but it does work and is a good thing.
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).
(A requested problem topic)
A healthy food item’s packaging proclaimed that it didn’t have 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives. Might that be similar to a person touting on his job resume that he never embezzled.
What we do with our time is far more critical than what we aren’t doing with it. How much are you seeking and learning of Christ?
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Ever made bad choices and had someone remind you of them? It doesn’t feel great, but it helps not to make the same one mistake again. Those reminders can be like a giant billboard that flashes, “Don’t do it again. Don’t do it again.”
God put just such a practice in place for our good according to Deuteronomy 28:46. “And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.” “They” refers to the curses mentioned in the previous verses (16-44) brought about by disobedience.
The Israelites’ disobedience brought curses, which would be ongoing reminders that they should have obeyed the Lord. Read the list of consequences for disobedience. They are very sobering and may even be some that you are dealing with. Also notice verse 47, “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They were not grateful for God’s blessings. Those words are highly convicting to me. I see how my pride has led me to take many of God’s blessings for granted. I have not been grateful to my Lord and am repenting.
Brothers, are we grateful to our Lord? Gratefulness comes from the heart. Gratefulness to God fuels our obedience. Thankfulness, on the other hand, is an outward expression, which may or may not come from the heart. Being deeply grateful to the Lord carries eternal blessings, the least of which is no regrets. More to be discussed later.