Guarding your child’s mind

In 1Peter1:13, we are told to prepare our minds for action. This is a command given to Christians to help us overcome the downward pull of the sinful world in which we live. This command reminds us that salvation is both an experience and a journey of obedience to the end. This command is followed up with an encouragement to pursue holiness, which is really conformity to the nature, character, and value system of God as His adopted children. This conformity requires that we learn about Him and His ways and choose to abandon the ways and values that lead to actions that conflict with God’s.

Maybe an example would be helpful. We are told that through faith in Christ, we have been adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters. Suppose you adopted a child into your family who came from a foreign nation. At the heart of your adoption decision would be the knowledge that you could provide this child with benefits and blessings that he/she could never experience in the orphanage. But, in order for this child to really benefit from your love, he or she would have to adapt to life in your family. This would require learning your language so you could communicate and things like manners, food choices, work ethic, household etiquette, and simply getting to know how you and your spouse think, speak, act, and live. This is what it means to become a part of a family and this is what God wants us to do as adopted children in His family.

This passage in 1Peter makes it plain that all of this is rooted in our minds … our thoughts and belief system. That is why there is such a serious struggle today for our thoughts. It is crucial for us to guard our thoughts! Our thoughts are like the rudder of a ship steering it one way and then the other. It is even more important for us to guard the thoughts of our children and train them to guard their own thoughts!

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When consequences are erased…

 
            I have been quite surprised over the past few years to see the direction in which our society is moving. I know it is a great understatement, but the direction is definitely downward and backward. I don’t want to go off on a current events side trail, so I will simply offer a few examples. Currently, our nation is accepting the idea that many people will not have full time employment. We are embracing the idea that nearly 1/4th of our population, nearly 100 million, will depend on food stamps from the government to survive. We watched the mayor of a major city who gave an order to allow protestors to “have room to express themselves by destroying if they feel the need”. We shrugged it off when she was not fired or held responsible for the destruction done to private property. We hardly reacted to video of a teenager choking a convenience store worker as he robbed the store of merchandise. We then were bombarded with hours and hours of convincing that this teenager was wrongfully gunned down in the street by a prejudiced policeman. When the policeman’s investigation was completed and he was cleared, there was not an apology nor a correction, just more lies. Sexually transmitted diseases are spreading like wildfire. I recently heard a statistic that nearly 1 in every 4 New Yorkers has Herpes,not to mention all the other STD’s. Yet, our culture is steadily preaching the glories of sexual “freedom” which includes more and more risky behaviors that are proven to lead to terrible diseases. I could go on farther than you might want to read, but you get the point. When consequences are erased, lawlessness and rebellion rise and destruction is not far behind!

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A wife of real influence

It seems to me that one of the issues that weighs heavily on the hearts of wives is the desire to influence their husbands and children to better things, especially to influence them toward a stronger commitment to Christ. The problem is that many of the tactics used seem to have the reverse effect causing much frustration and division in the home.
God has laid out a plan in 1 Peter 3:1-6 to help wives have real influence that will be embraced by her family! However, I must warn you that His plan will require a real leap of faith and a complete change of mindset.
Are you ready?

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Say something special

Have you ever noticed how the simplest things are often the most special and impactful? We have all been uplifted by the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the changing leaves in the Fall, the warming effect of a child’s laughter, the touch of our mate, and many other similar things. It is truly amazing to think that God created us with the capacity to receive pleasure and comfort from these types of things. It is clear that He intended for us to enjoy all of these in a special way that brings real satisfaction. this is an expression of God’s love for us!
Likewise He created marriage to be a source of pleasure and comfort in a fallen world that is constantly seeking to drag us down. The challenge for us is to find ways to break away from the stresses of duty and responsibility in order to refresh ourselves.

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CANCELLED!

Cancelled is a word that can either be negative as in the case of something you were eagerly anticipating being cancelled due to some problem, or it can be very positive as in the case of being released from some burdensome obligation like a traffic ticket.
My parents own a country store. When I was growing up, many of the locals carried a small charge account. They would come in, purchase items, and we would write down the total owed on the tally sheet. Every week or two, they would come in and make payments and we would strike off the amounts paid. This part of the bill was cancelled … paid … finished…completed…never mentioned again…you get the idea. This is a picture of forgiveness.

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A simple rule with powerful results

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus said that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. Can you imagine how many disputes, divorces, and even wars could be avoided if we all took this seriously?
This simple command has enormous power to fill the lives of those around us with good!
A few years ago,, the Manning Times newspaper ran a story about a local couple who were married for 18 years, divorced for 30 years, and were now newly remarried. Both had second marriages that ended in divorce. While this is a story that has many things to be sad about and many things to celebrate, one thing stood out profoundly.

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Win – Win!

In every marriage, there is an ongoing need to come to a place of agreement over conflicting opinions and desires.
This is a normal part of marriage as two people who are very different learn to live life together.
Unfortunately, this process often stirs up a lot of misunderstanding, over-reaction, painful words and actions, hurt feelings, and too often leads to unforgiveness, grudges held, retaliation, and worse.
Many times, people begin to think that they have married the wrong person because the need for negotiating agreement is so frequent.

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Forsaking all others!

A few years ago, our nation was dragged into a public debate about the correctness of a married man, in this case, a national political figure, engaging in relational and sexual activity that allegedly stopped short of full intercourse with a woman who was not his wife. As the saga played out, the wife appeared to support her husband thus implying that this was acceptable to her. Folks all over the country began to ponder and debate this issue around water coolers and coffee pots throughout the land. Eventually, attention turned elsewhere and the political spotlight was trained on another issue. But this event had far reaching implications for our national moral compass which was already malfunctioning. Many of our citizens, including many teens and college age folks, came to the conclusion that certain sexual activities were permissible as long as they stopped short of full intercourse.In their minds, they had new experiences available to help them get close to the line without crossing it.

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Boundaries!

One of the age old dilemmas facing married couples is their interaction with their parents, extended family members, and sometimes friends. Of course, everyone is familiar with the standard conflicts that can arise over holiday and birthday celebrations, but often these conflicts spill over into the everyday aspects of life causing hurt feelings and dividing families.

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…Love, Honor, and Cherish…

I have officiated many weddings and have noticed that we always promise to love, honor, and cherish our mate, yet we often spend little time thinking about how to express honor in the marriage.
If you look up the word “honor”in the dictionary, you will find that it is a word that originated in England in the 1200’s. It was tied to the special treatment that was given to famously successful kings and knights. While other cultures had different words for this, the concept and expressions go back to Biblical times.

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