The Louisiana Flood of 2016

August 18, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Posted in The Flood | 5 Comments
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I don’t know if, after a few months or a few years, the title of this post will be the official name of the flooding event that took place in South Central Louisiana on the weekend of August 13 or 14, 2016, or not. I don’t even know if it will have an official name. Many people (not including me) are already angry that the national news media – neither while it was happening, nor up til now – has given it the attention that these types of weather catastrophes usually garner (for reasons I may cover in a different post later).

Regardless, though, of whether the event ever enters or remains in the national consciousness, I doubt it will ever be forgotten by my neighbors. Apparently, the house in which the Lord allows my family to live sits on something of an imperceptibly elevated ledge, but our neighbors suffered massive flooding in their homes, and many had to be evacuated – some in boats, some in huge National Guard trucks with giant tires, and some in Blackhawk or Red Cross helicopters! The local news media is reporting that 90% of the homes in my parish (the equivalent of a “county” elsewhere) suffered flood damage. Not us, thankfully. While the water spilled across the highway in front of our house, and while it became a rapidly rising lake on the road behind us, and while it filled my next door neighbor’s home with a foot of water, my old Sunday School teacher, now a pastor, John Wilkerson, called to check on me. He lives in Indiana now, and, with AT&T cell service completely down, he somehow still had my landline number. As he prayed with me on the phone, asking the Lord to “honor His servant” (John 12:26), and to stop the encroaching waters, I became immensely humbled. I know that I belong to Christ, and that He shed His blood for me and saved me, but I also know for sure that I am not worthy of any honor! I am a faulty and neglectful servant at best, and much, if not most, of the time, the term “servant” itself could scarcely be applied to me due to my selfishness and impiety. However, after we finished the call, I walked outside to check. Thirty feet from my house the water appeared to have stopped, and maybe even receded a couple of inches. We were spared.

I want to thank and praise the Lord for protecting my wife and children, and the home that He allows me to manage. The next few weeks and months will be busy. We have already begun to tear out and clean out the damaged parts of the church building where our family meets, worships, and ministers, along with many of our church families’ and neighbors’ homes. There will be great opportunities to minister and to share the Gospel. The love of Christ, by His grace, will be made manifest, the Word will be proclaimed, and my prayer is that souls will be eternally saved.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

Psalm 32:5-6

Proud Humility

April 27, 2012 at 8:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments
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Humility is something that does not come easily to human beings. Most of us feel at times that we are better than, or more deserving than, or more entitled than at least someone. However, humility is a crucial virtue when it comes to having a right relationship with God.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 4:10

We should be extremely thankful the Lord allows us to humble ourselves. After all, it’s not as if we will not wind up humbled at some point anyway. One day, every person in this world will kneel before Jesus Christ and confess that He is Lord over all (Philippians 2:10-11). My old Sunday School teacher, Pastor John Wilkerson, used to say that God will get the glory from your life one way or the other. Either you will humble yourself before Him, or He will humble you involuntarily.

Some Christians today have come up with very subtle ways to attempt to subvert the opportunity the Lord has given them to humble themselves. They seek the power of God in front of an audience, and hope that the Lord will knock them down. It’s always strange to me to see these people helped up by other people, as though God was powerful enough to physically overwhelm them, but not powerful enough to pick them back up. My Bible says that we are the ones who should be humbling ourselves, and the Lord will do the lifting.

Bob Jones Sr., the founder of the Christian university that bears his name, was once approached by a man who said, “One day, when I get on my feet, I’ll be saved.”

Jones responded by saying, “Sir, you don’t get saved by getting on your feet – you get saved by getting on your face.”

The Real “First Thanksgiving:” The Pilgrims Meet the Egyptians

May 6, 2011 at 10:27 am | Posted in Genesis | 17 Comments
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It’s fairly easy to pick up on the soteriological symbolism behind the true historical events of God calling His people out of the land of Egypt and into the promised land of Canaan, as they are recorded in the Bible. In the book of Exodus God uses Moses to get his people out of Egypt. Egypt is a picture of the “world.” During the first “Passover,” the people – by the application of blood – are set free from the bondage of the world, and come out of it. This is a picture of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Then, God’s people pass through the Red Sea. This is a picture of baptism, God’s first step of obedience for every believer. Then comes the book of Leviticus, which is full of rules for helping God’s people stay clean in their freedom. In Exodus, God gets His people out of Egypt. In Leviticus, God gets Egypt out of His people.

As we approach the end of a series of posts on Genesis, it is interesting to see how God’s people – the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – end up in Egypt in the first place. The answer lies in the adventures of Jacob’s son, Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery, and he wound up a ruler in Egypt. Through God’s providence, he was able to relocate his family there in a time of famine, so that they would survive.

There are many metaphors for life: a contest; a war; a game; a race; a battle; a trap; a puzzle. You were probably taught in school that the first Thanksgiving occurred when the Pilgrims met the Indians. But when Joseph brought his father, Jacob, to meet the Pharaoh of Egypt, Jacob explained that he saw life as a pilgrimage.

And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

Genesis 47:9

Christians truly are pilgrims in this life, for our ultimate home is not in this world. We are just passing through it on our way to our real home in Heaven. Vagabonds have no home. Fugitives are running away from home. Strangers are visiting someone else’s home. Pilgrims are on their way home. Are you living the pilgrim life today?

God Is Real, God Is Good, and God Is REALLY GOOD!

February 14, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, Uncategorized | 16 Comments
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I sometimes have encounters with professing atheists. Most of them would call these encounters “debates” or “arguments,” but that’s not really what they are. What is really going on is that I’m just revealing the truth of God’s Word and they are trying to suppress it, reject it, rage against it, or pretend it isn’t real. Since the Bible is the source of Absolute Truth in this world, I believe it is important to use it when confronting someone who is pretending not to believe in God.

However, I do have another practical proof of the existence of God: my wife. If you knew me and knew what an awful jerk I can sometimes be (and often am) – and, if you knew my wife and how absolutely beautiful and wonderful and intelligent and wise and witty and spiritually mature she is, there is simply no explanation for why she would be married to me, other than: There is a God Who is all-powerful, and Who is loving and kind and sovereign and GOOD to me.

My wife is the epitome of what the Bible says a wife and mother should be. She loves God and His Word, and she is a constant source of encouragement to me, our children, her friends, and our church family. Some people jokingly call her “Proverbs 31 Woman” as a nickname, but if they knew her like I do, they would see that it’s not really that much of a joke. Proverbs 31 is actually a pretty good description of her!

I know a preacher who used to say that sometimes he felt like “God’s spoiled brat,” and I thought that sounded strange because we are not supposed to respond to God’s grace like over-indulged children. However, I don’t know a better way to put it myself! Hopefully, I don’t act like a spoiled brat, but I sure do feel like one when I think that, not only did God save me from hell, sin, death, the grave, Satan, and God’s wrath, all of which I richly deserved – as if that wasn’t enough, He then turned around and gave me the greatest wife in the world – and then, overwhelming me with His goodness, mercy, and grace, He blessed me with three [update: now four] wonderful daughters!

It’s been two years since I tried to celebrate Valentine’s Day by posting a poem about my wife. I thought it would be more thoughtful than a Hallmark card. Here’s a helpful hint: If you stink at writing poetry as bad as I do, stick to the Hallmark! However, I do want to tell my wife – in case she reads this – that I love her more than even a good poem could have expressed. Aside from the Lord’s salvation and the richness and joy and peace of knowing God in Christ Jesus my Lord, she is the greatest gift that God ever gave me.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence | 11 Comments
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From Part 1:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face

One of those facts was realizing he was a soldier, so we began to look at three facts about soldiers.

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

B. Soldiers are supposed to live a submissive life.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4, emphasis added

Soldiers have to submit. They have to obey those over them. The very nature of authority in a battle requires both leadership and submission. An army where the soldiers do not submit to their leaders will fall into chaos and defeat.

C. Soldiers are supposed to live a selfless life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4, emphasis added

Soldiers in a war are not worried about the same things as the civilians back home. Soldiers are concerned with staying alive, keeping each other alive, and winning a battle. But they are not usually in the battle because they have been personally insulted by their enemy. They are fighting for the cause of their country. Most Christians are quick to take up a personal offense, but we need to remember that we are not fighting for our own cause. We are fighting our Commander’s cause. We are fighting for His Kingdom and His glory.

Jonathan had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

I Samuel 14:6-7

Jonathan’s armor-bearer carried the weapons. If Jonathan needed the sword, the armor-bearer held the spear. If Jonathan needed the spear, the armor-bearer held the sword. Friends are important in the battle of the Christian life. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

If you start something for the Lord, He will often call someone to get into it with you. Have you prayed for God to bless you, so others could see God’s glory at work in your life? Lord, bless me to be a blessing. Many times God will give through me what He won’t give to me. On the other hand, I also need to be praying for God to bless my friends and let me carry their bags.

People are watching you, whether you know it or not. Someone is being influenced by you. You might be just one person in the world, but you might also be the world to one person.

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish

You can almost hear Jonathan breathlessly telling his armor-bearer, “Here’s what we’ll do – we’ll come out of hiding and show ourselves, and if they tell us to come up and fight them, then that’ll be the sign God has delivered them into our hands and given us the victory.” So they crawled down through the rocks. “Okay,” whispers Jonathan, “here goes nothing…”

The Philistines were probably drinking, partying, fooling around with slave girls, when suddenly one of them looks up and sees Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Hey look what we have here,” the Philistines sneer. “It’s two little Hebrew boys! Two little mice come out of their holes. What – did you boys get tired of hiding in your cave?”

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

I Samuel 14:12

“We’ll show you a thing or two,” boast the Philistines, smacking their fists into the palms of their hands.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer waded in and they started knocking heads! As we used to say in elementary school, they came to kick butt and take names, and they forgot to bring a pad and a pencil for taking names!

Jonathan whacked them with the sword, and the armor-bearer finished them off with the spear – until, after a fierce melee’ – they looked back over half an acre and saw twenty dead Philistines! Then God really took over and sent an earthquake.

Two young soldiers started with a plan, and they had the faith to finish. Faith is not foolish frolicking, and it’s not reckless abandon. Jonathan had some promises from God’s Word.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Deuteronomy 32:30

When Samson had picked up a donkey’s jawbone and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, one took out a thousand. Depending on God’s promises despite circumstances – that’s faith!

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Jonathan feared God more than Saul. But notice his wording:

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6, emphasis added

He could just as easily have said, “God may use us to do His work.” Jonathan didn’t foolishly tempt God. He had a plan – a Godly plan. God can honor our plans – as long as our plans honor Him. God is all-powerful. He is great, but He is also good. His throne is great and white. Remember what happens when someone gets to be powerful. Saul the king became corrupt – just like Samuel warned. He fought battles for his own glory, and not for God’s. He wanted credit for himself, and not for God. He sacrificed and offered offerings that only the priests were allowed to do. And he became corrupt. He ended up turning to witchcraft and committing suicide on the battlefield. Saul was big and good-looking. He looked like what the people thought a king should look like. But – unlike Jonathan – he didn’t have the faith to finish well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely when it comes to men. But not when it comes to God.

Can you imagine an all-powerful supreme being that is inclined to evil or makes compromises with evil men? This world would make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq look like Christmas morning at a rich kid’s house. It would make Nazi Germany look like Disneyland.

Jonathan had reasons to fear the Philistines. They had better weapons. They had more weapons. They had the high ground. They had the numbers.

Jonathan also had reason to fear Saul. He was the king. He had mood swings. He was Jonathan’s father.

But more than fear of the Philistines, and more than fear of his earthly father, Jonathan feared his Heavenly Father. There is safety, peace, protection, comfort, boldness, and victory in the fear of God. God’s power is a great dread to His enemies, but it is a great comfort to His children.

If you are a Christian you have:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend to Follow (or a friend who will follow)
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Get out from under the pomegranate tree. Get in the battle. The Christian life is a battle, and it’s a battle worth fighting.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1)

December 15, 2010 at 9:53 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Violence | 15 Comments
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Lord, grab us, arrest our hearts, and get our attention. Make us tremble before Your Word.

I Samuel 14 contains the account of Jonathan and his armor-bearer taking on the Philistines. Saul was the king of Israel. This was the first time God’s people had a king over them. The people wanted a king. They wanted what everybody else had. God wanted them to be different. Why would they want a king when they already had the King? God faces the same competition today in our own hearts. The Jewish people wanted what the Amalekites had and what the Egyptians had. We want all the things the world offers, but we think, “It’s okay – I’ll still ‘call’ God my King.” If God is your King, you don’t need what everybody else has.

In Chapter 13 of I Samuel, the Bible tells us that the Israelites depended upon the Philistines to sharpen iron.

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.

I Samuel 13:19-20

They did not have their own smith, and in fact there were only two swords among all the Israelites. You can probably guess who had these two swords. Saul, the king, had one, but he was not using it, because he was resting under a pomegranate tree when he should have been in the battle. Jonathan, Saul’s son, had the other sword.

It is a great testimony to the grace of God that Saul could have a son like Jonathan. Jonathan was the kind of son any father would want to have.

Jonathan had a sword and a spear, and it’s a good thing he did, because he also had…

I. A Foe to Fight

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

I Samuel 14:1

The Philistines were reprobate enemies of God and His people, and God wanted them wiped out. Christians today have a foe, an enemy, an adversary: Satan. God has plans for your life and Satan has plans for your life. These plans are far different. Satan has been watching you. He knows your weaknesses. He knows what you like to watch. He knows what you like to hear. He knows where you like to go. He has traps set, and he a three-fold mission. He’s on a mission to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to steal your blessings. He wants to take your life. He wants to destroy your testimony. He has designs on your children and your grandchildren. Every day he is tirelessly at work doing everything he can to wreck our lives. He hates God. He knows all about what happened on the Cross. He understands the authority and the power of Christ better than you do. And he will do anything possible to rob God of His glory.

Like Jonathan, you have a foe to fight. Are you in the battle? Do you believe that the battle is worth fighting? Getting your blessing stolen is bad. Getting killed is worse. Having your testimony destroyed is the worst, because it robs God of His glory.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6

Jonathan not only had a foe to fight. He also had…

II. Some Facts to Face

These Philistines were in a garrison: a heavily fortified military camp. They had soldiers and spoilers. They despised the Hebrews. They were mocking God and God’s people. They were encamped between two sharp rocks. The Hebrew army was on the run – afraid, disorganized, under poor leadership from Saul, hiding in caves. But Jonathan was a soldier. A soldier’s job is to fight.

Here are some things I want you to see about soldiers:

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:3

“Hardness” is being able to get through life – and through life’s battles – without a lot of the comforts that civilians enjoy. The Christian life is a battle, and soldiers do not go carelessly or casually into a battle. Soldiers on a battlefield are not concerned about frivolous entertainment or the latest fads.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4

Today, as Christians, I am afraid that:
-We know more about the stores at the shopping mall, than we know about Nehemiah and the temple wall.
-We know more about our MP3 player, than we know about the High Priestly Prayer.
-We know more about LSU, than we know about Elihu.

We know more about what’s happening on the red carpet than we know about what happened on the Cross of Christ! May God help us. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Don’t get so tangled up in worldly amusements and affairs that when the Commander tells you to get in the battle, you can’t get yourself untangled.

Next time: Two more facts about soldiers

Pastor John Wilkerson S.W.I.M. Quote

March 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Quotes | 3 Comments
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(In honor of the birth of his newest daughter, Lacey Elizabeth – born this morning!)

If you are a child of God, this world has nothing to offer you, my friend. You were not made to swim in those waters…

Pastor John Wilkerson

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Galatians 1:3-4

What to Be for Your Kids

June 17, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 23 Comments
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Praise the Lord for kids! I have three of them myself [now four!; updated Sept. 2014]. As my wife likes to say, “I just love kids – but I couldn’t eat a whole one!”

The fact is that the three kids who call me “Daddy” are not really “my” kids. They are the Lord’s.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalm 127:3

Children are a reward, and a blessing, but they are also given to us as a deposit. We are to manage them, put them to use, protect them, and help them to grow – like an investment… an investment for the Lord.

And, when you have an entrusted investment, the Owner will one day want an accounting.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Psalm 127:4

How are children like arrows? Both arrows and children must be “straight” in order to work right – not crooked, not “perverse.” Bent arrows are no good.

Second, arrows are made to be shot – they are made to go where the archer cannot reach. Arrows go into the quiver first, but they are not meant to stay in the quiver forever.

If you are a Christian parent, there are three things you should BE for your kids:

BE an encourager.

When a child does something good, tell him about it. When a child has something to say, listen to her.

Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Most parents are pretty good at the admonition part. Admonishing comes in when kids do wrong. We are often quick to tell them about the wrong, but not so quick to tell them when they do right. That’s the “nurture” part – the “building-up.”

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Proverbs 23:24

Do your children bring you joy? If so, let them know about it!

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 12:18

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

Parents can encourage their children by talking to them, and they can encourage their children in how they talk to them.

Sarcasm is prevalent in our culture today. If your kids have been exposed to school or television at all, you have heard these phrases come out their mouths just dripping with sarcasm: “Yeah, right;” “Whatever;” “That’s just great.”

Sarcasm can be contagious. Kids bring it home from school or their friends’ homes, and before long the parents are doing it, too. We may think sarcasm is funny, but the Bible says it is corrupt communication. The purpose of sarcasm is to make the other person feel like they’ve said or done something dumb. It tears down; it doesn’t build up, and it doesn’t encourage. God wants parents to be encouragers, not discouragers. God wants children to honor their fathers and mothers – to speak to them respectfully – to not talk back. Children should never speak to their parents in a way that indicates a belief that their parents do not know as much as they do.

Parents should BE encouragers, and parents should BE enforcers.

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19 (emphasis added)

Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:22 (emphasis added)

It is very important for Christian parents to teach their children to listen – to hear.

Listening, hearing, and obeying do not come naturally to children. In fact, doing what is right in general does not come naturally to children. Do you know what does come naturally to children? Foolishness.

What makes a child carry a full-to-the-brim glass of red Kool-aid onto beige carpet? Foolishness.

What makes a kid who has 3 hours to clean her room spend 2 hours and 45 minutes listening to music, and then try to do the cleaning in 15 minutes? Foolishness.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…

Proverbs 22:15

When I think back to my earliest memories, I have to admit that no one ever had to sit me down as a little child and teach me to lie. No one ever had to teach me to be selfish and greedy, or to hit my brother. No, those things came naturally to me. I did not jump up and down, and say, “Can I go to church now? Please!”

As Christian parents we need to encourage our children to listen when they are in God’s house, and especially when God’s Word is being read or taught. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:5).

Getting children to hear the Word of God, whether they think church is boring or not, is a heart issue – not an entertainment issue. In Bible times, children were expected to come to church to hear the Word.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Joel 2:15-16 (emphasis added)

God’s will in the Old Testament was for children to be in even the most serious of church meetings – and for people of all ages to be together in the congregation.

When the letter to the church in Ephesus was read in the church – in the assembly – it was read out loud to grown-ups and children alike. Ephesians 6:1 is directed straight at children, whom the Apostle Paul knew would be listening: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

Children have to be trained, and this includes being trained in how to behave in church. Training involves an enforcer, and parents are the God-ordained enforcers of their children. Being an encouraging parent is a not always an easy job, but being an enforcing parent is even tougher.

Proverbs 22:15 starts off by saying that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rest of it does not say that a good talking-to will drive it far from them. It does not say that being grounded will drive it far from them. It does not say that a “time-out” will drive it far from them. It does not say that sending them to their rooms will drive it far from them. It does not say that taking away their X-Box will drive it far from them. It says that the rod of correction will drive it far from them. I know this may sound archaic, but if I’m not enforcing discipline, then I don’t love my children.

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Proverbs 3:12

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 23:13-14

As a father, if I do not discipline God’s child, placed in my trust, with a rod of correction, then I am placing that child’s life in danger.

Parents should BE encouragers. Parents should BE enforcers. And parents should BE examples.

Being a Godly example may be the toughest thing that parents have to be for their children.

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Proverbs 20:7

Integrity” is living what you believe. It is inconsistent for me to encourage my children with principles I don’t really believe. And it is inconsistent for me to enforce rules on my children I am not willing to follow myself. Parents need to be careful about saying one thing and doing another. As Pastor John Wilkerson says, what I allow in moderation, my children will practice in excess. What I dabble in, my children will dive into.

If you are reading this, and you happen to be a child, however, I want you to know this: When a parent places a rule on you, but does not follow that rule himself/herself, this is not an excuse for you to be disobedient.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matthew 23:1-3

The Pharisees appointed themselves to be the ones to tell people what God said they should do – they had authority. Jesus told people to do what they said, but not what they did. As a Christian child, you may be under an authority figure who is less Godly than you are. But there are blessings in obedience. Generally, God will not fight a battle for you that you are trying to fight on your own in the flesh. If you try to make your parents miserable through showing them disrespect, you may get what you want, but God may see to it that you do not want what you get. One of the worst judgments God can place on you is to let you have your own way.

Having said that, you must also realize that parents and adults know more than you think they do. If you are young – especially if you are a teenaged child – guard against thinking that you know everything. I have heard this attributed to Mark Twain, although I do not know for sure if he actually said it:

“When I left home at age 17, my dad was a complete fool – a total idiot. He didn’t know anything. After being on my own for a while, I came back home at age 21, and I couldn’t believe how much the old man had learned in 4 years!”

Parents should not be Pharisees – teachers who teach falsely. We will give an account for any little ones we lead astray. There is no shortage of terrible role models out there for children to follow: rappers, rock stars, movie stars, athletes, rich and famous people. People scream and follow them, and pay hundreds of dollars to get near them at a concert. People beg for their autographs. They wave their arms for a touch, and worship them. Many of these celebrities are about as big as a big-shot can get. But they don’t do anything for the Lord.

You won’t see many Godly pastors, children’s workers, nursery workers, Sunday School teachers, or Christian fathers and mothers on MTV or the E channel – but they are on God’s TV screen – they are before His sight. Children need to follow those who have God’s approval, more than those who have the world’s approval.

As a dad, do my kids ever see me praying? Do they see me singing to the Lord?

As a mom, I hope you would not put up with your kids using bad language. But when your cell phone goes off, do they hear a rap song or a country or pop song that glorifies sin?

I believe God wants faithful, humble parents – parents who do what’s right when no one else is looking. I believe He wants parents who are different, who are distinct. Parents who are going to stand out, and stand up, for Jesus even if it means being unpopular.

I believe God wants kids who don’t laugh at dirty jokes, and who don’t make fun of teachers and those in authority, even when everyone else is laughing and mocking.

Parents, we don’t have the choice to opt out. Our kids are watching us. Even if I am just one person in the world, I am the world to one person.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

Next time: What to do for your kids.

All Presidents Should “S.W.I.M.” Like Woodrow Wilson

May 2, 2009 at 11:00 am | Posted in Quotes | 2 Comments
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The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.

President Woodrow Wilson

Any old dead fish can float downstream.

Pastor John Wilkerson

And be not conformed to this world…

Romans 12:2

Pastor John Wilkerson Is the Best “S.W.I.M.”mer I Know

February 27, 2009 at 10:19 am | Posted in Quotes | 8 Comments
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Baptism should be the first step in obedience for every believer, but water baptism does not save you. You can be baptized in every lake, pond, river, and creek, ’til the tadpoles know your social security number, and it won’t save you. You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

-Pastor John Wilkerson

(To be fair, I have heard other preachers say this, too, or something similar, so I’m not sure who originated it, but Pastor Wilkerson says it with more sincerity and conviction than anyone else.)

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