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Philippians 4:6–7 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Value of a Godly Mother

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

—Proverbs 31:28–31

Think of the things we've learned from Mom over the years. For instance, our mothers taught us about anticipation when they said to us, "Just wait until your father gets home!" Our moms taught us about logic when they said, "Because I said so. That's why." Moms also taught us about prayer when they said, "You better pray this will come out of the carpet."

Seriously though, mothers play such a vital role in our society. Mothers not only impact their children—they impact their grandchildren and maybe their great-grandchildren. Some impact generations even after they are in Heaven because of the truths they passed on.

Paul wrote about the impact Timothy's mother and grandmother had on his life. In 2 Timothy 1:5, he said, "I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you." It shows us the importance of a godly heritage.

Sometimes as moms you might feel like you didn't do your job all that well. In fact, you may have young children today and they're . . . a project. They are a work in progress. Just understand, you need to keep praying and never give up because your impact is greater than you may realize.

Our first president, George Washington, said, "The greatest teacher I ever had was my mother." And President Ronald Reagan said, "From my mother I learned the value of prayer, how to have dreams and believe I could make them come true."

If you have been a godly mother and you have done your part to raise your children in the way of the Lord, you are a treasure and a blessing. Your value is "above rubies," as Scripture would say.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Fighting the Wrong Enemy

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

—Ephesians 6:12

Peter couldn't take it anymore. He had watched His Lord's anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had watched the group of soldiers come to arrest Him. So he took out his sword, took a swing, and removed the ear of the high priest's servant.

In a way, I understand Peter's frustration. Had I been in the same situation, I might have done the same thing. We might almost commend Peter for his heroism and bravery. But in reality, Jesus did not do that at all. He told Peter to put the sword away. Poor Peter. He couldn't seem to get it right. He always seemed to be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. He was sleeping when he should have been praying. He was talking when he should have been listening. He was boasting when he should have been fearing. Now he was fighting when he should have been surrendering. He always had it turned upside down. You see, Peter failed to see that he was fighting the wrong enemy.

Our enemies are not flesh and blood, the Bible says, but principalities and powers. And they cannot be defeated by ordinary measures. Far too often we take things into our own hands and try to assist God, to sort of help Him out a little. And far too often we do not pull out the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, which is prayer, and use it in these times of battle.

As Christians, we are too quick to protest and not quick enough to pray. We are too quick to picket and not quick enough to preach and focus on what God has primarily called us to do. We need to realize that we are fighting a spiritual battle. Therefore, we need to use spiritual weaponry.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

It's About His Presence

Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.—Micah 7:7

She was frantically trying to get everything done.

She had her small child with her, but for a moment, she lost sight of him. In sheer panic, she started retracing her steps and found him with his nose pressed against the glass of a store display, looking at a manger scene.

The boy said, "Mommy, Mommy! Look! It is Jesus in the hay!"

"Let's go," she said, as she took him by the hand and led him away. "We don't have time for that."

Exactly. That is the whole problem with this time of year that we call Christmas. We can be so busy celebrating Christmas that we forget all about Christ. In a sense, we can actually lose God in the midst of it all. We can very easily lose God in the so-called celebration of Jesus.

For many, the Christmas story is the one about Scrooge being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, or maybe Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or Frosty the Snowman or Santa Claus.

But technically, can we lose God? No, we really can't. You can't lose someone if you know where they are. If you know where they are, then they are not lost. But you can lose sight of someone. And some have lost sight of the Lord in their lives, especially at this time of the year.

Maybe you've had the experience of talking with someone who was checking their texts or updating their social media as you're trying to tell them something important.

God never does that. God is never disinterested. God is never distracted. And even if we forget about Him, He never forgets about us. Christmas is not about buying presents; it is about His presence in our lives.


Monday, December 5, 2016

It Began with a Tree

And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

—Genesis 2:9

The Christmas story begins with a tree, but not the kind of Christmas tree with brightly colored lights or ornaments. The Christmas story begins with a tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden.

God had given Adam and Eve only one restriction in that literal paradise: stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But before long, that's just where we find them. Of course, we know the rest of the story. They listened to the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. And once that happened, they lost their sweet fellowship with God. 

A few verses later, we come to the first Christmas verse in the Bible, where God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

Here the battle lines were drawn. The devil knew this Messiah would come—and that He would come from the Jewish people. So he tried to stop that from taking place.

Really, as we look at the Christmas story, we realize that it doesn't begin in Matthew or Luke. It begins in the Old Testament. Before there was a world, before there were planets, before there was light and darkness, before there was matter, before there was anything but the Godhead, there was Jesus—coequal, coeternal, and coexistent with the Father and Holy Spirit. He was with God. He was God.

Jesus Christ became human without ceasing to be God. He did not become identical to us, but He became identified with us. The real message of Christmas is that God came to this earth. The real message of Christmas is Immanuel, God is with us.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Messed-Up Family Tree

I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.—Revelation 22:16

In the first century, Jesus was not a unique name. Many boys were named Jesus, which means "Jehovah is salvation." But there was only one person who has embodied that name in every way, and that is the Lord Jesus.

The angel Gabriel told Mary, "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32). That word great is from the Greek word megas, the same word from which we get our English term mega, conveying the idea of bigness and magnitude. Jesus would be the very definition of the word great—mega, if you will.

Gabriel said, "the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (verse 32). David is a unique figure in Scripture, described on one hand as the sweet psalmist of Israel and a man after God's own heart. But we also know of David's foibles and shortcomings. Two names connected with David sum up his life: Goliath and Bathsheba. Goliath represents David's greatest victory, while Bathsheba represents his greatest defeat. David was a flawed man, yet Jesus was called "the Root and the Offspring of David" (Revelation 22:16). And as Jesus was engaged in His ministry, He was referred to as the Son of David. Clearly, Jesus was connected to this man.

So if you think you have a dysfunctional family, take a look at Jesus' family tree. Some of the most unsavory characters who made it into the most exclusive genealogy in human history include prostitutes, liars, cheats, adulterers, and even a murderer.

What does this say to us? Even before Jesus was born into that family tree, His ancestry pointed to one thing: Christ came into the world to save sinners.