Somebody had it wrong...

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"Preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary."
This quote has been used by many over the years to justify their fear in proclaiming the Gospel of God in speech.  "Oh I don't think we need to go around beating people over the head with Jesus," I have heard many say over the years.  "Just give 'em a smile."  But where in the world do we see such nonsense in the Word of God?  Jesus promised persecution and danger for any who would follow Him in proclaiming His message of repentance, not smiles and pats on the back.

Where is Your Focus?

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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also....
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:19-21; 24-34).

2 Concerns for Today's Christian Parents

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Until three or four years ago, I questioned my salvation.  How could God love me? I would often think to myself.  I am no good at keeping His laws.  If I was truly a child of God, I would be able to do all the things He commands of me.

I used to doubt that I was even saved until a few years ago, when I encountered the Word of God head-on and was left feeling eternally joyful and grateful because of Christ Jesus my Savior.  After further reflection on my life, I have come to believe that I, indeed, submitted to Christ early in life, but I failed to receive the proper, doctrinal teaching to help we walk in newness of life.

Reflecting on my own life leads me to address two concerns I call parents to be aware of today, that we may avoid the unintentional errors of those before us.

To Love Like Christ


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"Do not think I that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). 
"And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets'" (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus Christ is the only person to ever live in perfect submission to the Law of God.  If you are a Christian, this should be as truthful to you as the reality that you are breathing right now.  Jesus Christ was perfect.  Not only did He keep all the external commands of God given to Israel, more importantly, because of our stone-like hearts, He did what we could not: He loved God and people perfectly.

Jesus Himself says that the essence of the Law of God is love: "On these two commandments [of love] depend all the Law and the Prophets."  The word picture here is of a hook or hanger on which all the other commandments hang.  Furthermore, Christ says that He came not to abolish this law, but rather to fulfill it.  It was not that Christ checked off the boxes of keeping the whole law that made Him worthy to be our propitiation - the Pharisees did that (see Matthew 5:20)!  No, Christ was perfect because His heart was perfect, both in His submission to His Father and in His servanthood to people; that is to say, Christ was perfect both in His love for His Father and His love for people.

Truth Triumphs Through Troubling Times

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The growing trend in Christianity is emotionalism.  I say "growing trend" because I have personally observed this rise in emotionalism in the church only recently, in the past decade; however, I am sure there has always been a battle to be fought against emotions in the human experience.  After all, each human - whether here today, yesterday, or tomorrow - has emotions.

What I am talking about is the desire among Christian leaders to make people feel good about themselves.  Or, in some cases, to make people feel bad about themselves so that they change.  There are two examples that illustrate this point that I have experienced in the last few years.