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Jun 28, 2012

Spiritual Arson: The Power Of The Tongue

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 Strength For The Day

Colorado is ablaze in forest fires. Our own home was put under a sudden order of evacuation on Tuesday night with the fear that it could be burned to the ground, though we were not there to remove any irreplaceable family items. This particular fire, called the Waldo Canyon Fire, began last Saturday. The origin isn’t yet known, but a strong possibility exists that this is the work of an arsonist, knowing at least 20 other fires in the adjoining county were set by an arsonist just days earlier; but were discovered and put out. The Waldo Canyon Fire has consumed over 18,000 acres of pine forest destroying hundreds of homes as well as a well-loved historic dinner/country western entertainment lodge and ranch called the Flying W. The fire has continued to rage! And our neighborhood has not been allowed to return.
Fire, exposed to the elements of unpredictable, strong winds, is an explosive, powerful force. With remarkable speed it consumes all in its path leaving complete ashes. If you have ever seen it at work while feeling the fierce blow torch heat which it generates, you know how incredibly difficult it is to tame it, contain it, and douse it! The Word of God equates this physical, destructive inferno to what one of the smallest parts of the human body can do when it is loosed with unfettered abandon. The Holy Spirit by no means exaggerates the comparison. The tongue is every bit as destructive spiritually as a forest fire is physically. Man’s tendency is to minimize the tongue’s power to create just what James says it does—a forest fire.
When God’s warnings concerning the tongue are not heeded, an arsonist goes to work. I cannot verbalize how angry I become when considering that an arsonist purposively sets a fire creating widespread physical destruction. Yet this is exactly what happens when your tongue is not controlled by the Holy Spirit; you throw words like a spark into dry tinder often producing such evil and destruction that scars remain in people’s lives, some so deep that the healing does not come soon if ever.
The words of hurt that roll so easily off one’s tongue are not always intended as a poisonous dart. One, they may be simply careless words and insensitive to the hearer(s) and circumstance. Two, words said with haste and little measured thought can set a world on fire. Three, when you speak what at the moment you believe is truth, but in actuality is little more than personal opinion when not corroborated by the truth of God’s Word, you lead others astray, and pass off heresy as truth.  Four, when you speak with the purpose of raising your own importance while lowering the importance of others you fail to apply the mind of Christ, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3) Five, when you use your tongue for the purposes of revenge you arrogantly usurp the prerogative of God, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. Six, when you speak with the intent to destroy another out of spite, or hate, or anger devoid of righteousness, you are nothing more than a murderous arsonist; someone you despise when it is the physical act.
If an arsonist fries your hide as he does mine, then the work of the spiritual arsonist who frequently uses his tongue contrary to the command of God, ought to stir your emotions to a similar degree, especially in self-analysis; personal emotions of sufficient intensity which will produce a discipline of the will to ensure your conversation is “full of grace, seasoned with salt, always speaking the truth in love.  Unless you fill your mind with the person of Christ, and nurture your vocabulary with the content of His own Word, you will never temper your tongue, in season and out, when you are ready to speak, and when you are not, to be a firefighter rather than an arsonist.  The world has Oh so many arsonists. . . . .too few firefighters! As a believer in Christ you have the freedom to choose the path you will take.


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Jun 27, 2012

How To Relate To Your Teen

 
 

Have you ever wondered how you can relate to your teen?  The once sweet, compliant child has turned into a complete stranger…a teenager!  Struggling through finding their identity and making the changes that occur physically can often times cause a rift between teens and their parents.  Eric shares ways that you can help to bridge the gap between you and your child.

 


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Jun 26, 2012

Relationships: Bridging The Gap With Your Teen

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Have you ever wondered how you can begin to bridge the gap with your teen?  They have reached an age in which they are exerting their individuality and their freedom Building relationships with them is the thing that they long for the most.  Listen to Chad talk about this time from his perspective…


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Jun 21, 2012

Inexpressible: Is It Really?

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In a letter to a friend, C.S. Lewis wrote: “It is astonishing that sometimes we believe that we believe what, really, in our heart we do not believe. He went on to explain, “For a long time I believed that I believed in the forgiveness of sins. But suddenly (on St. Mark’s Day) this truth appeared in my mind in so clear a light that I perceived that never before (and that after many confessions and absolutions) had I believed it with my whole heart. So great is the difference between mere affirmation by the intellect and that faith, fixed in the very marrow and as it were palpable, which the Apostle Paul wrote was substance. In my own experience and what I too often observe in other professing Christians, this struggle with not really believing is all too common to the Christian life. We know in our mind what we believe as Christians who profess faith, but we have a less than full appreciation for what is really ours in Christ; which, when it penetrates our thick heart, leaves us dumbstruck (inexpressible) with joy. And it is a joy which retains the vivid colors and beauty of a sunset long after the sun has receded below the horizon.
What an unbelievable contrast in just three days, 72 hours, between the joy at the Red Sea and the bitter waters of Marah. The Israelites escaped Egypt and their cruel taskmasters and led by God in a cloud by day and pillar of fire at night found themselves pinned against the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army bearing down on them to forcibly take them back to Egypt; that is, once his soldiers had brought fierce intimidation down upon their heads through violent and deadly treatment of the men, women, and children of God led by Moses. The miracle which God had planned in leading them as it were into a box canyon was carried out in full view of the million and half Hebrew witnesses standing on the far shore with racing hearts. Those hearts which were experiencing the crushing weight of abject fear were transformed in a triumphant moment into uncontainable joy as they watched their angry, vengeful enemy destroyed by the returning waters of the Red Sea.  Saved on the brink of death! Their deliverance celebration gave enthusiastic voice to the miraculous grandeur of the event. Yet in three days it was simply forgotten over the lack of water and food to sustain their physical appetites. Having personally experienced God’s omnipotent hand, there was no longer even the slimmest faith to believe He was still with them. This is what Lewis is referring to; yes, you believe with your mind in the forgiveness of your sins or in the power of God on your behalf, but then you don’t really when the circumstances change and the conditions become bleak, or even repetitively common. Joy has leaked out of your life like water out of a broken cistern.
Teaching a Bible Study this week to the young men at the PAYH, I was struck with the lethargy which puts them to sleep though speaking about those things which should thrill them from the tops of their head to the soles of their feet. But the shoddy substitutes for excitement which the world offers has been the source of their past entertainment (and ruin) and in their eyes far surpasses any talk of eternal salvation. What mesmerizes us into being content with wispy faith and a ho hum spirit concerning the riches that belong to believers in Christ; “that He through His chosen poverty might make you rich? Certainly the Demas Disease of last week’s SFTD is always at work on us. It robs us of joy, yet we keep coming back to it as though it will somehow, sometime provide it. What it provides is temporary, fleeting pleasure, never genuine joy.
Jesus tells us from His own mouth, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11) Joy is found in His words, His commandments. He IS the Word, the logos (word, expression) of the Father. “He who hears my words and puts them into practice (Matthew 7:24), is the recipient of joy. It cannot be denied that consistent, lasting, inexpressible joy is acquired by abiding in the Word. Few do this with discipline. But it is the place in which joy in your life will be generated as you read, believe, do, and trust in that order. I didn’t say it; He did!


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Jun 19, 2012

Warning Signs

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Warning-Signs

What Are The Warning Signs That My Child Is Headed For Trouble?
“A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  MATTHEW 7:18-19
When Jesus came to a tree that was withering, it was obvious by its fruit.  He did not mince words. Parents need to know the warning signs and they be able to tell by their child’s behavior if he/she is headed for trouble.  Below are what I believe to be the six greatest indicators that your child is headed for trouble:

  1. Disrespect showing little regard for your rules or your feelings
  2. Disobedience stretching the rules, or challenging them
  3. Mouthiness or talking back
  4. Association with questionable friends
  5. Disregard for coming in on time or heeding curfews
  6. Love for music with lyrics that feed rebellion

These behaviors should be totally unacceptable.  If a child is allowed to get away with them, his/her behavior will digress.  If he/she shows no respect for your authority as his/her parent, he/she will show no regard for any form of authority in school, the workplace, and/or society, much less God.  The only way a child can avoid this is if we as parents take our responsibilities seriously and drive the foolish behavior out of him/her.  We must watch our children and be diligent stewards of them.
If you are seeing these warning signs in your child, take action today!  It is never too late!


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Jun 18, 2012

What can video games teach us about raising our children

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Let’s face it, kids love video games. For my generation it was going to the arcade or playing Atari…anyone remember Tron? When that arcade game out, I can remember going to the bowling alley and putting quarter after quarter into the machine and playing over and over, trying to get to the next level. As I became more proficient at playing and could move through each level with ease, the game became harder and harder. And it was the challenge of getting the high score or reaching the next level that I loved.
Video games are fun that way. They are entertaining and now, very interactive. For this generation, you might even say they are addictive. So without getting into the negative impacts of video games (and there are plenty) humor me in this analogy and let’s note 10 things that video games can teach us about raising our children:

  1. Keep it simple: It doesn’t matter if it is Madden 2012 or Call of Duty: video games are easy to understand. Give your children simple instructions that are part of your larger goal. If you want to teach your child pride, then start simply with training them to take care of their room and toys by putting things away.
  2. Give honest feedback: When you kids play video games, if they mess up, they simply die or start over. The concept of trying again is a good one and helps your child understand that life is not that clean. Make your expectation an objective…just like achieving a high score.
  3. Establish clear and realistic goals: Getting to the next level is often the goal in video games. Have a clear and realistic goal for your child to reach or fail to reach. Either way, if the goal is clear, then your child will learn from the experience.
  4. It’s okay to fail: So often we want to protect our children from failing. But making mistakes and failing is a part of life, so give your children a safe place to fail. In a video game, you have to try multiple times to reach the next level. It is part of the process of improving.
  5. Try again: The more we repeat things that, there more proficient we become. Expertise and knowledge comes from experience.
  6. Set limits: Budgets, restrictions, etc. all teach us the same thing that, there are limits. In a video game, when time starts to run out, the pressure begins to increase and we work faster and harder with greater efficiency. Setting limits for your children teaches them all of those things.
  7. Involve them in solving the problem: In video games, you cannot move on to the next level until you have developed the skill necessary to progress. Use this same idea to focus on a particular skill that your child is weak in.
  8. Celebrate improvement: It feels good to accomplish something. Praise the positives. Develop in your child a belief in achievement!
  9. Recognize success: Publicly and privately praise your children whenever you have the chance. Being recognized is a powerful motivator.
  10. Encourage doing better: Consistent improvement over time is really the goal. Life brings more challenges as we grow older. Build into your child a mindset that each step is important and that the growth process is actually more important than just winning and losing.

As a parent, your goal is to watch for the many valuable opportunities to train and teach your child every day. In doing so, your relationship becomes a stronger and stronger one that will stand the test of time!


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Jun 15, 2012

Real Teens Talk: Pornography

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Jun 14, 2012

The Demas Disease

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One has to cringe with fear at the words of Hebrews 6:1-8 if you genuinely take the warning of these eight verses to heart. Many students of the Bible have struggled with the correct understanding of this warning, especially when you believe in the perseverance of the saints, a biblical doctrine, that if God has begun a good work in you, He will complete it. (Philippians 1:6) Jesus said of all the men, women, and children whom the Father has given Him for salvation: “No one can snatch you out of My hand. (John 10:28). Apparently, when all of Scripture is brought to bear in understanding these verses in Hebrews, the passage is talking about people who mingled in the community of believers for a time, and even could be taken for fellow believers by some, but never came to the point of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, experiencing the new birth which Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3. But the fact is that we seem to see the evidence of this fearful phenomenon all around us all too often; and it has to be a heavy weight on the souls of those true believers who have an acquaintance with them.
Perhaps the single most disappointing and frustrating aspect of the ministry at the Paul Anderson Youth Home is to see a young man come out of his present world of drugs, crime, and spiritual lethargy, be seemingly transformed during his time with us, and then return to his old world once leaving. This has been the case with a few young men who even give vibrant testimony of the change in their life and their new found faith in Christ while at the PAYH. The only hope we have, when we get word of a return to their old lifestyle, and this has happened often enough that we have reason for hope, is that the seed of God’s Word and the Gospel, though lying fallow for a time, finally takes root and results in a renewed repentance. They come to the end of their rope once again because the life of “this present world is a dead end street, and remember something of what they learned at the PAYH.
Demas was a companion of the Apostle Paul. He must have seen and heard amazing things and he must have witnessed the transformative power of the Holy Spirit over and over again in Paul’s company. But make no mistake about it; life with Paul was not a cakewalk. It was often dangerous and life threatening, as Satan in the guise of many of Paul’s and the gospel’s enemies pressed every effort to destroy his witness to the saving work of Christ. Demas is only mentioned three times in the NT; twice as a companion of Paul along with others like Mark and Luke, and once when he deserts him. Since God’s Word is eternal, Demas will forever be known by this description: “in love with this present world. Would you like for those words to be emblazoned on your forehead for all the world to see as the Scripture is read in every time and place? Or as you stand before the Judge in the last day?
This Demas Disease is a strong sickness. It appears to infect a lot of people. “This present world has tentacles that reach into all the portals of our senses and confounds the will. It takes hold of a will in which the fear and love of God and His Word is not as strong or clear as the fear of losing the enticement and baubles of what “this present world offers; which in the final analysis turns out to be dust. Demas Disease is a sad, sad commentary of what could have been. I would say it is the worst and deadliest cancer that has ever been discovered. How strong is your immunity?


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Jun 13, 2012

Real Teens Talk: Identity

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What is identity? How can we, as parents, help guide our children as they are developing the identity that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives?

Dillon shares about his experiences with developing an identity.


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Jun 13, 2012

Real Teens Talk: Technology

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The days of three television channels and a telephone that is attached to the wall is a foreign concept to today’s youth. Today, phones can surf the web, answer emails, watch tv or movies, take a photo, text a friend, track our finances, record an exercise session, answer a call, and the list goes on and on. With the freedom of the internet, comes dangers that today’s youth are falling prey to everyday. As parents, what can you do help protect your child from this ever expanding world wide web?Listen to what Chad has to say about his experiences with technology…


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