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Peace in the Maelstrom
Sep 27, 2017

Peace in the Maelstrom

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. – Matthew 6:25


Anxiety is a killer. It is an ever-present irritant to the body’s nervous system, impacting your physical health. Excessive and constant worry gives disease a foothold. It wears you down. It saps your strength. It is perhaps the worst carcinogen of all. But truly, is an anxiety-free life even possible?
The Bible certainly warns about the danger of worry while directing you to an alternative: great confidence and trust in God, something that appears to be very difficult to achieve in a fearful world. Peace of mind is not the absence of life challenges or tests to your faith. Life in a fallen world is life on a spiritual battlefield (Ephesians 6); there are many minefields to safely navigate, constant damaging projectiles to avoid, the constant stalking of a very real and lethal enemy.
It is not the absence of problems which is your case, but your response to one problem after another, and overcoming them. Each of the letters to the seven churches of Revelation commands the believer to be an overcomer. Overcoming implies the ever-present existence of obstacles in your life. Peace in the midst of that arises from a perseverance of faith that will never be cowed by the enemy’s onslaught. He can throw the kitchen sink at you, but that will not defeat you. Jesus is the anchor to a soul that cannot be moved.
Jesus said repeatedly, “Do not fear. He encouraged, “Do not worry. “Can your worry add a single hour to your span of life? “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, he continued, “for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for today is its own trouble. He spoke truth to you, but do you really believe Him, the Lord of the universe? “Great peace have those who love Your law, wrote King David, “and nothing can make them stumble. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you, wrote the prophet Isaiah.
Peace is a frame of mind, a real palpable condition of the heart, which God’s Word promises is fully attainable, and not just to what you consider “VIP type of people; it is attainable to any child of God (because really every child of God is a VIP even if you do not accept it). Peace is the absence of anxiety, the absence of worry, the full confidence of your mind that you are in God’s protection and need not fear any harm or evil. Peace is an overwhelming sense of joy; an inescapable feeling that all is under control; your Heavenly Father personally has your back. It sounds too good to be true. But this is the unexaggerated description by God to you of the peace that passes understanding – the very peace He gives.
Life for every one of us is unpredictable. This is especially true because there is another world of reality from what you can see, a spiritual world of good and evil players. Even within the visible world you do not control the actions of those around you, who can impact your own safety, health, and well-being; and the invisible world puts your world under double the threat. Peace is not even in your picture if there is not your Creator and mighty God in the picture. And because He is, and because He is your God, His promises of peace to you are very real.
But is your faith such that you will seek His peace and experience it, even as you continue to live in a very dangerous world? No matter how dangerous, it is His world! “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world! Jesus said powerfully and honestly, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well, with my soul.’
(1st verse of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul, 1873)
 

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Hunter
Sep 25, 2017

Hunter


Hunter’s life is a story of change, hope, and redemption. Through the work God is doing at PAYH, God has radically transformed his life, and he will never be the same. Listen as he takes a few minutes to share his powerful testimony.
A changed life is PRICELESS!


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The Impact of Social Media on Boys
Sep 22, 2017

The Impact of Social Media on Boys

According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 92% of teens reported going online daily (with 24% saying they go online “almost constantly). We now live in a world where the miles between us easily disappear as friends chat, share pictures, and message one another online.
This access means young people can create connections, but they may also have to contend with some pretty negative things, from cyberbullying to body image issues to social media anxiety. In a selfie-obsessed world where trolls can use 140 characters to cut someone down anonymously, what’s the real impact of social media on our boys?

Body Image

According to Netsanity, boys can be strongly influenced by images on social media. “Boys will compare themselves to other boys on social media or even men that they see on TV and in print ads. Today, boys as young as 6-8 are already developing issues with their body image because of things that they have seen through social media, television, and even from offline experiences, the article explains.
It’s largely a matter of comparison to these false ideals – or unattainable ones for young men who are still growing and developing. Social media allows them to make comparisons between their bodies and their friends’ as well as celebrities where none should be made. With impossible standards being set through filtered images of a seemingly perfectly-staged life, it’s not surprising that boys can begin to develop an unhealthy body image.

Anxiety

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys – 6.3 million teens – have had an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Experts agree that this is likely on the low end since young people, especially boys, often don’t talk about depression and anxiety issues to parents or friends. Social media can create connectedness, but it can also isolate and make feelings of loneliness feel more intense as we compare our lives to those we see reflected online.
It’s important to remember that social platforms are a human highlight reel of everyone’s life with posts about game day victories, prom proposals, and summer vacations. This can make boys feel like they aren’t keeping up with their peers and create a false sense of “Fear Of Missing Out on what everyone else seems to be doing.

Cyberbullying

According to one recent study, an incredible 25% of teenagers say that they have been a victim of repeated bullying on their cell phone, on the Internet, or both. When you open that number up to tweens to 20-somethings, it jumps to an unfortunate 52%.
To make matters worse, more than half of the young people who responded to one survey said that they don’t talk to their parents when they become the victims of these types of incidents. When discussing cyber bullying with young people, it’s important to make them aware of a few problems that they may not even realize are going on. Cyber bullying isn’t merely limited to harmful interactions or hurtful messages on social media and instant messengers. It can also involve things like impersonation, where one student posts comments under the guise of another’s identity in an attempt to make them look bad.

What Should You Do?

Social media isn’t going anywhere; among American teens ages 13 to 17, 71% use Facebook, half use Instagram, and 40% use Snapchat. It’s a part of our lives. As a parent, it’s important to set a good example and monitor your own social media presence and usage.
Be present with your boys and create phone-free zones such as dinner time or until homework is complete.
Keeping an eye on his social media is important, but real conversation is even more so, as even the most practiced eye finds it hard to spot signs of depression in our social media.
Seek out expert help when you need it through therapists and counselors, or, in more intense cases, call us. The Paul Anderson Youth Home is a Christian transformative organization that recreates healthy homes through enduring relationships, routines, and tough love. Since 1961, we have been shaping men of character. Our desire is to offer a fresh start for troubled teenagers who need to change their lives and have reached a “dead end. For parents in crisis, the PAYH is a sanctuary. Contact us at 1-800-559-PAYH (7294) or visit our website at payh.org to see how we can help.


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Necessary Personal Execution
Sep 20, 2017

Necessary Personal Execution

“Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:5-11


The daily “news” is so saturated with stories of conflict, terroristic oppression, racial hatred, rapes, torture, heinous murders, constant mayhem, global nuclear threats, and epidemic destruction that if you took it all seriously as personal mortal threats to your own well-being, you would not mentally survive. You must, as you do daily, separate yourself from the nearness and reality of it all, living in false thinking, illogically insulated against every threat, hoping nothing penetrates to where you live. It is so pervasive in our world that we wonder what you or any ordinary individual among billions of human beings could possibly do to change the overall world situation into a more peaceful and livable environment.
Well, God does not intend for you alone to change the world as it is. He intends for you to change YOU in the midst of this fallen world and for you to know that your life can truly impact others in your own orbit, for good and eternity. This means you must come to the realization that you must see the necessity of personally executing yourself. Not taking your own life by suicide, but putting your own sinful character in the electric chair, putting it to death, as Paul so clearly defines in Colossians and elsewhere. We do not begin by asking, “How do I change the world? but rather, “How do I control what I can control – namely, me?
It is a genuinely serious plan of personal reconstruction; it is a necessary plan which takes priority over all others. And what is more important: It is doable! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” It takes faith, and faith is certainly attainable; it is a gift of God to all who are in Christ (Ephesians 2). Being in Christ gives you the gift of faith, which is all you need. But the gift of faith must be exercised to put sin in you to death. This you must do: Die to yourself! This is a one-time event when Christ comes into your life initially, AND it is as well a lifetime process. You must always be in the mode of putting your sinful nature to death. It only ends when you cross the river from this life to being glorified in heaven. Keep on keeping on until you see Him face-to-face.
When you see sin and fallenness all around, don’t look outward before looking inward. Sin still lives in you. Take care of these sins first, before being a judge of others. This is the definition of humility in your character. Humility comes from judging yourself continuously. Humility is the affirmation that you genuinely crave Christlikeness. Jesus is humble; He defines it by who He is. You can learn humility from studying His life. And you can best exercise it in the environment of a sinful world, because living in such is a constant test to whether you have humility and whether or not your humility is growing. This world along with its prince, the devil, is the only true crucible to determine whether or not humility and Christ-like character dwell in you.
Living in this world, your world, is God’s test of your sanctification, which the Westminster Shorter Catechism describes as “dying more and more unto sin, and living more and more unto righteousness. You see, this requires you putting sin to death, a necessary execution of all the sin which dwells in you. This is a regular discipline of a humble life. There is no more discipline which is more important. Its rewards are infinite. Its results in molding you are all which will pass attached to you into eternity. Naked you were born, and naked you will leave, accompanied only with your character. Your possessions and earthly honors, which you may believe established your status in life, are all vacated at the grave. Only character passes through to eternity.
So, by your faith execute mortification; that is, putting your sinful self to death. And keep plunging the knife into its heart as a daily regimen. Sin doesn’t die easily, but it does die eventually. Faith tells me to not give up. Keep it up till you look into His eyes. As Job tells you in Job 19, that day is coming!


“When this passing world is done, when has sunk yon glaring sun, when we stand with Christ in glory, looking o’er life’s finished story, then, Lord, shall I fully know, not till then, how much I owe.”
(1st verse of Robert Murray McCheyne’s hymn, “When This Passing World Is Done,” 1837)
 

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The 24/7 Teacher
Sep 11, 2017

The 24/7 Teacher

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:5-9


This passage essentially describes an all-encompassing instructor, a picture of a never tiring, never sloughing teacher of sons and daughters. There really isn’t a time or activity, common or uncommon, in which he is not proclaiming the wonderful truths and commandments of his Creator and One True God and Father to his children.
This is God’s preeminent description of fathers: indefatigable teachers of and living examples to those whom they themselves father. The words of Deuteronomy 6 are direct; the school of righteousness is not relegated to a formal classroom. It encompasses the whole world and time in which you and they live. The only time their instruction hibernates is when they sleep. Either by father or mother, or the teachers selected by their parents, your children are constantly being taught, always under the aegis of their God-given master teacher, their father, until they have a knowledge, picture, and relationship with who their father emulates, their heavenly Father God. It is a responsibility of enormous proportion. The only way to avoid it is to not have children. To procreate is to immediately take on this all-encompassing task.
This appears to be the parameters laid out by God for the work of a father. He still must provide for and protect his wife and family, but in those roles, he is always teaching and nurturing – not always necessarily directly, but, at a minimum, under his authority and plan. What a responsibility! It requires energy, knowledge, and wisdom. No one is equal to the task. Apart from the recognized calling, strength, and guidance of God, it is unattainable.
This is particularly why Paul offers a necessary promise, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. It is also why God’s ideal includes two parents. It is why he provides a “help-mate to assist in the task; each parent brings gender-unique talents and strengths to this work. Two is always better than one, as the wise teacher, Solomon, tells us; husband and wife, father and mother. Short of the ideal of two parents, improvisation is required and it is so much more difficult but still possible.
Families need fathers like everyone needs air to breathe or water to drink. They are essential to family health; if a human father is taken away, a heavenly One must step in more prominently. Human fathers have one supreme model, namely their Heavenly Father. Being natural sinners, prone to failure, they desperately need His grace to survive and succeed. To teach about God and His commandments a father needs to know His Word. Ignorance of the Scriptures seals a father’s failure. Consistent discipline in reading His Word and obeying it provides promise of success.
C.S. Lewis wrote of the brilliant author George MacDonald: “An almost perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom. From his own father, he said, he first learned that fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. He was thus prepared in an unusual way to teach that religion in which the relation of Father and Son is of all relations the most central. Fathers are that critical to the health of human society and the success of the family, in mimicking the relation which the Father and Son have within the Trinity in their relationship to their own children. Children know and relate to God by the nurture and instruction from their father. Their father in turn must have and know and depend on a relationship with his Father in heaven.
The strength and health of society and especially of the church relies on the strength of fathers who know who their Heavenly Father is and convey their knowledge and experience with Him to their children. It is God’s plan in this manner to convey His love to one generation after another. In accomplishing this, God uses particularly fathers to pursue the continuity of His grace to His chosen people. Would that God’s people would catch His vision for fathers and that men would commit their lives to fulfilling God’s design for fatherhood. There truly is no greater need of the church today!


“My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear. He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear. With confidence I now draw nigh, with confidence I now draw nigh, and ‘Father, Abba, Father’ cry.
(4th verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Arise, My Soul, Arise, 1742)
 

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Sep 06, 2017

How Much Does God Expect Me to Give?

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4


Did you know that you can buy copies of the widow’s mite (2 copper coins) from numerous sources? I was given a framed copy at my retirement from 32 years in the Army. What does this comment of Jesus, whom He alone noticed, about the poor widow as she placed her apparent current substance in the collection box at the temple mean to us? Absolutely nothing would be known about her gift had not the Lord of all life commented on His perceptive observations. His comment made her known to everyone familiar with the Scriptures down through all of history after the first century. We do not know a thing of any of the “big” givers who gave “large” donations that were still a tiny percentage of their actual personal worth.
The poor widow does not even know, that is, until she entered heaven’s gates, that anyone knew of or noticed her tiny “insignificant” gift. Proportionately, it may have been the biggest gift ever given at the Jerusalem temple in the eyes of God, sight which counts infinitely. We do not know her name, but she stands predominantly in the courts of glory.
How are each of us known for our giving to God’s kingdom? And not even really “our” giving! It is how much we were willing to return what God had put in our care of all He had bestowed on us. There are actually numerous stories of those who chose to give 50% or more of their substance into “kingdom building.” And God, who knew of their giving, proportionately increased their income knowing where 50% of it was sure to go. These received the joy of giving away His treasures.
Many never know this joy, even though they could. They do not know that, though it appears to themselves there is a need of every penny to pay bills, taxes, and obligations or they would just not make it, that sacrificial giving will actually swell their income beyond what they ever thought possible; but, alas, such faith or knowledge never materializes in their minds or hearts. They totally lose out on the joy of such giving.
A lack of charitable thinking, a habit of living allegedly “watching” every penny, or wanting more and more for themselves, causes so many to not realize God asks for their first fruits, a mere 10%, before the first meal is purchased or bill paid. He actually gives 100% and asks for 1/10th in return; the first tenth. Primarily, this is to remind us it is all His. Ironically, He multiplies the other 90% to meet every need. In truth, He usually enlarges the 90% to prosper your life beyond what you need. This causes some to go beyond 10% in their giving to God’s kingdom work. The joy of giving captures their heart, and they are enthralled with what their giving accomplishes.
The application of the Scriptural phrase of “God loves a cheerful giver” comes to fruition as you think of your assets as God’s and give cheerfully. If the widow’s mite was a sacrificial gift that pleased God, what would your “mite” look like? Put your treasures in God’s bank; there are no better interest rates in the world. They just keep increasing and never lose!


“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou mine inheritance now and always. Thou and thou only first in my heart. High King of heaven, my treasure thou art. High King of heaven, my victory won. May I reach heaven’s joy, O bright heaven’s sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”
(3rd and 4th verses, Irish, 8th-10th Century, “Be Thou My Vision”)
 

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Change
Sep 05, 2017

A Changed Life is Priceless


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