The musings, rambling blog entries, humor, life, political opinions, observations, personal and spiritual beliefs, tasty treats and other writings of an almost 40, single mother of two.
Links of Approval
(You can read the introduction to this 8 week study here. You can also click the tag at the bottom of this post and all of the Biblical Motherhood posts will be shown to you.)
First, we must know that the way of the whole world is to compare people to people, and it is a powerful motivator. Dependence on others' thoughts of our character and the opportunities we might gain through them can move us to do great things. The world will always compare people, and because of our old nature we will feel pressure to do the same. In fact, it is the only measurement there is outside of God.
But in Christ, is there an authentic measurement?
In the world of competition where one goes against another, the goal is to see who performs the best. Value is placed on the actions one is able to do. This is essential when, say, a person is applying for work. An employer must be able to determine whom to hire, and he must look at each person's achievements to make a judgment between them. He should choose whomever is most suited to the work.
Often a Christian should look at the gifting he has and others have been given by God to find where the Lord has designed him to be. The above verse is not speaking of this kind of comparison. This is discernment. We need this!
What God is speaking of in 2 Corinthians 10:12 is something harmful to us. It increases our fear of what others think of us and takes our eyes off of the Lord. This kind of comparison pits us against each other in an attempt to put ourselves first, or at least to do as well as others. It is a counterfeit that can only work fear in us, and not love. To gain God's view of this issue, we need His Word! Because we are studying God's design for us as students, we will liken this to the approval we attempt to achieve through our studies, but it also applies to any situation in life where there is comparison, which is used to control us. It is a good illustration of a place in our life where we often have an altar built to worship something other than God but, as is with most altars, it is not easily recognizable.
We all need correction. For example, it is good to find where we have worked math problems incorrectly and must go back to find the right answer. That is how authentic learning takes place. It can be through getting information that is true, and we believe it and act on it. That's the easiest way! But learning often takes place through our failure: when we forget, or when we make a mistake as we are working, or if we refuse to use the formula needed to achieve the right answer. When we are tested, we find where we have not gained an understanding. Through repetition we may remember what we have tended to forget. But a test often reveals what questions we need to ask in order to know what we have been missing. We can be thankful for correction.
You are going with your children through their education. Your child needs to know where he has done something wrong in order to learn to do it correctly. When he receives a certain percentage on his paper, it is a legitimate mark of performance. It shows him and you what he 'got' and that there are things he still needs to know. It is not an assessment of the child's person. It does not tell you who they are and what they will achieve one day. A score can be an opportunity to go further. It is correction that forms us and informs us!
Please copy here the last lines of both Proverbs 15:5 and 10:
But comparison such as in 2 Corinthians 10:12 is not correction. It is fearful of what others think, and that is oppressive. In the center of the word "oppressive" is the word "press." That is what oppression is like. It pressures us and makes us act out of obligation and fear. Creativity and desire are not encouraged under oppression. It does not know joy. It will earn acceptance from others even at great cost. Walking this way, we will find we have a heavy burden, a "chain" we think we need in order to be approved, links that we cannot get free from.
When education becomes about pleasing people, achieving an acceptance from others because of what we can do, and hoping for good placement from them, we are in a vulnerable position. We are trying to please others by 'works', taking man's counsel, and looking to our performance to gain what we want. But we have missed the heart of God, not understanding that He is looking for us to use the gifts and skills He has given to us not to please men, but to please Him!
Israel did this, taking Egypt as their covering instead of God. For us, Egypt is a picture of the world, and this passage is very instructional to our lives in this light. Please read Isaiah 30:1-5. In verse 1, what did God want to give His people?
From verse 2, what did God want to give and be for His people?
Verse 3 tells what Israel would receive from the people in whom they had placed their trust. What did they receive?
We often have hopes of receiving what we need from the world. We live in the world and feel that in order to "make it" we must do whatever it takes. But God doesn't see it that way. In God's eyes, when we trust someone other than Him, it is idolatry.
In the King James Version, verse 3 says that their trust would become their confusion.
How about you? Have you received confusion where you thought you would find wisdom?
God has more for you than this! What does He offer you in Isaiah 33:6?
We need to know God's character in order to stand firm in Him! Please copy 1 Corinthians 14:33:
We can thank God that He doesn't write confusion, but His peace is His trademark. As it is written, this is true in all the churches of the true believers! Those who are united by the Spirit of God in the family of faith can encourage each other and we can learn and grow together out of confusion and into the knowledge of God through His Word. Once we have a family (husband and children), God lets our impact affect one another greatly as well. While it can be used either way, He intends it for good.
Turn to Deuteronomy 30:19,20. In verse 19, who will your choice affect?
From verse 20, what is God for you?
Your life is in Christ, as a believer. He made you and saved you! You belong to Him! He also holds in His hand the "length of your days," how long you will live. You don't need to worry about your life. He, who is your life, also holds your life. You can rest in His provision.
You may want to copy Revelation 4:11 here. It is an excellent verse to memorize with your children.
From Romans 11:29, God gives two things to you that He will not take back. What are they?
Do you realize that you have certain gifts from God for which only He can reveal His purpose? He made you and has a plan for your life, your husband's and your children's lives. Know that your children's strengths and weaknesses are a tool for you to see which direction the Lord would have them go. We aren't made to excel at everything. The gifts God gives are His, and what we receive from Him can be invested and made useful for His kingdom! He will meet every effort we give for His glory with His power to perform it, that people may see that He is God, and that He is good. We mothers will see God's glory as we make attempts to teach our children, and find the Lord's loving kindness there at every turn. Our children will see God's glory as we learn to love them with the acceptance that God gives to us, no matter our exact performance! His love is for them in the same way!
Our children do need to have skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. They can't be compared to others for how quickly they should "catch on." Sometimes the greater lesson is not the mastery of a skill, but of patience and kindness, and the upholding of one's value not because of their performance, but because they are loved deeply by God.
Who should our studies give glory (reality) to? (exalt, boast about) See 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Now how can we glorify God or do something as to the Lord? Romans 14:6 says, "He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks." Through this verse, how can a person do something "to the Lord?"
A people who are not controlled by fear from outward pressure can be a people filled with joy and ready to do what is in their hand to do for God's glory! It isn't that we don't need any authority. We are under God's authority and those humans He puts in authority over us. Our children are under our authority. But as the people of God, we should grow past the need to be made to be productive, to have someone checking over our shoulder on us, because of our desire to please and obey the Lord. We will practice this to a greater degree the longer we walk with Jesus. It is a process of the heart, and God gives us a picture to help us see how it can look.
Please find Proverbs 6:6-8. As we "consider her ways and be wise," what will we not require in order to work diligently (verse 7)?
What kinds of things might we be about (verse 8)?
In the Word of God we learn that God has given us His creation through which to observe His character (Romans 1:20). But we are quite unable to learn His goodness and perform it. This is what the cross is all about! Now that we are saved, how can we do that which we know is His goodness (Romans 8:9a)?
As mothers, we are learning how to be a student under God, to live by His Spirit (to hear from God and obey Him through His strength), and to lead our children to Him as well.
As we instruct our children we will need to listen to them, and to be prompt with discipline for lying. This is essential, since there is an honesty about not needing someone to make you do your work. We can function in freedom, gladly thanking God for what we can do, and we can teach our children this way of keeping at our work until it is finished. Teach, encourage and correct! Live in front of them; live with them! But avoid fear instilled by human comparison that will keep you from teaching your children by the Spirit's leading.
How can we avoid such fear? We see the problem, but how do we move from here to freedom?
The key is found in understanding where we are focusing, and where we need to focus. Please find Hebrews 12:2 and write, very simply, our Focus:
From Matthew 5:8, what work is the Lord doing in us so that we can have this view?
So before our heart is pure, it is clouded with things that keep us from seeing Him. Consider what a person's focus will be on if she is very concerned about a letter grade which shows her where she is in comparison to other people. Won't her attention be on others? How about a concentration on one's own percentage? There one is absorbed in how well her own progress is going, and so is thinking about herself. One who cares very much for accumulating ideas, knowledge and the benefits it promises to bring will soon find education itself the focus.
But a purified heart will be seeking God in each area of study; He is the Subject. In all that is taken up to learn, it is done to please Him and to know Him a little better. The skills of mathematics and reading and writing a language are intensely about God. To invest them to know Him gives Him honor and glory! And so education now is no longer about a measurement of our achievement, but about the Lord God, and our study becomes a pleasure rather than an endless pursuit. This is not to say that it will never be difficult, but study becomes so full of purpose that the links of heaviness and expectation are unhooked and no longer hold our attention captive.
Now, we not only are enjoying God in our study, but we have something to share with others. The knowledge of God becomes our fragrance! (2 Corinthians 2:14)
So how should we consider the measurements of mankind now that we are learning to be controlled from the inside by the Spirit of the Living God? God can still use them for us.
Please find 2 Corinthians 8:8. What does God use to test the sincerity of our love for Him?
Sometimes the diligent, earnest efforts of a person are for another, sometimes a person can be earnestly against the other. God can use either for His child. As we grow in trust in Him, He can help us to see the positive and negative reactions of others toward us as His test for us, and so we can gain courage because we know that He is using it for us.
And when we gain courage, we can be for others, too! As it is written in Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works." When we are encouraged by someone else running the race, we will find ourselves no longer trying to outdo them, but instead we will pray for their continued courage, speak words that hold them up, draw boldness and determination to do well in our own life, "as unto the Lord," and live thanking God, thanking God!
Father, You are different than my old nature which tries to manipulate to be pleased or comforted. I confess that I have these things in me that are so against Your nature. I remember the cross You died on for me and I ask You to forgive me for the sake of Your own Son. Please so change me that I will treasure Your approval of me! Take out of me this fear of man so that I can fear and respect You! You give Life; You are Life. So I wait for You now to do this work in me. Help me see Your acceptance of me and let go of trying to please the world. Replace that fear of the world with a fresh focus and authentic love for you! Fill me with hope so that I will love my family the way You love me. Give me courage to be a workman who encourages others. Help me to obey what You tell me so that You can set me free. In Jesus' name, A-men!
Open Heart, Open Eyes
(You can read the introduction to this 8 week study here. You can also click the tag at the bottom of this post and all of the Biblical Motherhood posts will be shown to you.)
As you pray today, ask the Lord to make a solid foundation in your heart of the knowledge of Him. Ask Him for cool water where your soul is thirsty, and to redeem what is your inheritance!
How does God reveal Himself from the following verses?
The Bible is the Word of God, and we will have a special lesson more specifically on it in week 6.
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, and we will look further at Him in week 4.
In this lesson we will go through the creation more thoroughly to gain a better understanding of how God uses it to make Himself evident.
Let's go to Genesis chapter one. From verses 8, 9, 10, please list the three places that God made to support the life He was going to create.
Please see Psalm 135:6. (Do you see a pattern here?)
There are many verses in the Word of God where these three places are spoken of. God made them, and then filled them with creatures. All of them tell of His character. They reveal Him to us. However, they must be interpreted by the Spirit of God using the Word of God. When sin entered the world, it brought with it decay and death, and these have confused the message that God conveys through His creation. Without the Spirit and the Word of God we will begin to think that God is against us, and that we will surely always be under His scrutiny because we are untrustworthy. Even in reading the Word of God you may have noticed this tendency in your understanding. The Spirit speaks to us if we will take the whole counsel of God's Word and believe Him, and He applies it in creation to make truth tangible so that we have insight; we understand.
This study of created things is generally called science. True science can be tested, and the same results are observed again and again. Creation-science includes the physical makeup of air molecules, gravity, the speed of light, planets and rotation, stars, time, seasons, the layers of rock, sand, precious metals, gas and water in the earth, the lay of the ocean floor, currents, salt vs. fresh water, feathers, flight patterns, types of birds, styles of nests, habits of creatures, weather, feeding patterns of land animals, skeletal structures, cold-blooded vs. warm-blooded animals, types of fish, sea creatures, underwater plants and depth and density of water, for example. And all of it is here to testify of God's presence, His power, and His character.
Not only are there the sky, the earth, and the sea, which God made, but if you will look at Genesis 2:7, you will see God's tenderness with His last creation: man. From this passage, what intimacy do you see in the way God created the first man?
God's desire was for fellowship with mankind from the very first. He so intensely desired us! In fact, before we were ever born, before the first people could even sin, He knew what was coming, and so He had provided far in advance. From Revelation 13:8 we understand that as far as God was concerned, Jesus was, in His heart, crucified "from the foundation of the world," so set was his plan to buy us back. He is God for all people for all time! From the first man who stood upon the earth and breathed in air to those who today are being born, Jesus is The Answer. He was there to watch the birth of the firstborn child upon the earth. He was there, and He grieved over the people, which led to the flood. He was there when the people loaded up their earthly possessions to travel to unknown places on the earth. It was God who sent His Son as a tiny baby among the Roman soldiers, busy streets, and crude walls of an obscure stable. He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross in order to take the punishment of justice that sin required. He was there to rise from the dead and make His victory in the unseen realm known to all men in this physical act. He sees all the children He is forming within their mothers all across the world. He sees every person in every country, and has throughout all time. He watches the streets and farmland, He is in the tents, huts, and houses, with every man, woman, and child, and His great desire is for them to receive His sacrifice for them, to live within them, and to have fellowship with them.
The study of mankind we most often call history. History is not meant so much as a study of people in the past, present, and future, but of God and His presence and provision for the past, present, and future of people. Included in history are mechanical and medicinal inventions, languages, cultures and family groups, clothing, foods, transportation, uses of creation (creatures and resources), effects of climate and topography, governments and laws, uses of time, education, wars, value of money or trade, architecture, and dentistry, for starters. All of these things speak not so much of people and their coming and going, but of God who has provided the knowledge of Himself in creation and the opportunity for those who have His Word to testify of Him to others. It is His-story.
These areas of sky, earth, and sea and all that is in them, and the study of mankind become fresh and exciting when we see them in this light. No longer a list of subjects to fulfill on a report card, for us these become a way to know our God, and they are our pleasure to search out!
Run a glass of water and find it a type of the Word – think on it. Ponder these things. Dig in your garden and look at the soil. Find a path and look closely at the ground, and then meditate on Mark 4:3-20.
As you bake a batch of cookies, check the sky at night, look out across the horizon as you drive, as you hear the sound of the wind, look into the eyes of your children, God is speaking to you. God is speaking to you! To hear Him requires not merely the desire for an educational experience, but the will to know God, to have fellowship with Him, to hear His voice!
In 2 Corinthians 2:15,16 we read, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?" Every time we smell the blossoms of an apple tree, or catch the scent of a lovely perfume, the Lord wants us to hear from Him! That is the sweetness of His smell! With the odor of spoiled potatoes or a garbage can left too long comes a reminder from God to help us to understand how offensive the Righteous One is to the lost around us. They cannot come without the Lord's power.
From these verses, please identify the picture used and the lesson given. Remember that they are to be used in dividing the Word of God, not to become our focus in themselves. The creation must serve the Word of God and the Spirit of God!
Oh, my friend, do you see? He has given us the creation to explain things that we cannot see yet, things that pertain to the life to come, life in His kingdom!
Please pray with me!
Oh, Father! Thank You for making it possible for me to hear You! It cost You everything to have fellowship with me. Oh, help me to see, open my eyes and my ears so that I will understand how much You love me. Till up the soil of my heart so that I will not listen out of mere obligation, but with thankfulness, and a desire for Your heart. Thank You, Father, for this beautiful earth, and for using even the mean things of life to speak to me. You will not waste any of it. Open my heart that I might study to know You! In Jesus' name, A-men!
Authentic or Counterfeit?
(You can read the introduction to this 8 week study here. You can also click the tag at the bottom of this post and all of the Biblical Motherhood posts will be shown to you.)
Please ask the Lord to speak to you today from His Word, and to teach you to discern the difference between the knowledge of the world and the knowledge of Him.
"For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent," 1 Corinthians 1:19.
In 1 Timothy 6:20,21, we find Paul warning Timothy against the same danger:
"O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge - by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen,"
Knowledge is important, and the desire to learn is built into every one of us. Our desire to know is given by God, and genuine, real truth is the only way to an authentic education. For every authentic reality God has for us, Satan devises a counterfeit to make us feel sure of ourselves, yet confused. Only the genuine reality will hold up during a storm when the wild winds, the circumstances of life, blow hard against us! We will take a look at authentic wisdom, and its counterfeit, "what is falsely called knowledge," today.
From Hosea 4:1, what is the charge God brings against those who "inhabit the land"?
See Hosea 4:6. What destroys God's own people?
Please record what is the result of God's people having no knowledge (Isaiah 5:13).
Slavery in the physical realm is another person having control of your body. In the realm of the soul (mind, emotions, will), bondage is someone's control of your thoughts, your feelings, your decisions.
What controls your thoughts will affect your feelings and your decisions. The spiritual battle is waged over your mind.
In Hosea chapter 5 God speaks through Hosea to explain to the people the reason for their poverty of mind. In verse 11 He addresses a specific family line (Ephraim), but this also applies to any of God's people. Please copy Hosea 5:11 here and mark the phrases which tell their condition, and how they got there.
Webster's 1828 dictionary defines precept as follows: "In a general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action, especially applied to moral conduct. "
We see that in focusing on the rules of human acceptance, God's people were controlled and oppressed by other people. They lacked discernment in life's situations and had lost sight of God's viewpoint. Oppression like this causes a heaviness and dullness of spirit. It overburdens, is unreasonable, and gives you no freedom for creativity.
Can you think of any area(s) of your life in which you have been walking by human precept?
In these areas you may notice a tendency to feel inferior at times, or to be very self-confident. It is a knowledge that "puffs up" (makes prideful), and is actually a counterfeit of the knowledge of God.
1 Corinthians 8:1 says, "...We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies."
1 Timothy 6:20,21, "...avoiding...what is falsely called knowledge."
See James 3:14,15. What is God's definition of false knowledge (verse 14)?
What is its source (verse 15)?
The knowledge of God (wisdom) doesn't focus on humans as its point of interest. It is completely taken with God! How does God define wisdom? Is true wisdom a thing or a Person (1 Corinthians 1:30)?
The knowledge of the glory, the reality, of God is the knowledge that God is for us. We must know and understand that He is God, He is real, and we are not Him and will never hold His position as God. False knowledge (selfish ambition) is what puffs us up to think that we have control of our lives, that we are, in effect, God. But we aren't, and He calls us to humble ourselves to acknowledge the truth of His reality while we are still on the earth, before we enter the realm of eternity in heaven or hell.
When we trust in the ways of selfish ambition, what does God say will happen to our false security? Isaiah 30:12-14.
His remedy is Jesus! Please write God's counsel in verse 15!
Also copy God's instruction from Jeremiah 6:16.
When we study, we will either study to know God through His creation and the skills He gives us, or we will study to know and exalt ourselves. It has to do with the motive of our heart: why we are studying, and what, or Who, we are studying.
The religious leaders of the day took away the "key to knowledge" (Luke 11:52) by a counterfeit; by putting the people in fear of the leaders rather than focusing the people on God. If we don't understand the Way God has provided to Himself, we will never know that we can come to Him in full confidence in Him, never mind what any man says! God must become greater in our vision than any man. We must fix our eyes on Him to see how things really are.
What are some benefits the knowledge of God will bring to our lives?
Psalm 119:29 (something God will do in you!)
Isaiah 33:17-19 (What will be your focus, your vision in life? V.17)
The Lord has such good things for us as we learn of Him in all that we study! He longs to fill us with good things and satisfy and refresh us! If you will come to Him, He will never disappoint you. You will be His student; He will be your Teacher.
"Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart," Psalm 119:2.
Please pray with me:
Dear Father, I know that You are God, and yet I have such a tendency to think that education belongs to men instead of to You. I've sought after the approval of teachers on this earth and have found my attention on them instead of on You. I have been hurt by oppression, and I have joined in on that oppression toward others. This is not Your heart. Please take this out of me, and replace it with Your heart for learning. I receive Your forgiveness, and thank You that Your ways are not like mine. Please teach me Your ways. I love You, Lord, because You are good! In Jesus' name, A-men.
“That, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:31.
There is a children’s book entitled Blueberries For Sal (by McClosky) in which Little Sal and a bear cub get mixed around while each of them are picking blueberries with their mother. Little Sal hears a noise and follows what she thinks is her mother, eating blueberries all the way. Little Bear has the same experience as he is busy munching the sweet berries. Only in time do any of them check to see how the other is doing only to find, “You’re not my baby!” and, “You’re not my Mother!” Both Mother and Mama Bear do find their own offspring and all of the berry-eaters leave Blueberry Hill satisfied. (Mother even has blueberries enough to can for winter!)
It is a sweet illustration of a much greater search for truth: Who is Jesus? To be following someone we think is our Savior, only to find out that we have not had Him at all would be devastating now, and also have eternal consequences.
“Who are You, Lord?” Acts 9:5
If we will go to God’s Word for the answer, we will find what we need to know, and we, too, will leave in security, having been satisfied!
“But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me,” Jeremiah 9:24.
If we know God, we can boast about Him! Did you think all boasting was wrong? Here is one that, in God’s economy, is good boasting, in fact, it pleases Him. As we know God, we will understand!
“Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” Proverbs 9:10.
Way back in the beginning, God was revealing Himself through His creation, even before sin entered the world. We read in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Before He even began His creating process, God knew what would all take place, and He knew the Remedy He would provide.
As He considered His crowning work, mankind, He ‘conferred together.’ “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...,” Genesis 1:26.
In fact, in the first verse of the Bible, the word used to describe God is, in Hebrew, plural. “In the beginning, God...”
The word used is elohiym, “plural of elowahh; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used of the supreme God.”
Yet Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”
When Jesus, in John 10:30, said, “I am My Father are one,” what was He saying? We are going to look at the Bible and compare, Old Testament and New, to see the whole teaching from God’s Word on Jesus’ identity. We will choose some key verses, but there are many more that you may read in your quiet times with the Lord. If you stay consistent in spending time each day with the Lord and His Word, you will learn more than if you study a large amount in a sitting or two, and then nothing for days. It’s like eating. You will be stronger if you take regular, healthy meals than if you gorge on whatever you happen to find in the kitchen, and then fast for days.
Following are eight questions. You will be able to find the answers in the Bible verses provided.
In Isaiah 44:6, we find the first part of this course of the meal! From this verse, by what names does God reveal Himself?
The word ‘revelation’ means ‘the act of revealing’. From the first line in Revelation 1:1, Who does the book of Revelation reveal?
Just a few verses down, see Revelation 1:8 and 11. By what names does Jesus reveal Himself?
Outside of any other teaching, what does the Bible itself claim about the identity of the First and the Last?
The glory of God is His ‘weight’, His splendor, His reality.
What does God say about His glory in Isaiah 42:8?
With this in mind, please turn to John 17:5. What does Jesus say about His glory?
If God doesn’t give or share His glory with anyone, yet Jesus has had God’s glory from before the world was created, who is Jesus?
From Isaiah 6:1, who did Isaiah see?
From John 12:41, who did Isaiah see? (For clarity on who is the subject of verse 41, please read verses 36-41.)
From these two portions of Scripture, what is the identity of the One who appeared to Isaiah?
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. From Revelation 22:13, Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last? (Verse 16 identifies the speaker.)
Who is the First and the Last? Please see Isaiah 48:12 and 13.
Revelation 1:17,18 – Again, Who is the First and the Last?
From verse 18, what are His credentials?
Who raised Jesus from the dead? Acts 2:24
Using information from the Bible only, in your own words, who raised Jesus from the dead?
The word ‘manifest’ is defined as “Clearly apparent to the understanding or the senses; palpable; obvious. To make plain to sight or understanding; reveal; display.”
Please read 1 Timothy 3:16 (in the King James Version if you have it). Who was manifested in flesh?
What does that say about Jesus?
What does Jesus’ name ‘Immanuel’ mean? (Matthew 1:23)
In Isaiah 45, the Lord emphasizes one truth over and again. To find it, read verses 5-6, 14,18 and 21. What is it? Please copy Isaiah 45:22. God says there is no other god besides Him, and He ought to know. He is God! Is God’s motive to try to disguise Himself and be mysteriously hidden? Read Isaiah 45:19. (1 Corinthians 14:33 may also give insight.) When we think that God is trying to deceive us and manipulate us, who is actually doing the deceiving and manipulating? (Romans 2:1, “…For in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”) Oh, soften your heart to receive the truth! Jesus is God in the flesh, and He is desperately in love with you! He has done everything to make a way for you to be with Him! From 2 Corinthians 11:4, does every church preach the same Jesus? Are there those who would urge you to receive a different spirit than the Spirit of God? Is there a gospel that some preach that is not the gospel of the Jesus who is God in the flesh? In 2 Corinthians 11:3 it is written: “But I fear, lest somehow...your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Dear friend, there is simplicity in the Living God! It is found in believing Him, putting your trust in what He has done for you, and what He says.
Please copy Isaiah 45:22.
God says there is no other god besides Him, and He ought to know. He is God!
Is God’s motive to try to disguise Himself and be mysteriously hidden? Read Isaiah 45:19. (1 Corinthians 14:33 may also give insight.)
When we think that God is trying to deceive us and manipulate us, who is actually doing the deceiving and manipulating? (Romans 2:1, “…For in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”)
Oh, soften your heart to receive the truth! Jesus is God in the flesh, and He is desperately in love with you! He has done everything to make a way for you to be with Him!
From 2 Corinthians 11:4, does every church preach the same Jesus?
Are there those who would urge you to receive a different spirit than the Spirit of God?
Is there a gospel that some preach that is not the gospel of the Jesus who is God in the flesh?
In 2 Corinthians 11:3 it is written: “But I fear, lest somehow...your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Dear friend, there is simplicity in the Living God! It is found in believing Him, putting your trust in what He has done for you, and what He says.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:23 to those who will not be in His kingdom, “I never knew you.” He is desiring an intimate relationship with you. His desire is to know and be known by you.
The cross of Jesus, this Jesus, is offensive because it says that you are not good enough to win God’s favor, that your good works are filthy in God’s sight because they promote you. Any other Jesus will accept your efforts and demand more of you. But God the Son will accept nothing that you bring; He demands only that you place your trust in Him. That requires that you leave off working for your salvation. In your mind, your trust must be placed in Him instead of in yourself, or in any one else. His sacrifice is sufficient for you!
If you have placed your trust in another Jesus, it is time for you to believe God’s Word and agree with God. The Bible is where we learn of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible is where we learn who He is, and who we are. Why should we take another companion book to the Bible so that we must believe the Bible sometimes and the other teaching other times? God says His Word is pure (Psalm 12:6). If you place your trust in Him and His Word, the Bible, you will know the God who made you and loves you, who redeems your life from the pit, who calls you His own, and will never leave nor forsake you.
If you have called others Christians who have confessed another Jesus than the Jesus the Bible reveals, you have given them false hope and have disagreed with God to their hurt. It is time for you to believe God’s Word and agree with Him.
“For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance,” Matthew 9:13.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me", Revelation 3:20.
If this issue has not been a crucial matter to you, you have not seen it the way God does. The name of Jesus is about His identity. This Jesus, the Son of God and God, the Son, is the only One who has the authority and power to redeem a soul from an eternity apart from God. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
There is no one like our God! He is the One who saves!
Will you pray with me?
Lord, You have spoken clearly in Your Word about Your identity. You don’t require that we understand the Trinity, but only that we trust what You say above our own thoughts. In this matter, I relinquish my ideas and ask You to replace them with faith in You and what Your Word teaches. Help me to see that Your Word gives life, and that You are the Hope of the whole world. There is no one who doesn’t need You. I worship You as You tell me who You are in Your Word. I place my trust in You, the God who came in flesh to save me. Cause me to be unashamed of the truth of Your identity in the presence of others, because You alone are God. In Jesus’ name I pray, A-men.
Ask the Lord for His light burden and easy yoke today. To be His student is to be taught of things that have value for this life and the life to come. Ask Him to help you choose His way!
“Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:29.
To teach is nothing new. There are teachers in every imagination and religion of man under the sun. That is because God has given His gifts, in this case, teaching, to people and the test is in how we will use it. Teachers of other gods have many sound observations and give practical counsel, some that mirror the Word of God. So who copied whom?
The foundation of all that we know must be in the identity of our God. Is He different than any other god and what is that difference?
Jesus is God manifest in flesh. The Bible makes that claim, He spoke openly of His identity while He walked the earth, and His followers stand on this fact as basic doctrine. If God came in the flesh, and human beings crucified Him, and then He rose from the dead, we are in real trouble. There is no greater fear for mankind than the fear of standing before the Judgment Seat of God, the Judge. Some ignore this thought or drown it out with anything one can reach, but in the end, this is what it comes down to: you and God.
That Jesus died on a Roman cross is an historical fact. People who were there wrote about it, and not all were followers of His. People who were there also claim that three days later He rose from the dead, and that they saw Him, and touched Him, ate with Him, and heard the things He said. They said He later rose up into the clouds, and angels announced that He would return the same way one day. The followers of Jesus had had everything to lose when He died, and it seemed reasonable to the Jews and Romans that they would try some sort of deception to hold on to their hope. But the thing that should shout to us is what their claim about Jesus led to.
Many people have died for what they believed in if they really held it as the truth. But if these followers of His had taken His body, as the story was told, they would have known that He didn’t actually rise from the dead, that it was a hoax and a great deception that they had carried out themselves. They would’ve known it wasn’t the truth. But they were treated with the greatest hatred, beaten, and killed (except for one, who was tortured, but survived) all saying the same thing to the end: “We didn’t take Him. He rose from the dead!” This rings with authenticity! Rest your faith on what Jesus did on your behalf! He rose from the dead, and He is like no other god! He alone has broken the powers we cannot see, and HE testifies of Himself every day.
And so we read God’s Word understanding that it is the “Word made flesh” who speaks to us, calling us to see the truth about ourselves, and the truth about Himself.
There is the beginning and ending of all Truth: God Himself. He is One God, of three Persons. Believe the One who died and rose again from death. He alone has the right to tell you just how it is.
“Learn of Me.” I need to know what He means specifically. How can I do this? If I am to know God, He must reveal Himself to me.
And if God will reveal Himself, it must be a practical revelation, something I am able to “get.” If I become a student of the Word of God, I will find that He tells me details. If I will take the whole counsel of God, not trying to make the Bible say something, but reading it to hear what God is saying, I will learn how to learn of Him. So how does He reveal Himself so that I may learn of Him?
The second witness is the water. Scripture must interpret Scripture, and with that thought, we wonder, how does water witness of God? In Ephesians 5:26 we find that God uses water as a picture of His Word: “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.” So the second witness is the Word of God, pictured by water. In John 1:14 we find that “the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us...” The Word of God is not a book of rules and regulations, but it breathes life by faith in the One it speaks of: Jesus. Jesus Himself spoke of this in John 5:39,40, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” We can miss Him in the Word if we take it as a good way to live, a good book to follow. But if we come needy, we will find Him on every page.
The third witness: blood. Hebrews 9:22, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Jesus came to shed His blood upon the cross so that God could pour out His judgment on Him instead of us. When we believe in Him, He sees that it was your and my sin condemned on the tree. He stood in for us before His own righteous judgment on sin. He took the full measure of the wrath of God toward sin. God is wholeheartedly against sin. He hates sin. Because He is pure, how can He agree to dwell with sin? He cannot. And likewise, we, in our sinful state have nothing but distaste, envy, anger, even hatred and malice toward God. Sin separates us from God! And it breaks God’s heart like we have never known.
That is the love of God.
And that is our condition without His blood.
But He! He is righteous: wholly right; the rightness of God in all His wonderful character, purity embodied, beauty manifested, Life, true Life. We would be wise to see things the same way He does, and when we find rebellion in ourselves, confess it openly to Him, not trying to cover it up, and trust that what He suffered in our place was enough. That is trust. Do you trust that the blood Jesus shed on your behalf is enough to cleanse you from sin so you can be close to God? If you do not, you are trusting that you have something that God Himself does not. You are placing your faith in yourself, and what you can do. But He knows what it took to defeat sin and death and Satan and, my friend, you don’t have it. His sacrifice reveals human lack. Place your trust in the only trustworthy One: Jesus, and He will become yours!
Blood, this third witness, took place here upon the earth. This planet is where God came in flesh to take upon Himself a body with a heart that pumped blood, and this is where He gave Himself a sacrifice, letting His blood pour out as payment for us before His Father. This all happened within the realm of creation. And so we find that the witness of blood includes His creation in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” All things seen and unseen, with and without breath, were created by God and it all reveals Him to us.
But consider the first part of Hebrews 9:22, “In fact the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood...” Nearly everything? Yes. Creation has been tainted by sin, and by looking at it alone to see God you will easily become confused. A mother cat rejecting her weakest and tiniest kitten, a diseased maple tree, bindweed infesting a garden, a broken body in a hospital, a grieving human soul; do these things picture God? No, not by themselves; these things have the effect of the condition of sin upon the creation of God, but the things that do not need to be cleansed with blood are the things that are pure and holy already and have never been touched by sin. These are the Spirit of God, and the Word of God. These two must interpret creation.
In order to study to know God, we must understand that He, by His Spirit, His Word and His creation speaks of Himself, and these three are in agreement. The Spirit of God will teach us: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you,” Psalm 32:8.
His Word must be our constant plumb line: “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’” Matthew 4:4.
Creation is the place of application so that we will understand. “Now all these things happened to them as examples,” 1 Corinthians 10:11. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen,” Romans 1:20.
How about you? If you took away all the extras, is your faith resting on the grades your children achieve to get them somewhere in life? Do you consider education to belong to God, or in your mind, would you sacrifice a study of the truth in order to win the favor of men?
All of creation tells us of God. It is not ours to study and make a living with by our own will, for our own purposes. It all belongs to God, and He will take an account of our stewardship. Have you glorified mankind in your hours of study, or have you glorified God? You cannot do both.
When you study to know man (yourself included), the weight is on your shoulders to accomplish, to understand, to achieve. When you study to know God, there is delight and security because He is all you need, and He will teach you as you go. The burden is not heavy with Jesus. To be yoked with Him means that He carries the weight, and we learn to walk with Him! When we lean into the yoke it will be with confidence in Him, and for His glory so that people might see that He is good. It is no longer about how well I am doing, but about His heart. It is not to show myself worthy, but to understand His worth to me, and my worth to Him. “We love Him because He first loved us,” 1 John 4:19.
That is where our worth comes from: we are loved by God!
Our effort to win the approval of men will keep us from loving God. No longer must we compare ourselves to those around us. God compares us to His Perfection. He also meets us with Perfection because of our total failure. He becomes for us what He demands. Only then can we do anything that He will acknowledge. We miss the eyes of God when we strive to become accomplished in the eyes of anyone human. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him,” 2 Chronicles 16:9.
Please free me from the desire to please the world, and to believe Your complete acceptance of me just as I am in Your Son, Jesus. Help me to understand something of the way Your Spirit, Your Word and Your creation tell of You, and cause me to believe that all that I can see exists to worship and testify of Your reality. The sky, the earth and the seas all are Yours, and all the inhabitants of them. They were all made to speak of You. And all of mankind through the ages have their existence in You. All of us were made to worship You, and without You we have no stability for this life or for eternity. Thank You for telling me the truth. I put my faith in You, and I worship You. In Jesus’ name, A-men.
Invite the Lord to speak to you as you study this morning. His Word brings refreshment to a dry and weary soul!
“Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding,” Proverbs 4:1.
Our own physical marriages are an illustration of our spiritual relationship with Jesus. Though human marriage is imperfect, we still can see a picture of our relationship with our bridegroom, Jesus, through it (Ephesians 5:22-33).
We will always find encouragement and instruction from God’s Word in all of our relationships, and we will always have reason to seek the Lord for counsel, and even for correction. In Christ this is not a shameful, condemning admittance, but because of the cross it is an acceptance of the offer of hope and healing!
Today we will look at raising our children to know of marriage the way God intended for it to take place. Our culture is saturated with worldly ideas. The only way to see this issue from the perspective of eternity is to seek the Lord in His Word.
Our God describes His heart on the matter in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. This passage is not included in order to berate or to condemn, but in order to make evident God’s desire for those who follow Him. Know that the Lord only opens a wound where there is need for healing. While we are hearing from the Lord we learn to trust that He will tell us the whole truth, but always in the light of hope. Here God (through Paul) asks questions designed to clarify the issue for us. Please list the comparisons He makes (verses 14-16):
From verse 16, why are we called to be separate?
Please confirm how God directs us to obey Him in this from verse 17.
Because the process can be painful, He gives us a promise in verse 18. Please tell what God is saying to His people (to you, Sister in the Lord)!
God is the perfect Father to His children, and He knows that in order to separate ourselves unto Him, we need to know Him and be close to Him. This is true for our children as well. If we will follow Him in this, we will be able to avoid yoking together with those who would work against His life in us.
And so today you can ask the Lord, “What do you want me to learn about yoking together, especially in marriage, for these children, Father? Will you show me in Your Word?” Ask in confidence!
Please turn to Ezra chapter 9. Ezra had come to Jerusalem with many Jews out of exile in Babylon (Persia). They had rebuilt the temple, the place of worship, in their midst and had even celebrated the Passover together again! After 70 years of slavery, most of the people had only heard wonderful stories of God and the feast of Passover, and now they were actually able to experience it themselves! To worship God in freedom was their privilege! Maybe you have come to a place like that yourself, a time of seeing God for who He is and worshiping Him as the center in your home, along with special times of feasting and celebration that you are now able to do for God’s glory in your heart!
But we see a problem arise even in the city where worship has been reestablished. Ezra 9 tells us of the hearts of the people being softened against their call to separation, and intermarrying with the people who did not worship God. We are often encouraged in God’s Word to reach out to the people around us to love them and show them our wonderful God! In that process we will be refined, our motives revealed, and there will be much opportunity for fellowship with God to grow and for us to mature in our faith. But if we neglect our relationship with God in our dealings with people (possibly faithfully continuing to read the Bible and pray, but with a dryness that we accept without crying out to God), we will begin a descent in our view of people, and we will become about our own business instead of the Lord’s, promoting ourselves instead of Him.
From Ezra 9:1,2 what did not separating themselves lead the people to do?
Please read verses 10-11. How does the condition of their culture reflect the condition of our own (for Christians and the unsaved alike)?
After we confess to God our heart’s condition, there must be a remedy in our actions. This is how the Lord draws us back to Him and sets us free from our unholiness (lack of separation). The ones Ezra addresses first are not the children, but the parents! From verse 12, please tell what the work of these parents included:
Lest we think of this as only Old Testament doctrine, we will look at a father’s responsibility for his daughter written in 1 Corinthians 7:38. From the Amplified Bible (which uses more words as it gives a fuller original meaning to our English words): “So also then, he (the father) who gives his virgin (his daughter) in marriage does well, and he (the father) who does not give (her) in marriage does better.”
From this verse, in God’s family, who is given guardianship over the acceptance of a marriage partner for his children?
As the Lord draws us to love our family, we will not want to control this situation and expect that our children should “obey our choice” for them and neglect God's desire. But a father who loves his child will be prayerful and watchful, listening for the heart of God in the heart of his child before he seeks to give him or her over to another.
Once again, please read 2 Corinthians 6:16,17 and compare it with Ezra 9:12. To truly seek someone’s (spiritual) peace and prosperity is to win them to Christ and see their faith grow. Does it please God to keep romantic company with someone of the opposite sex in order to tell them about Jesus?
Seeking someone’s (physical) peace and prosperity comes by joining together with them to help them. In marriage, from Genesis 2:18, what is a wife’s work?
In this physical life, it is important to God that our children join together with those who are walking the same walk in this life, by the same Spirit. That walk will mean life work, interests, and goals and, in the Lord, a person’s focus is totally different than the focus of living for this life.
The last part of Ezra 9:12 says: “that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.” The physical interpretation had to do with an actual land and food to eat grown on that land which would make them strong in life. What does this mean as a spiritual reality for us? (See Galatians 5:22-24.)
What importance does God put on our children marrying someone who loves Him?
God’s desire is for His people to ask Him for the person He will bring into our child’s life. What would be some long-term affects from the obedience of this command?
Galatians 4:1,2 tells us that a child is under guard by stewards until he is ready to manage his inheritance. How might this shed some light on why God instructs parents to be involved in the choice of company their children keep?
The Jews were God’s set-apart people. They had to be set-apart in order for God to give the Messiah through them to the whole world. Remember that God uses His creation to reveal Himself (Romans 1:20). He would give the Jews the privilege of enjoying His blessings in order that they might know Him and worship Him, so that the Gentiles could know Him through their lives, and that Jesus could be born through a people who could trace their ancestry and find that it matched the predictions perfectly. The Messiah’s identity would be proof positive, and through His sacrifice upon the cross and His resurrection, provide eternal life to all who would believe.
Because there was purpose to the nation, they must be able to raise up their children to know this God who desired to win their hearts. The Word of God shows the character of God, and we know by this that He wrote these things not only for the Jews, but also for all of His people. In the following passage, please mark those phrases which give instruction to you.
“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, “Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children,” Deuteronomy 4:9,10.
Mount Horeb is also called Mount Sinai. We read in Exodus 19 and 20 that God gave the Law, the Ten Commandments, to Moses on Mt. Sinai. His Law is perfect love in action. They are how it would look to love God wholeheartedly and see that flow out to love others around us. It is the way we come to Christ for forgiveness, seeing that we have failed the test! We cry out to God for mercy, and receive the sacrifice He made for us.
Have you told your children and grandchildren about the Lord, “especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb”?
You don’t need to go into detail about your sin, but they need to know that you are leading them to where you are yourself; to find mercy at the cross of the God who died for sinners. This is authenticity. To admit your sin in Christ is to be able to extend mercy to others!
Please read Deuteronomy 7:3-6.
What can happen to our children’s heart for God if they marry someone who is not saved from spiritual death? (verse 4)
What should our dedication be like to see that we will not worship what our society (and our old nature) worships? (verse 5)
What is our motivation? (Fear? Anger?) (verse 6)
Because our obedience is what God uses to keep us free, He would desire first that we obey Him out of love, but if we cannot do that yet, He will accept our obedience out of fear of His judgment. True, we will not face eternal judgment, but we do understand that He judges our sin even now to cleanse it from us. If we fear God, we have the beginning of His wisdom (Psalm 111:10)! To have greater wisdom is to begin to obey God out of love! The process is His to accomplish.
It is a godly mother who will be in prayer for the Lord to accomplish this through her life and her husband’s first, and then to reach their family. It is a wise youth who humbles himself in the sight of the Lord, seeks the Lord’s direction for his own life through prayer and His Word, and who listens carefully to the counsel of his parents, especially to parents who are led of the Lord. Seeking the Lord together is so important. God is not looking for parents to usurp authority over a grown child’s life, nor for a child to go his or her own way, but for them to ask the Lord in prayer, waiting on Him so that they will recognize whatever it is He chooses to do.
In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah we read how God moved the heart of a Persian king to set free the captive nation of Israel so they could live in their own land once again! It is a book filled with pictures of faith for us as mothers. As the Jews build the temple (in Ezra), we learn that God is our Beautiful Place of worship! As the Jews build the wall (Nehemiah), we learn that He is also our Surrounding Protector! He wants us to learn how to join Him in the work He is doing.
We find that the people lost vision after years went by. The work took so much time and they wanted to live life for a few of their own interests. There were friendships made with the pagan communities that led into marriages, and because of their lack of dedication to God and for their people, while some felt apprehensive about the direction things were going, no one took any action against it.
But Nehemiah came to check on the Jews who were rebuilding Jerusalem, from his residence in Persia, from where the taste of slavery could not be washed from his mouth. From this perspective, he takes inventory of the situation and holds it to the light of God’s Word!
Read Nehemiah 13:23-27. If you wonder the level of effect you really have as a wife and mother in your home, though it is a negative example, take this to heart!
With what fervency Nehemiah sought to do what was right before the eyes of God! Use his intensity against your own old sin nature. Be that dedicated to God! Humble yourself before the Lord! Seek Him to cleanse you and your family that you may love Him faithfully in all you say and do!
Don’t wait until you sense an urgency. If you are at that desperate place, by all means, cry out to God! But if you see early signs of trouble, begin then to humble yourself before the Lord on behalf of your loved ones.
“With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness,” Isaiah 26:9.
How can this be accomplished? Here is basic counsel which, when lavished in prayer, God will use as you seek to obey Him.
1. Be active in the friendships and relationships that your children have. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to relationships that are harmful to your child’s character. To allow a daughter to pursue or to call a boy on the phone is to encourage her to usurp and disrespect the leadership role that God gave to her father, and to the boy who will one day be a husband. To allow our sons to receive those advances is to teach him to accept the take-over of his father's authority and his own future role as leader, provider and protector of his family. Teaching a son to be the head of his household and to love his wife, and a daughter to respect her husband must not be forsaken at the time of real life application!
While friendships with both sisters and brothers in the Lord are valuable, until a person is ready for marriage, it is not wise to have a romantic relationship. To set one's mind on Jesus and to give other thoughts to the Lord for His capture and control is crucial. “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases,” Song of Solomon 3:5. Waiting on God can be painful, but it is the only way to have His best!
2. Singleness should not be tolerated, but embraced! It is a special time to be lavished in the love of God, to draw near to God and spend time with Him, getting to a place of putting Him first in one’s heart.
A list of character traits of a godly personality is a good thing to consider at this time. What is important to Jesus, and so to your son or daughter? It is good for them to know what they value in another person, not just someone of the opposite sex, but in friendships as well; those are the things that will help them to recognize the mate the Lord has prepared for them. The desire for Jesus to lead is nourished as intimacy with Him grows!
Time with Jesus is so crucial, and when do you have more time than when you are single? Learning to watch for Him in life experiences, and to listen to His voice in His Word and by His Spirit, these are the things that single days are to be soaked in! Finding ways to serve Jesus among His people in the church, studying, and gaining interests and learning to use and refine skills that a person is acquiring takes energy and focus, and singleness is the time to give undivided attention to the Lord in this way.
3. If the Lord has designed your child for marriage, at just the right time, He will give direction toward a certain person! You may need to find out if a specific nudge is from Him or not.
Watch for the character of the person of interest: their response to Godgiven authority, the language they use, the way they help others (or don't), whether they are a person of integrity by how they act, whether they love truth. How do they treat their family members? Watch for the fruit of the Spirit, and discuss qualities with your child; how would this person speak to an elderly person, or to a little child? Will their humorous remarks at another's expense be funny if directed at your child for the next forty years? Does the person you see try to get attention for him/herself, or to love others for Jesus' sake? This is the time to stay alert!
And if you see strong evidence of the Lord and it seems good to all involved, pray for an opportunity, and then step out in faith, to discuss with the intended more directly the issues of life and specifics of faith. Do this before action is taken to move ahead with the relationship. If you are uncertain or can see that this relationship is not of the Lord, “go back to sleep” on the desire for marriage, as Adam did while God was forming Eve! (See Genesis 2:21,22.)
Our culture practices dating, a “try it out/break-up-if-it-doesn’t-work” mentality, which has the same thought pattern as “marriage/divorce”. Spending time together is essential, but is best guarded in the company of one or the other’s family, or with godly friends in a group, having time to talk together and to watch and learn how the other responds to situations.
But impress upon your child to stay alert, and pray for him or her to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts,” Romans 13:14. Time alone together can be a time the flesh, which is weak, is tempted. Your advice should be for them to stay in the company of trustworthy people who love and care for their soul. As Dannah Gresh, author of And the Bride Wore White writes, “Stay public, stay vertical”! Physical contact creates an emotional bond, which is why some wisely keep even handholding for betrothal or marriage. Continue in prayer and don't compromise your walk with the Lord, but draw nearer to Him, and maintain the godly relationships He has graciously placed in your lives!
Suggested reading: I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, both by Joshua Harris.
Pray these things in, ask the Lord to do in you what only He can do!
Reread the lesson if you want to understand this better. Pray for your child to embrace his or her singleness and to live it unto Jesus. This time of life is precious! Pray for discernment and for a godly mate for your child, if it is God's desire. Focus with your child on serving the Lord, finding creativity in this life of service! Be watchful and read and believe the Word of God!
The most important decision a person makes in this lifetime is whether or not to receive Jesus Christ’s payment for their sin. The second most important decision is the choosing of a marriage partner. When your child marries, you don’t want the walk down the aisle to be just a tradition, but a physical sign of a spiritual truth.
Will you join me in prayer?
Lord God, my Father, You are a Father who provides for His children. Please do what needs to be done inside of me so that I can be faithful to you in this area of my life. I ask You to work in my family, too. I know that Your Word brings death to my old nature, and life to my spirit. Cause me to so believe You that I will be fervent to speak of You to my children, and to obey You with joy. Go ahead of us to prepare our children and their spouses for one another. Protect their spouses from the entanglements of the world, and give them someone to teach them of You and to give them a good inheritance. Please help me to be faithful in prayer for our child’s future spouse. Thank You for betrothing me to Your only Son! In Jesus’ name, A-men!
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