RelationshipsQ&A: "What should you do if the husband has a lower sex drive than the wife (which is unusual)? What do you do if your husband has not shown an interest in even trying to be romantic for years??"

Q and A is your opportunity to ask questions regarding the Bible, church, or just about anything regarding Christian faith and life. Submit questions on the response form in your bulletin or E-mail the Church Office.

What should you do if the husband has a lower sex drive than the wife (which is unusual)? What do you do if your husband has not shown an interest in even trying to be romantic for years?

Regardless if your husband's sex drive is high or low he is responsible before God to love you as Christ loves the church. This includes meeting your sexual and romantic needs. Just as many good and godly wives choose to find ways to meet the sexual needs of their husbands whose sex drive may be greater than theirs, so a good and godly husband should seek to find ways to fulfill the sexual and romantic needs of his wife. The scriptures even warn us that depriving each other from sex can open up the door for great temptation from the devil. See 1Cor 7:2-5.

Maybe there is a medical answer to his low sex drive? Have you discussed your desires with him and the effects of this lack of intimacy in your marriage?

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

RelationshipsQ&A: "My husband thinks being romantic means you're a wimp. How do you convince him that's not the way it is?"

Q and A is your opportunity to ask questions regarding the Bible, church, or just about anything regarding Christian faith and life. Submit questions on the response form in your bulletin or E-mail the Church Office.

My husband thinks being romantic means you're a wimp. How do you convince him that's not the way it is?

Your husband's definition of romantic is incorrect. Ask him what his definition of "romance" is. Then give him yours. Jesus' treatment of the church is the example given in the New Testament for what biblical love and romance is. Read to him Eph 5:25-33 & Col 3:19-21 and ask him if that sounds wimpy. Then discuss with him how that can be translated into your relationship.

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

ClassicDevotionSeries: " TO THE BELIEVER" -Andrew Murray


And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He sware unto our Fathers." --Deut. 6:23.

I have spoken of the crisis that comes in the life of the man who sees that his Christian experience is low and carnal, and who desires to enter into the full life of God. Some Christians do not understand that there should be such a crisis. They think that they ought, from the day of their conversion, to continue to grow and progress. I have no objections to that, if they have grown as they ought. If their life has been so strong under the power of the Holy Ghost that they have grown as true believers should grow, I certainly have no objection to this. But I want to deal with those Christians whose life since conversion has been very much a failure, and who feel it to be such because of their not being filled with the Spirit, as is their blessed privilege. I want to say for their encouragement, that by taking one step, they can get out into the life of rest, and victory, and fellowship with God to which the promises of God invite them.

Look at the elder son in the parable. How long would it have taken him to get out of that state of blindness and bondage into the full condition of sonship? By believing in his father's love, he might have gotten out that very hour. If he had been powerfully convicted of his guilt in his unbelief, and had confessed like his prodigal brother, "I have sinned," he would have come that very moment into the favor of the son's happiness in his father's home. He would not have been detained by having a great deal to learn, and a great deal to do; but in one moment, his whole relation would have been changed.

Remember, too, what we saw in Peter's case. In one moment, the look of Jesus broke him down and there came to him the terribly bitter reflection of his sin, owing to his selfish, fleshly confidence, a contrition and reflection which laid the foundation for his new and better life with Jesus. God's word brings out the idea of the Christian's entrance into the new and better life by the history of the people of Israel's entrance into the land of Canaan.

In our text, we have these words:--"God brought us out from thence (Egypt), that He might bring us in" into Canaan. There are two steps: one was bringing them out; and the other was bringing them in. So in the life of the believer, there are ordinarily two steps quite separate from each other;--the bringing him out of sin and the world; and the bringing him into a state of complete rest afterward. It was the intention of God that Israel should enter the land of Canaan from Kadesh-Barnea, immediately after He had made His covenant with them at Sinai. But they were not ready to enter at once, on account of their sin and unbelief, and disobedience. They had to wander after that for forty years in the wilderness. Now, look how God led the people. In Egypt, there was a great crisis, where they had first to pass through the Red Sea, which is a figure of conversion; and when they went into Canaan, there was, as it were, a second conversion in passing through the Jordan. At our conversion, we get into liberty, out of the bondage of Egypt; but, when we fail to use our liberty through unbelief and disobedience, we wander in the wilderness for a longer or shorter period before we enter into the Canaan of victory, and rest, and abundance. Thus God does for His Israel two things:--He brings them out of Egypt; and He lead them into Canaan.

My message, then, is to ask this question of the believer:--Since you know you are converted and God has brought you out of Egypt, have you yet come into the land of Canaan? If not, are you willing that he should bring you into the fuller liberty and rest provided for His people? He brought Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand, and the same mighty hand brought us out of our land of bondage; with the same mighty hand, He brought his ancient people into rest, and by that hand, too, He can bring us into our true rest. The same God who pardoned and regenerated us--is waiting to perfect His love in us, if we but trust Him. Are there many hearts saying:--"I believe that God brought me out of bondage twenty, or thirty, or forty years ago; but alas! I cannot say that I have been brought into the happy land of rest and victory?"

How glorious was the rest of Canaan after all the wanderings in the wilderness! And so is it with the Christian who reaches the better promised Canaan of rest, when he comes to leave all his charge with the Lord Jesus--his responsibilities, anxieties, and worry; his only work being to hand the keeping of his soul into the hand of Jesus every day and hour. and the Lord can keep, and give the victory over every enemy. Jesus has undertaken not only to cleans our sin, and bring us to heaven, but also to keep us in our daily life.

I ask again:--Are you hungering to get free from sin and its power?--Anyone longing to get complete victory over his temper, his pride, and all his evil inclinations?--Hearts longing for the time when no clouds will come between them and their God?--Longing to walk in the full sunshine of God's loving favour? The very God who brought you from the Egypt of darkness is ready and able to bring you also into the Canaan of rest.

And now comes the question again:--What is the way by which God will bring me to this rest? What is needed on my part if God is really to bring me into the happy land? I give the answer first of all by asking another question:--Are you willing to forsake your wanderings in the wilderness? If you say "We do not want to leave our wanderings, where we have had so many wonderful indications of God's presence with us; so many remarkable proofs of the Divine care and goodness, like that of the ancient people of God, who had the pillar to guide them, and the manna given them every day for forty years; Moses and Aaron to lead and advise them. The wilderness is to us, on account of these things, a kind of sacred place; and we are loath to leave it." If the children of Israel had said anything of this kind to Joshua, he would have said to them (and we all would have said):--"Oh, you fools: It is the very God who gave you the pillar of cloud and the other blessings in the wilderness, who tells you how to come into the land flowing with milk and honey." And so I can speak to you in the same way; I bring you the message that He who has brought you thus far on your journey, and given you such blessings thus far, is the God who will bring you into the Canaan of complete victory and rest.

The first question, then, that I would ask you is, 

You know the mark of Israel's life in the wilderness--the cause of all their troubles there --was unbelief. They did not believe that God could take them into the promised land. And then followed many sins and failures--lusting, idolatry, murmuring, etc. That has, perhaps, been your life, beloved; you do not believe that God will fulfill His word. You do not believe in the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Him, and unlimited partnership. On account of that, you become disobedient, and did not live like a child doing God's will, because you did not believe that God could give you the victory over sin. Are you willing now to leave that wilderness life? Sometimes you are, perhaps, enjoying fellowship with God, and sometimes you are separated from Him; sometimes you have nearness to Him, and at other times great distance from Him; sometimes you have a willingness to walk closely with Him, but sometimes there is even unwillingness. Are you now going to give up your whole life to Him? Are you going to approach Him and say, "My God, I do not want to do anything that will be displeasing to Thee; I want Thee to keep me from all worldliness, from all self-pleasure; I want Thee, O God, to help me to live like Peter after Pentecost, filled with the Holy Ghost, and not like carnal Peter."

Beloved, are you willing to say this? Are you willing to give up your sins, to walk with God continually, to submit yourself wholly to the will of God, and have no will of your own apart from His will? Are you going to live a perfect life? I hope you are, for I believe in such a life; --not perhaps in the sense in which you understand "perfection"--entire freedom from wrong-doing and all inclination to it, for while we live in the flesh the flesh will lust against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; but the perfection spoken of in the Old Testament as practiced by some of God's saints, who are said to have "served the Lord with a perfect heart." What is this perfection? A state in which your hearts will be set on perfect integrity without any reserve, and your will wholly subservient to God's will. Are you willing for such a perfection, with your whole heart turned away from the world and given to God alone? Are you going to say, "No, I do not expect that I will ever give up my self-will."? It is the devil tempting you to think it will be too hard for you. Oh! I would plead with God's children just to look at the will of God, so full of blessing, of holiness, of love; will you not give up your guilty will for that blessed will of God? A man can do it in one moment when he comes to see that God can change his will for him. Then he may say farewell to his old will, as Peter did when he went out and wept bitterly, and when the Holy Spirit filled his soul on the day of Pentecost. Joshua "wholly followed the Lord his God." He failed, indeed, before the enemy at Ai, because he trusted too much to human agency, and not sufficiently to God; and he failed in the same manner when he made a covenant with the Gibeonites; but still, his spirit and power differed very widely from that of the people whose unbelief drove them before their enemies and kept them in the wilderness. Let us be willing wholly to serve the Lord our God, and "make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Let us believe in the love and power of God to keep us day by day, and put "no confidence in the flesh."

Then comes the second step: 
"I must believe that such a life in the land of Canaan is a possible life."

Yes, many a one will say, "Ah! what would I give to get out of the wilderness life! But I cannot believe that it is possible to live in this constant communion with God. You don't know my difficulties--my business cares and perplexities; I have all sorts of people to associate with; have gone out in the morning braced up by communion with God in prayer, but the pressure of business before night has driven out of my heart all that warmth of love that I had, and the world has gotten in and made the heart as cold as before." But we must remember again what it was that kept Israel out of Canaan. When Caleb and Joshua said, "We are able to overcome the enemy," the ten spies, and the six hundred thousand answered, "We cannot do it; they are too strong for us." Take care, dear reader, that we do not repeat their sin, and provoke God as these unbelievers did. He says, it is possible to bring us into the land of rest and peace; and I believe it because He has said so, and because He will do it if I trust Him. Your temper may be terrible; your pride may have bound you a hundred times; your temptations may "compass you about like bees," but there is victory for you if you will but trust the promises of God.

Looking again at Peter. He had failed again and again, and went from bad to worse until he came to denying Christ with oaths. But what a change came over him! Just study the first epistle of Peter, and you will see that the very life of Christ had entered into him. He shows the spirit of true humility, so different from his former self-confidence; and glorying in God's will instead of in his own. He had made a full surrender to Christ, and was trusting entirely in Him. Come therefore to-day and say to God, "Thou didst so change selfish, proud Peter, and Thou canst change me likewise." Yes, God is able to bring you into Canaan, the land of rest. You know the first half of the 8th of Romans. Have you noticed the expressions that are to be found there --"The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". To walk after the spirit; To be after the spirit; To be in the Spirit; To have the Spirit dwelling in us. Through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body; To be led by the Spirit; To be spiritually minded. These are all blessings which come when we bind ourselves wholly to live in the Spirit. If we live after the Spirit we have the very nature of the Spirit in us. If we live in the Spirit, we shall be led by Him every day and every moment. What if you were to open your heart to-day to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would He not be able to keep you every moment in the sweet rest of God? and would not His mighty arm give you a complete victory over sin and temptation of every kind, and make you able to live in perpetual fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ? Most certainly! This, then, is the second step; this is the blessed life God has provided for us. First, God brought us out of Egypt; secondly, He brings us into Canaan.

Then comes--Thirdly, the question, 

By leading us in a very definite act, viz., that of committing ourselves wholly to Him; --entrusting ourselves to Him, that He may bring us into the land of rest, and keep us in.

You remember that the Jordan at the time of harvest overflowed its banks. The hundreds of thousands of Israel were on the side of the river from Canaan. They were told that tomorrow, God would do wonderful things for them. The trumpet would sound, and the priests would take up the ark--the symbol of God's presence--and pass over before the people. But there lay the swollen river still. If there still unbelieving children among the the people, they would say, "What fools, to attempt to cross now! This is not the time to attempt fording the river, for it is now twenty feet deep." But the believing people gathered together behind the priests with the ark. They obeyed the command of Joshua to advance; but they knew not what God was going to do? The priests walked right into the water, and the hearts of some began to tremble. They would perhaps ask, "Where is the rod of Moses?" But, as the priests walked straight on and stepped into the water, the waters rose up on the upper side in to a high wall, and flowed away on the other side, and a clear passage was made for the whole camp. Now, it was God that did this for the people; and it was because Joshua and the people believed and obeyed God. The same God will do it to-day, if we believe and trust Him.

Am I addressing a soul who is saying:--I remember how God first brought me out of the land of bondage. I was in complete darkness of soul and was deeply troubled. I did not at first believe that God could take me out, and that I could become a child of God. But, at last, God took me and brought me to trust in Jesus, and He led me out safely." Friend, you have the same God now who brought you out of bondage with a high hand; and can lead you into the place of rest. Look to Him and say, "O God, make an end of my wilderness life--my sinful and unbelieving life,--a life of grieving Thee. Oh, bring me to-day into the land of victory and rest and blessing!" Is this the prayer of your hearts, dear friends? Are you going to give up yourselves to Him to do this for you? Can you trust Him that He is able and willing to do it for you. He can take you through the swollen river this very moment;--yes, this very moment.

And He can do more: After Israel had crossed the river, the Captain of the Lord's host had to come and encourage Joshua, promising to take charge of the army and remain with them. You need the power of God's Spirit to enable you to overcome sin and temptation. You need to live in His fellowship--in His unbroken fellowship, without which you cannot stand or conquer. If you are to venture to-day, say by faith "My God, I know that Jesus Christ is willing to be the Captain of my salvation, and to conquer every enemy for me, He will keep me by faith and by His Holy Spirit; and though it be dark to me, and as if the waters would pass over my soul, and though my condition seem hopeless, I will walk forward, for God is going to bring me in to-day, and I am going to follow Him. My God, I follow Thee now into the promised land."

Perhaps some have already entered in, and the angels have seen them, while they have been reading these solemn words. Is there anyone still hesitating because the waters of Jordan look threatening and impassable?

Oh! come, beloved soul; come at once, and doubt not.

Posted via email from ..................The Last Call Digest

RayStedman: "if you hold anything against anyone"


The Hindrance Of Pride

A devotion for January 21st
Read the Scripture: Mark 11:1-25









Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:24-25).

What Jesus is saying is, The great hindrance to having faith in God is pride, the pride that refuses to forgive. That is like a mountain that fills up your whole life. All you can see is that big mountain looming before you, and it is blocking the life of God in your life. You have the power to have that removed if, when you stand and pray, you will forgive those who have offended you. Because the only thing that stops us from forgiving one another is pride. We feel justified in wanting others to forgive us but also in feeling that we have to exact a price for the hurt they have caused us. So, in many ways—subtle, or direct and open—we insist that we will not forgive, that our offenders have to pay for what they have done to us. Somehow, we are going to make them crawl, make them beg or plead for forgiveness. And that, Jesus says, is a great mountain that needs to be removed, for it is blocking the flow of the life of God to your faith. So when you stand and pray, life will flow from God when you are able to recognize that you, too, need forgiveness. God has forgiven you. God has offered it freely to you; give it just as freely to the one who has offended you.

After many years of ministry, I can recite evidence by the yard that this is true. The one thing above all else that seems to block the flow of the life of God to an individual, to a church, or to a nation, is this unwillingness to forgive, this holding of grudges, this desire to put somebody down in order to feel good yourself, this unwillingness to set these things aside and let God heal all the hurts of life.

That is why Jesus puts His finger on this one thing. Is this not amazing? The nation Israel lost its life because it would not forgive the Gentiles, the Romans, who had offended and grieved it. Instead, it gathered its robes of self-righteousness about it and looked with pride up to God and said, I thank God I am not like these other people. God says that is what ends the life of a nation. That is what ends the life of a church. And that is what ends the spiritual life of an individual, as it cuts him or her off.

Father, how many times I have refused the forgiving word, the restoring act, only to be tormented by fears and anxieties and worries. Thank You for the forgiveness that is mine in Jesus Christ. Teach me to extend it to those around me.

Life Application: What is the greatest obstacle to the forgiveness we all need to give and receive for healing relationships? How can we be a conduit of God's amazing grace and mercy?

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JonCourson: “ He who tried to rebuild the walls of Jericho would pay a steep pricet,”

January 21
  And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.  
  Joshua 6:26-27  
He who tried to rebuild the walls of Jericho would pay a steep price. His oldest and youngest son would die. In 1 Kings 16, we read of a man named Hiel who did this. He rebuilt Jericho - but his oldest and youngest son died in the process. 

Maybe you can relate to Joshua and the people of Israel. You’ve been set free from Egypt and baptized in the Spirit. But before you is a wall, a fortress, a barrier between you and someone else that is keeping you from going all the way into the heart of the Land of Promise. As a father, it might be between you and your junior high son. As a mother, it might be between you and your teenage daughter. As a husband or wife, it might be between you and your spouse. As a believer, it might be between you and a brother or sister in the Lord.

If God knocks down a wall between you and another and you say, “Maybe I shouldn’t be so forgiving. Maybe I’m being taken advantage of,” there will be no shortage of people to hand you all the bricks and mortar you need to rebuild the wall. But you’ll pay a terrible price. Don’t undo what God has done. Don’t harden your heart. Don’t let your soul become like concrete. Instead, with the wall flat on the ground, enter into fresh fellowship with the one from whom, by God’s grace and mercy, you are no longer estranged.


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EverydayAnswers: "Who's the Boss, You or Your Emotions?"

Everyday Answers

Who's the Boss, You or Your Emotions?
by Joyce Meyer
The daily ups and downs of our emotions are one of the major struggles we have with our relationships. Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster, we need to become stable, solid, steadfast, persevering and determined people. If we continue to let our emotions rule over us, there’s no way we’ll ever be the person we were meant to be. Of course, none of us will ever be totally rid of emotions, but we must learn to manage and control them—not let them control us. 

Life is no fun when we are controlled by feelings. Feelings change from day to day, hour to hour, even moment to moment. Not only do they change, they lie. For example, you may be in a crowd of people and feel that everybody is talking about you, but that doesn’t mean they are. You may feel that nobody understands you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. You may feel you are misunderstood, unappreciated or even mistreated, but that doesn’t mean it is true. If we want to be mature, disciplined people, we must be determined not to walk according to what we feel

People often ask me, “How can I know for sure whether I’m walking in the truth or walking according to my feelings and emotions?” I believe the answer is found in patience. Emotions urge us toward haste, telling us that we must do something and do it right now! But godly wisdom tells us to wait until we have a clear picture of what it is we are to do and when we are to do it. We need to be able to back off and view our situation from God’s perspective. We need to make decisions based on what we know rather than on what we feel. 

Let me give you an example from my own life. One time I had saved up money to buy a good watch. I wanted to buy a nice watch so the band wouldn’t change colors and turn my wrist green. One day my husband, Dave, and I were in the mall and happened to stop at a jewelry store where I saw a watch that was very pretty. As we looked at the watch, we discovered that it was gold-plated and knew that it would probably eventually discolor, but it seemed to be just what I was looking for and fit my wrist perfectly. Not only that, but the clerk offered to mark it down. So my emotions said, “Yes! That’s exactly what I want!” 

But Dave said, “Well, you know it’s gold-plated, and it will eventually discolor.” 

I said, “I know but I really like this watch. What should I do?” 

“It’s your money,” he answered. 

“I’ll tell you what I’m going to do,” I told the clerk. “I’d like for you to hold the watch for me while I walk around the mall for a bit. If I want the watch, I’ll come back for it within the hour.” 

So Dave and I walked around the mall for a while. As we did, we passed a dress shop. Because I needed a couple of new outfits, I went in and found a really nice suit. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I loved it. 

“That’s a nice suit,” Dave said. “You ought to get it.” 
I looked at the price tag and thought, It costs so much…no wonder it looks so good on me! But I really wanted the suit! Actually there were three things I wanted right then. I wanted the watch, I wanted the suit, and I wanted not to be broke. What did I decide to do? I applied wisdom and decided to wait. The watch—which really wasn’t the quality I wanted—would have taken all of my savings. The suit was beautiful, but it also would have taken most of my savings. So I decided that the best thing was to keep my money and wait until I was sure of what I wanted most. Usually the wisest course is, when in doubt, don’t! 

When faced with any difficult decision, wait until you have a clear answer before taking a step that you may regret. Emotions are wonderful, but they must not be allowed to take precedence over wisdom and knowledge. Remember—control your emotions instead of letting them control you.

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MyAnswer: Billy Graham "What Every Parent Should Know ."

What Every Parent Should Know

Our sixteen-year-old son is rebellious and we are afraid he will become a problem to us. My husband and I both work. Can you recommend some place where we can send him so he will be properly managed?

There is no substitute for a home for a sixteen-year-old boy. Many of our finest young people are presently rebelling against neglect more than anything else. They need the sense of security that comes from a home where they are loved and wanted. They need the discipline of a well-ordered home to prepare them for social obligations as adults. It would be far better for you to adjust your scale of living to a smaller budget, and have the necessary time to give to your young son. In a short time he will be leaving home. Then you will forever regret that you did not give him the home training for which there is no good substitute. Teach him the basic principles of good character. Teach him eternal values. Help him to find his way to God as he observes your life and your walk with God. You have the solution to your problem within reach. Do not neglect it while you have opportunity. And remember there is no substitute for love.

My thirteen-year-old daughter has started lying to the extent where I cannot believe anything she says. She has now started smoking and  is losing all her friends. However, her grades are very good and she attends Sunday school and church. Could you please help me?

I can well understand you being disturbed by your daughter's behavior. She is entering those difficult years where she is neither child nor adult. In her desire to appear grown-up she is taking on some of the less admirable adult characteristics. This is caused by a lack of security, and it is at this stage where she needs love and understanding more than at any other period of her life.

   She also needs guidance and example. Make sure that you set a stable example before her. I think it would be a good thing if you could sit down and discuss these things with her. And if you have failed her at any point, you be honest and confess your shortcomings too. You never mentioned whether or not she has made a commitment to Christ. She is at the age where she needs the strength that comes from a living, vital faith. Many children become lost to the home and to society at this age. But it is also the ideal age to make a Christian commitment. Urge your daughter to do this, and if you have been remiss in your Christian life, it would be wonderful for mother and daughter to begin a new spiritual adventure with Christ.

I am the mother of two young boys who find their greatest joy in watching television. Unhappily, they see more than their share of violence. Is there any device we can use to counteract this growing menace to our youth?

You can be sure that the producers of television programs do not care to force any kind of program on the viewing and listening public. They want to attract the largest number so that the advertising is more effective. In other words, they give what the public demands. As long as the majority will accept violence in pictures, you can expect more of it. Such portrayals are the easiest to produce and call for the least effort and dramatic ability.

   You can protest directly to the station and get as many others as you can to do the same. You can also commend those who send the finer programs into your home. It is time that the Christian voice were heard on this matter. Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," and as such He intended that we should lend our influence to the greatest possible extent. He also said, "Ye are the light of the world," and as such have a God-given responsibility for disseminating true light on every question as well as giving witness to our personal faith.

   Also you must teach your children "choice" in their TV watching. There are many programs we just don't allow our children to see. In fact, we limit their watching to one or two a day, and those only under our supervision.

My daughter is about to marry a man who is not a Christian. I feel that I must stop their marriage, but don't know what I can do about it. Should I just show her where the Bible forbids such marriages?

Isn't it a little late for you to begin to instruct your daughter about such things? I'm afraid that there is very little you can do now, for no matter what you do, it will be construed as interference. You should have taught her the Christian view of marriage before she had any prospects of marriage, for then she would have been able to make a wise decision.

   The Bible teaches that "The aged women be reverent in demeanor not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5).

   Had you fulfilled your responsibility when your daughter was growing, you would not have that problem now. There are some things in life that cannot be undone, and although the Lord will forgive every sin, we must often live with the problems we created before we came to the Saviour.

   Yet, I would suggest that you have a heart to heart talk with her— then have prayer with her. Commit it to God. He can change the situation even at this late date.

We have been keeping our children out of release-time religious instruction in the schools because we don't agree with the teaching they receive. Are we doing the right thing to compel them to be so different?

To the children, it is a serious thing to be compelled to be different. Do you know how many others do not attend the religious training program? Perhaps they are not so different. I would suggest a principle by which to judge your decisions. First, avoid making it a matter of discipline if possible. Do not put the children in a position where they become rebellious. I do not believe the teaching will harm them, for there are very few people who will freely give their time unless they have some interest in the children. Second, you should be well informed as to the teaching they receive. Make sure that it is according to the Scriptures and the historic Christian faith. It will take some effort on your part, but this is your responsibility. Third, take an active part in school affairs so that you can exert Christian influence to offset erroneous teaching. Finally, use this study to teach your children how to distinguish truth from error and how to make their own decisions and not always follow any teaching.

I am a widower with two teen-age daughters. They are not bad but I am active in church and believe in complete separation from the world and my daughters are a bit unruly. What can I do?

Are you separated from the world or separated to some pious opinions which may not stand the test of our Lord's scrutiny? I do not mean to sound harsh for I know you have a difficult problem. But, be very sure that the separation about which you talk is that which is truly Christian. Some of the most unattractive Christians in the world are those who have built a fence of prohibitions around themselves and keep most people outside the fence. Remember that teenage girls are full of life and need to have a happy time. Be sure that the Christianity you profess does not repel them because it is long-faced and full of "don'ts." I would not imply for one minute that there are not many things Christians should not do.

Of the Ten Commandments, most of them are commandments against specific sins. But, it is very easy for older people to expand these prohibitions to things which are in themselves perfectly all right. I have on my desk a letter from a boy who enjoys wrestling at the YMCA. His mother thinks it is dangerous and unbecoming of a Christian. She is making the mistake of confusing wholesale exercise and recreation with sinful pleasures. Try to avoid this, enter into the happiness of these young lives in your home. Make Christianity a joyful experience.

Above all, ask God for daily guidance in your task.

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

FocusOnFamily: Protecting Your Family "Combatting Cultural Influences"

Combatting Cultural Influences

When my children were toddlers, I installed childproof latches on all the cabinets and drawers within their grasp to keep them from ingesting dangerous substances. During the grade school years, I zealously guarded the shows they watched ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was banned) to make sure they didn't pollute their young minds.

When my girls reached their teen years, I realized that health and intellect weren't the only areas that needed protection. Spiritual dangers lurked in humanistic curricula, dehumanizing music and peer pressure. But how could I create a safe environment that encouraged rather than undermined their spiritual growth?

None of my daughters seemed interested in joining a convent, so I began asking the Lord for wisdom. He reminded me that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20). And He taught me that knowledge is a powerful weapon in spiritual realms.

Know your kids

Play with them, and pray with them. By careful observation, you can discern their spiritual gifts and subtle character flaws. Are they leaders or followers? Confident or insecure? This knowledge is essential as you determine what environments and relationships are helpful — or harmful — to their spiritual growth. Every child is different, and what's helpful for one is not necessarily the best for another.

For example, my youngest daughter wrestled with peer pressure when she was in high school. Candyce loved Jesus but made bad choices when peer pressure was too great. Her dad and I had to monitor her choices carefully.

Her older sister Danielle, on the other hand, never wavered in her faith — or her actions — when pressured by friends. Her beliefs were tested in the classroom. Knowing this, I made sure we had lots of discussions about issues that confused her. Her dad and I were able to be sounding boards as she learned to sift through truth and error.

Know their hangouts

Where do your kids spend the majority of their time? At school? The mall? Sports practice? Youth group activities? How familiar are you with their stomping grounds?

When my girls were in junior high and high school, they decided to start a Christian punk rock band. When they actually began booking shows, I was a little concerned about the venues — not to mention the clientele who would attend their concerts. So I went undercover and became their manager. I learned a lot about my daughters, their friends and the alternative music culture, which helped me to make informed decisions about concerts and parties they wanted to attend.

Here's an important safety tip: Just because a place — be it a school, concert, coffee house — has the adjective Christian somewhere in its name, that doesn't mean it's going to benefit your child's faith. My oldest daughter, Lindsay, attended a respected Christian high school and graduated with honors. She recently told me, however, that she found it more faith-numbing than faith-inspiring. Sure, some of the students were walking out their relationships with Christ, but in Lindsay's opinion, the majority of her peers had learned the fine art of schmoozing. They lived double lives and invited her to do the same.

There are no hard rules by which to measure the spiritual influence of any given place. Lindsay now works in the secular music industry. That spiritual environment is sketchy at best, but I've seen Lindsay's faith grow as she's been constantly challenged. Most days, she shines like a star "in a crooked and depraved generation" (Philippians 2:15). She's figuring out how to keep the faith in a godless arena.

The only foolproof way to know if an environment is going to be a help or hazard is to check it out yourself. Watch how your kids respond to the pressures around them. Volunteer at school and get to know their teachers and coaches. Help with the youth group or take your kids to see their favorite band in concert.

Know their friends

As Eddie Haskell so humorously illustrated in the "Leave It to Beaver" series, sometimes the veneer of respectability can overlay the heart of a rascal. Short of hiring a private detective to tail our kids' buddies, how do we know what kind of effect they have on our children?

"Since I spend a lot of time driving my younger teens and their friends to various events, I use that car time as a way to get to know their friends," says Jill, a mother of three sons. "I try to ask questions about their families and interests. You can learn a lot about a kid's character if you are paying attention."

Parents can also get a clue about their children's friends by regularly reading comments on their blogs and MySpace accounts. Don't hesitate to check out their friends' profiles. You might feel as though you are eavesdropping, but the reality is that unless MySpace profiles are set to private, all that information is for public display.

Create an open atmosphere in your home, making it a safe haven for your kids and their friends. Encourage honest, lively discussions where young minds can express themselves without the fear of being judged. Our girls — and their friends — have learned that even if we don't agree on every issue, we will treat them with respect. Faith is built when there's freedom to speak frankly and wrestle with tough subjects — even if it makes us wince.

When it comes to assessing the spiritual impact of any environment on our kids, knowledge is power. Know your children, know their hangouts and know their friends. Empowered by this knowledge, you can help your kids keep the faith. And maybe you'll even keep your sanity.

Posted via email from Christian Issues Digest

RaulRies: "The Lord’s Sabbath Day"

The Lord’s Sabbath Day

” ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.’ “

Leviticus 23:3

God did not say two days of rest, but one day. One day of rest, and it was not just to rest your body, it was a day to give to the Lord. Every seventh day of the week, which was called the Sabbath Day, was to be set apart for God. The seventh day was a holy day, not a play day.

The Sabbath Day is important for two reasons. First, think of how many people you know who have worked seven days a week without getting any rest, end up getting very ill. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually it can affect you. Think about it.

Second, what do people do on their days off? They play hard. Then, when Sunday comes, they are too tired or too sore to go to church. What happens? They abuse the Lord’s Sabbath Day with selfishness.

Remember what happened to the children of Israel when they did not observe the seventh year rest? For every seventh year they worked, they had to pay it back to God. That is why they went to Babylon for 70 years.

We should never abuse the Lord’s Sabbath Day. He has given us clear instructions in His Word, and we need to obey.

A weekly Sabbath walls in our wild nature.
-Christopher Nesse-

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Daily Purpose: "It's not about me"

Rick Warren





Getting the Most from This Book

This is more than a book; it is a guide to a 40-day spiritual journey that will enable you to discover the answer to life's most important question: What on earth am I here for? By the end of this journey you will know God's purpose for your life and will understand the big picture-how all the pieces of your life fit together. Having this perspective will reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most important, prepare you for eternity.


Today the average life span is 25,550 days. That's how long you will live if you are typical. Don't you think it would be a wise use of time to set aside 40 of those days to figure out what God wants you to do with the rest of them?

The Bible is clear that God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period. Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days:

Noah's life was transformed by 40 days of rain.

Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai.

The spies were transformed by 40 days in the Promised Land.

David was transformed by Goliath's 40-day challenge.

Elijah was transformed when God gave him 40 days of strength from a single meal.

The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people 40 days to change.

Jesus was empowered by 40 days in the wilderness.

The disciples were transformed by 40 days with Jesus after his resurrection.


     The next 40 days will transform your life.


This book is divided into 40 brief chapters. I strongly urge you to read only one chapter a day, so you will have time to think about the implications for your life. The Bible says, "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do."


One reason most books don't transform us is that we are so eager to read the next chapter, we don't pause and take the time to seriously consider what we have just read. We rush to the next truth without reflecting on what we have learned.

Don't just read this book. Interact with it. Underline it.


Write your own thoughts in the margins. Make it your book. Personalize it! The books that have helped me most are the ones that I reacted to, not just read.


At the end of each chapter is a section called "Thinking about My Purpose." There you will find:

A Point to Ponder. This is a nugget of truth that summarizes a principle of purpose-driven living that you can reflect on throughout your day. Paul told Timothy, "Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this."

A Verse to Remember. This is a Bible verse that teaches a truth from that chapter. If you really want to improve your life, memorizing Scripture may be the most important habit you can begin. You can either copy these verses onto small cards to carry with you, or purchase a Purpose-Driven Life Scripture Keeper Plus.

A Question to Consider. These questions will help you think about the implications of what you have read and how it applies to you personally. Let me encourage you to write your answers in the margin of this book or in a notebook, or obtain a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life journal, a companion book designed for this purpose. Writing down your thoughts is the best way to clarify them.


In appendix 1 you will find:


Discussion Questions. I strongly urge you to get one or more friends to join you in reading this book during the next 40 days. A journey is always better when it is shared. With a partner or a small reading group you can discuss what you read and bounce ideas off each other. This will help you grow stronger and deeper spiritually. Real spiritual growth is never an isolated, individualistic pursuit. Maturity is produced through relationships and community.


The best way to explain God's purpose for your life is to allow the Scripture to speak for itself, so in this book the Bible is quoted extensively, using over a thousand different verses from fifteen English translations and paraphrases. I have varied the versions used for several important reasons, which I explain in appendix 3.






As I wrote this book, I often prayed that you would experience the incredible sense of hope, energy, and joy that comes from discovering what God put you on this planet to do. There's nothing quite like it. I am excited because I know all the great things that are going to happen to you. They happened to me, and I have never been the same since I discovered the purpose of my life.


Because I know the benefits, I want to challenge you to stick with this spiritual journey for the next 40 days, not missing a single daily reading. Your life is worth taking the time to think about it. Make it a daily appointment on your schedule. If you will commit to this, let's sign a covenant together. There is something significant about signing your name to a commitment. If you get a partner to read through this with you, have him or her sign it, too. Let's get started together! 




A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree. Proverbs 11:28 (Msg)

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord.... They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT) 


It All Starts with God

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,. . . everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. Colossians 1:16 (Msg)


Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless. Bertrand Russell, atheist

It's not about you.

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.


The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That's because we typically begin at the wrong starting point-ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. The Bible says, "It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone's life is in his power”


Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. You've probably tried that already. You didn't create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose. 


I once got lost in the mountains. When I stopped to ask for directions to the campsite, I was told, "You can't get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain!" In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life's purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God-and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose. The Bible says, "Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.'2


I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of my life. All of them could be classified as "self-help" books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life's purpose: Consider your dreams. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up.


Of course, these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life's purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world's standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, "Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”


This is not a self-help book. 

It is not about finding the right career, achieving your dreams, or planning your life. It is not about how to cram more activities into an overloaded schedule. Actually, it will teach you how to do less in life-by focusing on what matters most. It is about becoming what God created you to be.


How, then, do you discover the purpose you were created for? You have only two options. Your first option is speculation. This is what most people choose. They conjecture, they guess, they theorize. When people say, "I've always thought life is . . . ," they mean, "This is the best guess I can come up with."

For thousands of years, brilliant philosophers have discussed and speculated about the meaning of life. Philosophy is an important subject and has its uses, but when it comes to determining the purpose of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.

Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 of the best-known philosophers, scientists, writers, and intellectuals in the world, asking them, "What is the meaning of life?" He then published their responses in a book.


Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life!


Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life. It's revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in his Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it.


The same is true for discovering your life's purpose: Ask God.

God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. 

He has clearly revealed his five purposes for our lives through the Bible. It is our Owner's Manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future.

It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. 

The Bible says, "God's wisdom ... goes deep into the interior of his purposes....

It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest-what


God determined as the way to bring out his best in us."


God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God's Word, not the world's wisdom.


You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories. 

The Bible says, "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." This verse gives us three insights into your purpose.

1. You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don't have such a relationship, I will later explain how to begin one.

2. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him. His purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you existed, without your input! You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose.

3. The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. That's what this book is about.


Andrei Bitov, a Russian novelist, grew up under an atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, "In my twenty-seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God's light."


You may have felt in the dark about your purpose in life. Congratulations, you're  about to walk into the light.



Point to Ponder: It's not about me.

Verse to Remember: "Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." Colossians 1: 16b (Msg)

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?  

Posted via email from ..................The Last Call Digest


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