Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Risen Christ – That’s My KIng

S.M. Lockridge’s sermon, “That’s My King” for Easter morning.

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Silent Saturday

Imagine what Saturday was like after all the events of Friday and the crucifixion. Suddenly everything is quiet – silent. My favorite Christian musician is Andrew Peterson and here is his song, The Silence of God.

 

 

IT’S FRIDAY – BUT SUNDAY IS COMING!

Here is the original version of “It’s Friday, But Sunday is Coming” by Shadrach Meshach (S.M.) Lockridge (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000) who was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, in San Diego, California from 1953 to 1993. It is a Good Friday tradition for me to listen to this several times.

Do You Know What “Maundy Thursday” Means?

I just finished asking 4 high school classes at our Christian school what is Maundy Thursday. No one gave the right answer. Most of our students come from independent Bible churches that do not celebrate the church calendar other than a few events. In one way it is too bad for the calendar was set up to be a teaching tool. Well, just in case you don’t know either, Kevin DeYoung, Pastor to the University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan gives this very helpful explanation.

“Like millions of Christians around the world, we will have a Maundy Thursday tonight. If you’ve never heard the term, it’s not Monday-Thursday (which always confused me as a kid), but Maundy Thursday, as in Mandatum Thursday. Mandatum is the Latin word for “command” or “mandate”, and the day is called Maundy Thursday because on the night before his death Jesus gave his disciples a new command. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 [1]).

At first it seems strange that Christ would call this a new command. After all, the Old Testament instructed God’s people to love their neighbors and Christ himself summarized the law as love for God and love for others. So what’s new about love? What makes the command new is that because of Jesus’ passion there is a new standard, a new examplar of love.

There was never any love like the dying love of Jesus. It is tender and sweet (13:33). It serves (13:2-17). It loves even unto death (13:1). Jesus had nothing to gain from us by loving us. There was nothing in us to draw us to him. But he loved us still, while we were yet sinners. At the Last Supper, in the garden, at his betrayal, facing the Jewish leaders, before Pontius Pilate, being scourged, carrying his cross, being nailed to the wood, breathing his dying breath, forsaken by God–he loved us.

To the end.

To death.

Love shone best and brightest at Calvary.”

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal life.My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live. (The Valley of Vision, “Love Lustres at Calvary”)

 

 

The Porn-Free Family Plan

Continued from yesterday from Tim Challies: http://www.challies.com/articles/the-porn-free-family-plan#keep-reading
 
Iam a father of three children who are fully part of the digital generation. They are as comfortable with iPods as I am with a paperback and have only ever known a world where almost all of us have cell phones with us at all times, where Facebook is a teenager’s rite-of-passage, where every home has five or ten or twenty devices that can access the rest of the world through the Internet. Yet I know of the dangers that are lurking out there, waiting to draw them in.

I want to protect my children in a world like this, but I want to do more than that. I want to disciple my children to live virtuously, to use these new technologies for good purposes instead of bad ones. I believe this is a crucial part of my calling as a parent. To address this great need, I have put together what I call The Porn-Free Family Plan. It is a plan designed to protect my children from online dangers so that I can train them to use their devices and technologies well.

The Porn-Free Family Plan

A thorough plan needs to account for three types of device:

  • Fixed devices. These are the devices will only ever be used in the home. Here we have desktop computers in the home office or Internet-enabled televisions and gaming consoles. Parents can have a significant level of control over these devices.
  • Mobile devices. These are the laptops, tablets, smart phones and other devices that can be used in the home but also carried out of the home and used elsewhere. Parents can have as lesser degree of control over these devices.
  • Other people’s devices. These are the computers children may use at another person’s home or the tablets other children may show to their friends. Parents can have no control over these devices.

In all of this there are two broad goals: To prevent those who want to find pornography and to protect those who do not want to find it but who may otherwise find themselves exposed to it, to confound those who want to see porn and to shield those who don’t. And while the plan is geared specifically to combat pornography, it will also help battle other online dangers.

The Porn Free Family Plan has four steps: Plan, Prepare, Meet and Monitor.

Plan

You’ve heard the old maxim: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The maxim applies well to what we are attempting to accomplish here. A successful plan will need to account for every device in your home that combines an Internet connection with a screen. So let’s get to work.

Step 1: Inventory
You need to know exactly how many Internet-enabled devices you have in your home. To do this, you will need to take an inventory. Make a list of all your Internet-enabled devices: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Don’t forget the Playstation 3, Xbox, smart televisions, Apple TVs, iPods, and e-reader tablets. Even a Kindle reading device has basic web-browsing capabilities. A family recently reported that after doing this they were shocked to learn they had 22 devices to account for!

Step 2: Budget
Decide whether you are able to make Internet security a regular and recurring monthly expense. Where it used to cost money to access pornography, today it often costs money to avoid it. While there are free options available, the best services have a cost associated with them. A budget of $20-$25 per month will allow a family to take advantage of the premier options.

Step 3: Learn
Now that you have taken your inventory and have a better grasp of the devices your plan needs to account for, it is time to learn about the options available to protect those who use them. There are four broad categories of protection we have available:

  • Filtering. Filtering proactively detects and blocks objectionable content. (Examples: If your child does an Internet search for “naked girls,” it will block the search; If your child mistakenly clicks a link to a pornographic web site, it will block access to the site.)
  • Accountability. Accountability software tracks web sites visited from different devices and then prepares and delivers regular reports. (Example: If your child visits a pornographic web site or performs a search for “naked girls,” the accountability software will note it and include it in a report emailed to you.)
  • Parental controls. Parental controls block certain functions of modern devices (Examples: Preventing the use of the Internet browser on an iPod Touch; preventing the use of the Facebook app on a tablet).
  • Communication. We cannot rely on technology to solve all of our problems, so the plan must also involve regular, deliberate and open communication.

Because none of these offers complete protection, the wise plan must use some combination of all four. The Porn-Free Family plan uses the following tools:

  • OpenDNS. OpenDNS uses filtering to automatically block objectionable web sites for every device connected to your home network. It is activated by making a small change to the settings on your existing router.
  • Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes tracks the web sites visited by your computers and mobile devices and sends regular email reports; it also offers optional filtering that can be configured specifically for each member of your family.
  • Parental Controls. Parental controls allow parents to disable certain functions on devices.
  • Meetings. The most indispensable tool is regular, open, deliberate communication between parents and their children.

Step 4: Discuss
Before you begin to implement the plan, it may be a good idea to meet with your family to explain what you are about to do and what you hope to accomplish by it. You will be inconveniencing your family and putting rules in place that will impact them, so it may be wise to discuss these things with them. Read the rest of this entry

Help! My Kids are Looking at Porn!

My work at the Christian high school has confirmed what I had understood what was happening among youth. The easy access to the internet and pornography has a hook in most of our kids. If you have teens in your home, chances are they have been exposed and many will be seeking it out with opportunity. This is a very helpful article by Tim Challies who besides being a pastor, has written extensively about technology and the use of it with discernment. He writes:

I hear it so, so often: “Help! My kids are looking at porn!” A few days ago one mom wrote to say that she and her husband had allowed their young teenaged boys access to the Internet to play an online video game, thinking they had taught and trained the boys well enough that they would be able to resist whatever temptation they encountered out there. They were wrong, and had just learned that for the past four months, when mom and dad left the house for a date or to run some errands, the boys had been looking at pornography. What should they do? How should they respond?

I have dedicated a lot of attention over the past several years to the battle against pornography and would like to offer a two-part answer. Today I will address the immediate response and tomorrow I want to help you put together a plan that will protect your family in the future, both preventing those who want to look at porn and protecting those who don’t yet know that it exists.

For today, here are some suggestions for how to respond when you learn that your children have been looking at or looking for pornography.

Don’t Despair

Different parents react in different ways when it comes to their children and pornography. Some treat it in a matter-of-fact manner while others respond with more emotion and can find themselves on the brink of utter despair. Guard yourself against those depths of despair. While this situation is difficult and painful, it does not mean the world is ending; it does not necessarily mean your children are unsaved and certainly does not mean they are unsaveable. By looking at porn they have opened up a window to their heart and you now have the opportunity to address it in a helpful way. Despair will only interfere with your ability to do this effectively.

Be Careful with Shame

There may be a tendency to compound shame upon shame, to want to ensure that your kids are feeling the shame they ought to feel. But be careful with shame. Our goal is to have the Holy Spirit convict your children of their guilt more than to have mom and dad make them feel a deep shame. It is very possible that you are feeling embarrassed or feeling a sense of failure as a parent, and this may lead you to be harsher than you ought to be. Your goal is not to convict your children of their shame before mom and dad, but to assist the Holy Spirit as he convicts them of their guilt before God.

Ask Questions

Whatever else you do, you need to communicate with your kids. It is easy for a parent to assume he knows why his children have been looking at pornography, but I’ve learned over the years that there are a host of reasons. Some children look at porn purely out of lust and curiosity; some do it primarily to fuel masturbation; some do it out of a desire to be disobedient and act out against the authority figures in their life; some do it out of a response to abuse they’ve suffered in the past. Where the temptation will be to bludgeon your children with reasons they should not look at porn, your time will be spent far more effectively if you are able to slow down, ask lots of questions, and engage them in conversation. Find out what the allure is. Find out what need it seems to be meeting. Prepare for uncomfortable discussions about topics you don’t want to discuss, like masturbation and even abuse. Don’t let their bad behavior distract you from addressing their hearts.

Go to the Gospel

I said earlier that by looking at pornography your children have opened up a window into their hearts. They’ve opened it up and shone a spotlight onto a particular sin. They’ve shown that they are dissatisfied, that they are lustful, that they are disobedient to God and to their parents. And that’s just who the gospel is for—for the dissatisfied and lustful and disobedient. All of this presents a powerful opportunity to get straight to the gospel. The gospel offers them forgiveness, but it also offers them hope that they can overcome this sin, that they can be rescued from the guilt of the sin, that they can find a deeper and more lasting satisfaction than what pornography promises. As always, the heart is the heart of the matter.

Plead With Them

I believe that as a parent you have many opportunities to teach your children, but only a few opportunities to really plead with them. This is a time to plead with them, to plead for their lives and to plead for their souls. You are older and wiser than your children, you understand the Bible more than your children, and you know the long-term cost of a commitment to sexual sin. If ever there is a time to plead with them for their life and for their souls, this is it. Allow Solomon to give you your words:

And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.” (Proverbs 5:6-14)

You are battling not just for personal purity, but for their lives. Plead with them to save their lives and to save their souls!

Take Measured Action

By looking at pornography your children have violated your trust and shown themselves unworthy of it. That trust will need to be earned and regained over a period of time as they prove themselves responsible and obedient. You will need to be actively involved in training your children to use their privileges well and to use the Internet and their digital devices without this kind of behavior. You need a plan that will account for their devices and their lack of Christian character. I will turn to this plan tomorrow.

HT: http://www.challies.com/articles/help-my-kids-are-looking-at-porn#keep-reading

 

 

Ten Forgotten Ways to Teach Politeness to Children

By Melissa Edgington; http://yourmomhasablog.com

It’s 2014.  The days of children standing around with excellent posture in their bow ties and stiff dresses are over.  Our hip and modern kids may be running around with mismatched socks and spiked up hair, but that doesn’t mean that we have to abandon teachings that help our kids be well liked by other children and adults.  I’m not talking about popularity here.  I’m talking about helping our kids give a good impression wherever they go.  After all, the Bible says that even a child is known by his actions.  Not every day is going to be a rip roaring success when trying to teach our children politeness, but if we are consistent, we will eventually see them get it right more than they get it wrong.  And, when they have successful and pleasant encounters with others, we are setting tHandshake-3hem up to be more successful in life.  These ten skills will serve them well all through adulthood, too.

1.  When adults in the room are standing because of a lack of seating, children should stand, sit on the floor, or sit on our lap.  After this has happened a few times, the kids begin to unseat themselves when they need to.  It’s a beautiful thing.

2.  When adults are talking, children should not interrupt.  This is a tough one because we are guilted by various magazines and books into believing we are doing emotional damage to our children when we don’t drop whatever we’re doing if one of them has something to say.  But, anything our kids have to say (short of the kitchen is on fire) can wait until our conversation is over.  Of course, there are exceptions, depending on who we are talking to or what the situation is, but we shouldn’t be afraid to tell our children that they will have to wait.  In ministry it’s been an important rule because there are times when I am in deep conversation with someone, and my children generally know to occupy themselves in that instance.

3.  Please and Thank You are still cool.  Compliments?  Candy?  Bathroom break?  Just about all situations with children need plenty of pleases and thank yous.  It’s always a magical day when you’re training a little one to say “Thank you,”  and right as you’re about to say, “What do you say?” to your child, she beats you to it and says thank you without prompting.  And then angels sing in the distance.  I’m sure of it.

4.  When someone speaks to a child, he should respond.  I know we all teach stranger danger and everything these days, but when we are together and a stranger or an acquaintance speaks to my child, he should answer.  Even if it’s just to say hello or to answer a question or to say thank you after a compliment.  We need to teach our children (even if they are shy) to look people in the face and respond.

5.  When they are in a quiet and still environment, children should be quiet and still.  I know this is tough, and it takes years sometimes to teach this to certain children. But, we do them a disservice when we communicate that we don’t expect them to be able to be still and quiet.  And, sometimes even those who normally do this well will just have to squirm and make a little noise.  But, we can consistently work to show them that they are capable of sitting (and sometimes even doing nothing–gasp!) for a reasonable period of time.

6.  When they receive a gift or a meal they don’t want or need, children should smile and say thank you.  Like many of the others, this is a matter of thinking ahead and instructing our children before the situation arises.  Sometimes when we are going to someone’s house, I tell my kids, “She has worked hard to fix us a nice meal.  Whatever it is, eat it and say thank you.”  If we are having a birthday party, I remind my kids that if they open a gift that they already own, they should just smile and thank their friend.  These are lesson in gracious living, and the sooner our kids learn to think of others’ feelings, the better.

7.  Children should not invite themselves over to others’ houses.  This is such a hard one to get through to kids because they reach an age where they are all about hanging out with their friends.  But, we have to teach our kids what an uncomfortable situation they put other parents in when they do this.

8.  Children should not ask others for money or gifts.  I’m thinking specifically about grandparents here, but sometimes children get so deep into this habit that they will ask teachers or other parents for money or food or some other treat.  We need to teach our children that it is rude to ask even Granny for money or gifts.

9.  Children should know basic mealtime etiquette.  Teaching our kids to chew with their mouths closed, use a napkin, swallow before speaking, and use utensils properly will go a long way toward making them pleasant dinner companions.  If we don’t teach these skills now, before we know it they will be in high school and won’t know how to wipe their mouths while they eat.  Spaghetti face doesn’t go well with a tux at prom.

10.  While being tired is sometimes a catalyst for bad behavior, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for it.  We’ve all been there.  Our kids are being difficult and rude, and we think or say that it’s because they’re tired.  And, it’s probably true.  But, tiredness doesn’t excuse bad behavior, although it can comfort us to know that it’s probably the reason behind it.

Now that the list is complete, you’re probably wondering if my children are always polite.  Well, no, they’re not.  And yours won’t be either.  But, the more we work with them, modeling good manners and teaching them how to behave in different situations, the more polite they become and, hopefully, the more pleasant to be around.

It should be said that there will be plenty of days that go better than others when teaching these polite behaviors.  But, our kids need God’s help to change, just like we do.  So, we can extend grace to them when they mess up, and we can lovingly show them how to do better next time.  The core of each of these behaviors is simple kindness and thoughtfulness.  So, when we encourage our kids to think of others’ feelings, then we are helping them to love others.

 

Don’ t Worry: Be Happy – 40 JOYS IN CHRIST

Compiled by David Murray

“And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4).

Christ’s nearness: For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

Christ’s coming: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. (Matt. 2:10)

Christ’s birth: And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. (Luke 1:14)

Christ’s availability: Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. (Luke 2:10)

Christ’s Word: This is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. (Matthew 13:20)

Christ’s value: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)

Christ’s home: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21)

Christ’s resurrection: So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. (Matthew 28:8)

Christ’s reproach: Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:23)

Christ’s power: Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17)

Christ’s salvation: Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Christ’s too-good-to-be-trueness: But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” (Luke 24:41)

Christ’s ascension: And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  (Luke 24:52)

Christ’s marriage: He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. (John 3:29)

Christ’s joy: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).

Christ’s re-appearing: Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. (John 16:22)

Christ’s answers: Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)

Christ’ prayers: But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:13)

Christ’s healings: For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:7-8)

Christ’s conversions: So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. (Acts 15:3)

Christ’s finishing line: But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

Christ’s Kingdom: For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Christ’s hope: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Christ’s people: That I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. (Romans 15:32)

Christ’s servants: Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

Christ’s Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)

Christ’s faith: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith. (Philippians 1:25)

Christ’s unity: Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)

Christ’s strengthening: Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Colossians 1:11)

Christ’s Spirit: And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Christ’s return: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

Christ’s love: For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. (Philemon 7)

Christ’s refreshing: Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. (Philemon 20)

Christ’s reward: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Christ’s trials: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. (James 1:2)

Christ’s faith: whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:8)

Christ’s sufferings: but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings. (1 Peter 4:13)

Christ’s glory: that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)

Christ’s sanctification: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 4)

Christ’s preservation: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. (Jude 24)

HT: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2014/04/02/40-joys-through-jesus/