Lovingly said

We are studying Ancient Greece right now in our homeschool.  Yesterday we read Acts 17, where Paul traveled to Athens.  When he arrived, his spirit was troubled when he saw that the city was given over to idols.  He went into the synagogue and the marketplace to tell people about Jesus, but it says that they called him a babbler and some said he was proclaiming foreign gods to them.

He was the outsider there, coming in and trying to change traditions and customs that were born into them.  As we have studied in our history lessons, the Greeks were devout in the worship of their gods.  They held festivals and offered sacrifices.  Temples were all around them, and their lives centered around the gods and goddesses in which they believed.  In fact, the very first Olympics was a festival to honor the god Zeus!

What I love is what Paul did next.  In Acts 17:22, Paul was standing in the midst of the Areopagus.  This was the council, the court of justice, the leaders of Athens.  He addressed them with respect and compliments.  He said, “I perceive that in all things you are very religious.”

It was true.  They were SO religious.  They could not have been more religious.  Their spiritual disciplines were very evident.  And Paul recognized this.  He continued, “For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:  TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”

From there, Paul told them about the God they did not know.

He never insulted them.  He never belittled them or put them down.  He never made them feel like they were idiots or the worst sinners in the world.  Here they were, worshiping false gods, and Paul showed them respect and treated them with dignity.  He then told them about God, who made the world and everything in it.

You with me?  I believe he allowed the Holy Spirit guide him, so he came to them in love, and with respect.  Now, some mocked him.  Some said they wanted to hear more later.  And some believed!

In love, Paul did what God asked him to do.  That’s all he had to do.  It wasn’t up to Paul to make them believe.  It was only up to him to obey God by spreading the gospel.  Likewise, it is only up to us to spread the truth, but let’s do so with love.  Let’s model the example of this courageous missionary who stood before the Greeks, and be respectful and loving and spread the truth, in love.

Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God will be saved.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

jamie

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Honoring the one who regarded rebuke

Pr. 19:18:  “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

Last I left you, with regard to my son, he was stripped of all toys and most privileges due to being stuck in a pattern of disrespect.  I am happy to report that things are looking up.  He had the choice of disregarding our correction or regarding our rebuke and receiving honor.  I would like to give honor to him now:

2 nights ago he had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Their house is so much fun!  They have Bible story time, game time, arts and craft time, story time, and…they not only have virtually unlimited channels on their tv, plus lots extra movies and shows.  Honestly, I forgot all about reminding him or them that he was not allowed to watch any television or movies.

The next morning my mom called to give me this report:  “I told him he could go watch a show while I got ready for the day.  He started walking towards the living room, but stopped and said, “Oh, Grandma, I forgot.  I’m not allowed to watch any shows.  I got in trouble.”

Now, my parents didn’t know he couldn’t watch shows, and neither his father, sister, nor I were there to monitor his choices.  Character is shown in what you do when no one is looking.  By not watching shows, even when he had Grandma’s permission, my son certainly proved that his character is being set in the right direction.

Today’s verse reminds me that in my last blog about him I said that we want to correct his behavior while he is still young.  Today’s verse says, “while there is still hope.”  We are not willing to resign ourselves to the fact that he will just be a disrespectful man.  We have hope that the Lord will continue to build his character throughout his life.  We do not think that since sinful actions are being demonstrated in his life that he is doomed for destruction.

We know that eternal life awaits our son.  We understand that Jesus came to save and redeem the world…including Levi.  We know that the Lord is not willing that any should perish, and therefore His Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men, reminding them of God.  Levi heeded the reminder of the Holy Spirit when he chose not to watch tv.

No amount of outward behavior means more to me than the act of integrity and obedience to the Holy Spirit that my son demonstrated at Grandma’s house.  His heart is pointed in the right direction and that is what truly matters.

Ro. 5:5:  “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Praise God!

The same holds true for you and yours.  With God, there is always hope!  There is no age limit to salvation, redemption, or a move of the Holy Spirit.

Honoring Levi,

jamie

Where honor is due

Pr. 30:11:  “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.”

This reminds me of the world in which we currently live, although, I know that disrespect goes back to the beginning of time.  I remember the story of Noah and his sons.  Noah became uncovered in his tent and when his son, Ham, saw his father’s nakedness, he went out and told his brothers all about it.  His brothers, on the other hand, went in and covered their father, keeping their faces turned.  They showed their father the respect he deserved because he was their father.  Ham was cursed and his brothers were blessed.

Disrespect seems to be more rampant in our society these days.  All you really have to do is visit a play ground or the mall and listen to the way that children speak to their parents to find out the truth.  More and more we are modeling the behavior of Ham.  Sadly we even hear of worse, as I just heard a story about a man who stabbed his mother to death.  How far we’ve strayed.

I won’t get in to all the discipline issues, but speak to God’s instructions about our parents.  As far back as the Exodus of the Israelites, the Lord gave the command:  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”  This was the first commandment with a promise.  Not only will our parents be honored and respected, but we live long on the earth and things will be well with us.

Some parents teach false or wicked things to their children.  What then?  We are not responsible for the actions of others, but for our own.  We aren’t to give respect only to those who have earned it, but to those who are in a position of authority over us because the Lord has appointed them.  We honor their position, not their worthiness.  We give honor and respect because we were commanded to do so, and because we see what Jesus has done for us when we have not earned it.  We honor and show respect as unto Christ.

Pr. 11:29 says, “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.”  Surely, not giving honor to our parents causes trouble; and instead of gaining a promise, we will get nothing.  Trusting in God as our heavenly Father allows us to follow His commands without fear.  Surely He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He shows Himself strong to those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  Trust Him enough to keep His commands.  You will receive help and a promise to boot!

Respectfully,

jamie