Wednesday, December 4, 2019

BLESSEDNESS: BEATITUDE 1 - HUMBLE SPIRIT, RICH HERITAGE

When the Son of God - JESUS - walked the earth, He thundered radical thought and Truth wherever He went. His ministry may have lasted only three (3) years, but He has impacted not only the last 2000 years since, but the Eternal Destination (heaven or hell) of both believers and unbelievers.

The Beatitudes are some of the most popular of Words, which He repeated across Judea, Samaria and wherever He taught. The Book of John reports this "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written.(John 21:25).

The Gospels and thus, the entire Bible, contains only a portion of 

The Beatitudes
1. When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

At first glance, "POOR IN SPIRIT" does NOT sound like very exciting or what you and I would expect a Christian to be. After all, Jesus promised us "life abundantly". The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB) " For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope". (Some other translations say "plans to prosper you"). 

The statement "poor in spirit" is a head-scratcher until we find out what Jesus really means! To sum it up in two words, "poor in spirit" equals a very real "spiritual poverty".

This spiritual poverty is one which EVERY true follower of Jesus Christ should recognize in the inner person. One who is truly converted and knows where he or she came from, then was bought into the Eternal Realm by the Spirit of Jesus, experiences riches untold which eye cannot see, nor ear cannot hear. When our spiritual eyes are open at Salvation, we recognize the same which spurred the former slave trader John Newton to write Amazing Grace.

It is our spiritual poverty which causes us to realize who truly worthless we were, and may still be.
It is our spiritual poverty which causes us to sing about the Savior Who “saved a wretch like me”.
It is our spiritual poverty which does or SHOULD drive us to our knees, daily or as much as possible in gratitude.
It is our spiritual poverty which says like John the Baptist (John 3:30) – I must decrease that He might increase.

This is the “poor” of which the Lord speaketh. The temporal conditions on earth, in this life, mean nothing. A financially poor man will go to the same eternal separation from God as a rich or middle class person, who rejects Jesus Christ.

But the rich, middle-class or poor individual who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord of all in his/her life and internally humbles daily, is destined for the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom is obviously visible when we pass from this Life. But in essence, when we are saved, we are immediately transferred into the Eternal Kingdom immediately, even while struggling with life, here on earth!

The Kingdom of Heaven for the Christian who is alive today is the sudden knowledge of the  Holy in our lives. We instinctively know Who saved us, while absolutely becoming aware of the change in our lives. Our Salvation is positional and we, immediately, become seated in the Heavenlies with God our Father, from Eternity Past to Eternity Future.

Jesus Himself, gave a tiny glimpse of what the Kingdom looks like, in essence, in this passage. Let us then meditate on it, and pray for more and more revelation as we continue to grow in Godly wisdom:
Matthew 13:31-52 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three  pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

34 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:  “I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.”

The Tares Explained
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 

40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Hidden Treasure
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

A Costly Pearl
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

A Dragnet
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They *said to Him, “Yes.” 52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”


READ AND MEDITATE ON THESE WORDS IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: CITY OF PRAYER (2019)

There is only one major American city, of which it can be said, that it is completely blanketed in daily Prayer. On the surface,  Austin, Texas, whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird” may seem like the unlikeliest place for the most concentrated, sustained and focused city-wide movement of prayer in this great country.

Just as in the Third Great Awakening began with one man’s vision for prayer  (Jeremiah Lanphier), Austin’s decade old “Unceasing Prayer Movement” began when one man and his wife. Pastor Trey Kent of Northwest fellowship Church in Austin Texas, and his wife, Mary Anne,  were prayer-walking their neighborhood one night in February 2008. There, under a street lamp, the Holy Spirit gave Pastor Kent a clear vision for a 24/7 prayer movement, powered by many churches from the capitol city of Texas – Austin.

Thus began execution of this divine directive, which quickly evolved into what is now 100 churches of all races and denominations, praying for their city, their churches and the lost. They pray, literally, 24/7/365.  CITY OF PRAYER is the first document of its type to not just record the success of a growing grassroots movement, but the book provides a roadmap which can be, and has already been reproduced in the USA, with interest from other countries!

Written by Pastor Kent and Dr. Kie Bowman of Austin's Hyde Park Baptist Church, CITY OF PRAYER gives not just the history of what is now "The Unceasing Prayer Movement" and "Austin Prays", but also a brief primer on the great revivals and moves of God in the last 150 or so years. These Revivals/Awakenings began with and were fueled only by prayer. Some of the prayer movements of Scripture are also looked at, as a foundational to this book.

Chapters include such themes as: A Culture of Prayer; A People of Prayer; The People of Prayer; Launching 24/7 Prayer in Your City and the Results of Prayer. Without "spoiling the end", as "they" say, this group of churches fervently praying in Austin brought a direct answer from Heaven, which ended a terrible drought in Central Texas! 
The Chapter on "Launching Your Own 24/7 Prayer Movement in Your City" is of particular interest to me. I have been part of now five year old and on-going, intentional, twice per month noon prayer meeting of some local pastors and just anyone who loves to prayer. We had met for years on end from 2005 at the local HOP or House of Prayer run by a good brother of mine- Scott Beauchamp. However since relaunching in recent years, more and more prayer leaders are coming by on our lunch hours on the First and Third Tuesdays of each month to press in for transformation (personal and city wide), the church and everything else that comes up. We have pastors who are Bible churches; Baptist, Assembly of God, Nazarene, Apostolic, Non-denominational and others I have no idea where they go to church. All I know is they love Jesus and love to pray.

When I assumed leadership of the Annual National Day of Prayer event at the Illinois State Capitol, little did I know I was walking, as a prime target, into a blazing hot war. The Lord led me directly to this core group which were already in the infancy of our little city prayer group.  There is a living testimony as to the power of prayer to deliver, empower and embolden which I personally found in this group of praying men back in February 2006. I have never forgotten it as we move into Year 16 of facilitating the annual National Day of Prayer, and stay close to the flame of praying men and women of God, who are all about Jesus and the Holy Ghost. We may be growing very slowly, but there is something to persevering and pressing ahead, regardless, since our Audience is an Audience of One.
  
Almost every movement of God began with one man praying. The Third Great Awakening, the last great nationwide move of God in America, began in New York City in 1857 when one man with a vision for prayer – Jeremiah Lanphier. The first week Lanphier called a prayer meeting, no one showed up. But then on week, one other man showed up….and then more and more. The economic and socio-political conditions in the USA were not unlike those we have today.  Yet Revival spread like wildfire across the nation, leading to many millions saved and the gospel spreading like wildfire to the new American frontier! It laid the spiritual foundation which guided the nation through the devastating Civil War which followed very soon after the Awakening.

We are almost similar Civil War times, not with the Fort Sumters or Gettysburgs, but a civil war of Culture, Community and Church dysfunction. The only answer is the Praying Church. Get this book and let the Lord lead us to what He would have us do.
LINKS:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

THE JOYFUL LIFE - THE BLESSINGS OF FORGIVENESS, PART 3

The Holy Spirit is our direct, or “wireless” if you will, connection to Almighty God our Father, and Jesus Christ- our Lord and Savior. Only the redeemed/saved/born-again of the Lord can testify to this Truth. So when sin and guilt reside in one end of this pipeline – the living, breathing Christian, there is a “clog” or glitch in the communication.

This glitch can only be resolved if the steps described in Parts 1 and 2 of this series on Psalm 32, are mirrored into the soul of the believer. Repentance comes before Restoration.

The Lord walked us through this process in His Word (Psalm 32) and now in verses 8 and 9, the Almighty Himself response to His servant David, and anyone who is serious about repentance and restoring the most important relationship we will ever have – the one with Jesus Himself.

Here is what the Lord Himself says:
Psalm 32

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9   Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

Here is what He literally means in His own original Hebrew language:
“I will instruct you” – The Lord is saying here “I will make you prudent and wise and give the ability to have the proper insight (you and I will need). The original word here isSakal
“I will teach you” -  After God says He will provide insight and the proper view of things, He says here that He will guide and direct. The original word is “Yara”.
“I will counsel you” – Then, our great and Gracious God goes one step further in promising to give advice and provide the right counsel to His people. The original word is Yaats.

IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED WE READ THOSE THREE STATEMENTS FROM THE LORD OVER AGAIN! Let this sink in for a moment. When we are given the ability to have the proper view (insight) and then God Himself takes a whole of the direction of our lives and we seek His counsel in many things, we could never go wrong!

What we should always hold near, daily, minute by minute even, is this truth – God loves us and only wants the best for us. When we mess up, He wants to give and forgive and then give again. He is the Lord Who welcomes us with open arms. He is more loving than our earthly parents and more forgiving than anyone every born, except the Lord Jesus Himself.

This is why He exhorts in Psalm 32:10 and says “he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness (grace and mercy on steroids) will surround him (her)

This is why we rejoice, as in Verse 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"


This is the true Joy than can only be found in Forgiveness.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

THE JOYFUL LIFE - THE BLESSINGS OF FORGIVENESS, PART 2

Personal baggage is a terrible thing to carry around. The sad thing is too many carry theirs around for a lifetime, never seeking remedy, relief or restoration. Guilt - real or imagined or created out of thin air - is a heavy burden. It not only destroys your joy, but is the devil's ploy to keep God's Children down.

We, who are followers and disciples of the Lord Jesus, are on a journey and like any good traveler, we must check our baggage in before we get on that flight. No good airline will allow a passenger to bring a huge fifty pound suitcase unto an aircraft...of any size. There is simply, first, no place to store that big bag and secondly it would not fair to the other passengers.

So what are we do do, when the believer actually has a past which has never been confessed or dealt with, and the guilt of the sinful act(s) are just eating away inside. Well, the next portion of Psalm 32, clearly shows us what happened when the man of God - David - covered up his sin for two years....that is, until God sent His prophet Nathan, to bust him.


We read, from Psalm 32:
3  When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.
4  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5  I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Verses 3 and 4 tells us exactly what happens when a person lives with sin and shame, covered over with a blanket, on the inside. 
 -  It affects the person physically. Things may appear nice and healthy on the outside, but like the whitewashed tombs which Jesus spoke about, on the inside, things ain't right.

 -  The psalmist David said there was "groaning all day long". So even if all is well in every day life, and the job is getting down. The person seems to be accomplishing things at her job or in his particular role, but there is not peace inside. Apart from the physical internal decline, now the emotions are in play.

 -  When verse 4 proclaims that the "Hand of the Lord was heavy", this denotes the conscience.  The Lord has written His Law on EVERY single spiritual heart of every single human who was ever been or will be born. This is our conscience. We instinctively know when we have done wrong - either to God or to another person. If a person is saved, the Holy Spirit immediately convicts us of our sin, which as we saw earlier, is missing the mark.

Everyone can confirm these three symptoms of guilt and baggage in each of our lives in the past, until we made it right. Guilt and baggage affects the person physically, emotionally and spiritually. We learn of this from Psalm 32:3-4 and from personal experience.

The remedy is verse 5! Here is how the sinner got his joy back and how anyone who has fallen short before God, or before a loved one, or even more intense - offended a person whom you do not even like,  can be made completely whole. This is the ONLY way to live the Joyful Christian Life. Look at verse 5: 

  -  He not only acknowledge the general umbrella of sin, which his actions fell under, but he acknowledged getting busted, did not say "the devil made me do it" or some such "playing the victim". He own his actions. But he went even further and laid his soul and entire person before the Lord.

  -  He got detailed about his sin. Getting specific about what the actions committed against God and another person are, are KEY to full restoration. Iniquity is worse than just saying a bad word, shouting at someone, or posting something mean on social media. Iniquity violates God's High Moral Standards. We Christians know better than to do that, and if we ever "go there", it would serve us well to uncover it before God and if it is against another person - then, seek immediate forgiveness.

-  Certain sins break ALL God's Commandments. As the Book of James tells us, when we break one commandment, we break them all, since the Law of God is like a chain. Outright rebellion against God is knowing that having that affair is dead wrong, but doing it anyway, because it's more about you than God. It is knowing that getting into that automobile drunk is stupid or cheating on your taxes etc. Even disobeying a command of God.  Rebellion against God is NOT wise and can cause a temporary break between a person and her/his family and definitely, against God.

The good news is the Love, Grace, Mercy and Compassion of our Great God in Heaven can, has and will forgive all of this and lead us to full restoration.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

THE JOYFUL LIFE - THE BLESSINGS OF FORGIVENESS, PART 1

At a recent series of Revival Services, where I led worship music on the opening night (October 9, 2019) two major things happened which affected the lives and even the eternity, of members of two distinctive churches. Both entities were personally revived and both experienced the Joy and Freedom of Forgiveness.

The final service was on the regular Sunday morning service with the title "Embracing Forgiveness". In it, my good friend, the Texas pastor/author Dr. David King, who has a background in both Christian radio and church leadership, used the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. Joseph as the example of HOW to live a life of forgiveness which reflects both God and the willingness to complete our mission here on earth, with the richness and inner peace which only comes from the Father. We know this story very well. The favorite son of the patriarch Jacob was sold into slavery by this brothers, who schemed and told their father that Jacob was dead....simply because they hated him. Fast forward two decades later and Joseph is the prime minister of Egypt, whom the Lord used to save the entire world from famine. He rescued those same brothers and their families, forgiving them in an act of Mercy which only came from God. He never told a soul about it. (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE).

There is HUGE BURDEN lifted when we forgive others. HOWEVER, we can never really know what that means until we are forgiven ourselves! To that end, we begin a new series in Psalm 32, in part, to personally know this powerful pardon from the Lord. In Psalm 32, King David has repented fully before the Lord, for his murderous adultery with Bathsheba. We read his prayers of repentance and sorrow in Psalm 51, which is the example for us to go to God with, when we have blown it so bad, that we think the Lord cannot forgive us.

Now in Psalm 32, the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the Psalms (most of them) - King David, has his eyes opened as what God has really done for him, by forgiving him of his crimes against both God and man. It was too late for David to apologize to Uriah the Hititte, whom he had killed so he (David) could cover up the affair with Uriah's wife, but David did the right thing by responding to God exposing his sin. Now, he shares for all the ages, how this really feels.

Psalm 32, verses 1 and 2 (NKJV):
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

There are three varying degrees of sin listed here, which we have ALL committed and some, maybe still do. Each one is worse than the other one:

Transgression: (pesha, or the rebellion of humans against God which will send the majority of the world away from Him. This can be forgiven if the sinner is truly repent and is the highest degree of sin).
Iniquity: (awon or willfully and blatantly knowing God's standard but breaking it anyway)
Sin: (chattah or missing the mark or the threshold of the Lord).

Here, David is committed all three when he disrespected God, broke all His Commandments and basically not just crossed the line, but willingly blew across it.

The key is Repentance.

The original bible word for "BLESSED" is "Esher" which basically means perfect happiness which cannot be bought by things or conditions, but only comes from the love, grace and peace of Almighty God! Basically, it means - joy.

The other key word to note here is "impute", where God does not consider or hold this against us anymore. We will still have to face the CONSEQUENCES of those sins in our time here on earth, unless we attempt to make it right and others forgive us. To achieve that and to fully receive the blessings of this imputation from the Lord, we must fully embrace forgiveness - and truly forgive others, while not holding anything against them.

This is a hard calling. Are we up to it? Yes, we are.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

RELEVANT NEW BOOK ON DISCIPLESHIP




This fast-moving and timely book on the missing piece of today's modern church is now available to for purchase on all platforms across America.



Hear what some of America's leading ministry leaders have to say about "REAL-LIFE DISCIPLESHIP" by two men I know very well, and work alongside each year for going on two decades, as we put on the annual Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conference. These men are Tom Cheshire and Tom Gensler of Relevant Practical Ministry for Men (click here).


What a gift! I believe that this book is the answer to the question and the longing on the hearts of so many Christian men- ‘what is a godly man and how do I become one?’ Tom Cheshire and Tom Gensler not only tells us what it means to be a godly man but also compellingly shows us how to become one. This book is a valuable resource! Dr. Crawford W. Loritts, Jr. – Author, Speaker – Sr. Pastor Fellowship Bible Church – Roswell, Georgia

Most of us would agree that a disciple is ‘one who follows Jesus’. Where we might disagree is how to make a disciple – how to make ‘one who follows Jesus’. Tom Cheshire and Tom Gensler embrace the ministry philosophy of the Apostle Paul who did more than teach and encourage first century believers to follow Jesus, he instructed them to ‘Follow me, as I follow Christ’. This model of I Corinthians 11:1 is the basis for ‘Real Life Discipleship’. Grab this book and see what men following men who follow Jesus looks like in the twenty first century. Brian Doyle, Founder and President – Iron Sharpens Iron
REAL LIFE DISCIPLESHIP CAN BE PURCHASED HERE:
The Discipleship guide was written to compliment the book. In order to receive your FREE copy of the Real Life Discipleship Guide please refer to page 101 in the book and enter the Pass Code given.

IMPORTANT MEN'S CONFERENCE FOR CHURCH/MINISTRY LEADERS - THURSDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2019

This Leadership Conference is for you if you want to learn to shape the culture & direction of your church through personal disciple making. Whether you’re a senior pastor, men’s ministry leader, or just a lay guy who wants to grow in leadership, your welcome to join.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:

 RANDY POPE OF PERIMETER CHURCH, JOHNS CREEK, GEORGIA

-------------------------------------------------------

Breakout Sessions Include:
A REAL-LIFE PERSPECTIVE ON HOW A PASTOR DISCIPLES IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
  • Jonathan Davis / Lead Pastor at Delta Church – Springfield, IL
  • HOW TO OVERCOME FATIGUE AND ENJOY MINISTRY AGAIN
    John A. Studebaker, Ph.D. (Professor in Theology at Hillsdale College; Director of the BMI OASIS, a retreat center for Pastors in Michigan)
  • LOWERING THE BAR ON DISCIPLESHIP
    Tom Cheshire & Tom Gensler / The RPM Team – Springfield, IL

Friday, July 26, 2019

THE GRACEFUL SERVANT

#Grace & genuine love for others will shine through the believer who is solidly grounded on the #Truth of the #Gospel. We serve & can reach others so much better. Let's get it done:

DETAILS"
TEXT: 1 Timothy 4: 6-9 The graceful servant of the Lord keeps his or herself free from moral failure and also takes care of the body as well as the soul. This way, we can be accepted as "the real deal" not just by others around us, but by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in this life and the next.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

(STUDY ON PROVERBS 1-7), PART 2 - GOD, DAD, MOM, FAMILY

It began with the “Baby Boomer” generation – a rebellion against authority, lawful authority, which has since turned into an outright shaking of the fist against Creator God Himself. When the Lord gave the Law (or the Ten Commandments) to Moses, as recorded in the Bible, it was not just for the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the Sinai Desert. It was for all people of all time, as the standard to which we must adhere.

From the 1960’s until now, each successive generation strayed away from respect, reverence and reliance upon the Eternal Word of God which has and will never change, no matter what false prophets and teachers say. The Fourth Commandment given by God, can be viewed as the junction where the Vertical (obedience and acceptance of the One True God of Heaven as the ONLY God) meet the Horizontal.

Commandments 1 through 3 are all about a 100%, complete and total acknowledgement that the God of the Scriptures is the One True God. This flies in the face of the majority opinion that every religion is the same and all gods lead to the same place – Heaven. Not so, the Holy Spirit testifies to the truly converted to Christ, that there is ONLY ONE way to Eternal Life and it is through Jesus Christ, the Narrow Gate.

Commandments 4 through 10 concern our relationships with each other, our fellow humans, in accordance with Godly standards. While the secular world and atheists want to remove the Ten Commandments, Jesus and the Bible from decent society, murder, theft, lying under oath and in some cultures – adultery – is against Civil (Federal and State) Law.

These commandments were given by God, not to prevent us from having fun but for our own good. The Lord saw the conditions of sinful human beings and laid out the parameters for us to live in peace, love and harmony. The connection point, where the Vertical (GOD) meets the Horizontal (others) is the Fourth Commandment. 

This Command says ““Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you"” (Exodus 20:12). There is a reason for the Lord applying this to each human being born. Parents are stewards of the Lord who are responsible for the spiritual lives of their children, as well as their emotional and physical upbringing. This is so, in order that parents will exhibit AND TEACH the ways, attributes and character of the Lord to our children. 

God has also provided written instructions for all times, and those can be found in all the pages of the Bible. There is no dispute and there will be no excuse to pretend we do not know the location of the Lord’s instructions.

The Bible has given parents a huge assist from the Books of Deuteronomy all the way down to Proverbs, the Gospels of Jesus Christ and the Pauline Epistles. In the last generation in the West, young men and boys have been in a state of crisis, despite some of the best efforts of churches, men’s ministries and others to mentor our young men.

God has done that in the Bible and is standing, waving His Hand while saying “Hey guys, I am here! I have the answers here. Just follow it! Teach it to your sons. Teach it to your teenage young men. What are you waiting on?”

The Lord has called us to Critical Thinking. In the Bible it is called Biblical Wisdom which is the ability to discern, not just right from wrong but to have the correct view of God, His Attributes, His Ways and what He expects of us. Combine all of this with His gracious love and kindness, over a short period of time, by following His wisdom and precepts, we tap directly into the Source of ALL Wisdom. If this, which is now being presented below from Proverbs Chapter 1, verses 8-19, is applied at as early an age as possible, a solid foundation of Godly Truth will result.

Proverbs 1, Verse 8: “Hear my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching”. This is The Fourth Commandment in easily understood English.  There is more than just what the sentence seems to say.

The original language (Hebrew) used by the Lord to move Solomon to write,  actually translates the English “Your Father’s Instruction”, as “ Your Father’s Discipline or Correction”. This is the meaning of the original language from the Lord – musar.  We know from Hebrews 12:6 that “those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines”. When we look at the condition of our youth and their futures without self-control and the under-pinnings of Godly discipline, it is obvious this command is not being adhered to. 

The same can be said of the second part of this verse “….and do not forsake your mother’s teaching”(Proverbs 1:8b). The word for teaching here, is not simple a mom “homeschooling” her children while Dad is away at work. The Lord put the word “Torah” there for a reason, which the translators call “teaching” but which God calls “Law”! What He is really saying to the young person here is listen and obey your mom’s rules, because she is speaking from the Authority of Christ!

So why would the Lord give this lifetime of deadly serious decrees, which impact so many generations for going on 4000 years now?  For one thing, it is absolutely logical. Which parent in their right mind, would want anything but good for their own children? Secondly, following the discipline of a hands-on earthly father keeps us focused, being able to discern wrong from right later in life, as well as in full self-control of our facilities and actions.  From 2 Timothy 1:7, we know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of love, power and self-control (or self-discipline). One can only have self-discipline, if a parent or someone credible teaches and practices discipline.

Discipline is inextricably tied to rules and in this case, the Law of God, which Proverbs 1:8 shows us, that a mother primarily (and both parents in total) teaches her kids. A son and daughter who comprehend life’s rules and knows the parameters set by God, dad and mother is a son or daughter who has the most solid foundation for life, imaginable.

As we recall, the Fourth Commandment from God, handed down to Moses says “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you". Proverbs 1:9 explains this Commandment to the most easily (for us) degree possible.  God says this about His own fourth Commandment Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and [b]ornaments about your neck".  

From our own life experience, even though a lot of us were brought up by one parent (due to a deceased or absent dad), all of the above do not change. More and more it is imperative to understand this as two parent families are not the norm as they were a generation ago. The glue which keeps this Divine Direction in the foreground of raising the next generation is the Church and godly mentors/teachers/friends.

Not just any church would do, but one whose lampstand has not been removed by the Lord and where it is obvious the Lord is at work. We can identify these churches by their proactive teaching of the Scriptures and prayer.

God Himself warns about the flip side of sons not following their parents teaching and direction. Before He warns about the dangers of lust, flirting and falling into other serious sin, He alerts youngsters about the dangers of bad friends. By doing so, the Word of the Lord, pointedly tells of the dangers of walking away from loving and upright parents by fraternizing with bad dudes! 

We see the very Wisdom of this warning, immediately off Proverbs 1:8-9 because today, when you look at the state of young men in America and the West, when you look at the preponderance of young men in prison or on drugs, or attempting suicide, the root case goes back to the opposite of Proverbs 1:8. That is, the lack of a present Father, the lack of proper discipline and the lack of teaching and enforcement of rules of basic common sense and decency.

This is why, Proverbs 1:10-19 was given for young men especially, to burn into their consciousness. It is not only that “bad company corrupts good morals”. It is a life of even one mistake committing a simple crime, can cause ruin the plans and promising future which God has planned for those who follow Him.