Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


Leave a comment

24. Love Life – Part 1

Exodus 20:13 – “You must not murder”

As we continue in our series “Relationship not Rules” we come to the sixth commandment “You must not murder” This is the second command that revolves around our relationship with others. Remember the first 4 commands revolve around our relationship with God and how we respond to God will determine how we respond to others. If we don’t respect the Lord, we won’t respect life. This command is a call to cherish life because murder is the ultimate robber of relationship. Sadly, today we have cultivated a culture of killing. Every year in this country we kill over 1 million unborn babies mostly for the sake of convenience. Our movies glorify killing, while our video games promote “shooting people” for points. Our secular society no longer sees life as a sacred thing, but rather a dispensable thing. It is not surprising that the further our society moves away from God’s commandments the less sacred society considers those things God cherishes. The sixth commandment was given to Israel to teach them to love life, to consider it so valuable that the taking of life would result in the loss of your own life. As we look at cherishing life, we will see that murder involves more than our actions but also our attitudes. But in order to fully understand this verse we need to first look at what it does not mean, and then look at the literal interpretation and the many practical applications for us today. This commandment certainly forbids some things, but some today have twisted it to mean things God never intended, so we need to look at what this commandment does not forbid:

  • The killing of animals.

Activists quote this verse and say that it’s wrong to kill an animal for any reason. But in this same chapter, verse 24 God gave instructions concerning the sacrifice of animals.

  • Capital punishment.

The execution of criminals for the crime of murder is Biblical, and not a sin. The very next chapter in Exodus 21:12 says “Anyone who assaults and kills another person must be put to death.”In fact this command was given before the Mosaic law was given, Genesis 9:6 ”If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image.” Notice the reason given, we were created in God’s image. Do you view people as precious and valuable because they are created in God’s image? Or are you basing peoples worth on your preferences? This is not just an Old Testament idea throughout the Word of God it has never been revoked. The New Testament book of Romans says legitimate government can carry out executions under the right circumstances.

  • Self-defense.

Some say it is wrong to defend yourself if you end up killing the one who attacked you. Yet Exodus 22:2 says, If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder.”

  • Declaration of war

War is a terrible thing, and no one in their right mind wants to go to war. But there are things much worse than war, like losing your freedom. The Bible permits going to war. King David killed many people who attacked Israel, and God was with him as he did so. But when he killed one single innocent man, Uriah, God held him accountable. So, what is the Bible talking about when it says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’?

  1. Intentional Killing

 

  1. Homicide

Tens of thousands are killed in America every year in cold blood. That’s about 2-3 people every hour of every day.

  1. Suicide

Every year in America 400,000 attempt to take their own life, and 30,000 succeed…and 5,000 of those are teenagers. The ‘right to die’ movement keeps pushing for ‘physician assisted suicide’, but the Bible says this is wrong. No one has the right to take their own life, because your life is not your own…you belong to God. He is the One who gave you your life, and He will take it when it is time. John 10:10 tells us that The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Satan is a stealer not just of joy but of life, his goal is to kill and destroy. Sadly, some listen to His lies and believe that their life is not worth living. Let me ask you what voice are you listening to, is it the lies of Lucifer or the love of the Lord? Right now, some of you are hurting and desperate and you think that the solution to your pain is death but that’s a lie. You are precious to God. So how do you get through the dark times, God’s grace, by holding onto His hope. One of the questions I get asked a lot is it possible for a Christian to commit suicide? It is, but it is never God’s will. Some people say they just want to ‘end it all.’ But suicide doesn’t end it all. Not for your family. There’s no way to bring them more pain or grief. As a Christian, how ashamed will you be as you face the Savior and answer for your last sin on earth. You trusted Him to save your soul, but not to get you thru this life, or to help you with your burdens. Now, in some cases depression or mental illness cloud someone’s thinking and I’m sensitive to that. If you have a dark cloud hanging over you, talk to somebody, because there is hope and help! It’s time for us to stop shaming people who struggle with mental health issues. When something is broken, we need help. You wouldn’t tell a person with a broken leg to just walk. Look we would never think it wrong for someone with a broken leg to get a cast and use crutches to get around. Don’t be afraid or ashamed reach out and tell someone.

  1. Infanticide

In 1973 our nation made it ok for a mother to take the life of her unborn baby, and tens of millions have done so since, around a million each year, about 3,000 every day. The mother isn’t the only killer, the doctor who has sworn to preserve life takes it.  Life begins at conception. Here is what God says in Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart”The Greek word for infant is ‘brephos’ and it is used 8 times in Scripture. 6 times it is used for a child already born, and 2 times for a child still in the womb. The point? There’s no difference! For those who have been involved in abortion you need to know that there is forgiveness. Most abortions are based on convenience, why because we have become a culture based on convenience instead of conscience and conviction. But we are not called to live for what’s convenient we are called to live for Christ. The solution to our dilemma is not death its life. The solution is not abortion its adoption, because adoption values life. What about you are you valuing life the way God does?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

23. Two sides of Honor – Part 3

Exodus 20:12

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

After looking at the honoring stage we now see:

  1. THE HONORABLE STAGE

Just as we saw two parts to the honoring stage, we also see two sides to the honorable stage:

A. Responsible Authority

While Paul is quick to point out how important it is for children to obey and honor their parents, he is equally quick to point out how important it is for parents to be honorable in their dealings with their children! Our use of authority as parents can have a dramatic impact on how our children navigate the stages of “enforced obedience” and “willful obedience.” Here Paul in Ephesians 6 takes time to talk to parents as he instructs fathers not to exasperate their children. That is not be unreasonable with their children. As godly parents we are to exercise authority in a responsible way, not a reactionary and emotional way. Our authority should be based on principles from God’s Word not our whims or personal wants. Are you parenting based on God the Father or your feelings?Are you basing and building your parenting on the Word or on the world? Unreasonable demands in childhood usually mean rebelliousness in youth, and unreasonable demands in youth mean angry adults that do not respond to authority well. A study was done of ninth and tenth graders where they were interviewed and asked this question: “What comes to mind when you think of the word ’dad’?” Answers came immediately from both ends of the spectrum. One end of the spectrum said, “I think of the word jerk” others thought of the words angry, mad, and absent. On the other hand, some of the young people said, “I think of wholeness, kindness, security, safety.” Dad is an immensely powerful word. Dads what do you want it to represent to your kids? Parents are we being responsible in the use of authority and reflecting God’s presence in our lives because second we see:

B. Reflecting Authority

Paul indicates here that if we bring up children in the training and instruction of the Lord, we will not exasperate them why because God’s ways are good as Psalm 18:30 declares, “God’s way is perfect.” But this requires more than just preaching the bible to our kids but practicing it before our kids. The best way to tell them is to show them.  As parents we can’t just mouth the message of respect, we have to model it. Because the model we set will probably be the mold that shapes them.  One thing I find interesting as I interview the older generation about marriage is that I find that most of them only met with the pastor 1 time prior to getting married and yet most of them have had marriages that lasted their whole life. Yet today because the divorce rate is so high, we have couples go through 10 sessions of pre-marital counseling in our church to prepare them for marriage and we have seen the divorce rate drop for a 50% to 15%. So how did the older generation do it on only 1 session, they didn’t. They actually had 18 years of pre-marital counseling because their parents were modeling marriage not mouthing it. Life is like a mountain, it’s hard because much of it is uphill and if we want our kids to successfully scale it, we have to point out the path. Like a father and son mountain climbing team, where the son calls out to his father ahead of him saying, “choose a good path dad, I’m right behind you”. What you practice today will most likely be the path you put your kids on tomorrow. As parents we need to ask ourselves are, we being obedient or obstinate with our Heavenly Father? What model are we setting for our kids? Because it will not only affect the relationship, they have with other people, but it will have a dramatic impact on their relationship with their heavenly father as well. One study revealed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72 percent of their children remain faithful in attendance. If only Dad attends regularly, 55 percent remain faithful. If only Mom attends regularly, 15 percent remain faithful. If neither attend regularly, only 6 percent remain faithful. Stay at home parents do not produce go to Church children. It’s not about your attendance it’s about your adoration and allegiance to the Almighty, remember its relationship based not rule based.The way we reflect God’s authority in our lives can have a dramatic impact on whether our kids love the Lord themselves! As Billy Graham’s daughter Gigi once said “The only thing that parents can take to heaven is their children.” As parents we want to receive respect but are, we reflecting respect? If a son grows up with the model of an unloving father who is mean to His mother and is allowed to trash her instead of treasure her how do you think he will treat his future wife?  If a daughter grows up watching a mom treat her man with constant criticism and disrespect how do you think she is going to respond to her future husband. Men don’t let your sons be unloving and disrespectful to their mom. Ladies don’t let your daughters be disrespectful and roll their eyes as they say whatever to their dad’s. Parents you are the pivot because you not only point your kids to God vertically, but you set the stage horizontally for how they will relate to others. Contrary to what the culture is communicating, you are the most important person in your kids’ lives. You are not just the pivot you’re the anchor to authority. While there can surely be exceptions to the rule, the fact is that most honorable parents will have children that grow up to honor and even emulate them! What we do as parents both by talking and by walking can have a dramatic impact on our children’s lives. Don’t despair mom and dad if you are living honorably and your children are struggling through the stages of obedience, keep praying for them and doing the right things!