Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deliver us, Lord

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 109:21 (NIV):

“But you, O Sovereign Lord,
deal well with me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me."

Many of David’s enemies were foreigners – from the dreaded Philistines, to the Edmonites, to the Moabites – but they were also those close to him, King Saul, and even David’s son Absolom, as well as Sheba, who lived near David’s palace in Jerusalem. To David, it didn’t matter who was attacking him; he cried out to God for his infinite mercy and love, all the same. David was ready to pull out his sword and do battle, but in the end, he counted on God’s deliverance. We must be ready to do the same.

As a parent, our children’s enemies may not be from foreign countries, and they certainly won’t walk into our house with a sword at their side. Today, it’s a lot harder to know who our enemies are. David knew he had to flee when Saul flung a sword by his head as he played the soothing harp. Make no mistake, our children have enemies just the same. They are enemies any time Satan uses them to lure our children from the safe, godly path we have shown them over the years. Most of David’s problems with Absolom stemmed from David’s refusal to confront his son’s rape of his sister.

My wife and I have been dealing with some “enemies” for the past few months. Sometimes, his enemies are his best friends; he just doesn’t realize it. It is our job as parents to protect him from the enemy, even if it’s just for one day. As my wife and I have done battle for her son, I sometimes have to remind my wife that it’s OK to do battle over her son’s spirit. It’s OK to say no to certain friendships – even best friends – if that friend is doing something wrong. The enemy is relentless, and we must respond in kind. Tomorrow, it is God’s ideal for that friendship to be reconciled to Him. To reconcile the friendship, sin must be confronted.

Our kids are worth battling over, and if we check out your kid’s MySpace or Facebook account and see a red flag, we better be ready to do battle and find out what’s up. This is not the time to walk away when we see sin in our teenager’s life. The Bible tells us to lovingly confront sin when we see it. Do not believe the enemy’s contemporary arguments that we must accept everyone for being diverse. The battle lines have been drawn – by the enemy, I might add – and we’re fighting for education, drugs and alcohol, sex, lewdness, politeness, respect, and even joy (the opposite of depression). Confronting sin is not easy; it takes guts to pull our kids out of harm’s way. It may mean alienation from their friends, but our kids are worth fighting for. We’re fighting for their futures – futures with hope and love.

Need help with a tough parenting issue? Try reading “Parenting Isn’t for Cowards” by Dr. James Dobson.

Today’s prayer: Lord, give us strength to fight the battles that need to be fought. Give us rest when we are weary, so that we may awaken tomorrow, ready to do battle again. Amen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fathoming the mysteries of God

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm Job:11:7-9 (NIV):

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens – what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave –
what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.”

I have not written this devotional in a couple of weeks. My reasons are many – from being exhausted in dealing with my step-son, to work-related matters, to being brain dead. Oh, yeah, and I went to Hawaii for five days with three buddies and soaked up the sun and beach a little. That wore me out! When I got home, I needed a day of rest to recuperate.

This scripture came from Sunday’s sermon at church. The sermon was one my step-son, my wife and I needed to hear, because no matter what we’re going through, we can never truly understand “the mysteries of God.” When we give up and think God has limits and isn’t capable – or willing – of getting us out of our current scrape, he steps up to the plate in the 11th hour and delivers a home run. That’s what God has been doing for us during the past few months, over and over and over. God has given us grace beyond what we deserve.

For one reason: He loves us. Because he loves us, he knows exactly how must grace and truth to give us at any one time. He wants us to learn from our mistakes, so he doesn’t wipe away the consequences most of the time. And just when we think we can’t take it any more, he heaps on a pile of grace to get us through another ordeal. Some of you with rebellious teenagers know what I’m talking about and may be laughing – or snickering – under your breath. “Yep. Been there, done that.” Others are hoping they never have to face such difficult situations when your young children come of age.

My faith in the almighty God has deepened greatly during this difficult battle. Time and again, I have seen God answer our prayers. I can see his hand in everything we do. Even in a quick trip to Yosemite, we marveled at God’s creation and realized he created it the snap of his fingers so that we could witness his beauty. My wife and I have learned to turn the problems with her son over to God, then wait for him to act. When things look bleak, I’ve simply grabbed my wife’s hand and said, “I don’t know what to do, so we’re going to pray and trust God.”

In that waiting comes new-found trust and growth. God is slowly stretching our faith, getting ever closer to the level we need to reach, yet never quite getting there. Our journey continues. We hope you join us. It’s a grand experience.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, I can’t do this without you. I need you. Give me strength to face life today. Amen