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Giving Myself Advice

By Pat Tharp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and give yourself advice for the future? It sounds like something from a sci-fi flick, but if we could, we’d all probably make the trip. Looking back at our lives as parents, we see a lot of broken things. We have regrets, failures, and a number of things we wish we “did differently.” Our hearts of love for our children make us want to “spare them” the grief of what we went through.

We see in the Bible many examples of fathers and mothers giving advice to their children, exhorting them with wise counsel and knowledge to make wise choices - like King David did to Solomon, and King Solomon did to his children. As parents, we always want to protect our kids from doing the same foolish things we did and not repeat the mistakes we made. If I could go back and speak to Pat as a teen I would encourage him with a few things. (There are probably many more!) Maybe these are some of the things you need to share with your young person as they walk in this world.

 

  • Know that Jesus loves you no matter how badly you’ve messed up, or where you are today. That moment or mistake is only a page in your life, it’s not the end. Jesus has much more for you! For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

  • Trust your parents. They aren’t as dumb as you think, and you’re not as smart as you believe. They love you more than you’ll ever know. God gave them to you! Talk to them, they probably have some wisdom that will be helpful to you. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;” Proverbs 1:8.

 

  • Save your virginity for your future marriage partner. You will have no regrets when you say “I do” on that day. Your purity will be the greatest gift you can give your spouse. If you’ve blown it, there is forgiveness from Jesus and he will give you a clean start, 1 John 1:9. Guard your heart and your relationships. “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7:27

 

  • Make choices with a long view in mind. Studying hard, applying yourself, saving money, and planning wisely will all reap a blessing and a benefit that in this moment are unseen, but in those future days will be very evident to you. Good and godly choices are worth it! “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37

 

  • “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come…”Ecclesiastes 12:1. Walking with Jesus is not something you want to put off for a “later time.” Days, weeks, months, and years will fly by. We are a vapor and there really is not a lot of time on this side of eternity to waste. Walk with Jesus, get to know Him, and see the amazing things He will do in your life as you do.

 

What Are You Looking For?

Pastor Ray Viola
A Godward, Christ-centered Perspective 

An integral part of a healthy walk with Christ stems from what we choose to focus on in life. The Christian life is a supernatural life that is lived in the natural realm. When the apostle Paul was writing to the church at Corinth about being at home in the body, but absent from being with The Lord, he declared that we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Isn’t it interesting that the verses that precede and follow this verse regarding walking by faith and not by sight contain the word “confident”. 

Paul tells us that he did not look at the things that were seen, but at the things that were unseen. I understand the things that are seen to be referring to his circumstances. And the circumstances that he was referring to were quite daunting (cp. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, 11:23-28). Paul could endure such adversities because he was looking at things that could not be seen. I believe that Moses had the very same perspective for the writer of Hebrews tells us that “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.” (Hebrew 11:27) One can only see Him Who is invisible with the eye of faith. And one can only receive that gift of faith by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8). 

What we are talking about here, beloved, is the need for us to cultivate a Godward and heavenly perspective in life. We must repeatedly preach to ourselves the truth that as Christians we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) Our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we look (perspective) for The Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). While we are absent from The Lord, we need to diligently determine to set our affection on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). Yes, we are taught in Scripture to display our faith in Christ with hard-working, God-glorifying work ethics (Ephesians 6:5-9). Proverbs repeatedly warns us against laziness (Proverbs 24:30-34) in order that we may provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8) and be a good witness (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). However, it is only by keeping a Godward focus that we can prevent being trapped and ensnared by the thorns of this fallen world (Luke 8:14). 

Children's Ministry

By Domenico Danesi
 
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
As we enter a new year I think about the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Many “new things” will be happening in the children’s ministry as of January. The Sunday school services have already changed a bit with a new curriculum. We now gather corporately for a portion of Sunday school services, and the name of the ministry is now “The Light of the lambs”. Beginning in January, Wednesday evenings will also change for the children. They will be reading scripture together, learning people and life skills, and, most importantly, continue learning the word of God. As things progress on Wednesday evenings I ask you all to pray for men and women who are skilled in different trades to come forward and teach the children these valuable skills.  
 
We must equip our children spiritually and practically. Discipleship occurs when someone of an older generation takes the time to teach someone of the current generation. It is the classic “Paul and Timothy model” we see in the scriptures. Paul called Timothy his son in the faith (2 Timothy 1:2). The older Paul discipled the young man Timothy, who eventually pastored the church in Ephesus. Paul used what he knew to train his spiritual son; he used the scriptures. Do not be fooled by thinking there is a new path. There never has been a different way, there never will be.

Does God Know You?

By Lynn Metier

“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”(Revelation 3:20) Sharing a meal with someone in the culture of Jesus’ day meant a level of fellowship that is largely missing today. In our fast-paced culture most connections are superficial and relationships are shallow. It is possible to “know” (be acquainted with) many people, but really know, or be known by, no one.

The word know is a verb, an action word, and its meanings include: to recognize, be acquainted with, have sexual relationship with, understand, experience. Thus, even by definition, the activity of knowing is not limited to mental involvement, but can encompass other levels of interfacing, including physical, emotional, and spiritual. Of course the all-knowing Creator is aware of and knowledgeable about every one of His created beings. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) And God’s knowledge of men goes beyond casual observation or statistical analysis (Psalm 139:1-6,13-18). Why does God care so much about us? For one thing, humanity is God’s crowning creation because Adam and Eve were created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27), and God’s desire and plan is for the redeemed to become like Jesus. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Did you catch that? “…whom He foreknew. Those people whom God (in His infinite foresight, complete comprehension and total understanding) knew before the creation of the universe (Ephesians 1:4-5) would, in the exercise of their free will, receive His grace, recognize their helpless and hopeless state of sinfulness (Isaiah 64:6), and respond to His offer of salvation and eternal life, they are the ones destined for divine transformation and glory (Romans 8:30).



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