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THE POWER OF LOVE

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Here in Seattle we have been hit with a heavy snow fall this week. It resulted in a snow-day for my five kids. They love it.

As we struggled to dig a path for our cars to leave the driveway it struck me that trying to get rid of snow is like trying to get rid of our moral shortcomings. You can put a lot of effort into shoveling, blowing or plowing. But at the end of the day you actually are not REMOVING the snow at all you are just REPOSITIONING it.

Your efforts do not achieve elimination, just relocation.

One of our favorite places to visit in the winter is Snoqualmie, WA nestled in the Cascade mountains just an hour outside of Seattle. The roads there are often piled over six feet high with “relocated” snow.


Now to be sure, new fallen snow is beautiful, pure and quiet but our moral shortcoming are the opposite; ugly, twisted, blaring. To get rid of them we try self-improvement regimens; a new diet, visiting a gym, seeing a counselor, joining a church.

For me this January the shortcoming I was fighting was pride. So I have been trying hard to be humble. In the end though, all my trying is just like me in my driveway with my shovel. It does not actually get rid of the shortcomings in my character. It just shuffles them around to other areas.

What I really need, and what you really need, is something more powerful, something that will actually melt that snow. Do you know what I’m talking about? Yeah you guessed it- the SUN.

A warm sunny day can do more than a thousand hours shoveling.
The Bible teaches that the miracle cure for our moral shortcomings is not more shoveling. It is not more effort and work on our part.

The miracle cure is the warm radiating heat that comes from the love and grace of God. That love and grace was on full display when the SON of God came and died and rose again. His love is the warmth we all need to remove our moral shortcomings. It is warmer than the 4th of July in Miami.

When we bask in the warmth of God’s grace extended to us in Christ our moral shortcomings are not just moved around to new places, they are literally dissolved, transformed, evaporated. As John said about Jesus – “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” That is Jesus’ glorious gift to you and to me. To take away our sin the way the sun takes away the snow.

Are you anxious? Go to Jesus. Are you self-sufficient and proud? Go to Jesus. Are you purposeless and bored? Go to Jesus.

His love is a heat lamp warm enough to thaw even the most frozen heart.



In the book of Revelation we get a glimpse of the New Jerusalem where God’s forgiven people will live with him forever. Revelation 21:23 say “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

Let’s stop striving to improve ourselves or to remove our imperfections. Instead let’s bask in the hot love of God until he transforms us from the inside out. We don’t have to wait til eternity we can start today.

 

Posted by Rich McCaskill with

Parenting with God's word

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If you want to know what it looks like to parent your children according to God’s word, look to Jesus. He often called his disciples “children” (Mark 10:24, Matthew 9:2).  If looked at from this angle, His life gives us many concrete ways we can help our kids “grow up” in the same way that he helped his disciples.

Consider these six patterns in the life of Jesus-   

  • He involved his disciples with him as he served others (Luke 8:51, 9:16).
  • He taught them the Bible (Matthew 5-7).
  • He put them into risky and difficult situations (Mark 9:18).
  • He spent time in lonely places praying without them (Luke 5:16).
  • He spent time praying in front of them and teaching them how to do it themselves (Luke 11:1).
  • He laid down his life for them washing their feet (John 13)

The list could go on.

But let’s stop there. How would these six patterns shape us if we saw them as  parenting tactics?

It really depends on how old our kids are.

If you have a Newborn, then #6 is especially important. Let the word of God shape your parenting by performing the necessary routine functions of life such as cleaning, feeding, touching, and holding your child. By washing their face after a meal or giving them a bath before bed, you are putting their needs first.  You are truly allowing God’s word to guide your parenting.

If you have an elementary school age kid, #5 is crucial. They need to hear you talking to God about your hopes, your needs, your worries. And they need you to teach them how to do the same thing themselves.Teach your kids to pray and pray with them regularly, in the car, before bed, whenever and wherever. This is parenting according to God's word.

If you have a teenager, #1, #2, & #3, are indispensable. Involve them with serving others, take them with you when you serve meals for the homeless, use their skills and talents when you are raising money for that good cause, open the Scriptures with them and expect them to get their hands dirty with ministry to the real world. Don't just send them to do it. Do it with them.

And of course #4 is something every parent has to make time for. "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." As his followers we will do the same.

But, if you find making time for personal prayer is impossible as a parent, take heart. You are not alone. Children demand a lot of our time and attention. But breaking away to quiet places to pray and meditate on God’s word IS possible. And it is as important to parenting as breathing. Following Jesus in this way is how we make sure we do not “copy the behavior and customs of the world,” but instead “let God transform us into a new person”. (Romans 12:2). Without this pattern we will fall into the trap of motivating our kids with fear instead of love.  And we will begin to look to them as our justification in the world instead of looking to Jesus. (If you want to start prioritizing personal prayer check out this other post).

 As a parent of 5 children, ranging from 15 to 6 years old, I know how demanding and exhausting it can be. When we feel ourselves sinking we seek for solid footing anywhere we can get it. But God’s Word embodied in Jesus Christ is truly the surest foundation we can find.

Do you see other patterns in Jesus’ ministry among his disciples that we should incorporate into our parenting? Comment below and let us know.

Posted by Rich McCaskill with

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