Positive Words Newsletter
#147 / 15th January 2008
Expanding your awareness of
"the simplicity that is in Christ"
(II Corinthians 11:3)
----- http://www.peterwade.com/ -----
As a reminder, this email is only sent to 100% opt-in subscribers. Or a friend may have sent their copy to you. To unsubscribe, see the links at the end of the newsletter. DO NOT reply to this email, as your email will not be seen. You can write to Peter Wade at http://peterwade.com/go/contact .
START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT
What better way to help you achieve your full potential in 2008 than to go back to the foundation of your faith, and drill the truth back into your mind of what God did for you the day you became a Christian.
And not only rediscover what happened at that moment, but also how simply and satisfying it can be to work it out in your everyday life.
In this book, Peter Wade shows you how to have real freedom in Christ, total assurance that you are in Christ, and an abiding peace within your heart
Many of you have yet to get your copy of this book. So to help you we have taken 28% off its price until 31st January 2008 -- that's $5.00 plus postage.
This is the sort of book you can delve into and read a few paragraphs and then put it down and chew over them. Really! So don't miss this opportunity. Click here to order your personal copy.
FAMILIES AND FACTORIES
In Colossians 3:20-21 we now come to the minors... our dear, darling children. It just seems that the natural result of marriage is children, and children are a "heritage from the Lord", it says in Psalm 127:3. It goes on to say that they are like arrows and "blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!". Well, that is an expensive surprise! The home is a unit where thereís a husband, a wife, and children. There are special words in this passage to the children as well as to the parents.
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (verse 20). I always remember a lady in our second church in Western Australia at Cottesloe who had a saying she drilled into her children. Whenever something happened that they got hurt, she would always say to them, "Accidents happen because of disobedience." And thatís very true. She tried to bring children up with the knowledge that they needed to obey, and if they obeyed their loving parents, parents who had faith in God, parents who were operating submission and sacrifice, then they would grow up and enjoy life. "Children, obey your parents in everything". I think it is very true that children do not create problems -- they reveal them. The problems they reveal are problems of their upbringing. It has been well said that the first seven years are the most important in the life of a child, and what ought to have been done ought to have been done in those seven years. We have to get children to obey us.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). And in those middle years, the years when some folk around here say that you ought to bury your kids at 8 and dig them up again at 18! In those middle years you need to remember these verses. "Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go..." If they donít obey you as parents they are not going to obey authority and we will have a continual spread of lawlessness throughout the land. In our own city we had a 17-year-old boy ruin his life by just shooting off a rifle at random and killing a policeman by so doing. I was watching another interview from New York City and this person had dressed up as an old lady because she wanted to go around New York and find out what old ladies were buying and so on. This lady was mugged and robbed of her handbag. They took her money and were not content with that. They bashed her up as well just for the kicks. What is the problem? Someoneís mother hasnít taught those teenagers to obey. Someoneís father hasnít trained that juvenile. This is what life is all about.
I read a story about General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. He was asked to conduct the funeral of a man whoís name I think was Starkey. This man murdered his wife and was brought up before the courts, convicted and hanged. The authorities called on General William Booth to conduct the funeral for this man. He did so and around the grave was the greatest collection of criminals you could ever imagine. Booth was not too sure how, as preacher, he should handle this mean-looking crowd with the gospel of Godís love. He got up and caught their attention with his first words. He said "William Starkey did not have a praying mother", and he had that crowd in his hands. In a world of great ideas from experts like Dr. Spock and Dr. Phil and all that sort of stuff, letís remember God created the family. God has given the instructions on how to handle the family and children who do not obey naturally. We have to teach them to obey their parents. In what areas? All things. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (verse 20). Whatís the motivation? It will please the Lord.
Now what about the parents? It says in verse 21 "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." I know mothers also have plenty to do with children. In fact, too often mothers bring up our children. I read a survey that said in one town in America they tried to discover how much time fathers spent with their sons -- it averaged out at 37 seconds a day. You donít make time with your kids, fathers. Doesnít that say something to you? In other passages fathers is sometimes translated "parents" and I think we could apply that here. "Parents, do not provoke..." Look at the verbs. Verse 18, wives "submit" is a verb. Verse 19, husbands "love". Put a circle around these verbs and theyíll stand out for you. Verse 20, children "obey". Verse 21, parents "provoke" not. This is the only one that is expressed negatively in this passage. One translation has it as "donít irritate them". So there are your verbs. In marriage, submit and sacrifice. With children, obey and encourage. Two sides of the one coin.
You know I think one of the greatest problems that Iíve observed is that we parents are so inconsistent and we discourage our kids. We go from one moment of being totally permissive, letting them get away with anything, and on the other hand we come down like a ton of bricks on them. They wonder why we let them go that far into left field and then we throw them that far into right field. Donít irritate your kids. Donít provoke them. You see, the responsibility is on your shoulder and my shoulder in bringing up those children. They are Godís gift to us. They are wonderful to have. They give us a lot of joy, a lot of love and sometimes a little pain. Itís our responsibility to bring them up. We are responsible for them. So, "Parents, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." If they donít get their ego strength from the home, theyíll get it from the gutter. And itís up to you and to me as to which it is going to be. So there are the two things for the family life: Children obey, parents provoke not.
Slaves and Masters
We move on to the job situation -- slaves and masters. "Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters..." (verse 22). And what is the first verb for slaves? "Obey." Letís put a circle around that. Slaves, obey in everything. Now let me just say that 50% of all people in those days were slaves, and so the real translation of the word is "slaves". The word "masters" is actually "lords". Now Paul did not advocate protest. Thereís no mention of strike action about the situation. Fifty per cent of the population were in total slavery. They had absolutely no rights. They were considered common chattel. If the slave's master wanted to beat them to death they had the legal right to do so. Paul did not advocate protest marches. He did not advocate rebellion against authority. He did not advocate overthrowing the system. What he advocated was working with the individual and he starts with slaves and then masters.
It is only as we change as individuals that we change the nation. You can legislate all you like. Australia is said to be the country with more legislation than any western nation in the world. Yet we still follow the same trends that the rest of the world are following. We still have the same high crime rate. We still have the same drugs problem. We still have the same marriages breaking up. We still have the hordes of single parents and so on. Legislation has never changed anything. Changing the individual is what will change society.
So it says here, "obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward" (verses 22-24). You are serving the Lord! Thatís Who youíre working for. You are working for the Lord. So donít work "heartily" just because the boss has got his eye on you. Do it because youíre doing it as unto the Lord. "For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality" (verse 25). It is very likely that this verse refers to slaves and not to the masters. That is a sobering thought.
Then in chapter 4 and verse 1 "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." Here's another case where the chapter break is not helpful. Let us circle the word "treat". King James and many other versions translate the word as "give". What are they to give? Justice and fairness. Slaves have no rights, so masters are being told to treat them in a humane way. Masters, be fair and honest to them. The word "treat" means to render from your own resources. And the verse concludes with a sobering thought for masters to remember they have God as their Master.
So, letís conclude with this thought. The heart of every problem is the problem of the heart. The problem of the marriage is a problem of the hearts of people. The problems in the family with children are problems of the heart. The problems in the workplace are problems of the heart. We must work on the hearts of people, and the best way to do that is by introducing them to Jesus Christ, by making Jesus preeminent in everything. "Christ is all, and in all" (verse 11).
This email was launched into cyberspace to bless you. Our newsletter is never sent unsolicited. You are receiving it because you subscribed and confirmed your subscription, or someone thought you'd be interested and forwarded it to you.
To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your email address, or contact us, go to our Home Page.