Tag Archives: teach

Unbelief OR Unfaith?

ImageHow great is your faith or do you have “unfaith?” As Jesus returns home for the second time he follows his routine of entering the synagogue to worship. As he did on the first return visit he “began to teach.” The first visit he encountered rage but this time he encounters questions and the sin of unbelief. The Nazarenes were not held in high esteem by the rest of the nation not because of size or greatness but seen negatively because of its lack of goodness. Remember Nathanael’s statement “ Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” [Joh 1:46]

Yet Nazareth had the blessing of a synagogue and this is where we find Jesus. As the worshipers came that day the questions began to swirl —-

“Where did he get these ideas?” Yet, at age 12 he confounded the scholars with his understanding and answers because he was “THE” author and finisher of all wisdom.

“What are these miracles that are done through his hands?” Isn’t he “just a carpenter’s son?

“Isn’t this …the son of Mary?” The whisperers say—we know his background…tsk tsk tsk.

…And so they took offense at him. Are others taking offense at you as they did Christ? When you first gave your life to Christ did others ask similar questions?

Jesus reminded them that they were more willing to accept “experts” from outside than someone they knew as a trustworthy tradesman yet now whose mission was to bring the good news of life to them. And so we read: that he was amazed/marveled at their unbelief. Jesus only marveled twice in the NT, this scene and the Centurion’s faith. But here in Nazareth he marveled at their ‘unbelief,’ their unwillingness to believe the evidence that is before them. Handley Dunelm wrote “We may remark that it is a loss in our language that “unbelief” is the only word we can use as the antithesis to “faith”; for “faith” and “belief” (which see) are not exactly synonyms. “Unfaith” would be a welcome word for such use, if it were generally so understood.” It is as if we, like the ones Paul described in Romans 1, see the very clues of who God is and yet we miss them because they are so familiar to our senses. The Creator, the Giver of Life has come amongst us and as he passes by we miss him because of the repetition of the day in and day out of life.

Today as we approach Resurrection Sunday have you seen the miracle of the Godhead amongst you or have your senses become dulled to His presence? Are you guilty of unbelief or “unfaith” because Jesus has become so familiar that you miss His beauty and His love?



The Heartbroken Parent Counsels from Proverbs 6

ImageWe all have experienced broken hearts over a child that has gone astray in some way, either through poor decision choices or rebellious spirits. As a parent we are especially vulnerable to the “broken heart syndrome” and often is heard: if only, if only. How then can we raise up children who will walk the talk and not stray from the God way? The first is to start early implanting God’s Word. Secondly, mirror for our children the right path following Deut 6 “teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” Thirdly,  stay on our knees for them [Eph 6, Col 4, 1Thess 5 and more]. But suppose after all of that they still slip into the enemy’s territory, what do you as a parent do? First, hide God’s Word in your heart and use it whenever you pray and whenever you share. God’s Word will not return void: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void,” [Is].

How to raise a child with God’s Word within that will be lived without comes directly from Prov 6 in today’s reading. “The advice in this section provides a good example of what prudence is. A prudent person is one who is capable of exercising sound judgment in practical matters. He or she is cautious and discreet in conduct, is circumspect, and is sensible.” [Dr. Constable]

  1. Vs 1-5 Teach and show about the dangers of being unequally yoked with those whose heart is not aligned with God’s.
  2. Vs 6-11 Assign chores to teach teamwork and responsibility early on. Allow consequences and rewards to be visible and tangible.
  3. Vs 12-15 Teach how to discern people’s unsavory qualities as well as those whose lives mirror godliness.
  4. Vs 16-19 Observe and teach what qualities God hates as well the contrasting qualities God loves. In particular note vs 19 about the results when those qualities of ungodliness arise which is discord and strife in contrast to what Paul taught “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” [Rom 12]
  5. Vs 20 and Ex 20 Honoring thy parents comes with a promise as well as a consequence for dishonoring them
  6. Vs 21 – 23 The whole purpose of this is that God’s Word is like a flashlight and the rebukes of discipline are like a roadmap.

Beloved, we who are parents have much to glean from this chapter and for those of who have raised children it is a guide to share truths that might fall upon fallow ground when a child wants to not follow or listen to a parent. Wisdom begins when one fears the Lord and wisdom exercised is found when one heeds the rules the Word offers. May you this day find encouragement as you ponder each truth.


1Cor 5 “Teachable Moment of Time Out!”

ImageOnce a parent always a parent. Can you recall long ago when our fathers/mothers disciplined us saying: this hurts me more than you? Now in the role of a parent you see the wisdom of that statement. Parenting skills never go away even when your children are adults. Paul took seriously his role as a parent to the fledgling church in Corinth. “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” [1Cor 4:15] and in that role knew that there would come times when as a parent, one must discipline.

How does a parent lovingly discipline? As Paul wrote to Timothy in another letter, he gave us the wisdom of what the Word lovingly does and we can apply that same principle to parenting: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”[2Tim 3:16]. We are to teach our children, reprove/rebuke them, correct their faulty thinking and behaviors, and train them up “Prov 22:6 Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

When you were naughty did you often anticipate the parent’s return with dread or did you go on with no thought of what lay ahead? That is part of the picture Paul is painting for us as he reminded them that just because he was absent physically he was there in spirit. Jesus too as our head is not with us physically but is with us in Spirit “And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” Paul gently asked them: “Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” If Jesus were to return right now which of these might we want him to administer?

The Corinthian church had a serious problem. One congregant was co-habiting with his father’s wife. As a church they had failed to discipline this man and in fact were accepting it and were proud. Why were they not sorrowing over this serious sin? Why had they not administered discipline?  Paul says this is so serious that not even the Gentiles would think of doing this. What were they thinking of?

Paul then lovingly corrects their faulty thinking/behavior. This sin will infect the entire church just as yeast infects the dough. Remove this evil person from among you! You as a parent might have done it this way: go to your room to think about it. Isolate the child.  For the Corinthians isolation of this man with no participation in the Lord’s Table, no fellowship with individuals, no small groups of believers is Paul’s counsel with the hope that he will reflect on his sin. Further, it is hoped that he will see how it is affecting the whole body and return to the fellowship renewed in spirit, pure in spirit and behavior and willingness to obey.  As a parent or a teacher you have probably administered this same “time out” and seen the effectiveness of isolation.

So how do we apply this today? (1) Lifestyle: keep oneself unstained by the world.  (2) Follow the steps of 2Tim: Teach, rebuke, correct, train both in the home and in the church, (3) Consider that Jesus may return at any moment. Is there any sin within you or the church that needs attention? Remove the evil among you and be ye cleansed. Be ye holy as I am holy saith the Lord. (4) Follow the discipline principles of Matt 18 (one on one, two on one, bring to church). (5) Because you love you will: never give up. And care more for others than for yourself. [1Cor 13 MSG]


To Our Children….Ps 78

ImageIn Matt 25 we sat at the feet of Jesus as he answered the disciple’s questions. We listened as he taught through 2 powerful parables about the eternal consequences of being faithful or being faithless. This is the same point that Asaph makes in Ps 78. He reminds his listeners that the source of being faithful begins early with a grateful heart, teaching the young to be grateful to God for all He has done, grateful to God for who He is.

Asaph says this where we have gone astray. We have not heeded Deut 6 about the Word being taught while sitting, standing and walking. In addition, Asaph says we must resurrect the age old mantra: listen, heed, and incline your ears. But, we do not… instead we talk, talk talk and we escalate our words and the volume until the children just turn us off.  Asaph said if we want to be wise and learn we must go back to the past and resurrect the real way it is to be done. And then he adds: he who would be wise will observe and learn.

Let me once again remind you, or so Asaph says, “I will “begin at the beginning” and make insightful observations about the past.” First, avoid the mistakes of your ancestors who were stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful. Secondly, you parents, teachers etc, why are you not teaching doctrine and lessons you have learned to this generation? You must begin to teach them to honor and praise the Lord. Thirdly, a key point ! Share about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. Too often we get caught up in the stories but forget to show how God was the orchestrator and the conductor as he rehearsed his musical creation. We fail to teach the children the names of God and His attributes.

Why is this so needed? In vs 6-7 Asaph says “so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.” This is how they will grow and mature into faithful followers of our Master. To neglect these principles is to leave children drifting and heading into faithlessness.

Our mandate is to carry that message to this generation and the next and the next and the next. This year I stepped up and taught 1st graders in VBS and soon will work  in Good News Club at a local elementary school. So here’s my question to you:

Where are you fulfilling this mandate in your home, church or wherever God has planted you?