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Archive for July, 2016

When you raise your children in Don Pedro and you encourage them to play outside the responsible thing to do is to teach them about snakes, in particular rattle snakes. But since you don’t want your kids to get close enough to a rattle snake to make a definite identification you tell them to stay away from all snakes dead or alive. “No playing with snakes, ever! Got it?” “No poking snakes with a stick, no touching snakes! Got it?!” “What do you do when you see a snake, or hear a rattling sound?”

“I turn around, run into the house, and tell Daddy or Mommy or the Babysitter.”

“Good answer, that is exactly what you do.”

“Do you ever touch or play with snake?”

“No, silly Daddy, you run and tell.”

“Why?”

“Because snakes bite and can hurt you very bad.”

“What else you don’t do when you play outside?”

“I don’t stick my hands where I can’t see and I look where I walk?”

“Why?”

“So snakes won’t bite me.”

“Do you play by the wood pile or in the rocks?”

“No Daddy.”

“Why?”

“Cause snakes like it there.”

 

You have to teach your kids about all kinds of things, like fire, respect, boys/girls, honesty, glue and glitter, honor, being color-blind, brushing their teeth, responsibility, selflessness, generosity, doing chores right, excellence, not quitting, using tools, changing tires, controlling their temper, working hard, cleaning up after your puppy, being a giver not a taker, contributing, being home on time, … But the most important thing we teach our children is what we teach them about God and the things of God. It will affect their entire life, their destiny, and their soul, “Bring them (your children) up in the discipline (training) and instruction of the Lord” Ephesians 6:4 (ESV).

In trying to be faithful to that command of God, Susie and I, found the Word of God (the Bible), prayer, and the community of God (church) indispensable.

“What is the most important thing you will ever do?”

“Love God and my neighbor, Dad.”

“You are so right! So very smart! And that is why you are my favorite (all the others are just ugly ducklings, runts, and trolls)!”

 

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

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Is it good for people to get close to you or should they stay away from you or does it not make a difference? Of course people want to be close to others for all kinds of reasons, “The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends” Proverbs 14:20 (ESV). Who you get close to can open doors, get dates, and has the potential to profoundly influence your life, “Bad company ruins good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV) ; “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17. So how does hanging around you influence others? Does it sharpen them or corrupt them? Does it build their character or compromise it? Does it bless them or end up being a curse? Does it encourage them to seek God or ignore him?

People wanted to get close to Jesus, many simply for what he could do for them, “She (a woman hemorrhaging for twelve years) said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well’” Mark 5:28 (ESV, parenthesis mine), “He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him” Mark 3:10 (MSG). You can’t blame them; we would do the same if we are desperate enough. But don’t miss the fact that they thought Jesus cared about them, that he invited people to get close, that he enjoyed healing, blessing, telling the truth, changing lives, and bringing people back to a life with God. He was easy to get close to; he didn’t object to being touched, being in his company was and still is good, his influence is worthwhile to hang onto. We are called to emulate him, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” John 20:21 (ESV).

The Apostles followed in Jesus’ footsteps pursuing Christlike character, living by biblical wisdom, yielding spiritual power. The result, people wanted to get a hold of them; people were drawn to God, to believe in and follow Christ, “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them” Acts 5:12-15 (ESV). Don’t miss the picture here. Early Christians met in outer corridor of the Jewish temple, “Solomon’s Portico”.  As Jews came to temple they wanted to hang out with those Jesus followers, but many were too scared to. They feared the repercussions of being associated with Christ and his followers. But deep down they wanted to and thankfully many finally did dare to reach out and grasp Jesus. Does this describe you?

Finally, God had the prophet Zechariah foretell many things about Jesus Christ and he also had him declare, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, “In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew (believer), saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” Zechariah 8:23 (NASB, parenthesis mine). It is hard to miss, isn’t it, we are meant to live lives of such spiritual vitality, such clarity about God, that others would want to grasp us, get a hold of us, come with us, in order to know God.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

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