“We will pray for you.”
“You are in our prayers.”
Look familiar? It should. Those are the words often written in the comments section of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media. Someone we know shares a problem, a challenge, a prayer request and we have to make a decision. Do we respond or not? Do we just click the ‘like’ button and move on or take a minute to leave a comment? If we leave a comment, what do we say? If we say we’re praying for them, are we? Will we?
Jesus shared this advice about prayer in the context of not doing charitable deeds before men to be seen by them.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
Jesus said that if people pray to be seen by others, they “have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Why? Because hypocritical people do that “that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:1-2) That seems like good advice when we consider commenting publicly on social media about our intentions to ‘pray’ for someone, but how does that affect us in a social media setting?
God is “all wise.” That may sound simple, but its depths no man knows.
“… to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.” Romans 16:27
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Every time God says something – stop and listen. God does not waste words or actions. He’s Perfect and does all things perfectly. When God brought Israel out of bondage to Egypt and spoke with them in the wilderness He wanted the Israelites to listen to Him. Why? Because He knew what was best for them. That is true today. God saves us from the bondage of sin and death and speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit. He expects us to listen to Him because He knows what’s best for us.
As we bring this special series about Teaching Wisdom to Our Children to a close, for now, here’s an example of God’s Wisdom that children need to learn, understand and obey in order to be successful in bringing God glory during their life on earth.
We continue today sharing a GraceLife article written almost 15 years ago at the beginning of the Third Millennium A.D. These were thoughts about the new millennium at the beginning of the new millennium. I’m thinking now about how the first 15 years of the millennium have gone for Christians and the world God called us to reach with the Gospel. This is the second part of that article. If you haven’t read the first part, you may want to do that now.
Also, I’m curious what you think about what this article says about Christians and Christianity, about the Gospel and the people who need to hear it. Please share your comments with us and we’ll include them in the section below the article. Thanks!
Not too often, but sometimes, I’ll look back at GraceLife articles from many years ago to get some perspective on how we’re doing. Some of the articles go back more than 30 years, but this one is more recent. I wrote it at the turn of the millennium while thinking about what was ahead for the Body of Christ on earth. Now that same article may help us look back on how we’ve done during the past 15 years and what we can do better in service to our Savior, Lord and King, Jesus Christ in the years to come.
I recently listened to Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, say that he believes the American Church hasn’t done enough for the persecuted Church. Graham appeared on television with the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini to share his concern for Saeed and thousands of Christians around the world who are imprisoned and beaten for their faith in Jesus Christ. Pastor Abedini is an American citizen, but the government of Iran detained him two years ago (9/26/12) because of his Christian ministry. Iran believes the pastor is a threat to its national security.
Is Graham right that the American Church has not done enough for Christians around the world who are suffering, really suffering, for their faith in Christ? You bet he is and here’s why.
The fifth step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them to understand the power of the influence of things. That includes money and possessions. Both have been the downfall of millions of people through history.
A simple way of explaining the process from enticement to wise results is found in the first chapter of Proverbs: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not…My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.” If someone entices you to sin, don’t do it. Easier said than done, I know, but the fact remains that if we don’t consent to the enticement to sin, we won’t commit that sin.
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Children from Christian homes will generally agree with their parents about sexual standards until they reach the early to middle teen years. If they are part of a strong youth group or other Christian influence (like Christian martial arts), their commitment to Christian standards about sex may continue through their teen years and into adulthood. However, the combination of peer pressure, hormones and what the world tells our young people about sex may lead some Christian young people to experiment with sex.
We should be able to agree, based on God’s Word, that sexual relations before marriage are wrong. The question now is how to teach that to children and teenagers so they understand the dangers to their bodies and minds and help them deal with sexual temptations that will surely come their way as they mature.
We turn again to the Book of Proverbs for insights into how to teach the wisdom of sexual purity to children. God tells children what other people will do to entice them to have sex outside of marriage. Here are several examples we can share with our children and young people. It’s also a good reminder for those of us who have been married many years.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Romans 1:8-12
The Apostle Paul had a strong desire to visit Christians in Rome. Based on what Paul wrote in Romans and 1 Corinthians and what Luke wrote about Paul’s travels in Acts, we believe Paul wrote to the Romans from somewhere in Greece in 56 or 57 AD.
- Wisdom About Sexual Relationships
Another powerful relational influence on children and teenagers is sex. The sexual urges often become stronger than the influence of parents and other adults who care for the wellbeing of the child. God understands the power and addresses it powerfully and clearly in His Word.
We live in an extremely sexually-permissive society. Television, movies, magazines, books for young people, social media, Internet … half-naked people in sexually-suggestive embrace … it is literally everywhere. What is a parent to do trying to raise a child today to understand the importance of sexual morality?