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A Stumper of A Question

This post is courtesy of I Spy God

One Sunday afternoon, my kids told me they asked their Sunday school teacher a question that she didn’t know the answer to.

“What did you ask them?!!”  I blurted out, slightly fearful of what topic they dared to breach…
“Does God love the devil?”
Wow.
Now there’s a question.
I can only assume that the Sunday school “teacher” they asked was one of the teen helpers and not the actual teacher, because I am sure the teacher has an answer to their question…but it made me think and wonder if what I thought was correct.
“Well, what do you think?” I asked back
“NO!” they almost simultaneously screamed… “he’s bad and so naughty!”
Great point.
Great question.
Does God love the devil?

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…”   Genesis 1:31

God made the devil.  And if he made the devil, then the devil is part of the “everything” Genesis 1:31 is talking about.

“… You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them …”   Nehemiah 9:6

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”   Colossians 1:16

The devil was the most beautiful of God’s angels.

 “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and arbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub.”   Ezekiel 28:12-15

And as with all of God’s creation, He allows free will, and like the Coke Zero commercials, the devil wanted more.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.”   Isaiah 14:12-15

And again as with all creation, choices come with consequences… the devil and his angels were punished.

“… God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;”   2 Peter 2:4

But praise the One who is forgiving and longs for us to accept it.

“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”   Psalm 145:9
“… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

“Yes” I said.

“…  God is love.”   1 John 4:8

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Jesus Our Example ( A Childs View)

He… was subject unto [his parents] Luke 2:51

Young people, you may sometimes feel as though your parents do not understand you. Neither did Jesus’ parents understand him. In fact, the verse before (50) specifically mentions “they did not understand” what Jesus was saying to them.

You may sometimes have difficulty overlooking your parents’ flaws. But imagine what it was like for Jesus, who was absolutely perfect, to have parents who were both sinners! Every day would be an occasion for offense and fault-finding, if Jesus had wanted to criticize His parents.

But here is this remarkable statement about Jesus: “He was subject to his parents.” Regardless of their failures, regardless of their inability to fully understand him, Jesus obeyed and honored his parents!

What about you? Are you listening to your friends, or are you looking at Jesus? Are you following the crowd, or are you respecting your parents?

If Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to the leadership of his flawed and sinful parents, what possible excuse could you give for disregarding your own parents? If Jesus could overlook his parents faults, when he had none himself, how much more should you be able to forgive and look over your parents’ failings, knowing that you too are a sinner.

7 Best Pieces of Advice for People Who Want to Move Past a Rotten Childhood

Author Tracy McMillan knows a thing or two about getting over a bad childhood. Her father was a drug-dealing pimp and convicted felon who spent most of his daughter’s life behind bars. Her prostitute mother gave her away. Here’s what she wants you to know about getting over your past.

1. Get a New Story
There are two ways for me to look at my childhood story. In one, I’m a person who is so unloved and unwanted, my own mother gave me away. In the other, I was born, took a look around at my prostitute mother and criminal father, and said to myself, “I can totally do better than this. Get your stuff, we’re leaving.” In one I’m a victim, in the other, I’m in power. Guess which viewpoint got me the career I have today?

2. Realize Blame = Same
Blame is awesome. It feels good, right? It feels righteous. It feels powerful. It feels like someone’s going to pay for what they did to you. The only problem is—as long as you’re blaming—nothing can ever change. Why? Because in order for your life to change, you have to want things to be different. And if it feels good to blame, you have to admit that you like it. And if you like it, you have to admit that you don’t really want it to change. Which is why blame just gets you more of the same.

3. Pretend You Work at Target
Sometimes, I look at my bad childhood like it’s an unruly customer and I’m working customer service the day after Christmas. It’ll be acting up, moaning and complaining about how hard everything is, and how unfair it all is. I just have to say to it, “Yes, I see you, ma’am. I know you have a problem. But right now I’m busy, so please have a seat. I”ll be with you just as soon as I can.” Then I do something productive that will actually change my situation, like go to work.

4. Accept the Fact That Some People Don’t Really Want to See You Succeed
This sounds harsh, and it is. But it’s true. Some of your family and friends “support” you by cosigning all your b.s. about how hard you have it, because if you succeed, two things will happen: 1) You will leave. And 2) They will be left behind. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your friends and family, you just have to remember that they love you so much, they’re perfectly happy for you to stay exactly where you are right now.

5. Decide to KSA (Kick Some Ass)
When my 13-year-old said he hated science class, I told him that getting a 95 on the test was the equivalent of getting in the face of his least favorite teacher and saying, “Have some!” In other words, kicking ass on the test is just like playing a video game. Needless to say, he’s getting A’s now. Channeling your anger will get you a long, long way in life.

6. Hoard Your Money
The number one way to end your bad childhood is to save money. I have a very simple rule about money: If I never spend everything I make, I will always have money. And money is power. All those commercials you see are a big, rich company’s attempt to get you to give them your power. Don’t do it! Think of every dollar you save as one step away from the people and places that have kept you down.

7. Get a Paper Route
In fifth grade, I wanted a 10-speed bike like all the other kids had. So I started delivering papers when I was 11. In Minnesota. In the winter. Compared to that, every job I’ve had since has been easy. While there may not be papers to deliver in the snow, the point is to do the thing you don’t want to do. Get a hard/crappy job and do it until the voices in your head stop telling you that you can’t take it another minute. Everything after that will be cake, and your bad childhood will be over. I promise.

Tracy McMillan is a film and television writer, most recently on AMC’s Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning series Mad Men and Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning series The United States of Tara. Her memoir, I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway (HarperCollins 2011), is a comic, tragic, unflinchingly real, and ultimately victorious true story of how one woman learned to love herself no matter what.

Compromise

www.parentingbydesign.com  

Nah. 3:14: Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defenses! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork! (NIV)

The Israelites built gates and walls around their cities as a means of protection. The Assyrians attacked these walls with long poles that were chiseled to a point at the end. They used them like a toothpick, chipping away at the small stones in the wall. Although it was not a fearsome weapon, it was effective over time as the entire wall eventually crumbled. Ironically, that was how the great Assyrian city of Nineveh fell, by stripping away the bricks in the walls, one by one, until they crumbled!

In the same way, the small compromises we make in life may seem harmless at the time, but each one tends to chip away at the framework of our integrity. It could be making an excuse for our kids when they are late for school, or replacing things they lose instead of empathetically holding them accountable. It may be allowing an underage son to have a beer at home because we think he’ll be less likely to drink and drive. Over time, we may find we have drifted from the truth of the gospel and the godly example God has called us to be.

Don’t let compromises undermine your integrity.

Raising Teenagers

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

It’s hard not to be exasperated by a teenager and its hard not to exasperate a teenager. For those who think they know everything, it seems impossible to tell them anything. Yet, God gives parents teenagers so they can learn laughter, wisdom, forgiveness, trust and the grace of imposing guidelines. After all, the older a teenager becomes the less a parent can control them—and therefore, the more is the parent’s felt need to give their teenager’s accountability over to the Lord.

Indeed, tension arises in the transition from immaturity to maturity. It’s during this avalanche of emotions that someone has to act like the adult. The parent is positioned by the Lord to be the voice of reason, as the transitioning teenager has yet to qualify. So, persistent prayer, patience and pardon go a long way in promoting peace in the home.
 
“Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.” Genesis 37:2-3

Fathers these passionate pre-adults need your firm and loving leadership as they learn how to manage their freedoms. Mom is the gentle nurturer when they are in grade school, but as they acquire acne you protect your wife from being taken advantage of with your wise and caring leadership. Most of all, remember to be intentional in your relational investment with your young person, as rules without relationship leads to rebellion.

Do you feel taken advantage of, lied to and manipulated? If so, welcome to the world of hormones hijacking the heart of some self absorbed teens. On the other hand, thank the Lord for those young people who, because of God’s grace, have grown in character and their care for others. Make sure to give these models of faithfulness positive feedback. It’s easy to only give attention to the troublemakers and take for granted the good kids.
 
Above all else, pray together as husband and wife for your teenagers to fear God, love Him and obey Christ’s commands. Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit, so you can model for them what it means to be a loving disciple of Jesus. Confess your faults to the Lord and your child—and ask for their forgiveness. Teenagers trust transparency. Train and instruct them in worship, Bible study, service, faith, love and grace based living.

Related Readings: Psalm 89:19; Proverbs 23:22; Lamentations 3:26-28; Matthew 18:21-22

Children’ s Behavior Threatening a Marriage

‘Is your child’s behavior threatening to destroy your marriage?’ That was the question asked on the forum recently. Can a child’s behavior affect a marriage? Yes it certainly can.

Often this is the case in blended families, where a child will be negative or outwardly antagonistic or hostile towards the stepparent and try and do all they can to interfere in the marriage relationship. But this is certainly not the only case it can occur.

Children have the ability to work our very early on which one of the parents is easier to con or get around. As a result they can have a tendency to play one partner off against the other. I’ve seen it the marriages of friends. The way to combat this is to ensure you are both on the same wavelength regarding what is allowable and what is not, and regarding forms of discipline and punishment. If you are not united then children will find it very easy to cause friction between you and your spouse.

That’s why it is important to discuss attitudes towards children and child rearing before you get married. Even so, sometimes things change once kids come along. What had seemed logical and easy when the child did was theoretical suddenly is different when a flesh and blood person is involved. We changed some of our ideas after we became parents. Basically, it can be because of the child’s personality. They changed in some respects again after the second child because what worked with one personality wasn’t appropriate or didn’t work with the second one. In each case we changed our ideas together.

Even if parents don’t always agree, I think you should make a point of being united in front of the child. Later, in private, talk it out and state your problems with the decision and resolve the way to handle it in future. Always check with each other first, before making a decision so that one parent is not saying the opposite to the other. Don’t make decisions on the spur of the moment or without consultation with your spouse. We always told our children ‘Dad and I (or Mom and I as the case might be) will talk about it and let you know.’ That way we were always able to present a united front. This takes away any chance of playing parents off against each other. This is important in any marriage
and family situation but never more so than in the blended family.

There are other ways children can negatively affect a marriage but more about that tomorrow.

Originally posted on Families.com, Written by Dale Harcombe