Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. -Psalm 86:11

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Messed Up Family- Josiah

"Is it possible to live for the Lord, even though my family is doing wrong?" I believe this question rests in the minds of young people all over the world.

In some situations, Mom and Dad take the kids to church, and even know how to act properly at church; but at home they live a completely different life- and this brings great discouragement and confusion to the children. In some situations, Mom and Dad are unsaved, and as a result live in a way that brings great heartache to a teenager who is trying to live for God.

In the following posts, I want to highlight the lives of several young people in the Bible who did not come from godly homes, and yet they served the Lord with their lives.

2 Chronicles 34 paints a very clear portrait of the life of Josiah. He became the king of Judah at the age of 8 (sweet!) and was used by God to bring Judah out of idolatry. Verses 2-3 give a summary of Josiah's life:

"And he (Josiah) did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father..."

That is awesome! In these two verses, we see Josiah's life in a nutshell. Praise God, his life honored the Lord!

So, you might say, "Well, he probably had a godly dad that helped him become a godly man, right? Or maybe he had a godly grandfather who took him under his wing and taught him the things of God."

Well, let's look at a description of Josiah's dad, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh.

2 Chronicles 33:21- "Amon was two and twenty (22) years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father (Josiah's grandfather)..."

Josiah's dad and grandfather did not leave a godly example for Josiah to follow. In fact, they left the opposite of a good example. Josiah could have had the excuse, "Well, my dad was a wicked man, and so was my grandfather. Why should I be any different?" But Josiah didn't do that. He broke the cycle of ungodliness in his family.

I believe the key is found in 2 Chronicles 34:3- "For in the eighth year of his (Josiah's) reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father..." (Note: in this case, when David is called his father, the word "father" has a similar meaning as "ancestor.") This means that at the age of 16, Josiah had a decision to make. Was he going to allow the ungodly heritage in his family to determine the kind of man he was going to be? Or would he realize that just because his dad and grandfather were wicked men, it didn't mean that he had to follow their footsteps?

Praise God, he didn't allow his father's and grandfather's bad testimonies determine the outcome of his life. And if you come from a bad home situation, you don't have to either.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Do You Respond to Advice and Correction?

When I was a teenager, I really struggled to have a good attitude when my dad would correct me. The fact of the matter is that many times throughout my life, during my teen years and even now, I have needed and still need advice and correction from people whom God has put in my life. And so do you.

Look at what Proverbs 6:23 says. "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life." The word "reproof" simply means correction. When I receive reproof from someone, that person is telling me about something in my life that is not right. By the way, that is what a true friend does.

How is your attitude towards correction? Do you get angry when someone (your pastor, youth pastor, father, mother, teacher, youth worker) gives you advice or even has to correct you? Look at these two attitudes towards correction, and determine which one is your attitude.

1. A refusing attitude. Proverbs 16:32- "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul..." Look at Proverbs 13:18- "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth (listens to) reproof shall be honored." Notice Proverbs 13:1- "A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke." Is this you? When someone corrects you about something that needs to be corrected, do you shut that person off? Do you say things like, "He/she is just trying to control me...I don't need his/her advice." If you have that attitude, the Bible says that you are a scorner, and that you will eventually end up in poverty and shame. I believe that this could mean spiritual poverty. There are a lot of arrogant people who don't listen to anyone, yet they are rich. But look at their personal lives. Look at their families. They may have money, but when it comes to the things that really matter in life, they are poor.

2. A receiving attitude. Proverbs 10:8- "The wise in heart will receive commandments..." Notice Proverbs 15:32- "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof (correction) getteth understanding." This is the attitude we should all have. If you don't have this attitude, ask the Lord to help you have a heart that will listen to and act upon advice and correction. You don't know everything. You need help from people who are walking with the Lord. Which attitude do you have towards advice and correction? A refusing attitude, or a receiving attitude?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Destiny

Bro. Cary Schmidt, youth pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, wrote these words. This song, "My Destiny", has been a great encouragement to me lately, and I wanted to share it with anyone who reads this blog. Please pray for Bro. Schmidt and his family as he is undergoing chemo therapy treatments for Hodgkins cancer.

Deep in the mystery of eternity past
God planned out my life's design
A journey of hope, a lifetime of faith
To be lived in the boundary of time.
He knew my name, He knew my heart
He even knew my sin,
And gave me a will to choose,
And desired that I'd choose Him.

I choose His will, it is my destiny
God's perfect plan, He knows what's best for me
And when my life is over, I look over my shoulder
The only thing I want to see
Is that I lived out my destiny

Life-changing choices are a part of the journey
God created me to take
So many paths, yet still I know
There is only one right choice to make
To live in the center of God's will
And surrender my own plans
Seeing His purpose fulfilled
As I trust His guiding hand.