Mr. Cain’s Outbox
Mar 4, 2012
Are you tired of rotten fruit?
Getting ourselves & our children focused on the right things can be tough at times. Living in this physical sense driven world we often forget that if we are alive in Christ we are not meant for this world but another. We have been freed & given a new nature to live another kind of life.
Paul talks about that life change in Galatians 5, “You. . .were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” But, “How?”, we ask. Paul says, “. . .live by the Spirit. . .Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. . .let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Let’s daily invite the Holy Spirit to produce the new kind of fruit (Gal. 5:22 & 23). Confess your sins, but then agree with what God says about the new you by confessing what he says. The following is a great prayer/confession someone sent to me a while back. Try telling yourself this every morning rather than letting the junk creep in. Try it for one month…then share with us how things have changed.
I Choose Love
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
I choose love…No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy…I will invite my God to be the God of circumstances. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace…I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live. Rather than strive for what I want, I will take all of my cares & concerns to the throne of the Prince of Peace and let Him rule in my life.
I choose patience…I will overlook the conveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness…I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God treated me.
I choose goodness…I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness…Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. People around me will not question my word. My family and friends will not question my love.
I choose gentleness…Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control…I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
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Jan 22, 2012
It seems some time during the teen years a keen hypocrisy detector begins working…maybe it’s because the temptation to be one really sets in. . .not sure. We just seem to develop an innate ability to see the disconnect between what someone says and what they do.
Jan 15, 2012
Everyone likes a good story—especially those we can relate to. Ever imagine yourself as one of the characters? Or maybe it’s that stories create a picture in our heads complete with emotions. We engage…we think…we apply. I think that’s why Jesus told stories.
But his stories were different. (Mark 4:9-13) Jesus used “parables” which are succinct stories that teach some type of truth or principle. Simple, to the point, often like a metaphor, parables convey spiritual truths that otherwise might be difficult to explain. They really are a word picture, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” How do you really describe the kingdom of heaven to someone who has never seen it?
In addition to the story itself, Jesus told each parable in a specific setting, generally to a specific audience—in other words in a “context”. Too often we read the Bible in bits and bytes not really paying attention to the greater context and thereby often miss the full meaning of what Jesus is trying to say to us. At the beginning of the second year of Jesus ministry, often called the year of popularity, Jesus begins to use parables and spends more time teaching. Early on, when telling the grand daddy of all parables (The Sower, the Seed, & the Soils), Jesus says to the disciples, “If you do not understand this parable, how will you understand anything I say to you?” (Mark 4:13) Whoa, that’s heavy! That means this one parable is key to everything else. We ought to be paying attention.
To that end, this semester each day we meet over lunch we will be delving into and opening up the parables. We’re going to look at the parables in context in chronological order. This is really what New Doors is about—helping students go through new doors. Education is meaningless without the greater context of who God is, my relationship with Him, and what He is doing in the earth. Please consider having your student join us for our study. In fact encourage them to take notes and talk about what we are talking at home! Who knows what God might teach us. And besides, if your student documents what you are doing we can help you count it as a semester elective on their transcript!
God’s best to you as we partner in learning,