A Crucial Word For Parents

They don’t include any kind of “instruction manual” for raising your child when they send you home from the hospital with your baby. Thankfully, God’s word gives parents the instructions they need, in places like Proverbs 22:15, which reads: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” This verse gives us several important lessons about child discipline: Continue reading

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“The Discipline of the Word” (I Peter 2:1-3 sermon) 

(Preached 4-26-15, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Morganton, NC)

For years before his death in 2013, Pat Summerall broadcast NFL games and other sporting events on television. Many of you would recognize his voice to this day. Some of you also know that Summerall’s life had been devastated by many years by alcohol. At one point, later in life, he checked into the Betty Ford clinic, but he said what really turned his life around was that while he was in there, he picked up a copy of the word of God, the Bible. He read it every day. And he said the more he read, the more wanted, and soon his thirst for alcohol was replaced by a thirst for the word of God. When he got out of the clinic, he was baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ, and his life was never the same. The word of God had changed his life.
This kind of hunger for the word is what is described in our passage for this morning, I Peter 2:1-3, where the Bible says:

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

We are continuing this morning the study, “The Disciplines of Disciples.” We saw last week that God commands us as followers of Jesus Christ to “discipline (ourselves) for the purpose of godliness.” Just as it takes discipline to practice for a good band performance, and discipline to exercise, it takes some discipline to live a successful Christian life. It is not going to just “happen”; you have to learn to exercise some disciplines.

This morning we are going to look at the first, and arguably the most important of those “Disciplines for Disciples” — the discipline of the word. Our focus is going to be on :2, where God commands us through Peter, “Long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

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Is There A Lion?

“The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets.'” (Proverbs 22:13)

The Book of Proverbs contains a number of character studies, which describe different kinds of people we encounter — or perhaps ourselves!  Among these are the fool, the strange woman, the righteous man, and, as in the present verse, the “sluggard.”  Continue reading

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The Model Prayer (Part 1) “Begin With Praise”

(Preached at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Morganton, NC, Wed. p.m., 4-22-15)

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of “A.D” The Series on Sunday nights, but like most shows, it has its better moments as well as its weaknesses. One scene I particularly didn’t like was after the resurrection of Jesus, when the disciples were awaiting the Holy Spirit. It showed them chanting the Lord’s Prayer over and over more intensely until the Spirit came upon them. I just shook my head: there is no way that is what they did. As we saw last week, Jesus taught His disciples NOT to pray meaningless repetition.  He did not give us the prayer to pray verbatim.    Rather it is a model of the way we are to pray.  The Model Prayer is composed of 6 requests, which represent 6 categories of things that our Heavenly Father wants us to talk with Him about when we pray.

Last week we did a quick overview of this Model Prayer, and we briefly touched on what those 6 categories are.  Beginning tonight, for the next 6 weeks we are going to examine these categories one at a time, with the goal of helping us to pray both longer and better by using these categories that Jesus gave us.  The very first category shows us that we are to begin our prayers with praise.

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“When The Cat’s Away …”?

“A king who sits on the throne of justice disperses evil with his eyes”  (Proverbs 20:8)

This scripture pictures a strong leader on the throne of the land, before whom the wicked scatter. But what often happens when a leader dies, or leaves, or if there is a power vacuum for some reason, is  that evil begins to raise its head.  We see this in nations, in corporations, in families — and even in churches.  Too often the old saying is true: “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

How does this apply in your life?   Continue reading

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How To Stay Poor

You probably don’t want a recipe for poverty, but the more pertinent question may be, are you unwittingly following it?  Proverbs 21:17 says: “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” Continue reading

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A Surprising Cause of Unanswered Prayer

Ever wondered why your prayer request goes unanswered? Scripturally, there are a number of possible answers you might be familiar with:

— sometimes we ask with wrong motives (James 4:3)

— or we do not keep persisting in prayer (Matthew 7:7)

— or maybe the request is just not God’s will  (I John 5:14)

But in Proverbs 21:13 we find another possible solution: Continue reading

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