Sermons

The family is under attack! Make no mistake in this. The ideals of the home, the structure, the leadership have all being separated and diminished. While there are many factors that have led to this situation we should not dwell on why or how; but rather what can we do now?

Parents need to ask themselves:

  • Is my child a spiritual person?
  • Am I a spiritual person?
  • Am I raising my kids for the Lord?
  • Are there issues that need to be deal with?

No amount of information will matter if a parent does not recognize that there is a problem and desires to get a solution.

We will deal with several different topics and aspects as we move through these lessons. This lesson will concentrate on the understanding that the Church plays a pivotal part in the raising of children. Let’s look at a few verses about parents responsibilities:

Deuteronomy 6:4  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
[6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
[7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
[8] And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
[9] And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

If we are to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord it need to be in church. This is a necessary part of growing up in a Christian home. There is a movement today of home churches where small groups share their collective ignorance rather than working through the man of God as the Bible lays out. While you can find groups meeting in a home in the Bible it is never identified as a God called assembly or a church. The Church can/will play a vital roll in your child’s growth and development spiritually and socially.

Making this decision; consider these points:

1. We should start young… and when I say young I mean the first Church Service when mom comes out of the hospital. I’ve heard too many horror stories of parents that waited until the children were 5 years old or older and then take them to church. Then they realize the child has not learned yet how to sit.. the parents yell at the child for weeks to sit still and so at an early age you now have a child that associates the church with anger, frustration and embarrassment. For those parents that wait until the teen years the struggle becomes amplified as it is a constant struggle because they see the parents as a hypocrite trying to correct years of poor instruction and a parent who wants the child to be “spiritual” in a short time.  Again the child can resent the church because of this rapid, forced change. When we start the children young, show them and teach them to sit still… you will find that by 5 years old they are hearing and learning from the word of God in ways you can’t imagine… until you see the results.

2. Children need to learn to be still and know that He is God. I don’t understand why parents will get children in a habit to draw and play in church. This is not only a distraction to them… but all that are around them.

3. Children need to recognize the fear of the Lord… they learn that by the way from their parents.

4. Children hear and process information very effectively, they can form opinions and determine a course of action as early as 4. When a child hears a parent say something that they would not allow the child to say.. like when people bad mouthing the preacher, it begin to process that information and determine a course of action based of of available information. When they see parents act one way at church and another at home or in the car… they can loose respect for you and the church. Remember children are impressionable… so make a good impression.

5. Children enjoy what their parents do… whatever hobbies and activities that mom and dad enjoy, children naturally want to be apart of that. Church is no different. When parents enjoy going to church… so will the children. When parents treat church like a chore… so will the children.

6. Never expect more from your children that you expect from yourself.  Most churches meet for 3 services a week for a maximum of 1.5 hours of learning about God… but what about the other 166.5 hours in the week. That is where the Parent takes the lead. I have spoken with so many parents that have their children read their Bibles and pray everyday.. but have not cracked a Bible or prayed themselves since the last church service. Parents must take an aggressive role in their own spiritual growth, the child will naturally follow your lead.

Child patterns can be broken down by age span.

  • Ages1-5 – These children are impressionable, hungering for knowledge. This is the age that it is easiest to establish habits and patterns. The lessons taught in church must be magnified in the home at this age otherwise it will create mixed messages that will cause to child to act out. This is also the age that it is good to instill the basics of the fear of the Lord and to respect of God’s house.
  • Ages 6-10 – This age is when children here begin to practice those principles and foundations that they were introduced to at the ages 1-5. They are curious, but also seek to test boundaries. In doing so they will exceed the comfort zone and watch the reaction of those who established the boundary. If the parent here does not re-enforce the established set of rules and punishment for exceeding the boundaries the child will forge their own. This is also the age when children learn to manipulate the circumstances to work to their end. They will observe those things that aggravate a situation and judge responses. Make no mistake, children at this age are crafty and observant.
  • Ages 11-16 – Children in this age group are most susceptible to emotion whims. A parent must be at their best in their consistency. The world around this age is changing daily as they deal with social issues, responsibility, internal emotional changes and rapid changes to their bodies… they need a parent that is extremely consistent and is unwavering… you must be their stability. This will also be the time when you find out how you did for the first 10 years because the foundations you have built will be tested. Oft times this is the age when parents seek external assistance to cope with their child because they have not raised their child in a Godly home… I have seen so many destroyed homes because a parent begins forcing a child to be something that they are not… spiritual. Forcing a child to go to church expecting the church to fix the problems you have created CAN NOT WORK. There is a formula for this that will work and will be discussed in a later lesson.
  • Ages 17-19 – This is a child who will practice what they have been taught. Good or bad. Dealing with this age is simply trial by example. No longer is it, because I said so, but rather why. This age must understand why things are the way they are and how things work so they they can learn and make correct decisions. A child of this age must also be allowed to make mistakes, under guidance and with understanding. They have relied on the parent for 17 years and need to know that actions have consequences, yet in all, you will be there.

So in this lesson we have determine that the first, best option is to start with the child as a newborn so to allow you both to grow in Christ through the local church… however.. what if you child is already older. Future lessons, which I will link later below, will deal with each age group listed and what to do if you are seeking God’s guidance later in a child’s development.

By Chaplain Rick Brewer

I often see or hear the statement of “Put God Back in Schools” and while I understand their zeal I’m afraid I cannot agree with it. In this article I will provide a history of God and prayer in school, present my argument why religion should not be taught in the public school system and provide a vision of what is to come because of the course of this country chose to take with the 1962 & 1963 court decisions.

History

In this country public schools are not allowed to teach biblical matters or allow public or mandated prayer because stately the wording of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

The first part reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is the Establishment Clause, while the second part (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) is the Free Exercise Clause. The Fourteenth Amendment extended the scope First Amendment to all levels of government, thereby compelling states to adopt an equally detached approach to religion in schools.

School prayer prior to 1962

As early as 1890 school prayer has been under attack for reasons I will use later in this article as proof text. The Catholics had exception, in 1890, to the fact that the King James Bible was being used. They took their case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the Catholics thereby starting a debate of which Bible and which religion should be taught in schools. In 1962 another challenge in New York surfaced when a Jewish father objected to his son being exposed to Christian faith and mandated Christian prayer. Two main court battles in the Supreme Court eventually led in 1963 the banning of corporate reading of the Bible and prayer in schools. The courts did make allowances to “religion” in school as long as it remained totally secular and neutral in all respects to a particular group or Bible.

 

Over the last 25 years the very mention of prayer in schools has brought an atheistic response from teams of lawyers and the ACLU to force compliance in state schools.

 

1 Samuel 8:6  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

The Separation of Church and State

Another commonly spouted discourse is the “separation of church and state” as a constitutional matter, but it is not. The reference first came from Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists. It states: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” The intent in this letter is to calm concerns that the newly formed federal government would establish a state religion like that of England. It was not meant to keep the church out of government but rather the government out of the church.

Why Religion should not be allowed in schools.

I can sum this argument up by asking “which religion”. Naturally everyone who would want to put God back in schools would want their OWN religion taught. Modern statistics place in the Christian faiths nearly 33,000 different denominations, they essentially can be broken down to some 40 or so main groups of belief… but even still I have witnessed differing beliefs from one church to the next within the same denomination. That doesn’t even include the non-Christian religions, some of which are even now working diligently to fill the void left when “God was kicked out in the ‘60’s. Satan has done a good job over the last 100 years getting people to NOT rightfully divide the word of truth; eventually leading to much confusion about the word of God and creating many different denominations to provide validity to their beliefs.

So the question comes to play that if we can’t get trained pastors on the same page about what we are to believe… how are we to expect a public school teacher who is not trained in biblical matters to be able to? Not to mention it was NEVER to be the responsibility of a school teacher to become the moral compass for a child to teach them religion, it is the Parent!

The only way to put God back in schools and it be effective to a singular teaching would be a state religion that would have mandated beliefs and structure teaching a singular point… but isn’t that what the founders fought against? Spin the dial… which one of the 33,000+ are we going to pick?

To Make my point let me ask this question:

Do you want a teacher or teachers of multiple faiths responsible for teaching your child about God?

The root of the problem

So what’s the root of the problem? Christians. For 70 or so years Christians have so sought acceptance from the world that they were shamed to keep silent; thus making it easy to throw out the Bible and prayer from the public school system. Christian parents began to rely on the public school system to do their job in raising children. No longer are teachers tasked with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic but also needing to be a guidance counselor, social worker and advocate literally being forced to teach children morality without the moral tools needed to do the job. Add that to the government utilization of the public school system to teach anti-Christian indoctrination of social behavior and you get a system that is failing because Christians gave up to fight in the 50’s.

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Sure there are teachers in the system that are Christians… but to what end? Is it their job to teach children about God? No, it is the parents’ responsibility to do that. Parents at one point held the children responsible for their actions, now we are crucifying teachers for not raising the children in the way the parents would like… shifting the responsibility away from themselves and the child to the teachers!

The Course

Naturally the course now since the 60’s has been well trodden. It certainly isn’t going to get better. The moral decline in this country can be directly related to the home… not the Schools. God was kicked out of the American home long before He was kicked out of schools; and it is foolish to think that we can put Him forcibly back in the schools without graciously accepting Him back into our homes. As long as Christians choose not to take responsibility for their spiritual actions and allow God to reign supreme in their homes… this country will remain in the downward moral decline until pure anarchy becomes the norm.

Summary

I don’t think that God should be forced back in schools for the many reasons I have listed above. I believe that Christians need to wake up and realize that we are the majority (that is shrinking with every graduating class) That a Christian voice should be at teacher conferences, school board meetings, city council meetings, state legislature, federal legislature and court systems making sure our voice is heard. That Christians stop chasing after the approval of the world and stand separated with a loud voice that lifts up Jesus Christ! Let those making decisions think about the effects their choices will make. The false religions in this country are speaking louder that we have in 70 years because we are so concerned with being called names that our voice has no power.

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

It is important to understand that having a personal electronic device such as a cell phone, tablet, computer, tv, ipod, mp3 player, video games… ect.. is a privilege. They are not needed to function in school, church or any other activity. Used properly these electronic devices can be a great asset to a healthy quality of life by offering a greater capacity to learn and grow; however used incorrectly they can damage a testimony, provoke sin and diminish a walk with God. This lesson will deal with the Biblical nature of these electronic devices; it is intended to help parents when making decisions about the use of devices for their children, but the concept is certainly valid for mom and dad too.

2 Corinthians 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

The Hidden things

2 Corinthians 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

One feature of electronic devices is that they are personal in nature. It is difficult for others to see or hear what or how they are being used, therefore these hidden things can become a problem. There is a sense of liberty that one has when they have access to see and hear things that cannot be viewed or judged by others.

Psalms 101:3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
With this liberty comes self control. God’s people must make a point to set no wicked thing before your eyes. Remember the device in itself is not wicked, but what is done with it can easily become wicked.

Self Examination

Part of growing up is the principle of self examination.

Psalms 26:2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

2 Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

1 Corinthians 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

This matter of self examination must be a constant event weighing every activity based on the name of Jesus Christ. If you don’t think Jesus Christ would be delighted in what you do see or say on an electronic device… then why are you doing it?

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Idleness

When you are on Facebook, surfing the net, texting or just listening to music it can cause a sense of idleness where you are not being productive or worse, counter productive to the things that need done.

Proverbs 19:15  Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

1 Timothy 5:13  And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

 

Facebook and social media

Facebook, twitter and other forms of social media can be a neat way to express feelings and thoughts on a particular topic, stay in touch with friends far away and get insight on current events… but beware.

Proverbs 22:24  Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

Social Media can also be a place where sin can run unchecked. From a disconnected mindset of privacy the internet can be used to speak evil things, to show evil things and make friendships that can lead to a life filled with sin.  A Christian must be on guard and regulate those things that you participate in. If you continually view angry posts it can motivate you to be the same way. Things can be said and feelings can be hurt by posting something you think is humorous but because it was in poor taste… offends someone; we must remember our testimony when participating in these social media areas. If you have people on your friends list that is posting inappropriate pictures, comments or posts to include nudity, perversion and profanity it is YOUR responsibility to unlike and not participate with those people. It is clear that a Christian is to come apart and be separate; we must be self regulating in these matters.

1 Peter 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

These same guidelines go along with texting, skype or any other form of communication whereby you have influence. Keep this rule in mind:

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

We must treat social media in the manner that we would never post something about anyone we wouldn’t be willing to say in front of them.

Matthew 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

How to proceed.

Guidelines need to be in place to help train a child in the way they should go. These guidelines will promote self examination and the responsible use of electronic devices.

Nothing hidden

In order to help guide a child to a mature sense of responsibility the child should not be allowed to delete anything from electronic devices. This will include, but are not limited to: Texts, Messages, Posts, Pictures, likes, shares, tweets, viewing history, browsing history and search history. This basically will allow a parent/ guardian to review the use of the electronic devices to make sure they are being used properly. Naturally you want to work your way to a point that the child is self regulating (self examining/ self judging) themselves with the mindset of the scripture laid out previously.

Time limits

Time limits and time restrictions should be placed to help make sure that a healthy balance of time is being structured. Idleness, as they say, is the devil’s workshop… so making sure that the devices are not filling space where structured study, chores or relevant playtime should be utilized.

“The double standard” – One method is if the child spends one hour on an electronic device or devices he should give the Lord two hours. Time in prayer and Bible reading will naturally help bring a sense of balance and priorities in the child’s life.

“Centralized charging” – One popular way to keep children from abusing electronic device privileges is to not allow the electronic devices in their room overnight. Find a central location such as the parents bedroom, kitchen or living room where the child will not be tempted to stay up all night using the device(s).

“Read twice, message once” – An embarrassing message can often become conversation at school, church or even around the dinner table. Helping your child avoid this situation is to teach the “read twice, message once” rule. Teach them the habit of making sure that the message is spelled properly, sent to the correct person and most importantly… needs to be said. Oft times a child can get caught up in the moment and before they know it, they have send a hurtful or disrespectable message. Messages like this in the social media and texting realm cannot be deleted, so help them understand the importance of this rule.

“The Grandma rule” – Have children think about this when sending out a text, tweet, post or message: “Would I say this to Grandma?”

When should I get my child a electronic device?

This is different for each family. It naturally will depend on the maturity of both the parent and the child. Note: If the parent is not going to properly monitor the use of the different electronic devices you are setting the child up for a fall. It is the parents responsibility to make sure the child knows the proper use of different devices.

Abuse

Because electronic devices can be used for good or bad it is important to take seriously instances where the guidelines of responsible device use are not observed. Remember electronic devices are a privilege, not a need or requirement. It is for this reason I recommend the complete removal of all devices from a child that abuses the guidelines set forth by the parent. After a preset period has passed then the child should be re-taught the Biblical principles outlines in the paragraphs above.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

2 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Are we changing like the day? Or like the seasons?

  • We know that the Bible says that when someone gets saved they are a NEW creature 2 Corinthians 5:17 and because of that …change should be expected.
  • But how quickly?
  • You see while we give grace to people giving them time to change.. The Bible shows examples of sudden changes when Jesus touches their lives.
  • So again, while we know that we are to change… are we changing as quick as the change of the day? Or as slow as the seasons turning?
  • Do we really want to change? Do we want to be Holy?

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Are we practicing what we preach?

1 Corinthians 9:13  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter?
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

How do I live of the Gospel?

1.Make sure you are doing those daily things to keep you fellowship with God strong…

  a. People can tell when you have spent time with Jesus

  b. Read your Bible, Pray, Serving… let people see God through your actions… Do people know when your car is not in the driveway on Sunday and Wednesday… that you’re at Church

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

2.What you do reflects the change…

  a. If you are still desiring the things of the world, is that Holy?  Is that the change God was talking about?

  b. Do the people you knew before you were saved know you were saved?

3.  Are you exposing your mind to Godly things?

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Conclusion:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;

If you can’t see the changes, chances are others can’t either.
Are we trying to be Holy? Walking with God daily?

Salvation

Maybe you’ve never been changed…

Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

So if we are to be wise tonight; let’s look at some interesting facts about ants:

  • Ants can lift to 20 times their body weight.
  • Comparison to their size ants run faster than a racehorse.
  • The ant is an accomplished farmer, planting mushrooms and plants. The ant also brings in fertilizer to help the plants grow.
  • Black ant super colonies have been known to reach up to 1,300 miles wide.
  • Ant are very intelligent. They have 250,000 brain cells compared to the 100,000 in humans.

Some things I have noted about ants are:

  • The ant works out of necessity… seeing the task as their very survival.
  • The ant is not jealous or vain.. It simply looks to get the task at had done.
  • The ant doesn’t give up easily.
  • The ant works well with a team or group.
  • The ant Shares his information

John 1:43  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

It’s been said that sharing the gospel was just one hungry man, telling another hungry man where he found food.

Think if you’ve ever left a cookie crumb on your table soon you noticed an ant come by… worked around the crumb for a bit… then left.
It didn’t take too long before he brought 10-12 of his friends to get a piece of the cookie crumb.
You see it takes just one ant.. To go and tell others where the good stuff is!
We need to be a people who tell others about Jesus.. If you’ve been saved tonight you should tell others what happened… AND THEN BRING THEM BACK WITH YOU!
Then as for Church.. If you enjoy coming here.. Why not tell others?
Remember…it just takes one ant.

Revelation 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

1. It’s hard to be thankful for what you did not work for…

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Matthew 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

2. Failure and trials are seen as a bad thing…

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

3. We don’t desire to live peaceably with all men…

Romans 12:9-18 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

3. Prayer is not important anymore…

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (the promise) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4. We do not understand God’s will for our lives

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

You see when you look at thankfulness in the Bible it is rarely for a physical thing.. But rather thankfulness to God.

Having a country that is thankful depends on it’s people being thankful… to God.

The way we have told stories to our children for generations.

Society today though… has never left the story.

•They still think that everybody plays fair.
•You should always get your way.
•The Girl always gets the prince.
•And Evil… is just a mask that people wear.

Reality is that not everything has a Happily ever after.

•Life simply is NOT fair
•You must earn your own way
•The prince turns out to be a alcoholic wife beater strung out on meth.
•And Evil is not a mask that you can take on and off… But evil is a presence that seeks to destroy all that is good and that is God’s.

Let’s see a few examples.

Once upon a time… Adam and Eve were placed in Paradise.

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 (Monologue)

Genesis 3:23-24 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Where was the Happily ever after?

Let’s look at another

Once Upon a time… God Chose a man named Noah to help save the world…

Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
[8] But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

(Monologue)  2 Peter 2:5b…but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness…

Genesis 9:20-21 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

Where was Noah’s Happily Ever After?

Once upon a time… there was a Servant of God named Jonah

Jonah 1:1-2 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

(Monologue)

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah.4:1-11 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Where was Jonah’s happily ever after?

(IF TIME)

Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

(Monologue)

Luke 15:28-32 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Where was the Older Son’s Happily Ever After?

So HOW do I have a Happily Ever after?

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Christ Makes the difference.

But not that you can have what YOU want… but that you may be content with what you have.

The Happily ever after is when you stop being selfish and start being generous… Stop demanding what is fair to you… and simply being content or happy with what you have.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

The ending of this message is yours…

Because you get to write the ending.

Will YOUR story be one of hatred, betrayal and selfishness?

OR one of happiness, sharing and contentment?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Reading the word

1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Reading is not studying.. Keep a pad next to you when you read.

Studying the word

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Methods of Bible Study

Meditation – It’s not emptying your mind… it’s filling it.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Topical – Looking up a topic – Use Caution!

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Character Study

Hebrews 11 – By faith Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rehab

Word Study

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Expository

When you see therefore and wherefore .. Find out what they are there for.

2 Peter 3:16-18 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Why?

Learning from this Bible will help you be a better parent, a better husband/wife, better son/daughter, better student, better citizen.  But that is not what the Bible was primarily written for…

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Psalm 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

The history of the hymn How Great Thou Art begins with Mr. Carl Gustaf Boberg (1859-1940). He was a Swedish Pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament. Mr. Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere. A severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to How Great Thou Art begin to form in his heart — O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made. . .

Psalm 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 48:1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

One thing that is fading quickly in American Christianity is where people that realize How Great God is.. An entitlement mentality has created this mindset that God is a servant to us, rather than the opposite being true. Kids today can’t see the magnificence of God through the eyes of a TV or a cell phone… You have to see God in the larger scale… To travel across across the plains and climb up into the mountains; then gaze across the valleys down into the streams.. Take time to stand beside a waterfall as the sound pounds away the noises of the world.

I recall going though Bavaria. Climbing up the mountainsides, walking next to the massive rapids of the Gorge all trickle down to a peaceful stream rich in minerals.  Simply being in awe of all of what God had prepared. Then a short ride over in Germany to sit on a hillside next to an old castle, having a picnic overlooking the fields.

God is worthy of our praise tonight:

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Perhaps where God is so great is that He made a way…

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He was not willing that any should perish… so He made a way…

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

That way was His Son Jesus Christ…

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Some tonight can’t say “How Great thou Art” because they’ve never made the choice to get saved.

You see while God is mighty and worthy of praise when we behold all that He has created… God does is best work in the hearts of those that love Him.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1. The Testimony of the Church is the testimony of the people.

Vs 3

2. The comparison

Vs. 5 … as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

3. Christians have troubles…

Vs 6 … having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

4. Setting the standard

Vs 7 … So that ye were ensamples

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

5. Jesus is coming again

Vs … 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.