rebellion

Are You Remaining on The Path?

One of my favorite pastimes is listening to praise music as I walk with my dog through the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park trails that are near my home. It is awe-inspiring to behold the majesty of God’s creation as revealed in the wildlife, the dense woods, the open fields, and the picturesque streams that run through the park.  As a history buff, I relish knowing that I‘m walking on the very grounds where civil war soldiers once trod; seeing earthworks they dug; and likely viewing ground where some even shed their blood in battle. One day as I was walking I noticed a sign in the park that reads, “Remain on designated trails only. Opening new paths will lead to the destruction and historic features of the park.” The need for such a sign implied that there had been a problem with people leaving the trails and the likelihood that destruction had already occurred because people had chosen to leave the trails.

I imagine it’d be very tempting for Civil War enthusiasts to go off the trail to explore and perhaps do some digging in an attempt to find things like bullets, canon balls, and other Civil War relics that have been known to be found in the area. I assume it’d be tempting for others to leave the trail in an effort to get a closer look at the myriad of wildlife: turkeys, foxes and white-tailed deer abound; beavers, herons, and snakes can be spotted at the ponds and creeks in the park; and it’s a virtual bird-watcher’s paradise.

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It occurred to me that God in His Word has given us warnings to remain on the path of righteousness that He has set before us. He knows that we too can be easily tempted by our desires and by what we see to leave the path He has laid down for us to follow. He desires for us to remain on His path because He loves us and knows that straying from the path He has set before us will always lead to our destruction, as well as to the destruction of others.

He wants to give us life and to protect us from harm, especially eternal death: "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death." Proverbs 12:28

He longs for us to experience the greatest joy possible—His Presence! “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Those who are wise will listen to God’s Word of instruction and they will avoid the temptation to go off of His path: “Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.Do not enter the path of the wicked,and do not walk in the way of the evil.Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” Proverbs 4:13-15

God longs for us to have the heart that cries: “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” (Psalm 119:35) That is because God’s Word guides us, and if we follow it, ensures that we will keep walking on the right path so that we do not stumble or go astray to our destruction. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119: 105

Sadly, just like there are those at the National Park where I walk who do not heed the warnings to remain on those trails, there are those who rebel against God’s command to remain in His Word and in Him. “There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.” Job 24:13

When I’m walking at the park if I remain on the trail it is highly likely that those behind me will remain on the trail as well. However, if I choose to go off the trail others behind me may well think it’s acceptable to follow me off the path. Similarly, if we choose to walk according to God’s Word we will remain on the path to life, but our rebellion against God’s word will lead others astray too and to their destruction as well as our own. “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17-18

Jesus—the ‘Living Word’—is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is ‘the path’ on which we should remain. Following Him and remaining in Him will keep you from destruction and will assure you of abundant and eternal life.

Are you feeling as if you have lost your way? Do you need to get back on the ‘path of life’ that is only found in following and remaining in Jesus?

“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. 

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Parenting & Rebellious Attitudes! God Help Us!

So today I was on the phone with a great friend and we were discussing the recent “rebellious attitude” and I do mean “rebellious” that we are both experiencing with one of our children. Here’s an example of what I mean: Me: “Please go put your shoes away.”

Child: “Ok, I will when I’m done with this show, game, craft…(you get the idea)

Me: “No, you need to do it now, because I asked you now. All I should be hearing right now is a ‘yes mom’. So let me hear you say ‘yes mom’ and go and do what I asked”

Child: “I don’t like saying ‘yes mom,’ can’t I just say ‘ok’ or ‘yeah’” (child still playing)

Me: “I am sick and tired of arguing with you every time I ask you to do something. You know that this behavior does not honor God or me. Do you understand?” (child is not even looking at me in the face anymore and I’m on the verge of “losing it!”)

Child: “Hold on, I’m almost done with this (show, game, craft) and then I’ll do it.

Me: “I’m not going to ‘hold on,’ you are going to pick-up your shoes right now while I go fold the laundry.”

10 min. later my child is outside riding bikes and shoes have not been touched. I take a deep breath and think about what I’m going to say & do.

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I have thought about this and learned a couple things since I’ve been dealing with this blatant disobedience over the last several weeks.

It’s time to stop “talking” and start doing. When there is not immediate obedience then there is an immediate consequence which requires far fewer words and will teach my points for me vs. me trying to explain something to a child for 10 minutes. (I’m reminded about Adam & Eve in the garden. God issued immediate consequences for their disobedience. He didn’t wait until they disobeyed 3 times, or lecture them; reminding them of what He said and talking on & on)

I have also reminded myself that if I’m going to use scripture to correct (which I do often) then I also need to use scripture to encourage and train in righteousness. (which I don’t do as much).

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I’m thankful that God has given us so many examples in His Word because I sure need the encouragement and wisdom as my husband & I navigate parenting at every age!

As for my disobedient child, well she will be without a thing to play with or crafts to make or movies to watch if she continues in her disobedience. I’m praying it doesn’t have to get to that, but I’m willing if that’s what it requires for her.

God says in Deuteronomy 5:16

“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (emphasis added)

I take God at His Word, and I want it to go well for my children and desire that they would live long; therefore, I consequently need to train them in such a way that they honor their father and mother. God help me!

Written by: Jamie Shaver

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Rebellion or Submission? Choose Wisely

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. …10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “submission”?  A doormat? Robotic compliance? The vision of a beaten down wife? Do you bristle just hearing the word?

As a woman who grew up in the era of “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”, I used to agree with the cultural norm that “submission” is a sign of weakness, definitely not an attribute of a woman with a brain in her head.  I’ve come to view submission as something beautiful, freeing, and key to victorious living.

The essence of submission is humility and it’s the opposite of rebellion.  It involves being yielded and surrendering one’s will to rather than resisting and defying another’s authority. The biography of blind, deaf, and dumb Helen Keller illustrates well the difference between and consequences of a rebellious and submissive spirit. 

In one of the most memorable scenes in “The Miracle Worker”, the story of her life, Helen walks around the family dining room table wildly grabbing whatever she wants from the family members’ plates, totally focused upon satisfying her own desires and oblivious to the chaos her self-absorbed, willful behavior creates. In frustration at being unable to control her destructive behavior, the Kellers hire a teacher for Helen, Annie Sullivan.  

Annie understands Helen’s needs and knows what is necessary if Helen and those around her are to live free from turmoil and experience peace and joy. Rather than caving into Helen’s demands, Annie forces Helen to confront her biggest obstacle:  her strong-willed, rebellious spirit.

Once she chooses to yield her will to Annie’s superior will, Helen becomes free to live a life filled with overflowing abundance. Helen described her life prior to Annie’s presence as, “only a little mass of possibilities.  It was my teacher who unfolded and developed them.  When she came, everything about me breathed of love and joy and was full of meaning.” 

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 Similarly, meaningful, joyful life is only possible for us if we submit to the higher will of our Teacher, Jesus. Submission to God’s will opens the door for us to experience the abundant life He longs for us to have and only He can give.If we are not submitting to Him, we are living in rebellion to Him. We will reap what we sow.

RebellionversusSubmission

ChaosPeace

TakingGiving

Rollercoaster livingSteadily moving forward and upward

Fear and distrustFaith, trusting in God’s love

Meaningless existenceSignificant, purposeful living

Self-absorbedGod-centered

Self-gratifyingGod-glorifying

Distant from GodIntimacy with God

Temporal focusEternal focus

DeathEternal life

Helen Keller’s choice to submit her will made it possible for her to become one of the most accomplished people of all time.With her teacher Annie Sullivan continuously at her side, Helen left a legacy that inspires all who hear of her phenomenal achievements. Your Teacher promises to always be at your side and to give you abundant and eternal life. All He asks is that you submit to His perfect will.

What will your story be? Will you be just a ‘mass of possibilities’ or submit to God’s will and leave a legacy that impacts now and eternity?

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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