The Challenges of Parenthood, Our Biblical Mandate and Hope


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Lets face it, some families are dysfunctional; that means that they are essentially not functioning properly; that means that they accept as truth the opposite of what a family should be. Nevertheless, even good parents are not exempt from messing up; every “good” parent will do and say the wrong thing soon or later. It should not surprise anybody, we as humans are spirit, soul and flesh; that flesh in particular does not go away just because you are now a parent. You can read all the books you want and take all the classes you want, you will still do and say the wrong thing every now and then.

         In the complexity of parenthood, part of the problem is that, to start, many of us do not know our biblical role as parents. That reality becomes a foundational problem that will indeed mess-up everything else. I am glad that the Bible is not silent about this topic; the Bible has much to say about parenthood.

         Now, this doing and saying the wrong thing will cause pain and only two things will help us overcome such pain, 1) love, knowing in your heart that your parents loves you and knowing that you love them and, 2) when you yourself become a parent and you, just like your old folks, attempt to be a “good” parent; then you realize that it is not easy!

         Love should be at the center of families. Outside of crazy folks, people love their families; they want the best for their kids and they look out for them in their own way. But lets go a little further on this topic.

         Let me start the heart of this article by stating that what I am about to say may sound weird, but biblically speaking, marriage is overrated, but family is not. If you don’t believe me when I say that marriage is overrated, take a moment and read First Corinthians 7 where the apostle Paul give us the reality of marriage over and over. Now, he is not advocating fornication and extramarital sexual activities and so on. Again, he is just presenting a real perspective of what marriage really is and what we will be facing.

         In First Corinthians 7:28 the Apostle Paul goes as far as saying: “But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.” (NKJV) Nothing will make your flesh rise more than marriage! If you have been marry for more than a week, you know exactly what I am talking about.

         In the Old Testament marriage had a few purposes, 1) for the multiplication of God’s people. God told both, Adam and later Noah, to multiply. 2) Marriage was important to preserve the children of Israel from the moral contamination of the world. That is why they were not supposed to marry outside of their own people. It was not a racist thing; it was with the purpose of keeping them holy and 3) It was very important to protect the genealogy of Jesus. Is it amazing that the genealogy of Christ is recorded all the way from Adam?

         The worldly romantic ideas of marriage are not found in the Bible. As a matter of fact, parents were the ones determining whom their children were to marry. However, when it comes down to family, from the Old to the New Testament, family plays a vital role for our formation as Godly people.

         Let me make a biblical point concerning the New Testament. Not caring for our families is consider worst than being a lost person according to First Timothy 5:8, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NKJV) This verse alone should get our attention, but my focus is going to be on a portion of Scripture in the Old Testament. Abraham was chosen to be the father of the nation of Israel and the father of our faith because his commitment to family. Genesis 18:17-19 tells us,

And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (KJV)

         God knew that Abraham was committed to teach the way of the Lord to his family. Can He say the same about you? Can He say the same about me? The way of the Lord is about teaching our kids justice and judgment according to God, not according to our opinion, our culture, the way we grew up, etc. Now lets look at three words on verse 19 in order to get a better understanding of what our responsibilities as fathers are:

  • Command: From the Hebrew word, ṣāwāh: “A verb meaning to order, to direct, to appoint, to command, to charge, to be ordered, to be commanded.”[1] This is so different from many liberal parents today who seem to let the children be in charge.
  • Justice: Is the Hebrew word eḏāqāh that speaks ofrighteousness (What God accept as right), speaks of blameless conduct, and integrity; right actions, and right attitudes, as expected from both God and people when they judge.”[2] This is a very practical definition because it deals with teaching our kids to act like they have some Godly sense.
  • Judgment: From the Hebrew word mišpāṭ meaning, “A judgment, a legal decision, a legal case, a claim, proper, rectitude. The word connotes several variations in meanings depending on the context. It is used to describe a legal decision or judgment rendered: it describes a legal decision given by God to be followed by the people.”[3] This could sound complicated, but it is not. This is about parents teaching their children proper decision-making based on God’s Word and not base on their own.

         So, in the mix of our humanity, in the mix of dealing with our flesh through our marriages and in the mix of our mistakes and shortcomings, as fathers these are our vital responsibilities: “to command our children to act like they have Godly sense and to obey HIM.” Wow! This is a personal revelation even as I write these words!

         For those who still don’t get it or don’t know how to start, God did not leave us without a system to follow. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 tells us exactly what to do and the promise attached to doing this,

18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. (NKJV)

         We should have family devotionals; we should gather as brothers and sisters with other believers, but as parents, in our daily lives and daily routine we should be parenting. These parents that are always running, running and running and act like their kids soccer team, basketball practice, track competition or whatever else may be, is more important than God’s Word, are going to reap what they are sowing right now.

         Families that never have time for meaningful conversations are lost in their own busyness; the devil have you in his hands by keeping you so busy that you don’t have time to teach anything of value to your kids. You don’t have time to command them and teach them to act like they have Godly sense and to obey God.

         When you sit in your house, your children and you are on your phones; not even in the same room. We are all rushing in the morning, so no time to teach anything there. No time to take a walk and speak about the issues of the heart because you get off late from work and the children are involved in a million extracurricular activities. No time to teach when we lie down, because then we are so exhausted that all we want is to be entertained, watch TV, be on the phone, Facebook, etc. until we just fall asleep. The next day we will do it all over again until one day we realize that we never prioritized what was really important, “to command our children to act like they have Godly sense and to obey God.”

         Whatever else we did, follow our career, even ministry, focus on whatever else, while failing to do what God tells us to do as fathers, will come back to hurt us and our children.

         Now, understand that I am with you on this struggle. I have been working so hard to build a nice barbecue/garden area for us, as a family, to enjoy good food as we gather around the grill and engage in these conversations, but I have to tell you that I have totally fail in that aspect. Kids come grab their burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings or whatever else I have on the grill and inside the house they go, back to their phones and back to their worlds. I have had to force the issue and define the word “cookout”. It is frustrating to me as much as it may be for you, but I still press on, even as, at times, I feel like giving up. It does not happen to me too often, just 7 days out of the week and 365 days out of the year!

         But I finish with these words and in them I find hope, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) My job as a dad is to train my kids; train them in what? In the justice and judgment of God! If you have been a coach on any sport you know that they don’t get it right away, it takes time, but what a great feeling when you see things coming together on that athlete. I find hope in knowing that if I don’t quit, one day I will see things coming together in my own children and if you don’t quit, you will be able to see it coming together in yours to.

 

 

[1] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 942.

[2] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 939.

[3] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 687.

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 5


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Glorification

         This is the ultimate goal! This is where perfection takes place; this is our ultimate destination! This is heaven and life in the New Jerusalem; this is our glorious future. Romans 8:16-18 tells us,

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (NKJV) “…the glory that SHALL BE revealed in us.” That, my friend, is our ultimate deliverance!

         In conclusion, we see salvation as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8. Even as it was a gift for us; Jesus paid a big price for it as explained by prophet Isaiah.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

We have turned, every one, to his own way;

And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6 (NKJV)

         Jesus Christ was wounded for our transgressions and bruise for our iniquities; He died for all of our iniquities! He paid the price in full.

         Sanctification is also a gift, for we are sanctified in Christ. However, sanctification is also a process, as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. Lastly, glorification is our future, our true home and the promise of the eternal experience. I close then, with these very appropriate words,

But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

Thank you all for taking the time to read about this very important topic. If you have any questions or any comments please do not hesitate to write us. If you prefer a private discussion please write me at angelcasiano@aol.com. God bless you all!

 

 

 

 

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 4


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Sanctification

         I am aware that there is a lot of controversy and division in the Body of Christ concerning our understanding on sanctification. I go as far as saying that, it is here where we become victims of bad doctrine. It is here where we see casualties. It is imperative that we get a good understanding of what sanctification is. Jesus provision is not an excuse for us to live any kind of way; that is not a legalistic statement, but a biblical one. In Galatians 5:13 Paul speaks about the liberty that we have in Jesus, but he also stated,  “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (NKJV)

         We must understand that God has set us a part and that underneath the blood of Christ his Spirit is forming sanctification in our own hearts; one of the ultimate promises of the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:33). To better explain this concept of sanctification, we must look at three aspects: Sanctification must be seen in three fold: 1) Instantaneous sanctification, 2) progressive sanctification and 3) ultimate sanctification.[1]

         I believe that brother Harold S. Martin did a remarkable job in explaining sanctification, so I will use his direct words:

  1. Instantaneous sanctification-is the standing before God, which is assigned to individuals at the time when they accept Jesus Christ by faith. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:13b that “God hath … chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit.” And from 1 Corinthians 6:11 we learn that “Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The Christians at Corinth had lived very ungodly and pagan lives, but now they were new creatures in Christ Jesus.
  2. Progressive sanctification-is the life process of growing in holiness; it is pressing on in the upward way, and more and more being delivered from the power of sin. Thus sanctification speaks of following in the path of righteousness, choosing the more excellent way, and seeking the mind of Christ. We are told in 2 Peter 3:18a to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” That takes place when we are devoted to reading the holy Word of God, using the tools of Bible study, and exercising the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, and participation in the ordinances of God’s house. There is also an admonition in 2 Corinthians 7:1b which says, “Therefore … let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The Apostle Paul spoke of pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God (Philippians 3:13-14). The New Testament does not suggest any short-cuts to sanctification. It simply encourages us to give ourselves to the old-fashioned and time-honored means of Bible reading, and meditation, and prayer, and worship, and self-discipline.
  3. Ultimate sanctification-is the final state, which will be attained only when we are fully and completely set apart to God in heaven. The wish of the writer in I Thessalonians 5:23 is expressed as follows: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in 1 John 3:2b, we read, “It doeth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Instantaneous sanctification has to do with our standing.

Progressive sanctification has to do with our spiritual growth.

Ultimate sanctification has to do with our eternal state.

 

 

To be continued…

[1] http://www.thechristianscompass.org/3_tenses.htm

 

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 3


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God indeed delivered us; but what is it that he delivered from? To begin to answer this question we must look at what God’s salvation provides in three-fold: 1) justification, 2) sanctification and 3) glorification.

Justification

         With justification we received a powerful gift and that is the gift that removes the guilt of our sinful condition. So we can say that in this world you have two kinds of people, the guilty and the not guilty. Born again believers are not free from sin; we all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The Bible tells us that there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). But now, through Christ, through his sacrifice and through the shedding of His blood, we are now free from the guilt of sin. (Romans 5:9)

         Feeling guilty and condemn is not of God. Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (NKJV)

         Remember that as born again believers we are the only people able to walk in the Spirit, because we were born again in the spirit. Our spirits are alive now and able to have communion with God. We now have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16). We now have the best fighting tools against sin. However, we can’t forget that we still have a soul that is a work in progress. In speaking about our souls we are speaking about our minds, our will and our emotions. God is changing our way of thinking, he is forming his will in us and giving us emotional stability by providing us unspeakable joy (I Peter 1:8) and the only peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Also, I must add, we can’t forget that we are flesh and that the flesh has no promise of restoration; we will actually receive new bodies! (Philippians 3:21) Praise God again!

         Romans 5:1 tell us, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (NKJV). That peace with God is granted only THROUGH CHRIST. So now, through Christ we are declared innocent for our past, present and future sins, even as in reality, we are guilty of all of them. Christ, as our attorney, presents his blood before his Father and we are, as if we have never sin before. That is because we are under his blood.

         If we stop this message here, then there is no need for us to worry about sinning. As a matter fact, since Christ did all these things for us, why not enjoy sinning? But see, the message does not stop there. That is why we need to understand that we must preach and teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and not just what we judge as convenient.

To be continued…

Deliverance: Is It Real? Part 2


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The Apostle Paul, in perhaps the greatest expression of transparency seen in Scripture, states,

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:14-25 (NKJV)

         Nothing that I have found in Scripture better describe the war that is taking place in the inside of us. It is almost a bipolar condition for every believer. Our innermost (Our spirit) desires to serve the law of God. Our minds, the center of our soul, also desires to follow God, but stands in need of restoration (Psalm 23:6).

         We are called to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), but what gets on the way of that growth? The answer is an unrestored soul and, in a deeper way, our flesh, which desires to serve the law of sin. Was Paul not delivered? Was Paul in need of deliverance? How can a man who was called an apostle, a man who was given divine authority to write more than half of the New Testament be struggling in such way? That is because, even the great Apostle Paul had a flesh, just like you and just like me.

         The mistake of some in the Body of Christ is that they use this reality as an excuse to surrender to a lifestyle of sin. They preach and teach a Gospel with no responsibility and no accountability, a gospel that takes away consequences. What we need to understand is our condition and also God’s provision.

To be continued…

 

Deliverance: Is It Real?


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Deliverance! Do I believe in deliverance? Yes I do, but not in the sense that some are teaching it. The idea that you just go forward, somebody lay hands on you and after you repeat some prayers you come out of there TOTALLY delivered from that thing that cause you to sin and, even worst, the idea that your tendency to do that thing that cause you to sin, is now gone, is indeed a lie from the pit of hell; it is bad doctrine. Why do I say this? Because until the day we die we will struggle with the flesh and the flesh will never, ever cooperate with God. Galatians 5:16-18 tells us,

 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (NKJV)

         The flesh desires and will always desire what is contrary to the Spirit; that will never change! Now, we must choose what kind of lifestyle we will follow. Are we going to follow a lifestyle according to the Spirit or according to the flesh? The clear mandate from God is for us to walk in the Spirit. As born again believers, we are born again in our spirit, so the capacity to connect with God and allow the Holy Ghost to do his work in us, is now possible through that born again experience. Nevertheless, we still have a soul that needs restoration and a flesh that grants no cooperation.

         Jesus established that the spirit, the inner most part of us, is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). That is a principle that we often forget. Even as our spirit could also rebel against God, it is the part of us, the born again believer, that actually desires God and his righteousness. It is the part of us that has the ability to worship God, as we worship Him in spirit and in true (John 4:24).

         Beloved, there is a war going on in the inside of every believer, a war between good and evil and, we better learn the nature of that war or we will continue to see casualties; people getting frustrated, doubting their salvation and quitting on God. You can go forward and declare an idea of deliverance that does not exist; you can act as if you are walking in that level of deliverance and you can lie to others, but you can’t lie to God and, you can’t lie to yourself. You know what you are doing in your secret places. It is a matter of time before that secret becomes public or you get tired of pretending. Your hypocrisy will catch up with you!

To be continued…

 

La Depresión Por El Pastor Andrés Briceño Ruiz


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La depresión es la combinación de la tristeza y la melancolía. Estos dos sentimientos a la larga producen el mencionado mal de la depresión. Cuando insistimos en declarar una visión triste del mundo, cuando somos víctimas de relaciones rotas y el perder algún ser querido o algo de valor, da lugar y abre puertas a este mal de la depresión.

         La persona que sufre de depresión manifiesta un carácter irritable, disminución del interés y placer de las actividades, falta de sueño, falta de energía y mucho sentimiento de culpa. A la larga, lamentablemente, también puede manifestar pensamientos de suicidio.

         Clínicamente, la ciencia busca resolver estos problemas mitigando esos sentimientos con fármacos, pero su origen es espiritual.
Veamos sus nombres: Depresión, nombre científico. Quebranto: nombre espiritual. (2 de Samuel 22:19, Salmo 18:18, Nehemías 2:2 y Job 21:17) 
Desventura: (Romanos 3:16 y Apocalipsis 3:17)
Abatimiento: Salmo 136:23, Proverbios 18:12 Lamentaciones 3:19 y Miqueas 6:14.)

         Esta enfermedad tiene su origen en la desobediencia. El desobedecer produce ruptura, quebrar algo, desunión, en el huerto del Edén Dios dio instrucciones de no comer del Árbol de la ciencia del bien y el mal. La desobediencia a este mandato trajo ruptura y quebrantamiento por eso en Hebreos 4:11 dice procuremos entrar en su reposo, para que ninguno caiga en semejante ejemplo de desobediencia. Reposo sinónimo de descanso, tranquilidad felicidad.

         El recurso que se usa para no tener esta enfermad es la OBEDIENCIA. Cuidar el huerto es cuidar nuestra relación a diario con Dios y si no lo hemos aceptado
pedirle que entre a nuestro corazón. Descuidar es relación es ruptura, es rompimiento. La obediencia Dios y a su Palabra, nos permite estar dentro del huerto. La labranza es nuestra relación con Él a solas; cuando esto no se da la depresión entra.

         Recuerda ser obediente, las personas que practican la desobediencia dan lugar al quebranto (Depresión). Un abrazo su amigo pastor: Andrés Briceño .