Tag Archives: hebrews

05. Does faith ever doubt? Finding your mustard seed

Faith requires doubt in order to be faith. Apply the faith you have, and God will give you more. God doesn’t expect mountain-size faith. A mustard seed will do!

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).

How can I believe what I cannot see?

“Sure” and “certain” in the above Scripture indicate lack of doubt. “Hope for” and “do not see” indicate doubt. How can these two opposites be compatible in the Biblical definition of “faith”? Can I believe and have unbelief at the same time? Can I be sure of something and hope for it at the same time. Can I be certain of something, having never seen it?

One of the most profound statements in God’s Word is, “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24). We tend to think of faith as being 100% sure. But being 100% sure is having it in our hands. Faith requires doubt in order to be faith.

I don’t have faith that I have a computer. I know I do. I’m typing this on it right now. If I do not doubt that I have a computer, I cannot call my knowledge of my computer faith.

However, I do have faith that if the Lord doesn’t come back tonight I will be able to turn on my computer tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that my computer will come on tomorrow. I’m 98% sure. But there is a margin of doubt, because I know things can happen to computers

Yet how many times have I told someone, “I’ll email that to you tomorrow”? I live as if my computer is going to come on tomorrow because I believe so strongly that it will.

I have good reason to believe my computer will come on tomorrow. It has come on every day for the past two years since I purchased it. The person I went through to purchase it said it should last me several years and that person is a trusted friend.

Applying this same example to God’s Word: I don’t have faith that I have a Bible. I know I do. I’m looking at it right now as I quote verses from it to you. However I do have faith that God will provide for me everything I need tomorrow. I don’t know with 100% knowledge that God will provide every need. I am 99.9% sure (A bit more sure of God’s provision than that my computer will come on!). But being human I cannot be totally 100% sure of something I have not yet seen. I have not seen tomorrow.

Yet how many times have I told someone, “God will take care of me tomorrow”? I live as if God is going to take care of me tomorrow because I believe so strongly that he will. I have good reason to believe he will take care of me. He has cared for me daily ever since I trusted him as Savior and Lord, and even before. He is the one who taught me I needed him before I ever knew him. His Word says he will never leave me nor forsake me and his Word has become a trusted friend.

Can opposites co-exist? They can if you have a mustard seed!

God does not expect his children to have 100% faith, or even 99.5% or 98% or 75%. He is not measuring how much faith we have.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:19-20).

Jesus said they had little faith, but only needed as much as a mustard seed. Yet a mustard seed is tiny. What did Jesus mean?

Could it be that the disciples were looking at the impossibility of driving out the demon. It is impossible. Could you drive out a demon? They looked at the impossible and Jesus wanted them to look at the possible.

If they had just a tiny glimmer of hope inside them that they could drive out the demon in the power and authority of Jesus’ name that he had given them, and applied that glimmer of hope; if they trusted with all the little faith they had and surrendered to God, God would act on the little faith they had and drive out the demon.

Faith is not, yet faith is

  • Faith is not something we call up by positive self-talk.
  • Faith is not wishing for something badly enough we convince ourselves it will happen.
  • Faith is not saying with our intellect God will do something for us just because it is something we want him to do.
  • Faith is learned from God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
  • Faith is knowing from God’s Word and from his working in our lives in the past that he has always been faithful to us and promises he always will be. It is placing our hopes in him that he will be true in the future to what we have experienced of him in the past, and what his Word promises will come to pass.
  • Faith is a process of growth. God does not expect us to be “there.” He only expects us to be on the way.

“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Application

Whatever amount of faith you have is enough. If you apply that faith, God will respond to it and he will give you more faith in the process. How do you apply faith? It is simple. You determine to keep your mind off of the problem and on the promises. You determine to keep your mind off of the past failures and off of the future worries, and on the present.

Is God sufficient for you just now? Are you fulfilling his will for you this minute? Does he have something to say to you in his Word this minute? Can you survive the present circumstances for just this moment? Can you trust God to be with you in the next moment as he is now? Great! That is faith.

Study questions

Read Mark 9:14-35 and Matthew 17:19-20 to answer these questions for extra study or discussion:

1) What were the teachers of the law were arguing about? (verse 14-16, 33).
2) Why do you think the father of the demon-possessed boy was so quick to answer?
3) Why did none of the teachers answer Jesus?
4) Why were the disciples unable to deliver the boy from the evil spirit?
5) What was Jesus’ attitude toward the disciples unbelief?
6) What do you think was Jesus’ attitude toward the father’s unbelief?
7) Was there a difference in Jesus’ attitude toward the unbelief in the disciples and the unbelief in the boy’s father?

Does God ever give a ‘word of knowledge’? That’s next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

04. A promise for every problem: God’s substance of faith

God’s promises are the substance of faith. Rather than trust God to meet needs our resources are insufficient to manage, we blame God for not providing more resources.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for….” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

“Just trust God?” How easy is that?

“Just trust God and it will be alright!” Has anyone ever given you this empty advice?

Empty? Yes, that statement is empty. It gives you no reason to trust God. There is nothing in that statement to base trust upon. For Christians who have learned faith by walking hand in hand with God through many trials, that gentle reminder may be appropriate. But for the Christian whose faith has not yet been developed, the encouragement to “just trust God” is unreasonable.

God never requires blind faith. God went out of his way in the Scriptures to prove himself. He provided miracle after miracle throughout the Old and New Testaments, and he recorded them as evidence of his trustworthiness. For those who are willing to take the time to learn to trust him, God will develop a foundation of faith that will outlast any storm. Trust is something we learn.

Competitors to faith: job security, financial stability, medical insurance…

We have the faith to believe that God can meet our needs. But do we have the faith to trust him to do it? There are many things that compete for our trust. Job security, financial stability, disaster preparedness, medical insurance, and retirement planning are some of the major competitors to our faith. Each of us could add other competitors as well, such as people we depend on, etc.

“Are you saying it is wrong to seek a secure job and stable finances, and to prepare for the future?” you ask. No, not at all. But it is wrong to trust in these things.

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21 NIV)

When things go awry, what do you think of first? Most of us do a quick assessment of our resources. For the Christian, God sees to it that our resources are never enough, for he wants to be our loving supplier. But we forget that. When we see our failing resources, we panic. Instead of trusting God to meet the needs our resources are insufficient to meet, we blame God for not providing us more resources!

We proceed to tell God how to supply our needs: “Lord, send me a job that will provide enough money to pay the rent.” God doesn’t need jobs and he doesn’t need money, though he often uses both to meet our needs. But he can work through any means at any time to be there for us. Don’t limit him!

God’s promises make our faith tangible

How do we get beyond the empty admonition to “just trust God” and apply it into a dynamic living part of our life? We can only “get there” by taking the time to allow God to develop this faith in us.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

The promises have always been my favorite part of the Word of God. I’ve learned that for every problem we encounter, there is a promise. If we will take the time to find the promise God wants to give us in his Word for the current problem we encounter, we will discover a faith for this current need that we can never attain by an empty “just trust God.”

“For the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). God’s Word is what makes our faith tangible.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). “Substance” is something I can reach out and touch. I can grab it and hold it in my hands and keep it for my own. The only part of the Word of God that we can touch and make our own are the promises.

Think of it. Every Bible story would be meaningless to us personally without the promises. They would ring with the empty, “Just trust God.” Even the most meaningful Bible story of all, the story of how Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and offer forgiveness, would be worthless if God didn’t promise me that when I depend upon what Jesus has done for me I can have eternal life too! Our very salvation is based upon a promise:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

Ask God to give you a promise for your present need. Don’t turn lose of it. God wants you to hold him to his Word. He delights when you come to him and say, “Lord, I will not accept anything less than what you have promised me here!”

Take time to find the promise God has for you in his Word today!

How to find your promise in the Bible

  1. Browse through our Bible Promises topic category.
  2. Look in the concordance of your Bible for a keyword of a need you have: marriage, fear, disease, children, mother, etc. Check out all the references. Not every word will be listed, and you may need to find alternative words.
  3. Look for a promise online. Bible Gateway’s searchable online Bible is my favorite. It is available in over 50 versions and 35 languages. Just type in your keyword, or use the Topical Index.
  4. Purchase an inexpensive Bible promise book and check the topical index to find promises for your needs. My favorite Bible promise book is God’s Promises for Your Every Need
  5. Ask God to lead you to the promise he has for you as you begin to read his Word. There are promises on every page, and he has often led me to a promise for my current need as I have picked up his Word searching for answers to my need.
  6. Find a Scripture reference you can remember that is related in some way to your need and check out the cross-references to other similar Scriptures.
  7. Large Print Thompson Chain Reference Bible-NIV is my favorite study Bible. It is available in several versions, including KJV and NIV, and smaller pint as well. I recently ordered the large print version linked here to accommodate my failing vision. (Some reviewers report poor quality in some Thompson’s versions available now. The one I’ve linked above appears to be of excellent quality. To see more regarding this, click here.)
  8. Sometimes God will give us a Scripture promise through a sermon, a poster, or just sharing among friends.
  9. Topical List of Bible Promises from InTouch Ministries is a wonderful link that provides Bible promises on many topics:

Look now for a promise in God’s Word for your present need!

Ever wonder about doubt? We’ll discuss that next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

15. Remembering the past: Lessons from Joshua

Joshua believed God’s promise, remembered God’s faithfulness, obeyed God’s orders, experienced God’s victory, and led the Israelite army under banner of God’s deliverance.

“The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid” (Numberrs 14:9).

Joshua Believed God’s Promise

How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? The story of Joshua in the Old Testament shows us a wonderful answer to that question.

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.

At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land…. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

–Numbers 13:17,25,27-33; 14:6-10

The Israelites were at Kadesh-Barnea, just 50 miles from the promised land. Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land. The land was magnificent, but the taking of it was impossible from a human viewpoint. Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith to believe that God could enable them to possess the land God had promised them. Had the Israelites believed God here, they could have been spared forty years of wandering in the wilderness!

Joshua’s Remembered God’s Faithfulness

Joshua was human just like you and I. What made Joshua different? Why did Joshua believe God could give them the land while almost everyone else trembled in fear? Joshua was different because Joshua remembered some things.

Joshua remembered God’s mighty deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Joshua remembered the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Joshua remembered how God departed the water so the Israelites could walk across on dry ground. Joshua remembered the Egyptian army drowning in the same water. Joshua remembered the manna that God provided each day.

Joshua remembered. While the rest of the people saw a situation that could not be overcome, Joshua remembered a God who could not be defeated. And Joshua’s mind must have gone back to the Israelites’ initial encounter with these huge warriors that lived in the land.

This initial encounter came not long after they crossed the river in flight from Pharaoh’s army. As slaves of the Egyptians, the Israelites had never been trained in warfare. God caused the Egyptians to give the Israelites food, clothes, cattle, gold, silver, weapons, and all they required before the Israelites fled from Pharaoh’s clutches, but the Israelites had never been taught to use the swords and shields they bore. As they wielded their armor, they were almost like children playing with toys.

Joshua Obeyed God’s Orders

Egypt had fought the Israelites’ battles before, because the Israelites were Egypt’s slaves. Now the Israelites must learn to fight for themselves. Surely God would give the Israelites a small battle at first, and gradually train them until they were capable of fighting a larger army. But this was not God’s plan. Here is the account of that initial encounter with the inhabitants of the land:

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

–Exodus 17:8-15

Joshua Experienced God’s Victory

The Amalekite warriors were huge. Their army was vast and ruthless. All the heathen nations would reinforce the Amalekites to oppose Israel. What hope did Israel’s faltering, unskilled army have against the Amalekite army and all the heathen world?

Moses appointed Joshua to lead the Israelite army, and Moses himself stood on a hill and held holy hands up to God. Moses held high his rod. God had used Moses rod to perform miracles in the past. Moses’ rod represented God’s deliverance, and that deliverance was the banner of the Israelite army.

As long as Moses held high the banner of God’s deliverance, the Israelites were victorious. When the banner began to slip, the enemy prevailed.

Application

What hope do we as mothers have against the army of Satan as he marches against our children, pulling them into the clutches of a heathen world today?

After the battle was over, Moses built an altar and called it “Jehovah Nissi” in Hebrew, which means “The Lord is my banner.” We have the same banner today that Moses did. We have the same Lord.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who delivered Joshua and the Israelites from the Amalekites. We hold our hands high to him, and wave his banner of promise and victory.

Thought to Remember

Sometimes our hands get heavy. We cannot maintain the vigil. But our campaign of prayer has provided intercessory prayer partners who support us on either side. Our banner waves on.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 1)

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

14. Activating God’s promises: Catalyst of faith

We activate God’s promises with the catalyst of faith. Do we dare to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. God is honor-bound to keep his word.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).

Seeking Faith to Believe

Jesus indicated that the key is to believe. Our problems with our children are not impossible, if we can just believe that they aren’t. We have power over our problems if we just believe that we do.

A father brought his ailing son to Jesus, and asked if he could help. Jesus told him: “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

When the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, “He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you'” (Luke 17:5-6).

But how can we make ourselves believe? The fact is, we can’t. We cannot believe. We cannot cause ourselves to have faith. But we can choose the focus of our attention. We can choose to focus our attention on problems or on promises!

Finding Faith in Focus

If we focus on our circumstances and those of our children, we will be helpless and hopeless before them. If we focus on God’s faithfulness, God will generate inside of us a faith that can pluck up trees and rearrange nature if necessary to accomplish God’s will.

God’s will. That is what we are talking about here. Remember the story of Hannah? Remember how we paraphrased Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 1:28? Hannah was saying, “I trust God to do the right thing in Samuel’s life. I trust God to take over Samuel’s training where I cannot go. I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my son.”

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work all things out the best way. God said it like this:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

To find this faith, we must be willing to say with Hannah, “I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my children.” Throughout the Bible, God did remarkable wonders in the lives of men and women who dared to accept in advance whatever outcome God brought forth, knowing whatever God did would be right.

Whatever God does in our children’s lives will be right. How can we really believe this? Where can we find the faith? Herein lies the key to increasing our faith:

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Finding Faith in History

God’s word is brimming with stories of his faithfulness down through the ages. It’s promises overflow into our lives as God illuminates them to us.

We come before the Lord. We have focused our attention on the accounts in his Word of his faithfulness to men and women who walked according to his ways. We reach into God’s word and grab a fistful of these accounts in our left hand.

Finding Faith in Promise

Now we reach deep into God’s Word, and clench tightly as many promises as we can hold in our right hand. We hold high before our God an open Bible. Every page is a promise and a testimony that our faithfulness to God will be multiplied beyond measure in his faithfulness back to us!

We refresh ourselves in God’s promises which are as old as all ages and as new as today! And above our heads is our Banner Promise, the promise which undergirds our hope in all the others:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who was faithful to Moses’ mother; to Samuel’s mother; to Timothy’s mother. He is the same God who was faithful to Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob; to David, Joseph, Isaiah, Rahab, Joshua, and Hannah; to Peter, James, John, Mary, and Paul. He is the same God who has kept his promises to Christians unnamed and unnumbered down through the ages.

Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not oneword has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

–1 Kings 8:56, Deuteronomy 7:9

Finding Faith in Boldness

He is the same God who has been faithful to you and to me in the past. He is the same God. He will always be faithful. As we stand before our God we hold our hands high. Our left hand holds before him the testimonies we have gathered of his faithfulness. Our right hand waves God’s promises toward heaven like a flag of victory. God is honor-bound to keep his Word to us!

Have we dared to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. We are nothing, unworthy, helpless and hopeless. God in mercy and love reached down through his Son our Savior and gave us hope and made us mighty in his Son. He gave us all power in his name. He has told us to come boldly before His throne. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)..

The Lord has said:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

–Hebrews 6:10-19

Application

Let us give God the preeminence in our lives. Then God will teach us his promises. He dares us to hold him to them. We accept the challenge — and we have won. Our faith has been turned on. The catalyst that sets off God’s promises has been activated. The fulfillment of God’s promises has been accomplished. We simply await their enactment in a world bound by time!

In the next few sessions, we will study these principles as they were applied in Joshua’s life. We will see how the Word of God enabled Joshua’s faith to “turn on” God’s promises. And we will see our mighty God respond!

Thought to Remember

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work things out in a way greater than we could have ever imagined.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What do you do when the world seems to crush down upon you?
  2. What do you do when you claim God’s promises yet he does not seem to be doing anything?
  3. How do you keep from getting depressed when your children continue to go farther astray?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

07. Discipline and affirmation: Confident of better things

As we balance discipline with affirmation, we give our children worthy expectations to live up to. Expect the best, provide loving discipline and support in the worst.

We are confident of better things in your case (Hebrews 6:9).

Paul, the Master ‘Parent’

This session is mostly Scripture, as an example of the Apostle Paul’s “parenting” method. Meditate on the verses below, taken from Paul’s’ Epistles. Observe as this master “parent” shows us how to deal with our children. Get your Bible and read the context or entire book of some of these epistles. Skim through some of Paul’s other epistles in addition to those quoted below. Most of the epistles are very short, and almost all of them employ the principles we’ve been discussing here.

From Paul’s Letter to the Church at Thessalonica

But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

–1 Thessalonians 2:7-12

From Paul’s Letter to the Church at Philippi

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus….

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
–Philippians 1:3-6,27; 4:1-2

From Paul’s First Letter to the Church at Corinth

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

–1 Corinthians 1:4-11; 5:1; 11:1-2,17-18

From Paul’s Second Letter to the Church at Corinth

So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent–not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.

Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.

–2 Corinthians 2:1-8; 3:2; 8:4; 13:10

From the Letter to the Hebrews

The author of Hebrrews is uncertain, but many Bible Scholars believe it was written by the Apostle Paul.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.

–Hebrews 6:9

Application

We must learn to balance discipline with affirmation. Even when our children rebel, we must never give them even a hint that we anticipate they might continue to live beneath God’s standards.

Thought to Remember

Our children want to live up to our expectations. Let us give them worthy expectations to live up to!

Question for Discussion

Can you give me a model parent, someone I can live with and follow over an extended period of time?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted