Fear and the Taboo

Growing up there were several subjects that were taboo (not acceptable to talk about) in my home and at church.  All I concluded as a kid was that these taboo subjects were “bad.”  No one talked about them, so I was left to my own thought process and what I was taught by the world system.

Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs, “You shall teach them [God’s Word] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Cf. Deut.11:19).

Ephesians 6:4 teaches us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Genesis 18:19 tells us, “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.”

Psalm 78:4 reads, “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.”

With just this brief survey of the Scriptures, why do we allow any topic/issue to paralyze us in fear and anxiety? Why don’t we instruct ourselves with what the Bible says about money, finances, wealth, poverty, charity, debt, responsibility, thanksgiving, and provision? Why do we allow “others” to give their anti-biblical, anti-Christ honoring, anti-God fearing viewpoints to us and our children?

At this time, we as Christians need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will hear from heaven, will forgive our sin, and will heal our land.

Perhaps you are reading this and you are struggling with finances. Perhaps you feel a lack or you’re in the position to be generous to others in need.  May I encourage you to search the Scriptures for several days?  May I encourage you to talk to a few mature Christians who do not stand to profit from any decision you make?  Then I want to encourage you to proceed in faith based upon the correct understanding of God’s Word.  Finally, be ready to teach and explain to your children and others about what you have learned and how you are seeking to honor God.

To Err Is Human

I learned this phrase as a young lad. The older I get I have come to learn how deep it goes. I was raised by a single parent (like 25% of US households today). I remember answering a judge’s questions with many tears at my parents’ separation/divorce proceedings around the age of five. I remember failed relationships in high school and college.

How can our families thrive with so much failure, which shows itself with so many mistakes? Do we just chalk it up and say, “everyone makes mistakes?” Do we say, “everything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?”

I remember sharing Jesus with a co-worker, and one of their responses frighten my inner most being. They made the comment, “I would forgive Jesus.” As I went to further explain to them, how can God be God, if He needs forgiveness? Jesus doesn’t need forgiveness, because Jesus is God, and God cannot fail and therefore cannot err. This simple statement of truth is how my family will thrive in a world surrounded by so much failure and mistakes.

The prize is relationship with the all perfect, all powerful, all amazing, all knowing, everywhere present, all loving, all righteous, all just, Triune God! I was made by God and for God, therefore I have no purpose without receiving it from God. God has given it to us in His Word. His Word, the Bible, is infallible (cannot fail) and inerrant (because it cannot fail, it does not err). The authority of the Bible rests on the authority of Christ; the sinlessness of Jesus.

Below are just 7 scriptures relating to family. Consider, and talk with mature believers about application in your life!

  1. Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” For this reason man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
    Gen. 2:18
  2. House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
    Prov.19:14
  3.  An excellent wife, who can find?…The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
    Prov.31:10-11
  4. Fathers, do no provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    Eph.6:4
  5.  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on earth.
    Eph.6:1-2
  6.  Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
    Ps.127:3-5b
  7.  A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.
    Prov.13:22a

 

Fear in Finances

Have you ever been afraid to obey God? One mark of being a Christian is that we fear God (in that we deeply respect, awe, and know that God is not to be taken lightly or played with). But I am wondering if you have ever been afraid to follow God’s commands to obey Him.

I remember a line from a movie as a youngster: “Humans fear what they do not understand.” So as a young kid, I made up in my mind to always understand everything—therefore I would never be afraid again. Although it helped me somewhat, I am sorry to report that “understanding” alone was not sufficient. I am still afraid of rodents, snakes, spiders, the ocean, roller-coasters, and various other things.

I have heard it said that the only unlearned fear we have as humans is the fear of falling. That is the sense of falling out of the sky and no one to catch you. Every other fear we exhibit as humans is learned behavior, according to some scientist. I can see some validity in this statement. I have witnessed parents laughing with a toddler to teach a toddler not to be afraid of a person or movie. I have witnessed children running away as they follow their parents running away from a “dog.”

Fear, terror, scariness, and being afraid are powerful emotions we face as humans. If we are honest, these emotions dominate our lives more than we are willing to admit. So are you willing to briefly think with me about how fear can dominate the way we handle money?

Because of fear relating to our finances:

  1. We either horde and fill our barns (Luke 12:13-20) or we spend like there’s no tomorrow (Is.56:11-12).
  2. We value riches over wisdom. (1 Kin.3:11-14).
  3. We make plans to gain dishonestly rather than prayer and wisdom-filled planning (Prov.13:11).
  4. We acquiring fiat currency as if it should be the number one priority instead of first seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt.6:33).
  5. We completely miss true life (1 Tim.6:17-19).
  6. We ignore that God is ruler of rich and poor (Prov.22:2).
  7. We separate giving money to the Lord and living righteously before the Lord (Matt.23:23).

I am sure we could list more, which would be a beneficial exercise. And as we list the ways fear leads us to sin concerning our finances, may we began to bring every thought obedient to Christ, so that the fear of the Lord— and not worldly fear—will regulate how we handle finances.

There is a practical wisdom in dieting that says “all types of food, in moderation, are okay.” Perhaps there is a practical wisdom of planning we can apply to our finances; giving to the Lord, savings for retirement and emergencies, paying taxes, and living—being content and having fun with the remainder. Planning out our finances can be frustrating, but I’ll end with words of a radio talk show host: “There’s ultimately only one way to Financial Peace, and that’s to walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus!”

 

Freedom in the Family

Many have said family is the place we feel most comfortable—the place where we are free to be ourselves, where we can kick off our shoes and relax. Family is where we will always be accepted. We are free to be who we want to be and everyone else must be okay with me being me, especially in my family.

How is it that the statistics we read about the family overwhelmingly show negative trends? How is it possible, since I’ve heard many people say we live in a world where we continue to “evolve” to become better? I attended a family reunion recently and I heard many of my elders say that nowadays are a lot worse compared to their childhoods. Where does the problem lie? If we are so free to be ourselves, if I am free to be me, then why is the family not progressing?

I submit to you that the problem is with me, the problem is with ourselves. In our great conquest for freedom and personal expression, we are blind to evaluating our personal desires. None of us wants to be told that our personal desires are improper, unbecoming, evil, or sinful. But if we are honest with ourselves, the human race is not getting better even with all our technological advances. There is something that is mastering us and it is seemingly inescapable. This master has its way with us and this master tells us we are “free” to choose any vice we desire. We so love the dark, because we know deep down on the inside that the vices we run to are bad, evil, immoral, corrupt, wicked, exceedingly sinful, and depraved. The Bible calls this master sin! This master is so deceitful, so enslaving, that we need God Himself to set us free.

Jesus said it this way in John 8—“…everyone who commits sins is the slave of sin…if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Those whom Jesus sets free, He says “…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (vv.31-36). To live in freedom cannot be done apart from the Son and apart from God’s Word telling us the truth; the way things really are!

Real freedom is doing the righteous, pure, and necessary things God’s way, not simply doing what pleases us.

Which freedom is best for our families—the freedom to choose any sin of your liking or, by God’s grace, the freedom to live sensibly and righteous in the present age? Which freedom will you choose to live by daily?