Friend of the Family News Letter

Family Issues


This article will offer some final thoughts on giving. Some will refuse tithing, because there is never direct instruction in the New Testament Epistles for believers to tithe. As we pointed out last time, there are some specifics from I Corinthians that are helpful. Paul was gathering funds to help the Hebrew believers in Judea and Syria, who were suffering in a time of famine. Paul was challenging believers in the Gentile regions of Macedonia and Galatia to make commitments to help financially. Two factors are highlighted in I Corinthians 16:2. The first was that the believers were told to do their giving on the “first day of the week”. The first day of the week was and is the Christian day of worship. We call it Sunday, which is a heathen name (SUN DAY). Just as Monday is (MOON DAY). We have given in to that measure of heathendom – and a whole lot more. The Jews and first century Christians simply numbered the days of the week. Why did they give on the first day? The first day became the day of Christian worship, because it was the day Christ arose from the dead. A second factor included in I Corinthians 16:2 is the instruction to, “lay by him in store.” The term store is the Greek “Thesaurizo” which means treasury or storehouse. Remember Malachi told the people to bring all their tithes into the storehouse. The storehouse was the Temple and ALL their tithes were supposed to be brought there. The New Testament term for “Store” in I Corinthians 16:2 would be an appropriate translation of Malachi’s Old Testament term for “Storehouse”. The “Store” or “Storehouse” of I Corinthians was the local church. There is little doubt in my mind that tithing, which as we noted in an earlier article, began before the Law, would be the normal experience of the New Testament believer. In would seem strange that God’s people would forsake the tithe, when in all of recorded history that was the manner of God’s people giving to the Lord. In fact, it was the recognition that what man received in life, he received from God’s gracious hand. Some say that giving in this age of grace should exceed the tithe. Who would have a problem with that? Long before the Law, Jacob expressed his approach to giving. He said in Genesis 28:22b, “…of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth to thee.” That has been our approach – and the LORD is so good. To give more has brought added blessings. We cannot out give Him.


Trends &Troubles


I want to devote this article to encouraging parents to make a concentrated effort to help their children form strong convictions about marriage and family. It can be hard to face some of our own past issues, as we prepare our children for their future. However, if there are obvious things from our past that could affect their views, we need to discreetly address them. A few matters come to mind that should be considered. Perhaps one partner dated and married the other, while one was unsaved. By God’s grace it may have “turned out okay”, but it was wrong, and we do not want our children to justify such sin in their lives based on the fact that their parents are now living for Christ. In the same way, there are some moms who were already carrying a child by the time they got married. In other cases, dad or mom or both, may have been divorced. Seemingly today, it may be that parents lived together, before getting married. We are not going to discuss all the issues surrounding these various circumstances. The point is, we do not want any of our children to repeat these things in their lives. So, what do we do and what do we not do? Ephesians 5:12 is helpful. Paul wrote, “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” In Bible College, I had my favorite professor right after chapel. Sometimes speakers would try to impress us by telling us all the details of their wickedness before they were saved. My professor hammered home the message of Ephesians 5:12 many times. So what we do not want to do is tell our children or anyone else all the details of our sin and failures. At the same time, we need to let them know we did wrong. We do not want to justify our sin, because things did not turn out as bad as they might have. As Paul asked in Romans 6:1, “…shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Now, if we have not faced, confessed and forsaken our sin, we are asking for trouble. For instance, a person may feel their divorce was justified, but they must teach their children that God’s intent is for marriage to last for a lifetime. Perhaps they can turn their failed marriage into a lesson on why who we select as a mate is so critical to our future welfare. It has been suggested that women often settle for less than the best, hoping their man will change after the wedding, but he never does. Maybe, maybe not, but the message is clear. Dealing with these things does not happen with a single sit down discussion. Along life’s path however, we need to let our children know that we recognize we did not always do best, but we have faced it, experienced consequences because of it and do not want our children to repeat it. We must convince them – God’s way is best. Then remind them, we are praying for them every single day, that they might find and love God’s best for them. Help them build convictions!


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Prescription

For The Family


In our last article we noted that every temptation is a test of our love for God. John wrote clearly in I John 2:15, “Love not the world…if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. There is no middle ground. Temptation is always about a choice. Are we going to demonstrate a genuine devotion to our heavenly Father or are we going to demonstrate a love for the world and its ways? We pointed out that in every situation we will think about the matter before us. Challenge #1 is to figure out what would be the right decision/response to what we are facing. We start that process with an open Bible. What does the Bible say? It will guide us by a specific directive or by a timeless principle. Uncertainty can be cleared up by godly counsel if necessary. Once we have settled what is right, we face other factors. Actually following through on what is right can be very difficult. We asked as we closed the last article, can we win the battle? What is the struggle? Too often, emotions rule the day. Emotions are a wonderful gift from God, but we cannot be controlled by them. Love, hope, fear, anger, hate, worry, frustration, impatience and so much more, can create tremendous internal pressure on us. Another gift from God is our conscience. The term literally means “knowledge with us”. Our conscience functions to judge our thoughts, attitudes, and actions by the values we hold in our heart. Finally we arrive at the point of making our choice. Choosing is an act of our will. Our goal should be to identify what is right before the Lord, refuse to yield to improper emotional pressure, maintain a clear conscience, and make a godly choice. Of course this process does not even consider the external pressures created by the people around us and the risks associated with displeasing them. Joshua challenged Israel with the well-known exhortation of Joshua 24:15, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” A generation earlier, Moses asked, “Who is on the LORD’s side?” In each case there was no allowance for waiting to see what others would do. Each person had to make their own choice, and no doubt wondered if they would be standing alone for righteousness. Therein is the test. In the time of temptation, will I stand against my own inner weakness and desire, and if need be, will I surrender the commendation of others, to stand approved by Him. He is the only one who ultimately matters? Help me LORD! Indeed, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, but I must win over temptation.


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The testimony of the Apostle Paul, as recorded in the Bible, is a blessing to read and ponder. Most would consider him one of God’s most choice servants. He started many churches and no doubt saw thousands saved. He was a mentor to younger men and a teacher of multitudes. He was used to pen much of the sacred Scriptures – the very Word of God. From a human perspective, his amazing life of ministry and service began with a question he asked the risen Christ. “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? It is a question every man should ask. Are you willing to be that man?


From Under the Umbrella

By Patricia E. Griffith

We have just come through a vigorous political experience in the United States of America. We are so blessed to live in this Country. With all the happenings, we are reminded that God is in control of our every breath and experience. My father, who has been in his eternal home for seven years, used to remind me, when I would get stirred over the events of the day, that our God is still in control. The devil has the world in his grasp, but our God is in control. I am so thankful for God’s Word. We can read it and learn it, and survive the world we are just passing through. Heaven is our final home. We have been left here, once we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, to tell others of His love and to desire that all might be saved. God did not prepare the Lake of Fire for mankind. It is prepared for the devil and his angels to be punished for eternity. If a person rejects God’s provision of eternal life through accepting the free gift of salvation through our lord Jesus Christ, he will suffer then same punishment as the devil and his angels. Jesus Christ willingly died on the cruel cross of Calvary to pay the penalty of our sins. He died for all. We have a free will to accept his gift of salvation or to believe the lies of Satan, thinking we can earn our way to Heaven. It has been so encouraging to hear the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and god, being brought back to ears of Americans. May many come to Christ! Psalm 37 is one of my go-to chapters in the Bible, to give me courage to go on. Verse 4 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Love a new year; a new beginning to serve the living God.

 


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Biblical Family Ministries Inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit Christian ministry established in 1993 to present the Bible’s teaching on marriage, family, child training and other Biblical topics. Dr. E. Allen Griffith and his wife Patricia, work together in this ministry located in Myerstown, PA. They are assisted by Kimberly Schmelzer.


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