Are you stressed? overwhelmed? fearful? The incredible promises of peace in God’s word are for YOU. Unfortunately, even though we know this, there is often a disconnect between what we know and what we do; a disconnect between what we want and what we’re actually experiencing. God has promised us peace; we want peace, we need peace — but we’re not getting it. Why? What can we do to get it? Listen to this sermon by my late father, Pastor Mike Ellis, to find out how to be blessed with peace.
We like control. We crave control. Our first reaction when life starts to spin is find a way to fix it. Control. Manage it. Control. And when we can’t fix it, and can’t manage it, we block it out and begin to focus on what we can control in the moment (or at least, what we think we’re controlling).
I have discovered that God doesn’t just “allow” pain – he uses it, on purpose, in each and every one of us. There are some lessons that cannot be learned through ease and comfort. And there are some things we’ll never change, some sin we’ll never forsake, until God uses pain to get our attention. Therefore, pain is not just inevitable; it is necessary.
Our response to pain reveals what we truly believe about God.
They all ran. For all the same reason. Sin.
They ran from the consequences of their sin.
They ran into the arms of sin.
And they left a trail of destruction behind them.
You are the first and most influential example of a Christian your children will encounter. What they see you do, they’ll do. What they see you skip, they’ll skip. What they hear you say, where they see you go, what they see you watch, your values, your morals, your ethics… they see it all. And if you can do it, why can’t they?
[Excerpt] Do you want your children to be innocent and pure? Do you want them to make good decisions? Do you want them to be trustworthy and responsible? Do you want them to know what they believe and why? Do you want them to confident and secure in their identity as your child and God’s child? Do you want them to love Jesus more than anything else?
If you want to reap beautiful, God-loving adults in the future, you must be willing to take the time and make the effort to invest in from the beginning.
[Excerpt] There’s a prevailing mindset of children existing for their parent’s personal pleasure and comfort. We see children as a blessing when they’re convenient and as a curse when they’re inconvenient. Thus we have seen the rise of abortion pre-birth and abuse post-birth. The root of it all is extreme selfishness – the mindset that children for me and my personal pleasure.
To gain a godly perspective on children, we must first understand that our children belong to God and that He has allowed us to have them in order for us to raise them to follow Christ. This is a great responsibility – it is serious, important work. And we must, in turn, take it seriously.
To raise a child is to be more than just present, it’s to be strategic. One day this child that you have been entrusted must make his or her own decision to follow Christ; and in the few years that you have with your child, your job is to prepare him or her to choose Christ over self and over the world.
[Excerpt] Divorce begins before a couple is even married. Before a man and woman even exchange vows and rings, most marriages are already in decline. By the time a couple reaches the alter, they’ve already begun to take each other for granted, they’ve already begun to think marriage is going to make them (and keep them) happy. They already believe that it will be easy and effortless, that it will finally complete them. But these are all lies.
Marriage is hard, and a good marriage is even harder.