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Family Devotion 2.28.24

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8

Most people I know want to succeed in life. We work hard at succeeding and then we also sacrifice to give our children all the opportunities we can for them one day to succeed. This is such an overriding issue that we are constantly looking for help on how to succeed.

Joshua 1:8 provides the answer on how to succeed. That verse tells us that we are to take seriously the spiritual discipline of Bible study and application. Joshua instructs us to study God’s Word continually, meditate on it constantly, and obey completely what it tells us to do. Only then, Joshua says will we prosper and succeed in all we do.

What does this really look like in our daily lives? We must be committed to doing three things:

1. Hearing God’s Word: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
Most Christians should be able to discipline themselves to attend church regularly and to listen to messages via radio or media. Are you committed to being in church so that you can hear God’s word regularly from God’s man?

2. Reading God’s Word: “But He answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4 

Studies show that less than 15% of Christians read their Bible daily. Worse yet, a large majority of Christians only open their Bibles at church or very minimally during the week.

3. Studying and Obeying God’s Word: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:10

Ezra purposed in his heart to study God’s Word, to obey it, and to teach it. He made up his mind and he disciplined himself to make Bible study and application the priority of his life. Ezra did not waffle on the issue of being in the Word of God. He knew the value of doing it and committed his life to it. What about us? Is it not time that we set our hearts towards God’s Word and not allowing it to be anything other than our top priority?

From Joshua 1:8, we know that establishing this discipline will change our lives. We will see success in what we do. It will not be success as the world defines it but it will be success as God defines it. That is the only kind of success that guarantees to bring us peace, joy, contentment, love, and so much more. That kind of success will help us to lead our kids to a faith that will bless them in this life and guarantee their eternal destiny. Who does not want that kind of success?

What’s keeping you from setting your heart to study, obey, and teach God’s Word? I pray we will all see the value of prioritizing the spiritual discipline of Bible study and application in our lives!

Family Devotion 2.21.24

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro and throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

We are living in some very difficult days in which we have seen traditional family values and Christianity come under attack. In addition, we have seen the rise of many unthinkable and evil acts against our fellow man. At times, our world seems to be in shambles. What should be the role of Christians to reverse this trend?

First, I am convinced that we as believers and followers of Christ must individually recommit our hearts completely to Christ. We need to get back in His Word like never before. As well, we must begin to pray as never before. We need God’s direction on how to make a difference in this culture. From time in the Word and time on our knees, I believe that God will give us a vision to impact our world. 

Author Chip Ingram has a great definition of vision that speaks to this issue. Ingram states that: “Vision is a God-given burden to see what a person, a place, or a situation could become if the grace of God and the power of God were unleashed on them.”

Can you imagine if we would give our hearts completely to God and then allow Him to work through us to love people and continually share the good news of the Gospel with all around us? If we could get a God-given burden like this, 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that this is something that God is not only looking for but it is also a burden that He will support.

You see the truth is that when our hearts are completely His, then we will begin to chase after the pursuits of life that He would have us chase after. Our world desperately needs to see authentic Christianity and the love of Christ. My prayer is that this will be a year in which we as a staff at Metrolina will model this for our students and families as never before.

Also, that we would ask God for a God-given burden for our culture and that from that burden we will develop a plan that will allow God to unleash His grace and power. I love studying Nehemiah as a leader. He encountered a culture much like today and I especially love his challenge to his people in Nehemiah 2:17-18:

“But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.” They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.”

These verses reveal Nehemiah’s God-given burden to rebuild the city and culture. May God give us that same type of burden for our world. Let’s rebuild together so that we might bring glory to God and hope to our fellow man!

It begins with making our hearts “Completely His”.

Partnering Together 2.15.24

Raising kids has taken on a new set of challenges in the last decade. Other generations faced new challenges as well. In the 1950’s parents had to navigate teenage drivers and rock n’ roll. In the 1960’s a new set of ideas were faced by parents. These ideas changed how culture looked at drugs and sex. In the 1970’s these new ideas took root and parents had to navigate parenting as culture legitimized sin. You get the idea, every decade or generation has had it challenges, but in 2007 a new device emerged that would bring challenges to parents we are still trying to address. What happened in 2007? Most of you already know; the iPhone was developed and sold. These devices and their android cousins have brought challenges not faced with other generations. 

This summer while studying the issue of teens and the rise of transgenderism, I stumbled on a statistic that brought the challenge of mobile devices and the social media they facilitate to a shocking revelation. There has been a dramatic rise in teens who say they want to transition from one gender to another. It is not possible to change gender, but our culture has convinced kids they can. The statistic that shocked me was the direct correlation between Tik Tok and the rise of transgenderism in teens.  Before Tik Tok, gender dysphoria in teens was a rarity, but now it is becoming an epidemic. In a 2018 study of teen girls with gender dysphoria, 65% were immersed in social media. 

This example illustrates the point that cell phones and social media are dangerous to the development of our children. We could discuss not only gender issues, but anxiety and depression, bullying, attention issues, and several more areas that have become crises in our culture and it is impossible not to see the connection between electronic devices, social media, and these crises. 

What do we do? Proverbs 22:6 gives us a place to start. This verse is very familiar to most of us. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The original language of this verse is very revealing. In the original language this verse uses a term common to midwives about how to get a baby to nurse. The idea is to create a desire for what is best. Create a desire for the way you should go.  I think we all want our children to be healthy, well-adjusted people who follow Christ.  

Here are three ways I think we can move in the right direction:

1.     Be an example: Love God, study His word, put down the phone, and choose wisely when allowing your children unsupervised access to electronic devices.

2.     Be different: Limit the use of electronic devices at home (not just the kids, but the parents as well). 

3.     Do the hard thing: wait to give children access to an electronic device, have strict parental controls both on the device and concerning when you let your child have access, and take breaks from devices to spend time with each other and God.

If these ideas are new to you then please consider them. If you are already practicing these things, then I hope this article is an encouragement to keep it up. 
 

Danny McDowell
Assistant Head of School, Upper School

Family Devotion 2.14.24

Most people remember the line from Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” that says:  “To be or not to be that is the question.” From that classic phrase, I would like to pose a question for all of us to consider when it comes to our use of social media. “To post or not to post” is a question I believe that we should consider before we post on social media.

The use of social media has exploded in our culture. With that use, we see a lot of abuse that goes along with it. I regularly see rants, gossip, attacks, and many more posts that work to tear relationships apart and hurt folks rather than promote and encourage others. As Christian, what are our responsibilities when it comes to posting on social media?

First, I believe that there are Biblical principles that we should follow in everyday life regardless of whether it is personal interaction or social media use. The principles have challenged me over the years in my walk with God and are great for us to consider before posting. These principles are as follows:

1. The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat. 7:12)   We should treat others as we would like to be treated when we decide to post or not.

2. Whatever is Excellent: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) The list that Paul gives in this verse is a great roadmap for determining what we should post.

3. A Good Reputation: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Prov. 22:1); “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor. 15:33)  Bad company corrupts good morals (including online company). We should strive to protect our reputation and name. More importantly, we should as Christians guard our testimonies and represent Christ well with all we say even in the world of social media.

4. Is it profitable?: “All things are permissible unto me, but all things are not profitable: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) We should consider before posting whether that post is going to benefit my testimony or help others in their walk with God.

5. Will it bring glory to God?: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Is what we are about to post going to bring honor to God? This is a tough but great principle to live by.

Family Devotion 2.7.24

“We will see an explosion of God’s presence as a result of the prayers of His people.”
- Dr. Tony Evans

People like to be in on secrets. Most people enjoy knowing something that others do not. Most folks will tell you quickly that they can be trusted to keep a secret. However, that is not what generally happens. Often, those who are told secrets cannot keep that the secret to themselves. There is an area of our spiritual life that I cannot wait to tell you more about.

One of the most underutilized spiritual privileges available to all believers is prayer. If I did not know better, I would think that the power and privilege of prayer is a well kept secret because so few really utilize it in their daily lives. However, God never intended for us not to know about prayer and its power for living.

In fact, prayer is not optional for the believer. Look below at these verses to better understand this:

It is an act of devotion.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;” Col 4:2 
Everyone is devoted to something, most of us are devoted to more than one thing.  When we choose to make something a priority we are willing to sacrifice for it.  When you freely give your time to something you are devoted to it.

It is a continual act.

pray without ceasing;” 1 Thess 5:17 
Prayer is a relationship.  Praying without ceasing is like communicating with God on one line while also taking calls on another.

It is an act of necessity.

“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16 
If Christ, God incarnate, found it necessary to often slip away and pray, how much more necessary is it for us to follow His example.

I am convinced that it is time for Christians everywhere to understand the command, the obligation, and priority to pray. It is time for us to get in the battle for our families, our kids, our church, and this culture by getting on our knees and calling out to God.

Most of the great movements of God can be traced to a small group of praying people! For example, the last great awakening in this country occurred between the years 1857-1859. History tells us that this revival began with prayer. In New York, a businessman by the name of Jeremiah Lanphier started a small prayer group that met daily. It did not take long for this small group to begin to grow. Within a short time, almost 10,000 people would meet daily to pray for revival. 

Indeed, spending time with God is life changing for an individual and for a corporate body of believers. Prayer was never intended to be a well-kept secret but instead God’s design was for it to be our most treasured spiritual discipline.

Rev. Rick Calloway
Head of School


 

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