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Divided Parenting (Bob Moeller notes on Chris Fabry Live! today)

What are some important biblical principles of parenting?

  1.  For children to prosper there must be oneness in the marriage (Malachi 2:15)
  1.  Teaching our children to love God with all their hearts is our first and foremost
    responsibility as parents(Deuteronomy 6:4)
  1.  The prayer of Jesus is for all believers to come to unity (this particularly has application to
    believing parents — John 15:23)
  1.  For peace in our family and with our children to occur we must it must be sought and
    pursued (it is not going to happen all by itself — 1 Peter 3:8-12)
  1.  We know we will have found the right solution when it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to
    both of us (we should not stop working on the matter until we find this agreement — Acts
    15:28).

So how does this apply to parenting issues?

  1. Spouses should seek harmony in their parenting not necessarily unison (we aren’t always
    going to see thingsexactly alike yet we can always find solutions that work for all of us).
  1. We need to decide if the parenting issue dividing us fits into the category of:

 

A:  A moral absolute (no question as to what the Bible teaches);

  1. A faith conviction (a strongly held belief that sincere Christians may legitimately
    disagree over in Scripture); or
  1. A family or cultural preference (something you were taught to do growing up but is not a
    clearly taught Scriptural moral or spiritual issue).
  1. Therefore depending on the nature of the issue:
  1. If it’s an absolute it requires parental unity (a united front);
  1. If it’s a non-essential it allows for liberty (freedom to disagree and to work out a mutually acceptable solution);
  1. If it’s simply a preference we particularly need to practice charity (humbly and lovingly allow for a different outcome than what we might prefer for the sake of peace).

(We need to remember rules without relationships produces rebellion.)

 

 

How can we make peace with our spouse on parenting issues?

 

  1. Define the issue(s) and separate that issue from the person.
  1.      Decide if you as a parent are leaning more toward trying to uphold a goal or preserve
    the relationship (usually one parents leans more one way than the other).
  1.  List all the various possible solution to the problem (don’t critique at this point).
  1. .  Keep co-laboring at it until you find a solution that preserves both your goals and
    relationships (a win-win).
  1.  Then support what you both helped to create.

 

What if your spouse is not a believer and you are (or you are divorced)?

  1. Follow the steps above of peacemaking to see if you can come to a mutually agreeable solution (it’s better for your children to see you in agreement than division).
  1. As a believer determine if the issue to you is a biblical absolute, a faith conviction or a personal preference.
  2. Explain your position on the issue and its importance without judging your partner.
  1. Even if you disagree find as much agreement as possible between you.
  1. If it comes down to a matter of a moral absolute you need to be willing to act on your
    own even without your partner’s consent.
  2.   If it’s a faith conviction make your case to your spouse, pray that God will change their
    heart but realize that ultimately you may not prevail or you may only have your way
    when that child is in your custody or care.

 If it’s merely a personal preference share your feelings but be willing to let it go.

Finally, ask God to give you His peace if it’s something you cannot change, courage if you can change it, and the discernment to know the difference.

by Bob Moeller

 

Future Events for Singles with Bob and Cheryl Moeller

OCTOBER MSG MOELLERS’ SINGLE ADULT GATHERING

Sunday Evening, October 11, 2015, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Topic:
“Daniel:  A Power Single from Scripture Who Changed His World”
Please R.S.V.P.  to cheryl@forkeepsministries.com
No admission fee
Please purchase a dinner through the cafeteria line at Fuddruckers.
There will be a love offering taken for For Keeps Ministries.
Please R.S.V.P. below.  Click here

A Plan to Save Urban Marriage

Let’s Start with What Went Wrong

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8

A youth pastor who works in a major Midwestern urban neighborhood recently told me that many of the kids in his youth group were shocked to learn that the government did not pay his salary. In fact at first they didn’t believe him. He had to gently explain that he and the other pastors on staff make their living from an offering plate that’s passed around each Sunday morning at church.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” was their collective look on their adolescent faces.

“Yup,” he went on to inform them, “When there’s no offerings there is no salary for me.”

He was greeted with stunned disbelief. He might as well have told them he didn’t have an IPhone as a kid – he actually had to pick up a receiver and dial something.

How is it we have raised a generation of young people to believe that everyone makes their living from a government check? How is it that so many of these same kids often end up growing up without a father at home?

It likely started with someone’s good intentions.

Some sociologists believed you could help the poor and disfranchised out of poverty by guaranteeing them a monthly check and other benefits. As the idea caught on in the decades that followed the entitlements industry grew to include ever expanding medical care, food stamps and much more. Some politicians soon discovered to their dizzying delight that they could hold office for an entire lifetime if they just handed out more government money and benefits than their political opponents.

Now there was just one catch. To get the largest amount of cash possible in most cases you had to be a single with children. If you were married you got slapped in the face with a tuna in the form a hefty penalty of slashed government benefits and increased taxes. This was true from the hills of rural Appalachia to the lakes of Minnesota to the streets of inner-city Los Angeles.

It doesn’t take a Jeopardy champion to figure out what happened next (read Marvin Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion for the rest of the story).

Fathers and married men, no longer needed and now often an economic liability, began quietly exiting the scene like discouraged fans heading to the exit doors when their home team is losing by 12 runs in the bottom of the ninth. The disappearing husband and father phenomenon soon began to spread across the whole spectrum of ethnic backgrounds and geographical communities in America (and continues apace to this day). As married-for-life husbands and fathers started vanishing from hard-hit communities often many of those remaining were relegated to (or chose) the role of simply begetting children.

Sinful human nature being what it is, begetting soon became forgetting as well. And with that generations of children would be born that would rarely or never get to meet their actual biological father.

Let’s pause and ask, “Are there still a large number of responsible fathers and loving husbands still raising their families in urban communities?”  Answer: Of course there are and as a group they are men to look up to.

A second question, “Aren’t there some situations beyond anyone’s control such as chronic medical conditions, aging issues, economic layoffs, or even the death of a provider where temporary government help is warranted?” Answer: Yes. Even then the church should be the first ones to help, but in some cases government assistance is warranted. The real problem starts when what is designed to be temporary assistance morphs into life-long subsistence living.

This is particularly true when government entitlements target the urban young and unmarried women. For example, many teenage girls in communities feel enormous pressure to make the wrong choices.

Often having been raised without a father they wonder, “Should I really try to wait to finish high school, get married and then have my children, or should I do what others are doing to get out on my own? Or should I become sexually active, have a child now, start receiving benefits and that way get my own place and start my life?”

The answer is often predictable. If the government teaches teenage girls that having a husband is no longer needed to start a family — then he’s also no longer needed to raise one either. Case closed.

The social engineers may have sincerely believed massive government entitlements would resolve most problems in urban communities. (People also once believed filling gigantic airships with hydrogen and flying them over the ocean was pure genius. That is until the Hindenburg blimp exploded over New Jersey making the return flight very difficult to book.) The social engineer’s grand theory overlooked one inconvenient truth:  children need a father to grow up whole and healthy. Without a dad in the home their heart hurts, and eventually it breaks. No government program can fill that aching wound.

And as we have seen over and over desperately lonely and hurting children vent their frustration and anger over male abandonment in the form of violent gangs, drive-by shootings and a tidal wave of unwed pregnancies, STD’s and abortions.

In the next article I write, we’ll look at the role of the sexual revolution of the 1960’s in helping to nearly destroy urban marriage. We’ll see how the “Just Say Yes Whenever Revolution” has led to grinding urban poverty, whole-sale economic abandonment of communities and street violence on a scale that today in many places is almost unimaginable.

And despite all that generational pain and upheaval – we believe God still has an answer.

Statement on Supreme Court Ruling by Bob Moeller

 

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born ofGod overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” 1 John 5:3-4

The Apostle John is often described by scholars as the “Apostle of Love” because he continually emphasized the love of God toward all humanity. He even reminds us that the world will know we are His disciples by our love.

But what does John mean by love? A romantic emotion? A sentimental longing? An erotic desire? Our culture (and now the Supreme Court) has adopted a very different definition of love that film director Woody Allen once expressed this way, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

The Apostle of Love believes love finds its highest expression in keeping God’s commandments. That’s because everything that God has commanded is for our good and is motivated by His caring, wise, just, merciful and holy intentions toward us. Whenever we violate those commandments we move farther away from God, whenever we honor them we are drawn closer to Him.

Sadly, a secular Court today announced by a vote of 5 to 4 that the biblical understanding of marriage – and thus the heart of God — is wrong.

While entitled to their opinion they will never amend the character of God or change the timeless truth of Scripture. To quote Jesus, “…At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”Matthew 18:4-5

So while we respect the Court as an authority God has instituted, we must respect His commandments even more. Why — because that’s the loving thing to do.

Remember, the same God who said marriage is exclusively created to be between a man and woman showed us the true extent of His love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Jesus Wept by Cheryl Moeller

I don’t mind Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook glowing with many people weighing in on their disappointment on the recent same-sex marriage Supreme Court ruling.

Why?  If we have the heart of Jesus, we weep in the face of sin.

The morning after the abortion ruling (Roe vs. Wade) in 1973, my friend’s college roommate, went to the hospital for an abortion. If it were illegal, she said she would not have decided on death for her baby.  She regrets the abortion to this day and sees her baby’s face on every street corner. Although she is forgiven by God’s grace, a baby’s life was taken and she admittedly feels it every day.

Stats don’t lie.  The abortion rate went up.

Another woman friend of mine was the casualty of divorce because of no-fault divorce. No-fault Divorce at the very least sped up the process.  She was served unwanted divorce papers by her husband, which eventually, even though she worked very hard, lowered mom and kid’s standard of living significantly (No-fault Divorce started in some states in the 1970s and was finalized in all states in 2010).

Stats don’t lie. The divorce rate went up.

A pastor told us he could get his own personal No-fault Divorce and leave his wife and three children because the marriage vows are not in the Bible.

It’s okay to cry.  Jesus gave us permission to cry when he wept over the city.   “And when he drew near and saw the city (Jerusalem), he wept over it,”  Luke 19:41

Though we cry out in the grief over our sins, we do not despair for we have Hope.

Fifty Shades of Porn for Women by Cheryl Moeller

I am always interested in how we as women rationalize our sin and I certainly see myself in the reasoning at times.

A seminary student told us she is going to the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie because anually she watches the Oscars. She likes to have watched each film that year, so she can make an honest opinion if the Oscars have chosen correctly on the winners.

 

Are there any redeeming characteristics to porn? No. Good porn is an oxymoron.

 

Some of my acquaintances have complained about their husband watching porn, but they have gone alone or with their husband to some real crazy movies, without saying, “No.” Maybe they did not watch it to make their husband happy, maybe they wanted to watch it for themselves. They are now worried because their husband is watching porn even though they have been watching it with their husband for 25 years.

 

Porn is not going to help you, your husband or your marriage. The old excuse that it’s “just the two of you” is not going to impress God. It’s not “just the two of you”, it’s also the two or twenty people in the porn pictures or film.

 

Some feel as though because they have not said, “No” in the past, it would be hypocritical or too hard to start now. What if your kids used that reasoning about something they need to quit?

 

If you haven’t started saying, “No,” the time to start is now.

 

It’s porn.

 

I have heard the compromise excuse that somehow there is only five bad scenes in a certain movie. If those scenes were put into flash frozen photos and made into a magazine, it would be 100 pages of porn.

 

At first many thought Fifty Shades of Grey was a man’s fantasy, but actually the books and movies are targeted to women. In the interest of never denying ourselves in Modern America, isn’t it interesting that instead of flourishing, we have encased ourselves as slaves from some time travel to the past, gone horrid, like torture chambers from the Middle Ages.

 

The truth or should I say, the trick here is that Hollywood is teaching to love a woman is to torture a woman. The real truth is a woman bleeding from being beaten with a whip is hate, not love.

 

God is against porn, but not to take your happiness away. Porn is like drinking a swimming pool full of pickle juice to quench your thirst.

In the end you will not be satisfied, instead it will bring destruction and death to a relationship.

 

A revival is a husband and wife turning to Christ in complete humility and saying we are lost and undone without you. We desperately need Christ in our relationship for He and He alone is the source of love, hope, honesty, and true intimacy.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

 

The State of the Marriage Union

The State of the Marriage Union:  The 11 Lies People are Believing and Saying “I Don’t” instead of “I Do.”

by Bob and Cheryl Moeller
Lie 1.  Co-habitation is easier than marriage.
Lie 2.  Marriage is whatever you want it to be:  man-man, woman-woman or man-woman.
Lie 3.  Growing up is too difficult.  Why do it?  The eternal adolescent culture is easier.
Lie 4.  Masculinity equals micro-agression.
Lie 5.  Pornography dishes out better sex than marriage.
Lie 6.  Marriage reduces your standard of living.
Lie 7.  Abortion is an easier solution than marriage.
Lie 8.  Marriage caused my parent’s misery and divorce.
Lie 9.  You don’t have to be married to start or have a family.
Lie 10.  A career is more fulfilling.
Lie 11.  What if I don’t find a “10.?  I’m just too good to share with one person.  Marriage may lead to buyer’s remorse.
 
As missionaries to marriage, with God’s Word and the help of the Holy Spirit,  in 2015…
We will… Present the Gospel and our testimony, to as many as we possibly can, giving opportunity for trusting in Christ alone for salvation.
We will…   Give the first months of 2015 addressing each of
The 11 Lies with truth telling instead.
We will…   Pray that Christ’s power would be unleashed in marriages even today. Write to bob@forkeepsministries.com to receive our ministry prayer request updates to join us in prayer.
We will…   Train laypeople to heal hearts through prayer.
We will…   Host Conferences.  Please let us know if you want information about hosting a conference in your city.  Write to bob@forkeepsministries.com.
We will…   Broadcast and write about the hope for marriage, families, and individuals which is in Christ alone.
Please, be part of For Keeps Ministries’ solution to end 

How will you finish?

by Bob Moeller

Recently we attended a Christmas banquet for the AEPCA, Association of Ethnic Pastors of Chicagoland Area, where the featured speaker was Dr. Rascher, an 80 year old professor from Moody Bible Institute who now lives in a remote corner of Oklahoma and ministers to Native Americans. Though he earned a Ph.D. in education from NorthwesternUniversity in Chicago, he is spending his later years driving his red Ford F-150 pickup anywhere from 35 to 100 miles each Sunday to preach at one of four Native American churches.

These churches average between 8 and 15 people. Many are made up of elderly individuals and the church will close when they die. Yet, he beams with joy as he tells of the privilege he has to teach the adult classes and preach the Word of God. He makes this circuit of churches by himself as his dear wife and life’s partner died over a decade ago.

Listening to his passion to share the Gospel with the Native Americans you can see and hear that his heart still burns with intense love and compassion for this most forgotten of all minorities in America. He believes with absolute certainty that God set him apart from birth to bring the Gospel to the Native Americans.

His message and example left me with a number of soul-searching questions.
How many of us know what our calling in life is?
How many of us are certain of the reason we were put on this planet?
How many of us instead check out what will pay the most for a salary instead of what God’s calling is on our life?
How many of us will continue to pursue our calling with all our heart even as our age increases and strength starts to diminish (the speaker put down his cane in order to preach)?

I left the first generation immigrant and ethic pastors’ banquet with a clear image of how I wish to finish the remainder of my days on earth – still committed, still at work and still believing. Let me urge you to seek God for your calling, respond to it in total obedience, then give it all you have until God calls you home.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7

Dr. Leonard Rascher with Native American Bible Ministries website nabm
Facebok Page for NABM 

A compelling video:  Native American Bible Ministries

rascher

Dr. Leonard Rascher

4 Garden Lessons Learned

by Bob Moeller

Just yesterday I finished spreading nine loads of mulched leaves over the 20 X 20 foot plot of earth that was my back yard vegetable garden.

From the time in mid-March when I first put tiny rock hard seedlings in potted trays of soil to germinate in the front bay living room window, to the early weeks of June when I carried in triumphantly the first fruits of the garden, to the final days of October when I tied together harvested shocks of harvested corn to use as a display at our church, growing a garden once again proved to be surprisingly a God experience.

Not that I worship the trees or believe there are gods in the soil and stalks. That is the stuff of pantheism – the pagan Greek philosophy that has revived in much of the radical Green movement. Rather I simply came to see in a fresh way what the Scripture teaches – “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…” By believing there are spiritual analogies to be learned from nature I am in good company – Did not Jesus illustrate the mysteries of the Kingdom so often by pointing us to the lessons of nature? “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…”

1.  If you want something to grow, you must plant it first.

No one imagines a garden into existence. You can’t grow corn, zucchini and tomatoes by just thinking about them on the couch. My first step toward a garden was to call the utility company’s that sends out people to spray paint the portions of your yard where buried cable and gas lines are hidden.

I then got my own can of spray paint used on football fields and laid out the dimensions of my future garden. After that I had to lug home a 75 pound roto-tiller and gouge up the earth. I then went to a natural foods grocery store to buy Heirloom packets of seeds.

 2.  Just because you plant something doesn’t mean that it’s going to grow. 

Almost 80% of my seedlings that I planted in March never actually made it to the table at harvest time. My melon vines started out in a promising way then mysteriously withered.

I learned again not everything in life we dream of doing or attempt to do will succeed.  There is a mystery to the will of God.  The Scriptures tells us that we can make our plans but it is the Lord’s will that ultimately determines the outcome.

3.  Even when you plant good seeds bad ones will spring up next to them.

 Trust me when I say I didn’t plant a single weed this year. Yet day after day weeds showed up from nowhere. If left alone they would ultimately steal the precious moisture and nutrients.

Jesus said out hearts are like soil. Anyone who has raises a garden weeding is a non-negotiable task that must be performed day after day. Yet, the good news is that you can win the battle over the weeds with vigilance, persistence and perseverance.

4.  Death is never final – it will always be followed by spring.

Looking over my garden that was so green and lush in July and now in chilly December is so bare and lonely gave me a strange feeling of sadness and emptiness — something like walking away from the graveside of a dear friend you knew so well but is now gone.

Yet, even while feeling the tinge of sadness I felt hope. I could all but see next spring. I  was reminded all again of the promise of the resurrection – life will once again emerge from dead and barren.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life…though you die yet shall you live.” John 11:25

Even as the first snows of winter are about to descend; spring is coming

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