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Walking In Wisdom

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Over the past several weeks we have been looking at the purpose of education through a biblical worldview lens.  The education we give our children and youth has significance to the degree its purpose is consistent with the God’s highest purpose behind man’s existence.  This means that the main purpose for education must equip our children and youth with the ability to better glorify God and enjoy Him throughout all of life and eternity.  For this to happen, our children’s education must guide them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say and do.

We have identified several goals that education must pursue in order for it to achieve its ultimate purpose.  So far, we have looked at the following goals that must guide the education our children receive at home, church and school.  These goals are:

  • Education must lead them to true worship of God
  • Education must lead to transformed lives
  • Education must equip them for war
  • Education must guide them to know and do God’s will

This week I want to suggest one other goal that our children’s education must pursue.  It can be stated this way.

Education must equip our children and youth to live wisely.

Many years ago, a wise mentor encouraged me to read one chapter of Proverbs each and every day.  I haven’t always done this but I have read through this wonderful book of wisdom many times.  The main writer of Proverbs is Solomon, the wisest man (apart from Jesus) who has ever lived.  Solomon establishes the main purpose of this book within the first few verses of Chapter 1.

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.                      Proverbs 1:1-4 (KJV)

Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set out to teach his son wisdom.  Throughout this book, there is an emphasis on three things.

  • knowledge
  • wisdom
  • understanding

There is a progression that must take place in our children’s education.  They must increase in knowledge for we know that without knowledge God’s people were destroyed and taken captive by their enemies (Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 5:13).  In Hosea 4:14 God tells us that a people without understanding will come to ruin.  The word ruin literally means to be trampled.

The education that we give our children and youth must be grounded in knowledge based on truth so that they won’t be destroyed and taken captive by false thinking.  However, knowledge is not enough because they must be able to apply that knowledge to real life situations from God’s perspective.  When this happens, they will be able to discern what is true and what is false.  They will then exhibit wise behavior.  When they live wisely, they won’t be trampled by the culture but will be able to think and act from a biblical worldview perspective.

Getting godly wisdom must be a major goal of the entire educational process – at home, church and school.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:9-10 (KJV)

When one of the goals of education is to challenge children and youth to acquire insight, discernment, and wisdom, the result is that God is glorified.  Achieving this goal of education will also lead to true success (Joshua 1:7-8; Proverbs 3:4).

If we want our children’s education to equip them to live their lives for God’s glory, it must:

  • lead them to true worship of God
  • bring about spiritual transformation in their lives
  • equip them for spiritual warfare
  • guide them to know and perform God’s will
  • equip them to live wisely in today’s anti-Christian culture

When these goals of education are achieved, our children and youth will advance God’s kingdom which will, in turn, bring Him great glory.  Is the education your children are receiving at home, church and school driven by God’s ultimate purpose for them?  Are these goals serving as the foundation stones to your children’s education in the home, church and school?  If not, are we setting them up for failure?

Work Isn’t a Dirty Four-Letter Word

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It’s Off To Work We Go!

When you look at this cartoon image, does it describe how you feel when the weekend is over and you have to go back to work on Monday?  For many Christians this is how we view work.  But that is not how God wants us to view work.

I believe that everyone wants their children to be successful in life.  Most parents believe that a key to their children being successful is getting a good education so that they can get a good job.  A great deal of energy is put into making sure that children and youth know the right information so that they can get into a good college.  Parents are convinced that getting a good college education is the key to getting a good job and, therefore, being successful.  

At the same time, Christians say that God has a plan for every person and the best place to be is in the center of God’s will. Unfortunately, there is a deep divide in many Christians’ minds between being in God’s will and getting a good job.  Christians seldom look at education as the process through which their children will discover God’s will for their lives which will, in turn, lead them to finding a vocation in life.  Yet, that is exactly what one of the key goals of education should be — education must guide people in knowing and doing God’s will.  In discussing this goal of education, I will equate God’s call with God’s will.  Anything that God calls an individual to do must be God’s will for that person.

There are two calls that God puts on a person’s life.  The first call is a general call to salvation.  God desires for all people to be saved.  The second call that God places on a life is specific to the individual.  This call is a call to vocation or work.  A call to work must be seen as a divine call.  This is because God is portrayed throughout the Bible as a God that “works.”  We have all read the account of the creation of this universe in Genesis 1.  This marvelous creation is the “work” of God.  In fact, after God “worked” to create this world in a mere six days, He rested from all His “work.”  God is a God who works.  Since man is created in God’s image, it means that man has been created to work.  Education should guide children and youth to find God’s call to a vocation in life.

Timothy Keller has written an excellent book that deals with this call to vocation titled, Every Good Endeavor.  In this book, Keller explains,

We must recover the idea that work is a “vocation” or calling, “a contribution to the good of all and not merely…a means to one’s own advancement.”…To one’s self-fulfillment and power.  Something can be a vocation or calling only if some other party calls you to do it, and you do it for their sake rather than your own.  Our daily work can be a calling only if its reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others.

Work has gone through a progression, or more accurately a regression, of meaning.  When our Founding Fathers established this country, work was seen as a vocation, a calling from God.  As time passed, work became a job one had that God was asked to bless.  Then work became a job to pay the bills.  Today, someone has said that work is the ability to consume!  This regression in how we look at work is due to a flawed education system that is not focused on guiding students to knowing and doing God’s will.

Kevin Swanson provides us with keen insight related to this educational goal.  In his book, Upgrade, he writes,

A successful education is achieved when a child is prepared to make maximal use of his God-given talents & abilities in the accomplishment of the child’s calling…Everybody is gifted and has a purpose in God’s world…Each child has a specific calling, framed by his unique talents and abilities.

My friend, Pastor James McMenis, consistently reminds his church’s membership that every person is a purpose with a name.  This statement is grounded in the fact that God has a plan for every person that is born.  Since this is true, education must aim at guiding students to understanding their God-given talents and abilities so that they can know God’s purpose for their lives.  This goal of education must be central to every educational effort a child experiences at home, church and school.  Consider this profound statement.

The challenge of the first eighteen years of a child’s education is to find that calling [God’s will]…A fulfilled life will be determined by whether he/she has centered in upon his or her life calling.  Kevin Swanson

Christians must answer some key questions if they are going to give their children an education that will result in them equipped to glorify God in all of life.

  1. How is the education that your children/students are receiving at home, church and school helping them to understand their God-given abilities and talents?
  2. Does the education children are receiving at home, church and school help them to hear God’s call on their lives to be saved?
  3. Are your children/students on a path to finding God’s call on their lives to a vocation for which God has created them to fulfill?

What Are Our Children Being Equipped For?

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In light of last week’s post Enough is Enough, I want to look at another essential goal of education that must be pursued by all Christians.  There is no question that we are engaged in a fierce culture war.  Therefore, the education we give our children and youth must be aimed at achieving this very important goal.

Education must equip people for war!

There is a trend that I see taking place in western Christianity.  This trend is an effort to “tone down” any talk of war.  The argument for this line of thinking is usually stated in this way.  If Christians are to be “relevant” in today’s culture and want to influence the lost about their need for a Savior, they need to be more understanding and not use language that reflects conflict, battle or war.  I understand that Christians must show compassion and empathy to the lost.  However, God’s Word has much to say about war and all Christians’ responsibility to engage in a very real war that has been raging throughout human history.

The reality is that ever since the Fall, man has been at war with God, His creation and each other.  This is because with the entrance of sin into the world all relationships were broken.  Christians always talk about how the Fall has separated man from God.  However, it is also true that sin has set man against man generically speaking.  There is no question that the culture war today is seen in such things as rising levels of violence, gender confusion and loss of truth.  Last week we addressed the fact that this war is now targeting babies both in and out of the womb.

In the Old Testament the reality of war can be seen whenever God instructed the leaders of Israel to take a census of the people.  The first census taken of the Israelites is recorded in the book of Numbers.   God instructed Moses to number the people.

Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war in Israel. Numbers 1:2-3 (NKJV)

There were some other instances when God instructed the leaders of Israel to number the people.  In each case, they were to number the men who were 20 years old and older who were fit for battle.  It is true it was expected that when a man reached 20 years of age, he was supposed to be able to fight on behalf of Israel.  Even though the battles were physical battles against other nations, each of these nations represented people who worshiped false gods.

In the New Testament we also find references that teach us that Christians are to be strong soldiers.

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldierPhilippians 2:25 (KJV)

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3 (NKJV)

…to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldierPhilemon 2 (KJV)

Not only are Christians expected to be fit for battle, they are to be equipped with the right armor to be successful in war (Ephesians 6:10-17).  This is where a biblical look at education can help us understand this goal.

The war that God expects Christians to be fully engaged in is a spiritual one.  According to Paul’s writing, this war is waged on an intellectual or mental front.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)

Drs. James Dobson and Gary Bauer reflected on this war of ideas in their book, Children and Risk.  The book suggests that a new civil war is raging across America.  This war is a war of values and to the victor goes our children.  Dobson and Bauer explained how the major front for this war will be fought on educational turf.

In order for education to achieve God’s ultimate purpose, it must assist Christians in living lives to glorify God.  This requires that the education we give our children and youth must equip them to develop their minds for the purpose of waging war in the arena of ideas in today’s culture.

The reality is that every educational effort prepares children and youth to wage war.  It either prepares children to wage war for God or wage war against God.  Secular education equips its students to think and act from a secular worldview that is opposed to God.  We must provide children with a biblically-based, Christ-centered education so that they are equipped to wage war for God.

Some would argue that Christian education shelters students from the real world.  The fact is, secular education shelters children from truth.  I agree with author Kevin Swanson who wrote that the goal of protection is not to shelter students but to prepare them.  It is important to note that God’s Word doesn’t suggest that Christians be equipped and engaged in this spiritual war.  It commands Christians to do so.

Here are some questions we must answer.

  1. Do you see education in the home, church and school as a battlefield for the hearts and minds of your children/youth?
  2. Does the education your children/students are receiving at home, church and school equip them for war for God or against God?
  3. What are some specific ways that your child’s education at home, church and school equip them to be strong soldiers of the Lord?
  4. How would you rate today’s youth as being fit for battle?
  5. Is the education they receive at school actually equipping them to do battle for the enemy?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

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January 16, 1947 is a very special day to me.  It is the day on which my mother gave birth in the afternoon to a son in North Tonawanda, New York.  I thank the Lord that on that winter afternoon I started my journey in this life life.  Even though that date is important, there is another very important date related to my birth.  That date was sometime in April 1946.  I say this because it was at that time that I was conceived.  With all that has gone on in my home state last week, I have been thinking about how wonderful God’s design for human life is.  God knew that I, as well as every other person that is conceived, needed a safe place where He could form my inward parts and He could weave me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  The Psalmist goes on to proclaim that my frame was not hidden from You [God], when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance (Psalm 139:15-16).  The safest place in which God can form and weave a baby together is in his/her mother’s womb.

Not only did God form my inward parts and weave me into who I would one day become while I was safe in my mother’s womb, He also knew me before He formed me in that womb.  I may have taken my first breath of fresh air on January 16, 1947, but that is not when my life began.  There is no doubt about it — life begins at conception.  This is what God said to Jeremiah.

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you;” Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NASB)

I share this because on January 22, 2019 the New York legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act and the State’s Governor signed the legislation into law that same night.  If there were ever a deceptive name given to a law, it is this one.  This is because the Reproductive Health Act is not only unhealthy but deadly to babies who are in their mothers’ wombs.  In fact, this new law allows a baby to be aborted right up until the time of birth.  It even allows a baby that survives an abortion to be killed.  What added to the horror of such a law being passed was how the signing of the law was celebrated with applause and cheering that equaled that of a team’s celebration of winning a championship. No doubt that most of you reading this post saw videos of this celebration of evil and/or pictures of various buildings in New York City lit up in pink to “shine” attention on this “historic” legislation.

I cringed as I read a statement by the New York Senate Majority Leader who rejoiced that this law sends a clear message to everyone.

Here in New York, women’s health matters; women’s lives matter; women’s decisions matter.

What about the health, lives and decisions of the baby?  When I was being developed to be born in this State, I was able to do so in what God designed to be a safe place – my mother’s womb.  This law 72 years later made a mother’s womb one of the most dangerous places for a new life to be found.  I must admit when I heard and saw the reports and the rejoicing about the passage of this law, I was angry.  How could human beings do such a thing?  I have read people’s reactions from all walks of life who were incensed by the passing of this law.  Many Christians have called this nothing less than demonic.    There have even been calls for the Catholic Church to excommunicate the Governor of the State.

However, as I pondered what had just happened, I found myself in a different state of mind than many of the fellow believers that were commenting on the actions of this State’s government.  My anger turned to brokenness and I found myself not wanting to strike out at the people who drafted and passed this piece of legislation.   After all, they represent this sin-wrecked world.  Should I expect something different from a secular society?  Ever since sin entered this world, the world has hated God and is bent on destroying everything that He established when He created the world and made man in His image.

My brokenness and my anger was not toward the lost men and women who were behind this hideous Act but toward me and other Christians who have allowed this to even be possible in our country.  The reality is that Christians have allowed these people to be positions of leadership at both the state and federal levels.  We can’t ignore the fact that Jesus said we are to be the salt and light of the world.  We are the ones’ who are supposed to be shaping the culture.  Instead we, the church, have lost our savor and are good for nothing else than to be trampled by the culture.  This has happened on my watch!

I fully realize that this is not something that just happened in one state in the country.  It is the condition of the culture of the entire country.  A recent bill was passed at the Federal level that called for continued funding of Planned Parenthood, whose leadership recently stated publicly that its major business was the aborting of human lives before birth.  That bill also called for millions of dollars to be spent on paying for abortions internationally.  I read the statistic that in 2015 1 in 3 unborn babies were aborted in New York City.  There is even a social media campaign where women are encouraged to shout their abortions under the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion.  What breaks my heart the most is that many Christians over the years have consistently voted for people who boldly declare that they are for the abortion of unborn babies.

We are living in the day when Scripture is being lived out before our very eyes.

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: Jeremiah 8:12 (KJV)

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

How did a nation that was founded on biblical principles get to the point where we celebrate infanticide?   We should not expect anything less than what we are witnessing in our country when we realize that a secular educational system has indoctrinated the vast majority of young people for the past 100+ years.  As Christians, we must lay the condition of society at our doorstep because we turned the formal education of our children and youth over the government in the mid-1800s.  As historian Francis Curran noted it was a revolutionary happening in the history of the New Testament Church.  Before a holy God, we stand guilty because we ignored warning after warning what would and has happened because of thinking it is okay for our children to sit under the influence of secular education for more than 1300 hours every year from ages 5 to 18.

One man who warned the church what would happen if the government took over the education of our children and youth was Dr. Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898).  Read his words carefully.

If the State assumes responsibility for education, there is therefore a great risk that the education of youth will be perverted to serve an ideological faction.  This will occur by the hateful means of filling their minds with error and passion in place of truth and right...If the State in America becomes the educator, education must be secularized totally.  (emphasis mine)

But nearly all public men and preachers declare that the public schools are the glory of America.  They are a finality, and in no event to be surrendered.  We have seen that their complete secularization is logically inevitable.  Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results:  All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools. (emphasis mine)

Last week I shared a quote by Dr. Ravi Zacharias from his book, Deliver Us From Evil, in which he said,

And for centuries politics has dabbled int eh deadly game of social engineering.  The whole point of state-controlled education is that it gives the government the power to shape the souls and write on the fresh slates of young hearts.  This empowerment is the most important trust given to elected officers, and to think that they accept that responsibility from a posture of neutrality is to live under the most destructive illusion.  To elect one to the highest level of leadership, therefore, is to put into his or her hands the possibility and opportunity of shaping a nation’s conscience.  (emphasis mine)



I have been involved in the teaching profession for over 50 years.  The past 45 years have been dedicated to providing children and youth with a biblically-based, Christ-centered education in the home, church and school.  I cannot count the number of pastors and other church leaders that I have met and urged them to address the issue of education biblically.  Year after year I have faced fierce opposition to this effort because pastors don’t want to offend those teaching in secular schools or they believe that we can’t shelter our children from the world.  This isn’t about where God sends His mature disciples to advance His kingdom.  It is about how God expects us to educate our children.

The Scripture is clear about the danger of sitting under false teachers.  However, most Christians have divided their lives up into the secular and sacred compartments that have resulted in dysfunctional living of every day life.  The average pastor would never allow evolution, gender neutrality, same-sex marriage, free sex and a host of other topics to ever be taught to children in their churches.  However, many of them don’t even raise a concern that these same children and youth get six hours-a-day of this type of false teaching for 13 years before going off to college.

I had the privilege of serving at LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, for several years.  I was always puzzled how one of the largest protestant, evangelical denominations in the country stressed the importance of their churches having early childhood programs and provided millions of dollars of annual support for their colleges and universities.  Church and denominational leaders stressed how important it was for parents to put their children in their church childcare centers and send them to Christian colleges and universities after high school graduation.  Yet, they seemed to fully support sending their children between the ages of 5 and 18 to secular schools; for the very years that their worldviews would be shaped.

I sadly remember how a group of pastors in one state wanted to remove church funding from one of the convention’s colleges because the President of the school had written a book claiming that Jesus was not God.  I understood that this was heresy.  What I couldn’t understand and what I shared with some of the pastors involved with this conflict was how they could send millions of dollars to a school that was denying the fundamentals of the faith for young men and women whose worldviews were pretty much set but wouldn’t invest a dime in Christian elementary and secondary schools so they would develop a biblical worldview.

Secular educators, on the other hand, knew that they would eventually control the thinking of Americans because they understood that education is in the worldview-shaping of young minds.  Humanist educator and one of the original signers of the Humanist Manifesto, C.F. Potter, knew that they were going to win the culture war of ideas back in the early 1900s.  He wrote.

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?

Yes, I have a broken heart over what the church has allowed to happen when it comes to the education of our children and youth.  By not addressing education biblically, the church has forfeited its right to partner with parents and provide future generations with a biblically-based, Christ-centered education.  The result has been that the majority of Christian young people have received a secular education, developed a secular worldview and have left the church.

But I am equally brokenhearted by what I have seen happen in Christian schools over the past several decades.  I have witnessed a major shift take place in Christian schools during my tenure in this vital ministry.  I can best describe this shift in this way.  Christian schools have pursued academic excellence to the point that it has become an end of Christian schooling rather than a means to a greater end.  At the same time, there has been a decreased emphasis put on the importance of the staff and board members of these schools to fully know and embrace a biblical philosophy of education.  Over the past several decades, there has been an intense effort to “improve” the education that Christian schools provide its students.  This has been marked by:

  • increase in the importance of school accreditation and teacher certification
  • an effort to have more teachers and administrators earn advanced degrees
  • a major push to pattern teaching and administrating after “best practices” research
  • the need to make “data-based” and “research-driven” decisions
  • a greater use of technology
  • the development of strong STEM programs at all levels

Please know that I am thankful that there is an effort for Christian schools to be the best they can be.  However, all of these efforts only address the “what” and “how” a Christian school does.  They don’t address the “why” or the purpose behind Christian education.  Unfortunately, so much emphasis and effort is on improving what and how we do things, that there is little, if any, attention given to the biblical philosophy that makes the what and how of Christian education unique from secular education.  We are finding ourselves with highly qualified staffs that do love Jesus.  However, they do not have strong biblical worldviews and do not understand a biblical philosophy of education.  George Barna recently told a group of Christian schools educators that only 10% of today’s adults possess a biblical worldview and when it is broken down by age, only 4%, 1 out of 25, Millennials have a biblical worldview.  Barna went on to explain that the Millennial generation is now the primary parenting generation in the church and our schools today.  I would add to this that the Millennial generation is, or is fast becoming, the primary teaching generation in Christian schools today.  Both Barna and Dr. Tony Evans have said the same thing — you cannot give to others what you don’t possess yourselves.

I have talked to a number of Christian school administrators over the past several years.  When I asked them what they are intentionally doing in an on-going effort to make sure that every staff and board member understands a biblical philosophy of education, the most common answer that I get is we aren’t doing anything.  I share the following merely to serve as an example of how Christian school educators have not been intentional in this area.  I have developed, with the help of a wonderful partner church, a wide variety of resources that are designed to help school leaders and teachers strengthen their understanding of a biblical worldview and a biblical philosophy of education.  Because of the support from this church, we have been able to provide this service at an extremely low price.  Even though many administrators expressed a great deal of interest in the new subscription website as it was being developed, very few have taken the time to have their schools take part in this much needed endeavor.

At the same time I have discovered that many schools are spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of more dollars than it would take for this philosophy training for staff development in areas that merely address the what and how of Christian education.  Again, I am not trying to downplay the need for good staff development in areas other than worldview and philosophy.  What I am saying is that we can have the most effective teachers possible but if they don’t live and teach from a biblical worldview and philosophy base, there will not be very much accomplished that has any eternal impact.

Joel Belz wrote an article for World Magazine in 1993.  His closing statements in this article haunt me every time I read them.  Belz predicted,

In summary: Christian schools will be found overall to have done a very good job in terms of general education, but will be disappointed in terms of instilling a profound sense of Christian discipleship.  On basic skill tests, SAT scores, and other standardized measurements, Christian school graduates will increasingly outperform their counterparts from public education.  But in terms of radical adoption of a Christian perspective on life, the differences – while definitely present – will be disappointing.

When we look at what is taking place in our country and we are honest with ourselves, I think that Christian parents, church leaders and Christian school educators would have to say Belz was right.  In terms of a radical adoption of a Christian perspective on life the results from the homes’, churches’ and schools’ efforts have been disappointing.

Today’s New World!

I was going through some old transparency masters (When was the last time anyone used transparencies?) and came across a challenging quote.  I do not know the source of this statement but it is something that I have lived long enough to actually have witnessed.

Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation.  Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself — its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions.  Fifty years later, there is a new world.  And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. (emphasis mine)

As I have watched this very thing happen before my eyes, I have to admit that this rearrangement of society is our [Christians] fault for lack of action.  As the title of this post states, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  It is time that the home, church and school address the issue of education biblically.  As Josh McDowell wrote in the Forward of my book, Kingdom Education,

The ideal way to help our kids not only to reject the postmodern worldview but also embrace deepened Christian convictions is to align church, home and school into a unified whole that arms our children with the truth and protects them from distortions.

What took place in New York last week and has been taking place throughout our culture should wake us up to the fact we are in a fierce battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation.  I received a tweet the other day of some new art work that has been put up in the atrium of Sherwood Baptist Church where I served for 9 years.  Even though it is a new piece of art, it is the long-held belief of Pastor Michael Catt.  The picture below says it all.

What about you?  Do you agree that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?  If not, what will it take for you to get there?  As we witnessed last week, it really is a matter of life and death!

Conformed or Transformed?

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We continue to look at several key goals of education through a biblical worldview lens.  I want to remind you that these goals must be pursued in the home, church and school so that God’s ultimate purpose for education (to prepare students to live a life that glorifies God) can be realized.  Last week we looked at how education should lead people to true worship of God.  The second goal of education can be stated this way.

Education must lead to transformed lives.

Most of us are familiar with Paul’s challenge in Romans 12.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Paul warns believers not to be conformed to this world.  Instead, Christians are to live transformed lives.  Transformation is not a minor change in one’s lifestyle.  It can be compared to the changing of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.  In his 1828 dictionary, Webster defines transformation as a change of heart in man, by which his disposition and temper are conformed to the divine image; a change from enmity to holiness and love.

From the Scripture stated above, one sees that this type of change only happens when there is a complete renewing of the mind.  This verse also tells us why God wants every Christian to be transformed through the renewing of the mind.  It is so that every believer can know God’s will for his/her life.  A person can only know and discern God’s will for him/her if his/her mind is not conformed to worldly or secular thinking.  However, all people are born with a sin nature which also means that our minds are naturally filled with carnal thoughts that are in line with the world’s way of thinking and acting.  Our natural minds must be thoroughly made new so that we will think and act from a biblical worldview perspective.  This must be one of the main goals of the education we give our children and youth in the home, church and school.  John A. Hughes puts it this way.

God-honoring education will assist the Christian in this mental renewing process by providing a foundation of worldview assumptions and by cultivating logical thinking processes, habits or analysis, and patterns of evaluation that are distinctively biblical.

The reality is that all education has as one of its main goals the shaping of a person’s worldview.  There is no such thing as a neutral education.  Secular education is based on a man-centered worldview where God is either ignored or blatantly denied.  Man is the ultimate authority and every individual determines what he/she should become.  Secular education’s aim is to make all students function well in a completely secular society.  This is exactly what King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to accomplish in the lives of a select group of Hebrew young people.

…youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.  The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. Daniel 1:4-5 (NASV)

Ravi Zacharias makes a bold statement about the goal of every educational effort in his book, Deliver Us From Evil.

And for centuries politics has dabbled in the deadly game of social engineering. The whole point of state-controlled education is that it gives to the government the power to shape the souls and write on the fresh slates of young hearts. This empowerment is the most important trust given to elected officers, and to assume that they accept that responsibility from a posture of neutrality is to live under the most destructive illusion. To elect one to the highest level of leadership, therefore, is to put into his or her hands the possibility and opportunity of shaping a nation’s conscience.

This is frightening to say the least when one considers that the majority of Christians have given the government control of their children’s education.  We can see the devastating effects of this in everyday life across the nation and around the world.  It is important that parents, church leaders and educators strive to provide future generations an education that will instill a biblical worldview in their hearts and minds.

This can only take place when the education our children and youth receive at home, church and school strives to achieve the goal of biblically transforming their lives.  Every subject and every activity must involve the renewing of the mind in line with Romans 12:2.  The question we must ask ourselves is, how does one’s mind be renewed?  We can discover the process of renewing the mind in one of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV)

Parents, church leaders and educators must understand that we are engaged in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of our children and youth.  The major front for this battle is being fought on educational turf.  No one involved in the education of others does so from a neutral position.  One’s worldview will always be transmitted to the child in some way or another.  We must ask ourselves some questions.

  1. Is the education that your children are receiving at home, church and school based on a biblical worldview?
  2. What are you doing to make sure that your children’s education is focused on the spiritual formation (transformation) of their lives?
  3. What are you doing to make sure children and youth are having their minds renewed so that they can discern God’s will for their lives?

What Will They Worship?

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Last week I shared how the purpose of education must be seen in relation to God’s highest purpose for man.  Since God’s purpose for man is for man to glorify God, education must guide them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes (character) that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say and/or do.  To accomplish this requires several goals be set for the education of our children and youth.

The first goal of education must lead people to true worship of God.  Unfortunately, many Christians do not understand what worship is all about.  Worship has too often been relegated to the portion of a church service where corporate singing takes place.  It is true that singing praises to God is an act of worship but it isn’t the essence of true worship of God.

Consider the dialog that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well.

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:20-24 (KJV)

God is seeking “true worshippers.”  This type of worshipper is one who worships God in “spirit and in truth.”  True worship of God involves both the heart and the mind.  It is not simply a matter of the heart but it also engages the mind.  This means that worship is both an attitude and an act.

The object of one’s worship is also very important.  For Christians, the object of our worship must be God, Himself.  We are to worship God and Him alone.  It is important to understand that according to Hebrew thought the human being was an indivisible totality.  There was no compartmentalization of life into the secular and sacred, which was the thinking of the Greeks.  This means that one was to worship God with his/her intellect, emotions, personality, senses and physical body.  Therefore, even work and play became a part of one’s worship of God.

Piper states that worship is a full-life response to who God is and what He has done.  Another writer puts it this way.

Worship is to honor God with extravagant love and extreme submission.

The goal of the education we give our children and youth must lead them to become “true worshippers” of God.  This is to take place throughout the entire educational process — at home, church and school.  It must lead them into a deeper knowledge of who God is which will, in turn, lead them to fulfill their purpose of glorifying Him in all that they think, say and do.

Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1 tell us that the very nature and character of God can be seen and understood by what He made (God’s creation).  Every academic subject is derived from some aspect of creation. The study of any and every subject should cause the learner to better understand and appreciate the character and work of God.

When God spoke the world into existence, He actually expressed who He is.  Creation testifies to God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20).  The study of the various sciences should “shout out” the very existence of God.  I pursued a biology major and chemistry minor in my undergraduate work.  The more complex these areas of study became the more amazed I was by the complexity and detail of the universe that an omnipotent and omniscient God literally spoke into existence (Genesis 1).

The study of human history, when it is taught through the biblical worldview lens, leads the learner to worship God in a greater way.  This is because one sees the eternal, only wise King (1 Timothy 1:17) orchestrating the rise and fall of nations in order to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

This is also true in the fields of art, music and literature.  As students delve into these areas of study, they should develop a mind to know and worship the true God who is full of beauty (Psalm 27:4).  These areas of education should cause every person to understand the beauty and creativity of God.  In turn, it should cause them to praise God in a deeper way because they will come to realize that He has gifted men and women with creative ability because all people have been created in His image.

The reality is that all education will lead a student to be a worshipper.  The question is what will he/she worship?  Will it be money, power, possessions, appearance, prestige, athletics etc.? Or will it lead them to be “true worshippers” who worship God in spirit and in truth?  This will only happen if parents, church leaders and educators set this as an important goal for the education they provide for future generations.

Will God Work In Your Life & Ministry In 2019?

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For those of us in the United States, we are probably just getting back to normal after having a break for Christmas and the New Year.  However, do we really want to merely get back to normal?  I am certain that each of you, like me, desire to see God do something that only He will get the glory for in our lives and our ministries.  If that is going to happen, I believe we must get back to understanding the ultimate purpose for education.  For the past 2-3 weeks I have been striving to re-look at education through a biblical worldview lens.  It has been an invigorating time with the Lord in prayer and His Word.  Here is what God has taught me through this time of re-focusing on my purpose.

The real purpose of education must be seen in relation to God’s highest purpose for man.  There are several passages of Scripture that have gripped me afresh over the past few weeks.

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:36 (KJV)

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Colossians 1:16-17 (KJV)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)

I know that these are probably very familiar passages to you and I have written about them in the past.  However, I believe we need to meditate on them and seize hold of them in a greater way as we enter 2019.  Everything was created by and for God.  The fact that everything was created “for” God means that everything exists for His glory alone.  Isaiah 42:8 reads, I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.  God will only work for His glory.

When you think on these passages and others, one finds that God’s highest purpose for man is what is stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

This means that the main purpose for education must be to equip children and youth with the ability to better glorify God and enjoy Him throughout all of life.  Education must guide them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes (character) that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say, and/or do.  As I contemplated this truth, I was led to re-visit what it means to glorify God.  Again, I found some Scriptures that gripped my heart and mind about this subject.

 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. John 17:4 (KJV)

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person… Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)

Jesus glorified God perfectly while He was here on earth.  The writer of Hebrews explains how Jesus did this by stating that He was the “express image of God’s person.”  Another translation puts it this way.  Jesus was the radiance of His (God’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature.  This means that one must be just like Jesus if he/she is going to glorify God in everything.  Dr. Gary Inrig makes this point when he wrote,

One’s glory is one’s reputation…God’s glory is not just His reputation but His revealed character, the display of His attributes.  To glorify someone therefore is to increase his reputation by revealing his true nature…to glorify God is to live in such a way that His character is revealed and His praise is increased! (emphasis mine)

Of course, understanding what it really means to glorify God requires us to get to know Him more each and every day we have here on earth.  This means it is imperative that we spend time with Him each day through prayer and reading His Word.  This is how He reveals Himself to us.  We cannot re-present Him if He doesn’t reveal Himself to us.

As I continued looking at education through a biblical worldview lens, I wrote down several goals that I found must be pursued if the main purpose of education is to be achieved.  When these goals are fully realized, our children and youth will be able to fulfill their purpose of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.  I will only share these goals with you in this blog.  Perhaps I can elaborate on them in future posts.

  • Education must lead people to true worship of God
  • Education must lead to transformed lives
  • Education must equip people for war
  • Education must equip people to live wisely
  • Education must lead people to advance God’s kingdom

As you consider these goals, I encourage you to not think of them merely as “religious” matters.  Most people who have subscribed to my blog are educators and/or parents.  It is easy to read about the main purpose of education and these five goals as being great for church and Sunday School.  However, you are involved in “schooling” and schooling is all about “academics.”  This is what happens when we divide life into two separate compartments — the secular and the sacred.  I want to challenge you to apply the main purpose of education and these five goals to the area of education that you are involved in as an administrator, a board member, a teacher and/or a parent.  What implications does this have for you?

I pray that 2019 will be a year like none other.  May God use you to accomplish His purpose to see future generations develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes (character) that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say, and/or do.

How To Enter A New Year

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It is hard to believe that another year is almost over.  Two thousand and eighteen years have gone by since Jesus entered the world as a baby.  Tomorrow we will begin a new year — 2019.  2018 was a milestone year for me as I marked 50 years of teaching and celebrated 50 years of marriage to my amazing wife.  As I enter 2019, I find myself wondering what the new year will be like and what does God have in store for me, my family and my ministry.

Last week I was reading in the Psalms and a couple of verses jumped off the pages and caused me to stop and reflect for a moment.  I read,

The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80), yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10 (KJV)

Of course, I gave this verse a close look because I find myself somewhere between threescore and ten and fourscore years.  It is true that life here on earth is brief and passes by so quickly and the years are filled with labor and sorrow.  I continued reading and paused at another very familiar verse.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (KJV)

It is important to pay attention to every single day that God gives us here on earth.  As I numbered my days, I found myself humbled to have been blessed by God in so many ways over the years.  God wants us to take careful account of our lives because that will cause us to acquire a heart filled with wisdom.  When we do this, we would quickly realize that, apart from Him, we can accomplish nothing of eternal significance.

So how should we enter 2019?  To answer this question, I want to reflect on two other verses that I read the other day.  These are found in Psalm 92.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Psalm 92:1-2 (KJV)

Another translation says that we should declare God’s lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness at night.  These verses have guided me over recent years on how to start and end each day as I number them.  I wrote in the margin of my Bible next to verse 2 the following thoughts.

At the beginning of each day ‘look forward’ with HOPE!

At the end of each day ‘look back’ with THANKS!

When I start a day, I should focus on God’s never-ending lovingkindness.  This gives me hope no matter what circumstances  I might face throughout any given day.  When the day ends and I look back on all that took place, I become thankful because I am always amazed that He was fully faithful to His Word.  He never fails!

I believe this is a great way to not only start and end a new day but also how to start and end a new year!  As we enter 2019, let’s do so declaring God’s lovingkindness.  I am convinced that if we did this throughout 2019, when the year comes to an end and we look back, we would find that God was completely faithful and we would end the year with thanksgiving in our hearts, singing praises to His name.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and reflect on 2018.  I am sure that we all faced some minor and major challenges over the course of the year.  There may have been a time when you may have wondered how you would even survive to see another day.  As I look back on 2018, I can only give praise to the One who was with me each step of the way.  What an amazing God we serve!  I pray that God will show forth His lovingkindness to you each day of 2019.

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:20 (KJV)

Looking Back On 2018

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It is hard to believe that 2018 will soon be over and a brand new year will be here.  As I look forward to 2019 with a sense of excitement, I want to take the opportunity to reflect back on all that God has done in my life and ministry this past year.

A couple of days ago I came to Psalm 71 in my daily Bible reading.  The Psalmist takes time to look back over his life and becomes enthralled by God’s goodness over his many days on earth.  As I read through this powerful psalm, I was reminded that God creates each and every person and actually knows him/her before he/she is formed in the womb.  Then God sustains us from birth until death.

By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.
Psalm 71:6 (NKJV)

It is because of God’s sustaining lovingkindness, we can trust Him completely for whatever the future might hold.  I found myself praising the Lord when I read these words.

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 71:14 (NKJV)

As I continued reading, I saw where I had written in the margin of my Bible the following words, my prayer at age 71.  I had written these words at the beginning of 2018.  Here are the words that I had claimed as my prayer at the beginning of this year.

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.  Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?  You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.  Psalm 71:18-21 (NKJV)

I have been reflecting on this prayer that I prayed 12 months ago and find myself amazed at how God has and continues to miraculously answer it.  There is no question that this past year has not been without some difficult valleys that I have had to pass through.  However, God has sustained me through every trial and testing and has allowed me to experience some unbelievable mountaintop experiences.

When I think about the phrase do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come, I find myself blown away by the doors of opportunity that God opened up to me during 2018.  Here are some of the awesome works that God has done in my life and ministry this year that allowed me to share the message of kingdom education to the current and future generations around the world.

  • God has led me to a deeper understanding of kingdom education over the past several months.
  • Subscribers to KEM’s weekly blogs has increased significantly throughout 2018.
  • Opportunities to travel and conduct seminars and staff inservices increased significantly across the country and even to parts of Australia.
  • A series of 32, 30-minute training videos were filmed and edited by a very talented creative team at Word of God Ministries (WOGM) in Shreveport, LA (with more being developed for release in 2019).
  • With the help of WOGM, a brand new website for Kingdom Education Ministries rolled out in early 2018.  This new website allowed me to share the message of kingdom education more effectively around the world.
  • As part of the new website, a subscription side was developed that allowed schools, churches and families to have access to a wide variety of resources at a very low rate.  This has led to over 100 subscribers (both schools and families) in five different countries to have access to training that would help them develop a stronger biblical worldview and strengthen their commitment to providing future generations with a biblical worldview education.
  • New opportunities to join with other individuals and organizations developed and continue to become available which has allowed the message of kingdom education to have a wider impact throughout the world.
  • Mentoring opportunities have begun with some godly young leaders in an effort to provide Kingdom Education Ministries with ongoing leadership.

There is no question in my mind that none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for God’s blessing and provision.  Because of God’s awesome work, I agree with the Psalmist.

Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? Psalm 71:19 (NKJV)

God has placed a greater burden on my heart to develop more resources that will allow many more homes, churches and schools worldwide understand kingdom education.  Who knows how many subscribers to KEM’s subscription website will be added to the growing numbers during the new year.  I believe that thousands of parents, church leaders and educators will be equipped through these resources and be better able to provide future generations with a biblical worldview education. 

If anyone would have asked me what 2018 would be like last January, I wouldn’t have come close to imagining what God would allow me to be a part of.  So as I look forward to 2019, I do so with a spirit of thanksgiving and excitement.  

I pray that everyone who reads this week’s blog will have a blessed and Christ-filled Christmas with family and friends.  I will be taking a couple of weeks off of writing to spend time with my family and celebrate the reality of Emmanuel – God is with us!  I look forward to connecting with you in 2019! Merry Christmas!!

Why Do You Do What You Do?

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Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

Christmas is just around the corner.  I find that too many of us get so busy at this time of year that we actually miss the season’s true meaning.  When this happens, we also lose the purpose behind our existence and all that we do here on earth.  We celebrate Christmas because it is a reminder that the only begotten Son of God came to earth and became one of us.  One of the most important names that Jesus is called at this time of year is Emmanuel.  The name means God is with us!  This is an amazing truth to try and comprehend.

When Jesus was born in the manger, it wasn’t simply about another baby being born into this world.  We read in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus was and is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.  Jesus’ birth brought glory to God because He was the express image of Him.

This wonderful truth should help each of us answer the question I am asking in today’s blog.  Why do you do what you do?  The answer must be, To give glory to God.  This is what Paul made so clear in his first letter to the church at Corinth.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)

Most of us have read this verse over and over again.  Many of us may have even memorized it.  But do we really live it out in our everyday lives?  Recently, I pulled out a book from John Piper’s series, The Swans Are Not Silent.  This one reflected on the lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller and Hudson Taylor.  I had read a biography of Müller many years ago.  His life has amazed and challenged Christians for years.  He is most known for his ministry to orphans and how he never asked for funds but trusted God completely to meet his every need.  There are accounts of times when there was no food to feed the children and God miraculously met that need while he was offering thanks before a meal.

However, many of us are unaware of what his fundamental motive was behind all that he did.  It is important to realize the scope of his orphan ministry.  Müller built five orphan houses and ministered to 10,024 orphans in his lifetime.  In fact, he never took a salary in the last 68 years of ministry.  This is hard to comprehend in today’s world of sophisticated marketing and fund raising methods so common in Christian ministries today.  Now, I am not saying that marketing and development strategies are wrong.  I merely point this out as a somewhat misconception of Müller’s primary purpose behind all he did.

See, I always thought that Müller’s ministry was done out of a deep love for orphans and that he wanted these children to have a home and come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  However, these very worthy motives were secondary to his main purpose behind all he did.  Müller’s own words unveils his deepest motive behind his ministry.

The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1) That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2) The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3) Their temporal welfare.

In Müller’s work, HIs Narrative, he makes his motive very clear.

…the orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take Him at His Word.

Again, Müller wrote:

The first and primary object of the work, was (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that God is faithful still and hears prayer still.

Piper sums up Müller’s reason behind what he did throughout his ministry by writing:

…the chief passion and unifying aim of Muller’s ministry: to live a life and lead a ministry in a way that proves God is real, God is trustworthy, and God answers prayer.

To sum up Müller’s life one could say that his aim in life was to glorify God by helping people take God at His Word.  Müller knew that the only way to accomplish this was to saturate his life with the Word of God.  He said that he read the Bible five or ten times more than he read any other books.

As we contemplate the question, Why do you do what you do?  Would we be able to say that our primary reason for all we do is to glorify God in the way that Müller did?  Do we want to see God glorified more than anything else in our lives or ministries?  Do we live our lives and lead our ministries in such a way that it reflects God’s character and proves that He is real and trustworthy?

As we prepare for Christmas may we live with the reality that God was glorified on that night in Bethlehem when the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person was born in the manger.

Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways, and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small.  Hudson Taylor