Hope for the Abused

Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 13:1-14

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced some sort of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Sexual abuse is the most under-reported crime in the United States according to the FBI.

Consider the following four destructive spiritual effects of sexual abuse.

The Abuse of Trust — Read 2 Samuel 13:1-12
The passage in 2 Samuel is about abuse within the family. Satan is shrewd and will feed our distrust of God by orchestrating betrayal and abuse from those who ought to be trustworthy. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that you cannot trust God or anybody.


An Abuse of Power — Read 2 Samuel 13:14
Amnon overpowered Tamar in spite of her appeals to stop. Satan attempts to destroy hope by making us feel powerless. Satan can use this to lead you to believe the lie that there is no help or hope for a victim like you.

An Abuse of Guilt — Read 2 Samuel 13:13
Guilt is the legal term for those who are to blame. Shame is what a victim feels. Shame often drives victims into isolation and silence. Satan can use this to lead you to believe that you are not worthy of God’s attention or the blessing of others.

An Abuse of Love — Read 2 Samuel 13:14-20
After abusing Tamar, Amnon hated her with intense hatred, even though he was the perpetrator. Satan can use what others have done to you to make you believe that you are unlovable and should resist love.

Consider the following steps if you have suffered abuse.

• Tell Someone You Trust

• Work Through the Loss with a Gospel-centered counselor. Understand that recovery from trauma takes time.

• Loved ones must communicate safety and care. For those who love victims, please listen to them, believe them, offer compassion, get them help, and encourage them.

• If you are guilty of abuse, then you must repent, report yourself, seek forgiveness, and work toward restoration and hope.

Please visit Kingsland’s Resources for those who have suffered Sexual Abuse.

Wisdom for Communication

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 18:21

The Bible has a great deal to say about words. The words that we speak impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Our words have the power to bless people and also the power to hurt people.

The Hebrew word that’s translated “Gossip” in Proverbs is the work “rakhil” and it means one who slanders. Read the following Scriptures that teach us about Gossip:

• A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence
(Proverbs 11:13).

• A contrary person spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28).

• Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends (Proverbs 17:19).

• A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being (Proverbs 18:8).

Four Questions to Help us Avoid Gossiping:

1. Is he/she here? Is the person that you are talking about physically present?

2. Is it true? The information that we hear about a person may or may not be true.

3. Is it helpful? Are my words helpful for building someone up or do my words tear them down.

4. What does it reveal about my heart? The words we speak reflect what is within our heart. What do the words I speak reveal about my own heart?

Prayer
Ask God to help you speak words that bless others and build others up according to their needs.
Ask God to show you how you may be using your words to hurt others through gossip. Ask God to forgive you and to help you break free from the sin of gossip.
Ask God to help you speak word that bless others!

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 14:34

This week we will celebrate Independence Day. We are blessed as a nation.
Take a few moments to consider God’s blessing on us as a nation and then pray for our country.

Proverbs 14:34: ”Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
The essence of this verse is that the same God who blesses nations can also remove His blessing.

Throughout history nations have risen and fallen. Job 12:23 reminds us that God, “makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away.”

America is not perfect, but God has richly blessed us.

What are some ways that we have taken God’s blessing for our country for granted?

Righteousness exalts a nation
This does not mean all are righteous nor every leader is righteous. Righteousness refers to moral integrity, practicing justice, understanding and acting on what is right.
Practically, the presence of righteous people in a nation can make such a huge impact.
You cannot separate righteousness and liberty. Any time a people are unrighteous, they are in danger of losing their liberties.

Psalm 33:12: “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord—the people he has chosen to be his own possession!”

Sin brings down a nation
Psalm 33:10: “The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; he thwarts the plans of the peoples.”

Sin is contagious. It affects a person, a home, a nation. Without blessing from God, a nation is on shaky ground.

Discuss the poor substitutes for Divine Blessing found in Psalm 33. . .
• More knowledge: “brings the counsel of the nations to nothing”
• Great strategy: “He thwarts the plans of the peoples.”
• Stronger defense: “A king is not saved by a large army…”

Discuss some of the ways our country has moved from God’s righteousness, i.e. immigration issues, slavery, discrimination, and abortion.

Repentance Restores a Nation
If America is to be great, the source of her greatness will rest in only one place. And if America has lost her greatness, it will be restored in only one way.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 “If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, 14 and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

If we cry out to God, if we seek His face, then we have every reason to hope that our children and their children can reap the blessings of God as we have.

• Offer prayers of confession to God in some of the ways we have fallen short as a people. • Ask for God’s wisdom for our leaders.
• Ask for the Holy Spirit of God to refresh His people.

Making Wise Decisions

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Scripture Passage: Proverbs 4

What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and apply it in the right way. Foolishness is someone who is always surprised. When it comes to applying wisdom and making decisions, we can ask four questions as we wrestle with key decisions in our lives. Using the truths from proverbs, these four questions can help us make good decisions.

Four Questions for any Decision.

  1. What advice have I been given?
  2. What’s my real motive?
  3. What about others?
  4. What about the future?

ACTIVITY: Practice these questions with your kids.

  • Have your kid(s) think of a decision that needs to be made.
    Example: Should I watch that one show on Netflix. Should you go to a party? Should I take candy from the store without paying? Should you date that girl?
  • Apply these four questions
  • Discuss the answers

When you really gain an understanding of how much God loves you and that he has a purpose for your life, your choices will take on more importance! Our goal is not efficiency. Our goal is not even morality. Our goal is to bring honor and glory and praise to our God through our lives and our decisions!

Happy Father’s Day

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 3:11-12

Happy Father’s Day!

Special days like Father’s Day can be emotionally positive or negative — depending on the role our father played in our lives. God’s design for the family is to have a mom and a dad because it takes a man and woman, father and mother, to reflect God’s image to a child.

The First Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Instruction

Vs. 11 – “Do not despise the Lord’s instruction my son and do not loathe his discipline.”

The purpose of fatherly instruction is to inform and equip. Many passages in Proverbs are about a father teaching his children about living wisely. Someone noted that proverbs is not a book for philosophers to ponder but rather a book for parents to practice.

The primary duty of a father is not to fix things or take out the trash but instead to teach his children. If you are a father, what are some practical ways in which you are teaching your children to live in a way pleasing to God.

The Second Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Correction

The purpose of correction is to adjust and strengthen. Parents must love their kids enough to correct them. Requiring obedience of children is implicit in the biblical requirement that children obey their parents (read Ephesians 6:1).

The purpose of discipline and correction is to adjust and strengthen and not to humiliate or to anger. As a dad, what adjustments do you need to make in regard to how you discipline your children?

The Third Ingredient for Biblical Fatherhood is Affection

Vs. 12. “for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.”

For some, affection may be something difficult to express. We can, however, show affection by being a part of our children’s lives by being there for the big and small moments, especially those that can’t be repeated. Parents should also verbalize affection because there is power in words.

As a dad, how do you show affection to your children?

Words of a True Friend

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 18

Do you have true, strong, healthy relationships in your life? We can all relate that friends are always a huge part of our daily lives, but how do we keep them healthy so they lead us down the right path?

“I Choose You”

Every friendship begins with a choice. The truth in life is that we cannot be best friends with everyone in life, but we can choose who we are close to and who we need to keep at a distance. It is healthy to be selective and intentional with those who you invest your time and emotional energy with.

Discuss: Think of a time when you chose the wrong friend. What were the negative effects of that choice?

“I Know You”

Friendship is about getting to know someone and know someone well. Through knowing someone well we see the good things and we see the bad things, but a friend sees both of these things and still likes you anyway. Having a friend that knows a lot about you helps keep you accountable to the things of the Lord and will know when you need help.

Discuss: Who knows you well? How did that person get to know you well? When and how did that friend help you in your walk with Christ?

“I Challenge You”

A good friend isn’t someone who only says good things to you, but a true friend challenges you to be the best you that you can be. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that we need to sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron — not always a fun process but one that makes us better. We want this challenge so that we can continue to grow towards Christ.

Discuss: Who is someone in your life that challenges you toward Christ? How do they challenge you?

“I’m Committed to You”

True friends are found in adversity. A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. We have to be on the lookout for these people because they are the ones that are truly on our team through the thick and the thin.

Discuss: Who was there for you during the hard times? What did it mean to you?

The Three Dimensions of Biblical Wisdom

Scripture Passage: Proverbs 1:1-7

Biblical wisdom is similar but not the same as the wisdom of the world. Proverbs 1:1-7 shows that Biblical Wisdom has three dimensions to it.

1. Biblical Wisdom is Moral | Proverbs 1:3
If you asked someone what wisdom is, the first answer you’d probably get would have something to do with morals and deciding about right and wrong. The pictures we have in our head about Solomon usually involves him being confronted with a complicated situation with no easy answers and somehow he decides on what the right thing to do. And it’s true. This is a huge dimension of what wisdom is. Wisdom will help you be righteous, seek justice, and be fair with all people even in complicated situations. But that is not the whole story.

2. Biblical Wisdom is Practical | Proverbs 1:2, 4-6
The Hebrew word for wisdom is best translated as “skill.” It is used to describe the ability of the craftsmen who worked on the tabernacle in Exodus 31:6. The Proverbs are not abstract concepts. They are radically practical.

Wisdom isn’t just something you know. It’s something you do. It is learning to live skillfully. Verses 2 literally says, “to receive instruction in wise behavior.” The word we use here at Kingsland for this is “true fulfillment.” You will find true fulfillment when you acquire wisdom, literally when you learn the skill of living well.

3. Biblical Wisdom is Theological Proverbs !:7
Wisdom is moral. Wisdom is practical. But the most important dimension of wisdom is that it is theological, which is just a fancy way of saying that it is God-Focused. Several times in the proverbs, including in verse 7, we are reminded that “fear of the Lord” is where everything begins.

People often think “fearing God” means that we should be afraid of God. But that is not what it means. We are told that God loves us (John 3:16), and that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). So fearing God cant mean to be afraid of Him.

Fearing God means to be “to wonder and be amazed at.” The difference is discerned in its effect on us. To be afraid of something makes you run away from it. To be awed by something makes you want to draw closer to it. Fearing God is to be amazed by who God is and to desire to draw closer to Him.

This is the most important dimension of wisdom because it is the source. Wisdom comes from being in right relationship with the one who made the world.

• Wisdom is moral, it will help you make right decisions in hard situations.
• Wisdom is practical, it will help you learn to live skillfully.
• Wisdom is theological, it will draw you closer to God, and the closer you are to God the more His life will flow into yours.

Discussion Questions:
• What does it mean that wisdom is learning to live skillfully?
• What does it mean to fear God? Why is it the beginning of becoming wise?

Three Choices for Life

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Scripture Passage: Proverbs 31:8-9

A picture frame gets its value from the art or image inside of it. The Sanctity of Life discussion is rooted in the truth that we have value because our human frames bear the image of God–not because of how powerful we are, what ethnicity we are, or because of anything we can offer to society.

As Christ-followers, there are three key choices we have to make in our defense of the sanctity of life.

1. Always Choose People Over Convenience.
We need to embrace the value and personhood of those who “have no voice.”

“Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed.”
-Proverbs 31:8

Valuing life doesn’t just apply to abortion. We show we value life when we appreciate and defend all life regardless of class, disability, age, etc.

2. Always Choose Right Over Injustice. 
When we say that our convenience is more important than the value of life, we are placing ourselves on the throne instead of God. We must do what is right even in the face of wrong-doing, confusion, or opposition.

3. Always Choose Grace Over Condemnation. 
We must understand that regardless of the mistakes from our past, complete forgiveness and freedom can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s grace and forgiveness provides healing from our hurts and gives us a new start!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
-1 John 1:9

Discussion Questions:

  • What kinds of people are in danger of being devalued in our culture?
  • Has there ever been a time where you stood up for someone who was being devalued? Why did you do that?
  • What are the challenges or risks in defending the devalued?
  • What is something you can decide to do today to show sanctity for life?

Click here for a digital copy of the parent’s guide to discussing Sanctity of Life with your kids.

On Singleness

Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 7:7-9

We all have been single and in all likelihood will experience singleness again. If you are single you have the opportunity to use you singleness to honor and glorify God. If you are married, you have the opportunity to love and understand people who are single.

Three ways to find fulfillment in singleness.

1. Guard your heart.
Fulfillment does not come from objects or people.

2. Embrace your freedom.
We should find joy in our current season of life.
We have freedom to pursue our calling in singleness.
We have the freedom to pursue marriage.

3. Rest in Jesus.
Everything you need for contentment is right here in this season of life in Jesus.

Think About It
• Are there areas in your life where you are seeking fulfillment in objects or people?

• Do you have contentment in the current season of life you are in? Why or why not?

• How are you currently pursuing your calling?

• Do you believe that everything you have everything you need for satisfaction in this season of life? Why or why not?

• How can you care for someone who is single right now?

• If you are single, how can your practically pursue God’s calling in your life?

Reminder: You are enough in Jesus Christ!

How to Honor Your Parents

Scripture Passage: Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-4

1. Honor Begins with Obedience


Parents are responsible for giving their children clear rules and guidelines to follow. Guidelines remove the guesswork for kids and provide them with a foundation for obedience. One way in which children can honor their parents is by obeying them.

• If you are a parent, do you give clear guidelines for your children to follow?

• If you are a child, how has obeying your parents protected you from potential harm?

2. Honor Leads to Blessing
The Fifth Commandment states: “Honor your father and mother so that you may have long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

The universal command for all people of any age is not obedience but honor. The Bible doesn’t tell grown-ups that they have to obey their parents. As adults, we honor our parents by giving weight to their counsel and by giving consideration to their needs as aging adults.

• If you are an adult and your parents are still living, what are some ways in which you can honor your mother and father?

Consider these suggestions for how you can honor your mother on this Mother’s Day and beyond.

• Listen to your mother (Proverbs 1:8-9)

• Respect Your Mother (Proverbs 30:17)

• Protect Your Mother (John 19:26-27 and 1 Timothy 5:8)

• Thank your mother (Proverbs 31:28)

3. Honor Changes Culture
The promise in the Fifth Commandment was more than a personal promise to an individual. It was a promise to the entire culture. There is a foundational aspect to honoring our parents — and when we lose it, then the entire structure of society starts to crumble.

• If children of all ages were to stop honoring their parents, what would be the potential impact on our society?