Subject: Kicking The Dog

Steve Arterburn

Remember the old phrase, ‘Stop kicking the dog?’ It describes the reaction of someone who’s been hurt or rejected, and then proceeds to take out his emotions and frustrations on those around him’usually family members who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the first place.

 

One way or another, we’re all susceptible to giving the dog a quick boot following losses and hurts that we experience, aren’t we? In fact, you will spend your adult life either making others pay for your pain, or, with God’s help, making them pay less and less.

When a man lives wounded, he withdraws himself from God and people’and that only spells trouble. It compounds the problem. To put it simply: No one likes the feelings produced from blowing it and causing harm to the relationships we deem important. And it’s precisely at this moment that the world, the flesh, and Satan get a better foothold in your heart’and that often results in sinful action you take in an attempt to ease your pain in isolation from God and your loved ones.

That’s one reason why Satan likes for those matters in your life to remain perpetually unresolved: It keeps you distanced from God, destroys your relationships, and keeps you in an ongoing position of extreme vulnerability to temptation and sin. Thankfully, God has the answer for each you, and it comes in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Standing Against Financial Trends

Steve Arterburn

It takes a great deal of courage and conviction to stand against the financial trends of the day. For example, the over-the-top housing boom of 2004 and 2005 gave most people an excuse to pull the windfall equity out of their houses and spend the money on unnecessary purchases. Or they sold their newly appreciated’and previously adequate’home and moved on up, garnering for themselves a larger piece of the pie, and a bigger mortgage to boot. There’s certainly nothing wrong with selling at the top of the market. But the trend in society is not to save windfalls, or even hard-earned excesses, but to spend them impulsively.

 

It’s true that Jesus said in the book of Matthew that we’re to take no thought for tomorrow. But these words were given in the context of Jesus saying, ‘Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’ (v. 33). Therefore, the question is: what does it mean to seek God’s kingdom first?

With regard to money, it means to live by the teaching of Scripture: Live modest, frugal, generous lives; work and save diligently as an expression of faithful trust; acknowledge that everything comes from and therefore belongs to God; adopt the attitude of a steward’a manager of that which God has entrusted to you’and seek His approval for what you do with that which is His.

Parental Acceptance

Steve Arterburn

Acceptance. We long for it, don’t we? If a young man or woman doesn’t sense, or hopefully know, they’ve been accepted by their parents’and most importantly, their father’the cloud of parental expectation will hang over their head. Children who don’t experience their parents’ acceptance have a terribly difficult time with self-acceptance.

 

Sons and daughters listens for his father’s words: ‘You’re good at that’you’re a wonderful son’I’m proud of you’I love who you are’I have confidence in your abilities.’ If he doesn’t hear them, he’ll eventually grow up and leave home without closure and without confidence he’s ready and capable to handle life.

 

Furthermore, the logic of his mind will say, ‘There must be something I haven’t done right, so I’ll keep trying; I’ll work at proving I can get it right. I’ll keep at it until I hear that I’m okay’that I’m a man.’

 

That’s how the majority of men in our culture leave home. And it’s tragic when you consider how this repeats itself from generation to generation. Only a man who hears from his father he’s accepted is free to pass this gift on to his own sons. You simply can’t give what you don’t have.

 

If you haven’t received this gift, there’s still hope for you. In Christ, you have a heavenly Father who accepts you’who truly delights in you. Seek Him. Hear His promises to you in Scripture. Let Him re-parent you.