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Generational curses: are children punished for their parents’ sins?

If you’ve been in the church for any length of time, you’ve probably heard generational curses discussed. There are two conflicting opinions:

  • God punishes children for the sins of their parents.
  • God doesn’t punish children for the sins of their parents.

Why the confusion?

Verses seem to support and argue against generational curses…

Exodus 20:5, 34:7, Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9 indicate God punishes children for the sins of their parents:

You shall not bow down to [idols] nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.

Other such as Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:2-4, 20 indicate God doesn’t punish children for the sins of their parents:

Ezekiel 18:2-4, 20 The LORD says, “What do you mean by this proverb, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? This proverb shall no more be used. Behold, the soul who sins shall die…The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father…the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

The people said they were punished (their teeth were bad: “set on edge”), because of their parents’ sins (the “sour grapes” they ate). God said, “Don’t say this anymore. You’ll be punished for your own sins!”

So which is it? Continue reading Generational curses: are children punished for their parents’ sins?

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Don’t be discouraged when confused by Scripture!

Confused by Scripture - confused person looking in maze

Every Christian has been confused by Scripture at times. Here’s part of a message I received from someone after a study I taught:

Last week, I took the entire chapter [from the study], copied it to Word, and then made spaces for notes. I thought I was prepared. But I wasn’t as prepared as I was hoping. I will just keep working on it.

I can tell the person was discouraged, and this is something I’ve encountered regularly. Here are two passages that should discourage us from being discouraged:

  1. “Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand“(2 Peter 3:15-16). The Apostle Peter himself read Paul’s letters and found them difficult to understand at times.
  2. “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating” (1 Peter 1:10-11). The prophets were given the very words of God. Even they had to “inquire” and “search carefully” to understand the revelation in each other’s writings.

Why does God allow certain parts of Scripture to be confusing?

God’s Word offers wisdom that can’t be found anywhere else. This makes it unbelievably valuable and reveals why it is is compared with precious jewels: Continue reading Don’t be discouraged when confused by Scripture!

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Reformation Day and the Five Solas

Five Solas marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierreUnfortunately, Halloween comes to mind when many people think of October 31st. This date actually looks back on one of the most dramatic moments in church history. On this day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his list of grievances against the Catholic Church to the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. These Ninety-Five Theses became the catalyst for the Reformation, which produced the Five Solas.

Martin Luther spoke one of my favorite quotes when the Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate him. He said:

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the Popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.

The Catholic Church was unable to defend their false teaching with Scripture or respond to Luther’s criticisms. On May 25, 1521 Luther was declared an outlaw and his literature was banned. The Catholic Church said, “We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic.” It was a crime for anyone in Germany to give him food or shelter.

Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). It’s hard to argue there are more significant fulfillments of this promise than the victory God produced through Martin Luther. When October 31st rolls around each year we would do well to think not of Halloween, but of the Reformation and the Five Solas.

In honor of the Reformation I want to provide a brief summary of each of the Five Solas!

1. The Five Solas: Sola Fide—“Faith Alone”

This excludes any works from being necessary for salvation. Justification – or being declared righteous by God – is received by faith only, apart from anything man can do. At the time the Catholic Church emphasized the use of indulgences (donated money) to purchase status, and even forgiveness, with God. Works, such as baptism and other sacraments, were seen as required for salvation. Continue reading Reformation Day and the Five Solas

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The One Thing to Avoid When Judging

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-judgingIn Matthew 7:1 Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Last post, 3 Truths About Judgingdiscussed what this verse is not saying: judging is wrong. So what is it saying? The primary rule for interpreting Scripture is to look at context. Let the Bible be the commentary on the Bible. Matthew 7:2 says:

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 

We will be judged with the same standard we use with others

If you judge someone for doing something, you better make sure you don’t do it. If you judge people for:

  • Lying, you better not lie
  • Losing their tempers, you better not lose your temper
  • Being late late, you better be on time
  • Watching or listening to things they shouldn’t, you better not watch or listen to anything compromising
  • Gossiping, you better not gossip
  • Not serving, you better be a servant

There’s nothing wrong with saying something is sin, but there is something wrong with saying something is sin while committing the same sin yourself. It’s similar to Romans 2:1: Continue reading The One Thing to Avoid When Judging

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3 Truths About Judging

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-judgingLast post discussed what correcting people is: loving. This post will discuss what it is not. Unfortunately, if you correct some people you’ll often be criticized for judging.

In Matthew 7:1 Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This verse might have the distinction of being the most misunderstood and misinterpreted in all of Scripture. There are people who have never opened a Bible, but if they’re confronted they’re going to respond with some version of Jesus’ words.

When Jessica Simpson received criticism from the Christian community she said, “It didn’t really surprise me because I grew up with a lot of that backlash. That’s why I didn’t end up going into the Christian music industry. I think that if they’re really good Christians the judgment wouldn’t be there.” That pretty much sums up the attitude of many people. This is the mentality in the world, and unfortunately it can even be a mentality that creeps into the church.

1. Judging is something everyone does

Some people love to throw out Matthew 7:1 as though you can never say anything is wrong. But there is a real inconsistency – and even hypocrisy – with these people. Those who condemn others for judging do plenty of judging themselves. If you asked some of these people, “Is it wrong to murder, abuse children, or steal from others?” unless there is something wrong with them, they’re going to say, “Yes.” In answering in the affirmative they are judging. Continue reading 3 Truths About Judging

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Correcting People Is Loving

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-correcting peopleLast post discussed the importance of correcting people, something largely ignored by the world. Our culture often says “love” means letting people do whatever they want whether it is detrimental to them or anyone else. Disagreeing with someone’s choices or lifestyle makes you at best unloving, and at worst hateful. This logic demands sitting back silently while people make decisions that are detrimental to them or others.

The Bible, on the other hand, points out the logical reality that love demands correcting people:

Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

He will love you, because he has the wisdom to recognize you have done him a favor.

Correcting People: The Behavior of Friends Versus Enemies

David saw it as an act of love to be rebuked by someone: Continue reading Correcting People Is Loving

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3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre - giving correctionGiving correction is vitally important to the health and joy of marriages, families, churches, businesses, teams, etc. You name it – any group or organization that involves relationships – requires giving correction.

Why is that? We’re sinners. We sin against others and others sin against us. We have to be able to give correction to others, and we have to allow others to correct us. Here are three reasons this is so important!

1. Giving correction protects against bitterness.

When people sin against us, it can create an offense. We have to talk to the person that upset us. The alternative allows bitterness to develop, and it can have far-reaching consequences:

Hebrews 12:15b Lest any root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.

Nothing ruins relationships faster than having an offense but not going to the person that offended you. The hurt festers creating anger and hostility. Continue reading 3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

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Why we should follow the script (or Scripture)

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

We homeschool our children, taking them through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons when they’re around four. We’ve been pleased with the book, including the way the instruction is presented like a script. The words Katie is supposed to say are in red, and our child’s responses are in black. There’s a response provided if a child answers correctly, and a different response if a child answers incorrectly.

“Don’t deviate from the script!”

Corrective Reading
Corrective Reading

When I taught elementary school, I was taught a very similar program, called Corrective Reading. I remember thinking at the training, “Anyone could do this!” One of the most common instructions they told us was, “Don’t deviate from the script.”

Unfortunately, when I went back to the classroom to teach my own students there were times I completely disregarded the instruction I was given:

  • Sometimes I thought something was unnecessary.
  • Sometimes I thought I could say it better myself.
  • Sometimes I thought it would be better if I added something.

Here’s what I noticed very quickly:

  • When I followed the script, things went well.
  • When I deviated from the script, there were problems.

If I had to say why I deviated from the script, I believe the answer is obvious. I thought I knew better than the author. Continue reading Why we should follow the script (or Scripture)

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Where true greatness comes from…

Marriage Gods Way author Scott LaPierre - Where true greatness comes from
Jacob blesses Pharaoh (Genesis 47:7-10)

Where does true greatness come from? The answer is revealed in one of the most unique meetings in Scripture. Joseph rose to a position of great prominence in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. When he brought his family to Egypt he introduced his father, Jacob, to Pharaoh. Genesis 47:7-10 records the meeting between these two men:

Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How old are you?”
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

Two Very Different Men

Pharaoh was the ruler of the known world. He was the wealthiest, most powerful man in his day. He lived a life of luxury and extravagance few can imagine, even being an object of worship by his people. This helps explain why four centuries later God destroyed Pharaoh and his nation with the worst plagues ever known. The Lord convinced the world there’s only one God, and it’s not Pharaoh. Before that though, nobody was greater or more impressive than Pharaoh. At least from an earthly perspective. Continue reading Where true greatness comes from…

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Does the Gospel make God an abomination?

People mean well when they say all sins are the same, but the problem is they’re not! One way they’re different is certain sins are identified as an abomination. Two such examples are recorded in Proverbs 17:5:

He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

Two groups are an abomination to the Lord:Marriage-Gods-Way-author-Scott-LaPierre - Does the Gospel make God an abomination?

  1. Those who justify the wicked.
  2. Those who condemn the just.

The tremendous irony is this is exactly what God does through the Gospel!

God justifies the wicked, which is an abomination

Romans 4:5 says God, “justifies the wicked.”

The word justify means, “to declare righteous. The Lord takes evil, wretched people and justifies them through faith in Jesus Christ. Continue reading Does the Gospel make God an abomination?

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The mistake we make (that we think we don’t)

There’s a mistake most Christians make, and ironically it’s a mistake we tend to think we don’t makeThe mistake is that we tend to think everything we believe is grounded in Scripture. To be clear, I know for most of our beliefs this is the case, but we also have some beliefs that are shaped more by our backgrounds:

  • The way we were raised
  • The churches we’ve attended
  • The friends we’ve had
  • The books we’ve read

Marriage Gods Way author Scott LaPierre - The mistake we makeEssentially anything that has influenced our lives is going to influence our beliefs. If your background is Baptist, Catholic, Calvary Chapel, Nazarene, home church, Reformed, charismatic, etc. you’re going to have some beliefs that are affected by those experiences. This leads to convictions, preferences, and practices that are different from those with different backgrounds. And generally when people have had strong beliefs for some period of time, they can become more resistant to having those beliefs challenged or changed.

A refreshing conversation

Some time back I noticed a friend had some strong beliefs about something that I didn’t think was unbiblical, but I couldn’t think of any verses in support. I suspected the person might have acquired these convictions from someone the person often quoted. I asked, “Do you think you would feel this way if you never listened to this teacher?”  Continue reading The mistake we make (that we think we don’t)

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Avoiding Painful Decisions

2 Samuel 11Marriage-Gods-Way-author-Scott-LaPierre - Life Changing Decisions is probably one of the most familiar chapters in Scripture, because it recounts David’s sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. Something that really stands out to me is the way David’s decisions changed the trajectory of his entire life.

The last verse of 2 Samuel 10 says, “And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.”

This verse is significant not so much because of what it says, but because of what it represents. This is the pinnacle of both David’s reign and life. Everything will change after this. While David’s life was previously characterized by victories and triumphs, now it will be characterized by pain and loss. David spent much of the rest of his life moving from one horrible situation to the next.

Certain decisions change the course of our lives 

Following David’s repentance Nathan told him, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Sam 12:13b). This reveals that, yes, we can be forgiven. Yes, God might be gracious. But our lives on this side of heaven might never be the same. Continue reading Avoiding Painful Decisions