They Were Moses’ Nephews. They Were Aaron’s Sons

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God expects His people to take worship seriously. In the Patriarchal age, Cain was denied acceptance when he offered the wrong sacrifice with the wrong attitude. During the time when the Law of Moses was in effect, the Israelites were often found sinful in their worship in both heart and habit. In the New Testament age, we are commanded to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God, which is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1-2). Jesus said that the Father would be seeking true worshipers to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). God wants us to honor Him. He wants us to regard Him as holy. He wants us to be obedient. He wants our worship to be about Him so He can be glorified and we can be encouraged. He will not accept human substitutes.

This is why what two Levites once did was so terribly evil (Leviticus 10:1-2).

Nadab and Abihu were priests. They were sons of Aaron, the first high priest of the house of Israel. They stood between God and His people and helped to atone for the daily sins of the children of God. They had been given the responsibility to carry out the worship and sacrifices of God’s holy tabernacle. This was the same tabernacle that contained the Ark of the Covenant within. This was the same tabernacle where God appeared before them from time to time in the form of a cloud or of fire. This was the same tabernacle where God’s presence was ever abiding just above the mercy seat. This was the same tabernacle where God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend, face to face.

They were Moses’ nephews. They were Aaron’s sons. They knew better than to offer strange fire to the one and only, pure and powerful Jehovah! But they did it anyway. And so God’s justice demanded they be consumed. In a moment, they were dust. God always means what He says. He is never wrong and He never has to apologize for His sovereignty or His holiness. When these men were killed by fire from heaven, Moses told Aaron not to say a word. Aaron held his peace. Yet they were Moses’ nephews! They were Aaron’s sons!

This life-event in the history of God’s people brings to mind two astounding Bible truths:

1. No matter how much we love our children, they are going to be held accountable for their actions. The soul that sins will die (Ezekiel 18:20). It doesn’t matter if it is your child or not. It does not matter how much you love them. It does not matter how much you are willing to help them. It does not matter if you would even be willing to take their place in hell so that they could have your place in heaven. Each one of us is going to give an account of ourselves to God individually (2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Romans 14:12).

2. Every sinner is somebody’s child. We often tend to be unaffected by the fact that countless souls are lost. Maybe they have hurt many people and maybe they have made terrible choices. Maybe they are foreigners in a culture far removed from us, speaking a language we do not understand. But how do we feel when it is our kid who has to be picked up at the police station? How do we feel when it is our kid who has left the church? How do we feel when it is our kid who is the prodigal? God is longsuffering because every person who disobeys Him is, in reality, one of His own children. It is hard to imagine how Moses and Aaron must have felt about the condemnation of their own flesh and blood. It makes our hearts groan for them. Perhaps this tragedy helped them to have patience and compassion in their roles of leadership when the rest of God’s people were being so stubborn, faithless, and disobedient.

Disobedience to God should always break our hearts. It should break our hearts for the one who has been disobedient. It should break our hearts for the One who has disobeyed. It should break our hearts for the families it destroys.

Look out among you, my friends.  Sin is serious and it will separate us eternally from those we love. If Moses and Aaron weren’t excused from the consequences of sin, neither shall we be.

They were Moses’ nephews. They were Aaron’s sons. But they were lost!

“Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ And Aaron held his peace.” – Leviticus 10:3


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6 Ways to Encourage Your Children to be Readers

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Let me say at the outset: when I was a young person (especially a teenager), I did not like reading. I think it was because in school we “had” to read certain books. I’m glad for that experience now, but I didn’t like it at the time.

Today, Leah and I both love reading. We try to find books all the time and add them to our shelves. And we want our children to be readers. They both are, to an extent. Of course, some kids will enjoy reading more than others. That’s to be expected, and it is okay. We firmly believe, though, that reading is a major key to their future.

We believe that first and foremost because God’s will is revealed in a book–the Bible–that must be read and followed if we are to be found faithful.

But we also believe that because virtually every occupation requires reading if one is to be successful. So, we heavily stress reading in our home. Here are some simple things you can do to encourage your children to be readers.

1. Have Lots of Books in the House. You don’t have to have a house where every nook and cranny is filled with books, but studies prove that houses that have more books have children to enjoy reading more. Get lots of books on things that interest them. Visit used book stores, yard sales, and utilize the internet to get books for very little money. We rarely buy a new book (unless it is for a birthday or Christmas gift), choosing rather to get three or four used books for the same money. Put the books in visible places and just let the kids migrate to topics that interest them.

2. Be a Reader Yourself. Example is a powerful teacher. If you are always telling your kids to read while you are watching TV, they will rarely develop a love for reading. But if they see you open the Bible, a novel, or a good history book on a regular basis, they will be curious as to why you find those “book things” so interesting.

3. Read to Your Children. A parent reading to a child creates a positive experience around books and reading, making it more likely that the child will want to read for him or herself. After all, what little kid does not want to be like mom and dad? So, if “big people” read to children, then don’t be surprised to find your daughter reading to her dolls or your son reading to his stuffed animals. That’s fantastic!

4. Be a Regular at the Local Library. My wife is great about taking our kids to the library and letting them read there, as well as check out books to bring home. Libraries, in many places, also offer special reading programs for children that are a great to let them connect with other children who enjoy reading and stories. (And the books are free!)

5. Let Them Write Their Own Stories. Kids need to learn that these great stories do not just come from thin air, but someone had to write them down, and it was a difficult process! By writing their own stories, they see just how much work–but fun work–goes into making those great stories they like to read.

6. Expect Them to Read. This is huge. What parents expect and hold their children accountable for will get done. I don’t think we necessarily have to have a “required reading list” (although that’s not a bad idea at times), but simply expecting children to read a book each week, or a short story book each day, is a great thing for parents to do. It does not need to be harshly enforced, but a stated expectation helps the child see that reading is a regular part of life.

Now that you are done reading this post…go read something…to your kids!


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What Season Is It?

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How many different ways is the word “seasonal” used? I’m not sure I will exhaust the ways, but here are a few:

  • The various seasons of the year
  • Various holiday seasons
  • Certain times of the year are known for certain sports: baseball season; football season; basketball season; etc.
  • Hunting seasons
  • Periods of our lives
  • Seasons when various types of clothing are fashionable

Again, I’m sure that the list could go on and on, but there is one thing that is not–or at least it should not be–seasonal.

Our relationship with Christ and our commitment to Him is to be both constant and growing. The Lord never intended for us to be committed to Him only during those times when it is convenient for us; when the calendar says it is a “holy day” or “holy season;” or only on certain occasions (like when I’m around other Christians).

His challenge to me is to “…take up [my] cross daily, and follow [Him]” (Luke 9:23, KJV, emphasis added). Maybe that is why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to a young preacher that he was to “preach the word, be ready in season and out of season…” (2 Tim. 4:2, ESV). 

As we recognize the change from winter to spring; as some people celebrate a special “holy day;” as one athletic season comes to a close and another begins; as we put away some of our winter clothes in favor of a more “seasonable” wardrobe; it is my prayer that all of us who wear the name of Christ will conduct ourselves in such a way that sends a strong message.

On second thought, my life is sending one of two messages every day. 

Hopefully, my life is saying, “My relationship with my Lord is the most important thing in my life–all the time. It never changes.”

Unfortunately, the message my life could be sending is something like: “Jesus is Somebody I pay lip service to and Christianity is the lifestyle I profess to follow, but I can take it or leave it. It all depends on a variety of circumstances.”

Which message is your life sending?

Is your commitment to Jesus seasonal or constant?


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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {April 24, 2015 edition}

Isn’t this an amazing time of year? The weather where we are has been gorgeous. A bit rainy, but that’s just to be expected. Then, some of our friends up north are still experiencing snow! It is just a reminder of how unpredictable things are, but also how great it is to live in a world with variety.

This week, we take a moment to thank our Patreon supporters again. These individuals contribute at least $5 each month to help us offset the cost of producing our site, blog, and podcast. Thank you to Debbie Hallman, Janis Taylor, Faapisa, and Brad Toy for supporting our work! If you would like to see how you can help (for as little as $1 per month), visit our page on Patreon.

We hope you’ve had a good week and that you will make sure to put God first on His day this weekend.

With that said, on to this week’s family links.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

Parenting God’s Way {The Morning Drive}. This post brings everything back to the basics, reminding parents (and those who might be parents in the future) of how to take a survey of how they are doing in the eyes of God. A great post!

The Importance of Grandparents {Of the Hearth}. This post does a great job of listing just some of the reasons why grandparents make such an impact on a family. I’m so thankful our kids have four wonderful and godly grandparents!!!

11 Things I Didn’t Understand about Parenting Until I Became a Parent {for the family}. Some of these are humorous, but the overall post is very powerful. This one is worth sharing.

5 Things Parents Should Stop Doing {Mark Merrill}. I hope that, as you read this list, you find yourself saying “amen” five times! Each parent needs to work on one of these, but the overall list is powerful.

God’s View of Children {9th Avenue Church of Christ}. This is a sermon I preached last Sunday. It got a lot of positive comments, so I thought I’d share it here for you to listen to.

Our Week in Review

These posts were not necessarily written during the last 7 days, but they drew the most views in that time. (Original publication date in parenthesis)

#5: Training Children for Worship 3: Prayer Checklist and “Time for Worship” Cards for Kids {Free Printables} (November 5, 2014)

#4: Hymn Reflection: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” (July 5, 2013)

#3: While We Can (April 21, 2015)

#2: A Letter to Satan (April 22, 2015)

#1: An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue church of Christ (December 4, 2014)

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Episode 28: Children, Obey Your Parents in the Lord {Podcast}

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Today marks the final episode in our April emphasis on “What an Ephesians Home Looks Like.” After considering the Biblical role of wives and husbands, today Adam and Leah discuss Ephesians 6:1-4, and the role that children play in making a home what it should be.

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Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

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A Letter to Satan

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Let me begin by saying that we are not friends. We are enemies. It is important for me to admit that right at the outset because, let’s be honest (if you can be honest), you want me to think you are my friend.

You aren’t. You are my enemy…my worst enemy.

But I am still writing you today because I have some things I need to get off my chest. It’s time I finally said some things about you that I have kept to myself for too long.

I hate what you do to people. People I know and love. I hate what you have done to me before. I hate how you draw people in, making them think they are getting something great, but leaving them with nothing but guilt and destruction.

I hate every broken home.

I hate every time a child is hurt.

I hate every time a congregation of the church goes astray.

I hate every addiction.

I hate every prison sentence.

But that’s not what I bring, you say. Liar! You are nothing more than a liar. That is what you bring. It may take awhile to get to that point, but that’s what you bring to people’s lives.

Now, I know what you are thinking (after all, I’m not ignorant of your devices). You are remembering ways you have tempted me and won in time’s past. In fact, you are probably already scheming the next temptation you are going to put in my path, since I am being so bold as to call you out.

Yes, you’ve won some battles. I do not deny that. I have fallen for your schemes, and it was always my fault. No one else made me do it. You didn’t even make me fall. I did, and I’m sure that there will be a time in the future when I will fall for some temptation again.

After all, you know me very well. You know what tempts me, and you have really good timing of knowing when to place temptations in front of me.

But Satan, I want you to know that I am going to win. Well, that’s not exactly true. What I should say is WE are going to win.

Oh, me and who else? you ask.

Did you forget that I contacted the blood of Jesus through baptism a few years ago? Did you forget that I have a Christian family all around me, helping me to fight against you? Did you forget that I have God on my side?

There’s no doubt that you have won a few battles against me, and I’m sure you’ll win a few more in the future. But Satan, I want you to know: Christ has already won the war over you, and I’m on His side. Firmly and totally on His side.

So, today, I am calling you out. Today, I am posting this letter so people will see the real you. You aren’t some fun-loving gift-giver. You are a terrible, evil, lying loser, and I am going to submit to God and resist you.

With that said, go away.



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While We Can

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James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). As we age we realize the truth of this statement. It reminds us there are certain things we must do while we can.

1. We must love our parents while we can. The lyrics to a song with this sentiment say it best:

They tied our shoes, took us to school, patched our worn-out jeans. They soothed our tears and calmed our fears, and listened to our dreams. Somewhere along their golden years, their hair has lost its sheen. The notes to hymn one-hundred-ten crackle when they sing. And now they are alone, no children’s voices fill their empty homes. We must love them while we can, we must love them while we can. For time just seems to hurry by, and the days slip into years. And the moments that we have will disappear. So love them while we can.

Those who care for aging parents deal with frustration, challenges, and loss that no one else can understand. It often leaves them feeling that they just can’t take anymore. But the time will soon come when their parents will be gone and they will miss them. They deserve love today. We will regret not showing them the love they have shown for us. We must love them while we can.

2. We must teach our children about God while we can. Other lyrics to the song go as follows:

“The folks who taught us our first words, still have much to say. The silver secrets of the world, lie beneath those crowns of gray. As they approach the end, we change our role from children to best friend.”

The relationship we have with our children constantly changes. One minute they take first steps and the next minute those steps are leading them right out the door. Ball games and school projects, sleepovers and birthday parties, family vacations and back-to-school nights…they all fill this precious time we have with our children. But our pinnacle task is to use the moments we have been given with our young children to help them to know the Lord and His word.

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is not in the leaving but rather in the lack of training wherein we lose our children to the world. We must teach our children about God while we can.

3. We must obey the gospel while we can. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 describes the coming of Christ and His judgment on the lost: “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What does it mean to obey the gospel? The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-3). Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3). The Bible teaches that we contact the saving blood of Christ through immersion in water, because of our repentant faith and confession that Jesus is the Son of God.

We can shuffle our feet all we want to. We can debate about our lack of our perfection, doubt our commitment, or argue about the plan. But if we do not obey the gospel, we will lose our eternal souls. Death will come in a moment, and it is unlikely that we will know the hour of its arrival. We must obey the gospel while we can.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:16

“For man also does not know his time…” – Ecclesiastes 9:12


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“Missing the Mark” (Another Look)

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Recently one of our deacons presented a devotional at a men’s breakfast we have each month where I preach. According to him, it was his first time to present a devotional of any kind in any setting. Along with all of the other men there, I thought he did an outstanding job.

One part of his presentation really made me do some thinking. Part of that was due to the material he presented. Part of my thinking was also because of what I know about the man presenting the material.

He was doing a great job talking about different aspects of sin. Much of what he said has been said by others on various occasions, but repetition is not a bad thing. In fact, Peter informs his readers that he would consider it to be a part of his duty to remind us of things we already know (cf. 2 Peter 1:12-13). 

It was then he started talking about the fact that one of the words in the Greek language that is translated as “sin” in the New Testament literally means “to miss the mark.” I am always challenged when I am reminded of that.

I was especially challenged this time because I knew that the man reminding me of that is a very accomplished skeet shooter. He has won numerous awards for his ability in that field.

As I listened to him and thought of “missing the mark,” I thought of how good he is as hitting a moving target. I also thought about how difficult that must be and how much practice it has taken him to be as proficient as he is.

I then thought of how frustrating it is for any of us to try to “hit a moving target” in other areas of our lives. When parents keep changing their expectations for their children, the children become very frustrated. Many give up on trying to hit a moving target as children and  end up doing their own thing. 

Could it be that the reason morals are on the decline in our nation is that the standards keep changing? When what is accepted today becomes unacceptable tomorrow or when the reverse is true, it is difficult to “hit a target” like that.

On one level, it is encouraging to know that God’s standard–His “target”–is constant. Since the time when the last inspired writer, John, passed from this life, the Divine Standard has been God’s will for us as it is revealed in His Holy Book. 

On another level, it is discouraging for me when I “miss the mark” in the most important area of my life. Some may become so discouraged that they just quit trying. Others may foolishly think they can actually become so proficient that they hit the target all of the time.

Still others will see their weaknesses as evidence of their need for a Savior. They will, as the song says, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way…”  I hope that all who read these words are in this last group. 

None of us can be sinless (cf, Rom. 3:10, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10, etc.). We can, however, allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from sin as we “walk in the light” and receive forgiveness as we, with a penitent heart, confess our sins to Him (cf. 1 John 1:7, 9).

I have no idea how many awards our deacon may have won over the years. I do know, though, that all of them together do not compare with that “crown of life” all of us hope to receive someday. 

I’m thankful that he reminded us to “keep shooting.”


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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {April 17, 2015 edition}

As I type this, it is raining…again. They say that April showers bring May flowers. If that is true, everything in this part of the country should have a bloom on it next month. It has rained constantly, but all that is good and helps us appreciate days when the sun shines.

On to this week’s family links.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

Press On Moms: The Pew Training Battles {There’s an App for That}. Moms who bring children to worship and help train them are doing a great work. This post encourages them to keep it up!

Family Conversations around the Table {for the family}. We all know that talking around the table helps a family, but how can we make these conversations interesting for everyone? This is a practical post with some fun ideas.

Children and Arrows {The Morning Drive}. The imagery of Psalm 127:4 is powerful. In this post, Scott gives some practical questions to help us think through if we are really “aiming” our children as we should.

7 Things You Should Stop Doing to Your Spouse in Public {Mark Merrill}. I can’t tell you how much I like this post. This is needed by every husband and wife!

Don’t Let Gaming Ruin Your Marriage {Nurturing Marriage}. It may not be video game playing, but the principles of this post can be applied to a myriad of things that drain the intimacy of a great marriage.

How to Reward Your Child {Project Family}. A great post about how children need reward, but do not need to be rewarded for every little thing they ever do.

Our Week in Review

These posts were not necessarily written during the last 7 days, but they drew the most views in that time. (Original publication date in parenthesis)

#5: Who Are These People? (April 13, 2015)

#4: A Different Take on Being the Salt of the Earth (April 15, 2015)

#3: Hymn Reflection: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (July 5, 2013)

#2: An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue church of Christ (December 4, 2014)

#1: Singing the Dents (April 14, 2015)

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Episode 27: Husbands, Love Your Wives

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The month of April continues, and we continue to look at the book of Ephesians. This week, Adam and Leah discuss what it means for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. We hope you enjoy this practical discussion of a very important text.Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 4.39.55 PM

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

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