Monthly Archives: October 2013
Tim Challies shares “18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids.” Here is his list and check out his website for his expanding on each one. What are some things you will never regret doing with your kids?
1. Praying with them for them
2. Reading books to them.
3. Kissing them goodnight.
4. Taking them to church.
5. Taking them out for breakfast..
6. Letting my friends be their friends
7. Doing family devotions
8. Disciplining them.
9. Doing special things..
10. Asking their forgiveness.
11. Forgiving them.
12. Loving their mother.
13. Identifying God’s Grace.
14. Expressing affection.
15. Planning little surprises.
16. Giving them my full attention.
17. Pointing to the gospel.
18. Telling them “I love you
I post this article as an encouragement for my wife and daughter and think there might be a few others out there who need these gospel truths to be reminded of. I watch the two closest women in my life manage a lot of things and then at times fall into the “overwhelmed” mode. My wife keeping up with our farmstead and the demands and requests of others on her. My daughter keeping up with 6 boys who are either highly energetic or when tired tend to create as much or even more chaos. Trust this will help them and a few of you take a deep breath of truth.
For men reading this; it can serve as a source of washing your wife with the water of the Word of God.
This article is by Jen Thorn at http://jenthorn.com/blog
I had a pretty good weekend. We finally took the kids apple picking, had some good family time, baked an apple crips and a bunch of zucchini and banana bread, taught the older kids how to play the game of Life and enjoyed a wonderful time of worship and fellowship at church.
All that fun was forgotten as soon as I looked at my to-do list for the coming week and bad things started to happen. The fact that I haven’t slept well these last few days plus the fact that my list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair made me feel super overwhelmed, which in turn made me snap at my kids, and brought on the dreaded feelings of weepiness. How in the world am I going to keep up with deadlines, clean up a home that has TOTALLY exploded over the weekend, homeschool and deal with all the other little things that will fill my day?
So here are a few things I am meditating on to help me get a right perspective and not only get my work done by have a joy filled week.
1. God has my day planned
God’s plan for my day may look so very different from what I think my day should look like. He may throw in some unexpected phones calls or visitors. There may be some extra messes. Instead of having a spiritual little temper tantrum, I need to remember that, come what may, it is the day The Lord has made. He is all wise and perfectly good and so everything he puts in my day is wise and perfectly good!
2. God doesn’t care what my kitchen looks like
My real problem here is pride. I would be mortified if someone came over when my home looks like clothes, toys, school materials, ect have been thrown around like confetti. What would they think? Would they judge me? Would they assume the best, that I have been busy raising children, and doing what I can, or would they assume the worst–that I am lazy, undisciplined, and care little for the responsibilities God has given me?
But, you know what, I answer to God, not man. I need to say this over and over again because I forget! God is more interested in my heart than in my dishes, floors, or closets. I can’t blow off my responsibilities, but my God does not love me less, and sigh in disgust when my sink is disgusting.
3. God can be found in the chaos
God is found everywhere. I can pray and reflect on him and his word as I am going about my busy day. Even if my scheduled times of quiet meditation and Bible reading are taken from me, I can hide his word in my heart, and walk with him while reminding the young ones that the bathroom sink is not a garbage can, or while starting laundry load #132.
4. God will give me strength to finish well
I like to think of myself as a strong woman, but I am keenly aware of the weight of what God has called me to do and I often, rightly, see just how weak I really am. But God has not left me alone. He is with me, to strengthen me to do the very work he has prepared before hand that I should walk in them. As I do my work in faith I will find strength.
5. Christ is what I need to set my eyes on
“When my heart is overwhelmed—lead me to the Rock that is higher than I!” Psalm 61:2
Christ is the only solid thing in my life. He is my rock that never moves. Everything else is like sand, giving way at a moments notice, but not Jesus. He is steadfast and completely trustworthy. When my days are wild, when my brain feels like it is going to explode from all the things I need to remember, I need to think on this:
“Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me.” Psalm 40:17
What a beautiful and calming thought. Jesus thinks about me! If he cares for the flowers and the sparrows than he certainly cares about my crazy days and my overwhelmed heart.
This week will be busy. Crazy. But it is God’s week, and I am thankful he has planned it and is with me throughout it. I just need to remember this.
A home may be of Christian parents, but it does not mean it is a gospel-centered home. When we are governing our homes by parenting with behavior modification techniques and throwing in Scripture, we can produce “perfect” children who may end up breaking our hearts. Consider the rich young ruler of Matthew 19: 16-20. And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Wow! Who would not want that resume’ for their teenager? He even asked a very spiritual question! However, the narrative does not end there. In verses 21 and 22 we read, Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The perfect teen breaks your heart. A young man so close, yet so far away!
John Angell James, a British Pastor in the early 1800s wrote in his book, The Christian Father’s Present to His Children, “But how it would embitter our last moments, and plant our dying pillow with thorns, to leave you on earth in an unconverted state; following us to the grave, but not to heaven. Or should you be called to die before us, how could we sustain the dreadful thought…that the very next moment after you had passed beyond our kind attentions, you would be received to the torments which know neither end nor mitigation? And when you had departed under such circumstances, what could heal our wounds or dry our tears…O! no: they may qualify for earth but not qualify for heaven.”
Charles Spurgeon once wrote this about his mother:
“I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scriptures for us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading: there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat around the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord.”
“Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is gray. I remember on one occasion, her praying thus, “Now Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” That thought of a mother’s bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience, and stirred my heart.”
…..Spurgeon, Autobiography, The Early Years, Banner of Truth Trust
“My mother said to me once, after she had long prayed for me and had come to the conviction that I was hopeless. “Ah” said she, “My son, if at the last great day you are condemned, remember your mother will say ‘Amen’ to your condemnation.” That stung me to the quick. Must the mother that brought me forth and that loved me say ‘Amen’ to my being condemned at last?’ …….. Spurgeon, “The Chaff Driven Away.” Sermon October 23, 1859
Is the gospel being proclaimed in your home or are you leaving that up to others?
Over the past few years, there have been several summaries of studies and surveys regarding young people (millennials) leaving the faith. The numbers reported have been staggering and the interpretations of the results are dismal where as many as 80% of these young people are reported as ejecting out of church once they reach college age.
Recently a group associated with Focus on the Family did research and found that amidst the bad news is some good news and potential hope. The good news is that what is often interpreted as leaving the faith was actually only leaving their church or denomination and switching to another. In many cases, they were leaving for the reason to find a more spiritually robust church.
The news to be grasped is that 18% of these young adults (18-29 years old) say they were raised in the church but are now not affiliated with any church and have walked away from the faith. 89% of the 18% who have walked away stated that though they were part of a church experience, their home modeled a lukewarm, nominal faith. 11% of the 18% who walked away said their parents had a vibrant faith.
So what does this challenge us with? The home is still the primary influence on producing enduring faith. Homes that have a vibrant faith are likely to teach their children how we persevere through the trials of life with the gospel. So this tells us that many who leave the faith, really never had a good grasp of it to start with from their home.
I live in a place where there are good Bible churches that have good youth groups and I now work at an excellent Christian school. All these help, but over the years I have watched young adults from these environments over and over again walk away from the faith. Sending your kids to these is a good thing but nothing takes the place of a home where faith and life in Christ are enthusiastically embraced. Even if the practice at home is far from perfect, it still stands as God’s primary plan for passing on a vibrant faith to the next generation.
The conclusions of this study were as follows:
- Bible teaching churches continue to see healthy growth even as the total church going population is in decline.
- Strong families produce lasting results.
- The search for meaning in life continues to be pursued.
- Millennials want a serious faith, not entertainment focused.
To read the complete report: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/about_us/focus-findings/religion-and-culture/millennial-retention.aspx
I have been on my new job site now for just over one month after being away from the high school setting for 13 years. Several people have asked me about the changes and there have been many since leaving. The biggest change is the advancement and use of technology. I am part of the generation of teachers who thought the invention of the whiteboard where we could use multiple color markers was a big breakthrough in teaching. Now computers and interactive video screens are tools of the classroom and it is all mind-boggling.
These are wonderful ways technology is being used. However, I am also witnessing the downside of technology with deep concerns. After the many years of ministering to families, I dealt with dozens of situations regarding deep struggles with pornography by men, women, and teens. I also dealt with many adults who struggled with sexual immorality of all types. The one common denominator to all of them – every one of them – was they all struggled with pornography as a young person.
This leads to my concern of what I see with the young people at school and outside of school. I see kids all day long have free and uninhibited access to the internet with their own personal devices. The school has set-up adequate safeguards but the students can circumvent the systems with their own devices. They bump into each other in the hallways like we are the school for the blind, use them while going to the bathroom, and after school it seems I see more tops of heads than eyes.
From my experience, parents are giving their child a weapon when they give their child unrestricted access to the internet. Pornography is the dehumanization of another person for your pleasure and gives no consideration to their heart, soul, or mind nor the damage that is being done to them. It denies that the person being viewed is made in the image of God and so has certain dignity. Watch enough pornography and you will see and treat others the same way.
If you are a concerned parent in this area, please take time to read Tim Challies post, The Porn Free Family, http://www.challies.com/christian-living/the-porn-free-family In this, Tim gives excellent counsel on how to continue to use technology with prudence and care for the spiritual welfare of your family. It includes goals, acknowledgements about the realities of technology in our world, and an action plan.
To ignore this topic is to invite spiritual terrorism. Set up you own homeland security for the well-being of yourselves and your children.
Here is a great reminder of preaching the gospel to our children daily and to evaluate what gospel you endorse in your interactions. The article is by Erin Davis at True Woman:
There are all kinds of little “g” gospels. These are messages we preach to ourselves citing the (false) reasons God will surely love and accept us.
- There’s the gospel of association: “I’m a Christian because I was raised in a Christian home.”
- There’s the gospel of achievement: “God loves me because I do so much for Him.”
- There’s the gospel of comparison: “I am holy because I’m not as messed up as she is.”
These are all false gospels. Association, achievement, and comparison will never give us victory over our sin.
But there is another little “g” gospel that is particularly dangerous and tempting as we parent. It’s the gospel of goodness. “God will love me if I am a very, very good boy or girl.”
We preach this gospel to our children when we give them the impression that church is about sitting quietly through a sermon. We do it when we try to spackle over our own junk whenever we head into church or gather with other Christians. We do it when we reduce the Bible down to a list of don’ts. We do it when we believe the lie that parenthood is about raising well-behaved children rather than radicals for Christ.
When Paul wrote this first letter to the church in Corinth, he wanted to get one thing straight—there was only one gospel he cared to preach. It was the only gospel with any power after all. It’s Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way you and your kids can:
- have power over sin.
- be reconciled to God.
- live holy lives in a corrupt and godless generation.
- be salt and light to your lost neighbors and friends.
The good boy/good girl gospel will never get you or your kids there. Only Jesus Christ and Him crucified ever can.
I realize there are levels and ranges of spiritual maturity with our kids and grandkids. I’m not advocating you show your two-year-old The Passion of the Christ or try to explain propitiation to your preschooler. But I think Paul’s creed is a good one: I am here to preach Christ and Him crucified. No little “g” gospel will work instead. The message my children need to hear me preaching most often is that Jesus paid the price for their sin. His love and acceptance of them is not rooted in their ability to be good.
As we seek to influence children who know Christ and ultimately devote our lives to Him, let’s seek to preach the gospel of grace, not goodness.