Negative or Positive Influences

Wise parents are quick to recognize the potentially powerful negative influence that can come from their children’s friends. This includes everything from your children being discontent with their looks and abilities, what they are allowed to do or not do, but most serious – their faith. Paul warned the Corinthians of the danger of bad companionship (KJV communications). “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

My Brothers, how seriously do you heed that warning for yourself? I frequently observe a spiritual overconfidence (pride?) in dads where they are not concerned about something of the world (TV, movies, social media) diminishing their walk with the Lord. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).

Would you like some encouraging influence? November 5, 6 I will be sharing with a group of Brothers in south-central Missouri at a Christian camp for a time of encouragement and challenge. If you aren’t too far from there and would like more information, reply to this email asking for it.

To The Word

How many times have you read through the Bible? I plead with you to make that important to you. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). 

 If you don’t like to “jump” around, read Genesis to Revelation (which is my preference.) However, for those who prefer variety, there are many reading plans available. The Olive Tree Bible app has plans and so does Blue Letter Bible

You can also manage your reading tempo yourself by chapters, pages, or time. Find what works best for you. For chapters, to read through the Bible in a year, simply read three or four chapters a day. If the chapters are short, then read an extra one.  By pages, divide the number of pages in your Bible by 365. One of my Bibles has 1233 pages of Bible text. I would need to read 3.4 pages a day to finish in a year. I simplified it by reading four pages a day. 

Now that I’m not working a regular job, I have the luxury of a very long time with the Lord every day (Ahhhhhhhhh). Teri and I set the alarm for the same time every morning (including Sunday). It only takes a few minutes to get dressed and then I head for my office to start my Bible reading. I have a set time to move from reading to prayer and then a  set time for my Bible time to be over. I plead with you. Be committed to reading and praying. You won’t regret it. A man will always do what is important to him. 

“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments”  (Psalm 119:10).

What Do You Love?

It is common to hear someone exclaim, “I love ____ (coffee, ice cream, football, fill in the blank). I have never heard a Christian say, “I love the world.” However, as much as we don’t want to love the world or the things in it, I am confident that to varying degrees we all do. (Hint: even if you don’t say what you love, watch how you spend your time.)

I passionately desire to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). Just think, the more we love Jesus, the One Who died for us, the less we love other things, to include self and the world.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!

What Ya Looking At?

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11). Might that describe (sadly) most believers today – mostly looking and not zealously being about the Lord’s business?

Brothers, are you looking up, down, or around? What generally has our attention has our heart. We don’t give our longterm attention to things we don’t have a heart for. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). May we love the Lord Jesus with all our hearts – give Him our attention – and be busy about His business.