Category Archives: Child Training

How’s It Looking?

Lamech lived 775 years and begat sons and daughters. We can assume there were many children, and likely, Lamech initially cared for all of them. His firstborn son was Noah. “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation’s. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 5:9). Sadly, we can assume that all of Noah’s brothers and sisters were wicked, perished in the flood, and will spend eternity in hell. 

Tonight, at your evening meal, look closely upon each of your children. Which one (or more) would you be okay with knowing that child would spend eternity in destruction? I don’t believe any normal father would accept that possibility without doing all he could to prevent it. 

How well are you raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? How well does each child own the principle that every choice he makes carries with it a blessing or a curse? Is your deepest desire to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

Brothers, your life is being imprinted on theirs. Do you like what you are seeing? I understand that impression isn’t the end of the story, but it is the beginning. 

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou fittest in thine house, and when thou wallets by the way, and when thou list down, and when thou rises up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Conflict

I hate conflict and love unity. Is it possible you feel the same way? I will do whatever I can, without violating my conscience, to avoid strife and maintain unity. 

Whenever there is a spark of conflict, I try to remind myself of the root cause of contention before things escalate. “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10). It takes two proud people for strife. Since I’m one of the two, I can immediately do something to quench the conflict – repent of my pride. Maybe not so easy, but it does work and is a good thing. 

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23).

(A requested problem topic)

A Serious Concern

What might be a test of whether the average Christian believes in a literal hell with eternal suffering? 

Likely each of us know people (family?) we deeply care for who don’t appear to have a saving relationship with Christ. If you saw them about to be severely, painfully, and permanently maimed, you would immediately do everything possible to help them. 

Might our level of belief in a literal hell be measured by how much time we spend in prayer for them and our level of effort to reach them for Christ? It might come down to either we don’t love them or don’t believe in hell. 

“For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains” (Deuteronomy 32:22).

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

Beneficial Versus Harmful?

A healthy food item’s packaging proclaimed that it didn’t have 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives. Might that be similar to a person touting on his job resume that he never embezzled.

What we do with our time is far more critical than what we aren’t doing with it. How much are you seeking and learning of Christ?

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). 

Sweet or Sour Fruit?

What do you think might be the most crucial lesson in life? This lesson is so important that it was the first lesson God taught Adam and thus mankind.

I believe it to be that every choice has a result. (Likely, the second most important lesson is that we should choose consistent with God’s direction/will.) We just “closed the books” for 2019, and now would be a good time to ask yourself, “How’s it been working for you?” 

Consider the “fruit” you have sown, and project if you will be pleased with the resulting “harvest.” Have you been sowing seeds of righteousness in your life and your children’s? What appetites are you creating? Has your time been spent in edifying? Are you closer to the Lord Jesus, your wife, and your children than when 2019 began? Have you missed any days of personal and family Bible time? Are Bible times quality, engaging, and resulting in growth? 

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). 

A tough nut to crack

God could have sent His Son Jesus to earth at any point in time, with a giant comet or any other appropriate regalia for the King of king’s arrival. However, God chose a stable as His birthplace and parents who were under public suspicions of impropriety. Jesus had humble beginnings and a life characterized by humility. 

Yet, how often would you describe a brother in Christ, a Christian leader, or a pastor as humble? Today, humility is synonymous with weakness.  People admire others who assert themselves because no one “pushes them around.” 

Now consider whether others might describe us as humble. Have you noticed how everything within us (me/you?) knee-jerk reacts to anything that requires humility? But praise be to God for His all-sufficient, enabling grace should humility be the desire of our hearts and prayers. 

“… Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Note: I just finished reviewing proof checks for reprinting two Moody books, Spring and Colorado. I had forgotten how much I love those Moody books. They encourage children in the Lord Jesus and the values of Scripture. I wish my children would have had them to read when they were young. Consider blessing your family with the whole set. I’ve never heard from a dad who was disappointed with those books. Blessings, Steve

Gratefulness Part 2

Raising grateful children is far more than merely having children who superficially say, “Thank you.” Last week Seriously began this thought on gratitude that ultimately has eternal consequences for our children.

We learn from Deuteronomy 28:45-47 the deeper, underlying fault (the second “because”) that led to Israel’s disobedience. What is that fault? They weren’t grateful. “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They weren’t grateful because they weren’t noticing and valuing God’s blessing of “the abundance of all things.” 

Dads, our positive or negative example, is impressed upon the hearts of the children. Do you recognize God’s blessings, and then do you sincerely praise Him out loud, in the presence of your family, in good times and bad? Grateful hearts create an ongoing awareness of God’s grace, mercy, love, presence, power, provision, and even chastening. 

As we thank Him and speak it out, it helps our children learn to appreciate His blessings versus assuming and expecting them.  

Will your children have an entitlement mentality when they are grown, expecting God to continue to dole out blessings, or will they be grateful for all that God has done and continues to do for them? What about you? Where are you on the gratitude scale? Do you declare that gratefulness to the Lord not only in private prayer but continually aloud in the presence of your children?

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Steve

Painful Reminders

Ever made bad choices and had someone remind you of them? It doesn’t feel great, but it helps not to make the same one mistake again. Those reminders can be like a giant billboard that flashes, “Don’t do it again. Don’t do it again.” 

God put just such a practice in place for our good according to Deuteronomy 28:46. “And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.” “They” refers to the curses mentioned in the previous verses (16-44) brought about by disobedience. 

The Israelites’ disobedience brought curses, which would be ongoing reminders that they should have obeyed the Lord. Read the list of consequences for disobedience. They are very sobering and may even be some that you are dealing with. Also notice verse 47, “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They were not grateful for God’s blessings. Those words are highly convicting to me. I see how my pride has led me to take many of God’s blessings for granted. I have not been grateful to my Lord and am repenting. 

Brothers, are we grateful to our Lord? Gratefulness comes from the heart. Gratefulness to God fuels our obedience. Thankfulness, on the other hand, is an outward expression, which may or may not come from the heart. Being deeply grateful to the Lord carries eternal blessings, the least of which is no regrets. More to be discussed later. 

Steve

Motivated vs unmotivated

Teri and I were being checked out at a local supermarket, and I had begun chatting with the bagger while he worked. “Where are you headed with your life?” I asked.

“I’m going to be a graphic designer,” he responded.

“Great,” I continued. “How will you prepare?”

“I already have a degree in graphic design.”

“Super. Do you want to give me your phone number in the event I find something you might be interested in?”

“Actually, I’m not looking for a job.”

Here was a man who appeared satisfied with bagging groceries as “fill-in” work when he could be working full-time and developing professional skills. I was amazed at the “appearance” of his lack of motivation. I am looking forward to speaking with him next time I see him and what I might learn from him.

Have your children learned how rewarding it is to be diligent workers, accomplish things, and strive for greater skills? Oh, how good that feels. Yet, to the unmotivated person, the idea of work (and learning) might be a good reason for a nap until that idea is gone.

Much of life is about perspective and options. Establish the frame of mind in your home that work and developing skills is good. Please don’t make readily available things that are a waste of precious time.

If you have an unmotivated child, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what factors led to this outcome.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Steve

Both Are Gone Now

I recently discovered a printed email dated over ten years ago. It was from a dear Brother who was a dynamic follower of the Lord. He deeply loved his Lord and his family. 

I’m also reminded of another dad. He broke his wife’s heart when he told her that he had decided he didn’t want to be married to her any longer and would be leaving the family. There was someone else. 

Both of those dads are gone. The first is with the Lord waiting for his family. The second was killed in an auto accident on his way to work. 

A few thoughts: 

  • Always be discipling your children to know, love and serve the Lord so that their dependence is on Him when you are gone. 
  • Be zealous for time with your family. Life is fragile and uncertain. 
  • Walk uprightly. God does and will chasten. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…” Heb 12:6,7)
  • Nourish and cherish your wife. Invest in her. Satan’s lie is “the grass is greener on the other side.” God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16
  • Live so that you can step out of this life into eternity unexpectedly. Be debt-free so the ones you love aren’t left “holding the bag” of your financial mismanagement.  

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25 & 28).

Steve