Category Archives: Child Training

A Great Guy

I met a great dad recently who was not a believer. As we talked I could tell he sincerely loved his family. I was surprised to hear him share how his early-teenage daughter, who attends public school, was beginning to walk down a “dark” path. She has begun back-talking both him and his wife. He was troubled by the ugly change in her.

I asked if they had ever thought about homeschooling. He said “Yes,” they had discussed it, but his wife was not onboard with the idea. That saddened my heart greatly.

Although homeschooling does not guarantee children will turn out great, may each of us be willing to do anything and everything possible toward that end. May we consider investing our time and resources in anything that may help our children to grow up to be responsible adults who love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds.

Homeschooling is difficult, but so is life. May we give our all for their eternity—Jesus did. (BTW, if your wife is homeschooling, lavish on her your gratitude for her investment in the children.)

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Walk, Run, Embrace

Many of us parents are first-generation Christians. We are saved by the blood of Jesus from a love affair with the world and its impending consequences and are introduced to an abundant life. Sadly, many parents assume their children will also embrace Christ as they did. But why should they?

These children are growing up in a “blessed” environment—the result of the parents’ life in fellowship with their Lord. The children thus assume that is the way life naturally is—all good in Christ. The children have not experienced the darker side of life that most parents have, which makes Jesus even more desirable.

I am not saying these parents don’t care. They really do. They just assume wrongfully that their children will follow Christ because the parents do. Sadly, they are wrong. Some walk away from Christ because He was never theirs. They had the blessings without knowing the “Blesser.”

What place does Jesus have in your home? Is He preeminent? What is central in your living room and family time? How are you serving and exercising the fruit of the Spirit? Live on the edge. Make Christ real.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (James 1:23).

Creating What?

There is a huge difference between limiting and abstaining. Generally, we abstain from things that are detrimental or harmful or sin; no discussion, no rationalizing, end of subject! Well, at least it should be that way.

But what reasons do we choose for limiting something? Food is good, yet too much will lead toward gluttony and bad health. Sleep is good, but too much is slothful and will hurt our body. We have to have food and sleep, so we cannot abstain. Instead, we must learn to limit.

What about things such as video games, movies, TV, cartoons, and various sorts of entertainment that are not necessary (or even beneficial) for life in Christ? For some families those are the things that become a great struggle. Children love those sorts of things. (Okay, many adults do, too.) Even if parents may be discriminating in choosing or limiting such things that may not be overtly evil, their children will seldom exercise the same discretion.

We have observed parents who want their children to be happy (and in the process may not realize that they are trading away godly for merely happy). So they will choose to limit the child to metered amounts of movies, cartoons, or video games each week often as a reward for good behavior. They do not realize, however, that they are actually doing far more damage than any marginal amount of hoped-for good with this approach.

In business, the saying is “scarcity creates demand.” What parents will find with this direction is that they are creating huge appetites in their children for these things by this approach. The children know that if “it” was actually “bad” they wouldn’t be allowed to do it, but since it is merely limited, it must be good. Eventually, they will be able to make their own decisions, and these will include few if any limits. 

Our lives are filled with boundaries, and it began in the Garden when God said don’t eat of that tree. The world does not want limits placed on the flesh. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

Steve

Who’s Got Your Back?

Nathan started his IT consulting business almost 20 years ago. In the beginning he had no one to back him up if he couldn’t fix a computer problem, but with the Lord’s direction he managed. Anna attained her A+ certification a few years ago and, in addition to learning programming, has been taking help desk calls from some of Nathan’s clients. Nathan is her backup should Anna need second-level support.

When Teri and I began having children, we had no one to turn to for child-rearing advice. We were also just beginning our walk with the Lord Jesus, and after we moved away from that first church we did not have godly counsel. The Lord met every need, however, as we sought His face and counsel.

Some families write and sadly share how alone they feel in their walk with the Lord and in raising their children. If that is your situation, may I encourage you to accept and embrace it. It will make your relationship with the Lord Jesus all the sweeter as you trust and rest in Him. We have every good thing in Him.

“Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:8)

Steve

Inner Compass

Parents have to decide what they will encourage, discourage, limit, or restrict in their children’s lives as they disciple them in Christ Jesus. It starts with what the child will eat or not eat and over time includes activities and influences. If we do not take a position, our children will often interpret that as a blanket endorsement, which will produce disastrous fruit to be harvested later in the child’s life.

It is not enough to say “no” or “that isn’t according to our standards.” It takes careful, biblical explanations for each member of the family to either own or reject something for life. When so many today, even in the “church,” embrace things that are (at best) not edifying, the peer pressure our children will face to compromise is huge.

We dads first must live the example and disciple our children to look to God’s written Word and to walk in the Spirit. Those two will always be in agreement and never let us down. Our children must own the leading of the Spirit and delight in following Him.

Paraphrasing Andrew Murray: “Teach them to live for giving joy to their heavenly Father and in fear of grieving Him.”

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:4-6)

Steve

Confusion as to Who Does What

You are what you eat. That means the quality of food you ingest will have great impact on your health. As with the body, so with the mind: You are what you mentally ingest. Media such as reading, music, videos, and video games have greater effects on a person than most people realize.

You reap what you sow. What is being sown into your children’s lives? Be sure you know because a harvest is coming. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:8)

Steve

That’s Not the Way We Began

Some businesses are in trouble. Their current core values are not the ones they began with (i.e., Enron).

Some marriages are in trouble. They loved each other in the beginning.

Some children are in trouble. That wasn’t the way their parents began raising them. 

Our country is now in deep trouble. Yet, it was founded on Christian values.

Anything good will receive great amounts of negative pressure to compromise. Even though something begins well, it will usually drift over time. To stay the course year after year, however, takes courage and determination to do the right thing. Good values that are founded upon, must be values that are lived.

Life in Christ will take the same diligence. Satan wants you to compromise. He knows that if you are not in the Word every day, you will drift. If you are not listening to the Spirit and living what you are reading, you will drift. Will you cling to the blessed Lord Jesus, the Anchor of our souls, or will you be tossed to and fro? It comes down to your choice.

Hold fast. Your own life and the lives of your wife and children are far too precious not to.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)

Steve

Which Do You Prefer, Dusk or Dawn?

It’s easy to tell dark from light, but impossible to tell dusk from dawn by one snapshot in time. It is easy to tell by the decisions people make whether they are living in the dark or in the light. We have known many families whose lives were an example of walking in the light and many whose lives were examples of walking in the dark.

It is difficult to discern whether a family is walking in the dusk or in the dawn. If you took a photo of a family in either, unless you could tell by the direction of their shadows, you wouldn’t know whether it was dusk or dawn. You would know only by comparing snapshots over time. In a similar way, it takes observing a family’s decisions to predict whether they are walking from the light toward darkness or walking toward the light from darkness.

Dawn is good in our spiritual journey as we walk ever closer to our Lord and His light and away from darkness. As the Lord Jesus reveals more of His Light, we purge the darkness of evil as we draw near to Him.

Sadly, over the years we have observed families become more worldly as they head for the darkness. They are in dusk, gradually moving from the light to the dark, with ever increasing, even if slight, degrees of worldliness.

Which way are you leading your family? Each choice that we make is like a snapshot that records the direction of our movement. Take inventory in these areas as they indicate the condition and direction of our hearts: clothing, music, viewing habits, entertainment, and friends. “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:13-16)

Steve

Life Takes Work

Dads usually work 40 or more hours a week.

Moms with several children often work 60 or more hours a week.

Those who have initiative and work hard will do far better in life than those who love entertainment and recreation.

God put man in the garden and on this earth to work. We do our children no favors if we do not teach them to enjoy work when, in fact, they will spend the majority of their daytime hours throughout their lives working.

Are we great examples of enjoying work, or do we “live for” fun and entertainment? Work is a blessing. If you doubt it, simply ask any immigrant or person who is out of work. 

Jesus Christ was totally focused on the “work” the Father gave Him to do on earth. He gave all of His day to His work. He finished His work and now sits beside the Father so that those who believe on Him might enter the rest of eternal life with Him.

Do we have a mind to work and be about the Lord’s business while He has us on this earth, or do we have a mind to play?  

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17)

Steve

Make sure to follow the Debt-Free Series which is just beginning on Titus2 blog.

Who Do You Relate To?

Have you noticed that not many husbands and wives are mentioned in the New Testament? Besides Joseph and Mary, there are two quite famous couples–Priscilla/Aquila and Ananias/Sapphira. Though both were loyal to each other in marriage, one was a noble team and the other ignoble. One focused on the Lord’s work; the other, on their personal benefit. Which one would you most likely be compared to? If your marriage is not being used of the Lord for His glory, time is running out. Shouldn’t you make some changes now?

How are you preparing your children for life? One aspect, is being good stewards of God’s provision. Are you raising them with the goal of them being debt-free? If you are committed to raising them to be debt-free, please write me by replying to this email. I would like to help.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Steve