Category Archives: General

Reversing entitlement part 1

A brother wrote after last week’s Seriously asking, “How does one avoid or reverse an entitlement mentality in children?” Here is what I’m learning about this.

Always at the top of the list for discipling children is the double-edged sword of the parent’s example. Nothing will do more harm or more to reverse negative behavior/attitudes in the children than the parent’s harmful or beneficial example in daily life. 

Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That describes the relationship of abiding in Christ (John 15). When we abide, we ask, and God answers. As God responds, we acknowledge, we praise, and we thank Him for Who He is and what He does. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). 

Does that describe us or at least the desire of our hearts and the direction we are headed? A grateful heart connects to a mouth overflowing with praise to our God for His blessings. That sort of heart also notices, appreciates, and verbally expresses all that is done around and for us. That is much different from the man who notices and complains about all that doesn’t fit his liking. 

Our children are watching us! Which example are we?

To be continued.

Blessings become Curses

Parents who love their children delight in blessing them. However, have you noticed how consistently doing the same kind thing for someone can (usually does) cause that blessing to become expected? Then if for some reason that blessing is not done, the blesser (you) is resented instead of appreciated. If that continues, over time bitterness is likely. Oh, how quickly the flesh develops an entitlement mentality.

Some symptoms your child is developing an entitlement mentality might be: ungratefulness, laziness, and resentment toward you. Real gratitude is deeper than him replying with a simple “thank you.” Observe how he responds when an expected blessing is not forthcoming, or you ask him to do an additional job? 

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).

Finding a Church

You find a church you want to try that lines up with the doctrine that God has impressed upon your heart. Then you begin attending. Be careful not to have the expectation of changing them. Expect to see weaknesses. Is there is a spirit of love for souls and the desire to grow in Christ?

In time, seek some private time with the Pastor to get to know his heart and where he believes God is leading the assembly. 

A church family is vitally important and therefore justifies a great amount of prayer. Know where the Lord is leading and don’t just settle because it is convenient. 

“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

(A requested problem topic)

Your Choice – Bumpy or smooth

If you could choose between driving on a smooth road or a potholed-cankered one, which would you choose? Since smooth would be the expected answer, why do you think so many “homeschooling homes’” are so “chaotically-bumpy” when they could be “smooth?”

The natural tendency of the flesh is toward disorder, and it takes effort to make things orderly.  Order enables getting things done (productivity) and teaches self control. 

Smoothing the bumps is worthwhile. You get to choose—peace and productivity or unproductive chaos. Sounds like a great time for you to lead and take the first step in helping your wife. Managers of Their Homes is a tool that will be helpful. Remember you are responsible for the level of productivity and peace in your home. I plead with you my Brother, come alongside your wife and help her. Your wife and children will thank you. We can help you.

“… having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6). 

Your Preference?

If you had to pick one of the two, would you prefer a proud son or one ignorant? I believe that most would naturally prefer proud. Why? Ignorant children embarrass parents. I’ve never met a parent who was happy his son was stupid and didn’t know very much. Yet, let our son win a competition, and we are strutting around with our chests stuck out and thrilled beyond measure. 

I believe that scenario is indicative that we are a proud lot ourselves. We don’t want to be embarrassed by our children, and we take pride in their accomplishments. Brothers, if our children are proud, they get it from us. 

When is the last time you deeply repented and grieved over your pride? Pride is what caused Satan’s downfall. He had so much, and that wasn’t enough. He wanted God’s glory too. How quick are we to take credit for what the Lord has done? We have nothing to take pride in. May we glory in the Lord Jesus and Him crucified. 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).

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).

The Love of Children

Sunday night we caroled to our neighbors. We love seeing each of them. Many of the longtime neighbors tell us how they have figured out the night we will carol and that they look forward to it. We are grateful for the marrieds’ efforts to bundle up their children for Kansas temperatures to carol with us. This year it was cold and snowy.

Looking into the eyes of those we sing to and seeing the expressions on their faces is a blessing. There always appears to be one thing that is special above the music, food, and friendship. Our neighbors love to see our little grandchildren.

I marvel at God’s design and the “magnetic attraction” little children possess. If you have “littles,” might you consider how God could use them to brighten other’s lives? “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth” (Psalm 127:4).

Disgusting

Ever happen at your home? A slow bathroom drain needs “attention” if opening the faucet more, the sink begins to fill with the stopper fully open. Not good.

To fix the problem, I remove the stopper gaining access to the drain from above and disconnect the trap below the sink. I clean them both with whatever tools will do the job, pulling out hair coated in disgusting toothpaste and then reassemble. Finally I fill the sink with water, release the stopper, check the flow, and also look for leaks underneath.

How’s your prayer life, Brother? First, are you praying? Is God answering? Might you feel like your prayers are not flowing?

If so, ask the Lord to examine your heart. What sort of blockage could be hindering the flow? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). What disgusting things have you allowed in your heart? What sort of “eye-candy” are you feasting on? What are you coveting? “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). 

My Brother, is your heart clean?

Steve

Your Thoughts?

Our world is changing fast. The challenges I faced 30 years ago are being dwarfed by what you are facing today. Abominable evils are always within arm’s reach. Our world doesn’t know truth as evidenced by what God says is good, being called bad by the world and what God says is bad being called right.

The constant pressure against a family that desires to live for the Lord is staggering. Even within the local church, the spectrum of what is permissible is vast. As a result, families who were strong ten years ago are now crumbling.

How is your family fairing? What are the top three problems you are struggling with? What do you see other families facing?

Feel no pressure to respond, but it would be a blessing if you would share your thoughts on these. Either email or respond here.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Steve