Category Archives: Seriously

Not in My lifetime

What do Noah, Abraham, David, and Judas all have in common? What came to my mind is that each was living normal life and suddenly a significant, unforeseen opportunity was presented to them. In response to that opportunity:

  • Noah could have told the Lord he knew nothing of shipbuilding. 
  • David could have followed worldly wisdom and chosen not to fight Goliath. 
  • Abraham could have said he wouldn’t sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. 
  • Judas could have said he would follow Jesus and not betray Him.

A real measure of a man is when he is presented with a challenge. How does he respond? Your family and others are watching your response to the current world situation and possible disruption to your “entitlements.” Are you focused on self or others? Are you at peace and purposing to redeem the time? 

My brothers use every minute. Invest in your family, love them, be at peace and full of praise for the Lord Jesus Who is worthy. 

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Reversing Entitlement Part 2

Children with an entitlement mentality will seldom (ever?) be pleased, grateful, or content. Unless they get what they want, and when they want it, they are bitter and complaining. Might the children of Israel be an example worth considering? 

The Israelites were Egyptian slaves and had been in Egypt for 400 years. God sent Moses, the meekest man in the world, to lead them out. There were hardships as they traveled, but they should have said, “We are free. Thank You, Lord, for every breath of air You give us outside of Egypt. We are on our way to the promised land!” Instead with every hardship, they grumbled and complained. 

How could your family learn from the Israelites? During family Bible time, read and discuss the exodus. Might there be other examples in Scripture that could be learned from as well?

Through this study, you can seek agreement in the family that: 

1. We don’t want this mindset. 

2. We agree to work on thanking and praising God for all that He provides.

3. Everyone (Dad and Mom too) is looking for bad and good examples in their lives and the lives of others with the eventual goal of sharing good and bad examples at the end of the day. 

“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:27). 

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). 

The First Taste

How many alcoholics or chain smokers would now be enslaved if they had stopped with that first awful taste of beer or cigarette smoke? Instead, what did they do? They shuddered, braced themselves, and took another. Adapting new tastes is simply a matter of how strong the motivation is to acquire it.    

What harmful appetites have you created and fed? The flesh knows no limits. “Christian” dads are enslaved to food, laziness, alcohol, tobacco, entertainment, p**n, and even the news. It isn’t always a question of what is wrong with it, but Brothers, how good is it? We will stand before the Lord Jesus and give account of what we did with the bodies and time He entrusted us with.  

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

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).

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)