Monthly Archives: July 2009

14 posts

The Circle of Blessing

This post addresses the first question that Wendy raised in her recent comment. We looked at her question regarding the gospel and obedience in the previous post. It is precisely because children are not born in a neutral state (Ephesians 2:1-3, Romans 3, Galatians 5:19-21), but in rebellion to God, that the gospel must be at the forefront of discipline. Children are to obey their parents because God has commanded them to do so. One of the means, if not the primary means, that God uses to draw children to himself is this confrontation that occurs when children are called to obey God. Wendy’s other question applies to the motivation for obedience. Here is her question:

But Later On…

Biblical parenting is first of all an exercise in biblical faith. This fact makes biblical parenting different from every other parenting methodology. A journey of faith cannot be accurately measured by visible markers. Other forms of parenting are measured by evaluating immediate responses–if behavior doesn’t change quickly, then the methods must not be correct. Thankfully, God calls us to trust him in faith. In biblical parenting, the primary objective is not to make the child happy, but to bring him to the cross of Christ. This brings us to a question posed by one of our readers.

Something to Consider

Hebrews 12:5-11 has some intriguing words regarding discipline. Give these words some thought and we will look at them in more detail in the next post. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?    “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,   nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have […]

What Makes Bad Language Bad

Most Christians try to avoid bad language. Few would intentionally train their children to use obscene, foul language, even though culturally foul language has become an accepted part of everyday speech. Movies, television shows, and sporting events have become common venues for four letter expletives. So, there is no question that children are exposed to indecent talk on a regular basis. Seventy years ago, in Gone with the Wind, Clark Gable uttered the first curse word in a popular movie. How things have changed!

What is right with _________?

Often, when someone offers an objection to a particular activity, the immediate response is, “What’s wrong with that, doing that never hurt me!” Over time this question has become a standard method for determining whether something is acceptable. If one can’t see anything wrong with doing something, then it must be okay. However, using this question as a guideline is not a reliable standard uponwhich to base decisions. Families lead busy, hectic lives. Decisions about what should or shouldn’t be done are often made on the run. For example, a decision about which movie to rent tonight might be asked and answered via cell phones as mom travels between a doctor’s appointment and an after school soccer match. The criteria […]

What’s Right with That?

Parents are famous for telling their children what is wrong about a particular thing or activity. While it is certainly appropriate to warn about dangerous things, it is easy to be fixated on the negative. Inadvertently, this may lead to an inability to encourage positive goals. For example, Philippians 4:8-9 directs the thoughts of Christians towards those things and ideas that are excellent. Noble and praiseworthy thoughts are to dominate our minds. Yet often, when a particular course of action is considered or requested, it is the negative concerns that we focus on. Read Paul’s words carefully:

Rewards and the Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount has an intriguing perspective on rewards. Christ encourages his listeners to abandon the way of the religious establishment. The folks who were part of the religious establishment did good deeds so that they would be noticed by people. In sharp contrast, Christ teaches that good deeds should not be done to be noticed by others. Notice Matthew 6:1: Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Motivation for Obedience

The Apostle Paul commands children, in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, to obey their parents in the Lord so that it will go well with them and so that they will enjoy long life on the earth. Paul forcefully argues in this same book that salvation is exclusively obtained by the gracious gift of God to those who do not deserve it. Is this a contradiction? Is he offering long life in exchange for obedience? No, there is no contradiction here. Paul clearly teaches that it is not possible to earn good standing with God, so the long life cannot be understood as achieving some kind of merit. Obedience is a response to God, rather than the source of goodness. […]

Blessings and Obedience

I want to thank Michelle for her thoughtful comment on the post, Heart of Obedience. Her comment is long so I will link to it here if you haven’t had the opportunity to read it. This type of interaction is greatly appreciated and encouraged. The relationship between blessing and obedience is one that must be carefully defined. It is easy to miss the mark. Starting with the gospel places the issue in proper perspective. The gospel teaches that there is nothing I can do to make myself good enough to know the blessings of God. There is no way that I can earn any level of acceptance with God by my own merit. This is the key to making the […]

Jehoshaphat and Peer Pressure part 2

The narrative of King Jehoshaphat and King Ahab in 2 Chronicles 18 provides insight into the dynamics of peer pressure. When you or your children yield to peer pressure you are, in effect, dividing your loyalties between God and man. This double-mindedness simply does not work. It results in decision making that is not sound. Many sins that young people become entangled with begin when they yield to peer pressure. The story of King Jehoshaphat demonstrates that young people are not the only ones susceptible to this problem. As we noted in the last post, Jehoshaphat should have realized that forming an alliance with Ahab was extremely unwise, but in the face of the feast given to honor him, Jehoshaphat […]