Instructing a Child’s Heart is one of my favorite books. The basics of biblical parenting are presented in clear and direct manner. Take notice of this short section on the human heart and its importance. Use this to help you look beyond the behavior of your children to understand what really drives what they think, say, and do.
Discernment is one quality that all of us can use in increasing measure. Like other wisdom skills, it is a quality that improves with time. In other words, the earlier children start practicing and learning discernment, the better! Discernment is seeing the difference between good and bad – or good and best – so I know what to do to please God. Discernment is a wisdom skill. Skills by nature are designed for practice. Honing the skill of discernment is a life-long endeavor. One goal of discernment is learn to ask what is good for God, not what is good for you. This is what it means to effectively guard your heart, asking what is good for God, before you […]
Proverbs Chapter 16 states that pleasant words promote instruction. If you have read the previous two posts in this series you know that I have some reservations about the use of explanations in training children to follow Christ. Explanation as a method of training is tied to the belief that teaching children is based on information transfer; if I explain to my kids how they should behave, what they did wrong and how to change, then my expectation is that they will behave differently and for the better. The problem with this method is that it misses the reality that behavior flows from the heart, not just from a correct understanding of the situation.
Ephesians warns fathers not to exasperate their children. To be sure, there are a number of ways to exasperate children. But, I believe one of the most subtle and discouraging ways of doing this is the wrong use of explanations in disciplining children. Explanations can become damaging when they are based on attempts at persuasive argumentation, rather than training based upon Scripture.
One common problem that parents face is attempting to explain their decisions to their children. The logic for explanations runs something like this: If I can just get my children to understand the reason for my direction, then they will be more likely to follow my instruction. While this may sound like solid reasoning, it is not. Children are not in need of lengthy, compelling explanations. What they are in need of is the understanding that God must be obeyed. This is true regardless of the ages of your children. In young children and toddlers, lengthy explanations cloud the real issue. Obedience is a response to God’s authority. Biblical obedience is not a matter of winning a debate. Young children […]
Christians don’t live in a vacuum. What the world says (or assumes) about God bombards you and your families. Even when you attempt to screen out the flood of unbiblical propaganda, it is still there, filtering in from every direction. If it does not come in through the front door, it comes in through the back door or side door, or the open window. If you are careful about which shows your kids watch, it is practically impossible to filter out the commercials with subtle, negative content. If you watch the news, either the network or cable variety, your family will hear a constant stream of false rationale for why things happen the way they do. For example, if you […]
On a Thursday evening, some 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ had come to the end of his time on earth—the time of subjecting himself to life on earth. After 33 years of perfect obedience, doing all that his Father had given him to do, eighteen hours of crushing temptation and agony yet remained. Everything that Christ had accomplished in his life now came down to these final eighteen hours. From those to whom he had been the closest he would see jealousy, greed, betrayal and abandonment. From the Enemy he would again know temptation—though this time, he would not be tempted by the aroma of fresh bread, but by the unspeakable injustice and hatred of a world plunged into sin. […]
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! God in his goodness provides reminders to us of his power, glory and majesty. One way he does this is through the delicate wonder of flowers. Whether it be a lily or a rose or an orchard we see beauty that points to the true beauty of Christ. Yes, there are troubles in this life. But God is […]