Monthly Archives: July 2015

28 posts

Words of gratitude or words of impurity

The impure, profane speech of the Ephesians had woven itself into the life of the church to the point where Paul addressed the issue specifically. Ephesians 5:4 describes the importance of gratitude. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4 In the first part of the verse Paul directs that there should be no obscene, foolish talk or any coarse jesting. The Linguistic Key to the New Testament provides the definitions for these terms: • Obscene talk—shameful, filthy or obscene speech • Foolish talk—laughing at something without wit • Coarse jesting—the word implies dexterity of turning a discourse to wit or humor, and deceptive speech, that allowed the speaker […]

When I am afraid

The world is a scary place. Life is full of things that you and I cannot control. You cannot will your children to safety. You cannot wish cancer away. You cannot remove the drunk driver from the road. You cannot force world leaders to be wise and responsible. You cannot stop dangers on the playground or even in your backyard. You cannot stop the hurricane or earthquake. In short, you cannot eliminate the things that bring fear in this life. Even in scary times, God calls you to trust him. Here is what the Holy Spirit says to you from Psalm 56: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I […]

The altar of Planned Parenthood

One afternoon, many years ago, I was traveling in Germany. Alongside the road, just into the woods, a simple, beautiful church spire rose above the trees. It was a beautiful scene of an old country church in the land of Martin Luther. I took a picture to record the moment. I was getting ready to take another photo when it hit me. I had just come from touring the Dachau death camp from World War II. This idyllic scene of the church spire was less than a mile from this camp. I realized this peaceful scene was also present when thousands were being exterminated just a short distance away. I put away my camera. I remember thinking how could people […]

A surprising “fact of life”

That’s not fair is a statement that has come to define our culture. From the playground to the court room being fair has do to with getting what we think we deserve. This “fairness doctrine” is the reasoning behind the same sex marriage decision of the Supreme Court. Concentrating on what is fair rather than what is right is destroying the moral fabric of our country! This has profound implications for parenting. Is fairness making sure each child gets the same number of minutes to play with a toy, or making sure that each child has the same number of toys to play with? Is this concept of fairness what God wants you to teach your children? Let’s see. In […]

Stress, Confusion, Stress

Stress leads to confusion. What happens next is what determines whether you know peace or experience more stress. Stress is a part of life. There is no way to avoid it. But what you can avoid is the pain and disorientation of continuing stress. In the midst of confusion you can either turn to God and his word or you can rely on your own judgement and watch the stress and confusion grow. Trust in God and his ways leads to peace. Like oil and water, trust and stress do not mix (See Matthew 6:19-34). When you attribute short, curt answers and a contentious spirit to stress, you are demonstrating that the stressful situation has overcome you. There is much […]

Is the Bible alive to you?

Hebrews 4:12 describes the Bible as being living and active. Is this merely a fact you teach your kids? Or does this phrase in Hebrews speak of you? Do you read the Bible simply to increase  your knowledge—or to be spiritually fed and enlivened as you read? You know that your children must trust the Bible and live it. But do your children see that these words of God are living and working in you? Do your children know that the Bible defines who you are and how you live? The danger that all of us face is the Bible something that is just followed by rote and routine. The prophet Isaiah warned against following words learned by rote: And […]

Making God real to your toddlers

How can you make God real to your toddlers? First, God must be real to you. He is always with you. Your heart should overflow with love for him. The next step is to talk about your God 24/7 as Deuteronomy 6:5-7 commands. You want to be so in love with God and his commands that this becomes the focal point of conversations with children. So, how does this connect with toddlers? In the crush of life it is possible to go hours if not days and not talk about God and how special he is. You do not faithfully represent reality if there are huge gaps of time when God is not talked about. (See passages like I Corinthians […]

A summer prayer for you

Parenting can be a lonely occupation at times. Gone from your memory are the baby showers, first steps, birthday parties, and adoring friends fawning over your children. Instead, you are faced with one child who is sick and another one who is whining that he has no one to play with since his sister is sick in bed (the same sister that has gifted you with the same cold she has). Your husband is out of town for three days and it has been raining for forever. Lonely, indeed. Two thousand years ago, your brother Paul knelt before his Father and yours and prayed a simple, profound prayer for you. No, Paul didn’t know you by name, but the Holy Spirit […]

Kindness is not about equal time

If you interpret kindness as simply giving the other child the first turn with a toy, you have missed the essence of kindness. Sharing toys so that both can have equal time with a toy is not, by itself, biblical kindness. Sharing this way may result in a more pleasant day, but what will the child really be taught?  Could she be learning, “If I am kind I will get what I really want. My brother won’t fuss, I get to play with the toy, and Mommy is happy with me for being kind.” This is a recipe for teaching selfishness. This child is being trained in a subtle form of self-service masquerading as kindness. Her kindness is not sacrificial; […]

Teenagers and short answers

You observe your teenager talking a mile-a-minute with friends. Then you think about the typical conversations that you have had with your son or daughter. Instead of a lively back and forth your attempts at conversation tend to collapse into strained monosyllables.: Did you have a good day? Sort of.
    How was your test? Okay. Do you have homework? Maybe.
    Do you have plans this weekend? Not sure.
    Is anything bothering you? No.
    Did you clean your room? Not yet.
    I thought maybe we could talk later on. Why.
    What did you think of the sermon? It was okay.
    Why are you so hard to talk to? Aw, mom. You respond with a well-intended assessment of how things can be […]