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Wise words from James regarding your teenagers

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.    Jesus tells the story of a father and his two sons. The father asks his first son to go work in the vineyard. The first son responds with a defiant no. So, the father asks his other son the same question.  This son, in sharp contrast, respectfully says that he will do what his father asked.   So, on the surface of things, it appears one son is rebellious and one is obedient. This much is true, but not in the way it appears. In the story Jesus quickly adds that the first son changed his mind and actually did as he was asked. The other son never went […]

Do you have an angry child?

Anger is a difficult sin. Like an ice-breaker pushing huge chunks of ice in all directions, anger leaves a trail of broken pieces in its wake. Broken chunks of ice are good thing. Broken pieces of life – not so much.  Anger is often a response to injustice. With God this is good. His motives and reasons for anger are always pure and right. Your child’s anger is also often a response to injustice. But his motives and reasons are seldom pure and right.  A young child thinks he has been wronged because someone else has his toy. A middle-schooler is angry because others are not kind to her. A teenager struggles with anger because of guilt as a result […]

That was close!

God  provides many opportunities to speak of Christ.  For example, when someone says, “thank God, that was close!” Take this opportunity to talk about what really happened. Perhaps something like this: “Hey Paul, that really was a close call.” “Yep, the man upstairs was looking after me.” “You really think so?” “Absolutely, how else do you think I got out of that mess!?!” “Paul, I think you are exactly right.” “Of course I am, that was too close for comfort!” “Paul, you and I have been friends for years, right?”  “Of course, you have seen me dodge the bullet many times.” “Well, as your friend let me ask you a question. You just said God bailed you out. Why wouldn’t […]

Thought for the Lord’s Day

What is safety?   The answer depends upon how you define safe. If safety means protection from the evil and devastation of this world, then the answer is no, you are not safe. If safety means you are always in God’s care and that whatever the circumstance, he is working all things together for his glory and your good, then yes, you are safe.    This world is not our home. The ugliness of sin and death mark this world. The enemy wishes to distract us from these realities by fleeting, temporal pleasures. The reality is that we live in a world at war. Sometimes, we are reminded of this war by our own war with sin or the sins […]

Patience – The Art of not Judging God

A judgmental spirit towards people is a dangerous thing. It leads to doubt, mistrust and broken relationships. But there is another form of judgment that is far more destructive: the practice of judging God. When you begin to question God’s faithfulness when circumstances are not what you wanted, you are actually judging God. When your general response to life is that life is a bummer or that life stinks, you are judging God.  Why? Because the Holy Spirit says that God is causing all the events in your life to be a good thing for you. So, when you look at life and fail to see God’s goodness, even  in the painful things, you are judging God. You are critiquing […]

Tedd Tripp introduces the LifeLine Mini-book series

  Shepherd Press is pleased to announce the publication of the Lifeline Mini-book series. These unique books, larger and more robust than the typical counseling book, are still pocket-sized resources. Lifeline mini-books are a gospel-centered series written by people who are in the trenches of ministry. Each mini-book is practical and accessible, written for the person in the pew as well as for pastors and counselors. The mini-books address a broad range of Christian life and counseling issues, such as abuse, addiction, anger, finances, grief, qualities of a good church, military deployment, marital unfaithfulness, suicide, single parenting to name only a few. These books demonstrate that biblical counsel can be made simple without becoming shallow. There is real meat here: […]

Broken Rules, Broken Relationships

Biblical grace is the strongest possible deterrent to sin. For parents this means if rules become more important than your relationship with your teenager you lose the opportunity to display grace. In other words, a broken rule must not result in a broken relationship!  In my life, the times that I have been most appreciative of God’s grace are the times when I have been most aware of my sin.  Is this true for your teenager? When you address their sin are you most interested in showing grace or reminding them of how wrong they are?  “Why have you, once again, not finished your homework, or cleaned your room, or not cut the grass? You know we have a rule, […]

Your Stupid Rules!

“All you care about is your stupid rules! You care about your rules more than you do about me! Thanks a lot for not caring.” With these words your 14 year-old storms back to her room. Sadly, this exchange is not unusual. Parents want to protect their children. Their teenagers don’t think they need protection. The parents make rules. The teenagers think the rules aren’t helpful and say so. The parents feel disrespected. The teenagers feel abandoned. The parents tighten up on the rules. The teenagers are convinced the parents don’t care and don’t want to care. And so it goes. Nothing less than wisdom from above can address this breakdown. The Holy Spirit describes wisdom from above this way: […]

Unintended Consequences & Immediate Gratification

The desire for instant gratification comes with a set of blinders at no extra charge. If what I want is what I want and I must have it now then there is little or no thought given to what happens when I get what I want. Blinders result in being blindsided. David gave no thought to what would happen after he had Bathsheba. Amnon could focus only on Tamar and never stopped to think that his lust would cost him his life. Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, thought only of the acclamation they would receive from people and thought nothing of lying to the Holy Spirit. These individuals thought only of their immediate cravings. This is exactly what the enemy […]

I want it now!

The demand for instant gratification is destructive. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of destructive, abusive relationships, pornography, substance abuse, abusive behavior. If you hear your child frequently complain or grumble,  you are hearing a child who is becoming a slave to his own desires. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate happiness. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. One moment everything is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he immediately erupts with a howl that sounds like he is being tortured. Why? Because […]