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Archive for the 'Gospel' Category

Who Loved First?

Posted on July 10th, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Gospel, Parenting

Two children plus one toy equals trouble.  No, this is not the beginning of a new math word problem. But it is a scenario that leads to disruptions in families every day. In this case, both children each want the special toy that came from Grandma. What is the typical question, the fair question to ask? Who had it first? Or, who had the toy most yesterday? You see, the problem is not fairness, but the selfishness of little hearts. “Who had it first?” This type of question is based.. read more

The Atonement: God’s Gift to Imperfect Parents 

Posted on July 6th, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Gospel, Parenting

All parents share at least one thing in common: each one of us fails on a regular basis. It’s not pretty but it is true. Parents are imperfect! Parental authority is not based upon human worth but on God’s choice. Parental authority is derived not earned. This means you cannot earn your children’s obedience. This truth is important for them and for you.  For children, this means that parental perfection is not a requirement for obedience. Because parents are humans, they will not do parenting perfectly or even close to.. read more

The Curse of “Whatever”

Posted on June 7th, 2019 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Gospel, World View

“Whatever.” This is not usually a word of encouragement or optimism. It is what we say when we feel let down, betrayed, discouraged. So, “whatever” is said in a way that is intended to communicate that you don’t care. However,  the irony is that it really means that something matters very much. We continue to be surprised at being disappointed. People have this problem called sin. Sin comes from rebellion to God. At its root, rebellion starts with believing a lie. We believe we can be happy apart from dying.. read more

Saturday: It is Finished

Posted on April 20th, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Gospel

Three years of hope, gone.  Jesus gave John, the only disciple with him at his death, final instructions about caring for his mother. Then Jesus spoke his final words — “It is finished.” To you and me, now, those are words of hope and wonder. Jesus did what was necessary to secure life for his sheep. “It is finished” means that our sins are forgiven, Jesus did the will of his Father.  They are words of comfort and peace.  But that is not likely what they meant on that Saturday.. read more

Jesus, the Only Good Son

Posted on April 18th, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Gospel

John records that at the end of his life Jesus said, “it is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. These are not the actions and words of a victim. Jesus was in control of his own death. He ended his life when it was the right time when he had finished what his Father asked him to do. No one took his life from him, he laid down of his own accord (John 10:17-18). The death of Jesus was not a random moment in time… read more

Easter and Your Enemies

Posted on April 16th, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Gospel, Worship

You may think you know exactly who your enemy is. Your enemy is your unhappy spouse. Your enemy is your stubborn teenager. Your enemy is your ungrateful boss. Your enemy is your friend who said something you don’t like. Your enemy is the economy or the job market. Your enemy is your sickness. Your parents are your enemy. In short, you may think life is your enemy. The truth is that most of the time you are wrong. You are likely to believe the enemy is the people and circumstances.. read more

The Resurrection: Humanity’s Story

Posted on April 15th, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Holidays

The resurrection of  Jesus Christ has become a fairy tale in modern culture. Chocolate bunnies, new clothes, and Easter church services are all tolerated as a tip of the hat to an outdated myth. So, Easter break has become Spring break. This is Easter week. Does it still matter? The media will observe this week as a religious or traditional event. But it is doubtful there will be commentary that states the fate of the world depended upon a political prisoner 2,000 years ago. It is unlikely that you will.. read more

Your Middle Schooler Lied

Posted on April 10th, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Lying, Parenting

Jesus died for you. He was resurrected for you. He gave you life. He gave you the opportunity to tell your kids how special he is to you. Jesus made a commitment to you. It’s personal! Do your kids know how special he is to you? Here is a way to let them know. You have caught your middle school child in a lie. You have confronted him with his lie and he has admitted it. Then you tell your child something like this: “Justin, I know what it is.. read more

The Heart: Impossible to Control

Posted on March 2nd, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Gospel, Parenting

It may be possible to control behavior.  However, control of the heart is another matter.  As Tedd Tripp teaches, you can shepherd your child’s heart. But you cannot control his heart. So the purpose of your authority as a parent is to shepherd your children, to build them up, to strengthen them.  But attempts as controlling children without shepherding them will lead to frustration. Over time attempts at control through rules will lead your children away from Christ (Colossians 2:23).  Controlling your children in this way will weaken them and.. read more

Your kids and heaven

Posted on March 1st, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

Are my children going to heaven? This is the major concern for every Christian parent. If you look to human confirmation for the answer, life will quickly become a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. The eternal destiny of our children is tied to the faithfulness of God. God alone does what is right and good. God alone, is the savior of people, including our children. As much as we may want to, we cannot force our children to know God. Ultimately the hearts of our children can only be.. read more

God’s answer to conflict

Posted on February 21st, 2019 · Posted in Anger, Authority, Gospel, Parenting, Wisdom

Gentleness is God’s answer to conflict. Gentleness is the quality you need to present God’s truth fairly, accurately and effectively to your children. Gentleness is part of the Holy Spirit’s fruit which stands in direct contrast to the works of the flesh. In Proverbs, gentleness turns aside wrath. Paul tells Timothy to instruct his opponents with gentleness. James describes gentleness as displaying wisdom from above. Jesus describes himself as gentle and humble of heart. These are five robust examples of the power of gentleness: Gentleness stands against the deeds of.. read more

Mercy or fairness

Posted on January 14th, 2019 · Posted in Gospel

Fairness is a cruel master. To desire fairness is to live like a fool, to live has if there were no God. Wait! What? Think about it! Where would you and I be if God treated us fairly? Does God ever have a reason to be fair with me? In pride, I want to say yes. I don’t deserve unfair treatment. But such thinking is harmful. In light of what God has done for me and how I act in return for his mercy, any demand for fairness is stupid.. read more

What Child Is This?

Posted on December 25th, 2018 · Posted in Gospel, Holidays

Verse two of the Christmas Hymn, “What Child is This?” provides much to ponder this Christmas. Read these words slowly and carefully: Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christian, fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading Nails, spear, shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for me, for you Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary. Why does the hymn writer include this line in a song celebrating the birth of Christ? Nails, spear,.. read more

Christmas Light

Posted on December 19th, 2018 · Posted in Gospel, Holidays

Christmas is all about the joy of true light. John’s gospel teaches us that Jesus is the light for all of humanity.  Any goodness in people is a reflection of the true light of Christ.   In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There is no authentic light in this world but the light of Christ. Anything else that appears to be light is but a reflection of the light of Christ… read more

Thirty-Three Years

Posted on December 13th, 2018 · Posted in Gospel, Holidays

The thirty-three years of the life of Jesus Christ on earth held little expectation that this man’s life would be the most significant life in all of history.  His life ended in public disgrace and shame. His birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But.. read more

Discipline is About Compassion, Not Retribution

Posted on December 5th, 2018 · Posted in Discipline, Gospel, Parenting

This is part two of a series of posts contrasting discipline with retribution. In the first post of the series, I highlighted this consideration: Biblical discipline must not be seen as payment for the sins for which the discipline was administered. Retribution is not the goal of biblical discipline! In response, the question many of you raised was, “How does this work itself out in everyday family life?” This post will begin to address that question. In the first post, we saw how Psalm 103 provides direction on how to address.. read more

Talking to Your Children About the California Fires

Posted on November 14th, 2018 · Posted in Current Events, Gospel

It would not be surprising for your children to ask, “Why is God allowing these terrible fires to hurt so many people and destroy their homes?” You may even be asking yourself that same question!  Here are three possible attempts to understand these catastrophic fires ravaging California and God’s involvement in them. 1. The Fires are random circumstance The first way is to attribute the fires to a random collection of circumstances that sparked these fires and led to the awful results. In this construct, God had nothing to do.. read more

Words that protect and adorn

Posted on August 21st, 2018 · Posted in Gospel, Proverbs, Wisdom

The process of parental instruction is complete when the truth that is learned begins to protect, build up and encourage the children who receive it.  Merely delivering instruction is not what is honoring to God or helpful to children. Biblical instruction always has the goal blessing the one who receives it. This instruction is not primarily for the benefit of parents.  Rather, the instruction parents give to children is to adorn them. In Proverbs 1:8-9, the Holy Spirit says how your words of direction should impact your children: My child, listen.. read more

The performance trap

Posted on August 15th, 2018 · Posted in Authority, Gospel, Parenting

The gospel is about grace; School is about performance. The gospel is about receiving compassion; School is about earning grades. The gospel is about resting in the power of Christ in failure; School is about trying to avoid the shame of failure. The gospel is about acceptance in Christ regardless of performance; School is about gaining acceptance because of performance. Skilled and caring teachers and parents will work hard to bridge the gap illustrated by these contrasts. However, it is important to grasp that children can easily think that performance.. read more

What’s really important in life?

Posted on July 26th, 2018 · Posted in Culture, Gospel, Wisdom

What are the goals you set for yourself, for your children? Do these goals center on things like grades, good jobs, a sound financial position, a comfortable house, personal accomplishments, a secure retirement? These all have their upside and they are important!  But are they the most important things in life. Paul had a discussion once with the some of the greatest intellectual minds in Athens. Paul told these great thinkers about the reality of God’s control in the lives of humans.  He told them that this God, whom they.. read more