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Archive for the 'Shaping Influences' Category

Teach your children to pray for what is best

Posted on March 18th, 2016 · Posted in Prayer, Shaping Influences, Wisdom

In the Lord’s prayer Jesus tells you to pray for God’s will to be done. By asking God for his kingdom to rule and his will to be done, you are making a life-changing request! You are acknowledging that his purpose and plan is better than your own. God’s way is better than your way! It does not work to say or think, “Please do your will and mine.” This is a foolish statement. Are your desires as important as God’s? It is God’s kingdom and will that must desired.. read more

How attractive is your instruction?

Posted on March 4th, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Parents, you know the day will come when your children will face a situation where they will have to decide in an instant whether or not to give into temptation. How attractive has your instruction been to your children? Do they perceive your words as precious gifts which adorn their life (Proverbs 1:8-9)? Or has your instruction been dominated by anger, frustration and disappointment with their performance? Proverbs 6:20-24, has valuable insight. Solomon says that sons, (children) are to cling tightly to their parents instruction. He says in verse 22.. read more

It’s not about control

Posted on March 2nd, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

There is a difference between having control and building up. Parental authority based on control leads to manipulation, domination, and failed relationships. Parental authority that is based on building up takes time, requires dependence on God’s power and leads to lasting, deepening relationships. Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:10 says that God gave him authority for building up and not for tearing down. This is important. As a parent you want to do far more than simply control your children. Control can be achieved in many ways. Here are just a.. read more

Running to repentance

Posted on February 13th, 2016 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences, Worldview

Sin entangles in despair and hopelessness. Repentance brings freedom. Here is how it happens. Sin is breaking the law of God. Repentance is seeing the rejection of the his law in relational terms and seeking obedience as a response to his goodness So, you don’t just acknowledge that you were angry, but you also repent of the lack of love that produced the anger. Sin is hating what is good and loving what is evil. Repentance is examining the root of the things you are passionate about. What are sometimes.. read more

What is love?

Posted on February 11th, 2016 · Posted in Marriage, Parenting, Shaping Influences

What is love? Valentine’s Day is almost here. It is time to show your love, at least that is what the ads are proclaiming with seemingly every billboard, TV commercial, radio spot or magazine cover you see. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry, teddy bears and related items are the order of the day. But do these things really show what love means? The Holy Spirit’s gift of love will cost much more than any of the items listed above. The Holy Spirit’s idea of love will cost you your life. Here are.. read more


Posted on January 26th, 2016 · Posted in Authority, Communication, Shaping Influences

Regardless of your method of schooling your children will have schoolwork to do at home. How you interact with your children while they are doing schoolwork has a huge impact on your relationship with them. Here are some positive ways you can interact with your kids and their schoolwork. Schoolwork issues generally fall into one or more of these three categories:  speed, neatness, and accuracy. Undergirding these three categories is the truth that all things must be done to the praise and glory of God. Here is an acronym you.. read more

The birthmark

Posted on January 12th, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Several years ago I had the privilege to respond to a mom whose daughter was mocked by another child on a school bus. Here is the comment from the little girl’s mom: “The girl on the bus pointed at her birthmark–the one just below her left eye–and told her she looked stupid. The soft confession came from my little girl, who was staring at the floor. A groan escaped me and I grabbed my daughter close. And I did exactly what I shouldn’t have: I cried. Will it get easier.. read more

Anger – when you parent your way

Posted on October 15th, 2015 · Posted in Gospel, Parenting, Shaping Influences

Human anger and biblical discipline do not mix. Man’s anger will not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:20) The key phrase is the righteous life that God desires. God did not give you your children so that you could teach them to follow your desires and wishes. When you make parenting about your desires, then, in your mind, God exists to serve you, to support your agenda and standards. When this role reversal occurs, even if unintentional, you attempt to make God subordinate to your will… read more


Posted on October 14th, 2015 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Obedience is not something that can be used to gain a reward – obedience itself is the reward. What is the basis of your acceptance with God? When there is disobedience, the solution is not simply to do better next time. The solution is to to trust Christ for the strength to do what you cannot. Repentance is about a change of heart, not just actions. Biblical obedience acknowledges the weakness of the flesh and the absolute necessity of having a heart transformed by the power of the cross. If.. read more

Confronting and controlling your fears

Posted on September 28th, 2015 · Posted in Bible, Shaping Influences

Whatever fears you struggle with, consider them in the light of Romans 8. There is no fear that you have that cannot be conquered by God’s power at work in you!  The greatest fear anyone can have is the condemnation of God. But in Christ, there is no condemnation. Confront your fear with this truth. You do not have to be controlled by fear. Apply the teaching of this wonderful chapter to help you be controlled by the Spirit of God and his word. Here is a brief application from.. read more

Emotions and your children

Posted on September 23rd, 2015 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Shaping Influences, Wisdom

In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit has provided you with a guide book for understanding emotions. Biblically, emotions can be thought of as the first responders of the heart. If the heart is good and well-guarded emotions can work for us, not against us. If the heart is not guarded then emotions can bring much damage. This is why Solomon is adamant that the heart be guarded above all else (Proverbs 4:23). The book of Job tells us right away the value of emotions. We.. read more

God doesn’t take coffee-breaks

Posted on September 19th, 2015 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Much of our behavior is centered around self-protection. When someone sins against us we often act like God was looking the other way or perhaps he was on coffee-break and missed the wrong done to us. For example: A young child has his toy taken by an older sibling. He cries out to his parents. A teenager lies to her mother. The mother informs her daughter that she can’t be trusted. A friend says something really stupid. You react with shock and awe. A co-worker takes credit for something you.. read more

For the sake of your children, guard your heart!

Posted on July 7th, 2015 · Posted in Communication, Shaping Influences

Whatever you let into your heart will flow directly into the lives of those you love.  If you guard your heart you guard those whom you love. If your heart is not guarded then you directly expose those closest to you to the evil attacks of the enemy. Proverbs 4:23 warns you to guard your heart: Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. In other words the ideas, the images, the influences you allow to flow into your heart become the substance of what flows.. read more

Fantasy: the trap of the social media

Posted on June 18th, 2015 · Posted in Internet, Sanctification, Shaping Influences, Social Networking

Notice Solomon’s wording of Proverbs 12:11. One person pursues a productive path of working his land while another pursues fantasies. He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. Proverbs 12:11 Social media offers the endless pursuit of the things that are not productive, or in the meaning of this Proverb, fantasies. It can be as obvious as spending hours and hours perusing posts, tweets and home pages. Or your pursuit can be about the being involved in arguments and causes which, while.. read more

A conversation with a young teenager

Posted on February 26th, 2015 · Posted in Communication, Gospel, Shaping Influences, Teenagers

“Stop bothering your sister.” “Why?” “Because it is not nice to do that to her.” “Well, she is not nice to me. Why should I be nice to her?” “God says you should be nice to her.” “Well, then, you should tell her that. If she starts being nice to me, I’ll be nice to her. Its not like I am hurting her or anything.” “But that is not how it works. You should do what God wants no matter how your sister responds.” “So, what do I do when.. read more

Manipulation or Instruction

Posted on February 17th, 2015 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Life is busy. It is tempting to think it doesn’t matter how we get our children to obey as long as they obey. This thinking may well achieve its purpose today, but create serious problems in the years ahead. Specifically I am talking about the distinction between instruction and manipulation. In it’s truest sense instruction means to teach children about God and his ways so that they are challenged to long for a deepening relationship with God. (see Deuteronomy 6:5-7 & Ephesians 6:4) Manipulation cares not for establishing a relationship with.. read more

It hurts! Did I do something wrong?

Posted on January 30th, 2015 · Posted in Shaping Influences, Wisdom

This morning, January 29th, in the hospital OR a nice nurse put a mask over my nose and mouth and told me to take some deep breaths. I remember doing what she said and thinking this is not helping me go to sleep. I also remember the constant but bearable pain in the left side of my neck. Next I remember another nurse asking how I was feeling and the pain in my neck becoming more powerful by the second. Apparently, the nice, smiling anesthesiologist had done his job well… read more

Teenagers, frustrations and short answers

Posted on August 26th, 2014 · Posted in Communication, Shaping Influences, Teenagers

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.. read more

Will your children love your instruction 30 years from now?

Posted on August 20th, 2014 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

Biblical instruction is not about changing behavior, it is about heart change. Proverbs 6:22 defines the purpose of biblical parental instruction. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. This passage in Proverbs is the goal of what is commanded in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.  Truth is to be passed on from one heart to another heart. The goal of biblical instruction is to have your children own the truth of Scripture for themselves!  Solomon tells children.. read more

Help! Someone I love has cancer.

Posted on August 20th, 2014 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

Here is the opening of a post featuring the new mini-book, Help! Someone I love has cancer: “I’m sorry. I don’t think I caught that. I have what?”“I said the tests are conclusive. You have cancer. I’m very sorry.”It doesn’t matter what has transpired before we or our loved ones hear these words, or what happens after. In that first frozen moment, we tend to go completely numb. The impact is so great it paralyzes us emotionally—perhaps for months. Our first response to disaster is typically disbelief: “No, that just.. read more