Shaping Influences

117 posts

Like a weaned child

There are lessons from childhood that adults are often too proud learn. But King David was able to learn contentment from a young child at rest with his mother.   When we are consumed with taking care of ourselves, we have taken on a responsibility that is too great for us. As a result the most important part of life, our relationship with God. is pushed to the side while we determine our how to cope with our problems.  However, in Matthew 6 Jesus says to seek first the Kingdom of God. God will take care of the other stuff.    David understood this.   In Psalm 131 he contemplated a little child with his mother.  Specifically, a weaned child […]

Humility: something we are born to hate

People don’t like humility, we hate it. The biblical concept of humility is one of helplessness, being in total dependence upon someone else. Even as I write these words, I can hear someone saying, “that’s not true! People accomplish all kinds of things everyday without help from other people.” Well, that may possibly be true with regard to other humans. But no one accomplishes anything apart from the express will and plan of God. We seldom think of God with that amount of reach and power into our personal lives. However, James gets it right when he says: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on […]

The importance of influence

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. That moment will come when you are not there to give direction or warning. All of your training, discipline and instruction will be on the line in that moment. This is a sobering reality.    When that moment comes the scales will be tipped positively or negatively by one key component: your influence.     One definition of “influence” reads this way: “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”   You won’t be there to say, “don’t trust, her”, or “he’s […]

Patience or frustration?

Have you ever said something like this to your kids when things are challenging?   “Sorry I was upset. You know that I love you, but I am just so frustrated right now!”   The words, “I love you,” are buried in the middle of this defense of angry behavior. They may well be familiar words. But the problem with familiar words is that they often lose their impact and may become background noise to your children. More is needed than just words. Real, tangible actions must accompany the words of love. Let’s start with patience.    I Corinthians 13 says that love is patient.  A working definition of patience is living in the expectation of God’s care. Patience and […]

Raising holy children

A good friend asks you what is your goal for raising your children. You reply, “I want to raise children that are holy.” Your friend looks at you sadly and says, “how boring is that!” Boring. This is the way the enemy of your soul wants holiness to be understood – as drab, boring, and uneventful. Our culture has bought into this lie as well. However, being holy is anything but uneventful. Being holy means to actively pursue a relationship with the most powerful being in the universe. Being holy requires boldness, courage, and a sense of adventure. Being holy means to be love power over weakness. Being holy means to be live in a way that changes lives and […]

A girl and her birthmark

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 the little girl’s mom wrote in her blog: 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 to be strong? Will it get easier to say the right thing in response to pain? Below is what I wrote to encourage this mom. A birthmark, […]

Biblical love and discouragement don’t mix.

If you pour some oil into a clear measuring cup with water you will find that they don’t mix; the oil remains on top. I realize this observation hardly qualifies me as scientist of the year! But there is something to be learned from this familiar occurrence. Biblical love and discouragement are like oil and water. Mix love and discouragement together in a clear glass and you find love (oil) on top and discouragement (water) on the bottom. You can see the line that separates them. Discouragement, though real, does not change our ability or capacity to love.  We tend to believe that discouragement comes from unfortunate circumstances, as in children who are slow to obey. Actually, discouragement comes most […]

Gratitude or self-pity: your choice!

There are lots of reasons to feel ungrateful. Of course these reasons are all bad ones, but that never seems to matter when self-pity comes calling. In contrast, Thessalonians tells us that it is God’s will that we be thankful. So, Christian you have a choice to make – trust God or your own assessment of your circumstances. Gratitude is to identify you as a person. For this to occur, at least three truths must frame your understanding of gratitude: First truth:  gratitude is based upon unchanging truth, not changing circumstances. God’s goodness to you is never in doubt. Ephesians 1:7-8 says God has lavished his riches upon you. This blessing is certain. Redemption belongs to you as God’s child […]

Are You Santa’s Helper?

Your children know everything about you. They see when you are sleeping, they know when you have been good or bad, they know when you pout and when you shout. In the midst of the turmoil of life your children know whom you delight in. Your kids know all of this without you ever having to say a word. When you stumble and ask God for help — they learn. When you stumble and snap or make excuses — they learn from that, too. If you value your relationship with God above all else, your children will know this, even when you fall short of your calling as a Christian parent.   What does this have to do with being […]