Shaping Influences

125 posts

It hurts! Did I do something wrong?

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. Next in my thought process was why I was hurting so badly. Had I done something wrong? Another door in my mind suddenly opened and I remembered that while I […]

Teenagers, frustrations 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 […]

Will your children love your instruction 30 years from now?

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 that this instruction is so precious they must make it part of their inner life. Solomon is saying this truth will adorn those who hear it and live it. The […]

Help! Someone I love has cancer.

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 can’t be. Surely the tests are wrong. Maybe we need to see another doctor! This can’t be happening to us.” Maybe we’re the ones receiving this diagnosis ourselves, or maybe […]

Why your children need confidence

Imagine if Jesus had said to Satan, “I’m not sure,” or “I will have to think about it,” when he was tempted. Of if Joseph had told Potiphar’s wife, “let’s talk about this.” Or if David had said to Goliath, “we must be tolerant of each other’s religion.” Jesus, Joseph and David confidently, boldly confronted  temptations. Confidence in God’s truth is something you can’t do without. Otherwise, temptations will overwhelm and ensnare you and your children. Lack of confidence in God’s truth will make your teenagers sitting ducks for the attacks of Satan and the world.  Solomon’s reason for writing the Proverbs was so that young people could live life confidently, knowing and following what God wanted them to do […]

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 […]

Three principles to prepare your children for the uncertainties of life.

Protecting our children is an unquestioned obligation of being a faithful parent. It is not always easy to know what we are to protect our them from.  Certain things are obvious: hot stoves, busy streets, harsh weather, dangerous terrain, evil people, etc.  But, then there is the false notion that children can be protected from every danger and uncertainty of life. That simply is not true. There is too much which is beyond our control.    You cannot protect your children from life itself.  The storms in Matthew 7 come to the wise and the unwise alike.  Until we go to be with Christ, sin and uncertainty will be a part of life.  We must not deceive ourselves and our […]