Shaping Influences

117 posts

Don’t invest in counterfeit gifts on Black Friday

Something is counterfeit if it appears to be genuine but is not. The problem with counterfeit money is that you can use and spend it and often the recipient will not recognize it for what it is. Then one day you attempt to use what is counterfeit with someone who knows what is genuine. Not only do you not get what you wanted but the fake money you have is forfeit as well.   Gift giving can be counterfeit or it can be genuine. Giving gifts to others can be a very good thing. But to be good, the gift must first be genuine. Just as we can’t earn our acceptance with God, neither can we fully earn the acceptance […]

Sexual purity – something to celebrate

Preparing your children to combat sexual sin should begin very early. It is never too soon to say that marriage is a wonderful blessing from God. When any discussions of sexuality arise, you should point out what is appropriate for marriage and what is not.  As your children grow older, your explanations will need to be more specific, until finally you arrive at the franker discussions needed to address the onset of puberty. But in the context of ongoing conversations, you have the privilege of positioning sexual behavior positively, within marriage. This sets the stage for you to have natural opportunities to demonstrate that when people choose to disobey God’s directives for sexuality, bad things happen.   Parents, you must […]

Do you encourage your children to disobey?

Suppose your child has developed a pattern of not coming when he is called.  This can easily lead to frustration for both parent and child. Tension can mount until finally the parent decides enough is enough and a confrontation irrupts. This confrontation also may encourage the child to think that the eighth time he or she disobeyed is far worse than the first time. In reality each refusal to come is equally serious. The problem is the same each time – God is being disobeyed.   The following scenario assumes that mom has been working with her daughter to change a pattern of being slow to obey.    Five year old Jennifer has shown a pattern of not responding quickly […]

Are you raising an Absalom?

Power struggles are common among parents and teenagers. Even teens who appear to be mild and compliant to others can engage in hard-fought battles at home. At the root of many of these battles is a deep-seated perception that they, the teens, are being treated unfairly. We see this dynamic in the life of Absalom. It is abundantly clear from the narrative that Absalom did not seek God in his distress and troubles. He took matters into his own hands. His outrage over Tamar turned into vengeance towards Amnon. His bitterness at his father’s failure to deal with Amnon’s sin yielded a life devoted to the overthrow of David’s kingship. We see Absalom’s anger, his planning, his obsession with justice, […]

The tyranny of the immediate

Immediate gratification is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. This desire for the immediate is based on two lies. The first is that having what I want will be satisfying and the second is nothing bad will happen if I get what I want. This is one way sin works in the lives of your children. If your children believe the lie that getting instant relief from their discomfort or discontent is ultimate, then they are bound by the power of sin. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. When you hear your child whine, you are hearing a child who has been deceived into thinking that life will be […]

Sport and Body Worship

Matthew records that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being able to interpret the signs of changes in the weather but not being able to interpret the signs of the times. Similarly, today, the church is slow to interpret the changing morality of the culture around her. I am not talking about the obvious Hollywood elements of the culture. Those are too glaring to miss. Rather, I am talking about the parts of our culture we consider safe: education and sports. In the book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, Tedd and Margy Tripp argue that we need to understand the influence of the dominate, majority culture around us. We need to use formative instruction to prepare our kids to live in a […]

Mommy, will a tornado come to our house?

Your children may have questions about the destructive tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma this past Monday.  Your answer to these questions will impact the way your children think about God. When something good happens like an unexpected gift or news that a biopsy was benign, it is not difficult to say that God is good. When someone who is obviously evil  experiences judgement it is also easy to talk about the goodness and justice of God.  But what about when the third massive tornado strikes the same town in 15 years?  This  third storm, an EF5 tornado, leveled neighborhoods and took the lives of children in their elementary school. Is God still good and just? What do you tell your […]

Children Thrive on Hope

Children are just like their parents, they require hope to thrive. Perhaps the greatest enemy of hope is performance. Performance is also the great enemy of the gospel. To take this progression one additional step; performance is the great enemy of your children. This statement appears to raise a contradiction. If children are to obey their parents, how can we not talk about performance? This is exactly the right question! The answer may surprise you. To be distinctly biblical, obedience must be connected to hope, not to performance. Too often, the message children receive about obedience is this: “Obey or face the consequences.” This should not be the theme of biblical obedience. Ephesians 6:1-3 is a wonderful passage to encourage children […]

Are you preparing your children for a mirage?

We all talk about what we are going to do tomorrow, or this weekend or next year. We talk about plans for our kids’ college. We provide music lessons, sports practices, and vocational training. We have college funds and plan for things we want them to have as adults. We provide school to prepare them for the road ahead. We encourage them to be healthy. All of this is good and necessary, with one condition. Do we also tell our kids that all that we are planning for has no more substance than the morning mist? Or do we give them the impression that we know what is going to happen tomorrow or the day after? Do we earnestly tell […]

An Open Mouth – the gateway to foolish parenting.

Sometimes the Bible’s directness takes us by surprise. If my focus is to raise my child using God’s discipline and instruction, then my words will be few, clear, pleasant, direct, convicting, and building. The more I talk the more I run the risk of muddying the waters with my opinions. Proverbs 18:2 is a humbling reality to those of us who use many words:   Fools find no pleasure in understanding     but delight in airing their own opinions.   Ouch, at least for me and maybe some of you as well. The last thing I should want for my children is for them to conform to my standards. If your child has been unkind or selfish, then this is what […]