Courtney Reissig – Mothering a Rebellious Heart

“I feel like I am talking to a brick wall”. It’s a statement I make nearly every week. I have four children, ages four and under (there is a set of twins in the mix). I ask them to pick up their toys, yet they keep playing. I ask them to share, instead they scream at each other. I tell them it’s time to read the Bible or do our catechism questions, instead I’m met with cries of protest or disdain. My words, commands, and correctives often fall on deaf ears. And I feel defeated.

But I’m not the only one who has ever had to lead people who rejected authority. In fact, motherhood has a lot of correlation to the prophets in the Old Testament. They were commanded to go to people who often wouldn’t listen. They were given the task of speaking to people who did the exact opposite of what they were asking of them. Sound like motherhood? Let’s consider one of them together.

The prophet Jeremiah was no stranger to adversity in leadership. Did you ever think you would find kinship in your mothering challenges with the prophet Jeremiah? I didn’t. But I think you will find him a faithful friend for your journey of motherhood.

To continue reading Courtney Reissig’s article, click here.

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Michael Kelley – Remember, Parents, You Cultivate What You Celebrate

Celebrations are more than fun; they’re powerful. That’s because you cultivate what you celebrate.

Think about this scenario: You have become a leader in an unhealthy organization. Maybe you’re the coach of a losing sports team. Or an executive in a business that is losing money. Or maybe you are trying to lead a team of volunteers in a ministry in the church. But the organization you are in charge of isn’t functioning well, the people aren’t happy, and the culture of that organization is broken. You know it needs to change, and so you think through all kinds of different strategic moves. But along with that, you change the nature of celebrations.

You know how you want the organization to look, and so that future vision drives what you celebrate now. You lift up people on the team who embody the right characteristics. You point out examples of the right attitude. You rejoice over the small victories that come in the right places. This is one way you can actually influence the culture of an organization. People see what is celebrated, and they come to understand that these characteristics, attitudes, and actions are the most important thing.

You cultivate what you celebrate. It’s true in larger organizations, and it’s also true in our own homes. As parents, we also cultivate what we celebrate.

To continue reading Michael Kelley’s article, click here.

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Scott Slayton – Five Obstacles that Dads Face

From time to time I hear men refer to spending time with their children while their wife is out of the house as “babysitting.” Remember, we are not talking about them watching someone else’s children. They keep their kids by themselves for a few hours and call it “babysitting.” While it is easy to criticize men who say such foolish things, it serves to remind us how often men struggle to know the right thing to do in parenting. We know we should lead our families and care for our kids, but we often don’t know what to do.

We could blame our parenting difficulties on the complexities of raising kids in the digital age. We can point out how much the world has changed and the ubiquitous presence of devices and social media, but this would be placing the blame in the wrong place. Men must face the brutal truth that our greatest parenting obstacle stares back at us in the mirror every morning. Our sin, obliviousness, and foolishness stand in the way of parenting our children in a way that brings glory to God and joy to us.

In this post, I want to deal with five common obstacles that dads face in their parenting.

To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.

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Michael Boling – Apologetics in the Home (Deut. 6:6-9)

Hammer-it-Home

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9)

As a parent, I am keenly reminded each and every day of the battle that wages for the hearts and minds of children. Add to that being the parent of an adopted child and you have an even greater battle taking place. In the day to day routine, it seems at least in my home that we easily forget one of the fundamental keys to parenting, something God has commanded parents to be about doing at all times with their children. That key to effective parenting revolves around the teaching and implementation of God’s word at all times and in all places.

In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, God commands parents to do a number of things. Before we examine what He commanded, it is important to take a quick step back to grasp where Israel was at when God spoke these words and what they were about to embark upon. The children of Israel were about ready to enter the Promised Land. Before they stepped foot into the land of promise, God reminded Israel of what He had done on their behalf, how He had delivered them from bondage, and moreover, He reminded them once again of the commands He had given them to live by.

Thus, the words God is referring to in Deut. 6:6 are the sets of commands He gave to Israel on how they were to love Him and love others. These commands were not just a onetime declaration that could be heard and then forgotten or lost upon later generations. To ensure the constant focus and emphasis on these instructions, God commanded parents to constantly share these truths with their children.

God is quite clear on how He wants this instruction to take place. First, He gives the command for parents to diligently teach these things. This phrase “teach them diligently” by no means reflects a half hearted approach or attitude. The word translated as teach is the Hebrew verb shanan which means “to inculcate anything on any one.” Now for those not familiar with inculcate means, that words connotes the concept of hammering something. Perhaps a good way to think about this activity is in relation to hammering a nail into a piece of wood. Unless you are Popeye the Sailor Man, it is highly unlikely you will be able with one smack of the hammer to drive that nail flush into the wood. It takes repetition and it requires hitting that nail exactly on the head. Furthermore, it requires hitting that nail in the same spot over and over, driving that nail into the wood. This same concept can be related to what God is commanding parents in Deut. 6:7. He expects parents to drive home the word of God at all times with great zeal and purpose.

The next important point to note is God expects parents to start this instruction with their children. Do not wait until your kids are teenagers to start mentioning the word of God. Start young and start often. Why? Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When you plant the seeds of Scripture deep in the heart of a child when they are young, God’s word takes root in their life. While it is no guarantee they will follow after God when they grow to adulthood, studies have revealed “that when both parents were faithful and active in the church, 93 percent of their children remained faithful.”1

The next command God gives is for parents to “talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” This statement covers every element of one’s daily activities and possible locations. Now talking is far more than just a passing conversation. The word translated as talk is the Hebrew verb dabar which means “to speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing” with the underlying idea of leading and guiding as a shepherd would his flocks being the primary emphasis. This means parents are to shepherd their children by using the word of God as the shepherd’s crook, keeping them on the straight and narrow path. This takes place at home, anywhere outside the home regardless of whether you are sitting down or standing up. Basically God is saying – “Parents. At all times and in all places instruct your children in My word.”

As if this was not clear enough, God further notes “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Binding God’s commands on your hands and your eyes signifies that the truth of His word controls your actions and thoughts. Writing God’s word on the doorposts of your house and on your gates reminds parents of the need for Scripture to define how their home is ran and how it functions.

How then are parents to be able to follow these clear commands of the Lord? Being able to instruct your children in the ways of God and in His holy word requires the parent to be faithful in their own bible study and in prayer. It will take preparation, serious earnest preparation with God’s word sinking into the fabric of your own heart before you can then pour out the refreshing and cleansing water of God’s word into the lives of your children. This means that parents must hammer home God’s word into their own lives, setting the example of what diligent bible study looks like. This means that parents must live out in their own words and actions the truth of Scripture.

This is not easy and breaking lazy habits will not happen overnight. With that said, just as exercising your physical muscles takes diligence, practice, and know how, so to exercising your spiritual muscles will require action, diligence, practice, and know how so you can in turn train your children how to exercise their spiritual muscles so they can instruct their children. It is high time parents burn some spiritual fat, get a biblical chiropractic check-up and get to work following God’s clear command found in Deut. 6:6-9. Swinging that biblical hammer to drive home the truth of Scripture takes a lot of work and there is no denying that one bit. There is also no denying the benefits that will occur for those parents who are obedient to this command.

It is time parents stop abdicating their God ordained and commanded responsibility to Sunday School and Youth Group leaders to train their children in the ways of God. While they play a part, the primary responsibility rests in the lap of the parents.

Hammer it home parents!

References
  1. http://www.gotquestions.org/falling-away.html#ixzz3H0IsZJHG []
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Michael Kelley – 4 Things That Hold Us Hostage As Parents

Being a parent is hard. It’s gloriously hard, but it’s still hard. Every single day you have to try and find the best, God-honoring, biblically faithful way to dry tears, exercise discipline, encourage perseverance, and hold character.

That, in and of itself, is difficult. What makes it even harder is that these decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. There are other factors that always seem to jump in and complicate our parental decisions. Many times, in fact, I feel like I’m trying to parent with one arm tied behind my back. It feels sometimes like I can’t act freely, like I’m being held hostage as a dad instead of making simple and direct parenting choices.

What are those things that hold us hostage as parents? What are those factors that chain us down and prevent us from acting lovingly and wisely for the sake of our children? I’d suggest at least these four:

1. My past.

All of us have a past, and that past is filled with both successes and failures. Both the successes and the failures from our past might hold us hostages as parents. If we were, say, particularly successful at playing a sport in our past, then we might force the same sport on our kids even if they don’t enjoy or be particularly good at. Conversely, maybe we have a nagging memory of some painful instance from our past – a time when we were made fun of, or when we got a bad grade, or whatever, and that experience might keep us from allowing our kids to take the same risk. In either case, we are bound by our past in our parenting.

To continue reading Michael Kelley’s article, click here.

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David Murray – 6 Tips for Reading the Bible with Your Kids

Happy Childhood Memories

When we look back on our childhoods, among many other happy memories, we may recall our parents reading with us. “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Three Little Pigs,” and multiple other children’s classics cast a warm hue upon our earliest recollections.

So why don’t we do the same with the Bible? Why don’t we read the Bible one-on-one with our children? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give our children that best of memories? If you haven’t started such a practice, let me give you some guidance to start the ball rolling.

1. Give them a good reason to read the Bible.

Students do best when they are motivated by the ultimate aim of their studies. That’s why it’s so important to answer the “Why?” question up front, and to keep it in front, when reading the Bible with our children.

To continue reading David Murray’s article, click here.

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Tim Challies – What’s the Purpose of … Children?

It used to be so straightforward. We got married, then we had children. It’s just what we did. But then something changed, so that today both marriage and having children have become optional, matters of preference. Countless millions are choosing to delay marriage or take a pass on it altogether. Many of those who choose to marry decide not to have children at all. In the face of these new realities we do well to ask: What’s the purpose of children? In the answer that follows, we will not consider methods of parenting or provide an explanation for why we should raise our children in certain ways. Rather, we will ask a far more foundational question, “What’s the purpose of having children at all?” In today’s world, which too often exalts self and writes off children as an inconvenience, this is a question we must ask and answer.

Common Views of Children

In Western culture, self is king. We judge the merits of almost everything by the degree to which it brings us self-realization and self-advancement. Ralph Waldo Emerson charged, “It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.” And we have. The pursuit of dreams and the fulfillment of personal potential has become our highest priority. A recent Forbes article tells that in 2015, Millennials spent nearly twice as much on self-improvement than Boomers, even though their income is only half as much.

To continue reading Tim Challies’ article, click here.

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Paul Carter – 10 Parenting Imperatives from the Book of Proverbs

Parenting is sacred, smelly, exciting, crushing, frustrating and expensive. It’s the most important thing that people ever do and to be completely honest with you, it scares the life out of me.

Who is sufficient for these things?

What should I be teaching my kids? What guidance should I be giving? Where do I go to learn how to raise and disciple sons and daughters of the King?

There is really only one place I can think of. The Book of Proverbs is presented as the counsel and wisdom of a royal couple to their son. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8 ESV).

It is an entire God-breathed and Divinely authorized manual on how to raise little kings and queens.

It is well worth reading from start to finish. Until you get a chance to do that, here are 10 things that the King and Queen in Proverbs say to their child that you should say to yours.

To continue reading Paul Carter’s article, click here.

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Geoffrey Kirkland – Instruction and Parenting

Parents all understand Paul’s command to “bring the children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6.4). But sometimes we grow weary in teaching the same old truths on many occasions again and again. Solomon could relate. He said “Hear my son your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Prov 1:8). All through the Book of Proverbs, we receive many examples of Solomon pleading with his son to hear, listen to, heed, pay attention to, and receive His instruction. For instance, “my son, do not forget my teaching but let your heart keep my commandments” (Prov 3:1). This is a vital and unending part of parenting. As the children grow, we as parents must be deliberate in our teaching and instructing of their hearts. This not only takes place in the discipline room when they’re very small (with simple points of instruction) but as the child gets older, the physical spanking will decrease and the verbal instruction and biblical reasoning with the child will increase. When the child is so young that he cannot articulate or reason with you as the parent, discipline with the rod is the primary means of discipline when he has sinned. But as the child grows, verbal instruction, reasoning from the Scriptures, and helping the child see the desires that rule his heart that cause him to then choose to act, speak, or respond a certain way will then take priority in shepherding them toward Christ.

To continue reading Geoffrey Kirkland’s article, click here.

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Tim Challies – Nurture Your Children

There are few roles in which we feel deeper inadequacy than our role as fathers. What suits us to the task of raising little people? What assurance can we have that we are doing it well? What will our children someday say of us? These are big and perplexing questions, so it is little wonder that church bulletin boards are covered with posters for parenting seminars and library shelves are groaning under the weight of parenting books. One study found that in the past 10 years alone, publishers have released more than 75 thousand books on the subject. Parenting is tough, and none of us is fully up to the challenge.

Considering the importance and difficulty of the task, we may find it surprising how little direct guidance the New Testament offers us. Its clearest instruction is found in Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The parallel passage in Colossians 3:21 adds just one minor detail: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” While we’re grateful for this divine guidance, we are probably left wishing there was more of it. Couldn’t God have answered a few more of our questions? What about spanking versus timeouts? What about homeschooling versus Christian or public schooling? What about the age to buy a child her first iPhone or the right way to oversee her selection of a spouse? Couldn’t we have just a little bit more detail?

To continue reading Tim Challies’ article, click here.

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