Josh Buice – Parenting is Discipleship

The work of parenting is tough. The labor is long and the discouragement is constant, but the joys of parenting outweigh all of it. I’m certain that all parents experience joys in their relationship with their children, but as a Christian parent we approach the work of parenting through a different lens. Being a parent is far more than building relationships with our children. It is the duty of Christian parents to go beyond building your child’s athletic resume or teaching your child a trade. We have a much larger task and responsibility. Parenting is the work of discipleship.

Parenting is the Task of Making Disciples

Jesus’ Great Commission to His followers involved going and making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Before going to the nations, they were to begin that work in Jerusalem. We see them engaging unbelievers with the gospel at Pentecost in Acts 2. From there, they would then go beyond the borders of Jerusalem eventually spreading the gospel to the entire world.

Before we go beyond the borders of our own homes to share the gospel with neighbors, co-workers, extended family, friends, and even short term mission trips overseas—we must begin the work of making disciples in our own home with our own children. Making disciples is the commission, but how is that accomplished? It’s certainly more than getting decisions. It’s far more than having someone repeat a prayer. It’s much more involved than walking through a gospel tract one time and calling for a child to follow Christ by faith. Making a disciple is a hard task because it’s an impossible task.

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Michael Kelley – 3 Things Not to Say When Your Childs Fails

Sometimes I feel like a failure. I think everyone does. And without trying to be self-deprecating, I’ve lived long enough, worked long enough, and tried long enough to have had my fair share of experiences that at least felt a whole lot like failing. I’ve been cut from teams, did poorly on tests, and needed correction in annual reviews. And it’s always painful.

It’s still the moment when no matter how gospel-fluent you think you are that you question your self-worth and wonder if you have the courage to even try again. But even though it’s personally difficult, it pales in comparison at this point in my life to the difficulty of seeing my children fail at something.

That’s what’s truly gut-wrenching – to watch your own child fail at a sport, or a class, or a social encounter, or a whatever. As parents, we can’t stop these moments; nor should we try to. Failure is a terrible experience but a wonderful teacher. So if, then, as parents we are committed to actually allowing our children to fail at some things, then we would do well to ask the question of how to respond appropriately to them when they do.

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Jon Payne – Wise Technological Parenting

It is the apex of foolishness for parents to allow their children to have free and unaccountable access to technology– smart phones, tablets, iPods, computers, etc. Before I explain the reasons why I believe this, I want to make clear, in no uncertain terms, that I’m not a Luddite. I’m not against the advancement and use of modern technological devices. Indeed, I have no desire to go back to the sixteenth-century! Quite the contrary, I’m profoundly grateful for the seemingly endless and valuable functions of iPhones, iPads, and computers. It’s wonderful to be able to stay in touch with family and friends around the world through FaceTime and Skype, as well as through social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. Even so, there is a dark and insidious side to our brave new world of information and connectivity; and, we would be exceedingly foolish to ignore it. Here are a few reasons why our children should not have free and unrestricted access to technological devices:

Internet Pornography. Internet porn is a pandemic of massive proportions. The statistics related to this wicked industry are staggering (see The porn industry generates thirteen billion dollars of revenue each year in the United States alone. One in eight online searches is for pornography, and the same goes for one in five searches on mobile devices. Twenty-four percent of smart phone users admit to having pornographic material on their device. Fifty-six percent of divorce cases involve one spouse with a porn addiction.

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Michael Boling – Personal Application and Book Review: 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You

There can be no argument that our society is inundated with technology. As I write this, I am wearing an exercise monitor that automatically syncs with my phone. I am typing this on a laptop while watching a smart television. All of my vehicles have Bluetooth technology where at the touch of a button on the steering wheel I can say “call (insert name)” and I am driving and talking hands-free to someone perhaps all the way across the country. Want to listen to music? Access your phone. Want to read an e-book? No problem. Download one in mere seconds. Want to watch a movie? There is an app for that as well.

Technology is all around us, waiting to be utilized. As with anything in life, technology can be used for good and for evil and for many things that perhaps exist in the muddy middle. In a world full of social media and emojis, how do we navigate the technological surge that most assuredly will not abate anytime soon?

I recently finished reading a new book by Tony Reinke called “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You”. Normally, upon completion of a book, I write a review sharing my thoughts on the merits of the author’s arguments. Because I believe the subject matter Reinke addresses is of the utmost importance, I want to share my thoughts on Reinke’s excellent effort in a slightly different manner than a “normal” book review. The issues addressed by Reinke hit home in a manner no other book on the subject of the use of technology has to date. We have a teenager in our home so should I say more? The answer is unequivocally “YES”!

A little bit of background as to why this is such an issue of importance in my own home. We are a family that has embraced technology. My wife, daughter, and I have the latest in cellular phone technology. We each have a tablet and a laptop. As noted before, our three vehicles are full of technological accoutrements. We Pinterest, Facebook, Tweet, and all number of other social media functions. No big deal, right? Everyone does that stuff these days.

The issue we have faced of late is what I believe the premise of Reinke’s work is all about, namely identifying the proper balance of technology. Reinke saliently states, “Unhealthy digital addictions flourish because we fail to see the consequences.” It is after all so easy to spend untold hours scrolling through Pinterest or even in the name of fighting the holy battle for the Kingdom of YHVH, hashing it out day and night on Facebook forums. Sharing the message of biblical truth is good. Addiction to social media at the expense of building healthy personal relationships – not so much.

Perhaps the most important issue other than the blatant neglect of personal relationships my family has been addressing is that of what Reinke aptly notes as the secret vices of social media. I mentioned earlier we have a teenager. For parents who may be oblivious to what is readily available at the fingertips of your children via their smartphone, let me clearly state it is not all righteousness. In fact, it is far from it. Since Reinke addresses this issue so well, let me share his thoughts on these secret vices. He states that technology “makes us think we can indulge in anonymous vices, even conceptually, without any future consequences. Anonymity is where sin flourishes, and anonymity is the most pervasive lie of the digital age. The clicks of our fingertips reveal the dark motives of our hearts, and ever sin – every double-tap and every click – will be accounted for.”

Stop and ponder on that for a moment. If that does not hit you in your gut then I want you to read Reinke’s statement at least 5 more times and let it sink in, especially if you have children with access to smartphone technology or other similar technology. It is very easy for children (and yes that includes teenagers) to scroll through Pinterest and share questionable pictures. It is amazingly easy to “stumble” across YouTube videos that contain lewd and disturbing material. A little chuckle here, a little that’s no big deal there and the seed of secret vices can become a not so secret habit as sharing questionable and no so questionable material then lures in others to begin or continue their own secret vices.

What is a parent to do? I do not recommend the ostrich head in the sand approach. Reinke deplores such a response, noting that falls under the do nothing strategy Satan is hoping we all employ. I do not suggest complete withdrawal from all things technology either. We live in a technology laden world. It is important for our children to be technologically savvy. After all, the job market will demand competency in this regard.

Parents need to come alongside their children to help them understand that while technology is not inherently evil, turning the corner towards improper addictions and behaviors is often just a few clicks away. It is vital for parents to be vigilant in providing accountability to their children. The specifics of what that accountability looks like may vary, but at a minimum, set in stone a regular review of your child’s online and smartphone activity. If necessary, employ readily available blocking apps and monitors. Help your child understand the purpose of these restrictions.

We have employed an electronics contract in our home whereupon we all agreed to the following list:

1) I agree to use devices only during the specified times with permission
2) I agree to put way devices at designated times, such as end of day, mealtimes, during schoolwork, church activities, etc.
3) I will remove myself and tell a parent or an adult immediately if something does not feel comfortable online.
4) I will not give out personal information including full name, passwords, addresses, or phone numbers to unknown individuals online.
5) I will not download apps without permission.
6) I will not lie or be dishonest about what I am doing on my phone because deceit could damage my trusting relationships.
7) I will not text, email, or say anything through this device that I would not say in person.
8) I will not take inappropriate pictures or post/share inappropriate pictures of myself and/or others.

Again, such a contract might look different for your family and situation. With that said, I recommend instituting such a contract with everyone in the home signing it. Place it in a prominent place. To do nothing as a parent to rein in and direct in a godly manner proper habits when it comes to technology is a recipe for disaster. Providing godly parenting is a must.

If you are struggling either personally or as a family with technology, I highly recommend Reinke’s book. It was a true godsend for our family at a time when we were in the midst of dealing with our own improper addictions to technology and heading off at the pass some bad habits that were beginning to form with our child’s smartphone habits. This is a book that strikes the perfect balance between recognizing the proper place of technology and noting as well how things can quickly go awry. I trust the personal approach to this review was helpful in identifying specific ways to utilize the truths provided by Reinke in this timely book.

This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.

I received this book for free from Crossway Books and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michael Boling – Parenting 101: Dealing with Lying Lips

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. (Col. 3:9)

YHWH detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. (Prov. 12:22)

In the interest of transparency, I want to begin by stating as a child, I had a tendency to lie. Usually it was a string of lies sometimes carefully and at other times haphazardly thrown together in an effort to avoid trouble. Typically, the repercussions of those lies being found out was far worse than if I had simply told the truth at the outset. One thing was certain – the truth, regardless of how well my plan of deceit had been through out, was found out.

The temptation to lie, especially to share the incorrectly described “little white lie” is one I submit we all face. While we may have matured from our childhood days of lying about who broke the lamp in the living room, the urge to stretch truth resulting in falsehood remains a challenge for us all.

As a parent, the battle against lying lips has from time to time taken place in our home. We have a teenage daughter. With that time of life comes the temptation to lie, to go behind the back of those in authority, the desire to do what one wants, and the impulse to lie in order to cover up the tracks of the deception.

A recent occurrence of this deception resulted in a prime teaching moment for our daughter. I will not go into the details of what took place; however, let’s just say it involved the use of technology, the agreement that certain elements of technology would not be installed, the installation of said technology despite the established rules, and finally, the discovery of the deception and unraveling of the web of lies.

I remember what it was like as a child. The rules set down by parents seem like such a killjoy. What is the big deal with doing what they told me not to do, especially if it is just for a quick second? Nobody will be harmed by my actions in this one instance, right? Unfortunately, this line of thinking does not recognize the fact established in Scripture, namely that YHWH detests lying lips (Prov. 12:22) and lying is a work of the flesh, something we should be casting off and mortifying (Col. 3:9).

At its core, lying and deception is the oldest trick in the enemy’s playbook. Deception was part and parcel of what took place in the Garden of Eden. Did YHWH really say? Can’t I just divert off the path of righteousness just a couple of steps? It won’t harm anyone will it?

One could suggest the wrongdoing by our daughter in the grand scheme of harmful activities arguably does not rise to the level of being that monstrous. I would respond to such a suggestion that since YHWH detest lying lips, falsehood exists near or right at the top of that which we should also detest. While all sin should be abhorred, lying lips are repeatedly noted as an abomination to YHWH. Lying is like a giant snowball. It begins with a seemingly innocuous fib but ultimately keeps rolling into a giant landslide of destruction. In the case of our daughter, her actions of falsehood were akin to tossing a log onto an already burning fire.

We shared with our daughter how great a fire a lie can set ablaze. The second and third order consequences of lying are what is often forgotten when deception is embarked upon. Lying breaks the sacred bond of trust, something that takes a great deal of time to rebuild once destroyed. What we often think is no big deal and harmless is in reality rebellion against authority, in this case parental authority, and ultimately, it is rebellion against YHWH.

For parents out there who are also dealing with this issue in their home, be sure you set the example to your children by embracing a policy of honesty. Even those supposed “little white lies” should not be tolerated. Instruct your children in the importance of truth and the harm that occurs by deception. As the people of YHWH, we are to always tell the truth. YHWH detest lying lips and we should as well. Helping our children understand the importance of truth at the earliest age possible and addressing the urge and practice of lying with the power of Scripture is vital.

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Michael Boling – Dealing with the Pornification of Society

As I was scanning the airwaves on the drive home from work recently, I was once again taken aback by the incessant message of sexual deviancy that is promoted on seemingly every available channel, except the few Christian music stations, if of course you can find them on the radio dial. As the message of “sexual freedom” and license poured through every option on the radio, I was struck by how our society has become so accepting of this approach to life. Think about the last 50 years of television for example. On television, we have gone from Leave it to Beaver and The Waltons to Two and a Half Men and The Family Guy. In Hollywood, we have gone from A Roman Holiday to Brokeback Mountain. In the music industry we have gone from Elvis, who at the time was considered outrageously sexual by some to Miley Cyrus gyrating on stage with giant stuffed bears while licking a hammer. What in the world has this world come to? While we can certainly point with disdain to any number of sexually related issues in our society, the bigger question, at least for me and my family is what to do about it? What are alternatives to the din of digression found on television, movies, and the radio, not to mention the printed page?

Having a 15 year old daughter certainly brings this issue to the forefront as a parent. My wife and I are constantly bombarded with questions from our daughter such as “What is wrong with Usher” or “What is the big deal….why I can’t listen to rap music….it has a cool beat.” For those of you who have no clue who Usher is, he is what you would label as a pop music artist. If you don’t know what that means you will just have to Google it. So with those types of questions being asked, we could easily say to our daughter, “You can’t listen to that music because we said so” and leave it at that. After all, we are the parents and what we say goes. While that is certainly a valid approach, does it really help her understand the ramifications of listening to sexually explicit music or even music with clear sexual overtones? In my humble opinion, it does not. As I began to ponder this issue a bit more today, I felt the need to share some viable alternatives to the pornified entertainment culture of our day.

1. Turn off the radio, television, or entertainment device. Seems rather obvious right? It is the quickest way to circumvent trash coming into your home, car, or brains. That little thing known as the power button is a powerful tool and should be used far more often than it is in most households.

2. Have a conversation. As a parent, it is increasingly clear my wife and I cannot house our child in a protective bubble where nothing of ill repute will interact with her. While we would love that, it quite simply is unrealistic and ultimately it will not prepare her for adulthood and how to act in a mature biblical manner. She will go to school where other kids who are also inundated with the trash our society has embraced and most likely discussions of that trash will ensue. When these topics come up, be prepared to have that needed conversation with your child about why your family does not watch or listen to that garbage. Break out that book that may have some dust on it called the Bible. Read as a family what God says about seeking after what is good, holy, and just.

3. Have family devotions. The Puritans called this “Family Worship.” Gather together on a regular basis as a family and read and study God’s word and pray. This is powerful stuff folks. It is also the best alternative available to combat that garbage we have been talking about. You know the old saying “Garbage In/Garbage Out.” The opposite is true as well and that is “Biblical Truth In/Biblical Truth Out.” The only thing that can shine through the darkness that is our current societal mess is the light of God’s Word. How does that light shine? It shines by God’s people devouring His Word to the extent that it shines through every fiber of our being. With God’s Word occupying every aspect of our life, there will be no available room for trash to be a part of who we are or what we do.

4. Look for positive alternative activities. Rather than plopping down in front of the television at night or on the weekends, a device we all know is nothing more than a propaganda tool for perversion, do something together as a family. As a culture, we have forgotten about the great outdoors. Go play catch, take a jog with your child, put a puzzle together, dust off those board games, or read a book.

5. Listen to positive music and watch positive movies. If you must turn on the radio, locate that long lost Christian music or Christian talk station in your local town. Find that local Christian bookstore or explore for Christian music options. There are plenty of styles to choose from anything from Christian rap to Christian country to Christian rock. As with anything, be observant and attentive to your musical choices because not everything labeled as Christian is exactly music that glorifies God. There are also many great classic movies from the days of yesteryear available that are wonderful family oriented alternatives to the heaps of garbage paraded from Hollywood these days.

6. Become more involved in your local church. There are hopefully many positive activities to involve yourself and family in at your local church. If not, see what other churches are up to in your community. Have your kids become involved in children’s activities or youth group. Get them around other bible believing kids their age so they can develop lasting positive friendships.

I am sure there are many other suggestions that could be made and things we can do to deal with the pornification of our society but hopefully these are enough to get you started. One thing is certain and that is this sexualization of our culture is not going to cease. Sadly, it is only to get worse. Instead of being like the proverbial ostrich with our head in the sand hoping it all goes away, let’s get out in front of the issue in our respective families and put in place positive godly alternatives to what the world is offering. In doing so, we will be following the biblical mandate to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:7) (By the way, that passage is from the front of the book, a place far too few people explore these days.) Parents, we are commanded by God to promote a godly atmosphere in our homes. We are commanded to speak of God and His word at all times in our homes. It should be something we desire to do because God is the only solution to the depravity we face today.

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Michael Boling – Logging Off is Hard to Do: The Proper Balance of Social Media and Godly Parenting

I readily admit that I fully enjoy engaging fellow believers on social media, in particular in various forums and discussion groups on Facebook. The back and forth discussion is often riveting, challenging, informative, and when done responsibly, a great tool for personal spiritual growth and the growth of others. What believer would not desire to share the truth of God’s Word or to dig deeper into the things of God, especially “nerdy” theological loving types such as myself. Of course that little aspect of responsibility is the issue and what things are being neglected, issues that quite often are far more important than winning a debate or sharing that one final brilliant theological discovery. Let me share with you some points of concern I have realized in my own life concerning this issue that were brought to my attention by my rather perceptive daughter as well as some recommendations for properly balancing time spent on social media or theological discussion.

In an age where access to social media is everywhere, be it smart phones, laptops, Kindles, Nooks, or iPads, it is easy to get drawn into the online environment. Long gone are the days when your connected your computer to the dial up modem, went out for dinner and then came back home to finally log on to the internet. Today we have instantaneous access to all manner of technological wonders. Who knew 10 years ago we could access the internet or watch television, movies, or listen to music on a thing called a smart phone? Honestly, there is nothing inherently wrong with technology. A smart phone or other technological device in and of itself is nothing more than a device. Without turning that device on, nothing will happen. Without engaging that device, nothing will happen. This means that a decision must be made on the part of the individual as to the good or bad that will come from utilizing that piece of technology. It also means blaming the availability of technology is a rather poor excuse, given you have to actually turn on the device to use it capabilities.

Now as someone who is an advocate of using technology to spread the good news of the gospel, having conversations with fellow believers across the globe, reading godly books and reviewing them, as well as writing blog posts and sharing the helpful writings of fellow bloggers or theological works past or present, I humbly admit that from time to time I get sucked into the world of technology. Again, there is nothing wrong with technology, studying God’s Word, or sharing the gospel. The issue is ensuring one’s engagement in those aforementioned activities is not done at the expense of other things also commanded by God as having a great deal of importance.

This leads me to what my daughter brought to my attention and that is “You are always talking about God on Facebook or reading about God and when I want to go to the pool or do things, you do not seem to be interested.” Wow! That was a shot right to the mid-section and rightfully so. Admittedly, I was defensive right off the bat in my response which went something along the lines of “Well you just want to go swimming at the wrong time.” Bad form Mike….bad form. After thinking about the wisdom my child shared in her complaint, it hit me that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Let me explain what I mean by that statement.

Sharing the gospel is most definitely something that should be the focus of every believer. As we have discussed thus far, technology has afforded us the opportunity to share that message through social media. The unfortunate side effect of social media is it becomes very easy to justify to ourselves typing that one last response on Facebook, reading just one more chapter, writing one more paragraph for that blog post we just have to get out for dissemination today, or sharing with our family the specifics of that ridiculous individual on that forum who just can’t get it right on a particular issue of theological importance. The reasons are many as to why we justify those actions to ourselves including the fear that if we do not post something in response to Rachel Held Evans’ latest tirade or if we do not confront a particular wrong point of doctrine at that specific moment in time that suddenly the very fiber of the universe will unravel. In my case, the desire to take that route has led to the neglect of something just as precious and that is time sharing the gospel in my own family by my own actions or in this case the lack thereof of setting a godly example of what proper balance looks like.

As parents and especially for those fathers out there, we are absolutely commanded by God to “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut. 11:19)”, an imperative that speaks of declaring the things of God to your children all day and every day. What does that look like on a daily basis and how do talk about these things day in and day out with our children and in our families? What connection does that have to social media? All valid questions and let’s examine each one individually.

There are a number of ways in which parents can share the truth of Scripture with their children on a daily basis. Some involve the actual sitting down in a family or one on one setting to include the opening the Word of God and prayer. Such an approach is often called “family worship” and there are a number of great books available (see below) that outline some suggestions for doing quality, purposeful, and consistent family worship. In fact, I highly recommend family worship be instituted on a consistent basis. In the words of Dr. Joel Beeke:

Heads of households, we must implement family worship in the home. God requires that we worship Him not only privately as individuals, but publicly as members of the covenant body and community, and socially, as families. The Lord Jesus is worthy of it, God’s Word commands it, and conscience affirms it as our duty.”[1]

While family worship is a must, there is also the equally important aspect of sharing the truth of Scripture by demonstrating godly living as parents through our own actions. This piece is truly where the rubber meets the road for most of us. In our minute by minute actions, are we reflecting what righteous behavior looks like to our children? Are we demonstrating by our own actions how to love God and love others? That is after all the essence of what all of the commands in Scripture are rooted is it not? I will let that sink in for a second. Okay…time’s up!

If we were honest, I would submit most would admit a large failure in that area of our lives as leaders of our families. With that said, admitting failure in this regard is a good thing because it demonstrates the realization of our neglect. The next stage is the need for repentance followed immediately by a paradigm shift in our approach to life. Children are sponges and as parents, they look to us for guidance not to mention the fact they will more often than not mimic our behavior. Watch the following music video as an example of how that works:

See how that works? The bad part of the video was the little boy repeating the curse word he had watched his father use. A better part was the little boy mimicking his father praying. The best part of the video was the realization by the father that he is setting an example for his son to follow, a realization resulting in a change of behavior. That is the place we must all get to as parents, namely what will likely be a drastic adjustment in how we live our lives.

For those parents who find themselves overly drawn to social media under the guise of sharing the gospel, or individuals such as myself who spend likely far too much time involved in reading and reviewing books, writing blog posts, or developing our personal or ministry related blogs, the allure of social media can impact our ability to share the gospel in our own homes. I know this is a reality because of the complaint shared by my daughter to me about my own misplaced priorities. I would submit many others are either in the same camp or are running the risk of placing a higher priority on outward ministry to others over and above ministering as a parent or spouse to their wife and children.

We cannot neglect our families for the cause of Christ. Such an approach is antithetical to Scripture. There is a thing called the off switch on every technological device. You can log out of Facebook. That last comment can wait. That blog post can wait another day. That book you are reading can be put back on the shelf for a few more minutes. That meeting can be rescheduled. What is more important than to “Train up a child in the way he should go so that when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

The Puritan J. W. Alexander once noted:

The father of a family is under a wholesome influence, when he is brought every day to take a post of observation, and say to his own heart, “By this single means, in addition to all others, I am exerting some definite influence, good or bad, upon all who surround me. I cannot omit this service needlessly; perhaps I cannot omit it at all without detriment to my house. I cannot read the Word, I cannot sing, I cannot pray, without leaving some trace on the tender mind. How solemnly, how affectionately, how believingly, should I then approach this ordinance! With how much godly fear and preparation! My conduct in this worship may save or may kill. Here is my great channel for reaching the case of those who are submitted to my charge.”[2]

As I think back to the words of my own daughter to me concerning my over emphasis recently on matters relating to social media, I am struck by those words from J. W. Alexander, specifically “I am exerting some definite influence, good or bad, upon all who surround me. I cannot omit this service needlessly; perhaps I cannot omit it at all without detriment to my house.” That means that everything I do and say is being picked up on by those in my household, in particular by my daughter. She is watching every move I make and everything I say. This means the example I am setting is forming her perspective on parenting, life in general, and what a relationship with God and others looks like in practice. Uh-oh and God help me all wrapped up into one!

Now keep in mind changing our habits takes time and effort but by all means take the time and the effort to make the needed changes. This is serious business. Repent of misplaced priorities and cry out to God for help in leading your family in the manner in which Scripture commands. Take the time to institute things such as family worship which can be as simple as reading a Bible verse, talking about what God is saying in that verse, singing a song, and praying. This is not about having a 90 minute church service at home each night. It is about consistent time as a family, time spent in communion together and with God. Also recognize that social media can wait more often than not. Do not be so consumed with matters of ministry or the desire to fire away that post or Tweet that you neglect the raising of your children or get into a situation where you are not reflecting a godly example as a parent.

I leave you with the sound words of J. C. Ryle:

Fathers and mothers, I charge you solemnly before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, take every pains to train your children in the way they should go. I charge you not merely for the sake of your children’s souls; I charge you for the sake of your own future comfort and peace. Truly it is your interest so to do. Truly your own happiness in great measure depends on it. Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart. Children have mixed the bitterest cups that man has ever had to drink. Children have caused the saddest tears that man has ever had to shed. Adam could tell you so; Jacob could tell you so; David could tell you so. There are no sorrows on earth like those which children have brought upon their parents. Oh! take heed, lest your own neglect should lay up misery for you in your old age. Take heed, lest you weep under the ill-treatment of a thankless child, in the days when your eye is dim, and your natural force abated.”[3]


[1] Dr. Joel Beeke, Family Worship (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2002), 11.
[3] J. C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents (Choteau: Old Paths Gospel Press, 1888), 36-37.

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Tim Challies – Be a Parent Worthy of Honor

For a number of weeks, I have been exploring the fifth commandment and, in particular, how adult children are to obey it. “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” While heeding this command is relatively straightforward to the young child under the authority of his parents, it is much more difficult to know what it entails for adult children. Through this series, we have begun to learn some ways such honor can take shape. We have seen that all children owe their parents a debt of honor that continues past childhood. All children of all ages are to honor their parents. We have explored this from many angles and now, as we conclude, I want to explore it from just one more.

Children do not bear the full responsibility of the fifth commandment. If children are to extend honor to their parents, parents are to make it easy for them by living honorable lives. We need to repeat what we have said before: Children are not to wait until their parents prove honorable before extending honor, for the parents’ honor derives from their position, not their behavior. Yet there is still an onus on the parent to live a worthy and respectable life. And this is what I wish to consider today: How can we who are parents live lives that are worthy of honor? How can we make it easy for our children to honor us now and in the future?

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