Tag Archives: parent

3 Lessons From George Washington

Recently I have been reading about the life of George Washington.  His incredible story continues to motivate and shape the direction of many people today.  His famous speech delivered to The Continental Congress, once nominated to be the first Commander in Chief, is worth repeating today for its sincerity and humility.

He said in part:  “But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.”

His speech echoes what Paul wrote in Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

So what does the newly appointed general do as he sets out to create an army and organize a rag-tag group of farmers and family men into an army to fight England?  He does three things from which we can learn from today and apply to our spiritual lives.

  1. He orders new uniforms.  Since the British uniforms are red, he chooses blue for the American “patriots.”   Identifying what side you are on is good for battles and for the spiritual battle we are in as Christians.   What team are you on?  Jesus said in Luke 11:23, He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.  Is it clear to yourself and to those around you that you are a Christian?  I think of being baptized and then being faithful in the life of your church as a sort of uniform that everyone can see.  Have you followed the Lord in believer’s baptism after you received Jesus for salvation?  And is your participation in church life a definite mark that you are on “Team Jesus?”  Do you “gather” with Jesus or scatter?
  2. The second thing Washington does is write up a will.  He ensures that his wife and other relatives know what to do in the event that he does not come back from battle.  Certainly a will is good financial advice for us and we should have wills in place today.  In a more practical way, Washington revealed by planning a will that he was ready to give his life for his country.  Truly, our lives are also on the line because we love Jesus.  in Luke 9:23, Jesus is teaching and says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  No matter the cost: job, finances, business, friendships, relationships, fame, athletics, art, etc. We should be willing to lay all that aside for Jesus.  Washington was “All In.”  Are you “All In” in your walk and worship of Jesus?
  3. General Washington also ordered copies of several military books.  Getting a uniform for the troops was not going to be enough to win against the British.  He needed to read about military tactics and disciplines for soldiers, etc.  He studied what he needed to know to be as successful as humanly possible in his undertaking of being the Commander in Chief.  I wonder if you and I read and study as much as we should to be successful in the Christian life?  Paul told Timothy to study the Word.  2 Timothy 2:15 commands, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

There are many good books that are Bible based to help with areas of life in which all of us need help!  Here are several examples to take to heart and consider:

  • Books for relationships; how to be a good friend, what to look for in a potential mate, what does the Bible teach about dating, etc.
  • Books for marriage; communication, commitment, intimacy, and more.
  • Books for parenting; developing your child in adolescence, spiritual formation, parenting with purpose, and gaining the heart of your teenager.
  • Books for teens; there are many good books I recommend you to have you tween and teenagers read as they begin to navigate choices, friendships, and the opposite gender!
  • Books for growth; so many good books have been written on prayer, Bible Study, and how to have  closer walk with the Lord.  Daily devotional books, Christian magazines, and other Christian books should be something that we utilize.
  • Books for finances; most people could have more money and do more good with money if they knew the best ways to manage it.  A person who is not disciplined enough to read a book about fiances is probably not going to be disciplined enough with his money to be considered by God a “good steward.”  Convicting thought.

Some people do not like to read.  Most of us fight the natural response to “study.”  Study is hard work.  Study does require reading.  If Washington took his role so serious that he ordered some books to improve his skills, certainly, we can follow his example to read a few books a year to further develop our Christianity, our home life, and the direction of our life.  After all, when you really think about it – we are in a battle too.  A Spiritual Battle.

Ultimately, the underdog Americans won against the superior forces of England because it was the will of God.  In incredible ways from the timing of travel to the delay of weather, to the involvement of other nations, and even the apathy of some of the British towards the Patriots, the Lord caused a nation to be born.  Many Americans were praying.  The leaders were seeking the Lord.  God did the impossible and He accomplished His will through George Washington and others who were willing to be in the right place at the right time.  God can use humble people.  God will continue use people who are willing to learn, grow, and take serious the Christian life – to perform His will even today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hearing, Learning, and Fearing

Hearing, Learning, and Fearing

Moses is 120 years old.  His voice is still strong, mind still sharp, and his body is still capable.  He is told by God that he will get to peer over and get a peek at the Promised Land, but that he will not be able to go into the land. This was because of is disobedience in striking the Rock.

God gives Moses a “song” to declare to the people.  Following the song and some final words, Moses hikes up Mount Nebo and dies. Amazingly, God buries Moses.  No-one knows where the burial plot is to this day.

Interestingly, we get an idea of effective parenting and effective communication from the instructions Moses leaves with the people in this farewell address:

Deuteronomy 31:12-13  says, “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.”

Please note the underlined words above.  Perhaps you want to underline them in your Bible.  Several times in Scripture this idea of “Hear and Fear” and of “Hear, Learn, and Fear” are found.

In the narrative of Deuteronomy, Moses is giving God’s promises concerning blessing and cursing.  The nation of Israel would be blessed and prospered when they worshipped God alone.  They would be cursed and other nations would conquer them when they would worship false gods.  Much of the rest of the Old Testament is dedicated to this underlying theme of Israel’s blessing and cursing, their wandering and coming back to God.

Consider the teaching points Moses gives: “Hear, Learn, Fear.”

Hear. If you have ever been a teacher in a classroom of students or have taken classes on the subject, you know that you cannot teach someone if you do not have their attention.  The student must give their “hearing” to the teacher.

Limiting classroom distraction, and insisting on a student to focus are part of the “hearing” aspect of instruction.  There are many distractions in school settings today; it could be the glib comments of another student, the immoral seduction of a immodestly dressed girl, or the profane words of a teacher.

In addition, the student must want to focus and the parent must make the student motivated to want to hear the instruction in the classroom.

In much the same way, the Lord wants us to “hear” Him.  God wants us to listen to His Word.  Avoid letting other people distract you from hearing the message of the Lord.  Do not blame others for your lack of focus or lack of attention.

In parenting, be sure to help you child focus on the main things in life, not the inconsequential.  Develop their listening skills.  One reason we listen to many radio dramas in our home is to develop the “hearing” senses in our children.  Being able to give instruction and not having to repeat it several times is a good goal for parenting.  Our children should be taught to “hear” well.

Learn.  Learning takes place in every area of life.  We learn responses to others, defensive mechanisms so others do not hurt us, and reactions to undesirable situations.

When you were in school, you learned both good and bad lessons.  You learned some academics, and you learned some immoral or sinful behavior from other students.  We learn from what we are “hearing” the most.  If you are hearing and focusing on the facts of History or Science, that is what you will learn.  If you are hearing people mock or curse God – that is what you will learn.

Be careful what you are learning and from whom you are learning.  Who we listen to dictates much of what will be learned and what we will end up believing.

Parents have a challenge of developing the “learning” of their children.  From the classroom to the living room, you are responsible to make sure they are hearing the correct teaching and learning the Christian way to perceive and live life.

Limiting TV, controlling social media outlets, and having specific guidelines for cellphones is part of your parental responsibility.  I would not encourage any teen to have a cell phone or computer alone with them in their bedroom at night.  The heart of your teen is the target for many evil people who want them to “hear” them and then in turn “learn” from them.

Fear. Like Moses addressed the “Children of Israel” we can appropriately determine to have the same course of action in our parenting approach.  The goal of “hearing” and “learning” was to “fear” God.

Fear is a term that can be misunderstood today.  Biblical fear of God means “to fear; morally, to revere; be afraid, and to hold in reverence.”  The Lord is someone Who means what He says and says what He means.

Sometimes we are “afraid of being caught.”  That is not the same as the “Fear of the Lord.”  Fearing God has to do with a respect, reverence, and wonder for God – His might, power, ability, and Who He is – the King, Judge, and Savoir.  We should want to please Him.  There are blessings and consequences to all our actions.

Just like a child who loves his earthly father but is afraid to do wrong because he knows he will displease his father and face punishment -we too are to fear the Lord.  Just look at the criminal justice system for an example.  Those incarcerated had a disregard for the law – they did not fear the consequences nor have a fear for the law.

One of the greatest tragedies about many Christian families today is that we can make our kids “Hear” but we do not get them to the “Learn.”  Then others have their kids “Hear” and “Learn” but they never get to the “Fear” part.

The passage does say “Learn to fear.”  It is one thing to learn about God and another thing to learn to fear Him.  Somehow each parent must guide their children to have an overriding fear of God in their heart.  Here are four ideas to help:

  1. Follow through with promises. Be a parent of your word.
  2. Follow through with consequences. Do not rob your child the good (and sometimes painful) lessons that consequences bring.
  3. Focus your family life on pleasing the Lord. Let them see the underlying principles of loving God and others more than self.
  4. Let your kids see your Christianity in such a positive way that they will want it for their lives too. Like Ecclesiastes 12:13 instructs: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

 

 

 

A Parental Challenge

A Parental Challenge

The following moth story can help us understand part of our role as parents:  “One man noticed an emperor moth struggling to emerge through a small hole in its cocoon so he decided to assist it. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. Later the man learned the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.” – Fresh

Sometimes allowing a child to suffer consequences is the best thing for them to develop proper character going forward.   Parenting is such a demanding calling and requires much patience and personal discipline to properly train and develop a child.  Parenting is a challenge!

Colossians 3:21 teaches, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Parents who take serious the Bible admonitions about parenting will want to know what this verse means in their daily life.  Parents must be parenting with purpose.  There must be an end goal, a hopeful desire that you want to see achieved before your child leaves your home.  Besides the physical and academic growth, we should strive for our children to be more like Jesus, exhibiting real Christ-likeness and not simply outer conformity. It is a terrific goal.  Consistent and specific development objectives should be worked towards.

Part of the goals you have should include – not discouraging your child.

Discouraged is defined as “to be spiritless, i.e. disheartened: –to be dismayed.”

Have you ever watched a child wondering through life and it seems his eyes are glazed over?  Perhaps you have seen a teenager seem totally in a fog.  Sometimes this is attributed to illegal drugs, or it may be a child who has been abused or neglected.  Sometimes it is caused by overused behavioral medications.  At any rate, we have all seen children that seem to have no drive, desire, or motivation. They are emotionless, going through the motions of life.

A child living with a lot of anger eventually becomes a child who has been discouraged to the extreme.  He may look as if he has no reason to live.   According to Colossians 3:21, a parent could provoke his child to this extreme form of discouragement.

Provoke is a Bible term that means to “to stimulate (especially to anger).” In the context of this verse, the word “anger” is connected to this word “provoke.”

Angry words, lifting of the voice, a lack of attention, a perception of not loving or caring could each be ways a child is stimulated to anger.

Anger left unchanged will become consistent discouragement.  Disillusionment can set in early in life.  So many children today are cynical about life.

There are many other areas we could consider that could provoke a child to anger: making fun of a child, making a big deal about small things, not giving a purpose in the home (such as responsibilities which give meaning and purpose), embarrassing a child on purpose, and even  not giving good council and clear direction for choices (“What do you want to do?” Is not good parenting.  “What does God want you to do?” Or, “What does the Bible say you should do?” Is much better.).  You get the idea.  Here are three areas we must avoid or we may provoke our children to anger and if left unchecked, disillusionment with life could develop:

  • Allowing Arguing is not proper parenting. When a parent comes down to peer level and allows arguing, it creates insecurity in the child and feeds the natural man’s desire for rebellion.  A child allowed to argue will become good at manipulation to get his or her own way.  Big and sweeping changes happen in a family when a child becomes boss.  Even the least bit of argument can create a spirit of anger.  Constant battles, raised voices, angry words, flashes of facial hatred should not be tolerated. Be firm and be loving. Be the parent. Be the boss.
  • Accepting Un-Thankfulness ill prepares a child for life. Not developing an attitude of appreciation is a fast way to provoke to anger. A child left to be un-thankful will find nothing to be “good enough in life.”  An un-thankful heart is a rebellious heart for the Lord said: “In everything give thanks.”

This is generally seen in complaining.  For example: “School is not good enough – I need to transfer.  Church programs are not good enough. Friends are not good enough. The food is terrible. A Birthday gift was not big enough. I wish I had more_______.”

A parent determined to not see their child angry and discouraged will not seek to constantly please the child but will do everything possible develop an attitude that does not complain.  “Attitude Adjustments” are needed in some children more than others.

A child left to complain will grow into young adulthood and never find contentment and satisfaction unless the Lord dramatically changes their life.  A college class will be “no good.” A married spouse will “not satisfy me.” The workplace will be “boring” and “I hate my job” will become the norm. Just “getting by” will become common place.  A person like this also becomes real adept at skipping around from church to church.

  • Removing Anticipation. Kids should have something to look forward to with each new school year, and with each age they arrive at.  Becoming a teenager should be mysterious and include new things to look forward to.  Becoming a college student and young adult should be exciting.  Saving sex for marriage is part of the mystery and awe for newlyweds. Anticipation is needed in life.

In our family, our children are taught to look forward to the next step.  For example: A full size bicycle at age 11, youth group starting in grade 7, summer Bible camp in grade 8, for the girls – earrings after age 11, a driver license at 16, the chance to play on a High School sports team in High School.  You get the picture.  However you choose to develop your child – it must include anticipation for something special about the future.

When kids are given everything – they will develop a sense of emptiness and shallowness.  Some have so much given so early in life – they have nothing to look forward to and start searching and longing for a reason to live.  This is one reason so many turns to vapes, tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and illicit sexual activity; it is sometimes because they have nothing good to look forward to.

Take this parental challenge: Don’t allow arguing, change the bad attitude of un-appreciation, and make every year something to look forward to with great anticipation.