We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Connected Holidays

Recently I received a letter from a listener who shared about her family connectedness during Thanksgiving. She hadn’t seen some members of her family for over six years and couldn’t wait to hear all about God’s blessings over the years. Hugs and kisses abounded as family arrived from across the country.

As the great reunion began, she shut down her laptop and phone, as there were only a few precious days to be shared. Sadly, even before coats were removed, all sorts of buzzing and beeping went off. Instantly mom, dad, and their two children tuned in to their iPhones. Every conversation was interrupted. At the Thanksgiving dinner–a gathering that had not been shared together for over twenty years–some family members continually received text messages from friends during the mealtime celebration. Led by example, one of the children came to the table with her phone and iPod, thinking nothing of it.

This situation is heartbreaking for some, but seemingly normal for others. Should we raise the white flag of surrender? No, we need not be controlled by new technology. What we need is to prioritize our lives and our relationships, and have the discipline to turn our phones off–particularly when we are eating or conversing. It is a matter of good manners and consideration. There are times, of course, when you might be expecting an important call or text; if that is the case, simply let your guest know in advance that you may need to take a call during your conversation.

As we reestablish rules of courtesy and consideration in our own lives, then hopefully our children will follow.

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Train Up

I have a test for you today. Take a few seconds to read the following lists. Try to spend the same amount of time on each one—focus…ready, set, go!

ocean/breeze bread/b_tter
leaf/tree music/l_rics
sweet/sour sh_e/sock
move/actress phone/b_ok
gasoline/engine chi_s/salsa
high school/college pen_il/paper
turkey/stuffing river/b-at
fruit/vegetable s_lt/pepper
computer/chip television/rad_o
chair/couch l_nch/dinner

Now, close your eyes and try to remember as many pairs or single words as you can.

From which column did you recall the most? In all probability you remembered more words or pairs of words from column B. Correct? Research demonstrates that you’ll remember three times as many from the column that contained fragments. Why? Because the fragments required you, in those few seconds, to concentrate. The blank space required you to exercise a minimal amount of focused effort that resulted in sharpened memory retention.

Education today, for the most part, involves passive learning. What you just experienced was active learning that required focused attention. In Proverbs 22:6 we have that so oft quoted Bible verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go . . . .” Actually, the word “train” is insufficient to understand the full significance of this word. The Hebrew word חנך—or its expanded English form “Hanukkah”— carries the idea of “dedication,” which describes the feast of Hanukkah or the feast of dedication. Perhaps this means that we as parents are to “dedicate” our children to the Lord (whether they pursue a career as a carpenter or a theologian) and when they are old, they will not depart from it. But even this definition falls short.

The root word for “train, instruct, initiate” (חנך) also carries the idea in Arabic of “palate,” referring to “rubbing the palate of a child.” The Hebrews and Egyptians rubbed the palate of a newborn child with dates or figs. It is not known exactly why, but it would appear that they were creating a sucking reflex for the child so that he would begin nursing.

“Training” our children requires much more than providing an education. It requires the creation of appetizing learning environments and experiences so that our children will passionately pursue worthy goals that are based on truths not easily forgotten—like the words that were etched in your memory because you gave a little more effort and focus. It’s time to turn passivity into passion by initiating experiences that cultivate our children’s tastes for what is great and glorious.

Published in: on November 11, 2011 at 1:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Harry Potter

Harry Potter is old news but for those parents who ignorantly pass these stories on to their children, please first read, Friendly Dragons, Moral Nightmares; also go on line and read all of the content from Michael O’Brien on Harry Potter; lastly someone just recommended HARRY
POTTER, WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO. Nothing has changed since the early days of the OT. The enemy is still trying to influence our kids with the culture of the Canaanites.

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm  Comments (2)  

Shade Tree Parenting

Shade Tree Parenting

I have heard it said that “great is the man who plants trees in whose shade he will never sit under.” This saying reminds me of parenting. It is a wise parent who is preparing for the future success of their children.

There is no better illustration of this kind of sacrificial nurturing than the example provided by King David.In I Chronicles 22 we are allowed to go behind the scenes and listen in on David’s interaction with his son Solomon. This is an important exchange between father and son; David is nearing the end of his life. Solomon may be thinking that he is about to receive a lecture about life, but instead he hears his father say:

“‘With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The LORD be with you!’ David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son . . .”

To put this in perspective, a talent weighs 75 pounds! That’s 75 million pounds of silver! Now that’s doing some serious saving! And what’s amazing is that David was saving it so that his son would be able to carry on the work of God. Now that’s a parenting perspective with an eternal purpose.

In 2nd Corinthians 12 we read “. . . for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”

This pattern for parenting was first demonstrated by our heavenly Father . . . “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment