Posts Tagged ‘children’

Lord we know You are coming back soon. You know the burden in my heart for my family and friends (and their children and mine). You know how much my heart breaks for those who are lost. Lord please hear our cries for them. Speak to their hearts. turn them away from sin and away from the lures of the devil who is trying to confuse them and deceive them. The people of this generation don’t believe that You could be returning very soon, but all it would take would be for them to read Your word for themselves and we know Your word will open their spiritual eyes and ears and understanding for The Truth. Lord please impress upon their hearts a need to know You, impress upon their hearts to read Your Holy Word, show them how much You love them by placing them in your care, for Lord you know without You, they haven’t got a prayer. Give them a hope and a future. Take away all feelings of unworthiness that they may be feeling. Fill their hearts with Your joy. Lead them to Your heart, Lord!!!

Please Answer our prayers ASAP and bring them to true repentance and Salvation in Jesus name Amen.

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The Elect Lady 

“The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth.” (2 John 1:1)

The Greek word for “lady” (kuria) is used only two times in the Bible, and both of these occurrences are here in the one-chapter epistle of 2 John. It is also fascinating to note that kuria is the feminine form of kurios, which is the Greek word for “Lord.”

Evidently this “elect lady” was a special woman, very highly esteemed by the apostle John as a capable and conscientious mother to her children.

It is uncertain, however, whether this distinguished lady was a literal mother in the church with literal children or possibly a metaphor for the church itself, with the “children” its individual members. Good reasons can be given for both interpretations, and it may even be that John wrote his letter with this dual meaning in mind under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

In either case, it is significant that this mother is called “lady” instead of the much more frequently used “woman” (Greek gune), or even “mother” (Greek meter). The Greek kuria was evidently used to stress deep respect and honor to such a mother in the church. She clearly was training her children in “the truth,” much as Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had brought him up to have “unfeigned faith” in “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15).

In addition to faith in God’s truth, of course, there should be genuine love. The second use of kuria is in verse 5: “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another” (2 John 1:5). HMM

DAYS OF PRAISEMay 13, 2018

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Biblical Parenting: 10 Tips for Fathers



Father and Son Walking

Several weeks ago at my church, my eyes were opened to a biblical passage.  It is one that I have read many times, but this particular sermon would cause me to view it in a whole new way.  What I had previously read as a general reprimand to a wayward church now appeared as a model for parenting.  With Father’s Day fast approaching, I think this is an important verse for Dad’s to study.  That passage in question is from 1 Corinthians 4:14-21 and was written by Paul to the church in Corinth:

“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father inthrough the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” [1 Corinthians 4:14-21 ESV]

The passage was written by Paul in the context of correcting the church at Corinth as was the entire book of 1 Corinthians.  However, viewed in the light of Paul’s statement that, “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” we can also view this passage as a biblical model of what fatherly confrontation, correction and discipleship should look like. Before I work through the meat of this verse, and what it means to effective parenting, I would like to thank my Pastor Steve Benninger for his insights into this passage which opened my eyes to it’s to parenting in the first place and also for his faithfulness in preaching the Word of God.  For purposes of this article, I have adhered to Pastor Steve’s original exposition and added my own additional detail and thoughts for each point.

So, what does this passage teach us about how to parent, specifically father, our children?  What is this biblical model?  Pastor Steve identified 10 keys from this passage which I would like to expand upon:

1. Affirm Your Love

Paul writes that the purpose of this passage was to admonish his readers as beloved children. Any correction or guidance that we give to our kids must be done from a position of, and rooted in, unconditional love.  We must never correct out of anger or a selfish desire that our kids would act a certain way to make our lives easy.  The purposes of biblical correction is not to change behavior but to disciple our kids to become more like Jesus.  A key part of this pursuit is your kids knowing that you love – not because of what they have or haven’t done, but because they are your kids.

Your child’s realization of your love for them is not something that just happens on its own. You must be intentional and it to make certain that your kids know that you love them. Tell them you love them on a daily basis. Show them how you love them through both your words and your actions. If your kids do not know and accept that you love them unconditionally, then any effort on your part to correct them will be met with suspicion and ultimately failure.

Unconditional love is not based on your kids performance or abilities. Unconditional love manifests itself regardless of what your kids have or have not done. Unconditional love must be consistently professed and demonstrated to your kids in both good times and bad. Unconditional love should exist and be demonstrated regardless of how you feel. Biblical love is not a feeling, it is a choice!  Any discipline or correction that you dole out as a parent must be rooted not in your own selfish desires but in a deep rooted and unconditional love for your kids.

2. Avoid Shaming Your Kids

Paul begins this passage with an explanation that his purpose was not to “write these things to make you ashamed.” Paul did not wish to shame the Corinthians, but to help them see that they were living in a way contrary to God’s will.  Likewise, shame has no place in biblical correction as a parent. Your goal as a parent when it comes to correcting your children is to lead them into a life consistent with God’s will for them. Consequences, especially consequences which flow naturally from the action in question, are effective means of accomplishing this.  Shame is based in fear.   The Bible tells us that “There is no fear in love.” [1 John 4:18 ESV].  Accordingly, shame should not play any part in correction which must be based in love.  Not only is shame unbiblical, it is also ineffective.  Although you might see short term behavioral changes when you shame your kids, there will be no long lasting internal transformation.

3. Give Warnings

Paul indicated that he was writing to the Corinthians “to admonish” them as his beloved children.  To admonish means to “reprove gently but earnestly” or “to counsel against something to be avoided” or “to remind of something forgotten or disregarded, as an obligation or a responsibility.”  Paul was not writing to bring down the hammer, but to warn the Corinthians of what would happen if they continued in the current course of action.
As fathers, we must do the same thing with our kids.  By warning, or admonishing, I do not mean that we should give them the classic, “If you do that again you’ll lose such and such until kingdom come.”   These threats tend to be hollow and effective.  The idea of admonishing or warning or to alert kids of the consequences of their actions.  To the extent that those consequences flow naturally from the action in question, our role as fathers is to alert our kids to those consequences.  Obviously, one of our roles as parents is also to impose consequences where needed, and we should warn our kids that these are coming as well.  Any consequences which you impose should be made clear before the action and must be followed through on.  Warnings serve to help steer our kids in the right direction.

4. Establish Your Authority

Paul reminded the Corinthians that “though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers” and used this to establish his authority to correct the recipients of his letter.  When it comes to parenting, our authority comes directly from God.  He has given us the stewardship over, and responsibility for,  his children.  With that responsibility, he has given parents authority over their children [Exodus 20:12 ESV].  As parents, it is beneficial to help our kids understand God has given us both authority over them and responsibility for them.  As agents of God, we must exercise that authority consistent with God’s will.  By explaining to our kids that we are acting under the authority of God, we also set an example for them of submitting to our authority.

When we step outside the authority and will of God in parenting, we ultimately teach our kids that they should defy authority as well.  We establish our authority based on the Word of God, but we must also demonstrate our adherence to God’s Word in other aspects of our life.  We can’t, for example, tell our kids that they must submit to our authority because it is given by God on the one hand, and on the other hand disregard God’s authority in our own lives.

5. Press the Gospel in Deep

Paul became a father “through the gospel,” and as earthly fathers, one of principle goals in life should be to also fill the role of spiritual father in our children’s lives “through the Gospel.”  In order to do this, the gospel must be the center point in our lives and out families.  We must strive to make it central in the lives of our children as well.

The gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, and that Good News is recorded in God’s Word – the Bible.  In all that we do, we must instill a biblical worldview in our kids.  We must teach them, and demonstrate for them, that the Bible holds the answers and guidance for all of lives questions.  We must make our choices based on the Bible and show them how to do the same.

The cross itself must be central in our lives and our families.  This means far more than just wearing it around our necks or hanging it on the family room wall.  We must rejoice in the cross of Christ.  We must take our sin to the cross of Christ, and we must praise God for the cross.  Our children must know, at their very core, that Christ died not just for all sin, but for their individual sins.  They must understand that God wants to change them from the inside out by the power of the cross.  They must realize that their sins are washed white as snow by Christ’s blood shed on the cross.  Yes, in order to confront and correct our children, we must remind them 1) that they are forgiven by God and 2) the price that he paid to wash those sins away.

6. Urge Your Kids to Imitate You

Paul was not shy about encouraging the Corinthians to be imitators of him.  Later in this same book (1 Corinthians 11:1), Paul would expand on this thought as he encouraged the Corinthians to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  Paul was not exalting himself but merely stating that he purposefully led his life in such a way that others could imitate him in following Christ.

As fathers, this must be our goal as well.  We must lead lives worth imitating and then encourage our kids to do just that.  Kids will learn what they live.  If a father insists that his child does not lie than turns around and cheats on his income taxes, his children will not learn from his father’s words but by his actions.  Setting an example includes two distinct aspects.  First, we must aspire to live a godly life worthy of following.  We have to set the tone and example for our family.  In order to do this, we must rely on the power and providence of God.  Secondly, we must accept that, this side of heaven, none of us are perfect.  We all make mistakes, and it is important that we be willing to admit those mistakes to our kids.  We should not be under any delusion that our kids think we are perfect in the first place.  After about the age of 7 or 8, that phase of life is long gone.  Our kids know that we are far from perfect.  We must be honest with them and talk about our mistakes.  This transparency teaches them that it is OK to make mistakes.  The important thing is how we handle those mistakes.  We model for them honesty, transparency, and taking our sins to the cross of Christ.  We also give our kids a chance to learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, to avoid them.

7. Make it a Team Effort

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.”  What can this possibly mean in terms of raising kids?  Paul needed help.  He could not be everything the Corinthians needed, and he sent Timothy to them to reinforce what he had already taught.  Likewise, as parents we should get other adults involved in the lives of our children who will reinforce what we are already teaching them.

Most parents have experienced that moment when another adult says something to their child, and the child just seem to get it.  Never mind that we have been saying the same thing for years.  There’s just something about hearing it from another adult that makes it understandable and more palatable to our kids.  I remember when I started coaching my oldest son’s coach-pitch baseball team.  One of the other fathers from the team was helping me, and we agreed between us that I would correct his son and he would do the same for mine.  Both kids took the correction and advice much better coming from another adult than they would have coming from their Dad.  The system worked well for the summer, and I missed him the next year when his son wasn’t on my team.

It is important to find other adults that you trust to speak into the lives of your children.  Needless to say, since our principle goal as parents is to instill a biblical worldview into our children, we must take care to find adults that will speak that same worldview to our kids.  We must find people we trust that we can surround our kids with to reinforce what we have already been teaching them.  This is one of the reason that it is important to live our lives amongst a strong Christian community.  Things like Bible studies and small groups are a great way to expose your kids to other adults.

8. Stay Involved

Paul writes to the Corinthians that “…I will come to you soon.”  As parents, we must intentionally stay involved in the lives of our children.  Some parents, especially Dads, faced with daunting to do lists, lack of understanding and an increasing sense of failure in parenting simply decide to check out of their kids’ lives.  I think this is particularly true as kids grow older and move into the teen years.  This is the worst thing you could possibly do both to yourself and to your kids.

We must stay involved in our kids lives.  What do they like?  What don’t they like?  How are they doing in school?  Who are their friends?  What are their dreams?  How is their relationship with God?  These are all critical questions, and in order to stay involved, we must stay on top of these and other aspects of our kids’ lives.  In order to do this, we must invest the time it takes in building relationships with our kids.  Our society has fallen victim to what I believe is a lie directly from Satan that says quality time is better than quantity time.  We convince ourselves that it is not the amount of time that we spend but the quality of that time.  If we turn off our blackberry for a couple of hours, we reason, that should take care of spending time with our kids at least for a week or so!

In order to know our kids, and stay involved, we must have both quality and quantity time.  Indeed, if you ask kids about their regrets as they get older, few will say they wish the time they had spent with their dads had been “better” time.  Thousands upon thousands, though, will tell you they wish they had spent MORE time with their Dads.  If you are a father, put in the time and the effort to know your kids.  If God knows every hair on your head, the least you can do is know who your kids’ friends are!

9. Give Choices

Paul asked the Corinthians, “What do you wish?”  He gave them a choice.  As fathers, we should do the same with our children.  In small things and big things we should present our children with choices and let them decide.  More importantly though, we must equip them to live with the consequences of those choices.  Most parents want their kids to grow up to be leaders and not followers.  Part of being a leader is the ability to make a choice and deal with the consequences thereof.  If we do not allow our children to practice that skill when they are young, they will be ill equipped to handle choices as an adult.

My son rarely buys anything without experiencing some degree of buyer’s remorse afterwards.  As soon as we let him buy something, he always wonders whether he should have saved his money, or worse yet, he finds something shortly after the purchase that he wishes he had saved his money for.  From time to time, these episodes result in tears and a lament that would rip your heart apart as a parent.  However, in those moments, we must force ourselves to let him live with his choices.  If we give in and purchase the second item for him to heal the pain and stop the tears, he never learns how to take ownership of his choices and accept responsibility for them.  If we don’t give kids choices, and allow them to live with both the positive and negative consequences of those choices, they will not learn how to be responsible.

10. Customize Your Approach

Paul said to the Corinthians, “Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?”  Some who read that letter needed Paul to come with a spirit of love and likely reacted to Paul’s written correction positively in order to ensure that he would come in gentleness.  Others, no doubt, needed the stern rod of Paul before they were willing to submit to his authority.  In a similar way, we must tailor our approach to correction and discipleship for each of our individual children.

I tell people all of the time that one of the things that has amazed me so much as a parent is how each of my kids can be so alike in some respects that they seem like twins and so different in other respects that it seem impossible that they share the same DNA.  If you’re a parent, it will not surprise you to find out that each of your kids is different.  They are unique creations of God, and it is naive of us to think that correction and discipleship will look the same for each child.  What may be the best approach for one child may be the worse possible choice for another.  We must customize our approach based on the personality, experience and emotional needs of each child.  Of course, this entails knowing them and not checking out of their lives as we discussed earlier.  Furthermore, children change over time as they mature and get older.  We must customize our approach not only for each child but also for the same child based on their age and maturity level.  In order to accomplish this, we must become a student of our kids.  Watch them, talk to them, study them, and then spend some time intentionally coming up with a plan for the best approach for each child when it comes to correcting and discipleship.

As we raise our kids to know and follow Jesus Christ, these ten principles laid out by Paul in a letter to a church in Corinth almost 2,000 years ago will serve as guidelines.  As we move towards Father’s day, examine your own life and your relationship with your kids.  Which of these areas do you excel in?  What are the areas where you can use a little more work when it comes to relating to your kids?  How can you improve in those areas?  Make a list and take it to God in prayer.  He is the ultimate father, and his desire is that you would be a good father as well.  Happy Father’s Day!

In addition to writing for Ministry-to-Children.com, I also have my own little blog.  For more articles like this, and articles on children’s ministry, please check out Dad in the Middle and let me know what you think.

Article from Ministry to Children Blog




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Someone posted the following on Facebook yesterday, and I thought it was not only beautiful, but also a great way to teach the children their alphabet.  In fact, it is an alphabet about the Alpha and Omega, so it serves to glorify Christ as well!  I have changed it slightly.



Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain

Continue in thanksgiving

Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard

Fierce winds are bound to blow

God is forever able

Hold to what you know

Imagine life without His love

Joy would cease to be

Keep thanking Him for all the things

Love imparts to thee

Move out of “camp complaining”

No weapon that is known

On earth can yield the power

Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future

Redeem the time at hand

Start every day with worship

To “thank” is a command

Until we see Him coming

Victorious in the sky

We’ll run the race with gratitude

Xavier’s God most high

Yes, there’ll be good times and bad, but

Zion waits in glory, where none are ever sad!


Train up a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old, he will not depart from it!



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Prioritizing my life by becoming a woman who fears the LORD-...

prioritizing my life by becoming a woman who fears the LORD…

my visit with Dr. Patricia Felton on wednesday went WELL!!!!  she was AMAZING!!!!  really!!!  she dug into me about life & priorities that need to be changed because i have too much going on.  (not to mention, she let me know that the testosterone i’ve been taking is the reason my face looks like i hit puberty all over again)  she sat down with me, spent some time with me, and sincerely inquired into my life.  she wanted to figure out some immediate changes that i need to make in order to get my BODY back on track (it’s funny how psychological we need to get in order to figure out the biology of things). ever since the surgery last year i haven’t been the same, my body hasn’t been the same, i’m not able to exercise the way i used to, sleep the way i used to, LIVE the way i used to… it feels like my body aged 20 years.  i’m definitely not helping myself by having too much going, so that i can’t concentrate on recovery.  i really need to prioritize it all: G-d, family, health (physical, spiritual, emotional), etc.  i need to cut out some of the “extra fat” in order to concentrate on allowing my body to recover, though i don’t want to cut anything out… i really just want to be able to do it ALL :)    personally, my body didn’t have the time to recover after the last/9th surgery (in six years).  honestly though, most of the women i know, with very few exceptions, live INCREDIBLY BUSY lives- kid(s), husband, G-d, church, taking care of everyone else, MAYBE taking care of themselves, etc.  but WOMEN, MOTHERS, WIVES usually come in last somewhere, IF there is time before passing out on the bed.  though i don’t have any children myself, my life is still overflowing with… LIFE.  i can’t decide what “extra fat” i need to cut out, though dr. felton had some good ideas.  we all want to be superwoman- do everything, look amazing, never skip a beat!  it’s hard to realize that i can’t be superwoman.

dr felton also recommended that i don’t take on responsibilities that are not mine to take on… now, how do you do that?  i mean, really, any of you know how to say “no”???  because i don’t!

being busy has become a pandemic in the past 50 years or so.  women used to sit down and read, play an instrument for pleasure, sew, RELAX.  i haven’t sat down at home to read, during the day, in a long time… i figure i can get my reading in while i’m trying to fall asleep in bed (ebooks RULE) at the end of the day.  when is the last time you allowed yourself at least one hour to rest your body & your mind?  i feel guilty doing something i enjoy, pampering myself, because there could be something more productive being done with that hour.  danny and i had massages a couple months back… he almost fell asleep on the table, whereas i used that time to jot down a mental “to-do” list.  i can’t even relax during a massage.  how many women out there are like this?  dr felton is right, we need to cut out some of the “extra fat” of our lives… i want to do it Biblically, so i’ll be prayerfully searching the Word for ways to properly prioritize, rest, etc.  if you have any ideas, please let me know.

the below is the woman i want to be… a woman who fears the L-rd, has a good heart.  i want my husband to trust me, that i will not do him harm.  a woman needs to have hard-working & willing hands.  even though this was written thousands of years ago, this mentions that the woman had her own side-business.  she was an integral part of the household.  she wasn’t just strong in character, but she was physically strong (gotta take care of our bodies, ladies, this is BIBLICAL).  it says here that we need to have a good heart that helps the needy, with wisdom & kindness  on our tongues, not gossip and spitefulness.  what’s being described here is a wise, kind, strong (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) woman, who takes care of her household, does not gossip or stays idle.  it also speaks here of a woman who is not obsessed with her looks, not to say that she does not take care of herself, because she does wear clothing of “fine linen and purple” which is clothing that was worn by KINGS.  however, this is an outcome of her work… not a credit on her card (sorry for the bad pun there).  she knows that (v. 30) “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  so, my end goal here is to become a woman who fears the L-rd.  concentrate on judging righteously, on fearing the L-rd & fulfilling His commandments, give your heart to Him… then i think my life will naturally become rightfully prioritized by HIM.  :)   easy to say… now i need to implement it….

The Woman Who Fears the L-rd

10. An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.   11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.   12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.   13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.   14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.   15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.   16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.   17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.   18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  Her lamp does not go out at night.   19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.   20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.   21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.   22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.   23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.   24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.   25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.   26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.   27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.   28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:   29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”   30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (ESV).

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