Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

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“PHYSIOGNOMY OF MY CHILDREN” – Feb 24

February 24, 2015

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night.”  Psalm 121:5-6

I hCLF - Olmstead Parksave been reading Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.  I came upon a line that caused me to pause:

There are no trivial facts in humanity, nor little leaves in vegetation.  It is the physiognomy of the years that the physiognomy of the century is composed.  (Victor Hugo, Les Miserables page 77)

Physiognomy is a wonderful word that I had to look up; it means the general form or appearance; facial expression, especially when regarded as indicative of character or ethnic. There is a great truth in this quote.  The general character of a century is composed of the character of the years.  It is the small things of life that compose the great; there are no small leaves in vegetation. I pray that my children will grow to be individuals of character.  I want them to walk all their days in the Spirit and know deeply the love of God.  I want the physiognomy of their childhood years to compose the physiognomy of their adult life. Childhood forms much of our adult life.  Just like a giant shade tree on a hot summer day, we hope to shade our children from the hurt and regret of a rebellious world.  My wife and I endeavor to spread  a canopy of love over our children.  A canopy composed of thousands of leaves.

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The grand teachable moments are the parent’s white whales.  We long for those moments when we can speak of great truths and profound lessons.  These giant leaves do happen, but I believe they are much more rare than we want to admit.  The more abundant and therefore the greatest composition of a parent’s canopy of love are the small leaves. The small leaves demonstrating the reality of the transforming work of the Spirit in a child of God:

How we speak to our spouse; The control of our anger; The kindness we show to strangers; Daily love of scripture; Devotion to prayer; Generosity to the ungenerous; Speaking truth even when it costs; Obedience to speed limits even when late; All those words of encouragement spoken in love.

445Each of these acts flourishes like thousands of small leaves shading the childhood of our children while they are under our care.  There are no little leaves in the life of a Christian.  Every fruit of the Spirit harvested from my life and the life of my wife contributes to the canopy over our lives together in Christ.  That canopy shades our children’s hearts from being hardened by a parching world.  It is a great work of the Spirit. Doubtless, there are grand leaves of teachable moments in our canopy but they certainly are outnumbered by all the little evidences of a man and woman in love with their Savior. I know that the salvation of my children is not within my hands. Yet, I have faith that nothing is too hard for God; even the conversion of my children.  We live and pray expectantly.  The Lord our keeper shades the life of my wife and I.  We have faith that His shade upon our lives will create the perfect environment for Him to draw our children to Himself. There are no little acts in the life of a Christian.  There are always little eyes watching.

It is the trivial acts of daily life that composes the physiognomy of my life.

It is the physiognomy of an individual life that the physiognomy of a family is composed.

It is the physiognomy of a family that the physiognomy of a church is composed.

It is the physiognomy of the church that the physiognomy of a generation is composed.

There are no trivial acts in a Christian’s life, nor little leaves of the Spirit’s fruit.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you from my children.  Father, I pray that you will draw them to yourself.  Open their eyes to the magnificence of who you are.  Give them ears to hear the call of their Shepherd.  Create in them a clean heart that comes only from being a new creation in Christ, your Son and the redeemer of their souls.  Help me be the parent that they need.  Help me to show them what it means to walk in the Spirit.  Let the shade of your grace keep me; may that same grace flow through my life to shade them as they grow in you.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“INSTRUCTION THAT MATTERS” – Mar. 3

March 3, 2013

“And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” 2 Kings 12:2

What will be the words written on my son’s epitaph?

How will a generation who has yet to touch this earth’s soil speak of my daughter?

My children will have a legacy.  They will be known for something.  I wonder what it will be.  Every life is known for the particular fruit that it bears. What will be their fruit?

I have a specific hope for them.

We invest a lot of time instructing our kids in academic subjects.  I will be deeply satisfied if they become known for their intellect…but that is not my specific hope for their legacy.

I coach my daughter’s basketball team.  It will be a blessing if she receives a college athletic scholarship…but that is not what I hope she is known for.

My son has participated in speech competitions and done very well.  I will be very proud of him if venues are filled to hear his oration…but that is not the legacy that I pray will be his.

My children may gain all the accolades of this world.  They may climb to the top of a variety of ladders.  Their resumes may drip with awards and accomplishments.  Success may follow them like an obedient pet.

However, what have they gained if their legacy is a forfeited soul? (Matt. 16:26)

Every legacy has an origin.  The foundations of my children’s epitaphs are being formulated now.

My hope is that, Lord willing, long after I am gone, it will be said of my son, “he loved the Lord with all that he was, for all of his days, to the glory of God Almighty; he was a good and faithful servant of his Savior.”  That my daughter will be a virtuous woman of God whose remembrance brings forth smile as it is said, “she loved her Savior with all that she was, for all of her day, to the glory of God; she was a good and faithful servant of the King.’ old school

I have no control over the legacy of my children.  Their faith is a gift from God to them.  However, this is not to suggest that my wife and I’s instruction is not without importance.  Jehoiada the priest was greatly used in the life of King Jehoash by instructing the young King.  We are told in proverbs, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6); Instructing a child in the Lord’s ways does matter.

As Matt Chandler has said, we are stacking kindling around our children with every Bible study, every encouragement in spiritual disciplines, every time we rely upon the Word, every prayer, every example of faithfully walking in the Spirit.  All of our instruction is spiritual fuel around the base of our children’s hearts.

There is no better sound to the ears of a child of God then to hear the “whoosh” of the Spirit sparking a mighty blaze of a passion for our Savior in the heart of our children to the praise and glory of our King.

My children’s legacies have begun.  The period of influential instruction is now.  Therefore, I want to be wise and focus on instructing them in those areas that will have eternal value and will result in an epitaph that will be a pleasing fragrance to our Father.

Now is the time of diligent instruction.  It matters.

PRAYER: Father, I know that the salvation of my kids is in your hands.  I pray Lord that you will save them and keep them.  Protect them from the evil one and lead them to persevere in their faith.  Father, I know and accept the responsibility that you have given me as a parent.  I know that I am modeling to them how to follow you.  Lord, give me the wisdom, understanding, and passion to show my kids how wonderful you are.  Father, take my kids and use them for your glory.    Amen

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IT IS COLD OUTSIDE; COME ON IN – Nov. 29th

November 29, 2012

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:2b-4

We had a strong storm blow through not that long ago. It was a cold driving wind that turned rain drops into stinging projectiles. In a pasture along the road home, I saw several horses out in the storm because they had no shelter. They had pointed their backsides into the wind, hunched their backs, and dropped their heads. Since there was no escape, they were miserably enduring the storm. I was thinking about those poor beasts as our garage door automatically opened and we silently slipped into the refuge of our home; fully protected from the ravages of the storm. I was very appreciative of my house.

It would have been silly of me to park outside our garage. It would have been even sillier to seek refuge under one of our leave-less shade trees. I would have quickly been as miserable as those horses.  I would have been a fool since I had an escape to refuge only feet away.

You can have a refuge but you have to go in. A strong tower is only of value if you are inside of it. However, we are told in Luke 14:28-29 that there is a cost to strong towers. There is an issue with entering the strong tower of the Bible.  It is like getting through security at the airport. You are not going to get through with prohibited items.

We cannot enter the strong tower of our Lord with the prohibited passions of this world. “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 We have to lay aside all of those things that we value more than the Rock of our salvation. Sadly, many are miserably bewildered as they are caught in a raging storm of our enemy, just outside the refuge of our Lord, clutching their trinkets.

Come inside, where the enemy cannot reach you.  It is so much better than miserably enduring. There is no trinket of this world that can match the treasures that await you inside the strong tower of our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, Forgive me for clucthing onto valueless trinkets, thinking they are great treasures. You are the greatest treasure in all the universe.  It it through You that I can find value in all that you have created.  Thank you for being my strong tower. Thank you for protecting me from the stinging storms of this world. I will praise your name as the storms of this world pelt the outside of my faithful refuge. Amen

Image from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/72280416

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WHAT DO YOUR STONES MEAN? – Nov. 28th

November 28, 2012

“When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?”” Joshua 4:7

It is our hope in the next couple years to take a family vacation to Washington, DC.  There is just something about standing in the same place that history was made or walking through memorials that makes history come to life. My kids are studying a lot of US History. I want that history to be more than just stories in a book.  We want it to mean something to them. I want it to be a reality to them.

My wife and I visited that USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. One grasps a much deeper meaning to the word sacrifice and appreciation for what prior generations have given us, when you stand over the watery tomb of those who have given it all in the service of their country.  After having been there, Pearl Harbor means more to me.  It is more than just a historical event by having stood there.  It is a reality to me.

That is the importance of memorials. They are important because we have short memories. They are important because what was real and relevant for one generation is usually less relevant to the next. This fact is even more important when we consider our faith. I don’t want my kids to live through my faith. I want them to come to their own passionate love of God.

There is a process that should concern every parent.  There is about a three generation cycle: one generation will be passionate about the faith that they have experienced directly; the next generation is luke-warm and follows the faith of their parents; the third generation falls away.  This cycle makes me concerned about my kids and especially about my future grand-kids. However, this cycle is not written in stone but it takes effort to break. It can be broken with memorials.

I need to be making specific efforts to create memorials in my life and the life of my family to ground us all in the reality of God’s faithfulness. I need to be active in pointing out to my kids that God is more than the abstract faith of their father. When God gets us through something tough, we need to make a memorial so that we will remember. When God blesses us, we need to make a memorial so that we will remember. These little reminders (a photograph, a nick-nack, a journal, etc.) are teaching opportunities for our kids. They are stones that will get our kids to asks, “What does that mean to you?”  Stones that will make the faith of one generation more of a reality to the next.

Our kids are watching our lives.  We are creating stones of memorials all the time to that which is important in our lives.  Ask any adult child, “what was important to your Dad; what was important to your Mom” and they will be able to tell you.  That is because every parent leaves stones of memorials to their priorities. The manner in which we live our faith is our kids normal. They will pattern their lives based on what we demonstrate as important. I want my kids to see a faith that is real so that they will seek a relationship with God that is real, deep, passionate…alive.  I want my kids to live a life full of stones of memorials that get their kids, my grandkids, to ask, “what does that mean to you?”.  That is a true legacy but legacies start in the present. It is time to gather some stones today.

PRAYER: Lord, I pray for the salvation of my kids; draw them to yourself; make their faith real and show yourself to them. Lord – prepare them to live a life that is glorifying to you.  Father – help me to be a father to them that points them to you; may my faith be a memorial to them of your faithfulness. Help me to live in such a way that they will want more of you. Amen

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