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Parent, Be Encouraged!

January 24, 2011

Christian Parent, be encouraged today! As I think about the four children God has given me and see how they are growing and what they are becoming in spite of me, I am encouraged! Yet, there are some principles to practice (and they taking practicing) that  a parent must keep in front of him/her as well:

1) You are raising/training/loving a  [fellow] sinner. I know that sounds tough and mean for the first principle, but there’s also no getting around it. Their core nature is going to affect everything you do with them and thus it must also play a major part in all your parenting of them.

2) As such, perhaps the most concise way to summarize a Biblical parenting style is to say that you and I are going to need to apply Law and Grace to everything we are as parents with our children. Bring into your child’s life as early as possible an awareness of the holiness and justness (no typo) of God (Law) and the wisdom and love of God (Grace).

3) Raise your child in accordance with Biblical standards. Do not be a party to their “death” by keeping them in ignorance of God’s Word nor by letting them stay in violation of it by their behavior. When they both disobey and obey, connect a consequence to their actions.

4) Instill in your child a sense of authority. You are their mother or father and she/he is your child (not yet their “friend” if they are not young adult). You must become a visible representation of God and His authority in their life. Fail in this and watch the weeds of their sin nature grow so very rapidly! It will not go well for them, nor for you, if we as parents fail at this point.

5) Remember (again!) that your child is a little, growing version of you and thus a sinner in need of much grace. Expect much of them, but also give them the room to fail. Or, as one pastor put it to his people, “It’s OK to be OK, but it’s not OK to stay that way.”

6) Love. Period. ‘Nuff said.

7) Be blessed by your child. “Don’t you see that children are GOD’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep” (Ps 127:3-5, The Message).

One of the things I give great thanks for in God’s gift of my children is the joy, smiles and laughter they provide me. As a pastor, sometimes life more resembles that of a pinata! After a day of work or evening meeting where the stuffing has been almost beaten out of me, my kids have been my salvation with their infectious joy in life.

8. Live by faith in God’s Promises as you parent. I’m not here even talking about specific promises addressed to the family, but just the great promises of God which have been given us so that we can survive here on planet Earth while we await His coming (see 2 Peter 1:3-4) [ESV unless otherwise noted]:

God is with you: Isaiah 41:10–“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God is for you: Rom 8:31–“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God delights in you: Zephaniah 3:17–“The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

God will not be separated from you: Romans 8:35-39 (NIV):

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God will be your strength: Psalm 105:4–“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Ephesians 6:10–“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength” (HCSB).

God controls everything in your life:  Psalm 115:3–“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Proverbs 16:9–“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

God only gives you what you can handle: 2 Corinthians 12:9a–“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”

God delights in seeing you weak so that you learn to draw upon His strength:  2 Corinthians 1:8-10–“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

God’s mercy is new every morning: Lamentations 3:22-23–“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God wisdom is available to any who call on him in faith: James 1:5–“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Finally, three great books outside the Bible for parenting:

Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Wisdom, by Ginger Plowman

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp

Exposing the Myths of Parenthood,by David Jeremiah

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