30 Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas Is About to Begin!

30DaysPs103103014We’re about to start our new Busy Mama’s study!

During our  last study on Proverbs 31 we saw that the valiant wife’s amazing accomplishments were simply the fruit of her fearing the Lord. As we meditate for the next month on Psalm 103, we will be reminded of how great God is, how lavishly generous He is, how forgiving and loving and faithful He is. As we do this, I believe our fear of Him — our awe and worship of Him — will deepen, and our love for Him will grow. He is worthy of our adoration and love!

Here are a few details before we get started:

  • Materials: You’ll need (1) a Bible, (2) a notebook of some sort, (3) a pen, (4) a computer or other electronic device (for using some of the great free study tools that are out there), and (5) a handful of colored pencils or pens. If you want to invest in a set of colored pencils, these ones have nice soft leads that don’t mar the thin pages in a Bible and are beautiful, rich colors. But you can use whatever pencils you have around.

We will be marking the text, so if you would rather not mark directly in your Bible, feel free to print out Psalm 103 in your preferred translation. I will be referring to the ESV primarily. Here is ESV version of Psalm 103 ready to print out,  if you would like to use it.

  • Be sure you’re subscribed to this blog so the assignments can get sent to your inbox each morning. (You can subscribe in the right hand sidebar.)
  • Do you know some other ladies who might want to join you? Pass the word! :-) How about your older daughters? They are welcome to join us, too!
  • Would you like to spend some time studying Psalm 103 with your children? Each day’s lesson will include an optional assignment for your children.
  • Do you want to meet other ladies who are studying along with you? Join our Busy Mamas Bible study Facebook group, where you can read what others are learning, share what God is teaching you, and just get to know other like-minded women who love the Lord.

If you would like to get a head start, start reading Psalm 103 now. Read it slowly. Chew on it. Take a phrase and meditate on it as you do the dishes, and another phrase while you clean up the kitchen. Think about what it means.

On Saturday, we’ll take our colored pencils and get to work! See you then!

 

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Stop Seeing, and Start Observing

ObservePsalm103Day-20102814Sherlock Holmes is famous for his keen observation skills. He once admonished Watson, who was marveling at his abilities, “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” 

Do you have a hard time concentrating when you read the Bible?

Do you find yourself not even wanting to read the Bible?

Do you read it, but feel like it’s not changing the way you think and live?

You might need to quit just seeing, and start really observing.

Pull out a pen, a handful of colored pencils, and a notebook. Print out a passage, if you don’t like marking in your Bible. Then start reading the passage over and over.

Each time you read, watch for something different.

  • Are certain words repeated several times?

Mark each of those words in a special way — circle them, underline, use your colored pencils to highlight them. Even little words like “in” can be significant when we see them concentrated in a short passage of Scripture.

Do you gain any new insights as you reread the passage, paying special attention to the words you have circled?

Would it help to record in a notebook all the phrases that contain these repeated words, and then look over what you have found? You will often pick up on the theme of a passage by simply noticing the repeated words.

  • What does the passage say about God?

Highlight any nouns and pronouns (He, Him, etc.) that refer to Him. (I always use yellow.)

God is revealing Himself through His Word. Slowing down to really notice what He tells us about Himself will help us grow in our knowledge, love, fear, and worship of Him.

  • Are any commands given?

These won’t look like the kind of commands a drill sergeant would bark. They’ll simply be statements like, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” and “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ”. They’re telling us to do something.

Write each command you find in a notebook so that you can look over all the commands at once. What is God telling you to do in this passage?

  • Many times, commands are followed by the reasons for obeying them.

Look for words like “because”, “for”, and “lest”. Underline those words. Then go back and reread what comes before and after those words. You’ll discover the “whys” of the passage.

Look for comparisons that are being made in the passage. 

The Bible is full of word pictures. Marking the words “like” and “as” will help alert you to pictures of sluggards who turn on their beds like doors on their hinges, and quarrelsome men who kindle strife like hot embers that kindle a fire.

Besides helping us remember an idea better (who, after reading Proverbs 26:11, can forget the fool who repeats his folly?), these pictures are also effective teaching tools with our children.

  • Look for words like but and however to help you see contrasts that are being made.

These contrasts are packed with meaning for us. They often jolt us into looking at ourselves more honestly.

We might feel pretty good about our spiritual state when we read, “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light,” until a big circled “but” alerts us to the contrast, “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness…”

  • Look for words like therefore, and then find out what that word is there for

“Therefore” and “so” point to conclusions that are being made. Go back and look at the verses that preceded the “therefore”. That’s where you’ll find the reasoning for what we are told next.

When Paul says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship…” we need to look back at the end of Romans 11 and read what he tells us about God.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! … From him and through him and to him are all things…”  He is worthy of our worship!

God’s Word is alive and powerful. Slowing down to look carefully at God’s Word and then meditating on what we find will change us.

This kind of Bible study is totally doable — even for busy mothers with a house full of children! This is the kind of study that carried me through those challenging years of insanely busy motherhood. In just a few minutes a day, reading the same passage for a month, you can study in a way that you’ve probably thought was impossible while you’re trying to even get the dishes done (or the table cleared?) before the next meal (or week)! But it is possible, and it’s life-changing!

You can study like this on your own, but if you want some encouragement, some accountability, and some good fellowship, join us starting this Saturday, November 1, when we launch our next “Busy Mamas” Bible study — this month on Psalm 103. For 30 days we’re going to really dig into this amazing psalm of worship and gratitude to our awesome, loving, powerful God. We’ll learn more about Him, more about ourselves, and more about studying the Bible, in just 5-15 minutes a day!

Interested? Stay tuned for more details this Thursday!

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Six Different Kinds of Disobedience (and the Root Problem)

My wife and I are launching on a new Bible study. We’ve often tried to read through the Bible from beginning to end in a year (sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t), but this time we’re reading through the Bible looking for insights relevant to parenting. I’m already excited about what we are finding. You notice new things when you’re reading with a different perspective!

Six Different Kinds of Disobedience (and the root problem) - Doorposts blog

Israel’s early history as recorded in Exodus and Numbers contains many examples of disobedience and its consequences. These can be instructive to us as we seek to obey God in our own lives and as we train our children in obedience.

Here are six different kinds of disobedience we identified:

1. Proudly refusing to obey – Pharaoh at first scorned the word of God given through Moses, and as Israel was leaving, still demonstrated his hard-hearted will to keep the Israelites as his slaves against God’s command.

2. Partial obedience – After enduring four plagues, Pharaoh began telling Moses they could go – but without leaving Egypt, without taking their families, or without taking their livestock. Only after ten plagues destroyed most of Egypt did Pharaoh finally do what God asked.

3. Complaining instead of obeying – When Israel finally reached the border of the Promised Land, ten faithless spies brought back a bad report and caused them to hesitate. God was ready to lead them in, and yet the Israelites became afraid of the giants, armies, and fortified cities. This fear led to complaining and a failure to obey God’s directions. The consequence was 40 years of desert wandering and an entire generation missing out on the blessings God had offered them.

4. Delayed obedience – Once the Israelites realized the consequences of their failure, they admitted their sin and hurried to fight the Amalekites and Canaanites even though God said He would no longer help them. (Much like a misbehaving toddler saying “I obey now!” and rushing to mend his ways when he sees Dad ominously getting up from his chair.) As Moses warned, many of them died and the battle ended in defeat.

5. Obeying with an angry spirit – In a moment of anger, Moses and Aaron spoke harshly to the Israelites and struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded. God still brought forth water for them to drink, but for this sin, the two leaders were not permitted to enter the Promised Land.

6. Questioning clear commands – Tempted by the promise of fame and riches, Balaam asked God a second time if he should go with the king’s messengers after God had already given him clear instructions. God was angry and sent an angel to kill him, though he was mercifully spared, thanks to his donkey.

In each of these stories, the disobeyers lacked faith in God. Instead of trusting God to know what was best for them and submitting to His will, these men acted impulsively out of fear, anger, or greed. (And we consistently see the destructive results: disappointment, death, and loss of the very things they desired.)

When dealing with a disobedient child, it may help to look for the root cause. Is the child afraid of something? Is he just being selfish or willful? Or is trust missing from our relationship?

We can help our children learn to obey by proving ourselves worthy of their trust, just as God repeatedly proved Himself faithful to Israel. Of course we are imperfect people and make mistakes, unlike our Heavenly Father. But by His grace, we can become more trustworthy in the eyes of our children.

Here are some things we can do to build trust with our children:

  • When we ask our children to obey, it should be for their own good (safety, learning, receiving blessing etc.), not just for our convenience.
  • We can remember their weakness and immaturity and avoid burdening them with impossible expectations or rules.
  • When we do set rules, we can communicate them clearly, make sure they are understood, then enforce them consistently.
  • We can keep our word and our promises to our children, just as God keeps His promises.
  • We can spend quality and quantity time with our children, being available for them and taking care to make our relationships with them a priority.
  • We can provide for their needs, both physical and emotional, so they have no need to fear.
  • We can pray for them and with them.
  • When we make mistakes, we can apologize to our children and demonstrate our own submission to God and His authority.
  • We can tell them often that we love them and delight in them.

 

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The Rock That Doesn’t Move

TrialsTwinRocks101314

I get to go to the beach next week. I get to sit and read books. And maybe once in awhile I’ll get up and go for a walk. And when I’m not doing that, I’ll just sit and watch the waves go in and out along the shore. Once a year we take that kind of vacation — the kind where you just stop and take the time to think.

I always enjoy watching how different the beach looks throughout the day. Sometimes the waves are pounding on the rocks and the beach is narrow and close. Other times the rocks are exposed, clicking and dripping with starfish, anemones, and mussels, with the beach broad and white.

During the course of a day, as the tides come in and go out, it can look like the big rock has moved. In the afternoon it has the waves around it; by evening it’s standing alone in the sand.

But the rock hasn’t moved.

Our emotions, like our eyes, can deceive us. When we’re going through a difficult trial or feeling overwhelmed, or suffering deep loss, it’s easy to feel like God has moved away from us.

Samuel Rutherford, a 16th century Scottish pastor, understood that feeling. He wrote,

Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.”

We will never be separated from God’s love, no matter how much it may feel like He has withdrawn His love in our affliction. As the tides of our emotions and feelings go back and forth, Jesus stays the same.

He is the rock. God sent Him to die for us. That love will never change.

I remember a trip to Victoria with my parents when I was young. We were watching over the deck rail of the ferry, waiting for our little voyage to commence. I was trembling with excitement.

The commotion below us finally quieted, and suddenly the dock was movingI couldn’t believe it! I hurried to ask my father what was happening.

He smiled and pointed out, much to my embarrassment, that we were the ones who were moving.

When we’re tempted, as we go through trials, to think that God is moving away from us, or that He doesn’t really love us, or that He has turned His back on us, we need to remember two things:

  1. God did turn His back on His Son, as Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.
  2. And because of that, He will never turn His back on us.

God doesn’t move away from us in our trials. He’s right there, waiting for us to turn around, teaching us to run to Him.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

 
(Photo by Peter Mahar)
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In the Furnace

Who of us doesn’t know someone who is suffering deeply? Who has lived a life free from trials and pain?

We surrounded by pain and suffering. 

I thought about this fact while my husband and I enjoyed a few days on the coast this summer.

In the Furnace 100714Glass-blowing1We had visited one of our favorite glassblowing studios in this artsy beach town, and after watching the artists work, we ventured further south to another studio. It was a grayed cedar building, hidden in the trees, and we spent a half hour admiring the beautiful vases, bowls, lanterns, and other glass items on display.

Just as we were about to leave, the glassblower picked up a piece of metal tubing and headed toward the furnace. So we sat down to watch him in action.

We’ve watched glassblowers before, but no one has ever explained what they were doing. This man did, and it was fascinating.

The glassblower uses two different furnaces as he works. The first is the furnace that contains a crucible of molten glass. This furnace is heated to over 2000 degrees F.!

He dips a hollow steel tube into the hot molten glass and rolls a glob onto the end of the tube. Rotating the tube all the time so the hot liquid glass doesn’t fall off, he takes it out of the furnace and rolls the blob of glass on a metal table called a marver to shape it and cool it.

To open up the inside of that blob of glass, the glassblower blows into the tube and then covers the hole with his thumb. I’ve always naively thought glassblowing was like blowing up a balloon. You just blow until you get the size you want.

Wrong.

He explained that the moisture in his breath turned into steam in the heat and that is what causes the bubble of air to expand inside the glass blob. He can’t just get a big blob of glass, roll it a few times, and then blow it into the vase or bowl or lantern that he wants.

It’s a slower process.

He gets the bubble started. The glass starts to cool. So he puts it back into a second cooler furnace (“only” 1600-1900 degrees) to make it more malleable again. He rolls it more on the marver.

He dips it back into the molten glass in the hottest furnace to make it bigger. He rolls and shapes and cools it again on the marver. He blows to make the bubble inside bigger.

The glass goes back and forth between the hottest furnace for more molten glass, the marver for shaping and cooling, and the secondary furnace for more heat to make it malleable again, while the blower continues to blow more air into it, always watching to make sure the walls don’t get too thin and break or too thick to be beautiful and usable.

So every time the glass starts to lose its ability to be molded, it goes back into the heat.

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That blob of glass had no idea what it was going to become under the skill of the glassblower. It submitted itself to the heat, the shaping, the blowing, and it became a beautiful, glorious, serviceable piece of art to adorn someone’s home or workplace.

Can you see the picture of God at work in our trials and suffering?

In and out of the furnace we go. God knows exactly how much heat we need — what will cause us to break, and what it takes to make us malleable as He works in our lives.

He shapes us, and then puts us back into the heat so He can continue His shaping work. He’s making us into something beautiful, a reflection of His glory, a picture of His Son. And He’s making us usable, someone who is ready to trust and serve Him.

The Holy Spirit blows His breath into us, changing us from the inside out, while circumstances and trials work on us from the outside.

And through it all God is carefully overseeing the whole process — watching us grow, knowing what He wants us to become, and applying the heat and the pressure to bring that to pass.

Remember that secondary furnace, the one that is only 1600-1900 degrees hot? That smaller furnace is called the glory hole!

That immediately brought a verse to mind.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

God puts us into the fire to change us. He’s making something beautiful, preparing us for glory. And sometimes, as God puts us into the fire, we get a glimpse of that glory.

We understand in a new way how great and powerful God is.

We appreciate more deeply the privilege of having a high priest “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” — a priest who bids us come near to the throne of grace so we can receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.

 

 

 

 

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Training Children for Their Good

Training children for their goodWhen I wrote about Discipline vs Punishment a few weeks ago, I was surprised by the animated discussion that followed. In the comments and in a post update I added, we talked more specifically about what discipline and punishment look like in the home and what constitutes biblical discipline.

About the same time, I discovered an article entitled Training Children for Their Good, by Andy Naselli. I found this very relevant to our discussion, and I want to share it with you. The full article is 13 pages long (plus footnotes), but it’s worth your time. It brings Scripture to bear on some important questions, and it will make you think!

The author begins the article by examining Hebrews 12:4-11, which describes how God disciplines us as his children, and he extracts seven propositions about discipline.

He then surveys the primary verses from Proverbs that relate to discipline, noting that godly discipline begins with teaching, followed by warning. Physical discipline is the final step a parent should take, only after a child chooses to disregard instruction and warning. The fourth level of discipline (severe punishment) is not the job of parents, but of the state. Hopefully, children who are disciplined by godly parents will never reach that level.

Next he addresses some good questions raised by writers who are opposed to spanking, including “Is spanking antithetical to the gospel?”

Finally, he draws some of his own conclusions about parenting, based on the Scriptural observations already laid out. These include the necessity of multiple levels of discipline, avoiding extremes, and emphasizing love for our children.

Overall, this article reminded me of some important things:

  • First of all, training children takes dedicated effort on our part!
  • Loving discipline, including instruction, mercy, and sometimes pain, does indeed reflect the character of our Heavenly Father, as He deals with us, and as He’s dealt with His people throughout history.
  • Spanking should not be our first or our only tool for discipline. In fact, it’s something of a “last resort” to be used only if our careful instruction, warning, and confronting has been disregarded.
  • Godly discipline is a big part of pointing our children to the gospel. If we don’t explain God’s law, our sin, and the punishment we all deserve, our children won’t have a framework for understanding God’s grace and mercy or for valuing what Jesus has done for them.
  • Finally, when we’re studying what the Bible says about a topic like this, it’s important to practice real exegesis. We must seek to draw out the intended meaning of relevant Scripture passages and interpret these passages in light of the rest of the Bible.

If you read Training Children for Their Good, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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Lessons from a Honeybee

Honeybee092314No3I always have to keep my eye out for bumblebees when I pick flowers in the garden. Sometimes a hard-working little fella doesn’t make it home before bedtime, and he sets up camp on the colorful cushion of a zinnia for the night. He’s not always real happy about me shaking up his campsite.

The honeybees are a little more easy-going. They’re so busy working, they don’t have much time to worry about me. They love the mint that is flowering next to one of the chairs on our deck, so I’ve had a front row seat to watch their late-summer labors. The basil down in the garden is another of their favorite hangouts. The row usually buzzes with the sounds of their diligent work.

Honeybee092314No2I had to smile (and be careful) one morning out on the deck. I had picked a box full of basil. Some of it had already started to flower, and the bees were objecting to me disturbing their work. I took the box up to the deck and sat down to listen to a sermon online while I stripped the leaves off their stems. Leaves were going into a bowl for pesto, and stems went into a grocery bag.

I caught myself, though, as I started to drop some more stems into the bag. Down in the shadows of the bag, happily doing what God has made him to do, was an industrious little bee, going from flower to flower, deeper and deeper into the bag, sipping that sweet nectar one last time before the remnants got tossed into the compost pile.

Honeybee092314No1That faithful little bee was an inspiration. He wasn’t questioning God. He wasn’t complaining. He wasn’t waiting for someone else to do the job. He didn’t appear to be thinking it was unfair that some of his fellow bees were back at the hive while he had to fly around all day gathering nectar. He wasn’t giving up when the job got hard. He was going above and beyond the call of duty as he followed those basil blossoms into that bag.

He was just doing the job God has given him, and he was glorifying God and blessing others — especially me — while he was doing it.

Lord, help me to be like that little bee.

 

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A Prayer for Our Children — and Ourselves

I wish I had noticed more fully a prayer of Paul’s while we were raising our six children. I would have memorized it. I would have prayed it — every day. 

I can still pray it — for my adult children, for myself and my husband, for my grandchildren, and for my fellow believers in Christ.

Paul is writing to the believers in Philippi, his beloved, his joy and crown. He prays for them as a father might pray for his children:

PrayerForOurChildrenAnd it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11, ESV).

Let’s take this prayer and claim it for our children.

Lord, we pray that our children’s love for God and for each other would grow and increase.

We pray that this ever-growing love would be rooted in a vigorous knowledge of God and His truth as it is revealed in their study of His Word.

We pray that they will understand God’s love for them and that His love will inspire, motivate, and drive them to share that love with others. Give them insight into loving others in a godly Christ-like way.

We pray that they will test and approve the things that are excellent, that they will know what is best and what is true. Please give them wisdom to choose rightly between morality and grace, between the teachings of men and the teachings of God, between the earthly and the heavenly, between the temporal and the eternal.

We pray that their faith will be sincere and without hypocrisy or pretense. May their repentance be accompanied by the fruits of true repentance, and may they live with consciences that are free from offenses against you and others as they confess and forsake their sins.

We pray that their lives will be filled with good works — the fruits of Christ’s righteousness in them. Help them to live lives of fruitfulness and obedience, not to earn your favor or to gain the approval of men, but to glorify You as they live and serve in Your strength.

In Your precious Son’s name,

Amen

 

 

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Discipline vs Punishment – What’s the Difference?

Dad talking to son

I remember, not too long ago, looking a child right in the eye as he begins to slowly, deliberately tilt the full cup of water in his hand. “Stop – don’t you pour that on the floor!” I say, as I watch him do exactly that.

As the water hits the floor, my first thought is “You’re really going to get it now!”

I want to swoop in with the swift punishment that such clear disobedience surely deserves.

But I have to stop, and reconsider my motivation. It’s not just punishment that he needs, it’s discipline.

There is a big difference between punishment and discipline, and it’s important that we understand it.

What is punishment?

What is discipline?

So the goal of discipline is to bring about change, to alter the course, while punishment merely metes out justice, or even revenge.

Our job as parents is to administer firm, loving discipline that leads our children to repent of their sin and walk in righteousness. This discipline is both driven and tempered by the grace God has shown us in saving us from the punishment we deserve.

Update: Thanks to the moms who pointed out the need for some practical application here. I’m going to list some reactions that could be considered straight-out punishment, and then let me describe what discipline looks like in our home, on a good day, with an almost-three-year-old.

First let me caution you that this is merely our method for applying these principles. It’s not a formula everyone needs to follow. But hopefully it will help you see how punishment and discipline might look different in real life.

What would punishment look like in the above situation?

  • Yelling at my son (what I usually feel like doing).
  • Immediately hitting or spanking him without talking to him.
  • Pouring water on his head.
  • Giving him a “time out” but never talking to him.
  • Making him clean up the mess but not addressing the disobedience.
  • Doing nothing, but being angry at him for the next hour.
  • Ignoring instances like this all week and then finally blowing up at him or spanking him when it happens for the fifth time and I’m fed up with it.

What would discipline look like?

“Uh-oh. You made a mess.”
“You also disobeyed Daddy. We need to have a spanking. Please go to Daddy’s room.”

(In the room. We sit on the edge of the bed. My son is in my lap and I’m looking him in the eye.)

(seriously) “Did you obey Daddy?”

(solemnly) “No.”

“God says you should obey mama and daddy.” (This is a good time to look at the If-Then Chart together, if you want help explaining what he did wrong and what God says about it.) “When you disobey, I have to give you a spanking. We’re going to have two spankings now.”

(bend over knee and give two spankings on the bottom)

(hug until done crying)

“I love you.”
“Can you say, ‘Daddy, I’m sorry for disobeying’?”

“I’m sorry for disobeying.”

“I forgive you.” (hug again) “Will you obey Daddy next time?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Let’s pray for you. Dear Jesus, I thank you for ____ and for making me his daddy. Help him to obey Daddy next time. Thank you Jesus that you forgive us when we sin. Thank you that you love us. Help us to obey you. In your name we pray, amen.”

(Usually by this point he is back to his cheerful self, and we may chat about something else or play around for a minute before leaving the room.)

“Now, let’s get a towel and clean up the mess.”

(Work on it together until done.)

With a younger child, you’d probably have less discussion, just explaining what he did wrong and why you have to spank him. With an older child, you might have more discussion, give him a chance to tell you what he thinks he did wrong, and maybe more creative discipline based on what you know will motivate him.

It takes time. Especially when you’re the only parent at home, it’s hard to take the time to discipline like this. But in our experience, the time investment will eventually pay off.

 

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Leading by Example

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I was recently trying to decide what to talk about for a devotional at the bridal shower. The bride works for one of my favorite grocery stores. Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to live near one of the 418 Trader Joe’s in the world. I decided to do a little research about this chain of stores.

For several years Trader Joe’s has ranked first or second as consumers’ favorite grocery store. (Who wouldn’t like shopping at a store where all workers all wear Hawaiian shirts?)

The cheerful, helpful workers that make Trader Joe’s so pleasant to shop at, are happy, in part, because they like working there.

One employee review states, “Everyone always asks why the employees are so happy at TJ’s; it’s because they treat their employees extremely well. Great pay, great benefits, and a great atmosphere to work in.”

Another describes the management at Trader Joe’s, “All the managers actually work with the crew members!!! They get on their hands and knees and restock the bottom shelves, they clean the toilets, scrub the floors… They work just as hard, sometimes harder than the crew members!!! Trader Joe’s has a ‘Lead by example’ policy that their managers listen to.”

Here’s something we can take and apply to our parenting! Here’s a few questions to think about:

  • Do our children like being in our homes?
  • Are they cheerful about working?
  • Are we leading by example? Do our children see us down on our knees, willingly doing the same work that we ask them to do?
  • Are we humble enough to work alongside them, or do we just tell them what to do?

Jesus didn’t just tell us what to do. He gave us an example. He humbled himself and left heaven to become a man. He lived with us, in the midst of all our sin. He healed people’s diseases, fed them when they were hungry, and then allowed them to kill Him — all to secure our salvation. He stepped down from heaven, reached into our lives, and showed us what real love looks like.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . .” Let’s show our children what it means to lay down our lives for others. We can lay down our lives as we get on our knees and work alongside them. Let’s lead by example.

 

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