Browsing Tag

Purity

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #20: Proverbs 11:1–Business Ethics

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

 

My Favorite Proverbs:  Practicing Fair Business (Proverb 11:1)

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.

Norman Rockwell had a famous and humorous painting in which a butcher had his thumb on the top of the meat scales pushing down, and the customer had her finger under the scales pushing up. It was duel-cheating. 

The old scales have been replaced by computers but good, old-fashioned integrity is still often at a premium. This proverb says God pays attention to the business affairs of men.

Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11).

Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 20:10).

You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small (Deut. 25:13-14).

Are you honest in all your dealings? Jesus put it this way: “But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matt. 5:34-37).

This is clean and simple.  We should adopt it for business practices large and small and every single time.  What I tell a man must always be the truth. I must pay attention as a Christian to the qualities people attach to my name when they hear it.  As with obeying the civil law (Rom. 13:5), I should do this, not merely because of the problems deceit could cause me, but I should do this for “conscience sake”.  My business dealings aren’t merely between men and myself.  They are also between God and me.

“Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17, KJV). 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

David and Bathsheba (continued)

1.Tonight’s Bible time for teens is an assignment. Take the definitions from Strong’s that we extracted last night and, for tonight just list all of the simple one-word adjectives that come from these definitions. Make this all one list and make it on heavy paper. Artsy girls may want to make it colorful and even use calligraphies. Boys may want to type it. The list should have about 30 adjectives on it and should begin with:

modest

decorous

well arranged

seemly…

Before you have them tack or tape these lists to their closet doors or bathroom mirrors, be sure daughters remember that these words are for help in making decisions when shopping or getting dressed every day.  Stress to boys that they each want to be looking for a girl who cares about this list of words when it comes time for choosing a wife. remember, these are God’s  words; not the words of any Bible class teacher or preacher.

2.Now, for all the children, read and explain 2 Samuel 11:3. This is the verse that tells exactly who the beautiful woman is. Make sure they know the following:

Bathsheba’s husband–Uriah, a man of honor in David’s army.

Bathsheba’s daddy– Eliab, One of David’s 30 warriors (2 Samuel 23:24)

Bathsheba’s grandaddy–Ahithophel. Many people believe this to be the very same Ahithophel who was respected so much that people thought his counsel was straight from God. ( Samuel 16:23)

3. The point you are wanting to make to your children here is that Bathsheba was from a good and well-respected home. She did not need David in any way. She lived in the same neighborhood with the palace.  She had a lot going for her, but she was about to lose her self-respect and her home, because she failed to see the blackness of sin.   The devil always tries to make sin look good. In fact, he wants sin to look better than our blessed lives when we walk in His ways.

4. Finally for tonight, make the children see that David still (in verse 3) could have turned back and not taken Bathsheba for himself. Just because we are tempted to sin does not mean we are already sinning. When we are tempted to sin, we have a choice. We can walk away and not do the wrong thing or we can choose to do the wrong thing.

At this point, turn to James 1:14,15:

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Explain this progression, as best you can, to children of all ages. Ask them what things we might do to stop ourselves when we want to do the wrong thing. What can we do to make ourselves decide not to do wrong when we really want to do wrong?

Start here and make a list of temptation-busters:

a. Prayer  to God in the moment of temptation…

b.

c.

d.

 

5. Have your kids repeat the KidSing rule: Do the right thing.

6. Pray with them. Before you pray remind them that Jesus taught us to pray “Lead us not into temptation” (Mt.6:13), and include this in your prayer.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #4

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings.

From Glenn:

 

Thursday — Whatever Is Pure

When Paul wrote that we are to think on things that are pure, he used a word defined by Strong’s as, innocent, modest, perfect: — chaste, clean, pure. This is in sync with other passages that place our sexuality in an elevated category when it comes to protection and purity.  Paul showed us the uniqueness of sexual sin when he wrote “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).  He went on to say “…because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).  Jesus put sexual sin in a unique category when He taught, “…whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).  Of the plethora of instructions older women could give younger women about marriage and the home, Paul makes a short list and includes this: “…Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste…”(Tit. 2:4-5).  

Think of all the harmful behaviors that potentially destroy marriages and consider that Jesus elevates this one sin—fornication to be the exclusive basis on which divorce and remarriage can occur with God’s approval.  I doubt we will ever fully understand the depth of spiritual significance involved in this act. Fornication is a sin with profound consequences, and God always references it with great sobriety. 

Mankind shakes a fist at heaven over God’s sexual laws.  Hell has persuaded people to embrace homosexuality and to proudly espouse the joy of the fluidity of  gender. A man can choose to be a woman if he likes and people are bound to use pronouns that suit that unfortunate pretense. God has given such people up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Rom. 1:24).  Some of the strongest condemnations of Scripture are aimed at sexual sin and perversion.  We understand why. Sexual immorality is dark and destroys lives and homes. 

Even members of the body of Christ sometimes make the sad mistake of flirting with sexual sin by wearing revealing clothing, by dancing inappropriately, and by participating in other lustful and reckless behaviors.  They sin against their own bodies and invite haunting ghosts of regret into their future lives.

In contrast, consider the bright light of purity—not the absence of sexuality but the safety and joy of sex within God’s prescribed boundaries.  In Biblical marriage, sex knows no broken violation of God’s holy word, no guilt, no bitter and lingering heartache, no young girls with shattered lives facing unwanted pregnancies, no teen boys with STD’s. This sexuality is pure. It is God-designed, God-approved, and, in fact, it is God-commanded for those who are married (I Cor. 7:1-2).  It is joyful. It is bonding in an incomparable way.  It is the ultimate embrace. Its purity is traditionally depicted by a white dress, and a honeymoon that is physically fulfilling and holy at the same time.  Sexuality is a deep celebration in marriage because the act of marriage binds husband and wife to one another for their entire lives.

Not all sex is equal.  We must force ourselves to contrast and separate the world’s corrupted sex and the purity of sex in a happy, God-approved marriage.  Then we are doing what Paul teaches us here:  We are thinking on the things that are pure and lovely.

Tonight’s Story Time Earlier in the day, prepare yourself for family story time by reading carefully Genesis 41 so you’ll have all the details in mind. 

Tell the children that Joseph spent two additional years in prison, after God interpreted the dreams of the baker and butler.  But God had not forgotten Joseph.  He had big plans for  Joseph to lead his family into the protection of Egyptian abundance. (Say this in terms your kids will understand, of course.)  After telling the account (Gen. 41:1-32) leading up to revealing Joseph’s revelation to Pharaoh, move on to these discussion questions:

1.  When God gave Joseph the interpretation of the baker’s and butler’s dreams, what future purpose did He have in mind?  God is not limited as a man and He makes plans into the future.  You do not know everything about God’s purpose for your future, but you do know some things for sure. What are those things?  (Have a discussion here about being faithful through all of life, finding a follower of Christ to marry, working hard in a career that God approves or raising children to be faithful to God.)

2.  Why do you think God had Pharaoh dream about cows and ears of grain instead of just having him dream about years of plenty and of famine in Egypt?  How did God make a picture in Pharaoh’s mind so that this dream would be “stuck” in his head? Tell your children the cows were sacred, like gods or idols, to the Egyptians. Imagine how shocked Pharaoh would have been to dream about sacred cows being eaten up! God is brilliant! 

3.  In 41:16, after Pharaoh had invited Joseph to interpret the dreams about the cows and grain, Joseph again gave full credit to God, not himself. You should practice doing that now so that it will be a natural thing to speak of God’s will and blessings in your life for all your lifetime.  What important blessings in your life right now can you point to and say, “I didn’t do that. God did.”? When we are staying well, having enough food to last us through this time of sickness, being able to enjoy being with our families at home, who is it that gives us this place to be safe and well? When we are ill, to whom do we pray for strength and healing? Practice asking your children if they are well and healthy. Have them respond “Yes. God has been so good to us…” or “Yes, and we are thanking God..” or “Yes. Praise God.” 

Tonight, have your children make a card for someone they know who is sick in your congregation or neighborhood. Have each child draw a picture and write “We are praying for you…” followed by the words from Genesis 41:16 “God shall give an answer of peace.”  Help those children who can’t yet write. You might write the text out and then have the very young child put his handprint on the card with paint or ink or just draw around his hand.  Be sure to remember to mail these tomorrow.

Remind your children that Joseph was doing something in this chapter that was going to save many lives. 

Pray with your children. Have your children help you make a list of people they know who are sick. Pray for each by name. Remember to pray for all of those people who are sick with COVID. Pray that your family will be healthy both “in our bodies and in our pure hearts.” 

Repeat the Golden Rule with your children. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ten “Must-Have”s on a Christian Girl’s List for a Prospective Husband

                                                                 

–contributed by Ally Smith.

  1. 1. First and most important “must-have” is finding a man who puts God as his “number one”; even before you and his family or job.
  2. 2. Is he committed to building the kingdom of God and spreading His Word? Wait for the man who is always involved in church events and always conducting in some way during worship; not someone who only shows up when he has to or when he’s expected to. He should always want to be involved in his congregation.
  3. 3. Does he love God…or does he love the world? Wait for the man who falls deeply in love with God instead of worldly temptations and possessions. 
  4. Is he a man of constant prayer? Does he pray before you pull off on a date for your safe travels? Does he pray before your meal on a date? Find a man who is constantly praying and talking to God.
  5. Is he pure in heart? The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance (watchfulness), for from it flow the springs of life.” Wait for the man who is constantly aware of his actions and making sure they are pure and in keeping with God’s Word.
  6. Is he slow to anger? Proverbs 22:24-25 says “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Wait for the man who is temperate and is willing to talk through misunderstandings and conflicts.
  7. Is he wise with his money? Proverbs 21:20 says “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Does he save and put his money towards good things or is he always finding ways to spend it and sometimes finding himself in trouble? Don’t get involved with a man who loves his money more than the Lord for that leads down a sinful path of destruction and torment. 
  8. Is he considerate? Philippians 2:4 says “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” A considerate, selfless man will have your best interests in mind. 
  9. Is he a man of forgiveness? Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” don’t get involved with a man who holds grudges and dwells in the past. Wait for the man who is forgiving and understanding of others. 
  10. Does he set a Christian example? Titus 2:7 says “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity.” Look for a man who is being a good example to his younger siblings and peers. 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Ally Smith

Several years ago, while speaking at a teen girls’ purity day in Tennessee, I passed out a sample “Letter to my Future Husband,” (Casey Herringshaw at https://enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com). Encouraging the girls to think long and hard about the qualities in a husband that would make for happiness in this lifetime and help them live in eternity with God, I encouraged them all to write their own letters and take them out and read them every now and then. Most of all, I wanted them to have clear and godly goals for their marriages and never to veer from them in pursuit of something plastic and temporal.

At that time, Ally was probably about 13 or 14 years old. Recently, Ally and I have been meeting up to visit. She’s 20 now and she shared with me the other day that, using that letter from long ago as a template, she’d written a letter to that man who is still anonymously working to be the one who will one day walk into Ally’s heart and then through life by her side. With some recent edits, she’s given me permission to share her letter, still much like that letter from the purity day so long ago. I hope her letter will help someone young who reads to think about some characteristics that will make for a marriage that God will bless with joy; to write down some goals–maybe even write her own letter– but, most of all, to determine to have uncompromising convictions for the Lord and to never settle for someone who cannot share those convictions and the soul’s best last hope, its only hope…the hope of heaven! Here’s her letter:

To my future husband,

I have been waiting to meet you my entire life; sometimes patiently and sometimes not very patiently all. I know it won’t be long until I will not only be in your heart, but in your arms. That will be the best feeling ever. I know that God has hand-crafted you just for me. But while we’re apart, I’m sure that I am following God’s path to you. I do not know your name nor could I even begin to guess what you’re like or how we’ll meet or if we’ve already met. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking, dreaming and praying for you every day. I know that it sometimes seems like the day that we will meet will never come. But please stay strong and have faith that soon enough God will lead us to each other when the time is right.

There are just a few things I need you to promise to me….Always hold my hand and give me hugs. Hold me in your arms when you get home from work, kiss me on the forehead and tell me all about your day and whether it was good or bad. Remind me often of how much you love and care for me; even if it’s simply leaving a note on my mirror on your way to work or surprising me with cheap flowers. Ask me how my day was before we go to bed, and comfort me if I’m having a bad week. Be my biggest fan but don’t be afraid to let me know when I’m wrong. Tell me jokes–even the stupid ones that make no sense. I love laughing with you.

Draw me closer to God. Remind me how much he means to me by constantly showing faith in him. Pray with me everyday and share with me your struggles and your accomplishments. Please never place bars across your heart. Always be honest with me even if you’re scared of the reaction. I will never judge you or put you down. I want to spend the rest of our lives lifting each other up and towards heavens pearly gates. Learn about my interests and things I enjoy doing, support me in my dreams. But don’t be afraid to tell me if I’m stumbling down the wrong path.

Dance with me in the kitchen with our children laughing at us. (because you know I can’t dance to save my life). Come behind me and kiss my neck when I’m making dinner and tell me you love me. Hold me tight when I’m upset. Hug me tight when the pain is too much for words. Always kiss me goodnight, even if we aren’t on good terms. Let’s never go to bed angry at each other. Surround us and our home in God’s love, joy and constant laughter.

Always take me to church whenever the doors are open. Love children, especially ours, and let them know everyday just how much. When the devil threatens our home and shakes the foundation of our marriage, promise never to leave and to never let the word “divorce” enter out vocabulary, even if it’s out of spite. Always be the spiritual leader of our home and believe what the Bible has to say from beginning to end. Be someone that, when anyone looks at you, they see Jesus Christ. Always speak with love and kindness and teach our children the wonders and consequences given in God’s word.

Find what you’re passionate about and chase it. Be my best friend, the one person I can always go to…my soulmate… and the man I’ve been waiting to meet my entire life.

With all the love I could ever give,

Ally

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

This Just Happens Every Four Years, so Come!…and Share this Important Link.

I was recently visiting a church in another city when a woman I’ve never met walked up to me and began to talk about how her daughter was impacted deeply at a purity day four years ago at West Huntsville.  She told me about good things that are still happening in this high-schooler’s life because of that fall Saturday in 2014.  A purity day can open doors that will continue to influence for crucial years and monumental decisions down the road. The impact can be made through notes taken, through materials purchased, through resolutions made, through a deeper bond with a mentor, or through new friendships forged. This mom was extremely excited to hear that on August 11th, she will get the chance to repeat the experience.

I spoke at another church in Mississippi this spring in which a couple of young and faithful moms (one is in the photo) reminded me that they, along with a big group of friends, had rolled into Serenity at about 11 p.m. four years ago (or was it eight?), to check into  our cabin and house for purity day the next morning.  These women have now completed college, have Christian husbands and sweet babies, and were the planners of and participants in this ladies day. They, too, said “Oh you’re about to have another one? Let us know when. We can probably bring some girls!”

This is the day that happens only once every fourth year at West Huntsville. Kind of like February 29th of Leap Year. Only this day does more than keep the calendar synchronized. This day helps keep the lives  of our daughters in sync with His holy plans and purposes. We think it’s important for every girl to experience the planning and participating in this important event at least twice during her years in the West Huntsville youth group. We hope that lots of girls from many congregations will come and bring friends and mentors.  Some traveled last time from at least as far away as Kentucky.  Some from Mississippi have already begun making plans to come this year. It’s worth a half-day out of school on Friday (if you’re far away)  and a road trip. It’s worth so much more if hearts are convicted for pure, godly living. Future marriages for God are built on the stuff of this seminar.

What about you? Can you make a road trip? Housing in our homes will be provided for those who come from other towns and states. All the info is available on the link below. If I can help you make this happen for your daughter or youth group, let me know!

You can register here: http://purity.westhuntsville.org.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Motherhood for His Glory

(Sometimes there’s a fun re-run that we like to read again. This time the re-run, for Mother’s Day, is one of the most controversial archival editions. It’s not for fun, but it’s for the children that I want to keep saying (even though I know my voice is a small one) the things that  are hard to think about in our world of heightened sensitivities. Children still need all the same things they needed a generation ago or even a hundred generations ago,  so we should keep repeating truths that are timeless, but nevertheless, may offend the culture.  I never want to  purposefully offend. I pray today’s post does not offend, at all, but rather is helpful to someone–maybe someone young, who still has some monumental decisions in front of her. May she make them for His glory! So here:

 

As I travel around and speak for various ladies seminars, I am extremely blessed to meet moms of all ages who share with me nuggets of wisdom gleaned from years of experience combined with time in the Word. My home and children have been richer as a result of this fellowship and sharing. There have been a few memorable occasions, though, when women have opened their mouths and something really senseless has issued forth. I think these ridiculous observations from mothers have helped me as much or more than the statements of wisdom. When people fail to study His word and make practical applications in their families, spiritual stupidity ensues. In the presence of women who seem to be clueless about spiritual priorities and biblical motherhood, the wisdom of my God and the peace that is mine when I apply his truth in my family is glaring. I am immediately humbled in this situation and thankful that I do not have to rely on my own resourcefulness or wisdom in motherhood. This parent is grateful to have a Parent who is infinitely resourceful and wise and who has revealed His plan for my home. And it’s all in a book I can carry in my purse. What a blessing! I’ve chosen a few real “gems” from my list of The Most Misguided Mom Statements I’ve Ever Heard” to share below. Read them and weep!

“Well, there is that one thing…”
I was speaking at a ladies seminar one afternoon on the topic of “Keeping our Families from Worldliness.” After my presentation, a sixty-something lady came up to the front of the room, expressed her appreciation for the lecture, and then went on to say how very blessed she and her husband had been in their family. Her children had all reached adulthood and they had never caused a single minute’s problem for her and her husband. They were now raising beautiful children of their own, maintaining a close relationship with the grandparents and actively leading in their careers and communities. I told her how proud I was for her and just sort of incidentally asked where those young families live and worship. She told me the communities in which they live and then I pursued the second question, since I had some knowledge of one of those communities. “Which congregation do they attend?” I asked.

“Well, there is that one thing,” she responded. “None of my children are faithful to the Lord.”

So many responses would have been appropriate at this juncture, but I was speechless. I was so amazed at the casual way she interjected that tragic statement about the spiritual depravity of her family that I was at a loss for words. The dropping of my jaw and an “I’m so sorry,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to say, “Lady, that is the only one thing that matters,” or “Ma’am, did you realize that all of your children are living their lives in utter and complete failure?!” Paul talked about one thing that was important. He said “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things that are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13,14).”

Jesus told Martha that one thing was needful and that Mary had chosen that one thing (Luke 10:42). Perhaps He said it best, though, when He said, “What doth it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

I wish I didn’t have to work…
I drove up to a fabulous house in a high-end neighborhood where I would be staying while speaking in the area. I walked through beautifully decorated rooms, past an entertainment center and shelves of videos. I said hello to two well-dressed young children and went upstairs to the beautiful guest room where I would be sleeping. The next morning when I awoke, I peered out the window at a fenced, park-like backyard complete with a full-scale playground. I went downstairs for some orange juice and began to converse at the kitchen bar with my hostess. Somehow in the conversation we got on the subject of stressed and busy lifestyles. In this context came the unbelievable statement I hear so often: “I wish I didn’t have to work, so I could stay home and raise my children.”

Now I’ve heard many variations of this statement. Kids have said it to me like this: “My mom would like to stay home with me, but she says if she stays home, we can’t have our pool…or new house…or whatever goes in the blank.”

There is a way to get past this amazingly materialistic mentality. Go on a mission trip to Zambia or Argentina. Listen to children talk about digging in fields for rats to eat or spend a couple of weeks where there are no adequate sewage systems, no hot water and goat head is listed on the entrée list at eating establishments. I could go on, but the point is all too obvious. We are so rich in America that we’ve come to include the “posh” in our lists of basic necessities. Our children are often bringing us shame, because they have grown up in worlds of instant gratification; worlds void of guidance and nurture. “A child left to himself brings his mother shame (Prov.29:15).” We, like that rich young ruler, will continue to reap sorrow when we allow our possessions to own us rather than the other way around.

“He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:22)

“We like to save our ‘no’s.”
I was sitting in a close friend’s kitchen when I decided to ask her if she was concerned about some of the entertainment choices her thirteen year old was making. The media choices of this kid were definitely uncharacteristic of the godly values of his parents. The answer: “We don’t like these choices, but we like to save our ‘no’s for the big things. We feel if we say no all the time, then our prohibitions will be less effective when it comes to some big issue like sex or drugs.”

Practicing the ‘no’s with seemingly small matters is the way kids catch on to the fact that “no” means “no”. It’s the way they assimilate the information that Mom and Dad care enough about them to monitor, direct and guard them, even when it requires time and attention to detail. In short, keeping a watch over the small things and demanding compliance in them is the only way to insure respect when it matters most. Saving our ‘no’s as parents will yield a big bunch of saved-up ‘no’s when our kids need them most, but saved-up ‘no’s, like old kitchen spices, have lost their potency. Kids need practice with restrictions. They have to listen when you say “Stay on the sidewalk,” so later they will listen when you say, “Stay away from drugs.” This constant listening practice is essential for ultimate spiritual success. “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27).

The list goes on. I’d love to have space to comment on the absurdity of statements like “ I wish my thirteen year old would ______________, but I have asked her and she just says ‘no’.” (Is she sleeping under your roof and eating at your table?! ) Another unbelievable one is “Okay, so she is having sex. Let’s get some birth control,” or the frequent “We let our kids go to the dances,” or “see all the movies with their friends,” or “wear the current fashions” (or whatever compromising activity it may be). “After all, we don’t want them to grow up thinking Christianity is a burden.” (Never mind the fact that Jesus called discipleship a yoke and a burden [Matt.11:29,30]).

Parenting is not for the weak. Giving birth, changing diapers, feeding and clothing are all the easy parts. The real challenge is to consistently place the ammunition of respect for the Will of God into the hearts of little people who will soon face the Goliaths of worldliness and corruption that plague our society. We cannot raise our children on permissive fences in which we give the nod to Christianity while we let them enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb.11:25). They will inevitably fall on the wrong side of that fence and the short season of pleasure will turn to years of the wretched heartache of sin. God empowers us through His Providence and His Word. But we must be diligent parents (Deut.6:6,7), attending to the details of the day to day obstacles the devil places in our paths. Successful parenting is never an accident.