…Family Conference!

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This week, My Beloved has been preaching a Family Conference at our home church! It’s been a real blessing, and we’re thankful for the opportunity.

The next installment of the Lionproof series will be probably coming out next week, unless I get a block of time on Friday to put it up. Meanwhile, pray for the families as the conference, that their homes will be strengthened!

Lionproof Part 10: Your Most Valuable Weapon

We continue our series on child training, based on interviews with godly second-generation Christians. If true happiness lies in serving Jesus, then that is the penultimate goal we have in our child training. As we look to those who have successfully raised young people who live for God, we wonder, “What did their parents do right to help turn them in the direction of serving the Lord?” Here is the most valuable weapon we have in protecting our children from the wiles of the Devil.

Other posts in this series can be found here.

Lacy was a shy middle-aged mom of two energetic children in a small rural town. When we talked, she spoke freely, knowing her words would be kept in confidence, but what she said sent chills up my spine: “We could talk to Mom about anything. She was always open, honest, and available. But if I tried to talk to Dad about anything, he always cut me off and said I should not talk like that. I guess I might have tried maybe four or five times, but when you get cut off like that, after a while you give up. At least, that’s what I did. I just never talked to my dad about anything after that.”

As she spoke, my mind was buzzing. At least her mother is a very strong person, and willing to do whatever it takes to keep her children’s hearts. I know her well.

Lacy’s story was not ideal, but at least she turned out to love and serve the Lord anyway. She knew she could confide in her mother, and knowing her mom, I feel she received excellent guidance as she was growing up. But, how much better could it have been if she could talk freely to both of her parents, I wonder?

One of the most potent weapons we have at our disposal as parents is having our child’s heart. “I think it’s very important for the parent to have the child’s heart, especially the mother,” a young mother, Jennifer explained. “The child knows he can go to Mom about anything, and if he’s willing to listen to what she has to say, it can really go a long way to enabling the parent to be able to help the child deal with situations correctly, and also encourages the child to be more apt to ask advice of the parent.”

How did successful parents keep their children’s hearts? There are three factors:

Making Home Happy – 82% of the people I talked to responded positively when I asked them if their childhood was happy. The parents worked hard to make home a happy place. Even serving the Lord was something the parents tried to make joyful!

Pulling Family Together – The Overcomers know that one of the most influential activities in their lives was the fact that their families did things together. Though their parents had opportunities to pursue their own individual activities (like watch TV, play computer games, or talk on the phone,) they often chose to invest that time in their children, reaping a tremendous return.

Learning to Be Approachable – During a particularly interesting interview, Shaunna and her husband, both Overcomers, took turns cuddling their newborn baby as they answered my questions. “When we were growing up,” Shaunna said, “we often had questions, and Dad didn’t seem to think that questioning was rebellion. He understood the spirit of questioning things; we just wanted to know how or why. And he was honest if he didn’t know the answer. His openness really helped me as I was growing up.”

In fact, 58% of our respondents agreed with Shaunna. Many of them said, “They were always available talk to me whenever I needed them!”

Jeff is a man of few words. His perception is as precise as his sniper bullets in the Special Forces. “I remember getting to a point where I was too big to spank,” he remarked. “That was about the time when I started to realize I didn’t want to disappoint my father. I think it was also the point at which my parents started to realize that too. I was around thirteen at the time, and I just still did what Mom and Dad wanted me to do, because I loved them and didn’t want to hurt them.


Leaning forward, Jeff lowered his voice and continued, “My dad wasn’t just a father…he was a friend.”

Herein is your primary offensive weapon: have your child’s heart, and he or she will never want to disappoint you.

The Best Occupation…

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Little Luke, our 3rd grandbaby

I’d rather be a mother than anyone on earth
Bringing up a child or two of unpretentious birth…
I’d rather tuck a little child all safe and sound in bed
than twine a chain of diamonds about my [carefree] head.
I’d rather wash a smudgy face with round, bright, baby eyes
Than paint the pageantry of fame or walk among the wise.

— Meredith Gray

God has been so good to give us jewels on this earth, and even grandchildren! May this weekend be a wonderful weekend of enjoying your family, your very own precious jewels.

Lionproof Part 9: Maintaining a Consistent Vigil

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Continuing the Lionproof series, we come to one of the most difficult of qualities: consistency. To fill in some of you who may be new here, I am writing this series based on many interviews I’ve had with second-generation Christians who are living for the Lord. Many have asked those who have left church when they turn 18 about why they have left, but I wonder “why do some stay? What did their parents do right?” So I began talking to godly young adults, seeking patterns in the child training practices. What I discovered changed my life.

If you want to read the other parts of the series, click here.

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When builders in India illegally constructed a six-story structure in Rajasthan in 2007, they made many errors, not the least of which was using inferior materials. Inspectors had been called in to look at cracks in the building, and within minutes after their emerging from the structure, the entire building collapsed in a shower of cement, dust, and rebar! The footage of the sudden destruction was incredible! Amazingly, and thankfully, no one got hurt.

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In the parenting process, it is easy for everything to look just right on the outside, but on the inside be built with inferior materials. When the barricade is erected to keep the Devil out, it is imperative to use high-quality materials in the workmanship.

Your weakest point is the one spot where the trouble comes, and it is that one spot which can cause the breakdown of the entire structure. The very best material we can use to build our barricade is the quality of consistency. Without it, we are playing with a strong possibility of collapse of the structure, and death of the residents.

To my respondents, consistency was a huge factor in the formation of their lives. One of my respondents, Jamie pointed out, “When my parents made up their mind about something, they didn’t change, except on a very rare occasion, and then they always explained the change to us. Nothing was ever done on a haphazard basis. Their decisions were law.”

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Let’s take a look at the three different ways these successful godly parents displayed consistency to their children.

“My Parents Were Faithful Through the Hard Times.” consistently loving God and living for Him even in trials.

“My Parents Were Consistent in Discipline”reliable in correction. The kids knew what to expect.

“My Parents Were Dependable in Spiritual Things”consistently reading their Bibles, praying, and being an example of true Christianity.

Not long ago, my family and I were at a church in the northeast. It was a Missions Conference, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a report from a single lady missionary who had been raised in a godly Christian home. Her very interesting story began when she was just a little girl. “I was raised in a hunter’s home,” Emily told us. I could sense the interest of the men in the congregation. “My dad was a big hunter, and there were lots of weapons in our house. He took the time to teach each of us the importance of respecting the weapons, so that by the time we were four years old, we were allowed to have our own bow and arrow . . . as long as we didn’t shoot each other!” Laughter gently rippled through the people.

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“One day when I was four, I got angry with my sister, and I shot an arrow at her!” She paused for a few seconds, and then continued, chuckling, “So what happens when you get in trouble in a Christian home? I got a spanking!” Several folks giggled and nodded their heads in understanding.

“So, as I was lying on my bed, crying, suddenly everything my parents and Sunday school teacher had been trying to tell me all came together, and I realized I was a sinner. There on my bed, I stopped crying and prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins. Even though I was so young, it was the best day of my life.”

Emily smiled and continued, “So, parents and grandparents . . . you keep doing what you know is right! Do it consistently! You never know – someday it may lead to your children’s salvation!”

May we learn from these dear people, and be consistent!

Can you think of ways to help us as parents be consistent with our children? How can we encourage each other?

Don’t miss the next post, folks! We’ve got four more posts in this series, but I must be honest with you, this next post is the most important of all principles. It is Your Most Valuable Weapon!


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Linking up with these fine people:

Monday: The Alabaster Jar

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays
MercyInk

Wednesday: To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

LIONPROOF Part 8: The Gentle Art of Loving Correction

We’ve been learning about raising godly children based on the interviews I’ve conducted with many young adults who are serving the Lord.  Their insight amazes me!  In my last post (which I confused myself by calling it Part 6 when it was really Part 7!), we learned about the importance of replacing bad or even neutral activities with godly ones.  And if you’ve missed any of the previous posts, look here.  I think we’ll all enjoy today’s post!

At first, I wrestled with this post, but since 100% of my respondents told me that they received discipline as a youngster, I need to talk about it.  I feel that the importance of early discipline cannot be understated.

I know there is a lot of discussion about the negative side of this issue, but If you could do what I have done – if you could talk at length to fifty godly, happy, well-adjusted adults and ask them some very specific questions about their childhoods – you would develop a picture of a loving home, with carefully and lovingly administered correction. You would see that their home is happy because the children learn to obey, and ultimately because the parents obeyed the Word of God by training their children carefully.  You would see a home where the kids go to bed without a struggle, the parents devotedly care for the children, and the young people are happy and pleasant.

It is this picture I want you to have in your mind as you read this chapter.  I’m not talking about robots; I’m talking about young people who understand their boundaries and have joyfully embraced the place God has for them.  These people know that one of Satan’s big strategies is to magnify the limitations, thereby creating discontent.  But these young folks have chosen to focus on the possibilities of serving the Lord.  Though perhaps they didn’t understand it at the time, they eventually comprehended and benefited by the discipline they received as children.

Let me start by saying that there is a way to discipline that is actually harmful rather than helpful.  I call this:

SELFISH DISCIPLINE – it is:

  1. The goal of the parent is his or her own comfort
  2. Discipline is performed out of frustration and anger
  3. The parent merely bullies a young person into submission “because I said so!”
  4. Discipline is not connected in any way with the crime committed.

By contrast, the vast majority of my respondents experienced what I call:

Loving Correction.

  1. Only when necessary
  2. Rarely in anger
  3. Equal in proportion to the crimes committed
  4. With a goal of gradual training in the habit of obedience
  5. To gradually enlist the young person’s will
  6. Decisively when the young person is rebellious

In our quest to pass on our values to the next generation, we should never underestimate the value of Loving Correction.  It is not abuse, nor is it bullying.  It is perhaps one of the most gentle and caring ways of showing someone the difference between right and wrong, and starting them on their way to a joyous life.  To care for children is to guide them in the way of responsibility and nobility, duty and selflessness, strength and virtue.

Greg is a young assistant pastor who also is a successful entrepreneur.  Though he is still in his mid-twenties, his faithfulness and thoroughness on the job are building a strong reputation, and he finds himself busier than ever, even in this difficult economy.  Not surprisingly, he is a man of few words.  “We feared Dad,” Greg explained, “and therefore feared God.”

Greg realizes that a child will often think of God the same way he thinks of a parent.  If a child loves, respects, and obeys his parents, it becomes so much easier to transfer that heart of dedication to the Lord.  Obedience is an important lesson he is trying to teach his two young children, ages one and three.

There is so much more I could say about this subject – the Importance of Early Correction, the Secret to Effective Correction, and the Positive Effects of Early Correction – but there simply is not enough room here.  Please keep your eyes peeled for my new book which will be coming out early 2013!  It will have many more goodies: lots of stories from the Overcomers, Thought Questions, charts, graphs, and study questions.

Until then, can you think of some examples of Loving Correction?  Share them with us!

 

Thank You, MercyInk!



Thank you, MercyInkblog, for featuring my Lionproof series! I hope these posts can be half as much of a blessing to me as I’ve had talking to the many godly Overcomers – those second generation Christians who are part of that 10% still serving the Lord!

Thanks again, Lauren!