Big Beliefs!

As a family we are committed to reading the Bible together. For years we have made it a near-daily habit to spend at least a few minutes together in family devotions. Our normal pattern is simple as simple can be: First thing in the morning we read a passage, we talk about it briefly, and we pray. It is a sweet time together and one I’m convinced is of outsized importance to our spiritual and relational health. Sometimes, though, we …

3 Priorities for Christian Parents

What’s a parent to do? We know that God tells us to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord—we get that. But what does that actually look like? How can we flesh out that simple framework? I was recently reading through 1 Thessalonians and once again came to one of my favorite passages. In this letter Paul is addressing specific concerns raised by the congregation in Thessalonica. It seems that one of the matters they wanted …

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7 Ways Parents Unfairly Provoke Their Children

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger lest they become discouraged, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This single sentence combines the New Testament’s two most prominent passages on parenting and, as I said yesterday (see Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children!), offers a significant warning to parents: We can parent our children in such a way that we provoke them to anger and discouragement. There are times when we so …

Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children!

It’s a word, it’s an idea, that I have wanted to explore for some time. Within the New Testament there are two clear instructions to parents and this word features prominently in both of them. It is the word provoke. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” while Colossians 3:21 echoes “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Risking the wrath …

10 Lessons on Parenting Little Ones

My youngest child is about to turn 10 years old and will soon be joining her two siblings in the double digits. This means that Aileen and I have graduated—we have graduated from parenting little ones to parenting big ones. Lots of parenting remains, of course, but the little years are now in the past. These little years have been the best and the worst years, the easiest and the hardest. They have been full of both joys and tremendous …

An Unexpected Blessing of Parenting

There is a lot about parenting I expected. I had been tipped off to many of the joys and many of the sorrows. I knew it would require long days and late nights; I knew it would draw out both strengths and weaknesses in my character; I knew it would expose a part of my heart that would love with a unique tenacity and fierceness; I knew it would help me better understand why God relates to us as Father; …

Boys Need Their Moms

Thinking back, I wonder if people thought I was a bit of a mama’s boy. I grew up in a stable home and loved and respected both of my parents. I regularly spent time with each of them. But I was always closer to my mother. If this was true when I was young, it was even more pronounced when I was a teenager. In those years I was a boy, a young man, who needed his mom. Boys need …

Protect Your Family With Circle

The Internet has become an indispensable resource for the home and family, but every parent has grappled with properly managing and overseeing that resource. We all know the dangers that lurk out there, yet still believe in the value of maintaining access and the necessity of training our children to use it wisely. As the Internet matures, we are gaining some great new tools to help us. Circle is an interesting new device and app that allows parents to manage all …

Custom-Crafted Kids

Pepperoni on the whole thing, sausage on one half, mushroom on the other. Thin crust, extra cheese, and throw in a couple of the spicy dipping sauces. And why don’t you make it the combo that comes with a couple of cans of Mountain Dew…” Just imagine if you could order children the way you order pizza. Imagine if God knew you were trying to have a child and approached you to ask what you’d like. “Just run through this …

Why We Fail at Family Devotions

I have written about family devotions a number of times (most recently in How We Do Family Devotions), and it always leads to a response. Whenever I write about the subject, I immediately receive emails and messages from people who have tried and failed, or who are still trying and are convinced they are failing. I compiled some of that feedback and came up with a list of reasons we fail at family devotions. We Make it Too Hard I …