Happy Child = Easy Life

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It is every well-intentioned parent’s desire to give his/her child the best life they can. They want to give them the best opportunities and do their best to protect them from pain and disappointment. I know I do! However, what role does disappointment and pain play in a child’s development and character?

A few weeks ago, I ran across a blog written by Dr. Paul Tripp that is worth sharing. I hope that all parents will glean the important truths and the encouragement from this article!

God’s blessings…

Martin

Happy Child = Easy Life, by Dr. Paul Tripp

I love the Bible. Well, that’s a silly thing to say – of course I love the Bible! But one of the (many) reasons I love the Bible is because of the specific detail that’s woven through each verse. Today we’re going to look at what seems like a “side comment” in 1 Kings 1.

1 Kings 1:6 – “His [Adonijah] father [David] had never at any time displeased him by asking, ‘Why have you done thus and so?’”

I don’t have space in this article to give you the context of this story – if you want it, you can listen to my sermon on this passage or download the PDF transcript.

Let me first talk about Biblical “side comments.” All of these minute details are preserved for us by a wise God who knows our hearts. You don’t have a comprehensive history in Scripture; you have a redemptively selective history. These “asides” are more than just an aside. Each one provides us with tremendous insight. So when you read, don’t rush through in a spiritual monotone.

Back to the passage. Talking of David, it says, “His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, ‘Why have you done thus and so?’” What an interesting parenting comment. Adonijah was a happy child because his father never got in the way.

Parents, I think we need to reflect once more on the children that God has placed in our care. We need to reflect once more on the fact that we’re agents of the authority of God. We’re, by our exercise of authority, not only called to define the nature of God’s world, but the nature of God Himself. We, in our parenting, must picture His law and His grace, His faithfulness, His patience, and His perseverant commitment to our welfare.

We must also reflect on the deep and abiding spiritual struggle in our children. You’ve given birth to a child who has the DNA of sin in him and in her, and the DNA of sin is selfishness.

Think about the first sin ever committed. What was it about? Autonomy and self-sufficiency.Adam and Eve were on a quest to be in the position that God and God alone should be in. In the very same way, your children (and you, too) have god-like intentions. They want to rule. They want to set their own agenda. They want to be indulged. They will carry with them shocking entitlement.

Seldom will your child say when he’s been told no, “Thank you, dear parent of mine. How much I need your authority. I’m a shockingly idolatrous child.” It’s amazing to be in a mall or grocery store and watch a four-year-old child, with hands on hips and jaw set, argue with somebody who’s lived 40 years longer and who’s three times their size.

What’s going through the heart of that child in that moment? What’s that child thinking? I’ll tell you what they’re thinking – “I am the lord.”

In this verse, we see a grown child who was never told “no.” Adonjiah had been given what he wanted, when he wanted. He was allowed to indulge as he grew, and his pleasures were always satisfied. His heart was never challenged, his motives never questioned, and his selfishness never confronted. Isn’t it interesting that the treason of Adonijah against his father is connected to the way he was raised?

Parents, God the Father is our example. Hebrews 12 says that the one the Father doesn’t discipline is not His son. He’s faithful to discipline us because He knows it will produce a harvest of righteousness.

Parents, your discipline isn’t meant to be punitive. You don’t discipline your child because they’ve messed up your day and you have the right to meet out your anger against him. No, you discipline your child because you want that child to begin to embrace the depth of their sin, and therefore, the depth of their need, and therefore, hunger for the Lord Jesus Christ. In hungering for Christ, your prayer is for that child to commit to a righteous life that’s lived for the glory of the God that they once wanted to replace with selfish indulgence.

Now don’t get me wrong – you’ll get weary. You’ll want to throw in the towel. It’s not easy to say no to a self-sovereign child. In many ways, the easiest life as a parent comes when you give your child whatever they want. It’s going to be very tempting to make your day easier by making your child happier by withdrawing your authority.

But this little side comment in Scripture is a warning to us – persevere! Are you committed? Are you devoted to the heart of your child, or would you rather make life comfortable? Remember, your Lord won’t call you to do a task without enabling you to do it.

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Reflections From the Empty Nest

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By Pastor Martin Schlomer

Something weird happened yesterday! Our youngest son, Wesley, turned 21 and moved away … permanently. He took all (or almost all) of his earthly possessions and headed north to Bellingham, WA. Some of you may be thinking, “Martin, he moved out last September to attend WWU! Did you forget?” This time is different. He isn’t returning to WWU. He has a full-time job at Lynden Door. I woke up this morning with this thought, “He’s not coming home! Puyallup is no longer home! Have I prepared him?”

I must say that, by the grace of God, all three of my sons love and serve Jesus. I can’t ask for anything more. As a Dad, this is the most important value and priority to me. I’ve watched God change them, challenge them and mature them. This reality overwhelms me with emotional gratitude.

Looking back, would I do anything different? You bet! There is one thing I would do that rises above everything else. I would affirm them more for their character than for their accomplishments. You can have great accomplishments but lack character. This doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t celebrate accomplishments; however, we need to keep the emphasis on what is most important. This is Peter’s point in 2 Peter 1.5-8. If we keep our focus on building their character in increasing measure, this character will keep them from being ineffective and unproductive in their knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 8).

As I look to my future with my sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchild, my focus will be affirming them in their character. Two weeks ago, on a whim, I wrote a Facebook post affirming the character I saw in one of my sons. I was amazed at the overwhelming and positive response! It shouldn’t surprise me. Almost everyone I know is hungry for encouragement in things that matter. I urge all of us to take our children aside this week and affirm the character we see developing in their lives! It makes a difference. Proverbs says our word carry the power of life or death. Use your words to bring life!

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Father’s Day

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By Brian Waple

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a day on which we honor our fathers and show them how much they mean to us. How should we celebrate our fathers on this special day? In my family, we get together and share a meal, or we’ll go do something we haven’t done before (one year, Cindy pirated me away to Seattle, where we met our sons and went on an Argosy cruise). In whatever we do, it’s the time together that makes it special and memorable for me, time spent in familial fellowship.

We are told that Jesus often spent time in familial fellowship with his Father. In Luke 6:12, we read, “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.” Because He gave so much to those around Him, Jesus needed these times alone with His Father to recharge Himself, to draw strength for the road that lay ahead. In John 17 (the High Priestly Prayer), we read,

“I do not ask for these only [referring to His disciples] but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved me.”

In this prayer we see the intimate relationship Jesus shared with His Father, and how He was passing on that very same relationship to His believers, both then and now.

So this Father’s Day remember to celebrate our Heavenly Father, for it is through Him that we draw strength for our own unique journeys. And it is through Him that we enter into the loving relationship we were always meant for—being one with the Father.

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