Raising Kids

Far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on child-rearing is Standing on the Promises, by Doug Wilson. If you were to ask to borrow my copy, I’m not sure it would do you any good because you probably wouldn’t be able to read the words from all my markings. It’s that good.

Yet, if you are looking for a “how to” book to help you raise your children, you will no doubt be very disappointed indeed. While the book is not without practical application, Wilson is far less concerned with giving you twelve easy steps to parenting godly kids as he is to giving you a firm foundation upon which to do so. But, I hasten to add, the book is anything but abstract and impractical. It is encouraging, instructive, and even inspiring. I heartily recommend it to any and all parents who are seeking to raise godly children in this ungodly age.

Here are a few choice quotes from the first chapter that I think are worth passing on…

The Fountainhead of Culture

The biblical family is an instituted government, established by God at the very beginning of human history. The constitution for this government was written by him, and revealed to us in his Word.

Parents bring up their children to be colonists at the proper time, planting families of their own.

Consequently, each family is designed to be a culture – with a language, customs, traditions, and countless unspoken assumptions. God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it. The duty of the husband and father is to ensure that the shaping is done according tot he standards of the Word of God.

[A common problem among modern Christians] is that of forgetting the family is a culture at all, and allowing, by default, outside cultural influences to take primacy in how the children are shaped. When the biblical cultural mandate for the home is abandoned in the home, the vacuum will not be there for long.

By nature, children are malleable. They will either be shaped lawfully, by those commanded by God to perform the task, or they will be shaped unlawfully, by outsiders. But as children, they will be shaped.

Stay tuned for more gems from Wilson’s book.


A Christian Home

O give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught his love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified;
How sweet to know that, tho’ his footsteps waver,
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho’ days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster;
And praise is natural speech to every tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that’s vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor –
Be Thou our guest, our hearts and homes to share.

words by Barbara B. Hart, 1965

By Whose Power Are You Living?

Acts 19:5 – One day the evil spirit answered them, [the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest] “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

In the name of Jesus, the seven sons of Sceva attempted to drive out a demon from a man who was demon-possessed. But they didn’t really know the “Jesus” whose name they invoked. The demon was not terribly impressed with them. Therefore he, through the man he possessed, jumped on the seven brothers and gave them the beating of their lives (Acts 19:16).

This made me think of my own life and ministry. Do I live and minister in and through the power of the Holy Spirit or in my own power? God tells Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6…

… “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Even though Zerubbabel didn’t have the human power and prestige of a David or a Solomon, God assured him he had something even greater – the Spirit of the Living God! Therefore, he would be able to accomplish what God set before him.

And so, I’m back to my question: Am I trusting and depending upon the only One who has the true power to overcome demons, problems, obstacles, sin, and all the rest? Or am I trusting in my own “might” and “power?”

I sometimes think that some predicament that I’m faced with might reply to me: “Jesus I know, but who are you?” And yet, if Galatians 2:20 is true, and I really do have the Lord of the universe living in me, then what kind of extraordinary fool am I for not living and ministering in his power and authority, rather than my own?

Lord forgive me. Please enable me to live by faith in you and dependence upon your Spirit. Provoke me to live for you, with you, like you, and by you. For your sake I pray. Amen.

Grace and Truth,

Beautiful Prayer by William Barclay

From Prayers for the Christian Year by William Barclay

O God, our Father, we know that the issues of life and death are in your hands, and we know that you are loving us with an everlasting love. If it is your will, grant to us to live in happiness and in peace.

     In all our undertakings,
          Grant us prosperity and good success.
     In all our friendships,
          Grant us to find our friends faithful and true.
     In all bodily things,
          Make us fit and healthy,
               Able for the work of the day.
     In all things of the mind,
          Make us calm and serene,
               Free from anxiety and worry.
     In material things,
          Save us from poverty and from want.
     In spiritual things,
          Save us from doubt and from distrust.
     Grant us
          In our work, satisfaction;
          In our study, true wisdom;
          In our pleasure, gladness;
          In our love, loyalty.

And if misfortune does come to us, grant that any trial may only bring us closer to one another and closer to you; and grant that nothing may shake our certainty that you work all things together for good, and that a Father’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear. Hear this our prayer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 12

Christ and the Christian

31. Question: Why is He called Christ, that is, Anointed?

Answer: Because He has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit,[1] to be our chief Prophet and Teacher,[2] who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption;[3] our only High Priest,[4] who by the one sacrifice of His body has redeemed us,[5] and who continually intercedes for us before the Father;[6] and our eternal King,[7] who governs us by His Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.[8]

[1] Ps. 45:7 (Heb. 1:9); Is. 61:1 (Luke 4:18; Luke 3:21, 22. [2] Deut. 18:15 (Acts 3:22). [3] John 1:18; 15:15. [4] Ps. 110:4 (Heb. 7:17). [5] Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14. [6] Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; I John 2:1. [7] Zach. 9:9 (Matt. 21:5); Luke 1:33. [8] Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10, 11.

32. Question: Why are you called a Christian?

Answer: Because I am a member of Christ by faith[1] and thus share in His anointing,[2] so that I may as prophet confess His Name,[3] as priest present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him,[4] and as king fight with a free and good conscience against sin and the devil in this life,[5] and hereafter reign with Him eternally over all creatures.[6]

[1] I Cor. 12:12-27. [2] Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17); I John 2:27. [3] Matt. 10:32; Rom 10:9, 10; Heb. 13:15. [4] Rom. 12:1; I Pet. 2:5, 9. [5] Gal. 5:16, 17; Eph. 6:11; I Tim. 1:18, 19. [6] Matt. 25:34; II Tim. 2:12.