Sunday, January 25, 2009

39 Lessons, 20 tips and 10 "Dont's" for Parenting

We ran across this blog by the Director at One of the best articles we've read on the topic. Very biblical and very practical and very helpful.


Lessons About Ourselves

1. To be a faithful steward of your children you must abide in Christ (John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.").
2. "Trickle down theory" – Mom's daily devotion naturally trickles down to encouragement and instruction in the Lord for the children.
3. Not listening to your children causes you to misjudge them (James 1:19-20: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires").
4. Our task list is not as important as our children's thought life.
5. Preach the gospel of grace, not self-discipline.
6. Being parented is defining; Parenting is refining.
7. You will parent the way you were parented unless you think things through.
8. Parents should become "smaller" as their children become bigger. In other words, a parent should become more transparent in confessing one's sin and in sharing past struggles as children mature. Your children should hear more about your fight for faith as they grow older. Don't be a plastic Christian!
9. Ordinary times make for extraordinary memories.
10. To have children is to need margin in your life.
11. A disreputable life will undermine the gospel. An exemplary life will commend it.

Lessons About Children

12. Little kids need the strength of your youth; older kids need your wisdom (i.e. have children while you're young!).
13. Pack in truth while your children are little and trust the Lord to unpack it in his time.
14. Study your children. Know their "love language."
15. Consistent, loving, faithful discipline brings peace to the home. Inconsistency brings chaos.
16. Do not let your child see their value in light of the world's standards. The world rewards the 3 R's. God delights in the heart that is tuned toward his (Deuteronomy 30:8-10: "You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul").
17. God hands out "talents" to our children. The child with two talents who exercises both may in fact be more pleasing in the eyes of God than the one with five talents who exercises three (Matt. 25). Faithful stewardship is the goal!
18. On some days, it's just fine to accomplish nothing more than keeping your kids fed and safe.
19. Older children need to learn how to care for the weaker among them; doing so smells like Jesus. Matthew 18 reads, "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." By contrast, Psalm 10:2 reads, "In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises."
20. Do not presume you will be able to speak into the lives of your older children if you do not live in their world when they are younger. Play with your children. There is a reap/sow principle at work here (2 Cor. 9:6: "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously").
21. There's nothing wrong with boredom for your children. It causes them to be creative.
22. Send your kids to bed well (and school!) (Eph. 4:26: "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry").
23. Make sure your kids keep short accounts with each other. Create a culture of care and forgiveness in your home (1 Cor. 13:5: "Love…keeps no record of wrongs").
24. Teach your kids to be shock absorbers, not wave makers (Matt. 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God").
25. Kids can memorize scripture very quickly.
26. Teach your children to notice needs. Teach them to ask, "What can I do to help?" (Phil. 2:3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves").
27. Teach your children to look adults in the eyes. It shows respect and recognizes authority.
28. Fight materialism by teaching your children to have a thankful heart (1 Thes. 5:18: "…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus").
29. Teach your children to receive reproof, correction, and instruction (Prov. 12:15 "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice").
30. Let kids be kids. Let them dabble in various areas of extra-curricular activities (sports, art, drama, etc) rather than build a resume.

Lessons About Satan

31. It seems Satan comes into our homes on Sunday mornings in order to make the Lord's Day one of struggle.
32. Do not feel outside pressure to baptize your children. Look for and test for a credible profession of faith in your child (Prov 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child…").
33. Satan is a divider and always attacks authority: husband/wife and parent/child. In your home fight for unity around the gospel.
34. For mothers, the "I-can-do-it-all-superwoman" mindset is at best a myth and at worst a lie from hell (Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money"; Luke 10:40 "But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made; verse 41: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her").
35. Beware of sports…on Sundays! Decide while your children are young that you will not allow the growing all-weekend sports phenomenon to usurp your worship (Ex. 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God").
36. Arm your children for the world, not (necessarily) shield them from it. Consider getting your high-school-aged children out of the Christian bubble.

Lessons About God

37. Prayer is a mighty weapon to use in the life of your children:
1. It changes the parent's approach to the child
2. It softens the hard-hearted child
38. God uses children as a mirror to your own heart to expose your sin and hypocrisy.
39. God elects. God saves. Parents cannot do this heart-changing work. At best we can pray and point to the One who can cause our children to be born again.


1. The saying goes, "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." We believe daddy is actually the problem. From a complementarian's viewpoint one needs to conclude the above saying with, "And if daddy ain't happy in the Lord, ain't nobody happy."
2. In a stay-at-home-mom scenario, dad tends to back away from discipline when mom has been with the children all day. In one sense this is wise as he has not observed the rhythm and rhyme of the day. However, dad needs to catch up and jump in.
3. Talk to both good and not-so-good parents; you'll learn lessons from both.
4. Talking to really old parents may not prove to be fruitful as their memories fade and they'll remember raising kids as either a nightmare or a glorious experience. Talking to parents 5-10 years ahead of where you are seems most fruitful (Prov. 15:22: "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed").
5. Though you may think this premature, have a vision for being involved spiritually with your grandchildren. This will shape even your parenting.
* Positive example: Paul writing to Timothy said, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in your also" (2 Tim. 1:5).
* Negative example: "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel" (Judg. 2:10).
6. Let your children see you practicing hospitality and let them participate. This breaks down the selfish tendencies all kids have (Rom. 12:13: "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality").
7. Unbelievers set up their home for the benefit of themselves. Christians should set up and use their homes for the benefit of their family, the church community, and outsiders (notice the order of this list).

Supporting verses:
* "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8).
* "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Gal. 6:10).

8. If we could do it again, we would not have a television in our home. The television competes with more important things going on in the home. It competes for right thinking in the mind of the child. If you have a television, then watch it with your children (when you can) and play "catch the lies."
9. Our generation of parents encourages children to express themselves and vent all that's on their minds. My parents' generation grew up under the instruction that "Children are to be seen and not heard." Both appear to be out of balance. Proverbs 10:8 says, "The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin." Ephesians 4:29 suggests that the purpose of speech is to the benefit of the listener.
10. You cannot expect younger children to obey if their older siblings do not. Proverbs 10:17 says, "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."
11. One's conscience is not the same as the Law of the Lord. If conscience is defined as "That inner-voice that acts as a guide as to the rightness or wrongness of a behavior," then your conscience is only as good as your knowledge of God's Word. An informed conscience can be a trustworthy thing if it is drawing from God's Word, God's Law. An uninformed conscience is incredibly dangerous. Inform your child's conscience by pouring in God's Word.

12. We often speak of a home with the aroma of Christ (peace, hope, forgiveness and love—all for God's glory). Alternatives are homes with the aroma of
* a bus station—people just passing through
* a war zone—people fighting all the time
What does your home smell like?
13. "Moral children" does not equal "Christian children."
14. Do a "sermon review" with your children sometime on Sunday. Have each child recap what he or she learned in Sunday School or "big church" and then help them apply it to their own hearts and trials. Then spend time praying for each other's coming week.
15. Martin Luther said he had the responsibility to be the worship leading pastor in his own home. His home was to be both a school and a church. Fathers, do you have this mindset?
16. The unstated implication of Luther's charge (above) is that fathers need to be present to lead in worship. Being in the house with a Blackberry in hands doesn't count!
17. Don Whitney encourages "brevity, regularity and flexibility" in family worship.
18. Build in your children a global vision of God's work in the world and thereby build a Great commission Mindset. We have found that having a map near to where we eat most of our meals is helpful. Reading from Operation World can inform the entire family of God's work in the world.
19. When children ask for permission to do something, their request can fall into one of several categories:

Not Wise / Permissible
E.g. out with friends on Sat night

Not Wise / Not Permissible
E.g. underage drinking and driving

Wise / Permissible
E.g. excused from family chores to prepare for next day's test

Wise / Not Permissible
This problem rarely presents itself. Wants to save money for college but is not working age.

The Not Wise / Permissible category is the hardest to deal with. Try to break down the request and sort out in your own mind why you think the request is unwise. Is it your own preference or is it truly unwise? Then encourage them to think through the wisdom of the matter, so that, even if you permit them to do it, they will remember the lesson when things go poorly.
20. Build Godward children.


* Colossians 3:21: "Fathers [and mothers], do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
* Ephesians 6:4: "Fathers [and mothers], do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

1. Make it a habit to discipline your child while angry.
2. Make it a point to scold your child – especially in public. Mockery and ridicule work well.
3. Deliberately embarrass your child in front of his/her friends. Name calling really gets their attention.
4. Create double standards so that the child never knows who or what to follow.
5. Preach and hold the child to a gospel of self-discipline instead of a gospel of grace. (Note: the Bible presents Pharisees as very unhappy people.)
6. Never admit you're wrong and never ask your children for forgiveness.
7. Inspect your child until you find something wrong. Holding them to an unreachable standard makes this task easier.
8. Judge a fight between your children before you've listened to them.
9. Compare your child to others.
10. Promise your children things early in the day and then don't fulfill the promise.

Parents should provoke their children…in good ways: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on [provoke!] toward love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24).

Matt & Elizabeth Schmucker are the parents of five children who presently range in ages from 3 to 19. Matt is the executive director of 9Marks and an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

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Helen's Thoughts after the True Woman Conference---Part 2

Everyone leaves a legacy, an inheritance…what will yours be?

It is my great desire to leave a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ, that my children will be redeemed and love their Lord and Savior. I also want them to know how much I love and trust my Savior. How can I possibly do that? It is not a promise that children will believe because their parents believe. I could teach them the Scripture day and night and that would not be a guarantee that they would believe. Even if I did everything “right” they still have the choice to believe or not. How then can I influence them the greatest?

Luke 11:5-13 And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Prayer. James tells us in chapter 5 verse 16 that “the prayer of a righteous man has great power” and as we see in Jesus’ teaching above, He answers us when we pray. He listens and is influenced by our prayers. Jesus himself prayed and I do not believe that He did this only as an example for us to follow but He prayed because He needed to pray. He needed the power and the grace and the peace that comes from fellowship with the Father. If Jesus needed this, how much more do I need it! My sister relayed an observation to me that Nancy Leigh DeMoss made about Jesus. His life was full of demands. He was surrounded by needy people. They needed Him to heal them, to teach them, to feed them. Everywhere He went other people needed Him. When He got a break His body had needs and demands: eat, sleep, laugh, cry, talk. He needed to fulfill the demands of His human body. He met all of these demands without being flustered, frazzled, or frustrated. The Bible does not say how He did this but it give us a hint in Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Jesus believed that prayer was more important than sleep and he demonstrated that by praying when others were sleeping. The only conclusion I can come to is that God is powerful enough to give our bodies rest if we pray and that He is good enough to give us rest if we put Him first. If Jesus did not pray early in the morning, or late at night, when would He have time? The other times of the day people needed him. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a mom? If she’s not asleep then someone needs her.

I asked myself if I believed these verses and my answer was a resounding YES! I believe that God will answer my prayers and that He blesses persistence. I believe that there is power in prayer. I also believe that prayer is more important than sleep. (Psalm 127 says that sleep is from the Lord anyway) These truths have affected me greatly. I want to leave a legacy of prayer. When my children are grown I want them to look back and remember waking up to their mom in sweet communion with the Lord. I want them to read my prayer journals when I am with the Lord and see how I interceded for them. I want them to see also that it was not just for them that I prayed but for every small and big issue and person that concerned, or pleased me. I want them to see that the more time I spent in prayer personally the more it overflowed into my daily life and speech…and I can see that it has already begun to do that.

Helen's Thoughts after the True Woman Conference--Part 1

Saturday morning I woke up at 6:30 and finished packing my bags to go back home. I was exhausted but I didn’t mind. I was still charged up about the wonderful day before at the True Woman conference ( It had been a hard day of confessing some very ugly sins but also a day of great joy at the forgiveness I am blessed to have through Jesus Christ. I didn’t mind at all that I had three flights and two very long lay-overs that spanned the next 12 hours. I peacefully said good-bye to my mom and sister, knowing I would see them again in just two short months, bought a cup of coffee, and boarded the first flight.

The flight was fairly empty so I set Betsy up in her car seat next to me and pulled out one of the books I had bought at the conference. “Brokenness” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I read through the introduction slowly, stopping after every other paragraph to think and to pray. I couldn’t understand my reaction. Despite the amazing conference I was bothered by something all week and I couldn’t put my finger on it until now. In this book an emotional and physical response to God by a large group of believers at a leadership training week was being revered as an awesome working of God and my first response was disbelief. It was similar at my conference. Emotional responses and obvious outward expressions of these responses to God were encouraged. I wanted to join in, to show that God was moving in my heart too but I couldn’t. I was plagued with thoughts of people rolling on the ground laughing supposedly struck by the Holy Spirit and thoughts of others being manipulated to come to an altar to pray for salvation only to find out later that they had been mislead with half truths. But that was not what was going on here. I trusted these people and I desired to join them. My first response of doubt was wrong.

In the plane I pulled out a piece of paper and pen and started writing. I did not want to forget what I was struggling through. I wrote down my questions and thoughts: is it pride to question the public outward expression of repentance and be uncomfortable in those situations? What about France? It is such a godless place and I fully expect to see God move in a mighty way…what will that look like? Will I question what I see there too?

When I got home I told Tommy my thoughts and concerns. God is so good. He told me of his experience at the Worship God ’06 ( where he was confronted with the question, “why is your first response doubt?” Fortunately for him there was someone to present the case for God in a clear, logical, and Biblical way ( Our conclusion: if you trust the leadership in the situation then you should trust the response. I am excited with that conclusion. It brings freedom for me personally and excitement for the future.

Some Thoughts From Helen

Tommy has been asking me to write a blog about my perspective on life these days since all the communication to you, our dear friends and family, has been from him and I have found as many excuses possible to not do it. With four children, garage sale, missions presentations, moving, and life in general the excuses haven’t been that hard to find. Tonight, I ran out of reasons to not share me heart with you but it is not easy. I have started and restarted this post at least five times already. How do I communicate all that has gone on in my heart when I don’t even understand it all?

Being a missionary has always been my desire, dream, and passion. I learned of Mary Slessor, the adoptive mother of so many African children, nurse, and women’s rights advocate, when I was a baby Christian and it excited me. I wanted to live like that, to have to depend on God in ways that I had never experienced before and to be able to show God’s grace to those who were not aware of it. I went to Moody intending to become a missionary. Funny how God works though, it was during Missions Conference that God revealed to me that my desire to be a missionary had become a desire for an exciting, dangerous, romantic life and that I had lost the focus of taking God’s Word to those who did not have it. He reminded me that those in need of His redemption were everywhere and that I needed to learn to love all of His people no matter where they were from. My mom, a middle school teacher at the time, pointed out that her days were filled with hurting children in need of the Gospel. I gave up my dreams that week and submitted to the Lord to go where He wanted me to go.

Now, almost 8 years later, He has granted me one of my deepest desires. I am thrilled. There really are no words to accurately describe my joy and excitement at this change of plans. When Tommy began to talk of going to French Polynesia I almost did not listen because I did not want to get my hopes up. It was torture having to keep our plans quiet but when we arrived in Kansas City and I saw a welcome letter that addressed me as “missionary candidate” I burst into joyful tears, amazed that God would be so good to me. I was more carefree in those two weeks then I have been in many years. I do not say that to downplay our ministry until then but to emphasis my bliss.

I still did not want to share these deep emotions with you. I do not have it all figured out and my elation has faded because the trials of life have set in again and I have failed so many ways so many times since those two weeks. I am so unfit for this great honor of taking God’s Word to valuable and costly lives in France but isn’t that how God works? He uses those of us who are foolish, who are weak, and who are lowly to carry His living water to those in need.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."


I read a blog tonight that sparked an interesting line of thought. The issue was over what things spark affections for Jesus Christ and what things seem to drain affection---personally. I felt it might be a useful task to think through those things for myself.

Things that ignite and fuel my affections for Jesus (in no particular order):

1. Long walks with my Bible, some recorded songs of worship and my copy of the Valley of Vision (or a old hymnal)
2. Chipotle Burritos---its a glorious combination of flavor--I always thank God in a multiplicity of ways all the way through those meals.
3. Looking out the window of an airplane
4. Staring into the eyes of a baby who is captivated by me
5. Talking with somebody what God has done in the past
6. Time alone with my wife
7. Thanksgiving---the whole day
8. Singing to God when I'm all alone
9. The mountains and the wind
10. Expository preaching

Things that drain my affection for Jesus (in no particular order):

1. Too much TV
2. Too much time around people
3. Covetousness (including sexual lust)
4. Preachers whose sermons are more about what they think than what God says.
5. Most movies
6. Lack of sleep
7. Overeating
8. Caring too much about what others think of me
9. Worrying about my children or my wife
10. Not using my spiritual gifts on a regular basis

I fully expect this list to be amended and change in the future. These are the things that strike me tonight though. What about you?


What I Learned with a 4th Child

There are a couple of things I expected and a few that were unexpected...indulge me;


1. That I would love this baby just as much as the others.
2. That my respect and admiration for Helen would increase as I encouraged her through labor for the first time without any drugs.
3. That I would AGAIN be amazed at the wonder of this event (you just can't believe how stunning it is to push something like that out of your body until you see it happen in real life!).


1. That I would be dog sick with mono, be given a brief reprieve for the time that we were at the birthing center and then lapse back into one of the roughest sicknesses I've had in years.
2. That I would actually be thankful for a baby being a week late---I never wanted to meet one of our kids as much as this one---after all patience IS a virtue eh?
3. That Helen would get scarier with each additional child in the delivery process. No joke--she bruised the nurse's arm!
4. That so many people from a distance (over the internet) and here at home would show such generosity and love for us.
5. The BIG ONE---that me and Betsy would share a birthday (albeit 29 years apart). I love it!!! That's a gift that keeps on giving for the rest of my life.

10 Things I Want my Children to Know

Being a Father is a strange thing. Its a good thing. I'm thankful for the opportunity and thankful for what God teaches me through it and the illustration it is to me of His role in my life. But I say its strange because there is a sense in which it is like nothing else. Its a built in leadership role that requires no qualifications and yet functions as one of the most influential among human relationships. I think that I am generally unaware on a day to day basis of the importance of every interaction between myself and my children. I DO desire to be more deliberate in how they are influenced by me. some thoughts along these lines were running through my mind and so I thought I'd write them down.

Things I want my kids to know (b/c they were around me):

1. That there is nothing more important in the world than Jesus Christ and living our lives in light of the cross. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

2. The Church is where the most amazing things on earth are happening 24/7. (Eph.5:25-27)
The only thing that God loves more than His church is His son and His own glory. The Church is critical to God, its where He is doing his most profound work on a daily basis and its clearly His will that it be of critical importance to us. If the Church matters so much to God, why would it matter any less to us? This includes the controversial but very real mandate that the church be a priority over our families when a decision between the two must be made (Luke 14:26).

3. Trust God (Prov.3:5-6)
"Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is."

4. True happiness comes from Jesus alone.
" The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish." Proverbs 10:28

5. Do what you KNOW is right, no matter who disagrees.
This one can be taken to mean something that it does not intend (as in following your own heart), but taken into the context of Christ-centered living---the idea is that you veraciously seek out God's will for your life in every detail and do NOT divert from it unless its clearly God who is leading. (Romans 12:1-2)

6. Be amazed by GRACE.
God's purpose in history and the plan of the cross was to display his lovingkindness and most magnificently, his grace. This attribute of God's would not have been known as it is without sin and the need for Christ to be crucified. The thick mixture of justice and mercy producing grace is satisfying not only to God but to the deepest parts of the human soul. (Eph.1)

7. Pray Constantly (1 Thess.5:17)
We pray every morning during devotions and every night when the kids are put to bed. We pray when crisis hits and we pray at every meal. Its not just constant communication with God; its commanded AND it actually effects the things you pray for as well as your own heart.

8.There is a reason God gave you one mouth and two ears.
Our family is one full of talkers. We talk to ourselves, we talk to strangers and we talk incessantly to those we love the most. "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19. Be careful to guard your tongue and be diligent to listen when you are among those who are wise. "The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death." Provers 13:14. Listen-----listen and you will earn the privilege of others wanting to listen to you. "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" James 1:19.

9. Take things at face value, don't assume anything but good from things and people you don't know very well. Give them the benefit of the doubt. We don't always know why people act the way they do or why things happen as they do. God is still sovereign and justice will come---either on the cross or in hell. (Romans 12:21).

10. Treat people with the dignity God has given them as image bearers of God and loved by Him. Be it men, women, enemies, friends, black people or white people, irritating people or celebrities. All people are loved by God and should expect no less from you. (Matthew 22:37-40).

Suffering for Having Children in our 20s

I heard last night one of the most powerful and mind altering sermons by John Piper. Some of you may be aware that I listen to about 1-2 sermons every day if I can. At the present season in my life I've been listening to John Piper's series through Romans every night as I lay in bed waiting to be tired.

He was preaching from Romans 8:14-18--(see below)

(Rom 8:14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

(Rom 8:15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

(Rom 8:16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

(Rom 8:17) and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

(Rom 8:18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

One of the main points that he made had to do with the fact that pleasures and pursuits in this life are just not worth as much as we put into them. That if we are truly saved then we should expect nothing less than suffering in this life and that every pleasure we seek here on this rotten earth is infintessimally small compared with the pleasures in the life to come. The principle being; what life do you want to devote your time energy and whole self to living for?---this one or the next?

That principle has implications that reach far and wide in my own life and I wanted to share a few. The first has to do with my desire to travel. I have been to 5 countries and 40 of the United States of America. That is more travel than a lot of people do in their lifetime, and I'm only 27 years old. But I would love to go on cruises and visit Alaska and go back to Israel and tour Europe and enjoy Australia and New Zealand and Hawaii and Fiji.

But Helen and I made an important choice. When we got married we decided against birth control and thus already have 3 of the 8 children we would like to parent. That makes for difficult or non-existent travel ability. We have accepted the fact, however, that our life is not our own. We have been bought at a price and though it is difficult to live with needy, grubby, greasy, dirty, noisy, sensitive, easily-offended, difficult little people (i.e. our children)---its far more important than my desire for a lot of "fun" things in this life that I may never enjoy on this side of eternity. I've had to give up skiing along with many other things I might enjoy simply because its too expensive. Helen has had to give up sleeping all the way through the night every night. We've both had to give up our (what now seems) odd adult-like desire for peace and quiet. We've had to give up on our desire to avoid the unpleasant aroma of stinky diapers and staying up late at night or going out with friends. These and many many other things have had to change in our lives and pursuits as a result of having children.

The same would be true if God chose to bring any debilitating disease into our lives (which He may). The same would be true if and when we have to care for our aging parents. Life is just simply full of futility in every way, shape, and form. The pursuit of happiness in a futile world is simply NOT worth it.

So what if I never make it to Europe! So what if I never get to ride the world's fastest roller coaster at Cedar Point! So what if I never own a home! So what if I never get to go on a Cruise with Alistair Begg! So what if I never own a fancy car or take my wife back to Mexico for a second honeymoon! so what! Are those things really that important in light of living my life as a living sacrifice in worship to the almighty King of kings? Not in the least!

AND---Romans 4:13 declares that Abraham was to be heir of "the world". Then Romans 8 tells me that I'm a fellow heir with Abraham if I am in Christ---which I am. That means that I'll get it all eventually and it will be soooooo much better. I will be able to ski and not get hurt. Eternity has much better things than roller coasters and intercontinental travel. So do I pursue such pleasures now or wait until later to recieve them?

What a ridiculous question!

Why would I bother rushing to the front of the line at a new car giveaway when I have inherited 1000 dealerships? Is there even a point in thinking about that for more than 1 second?

So the suffering IS not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed? YOU BET!!!

We embrace the sufferings and the joy of having children in our 20s. We LOVE the life God has given us and we look forward to more suffering and refinement that is on its way. All for the purpose of killing our sinful flesh and glorifying a great and wondrous Savior. And the irony is that I think I'm as happy as I've ever been in my life. To the praise of His glorious Grace!

To listen to this profound sermon go to and click on "sermons". The one I reference here is called "Children, Heirs, and Sufferers". You can download it, listen, or order it there.