Category Archives: Parenting

Beware the Birds

Proverbs 30:17.

“The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” (KJV).

Family Devotions:

My wife and I have been married for almost 19 years, and we have four children that are now between the ages of 12 and 17. From the time they were young, we have always made our family devotion time a priority. No matter how busy our lives get, we always endeavour to gather together around the table at dinner time to share a meal together, connect, pray and read the Bible together. Sometimes we have read through a family devotional booklet, and other times we have simply read through a passage right out of the Bible and discussed it together.

When our children were much younger, we were reading through a little devotional booklet with wisdom Scriptures from the book of Proverbs. During that time, we came across the above Scripture from Proverbs 30:17. We told our kids, “You better make sure you don’t give your parents a dirty look, or the birds will come and pluck out your eyes!” Raised eyebrows and pensive glances soon followed, and I’m sure at least one of them was wondering if that would really happen. For some reason, this became one of their favourite Bible verses – or, at least one that they talked about the most!

Understanding Wisdom Literature:

From the time I graduated from Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, BC in 1999, I taught there as an adjunct professor of Bible Research and Hermeneutics until I moved to Manitoba in 2007. One of the textbooks I used for my Hermeneutics class was Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. This excellent little volume explains how to accurately interpret the different genres of Bible literature – history, poetry, epistle, apocalyptic literature and the like.

In this book, they wrote: “The Book of Proverbs is the primary locus of prudential wisdom – that is, rules and regulations people can use to help themselves make responsible, successful choices in life… Proverbs teaches what might be called old fashioned basic values.” They also go on to explain that the Proverbs are generalizations, that is, that they express the normal course of events, and therefore, they are not to be viewed as absolute divine promises or guarantees. In other words, if you mock your parents or disobey them, this doesn’t literally mean that a bird will come and pluck your eye out. So what is this Scripture saying then?

In simplest terms, Proverbs is saying that it is wrong, bad and sinful to disrespect or dishonour your parents. Although there may not be an immediate consequence, sooner or later, you are going to reap a negative result in your life for sowing the seeds of rebellion. The wages of sin, the Bible warns us, is death. So don’t mock your parents! Honour, obey and respect them, and God will bless you for it.

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This Generation

Proverbs 30:11.
“There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” (KJV).

Today’s Generation of Young People:

There are several different definitions for the word generation: “the entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time; a group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc.” I believe that both of these definitions can aptly describe what Agur means by generation in this passage. And I believe that this passage is truer today than has ever been true before:

this generation

There is a generation – an entire body of individuals alive today – who both curse their father and don’t bless their mother. This has almost become the defining characteristic of today’s generation of young people. They are disrespectful – not only to their parents, but also to all forms of authority – government figures, police, teachers, coaches and even pastors. Just turn on the TV and you will be hard-pressed to find a positive program that promotes healthy family values, where the children honour and respect their parents. What a sad commentary on today’s society!

Cursing Instead of Blessing:

When I was younger, there were fewer people who would dare to disrespect their parents – at least not openly and to their faces. Yet today, there is a generation that curses their father. Today, they talk disrespectfully to their dad, and they talk disrespectfully about him behind his back. And not only do they curse their father (and their mother, too), but they also neglect to fulfill their duty to bless their mother (and father) by honouring and obeying them. It’s no wonder our world is in such a mess today!

In the Ten Commandments – God’s Top Ten of rules for living life that He gave His people when He delivered them from slavery in Egypt – one of those top ten rules was about how children were to treat their parents: “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12). These are not the Ten Suggestions or the Ten Options – they are God’s Ten Commandments! We are commanded to honour our parents, whether we feel they deserve our respect or not, and whether we feel like it or not.

But notice that here is the first of the commandments with a promise of blessing: If we honour our parents, we will prolong our life. Quoting this commandment in the New Testament, Paul says that when we honour and obey our parents: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:3). Do you want to be blessed? Do you want things to go well with you? Do you want to live long and prosper? Then refuse to be a part of this generation that curses its father and refuses to bless its mother. Honour and obey your parents in the Lord – for this is right. Amen!


Wise Parenting

Originally published on Dec. 25, 2013

Proverbs 29:17.

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (KJV).
“Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.” (NLT). 

Foolish Parenting:

There is an unfortunate parenting model that has emerged in recent days that has proved to be detrimental to the well-being of children. The philosophy says that a parent should become best friends with their child. Included in this idea is the belief that the parent should give their son or daughter the freedom to explore the world around them without any kind of boundaries, rules or restrictions. If you’ll forgive my lack of political correctness here, these are some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard!

I know of a couple who decided that they wanted to be their kids’ buddies instead of their parents. They literally let their children get away with anything. No rules. No boundaries. No consequences. I watched them with great concern when their children were younger, and at one point, I said to my wife Liza, “If they don’t start disciplining their children, then when they become teenagers, their daughter is going to get pregnant, and both of them are going to end up ruining their lives with drugs and alcohol. Fast-forward several years: Both of these children ended up become sexually promiscuous, the teenage daughter got pregnant multiple times, their son got his girlfriend pregnant, and both of them had issues with drugs and alcohol. And the sad thing is that this story gets repeated over and over again in the lives of many parents and children.

Wise Parenting:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says that if a parent will correct or discipline their child, the resulting benefit to the parent will be happiness and peace of mind. When my wife and I started having children, we made the decision to parent them according to the principles in the Bible. “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24, NLT).

Because we love our children, we knew we had to parent them, and parenting them included rules and boundaries, discipline and negative consequences for their actions. Today, we have four children ages 11-17, and we are so thankful to the Lord that they are Christ-like, obedient children who are kind, loving and respectful. We don’t worry what our children are going to do when we’re not around because we trust that we have trained them up in the way that they should go, and we know that they won’t depart from it. Does this mean that our children are perfect? Of course not. But they are good, and their mom and I have happiness and peace of mind.

I want to issue this challenge to all of the parents reading this today: Your children don’t need a buddy. They have lots of friends. But they do need a parent. Someone to give them boundaries and guidelines to help them learn to live right. Train them in the way that they should go, and God’s Word promises that when they grow old, they will not depart from it. Amen!

Family Group Hug

From left to right: Austin (13), Tori (15), Caleb (17), my wife Liza, myself, and Hannah (11).


A Long, Consistent Reign

Proverbs 29:14

“The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.”

The Base

One thing that strikes me about this proverb is the dependency of the king’s throne on the welfare of the poor people. Nothing about the rich or the famous is said in this verse. Nothing is said about politicians, big donors, entertainers, generals, media moguls, advocacy groups, or businesses, either. For that matter, nothing is even said about other members of the royal family, just the poor.

The poor, in this case, could be considered the king’s base, i.e., his grass-roots supporters. They are the bulk of his kingdom. They are the ones that, if they ceased to exist, would leave the king without a kingdom to rule. He would be wise to treat them justly.

Consistency

Another thing that catches my attention is the importance of “faithfully” judging the poor. The king will always be needed to rule on matters of state. He will also have to deal with controversy on a daily basis, making judgments that will affect everyone in his kingdom in some way or another. But one of the keys to establishing a long-lasting throne is the king’s ability to be consistent.

I have heard it said of leaders many times; I have even said this very thing myself of leaders ranging from pastors to presidents: “I may not agree with him on everything, but at least I know what he believes.” There are leaders with whom I have some differences,  but it is a lot easier to work with them than with others who are inconsistent, changing their beliefs with every shift of the wind.

Established

Throne Charles III of Spain

Throne Charles III of Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to have an established kingdom? You may not be a king in the literal sense, but are you “king” of your home? Your office? Your club? Do you have those over which you rule, make a judgment, or have to enact policy which will affect their lives? The key to a long-lasting, well-loved, “established” position is the consistent, non-partial, and just use of one’s authority.

Don’t be persuaded to act in the self-interests of a select few who would hold the purse strings. Where the king fails in his duty, the Righteous King will one day avenge.

“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” – Isaiah 11:3-4 KJV

Even so, come Lord Jesus!


Constant Contending

Proverbs 28:4

“They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.”
Entertainment Shock

The entertainment world is a never-ending circus display of freaks and oddities. Normal is never good, only what is abnormal and shocking. The more outrageous, the more likely it is to get ratings.

At the time of this writing, several female entertainers have been competing with each other over how far one can go without going too far. Long gone are the simple, clean-cut days of Elvis’ gyrating hips and the mini-skirts of the 60’s. We are even beyond the days of “wardrobe malfunctions.” Today is the day of full nudity, graphic sex, and animalistic behavior – at music concerts!

How could things have come this far? Why aren’t people like Miley Cyrus , Lady Ga Ga, and Madonna arrested for public indecency? It is because their fans have long forsaken the law of God and have learned to praise what is wicked. The critics are only critical of those who “contend” with them.

Constant Contending

Those who stand in opposition to the wicked in a society that praises vulgarity, violence, and vice will always find themselves in conflict. The mom that opposes sex education for her young child will always be considered the enemy of “good.” The dad that tries to prevent his daughter from leaving the house looking like prostitute will always be considered a prude. It never ends.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” – 1 Peter 3:15-17 NIV


A Proud Dad

Proverbs 27:11 – My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Over and over again, I can remember my father introducing me to his friends. It would go something like this, “And this is Jason. He is a chip off the old block”. What my dad was saying about me was that we were (and still are) very much alike. What he liked, I liked. What he enjoyed doing in his spare time, I enjoyed doing in my spare time. What he liked to eat, I liked to eat! I was just a smaller (chip) version of him (block). My dad was proud to call me his son!

father-SonEven though I was a small version of him, there were things that I did to make him proud of me and things that I did that did not make him so proud of me. Those times that I listen to his instructions and was wise in the decisions I made, as our verse says, it made his heart glad. It brought joy to him and even the simplest “attaboy” brought joy to my heart.

We have seen this before in Proverbs 10:1 – “A wise son makes a proud father…”

There are several things we can learn from this verse:

1. There had to be instruction given to the son in order for him to learn or gain the wisdom. Fathers, we can’t expect our children to grow up in this world without giving them the instructions that God has laid out for us to pass along to them. Let’s not miss the opportunity to teach them God’s Word. It may be hard work now but when we are older and our children are following God and teaching their children His Word – I guarantee you there will be many glad hearts.

2. The son had a choice to make. The father may have given up everything to teach and direct him in the way of God, but the son had the final choice in which direction he was going to go. Each of us have to make that choice. Solomon knew his son had to make his own choice, that is why over and over and over again he is pleading with him to get understanding and wisdom.

My prayer is not only will I be willing to instruct my daughter in God’s Word but that she would also be wise and make the right decisions. Now that would make my heart very, very glad!

When we are wise and follow our heavenly Father’s instructions, I can’t help but think HE will have a happy heart as well!

Lord, please guide and direct me as I raise my daughter. Help me to be the man of God that I need to be first, so that I may teach her your Word. Lord I pray that she will hear and understand your Word and listen to your teachings. 


Built, Established, and Filled

Pro 24:3-4

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

In the News

As of this writing, there are stories in the news of murders committed by teenage boys. One story is of three teens who decided to shoot a jogger in the back, “just for fun.” Another story is of a couple of teens who robbed and beat a decorated WWII veteran to death. These are the stories that have made the news, but I am sure there are more that haven’t.

As usual, the anti-gun lobby has come out and decried the availability of handguns, but the teens that shot the jogger did not acquire the .22 caliber pistol legally. For that matter, it was with fists that the second pair of teens killed the old veteran. It doesn’t even matter too much what race the killers were, even though the killings may have been racially motivated.

No, the real story here is children who are growing up as animals with no moral compass, no leadership, no mentors (other than gangsta rap artists), and especially no parents, especially fathers.

Many young people are running the streets attempting to build their own “houses.” They desire rooms filled with “precious and pleasant riches.” But what is missing in their attempts to build lives of their own is wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Who would be better to pass those characteristics along than wise parents?

Built and Established

Solomon makes the distinction between a built house, an established house, and a house with filled rooms. It takes wisdom to build a house, understanding to keep it standing for a long time, and knowledge to make living in it a pleasant experience.

What happens to a house that is built without wisdom and understanding? It falls apart. What is it like to live in a house where everything is pawned or sold to pay for mistakes? Well, ask the kids who are going around stealing to have the things they desire.

One of the greatest desires the people of Solomon’s day had was to leave a legacy, to have one’s family name live on for generation after generation. Today we have people who don’t even know their own name, much less have a desire to establish it.

Dear God, create in us a desire not only to seek wisdom for ourselves, but to share wisdom and understanding with others lacking knowledge. If we don’t, Lord, it won’t be just our own homes falling, but our national house as well.