Tag 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!


Get Out!

Proverbs 25:17

“Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.”

“Let’s Go to Bed…”

My mom and dad used to have some friends that we visited a lot. One time, after staying late watching television (we didn’t have one at the time), the man of the house stretched…yawned…then said to his wife:

“Honey, let’s go to bed so these people can go home.”

What a nice way to tell your friends to leave! Talk about shifting the blame, huh? It’s like saying: “These nice people feel obligated to stay here because we are awake. They must be tired of our company by now, so why not give them a way out?” In reality, it was a humorous way of telling someone “go home.”

Lingering Guests

Every once in a while people lose the ability to determine when a party is over. Some people, because of a host’s hospitality, feel they are more wanted, more part of the family, than they actually are. These people for get that the host has limited resources, both in food and patience.

Even those of us with close, intimate friends have times when we want to be alone. Good friends recognize this and are careful not to wear out their welcome. Selfish friends invite themselves over to ever family dinner, every game night, every outing, and never seem to get the message. When someone suggests going to bed so they can leave, they just say, “No problem, I’ll sleep on the couch.”

Loving others requires us to respect them, so be a good guest and a respectful friend. 


Parents’ Joy

Proverbs 23:24-25

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

My Testimony

Today, I begin a new chapter in my theological journey at Phoenix Seminary.

My parents are very proud to see me pursuing ministry for God so diligently and wholeheartedly.

My parents raised me to be respectful. I was also taught to be open-minded yet reasonable.

When I first began attending a local church, they were not enthused. They were worried I might be indoctrinated with bigoted ideas and a judgmental attitude.

Instead, I began to believe what I was taught about the Bible and Jesus of Nazareth. That little Church of the Nazarene congregation helped me see the truth of love and grace and the need of a Lord and Savior.

In less than a year of my believing, of my life being changed, of the Holy Spirit moving through to me to act in wisdom and righteousness, my parents believed in the same Savior.

God the Father sent His Son to die, and then He sent my parents’ son to show them His Son.

It was none of my own righteousness and wisdom that won them over. It was seeing the righteousness and wisdom of the Father – Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit – that drew them to glorify His name!

They found true joy and the true reason to rejoice through me, thanks to our Lord!

A responsible and intelligent child can bring much joy to his or her parents. The greatest joy comes from seeing God manifested in the life of their child, and that is only true if God is manifested in their lives, as well!

Heavenly Father, gracious God, help us to seek You diligently. Live in us and through us that our parents and our children may see Your glory and turn to You. Make our joy complete as Your joy is made complete in us through Your Son.


Parental Responsibility

Proverbs 23:15-16 

My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. (NIV)

My experience of being a parent is that it is a great privilege, although my father may have different opinions on the subject! It is also a huge responsibility. I do not believe that God expects us to parent alone and throughout the lives of our children I have prayed for His help and guidance in parenting. I truly believe that God has shared the responsibility, and I have seen clear evidence of His touch on the lives of the children He has placed in our care

Unfortunately children do not always make wise choices. I remember the day that my father had to collect me from the Police Station when I was fifteen years old. Dad didn’t need to say a word when he walked into the room. Disappointment was written all over his face and it completely destroyed me. Compare that with his pride a year later when he dropped me at the airport in my brand new uniform to fly to Göteborg to join my first ship. It was five months before he saw me again but I knew from the letters he and my mother wrote that they were proud of my career choice.

My wife and I have also known times of disappointment as well as times of great joy in raising our five children. There have been many times when our hearts have been warmed by things our children have said, done, or achieved. Just this last weekend we visited James, our middle child, and stayed in the home he and his fiancée have made. They get married in October. We were impressed by many aspects of their home-making, but even more so by the fact that have chosen to honor God and each other, and not share a bed until after they are married. That, in our opinion and experience, is an excellent basis for a married life built on trust. To me it also underlines the responsibility of example.

It is a parental responsibility to teach wisdom through example. Results may not be guaranteed, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we hope to see wisdom shown in the lives and words of our offspring, then we need to make sure that it is evident in ours.