Posted in Children, Growing Up Together, Parents

Serving as Spiritual Guides

Image result for family hiking + image

My husband and I officially have a tween–with an attitude. And recently, we had our first sit down attitude correction discussion. One of the more salient points of that discussion for me, was realizing that God put us as parents here to be spiritual guides for our children. I mean I knew this, but exactly what that looks and sounds like became very real for me as we were calmly listening, affirming our daughter, setting boundaries for behavior, and grounding all of this within the context of scripture.

Phew! That’s a mental–and emotional– workout.

I cannot tell you enough how glad I am that my husband and I have a thorough knowledge of God’s word. I can’t imagine needing to grab a concordance or look up scriptures in the middle of conversational crossfire before we could show our daughter what her role and what our role according to scriptures are.

Bottom line? By the end of this very emotional discussion about being disrespectful, we had both modeled and instructed just as God intended us to do as spiritual guides. And we stated what this meant, so there would be no confusion.

What does it mean? It means, that while a child is learning how to live according to God’s will for themselves, we as parents are entrusted with decision making for our child. As the child grows in their maturity in the Lord, we are to allow them more freedoms to exercise their freewill. When they demonstrate spiritual irresponsibility with this freedom, it may need to be limited again for a time until the child shows maturity again. Eventually, the child becomes spiritually autonomous either out of godly maturity or simply because they’ve aged out of your home. That doesn’t mean that we cease to be spiritual guides, but it does mean that the role will look different.

Remember, Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

So being effective spiritual guides for our children now, means that they will have the training they need to become effective spiritual guides for their children, who will in turn for their children, and the generations to come.

Pray it forward!

Posted in Christian Family Devotions, Parents, Prayer, Uncategorized

Check Engine Light

 Unfortunately, the last car that my husband and I bought turned out to be a real lemon. Within the first year, the engine started having regular trouble overheating. At first, we took it to a mechanic who ran both modern [digital] and old fashioned [driving the car and checking everything under the hood] diagnostics to no avail. The car didn’t register any difficulties. So my husband googled it and found that many cars of this make-model had similar problems, and even certified dealers [who charged a great deal more money for the diagnostic] never could figure out why. In the end, we’ve learned several tricks that will keep the temperature gauge just below halfway while we’re driving…most of the time anyway.

So it surprised me when my husband went to use the car after me one day and asked, “When did the check engine light come on?”

“It’s always on,” I answered like umm, haven’t we been combatting this for the last year-and-a-half?

“No,” he said. “There’s a different light on now, in addition to the normal one.”

The normal one? What’s normal about a perpetual check engine light? But that’s exactly how a person develops a seared conscience. The scriptures warn against becoming desensitized to sin.

Ephesians 4:17-19

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

When we sin, it illuminates a spiritual check engine light in our conscience. And because we have free will, we can choose to ask our spiritual mechanic [the Holy Spirit] to run a diagnostic on our hearts to figure out the trouble so that He can help us fix it, or we can ignore the light and keep driving. If we choose ignorance, eventually we’ll break down. Maybe not right away, after all, Satan told Eve that God was lying and, “You will not surely die”[Genesis 3: 4]. But you know the story. They didn’t die right away, but Adam and Eve aren’t still with us today. Genesis 5:5 records the sad truth, “Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.” “For the wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23].

Those who choose to ignore their spiritual check engine lights might not feel the effects immediately, but scripture is clear, their lives will eventually break down.

Ephesians 4:15

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,

Pay attention to your spiritual engine and stay in regular contact with the divine mechanic. And remember that routine maintenance–daily prayer and Bible study–is advisable.