Parenting With Grace

A wise friend once said to me, “If you give your kids only what they deserve, you will rob them of a healthy life. Don’t give them what they deserve; give them what they need. Just like Jesus does for us!

Parenting With Grace

Jesus doesn’t respond to us based on what we deserve to get. He responds based on what we need. He provides for our needs even though we are undeserving. He died for us while we were still in rebellion against him. He allows us to grow. He doesn’t force us to clean up our act before he comes into our lives. He meets our needs and gives us the grace and the space to grow.

When I thought about how difficult it was to see my young daughter Madeline develop some troubling characteristics, even belligerence and rebellion, I suddenly saw the parallel with our Father God and all of his children. Every one of us is rebellious. We pout. We shout “No!” in our spirits. We sneak around doing what we know we ought not to do. And yet he accepts us wherever we are. He refuses to abandon us or give us what we so richly deserve; he pours great rivers of (amazing) grace into our lives. As David marveled,

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. (Psalm 103:10-13)

Thinking about the grace of God will help you become a grace giver to your children. Their imperfections help you to see your own. Accepting them as they are helps you to taste the wonder of how God accepts you as you are.

Excerpted from “More Jesus, Less Religion” by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

See Also: Raising Great Kids

The Adventures of Parenting

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

The Adventures of Parenting

I recently heard a story about a couple who brought their two kids with them on a Saturday run to a hardware store. Mom went in one direction and Dad took the kids in another. For just a minute Dad wasn’t paying attention to the kids, he was preoccupied looking at some of the plumbing hardware he came to buy. When he turned around, he was stunned. His daughter was climbing off a display toilet and his son was pulling his pants down to take his turn.

What in the world was Dad suppose to do now? Well, he did what most of us would’ve done, he grabbed the kids, found mom as quick as he could, and laughed the whole way home. And wouldn’t you know, the next time they visited that store, the toilet seats were all taped down.

If you have kids, you know they can be hilarious, embarrassing, tender, and incredibly challenging. And as God’s children, I sometime wonder if he doesn’t feel the same way about us.

– Steve Arterburn

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.”– Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

What’s Really Going On With 50 Shades of Grey?

What is your take on 50 Shades of Grey? Are you planning to see it? See what Steve Arterburn, Milan Yerkovich and Dr. Jill Hubbard have to say – watch the full video here – http://ow.ly/J19ga

50-shades-of-grey

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A Daughter’s Letter to Her Dad

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I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well.

I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing.

Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face.

When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.

I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us.

Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

love-daughter

 

 

 

 

*This has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic.*

This letter was provided by Luke Geraty, founding and managing editor of ThinkTheology.com.

Thank You Letter From An EMB Wife

This is a letter we received from an EMB wife whose husband went to the Every Man’s Battle Workshop in 2014.

Dear Steve,

I cannot thank you enough for what happened to my husband at Every Man’s Battle last weekend.

We have been married for 44 years. We have 9 precious children. Most of my marriage has been almost intolerable. I tolerated the intolerable until I found out that I was worth love. God’s love.

My husband’s dad baptized him in the pool of pornography at a very young age. In that baptismal pool all of his five senses were stopped (except for his ability to see himself and his needs). He had no ears to hear me or others. No eyes to see. No heart. I felt hopeless except for trusting God for a miracle. Nothing I said would be heard.

He abandoned me for a total of 10 years while he gave himself to his hobby. Everything was my fault to him. It took a crisis in our marriage 14 years ago for me to start to get strong. I have been on a journey. I went back in your archives and have listened to every one of your shows. I can’t thank you enough.

I required my husband to attend Every Man’s Battle last weekend. I got a new husband when he came back! I got my miracle!

Thank you Jason! Thank you New Life! Thank you Jesus!

My husband has come back and he talked to our two oldest sons yesterday and is going to talk to all of our children. We are giving them your book “Every Man’s Battle. We are going to stop this generational curse. We are building the walls!

Thank you so much!

Excuses

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Excuses

There are so many excuses I could’ve used to hold back and not serve God, but none of them were good enough to miss God’s best.

Just the fact that I paid for an abortion could’ve kept me on the sidelines rather than preaching God’s truth. Despite that horrific ordeal, God has allowed me to speak at Crisis Pregnancy centers and help them raise millions of dollars during the past ten years. What a blessing it’s been for me to be used in that way.

Because I have failed in so many ways, God gets all the glory for anything that comes out of my life that’s worth mentioning. So no matter what comes my way, if God can still use me, as embarrassing and humbling as it might be, I want to be used for Him. I want the same for you. God can use you—imperfections and all.

Steve Arterburn

Controlling Your Emotions

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you
– Proverbs 4:6

Who is in charge of your emotions? Is it you, or have you formed the unfortunate habit of letting other people—or stressful situations—determine the quality of your thoughts and the direction of your day? If you’re wise—and if you’d like to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones—you’ll learn to control your emotions before your emotions control you.

Wisdom

Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only far more fickle. So we must learn to live by faith, not by the ups and downs of our own emotional roller coasters.

Sometime during this day, you will probably be gripped by a strong negative feeling. Distrust it. Rein it in. Test it. And turn it over to God. Your emotions will inevitably change; God will not. So trust Him completely as you watch those negative feelings slowly evaporate into thin air—which, of course, they will.

I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not. 
Jim Elliot

Our feelings do not affect God’s facts. They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the eternal things that we do most truly believe. We may not see the shining of the promises—but they still shine! His strength is not for one moment less because of our human weakness. 
Amy Carmichael

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are my strength and my refuge. As I journey through this day, I will encounter events that cause me emotional distress. Lord, when I am troubled, let me turn to You. Keep me steady, Lord, and in those difficult moments, renew a right spirit inside my heart. Amen

Spiritual Warfare

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!  James 4:7-8 HCSB

This world is tough and maintaining one’s integrity is hard. Temptations are everywhere, and the devil, it seems, never takes a day off. Your challenge is to see those temptations for what they are: dangerous and destructive.

In his letter to Jewish Christians, Peter offered a stern warning: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB). What was true in New Testament times is equally true in our own. Evil is indeed abroad in the world, and Satan continues to sow the seeds of destruction far and wide. In a very real sense, our world is at war: good versus evil, addiction versus moderation, hope versus suffering, praise versus apathy. As Christians, we must ensure that we place ourselves squarely on the right side of these conflicts: God’s side. How can we do it? By thoughtfully studying God’s Word, by regularly worshiping with fellow believers, and by guarding our hearts and minds against the subtle temptations of the enemy. When we do, we are protected.

light is stronger than darkness

It’s out there, and it can hurt you. Evil does exist, and you will confront it. Prepare yourself by forming a genuine, life-changing relationship with God and His only begotten Son. There is darkness in this world, but God’s light can overpower any darkness.

There is nothing evil in matter itself. Evil lies in the spirit. Evils of the heart, of the mind, of the soul, of the spirit—these have to do with man’s sin, and the only reason the human body does evil is because the human spirit uses it to do evil.  ~ A. W. Tozer

Light is stronger than darkness—darkness cannot “comprehend” or “overcome” it. ~ Anne Graham Lotz

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  ~ Edmund Burke

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, thank you that greater is He who lives inside me than he that is in the world. Thank you, Lord that at your name demons flee. In my times of trouble and temptation help me to remember that there is power in Your name.

Beyond Fear

I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 HCSB

Eleanor Roosevelt observed, ‘You gain strength, courage and confidence every time you look fear in the face.’ Indeed she was correct in her observation, the decision to face a fear instead of running from it is always a character building exercise.

We live in a world that can be, at times, a very frightening place. Often times it can be a very discouraging place. The life-changing losses can be so painful, so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover.

Beyond fear

During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’ (Matthew 14:27 NIV).

Are you willing to face your fears right now? Are you willing to cast off the chains of timidity and procrastination by deciding to do what needs to be done now, not ‘later’? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re destined to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones.

Today, ask God for the courage to step beyond the boundaries of your self-doubts. Ask Him to guide you to a place where you  can realize your full potential-a place where you are freed from the fear of failure. Ask Him to do His part, and promise Him that you will do your part. Don’t ask Him to lead you to a “safe” place; ask Him to lead you to the “right” place . . . and remember: those two places are seldom the same.

Are you feeling anxious or fearful? If so, trust God to handle those problems that are simply too big for you to solve. Entrust the future-your future-to God. Then, spend a few minutes thinking about specific steps you can take to confront- and conquer-your fears.

As you ponder on these words by some wise men of our time, be encouraged today that our God is in control:

“When we meditate on God and remember the promises He has
given us in His Word, our faith grows, and our fears dissolve.” Charles Stanley

The Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit is with me, and the knowledge of His presence dispels the darkness and allays any fears.”  Bill Bright

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I pray that today we will trust You to handle our problems, cares and fears. I commit my fears and anxieties to You. I lay before Your throne the problems that are too big for me, and I pray for guidance and direction as I try to navigate my way through my fears and troubles. Amen.

Cheerfulness 101

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15 NCV

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Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.   ~St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.    ~Marie T. Freeman

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen