6 items tagged "Grace"

  • 14 Gospel Principles

    In the interest of keeping sight of our ultimate purpose as parents, as well as understanding the big-picture view of God’s plan for us, here are some helpful principles from the book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul Tripp:

    Principle #1 Calling: Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.

    Principle #2 Grace: God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need to do it. He never sends you without going with you. Quit beating yourself up because you feel inadequate. God never intended you to parent separate of Himself.

    Principle #3 Law: Your children need God’s law, but you cannot ask the law to do what only grace can accomplish. If rules and regulations had the power to change the heart and life of your child, rescuing your child from himself and giving him a heart of submission and faith, Jesus would have never needed to come!

    Principle #4 Inability: Recognizing what you are unable to do is essential to good parenting. Our job is not heart change, but to be humble and willing instruments of change in the hands of God.

    Principle #5 Identity: If you are not resting as a parent in your identity in Christ, you will look for identify in your children (and other things). Jesus is your life, and this frees you and your children from the burden of asking them to give you what Jesus has already given you.

    Principle #6 Process: You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event.

    Principle #7 Lost: As a parent, you’re not dealing just with bad behavior, but a condition that causes bad behavior.

    Principle #8 Authority: One of the foundational heart issues in the life of every child is authority. Teaching and modeling the protective beauty of authority is one of the foundations of good parenting.

    Principle #9 Foolishness: The foolishness inside your children is more dangerous to them than the temptation outside of them. Only God’s grace has the power to rescue fools.

    Principle #10 Character: Not all of the wrong your children do is a direct rebellion to authority; much of the wrong is the result of a lack of character.

    Principle #11 False gods: You are parenting a worshiper, so it’s important to remember that what rules your child’s heart will control his behavior.

    Principle #12 Control: The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.

    Principle #13 Rest: It is only rest in God’s presence and grace that will make you a joyful and patient parent.

    Principle #14 Mercy: No parent gives mercy better than one who is convinced that he desperately needs it himself. Your primary calling as a parent is not first to represent God’s judgement, but rather to constantly deliver his mercy.

    Click here for more resources from Paul Tripp

  • Building Character

     

    One of the ways God shows His grace is by using His power and presence to build character into our lives.  Character is the mettle and grit that empowers kids to face life's challenges with confidence.  Character is like the studs, joists, beams, and tie downs in houses that give it strength to take on all of the harsh elements that work it over year after year.  Character is best transferred to a young person's life by the example of someone with whom he or she has a heart connection with.  So when a young person sees their parents, uncle, leader, etc. apply character in their life--especially during the "harsh elements"--the easier it is for the young person to develop these traits in their own life.

    Here are six necessary character traits to instill in our children:

    1. Faith--Becomes a character trait when what we believe starts making moral choices for us.

    2. Integrity--is the moral clarity we depend on to do the right thing even when no one is looking.

    3. Poise--God's presence in a person's life helps him or her remain focused, thinking clearly, and persevering through the ups and downs of life.

    4. Disciplines--Train tracks confine a train, but in so doing, empower it to do an enormous amount of good for people and the marketplace.  A train that leaves it's rails is called a "train wreck".  Train wrecks are a mess and so are the lives of people who dont have disciplines built into the core of their character. 

    5. Endurance--The world is full of quitters.  Young people need to learn to keep going when everyone else would have long given up. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

    6. Courage--Fear and worry snuff out faith! Much of our efforts in keeping our kids safe or attempting to reduce risk has reinforced the idea that fear and constant worry is normal for Christian.  We must help our kids move beyond their weaknesses and fears to become everything God has called them to be! 

     

    "Grace assumes that children will struggle with wrong behavior, but doesnt overreact to it.  It corrects it as it goes along, but it's true focus is on building character into the child's heart--deliberately and patiently..." -Dr. Tim Kimmel

    Go Deeper:

    Connecting Church and Home

     

  • Do our kids see grace?

    How come some parents are more successful at nurturing a long-term faith in their kids? Our research has shown that one of the key variables is how kids are raised to understand the Gospel.Too many young people today live by what philosopher Dallas Willard calls the “gospel of sin management.” This truncates the Gospel to the belief that we have to adhere to a bunch of good behaviors in order to have a relationship with Jesus. When young people don’t live up to these behaviors, guilt causes them to think that the relationship itself is over. They end up running from God and the church, just when they need both the most.

    But grace is the heart of Christianity, and it needs to be the primary understanding of faith in our homes. Through the Incarnation, God pursues us, offering a gift of salvation that isn’t dependent upon our actions or our ability to clean ourselves up. It’s a gift we simply receive. And continue to receive every day.

    Kids make mistakes. They’ll choose to sin. I frequently tell my children that Jesus is bigger than any mistake we can make. He can handle it all — all our little accidental mistakes, all our big intentional sins.

    Grace doesn’t mean we live without boundaries. Kids need parents to clearly establish behavioral guidelines and then discipline them when they step across those lines. But we must strive for a way to sprinkle grace even into our discipline — perhaps especially in our discipline. Sometimes, it’s the tone of voice we use when taking away privileges. Other times, it’s how we empathize with a child’s frustration — the frustration he feels over a poor choice. Or, (more likely) the frustration he feels with his parents for imposing discipline.

    Kids also need to see their parents relying on the same grace that we want them to experience. If we want our homes to shine with a complete picture of grace, we as parents need to be quick to apologize. Confessing our mistakes to our kids not only builds closer family relationships, but it also helps our kids recognize everyone’s need for God’s tender mercies. Indeed, you’re more likely to have children repent if you have made “I’m sorry” a regular part of your vocabulary.

     

    Excerpt from A Faith That Sticks by Kara Powell

  • God's grace rescues you...from you

    “Pretend that I have a bowl of water in my hands and I shake it vigorously and water splashes out of the bowl. And suppose I ask you why water spilled out of the bowl, and you answer that it spilled because I shook it. It all sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it? But the answer is only partially correct. Why did water splash out of the bowl? Because water was in the bowl. If the bowl had been filled with milk, you could shake it for eternity and water would never spill out of it. In the same way, it is very important for parents to understand and humbly admit that when we are shaken by the sin, weakness, rebellion, foolishness, or failure of our children, what comes out of us (words, actions, attitudes) is what is already inside us.” - Paul Tripp

    This can be a hard pill to swallow! What this means is the ongoing issue we face is not our kids’, spouse’s, co-workers’, and family’s problem. It’s ours. No one can force us to say and do anything. What comes out has already been there. The cause behind our actions has been hiding out in our heart, probably for a long time! The people we have in our life are simply giving our heart the opportunity to reveal itself in words and actions. Jesus says it like this, “How can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” (Matt. 12:34-35)

    If we continue to shift blame to others for our bad attitudes, actions, and words, we will fail to reach out for the help that is ours; the forgiving and transforming grace of Jesus. Praise the Lord, you can change! You don’t have to be ensnared by sin and it’s patterns any longer. With the power of God’s grace and working of the Holy Spirit in our life, we can begin and continue to produce good treasure that our circumstances can’t steal!

    For more from Paul Tripp, check out his book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

  • Jesus + "something else"

    To be complete in Christ, as Paul puts it in Colossians 2:9-10, encompasses every single facet of our life. The blessings of Jesus should be changing us not only in the most difficult of moments, but maybe even more so in the little moments of life. The little moments tell us a lot about where our hearts really are. The little moments reveal the honest condition of what’s happening in our private lives! What’s your response when someone offends you? When someone else at work receives the admiration or promotion, how do you handle that? You’ve been diligently trying to improve your livelihood but never seem to find contentment; why is that? It’s in the little moments we answer a critical question, “Is Jesus enough?”

    Do you need Jesus, plus something else, to have peace, joy, or comfort? The “something else” is typically tied to enslaving sin we have not allowed the Lord to handle. When it comes to being complete or full in Christ, we don’t need something else. He is enough and has broken the power of sin and condemnation that weigh on us.

    In Colossians 2:14-15, Christ makes his victory public by subjecting these powers to open ridicule. Here is how one commentator puts it:

    “The Roman triumphal procession was the best way to bring home to people, that their returning generals had been winning genuine victories. No one in town that day could possibly be ignorant of what had happened as hundreds of weary prisoners of war were paraded, straggling behind the conquering army. Shamed and exposed to public gaze, everyone could see that there is nothing to fear from these once-proud soldiers…Paul is intent on showing that true spiritual freedom was won for all God’s people through the cross of Christ. It is impossible for anyone to know this King and to not know his glorious victory.”

    Jesus has conquered the enemy! Whatever forces used to intimidate or agonize you, have now been exposed and paraded in defeat. Even more so, our King’s glorious victory is not just for what we may consider significant issues, but also in the everyday, little moments that affect our hearts! If Jesus is enough, then certainly we can experience victory in any of our moments!

  • Shame off you

    Shame comes in many different colors. It’s a silent killer with the capability of even justifying its own existence. It creeps into how we see ourselves, our relationships, marriage, parenting, work life, etc. The terrible thing about shame is that it seems so right. It seems reasonable to doubt our abilities, to be cautious, to kick ourselves bloody when falling short. We always seem to fall short. So we try harder to do better, be better, win more, get ahead...But the inevitable will always happen. We will fall short. And, when we fall short, that feeling once again rises up from our gut and seems to cover us. "Why am I not good enough?" "Why can't things just work out for me?" "What am I doing wrong?" "If I could only be like him or her." "I can’t believe I thought I could do this." "I will never let myself get hurt again."

    Sound familiar? Sure it does. It's the whisper of shame. It never introduces itself as shame, but it  always plays its hand early. We've just never paid enough attention to see it. We don’t know a whole lot about the woman in the story above. We don’t know what her childhood or what her family-life was like. But I can guarantee you this, she was suffering under the reign of shame. We know she was caught in adultery, and the religious elite were ready to do what they do best - reminding people of just how short they always seem to fall.

    But then enters Jesus. Jesus challenges these religious elite to go ahead and stone her, but not unless they too are free from sin. Religious people hate introspection. So, one by one, they drop their stones and leave. I love this scene. It's just Jesus and the woman now, and a bunch of stones. No condemners. No one pouring the heaviness of shame. Then, Jesus says something significant. "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Jesus has a great opportunity to modify her behavior, by telling her to try harder and be better...but he doesn’t. The first thing He wanted to assure her, was that this reign of shame was over. Even though the accusers were gone, certainly her past continued to whisper the lies of shame. But Jesus would not tolerate such nonsense. He would end it. "It's not if you try 'harder' and act 'better,' then I won’t condemn you."

    It's grace first. Jesus will never motivate you to change by using shame. "Go and sin no more" is important and necessary. But that is the fruit of experiencing this type of grace. You see, our response to ourselves, and others, when we fail is always," do better and then receive acceptance." With Jesus, it's acceptance first. Because of that, there will be fruit that will be better. Grace will always produce good fruit. Get that shame off you and let this grace take its place.

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