Bring Them up in Love
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Sometimes when parents discipline their child lovingly, the child still becomes angry—and it’s not the parents’ fault. So, what does Paul mean when he exhorts fathers not to “provoke [their] children to wrath [or anger]”? Think of Galatians 6:7: We reap what we sow. When parents sow love and peace into a child’s life, the chances are good they will not provoke that child to anger. But the opposite is true: Disciplining a child in anger provokes that child to respond in anger over time.
Thankfully, Scripture gives parents a model to use in raising children: “the training and admonition of the Lord.” God doesn’t discipline us, His children, in anger; He disciplines us in love (Hebrews 12:5-6). No one has ever had just cause to be angry with God. And no child disciplined with the love of God will have just cause to be angry with a parent.
As with all things in life, God is the best model we have for raising children. Whether you are a parent, parent-to-be, or grandparent, let God’s love be your guide.
In the Christian way, the one vital thing is not speed or distance attained, but direction. A. W. Tozer
Parents, Do Not Provoke Your Children (Ephesians 6:4)
If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25
My father’s life was one of longing. He longed for wholeness, even as Parkinson’s disease gradually crippled more and more of his mind and body. He longed for peace, but was tormented by the deep pain of depression. He longed to feel loved and cherished, but often felt utterly alone.
He found himself less alone when he read the words of Psalm 42, his favorite psalm. Like him, the psalmist knew a desperate longing, an unquenched thirst for healing (vv. 1–2). Like him, the psalmist knew a sadness that felt like it never went away (v. 3), leaving times of pure joy merely a distant memory (v. 6). Like my dad, as consuming waves of chaos and pain swept over him (v. 7), the psalmist felt abandoned by God and asked, “Why?” (v. 9).
And as the words of the psalm washed over him, assuring him he was not alone, my father felt the beginnings of a quiet peace enter in alongside his pain. He heard a tender voice surrounding him, a voice assuring him that even though he had no answers, even though the waves still crashed over him, still he was dearly loved (v. 8).
And somehow hearing that quiet song of love in the night was enough. Enough for my dad to quietly cling to glimmers of hope, love, and joy. And enough for him to wait patiently for the day when all his longings would finally be satisfied (vv. 5, 11).
Lord, we know that You have carried all our suffering and will one day turn it around into resurrection life. Still, there is so much healing that we wait and long for. As we wait for that morning, help us to rest in Your song of love in the night.
God is sovereign, and He is also good. Knowing this, many believers struggle to understand why painful things happen in life. They wonder, Why wouldn’t the Lord stop me from experiencing such heartache?
The question deepens when we read a Bible passage like Psalm 121:7-8: “The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” Many people interpret this to mean that God will keep them from difficulty. But what the words say is that He promises to keep their soul.
The Lord allows pain in our life. Sometimes He even orchestrates it. God understands the hurt, but He also looks into the deeper meaning of the situation. Trials often strengthen our faith, make us more like Jesus, and give us compassion for others. At times, God may even use difficulties to keep us from becoming complacent in our spiritual walk. With His help, we profit immensely more from walking through the pain than from avoiding it. When our heavenly Father knows it is best, He doesn’t keep us from the pain; instead, He enables us to endure the hardship by giving us wisdom and strength. And when we get to the other side, we can often see—with profound thankfulness—how His loving and gracious hand guided us through the whole situation.
We have tremendous hope, knowing that God will keep us through the most difficult times. Reread Psalm 121, and ask the Lord to remind you of its truths when painful situations arise in your life.
“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” (2 Corinthians 13:10)
The older English word “edification” is used to render the Greek oikodomos that pictures the building of a house. We still use the word edifice to describe a structure of some importance. Paul specifically said he had the power to edify in the above text and later called himself a “wise masterbuilder,” an architekton, who laid the foundation we would build on (1 Corinthians 3:10).
When Jesus used oikodomos to depict those who build their house on a rock (His Word) or the sand (ideas of men), He was painting a picture of how we should edify each other (Luke 6:48-49). Leadership gifts are to be used to perfect the saints in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), using the living stones that will build the “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
And like any good builder, the Christian carpenter has tools of the trade to assist the process. There are “things which make for peace” that must be employed (Romans 14:19). Most certainly love is a major tool (1 Corinthians 8:1), along with good communication that does not corrupt the building work (Ephesians 4:29).
Since “all things” are to be done so that the church is edified (1 Corinthians 14:26), it surely follows that “fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions” are not helpful (1 Timothy 1:4). Effective communication demands that those we speak to understand what is said, therefore a mysterious tongue does not publicly edify like prophecy does (1 Corinthians 14:2-4).
An edified church walks “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31). HMM III
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of [John] in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Let me give you some reasons why I believe God could honor John the Baptist in that day in which he lived.
First, John had the ability to live and meditate in solitude. He knew the meaning of quietness. He was in the desert until the time of his showing forth unto Israel as a prophet. He came out of his lonely solitude to break the silence like a drumbeat or as the trumpet sounds. The crowds came—all gathered to hear this man who had been with God and who had come from God.
In our day we just cannot get quiet enough and serene enough to wait on God. Somebody has to be talking. Somebody has to be making noise. But John had gone into the silence and had matured in a kind of special school with God and the stars and the wind and the sand….
I do not believe it is stretching a point at all to say that we will most often hear from God in those times when we are silent. CES130-131
Oh, Lord, help me to carve out of my busy schedule some time with “God and the stars and the wind and the sand.” Amen.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.—Psalm 27:14.
With smile of trust and folded hands,
The passive soul in waiting stands
To feel, as flowers the sun and dew,
The One true Life its own renew.
John G. Whittier.
The whole duty and blessedness of waiting on God has its root in this, that He is such a blessed Being, full, to overflowing, of goodness and power and life and joy, that we, however wretched, cannot for any time come into contact with Him, without that life and power secretly, silently, beginning to enter into us and blessing us. God is Love! God’s love is just His delight to impart Himself and His blessedness to His children. Come, and however feeble you feel, just wait in His presence. As a feeble invalid is brought out into the sunshine to let its warmth go through him, come with all that is dark and cold in you into the sunshine of God’s holy, omnipotent love, and sit and wait there, with the one thought: Here I am, in the sunshine of His love. As the sun does its work in the weak one who seeks its rays, God will do His work in you.
“For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” Ps. 9:18
Poverty is a hard heritage; but those who trust in the Lord are made rich by faith. They know that they are not forgotten of God; and though it may seem that they are overlooked in His providential distribution of good things, they look for a time when all this shall be righted. Lazarus will not always lie among the dogs at the rich man’s gate, but he will have his recompense in Abraham’s bosom.
Even now the Lord remembers His poor but precious sons. “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me,” said one of old; and it is even so. The godly poor have great expectations. They expect the Lord to provide them all things necessary for this life and godliness; they expect to see all things working for their good; they expect to have all the closer fellowship with their Lord, who had not where to lay His head; they expect His Second Advent, and to share its glory. This expectation cannot perish, for it is laid up in Christ Jesus, who liveth for ever; and because He lives, it shall live also. The poor saint singeth many a song which the rich sinner cannot understand. Wherefore, let us, when we have short commons below, think of the royal table above.