Discipline vs. Abuse

If we listen to the politically-correct rhetoric of our society for long enough, we may actually begin to believe that spanking is an inappropriate form of discipline. Some people would have us believe that spanking is a form of abuse and it teaches children to be violent. Yet, godly discipline--which includes spanking--is loving, not abusive. In the article, Spanking Stories, Doug Wilson makes this point abundantly clear:
People who do not know how to look beyond surface appearances will say that when you spank a child you are teaching them violence. They say spanking a child is hitting a child, and they are impatient with those who seek to make fundamental distinctions. Lovemaking is not rape, even though the same biological act is involved in both. Executing Ted Bundy is not imitating Ted Bundy, even though someone loses his life in both instances. The difference between child abuse and child discipline is as vast as the difference between unrighteousness and rightousness.
Continue reading Spanking Stories.


Six Years

This past Sunday (May 24th), Amy and I celebrated our 6th anniversary! It is hard to believe that we have been married for that long. It seems like it was just yesterday when I first saw Amy's beautiful face on the campus of North Greenville College (now, University). I am so thankful that I asked her to smell my hemp key chain. (For those of you who are confused by the last sentence, if you'd like to know the whole story, I'd be glad to tell it over a cup of coffee sometime.)

Away with the Carpet

When our family moved into our home last April, we knew that the carpets would eventually have to be replaced. Thankfully, we were able do do away with the 10-year old carpets this weekend! (With three young girls, it didn't take long for the drink spills, dirt stains, pee-pee accidents, etc. to signal the demise of our carpets.) We replaced carpets with bamboo hardwood floors. (Do we get environmental brownie points?) Of course, we certainly didn't have the financial resources to replace the carpets, but the kind generosity of Amy's family made it possible. Chris, Theresa, and Keagan came to SC this weekend and helped us rip up carpet and install the new floors. If you ask me, I don't think the pros would have done a better job. Needless to say, our weekend was very busy and it will take a while longer before our house is back in order.

(I'll post pictures when our camera decides to cooperate.


No Need for Proof

Our children know that Amy and I are their mom and dad. We have been with them (almost) every day of their lives. Therefore, it would be quite strange if one of them said something like, "Could you give me some proof that you're really my dad?" This would be strange because they have every reason to believe that I am their father. For example, I live with them, I play with them, I look like them, etc.

In his book, Apologetics to the Glory of God, John Frame makes a similar point regarding those who grow up in a Christian home. He writes:
...many people grow up with God and receive him gladly. They hear about God in church, in Sunday School, around the family dinner table, and in Christian school. They see their parents making decisions based on the Word of God. They learn Scripture verses and catechism from memory. God is literally the head of their home. They could no easier doubt God's existence than they could doubt the existence of their own father or mother...God's norm for us is that we live and raise our children in such a way that proof will be unnecessary (65-66).
So, for those of us who are Christian parents, let us ask ourselves these questions: Are we raising our children so that they know that God's existence is as certain as our existence as their father or mother? Are we raising children in a way that proof will be unnecessary?


Temptation and the Providence of God

Have you every wondered why God allows us to be tempted? According to the Scripture , God has good purposes for allowing His children to struggle with temptation and sin. Let's look at five purposes that God has in allowing us to face temptation.

1. God allows us to face temptation and sin so that He can demonstrate His fatherly love for us, His children.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. (Hebrews 12:5-7, ESV)
2. God allows us to see the lingering corruption and deceitfulness of sin in our hearts so that we will be humbled before Him.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:22-25, ESV)
3. God allows temptation and sin to teach us to depend on Him and the provisions that He has made for us through Christ.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV)
4. God allows temptation and sin to make us more watchful and aware of future occasions of sin. In other words, God helps us to grow in His grace (i.e. sanctification), so that we are better prepared to walk in holiness.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, ESV)
5. God uses temptation and sin to accomplish purposes that He has not revealed to us.

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.(Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV)


When Words Are Many

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." --Proverbs 10:19 (ESV)
According to my mother, I came out of the womb with my mouth open and screaming. And if you were to ask her, she'd probably say that there isn't much that has changed except that I now use words instead of grunts and cries. So, I think it is safe for me to say that words are very important. It is difficult for me to imagine life without words--whether spoken or written. Words are essential for me as I live as a husband, father, and minister. Yet, words can also place me (and you) on dangerous ground. According to Proverbs 10:19, a particular danger is lurking when "words are many." I imagine that most of us can remember situations where we which that we had kept our mouths closed instead of babbling away: "When words are many, transgression is not lacking." Maybe it was a conversation that turned to gossip or a discussion that involved harsh and unloving words. No matter what the particular circumstances were, I believe that all of us have been guilty of a transgression of speech. In James 3:6 we are reminded that "the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness."
But it doesn't have to be this way. By God's grace we can learn to restrain our lips: "but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."


Exams are over...

...so blogging will begin once again. Soon.