Search Results for: one another

when we truly love one another

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When I was a little girl, I loved going to the library. Housed in an old building with wall-to-wall oak bookcases, a cozy fireplace with inviting chairs in front of it, and a 90-year-old librarian named Minta who fascinated me, the library was my home away from home. I could spend hours curled up in one of the old chairs, reading Nancy Drew or books where the heroine was a horse trainer, a nurse, or a flight attendant. I would get so involved in the story lines that I often went through a period of real grieving at the close of the book because I hated to see it end. It was like saying goodbye to old friends and it would break my heart. Sometimes I would just finish the last chapter and go right back to the beginning of a book and start reading all over again! Best of all was when there was a sequel to the book on the shelf just waiting for me to take it home!

Through the years I have met many moms who were just beginning this wonderful journey, this adventure called “homeschooling.” I must admit that they always made me feel a little wistful as my days of actually schooling my own children were slipping by so quickly. It was as though I was turning the pages in a really amazing book and knew that the last chapter was coming. I was sad and some days wished I could go back. But even better yet has been the sequel, the next book of my life that God has written! 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV) holds a promise for us that stirs up great anticipation in my heart. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” We cannot begin to know how wonderful the next chapter is…whether it is the moving from kindergarten to first grade, graduating the last child, welcoming a new baby, a husband’s job change…whatever it may be, we know that it is for our good if we love God.

Recently, a new friend shared this story with me. She told me how, many years ago, she struggled with a rebellious son who had come through the public school system. At the urging of friends, she and her husband decided to bring home the other children and begin homeschooling. As they attended their first homeschooling conference, a new world opened up to them, a world beyond anything they had ever imagined. As they came out of the conference center at the end of the day, walking in front of this couple was a mother with her teen-aged son towering above her. As they walked, spontaneously and without embarrassment or reservation, the boy leaned over and kissed his mom on the cheek. At that moment, my friend told me that she was so stunned and overwhelmed by their relationship that in her heart she cried out to the Lord, saying, “This is what I want for my family!”

They brought their children home and began schooling them and as the years went by, they were amazed at all the Lord was doing in their lives. Then, at the end of her story she told me this: Just the other day she and her husband went to a family movie with their youngest child who is almost ready to graduate. As they were walking along, the boy, now a man, was in between the two of them, and he reached out and placed his arms around both parents and hugged them as they walked. Her mind raced back to that day so many years ago when she had cried out to the Lord to give her good and godly relationships with her family. When we love God with all our hearts and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength, we cannot begin to imagine all that He has prepared for us!

(from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home)

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serve one another


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“Through love serve one another.”
   Galatians 5:13

I had the privilege of being present for the birth of my precious granddaughter, Odette. Born at home with a midwife whose gentle and calm demeanor set the tone for the entire experience, I was incredibly blessed by the sweet, young doula that came to attend specifically to my daughter-in-law. Anticipating her every need, Rachel supported the excited new parents before the big day, during the entire birthing process, and in the following weeks. As most of us dozed on and off during that long night, she kept the laboring mama comfortable and encouraged, rubbing her back, pacing the floor alongside her, bringing her sips of ice water and juice. No task was too difficult or distasteful. And while the rest of us stood and cried at the sight of such a beautiful baby, Rachel had the presence of mind to snap amazing pictures!

The idea of being a servant to others does not bode well in our modern world where celebrity, popularity, and self-esteem are coveted. After all, isn’t even the thought of being someone’s servant appalling and degrading? While most of our culture is clamoring for fame and status, true humility and the resulting servanthood are not only ignored but often mocked. Simply standing in the line at the grocery store and reading the list of article titles featured each month confirms this. Happiness and success, we are told, are to be found by putting ourselves first. I will never forget the wedding rehearsal where I observed the fruits of this sort of thinking. I was playing the piano and as I waited for my cue and the bride’s entrance, the back doors of the sanctuary flung open and I stared, dumbfounded, as the bride declared, “Where is everyone? I don’t care who is missing; we will start NOW because I say so. I’m the bride, it’s all about me!”

Though I don’t recall ever making this pronouncement anywhere, I must confess that there have been many times when the thought has gone through my own mind! “I am the mom, it’s all about me” is one of those cross-stitched pieces hanging in my imaginary Mom Hall of Shame! How easy it is for those thoughts to turn into actions. ”Go get me a glass of water, will you?” “I need my glasses from the car, go get them.” “Carry this here, move this there.” But what would happen if your son was lying on the couch reading a book and you asked, “What can I get you, son? Another brownie? A glass of milk?” A young man once told me that one thing he remembered about his mother was that he couldn’t remember when she had ever sat through as entire movie because she was always making sure the family had fresh pop corn and full soft drinks so that no one else had to miss anything! I was so touched by this memory he shared and the impression it made.

Humility and having a servant’s heart come from having a deep sense of our own smallness in the grand scheme of things. It is having a heart that cries out for others to be placed before us. Scripture describes this example of Jesus: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). He emptied himself! Jesus set aside all his rights and privileges and became what Scripture calls a “doulos” to us! He washed the feet of His disciples. He did not demand all He was entitled to as God Himself. He served us, even to the point of dying for our sins!

 

(from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home)

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admonish one another

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“If we are harsh in our admonition to others, we are demonstrating that we are not qualified because is shows our lack of spiritual maturity. The opposite of harshness is the spirit of gentleness, which in the Greek means “with humility,” lest we also be tempted.  If we look at this verse in terms of relating to our children, we have to ask how we can be tempted.  I think it could be when we forget that we are sinners, too, and that we, ourselves, are overtaken daily in trespasses.  When we reject a humble, gentle attitude toward our children, we are tempted to mistreat them, physically and verbally.  We can either build up and restore a child by our words and actions or we can tear down and lord it over them, showing no spirit of humility whatsoever. We, too, are sinners in need of a Savior, and are still a work in progress ourselves. How we respond to sin in the lives of our children will have lasting consequences and if we are harsh might even cause them to give up altogether.” from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

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sarah palin and one anothering mothering

Perhaps the most awesome moments of Sarah Palin’s electrifying and inspiring speech at the RNC on Wednesday night came in yet more examples of her family and their obvious relationships with each other. The smiles that can only come from the face of a very proud husband, the willingness of a young couple who has been mercilessly ostracized by a relentless liberal press to supportively stand alongside their mom, and the gentle touch of an older sister caressing her baby brother all show a side of family life in the Palin home that even many patriocentrists might envy.

But above all, the picture of Sarah Palin on that platform holding her precious baby son, a little boy who was born with Down’s syndrome, combined with her incredible comments about becoming an advocate in Washington for special needs children brought me to my feet to cheer and then to my knees in prayer. Even the press, I think, is beginning to realize that this is a woman who not only has strong convictions but lives by them as well.

As the mom of a child who struggles with learning disabilities, I know how hard it is to wake up every morning knowing that we will go over the same material we have gone over hundreds of times, hoping and praying that something will register that day in a mind I don’t completely understand.

I also understand the pain of rejection and, even more, the pain of hearing even other Christian homeschooling moms treat my child with disdain. I remember one Sunday watching as my then middle-school age son noticed that several of an elder’s family members were absent from worship and he began to express his concern, asking the man if they were all sick. He was dismissed as a nuisance by that man, treated as a freak, and it broke my heart. Other times he has been barely endured and even watched suspiciously because he isn’t like everyone else. But then again, these are the same sort of people who are throwing the first stones at a young woman in a crisis pregnancy and their parents.

Perhaps these small minded people will be the ones who can learn from Sarah Palin that the value of human life extends beyond the womb to children with all sorts of needs and their parents, too. Maybe, just maybe, the example of family one anothering demonstrated on Wednesday evening will move in the hearts of those who don’t get it about what real family relationships ought to look like.

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admonishing and exhorting one another

“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”  Romans 15:14

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:13

The past week has been a busy one.  My daughter, who lives in South Carolina, has been visiting with her two little boys who are 5 and 3.  I love the ages these boys are right now….they are so full of energy and questions and their comments are hilarious.  Henry is learning to read and I love hearing a little boy’s voice sounding out new words.  It blesses me and also reminds me of how much there is to learn when you are only 5.  It also reminds me of how much I have learned from my own children and grandchildren.

When my oldest son was a young teen, he taught me one of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a mom.  He taught me that sometimes we need to listen to the admonishment of our children, that being corrected by one of our youngest brothers or sisters in Christ can be a powerful learning experience.

I cannot for the life of me remember what the issue was, but I was jumping to conclusions about something. I was insisting that something was a certain way and I was not allowing my son to present his side of the situation.  Finally, my son, who is now an attorney and gets paid to challenge injustice, challenged me by quoting “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”  (Proverbs 18:13.)  He wasn’t disrespectful, but he was firm and admonished me with the absolute authority of the Word of God.  I will never forget that moment because he was absolutely correct and I needed to hear what he had to say.

I know there are child care experts today who believe that a child should never dispute what a parent says because they believe that any questioning of or correcting a parent is tantamount to rebellion and disobedience, but I disagree.  If we really believe that we are all on equal footing before the Lord, and if we believe that the Scripture which commands us to “admonish one another” means what it says, then there are appropriate times for a child to challenge what a parent is doing or saying.

If we look at these two passages and at these one another commands in context, we see that there are some assumptions that are surrounding them.  The first is that being able to admonish requires being filled with goodness and knowledge.  As homeschool moms, we spend much of our lives teaching our children the Word of God.  We include memorizing Scripture in our lesson plans.  We take them to Awana, we quote Scripture to them regularly and we seek to make application as often as possible.  We purpose to build up their knowledge of God’s Word as a key part of what we do as Christian homeschoolers.

On top of that, we design projects that will build character in their lives, including the very important quality of graciousness, which is mandatory in order to admonish someone properly.  (If you haven’t already, listen to the March 23, 2007 podcast on the importance of instructing children in graciousness.)  We know that having the quality of goodness is what sums up dozens of other virtues and we want to make sure our children possess as many of them as possible.  In other words, as homeschoolers we are doing all we can to prepare our children to be Biblically equipped to admonish!

We also are in the business of preparing our children to exhort others.  There is often a fine line between  admonishment and exhortation.  Usually they go hand in hand as those in need of encouragement also need to be reminded of what God thinks of their own situation rather than what they think about it.  As we prepare our children to employ these two one anothers, we need to remember that we will be the first sisters in Christ who have the privilege of seeing and hearing them practice what they have been taught. And we must make this a priority, as the passage tells us it is required daily to help us avoid being deceived by sin.

Herein is the most crucial aspect of this truth…if  we are to admonish and exhort our children, we must realize that these passages of God’s Word tell us that we, too, are required to have goodness and knowledge in order that we do so properly.  If our children are to take us seriously when we correct them, they need to see that we, too, possess a teachable and gracious spirit in the face of admonishment and exhortation. I have long believed that homeschooled moms are called to homeschooling because of what God wants to do in their lives, not only what He intends to do in the lives of their children!

Next, Lordwilling, I will begin a series of articles on the importance of recognizing a “good church,” as I continue examining the concept of being a spiritually healthy family.

Copyright 2007

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forgiving one another

 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:12-17

A while back I came across a phrase emblazoned across the front of a t-shirt that read “Don’t get mad, get imprecatory,” a reference to those Psalms which invoke curses upon enemies and that are commonly referred to as “imprecatory psalms.”  Those Psalms which are in this category include Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143, the most familiar being Psalms 69 and 109.

In the past few years, I have been taken aback by the number of believers who have actually made praying an imprecatory prayer for others, including professing Christians, part of their personal and public prayer times, being the most personally offended when told that Psalm 137:9 which says “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!” is appropriate to pray as we consider unbelieving moms and their babies who are aborted!  As I recently heard in a sermon, once we pray for God’s justice, we had better be prepared ourselves because God will begin that justice with us!  I don’t know about you, but my prayer is for God’s mercy….and daily!

While I know that most of us do not open our personal journals and write imprecatory psalms, I also know that we, as homeschooling moms, do experience similar feelings toward others from time to time and sometimes we strongly express those feelings!  We become angry when we hear that homeschoolers are persecuted by state officials.  We easily take up offenses for our children when others are critical of us or of homeschooling in general.  We are frustrated and offended when another homeschooler implies that they homeschool in a better way than we do.  We become discouraged and feel personally threatened when a relative, especially one of our parents or in-laws, grills us on homeschooling and expresses disapproval.

A few years ago, I decided to plant a vine around the fence in my back yard.  I went to a local garden center and, after looking through all the choices, flowering, fast-growing, large-leafed, small-leafed, etc, finally remembered the lovely trumpet vine my dad had growing in his yard.  I approached the check-out with two small, unthreatening pots and the clerk looked horrified.  “Oh!”  she said, “I don’t think you really want to plant a trumpet vine.  Do you realize that once it is planted anywhere, it will take a bull dozer or a stick of dynamite to remove it?”

I think of that story every time I read Hebrews 12:15, which reads, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  You see, unforgiveness, when it becomes entrenched to the point that it becomes bitterness, becomes like the trumpet vine, a bitter root that is not easily removed and one that can produce bitter fruit.  Bitterness causes us to miss God’s grace!

I believe that there are two things that can quickly become a temptation for bitterness for a homeschooling mom.  If a child chooses to sin, how often have I seen or heard of unforgiving homeschooling parents pronouncing their child as rebellious and treating them as unbelievers!  Thus begins an ugly, vicious, downward spiral where the child reacts and makes other bad choices.  Rather than conveying to the child that grace awaits them at the end of the driveway, that “prodigal” child is pushed further and further away toward the pig pen!

The other area where I have seen the lack of a forgiving spirit is toward husbands who do not take leadership in their homes, at least the brand of leadership that a wife thinks a homeschooling family must have.  False expectations build and build until, in frustration, a husband gives up and mom is left with only a distorted snapshot of what she thinks her family should look like.  Forgiveness is forgotten and “many are defiled” as the writer of Hebrews predicts.

Both of these areas of unforgiveness can be traced back to worshipping at the idol of “the perfect homeschooling family,” of disobeying the warning that “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)   It is only as we maintain an attitude of forgiveness toward one another, believing that God really is working in our lives, no matter what happens, that we can prevent bitterness from taking root.

I also believe that this passage in Colossians tells us HOW to forgive one another.  It says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” 

As we express to the Lord thankfulness for everything, the good and the bad, the disappointments and the struggles, the despair and the pain, we begin to praise His name and worship Him in our hearts and that is where the peace of Christ must rule!  Thanking God for the offense and asking God to give you an attitude of forgiveness toward your offenders is the first step toward rebuilding relationships that have been broken.  I am also including a few other passages of Scripture for study today and pray that they will be a blessing for you.

Matthew 6:9-15

Isaiah 43:25

Psalm 103:12

Psalm 130:3-4

Isaiah 38:17

Matthew 5:23-24

Luke 23:34

And, if you have a chance today, listen to one of my favorite worship songs, Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman. As you listen, think of it in terms of thanking God and blessing His name for whatever is causing you to harbor an unforgiving spirit today!

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

 Copyright 2007

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submitting to one another

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Ephesians 5:21

When my dad first came home from World War 2, he set out to build his own home.  After purchasing a lovely country setting of 3 acres, he and my mom lived in the basement for a year or so until they could move upstairs.  Shiny hardwood floors, stained by his own hands, and detailed moldings throughout the house made it a treasure. In later years he and my mother walked mile after mile of old railroad track to gather prairie grass seeds and nearly-extinct plants for a prairie restoration project on their back acre, eventually nurturing it into a flourishing sea of flowering plants and home to wildlife. It is the home where I grew up, learned to ride a bike in the drive way, dressed for the 8th grade-freshman dance, brought my husband home to meet my parents, and took my children for their first Christmases.

Thirteen years ago when my dad died, my mom came to live with us.  She was physically unable to care for a home and so we sold “the old home place” as she loving refers to it.  I was heartbroken but knew that it was our only choice.  Needing to sell it quickly, we put up a “for sale” sign and less than 24 hours later had a buyer.  It was, however, a blessing that turned into a tragedy. 

As it turned out, the man who bought the house, with its sweet-smelling rose bushes and brick terrace, had run a skeet shooting lodge in another town and had decided to turn my dad’s prairie into a place to shoot live pigeons!  If you drive past “the old home place” today, you see a monstrosity of a 6 car garage full of sport utility vehicles where my mom’s perennial garden had been and dozens of cages for breeding doomed pigeons in the spot where my dad tended his organic garden.  Something that started out being so lovely and that represented so much comfort and warmth in my life has been ruined.

I often get the same sick feeling I have over my parents’ home when I hear or read what some men and women today have done with the verse “submit to one another.”  A passage of scripture that should bring such warmth and comfort to us has been turned into a verse used to beat women and children over the head, prohibit the use of their spiritual gifts, and entice believers onto a one-way street of one anothering.  Rather than seeing the loveliness of service to one another through the act of setting aside our personal rights for another, it has become the test that proves whether or not a woman is a suitable helpmeet for her husband or the first thing that measures the godliness of homeschooled children.

Often when analyzing the husband/wife relationship, there is a standard established that says that men are to love their wives and wives are to submit to their husbands.  This is a true, biblical statement.  However, just because it is true doesn’t mean that the reverse isn’t true.  The Bible clearly states that we are to love one another and that we are to submit to one another.  This plainly means that wives are to love and submit to their husbands.  It also means that husbands are to love and submit to their wives.

I will take this a step further and say that we are also to love our children and to submit to them as well.  You see, there are no pink and blue one anothering commands.  There are no girl and boy, gender specific one anothering commands.  There are no age specific or relationship specific commands.  The one anothering commands apply to all believers, male and female, Jew and Greek, slave and free!

But why has this become such a stumbling block to so many?  I believe it has become so because we have missed the example of Jesus and his servant’s attitude, we have neglected to take the whole of Scripture and have refused to place our lives square in the middle of the weightier matters of the Word of God. We have ignored the simplicity of life in the covenant of faith and have replaced it with phrases and semantics and man’s principles that reflect a divisive agenda.  We have substituted the beauty of an organic, natural one anothering approach to family life with a military, legalistic list of rules for family living.  Dear sisters, this ought not to be.

My granddaughter, Penelope, will be three soon.  When she was here at Christmas, her life’s ambition was to be a cowboy-girl.  Now she wants to be a princess, which she is anyway, but that is beside the point!  Over the weekend, my son and his wife took her to Disneyland so she could experience the Disney Fantasy Faire, where “happily ever after happens every day!”  Now, you must understand that my son’s idea of a great day off is watching Cardinal baseball or playing paintball.  I can’t imagine greeting and meeting princesses in sparkly gowns to be at the top of his list of preferences.  Instead, he willingly submitted to doing something that would delight his precious daughter.

In turn, my daughter-in-law is not necessarily a baseball fan, but because my son loves the game, she has learned the necessary language of baseball and cheerfully watches games with him.  She willingly sets aside her personal rights to the Home and Garden channel so that he can watch Albert Pujols!

I have observed many, many examples of submitting to one another in family life:  visits to the Air Force and Cowboy museums out of deference to the boys, my husband’s treat of taking me to the Jackie Kennedy fashion exhibit, roadside stops at flea markets for a wife by a husband who hates junk even after he painted our bedroom pink for me!  I have spent hours in Best Buy and Circuit City, have endured my share of action films, as my husband has watched Pride and Prejudice and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and we have both seen too many animated flicks to count in 31 years of parenting!

But here is the real beauty of living a life of genuine, biblical, one anothering submission.  When the difficult issues of life come before us, the spirit of submitting to one another is so great that conflicrs over the big issues rarely occur!  The truth is that if the desire to express our love and care for one another takes priority, yielding to each other can become a source of great joy and comfort.  You see, submission is not something controlled by the one who requires the submission.  Rather, it is yielding your personal rights as an expression of love for and commitment to another person.  It is done out of a heart of genuine respect, care, and interest in another person, and can never be demanded. Submission is the choice of an individual, is never done out of obligation, is done with the best interests of someone else in mind, and does not belong in its own category.  Instead, it blends in with all the other one anothers of Scripture to produce a picture of what heaven will certainly be for those who love God.

In simple terms, submitting to one another is merely an instinctive, beautiful dance we do as a family, choreographed by the grace of God in each of us.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!”
Philippians 2:3-8

Copyright 2007

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one anothering your children

As a Christian who is has also been a parent for 31 years and as someone with her own library, I can tell you that I have quite the impressive collection of books on family life and raising children.  Rather than organize them by title, it would probably be most helpful to arrange them by decade of publication, since there have definitely been trends of child raising within Christian circles.  However, one thing that doesn’t seem to be mentioned very often in any of these books is the remarkable absence of teaching on children and family life in the Bible, that is, if you are researching the subject topically.
 
A few years ago my daughter happened to share with me some very simple comments from a friend’s blog regarding the one anothers of Scripture and how they apply to raising children.  This young mom’s basic conclusion was that if her children are believers, then the one anothers apply to her relationship with them, just as they do in relationships with other Christians in her church.

At that moment I had an epiphany. 

If we read the one another verses through the lens of all relationships, it opens up the beauty of what Biblical parenting looks like: “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” 

This week, let’s look at some of those verses, one passage at a time,  and I would ask you to consider how you, personally, can apply them to your children.

Copyright 2007

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