How Do We Reform The Way We Think About Our Children?

Advanced Family Strategies CD #1

By, Doug and Beall Phillips

How do we reform the way we think about our children?

The Problem: We live in a culture that is constantly disparaging of the family, a culture that emphasizes fragmentation, as opposed to family unity. Consequently a culture that emphasizes selfishness. We are instructed to have our “me time”, (IE- advertisements of all these activities for kids for the summer otherwise how are parents going to make it through the summer if you have to spend all day with your kids.) The message: “Get away from your kids and lead your own life.”

Attitude #1: “My children are just a pain in the neck!  There are just too many problems, constant problems! Help!”

Attitude #2: “My children are so expensive!”

Some parents feel their real joy & happiness is when they get away from their kids.

We are laying up our treasure in our private time and our entertainment & our own adult peer groups & agendas. That becomes the idolatry of our lives.

Language of division and fragmentation is another problem. The way we talk to our children and about our children contributes to the way we think about them.  When we look at scripture we see a tender language between fathers and sons, “Son give me your heart let your eyes observe my ways.”  (Prov 23:26)

Dishonorable talk in our homes is another problem. When you speak honorably about someone, you will begin to feel  honor toward them.  If speaking negatively (“The old ball and chain”) we begin to think negatively about that person. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

The goal for this topic is to set a “Joy Goal”: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”. (3 John 4)

Whatever joy I have in work or with my friends, it’s not as important as seeing my children walk in truth.

How do we cultivate this in our home?

Look at our children & imagine them as old men and women. We will long be gone from this earth when they are 80 years of age. What kind of legacy will we be leaving them? We are looking at a person who will stand before the Lord & hopefully will impact hundreds or more for the kingdom of God.  All the hope of the future rests on our children. Understand that we don’t own these children , God does. We are just stewards of them. This helps remind us of the responsibility we have toward God & not just looking at their behavior and worry about what others will think if they act a certain way. We as parents need to get over our selfishness & ask ourselves, ”What is the big picture of this child’s life?”

Do not wait for tomorrow to enjoy our children. Delight in your children. Our duty is to discipline them, but also delight in them as our reward.  It is an honor that we get to work with our children for this short time. The act of enjoying our children is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Not in just watching their soccer game. Delight in the fact that they are reading for the first time, that they are learning and growing, that they are hugging you.

Delighting in them doesn’t come naturally for all of us. There are things we can do to reform our actions:

#1 Affirming our kids every single day:

#2 Being physical with our children: Kissing, hugging, playing

#3 Get a good nights sleep!

#4 Don’t put our children on our checklist for the day. Develop a relationship with them.

Don’t wait until they are gone and then say,”Why didn’t I spend more time with them?”


Sloppy dress is in – and what we can do about it!







“I like to wear skirts, but every time I put a long skirt on I’m told that I look really dressed up! My family thinks it’s crazy that I have a skirt on just to go to the grocery store. I’m really getting tired of the comments. I just want to look nice.”


I’ve received comments like the one above many, many times. As women become convicted in wanting to wear skirts, they receive a lot of negative feedback from family and friends. I’ve pondered on why we ladies stand out so much in a skirt, and almost make some people uncomfortable. When my husband went back to college last year the answer was perfectly clear to me.


Sloppy dress is in.


Pajama bottoms, sweatshirts, ripped jeans, shirts worn inside out, all kinds of mix and match outfits, shirts hanging off the shoulders, yes I’ll even throw in gym clothes…the list could go on. These are commonly seen in stores, restaurants, parks, and even social get together’s on ladies of all ages.


Society has simply dumbed down the normal look for ladies. If some ladies are at the grocery store in their pajama bottoms and fuzzy slippers, you’d better believe that a nicely dressed woman in a long denim skirt, cute top and *gasp* maybe even a fashionable scarf on, is sure to stand out a little more.


So then the next argument goes like this…


“I don’t want to attract more attention to myself. I feel like men stare at me even more with a long skirt on. It just makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel better when I wear my _____, like I blend in better.”


Yes, you might blend in better, but what are you blending in with? Does the sloppy look really appeal to you? Is that a better option than simply looking put together in a nice outfit?


I know there are ladies who look put together in a nice pair of jeans and top. I’m not trying to say it’s so black and white as simply sloppy outfits or a skirt. But I am trying to suggest that we not care about what society thinks. We need to care first and foremost about our convictions. How would we want to dress if the Lord was at the grocery store with us?


Recently I was shopping at Walmart later in the evening when my children were in bed. I saw a woman shopping that had on a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. Nothing fancy at all. Then I glanced again and appreciated what I saw. She had made a real effort to look nice even in a baggy sweatshirt, and put on a pearl necklace, earrings, and had on nicer shoes with her jeans. I never would have dreamed of putting a pearl necklace on with a sweatshirt, but it actually looked nice on her. It was the effort of the extra touches that made me realize she wanted to look nice. She didn’t just throw on the first pair of clothes she found in her dresser and run to the store.


Wherever we go we make an impression on people. Some of us stand out more than others – like if  we have lots of children :) Let’s make sure that the impression we leave has the potential to make an impact on someone. Our ultimate goal is to represent our Lord, and we can even do that with the clothes we wear.

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Man to Become a Gentleman

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Man

Boys will be boys.

For sure. But he can learn to be a gentleman as well. A gentleman in the right sense – not in a sissy, unreasonable manner – but a kind, respectful and godly young man.

It’s not that we’d ask our son to sit with his hands folded or keep him from running, building or exploring. No way. But we do hope he’ll learn to be wise, to consider others, and to remember that he’s a son of the King.

A true gentleman.


  1. Fear The Lord. It’s the beginning of knowledge. Prov. 1:7
  2. Listen carefully. A wise man listens intently and learns much. Prov. 1:5
  3. Pay attention to your father’s instruction. You’ll be glad you did. Prov. 1:8
  4. And don’t forget your mother’s teaching. She has wisdom to offer. Prov. 1:8b
  5. Control your temper.  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).
  6. Keep your word. A gentleman follows through on what he says he will do.
  7. Don’t hang out with the ungodly. Bad company corrupts good morals. I Cor. 15:33.
  8. Invest in strong, loyal friendships. The kind of friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
  9. Do what needs to be done. Without being told. Don’t wait to be asked when you know what you should do.
  10. Look sharp. Not sloppy or slovenly – simply neat and clean will do.
  11. Trust in The Lord. And don’t rely on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5
  12. Don’t chafe at correction. Consider it an opportunity to learn and grow.  Prov. 3:11.
  13. Be known as a hard worker. Learn to enjoy your job and take on whatever must be tackled. Prov. 6:6.
  14. Walk in purity. Avert your eyes and run from immorality. There is power in purity.
  15. Be polite. “Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  16. Work out. Keep in shape. A young man should be strong and fit for whatever he might be called upon to carry out.
  17. Watch over those who are younger or weaker than you. Never be too big for the small.
  18. Serve others.  To humbly serve is a very manly quality. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. Follow Christ’s example.  (Phil. 2).
  19. Look after the ladies. Step back to let her in the door first. Offer to carry heavy items for her. Protect and defend her.
  20. Make study a life-long habit. Commit to learning as much as you can about as many subjects as you can. Read books, research, observe and ask questions.
  21. Show respect for those who are older than you. Look them in the eye and shake their hand. Listen to what they have to say.
  22. Flee from sin. Get out of there immediately when you encounter temptation. (I Tim. 6:11).
  23. Be bold. As a lion. A righteous man doesn’t need be shy about what’s right. Prov. 28:1.
  24. Love God’s Word. Blessed is the man…whose delight is in the law of The Lord. Psalm 1.

So yes, boys will be boys. But prepare them to be gentlemen too.

In His grace,

Honor Thy Father and Mother-The 5th Commandment

Honor your Mother - Ex 20_12

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

Honor your parents.The first four of the Ten Commandments address our duty to God. The last six outline our duty to man. The first relationship considered is the parent-child relationship, which in principle also applies to any other authority relationships. This is the first commandment that carries a promise with it. Honor your parents so that you will live long “in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

This commandment should be near and dear to our hearts as parents. Our children will not be blessed unless they learn to honor and submit to God. One of the primary ways they submit to Him is by obeying their parents, God’s delegated authorities in their lives.

What does it look like when a child is honoring his parents? Let’s consider a sampling of practical, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road ways a child can honor his parents (and the other authorities in his life):

  • Obey and show respect, even when his parents make mistakes
  • Listen carefully to what they say to him
  • Answer his parents respectfully and acknowledge that he has heard them
  • Look at parents when conversing with them
  • Speak politely about them
  • Speak politely to them
  • Think God-honoring thoughts about them
  • Show common courtesies such as opening the door for them, standing when they enter the room, seating his mother, etc.
  • Give up own desires and comfort in order to serve and help his parents
  • Listen to and heed their counsel
  • Thank his parents for the different things they do for him
  • See, admire, and imitate their strengths
  • Pray for his parents
  • Willingly obey their godly commands
  • Do what his parents would want, even when he is not with them
  • Respect his parents’ privacy
  • Keep his word to his parents
  • Complete the tasks his parents give him to do
  • Prove his willingness to obey before asking permission to appeal to his parents
  • Spend time with his parents
  • Seek to please his parents with his words and actions
  • Honor their wishes regarding dress, music, hairstyle, etc.
  • Pray for them
  • Respond humbly to correction
  • Taking care of the things his parents have provided for him

A child is disobeying God’s command to honor his parents when he:

  • Refuses to make eye contact
  • Rolls his eyes in response to parents
  • Glares at his parents
  • Mumbles when speaking to parents
  • Doesn’t talk to or withdraws from his parents
  • Interrupts when his parents are speaking to him or others
  • Talks back or argues with his parents’ decisions
  • Throws a tantrum
  • Questions his parents’ motives
  • Mocks or makes fun of his parents
  • Speaks behind his parents’ backs
  • Criticizes or sets himself up as his parents’ judge
  • Challenges his parents’ decision in the presence of others
  • Speaks sarcastically to his parents
  • Purposely does what he knows his parents do not want him to do
  • Chooses to wait until he feels like obeying instead obeying immediately
  • Withholds important information from his parents
  • Resists their leadership
  • Ignores his parents
  • Takes offense when corrected
  • Physically resists discipline
  • Neglects to fulfill his assigned responsibilities
  • Disobeys his parents when they are not present
  • Deceives his parents
  • Outwardly complies with parents’ wishes while inwardly rebelling against them

Obedience doesn’t come naturally; it requires us to acknowledge that we are not in charge of our lives, and that’s a hard pill to swallow, even (or especially) for a two-year-old. He will fail to obey many, many times, and we will have many, many opportunities to help him see how much he needs Jesus. He can’t fully obey God’s law. He needs Jesus to pay the punishment for his disobedience. He needs to “put on” Christ, and then God will see His Son’s righteousness when He looks at him. He needs the Holy Spirit who will renew and empower him to do what he cannot do in his own strength.

We mustn’t forget to tell them this.

~Pam Forster

Note: Doorposts has produced several products that might help you in teaching the Fifth Commandment to your children:

  • Honor Your Father and Mother is a coloring and teaching book for young children, which explores in picture form, the many ways they can obey this commandment.
  • For This Is Right expands for older children the meaning of the Fifth Commandment, with the help of the Westminster Larger Catechism.
  • A Checklist for Parents is a simple tool with 26 questions to help parents examine themselves in the light of God’s Word.

The first and last books are available digitally as well as in print.

Fuel For Obedience


“Being wanted is the fuel for obedience.” That sentence — in the sermon Bethany and I were listening to as we drove down the freeway – provided an answer to a question I have often puzzled over. What was it my parents did that made mewant to obey them? I especially wanted to please my father. Disobeying him just didn’t seem like an option. I loved him too much to want to hurt him with my disobedience.

I knew he loved me. He did things with me. He bragged about me. He encouraged me and talked to me. He did Jumble Word puzzles with me and laid on the sofa to listen to me practice the piano. He gave me hugs and presents and time. He wanted me. I wasn’t an interruption in his life. I was his daughter, and he was glad I was. So was I. I knew he would love me, no matter what I did, and that made me want to do whatever would please him most.

God loves me even more than my dad did. He loves me perfectly and infinitely and unconditionally. He chose me, and there was absolutely nothing I could or ever will be able to do to earn that favor. He loves me because He has chosen to love me. Hewants me. He will never let me go. He will never leave me.

He wanted me so much that He gave His Son to die for me. That’s fuel for obedience! That’s what inspires my love and my desire to obey Him – not a list of rules that I try to obey in order to get God to like me. He already likes me. That love frees me to love him in return and to express my love by doing whatever will please Him.

When our children don’t want to obey, we ought to step back and prayerfully ask ourselves if they feel wanted. Are we doing anything that unwittingly tells them that we don’t like them or that we will only love them when they behave in certain ways? Are we firmly assuring them of our love?

And more importantly, are we assuring them of God’s love? Do we believe that God loves and wants us? And do our children really understand how much He wants and loves them?

By, Pam Forster

Missional Mothering

Missional Mothering

Young mother, it seems like everyone wants something from you. And you’re probably already giving way more than you ever thought you could give. But even with all your giving, you might struggle with guilt—lingering, joy-drenching, energy-sapping guilt—that you should be doing more, giving more, accomplishing more.
Don’t waste that guilt. Pay attention to it. Use it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in light of Scripture. Is this a godly grief that leads to repentance or a worldly grief that produces death (2 Cor. 7:10)? Is it life-giving or life-depleting? Ask yourself, does this bring fresh joy and peace to those nearest me, or does it add unnecessary stress and strain to my home?
Mother: You have a mission field.
Our first and primary mission field is our children. God values our children. Jesus became indignant when the disciples didn’t embrace the worth of children in God’s expanding kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). God tells us that children are his blessing to us (Ps. 127:3). And he places great importance on our teaching our children to love and serve him (Deut. 6:7-9).
Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. Your availability, sensitivity, affection, and unhurried attention are irreplaceable.
There are no neutral moments in a young child’s life. Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you!
Accept your calling from God to serve your family. As a mother, you are helping to shape the souls of your children for Christ and ultimately influence the world. Your children are your gift to the future.
 Stay on mission
Does this mean you will never invest in others outside your family? Goodness, no. But if you are a young mother, stay on mission. Use your primary ministry of mothering to serve Christ now. Don’t let anything diminish your unique role as a wife and mother. It is not godly guilt that would call you away from a wholehearted investment in your little ones for his sake.
Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years.

This season in your life is just that—a season. And each season is a divine calling from our creator and king. Organizing a new event at church is important. Teaching your little boy to be kind to his sister is also important. But which one can best be done by you during this season? Serve God well by ministering to your children first. Very soon they will be grown and gone, and you will be unable to recapture the teachable moments you have now.
Mothers, listen to Psalm 78:4-7: “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done . . . that the next generation might know . . . so that they should set their hope in God.”