Back in Business
We didn't do much on the blogs last week. Just needed to get things back in a groove with Abby at home now.
We look forward to a lot of great stuff on the blog. Our traffic to the blog has predictably gone in the toilet, but we hope everyone will come back and join us as we adventure through life.
Open Season Friday Answers by Brent
I appreciate the way you have chosen to discipline your children; I really do! In the past you said, “The key is consistency… Every instance of disobedience, defiance and disrespect should be met with routine, predictable discipline in various forms appropriate to the child’s age, maturity and personality.” I find my criteria for discipline slightly different in the sense that I do not punish for “every instance of disobedience”, primarily because I want to go to the heart of that behavior – just sin? fear? guilt? etc. This gives me room to be inconsistent. Then my temperament (too tired, not feeling well) also plays a factor in my inconsistency. Sometimes, I’m not patient enough to address my child’s sin in a deeper manner so “discipline” is the easy answer. Trusting that you also face such inconsistencies, how do you integrate this with your style of discipline and the real need to be consistent and without sin in your own heart when administering discipline?
When we say “every instance” that is just a general principle. Of course we take into account sickness, activity, circumstances. If a kid is sick they get some leeway appropriate to the illness. If we’ve drag them around for 12 hours and they are dead tired, we take that into account. If we ourselves are sick, tired, angry, stressed, we take that into account as well.
The GENERAL PRINCIPLE is that disobedience, defiance and disrespect don’t get “three strikes”. One strike… but of course we factor in special circumstances as described above.
To tithe 10%....is this all to the church and then charity is above and beyond that or can that 10% be partly to church and partly to charity? I have heard differing opinion.
“Tithing” is an Old Testament command, and at a best a New Testament principle. We are not under command as Christians to tithe, and the Bible gives no such guidelines for how much, when and how divided for Believers. This fact grates on many church “authorities” who want people to give under compulsion rather than in cheerful freedom. I’ve written more about tithing here:
Lanetta Gobble asked:
I want to edit a header for my blog (add pictures, etc). I found one that matches my blog at the cutest blogontheblock... and I followed their directions -which say to use paint.net. I tried and GAVE up! Can you help?
I need more specifics. Send me the header, and tell me what you are trying to do. email@example.com
What kind of camera do you use? I’m looking for a new one right now and I think I’m leaning towards the Canon G10. Any opinion? Also, are you aware of a point and shoot digital that does a reasonably good job in lower light settings? Thanks, Michelle
I have a Canon 40D. If you really want to shoot decent pictures in lower light settings you need a DSLR with a good lenses. Point-and-shoots will “flash” everything as good as they can, and some of the pictures will be “okay” but you just cannot get GREAT pics in low light with a pocket camera. The following is something I wrote previously:
I have a Canon 40D. A Canon Rebel or some equivalent 35mm DSLR would be sufficient. Assuming a camera body of at least that quality, the real trick to great pics is in the lenses. Most people take pics in low light indoors with completely inadequate lenses, then cannot figure out why their photos stink.
It helps to learn some basic rules of framing and composing a photo (I'll do a demo on that). But no matter how good your eye for photography is, if you don't have an appropriate lens, you won't have good pics.
Outdoors, the standards lenses than come with a DSLR (a full size camera that takes standard lenses) are usually fine for outdoor, sunlit photos. But in any kind of low light, you've got have some decent lenses. It's too much to go into all that here, perhaps I'll do a demo about it. You can research it yourself by looking up lenses that go with your camera, and finding out their capabilities. You should also learn some photography basics like exposure, f-stops, shutter speed, etc. "Digital Photography for Dummies" is a great book to start with if you know nothing about it.
I can give you hint about a good low light lens. It must be a low "f-stop" value, typically 1.4-2.0. You'll understand that when you take a few minutes to learn some simple basics about lenses.
My question is regarding parenting. I am asking this question because I have 2 children and struggle with discipline. What do you do for discipline with your children?
Read the first question above, then read this answer we previously posted:
We believe in firm discipline bathed in extravagant affection and love. For the little ones, we believe in a variety of discipline that is appropriate for their age, maturity and personality INCLUDING SPANKING. We are neither embarrassed or equivocating about spanking.
Spanking (defined as paddling them on the butt only, with an object that does not cause injury such as a paddle) done with consistency, in love, for the purpose of teaching is one of the most effective tools parents have for the younger children. It is a national disgrace and tragedy we have brainwashed several generations of parents into believing spanking "teaches violence" and refer to it as "hitting" a child.
It is embarrassing and deceptive to parade horrible parents on TV who jerk up their kid by the arm in frustrated anger, whack them a couple of times with their bare hand, then let them throw a temper tantrum and proclaim, "SEE! SPANKING DOESN'T WORK". What a joke. What a shame.
We spank for three reasons (defiance, disobedience and disrespect) and for the purpose of teaching boundaries and self control. Here is a typical episode of discipline for us:
Dad: "Landis, I want you to _______________" Landis follows with a tantrum, direct disobedience or "no!"
I take him to his room. I tell him what he did wrong, and what his incorrect behavior was. I tell him he is going to get a spanking and what that spanking will be such as "two swats".
I put him over my lap and give him two swats. I stand him up for a few seconds to let the moment sink in. Then I repeat what he did and why it was wrong. Then I ask him "why did Dad give you a spanking?" to which he replies "because I ______."
Then I tell him, "okay, give me hugs" which he does and within seconds, things are fine and he goes back to what he was doing.
That's it. No anger. No frustration. No "if I tell you one more time..." for the tenth time. Loving, consistent discipline. The kids know exactly what to expect. They aren't "afraid" because we finally get fed up and blow our tops.
One note here: you should not allow your kids to PUNISH YOU after you discipline them by allowing them to scream, holler, wail, thrash about, run off, etc. It serves no teaching purpose to discipline them and then let them rebel and throw a tantrum. Our kids understand they can CRY all they want after a spanking, but any temper fits because of getting a spanking will only result in another spanking. Once your kids know this, you will end the "after-spanking melodrama".
The key is consistency. Don't do the "15 chances until I lose my temper". Every instance of disobedience, defiance and disrespect should be met with routine, predictable discipline in various forms appropriate to the child's age, maturity and personality. It is not always spanking, but too many parents exclude spanking often with the nice sounding excuse of "my kids really don't need it". Granted, I've seen some kids who never need spanking but they are the exception, while most parents today pretend it is the RULE.
We use spanking, time-outs, extra chores, loss of privileges, talking to, standing in the corner and variety of other creative tactics teach the kids discipline, again, appropriate to age, maturity and personality because there is no "one thing works for all kids".
I will say this, with both honesty and humility, our children are well behaved, polite, respectful and good kids whether at home or out in public. All our friends will testify to that. We have no worries about going out to eat, going to Walmart or attending Church. They have their moments, sure, but overall we are not concerned at all about taking them anywhere, or having people over.
Let me finish this answer by restating our philosophy: firm discipline (expectations, rules, boundaries, self control, respect, obedience appropriate to age, maturity and personality) bathed in extravagant love and affection.
Whew... I probably ran off alot of people right there. My parenting ideas are from the Dark Ages evidently.
Our six year old son came home from kindergarten yesterday very upset because his friend told him he does not believe in God. I told him we should pray for his friend. My husband thinks it’s ok to tell our son that there are many ways to Heaven, including just being good, nice, etc. (my husband grew up Catholic and we have very different views on this). I don’t think we should lie to him but I think it’s a lot for a six year old to be worried about. How would you handle this in your family?
We would tell our children that not all people choose to believe in God. God WANTS everyone to believe and gives everyone the same offer of eternal life, but most people will say either “I don’t choose to believe in God”, or “No God, I would rather live my own way.”
We certainly would not poison our kids with the absurd and illogical idea that “there are many ways to heaven”. This is not being “tolerant”, it’s suspending your brain. I’ve addressed that here:
It’s not “too much” for a six year old if the six year old is the one thinking about it. We just have to be appropriate for their age and maturity. Tell them the simple truth, and then let them dig deeper if THEY want to. But six years old is not too young to simply say “Son, not every person chooses to believe in God and this is sad. Hopefully, when they get older and understand what is means to reject God, they will change their mind.”
Has anyone ever told you that Abby is sick because you don’t have enough faith to believe for her healing or that her illness was caused by a secret sin in your life or that cancer found its way to your doorstep because you allowed it by not praying enough? Christians can sometimes be so cruel and thoughtless.
Yes, we’ve been told many times our lack of faith, “negative confession” or lack of belief keeps Abby from being healed. We’ll just have to join the millions of martyrs, heroes of the faith in Scripture, Christians, disciples, Apostles and even the Lord Himself who have all suffered in this life as believers in God. If they “didn’t have enough faith” to be perpetually healthy and wealthy, then I’m proud to join them in my “lack of faith”.
There is much misguided, false and destructive teaching about “faith” today that is more metaphysical, Eastern and New Age than it is “Scriptural”. I know the teachings of “word faith” and “divine healing” to an exhaustive depth, so it is not a matter of being “uneducated” about the topic. This is not the forum to write a refutation of it, but suffice to say many FAITHFUL and genuine Christians today have their trials and grief increased by well meaning but undiscerning Christians who tell them they are suffering in some way because of their “lack of faith”.
The Bible is replete with stories and accounts of the most faithful people in all Biblical history who suffered, were sick, persecuted, in poverty and even died. This alone should be enough to cause one to question this ideal of perpetual divine health and overflowing wealth THIS SIDE of heaven.
Do I believe in “divine health”? Do I believe in “abundant life”? Absolutely. We are promised these things as Christians but they will be granted in PHYSICAL fullness as part of our heavenly reward… we have it SPIRITUALLY now, and PHYSICALLY in heaven.
Okay- I was thinking of asking this question to Angie (over at Bring the Rain), but since you all OFFERED...! Do you believe that God has His mind already made up about everything and that no matter how many people pray or how hard they pray, He will not change His course? Both Mckmama and Angie have talked about this briefly, but I have to be honest, it never crossed my mind until they mentioned it. I just assumed that we could have an impact. What is Gods purpose for prayer?
It depends on the VIEWPOINT. If we look through GOD’s EYES, then NO He never changes His mind in reality, because His Will is always done, and any decision He makes will come to fruition even if that decision appears to involves “changes” of decision. That’s looking at it from God’s viewpoint who is outside of time and physics.
From OUR VIEWPOINT, God does change His mind based on what we do. We can pray to change God’s mind. We can repent and God might change His mind about some punishment He planned. There are plenty of examples of this in Scripture.
Many of these difficult questions about God can be more easily understood if we learn to see things from BOTH views: from God’s view (to the degree we are capable of seeing it from His viewpoint), and from OUR view as we experience life and a relationship with God.
For example, from God’s view, He knew and determined from the “beginning of time” what the outcome would be for Angie. He also has determined what the outcome will be for Stellan and Abby. His “decision” WILL come to pass no matter what anyone says, does or prays. That’s because God’s “decision” was made based on full knowledge of everything that would or could ever happen, be asked or be prayed.
From OUR VIEWPOINT, we don’t know God’s final will for Stellan or Abby. So we pray. We ask God. We petition Him to “change His mind” about Abby having Leukemia or Stellan’s heart problems. We can indeed “change” God’s mind or cause Him to act because the fervent prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective, accomplishing much. That is from OUR view.
That is the best way I know how to explain this irreconcilable truth (one of many in Christianity).
Mandi from Montana asked:
When you were little, both you and your wife, did you plan on having so many children? Is it something that just happened or was it just Gods plan?
We both always wanted family and kids. It didn’t happen exactly the way we have planned, but we are blessed to have our heart’s desire now.
Hi, this question concerns the bible and religion in general. I will say that I am very active in my faith, I live each day that I may make my calling sure. I strive for unity amongst the people of God, and I was wondering your take on the religious world. In 1 Corinthians 1 he calls us to all be unified and to all speak the same thing, yet religion out there today is very divided. I am interested to know your beliefs as to why this is, and maybe open discussion on this. Thanks for your time.
We have so many “religions” simply because man has decided that God’s Word is not the final authority and the single source of genuine absolute eternal Truth. Once you throw out a single source of Truth, then anyone is free to make up a “truth” as they see fit. The idea that all religious ideas and “truth” are equal is categorically illogical and absurd. I write more about that here:
1Corinthians calls us to be unified IN GOD’S TRUTH. Unity, for unity’s sake, is simply all of us agreeing there is NO real truth. True Biblical unity can only be achieved when people agree that the source of Truth is the Bible, and we unify around it’s teaching. It doesn’t mean we agree on every point because God gives us liberty in most of faith… but it does mean we agree with the core essential truth of salvation, and we agree on black and white statements of truth (ie. “don’t steal”, “don’t commit adultery”, “be a cheerful giver”).
The real “unity” that the Bible speaks about and God desires is unity around the fact and person of Jesus Christ. The single fact we are to be unified in is that salvation is found in no other person or way than Jesus Christ. This is the “unity” that Scripture encourages.
In the end, you are judged ALONE by God as to your response to Jesus Christ. Unity is important as we live our faith but unity comes AFTER our personal response to the issue of sin and being separated from God.