RickThomas.net 
29Jul
The most effective kind of parenting flows out of good marriages NS

The most effective kind of parenting flows out of good marriages

The most effective kind of parenting flows out of good marriages NS

Every counselor knows when a parent brings a rebellious teenager in for counseling, there will be a need at some point in the process to talk about the condition of the parent’s marriage. From a practical wisdom perspective, the most effective kind of parenting a child can receive comes from marriages that are biblically sound and God-centered.

The Bible is not a parenting book, which is why it gives so little parenting advice. It is a relationship book. Rather than providing us with parenting tips, it gives us a plethora of information about how to have great relationships within any community construct, whether it is marriage, family, church, business, friends, neighbors, or any other context where two or more people interact.

When you think about it this way, then the goals for all community constructs are essentially the same. Below is a list of a few goals or outcomes that most Christians have for the community constructs in which they belong.

Saved Obedient Holy Nice Loving
Selfless Respectful Honoring Giving Submissive
Self-controlled Well mannered Other-centered Intentional Entreat-able
Leader Careful Discerning Teachable Joyful

There is more you could add to this list or, if you wanted to, you could simplify it by stating it this way: “My goal for each person within my sphere of influence is Christ-likeness.” Jesus is the perfect representation of all of the attributes listed.

Without question every Christian parent wants their child to be a solid facsimile of Jesus, which leads us to the main question in this piece: what is the most effective way to teach a child how to be like Jesus? Paul answered that question this way:

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9 (ESV)

He appealed to his readers to use everything they had learned, received, heard, and seen in him for future reference. His hope was for them to be able to emulate his exported life in their moment of need. When he was talking to Timothy, he said it this way:

What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)

Paul knew the most effective way to teach someone was to export his life to them. He was a...

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28Jul
Who controls your life and what have you become NS

Who controls your life and what have you become?

Two bold and sobering truths: (1) Everyone is going to hell and (2) the LORD has setup the agency of humankind to let the whole world know there is another option.[1]

  • Do you believe in the exclusivity (Jesus is the only way to heaven) of the Christian message (John 14:6)?
  • If you do, then how are you cooperating with the LORD in letting the world know about this option (Romans 10:13-14)?
  • In the...

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    26Jul
    Radical marriage conflict resolution tip NS

    Radical marriage conflict resolution tip

    A few years ago I was counseling a couple who were angry with each other. Imagine that. There was a low-grade anger running underneath the surface of their lives that would spike every few weeks into full-blown arguments.

    During our counseling I asked the wife what was wrong with the marriage. Without hesitation or skipping beat, she gave me a long, clear, and detailed list of all the things that were wrong with her husband. Amazing.

    There was no question about it: he was a failure.

    Because I like to play fair, I then turned to the husband and asked ...

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    25Jul
    Ten questions to examine the real you NS

    Ten questions to examine the real you

    Most people come to counseling looking for behavioral change. There are things that are wrong in their personal or relational lives and they would like to see those things changed.

    The counselor and the counselee are in agreement–they both hope to see effectual, measurable, and observable change in the person’s life. Though their end goal may be similar, their understanding and methods for accomplishing the end result are almost always different.

    It is rare for a counselee to see the importance of working deeper than the surface of their lives....

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    24Jul
    Why it is easier to lie than to tell the truth NS

    Why it is easier to lie than to tell the truth

    Most Christians are Christianized enough to not tell big bold lies. We know better. It is morally wrong to not tell the truth. To willfully alter the truth to something that is not the truth should not be part of any Christian’s game.

    The difference between truth-telling and lying is easy to discern. If the sky is blue, we say the sky is blue. Only a fool would try to convince a person the sky is brown, when it is not.

    Then one may ask, “Should we rightfully assume Christians do not...

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    23Jul
    Watching my daughter die NS

    Watching my daughter die

    For the past two years, my family has been pursuing an adoption. In December of 2013, we finally brought home our first China Doll, Kya. My husband (Carlton) and I knew adoption would be tough, but we were not prepared for the roller coaster ride God had planned for us.[1]

    The LORD saw fit to only let us have Kya in our lives for less than six months, where most of the time was spent in the hospital. What follows are a few thoughts from a grieving mother as I watched our daughter...

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    23Jul
    Four reasons to praise God for your imperfections NS

    Four reasons to praise God for your imperfections

    Statistically speaking…

  • I will always labor under a predetermined ceiling of intelligence.
  • We are all going to become old if we live long enough.
  • None of us will be sinlessly perfected in this life.
  • Everyone is a hypocrite to some degree.
  • Most people will not make it to heaven.
  • Jesus died on a cross.
  • Our beloved Paul could not rid himself of his thorn in the flesh.
  • If you drop your cone of ice cream, it may land upside down.
  • My goal is not to rain on anyone’s parade,...

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    21Jul
    If your friend is not changing, consider this NS

    If your friend is not changing, consider this

    Ryan was living in a secret sin. Ryan is a Christian. Ryan did not tell anyone about his secret sin for many months and the longer he held on to his sin, the more frustrated, distant, and hardened he became.

    Eventually he was found out, which was a mercy from the LORD because Ryan had no intentions of telling anyone about what he was doing. He is a modern day David, in the sense of keeping sins secret.

    For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon...

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    20Jul
    Let’s free associate What kind of person do you not like NS

    Let’s free associate: What kind of person do you not like?

    Roll through the Rolodex in your mind, identifying the kind of person or people you do not like? Who is the hardest kind of person for you to love? Who disappoints you most often?[1] Poor people Gay people Black people Other non-white people Rich people Democrats Non-Christians People who sin differently from you Dumb people Arrogant people Overweight people God (yes, Him...

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    19Jul
    I had breakfast with a prostitute NS

    I had breakfast with a prostitute

    I was sitting in the back of a diner with some friends in Queens, NY in 1989. As I looked to the front of the diner I saw an emaciated woman, who appeared to be reading a pamphlet that we were handing out on the streets. Thinking more about my belly than her soul, I momentarily argued with the LORD about the wisdom in missing a meal to talk to a stranger.

    After relenting I went to the front of the diner and introduced myself to this woman. Her name was Pat Martinez. We chatted briefly and then I asked her if I could sit with her. She said she had nowhere to go, so it...

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