a puritan's blog

O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs…

Category Archives: counseling


Another temptation is their own prosperity: they think God when He prospereth them is not so angry with them as preachers tell them: and it is a very hard thing in health and prosperity, to lay to heart either sin or threatenings, and to have such serious, lively thoughts of the life to come, as men that are wakened by adversity have; and specially men that are familiar with death. Prosperity is the greatest temptation to security and delaying repentance and putting off preparation for eternity. Overcome prosperity and you overcome your greatest snare.
(Christian Directory, Baxter)

To the man who says ‘I find God in nature.’

The man who says that he does not need church in order to worship God is disingenuous. He claims that he finds God in nature–in the sunset, in the bloom of a violet, but his quest is only half the store. A violet in not nature.

You see nature has both violets and vipers; both the fragrance of a rose and the fangs of a reptile. You cannot have one without the other. To find worship in nature one must worship both and not just one. There is too much violence in nature to claim there is enough God to worship there.

Nature says to us–“There is a God–and you are without excuse!” But man needs more than that. He needs a personal Redeemer, and nature cannot satisfy that need. Nature knows nothing of forgiveness. You need a church which raises high the message of that Redeemer who gives forgiveness of sin.

Some people say they like to worship God in nature instead of a church. To them I say:

Nature knows nothing of forgiveness.
Its rules are relentless and ruthless
It brings swift retribution upon those who break its laws.
It teaches no moral codes
Savage tribes have lived with nature for centuries only to produce cannibals.
Nature has a voice but it has no heart.
It offers no solution to man’s greatest need–sin
It makes no mention of a Savior.
Really there is no comparison between God’s witness to Himself in creation and His witness to himself in Redemption. Creation tells us something about the work of his hands–but Calvary tells us about His Heart!

Michael A. Smith
(Thank you, Mr. Smith for allowing me the privilege of posting your weighty and true statements. May GOD receive the glory…!)

Disciplining your children

Dr. Dobson says spanking is not effective for boys past eight or nine.  They can take more pain because they’re stronger and then the spanking becomes abuse and an attempt to hurt.  However, with further consideration, spanking/discipline is never intended to cause pain or for punishment, that would be Law based, Old Testament based.  Rather discipline is for instruction and correcting, in love and grace.  Furthermore, spanking is used because the child has disobeyed what you have previously told them concerning lying, stealing or whatever the sin.  Spanking should then be one, maybe two swats’ on the butt at the most (over the clothes).  It is not a frenzy of licks…you get the point.  Other forms of discipline are to be administered in love and not out of momentary anger.

Anyway, the teaching my wife and I have been studying is by RC Sproul Jr., called Bound for Glory and it is about Covenant Family.  In it he goes through a simple, reverent and loving way to discipline:

The scenario: His son is caught hitting his sister.

Father: “Son, did you hit your sister?”

Son: “Yes.” (Do you notice the honesty? What happens if the child lies?  Well, if you have proof, ask them the question and before they answer suggest that you saw what happened.)

Father: “What has daddy told you about hitting your sister?”

Son: “To not to.” (I am thinking about Mater in the Disney movie Cars. Yeah, we can chuckle a bit…)

Father: “What else have I told you?”

Son: “That I am to protect my sister.”

Father: “That’s right.  Were you protecting your sister when you hit her?”

Son: “No”

Father: “What does God tell you about obeying your parents?”

Son: “To obey your parents in the Lord for this is right… (Ephesians 6:1-3)”

Father: (keep asking questions to draw out the full scripture that he has previously memorized, one that you have deliberately taught your child.)

Father: “What is the other scripture that God has told us and that you have memorized?”

Son: “One of the 10 commandments, ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land… (Exodus 20:12)”

Father: “That’s right.”  (Again, these scriptures have already been taught to them and memorized.  If this process of teaching and memorizing has not been done up to this point, now would be a good time to start.  But remember, you cannot hold the child accountable for anything you have not taught them.)

Father: “Because you have disobeyed what I have told and what God has told you I will spank you so that you can learn to obey.” (Proceed to give one, maybe two swats with the rod of correction)

Embrace the son, show affection as this is part of the learning process.

Consider: As parents and as natural-born sinners ourselves, we want to keep and get sin out of our house.  For some reason we get so angry when someone sins against us but hardly notice and lightly care when we sin against someone else.  But this is more about self-love than God-love.  So, we tend to spank harshly and abusively as an attempt to rid sin.  But grace allows for sin, to a certain degree, because by sinning and consistent instruction (law) we learn what is right, if discipline is done in an instructive way.  Get the picture?  Scripture teaches us that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).  Our goal is not to rid the child of sin.  We could never do that.  Rather, it is to instruct in godliness and righteousness.

Then after the embrace:

Father: “what else does the Bible teach us about sin?”

Son: “That if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)”

Father: “That’s right.” (Teach them that CHRIST has taken our punishment, thus, discipline is ultimately a means to remember that)

Here you can teach a bit more and point to what actually Christ Jesus did on the cross for us.  Remember here that as fathers we are also sinful and need a gracious and loving Father to lead us to righteousness.  We are not above this process of learning, being instructed in grace etc…  Christ has taken our full punishment on Himself and this needs to be instilled in the hearts of our children and ourselves.

A good website for further teaching is here and here (the second link here is a video – look to the right side of the page, you’ll see it).

Fathers, the greatest encroachment or transgression of GOD’s command to you is that you would provoke your children to wrath in discipline (Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21).  This is to be a gentle, confident, deliberate and loving act on your part.  Remember while you are disciplining your child reflect frequently on how gentle GOD has been in disciplining you.  Remember it is His mercy that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Lament your own sin and remain broken before the Lord on the part of His mercy towards you.  This is the only way our flesh will not rise up in anger for our child’s 1000th disobedience on the same, exact thing.  Lovingly and with feeling express to him the scripture and that above his or her disobedience of you they have disobeyed GOD and that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive.  Fathers and mothers, remember your many disobedience’s against GOD and His many mercies toward you.  Repent and keep on repenting until you die; teach your children to repent and repent quickly until they die.  You will have done your job and will have a good report to deliver to our GOD, the King before whom we will give account.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed (crushed, KJV), because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

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