Close

Encouraging and Engaging (e2) Christ-Centered
Media for the Church and the "Christ-Curious"

  • CONNECT WITH US
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

We have a lot of questions from parents of prodigals, and those parents want to walk wisely. Dennis, a father, writes in: “Pastor John, thank you for this podcast. I have a 16-year-old prodigal son who has left our home and walked away from Christ. I struggle to know whether I should generously financially support him in the world, like the father in the prodigal son story. Or, unlike what it seems Eli should have done, should I take a more strict position in relation to my rebelling son? The prodigal was given his inheritance, blew it on lewd living, and returned home in repentance. Eli’s sons were wicked, lived in all sorts of sin unchecked and unrepented of, and they died for it. Abundant grace or strict restraint? What should the father of a prodigal do especially in regards to finances?”

I love the way he has already thought a lot about this and thought about it from the Scriptures. Frankly, I wish I had precise and clear answers, but let me say what I do have, and maybe the Lord will use it in some way.

One of the things that makes a relationship with a prodigal so difficult and complex is the interplay between passages of the Bible concerning church discipline and passages concerning parenting. One of the hard church discipline issues is that, on the one hand, we have a call, for example, not even to eat with someone who is a professing believer and living in immorality (1 Corinthians 5:11). And on the other hand, normal expectations of what godly parenting is might make that kind of guideline very difficult to carry through. And there are many other kinds of ambiguities as we try to sort through the special role of a parent in the life of a child who will not submit to his parents’ authority any longer or doesn’t believe any longer in what the parents believe.Should a Christian parent give their rebellious child money?

So, with regard to financial help for a prodigal, I can’t see that there is just one rule that applies to every situation. It seems to me that there are so many factors that make a difference. How old is he? How serious is his sinful behavior? And what are the effects of it on others and the harmfulness of it on himself? Are there elements of respect remaining in his heart? Is there departure? Was his departure ugly rebellion or just a more honest difference of conviction? Is he eager to get on his own feet financially, or is he just aimless and simply mooching? And on and on the questions go that we have to ask.

The reason I think these questions matter is because they are the sort of thing we have to ask about all of our generosity towards others, especially those who mistreat us. I am thinking of Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:38–42,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

However, as radical as those are — and I will circle back to that radicalness in just a minute — it is plain that from the Bible itself that there are structures of society, spheres of society where the Bible puts limits on those teachings. For example, in the family, children should obey their parents and parents should discipline their children rather than always turning the other cheek (Ephesians 6:14). In government, the state has the right to punish criminals rather than turning the other cheek (Romans 13:14). In schools, teachers have a right to give failing grades to students who don’t do their work. In businesses, employers have the right to see that employees fulfill their expectations in order to earn their salary; otherwise, they could lose their jobs. In the church, people can be excommunicated. But when all those spheres of life are taken into consideration, Jesus did mean something radical when he said, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” and when He said, “Give to the one who begs from you.”

So, the older I get, the more inclined I am to take those commands more literally than I once tried to justify myself in not doing. I don’t think there is a simple rule that will dictate when you help a prodigal financially and when you don’t. On the one hand, you want to show the child that Jesus is your all-satisfying treasure. And any withholding of money which might be wise in any given situation is not owing to stinginess or fear or greed or insecurity. It is owing to a desire to do the child good. We want him to see that. And that would mean that parents would look for other ways to continually do good to the child.

I think that is a significant principle that, if you have to say no in one area because the child’s expectation is harmful as you see it, you try to help him see your heart is still there for him by pouring yourself out in other ways. You will continually reach out to him rather than write him off. You will continually offer yourselves even if you don’t offer your money. And that may be much more difficult. To get on a plane and go across the country might be much more difficult than wiring money. You will go out of your way to be there for the child.

And, yes, at some utterly surprising moment, you may give him a wonderful gift that is not designed to advance his sin, but lavish him with grace in the hopes that God might open his eyes. Above all, I would just say to this parent: Immerse yourself in the word of God and join hands with your spouse in continual prayer for wisdom and love and boldness and even joy while your heart is breaking. And I think God, out of that, will show you the way forward.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

This is one of the most important questions we’ve gotten in the Ask Pastor John inbox, and it comes to us from a listener named Jesse. “Dear Pastor John, in a recent episode (#948) you note that: ‘God sent his Son into the world to suffer with us and for us. This means that, if we trust him, none of our suffering is punishment for sin. Christ bore all of our punishment for sin.’ But there are very real consequences for our sin in this world, both on ourselves and on others, both for believers and unbelievers alike. For example, financial hardships following selfish overspending, or sexually transmitted disease following promiscuity. How do we see this as discipline and not punishment? And what really is the difference between the two?”

Is Pain Punishment for My Sin?The difference between God’s discipline of his children and God’s judgment on his enemies is an infinite difference. So, I hope I can help Jesse feel the difference, because it is so important for his or her own walk of faith.

So, let me begin by defining the difference with a cup full of biblical passages — just two. And they are massively important. When I speak of God’s judgment upon his enemies, I am referring to the misery that he brings upon them, not for any purifying or restoring or rehabilitating purposes, but solely to express his holy justice, his retribution, not restitution. And it is purely on the basis precisely of what the enemies deserve. It is not to demonstrate mercy. It is to demonstrate righteousness and justice.

For example, Revelation 16:5–6,

“I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, ‘Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!’”

So, there is the mark of pure retributive justice. It comes upon the sinner solely because of what they deserve, not because of any good that the punishment will do them.

You can see it even more clearly in Revelation 19:1–3, because here the judgments are eternal, not temporary. So, clearly they are not helping at all for a person to become holy. They are punishing him for not being holy. Here is what it says:

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’ Once more they cried out, ‘Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.’”

So, this is what I am talking about when I speak of God’s punishment upon sin in contrast to the discipline of God’s children. It is what the guilty deserve. It is holy and just retribution, and it is eternal. Therefore, is not designed for rehabilitation. It displays God’s justice, and it highlights how valuable mercy is to those who receive it.

On the other hand, God describes his discipline for his children very differently and extensively in Hebrews 12:5–11. Listen how different this is:

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him” (Hebrews 12:5).

Notice, this is discipline, not retribution. This is happening to God’s son, whom he loves and means to improve, even though it involves God’s displeasure. You can see that in the word reprove. And it goes on:

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (Hebrews 12:6–10)

There is the great difference: “for our good, that we may share his holiness.” That is different from punishment on God’s enemies. “For the moment all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

So, I say again: There is an infinite difference between the painful things that come into our lives and discipline us — designed for our good that we may share God’s holiness as loved children — and that terrible experience of pure retribution where we simply bear what we deserve and experience God’s justice forever. It is called hell. And, of course, Jesse — and this may be the stumbling block — Jesse is absolutely right that many of the painful things in the Christian’s life are owing to our own sins: some that we committed before we were Christians, and some that we have committed since we have been Christians.

When Jesse asks, “How do we see this as discipline and not punishment?” it sounds like he may be making the mistake of thinking that God’s disciplinary action can only be the result of our righteous behavior through persecution, maybe, and God’s punishment comes only as a result of unrighteous behavior. Now, that is not the case. God’s discipline may indeed come from our own sinful behaviors and their consequences as Christians. And you can see this in 1 Corinthians 11:30 and following. Some Christians had sinned. They had really sinned in the way they had treated the Lord’s Supper. And here is God’s response:

“That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died,” — died for their abuse of the Lord’s Table, their sin. Christians sin. They died for it.

He goes on, “But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord” — meaning: ill, weak, death — when we are judged by the Lord — “we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31–32).

Amazing. This is a stunning example of God’s disciplinary judgment that goes so far as to bring about the death of his child. And that death is the disciplinary effect of sin in the child’s life because it keeps him from going to hell. It says, “that we may not be condemned along with the world.” That is why he took us out. Amazing.

So, Jesse, there is an infinite and precious difference between God’s retributive justice in punishment and God’s purifying discipline in our pain. And that difference does not lie in the origin, the human origin of the pain — whether good or evil. It lies in the purpose and the design of God in our suffering.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Welcome back to the Ask Pastor John podcast with longtime author and pastor, John Piper. Pastor John, here’s the next question on the list, and it’s a heavy one, an email from an anonymous man: “Pastor John, did God cause, or would God cause, my wife to miscarry our child because I have a struggle with lust and pornography? I have a lot of guilt right now, and I don’t know how to think about God’s discipline and punishment for my sin. I’m very confused, please help.”

Wow. I see four issues at least in this question.

  1. What does it mean to struggle with pornography?
  2. Does God discipline his children for their sin?
  3. May that discipline come in the form of harm, or even death to others that you love?
  4. What should you do if you believe God has dealt you such a blow?

Let’s take those one at a time.

  1. What does it mean to struggle with pornography?

I don’t know what our friend, unnamed, means by “struggle.” He struggles with pornography. It might mean daily bondage of joining sinners on the screen in their wickedness by supporting them with our interest and our attention and our pleasure and then feeling guilty about it when we are done every day. I don’t think that is much of a struggle. Calling it a struggle is a little less damning than what it really is; namely, capitulation and participation.

Or, he might mean that he conquers the temptation 99 times out of 100 and in a moment of weakness gives in, but quickly turns away and repents. That may be what struggle means. That would be a little more meaningful to call the world struggle. Whatever he means, I am glad he calls it sin, which he does, because Jesus takes this sin so seriously, he uses a horrible picture to describe the warfare against it — and the worst possible warning against failure in the war.

Here is what he says: “If your right eye causes you to sin” — so he is talking about lust — “tear it out and throw it away.” What? With a screwdriver? This is gross. This is horrible. What? Your fingernails? “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). So, tearing out the eyeball is the most horrible description of the nature of the warfare, and hell is the most horrible warning of failure in the warfare. So, I doubt that any of us has ever overestimated the danger of failing to fight lust. And I am glad that our anonymous questioner has called it sin and is feeling bad about it.

  1. Does God discipline his children for their sin?

Does God discipline his children for their sin? Yes, he does. This is described, perhaps, most fully in Hebrews 12. He even speaks of bloodshed if necessary as the price we might pay for our sin. “Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:5–6). It never feels that way. But we need to believe that because the Bible says so. God says so.

It is very important to remember that this book of Hebrews 12 is the same book that in 10:14 says, “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” — that means in the warfare.” Perfected. In other words, God can view his children both as perfected by Christ and still in need of perfecting in this life. And we should take tremendous heart from his painful perfecting work as evidence that we are perfected.

Or, we can add with trembling: He may see us in need of such protection from temptation that he takes our life. That is what it says in1 Corinthians 11:29–30, “Anyone who eats and drinks [the Lord’s Supper] without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” Fallen asleep means died. “But when we are judged by the Lord” — that is, put to death — “we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32). That is breathtaking. In other words, death, the death of a saint, the death of one who is perfected, the death of one whom he loves, the death is the discipline of deliverance from condemnation. God takes him out so that he will not be taken out by the devil and by sin and go to hell. So yes, the Lord disciplines, and his ways are not to be trifled with or made little of.

  1. May that discipline come in the form of harm, or even death to others that you love?

May that discipline come in the form of harm, even death, to others that we love, as well as ourselves? And the answer is yes, it may. This was certainly the case with David’s sin of adultery and murder with Bathsheba and her husband. Nathan the prophet said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). And then the next thing, “Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord” — and surely that is what pornography is — “the child who is born to you shall die” (2 Samuel 12:14).

So, I would certainly say in my own life — now hear this carefully — I would certainly say in my own life, the most painful and humbling disciplining from the Lord has regularly been though the pain and suffering and sometimes death of those I love, rather than through any blows against my own body. Oh, that we only suffered in our own body. This has been the way the deepest Christians have always thought about the losses through the death of those they love. Jonathan Edwards preached numerous sermons about the way the Lord disciplines a church by taking away a godly pastor in death. Edwards’s godly wife Sarah spoke about kissing the rod of God in the death of her 54-year-old husband — a rod of discipline that she felt more than anyone. She called it a rod of God on her back. And she kissed it.did-my-lust-cause-our-miscarriage

Every loss that we endure as sinful children of God have two designs: one from Satan, one from God. Satan designs our unbelief and rebellion and renunciation and guilt and paralysis and loss of faith. God designs our purification and that we would hope less in this world and more in God who raises the dead.

I don’t know whether our friend who wrote this question lost his child in miscarriage as a direct discipline from God because of his pornography. I do not know. He does not know. I do know that in the loss of the child, God wills a new humility and a new submission and a new faith and new purity through the pain of this loss.

  1. What should you do if you believe God has dealt you such a blow?

Here is the fourth and final thing: What should you do? What should this person, this man, do if he believes that God has dealt him such a painful blow? And the answer is not in doubt. Many things are in doubt. Many things are uncertain in this situation. But the path of gospel obedience is not uncertain. The glorious truth of the gospel is that we never need to be sure whether a specific suffering is owing to a specific disobedience. You don’t need to know this. You don’t need to figure this out. I have dealt with so many people over the years who come into my office longing to know whether there is some connection between some pain and some sin. And I always start and end with the fact: You don’t need to know that.

And the reason we don’t need to be sure about that is that the gospel forgiveness and gospel righteousness imputed through faith in Christ does not depend on that certainty of understanding. It depends on Christ and on faith in him. We don’t need to be sure about the connection between our particular sufferings and our particular sins in this life, because the death of Christ is sufficient to forgive the worst sin in spite of the worst suffering. That is the glory of the gospel.

So, what our friend must do in this confusion — he says, “I am confused.” Okay, so I am saying, what he must do in his confusion is stop fretting about whether his pornography was the direct cause of his miscarriage. He should stop fretting about that. He will never know for sure the answer to that question, short of some direct revelation. Whether he knew it was or wasn’t, the lesson remains the same. The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. And God’s merciful design for our friend is that he worship. Blessed be the Lord (Job 1:21). Worship more deeply the way Job did.

God also designs that he renounce sin more fully the way Job did and that he lay afresh on the power of the Holy Spirit to flee all temptation and that he renounce in the presence of his wife for her joy that he is done with this sin.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

School Circle Slider v1

This week, Justin and Vince talk about discipline.

For some people, it just comes natural to be disciplined in certain areas of their lives. For example, some people are born as readers and morning people. So, to get up early each morning and read their Bible is actually easy for them to accomplish. Those who are not so inclined might look at them and marvel at their discipline.

For guys like Justin, he can be super disciplined when it comes to garage work and it is no surprise to see him work with dogged determination until the wee hours of the morning. But, just don’t ask him to mail a check. That’s just too much of a task.

So, Justin asks this question:

Can we count the disciplines that come easy to us as wins and can we still grow from them, even though they reside within our comfort zones?

Vince has a mixed answer: Yes, you can count them as wins, but growth happens when you become disciplined in areas that you are not already disciplined in. this is why it is both good and practical to fellowship with other people – especially those who are ahead of you in the “discipline game”. As Proverb 27:17 tells us:

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

We can emulate our friend’s disciplines and be encouraged to grow. Whereas without that fellowship, we are left to ourselves and will most likely fail.

Both Justin and Vince have stories about being on deployment, in the heat of battle, where either their discipline helped save lives, or their lack of discipline jeopardized lives. There are moments, whether in battle or every day life, when our practice disciplines turn into live-giving or live-changing actions.USMC Infantryman

Now, God will not force us to practice certain disciplines. He may prod us and encourage us, but He will not force us. But, it is critical for us to remain discipline and learn new disciplines as we mature in order to help draw other people to God and to glorify God.

One thing to remember – especially when we fail – is that our lack of discipline does not equal our loss of salvation. Our experience in eternity may end up being “less glamorous” than if we remain disciplined, but our salvation is guaranteed through our faith and by God’s grace.

And, discipline on all levels are part of God’s plan for our lives. For example, Hebrews 12:11 tells us:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline is important to better us. And we are better people when we understand this, as we read in Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but he who hates reproof is stupid.

So, how can we kickstart ourselves into leading disciplined lives?

  1. Start small. Get rid of the clutter on your desk, or throw out the shoes you own that don’t have a matching partner. If you try to make too many gigantic changes in your life all at once, you are setting yourself up for failure. Many experts say that the first easy step is to make your bed when you get up in the morning. This starts your day with a new discipline from the very first second you rise.
  2. Get yourself organized. Understanding your own schedule leads to respecting other people’s time and to-do lists help put your objectives in perspective.
  3. Don’t constantly seek to be entertained. Don’t be a constant consumer. You need to produce something. Our hands need to work, our mouths need to speak. And, believe it or not, silence can truly be golden!
  4. Be on time. This goes hand-in-hand with getting organized. What’s interesting with this one is that people who have no problem getting somewhere on time are the ones most offended by people who arrive late. And vice-versa… those who are chronically late are most graceful when someone else isn’t on time. But, according to Justin (and Ephesians 5:15-16), being disciplined in your usage of time is a sign of spiritual wisdom.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

  1. Keep your word. Many of us are “people pleasers” and can’t stand saying no to someone. But this often leads to over commitment, forgotten promises and other things that result in an eroded integrity.
  2. Tackle the most difficult tasks first. Now, you may think that this runs counter intuitively to our first step of starting small, but if we spend all our time doing the easy things and we don’t handle the difficult yet necessary things, we will go nowhere in life.
  3. If you start something, finish it. Complete your own unfinished projects. And, if you discover that you’re in over your head, get help.
  4. Accept correction. This is so much easier said than done. It takes a thick skin to allow yourself to be made better. Yet, when you receive advice from trusted people, you need to remember that you trust them because they have your best in mind.
  5. Practice self-discipline. We must have control over our bodies. Ask yourself if your will or your passion (your mind or your heart) runs your show. And if you don’t give in to your temptations, you also learn yet another escape route for when the temptations arise again. One win can be so incredibly rewarding!
  6. Welcome responsibilities. Don’t be one of those guys who want the most reward by only performing the least amount of work. Evaluate your new opportunities and challenges as a time to make the most out of all of the nine previous steps. Your rewards will be unending!

And finally, Vince closes this week with inspiration from Isaiah 32:17,

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Christian teaching about church relationships, men and women relationships, parent and child relationships within blended families

We all have them. In first marriages when you add children after the marriage, it’s natural to work out your roles, who does what and when. But it’s a different story in blended families where you have two separate households that may have been operating quite differently from one another. What are your expectations for the new household? You each have them and you better talk about them.

The man may want a mom for his kids and he may expect her to do all of the cooking, cleaning and taxiing. The woman may want a man to increase her standard of living and be a great dad for her kids, loving them as much as she does. We dream of the big day and expect things will be a certain way once we say our “I do’s”. But are our expectations realistic? Are my and my partner’s expectations even close?marriage expectations 1

I’m going to ask some questions for you to consider before you get re-married. If you are already married, consider these questions as they may reveal an area you need to focus on in your relationship. The problem may be that your expectations are miles apart.

  • What household jobs belong to whom?
  • Who is going to pick up the kids and cart them around?
  • Who is going to cook dinner?
  • Who will take care of the finances?
  • Are we going to combine our money or keep it separate?
  • Who pays for what?
  • How much will we spend on the kids for Christmas and birthdays? This can become a problem if one of you likes to go all out and the other wants to keep it simple.
  • Do we have the same parenting styles? This area can make or break a re-marriage.
  • What time should the kids go to bed? One spouse may love to put the kids to bed early but the other lets them stay up late. These little things may seem insignificant but are important to consider and come to an agreement on before the marriage. These are the things that can cause resentment and fights.Stepfamilies1
  • What about when your spouse has a problem with your child, how are you two, as a couple, going to handle it? If you don’t have an agreement, you may end up feeling torn between your children and spouse.
  • What are your individual expectations for the kids?
  • And are those expectations different from what they are used to? If they are drastically different, you may unknowingly be creating resentment in your child toward your new spouse. If your spouse likes the kids in bed earlier than you do and you compromise on a new bedtime for the kids, it might be wise to let them enjoy some quiet time in their room before lights are required out so they don’t resent the new bedtime.
  • Do you expect your partner to make you happy or is that your responsibility? If you are not happy before the marriage, you probably won’t be happy after the marriage.
  • How is your communication? Can you discuss issues rationally and come up with a solution? If you expect communication problems to dissolve after you marry, I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t. But obviously, this area can be worked on and improved but it’s easier to do so before the marriage.newlywed_fight

I have actually had couples decide to put off the wedding for a period of time, after examining their expectations together, until they could come to an agreeable solution for both parties. Better to work on them before the marriage than after.

If you or someone you know is considering re-marriage with kids, I would recommend pre-marital coaching to examine these areas. I would consider it an honor to work with you so that your re-marriage will get off to a great start.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Parent Like You Mean It Slider FINAL

There is one thing in this world that may very well be the single most important thing we can give to our children.

We can give them a safe home to live in, which would indeed offer them a firm foundation to build their futures on. Their natural needs would all be provided for: shelter, clothing, food & water. A safe home is a tremendous offering for any parent to give any child. Taking it to the next level, sharing healthy meals together can be considered paramount in the same vein, which would establish a sense of security that they can grow from. This is all very good, but not THE most important.

Three excited kids look happily into Christmas gift

Those familiar with Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” are familiar with the term “Quality Time”, and the importance of devoting not quantity, but quality time to our children. I’m talking undivided attention, free from the distractions of work and other aspects of life. Important? Yes. Indulgent? It could be. Very few things have contributed to the development of a self-entitled and self-centered generation more than an overabundance of quality time devoted to them. When they know that they have become the center of your schedule and your world, they begin to, even subconsciously, expect that same treatment from everyone everywhere. So, no… while I absolutely see its value (coming from a man whose wife’s primary love language IS quality time), it’s not the most important thing we can give our kids.

Few people in the modern era expressed the keys to raising boys to become men better than the sage, Coach John Wooden. Especially when he said, “The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.” You gotta hand it to the man. Not only could he develop goofy college athletes and transform them into athletic, cultural and groundbreaking leaders, he knew that the core of it all begins with an example of a strong marriage at the homefront. However, where I break with Coach Wooden is who this applies to. Unfortunately, in today’s American society, there are so many broken, blended, and single-parent families that this “best gift” simply doesn’t apply to 100% of American households. Therefore, if EVERYONE can’t give it, I can’t rank it as THE most important thing we all can give our children.

Sticking with the college scene, some people say the best thing we can offer our kids is an opportunity, which comes through an education, or simply knowledge. As someone whose parents gave me this very list, I can tell you first hand that it is extremely valuable. I wouldn’t be here writing this today if it weren’t for the opportunities I discovered while pursuing my education and the skills that I learned there. But, without discernment and wisdom, knowledge is actually of very little value. Without work ethic, opportunity only goes so far. So, I’m sorry all you professors out there, education, knowledge and opportunity do not top my list.

And my apologies also extend to you workhorses out there. As I just said, discipline, work ethic, an understanding of finances and responsibilities are what bring value to knowledge and opportunity. Yet I have known many people as poor as paupers who I would rather model my children after than I would some of the wealthiest individuals I’ve known. The size of someone’s bank account means nothing if that someone isn’t generous beyond measure.

Which brings us to grace and mercy. Along with giving our kids forgiveness and showing them the power of an apology, there are very few things that could be more important. We want our children to be humble and understanding. We want them to be able to admit when they are wrong and accept the consequences. We also want them to avoid vengeance and anger, which too often manifests itself as gossip, lies, and slander. So, like so many other things listed here, forgiveness, grace and mercy make the Mount Rushmore of gifts we can give our children, but still something ranks just a bit higher.

Many people I asked this question to offered the instillment of virtues such as honesty, respect, honor, and trust. All with the aim of gaining understanding and patience. These things are all critical, and I would agree to each of them, especially when it comes to my desire for my little boys to grow into strong men who exemplify each of these. However, there is still something that I view as even more important than these, if you can believe it!Time Magazine OverParenting

What about adoration? Now, I hesitate to ever use the word “love” in this post, simply because there are so many different definitions that people use for one single word. Therefore, I’ll use adoration. Now, similar to quality time, I see the absolute value in letting your kids know that you adore them with all your heart. That you would give anything in the world for them, including your own life. But, what happens when they become aware of this and there is little else behind it? Left to its own, “child-adoration” quickly turns into “child-obsession” and the object of our obsession transforms into spoiled, self-consumed snowflakes. So, while I say, yes… love your kids. Without a doubt, love them! But be careful when the outpouring of your love morphs into an unhealthy fixation. Therefore, no. I don’t rank adoration at the top of the list, either.

I asked my kids and a few others this question recently, and their answers were actually quite amazing in their honesty and in revealing their priorities at that moment. The seven-year-old replied “Toys! Lot’s of TOYS!”, while the teenager simply asked for a new iPhone. Now, parents can easily laugh off these answers and attribute them to greedy little kids. But, as Chapman also wrote, receiving (and therefore giving) gifts is a valid love language. Yet within every language, some words are more valuable than others. To a lawyer, the word “affidavit” means much more than the phrase “28 millimeter prime”, yet a photographer holds that phrase much more dearly than they do “affidavit” (unless the affidavit is filed against them, which is when they call the lawyer… but I digress). Bottom line is that gifts have their place, but it’s not at the top of the list.

The top of any mantle is ideally a crowded place, with a relationship with Jesus Christ right there. For any Christian home, there is no higher aspiration than to know that your children have made the decision to secure their place alongside Jesus in eternity. But, to be terribly blunt, that’s not your gift to offer. It’s not your decision to make. It’s theirs. Now, you can offer them Godly guidance and a Spiritual foundation equal to no other, but I have known many, many people (even raised by two of them) who came from no foundation whatsoever and yet still place their eternal hope in Christ. So, if I’m looking for the singular, most important gift that EVERY parent can give to EVERY child, I gotta say that this doesn’t sit at the very, tippy top.
No, that top spot, as I just hinted at, is the one thing that very well may be the root of all the things I have listed above. Without this one gift, many of the above items are in vain, while many others cannot even begin to come to fruition.

So, what tops my list of the single most important thing we can give to our children?

Hope.

When we instill hope into our kids, they learn to endure all of life’s tragedies and strive for all of life’s successes. They maintain that optimistic glimmer in their eye, even while in the lowest of valleys, thanks to an eternal worldview that reaches beyond what we see here in front of us. Hope gives them the patience to wait for quality time, so that they don’t become self-centered. Hope within a child in a single-parent family assures them that they can love and be loved “til death do us part” when they become adults. Hope gets them through those tough adolescent and college years, through breakups and midterms; as well as it pushes them onward to graduations, promotions, and accolades. Hope heartens an intern to seize a position in the mailroom, then onward to the boardroom, ever moving forward, spurred on by hope. Even virtues like honesty, respect, honor and trust all derive in our hope for the best in our fellow man and in ourselves. It drives us to be better people and to see the best in others. Hope even makes us giddy when it comes to receiving gifts. Have you ever seen the look on a child’s eyes just before they open up a Christmas present? That’s pure hope personified. And, for the Bible-believing Christ-followers who have endured on to this point in my musings, it’s hope that is at the foundation of our faith.

As Romans 15:13 says:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

So, go on. Love on your kids (however you want to define love), give them all that you can. But be sure, at all times, to instill in them hope!

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Christian teaching about church relationships, men and women relationships, parent and child relationships within blended families

Blending Your StepFamily – Christian podcasting and video

We all have pressures and things in our lives that we wish were different. None of us escape. Some seasons are easier than others and sometimes we may enter a season of life that is so good that we hope it never ends. But as the saying goes “All good things must end.”

That’s how Sara felt when she married Bob. She felt she had found the most wonderful man in the world and she was excited to become Amy’s step mom. She would have a real family. She made plans to cook meals, to drive Sara to her after school activities; she would make a home. It would be wonderful. Sara had made a point of having “girl time” with Amy often so they could begin to develop their own relationship. They would go shopping or to lunch or get their nails done. At first, Amy responded well to Sara. She seemed to want to have time with her and she said she liked Sara. But soon some changes in attitude in Amy happened which puzzled both Sara and Bob. Amy didn’t want to do anything alone with Sara anymore and she would barely speak to her or respond when asked a question. Sara began to feel like a failure as a step mom even though she has tried to show Amy nothing but love and acceptance. Sara cannot have kids of her own so Amy is someone she wanted to invest in and be part of her life.

So what might be going on with Amy? And notice, none of these reasons have to do with something Sara is doing wrong.

  • Amy’s age, she is a young teenager and teenagers begin to break away from the family.
  • Loyalty to her birth mom may stop her from wanting another “mom” relationship
  • Her birth mom may be jealous and putting pressure on her
  • She’s feeling pressured (from her father perhaps) to have more of a relationship with Sara than she is ready for.

Whatever the reason, what can Sara do? She can focus on the negatives of the situation or she can choose to focus on all of the positives in her life. Her life is not perfect, the relationship with her stepdaughter at this time is not what she had expected or wanted but she has many blessings she can focus on and enjoy.

Sometimes we can get consumed with the one negative in our life so much so that it consumes all of the good in our life.

So it’s a choice. What am I going to focus on?   Some people think they can’t help what their mind thinks about. But that’s not true. We can choose where we let our minds go, we can actually decide to feed our minds “good food” rather than “junk food”. Think about what your thinking about. And if it’s not positive, if it’s not bringing you peace and joy, then refocus.

While Sara is focusing on the positives in her life, she can continue to pursue Amy. She can continue to invite and try to engage in conversation. But she should not take offense when she doesn’t get the response she’s looking for. Amy must be respectful to Sara but she really shouldn’t be forced to have a relationship beyond what she is ready for.

To give hope to Sara for her and Amy’s future relationship, I have seen it time and again that once kids grow up and leave home, they realize the blessing of their parents and want more of a relationship. That includes step parents, especially step parents that show an interest in them and are approachable. I have a great relationship with my step daughter now that she is grown, but I must say, our relationship during her teen years was not what I would call close.

If you are having difficulty focusing on the positives, write down five good things in your life right now. And focus on them, keep them before you and create an attitude of gratitude for each one.

If you are having a battle in your mind to get past something painful or just can’t seem to focus on the positives, call me. Life is too short to let the blessings slip by while focusing too much time and energy on what’s not right.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.  (Philippians 4:8)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Christian teaching about church relationships, men and women relationships, parent and child relationships within blended families

Blending Your StepFamily – Christian podcasting and video

Unfortunately, it’s quite normal to experience feelings of resentment from time to time in blended families but they need not cause a breach in relationships if you address the issues and move forward.  Real problems start however when you hold on to feelings of resentment.  They will choke out the life in your relationships and could ultimately destroy your family.  Resentment means to re-send the offense or irritation over and over again to your thoughts and emotions and it could lead to a root of bitterness.  The enemy loves to help you keep resentment alive so it’s important to identify the cause of your resentment and let it go.  1 Corinthians 13:5 says Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs.

One mom I spoke with had waited a long to have a child of her own.  Her stepkids lived with their mom and came for visits every other weekend.  She liked that arrangement and it was working for them.  But when she finally delivered her baby, her step daughter asked if she could move in with them.  They said yes but this stepmom soon became resentful that her time was divided between her baby and her step daughter.  She felt she had waited so long for a child of her own and when she finally got her, she didn’t get to devote all of her time to her.  She resented the time and energy her stepdaughter needed from her.  This caused a major rift between her and her stepdaughter who sensed that she did not want her there.  It also put her husband right in the middle of the battle, a place he didn’t want to be.

If you’re hanging on to resentment it’s time to let it go.  Identify what causes you to feel resentful.  I heard of one stepmother who strongly resented her stepdaughter, not because of anything the girl had done but because her husband treated his daughter like royalty.  This stepmom felt her needs always came second. The root of the problem was not the daughter’s behavior, but rather the way the husband responded to his daughter.  This is a couple issue: the husband should make his wife feel she is his priority after the Lord, of course, and together they can make the daughter feel loved and important.

So take the time in your couple relationship to make each other feel loved, special and a priority.  Nurturing your couple relationship can reduce a stepparent’s feelings of resentment towards their stepkids.  Reassure your biological children that the relationship you enjoy with them will always be important and never replaced.

Also, a stepparent could feel resentment if they are continually expected to meet the practical needs of his or her stepkids without having much reward in return. As the parent, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and work on behalf of your kids.  Also,  negotiate roles and responsibilities with your partner and ensure a stepparent has time out for themselves.

Resentment is a matter of the heart.  It is not of the Lord so that means it is of the enemy.  Choose today to let it go and not re-send the offense to yourself over and over again.  You are the one who is being made miserable by it.  Make a plan to change things if you need to, you are not helpless and you can have charge over this problem.  Set up the appropriate boundaries and if you are resenting your stepchild because you are jealous of them or you have not bonded with them, those too are choices.  Resentment of stepkids will eventually effect negatively the couple relationship.

If you need help in letting go of resentment or setting boundaries, I am available.  Contact me at www.nouveaulifecoaching.com and lets get free.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Get your game plan ready.

“When it’s just the two of us, we have a great relationship. Add the kids and that’s when we have problems”. I have heard this grievance more times than I can count.

Remarriage with kids can be very difficult to say the least. Birth parent and child do things a certain way. They understand each other. They know what is expected of each other and have a relationship that works for them. But then you bring in new spouse who is also a new stepparent and they are shocked to find that you don’t do things the way they do or think you should. They don’t understand why you are not more firm or in some cases more lenient with your child. They do things certain ways and expect the house to be run a certain way. But it’s not the way you have done it and it’s not what your child is used to. The stepparent wants the house run the way they think it should be run and you want to continue running your home the way you’ve always run it.

At first, the differences may seem insignificant. But as you settle into your new life, they become more important. Discipline styles may become an issue if you have different approaches and values.

There is no other challenge greater to stepfamily success than the ability of the couple to parent from the start as a team. Stepparents must join their partner in raising their child, they need to find their role and not take liberty in crossing boundaries. They need to know their limits in authority and receive their power from the birth parent so they can contribute in parental leadership, guidance and later on friendship.

Enforcing rules without having an established relationship cause resentment and anger in the child. By an established relationship I mean, one where the child knows you like them and you have earned their respect. Taking the time to develop a relationship with your stepchild is crucial to the family. Not only will the stepparent and child benefit but your marriage will benefit. So for the sake of your marriage, if for no other reason, try to figure out a way to develop a good relationship with your stepchild. Your spouse will love you for it.

On an earlier podcast I described the different types of parenting styles. You can listen to them on the podcast called “Parenting Styles”.

Before you are remarried, it’s very helpful to discuss how you parent, what your expectations are for your new partners role in parenting with you, and of course what the new stepparents expectations for their role in the new family unit. It makes life easier for all to come to an agreement before you enter into the new roles. If you didn’t get to do this with a coach, it’s not too late. I am available to assist you in getting your family on the right track again. Many of the issues in families are couple issues. If the couple can be in agreement and walk together in unity, the whole family benefits.

I look forward to hearing from you at my website. Click the contact us link and then the email button. Or contact me directly at pamrohr@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you and may God bless your efforts as you blend your stepfamily.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Hi, I’m Jefferson Drexler – a dad of four boys who daily tries his darndest to avoid saying things like “don’t make me turn this car around” or “one more peep and we’re all going home” not because I don’t want to sound like my parents, but because I simply don’t want to have to follow through on such killjoy threats – and this is a bonus episode of Parent Like You Mean It – the podcast where we talk about parenting with intentionality and purpose. Now, I had to throw this one in ahead of schedule, just because of the timliness – or seasonality of it.

Just like the “Annie” podcast I posted earlier this week, this episode stems from a column written by Yahoo Parenting’s Rachel Bertsche. It’s called “Parent’s Punishment for Kid After Christmas Earns Mixed Reactions”, and here’s what Rachel wrote:

In the lead-up to Christmas, plenty of kids are warned: misbehave, and Santa won’t be stopping by. But few parents have the kind of follow through that was highlighted on Reddit over the weekend. On December 26, Redditor bdy2013 posted a photo of a receipt for a Wiii U Console with Super Mario 3D World Bundle Pack– which includes a Wii U console and two video games – with the store’s note:  “Initial Problem Description from POS [Point of Sale]: Son Was Put on Naughty List, Had to Watch It Being Returned.”

The receipt, which was posted under the heading “Parenting done right” on Reddit, received nearly 400 comments — many of them mixed reactions. Some posters, like StarryMari, applaud the parent. “Good for those parents,” she writes. “Sometimes, you have to do stuff like this to send a message.” But others think the punishment was too harsh. Redditor Shinjuki writes: “There’s negative reinforcement and there’s humiliating your kid. This isn’t good parenting.”

Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, says that returning the console – which retails for $300 – might have been extreme. “We don’t know the whole story, of course. Did the kid act up one time and do something really bad? Or was it weeks or months on end and the parents were pulling their hair out? Still, kids need rewards to work toward, so simply taking away his video game and allowing him to earn it back instead of returning it entirely might have been a better option,” Morin tells Yahoo Parenting. “That would be a way to encourage a fresh start rather than saying ‘here you could have had this and now you don’t get it at all.’”

But what if the parents had warned their son that this could happen? “Empty threats are never helpful,” Morin says. “But all parents have said things that are too extreme – like, ‘you’re never leaving the house until you’re 18’ – that went overboard. It’s important to say, ‘I overreacted. I was mad.’ And, in this case, ‘I’m not going to take the video games away forever, but you need to earn it back – and continue to earn it every day.’”

This isn’t the first case of public shaming posted on social media. More extreme examples include a father a who posted a picture of his daughter forced to wear pink barrettes, a Sophia the First backpack, and a shirt that said “I’m 10 Years Old” when he caught her secretly dating a boy and posting on social media. Another mom, after getting frustrated that her daughter refused to brush her hair, shaved her daughter’s head and posted the photo on Facebook. Morin says, “Public shaming in general isn’t a good tactic. When you do things to shame kids it damages their self-esteem, and the worst they feel about themselves, the more likely they are to misbehave. Kids who think ‘I can’t do anything right,’ tend to live up to that expectation.”

Still, in this case, Morin says at least the humiliation wasn’t especially public. The son’s name or face wasn’t posted online, and the image seems to be posted by a cashier at the store rather than a parent.

In the Reddit comment thread, plenty of users posted their own stories of Christmas gifts returned for misbehavior, so one thing is pretty clear: Whether or not he gets to play with it, the son will likely remember this gift forever.

Alright. My turn.

First off, I totally agree with Rachel’s last sentence: Whether or not he gets to play with it, the son will likely remember this gift forever.

I absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt know for a fact that this is true. How do I know? Because just last week at my family’s Christmas dinner, my 39-year-old brother shared how he still remembers when he had to hand in his Christmas toys when he was a boy. This moment left an indelible mark on my brother, my parents, me, and now my wife and our kids.

My brother was six-years-old and got caught peeking at his Christmas presents. My mom scolded him, told him not to do it again or else he’d be punished, and sent him on his way. Sure enough, the very next day, he did it again – and got caught again – and got in trouble again (this time with a wooden spoon). To show that my parents were sincere about the seriousness of his disobedience, they told him that if he peeked again, he would have to take them back himself. Surely, he had learned his lesson, right? Well, maybe… for about 24 hours. Because the next day, he did it again – was caught again – and you guessed it… went with my mom with a box full of unwrapped toys that he, himself, had to drop into the Toys for Tots bin.

Now, my parents were very clear. It wasn’t his peeking at his toys that was the cardinal sin – it was his blatant disobedience to Mom and Dad’s direct command. And the punishment wasn’t so much about not peeking as it was about honoring our parents. AND it wasn’t something they wanted to do at all – in fact they gave him three chances to avoid this punishment – but he forced their hand and my parents never bluffed.

So, the next year – and every year for the last 32 years – my brother’s Christmas gifts come in gift bags that are stapled shut. Discipline gone too far? Sounds to me like many Reddit posters would think so. But, here we are 33 years later, retelling the story like it’s Dickens’ Christmas Carol with an even more “front burner” of a moral – don’t peek or you’ll be sorry! REAL SORRY!

My point is this: by no means do I endorse abuse: not physical, nor emotional, nor verbal. But just because the kid’s behind, feelings or self-esteem is hurt doesn’t mean they are being abused. Good lessons come out of good pain. Some lessons, especially ones that need to be taught to stong-willed children – need some especially good pain. Now, by “good”, I don’t mean severe. I mean appropriately measured that stands on the loving side of the discipline/abuse line. But here’s the key – when it comes to “creative discipline”, that line is kind of subjective. Pretty much no matter how far away from the “abuse” line you think you are, there’s going to be somebody there who is quick to say you went too far. But only you know your kid. And, trusting that you and your spouse are approaching the discipline of your kid with the intention of developing their character and values in a loving way, then you should know the most effective way to teach them the life lessons that they will remember throughout their lives.

As my friend, Pastor Matt Tague put it: “Life has consequences – both positive and negative – so, growing up and learning should, too. For example, if you show up to work late too many times, you will face a write up or worse by your employer. Likewise, patterns of poor choices may need to be corrected by appropriate consequences from you – your children’s manager.”

Now, we’re not saying “terminate their employment as son number two”. But, if returning the Wii U – a game console no child on this planet is entitled to, by the way! – teaches him the lesson he needed to be taught in order to become a young man full of integrity and honor, then teach away Reddit Mom! That’s what I call Parenting Like You Mean It!

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Podcast Directory - Audio and Video Godcasting
  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • easysite large
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc