Righteous Expecation

pbf150720.gifcomic from Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch via www.gocomics.com

Growing up in the Midwest, you would hear rumblings about a potential snow day.  It would start with a classmate at recess, then maybe confirmation from your teacher, and finally, your parents would spill the beans that yes there is a possibility.

Going to bed, knowing there is a possibility, was almost like Christmas Eve anticipation.  Trying to force yourself to sleep. Then jumping out of bed, running to the window to see if there was some white gold on the gold. If there were snow, the radio and television would be turned on to the look at the closures announcement.  Our school district started with “W,” and I grew up in a large city, it could take awhile to see our the districts name.

Then finally, “Washington Local Schools – Closed”!!!

We would jump up for joy, thinking more video game time and getting to watch Price is Right. But not so fast, sometimes Mom had plans, whether it was going shopping, heading to grandma’s house, or being attended by another adult.

All that expectation ruined by the possibility of something good.  There are only a few things worse than expecting something, then having those expectations and dreams broken by a different reality.

But the Bible speaks of the promise of having the right expectations.

Proverbs 10:28 say’s “The hope of the righteous is gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.” (LEB)

The great hope of the righteous is the afterlife, and placing your expectations of this great promise brings gladness.  How can this be?  The most straightforward answer is that having an afterlife focus, should make you live a life about others and not about you.  And when your life a selfless life, then you will have a sense of gladness and purpose.

The other opposite is true as well, as a pastor, I’ve gone through enough counseling sessions dealing heartache and brokenness.  And the primary culprit of this pain is selfishness.

“I want…”

“I desire…”

Selfless brings gladness while selfishness brings pain. And that is why we must fight the urge to be all about “me,” and more about the “we.”

You can’t expect your day to end up the way you wanted it to, but you can hope in God’s promise of everlasting life.

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Comparing Families And Five Practical Guidelines For Disciplining

Comparison is human nature. Being a person who loves sports, can’t play a sport, but I love watching and following them, comparison fills almost every aspect of following sports. James compared to Jordon. Manning compared to Elway/Montana. Tiger compared to Nicklaus. Comparisons are everywhere and across all sporting news.

Comparing two sports figures, from two different eras, is a fun and a great time waster topic of conversation because it is completely subjective and has no way of being proven to be correct. Unless time travel gets invented, but comparing can be troublesome especially when we start comparing our life with others. For example, the mentality of “keeping up with the Jones” is a great way to get yourself in money troubles because you covet someone else’s lifestyle.

The type of comparison that I want to talk about is when we start comparing our children, especially in regards to how they behave. When our children are misbehaving or just being goofy, it is easy compare our children with others.

Being a father of two boys, who for the most part are good especially in public. We do get a lot of compliments about our children “sitting well” or “being polite,” which make me very proud.  But they are not good all the time.  Sometimes when my children act out, and I can go into doubt of my parenting skills.

When we start comparing our family with other families it can become troublesome, because no family is perfect or has it all together.  Sometimes we can wonder if we are doing something wrong, so we start to follow how someone else does family life.  This can be bad because not every family is the same, so adapting to their lifestyle can cause more headaches because it will take more effort and commitment to change your whole family.  There are times when we should change our mentality, but I think for many families, it is important to steer the course in your current discipline methods.

But what if I am doing for discipline isn’t working?

There is not one method that is 100 percent, but here are some practical guidelines

First, set realistic expectations and limits. Your children will never be perfect, so don’t expect them to be perfect. An example, is that your children won’t hear you all the time, so don’t discipline for not paying attention especially after the first time. Discipline only to alter bad behavior, like being disrespectful. But also be realistic on limits, you can’t ground the child for life. Also, not every discipline should result in something severe. For example, a parent who is always yelling at their kids only teaches that yelling is the proper way of communication. If you yell for your child to brush their teeth, then how will they know how to get their attention when something serious is happening like crossing the road. So be realistic.

Second, never discipline with threats or out of anger. Threats and anger are ways to bully your child, and it has no place in the house. If you do get mad or make a threat, you should be an adult and apologize to your child when you calm down.

Third, consistency. If they get disciplined for disrespecting their mother, you cannot disrespect her as well. Sounds like common sense, but I know men who speak ill of their wife behind their back, that is disrespectful, and it reinforces the behavior. Also be consistent on what is punishable and what isn’t.

Fourth, prepare for consequences. Everything has consequences, so be ready for crying, screaming, and headaches. Sometimes parents won’t discipline, because they don’t want their children to disrupt their routine?   Do not fear the consequences, expect them.

Finally, always discipline for a child to grow. Do not punish just to punish. Discipline is like a savings account; you put the effort now, for a better future for them later. Discipline for the person you want your children to become tomorrow.

Whatever method of discipline your family uses, make sure it follows these practical guidelines.  Do what works best for your family and never compare them to others.  God has given you these children, treat them well.