Yesterday evening I went to our Church building for our Self Confrontation study. We have just finished the part in it about child rearing. Stephen had said that he would go up north to a good bookshop and buy a selection of books based around family devotional times. Well, he did as promised and when I got home last night I got into the bed and started reading one of them.
It's called 'World-proof your kids' by Tim Sisemore with Ruth Sisemore and published by Christian Focus Publications Ltd.
So far it seems like an excellent read and I have underlined many passages. Here is just a taste.
In this first part Tim is discussing pure and undefiled religion as set out in James 1:27... Then he moves on to a trap some of us fall into...
"Many of us would say pure religion consists of a shortlist of dont's - don't watch certain movies, don't take drugs, don't miss church services, don't smoke and so forth. These are comfortable, for they focus on specific external behaviours that make it relatively easy to have 'pure religion'.
Or we might define it more positively by certain do's.' Pure religion would then be that I read my bible every day, I give thanks before every meal, I pray for my family, I listen to Christian music. This is a little more difficult, but doable.
Or maybe we might boldly combine aspects of the two. Still, these are fairly convenient and make us feel to readily that we have obtained our goal"
"Many children's programs portray violence as humorous and justified, while video games push the limits of our tolerance, the latest ones including the portrayal of cannibalism."
"The Christian faith is not intended to give us an advantage in reaching the goals those around us share. Rather, it focuses us on different goals altogether: God and His glory."
"We do well to consider the fruit of the Spirit as goals for our children, and to examine the ways of the world as they would hinder these fruit. Our children will be best kept unstained by the world if we... and they... are actively seeking God's fruit in their lives."
Tim goes on to discuss some of the reasons why some of are children are leaving the faith (or rather, why genuine faith did not take root in their lives) and says that some parents tell their children that if they become Christians they will not have problems, they will get good grades, make money, find the perfect spouse etc, and he says...
"It is almost as if we try to convince our children that God will help them have the things their flesh lust after."
"Sexual stimulation is as near as the television set, the Internet, the lyrics of popular music, or simply looking at the skimpy or sagging clothes of the other kids at school. This area is a downfall in many Christian homes, for parents as well as children. Parents may allow children to dress immodestly, tolerate sexuality on television, or even join in sexual jesting in an effort to be as 'cool' to our kids."
Here, Tim mentions the fact that maybe our kids are not converted.. Strong (but good) stuff.
"The most troubling sign in our prodigals is a lack of conflict in their souls. One wonders if such young people are in the Kingdom of God, and our prayers should follow that implication."
This is just a small sample of what he has written in the first chapter. I am looking forwards to finishing the book and then going back over it with my husband.
Another book I am reading at the moment is an old one I read within the first year of my salvation and felt it was so good that I wanted to read it again. It's a brilliant book about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. It's called "The Other Comforter" by Theodore H. Epp and is A Back to the Bible Publication.
For a bit of lighter reading I am dipping into "Men of Purpose" compiled by Dr Peter Masters who is pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. (Where Spurgeon was also pastor in years gone by)
It tells the stories of well known men and their conversions, such as the founder of a food empire - Henry J. Heinz, composer Felix Mandelissohn and Michael Faraday, a brilliat and renown scientist. All of the stories are, so far, good reading!