Category Archives: Cautiousness

Discipline – A Biblical Balance

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

When it comes to child discipline there are two extremes.

There are some who teach spanking as the predominant aspect of Biblical child rearing, but it’s not. It should be the exception rather than the rule and only when they have intentionally disobeyed. Don’t discipline a child for just spilling a glass of milk if he didn’t intentionally do it on purpose.

The key factor in child rearing is not discipline – if that’s you’re emphasis then you’re headed for trouble. The key factor in child rearing is to win the child’s heart (Proverbs 23:26; Malachi 4:6). If you discipline without having the child’s heart then you are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion. The more you have of your child’s heart, the less you will need to discipline.

There is also a fine line between discipline and abuse. If you discipline in anger then you have stepped across that line (Proverbs 22:8). Don’t ever discipline a child if you’re angry. And if you do, you need to take responsibility for your anger and you need to sincerely ask that child’s forgiveness. You may also need to make yourself accountable to your spouse or church leadership.

The other extreme refuses to discipline at all. The parents themselves may have been abused. They may have witnessed the frustrated mother exploding in the grocery store and they associate any form of physical discipline in a very negative light. But the right kind of discipline is not negative – it’s positive. There is nothing violent or abusive about discipline if it is done Biblically.

The motivation of Biblical discipline is not to punish but to teach the child. Proverbs 29:15 says “The rod and reproof give wisdom…” It would be inapt for a parent not to correct his child’s math allowing him to believe that 1+1=3; but it is also inapt for the parent not to correct his child’s selfishness and disobedience allowing him to believe that his inappropriate behavior is acceptable.

The Bible is very clear that God expects parents to discipline and teach their children. It’s not the job of the school, the day-care, the church or even the state. It is the parent’s responsibility to “… bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Don’t Trust Emotions

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

To the postmodernist, personal experience is supreme.

“It doesn’t matter what the Bible says,” our children are being told via the media and our education system, “do whatever feels right and follow your heart.” The problem with following your heart is that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9). God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). In fact, God’s will is usually the very opposite of our natural inclination (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Emotions are a wonderful part of the way that God has made us; but emotions cannot be relied upon in the decision making process. Emotions and feelings can be wrong, and they can be so powerful that we often end up following them. One day you can be on the mountain of happiness; the next in the valley of despair.

What happens if you make decisions based on how you feel? Some weeks you’ll feel like coming to church, other weeks you won’t. There’ll be times you’ll feel good about your marriage and there’ll be times you won’t. On occasions you’ll feel like serving others but most of the time you won’t. There will be some people that you will find it possible to forgive, but there are others that you won’t.

That’s why our decisions need to be squarely based on Biblical truth and not on the roller coaster ride of changing emotions. That means you love your spouse even when you don’t feel like it. You go to church when you don’t feel like going. You need to serve others rather than waiting on others to serve you. And you forgive even when you don’t feel like forgiving. We need to think Biblically and do what is right regardless of how we feel.

The word “emotion” is not found anywhere in the Bible but the word “feeling” is. The first time the word “feel/feeling” is used is in Genesis 27:21 – “And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not” – and with that feeling Jacob was deceived. Emotions and feelings can easily deceive us. That’s why our decisions need to be based on the absolute, unchanging truth of God’s Word.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Making decisions apart from the Word of God is like making a decision in the dark. And making decisions in the dark can lead to some regrettable consequences.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Role of Leadership

Parents and teachers have the responsibility to teach their children safety rules such as “look both ways before crossing the street,” “don’t talk to strangers,” “don’t run with sharp objects,” and “buckle your seat belt.” Thorough instruction, however, goes beyond the rules to provide reasons and examples. Stories of cautious decisions and rash mistakes can create lasting impressions. With enough warning, one generation might avoid the mistakes of the previous generation.

Character First! Education Series 3

God’s Ways Are The Opposite of Our Natural Inclinations

 

Natural Inclinations God’s Ways
1. Reject unchangeable physical or family features. Accept these as God’s means of developing inward character, and thank Him for them.
2. React to parents and others in authority who do not give us what we want. Recognize that God has established all human authorities to praise those who do good and punish those who do evil.
3. Cover our secret sins and failures so others will not think less of us. Humble ourselves by confessing faults, asking forgiveness, and making restitution were appropriate. “Before honor is humility” (Proverbs 15:33), but he that covers his sin will not prosper (see Proverbs 28:13).
4. Reject our offenders and eagerly hope that they will be damaged. Forgive those who offend us, and look for ways to benefit their lives.
5. Claim ownership of our possessions and use them for our own pleasure. Dedicate our possessions to God, and use them to advance His Kingdom.
6. Reprove those who fail to respect our personal rights. Yield our rights to God, and thank Him for whatever happens beyond our control.
7. Enjoy the pleasures of sensuality and lust. Dedicate our bodies to God as “living sacrifices” and daily yield our bodies to Him.
8. Desire to be rich so we will have security, nice possessions, and the praise of others. Purpose to be a “giver” rather than a “taker,” and learn how to serve others to make them successful.
9. Lead your family by asserting your authority. Look for ways to serve each member of your family.
10. Choose friends on the basis of what they can do for you. Invest in the lives of those God has brought into your life.

Many of these ideas taken from The Power for True Success 

How Cautious Are You?

  • Do you screen the kinds of magazines, book, videos and other influences that come into your home?
  • Do you have adequate protection on your home internet?
  • Do you have friends or activities that are wrong influences on you or your family?
  • Do your Seek God’s will for every situation?
  • Do you ask for counsel from wise and experienced people?
  • Do you learn from the mistakes of others?
  • Do you think about what you are going to say before you speak?
  • Do you consider the right timing for doing a good deed?
  • Do you realise how your actions will affect others?
  • Do you plan ahead and count the cost, especially for big endeavors?

-Ideas from the Character Clues Game and The Power for True Success

How to Demonstrate Cautiousness

at Home

  • Deciding if the family has enough money for major expenditures – before making them.
  • Forseeing negative influences in a semmingly good opportunity and avoiding them.
  • Seeking counsel from one another before finalizing decisions.
  • Judging an activity by whether or not it would encourage good character.
  • Asking the owner’s permission before taking or moving his or her belongings.

at Work/School

  • Being careful to choose the right kind of friends.
  • Recognising that every extra-marital affair begins by giving inappropriate attention to members of the opposite sex.
  • Avoiding compromise by purposing to be true to God’s standards.
  • Listening to the cautions of your wife regarding business decisions.

at Church

  • Avoiding listening to gossip or “bad reports” about church leaders or other members.
  • Making sure there is always another person present when counseling members of the opposite sex..
  • Guarding against compromise by maintaining the highest standards in relation to music, dress, etc.

Character Definitions of Cautiousness

  • Learning that unfamiliar situations may contain danger. Gaining adequate counsel before making decisions. Seeing future consequences of present actions. Learning to detect and avoid evil and ungodly people. Recognizing temptations and fleeing them. (Character Clues Game)
  • Knowing the importance of right timing in accomplishing right actions. (Character First!)
  • Cautiousness is planning for the success of a venture by following the ways of God rather than my natural inclinations (The Power for True Success)

Bible Verses Related to Cautiousness

Spend an evening (or several) looking at just one of these verses at a time. Discuss with your family what each verse or story teaches about the character quality; and give vital application of how this quality can be applied to your family. Choose several verses to memorize together as a family during the month. Since the English word “cautiousness” does not appear in the Authorized Version, we have included a list of verses which relate to this important character quality.

  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
  • Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
  • Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
  • Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent [man] covereth shame. {presently: Heb. in that day}
  • Proverbs 14:29 [He that is] slow to wrath [is] of great understanding: but [he that is] hasty of spirit exalteth folly. {hasty…: Heb. short of spirit}
  • Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.
  • Proverbs 16:25 `There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.
  • Proverbs 16:32 [He that is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
  • Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife [is as] when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
  • Proverbs 19:2 Also, [that] the soul [be] without knowledge, [it is] not good; and he that hasteth with [his] feet sinneth.
  • Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and [it is] his glory to pass over a transgression. {discretion: or, prudence}
  • Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent [tend] only to plenteousness; but of every one [that is] hasty only to want.
  • Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
  • Proverbs 29:20 Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him. {words: or, matters?}
  • Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter [any] thing before God: for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. {thing: or, word}
  • Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  • Isaiah 55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  • John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
  • John 7:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
  • John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
  • John 11:54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
  • Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  • James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

The Monkey’s Clenched Fist

In North Africa the natives have a very easy way to capture monkeys. A gourd, with a hole just sufficiently large so that a monkey can thrust his hand into it, is filled with nuts and fastened firmly to a branch of a tree at sunset. During the night a monkey will discover the scent of food, and its source, and will put his hand into the gourd and grasp a handful of nuts. But the hole is too small for the monkey to withdraw his clenched fist, and he has not sense enough to let go of his bounty so that he may escape. Thus he pulls and pulls without success, and when morning comes he is quickly and easily taken.

Choose Your Words Carefully

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

I recently came across an article written by a 76 year-old man. He wrote:

“Late at night, my father waited alone for the train that took him to a factory where he worked the night shift. On this particular night, I waited with him in the dark to say good-bye. His face was grim; his youngest son had been drafted. I would be sworn in at six the next morning while he was at the factory. My father didn’t want them to take his child, only 19 years old, to fight a war in Europe. He placed his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You be careful, and if you need anything, write to me and I’ll see that you get it.’ Suddenly he heard the roar of the approaching train. He held me tightly in his arms and gently kissed me on the cheek. With tear-filled eyes, he murmured, ‘I love you, my son.’ Then the train arrived, the doors closed him inside, and he disappeared into the night…and I left for boot camp. One month later, at age 46, my father died. I am 76 as I sit and write this. I once heard someone say that memories are man’s greatest inheritance, and I have to agree. I’ve lived through four invasions in World War II. I’ve had a life full of all kinds of experiences. But the only memory that lingers is the night my dad said, ‘I love you, my son.’”

Isn’t that incredible? You’re never too old to tell your children that you love them. And you need to!

How we need to bless and encourage and praise those around us. If all our children are hearing from us is negative and criticism then we are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion in the lives of our sons and daughters. James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Someone has suggested that it takes ten praises or affirmations just to counteract the damage caused by one negative, critical remark.
Words are so powerful. We have the opportunity to encourage, to bless and to affirm. Choose your words carefully. Make each one count. Purpose to speak words of life and encouragement to those that the Lord brings across your path today!

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Man’s Anger Is Always Wrong

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath…” (Ephesians 4:26).

The initial emotion of anger is not sin. It’s a signal. Everyone experiences certain physiological symptoms that accompany the emotion of anger. These may include teeth grinding, fists clenching, flushing, paling, numbness, sweating, muscle tensions and temperature changes. This is God’s way of alerting us that we are about to do or say something that we will regret. If that anger is not quickly and Scripturally dealt with, it will turn into wrath and become sin.

Our anger is wrong and will never accomplish anything good. James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Our anger will never accomplish God’s righteous purposes. Instead, it will leave a trail of broken relationships and wounded spirits.

One of the biggest reasons we don’t get victory over anger is because we feel we don’t need to. We feel justified in our anger. We feel we have a cause for our anger. We feel we have a right to be angry.

I heard of one man who explained the reason for his anger as: “It keeps the family in line.” He said, “I know it’s not a good way to raise kids, but it works. When I get mad, they quiet down and do what I tell them to do.”

That man’s approach will probably work for a while. But you cannot violate Scripture without there being consequences. If he is controlling his family with anger, he will ultimately pay a very heavy price because he is sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion in the hearts of his family.

Don’t justify your anger by calling it “righteous.” Don’t excuse it by labelling it as “passion.” Anger is just plain wrong; and if we have hurt or damaged others by our anger, then we need to take responsibility for it and ask for their forgiveness.

Be Careful Little Lips

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

The son of one of my college professors asked a very profound question about his little newborn brother: he said, “Mom, does he know who he is, or does he just lie there and think he’s nothing?” Well, of course, that little child doesn’t have the slightest idea who he is. The only way that little baby will ever know what he is like, whether he is worth anything or not, is to look in the mirror. And during those early years, that mirror is the significant people who stand around him, primarily his parents. A child’s self image can be either built up or torn down by the ones closest to him.

Criticism creates insecurities, bitterness and rebellion. Praise creates an atmosphere of love, joy and acceptance. A home that has a rebellious youth is often filled with a negative, critical atmosphere. That has to be changed!

It is amazing what a little bit of praise can do to encourage a son or a daughter. And if you can’t think of anything ask the Lord – ask your spouse – to show you areas where you can praise that child. Someone has said that even a conceited person has at least one good quality: he doesn’t talk about other people. So praise your child for even the smallest display of character.

And while you’re at it – it’s amazing what a little bit of praise can do to encourage your spouse as well, or your pastor or another church member. There is so much negativism and criticism around that people are desperate for any kind of praise and encouragement you might give.

Morris Hull, Home Life Miistries

Biblical Warnings Given to Christians

While recognizing the eternal security of every believer who has put his faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation, Scripture gives many warnings to Christians. These warnings have nothing to do with losing our salvation, (because our salvation is based entirely upon our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ); rather, they are concerned with the believer’s gain or loss. It is commonly believed that the Lord will welcome every believer into Heaven with a “Well done, good and faithful servant” regardless of how they have lived their Christian lives. The following verses, listed without comment, are stark warnings to believers that how we live our lives here and now, will have eternal ramifications.

  • Mt 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
  • Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Mt 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
  • Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
  • 1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
  • 1Jo 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
  • Re 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Be Alert to Signs of Anger

“Be ye angry, and sin not…” (Eph 4:26)

Many people have used Ephesians 4:26 to justify their anger; however, our anger is never justified. James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Our anger is always carnal and it will never accomplish anything good. The following Scriptures reveal God’s perspective on anger:

  • Psalm 37:8 says, “cease from anger and forsake wrath.”
  • Proverbs 19:19 says, “a man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.”
  • Proverbs 27: 4 says, “wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
  • Galatians 5: 19-20 says,  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, etc.”
  • Ephesians 4: 31 says, “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger… be put away from you.”
  • Colossians 3: 8 says, “but now ye put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication ….”
  • Titus 1:7 gives one of the qualifications for a church leader: “not soon angry.”  That means “not prone to anger.”
  • James 1:20 says, “for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

The initial emotion of anger and its accompanying physiological signs are not wrong. They are “red flags” that God uses to alert us that we are about to do or say something that will have devastating consequences. Some physical signs of anger include:

  • clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth
  • stomach ache
  • increased and rapid heart rate
  • sweating, especially your palms
  • feeling hot in the neck/face
  • shaking or trembling
  • dizziness

Emotionally you may feel:

  • like you want to get away from the situation
  • irritated
  • sad or depressed
  • guilty
  • resentful
  • anxious
  • like striking out verbally or physically

Be Alert to the Following Ways Parents Can Provoke Their Children to Anger

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) –

  • By modeling anger. Proverbs 22:24-25
  • By not having marital harmony. Hebrews 12:15
  • By consistently disciplining in anger. Psalm 6:1; 38:1
  • By being inconsistent with discipline. Ecclesiastes 8:11
  • By having double standards. Matthew 23:1-4; Philippians 4:9
  • By not admitting when wrong. Matthew 5:23-26; Job 32:2; James 5:16
  • By constantly finding fault. Job 32:2-3
  • By reversing God-given roles. Ephesians 5:22-24; Genesis 3:16
  • By not listening to the child’s opinion or the child’s side of the story. Proverbs 18:13,17
  • By comparing them to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12
  • By not having time to talk with them. Ephesians 5:18
  • By not praising the child. 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; Revelation 2,3
  • By failing to keep promises. Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:9; Psalm 15:4
  • By scolding him/her in front of others. Matthew 18:15; John 21:15-17
  • By giving too much freedom. Proverbs 29:15; Galatians 4:1-2
  • By being too strict. James 3:17
  • By making fun of the child. Job 17:1-2
  • By abusing them physically. 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7; Numbers 22
  • By calling them names. Ephesians 4:29
  • By having unrealistic expectations. 1 Corinthians 13:11