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Posts tagged ‘Trinity’

Know the Father; Seek the Son; Don’t forget the Spirit

Source:  Charles Spurgeon/TolleLege

“The Trinity” by Charles Spurgeon

“Endeavor to know the Father. Approach Him in deep repentance, and confess that you are not worthy to be called His son; receive the kiss of His love; let the ring that is the token of His eternal faithfulness be on your finger; sit at His table and let your heart rejoice in His grace.

Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son of God who although He is the brightness of His Father’s glory humbled Himself and became man for our sakes. Know Him in the singular complexity of His nature: eternal God, and yet suffering, finite man; follow Him as He walks the waters with the tread of deity, and as He sits down at the well tired in the weariness of humanity. Do not be satisfied unless you know much of Jesus Christ as your Friend, your Brother, your Husband, your all.

Do not forget the Holy Spirit. Endeavor to obtain a clear view of His nature and character, His attributes, and His works. Behold the Spirit of the Lord, who first of all moved upon chaos and brought forth order, who now visits the chaos of your soul and creates the order of holiness. Behold Him as the Lord and giver of spiritual life, the Illuminator, the Instructor, the Comforter, and the Sanctifier. Behold Him as He descends upon the head of Jesus, and then as He rests upon you.

Such an intelligent, scriptural, and experiential belief in the Trinity is yours if you truly know God; and such knowledge brings peace indeed.”

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–Charles Spurgeon, “May 8 — Evening” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994), 275.

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What the Trinity Teaches Us about Parenting

SOURCE:  Discipleship Journal/ Stephen James and David Thomas

The way God relates to us is deeply relevant to how we relate to our children.

Parenting is a wild and unpredictable ride—full of twists and turns. That’s why books on parenting sell in the gazillions. Search “parenting” on Amazon.com, and you’ll find thousands of books offering insights on and solutions for raising children (we’ve even written one of them!). We secretly hope that if we get the right tools and practice the right techniques, our kids will turn out fine.

As we researched our book on parenting, we sought to discover a biblically-centered framework for raising children. Not surprisingly, we found many examples and concepts in Scripture that can help us become wise, mature, and loving parents. But we also found what you might consider an unlikely model for parenting: the Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). As we looked at some of the ways the persons of the Trinity relate to us, we uncovered important insights into how we can relate to our children.

GOD THE FATHER

Scripture paints a picture of a Father God who is personal and purposeful as He relates to His children. These characteristics can serve as a road map for us as parents.

Personal. God relates to each of us on intensely personal levels. How He works in one person’s life may be very different from what He does with another person. How God engages with Moses in Exodus 3 (as an encourager) is very different from how He engages with Jacob in Genesis 32 (as an adversary and giver of blessing). Similarly, if we want to parent our children well, we need to parent them as individuals.

We (Stephen and David) each have a set of twin boys. Our respective twins share the same genetic mix, the same gender, the same hair and eye colors, and yet they couldn’t be more different. Their personalities are different, and they will pursue different vocations and different relationships. Despite all that they share, our sons are unique, and we need to relate with them according to that uniqueness.

An important asset for discovering a child’s individuality is curiosity. The curious parent looks for and notices how a child is changing and being changed. Curiosity seeks more than information; it draws out a person’s heart. It encourages dialog. One way of doing this is through questions. You might say, “You’ve seemed angry lately. Has something happened?” Or “I can tell you love your new bike. What excites you about bike riding?”

Another way we relate personally with our children is by entering their worlds. We have found play to be wonderfully effective. My (David’s) six-year-old daughter is passionate about dolls. Two of them, named Jane and Caroline, dine at our table, ride buckled in the back of our car, and are kissed goodnight every evening. Because I love my daughter and want to know her, I’ll sometimes sit on her bedroom floor and ask questions about Jane and Caroline. I even change their clothes and comb their hair. It’s pretty hilarious to watch a grown man receive instruction in ponytail placement. But this is what my daughter loves. She can even put ponytails in my hair if it communicates that I love her enough to want to know who she is and what she loves.

Purposeful. Our Father God is also purposeful in His relationship with us. He acts intentionally and carries out His good plans for us. He does not wait for us to come to Him; He makes the first move. Think of God with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 after they tried to hide. Or with Moses in the burning bush (so much for hiding in the desert). God moves toward us again and again with an invitation for us to move closer to Him.

Practicing this kind of intentionality can be particularly challenging for parents with teens. How can we be proactive with a kid whose behavior seems to communicate, “Get away from me” or “Leave me alone”? In the face of teen sullenness, it’s so tempting to default to standing at arm’s length and waiting to be invited in for a few seconds.

Yet we firmly believe that behind every hand (or heart) that says, “Get away” is another that says, “Come close.” Which means you may have to get really creative with adolescents if you want to stay in relationship with them. If you’ve tried a litany of options without success, food is a good bet. Figure out where they love to eat and take them there. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

GOD THE SON

God the Son also gives us a biblical picture of parenting. Let’s consider His roles as a sacrifice and a teacher.

Sacrifice. First and foremost, Christ was a perfect offering who suffered and died for our sins so that we can truly live, both now and forever (Ro. 5:6–8, 1 Jn. 4:9–10). He willingly did for us what no one else could or would do. And like Christ, we as parents are to sacrifice—lovingly and wisely—on behalf of our children.

I (David) recently took my family to the beach. We practically crawled there. The week before we left had been intense: challenges at work, the death of a friend, missed deadlines, and a cancer diagnosis for one of our parents. By the time we reached the ocean, all I wanted to do was plant a lounge chair on the beach and not move for five days. All my kids wanted to do was build sandcastles, fish, and play 20,000 rounds of Marco Polo. Joining them was an intentional act of sacrifice: I laid down what I wanted so I could be present with them. In the grand scheme of things, this may seem a small sacrifice. Yet I believe that with such sacrifices our children are blessed and our Savior is pleased.

Teacher. Perhaps one of Jesus’ most vivid roles is that of teacher. Throughout the gospel accounts, we see Him illuminating the truth of God for His listeners. Our children need the same from us.

Sometimes teaching involves giving specific instruction. Other times, it may mean we stand back and practice the art of silence so that experience can be the teacher. The father in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) provides a rich example of this type of teaching. Surely this man knew his son well enough to know that he would blow his inheritance: Wouldn’t most adolescent boys do something reckless with a wad of cash? Yet the father allowed his son to squander it all. What a wise father, and what a scary, vulnerable place his hands-off approach must have put him in. His son learned a lesson, however; experience taught the prodigal that there’s no place like home.

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

Now we turn to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Two primary works of the Spirit that relate to our parenting are convicting and coming alongside us.

Convicting. One thing the Spirit does in all of our lives is to convict us of our sin (Jn. 16:8). Sometimes He does that through specific scriptures, words from a wise friend, or a persistent inner voice that urges us to examine our ways. If we are to love our children like God loves us, there will be times when we must stand before our children and name their sin, especially when it involves character issues. Too many parents fail to expose their children’s character defects for fear of harming their self-esteem. But we are not talking about verbally shaming, harassing, or assaulting a child. We are talking about speaking with our children the way God engaged with Paul on the road to Damascus: metaphorically knocking them off their high horses and into the truth.

Some friends recently caught their son lying about whether he had checked his backpack (he often didn’t) to make sure he had everything he needed for school the next day. It wasn’t a “big” lie. And overall, we’re talking about a pretty extraordinary kid: an excellent student, a great athlete, the kind of kid that most parents want their kids to hang around with.

Upon discovering the lie, my friends confronted their son and took away his “life” for a couple of weeks: his electronics, sports practice (he got to sit on the bench but not play), overnight stays at a friend’s house, and so on. The boy fired back that he couldn’t believe he’d lost that much over “a stupid backpack.” He added, “I’m a good kid, and this feels extreme.”

His dad explained that the issue was not his “stupid backpack.” It was his heart that his parents were concerned about. “You are a great kid,” they told him, “and plenty of people would testify to that—teachers, coaches, your friends’ parents. Enough folks have done so that you’ve lost touch with the fact that you’re a liar.”

These parents cared enough about their son to shatter his good-guy image and to deal with the state of his heart. This is strikingly similar to how the Holy Spirit deals with us when He convicts us of sin, exposes our foolish self-righteousness, and shows us a better way to live.

Coming alongside. The same Spirit who convicts us also comes alongside us and comforts us. Yet it is hard for many parents to move from being the ones who convict to being the ones who comfort, to set aside the teaching role and focus on simply being there.

Think of it this way: No kid wants to be taught the proper technique for riding her bike when she has just flipped over the handlebars. She wants a hug and a Band-Aid. And when your son doesn’t make varsity, one of the worst things you can do is to turn the situation into a teaching moment. He needs an arm around his shoulder to help him grieve his disappointment.

The example of the Holy Spirit shows us that there is a time for parents to convict and a time for us to comfort.

EXAMPLE PLUS EMPOWERMENT

Each person of the Trinity teaches us something about parenting. We learn from the Father to be personal and purposeful with our children. We learn from the Son how to sacrifice on behalf of our children and how to teach them God’s powerful truths. We learn from the Spirit how to expose our children’s sin lovingly for the sake of their emerging characters and how to come alongside and comfort them when life is not what they had hoped it would be. But perhaps the ultimate wonder is that the same Triune God who models parenthood for us also lives in us and empowers us for this scary yet sanctified calling.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Source:  Billy Graham

It is impossible to understand the Bible, Christian living, the structure of the church, or our own relationship with God without understanding the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is not an “it.”  The Holy Spirit is a person.  The Bible says that He is not something. He is Someone.  He is God.

There are three persons in the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful.  We read in Micah 3:8, “I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord” (NKJV).  The Bible says that God is present everywhere. No matter where we go, He is there. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7, NKJV).  The Holy Spirit can be in your heart and my heart, and we may live a thousand miles apart.

The Holy Spirit has all knowledge.  The Bible says, “The Spirit seaches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).  It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us and takes us deeper into God’s truth as we go along in our Christian life.  We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but we can grow only by the help of the Holy Spirit.

The moment that we receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our heart. Our Body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit helps us live the Christian life.

There is not a person anywhere who can be a Christian without the Holy Spirit.  There is not a person who can follow Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit sees everything that goes on.  He knows what goes on in our hearts.  He knows what goes on in our minds. Nothing is hidden from Him.

And the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is eternal.  In Hebrews 9:14 we read “the eternal Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is called holy.  The Bible says, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  One of the Holy Spirit ministries is to help make us holy.  We ought to be more holy today than we were yesterday.  We should always be conforming more to the image of Jesus Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps us in this growing process.

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