The Family Shepherd

/The Family Shepherd

Family Love Makes The Triune God Visible

If we emphasize the unity of God, we picture in our mind, a lonely, mysterious God who, we think, may have created man and woman because he was lonely. Much as a widower might purchase a dog to overcome loneliness, God made man and woman to have a relationship with.

The truth could not be further from this thought. Our God who is one in essence, is nevertheless three in persons. Before time began, God dwelt in perfect community, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Tim Keller states it this way: “So we believe that the world was made not by a God who is an individual nor by an emanation of an impersonal force. But by a God who is a community of persons who have loved […]

Should You Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger?

Ephesians 4:26 reads, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” It is a foundational verse on handling anger. And I am convinced that for years I misapplied this verse to the detriment of my marriage.

What exactly does this verse mean? And how should it be applied in marriage?

For many years, early in our marriage, Sharon and I tried to apply that verse literally. We had the normal adjustments of newly married couples. In addition, both of us have intense personalities. As a result we had numerous times of “intense fellowship.” In fact, we probably had those times more than most couples.

Often a disagreement would carry on as the evening grew late. The more we tried to […]


The Power of the Coffee Date

What if I told you of one simple activity that could decrease conflict and increase unity in your home? In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this habit has been a huge blessing to our relationship.

When Sharon and I were starting out, we wanted to be intentional about our parenting. Thanks to some good teaching we had a great start. But the Lord graciously added more children to our family every two years. With our children 6, 4, 2, and newborn we were starting to disagree more and more.

Why the Problems?
As we stepped back and analyzed it, we realized that while the issues were becoming more complex our time and energy to discuss them was decreasing. Earlier we used to discuss certain issues […]


Eight Thoughts on Protecting the Purity of Your Daughter

Here are eight thoughts on protecting the purity of our daughters. To my daughters, these are my prayers and aims for you!

1. Gain and Keep Her Heart – Does she know and trust you, her parents? Do you know her heart? Have you taken time to listen? Is she finding her identity in Christ and not in a relationship with someone else?

2. Protect Her Purity – As a child, the parents are the door to the sheepfold, protecting her from the wolves. As she grows older it becomes a shared responsibility.

3. Show the Beauty of Purity and the Dazzling Disgust of Impurity – Does she recognize that the greatest gift she can give her future husband is her purity? Will that be the greatest gift […]

Fighting for Unity: 12 Practices that Lead to Family (and Church) Harmony

Where two or three are gathered… there is conflict waiting to happen. So reads the back of Peacemaking for Families. But we can create a home culture where peacemaking is practiced. In fact I would argue that we should fight for unity.

I originally put the following list together for life together in the church. But as you will see, it also applies to the family as well. These are things to practice in our family and teach others. I cover much of this in Chapter 13 of The Disciple-Making Parent.

1. Pray for unity. Jesus is praying this way. In John 17 he prays that the Father would protect us from the evil one and sanctify us by the word. Then he prays, “May they […]

The Family Shepherd|

My Family, My Growth: Five Characteristics of Godly Repentance


Children are God-given sanctification tools in our lives.

God gives us little children that we might nurture, train, and instruct them (Ephesians 6:4). But in that process of shepherding their souls, God also intends that we should grow. In fact, our children are one of God’s primary sanctification tools in our lives.

They will stress us and demand upon us beyond what we think we can handle. They will shine a floodlight on idols of our heart. But the reason God shines that floodlight is not to condemn us but so that we might mature and grow.

The first step in that spiritual growth involves repentance. Five hundred years ago, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg, he began with this, “When our […]

Painful Love and Forgiveness

Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Our families will never be perfect. We will sin against each other and be sinned against. Relationships invariably involve pain. That is the way of love. How we choose to react to that pain will depend on our perspective.

C. S. Lewis makes clear that the choice is between loving and having a hard heart.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in […]

How We Handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy

We are past this stage in our parenting but I thought it might be interesting to post how we handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

This issue is not at the heart of the gospel (Romans 14:4, 17). I was brought up on Santa until age six. That Christmas Eve night we were driving home from my grandmother’s house. As I looked out at all the homes in my city, I just knew that there was no way Santa could visit every house in the world in one night. And I am following the Lord today.

However, anytime we talk to our children about someone who knows if we are sleeping or awake (omniscience) and who knows if we’ve been good or bad […]

Chronological Scripture Readings for the Passion Week

Christians often use this week to remind themselves of the events of the last week of Christ’s life. Indeed Scripture devotes a disproportionate amount of space to this final week. Perhaps you could use the following traditional placement of the events for your devotional thoughts this week.

Click here to print the schedule.

John 12:2-11
(see also Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9)

Sunday – Official Presentation of Jesus to Israel
Luke 19:29-44
Matthew 21:11-17
(see also Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19)

Monday – Cleansing of the Temple
Mark 11:12-18
John 12:20-50

Tuesday AM – Official Challenge of Christ’s Authority
Mark 11:19-25
Matthew 21:23-23:39 (see Mark 12:1-40, Luke 20)
Mark 12:41-44 – The Poor Widow

Tuesday PM – Prophesies Based on Jewish Rejection
Matthew 24:1-25:46

Wednesday – The Plot to Kill Jesus
Matthew 26:1-16

Thursday – The Last Supper
Luke 22:7-16
John 13:1-38
Luke 22:17-20
John 14:1-17:26

10:30 PM- 1:00AM – […]

Family Devotions|

Three Truths to Defeat the Comparison Virus

The Foolishness of Comparing
But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Comparison with others is a basic fact of life. We look at others and judge ourselves inferior in money, beauty, intelligence, ministry, career, or family. As a result, we feel insecure. Or we see that we are succeeding in some of those areas and feel reassured.

Much of advertising is built on this unconscious activity of comparing ourselves. Isn’t the comparison of our perfect Facebook or Instagram lives one reason that anxiety is on the rise? Though men are not immune from this temptation, mothers in particular can feel this heavy, unconscious burden of comparison running in their minds.

In the verse above, God […]

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