7 Habits of Highly Frugal People

(Great for Teenagers)

Gary North – July 15, 2021

Habit One: Be Proactive

The first habit of highly effective people is to take responsibility for their own lives; if they fail, they have no one to blame but themselves. Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school you are able to choose your behavior now. Being proactive means understanding that you are in control of the direction your life takes and in control of your day to day interactions. Whereas a reactive person is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behavior, for example if the weather is good they are in a good mood but if the weather is bad it affects their attitude and so the weather is to blame for their bad mood.

Here are 6 Action Steps to Take When You Feel Financially Vulnerable

However what most people forget is that between the stimulus and your response is your freedom to choose your response, and one of the most important things you choose are your words. The language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself and if you use proactive language such as ‘I can’ or ‘I will’ you are starting with a more positive attitude than a reactive person who uses language like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I have to’ or ‘if only…’

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind

Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their end result despite the obstacles. Highly effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice, there is the first mental creation and then the second physical creation, and the physical creation follows the mental creation in the same way as the building follows its blueprints.

Habit Three: Put First Things First

Knowing why you are doing something is an effective motivator in helping you take the mental creation and transform that into an actual physical creation of your goal. Therefore ask yourself which are the things you find most valuable and worthy to you. When you put these things first you will be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality.

Habit Four: Think Win-Win

Growing up most of us are taught to base our self-worth on comparisons to others and competition against our peers. We think we can only succeed if someone else has failed and if you win then that must mean I lose, and that there is only so much pie to go around and if you get a big piece then I’m going to be missing out. When you think like this you are always going to feel like you’re missing out on something and that’s not fair is it? As a result many of us retaliate and take the pie before someone else can take it from us.

Habit Five: Communication

Communication is often the desire to be heard and understood and most people will listen with the intention to reply to what you’re saying rather than to understand what you have said. However to effectively communicate you need to first understand and then be understood because if you communicate with the sole intention of being understood you can find that you ignore what others are saying and miss their meaning entirely.

Habit Six: Teamwork

Interactions and teamwork are some of the most important ways you can learn new skills and more effective behaviors. To synergize is the habit of creative cooperation where you work as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. Synergy is not something which just happens but is a process where you need to bring all of your personal experiences and expertise to the table to enable more effective results than you would have been able to achieve individually – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw

You are the greatest asset you have on your journey to achieving the lifestyle you want and so you need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When you take time to renew yourself in all four areas of your life you are creating growth and change which allow you to continue with the previous six habits you have mastered, which still need to be maintained to achieve success.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (5)

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed” (Isa.28:16).

There has always been a close correlation between the beliefs of a society and those of its political leaders. Political leaders are always listening for community attitudes, to ensure they are staying connected. That way they can make bold statements, confident they’ll have community support.

If the community is indifferent about a matter, you can bet that political leaders will be too. It takes a statesman to think differently, and they have been in short supply lately, around the world.

Statesmen are good, but there is something far better: a godly community. Unfortunately, because the Christian community has been seriously compromised now for generations, it has lost the ability to significantly influence the community. The notions of being salt and light in the community have been lost, and what Jesus clearly warned us about, has now come about:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Mat.5:13).

Christians must work hard in future to regain authority in the community, and there are no short-cuts to this. It begins with the law of God, along with Biblical responsibility and integrity in the individual, the family and the church.

None of this happens overnight. It requires individual, family and church change over generations, perhaps 50-100 years, and that’s what we have to be considering and working towards.

As long as the governments can kick the can, they will do so. As long as the voters accept the fact that the government is not dealing with the problems, but simply kicking the can, there’s no reason for the elected representatives to change their ways. The public accepts this; the elected politicians do it. It is the simpler way out in the short run. All that matters politically is the short run. The long run will take place on somebody else’s watch. Some other politician will have to deal with the problem. This is the thinking of incumbent politicians. They get re-elected on the basis of this worldview.[1]

The most foolish think we can do is think like incumbent politicians. We are the ones who must begin to think about the long-term future, planning and acting accordingly. If we don’t, our enemies will. They have been thinking and planning, while we have been negligent and asleep. Our negligence and sloth is now, returning on our heads. It has been now, for generations.

The people of God are supposed to have the answers, for the law of the Lord is supposed to come out of Zion (Isa.2:1-4). It cannot come from any other place, because every other place despises it.

I don’t expect the current lot of Christian leaders to have any part in this. They have been a part of the problem. They won’t be a part of the solution. Most probably, they will oppose every step towards Christian reconstruction and reform. The people who led us into trouble, will have no role in getting us out of it.

The Reformers, 400-500 years ago, had no help from the religious status quo. The status quo fiercely resisted them. Why would it be any different today? Thus the reforming leaders of the future will have to be prepared to be pioneers, apparently going against the tide.

This will require a lot of foundation building, much of which will be without much obvious support or encouragement. But this is the thing: it will have to be done by someone.

Is that what you want to be part of?

 

 

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “European Investors Ignore the IMF,” 17/7/2015.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (4)

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You (Ps.9:9-10)

I had coffee recently with a Christian man whose life experience in recent years remarkably paralleled mine. Married and homeschooling with 3 children, he and his family had been attending what he thought was a conservative Baptist church in northern Brisbane, which took the step of nominating a woman for the position of elder, who was soon ordained. This is despite the fact that the notion of women holding positions of leadership or authority in the church is expressly prohibited by Paul (see I Tim.2:11-15).

When my friend challenged their pastor about what was happening, his response was significant. He said that Paul’s apostolic comments have to be considered from the perspective of Jesus. Jesus (he said), liberated women, so now there was equality of the sexes. Women elders? No problem.
A couple of weeks earlier, we’d been briefly attending another Baptist Church in Eatons Hill, where we live. At a Saturday Working Bee, I asked one of the pastors if the church had elders. Yes, it did, he said, and he rattled off the names of the 7 elders. Three of those names were females. Oh well. That was the end of that.

We’d seen something similar happen in 2013, in another big, supposedly conservative church in northern Brisbane. The Senior Pastor indicated from the pulpit that the church wanted to nominate some new elders for the congregation to consider, but that we wouldn’t be reading the relevant Biblical text this morning.

That was interesting. The relevant text (I Tim.3:1-7) indicates that overseers (or elders) are to be the “…husband of one wife…” (v.2). Then, we found that one of the people nominated for the position of elder, was a woman.

There were other issues. I’d had a major disagreement with the earlier Senior Pastor, back in 2002. He’d been repeatedly making reference that year, to the notion of God’s “unconditional love.” He made this statement to a congregation of 1,000: “God loves you-unconditionally.”
That triggered a yellow flag in my mind, so I went searching and reading: probably 50 hours. I concluded that the idea of God’s “unconditional love” is nonsense. If He loves all people unconditionally, how did He “hate Esau?” (Mal.1:3), or repeatedly harden Pharoah’s heart, before drowning him in the Red Sea?

More accurately, His love is an aspect of His covenant relationship with His own people, not all people. Even then, don’t go counting your chickens. The Bible says that

Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord… and did not enquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse (I Chron.10:13-14).

Two relevant theological statements are:
1. Election is with a view to function.
2. Disobedience leads to dispossession.

I’ve concluded one thing. The leadership of the modern church is walking away from the Bible, in droves. The authority of scripture is not merely being questioned; it’s been discarded, years ago. Naturally this is disappointing, but after so many years of observing it now, I’ve stopped being upset about what is now, a fact of life.
An American wrote this recently:

I went with a friend recently to her local Episcopal Church. I could not recognize it (from when we were kids). Her church is led almost exclusively by women. The rector, bishop, almost every post, is filled with a woman. No worries there, but still very different from when we went to our childhood church long ago. The current rector, the past rector, the future rector, all are women…

Women seem to fill almost every leadership role…The emphasis in my friend’s California Episcopal church is focussed on gay rights. During the two services I went to, there were prayers of joy about the Supreme Court decision… I guess I expected to see “some” women, but not close to 100% women in all leadership roles.

When the leaders of the flock of God are wolves in sheep’s clothing, the flock of God has to either choose new leaders, or get out. There is no other legitimate option.
Now, the church is being severely challenged by the issue of homosexuality. And those church leaders that have already caved in on other fundamental issues relating to the authority of scripture will probably do the same on this one. Why wouldn’t they? People are generally consistent. If they fled the field of battle on one basic issue, they’ll do it again on the next one.
When King Saul proved to be a disaster, God didn’t wait long. He said to His prophet Samuel,

How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons (I Sam.16:1).

Conclusion: I’m not interested in trying to prop up corrupt, dying institutions. It proves to be an utter waste of time. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead.” I’d much rather go looking for where the faithful saints are. I know they’ll probably be in some ignored, out of the way place, looking after sheep like David was, or in the cave of Adullam with a motley crew (I Sam.22:1-2), but that’s OK. That’s pretty normal. That’s where reformation generally starts.
What about you?

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly then to divide the spoil with the proud (Prov.16:19).

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (I)

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps.13:7)

It’s deeply upsetting when the good things in a community or nation are being progressively destroyed.  The good and godly institutions of the West like marriage, continue to be under pressure.

We know this is not right. But lamenting is insufficient for the Christian, or it should be. Why?

The Christian believes in certain things. He believes in a sovereign God Who made the world in 6 days, Who rules all the affairs of men. His ethics are found in scripture, and He’ll hold us all to account concerning them.

We have to do a lot more than shake our fists at the humanist’s parade. They may be parading, but we must be working at articulating and building a God honouring, viable alternative. And that cannot happen overnight.

Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem when he was in Susa. He was told that

The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burnt with fire (Neh.1:3).

Nehemiah was deeply upset about this. The Bible says that he

sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven (v.4).

The scripture then records the seven verses of Nehemiah’s prayer. He’d been greatly upset, so he prayed and fasted.

Is that where he stopped? No. Now, he acted in faith, which godly people must always do. He had a plan, that he put before his master the king. He said

    …send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it (Neh.2:5).

Lamenting just won’t ever be enough for the believer, because if we stop at that, we’ve never gone far enough. Yes, lament if you wish, but ensure that it leads to the thing God always wants it to lead to: prayer and action.

About the time I was married in 1979, I heard this simple saying:

            Men of action, have satisfaction.

Nehemiah moved from hearing, to lamenting, to praying (with fasting), to acting, and we must do this too.

How do we do it? Well, the Bible tells us. It says that

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell (Isa.58:12).

The godly man has to begin with his family; their education and discipleship. He has to begin at the beginning with what God has given him, and this will require his dedication, his time, and some of his money.

Thankfully, the cost of a godly education in terms of dollars continues to decline in relative terms. The internet is going to keep driving this cost down. Economics tells us that as the price of something is reduced, more is demanded.

That means that there is and will be a growing market for home education. That means that over the next few decades, the ranks of homeschoolers are likely to broaden, while public education has already peaked: it’s struggling.

The Bible speaks of the consequences of this man’s activities:

Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Ps.112:1-3).

But the godly couple knows there is more than just their family that needs to be rebuilt. They have to consider the church, too. Like the family, it’s of vital importance for the future. Paul declared that                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor.3:10, 11).

So, the godly couple are investing in their church: their tithe, their faithfulness and their time. The church is all about God and His people. They know it’s a God ordained, essential social institution of the future, which has received magnificent promises from God:

You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa.62:6, 7).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                                                               

There are many things wrong with our society, and it doesn’t require a rocket-science degree to understand it. But what are we to do? We have to go back and begin at the beginning.

And where is that? With God and His Word; with the family and the church.

Events do take place that are disappointing and disheartening, but we have to look beyond these, and accept the encouragement that Nehemiah received from his fellow-workers, hundreds of years before Christ:

              …Let us arise and build (Neh.2:18).

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(8)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 4th May, 2021

The Bible specifically commands that God’s people are not to make covenants with ungodly people. Why? Because God’s people are bound in covenant to God, through Jesus Christ, and He is a jealous God. He is jealous for the love, affections and the obedience of His people; He wants their hearts. There are many texts dealing with this, such as Ex.34:10-16, Deut.7:1-6; 12:1-4; 20:16-18, Num.33:50-56; Judges 2:1-4; II Cor.6:14-18.

Every time God’s people disobeyed him in this context in the Bible, God said the results would be disastrous. (Joshua 23:11-13 is a good example.)

The Biblical position with regard to alliances is that alliances are religious acts…a common cause and a common faith motivates the allies.[1]

The most obvious application for this, is in relationship to whom we marry, but it applies to all areas of our life.

The Christian parent needs to consistently apply their faith to education, as an important aspect of life. This is a non-negotiable issue. What does it mean to be faithful to God, in the raising of children? Do I really believe I can expose my children to the influence of evildoers for twelve years, and then give a good account to God for how they have been raised? This was Lot’s delusion. Is enrolment in a godless educational institution, consistent with the scriptures’ command, to “train up a child in the way they should go?” (Prov.22:6)

Children are a God-given inheritance for our conquest of the world for Christ. They are a means of subduing the earth and exercising dominion under the Lord. If we give our children to state or private schools which are not systematically Christian in their curriculum, we are then giving the future to God’s enemies, and He will hold us accountable for laying waste our heritage. [2]

In about 2002, while I was working for Australian Christian Academy in Brisbane, Australia, a church-attending woman came into our office to enquire about homeschooling. During our conversation, she admitted that she was troubled by a comment that her seven year old son in a state school, had made to her:                   

Mummy, why did you put me in a school that doesn’t believe in God?

The issue of educational accreditation is a significant religious issue for Christian parents. It may be one of the most significant tests of their faith in life. It is really a case of, “Who is Lord of my family?” It is a test of our faithfulness. Because much of the modern church is syncretistic, many can find a good excuse.

Syncretistic?

It’s an attempt to combine two religions, and it very commonly has an ulterior political motivation. Syncretism was Israel’s problem, from the time they came out of Egypt. Aaron tried to maintain the façade of faithfulness to the Lord, when he produced the golden calf (Ex.32:1-8).

Ahab may have wanted to maintain the facade of the worship of the Lord, but he also wanted to maintain his grasp on political power; so he didn’t want to offend others (including Jezebel), who were Baal worshippers. He tried to maintain an impossible religious compromise, with a political motivation. That was Ahab’s way: compromise, rather than initiate conflict. But, as someone has said,

The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.

Ahab’s syncretism only brought God’s curse on his family (I Kings 21:25-29).

Conflict for the Christian is necessary, and an aspect of our faith. The early church had lots of it, and it frequently led to the persecution and martyrdom of individuals. No one that I know likes conflict, but bearing in mind that we will all give an account to God at a later date, we must ensure we make wise choices. “If we please God, who does it matter whom we displease?”

Conclusion:

Elijah said to the people in his day,

“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word (I Kings 18:21).

In relation to our childrens’ education, we must make choices which:

a) Are pleasing to God.

b) Will lead to their long-term benefit, assisting their education/discipleship.

c) Are decisions which they will see as being consistent with our Christian faith, which they can draw an example from, over time.

                                                                                                                                               

Is that what you’re doing?


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.89.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “In His Service,” 2009, p.20.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(7)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 27th April, 2021

       1.Educational Accreditation:                                                                                                                             

         There was conflict between Rome and the early church. Rome’s policy toward all religions was that no religion had a right to exist unless it was a licit religion, duly licensed by the Empire, and possessing a certificate which that religion or cult was supposed to hang on the wall of its meeting place. A part of the procedure whereby licit status was secured, was to appear before a Roman imperial centre, and there to put a little incense on a brazier before an image of the emperor or a battle insignia, and then to declare briefly ‘Caesar is Lord!’ That was all. It was an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of Caesar over every area of life and thought.[1]

When we say that we believe in God and in Christ, we are saying that we are putting our faith in a higher Being. When a school is accredited, the school is putting its faith in a higher institution, which grants the school legitimacy. When a school is accredited by the state, the school is putting its faith in the state and being accepted by the state. Thus, accreditation is a religious act. This explains why accreditation is one of the means used by humanistic governments to control Christian schools.[2]

State control of education has always been a key component of humanist and socialist ideology; an article of their faith promoted since Aristotle, and espoused by Marx and Hitler. Engels, (Marx’s co-writer and supporter) claimed that,

with the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, [communism] the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society…The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike, whether they are legitimate or not. [3]   

State education has always been hostile to Christianity, and the family. As early as 1864, John Swett, the Superintendent of California state schools, claimed that

the child should be taught to consider his instructor…superior to the parent in point of authority… the vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous…parents have no remedy as against the teacher.[4]

As early as 1930, humanists realised that education and in particular public education, would be a means of alienating students from Christianity. In that year, Charles F. Potter, a signatory of the first Humanist Manifesto,indicated that

education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday School, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings?[5]

Rushdoony highlighted the religious claim of public education:

Since a sovereign must have absolute power, the state, where it claims sovereignty, whether a democracy or anything else, moves towards totalitarian powers. Sovereignty with such powers becomes the saving power, and the state becomes man’s god and saviour. It then governs and controls man’s total life.[6]

Christian parents must understand that Departments of Education have a deeply religious reason to maintain an educational monopoly. If departmental individuals are not believers in Jesus Christ, they will be hostile to the faith, for Jesus said that “he who is not with me is against me” (Mat.12:30).They know that Christian faith is communicated primarily within the family. The department may give lip-service to the notion of family influence within the curriculum or a school, but that is all. That is merely the maintenance of a good façade. What counts to them, is the maintenance of departmental power.

Strong family structures are a threat to the humanistic state, as they represent an independent power base, and are difficult to control. This is one reason why socialists have always hated the family. The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, when she was the Federal Minister for Education, indicated in Parliament (25/8/2008) that “parents of school-aged children are obligated to send them to school.” She was utterly indifferent to the wishes of the parents. This reflects a consistent socialist view.

If the child is in a government registered school (be it a state school, private, or “Christian”), the child will spend a large portion of their time away from their parents and family, being progressively instructed in material which has departmental approval, in an age-segregated classroom. Over twelve years, that computes to some 14,400 hours, of departmentally approved, worldview indoctrination.                

There is a second reason why education departments are keen to maintain control. Like the silversmiths of Acts 19:23-27, they want to protect their business monopoly, and their future. If a large proportion of the community was able to successfully educate their children, without any reference at all to an educational bureaucracy, that bureaucracy would clearly be irrelevant. That could mean the loss of hundreds, and ultimately many thousands of tax-payer funded jobs, the total collapse and elimination of seven state or federal departments in Australia, and a massive saving to the taxpayer. I believe that would be a good thing, and a logical outcome of Jesus’ promise, that “every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted”(Mat.15:13).

They cannot afford to let this happen, so they will fight tooth and nail, and coerce families by various means of intimidation (including the threat of prosecution), to try and ensure children are enrolled in a departmentally registered institution. Any other scenario would be absolutely anaethema-unthinkable for them.

Nowhere in the Bible does God delegate the education of children to the state or to the disciples of other religions.[7]  


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “The ‘Atheism’ of the Early Church,” 1983, p.15-16.

[2] Robert Thoburn, “The Children Trap,”1986, p.96-7.

[3] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, 1976.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Messianic Character of American Education,” 1995, p.80-81.

[5] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.54.

[6] Rousas Rushdoony, “Sovereignty,” 2007, p.471.

[7] Shortt, ibid., p.55.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(6)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 20th April, 2021

The Pattern of Breakdown of Old Testament Discipleship:

Others have been with those who rebel against the light… (Job 24:13).

The incest of the daughters of Lot: (Gen.19:30-38) What was different about the education and discipleship of the daughters of Lot, compared to that of Isaac, Abraham’s son? How had they been so influenced in their upbringing, that they could conclude it was perfectly appropriate to trick their father into drunkenness, so they could have sex and fall pregnant to him? Clearly, the attitudes and behaviour of the inhabitants of Sodom around the girls during their upbringing, had a marked impact on them, and their father.

The scripture says that Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men… [and] felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” (II Pet.2:7-8). But foolishly, he did not consider these were sufficient reasons to take his family and leave the city; he required a visit from angels to persuade him. When the men of the city approached his door, wanting to rape the angels who were with him, he offered to give his daughters instead to the mob, promising that they could “do to them whatever you like”(Gen.19:8). The angels were able to save the lives of Lot and his daughters, but the girls’ subsequent behaviour shows that they had already succumbed to the morality of Sodom.

[Lot] selected a city where his children could not be discipled and educated properly in the Bible. He wanted to live in the luxury of a corrupt society with a wicked educational system, instead of wandering around in a bunch of tents with Abraham…the long-term price was great. Lot ended up living in a cave…more importantly, he lost his children. [1]

B) The rape of Dinah: (Gen.34:1) It appears that Dinah went alone, when she “went out to visit the daughters of the land.” Whether Jacob knew she was going is not clear, but this is not the point. While it is easy to be wise in hindsight, she should have been accompanied and protected, if she was to go at all into the company of people she knew nothing of. This instance reflects Jacob’s negligence in the care of his only daughter, and his failure to be responsible in the subsequent negotiations with Hamor and Shechem. As a result, there was needless revenge and bloodshed on the part of Simeon and Levi (Gen.34:25-29), so much so that Jacob feared that they would all be destroyed.

C) The rape of Tamar, and murder of Amnon: (II Sam.13) The sin of our children cannot always be prevented by our diligence. But we are obliged, as much as it lies within our power and responsibility, to behave wisely and circumspectly, knowing that there is corruption in every heart, whether it names the name of Christ, or not. This David did not do, in his oversight of his children. When Amnon requested of David that Tamar be sent into him, to prepare him some food, David did not perceive any impropriety. But Amnon went one step further. Being with her half-brother in a bedroom, when everyone has been dismissed by him from the room (v.9), was itself a place of vulnerability for her. But she has no apparent inkling of any danger.

Amnon’s rape of his half-sister Tamar was a family tragedy. It was the second in a series of tragic events within David’s family, which relate to David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of Uriah. Was David at fault in relation to Tamar’s rape? He was Amnon’s father, and had not successfully discipled that young man.

David had written the Psalm, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves length of day that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Ps.34:11-12). Perhaps David and her mother had not trained Tamar (like Dinah), to avoid circumstances that could leads to compromise or danger. What David clearly didn’t do, in relation to Amnon, was to “know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds” (Prov.27:23).

King David’s inability to act justly after the rape of Tamar in dealing with Amnon, set in motion a further series of events, spanning a number of years. Absalom, angered by his sister’s rape, is never consoled by justice being done, and being seen to be done, to Amnon. He is angry with Amnon, but also frustrated and angry with his father. There appears to be no penalty for Amnon, for an offense that in some circumstances would result in capital punishment (Deut.22:25). David was “very angry (v.21), but what does Amnon care about that? The injustice is swept under the carpet.

David is unable to act, presumably because the criminal is his own son, and he is torn between a conflicting sense of the need for justice for the Lord, for Tamar, his desire to avoid a public family scandal, and his attachment to Amnon. He fails to put into practice his own injunction, that “…he who practices deceit will not dwell within my house” (Ps.101:7). David is emotionally manipulated by the events of the day. This may have been what Amnon was confident about, all along.

Thus Absalom murders Amnon; an awful, but in some ways, a logical conclusion (v.29). But there is one person who plays a subtle, perhaps indirect role, in both the rape of Tamar, and the murder of Amnon. The Bible describes Jonadab, David’s nephew, as “a very shrewd man” (v.3). Jonadab knew before both the rape of Tamar, and the murder of Amnon, something of the possible outcomes. Initially the “friend” (v.3) of Amnon, Jonadab was also aware of Absalom’s conspiracy against him. When King David hears the initial news, that there has been a slaughter, that“not one [of the king’s sons] is left” (v.30), Jonadab is able to explain to him, that “…only Amnon is dead” (v.33).

What can we learn from these three tragic Old Testament examples?

Firstly, we are instructed that every father has authority from God to “manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (I Tim.3:4). This is effectively a New Testament rendition of God’s command to Abraham (Gen.18:19).

Job, who probably lived in Abraham’s era, also took his obligations as a father very seriously (Job 1:5). One minister whose views I respect, has written that “by far the majority of church families I know are not protective enough of their children.”[2]This is a critical aspect, if fathers wish to see their family inherit the promises of God. 

Secondly, it is the devil’s classic strategy when attacking a family, to send an evil thought to a weak family member, via a person who appears to be perfectly innocuous. The devil of course, appears to be “an angel of light” (II Cor.11:14). Who would have thought that a demonically inspired serpent in the Garden could have brought down the whole human race, or that Jonadab (David’s own nephew), could have participated in two evil conspiracies, which ended in a rape of one family member and the death of another? Fathers need to be aware of this demonic strategy, and respond accordingly.

Thirdly, sins in the family, may not be a father’s fault; but they are his responsibility. They happen on his watch. A father’s failure to act firmly, decisively and protectively when necessary, can have disastrous consequences in his family. Sin has a remarkable capacity to intrude into the family, the most central place of human activity, as Genesis graphically shows.

Conclusion:

We sometimes make an error in majoring on the sins of commission, such as murder, rape and adultery, sins which are addressed in the Ten Commandments. But sins of omission, which Adam, Lot, Jacob and David committed, can be just as dangerous and deadly, as sins of commission.

Adam’s first error was in not protecting his wife in the garden, from a devious, lying, slanderous interloper. That was an aspect of God’s command to “cultivate and keep it” (Gen.2:15). At a critical point in their families’ development when a crisis was looming, these four men failed to take initiative and act protectively. The Bible warns us that, “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well, is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked”(Prov.25:26).


[1] Ray Sutton, “That You May Prosper,” 1997, p.116.

[2] Dr S. M. Davis, “Changing the Heart of a Rebel,” 1998, p.1.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(5)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 13th April, 2021

Deuteronomy: An Analysis of two Chapters:

Deuteronomy, chapters 6 and 11 expand on God’s promises to Abraham. They have many similarities to those promises, and the two chapters are similar to each other. Time has moved on since Abraham; perhaps 500-550 years, but God, being the Unchanging One, has kept His covenant with Abraham, as He promised. Now, He is speaking through Moses, to the group of 2 to 3 million people, who are Abraham’s descendants. They are ready if they’ll obey to be the recipients of God’s promises, made originally to their forefather Abraham, in Genesis 18.

Six significant words are used repetitively in Deuteronomy 6 and 11. A close analysis of these words is critical to understand God’s purpose in educating and discipling the children of Israel, and our children today.

“Teach” is used 3 times, “listen,” 4 times, “sons,” 7 times, “possess” or “dispossess,” 7 times, and “land,” 19 times. The word “command” (or “commandments” or “commanding” or “commanded”) is used 26 times, whilst “Lord” is used 33 times.

From an educational and a discipleship point of view (education and discipleship being subjects I consider inseparable), it could be said that these are the six most important words in these two chapters, about education.

Drawing on the use of these 6 words, we can construct a one sentence summary of the two chapters, which reflects and explains God’s educational purpose for His people, at all times:

   Teach your sons the Lord’s commandments, so they can possess the land.

Abbreviated further, we could say:  Education is for possession.

We can now make a summary:

The Bible teaches us, that

a) God had given revelatory words within the family, to the person He had chosen to be in authority-the father.

b) These words are in the form of authoritative instructions and commands, from God.

c) Obedience to those words leads to life, blessing and dominion.

d) God expects the father to faithfully represent Him.

V. Education in Psalms and Proverbs:

A) Without wishing to deal in an in-depth way with either of these books, the Book of Proverbs is substantially a book of a father’s instructions to his son, the father being designated by God as the primary instructor. Once again, it is parents who are designated as God’s choice, to educate their children.

43 times, Proverbs uses the word “son,”and on 20 of these occasions, the even more personal term, “My son,” is employed. Perhaps the most important thing a father is to teach his children, is the fear of the Lord (see Ps.34:9-11).

B) The mother’s role in the education of her children, is clearly stated (see Proverbs 1:8; 6:20; 31:1, 26). The bride in the Song of Solomon, said to her husband, “I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me” (Song of Sol.8:2). The family is thus the primary place of instruction.

C) Psalms and Proverbs warn us that one of the most destructive things to do to any young person, is to let them be in the company of fools (see Ps.1:1-3; Prov.13:20; 22:24-25). The Bible doesn’t merely warn of the potential of bad consequences; it predicts them as being an inevitable result.

Furthermore, Ps.106:34-39 is a history lesson on the children of Israel, explaining Israel’s steps down into idolatry. Having failed to destroy the peoples as the Lord commanded them, they then “mingled with the nations, and learned their practices, and served their idols”(v.35). Like the children of Israel, childrens’ association with others subjects them to the influence of others, leading to the formation of habits, and to lasting character change. Socialisation can be of a positive or negative nature.

The Christian person doesn’t doubt that socialisation for children is important, for the scripture says, “He that walks with wise men will be wise…” (Prov.13:20). Socialisation is essential. The critical factors are,“With who?” and “For what purpose?” The Bible clearly teaches us here, that Christian children gain no benefit in mixing with ungodly people, whose values are qualitatively different to theirs. The consequences will be damaging, and sometimes irreparable:“…the companion of fools will suffer harm.” A person’s moral environment (as Lot discovered, to his lasting pain) is of great importance.

A survey presented in 2001 in the U. S. showed that within two years of graduating from high school, between 70% and 88% of teenagers from evangelical families stop attending church.[1]

As one writer indicated,“all too many churchmen view the undisciplined and amoral products of statist education as evidences of the failure of these schools. On the contrary, they are evidences of their success.”[2]


[1] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.51.

[2] Rushdoony, quoted in Shortt, p.57.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(4)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 6th April, 2021

Introduction:

The best and truest educators are parents under God. The greatest school is the family …the moral training of the child, the discipline of good habits, is an inheritance from the parents to the child which surpasses all others.[1]

Hebrew education was intensely practical. The common opinion held that a man who did not teach his son the law and a trade, the ability to work, reared him to be a fool and a thief. It is said that Simeon, the son of the famed Gamaliel, observed; ‘not learning but doing is the chief thing.’ [2]

I. God, our First Educator:

Adam and Eve’s education in the garden, is instructive. Having made all things in six days, God’s command to Adam and Eve, was that they should “rule and have dominion”(Gen.1:26-28), which some have called the Dominion (or Cultural) Mandate. He gave them commands and instructions regarding their responsibilities in the garden, which was to be a proving ground for them. His law is perfect (Ps.19:7), and His education was perfect (Job 36:22), but this doesn’t mean that life was easy for them. There was plenty of work to do in the garden, and this couple had to work at everything from scratch, without tools, ladders, a manual, a hardware shop, or a home. But God blessed them (Gen.1:28).

Adam and Eve’s education meant that they learned to obey God’s Word, understanding that there would be consequences for their disobedience (Gen.2:17). God Himself provided them with their theological understanding, their epistemology (their source of knowledge), their ontology (understanding of who they were), and their axiology (their values). As part of their education, Adam and Eve would need to be taught and understand mathematics (1:28), botany (2:15), agriculture (2:5, 15), language (2:19-20), systems of classification (2:19-20), defence (2:15), human anatomy, biology and reproduction (2:23), and teamwork (2:23).

II. Noah’s Educational Process:

God’s plan to destroy the earth because of wickedness in Noah’s day, meant that after the flood, He would be left with a couple, their three sons and their daughters-in-law. The coming cataclysm required that He commence a new educational process; the eight people would need additional information. So, He began with a father.

God spoke to Noah (Gen.6:13), and gave him information, instruction and commands (6:14-8:32), and promised to make covenant with him (6:18). The survival of Noah’s family required that he accept God’s educational directions. His family needed to accept that he had heard from God, and in accordance with God’s revealed plan, they needed to carry out all the necessary work for 120 years. They would need to be pioneers in building the ark, and pioneers after the flood, rebuilding a godly civilisation.

After the flood, God blessed them (9:1), repeated the command to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (9:7), and made the promised covenant with Noah (9:8-17).

III. God identified Education as a vital Role for Parents: Gen.18:17-19.

God had a plan for Abraham. He had chosen Abraham, just as Christ has chosen us (Jn.15:16), and this meant Abraham had authority in his family and household, which may have numbered many hundreds, or even thousands of people (see Gen.14:14), to command, direct and teach.

The first aspect of Abraham’s authority from God, was to “…command his children…to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice”(v.19). If these conditions were met, the promises of God to Abraham and his seed would eventuate. These aspects of God’s promises to Abraham, are applicable to parents today (Heb.13:8).


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973, p.185.

[2] ibid., p.183.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(1)

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov.22:6).

It’s logical that parents have questions about their children. Godly parents want to honor God in their child’s upbringing, and they generally know they need to teach them to honor and fear the Lord. They also may wish to know if there are specific things they should be doing for each particular child.

This is what Manoah and his wife sought, from God. When his wife reported to him that a man of God had visited her and spoken to her about the son she’d miraculously have, and what she should do (Judges 13:6, 7), Manoah wanted to know more. He immediately made his petition to the Lord:

O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born (Judges 13:8).

This was not a presumptuous request, and the Bible says that “God listened to the voice of Manoah…” (Judges 13:9). Does this mean that all our God focused requests to God about how to bring up our children, will be answered?

In his case, his wife had been visited and given angelic information. When (at his request), the angel returned and visited his wife again, and she called Manoah to meet him, nothing was added. The angel simply repeated what he’d told his wife initially, but he honored his request for another visit.

Samson, John the Baptist and Jesus had a number of things in common. They were all conceived miraculously, after one or both of their parents were visited by an angel, who foretold something of their son’s birth and calling. And all of these men died violently. Dying violently is not something a godly parent seeks for their child, but it was plainly a part of God’s calling of each of these three men.

When John was born, and Zacharias’s tongue was loosed and “…he began to speak in praise of God” (Luke 1:64), “…fear came on all those living around them,” and people said,

What then will this child turn out to be? For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him (Luke 1:65, 66).

We don’t generally know what our children will turn out to be and to do, but sometimes there are giftings evident in them from a young age, which indicate something. We hope and pray that they will “…know the Lord” (I Sam.3:7), and that their upbringing, education and company should encourage them in that direction. And this is primarily a father’s responsibility, for the scripture commands fathers to

…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph.6:4),

which means daily exposure to scripture, and the law of the Lord.

This means that our time is required for our children. The idea of absentee parenting has no basis in scripture. Rather, it directs us this way:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (Deut.6:5-7).

Conclusion:

The scripture records many cases of parents who received understanding from God, in relation to their children’s future. God expected them, as He expects us, to be responsible for our children, as faithful steward unto Him. It means preparing them for a life of service, dominion and accountability.

Is that what you’re planning on?