Is there strife and contention in your family? Join AMBrewster today as he shares God’s cure for family strife.
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First, I need to start by wishing TLP a happy second anniversary!
Two years ago today our first episode was published to iTunes.
I cannot praise God enough for how He has allowed this podcast and parenting community to grow. Everything from providing a free podcast host and website to encouraging listeners like you to partner with us in spreading His Word to families all over the globe to our first meetup and speaking opportunities has been a direct act of God, and we are blessed and humbled to be a recipient of His grace and power.
We’re still the number one podcast on iTunes for Christian parents, and we’re coming up on our 200th episode.
I don’t possess the vocabulary to really praise the Lord enough for His sustenance.
Of course, it may one day please Him to discontinue TLP. When that day comes, I pray I’m the first to follow Him in that, but for now I’m overjoyed that you are part of this growing community of parents who wants to be the intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador parents God called and created us to be.
I also want to thank TeamTLP, our Special Guests, and every single listener we have.
You are all amazing! Thank you for your love and support.
So, how do we start a new podcast year?
Well, in a little over a week we’ll be starting Season 8. I’m going to give you more details about that as the time approaches.
Other than that, our plan to just get better at what we’ve been doing. Our goal is to glorify God by showing how every part of His Word is applicable to our families, our marriages, and our parenting.
I can imagine no greater calling.
Also, if some of you still did not know, I’m thrilled to be in my new position of Director at Victory Academy for Boys in Amberg, WI.
God was abundantly gracious to me and my family as He moved us here five years ago. I love our work with the new families we meet every year, and I’d like to encourage you to check us out — not only if you have struggling teen boy, but if you’d be interested in serving at a ministry like this.
We currently have an opening for a Residence Manager and would love to talk about the ministry with you.
Now, I want to dive into our content today, but there’s one more thing I want to talk about first.
So, I’ve been working on this book. Many of you are aware of it, I’ve been taking about it on and off for a while now. It’s called “Quit: God’s cure for family strife.”
I’ve been working on it for some time for two reasons: 1. It became a bigger project than I originally imagined. That always seems to happen to me when I start studying God’s Word. What I think will make a good episode becomes a series and what I think makes for a good series produces enough content for a book, and what I think will make a good book . . . makes a longer one.
But the second hurdle has been finances. I am overly blessed by the amazing Patrons we have. Ray, Carolyn, Mark, Carol, Cara, Matt, Sonja, Scott, Mindee, and Johanna are amazing people who are more than mere financial donors, they are becoming fast friends of mine and this ministry.
And it’s their gifts that God has used to help TLP reach its second year. Their gifts have allowed us to cover our monthly expenses and beyond, but we have not yet been able to bring in enough to cover the expenses of publishing a book.
We actually could use an additional $25 a month to cover the cost of finalizing the book. Please pray and carefully consider if the Lord would be glorified by your supporting TLP. It doesn’t have to be the full $25 a month. If we all work together, we can accomplish so much more.
We’ve been slowly working toward this mark for two years, and — thought I wanted to have this book finished last year at this time — I’m trusting in the Lord’s timing.
But, even though the book is not yet complete, I wanted to share with you some of the principles of the book so that you can be equipped to address the strife that your family may be presently experiencing.
So, with that, let’s jump in.
Of course, my desire it to give you some direction and some hope addressing the strife in your family, but not to share so much that the book becomes unnecessary.
But I’m not too concerned about that second one as much as I am about equipping you to be an intentional, premeditated parent.
So, here goes.
The book is actually going to her published in two parts. Part one addresses the Consequences of Strife, the Creators of Strife, the Causes of Strife, and the Cures for Strife.
And part two is going to go into much more detail concerning the unique cures for strife depending on the unique Causes of Strife.
But more on that in a minute.
Let’s start by observing the Consequences of Strife.
1. Strife explodes without warning. Proverbs 17:14 "The beginning of strife is like letting out water."
2. Strife separates families. Proverbs 16:28 "A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
3. Strife ruins even the most enjoyable times. Proverbs 17:1 "Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”
These three sections of chapter one have LifeWork questions designed to help you inspect your family to see which earmarks of strife might be present.
Then the remainder of the chapter builds on the concept that strife is not some monster lurking in a corner, it arises from people.
The chapter also unveils God’s plan for strife in your family. Believe it or not, God wants to use the strife in your family to accomplish amazing things. But I’m going to leave that topic alone for now.
Chapter two addresses the Creators of Strife.
I open with this illustration:
“Consider again the metaphor in Proverbs 17:14, ‘The beginning of strife is like letting out water.’
“Now picture a giant dam. Which part of the picture do you think illustrates strife?
“Is it the broken dam, is it the water, or is this a trick question?
“I don’t believe strife is represented by the dam. The leaky dam is responsible for letting the water out, but the crack is simply an ingredient of the destruction. Without the water, dam failure is just a hole in a wall; it could otherwise be easily fixed. In fact, I would argue that the crack in the dam occurs when we give in to the temptation to sin.
“But strife isn't merely the water either. Water that stays behind the dam doesn't drown the countryside.
“The strife pictured in this passage is the actual process of "letting out [the] water."
“Dam failure is a catastrophic event. It’s so destructive that laws of honorable military conduct prohibit enemy soldiers from targeting dams due to the mass destruction and civilian casualties.
“I once watched a relatively small dam in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan empty into the Menominee River — and it was tremendous! Thousands of gallons of water exploded through the spillway with deafening clamor and petrifying power. And that was a controlled release!
“Destruction occurs when water gets out.
“In the Proverbs metaphor, I believe the dam can represent our self-control and the water can picture our sin nature — all the pride, selfishness, bitterness, dishonesty, hate, lustful thoughts, gossip, impatience, gluttony, and rebelliousness swirling around in our minds.
“Our culturally acceptable facade can normally keep the ugliest parts of ourselves hidden. But when our self-control breaks, the worst parts of our spirit explode all over the closest person. And as that torrent of wickedness pours out of me onto them, it leaves nothing but relational destruction in its wake.
“And that is strife.
And I continue . . . “So, here are two takeaways:
“This makes the following list of strife-Creators so incredibly valuable. It identifies the particular types of acidic sin that have the greatest potential for creating strife."
And then I share a number of verses from Proverbs that reveal that:
Basically, no one can walk away from this list without realizing that the potential for family strife exists in each and every family.
And each section is filled with verses, illustrations, and LifeWork designed to help us pinpoint the genesis of strife in our homes.
Now, that list of nine individuals are the Creators of strife, but they’re not exactly the Causes of Strife.
Chapter three lists them, but opens with this illustration:
“Let’s imagine an arial view of a dam. Can you see that crumbling wall of self-control straining under the weight of all that sinfully acidic water? Okay, now zoom out. From this distance you can likely see the whole expansive lake of sin that makes up our reservoirs. But do you see from where all that water is coming? If you look closely, you should notice a massive aqueduct dumping thousands of gallons of water into our reservoirs.
“This pipeline exists in everyone’s life. It’s the source of all sin; it’s what we call the sin nature . . . .
“So, the logical question may be, 'If everyone has an equally huge aqueduct pouring water into their reservoir, why don’t we all have the same amount of sinful water behind our dams? Why don’t we all cause the same amount of strife?’
“As you look at the mouth of our humungous aqueduct, you should see three levers. These levers have one purpose; they exist to reduce the amount of water flowing into the lake. In a way, they function like the handles of a faucet. Though it’s impossible for this faucet to be turned off completely (the consequences of living in a sin-cursed world), the levers can be left open so that its effect on the volume of water pouring through the pipe is nonexistent. The choice is ours.
“Now wouldn’t it be amazing if the aqueduct could be closed tight? No more water would ever enter our lakes! Over time the amount of sin inside our lives would slowly diminish. The amount of pressure on our self-control would decrease. Eventually, the potential of strife issuing from my life would be nonexistent!
“Unfortunately, on this side of Heaven, we’ll never eradicate sin. That’s God’s job, and He won’t do that until He glorifies us. That’s why the door in our illustration can’t close all the way. But that doesn’t mean the aqueduct has to stay all the way open either.
“So, how do we close the door as much as is humanly possible?
“On this door are three levers. Each person is in complete control of those three levers. When you throw the first lever, the gigantic lock closes a third of the way, decreasing the amount of water flowing into our reservoir.
“When the second switch is thrown, the door closes another third, and the total amount of water flowing into our dams is decreased even more.
“Finally, when the last lever is activated, the door closes almost all the way. Though water continues to trickle into the reservoir, the flow is barely a shadow of the torrent it once was.”
I then proceed to use Scripture to explain what each of the three levers is.
The first switch is the Lever of Deliberate Unbelief.
The second is the Lever of Spiritual Immaturity.
And the third is the Lever of Fleshly Living.
Again, each section uses Scripture to unpack the concepts, and there’s LifeWork throughout to help us apply the truths.
And then chapter four addresses the Cures for Strife.
Now, I’m still finished chapter 4 and Part 2 of the book, but I wanted to tell you about Part 2 before continuing.
When you consider the long list of strife Creators, including addicted, hateful, greedy, prideful, and sinful people, there are many needs represented.
It’s true that family strife can be cured by everything chapter four says: accepting God’s Truth, embracing the Spirit, maturing in Christ, and quitting the strife, but many of those steps will look a little different depending on the unique struggles of the strife creators in your house.
So, part 2 is going to step through a selection of verses, principles, and tips to parent your children depending on their unique struggles.
For example, addicted children who create strife may be approached a little differently than dishonest children.
Again, the heart problem is the same, but the Scriptures you’ll want to use to equip your children for life and godliness will likely be different.
I look forward to the day Part 1 is done. It will paint with broad strokes the consequences, creators, causes, and cures for family strife.
And then I’ll continue working on Part 2 which will provide additional assistance for your unique family needs.
Please pray for this endeavor and consider giving to help TeamTLP and I finish this project as soon as possible.
I want to give Part 1 away for free to anyone who wants it, and you can help make that happen.
And please share this episode with your friends and check Truth.Love.Parent. out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Once again, Happy Anniversary to Truth.Love.Parent. and thank you for everything you’ve done and will continue to do to help us glorify God by equipping parents to be the moms and dads God called and created them to be.
There is a cure for family strife, but true change will only occur within the framework of God’s plan and power.
See you next time.
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