Category Archives: Children

Whose Sons & Daughters Are You?

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The Setting (37)

Jesus’ public ministry was marked by increasing levels of conflict and opposition from the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees.

It was ultimately this conflict which God used to bring to pass his plan eternal plan for Christ—that he would suffer a violent death as the penalty for sin and become the substitute to anyone who comes to him in faith.

The Point of Conflict (38)

“I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:38)

Jesus is drawing a connection between his actions and his father and between the actions of the Jews and their father.

What does Jesus mean by this?

In Jesus’ time and culture, it was common describe a characteristic of a person by referring to them as the “son of…” someone or something.  Some examples: Judas (the disciple who will later betray Jesus, his master) is called the “son of destruction” (John 17:12).  Joseph (a Christian in the early church) is was nicknamed Barnabas “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36).

By using this same idea, Jesus is challenging the stubborn unbelief of the Jews who were refusing to joyfully accept him as their Messiah.

The Spiritual Blindness of the Jews

They were foolishly trusting that their very ancestry made them right before God. “They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” (John 8:39a)

Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. More importantly, God had made a special covenant to Abraham (symbolized by circumcision), that his descendants would become a great nation and would inherit the land of Israel.

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:1–3; see also 15:1–20)

However, God had made this promise to Abraham when he and his wife, Sarah, were childless and beyond child-bearing years. Yet God miraculously allowed Sarah to conceive and bear Isaac, the child of promise. God later tested Abraham’s faith in him again by asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise. Yet God intervened when it was clear Abraham was going to obey God. As a result of all of this, Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation was a hero and was held up as an example of belief in God and faith in his promises.

The Jews in our passage are thinking of all of this and are confident that they have a high standing before God because of their connection to Abraham and their membership in God’s covenant.

Jesus exposes the problem in their heart. He tells them that if they were really children of Abraham, they would be marked by the same faith and belief in God. “Jesus said to them,

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.” (John 8:39–40).

Why is their negative response to Jesus so significant? Because Jesus clearly demonstrated to them that he was the promised Messiah—the one who would come from Abraham’s descendants and be a blessing to all the families of the earth. John the Baptist had earlier warned Israel of the same error:

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:8–9).

“Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

“So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:7–9)

He warns that the God is not their heavenly Father since they are rejecting him whom he sent.

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (John 8:42–43)

He shows them that the Devil (Satan) is their real spiritual father because they are doing exactly the same things that Satan does.

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:43–44)

The Jews’ Wrong Perspective of Jesus

They instead imply that Jesus himself was an illegitimate child (8:41) and the accuse him of being possessed by a demon (48).

They refused to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

Jesus makes a number of unmistakable claims to possess the same nature and power as God:

That God the Father is seeking to glorify him “I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.” (John 8:50) “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’” (John 8:54)

That he has the power to give eternal life “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)

That he is the fulfillment of Abraham’s messianic hopes “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)

That he is eternally self-existent, even from before the time of Abraham (who had been dead for two millennia). “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) The Jews fully understand what he is claiming and unsuccessfully try to stone him (John 8:59).

Our own response to Jesus

Consider your own actions; they testify as to who your spiritual father is.

Turn to God who is able to give you a spiritual new birth by the gospel through the same kind of faith which Abraham had in the promises of God.


Download the .pdf of Whose Son or Daughter Are You?

Six Tips For Successful Parenting

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How would you define a home?

Perhaps you would give me your street address, describe your house – the style, how many rooms or the color of your gate.

The dictionary defines a home as a family or group of people who live together, it is the place where somebody feels he or she belongs. Home is a place where a person can find refuge and safety, a place where they can live in security. You see, a home is not a building; a home is a place where relationships exist and are nurtured.

Often relationships in a home include children. It is important that these relationships are intentionally nurtured. If you are like me though there are times when you feel like your home is “out of control.”

Here are six tips for successful parenting that came from an article by Dr. William Goode.  These tips have helped me evaluate how I am relating to my kids.

  1. Encourage a lot – the child who is encouraged as well as corrected consistently can tell the difference between right and wrong. (Ro. 13.7)
  2. Play a lot – While we as adults must be firm, life has many problems and they need to see us work, laugh and be serious, taking enough personal interest to play their games with them. (Prov. 17.22)
  3. Pray a lot – We need God’s help. Talk to Him much about them. (James 1.5)
  4. Teach a lot – Eph. 6.4: “Instruction” = putting into the mind; building inner convictions.
  5. Use cause and effect a lot – …for correction. This is the most natural way of learning that actions have results (Gal. 6.7).
  6. When you do spank… do it lovingly, slowly, prayerfully, and thoroughly so you do not do it often… and never do it when you are angry

Developing healthy relationships in the home take an investment of time, energy and effort.  Be intentional!  invest in the relationships in your home!

May God grant us healthy and happy Christian homes!

If you are in the Kitwe area and would like to get in touch please email at philhunt66 (at)  You are invited to attend the Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship meeting each Sunday at the Polo Club (Show grounds) at 10:00.  Phil Hunt.

The Call of a Father

Thank You Dads!

Today we want to look at the call of a father from God’s perspective. Our text today is found in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 31 through chapter 6 verse 4.

If you are like me you probably were not well prepared to be a father. As much as I try I don’t have happy memories of my own father. I have seen photos when I was small sitting on my dad’s lap, and I have often wished I could actually remember what that was like. My relationship with my father was one of physical and especially psychological abuse. Words that hurt.

I remember the day I became a father! My wife woke me from peaceful sleep to announce that she thought it was time. Off we rushed for the hospital feeling quite certain that we would not arrive in time. Another 12 hours would pass before I had the joy of holding my first-born daughter. I remember being overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me. I have had that experience six times since!

Today the most treasured possessions, next to Christ are the members of my family.

There are many challenges of fatherhood. We live in a world that threatens our marriages our families and our children. We live in a culture that mocks biblical morality, glorifies sex and violence and laughs at drunkenness and debauchery.

“Men, the mere fact of fatherhood has endowed you with terrifying power in the lives of your sons and daughters, because they have an innate, God-given passion for you. The terrible fact is, we as fathers can either grace our children, or damn them with wounds that never seem to heal. Our society is filled with millions of daughters pathetically seeking the affection their father’s never gave them. In the extreme there are a multitude of sons who were denied a healthy same-sex relationship with their father and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.”  (Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man)

Our society is void of godly male leadership. There are some men who are a success as leaders in the company or marketplace but fail completely in the home.


The city of Ephesus was a center of pagan worship in the ancient world. It was nearly unknown in this culture for a father to interact with his children in a loving and nurturing relationship.

Most families were in shambles, and mutual love among family members was almost unheard of. A father’s love for his children would have been hard even to imagine. By the Roman law of patria-potestas a father had virtual life and death power not only over his slaves but over his entire household. He could cast any of them out of the house, sell them as slaves, or even kill them—and be accountable to no one. A newborn child was placed at its father’s feet to determine its fate. If the father picked it up, the child was allowed to stay in the home; if the father walked away, it was simply disposed of—much as aborted babies are in our own day. Discarded infants who were healthy and vigorous were collected and taken each night to the town forum, where they would be picked up and raised to be slaves or prostitutes.

A letter written in 1 B.C. by a man named Hilarion to his wife, Alis, reads,

“Heartiest greetings. Note that we are still even now in Alexandria. Do not worry if when all others return I remain in Alexandria. I beg and beseech you to take care of the little child, and as soon as we receive wages I will send them to you. If—good luck to you—you have another child, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it” (Papyri Oxyrhynchus 4.744). Seneca, a renowned statesman in Rome at the time Paul wrote the Ephesian letter, said, “We slaughter a fierce ox; we strangle a mad dog; we plunge a knife into a sick cow. Children born weak or deformed we drown.” (MacArthur Commentary, Ephesians, p 318. John MacArthur)

And there is little difference in our day. The majority of children in foster care in the west are there not because their parents are dead, but because their parents abandoned them. In a society without God fatherhood always suffers.

Paul is writing to first-generation Christians! These Ephesian believers had been redeemed by God to the praise of His glory! In Christ they had been placed in a position of victory so that in the ages to come God might show forth the riches of His grace. These Ephesian believers had been brought into the body of Christ through the power of God! (Eph 1:11-13; 2:1-3; 4:17; 5:8)

Because of God’s redemption and because of His grace toward the Ephesians they were to walk worthy of their calling as children of God.

What is God’s call to fathers in regards to their responsibilities to their children?


Christ commands it

  1. Eros – Physical love = physical attraction between married couples (this word not used in the NT).  The love commanded is more than just a wonderful feeling.
  2. Storge – Family love = fondness people share with their relatives, especially that love between parents and children.
  3. Philia – Friendship love = a warm hearted affection, attractive appeal between friends
  4. Agape – Love of Choice = the desire for and delight in the well-being of the one loved that leads to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf.

Christ demonstrates it

  1. This is a sacrificial love (5:25, Ro. 5:8)
  2. This is a serving love (5:26, Gal.5:13b)


An unavoidable command – Children are to obey (Prov 22:6)

  1. This is God’s command to your children, it is not primarily yours.
  2. Obedience = doing what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it, how you are supposed to do it, with the right heart attitude toward the authority asking you to do it.
  3. Teaching them to obey involves

A non-negotiable attitude – Honor them

  1. Honor – give them due respect. (Note: God’s order of Authority)
  2. A child should never be allowed to tell the parent “no.”  Our goal is that our younger children honor us by responding the first time spoken to.
  3. The general promise: it will be well with the child, and they will live a full life.


Warning is given to Christian Fathers (Eph 1:1; 2:1-10)

  1. “Do Not”!  This is a command! (2:3 – in the past they lived like this now it is different!)
  2. “Do not” is perfectly clear, do not provoke your children to anger so they begin to seethe with resentment and irritation.

How can we as fathers goad our children to resentment?

  1. Criticism – Father’s who criticize their children often bring them to discouragement (Col. 3.21).  How do we as Father’s criticize our children? Negative comments, Never praise them, Backhanded praise. HURTFUL words – wounds that never heal.  A child needs the fathers approval and encouragement as much as he needs the father’s correction.
  2. Irritability – Life is sometimes like the cartoon where the boss is grouchy toward the worker; his employee, in turn comes home and is irritable with the children; his son then kicked the dog; the dog runs down the street and bites the first person he sees – the boss!
  3. Inconsistency – Pity the horse that has a rider who gives it mixed signals, digging his heels into its side and pulling the reins at the same time. Pity the child even more who has the rules changed by an unpredictable father.  Be consistent. Never make a promise to your children you do not keep. You may forget, but you have a little boy or girl who will remember it eighty years from now.
  4. Unreasonable expectations: Never being pleased with the child’s achievement – pushing beyond reasonable bounds, by expectations. The child is never good enough.
  5. Withholding Love – Manipulating your child by withholding your affection from the child. “If you don’t behave, I won’t love you anymore.” (Heb 12:6). We are not to discipline out of anger, retribution.
  6. Physical Abuse – Child becomes the object of the father’s anger. Slap the child around, physically beat the child. Bully the sons, berate the daughters. Verbal abuse – often more damaging to a child than the physical abuse!


In a society where many children are growing up without a father in the home, we as godly men – young and old alike must prayerfully and intentionally become “fathers” to the children around us. In a specific sense this text speaks to biological fathers, in a general sense it provides us a template as men to disciple and be ‘fathers’ to the next generation.

Ephesians 6.4 when fully understood, requires us to do three things:


  1. “Bring them up” means “to nourish or feed” as in 5.29. Bring them up = let them be kindly cherished (Calvin). It emphasizes the idea of speaking to one’s children with gentleness and friendliness.
  2. Tenderness – verbal and physical – comes naturally to a father living under God’s Word.  Men how do we measure up? (Col.3:21)


  1. “Training” encompasses everything necessary to help “train a child in the way he should go” (Pr. 22.6). It includes discipline by punishment.  Discipline – the process of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. (Pr 13:24, Heb 12:5-11)   A child’s heart is filled with folly, we are to discipline them to bring them to wisdom (Pr. 22:15). “Don’t expect a horse trained with shouts to respond to a whisper.”
  2. Failure to discipline will bring disaster to our children. David never disciplined his son, Adonijah (I Kn 1:5-6)   Many of us have left this for the child’s mother or other family member. This approach leaves the child void of the security and self-esteem which come from being disciplined by the father.  Children are a heritage from the LORD, they are to be reared for HIM! (Ps 127:3)  Men, do you discipline your children? If not you are not living under God’s Word!

Life Lessons

  • Don’t make excuses for your sin or the sin of your children – The real problem is sin. Deal with the sin, don’t excuse it. Be willing to deal with your children as sinners.
  • Our children must learn at an early age that there are painful consequences to sin.
  • The problem cannot be solved by education – education just results in a sophisticated sinner (2.6; 22.19)
  • Our children must learn from an early age that God has provided a solution for the sinner – salvation through Jesus Christ.


  1. “Instruction” is verbal instruction or warning. Literally it means to “place before the mind.” Often this means to confront and thus is related to the previous topic, discipline.  This is where the high priest Eli was such a failure in raising his children (1 Sam. 3.11-13).  The word restrain is the same word as instruction. Eli failed to confront his boys. He failed to instruct them about their sin and because of this they were destroyed.
  2. Discipleship!! Men if we are to live up to our responsibilities we must Disciple our children by being:
    • Involved in verbally instructing our children – the well being of your great-grandchildren depend upon it! (Deut 6:7, Josh 24:15, 31, Judg 2:7,10)
    • Regularly leading them in family devotions and prayer.
    • Monitoring the input that enters their impressionable minds. (What music is he listening to? What is he/she watching?)
    • Taking responsibility to help ensure that church is a meaningful experience.


Men, what awesome power we have!  Our children’s hearts are turned toward us! Our hearts must be turned toward them. (Ps 78:5-6).

Above all Dads, we must ensure that the open book of our lives – our example – demonstrates the reality of our instruction, for in watching us they will learn the most.

If you would like a pdf copy of this lesson you can download The Call of a Father by clicking the link.

The Life-Changing Mark of Mothers

Our text today is 1 Samuel 1:1-28.  In this text we have the story of a woman who God used in a strategic way in His redemptive plan.  Her name is Hannah.

Not everyone here is a mother…

Not everyone has good memories of their mother…

Not every woman will be a biological mother…

However today we celebrate a beautiful ideal that originated in the mind of God – Motherhood.

“Why bother with Mothers’ Day at all? I’ll tell you why —— because for all its stumbling blocks, pitfalls and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, soiled wallpaper and spoiled plans, we’re talking about a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God’s creative plan to bring love and caring to light. Motherhood is a constant demand for the gift of love and caring.” (

Every mother lives her life for another – she exists for the benefit of another – from the pain of childbirth through the years of caring and providing for her children, motherhood is a symbol of universal selflessness and love.

Throughout Scripture women are elevated to a position of honor and influence.


Mothers: You play an important role in God’s unfolding purpose:

Have you seen the vision of what God is doing? He is working throughout history to call a people from every nation, tribe and tongue who will one day assemble before the throne to worship the lamb (Rev 7)

The flow of God’s redemptive plan all points to Christ, however that plan involves men! All of history is His-Story unfolding the details of God’s redemptive plan to bring about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s son – “to save His people from their sin.”

The means by which this will happen is the proclamation of the gospel among the people of the earth.

The method that God uses to proclaim that gospel is people – you and me!

To understand the narrative in today’s text we need to set the context: This is a major transition point in the OT narrative. God chose a people through which He would the Messiah would come. These Hebrew people had gotten off course. They had embraced religious syncretism – they were worshipping YWHW (Jehovah) and other gods. The priests, those given task was to teach the people to know and serve God had become immoral, and were perverting the sacrifices (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-24). This period of time is summed up in the words of Judges 22:25, “everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.”

At this critical point in History we are introduced to an amazing woman of faith, her name is Hannah. Hannah’s son Samuel would be the one God would use to point the nation of Israel back to God.

How did Hannah’s life provide a life-changing example for her children, and for us to follow? How will you leave a life-changing mark on your children?


Over 20 times in this chapter the name “LORD” is mentioned. LORD is the proper name for God – YHWH. It is the name God uses when he created the world (Gen 2:4). Isaiah 43:10 tells us that YHWH is ‘the only one true God.’

Hannah saw God as sovereign in the affairs of men, and sovereign over the situations that were causing her so much anguish. (5-6)

Yearly Elkanah took his family to Shiloh to worship God at the annual Jewish feasts. The worship of YHWH was a priority, a priority that involved obedience and sacrifice.


Husbands if you want your wife to be a good mother – love her! (Eph 5:25-26).

Elkanah loved his wife Hannah (4,8). The love referred to in Ephesians is no common ordinary thing. It is not romantic love or even the love of a good friend, it is a self-sacrificing love that asks nothing in return.

The love demanded by God is the desire and delight in the well being of the object of our love that leads us to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf. The writer of Ephesians puts it this way, ‘husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.’

This love will cause you to give up your life for your wife. It must make her holy and clean with the word. We minister the gospel to her. When you love your wife as Christ commanded, she will radiate with the confidence, purity and holiness of a godly woman.

Be secure in God’s love for you! (Is54:5).

God does not call every women to marriage. Some are called to be single, some may be widowed or divorced. Some women may be in a marriage that lacks the biblical kind of love mentioned above. Here is God’s word of comfort to you from Isaiah 54:5:

For your Maker is your husband, 
The Lord of hosts is His name; 
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; 
He is called the God of the whole earth.


Hannah faced painful circumstances that she could not control. The torture of her adversary (6). Relational problems in her home caused her inner pain and grief. These were issues that she did not have the ability to control or change. Multiple-wives was not God’s original plan – we all live with results choices we have made, often we cannot change those things.

Hannah also had a deep desire of her heart for a child but she was barren (6b-7). She grieved for a longed for destiny that had not realized – being a mother.

Hannah was an example of how to respond to suffering and pain!  She ran to God, she threw herself upon His mercies in prayer.

What sorrow or pain are you facing?

  • Miscarriage: Deep pain of empty arms, a way that only a mother can feel
  • Death of a child: To have a child snatched away in death, leaves a wound in the heart that no amount of reason or human help can heal.
  • Wayward child: The shame or sorrow of a child who has chosen to rebel against parents.
  • Broken marriage relationship: sorrow and pain of infidelity or abandonment – find love and security in God who is the husband that will never abandon or fail you.

Your trial, your suffering, your sorrow will either drive you to Christ or become a wedge that drives you away from Him!


Hannah poured her heart out to God in agonizing prayer (10). She reached up to God who had the power to close and open her womb. She recognized that God was the only one who could meet her need – for He had “shut up her womb.” (6b)

She was persistent in her prayer. It seems that she had prayed for many years over this matter. She prayed for a son, she prayed for her son! (7, 15-16). Hannah did not gain merit from God because of her persistence, but God did hear and in His time answered her prayer. God hears and answers prayer because He is a loving Father (Mt. 7:7-11)

Her prayer was one of consecration. She made a vow to give this son back to God as long as he lived to serve in the temple. As a symbol of his consecration he would be a Nazarite (Num. 6:2-21); one who was completely separated unto the Lord.


Hannah received assurance through Eli the priest that her prayer had been heard and she believed. Her faith was evidenced by her crying to turning into joy, her troubled countenance to peace. (18, Heb 11:3)

Hannah followed through on her vow to give her son Samuel to God (1:27-28)!

Her obedient faith in God prepared the man that God would use to redirect the nation back to God.

Mothers have faith in God and God will use you to instill that faith in your children! (2 Ti. 1:6)

On this Mother’s Day 2014:
Women: we thank you for showing us what care and love looks like!
Mothers: thank you for your selfless love.

Mothers you leave a life-changing mark on the life of your children by your courageous faith in Christ!

If you have not put your complete faith in Jesus Christ, cry out to God today for faith and forgiveness. He is a loving father, ready to forgive you your sins and give you a new life!