Ask Your Preacher
How do we appropriately ask for God to intervene in the life of a sick child? Should we ask for the child's sake, for His glory, or on the family's behalf?
Dear Worried Sick,
All three reasons are wonderful. James gives an example of praying for the sick, purely because they are sick and want to feel better (Jas 5:14). Elijah prayed for a child's life for the mother's sake (1 Kgs 17:20-21). Paul prayed that Christians would be blessed so that God might be glorified (2 Thess 1:12). We have examples of all three motivations for asking for God's help. God states that human life has an intrinsic, precious value (Gen 9:6) The desire to preserve life is reason enough to ask for God's help.
Should you co-sign for your adult children to purchase a car? Or illegally rent a car in your name for them to drive?
Dear Loan Agent,
You should never co-sign for anybody, and you should never do anything illegal. God tells us to obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-4). If you commit fraud in renting a car for your child, you are sinning.
Co-signing is similarly wrong. Co-signing is the act of agreeing to take responsibility for paying the debts of someone else. In essence, the bank has said that your child is too high of a risk to loan money to. When you co-sign for them, you are saying that you are taking the risk that the bank is unwilling to. God says that this is a very bad idea (Pr 17:18). He also promises that you will suffer for it (Pr 11:15). If you have co-signed for something, God tells you to do whatever it takes to get out of that situation (Pr 6:1-5). Eventually, your children will be able to purchase that vehicle on their own. It is a good thing for them to bear the burden of working for things on their own (Lam 3:27). As it’s been said, “It builds character.” Of course, you also always have the option of simply giving them the money if you feel they need it so badly.
My wonderful husband and I are expecting our first child. His parents are hoping for a biblical name. My husband and I would like to name this baby after one of my grandparents, and none of them have names from the Bible. My husband remembers his mother once saying that if a person doesn't have a biblical name, God doesn't approve of them. There can't be any truth to this, can there?
Hoping for Henry Or Pearl
Dear Hoping For Henry Or Pearl,
No, there isn’t any truth to this. Many people name their children after people from the Bible, but our names do not define us; our actions do. It is the memory of the choices we make in our lives that determine who we are; a name in and of itself is just window-dressing (Pr 10:7). Even the church in Sardis relied too much on the reputation their name brought and was condemned for it (Rev 3:1). Inversely, John the Baptist was given a name that had no meaning whatsoever to his family (Lk 1:60-63), and yet he was considered the greatest prophet of his day (Matt 11:11). Name your children whatever you like, but make sure and train them up in God’s ways (Pr 22:6). If they grow up and live faithfully, their name shall become a blessing.
My husband and I will be having our baby boy soon. We still don't know if we should circumcise him. What does the Bible say about this topic?
Sincerely, Concerned Parent
Dear Concerned Parent,
There is nothing wrong with circumcising your son as long as it isn’t for religious reasons. In the Old Testament, a Jewish boy was circumcised on the eighth day of his life (Lev 12:2-3), or he was to be cut off from his people (Gen 17:14). The reason for this was circumcision was a token of the contract God had between Him and Israel (Gen 17:11), and without circumcision, you could not be considered an Israelite.
When the New Covenant (a.k.a. the New Contract) began in Christ, circumcision was no longer mandatory for men. To Christians, circumcision means nothing (1 Cor 7:19). Baptism has replaced circumcision as the token of the new covenant. Just like you couldn’t be a Jew without circumcision, you can’t be a Christian without baptism (Mk 16:16). Of course, the difference is babies are circumcised, and adults are baptized.
There are medical reasons for why some doctors recommend circumcision, and it may be worth consulting your physician on the subject. However, from a spiritual standpoint, it makes no difference either way. So congratulations on the new addition to your family, and rest easy. Whatever decision you make will be fine.
As stated in the fifth commandment, you are to honor your father and mother. Yes, as a child growing up in the home, children are to be obedient and respectful and do as their parents say - whether that be cleaning up the room or completing chores. Yet, I have heard it said that once that child turns a certain age or moves back in after college, the parents should have less control and say over that child. For example, the child should be allowed to come and go as they please. So how much do they need to listen to their parents? Yes, as a respectful person helping out around the house as they would do in their own home as well as picking up after themselves in communal areas as agreed upon. However, do they need to make their bed every day or clean their room to their parents’ liking? And do parents have a right to demand these things or threaten to take away their child’s personal things (things that the child has bought on their own) as punishment?
Sincerely, Too Old For Spanking
Dear Too Old For Spanking,
You are old enough to no longer heed your parent’s wishes when you are old enough to move out. The transition from parental oversight to honoring (but not necessarily heeding) your parents’ wishes is most visibly seen at the point of marriage. When someone gets married, they leave their parents and cleave to their spouse (Mk 10:7). Even if unmarried, when a child is old enough to “leave the nest”, it has the same effect as ‘leaving and cleaving.’ It sounds like your parents’ rules may be stricter than is appropriate for your age, but the fact remains that you are under their roof. Time has not made you equals, and they may have a good reason for those house rules. Take the time to understand their reasoning (Pr 23:22).
No rent, free food, free utilities, etc. gives them authority to set some ground rules regardless of age. If you are out of college and in your twenties, you have the ability to change that relationship… by moving out. Until then, you have a responsibility to abide by their house rules. Otherwise, you can always talk to them and hope to alter the house rules in a way that better suits both of your needs.