Teenage Turbulence

While I was away for a couple weeks of vacation many years ago, I read a book by David Elkind describing the staggering number of teenagers who lack the adult guidance and support they need to make a healthy transition into adulthood. His choice of title was appropriate: All Grown Up and No Place to Go. The book goes to the heart of the issue and addresses the breakdown of parental security and stability.

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A Species of Wonder

David’s song about the Lord’s attributes includes a celebration of human life, proof of God’s creative genius. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (139:14) Isn’t this true? We are a species of wonder. No one would argue that the human body is a phenomenal combination of strength, beauty, coordination, grace, and balance on the outside.

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Godly Confidence

The “excellent woman” of Proverbs 31 casts a long shadow for her sisters through history! Not only is she strong, wise, trustworthy, industrious, and successful, but she also “fears the LORD” (v. 30). The Hebrew word rendered “fear” has a wide range of meanings, including the idea of respectful reverence. I learned about this kind of fear when, fresh out of high school, I began my formal training to become a mechanical engineer.

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Great Expectations

Without taking away from the joys, rewards, and those extra-special moments of motherhood, I do want to acknowledge that the daily tasks of that assignment can be a grind! Washing mounds of laundry; ironing; folding; cleaning; shopping; cooking; carpooling; being a referee, coach, encourager, counselor, cop; remaining tactful, lovable, compassionate, cheerful, responsible, balanced, and sane (!)—every day

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An Investment in the Future

Psalms 127 and 128, songs of family strength, conclude with a look into the distant future, painting a portrait of a healthy, mature family. Like a farmer imagines his crop while planting seeds, Solomon helps us envision the fruit of our labor in the home.

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The Importance of Leadership

In Psalm 127, the arrows are in our hands, needing direction. As the songwriter continues his thoughts regarding the family in Psalm 128, he says that “everyone who fears the LORD” will be blessed or happy. The context is the family—specifically, the children God gives. As the progression continues from 127:3–5 to 128:1–2, we see how each arrow is to be carefully directed . . .

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The Bricks and Mortar

If a relationship with God is the foundation of a home (Psalm 127:1–2), the children are the bricks and mortar. Wise King Solomon continues his celebration of the strong home with a focus on the value of children. Children Born within the Home: Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.

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Building a Strong Foundation

The pair of songs on the home, Psalms 127 and 128, begins with a look at the foundation. How does one establish a family legacy that will survive the inevitable crises, and then thrive for generations? Inception of the Home: Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

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Songs of Family Strength

Maybe it doesn’t sound very spiritual, but some aspects of family living can be a grind! Rearing a household of busy children, maintaining good communication, living unselfishly with others day in and day out under the same roof, remaining positive and affirming, dealing with strong wills, and handling some of the other domestic challenges can be a first-class chore!

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Work versus Reward

As we discovered earlier, Solomon and the wise men of Israel had a lot to say about the value of diligence and the dangers of laziness. When we put all the sayings together, their message becomes clear: work diligently and you will reap material rewards; laziness will leave you penniless. Even in this, however, the proverbs call for balance. In favor of work, the wise men wrote:

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