James 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and GOOD FRUITS, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
In some translations of James 3:17, the term good works is used in place of good fruits and in yet other translations it is rendered good fruit. Why is this important? In James we are reminded that good works (fruit) is the result of walking in the wisdom of God. Godly wisdom will yield positive results that reflect the four adjectives we’ve discussed in the previous Contact Mom Chronicles (pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable). Paul encourages us in Phil. 1:11 NLT to be filled with the fruit of your salvation, and they are “the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ, for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”
Good fruit is the result of wisdom from above. Good fruit is not only a noun, but also an action word, like love. It indicates that we should be available to provide practical help for those in need, laying aside our own needs/wants for the moment. It may be as tangible as providing food and clothing or finances. And it is possible that the biggest sacrifice we will be asked to make is of our time. As we mature in our walk with the Lord and as we touch others on a daily basis our lives should be characterized by being full of doing good things i.e. “good fruits.” Wisdom will show itself by works that bear fruit that glorify Christ. By our good conduct may we show His work in us by not living for ourselves but by living to be useful to God. Let your wisdom be reflected to others by the good fruitproduced.
Questions and Answers:
A commonly asked question of Contact Moms and class leaders has to do with the gray areasof parenting. What action do parents take when a child does something very inconsiderate and the parent realizes, “I’ve never trained for this particular behavior.” For example: Two children were involved in a spitting contest and mom realizes she never said, “Thou shall not spit on another person.” So how does one handle that?
Another common question asked, especially during the early discipline phase of parenting is: “How do I know when the offense requires a structured consequence, a natural consequence or simply a reflective time out?
To the first question, the reality is we will never be able to train our children for every circumstance, situation, encounter or influence they will have in life. Our responsibility as parents is to put “moral virtue” in, along with the “why” of behavior/virtue, so that the virtue is what comes to their mind and plays out in their actions as they go about life. Additionally, our example will have an impact and influence our children’s lives. Remember that younger children will mimic and imitate behaviors they see. In the situation of “spitting,” has specific information been provided about this action? Have they seen someone spitting recently? Whatever the answer, “Love is not rude,” therefore we treat others with kindness and that means not spitting or hurting them in any way.
Regarding the second question, the Discipline Flow Chart found in GKGW and helpful hints for correction in the On Becoming Toddlerwise or Childwise provide tools to help parents think through the when, why and how of correction. Wisdom or discernment would have parents go through the process of asking is this childishness or foolishness? Is it a head or heart issue? What is the age of the child? Is she characterized by this behavior and what is the context of the moment surrounding this behavior? Is there a “natural” consequence provided as a result of the child’s misbehavior? If so, parents only need to help the child to see and understand that the skinned knee and accompanied pain is the natural consequence of not heeding their instructions. If there is no “natural” consequence then the parents must develop a “structured” consequence that is somewhat tied to the offense or at least be something that the child would consider a painful “loss.” Reflective Time Out is used when a parent observes the child is about to go in a direction that will lead her to trouble. One doesn’t wait until after the fact. Remember all correction is to help aid the child to change the attitude that led to the wrong behavior.
Expectations vs. Reality In this presentation Anne Marie Ezzo and Sharon Carter discuss the way moms often want things to be (expectations) and the way that they actually are (reality), and how to deal with the tension that is present when one does not match the other. Everyone expects certain things of each relationship in their life. When these expectations are not met, frustration grows and this inhibits growth in one’s spiritual walk. Anne Marie and Sharon challenge listeners to assess and evaluate the expectations they have and share how to bring them into perspective. To order click here or visitwww.christianfamilyheritage.org
Good: the best of the best produce be it moral qualities, works or virtues; to be complete, sound and uncorrupted; to be sustainable and suited to strengthen; to be unblemished and to supply a deficiency. Fruits: effects and/or consequences; that which is produced; the advantages and the profit or the good derived from a particular thing, setting, person; Results, products, outcomes, accomplishments and achievements.
“For you were formerly darkness but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10
In talking with a friend recently about some of the personal challenges in my life including the things I would like to see changed, I was reminded of Psalm 90:12, which says, “teach me to number my days that I might present to you a heart of righteousness.” How many days does it take to present to God a heart of righteousness? I think the Psalmist would suggest to us that it takes a lifetime. A lifetime of good fruits; the fruit that comes from making daily choices to speak words of life and not words of death. Of praying Psalm 139:23&24, “Search me, O God and know my heart …” rather than attempting to justify unwise actions or accusing others. The good fruit of giving thanks for everything, rather than whining and complaining.
Thankfully, God does not expect us to have all this accomplished in a day. He understands it will take time. As we engage with God and receive His marching orders for our day, for this moment, for the most current conflict in life, we simply do the next thing He has put into our hands to do. That’s all, just the next thing…not the mountain that stands in the middle of the week, but the task that I can reach out and touch, reach out and do this moment. In that way we are training our hearts to seek Him, to do His will and to grow a heart of righteousness that will yield good fruits.
MEET THE BOARD
Tim and I were introduced to GFI over 24 years ago, through a radio program “Parenting on the Line” with hosts, Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo. We were seeking help for our 2nd born who was 5 1/2 at the time and it was suggested we enroll in a parenting class. Since we were expecting our 5th child, we began with PFP and there learned that we could expect our baby to sleep 12 hours by 12 weeks!! To say the class was transformational is an understatement. We then enrolled in GKGW and soon after began leading classes. Our five children ranged in age from newborn to twelve. Over time I became involved with the Contact Mom ministry and approximately 13 years ago was asked to join the CFH Board. Over the years my positions have been treasurer, then president and recently moved to member at large.
I was raised in a Jewish home and became a follower of Jesus Christ on January 17, 1974, just over 40 years ago! Tim and I have chosen to integrate many of my past traditions into the practice of our faith. Passovers around our home are grand events, as well as the Festival of Lights and Hanukah where we enjoy potato pancakes with our Messianic friends. Tim and I have been married 35 years. Jonathan, our oldest, died shortly before his 19th birthday. Our daughter, Hannah, is married to Jeremiah (who is a missionary with Jews for Jesus) and they have three children, Aviva 4, Judah 2, and Ari who was born Thanksgiving Day 2013. Andrew is currently in college and engaged to be married this June. Abby teaches at the LA Unified School District, while working on her MA and is close to celebrating her one year anniversary to Jeffrey. David, our Prep Baby, is 23 and is working hard holding down two jobs.