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Quotes of Author: Kent-hughes-and-barbara-hughes

1.
It is a mistake to imagine that prayers must be long in order to be effective and pleasing to God.  Martin Luther said:  “Look to it that you do not try to do all of it, do not try to do too much, lest your spirit grow weary. Besides a good prayer mustn’t be too long. Do not draw it out. Prayer ought to be frequent and fervent.” It is far better to have ten minutes of concentrated prayer than an hour in which one’s mind wanders from Jerusalem to Timbuktu. A legalistic commitment to duration will inevitable torpedo your prayer life. 

It is a mistake to imagine that prayers must be long in order to be effective and pleasing to God.  Martin Luther said:  “Look to it that you do not try to do all of it, do not try to do too much, lest your spirit grow weary. Besides a good prayer mustn’t be too long. Do not draw it out. Prayer ought to be frequent and fervent.” It is far better to have ten minutes of concentrated prayer than an hour in which one’s mind wanders from Jerusalem to Timbuktu. A legalistic commitment to duration will inevitable torpedo your prayer life. 

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 81. Get this book!


2.
The local church was the womb that warmed our soul until it was ready for birth. The church fed us on the milk of the Word, providing us with many loving fathers and mothers. It stood with us when we presented our children to God, and it now mothers them. The local church has contributed much to our children’s spiritual nurturing.

The local church was the womb that warmed our soul until it was ready for birth. The church fed us on the milk of the Word, providing us with many loving fathers and mothers. It stood with us when we presented our children to God, and it now mothers them. The local church has contributed much to our children’s spiritual nurturing.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 68. Get this book!


3.
A few words about spanking: We did! The Scriptures command it: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Pr. 22:15). While this Scripture does not teach all discipline is corporal, “the rod” has its proper use… Common sense dictates that spanking ought to hurt – some. But all parents must understand that spanking is not a beating. Beating a child is abuse. Spanking is a brief, controlled, painful punishment intended to make the recipient sorry he or she committed the offense that brought it about. Very often only a swat or two is necessary. When administering such discipline, we gave the simple explanation, “What you did was wrong.” We did not refrain from expressing our dismay or anger at the wrongdoing. But we always affirmed our love before and after the discipline. After all, godly discipline is an act of love. Similarly, punishment is not positively effective without a background of praise.

A few words about spanking: We did! The Scriptures command it: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Pr. 22:15). While this Scripture does not teach all discipline is corporal, “the rod” has its proper use… Common sense dictates that spanking ought to hurt – some. But all parents must understand that spanking is not a beating. Beating a child is abuse. Spanking is a brief, controlled, painful punishment intended to make the recipient sorry he or she committed the offense that brought it about. Very often only a swat or two is necessary. When administering such discipline, we gave the simple explanation, “What you did was wrong.” We did not refrain from expressing our dismay or anger at the wrongdoing. But we always affirmed our love before and after the discipline. After all, godly discipline is an act of love. Similarly, punishment is not positively effective without a background of praise.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway, 2004, p. 207. Get this book!


4.
Parenting – not politics, not the classroom, not the laboratory, not even the pulpit – is the place of greatest influence. To suppose otherwise is to be captive to the shriveled secular delusion. We must understand that it is through the godly family that God’s grace, a vision of God, a burden for the world, and a Christian character are most powerfully communicated… Parents, don’t abandon your place of influence. It is still true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Believe it.

Parenting – not politics, not the classroom, not the laboratory, not even the pulpit – is the place of greatest influence. To suppose otherwise is to be captive to the shriveled secular delusion. We must understand that it is through the godly family that God’s grace, a vision of God, a burden for the world, and a Christian character are most powerfully communicated… Parents, don’t abandon your place of influence. It is still true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Believe it.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 16. Get this book!


5.
Who you are is more important than what you say. Bottom line: The quality of your own spiritual life is of greatest importance to your child’s spiritual development. This was one of the most important insights of the Puritans on the subject of the family. Here is what two of them wrote: “Precept without patterns will do little good; you must lead [children] to Christ by examples as well as counsel; you must set yourselves first, and speak by lives as well as words; you must live religion as well as talk religion” (Eleazar Mather).  “Be sure to set good example before your children… Other methods of instruction probably will not do much good, if you don’t teach them by a godly example. Don’t think your children will mind the good rules you give them if you act contrary to those rules yourselves… If your counsels are good, and your examples evil, your children will be more like to be hurt by the latter, than benefited by the former” (Benjamin Wadsworth).

Who you are is more important than what you say. Bottom line: The quality of your own spiritual life is of greatest importance to your child’s spiritual development. This was one of the most important insights of the Puritans on the subject of the family. Here is what two of them wrote: “Precept without patterns will do little good; you must lead [children] to Christ by examples as well as counsel; you must set yourselves first, and speak by lives as well as words; you must live religion as well as talk religion” (Eleazar Mather). “Be sure to set good example before your children… Other methods of instruction probably will not do much good, if you don’t teach them by a godly example. Don’t think your children will mind the good rules you give them if you act contrary to those rules yourselves… If your counsels are good, and your examples evil, your children will be more like to be hurt by the latter, than benefited by the former” (Benjamin Wadsworth).

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 61. Get this book!


6.
All children, like their parents before them, are rooted in fallen Adam (see Rom. 5:12). The perfect, infallible portrait of every soul who has ever lived was painted by Paul in Romans 3:10-11: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Sin is so rooted in us that every part of the human personality is tainted. This, of course, doesn’t mean that all people are as bad as they can be or that they don’t do good things (see Luke 11:13). But it does mean that apart from God’s grace and the God-ordained graces of human discipline, children will naturally gravitate to sin – quite apart from the tricks of the devil or their “corrupt” little friends.

All children, like their parents before them, are rooted in fallen Adam (see Rom. 5:12). The perfect, infallible portrait of every soul who has ever lived was painted by Paul in Romans 3:10-11: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Sin is so rooted in us that every part of the human personality is tainted. This, of course, doesn’t mean that all people are as bad as they can be or that they don’t do good things (see Luke 11:13). But it does mean that apart from God’s grace and the God-ordained graces of human discipline, children will naturally gravitate to sin – quite apart from the tricks of the devil or their “corrupt” little friends.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 99. Get this book!


7.
We have experienced substantial joys in professional ministry, but nothing is quite so fulfilling as the personal joy of seeing family friends come to faith… The family is at the very heart of authentic ministry and evangelism. As ministry professionals, we hold the firm conviction that family is ministry and that the most effective spread of the gospel occurs through family. We are also convinced that we were never more effective in evangelism than when we had children at home.

We have experienced substantial joys in professional ministry, but nothing is quite so fulfilling as the personal joy of seeing family friends come to faith… The family is at the very heart of authentic ministry and evangelism. As ministry professionals, we hold the firm conviction that family is ministry and that the most effective spread of the gospel occurs through family. We are also convinced that we were never more effective in evangelism than when we had children at home.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway, 2004, p. 86- 87. Get this book!


8.
A vital element for building a family is instilling a healthy sense of heritage – an appreciation of family roots, both earthly and spiritual. Yet it is increasingly common in our world for children to have no such sense of continuity or regard for family history. Too many feel that they have come from nothing and are bound for nothing- and this goes for Christians, too. Family heritage is a subject of neglect that is in need of rehabilitation. It is one of the disciplines of a godly family.

A vital element for building a family is instilling a healthy sense of heritage – an appreciation of family roots, both earthly and spiritual. Yet it is increasingly common in our world for children to have no such sense of continuity or regard for family history. Too many feel that they have come from nothing and are bound for nothing- and this goes for Christians, too. Family heritage is a subject of neglect that is in need of rehabilitation. It is one of the disciplines of a godly family.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway, 2004, p. 21. Get this book!


9.
We confidently affirm that the right way to approach discipline is to begin with tight control in the early years and then loosen up as the children become older, rather than attempt to rein in children who have not known control for years. Although it is a serious mistake to fail to gain control of your children in the early years, we believe it is equally ineffective and injurious not to let go at the proper time. If you want your sons and daughters to achieve the maturity of a life given over to the control of God, you must trust God and relinquish control to them. It is a spiritual axiom: Your children cannot give to God what they do not own.

We confidently affirm that the right way to approach discipline is to begin with tight control in the early years and then loosen up as the children become older, rather than attempt to rein in children who have not known control for years. Although it is a serious mistake to fail to gain control of your children in the early years, we believe it is equally ineffective and injurious not to let go at the proper time. If you want your sons and daughters to achieve the maturity of a life given over to the control of God, you must trust God and relinquish control to them. It is a spiritual axiom: Your children cannot give to God what they do not own.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway, 2004, p. 120. Get this book!


10.
Fathers, leave your self-conscious masculine dignity outside the home. You will never be more a man than when tenderly addressing your family in endearing terms.

Fathers, leave your self-conscious masculine dignity outside the home. You will never be more a man than when tenderly addressing your family in endearing terms.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 40. Get this book!


11.
Manners are about respect and thus are rooted in the Christian ethic modeled by Christ – my life for your life. Self-sacrifice, therefore, is at the heart of manners… Manners do not make the man or woman. The radical reorientation that says “my life for your life” can only come from the regenerating work of Christ, who instills His life and ethic in us. Nevertheless, manners teach the need for and complement of the character that Christ’s life gives. Lives that say “my life for yours” are channels of God’s grace to a needy world.

Manners are about respect and thus are rooted in the Christian ethic modeled by Christ - my life for your life. Self-sacrifice, therefore, is at the heart of manners… Manners do not make the man or woman. The radical reorientation that says “my life for your life” can only come from the regenerating work of Christ, who instills His life and ethic in us. Nevertheless, manners teach the need for and complement of the character that Christ’s life gives. Lives that say “my life for yours” are channels of God’s grace to a needy world.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 124, 133. Get this book!


12.
Here’s our own list that emerged in our childrearing years: 1.  Don’t be a tattletale. 2.  If you receive a gift you don’t like, do your best not to show disappointment. And say something nice like “Thank you for remembering my birthday.” 3.  Don’t gossip. If you do, you won’t be a trustworthy friend, and you will displease God (Prov. 11:11-12; 18:13). 4.  Don’t whisper secrets in front of other people. The person left out will get hurt feelings. 5.  Cheerfully greet the members of your family in the morning. 6.  Always answer when you’re spoken to- and do so respectfully. 7.  When you haven’t heard someone clearly, don’t grimace in irritation, but kindly say, “Excuse me?” 8.  Always address adults as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, never by their first names. If they are particularly close family friends, your parents may want you to call them “Aunt” or “Uncle.” This shows respect. In the Southern states children use the friendly but respectful “Miss Suzy” or “Miss Martha” when speaking to adult acquaintances. The important thing here is developing a respect for authority, a quality sadly lacking in our country today.

Here’s our own list that emerged in our childrearing years: 1. Don’t be a tattletale. 2. If you receive a gift you don’t like, do your best not to show disappointment. And say something nice like “Thank you for remembering my birthday.” 3. Don’t gossip. If you do, you won’t be a trustworthy friend, and you will displease God (Prov. 11:11-12; 18:13). 4. Don’t whisper secrets in front of other people. The person left out will get hurt feelings. 5. Cheerfully greet the members of your family in the morning. 6. Always answer when you’re spoken to- and do so respectfully. 7. When you haven’t heard someone clearly, don’t grimace in irritation, but kindly say, “Excuse me?” 8. Always address adults as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, never by their first names. If they are particularly close family friends, your parents may want you to call them “Aunt” or “Uncle.” This shows respect. In the Southern states children use the friendly but respectful “Miss Suzy” or “Miss Martha” when speaking to adult acquaintances. The important thing here is developing a respect for authority, a quality sadly lacking in our country today.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 127- 128. Get this book!


13.
Children are rude because they are so naturally egocentric. It’s their needs, their comforts, their feelings that they demand be met- usually at the expense of weary parents. Of course, self-centeredness is natural, expected behavior in infancy and tolerable in toddlers, but it becomes downright unbearable in school-age children. Proper manners can be a most effective tool in teaching children that they are not the center of the universe. And as the realization grows, they will be well on their way to becoming civilized rather than savage.

Children are rude because they are so naturally egocentric. It’s their needs, their comforts, their feelings that they demand be met- usually at the expense of weary parents. Of course, self-centeredness is natural, expected behavior in infancy and tolerable in toddlers, but it becomes downright unbearable in school-age children. Proper manners can be a most effective tool in teaching children that they are not the center of the universe. And as the realization grows, they will be well on their way to becoming civilized rather than savage.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 124. Get this book!


14.
Common sense tells us that the highest priority must be given to prayer if we hope to enhance our children’s spiritual development… Effective intercession for our children requires that we pray with the mind engaged, in detail, with appropriate earnestness, and that both parents should often pray for their children together.

Common sense tells us that the highest priority must be given to prayer if we hope to enhance our children’s spiritual development… Effective intercession for our children requires that we pray with the mind engaged, in detail, with appropriate earnestness, and that both parents should often pray for their children together.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 60. Get this book!


15.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 that “this is the will of God, your sanctification.” Parenting is profoundly sanctifying. When we were first married, the new relationship revealed rooms of selfishness in our lives – and within those rooms doors to other rooms, and in those rooms yet other doors and closets. The revelation was the beginning of an ongoing, lifelong housecleaning and the addition of children truly deepened the process. The inconvenience of parenting – the self-giving, the prayer, the dependence upon God, the growth – can be an experience of sanctification like no other… The discipline of parenting can be the road to an enlarged soul and the path to unimagined heights of spiritual development. That’s the way God planned it.

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 that “this is the will of God, your sanctification.” Parenting is profoundly sanctifying. When we were first married, the new relationship revealed rooms of selfishness in our lives – and within those rooms doors to other rooms, and in those rooms yet other doors and closets. The revelation was the beginning of an ongoing, lifelong housecleaning and the addition of children truly deepened the process. The inconvenience of parenting – the self-giving, the prayer, the dependence upon God, the growth – can be an experience of sanctification like no other… The discipline of parenting can be the road to an enlarged soul and the path to unimagined heights of spiritual development. That’s the way God planned it.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 17. Get this book!


16.
Secularized self-esteem promotes self-deception regarding one’s spiritual needs, which can then lead to eternal self-destruction.

Secularized self-esteem promotes self-deception regarding one’s spiritual needs, which can then lead to eternal self-destruction.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 99. Get this book!


17.
Kent and Barbara Hughes suggest the following to built family affection:1. “The best possible foundation for building affection: love for God…We are able to love God and others through the reception of God’s love.  Loving God is what makes other loves endure.  This discipline, the day-to-day empowerment to live out this love for people who aren’t always “lovable,” is what fosters the ongoing growth of affection.”2. “It is essential, then, if a family is to develop the bonds of affection, that the children have the assurance of their parents’ love for one another.”3. “An obvious place to enhance family affection is at the dinner table.  That is the single best daily opportunity families have for all gathering together…We encourage you never to surrender that choice time, for it is an unsurpassed opportunity to build family life.”4. “Family vacations were at the heart of building the Hughes clan’s affections…we made disciplined investment in family vacations…Sometimes brief, spontaneous mini-vacations can (also) have important results in developing family unity and affection.”5. “Mutual interests builds affection…Wise parents know this and look for a common interest or adopt their children’s interests as their own.”6. “Families that learn to appreciate their points of uniqueness and to chuckle at their idiosyncrasies pull together in affection rather than apart in irritation.”7. “The home is the place to be sentimental, corny, even weird for the sake of affection.”8. “Wise parents who wish to enhance familial bonds will do their best to keep up the communication with grandparents and spent time with them if possible.  Few things can be more elevating to family than loving affection extended across generations.”

Kent and Barbara Hughes suggest the following to built family affection: 1. “The best possible foundation for building affection: love for God…We are able to love God and others through the reception of God’s love. Loving God is what makes other loves endure. This discipline, the day-to-day empowerment to live out this love for people who aren’t always “lovable,” is what fosters the ongoing growth of affection.” 2. “It is essential, then, if a family is to develop the bonds of affection, that the children have the assurance of their parents’ love for one another.” 3. “An obvious place to enhance family affection is at the dinner table. That is the single best daily opportunity families have for all gathering together…We encourage you never to surrender that choice time, for it is an unsurpassed opportunity to build family life.” 4. “Family vacations were at the heart of building the Hughes clan’s affections…we made disciplined investment in family vacations…Sometimes brief, spontaneous mini-vacations can (also) have important results in developing family unity and affection.” 5. “Mutual interests builds affection…Wise parents know this and look for a common interest or adopt their children’s interests as their own.” 6. “Families that learn to appreciate their points of uniqueness and to chuckle at their idiosyncrasies pull together in affection rather than apart in irritation.” 7. “The home is the place to be sentimental, corny, even weird for the sake of affection.” 8. “Wise parents who wish to enhance familial bonds will do their best to keep up the communication with grandparents and spent time with them if possible. Few things can be more elevating to family than loving affection extended across generations.”

Reference:   Kent and Barbara Hughes Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway, 2004, p. 30-42. Get this book!


18.
But why this disciplined emphasis on tradition and memory? Because of the rootlessness of today’s culture. The contemporary world’s post-Christian mind-set, its confusing pluralism, its broken families, the high rate of divorces, and the nomadic mobility of so many have produced a generation without memory or tradition. And frankly this is where many Christian families are- especially if they have not come from Christian backgrounds. These Christians feel rootless, alien, and insecure. This is sufficient reason from every Christian family to take conscious and disciplined measures to cultivate tradition and memory. But there is an even more compelling reason. Namely, God’s Word dramatically recommends that all believing families cultivate both spiritual memory and spiritual traditions to commemorate and celebrate God’s goodness.

But why this disciplined emphasis on tradition and memory? Because of the rootlessness of today’s culture. The contemporary world’s post-Christian mind-set, its confusing pluralism, its broken families, the high rate of divorces, and the nomadic mobility of so many have produced a generation without memory or tradition. And frankly this is where many Christian families are- especially if they have not come from Christian backgrounds. These Christians feel rootless, alien, and insecure. This is sufficient reason from every Christian family to take conscious and disciplined measures to cultivate tradition and memory. But there is an even more compelling reason. Namely, God’s Word dramatically recommends that all believing families cultivate both spiritual memory and spiritual traditions to commemorate and celebrate God’s goodness.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 44. Get this book!


19.
We need to use common sense in regard to memory and tradition. Neither will happen unless there is a disciplined resolve to do something about it. Our human, sinful tendency is to forget God’s benefits. And if we make no disciplined effort, we will not fully celebrate God’s goodness.

We need to use common sense in regard to memory and tradition. Neither will happen unless there is a disciplined resolve to do something about it. Our human, sinful tendency is to forget God’s benefits. And if we make no disciplined effort, we will not fully celebrate God’s goodness.

Reference:   Disciplines of a Godly Family, Crossway Books, 2004, p. 53. Get this book!