Recommendations for becoming a better shepherd?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by jpfrench81, Jan 2, 2019.

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  1. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    What resources do you recommend for becoming a better shepherd? e.g., When my wife is discouraged about something and needs to be led toward Christ? Or when a child is in the midst of an angry tirade and needs to be directed toward repentance?

    Surely, this must start with my own personal holiness and spiritual growth, but that doesn't directly help one know how to unpack those kinds of situations. This wasn't modeled for me in childhood, and though I've grown slowly in this area as an adult, I'm feeling really burdened by a need to grow in this area for my family's well-being.
  2. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Maybe Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tripp?
  3. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I don't know if this applies, but I had been a union ironworker for about 7 years, and had never been a job foreman. I was talking to an old ironworker who I'd become friends with. He had been a superintendent on some big jobs, and a foreman on many.

    I confided in him that I felt badly because I'd seen others who only had a couple of years in the trade placed as foreman, while I had never been asked.

    He said, "Before you can be a good master, you have to be a good servant."
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    A mirror.
  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Do you have godly family men in your congregation who who could offer advice? My own upbringing didn't teach me much about a godly home and family life; others in the church led me along with a deep-feeding in God's word. It's rare for me to recommend a how-to resource because I find the church and the scriptures best address what I need to mature.
  6. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

  7. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Unfortunately, I don't understand the advice in these. I definitely do need to be a better servant. And I suppose the second quote refers to self-examination, which is clearly a biblical commandment. But I'm not sure how these directly help me develop the skills needed to guide my family (or myself) through the complex desires of our heart in order to more firmly fasten our hopes on the Lord.
  8. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    None that I'm particularly close to, but it's certainly something to pursue!
  9. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Interestingly, we already have this book. I think I got it for my wife based on a recommendation somewhere. I didn't realize it applied to the entire home, as opposed to what we call "homemaking" in modern times. The reviews sound great. Thanks!
  10. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    Josh, it's a fantastic question. I hope a lot of people can contribute to this post. I'll be watching because I could use good advice here as well.

    Probably one important piece here, as I'm sure you're well aware of, is developing the practice of doing this for yourself: IE, Why am I so discouraged about this and how does Jesus need to heal me; or: Why did I get so angry about this and what's the root behind it?

    Just a personal example; when I was recently struggling with discouragement, after giving some intentional thought to it and letting God probe my heart a bit, I realized it was because I was making my own perceptions of ministry success become my identity...when more people came to service I felt good, but when they didn't I tended to get discouraged. Why? Because I was allowing perceived ministry success to be what gave me life and joy and fulfillment instead of actually Christ. Now that I'd found the root, I was in a position to know better how the gospel needs to meet me.

    So I think the more we practice this ourselves we grow over time at helping others see these things as well. But I think it does take a lot of time and a lot of practice, and we'll always be learning how to do this better.

    Maybe a similar suggestion is asking that same question to close friends: "How does the gospel apply to angry tirades?" (probably we should be doing this with one another all the time; Deut. 6:7). It doesn't help if your wife is the one who needs the encouraging, but when it's your child, maybe a good place to start is by processing this with your wife and getting her thoughts.

    Again, great question, and I'd love to see what others say as well.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  11. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I said in the initial part of my post that I'm not sure it applies. I was unsure whether to post it at all, but it came into my mind 45 years after the fact, so ..... I wasn't trying to needle you, or post the equivalent of a Zen koan. I hope some of our brothers and sisters on this board will be able to provide the encouragement, and/or advice that will help you achieve your goal.
  12. Cedarbay

    Cedarbay Puritan Board Freshman

    I think of my husband as a servant. Regardless of the angst/trials/sufferings I've presented him with over the years, he asks me, "how can I help"?

    I appreciate your questions, Joshua.
  13. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Your relationship with your children will be different than with your wife: a child must be corrected with the rod and reproof; your wife must be dwelt with according to knowledge. If it were not easy to be bitter against her, there would not be the commandment to husbands to be not bitter against their wives.
    Correcting my three daughters is a matter of judging consistently and with principle; leading my wife involves a lot more of giving up of my wants and perceived needs in order to seek what is good for her. Sometimes a wife resents being verbally instructed--it can come off as "lecturing," and the best thing to do is to be yourself an example of longsuffering. ( I think that's what posters above were getting at).
    There's probably not any book that will have new tricks on how to be a good husband--it's all about the Biblical realities of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, and the tools that God's people have always had to live in this context while waiting for Glory. Those tools are in God's Word, and can be summed up with the admonition to love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. Tall order.
    As for guiding your children, the only worthwhile books will be those that direct you to God's word: the use of the rod, instruction in God's law, being an example to them of how they should be when they grow up. I keep away from books on that topic because I fear the psychobabble, and know that there's not any one-size-fits-all solution for every child. Even the scriptural instructions must be applied differently across different children's personalities and maturity levels.
    Sorry to say only obvious things. If there's a deeper answer, I just don't know it.
  14. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore


    I agree that children need the rod and reproof, and instruction in God's law, but would you agree that they also need the gospel just as much as we do?
  15. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    This is where a lot of us, including myself and my own family, struggle, and it should not be. When seeking practical advice and help we shouldn't run to the internet or even books as our first resort (though they can be very helpful)--we should run to people. Don't fall into the trap of our current impersonal, narcissistic age. Get to know and talk to people in your church and especially your church officers. Since you seem to be younger, find mentors and good examples to learn from even if you don't adopt all of their methods and advice. They will be especially valuable since you lacked this growing up. You can certainly read books and come to places like this for help, but don't let that be to the exclusion of those that the Lord has placed in your lives through your local church.
  16. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Of Domestical Duties

    Second link has Husband's Particular Duties and Duties of Parents. It's in outline form with bolded subjects so you can skim through and find something applicable to what you are searching for. Very helpful to me.

    6. Of husbands' high account of wives.
    9. Of husbands' good esteem of their own wives.
    13. Of an husband's kind acceptance of such things as his wife doth.
  17. Cedarbay

    Cedarbay Puritan Board Freshman

    I second, Gouge, for practical marital help. "Building a Godly Home", is backed by scripture and gives what he calls a holy vision for a happy marriage.
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I would suggest reading less and getting more practical practice.

    Visit the sick and the poor and exercise hospitality.

    Many Reformed folks begin suggesting books, but I think we read too much and practice too little.

    You can read a book on boxing, for instance, but cannot get good at it until you do it.

    The same with works of compassion and hospitality and mercy. We need less reading and more practice.

    (my pet peeve among the Reformed...we read too much).
  19. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    I thought my mention of instruction in God's Law covered that. The Law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
  20. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thank you everyone for the many helpful posts!
  21. ChrisJuloya

    ChrisJuloya Puritan Board Freshman

    What does your pastor say?

    I too grew up without the modeling of my father. He was more "away" than "available." This resulted to me being more "independent" and my idea of fatherhood, or even as a man, was very idealistic. It was to be "perfect" in performing my role as a man.

    But discipleship helped me. It was difficult and it still is because it is normally difficult for me to seek for help and advice from people I know because of how I grew up being independent. It's easier to be vulnerable online than to be vulnerable to the people around us, well because, online there is less accountability and they really don't know you compared to the people around you.

    Lots of literature were given and indeed it might also help you. And some may have given this advice. But to emphasize it, being discipled by your pastor or a mentor will be of great help to you and your wife's life as a Christian, in marriage, and in fatherhood.
  22. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    Not in all things have I attained, but here is my mite.

    There's one book that answers both the need to read and to practice: the life of our Mediator.

    If you'll study anything, get to know Christ as a sympathetic high priest. How is He a husband? How is He a deliverer? How does He graciously provide? What kinds of words does He speak, and when? How is Christ husband to the church?

    In days past I've needed to better know Christ as sympathetic High Priest. I learned from Owen that the more I feel my weaknesses and the heavier the temptations, the stronger is His desire to help me. What I feel is what He feels. What I suffer, He suffers. When I cast faith on Him, Christ is quickened to help me. A wonderful truth when we are discouraged and feeling overrun. 1 Corinthians 1:30, makes Christ all your wisdom and sanctification, and abide in Him. He will teach you. After all, He is husband to the church, and we can learn from Him just how to give our lives for our wives, and how to serve our children.

    And then, just go and do, being determined to keep these things in mind. You'll learn much just in the way of applying them. There is no book like experience.

    God grace me to fully live up to this light too.
  23. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Jon, I was recently thinking of your comment while reading the excellent biography of Archibald Brown (Banner of Truth). Brown ministered in a time in London where he saw great growth in the church, but also discouraging decline. If you want to encourage your heart any time, you might find this biography profitable.

    It nicely goes with another majestic biography by Iain Murray - the 2 vol work of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This biography also taught me much about being faithful in a time of spiritual decline (though MLJ saw much blessing at his time at both Sanfields and Westmister Chapel).

    Incidently, both biographies have many useful insights re the original question 'Recommendations for becoming a better shepherd?'
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