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Are You a Discerning Parent and Spouse?

The Christian Perspective / Chris Hughes
The Truth Network Radio
August 12, 2022 8:30 am

Are You a Discerning Parent and Spouse?

The Christian Perspective / Chris Hughes

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August 12, 2022 8:30 am

Connie Albers joins Chris Hughes on this Family Friday edition to talk about how we can teach and model discernment in our families.

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An apologist, Christian political advocate and author, here is the founder and chairman of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes. Have you ever thought about how we can teach our kids discernment? Boy, I'm going through this part of my life right now where I'm watching my last one off to school and I've been thinking, you know, what have I done to prepare my kids? Have I taught them how to discern certain things in life? And that's what Connie and I are going to be talking about today.

So welcome to Christian Perspective. It's Family Friday and Connie Albers is here with me as she is every Friday sharing so much knowledge and information that she has on how we can be better parents and better families and serve the Lord and all that we think, say and do. Connie, when my kids were growing up, there's an author, I don't know if you've ever heard of him, named Andy Andrews. Andy is one of my favorite authors. He gives a lot of life advice and he doesn't call them, what do they call them?

He says he's not a motivational speaker, but he really is. But one of the things Andy said he always did, and I try to do this with my kids, is he would ask his kids every night, you know, how's your heart? And that's a big part of discernment is we have to have a good heart and make sure our heart is right with the Lord. But I thought today, and I know you've been doing some work on discernment, I've read a little bit about it this week. What are some things that we can do to be discerning parents but also to teach our kids, you know, to discern better in life as well? So why don't we jump into that today and maybe you can share with us some of your thoughts and I'll share some of the things I read this week too.

Yeah, I love it. I mean, right now, there's so much happening at the time of this podcast and when we're recording, there's just a lot of upheaval, schools starting back, changes are happening, changes are happening in our country, and I see, Chris, and I'm sure you see it because you travel all over the country, you see such fear, people don't know who to trust, what to believe, they don't know where to turn, and you know, we can say turn to God's word because that's where you're going to get direction and guidance. But as it relates to the relationships that we have here, we want our kids to develop and cultivate a discerning spirit. So, you know, with you and all the churches that you speak at, I'm sure you have people asking you, in a fretful way almost, what do we do, Chris? What do we do? And so I think I'm going to ask you, Chris, what does discernment mean to you?

Well, you're going to get difficult with me, aren't you? Well, discernment, I think, is being able to, it's many things, but one thing is to be able to kind of choose between the right path and the wrong path, and it really is made up, I think, of a lot of different things that we may not associate, I think, with discernment. Openness is one, and maybe generosity and courage, I think a big part of discernment is prayerful reflection, and then something that I think, you know, I was thinking about earlier this week of whether or not I've taught my kids is also part of discernment is not confusing the ends with the means sometimes in life. Well, I'm probably not giving the answer that you were looking for, but I think the most common thing that people think about, Connie, when they think discernment is being able to choose, you know, discernment between right or wrong or what is the best path or the wrong path. I think that's probably the most common thing that people think of when they think of discernment.

I agree with you. I love how you said, you kind of were walking through it a little bit, trying to think through, how do I articulate this word, simple word, discernment, you know, to discern something, and you're right, people associate that with discerning right and wrong, good and evil, you know, should I take this job or not take that job? Should I be friends with this person or not be friends with that person?

Should I confide and trust this person or is there something, do I have some kind of check? I can't really explain it, but I just get a bad feeling about that person or such and such. All of those are discerning markers, but when it comes to our kids, some children, we might think they have such discernment. Some children, God has just given, and adults, he's given us the ability to have an intuition. We just can't always explain it, but we have a gut check. We have a red flag, a warning, a hesitation, and some people say, oh, you're just very skeptical.

Well, maybe, maybe some kids are really skeptical, and maybe some adults are skeptical for various reasons. Some kids don't have a long track record of mistrust in their life or bad situations that have made them jaded, and adults have, but I have just found that the topic of discernment in Christian families needs to be explored more in depth as we are navigating very uncertain times in our society, in our culture, in our schools, in our workplaces. And that's that discernment of asking the Lord to lead and guide us, but let's talk specifically about with our children. Like your daughter is, you know, we followed your journey with her going, graduating, and getting her Master's, and then going into the military, and graduating from the military, and now getting ready to graduate with her, to get her medical degree, and all the, what's the right decision? And your family has had to do, make hard decisions on where to go, what to do, when to go, how to, what to pursue. That all takes a level of discernment.

Would you agree? It is, and you know, I think it's really something that every single person out there has to make decisions on a daily basis, and you mentioned, I love how you mentioned kind of listening to the Holy Spirit, or hearing a voice, or a gut check, or whatever. I think that that's something that we need to learn to develop, and probably too late in life, I've been trying to teach my kids that recently, is, you know, because there are some, like you said, I mean, some of the things that are important to younger kids may not be as big a deal to us, but because they're important to our kids, you know, we want to, we certainly want to give it the attention that is needed, and you know, make it important to us as well. But learning to listen to that gut check, or really, I believe it's the Holy Spirit, I think is a big key in discerning things, Connie. And the way to do that is to really spend time in God's Word. And you know, that's something I think that we don't always do a good job of as parents, is teaching our kids that you need to read the Bible.

And, you know, one of my kids years ago said, well, I've already read it, what did I get? Because you get something new from God's Word every time you spend time in God's Word. And you need to spend time in prayer, and something that we don't think about is really just some quiet time listening, you know, so when you read the Bible, hopefully you have a time of devotion every day where you're getting into God's Word and reading God's Word, particularly when you have decisions. I had a friend, I'm going to go down a rabbit trail here, Connie, who is a pastor now, and he actually worked for me years ago and was one of the best members of my team.

I certainly never wanted to lose him. And he came to me one day and said, well, I think that God is calling me into full-time ministry to be a pastor. And he asked if he could have a couple days off, and he just went away, took his Bible and went into the woods and just read his Bible and spent time in prayer and just trying to kind of listen to what God was telling him to do. I think there's a similar story, I don't know if I would butcher if I told it, but Billy Graham kind of had that type of situation, too, where he was questioning things in his life and one day, you know, he just got along, I think, in the woods with God and let God speak to him.

And I'm not saying that we have to get in the woods, but certainly if we are having big decisions in our lives, we need to spend time with God and seek His guidance. And I think as we get closer to God, Connie, now not in all cases, but I think as we get closer to God, that what begins to happen is like you're saying, the feeling in my gut. You know, I've had people kind of make fun of me when I've said, I felt like God's telling me this or that. Well, look, did God actually speak to you in an audible voice?

No. I mean, I've never, you know, if I've met an angel, I haven't known it. If I've met God speak to me, I haven't known it. But there have been times when I just had this knowledge, it's hard really to explain, of inside that I just felt like God wanted me to do something or to make a right decision. And I think that helps us in our discernment if we can get right with the Lord, spend time with the Lord.

It certainly helps in that process. I'm sorry, I went down a rabbit trail again. Yeah, so there's two things. I love what you just said. There's two parts to that. And when it comes to our kids, we want them to get in God's word, but then it becomes this chore, this to-do, this, okay, well, I read the Bible today, check. Okay, now go do the dishes.

Check. And it becomes just a thing that we do without understanding that this is something that changes our lives. And that's what we have to teach our children.

It's not an exercise that we can be better at rhythms and routines. It's something that we do so that we have clear discernment that, when you described it, I immediately thought, a peace that passes all understanding. When we know we are doing what God is leading us to do, calling us to do, there is a peace that is unexplainable. I don't really know. I don't know if this is going to work out.

I don't know if this is the right school or the wrong school. I don't know if this is the best job I could take or not, but I have a peace about it right now, and I'm going to keep moving forward until God says, nah, you're going to go left, you're going to go right. Because ultimately, discernment is trusting God has got our days and our plans numbered, that He is going to orchestrate and He will lead and guide us. But there's two things that I thought about, and that was, we sit with the Lord in the morning. You know, Jesus went out in the morning, but while it was still dark, and He spent time with the Lord. So we sit with the Lord in the morning. Now, as young people, they don't have a lot of time to sit, because they're pretty tired in the morning if they're not morning birds.

And they don't have a lot of time, but if they just sit with Him and ask the Lord to give them the mind of Christ, just to organize my day, just to open those doors, let it be known that this is where you want me to know. Maybe it's a whisper from a friend, maybe it's something that happens that affirms a thought they were having earlier, and God just gives them little yeses. Yes, you're going the right way. It's kind of like when you're out in the woods, thinking of being in the woods, and you're on a trail. I have gone climbing in the mountains in North Carolina, and there's this one trail where there's these little ribbons tied around the tree, and you know, you just keep looking for that next. Okay, that's the yellow ribbon, keep going, keep going.

And if you ever stop seeing the yellow ribbons, you know you missed a turn somewhere, and you've got to go back to where that last yellow ribbon was, and then realize, oh yeah, I was supposed to go this way. Okay, and then you merrily go on your way. The second thing is, when you were talking about God speaking audibly, well, in the book of Job, in Job 33, the soldiers were fighting and such, the warriors were out there fighting. And God says, while men slumber, he steals their instruction. So, when I go to bed at night, I mean literally every night, I'll ask the Lord, God, while I sleep, because my mind is busy during the day, wrestling with all the cares of the world, trying to solve every problem that comes my way, I said to the Lord, steal my instruction, while I rest.

And that quiet place where it's just you and I, and I'm resting, and you're just speaking into my heart. Steal my instruction. And Chris, the next morning when I wake up, it's like, Lord, I know, because I'm sitting now with the Lord, Lord, you've ordained my steps for today, you've already sealed my instructions.

Help me to listen to what those instructions are, and apply them in a way that you would have me apply them. And we teach that to our children. I'm going to add that to my prayers at night.

Folks, we're talking about discernment. Connie Albers is here with me as she is every Friday, and we're talking about how we can be discerning as parents, and how we can teach our kids to discern. If you have enjoyed what you're hearing with Connie today, you can learn more about Connie at You can go to her website, you can learn about her podcast that is released every Wednesday where she just gives great family and parenting advice. Maybe you'd like to come speak.

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For a free transcript, call American Minute at 1-888-USA-WORD. Welcome back to Christian Perspective. I'm Chris Hughes. Connie Ivers is here with me today and we're talking about discernment. You know, every day in life we have to make decisions. You know, am I going to take this job? Am I going to go to this school? And our kids are facing decisions, too.

You know, am I going to date this boy or girl or do I get on this sports team? And there's so much that goes into everyday life. And we as parents, God has entrusted our children to us. I read something this week, Connie, where it said that God has appointed us as ambassadors and put our children in our lives where we're His ambassadors in our children's lives.

And I never thought about it that way before. But part of our job as the ambassadors for God is to teach them how to discern and how to make decisions and discern in a godly way. I love in our first segment you said that we need to trust God with our plans and then allow Him to guide us.

And that's exactly right. So Connie, is there a, I mean not that there's a magic formula for this, but when we're faced with difficult decisions or choices that we have to make in our lives, is there maybe a process that we should go through so that we know, you know, before I make a decision I need to do this, this, and this? And I'll give an example. One thing is I tell my kids often, you know, and I talk to my kids every day like I'm sure you do your adult kids and they'll ask questions and I'll say, well, you know, we need to pray about it first. And I think we always need God's guidance for that. But are there other things in the process of discerning, Connie, that you think that we should teach our kids so they can discern better when they are grown? Yeah, I think we need to have them look at God's word and say, is there anything in the Bible that this decision is, when we talk about good or right, does it violate what God says to do? I mean, obviously, when you think about a job, would this job bring honor and glory to the Lord?

Well, pretty much every job could bring honor and glory to the Lord, but there are some jobs that could hurt or harm the testimony of the Lord or could cause you or your child to go down a path that would not be good. So first, does scripture align with this? Is there anything that is a biblical red flag that we need to be advised on? Again, if you're in your word, that'll come up, you know, be careful who you surround yourself with, be careful what friends you call friends. You know, so we do that first process and of course you're praying about it. And then God says to seek counsel. So for our children, we need to be that sounding board for our kids, even our adult children.

When they're making hard decisions, like this year alone, three of my kids moved, one had a baby, another one's about to have a baby, one has lost a job, one has started a new job, and we've had massive family changes this year. Every one of them have come to us to say, not mommy, daddy, how do we solve our problem? Will you tell us what to do? No, no, no, they're adults now, but they're seeking counsel.

Do you see anything that would be bad about me buying this house? Is there something that I'm not seeing because I respect you, I know you're going to see things that I'm not going to see, and I also know that you're not going to tell me exactly what I have to do. So seek counsel. We do that in our adult lives. We talk to our friends, you talk to Vicki, I talk to my husband Tom.

Hey, what do you think about this opportunity? Is it good, is it bad, is it good but not now, or is it bad but go ahead and move forward and trust God. So those things about, is there any part that violates scripture, that is not in agreement with scripture, is God giving you the green light, are you pushing down the door trying to open it, because you want it so bad, and let's face it, some things we want so bad. We just want them, we'll do whatever, we'll just beat the door down so that we can get in there, so that once we get in there, then we'll be able to say, see, see, I told you, that's just not the way God works. God will open the doors. Sometimes we have to back into them because we don't, it's not obvious, and we back into it like, oh, this is what you were doing, or sometimes it's just a crack and all he says is just push the door open, just gently, a gentle push. Seek counsel, and then ask the Lord, God, affirm or deny, this is the step I'm going to make, and I will continue to make this step forward, unless or until I feel, or the people that are in my inner circle, my parents or my closest friends, my spouse say, I think you need to rethink this, I think this isn't going the way that we thought it was going to go, let's reassess, and then at that point, you make a decision, alright, I think God is saying turn, I think God is saying step back, step out, or go in a different direction. Sometimes it's hard for us also to swallow our pride when we've gone the wrong direction and realize that we need to make changes and go back. I love how you're talking about how God opens the door for you to go in, I'm just thinking in my life how so many times I have not listened like I should, and sometimes God just has to grab ahold of us and drag us in that direction.

Yeah. But Connie, you were talking about getting advice, and certainly we hopefully have a relationship as parents with both our, I mean I think younger kids are pretty much inclined I think to listen to us, but then when they become teens, we have to really work on that relationship where they will trust us for advice, and certainly once they're out on their own, I love how your family, I think your family's kind of been like a role model where your adult kids, y'all are all intertwined, you keep the doors of communication open, and even though they have spouses and kids now, they're still coming to you, but what do you think about mentors, Connie, do mentors play a role in discernment and in our decision making process in our lives as well? I mean, God says that we are to seek counsel, it doesn't say just your parents, or just your brothers and sisters, we're to seek wise counsel, that could be a pastor, that could be a mentor, that could be somebody in a field, let's say you want to go into, you know, both things say politics, you want to go into politics, and there's somebody that has done it successfully, and they've done it well, or you admire or respect the way they've done something, you get around that person around you. Get around that person, or around the people that advise that person, maybe it's a job decision like my son with engineering, get around other engineers and ask them questions, take them to lunch, say may I, I'd love to take you to lunch, I'm thinking about this, pursuing that, or I've got this opportunity, but I'd love to know your thoughts on it, could we get together, that may be a one time lunch or dinner situation, or Chris, it could be an ongoing, sure, where that person feels called, even if they aren't a believer, just to be there to give you sage advice, so again, God uses all of his people, and God uses humans, because he's created us for a relationship, to lead and guide us through words and ideas that other people might have. Yeah, that's such great advice. Folks, we're talking about discernment today with Connie Albers, and we're going to take a quick commercial break, we're going to come back, we're going to talk a little bit more, and I'm going to kind of dig into something she was just talking about, about mentors and getting their advice.

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Welcome back to Christian Perspective. Before we get back into our discernment discussion, I just want to remind you that we're taking a trip to Israel this December, December 26th. It'll be a nine-day trip, and if you've never walked in the footsteps of Jesus, I would invite you to join us. The cutoff date is coming up in just a few weeks, so if you want to learn more, visit

That's Go to the Events page, and you'll see some other things. We've got a trip to D.C. in September. We really want to encourage you to join us in Israel this December 26th, so you can spend Christmas with your family, and maybe for a great Christmas gift, invite your family to come with us to Israel. It's going to be a fun, fun time where we can get in God's Word. There'll be Bible teachers, and one of the main Bible teachers going with us is Dr. Scott Coulter.

It's going to be a great week, so pray about joining us in Israel to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Again, you can learn more at Well, Connie, before we took the break, you were talking about mentors and how to get advice, and I thought about, and I know you've probably done this too, like when I decided to get into the radio show business, if you can call it a business, I didn't know much about it. So I found people like you and others who had kind of already ventured into this way, Todd Starnes, a mutual friend of ours, and others who had paved the path to just kind of learn more about it.

And I was thinking about a young man who you know, and I won't say his name on the air, but about a year ago, there was a young man who, he's now engaged, but he was not engaged or married at the time, but just making some major decisions in life. And he picked about 12 people that he respected, and I was very fortunate to be one of the people on his list, and he just called each of us and said, now I didn't live close enough like I love what you said. I think that's the best way is to take somebody to lunch. And I've done that before, you know, where you go to lunch and you just want to learn from the person that you're with. But he set an appointment with me and we did a zoom meeting. And he just had questions in life because he had to make some big decisions coming up about jobs and school and, you know, his future wife and those type of things and just wanted to kind of learn from other people in his life. And I'd never really seen anybody, I mean, like I said, I've invited people once, but he was very methodical in how he did it and the people, it wasn't just one person he was asking, but others. And I thought that was just a great discernment and decision-making process where he was following the biblical example of seeking the counsel of others. And I think we all can learn from that. I love that. Yeah, I mean, we're a global network, so we don't live in the same city.

Grab a cup of coffee, fire up your zoom, and sit and chat over a zoom call that gives you at least some eye contact. But the whole idea of God's well-being, this mystery, it almost seems like it's almost impossible to discern and I don't agree with that. God wants us to be busy about our business that's right in front of us.

Knowing that he's leading every decision we make, every step we take, is leading us towards being the person God's made us to be, which that is someone that honors and glorifies him in all that we say and do. Yeah, we're going to make mistakes because we are human and we are sinners and we don't always make the best or the wisest decisions. That's the beauty of walking with the Lord. You start off your walking, you teach your children to start off in listening to the Lord and listen to their friends.

Well, if a friend gives them some bad advice, they're going to make some bad decisions. But God always has a way of restoring that which was broken, redeeming what was lost, redeeming lost time. So God is in the business of bringing us back if we get off track, if we make a bad decision, if we get ourselves in trouble, if our children make a poor decision.

Maybe it isn't the right job decision, maybe it isn't the right friend group. God is a God that will bring us back, sometimes more difficult like you said, we're headstrong, and he has to grab us by the nape of our hair and say, Nope, you're going in the wrong direction, get back here. And that's not to be abrupt or mean, it's because he loves and cares for us so much and we have a purpose on this earth, it's not just for ourselves. So circling all the way back to our kids and them having discernment, basically at the foundation of all discernment and being discerning is trusting the Lord that he has established our days, that he has a plan and a purpose, that he will bring people into our lives that will whisper truth, that he does use people to help us walk out the calling that he has for us, and even our spouses that may think we have a crazy idea and we need to listen to that. Maybe they are right, but if we start down the road, Chris, and it's not where God wants us, and we are seeking him, even our kids that may not be spending an hour in God's word every morning, but they know God is still at work in their lives because we are speaking into their lives, because we are sending them a text message saying, I'm proud of you, I know you have a hard decision to make, you're going to have to fight really hard for this job, or you're really going to have to, you know, marriage is tough, you've got to work at it, or I know you're having a down day right now, but you're not going to stay there forever. Little nuggets that God puts on our hearts and other people's hearts that speak into us, they can be little whispers from the Lord. As long as we come back to what I said earlier, we ask God to seal our instructions while we sleep.

When all the clutter of the world is rested, and God can just speak into our hearts, and in the morning we say, God, establish my steps, establish my day. Don't let me take those wrong steps, and if I do, help me quickly get back to where I need to be, so that I can continue walking in a manner that's worthy of the calling. So it's sound advice, Connie, and we really do need to seek God's guidance with everything that we do. You know, those of you that are listening, we all have difficult decisions, every one of us.

I mean, we get on Facebook and we think somebody has a perfect life, they're only putting what they want you to see. Every one of us has troubles and trials in our life, and we have decisions every single day. But we need to discern those from a godly perspective, from a Christian perspective, and ask God to guide our path.

The Bible tells us He's like a light that shines. You know, if you walk in the dark, you're going to stumble and fall, but if we shine the light of God onto our life, if we follow the path, He will lead us in the way that we go. Connie, thank you so much. You're just an inspiration to me every week. I thank you for coming on here today, because we do have decisions, every one of us, and we need discernment in all that we do.

Not just big things like choosing a spouse or a school, but really a lot of little things every single day where we need God's guidance. So we thank you for giving us the direction. Folks, again, if you would like to learn more, you can go to Invite Connie to come speak at your church, or if you have a homeschool group or some other group.

She has a lot of great leadership advice, education advice, and of course, wonderful parenting advice. And we thank you so much for checking her out. Again, please go to Connie, thanks. I hope that you and Tom have a great weekend, and I look forward to being with you again next Friday. Good to be with you, Chris. Have a great week. See you next week. Thank you so much. God bless you guys. Now take what you learned today. Let's get a discerning heart by seeking God's guidance. And by doing that, we can go impact the culture for Jesus.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 15:23:06 / 2023-03-12 15:38:07 / 15

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