At a recent conference Teri and I were sharing about how critical it is to establish peace and order in the home. One dad turned to his wife and whispered to her, “Honey, that sounds like a really good system, but I love the way our home is running, so let’s just stay with what we have.” She smiled and whispered back, “Babe, we’re doing their system!”
“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
If you look up someone on Wikipedia, you will find their birth date and date of death. Next will be a summary (slice) of their life.
How would the slice of your life read? How would it read if written by your wife? What about each of your children? What if a lost friend of yours wrote about you?
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9).
Self-discipline is an ugly word with many today. The saying “I can resist anything but temptation” seems to be quite accepted. However, on the flip side, fans “Ooh and Aah” over the physique of athletes and ignore it was self-discipline that achieved those results.
Saying “No!” to things is critical and followed by the need to be able to say “Yes!” to the right things.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
One morning in January of 2016, I dropped a kettlebell when exercising with Teri. Over a few years we had been progressing nicely in our “bell” routines but something had changed. My right forearm had been progressively getting weaker. Okay, I know it was supposed to be getting stronger but something wasn’t right. I was quite disappointed with this and felt if I couldn’t swing one safely, it was time to quit.
The weakness in my forearm was affecting even small things like mousing, eating and brushing my teeth. I hoped that given rest over time, it would return to normal. No success—disappointing.
Unbeknown to be, Teri did some Internet sleuthing and suggested I watch a video she found on forearm stretching. Over a few short weeks of stretching, I’m almost back to normal. Was the video the answer? Partially. Was it Teri’s love and concern? Partially. What was it? Prayer. We had been praying for months.
Every family is going to face challenges with no obvious answers. Pray, then as God gives direction/light, investigate. We seek His face in all things. As His children, He will never abandon or forsake us. If we suffer, we know He has a purpose, and we learn through it whatever comes. All things, always, work together for good—always. Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
We read in 2:9 that “the tree of life was in the midst,” likely center of the Garden. Was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil close to the tree of life, which was in the midst? I believe so, because of how easily Eve observed it when she was being tempted. Very likely Adam and Eve would see the forbidden tree on a regular basis. The fruit was, “… good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6). It was very tempting indeed.
Did God put it there to tempt them for evil? Not according to James 1:13. Then why was the tree there? What benefit was it? Could it be it was for man to exercise his free will on a regular basis and choose good? The more “he” exercised his will in right choices, the stronger and more reliable in self-control “he” would have been and the better prepared for a life of self-discipline for following his God. That’s a lot to think about.
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”(Genesis 2:15).
God is always good, always. God gave Adam His best, and He gave Adam purpose. Adam was not ever to be bored because he had his work cut out for him. If you want to see a sparkle in your children’s eyes and a spring in their step, give them something worthwhile to work toward. Get them used to the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment.
Observe the youth and young adults of today. Would you characterize them as having purpose and good work ethics? God gave Adam purpose and a reason to work right away in a perfect environment. He was to work/serve (dress) and manage (keep) the garden. Without meaningful work, life is dull and boring, and children (and adults) will turn to the pursuit (and addiction) of entertainment and pleasure.
If you want to see a possible “result” of boredom, laziness, and lack of godly purpose, read and meditate on Ezekiel 16:49.
Second one next week…
What were two essentials that God gave Adam in the garden that every parent would do well to help his children with? Give it a week to think about. I’m not asking you to send me your ideas. Just think about it. Hint: I’m not referring to the obvious such as food, clothing, and a place to live.
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).
Our’s recently quit working, and it was disappointing considering it was only 7 years old. It’s an essential “appliance” in our home. Of course we put most plate “gleanings” directly in the trash, but there are always smaller things, especially from salads that we prefer to wash off the plate into the sink. So when it “died,” replacing it went to the top of my prioritized to do list because it was both urgent and important.
I’m guessing that most homes today have a garbage disposal. Did you know that Scripture highly endorses the concept? “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). James tells us to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness. The concept is to get rid of the garbage.
I’m amazed at what “tries” to come into our homes, whether by the mail or electronic means. It might be as innocent as through clothing catalogs. Most are fine, but on occasion–garbage. When it is spotted, into the garbage it goes.
We use Internet filters on our phones. There is a reason. Pity the poor male 3ho felt he was immune to that sort of thing only to be held hostage by it later. My guess is that Satan’s best friend is a man’s pride. “I’ll never fall for that sort of thing,” he proudly says to himself.
Our world has so much garbage, and it can easily flow into our homes and hearts. Each home needs one or more garbage disposals. Will we value and protect our family’s purity, or succumb to the flood of garbage?
Do you ever compare yourself with others? It’s hard not to. The other guy:
• may seem more spiritual,
• may make more money,
• may be in better shape,
• may have better behaved children.
Oh, Friend, may I encourage you to be at peace? If you are trusting in Jesus’ shed blood for your salvation, rest in the Lord and in His grace. Be at peace with yourself, and that will greatly affect your relationship with your wife, your children, and others. We all fall short, but may we cling to the One Who can do what is needed in our lives? (BTW, if it is a matter of sin, then we forsake that sin. If you need help, ask a brother for help, but forsake the sin.)
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
I spoke to a dad recently who used to give guest lectures to junior and senior public high school classes on a financial topic. He always began with the question, “Does anyone know what ten percent of $50 is?” After many lectures, he said he never had a student correctly answer the question. We would all agree that math is important for life.
What about reading? I’m confident you want your children to be able to read well. Reading is the basis for much learning. As believers we know it is critical for our children to understand the Bible and from it, life in Christ. Do we ever think about how important our example in this area of reading would be to our children? If our children never see us reading, will reading be important to them?
I’ve received emails from moms, in response to a book recommendation I’ve made that might help their situation, who say their husbands don’t read. Consider this statement from an unknown originator, “The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.”
If reading is important for our children, is it important for us parents? In this age of video everything, do we read? Do we read the Bible, and do we read other beneficial books? If we don’t read, are we any better off than someone who can’t read?
“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words” (Ephesians 3:3).