Recently, one of the family attended a funeral visitation. During that time they had opportunity to speak with the grieving widow. She said she was doing quite well, but went on to say, “The hardest thing through all of this is: who is going to love me?” She said that she knew God and her children loved her, but what would take the place of her husband’s love?
I admire that man who so obviously loved his wife. What a heartbreaking reminder his widow’s words are of the need for a wife to be loved. How many wives don’t feel loved even though they have a husband? May we be the men that God has called us to be in loving our wives so that they feel it.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).
How often have you thought, “I can’t do this?” Maybe during struggles in parenting, or marriage, or serving Christ these doubts arise. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t do what God was asking, but God had a different idea. “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7).
If we look at ourselves, yes, of course, we are unable, but we need to look at an all sufficient, all powerful God. It is His grace, His strength and His knowledge that enables.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Have you noticed how other guys sometimes appear to have a far easier time of things than you and I do? His job is easier, nothing breaks at his house, he has a better walk with the Lord, his wife has easier pregnancies, and his children all love the Lord Jesus.
Just like a beautiful butterfly struggles to get out of his cocoon, we can anticipate the Lord using difficulties to mature us. “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” (Romans 8:28).
We are told in Genesis chapter five that both Enoch and Noah walked with God. Enoch, though, was taken to be with the Lord in Heaven early in life, while Noah was left on earth to build the ark. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
From an outside perspective, it would seem that Enoch got the best deal. God, however, had a purpose for both men. One’s life looked easy. The other’s didn’t. Isn’t the same true for us? We simply trust that Almighty Sovereign God’s ways are right and just. Amen and amen?
I once heard a description of a football game: fifty thousand people who need exercise watching twenty-two men who desperately need rest.
Have you observed something similar in some churches? There might be several hundred spectators who need spiritual exercise watching a core group who desperately need rest.
Finally, have you also noticed some homes where one person is greatly overworked, while the other family members desperately need to learn what it means to serve?
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).
Three times God clearly told mankind to be fruitful and multiply. He has never taken that command back.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).
“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:7).
No wonder there is such an attack on the innocent, defenseless unborn.
Parents have to decide what they will encourage, discourage, limit, or restrict in their children’s lives as they disciple them in Christ Jesus. It starts with what the child will eat or not eat and over time includes activities and influences. If we do not take a position, our children will often interpret that as a blanket endorsement, which will produce disastrous fruit to be harvested later in the child’s life.
It is not enough to say “no” or “that isn’t according to our standards.” It takes careful, biblical explanations for each member of the family to either own or reject something for life. When so many today, even in the “church,” embrace things that are (at best) not edifying, the peer pressure our children will face to compromise is huge.
We dads first must live the example and disciple our children to look to God’s written Word and to walk in the Spirit. Those two will always be in agreement and never let us down. Our children must own the leading of the Spirit and delight in following Him.
Paraphrasing Andrew Murray: “Teach them to live for giving joy to their heavenly Father and in fear of grieving Him.”
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:4-6)
Some businesses are in trouble. Their current core values are not the ones they began with (i.e., Enron).
Some marriages are in trouble. They loved each other in the beginning.
Some children are in trouble. That wasn’t the way their parents began raising them.
Our country is now in deep trouble. Yet, it was founded on Christian values.
Anything good will receive great amounts of negative pressure to compromise. Even though something begins well, it will usually drift over time. To stay the course year after year, however, takes courage and determination to do the right thing. Good values that are founded upon, must be values that are lived.
Life in Christ will take the same diligence. Satan wants you to compromise. He knows that if you are not in the Word every day, you will drift. If you are not listening to the Spirit and living what you are reading, you will drift. Will you cling to the blessed Lord Jesus, the Anchor of our souls, or will you be tossed to and fro? It comes down to your choice.
Hold fast. Your own life and the lives of your wife and children are far too precious not to.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
Through the years we have known families who have invested significant finances and time to have good Christian fellowship. We have seen some sell houses and move across town or across the country to have that fellowship. What a blessing to be with others who are likeminded. But what if you don’t have those around you who are likeminded?
May I encourage you to embrace the possibility that the Lord may have a season of life in the wilderness for you? Are you willing to seek Him with all your heart and delight in Him? Moses, David, and John the Baptist all had times of being alone, and look what God did in their lives. Draw near to Him, be in the Word, and embrace loneliness. Ask the Lord to fill you with His presence. Then when the time is right, He will send earthly fellowship. In the meantime, rejoice in Him.
“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:2-3)
It’s easy to tell dark from light, but impossible to tell dusk from dawn by one snapshot in time. It is easy to tell by the decisions people make whether they are living in the dark or in the light. We have known many families whose lives were an example of walking in the light and many whose lives were examples of walking in the dark.
It is difficult to discern whether a family is walking in the dusk or in the dawn. If you took a photo of a family in either, unless you could tell by the direction of their shadows, you wouldn’t know whether it was dusk or dawn. You would know only by comparing snapshots over time. In a similar way, it takes observing a family’s decisions to predict whether they are walking from the light toward darkness or walking toward the light from darkness.
Dawn is good in our spiritual journey as we walk ever closer to our Lord and His light and away from darkness. As the Lord Jesus reveals more of His Light, we purge the darkness of evil as we draw near to Him.
Sadly, over the years we have observed families become more worldly as they head for the darkness. They are in dusk, gradually moving from the light to the dark, with ever increasing, even if slight, degrees of worldliness.
Which way are you leading your family? Each choice that we make is like a snapshot that records the direction of our movement. Take inventory in these areas as they indicate the condition and direction of our hearts: clothing, music, viewing habits, entertainment, and friends. “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:13-16)
Dads usually work 40 or more hours a week.
Moms with several children often work 60 or more hours a week.
Those who have initiative and work hard will do far better in life than those who love entertainment and recreation.
God put man in the garden and on this earth to work. We do our children no favors if we do not teach them to enjoy work when, in fact, they will spend the majority of their daytime hours throughout their lives working.
Are we great examples of enjoying work, or do we “live for” fun and entertainment? Work is a blessing. If you doubt it, simply ask any immigrant or person who is out of work.
Jesus Christ was totally focused on the “work” the Father gave Him to do on earth. He gave all of His day to His work. He finished His work and now sits beside the Father so that those who believe on Him might enter the rest of eternal life with Him.
Do we have a mind to work and be about the Lord’s business while He has us on this earth, or do we have a mind to play?
“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17)
Make sure to follow the Debt-Free Series which is just beginning on Titus2 blog.