Close the Door dad

How many times per child, per winter, does every dad call out, “Please close the door. We can’t afford to let our heat out and the cold in.” Children don’t naturally appreciate the money that it takes to keep a home warm during the winter and what it will cost to heat a home when frigid air is being allowed into it. Dads generally are very sensitive to things that impact finances, but how aware are you of what you might be letting in that can cool (kill?) the spiritual interest of your children’s souls?

My heart groans when I hear of the barrage of worldly influences that storm the hearts of children in this age, especially things they are told they can’t live without. Social media of all types, addictive music, dopamine-pumping entertainments, and computer games make TV and movies look like toddler toys in comparison. If that wasn’t enough, friends from church promote them so that every “normal” (worldly?) Christian young person MUST have them. 

Having a plan to deal with the soul poison is important, but are you practicing good soul nutrition for you and your family? My heart breaks when I hear of families who aren’t in the Word every day. Are you daily leading your family in the Word, not because you “have to” but because you WANT TO and because you love God’s Word! 

We are so blessed to have God’s Word in our hands. We have no excuse, (except maybe a lost heart) for not loving it and sharing it with our families. 

Psalms 119:
97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
113 “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.”
163 “I hate and abhor lying:but thy law do I love.”
165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Is The Season

Even though our children are now adults, memories are still fresh of sick children during the winter months. Life with little ones can be difficult enough normally, but when you add illness, it gets more challenging. Homeschooling moms carry a full plate of responsibilities. Illness simply adds to it. Here are some thoughts about this. 

Thank God. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As you give thanks, God will use your example to help your children learn gratitude even in difficult situations. You could pray with your sick children not only asking the Lord to heal them but also thanking Him for the opportunity the illness gives for your child to learn to accept the hardship of not feeling well, to be thankful for good health, and to be patient.

Help your wife. Take alternate nights in getting up to care for the children. Make the dinner meal while she rests. Pick up household chores your wife might normally do but can’t while caring for sick children. Take time off of work to care for her and the children if she is really sick. 

Another consideration is when you have illness in your family, don’t take the sick ones to church. If you don’t like your children sick, why “wish” it on another family that you are called to love. “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). 

Junk or Jesus

We drove through several neighborhoods listening to Twelve Voices of Christmas. It was very disappointing—not what we were listening to—but what we saw. The lights were technologically well done, in fact even a work of art, but instead of anything Christ-honoring (or even neutral), disco-dancing Santa Clauses were everywhere. If Santa was the focus of your Christmas, you would have loved it. However, I’m hoping that wasn’t true for any of you. 

We see the slide of our society further and further away from Christianity even evidenced in Christmas decorations. That should spur us on in our call as fathers. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). There is no guarantee our children will be saved, but we must do everything we can to facilitate that. 

Brothers, we must surround our children with the truth of God’s Word and they have to see it lived out in our lives. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Soul Nutrition

The Word

How would you fare if you were taken hostage or in prison without a Bible? The recent Christian Aid Ministries hostages in Haiti, held for two months, had no Bible. Darlene Deibler Rose, American missionary POW in New Guinea during WW2, had no Bible during the 6 weeks she was being interrogated while imprisoned on death row. To draw comfort and strength from the Word, these all had to rely on Scripture they had memorized. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

What about when you lie awake in the night and can’t sleep? Do you have Scripture in your mind that you recite mentally and think about? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2).

Do you have verses you can immediately pull up when you face a tough situation, are fearful, or want to respond in anger? At those moments, it isn’t always possible to run and get a Bible. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11). 

The Excuses

Perhaps we relegate Scripture memory to our children, while we make excuses concerning it for ourselves. We might say, “I can’t memorize!” I remember hearing Jim Berg address the “I can’t memorize Scripture” excuse in one of his Quieting a Noisy Soul sessions. He said to his audience, “What is your phone number? What about your address? You all can memorize!” Our other excuse goes like this, “I am too busy. I just don’t have time.” We make time, however, for what is a priority in our lives and important to us.

The Plan

There is a simple way to begin memorizing Scripture. Pick a verse to memorize. Write it on a notecard or two (to keep different places) so that you can reference it easily. Take just five minutes a day to work on it. It takes me seven minutes a day to blow dry my hair. That is a good time for me to memorize Scripture.

Read the verse out loud several times. Then close your eyes and try to say it without looking. When you get stuck, look at your card. The next day, try to say your verse without looking at the card first. Usually, I can not do that the second day because I can’t remember the first word. So I check the card, get the first couple of words, and see if I can say any more of the verse. If not, I do what I did the day before. Usually it takes me several days before I can start the verse myself, but it does come. Practice it anytime you can through out the day. Even better use it when applicable in your daily life.

Once you have one verse down, keep reviewing it, and start on another one. It might be the next verse in a chapter or passage or from a completely different place. If it is a continuation verse, work on it like you did the first verse, while reviewing the first verse. When you have the second verse down, say them together when you work on them.

If you need an idea of verses to start your memorizing plan, consider these:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore. 
17 Pray without ceasing. 
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The first two verses are extremely short, and the combination is a joyful, peaceful, and powerful way to walk through each day.

Start Now

Could I encourage you to set excuses aside and start memorizing Scripture? Think of the potential value in your life. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the beginning of a new year. Make it the beginning of a new habit as well. Start with just one verse – one that will be helpful to you on a daily basis. Work on it until you know it and then use, use, use it so that you don’t forget it. Move on from there.

Dark Over Light

On our walks, Teri and I notice how the shades are closed on most houses. It used to be that as soon as it was light outside, the blinds would go up letting in the sunshine. Sadly, that seems typical of the state of the nation. Darkness is preferred over light. 

Even professing Christians seem to be embracing darkness. Might a measure be how much time is spent with the news compared to God’s Word (individual and family Bible time)? “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,…” (Psalm 1:1a).

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:8-12). (Those things done in secret typically are the nightly news.)