Some things are rare today:
Scarcity makes things valuable because they are rare.
Some things are rare because they are hard to find or costly to produce.
Others we choose to make rare or scarce because they are inconvenient to the flesh. Improvement is a choice — a really good one for us and our children.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour” (Proverbs 3:13-16).
I remember being at a swimming pool as a child when someone twice my size got upset and grabbed me and held me under water. After a while my lungs burned and screamed for air.
Have you ever had a similar experience? If so, then you can especially appreciate how serious God is in Matthew 18:6 about causing someone to stumble. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
This verse should be terrifying to a dad who might cause his child to stumble. Fathers, whom God holds especially accountable for raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), are often the very ones who cause their own children to stumble, to doubt, or to seek after the world.
We can do this through:
- bad or careless decisions
- things we may bring into the home
- what we allow our children to watch on media
- what we allow them to participate in
When the children are young, it isn’t too difficult for Dad to do things better than they can do them. As they grow older, though, it becomes more difficult for Dad to keep the advantage … until finally the day comes when they can do some things better! It can take adjusting to, but, trust me, that is a good day.
When it comes to following the Lord Jesus Christ, however, loving Him, serving Him, striving to please Him, may Dad continue to be best. If our children do surpass us, may it not be because we have let go or stumbled or lost our edge spiritually. Rather, may it be because they have seen our walk with Jesus and have committed to having all of Jesus that they can have because they have seen how good Jesus is for Dad. If that is why they surpass us, well then, we can die in peace because, Brothers, that is what it is all about.
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” (2 Kings 2:9)
Happy Father’s Day!
Some dads want to lead but seldom say no. Some say no but seldom yes. One aspect of being a good leader is being a good limiter, who knows what boundaries to set—and when. As one leads there will come times when it is necessary to limit by placing boundaries, such as saying, “You can’t do this because I love you, and I want God’s best for you.”
It is possible that the child being led will not agree with it and may disobey. In this case, the limiter must be willing to administer some appropriate form of consequence. A boundary really isn’t a boundary unless there is a consequence for violating it, and “don’t do it again” doesn’t count. Many should read that last sentence again.
Being a limiter is less popular than being a leader and opens a leader up to criticism, but limiting is a necessary part of being a leader. (Frankly, being a leader is not always popular either.) I cannot lead effectively if I am not willing to limit. Good leaders are not afraid of placing appropriate boundaries around those they love and are leading.
“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)
Have you ever been part of a group where there was excitement about achieving a goal? Even if it is very difficult and the results are uncertain, there can be contagious excitement about being a part and having to work hard for success.
It is similar to getting a giant flywheel turning, hard at first, but once it gains speed, lookout, it won’t be easy to slow down or stop. Wouldn’t it be fantastic for each family to be gaining momentum as we accomplish things that make everyone excited to be a part? That’s what it is like in our home.
It is so good to do new hard things where the children look back and are pleased. I will give you a few examples of our family projects. Our family has built a shed, finished out a house and an addition, poured and finished a LOT of concrete, finished a basement, built an RV, climbed mountains, and has started several businesses.
There’s no reason for your children to envy others. Challenge them. You can do it! Create some momentum – NOW!
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)
Don’t forget the next Seriously fast Monday May 18th. Sign-up.
Have you observed the life-cycle of a low spot in the pavement? (Okay, maybe your first thought is, why would anyone do such a thing?) Water will puddle in it, and during the winter months it will freeze. The asphalt will weaken over time due to the water’s freezing in the tiny cracks and then expanding them into larger ones. Cars driving over the weakened asphalt will eventually dislodge pieces of it. As car tires pound the enlarging hole, a pothole results from the sub-surface material’s being displaced.
Potholes, which usually begin by a poor subsurface foundation, yield expensive front-end damage to cars.
Similarly, families do not generally lose their children overnight. It begins with a weak foundation, a family not centered on Jesus Christ. It takes time and then an accumulation of easy bad decisions that weaken. No daily family Bible time. No personal Bible time. Bad influences are allowed in. Not walking in the Spirit but walking according to the desires of the flesh. All the while Satan is at work exploiting weaknesses. Satan is always busy tearing down, but we must be busy building up.
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High….” (Daniel 7:25)
Will your children love children and want to have children of their own (your grandchildren)?
The more bored your children are,
The more they love entertainment,
The more they dislike work,
The more conflict they experience in the family,
The more disorganized and chaotic their home-life is,
The more deprived they feel,
The less purpose they have,
The less you have their hearts,
The less they love God’s Word,
The less they love Jesus,
the less likely your children are to want to have children. Each of those things could contribute to your children’s not loving children. Why? Because as adults your children will want to serve themselves and make up for whatever they think they missed growing up. If you try to satisfy their wants, you never will succeed because the flesh is never satisfied!
The solution is to raise sons and daughters who love the Lord Jesus Christ and delight in pleasing Him. Frankly, children are a lot of work, but not compared to the blessings they bring. They are the only real gift that we can give back to the Lord.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1
The Garden of Eden was perfect for some amount of time after God put Adam and Eve there. Then how could this mess of a world have resulted from something so perfect? Adam had a wonderful wife, he had the perfect job, he had a fantastic place to live (debt-free), and they were in fellowship with their God. Why didn’t the “story” have a happy ending?
Even if a family is doing great, how on guard is Dad against the subtle works of the “enemy” to wear down or divide his family? A dad will do almost anything once a crisis has occurred, but why not expend that level of effort to prevent it? Should a dad be just defensive or should he be proactive to avoid heartache? Do you have your children's hearts and how careful are you to keep them? This is serious business!
Still time to sign up for the Seriously Fast Monday, March 23rd.
Where do you find princesses? In castles.
What does a princess have? A corps of servants to ensure the fulfillment of her every want.
Pity the poor girl (and her future husband) whose parents cultivate in her the belief that she is a princess. She will never receive the catering through her life that she feels she deserves.
One mom who had a “princess” upbringing but later came to her senses told us: “I was very unhappy one day. I kept getting unhappier, and I found myself wondering, ‘Why isn’t someone doing something to make me happy?’”
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Raising a follower of Jesus doesn’t sound like raising a prince or princess, does it? Are we setting our children up for failure, for a lifetime of disappointment and seeking satisfaction in all the wrong places?
Sign up for the Seriously Fast Monday March 23rd.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is at work around us. We see it in the fact that nothing improves naturally, but everything decays, falls apart, or wears out over time. Have you noticed that items of value—such as your car, your house (and everything in it), and your yard—take maintenance to continue performing reasonably well? Things of little or no value we dispose of: No maintenance required.
Even non-physical things decay and require upkeep as well. Consider your vocational skills, relationships with your wife, children, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and, most of all, your Lord.
Doing the required maintenance at best only prevents further degradation. What about improvements? Growth? Advancement? If we want our children to learn and grow, how are we setting the example?
How are you growing in vocational skills? What are you doing to become more valuable to your customers or employer? How much time and effort are you investing to deepen your relationships with your wife and children and especially with the Lord Jesus Christ?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)