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)
It seems like the concern over Ebola is waning a bit. Many were very fearful of its coming to the States, and an outbreak would be terrible for sure. What would you think if I said there is something on par with Ebola in many professing Christian homes? What is it? Anger. Anger kills relationships and is highly contagious.
“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25). The relationships in a home are far stronger than friendship, and our anger will be strongly, deeply impressed on the souls of our family members and yield devastating consequences.
I recall one dad who talked about how bad his anger was and acknowledged it had an impact on his 18-year-old son’s not being saved. This man’s anger was a key factor in his son’s rejecting both him and Christ, and yet he referred to his anger in a fairly casual way, much as someone would who had given someone his cold. If you want to drive your children away from you—and possibly away from the Lord: be angry.
I wonder if there is any other sin—that’s right sin—that is so widely justified. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Would your family say you get angry? Would they describe you as an angry man? If so, isn’t it time to forsake it before there are casualties?
As I was getting out of the elevator on my way back to our hotel room, a member of the hotel staff asked me a question. I couldn’t understand him and asked him to please repeat. He made another attempt, this time slower and with greater emphasis. I still didn’t understand him and asked if he would please repeat it again to me. He did, and I didn’t.
So he tried using one word as a question: “Checkout?” To that I replied, “Yes.” He smiled and we both went our ways. As I walked down the hall, I heard him dialoging in his native language with the housekeeping staff.
I thought about how important it is that we speak the language of those we are called to serve. I wondered how different our level of communication might have been if that fellow spoke English all the time instead of his native tongue. If they constantly spoke English among themselves is it possible they would be better equipped when speaking with the majority of their customers.
I then thought about my role as a father. I am so grateful for the weekly time I spend with each of my children on Sundays. I treasure the one-on-one time when we meet to discuss any problems they might have with me or with others in the family. We also discuss any other topic that is on their hearts. As a result of those meetings, we know each other well and can communicate on a deep level. I treasure my ability to speak on a heart level daily with those in my family.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Can you speak the language of those you are called to serve? It takes effort to (re)learn to speak their language.
We dads have many responsibilities that require our time. Too often, however, we let important needs such as discipling our children, spending time with our wife, and leading family Bible time get crowded out by less important, though seemingly more urgent, tasks. We soothe our conscience by telling ourselves, “If only I had more time….”
My own dad was full of “if only’s.” He is gone now, and I am left with memories that would have been much happier and much better if only he had made other choices.
What sort of memories are we leaving our children? Yesterday is past, but tomorrow is a new day. Put off the old “if only’s” and put on the new “I will’s.” Then may we be men of action.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
Near us there is a small apple orchard that received no care for years—no pruning, no tilling, and no fertilizing. Ripe apples simply fell to the ground and rotted. Finally a new owner came in and has spent weeks pruning and restoring the orchard. This year or next should produce a beautiful harvest.
Think of your family as your orchard and your children as fruit. If you have neglected your “orchard,” it isn’t going to improve until you spend great amounts of time on it. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).
If you have been lax in your responsibilities to disciple your children, the important point is to begin the restoration. Begin today to prune and till. It will be a more difficult job than if you had been faithful all along, but resolve today to be responsible with what God has given you.
Daily family Bible time, talking, praying, and worshipping together are necessary for discipling our children. Though we will not see the fruit of the new orchard owner’s labor for at least one or two seasons, the owner has done the right thing. Will you do the right thing with your orchard? May we be found faithful and may our orchards bear fruit well-pleasing to our Lord.