Our country was founded because men were in pursuit of religious freedom. They desired to peacefully serve their God as they understood the Bible taught. Many Englishmen suffered terribly in prison for being non-conformists to the Church of England. John Bunyan was one who spent twelve years in prison with much hardship to his family.
In 2019 the accusation has changed, but the concept lives. Today you could be called “intolerant” if you gently speak out against what God calls wrong. Each must choose who you will align with. There is no middle ground. “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5b).
We ate Saturday evening dinner at my oldest son Nathan’s house. He and Melanie have five children from 10 down to almost 2 with another one on the way. The children had baths that afternoon, and after Bible time it was apparently fingernail cutting time. I watched with interest as Melanie cut the little’s nails. She used nail scissors and deftly moved from finger to finger. Actually, it reminded me of a craftsman, due to how smooth and quick she was.
There are many skills that moms acquire and utilize throughout their days with the children, and that spurred my thinking to dads. We typically think of dads’ skills in regard to providing for their families. Could that be wood, hay, and stubble compared to the gold skills of discipling the children?
Are you a craftsman when it comes to leading an interactive, engaging Bible time or having heart-to-heart talks with your children? Can you artfully apply Scripture to the precious, teachable moments that come along as you strive to reach the soul and not just attain outward conformity? How committed are you to bringing up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that they might love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength?
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
At my suggestion a man repair or build something himself, I have often heard, “I couldn’t do that. My dad never taught me how.” Pardon my candor, but so what! Anyone of average mental and physical ability can do just about anything he is determined to do.
From my observation, initiative is usually lacking when “I can’t” is the excuse. This lack is generally due to a serious case of “couchpotatoitis” combined with “workaphobia” and “learnaphobia.” The symptoms become even more obvious in the children of the stricken parent.
The good news/bad news, is that it is curable, but it is a rough, tough road. Feed the good appetites, and starve the bad. Cultivate a sense of pleasure and excitement from accomplishing things.
Read these books with your children: Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free. Discuss the books, and give your children a vision for an adulthood of enjoying work and being debt free.
Most of you have mortgages. Do you like that? Why not help your sons buy their first houses debt free as my five sons have? (I don’t say that to brag but so you know it is possible. Come on. If we can do it, you can.)
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:30-32).
Likely you have heard someone in a disagreement exclaim, “Just whose side are you on?” where loyalty was being questioned. Maybe those have been your words or at least your thoughts. Maybe (hopefully not), your wife sided with someone other than you. Hurts doesn’t it? Loyalty is something that goes deep.
Picture how your wife may feel when someone influences the children to want something harmful to them–the children she carried for 9 months, bore, and then nurtured as they grew. Think how she deeply desires to see God’s best in their lives. But what if it is you, the man she has vowed before God to follow, who has instilled, negative or even harmful influences in the children’s lives? She wants to be loyal to you, but her heart cries out and fears for what she sees in your children. You might ask “How can I be the problem? I love the children too.” Two words Dad—your appetites and affections — in other words your example.
Regularly we hear from moms whose husbands are leading the children astray.
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and “Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries” (Joshua 5:13-14).
- Adam: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
- Noah: Make thee an ark of gopher wood.
- Abraham: Thou shalt keep my covenant. Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,… and offer him.
- Lot: Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
- Joshua: Arise, go over this Jordan,… Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.
- Samson: For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb
- Jonah: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it
- John the Baptist: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- Paul: Prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.
Your turn, Dad: …..What is God’s direction for you? Will you obey?
“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
Many ask how I taught my children to do so many things. Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family is the long version of this.
Teach your children that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). If God calls us to do something, He will enable us. If we don’t know how to do it, we have to first learn how (the easy part), and then we do it.
Parents set the example by being sponges to learn (and enjoy work).
- of the Lord Jesus, first and foremost
- technical/vocational skills (make your time worth something)
- relationship skills
- communication skills, one-on-one and speaking to groups.
(Side note: if you aren’t a self learner, learning will cost you.)
Now comes both bad news and inversely the key. The enemy of learning is entertainment. If you and/or your children love entertainment, sorry. Ignore all of the above. Your children might as well be wearing a 100 pound backpack through life. Few want to learn and work when they can play.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).
Are you saved? Do you know that you know (1 John 2:3) you are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus? I hope so. Does your family know you are a child of the King? Is it assumed, or have you told them your salvation experience? When is the last time you told them in detail about when you were saved? Do they know your account so well they can tell it back to you? Okay, why should that matter?
Next week we celebrate Christmas. What makes Christmas worthy of great celebration is that God sent His Son Jesus, God in Man, to this world to redeem us. What makes it real is when Dad and Mom tell the children how Jesus Christ changed them—what their life was before Christ and following. May there be no doubt in the children’s minds that Jesus Christ is real and changes lives.
“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:4).
I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes being lied to. How do you feel about being lied to? What if someone close to you lied to you? Do you ever lie? Do you ever lie to someone close to you?
If you answered “yes” to lying, shouldn’t that sin be dealt with immediately?
Let’s assume your answer was “no,” you don’t lie. Let me ask you another question. Do you ever lie to yourself? No? When was the last time you said you were going to do something but didn’t do it? Even if you didn’t tell anyone else, wasn’t that a commitment to yourself?
If we excuse ourselves from keeping commitments, then it will be easy to excuse ourselves (lie) to others too. May we be men of integrity.
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9,10).
For those who have worked for someone who consistently made poor decisions, you understand how demoralizing poor decisions can be for those who must live with the results. Frankly, quite often Teri and my hearts go out to wives whose husbands would resemble that employer just mentioned. At least with a job, you can look for another one, but that isn’t God’s plan for marriage. (God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16)
Listening to dads share decisions they made and the corresponding fruit they are harvesting often prompts me to ask my favorite question. “So Brother, how’s that working for you?”
It is good to step back and consider the fruit resulting from a previous decision and perhaps re-evaluate. “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35). Over time the fruit will prove the decision.
Evaluate those situations. How did you get there? What might have been your motives in making the decision? Were you just trying to “make the pain go away” or earnestly seeking the Lord’s will, no matter what the personal cost?
“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).
I am confident most of you remember the first car you owned. I don’t even have a photo of mine, but I can see that 57 Chevy clearly in my mind. Back then, I knew nothing about cars, but for some crazy reason, I got it into my head to change out the 6 cylinder automatic for a V8 and 4 speed. It was a great learning opportunity as I poured time, energy, and money into that car.
Having been junked, crushed, melted, and the metal reused, that car is likely a washing machine or something else today. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19). It is so easy to have our hearts pulled to the things that are not eternal.
The Lord has a command for us. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20). Most of our work is simply wood, hay, and stubble, but our wives and children are eternal investments worthy of pouring everything we have into.
I’m so blessed to be able to encourage dads who are serious and committed to their families. I am sure your wife is thankful for a husband like you. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).