Teri’s mom brought over a newspaper clipping of a man’s obituary. He was a family acquaintance for over 30 years. I’m confident he died without a relationship with the Lord Jesus. Last year he was very heavy on my heart. I stopped by his house quite a few times trying to spend some time with him, but he avoided me. I was concerned for his health and his soul. Now it is too late.
Each of us has a sphere of influence that God has given us. May we be faithful. Lovingly, relentlessly pursue each one while there is time. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
“GIGO” is a relatively common acronym. If you aren’t familiar with it, it means, “garbage in, garbage out.” If someone puts non-beneficial/harmful material into something, we can expect to get something of equal or lesser value out of it. The Scripture equivalent of that is “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”(Galatians 6:7). A very sad example of that is we are a nation that has thrown God out of the government schools, and we are reaping unimaginable moral corruption.
It is easy to point fingers, but may we examine our homes first. What place does the Word of God have in your home? Is everyone having a quality time of reading a Bible first thing followed by a prayer? Do you lead your family in the Word every night? As you experience life’s situations, do you relate them to Scripture so the family can develop understanding?
My Brothers, we are blessed beyond measure to have the written Word of God in our hands. May it be in our hearts. It is so needful and practical. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105).
I have been spraying the weeds that my yard pre-emergent didn’t kill, and there are still a lot of weeds. This is my second spraying and likely won’t be the last. I’m using an excellent weed killer, but I’m surrounded by yards full of weeds. I’m not complaining. I respect my neighbor’s choice for the level of effort they choose to make. To have a nice yard takes an investment of time and money. For some, it is important and not for others.
What a great analogy to the challenge of raising children who will follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian families are surrounded by people who are living for every bit of fun and pleasure/carnality they can get out of this world. Even after your children are saved and have tasted of the joy of the Lord, the pull of the flesh should never be underestimated.“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” (Romans 8:5).
Worldly neighbor friends are tough but tougher are worldly extended family.. The closer and tighter those relationships, the harder it is to resist the influence of the world. On top of that, the more “fringy” attenders at church, Sunday school, and youth group, may provide the greatest pull of all on your children’s hearts toward the flesh. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The phlebotomist opened the door, sourly confirmed my name for the blood test, and pointed at where I was to sit. She seemed extremely unhappy through her expression, and tone. I asked if she was having a good day, and to my shock, she said “Yes.” Seeking to make conversation, I asked what consisted of a bad day for her. She said, “Grouchy and unpleasant patients.” I wondered silently if her attitude might contribute to patients being unhappy.
Don’t you enjoy being around happy, pleasant people? I certainly do. It is good for us to check own attitudes and pleasantness. How do we rate? Are we sour and demanding or contagiously joyful? Will others see the light of Christ in us and want to be around us or avoid us? “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
I admit it. I really like to laugh and be happy. As such I can struggle with being sober-minded. However, that isn’t much of a challenge lately (Titus 2:2). My heart is so heavy with grieving and mourning. What am I so troubled about? The spiritual condition of our nation, churches, and “Christian” families. Jeremiah has been my favorite prophet through the years, and I can relate more and more now.
When Israel conquered the land, God told them “thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth” (Deuteronomy 20:16). I told Teri the other night when we read that, I couldn’t imagine being a warrior then and having to carry out that command on the young and old. It is beyond my wildest imagination, yet, if God said it, He meant it. It revealed how serious God was about sin and wickedness corrupting His children.
God commanded it because He didn’t want this to happen: “That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:18). When we have the “good life,” we focus more and more on pleasure and forget our God Who said “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4).
“For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant” (Deuteronomy 31:20).
Instead of believers reaching the lost world, the world is reaching believers. Instead of the church reaching the world, the world is successfully reaching the church.
What is one word you hated to hear from your mother? That word still seems to bring sighs and groans today from most adults. It’s something that the greater expects of the lesser. Some would consider how well a person deals with it as a measure of the man.
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalms 27:14).
Assuming you have to work for a living, you likely have noticed something at work. It is amazing to me how men generally act around women in the workplace. Regardless of which one initiates it, it is common for there to be interactions between a man and woman much closer and familiar than is appropriate for someone who is married. It has the appearance that one of them might be “fishing” so to speak. No wonder divorce is rampant. Hopefully, that doesn’t describe any Seriously Dads reading this. I pray that we take our marriage vows seriously.
Along a similar thought, could many be courting disaster? Do you know that we are “married to another” —the Lord Jesus? “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4). Our life is bound to His. He bought us with His precious blood. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Surely you have noticed others espoused to the Lord, yet flirting with the world. Some give much more than just inappropriate attention. They have given their heart to another. Keep distance from the world. Set your heart on Him. Be in His Word. Consume it every morning.
I had lunch with someone who rejects any belief in Jesus. We discussed how he came to that position. It was a sad story involving being around many stale church services and religious, hypocritical people who “persuaded” him to never want anything to do with God.
There was one noteworthy story that would be helpful for us. Years ago an eight-year-old relative was visiting him, and the topic turned to belief in Jesus. He told her that he didn’t believe in Jesus. At which point her face “turned upside down,” and she began weeping. She pleaded with him to trust Jesus, and when he declined, she began sobbing and sobbing. This went on for quite a while to where he finally promised her he would go to church a few times to learn more. After all these years, the mental picture, as he told me of her love and concern for him and her uncontrollable sobbing brought him to tears.
Sharing Christ with others out of obedience is better than not sharing. However, having love and a broken heart for the one you are sharing with cuts to the heart. I’m sure you know I’m not saying we must sob over the lost we know but may our hearts be broken like Paul’s was for salvation for the Jews. As long as one has breath, there is still time to repent. Are you sharing Christ?
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart” (Romans 9:1-2).
Fine For Weather
Here in Kansas the weather is quite flakey. The temperature can vary greatly day-to-day, regardless of the season. On Monday the high was 69, and on Wednesday we’ll see a low of 6 degrees.
Great variability may be fine for weather, but if that describes someone spiritually or their closeness with the Lord Jesus, that isn’t good. Likely you have known professors of faith in Christ who were “flying high” one day, and then the next time you see them they had “crashed.” Possibly, that could describe some readers as well. May I encourage you, that isn’t good, or normal, and it doesn’t have to be like that.
First, be sure that you have saving faith in Christ. Our salvation is dependent on Him alone, not of works. Works follow salvation. We trust in Jesus’ shed blood on the cross for the covering of our sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Be careful not to rely on your how you feel. Emotions can follow circumstances. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Keep/obey His Word. “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Don’t give your time to the things of the world. They will pull you down. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
Feed daily on His Word. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the mission He was on, were always at the front of His thoughts, even when He was young. “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49)?
o “Wither I go, ye cannot come” (John 8:21).
o “But He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him” (John 8:26).
o “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” John 8:28
o “For I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).
My Brothers, how would you answer these questions?
o “What is your driving purpose in life?”
o “What consumes you?”
Next even more important, what would your wife, children, and friends say they believe your driving purpose is and what consumes your thoughts? Ask them.
“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” (John 16:24). Are we following? If not, as long as we have breath, there is still time.
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6).