Category Archives: Dad’s Corner

Faults

It is quite interesting how additional time with the family, such as may happen around holiday time, can reveal some rough edges. I love having more time with the children, but when I do I find I become more aware of particular areas of need in each family member’s life. This year it was one person’s faults, in particular. Unfortunately, once that happens, it can almost be a distraction as you zero in on him.

The person I was most aware of, unfortunately, was me. Don’t you just hate it when it is your problem? I would much rather it was someone else’s problem and not mine. The question always before me is, have I demonstrated the character of Christ in my home as God has called me to? “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Picture in your mind the Lord Jesus having a family. I see Him being patient and gentle, while training and maintaining order in the home. I don’t think He would raise His voice when correcting, even if there was repeated disobedience. He would not have a “tone” in His voice. Oh, how I yearn to be like Christ!

Have you ever noticed that when a person deeply loves someone or something, certain things happen? It is very easy to illustrate. Look at the average person who “loves” the Kansas City Chiefs football team. They dress in red and know everything about the team. They talk about the Chiefs and even long to be “with” them at the next game.

Honestly, as I think back over the last several weeks, I feel that other things have crowded out my love of the Lord. The symptoms are there. I haven’t been as careful to have quality devotions as before. My Scripture memorization has slipped, and my focus on Christ has lessened. I’m fooling myself if I think there won’t be an impact to my ability to be Christ-like in the home. So what do I do?

The third chapter of Colossians is the perfect prescription for my ailments, especially verse 12. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” Wow! Just to apply that one verse alone would be incredible. Unfortunately, even if I could obediently do all that, my heart is the problem. However, that is what Christ does; He changes my heart. It is Christ dwelling in me that enables this verse to become alive and active in my life. I must love my Lord with all my heart and clothe myself as He would (the armor of God in Ephesians 6). I should talk about Jesus more, and not only long to be with Him, but choose to spend more time with Him each day.

The whole section in Colossians from verse 12 to 17 is so good. It is the “tune-up” I need for my walk with my Lord. How about you? Are you demonstrating Christ in your home? If not, you will be discouraged trying to do it in your own strength. It just doesn’t work! Jesus Christ changes lives. He is the One Who enables us to be the dads our families need us to be.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Raising Teens

I expect most have heard that a child will go through a rebellious stage in their teen years. If that is true, have you ever wondered how God could require in 1 Timothy 3:4 that a church elder, “ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity”? It hardly seems fair for God to require this as a qualification, and then put in human nature the flaw that causes all teenagers to go through rebellion.

It is just like God to require a man to know how to shepherd his family well in order to be entrusted with a position of authority in the church. Since it is a requirement for serving in the church, we can be sure that a rebellious teen is the responsibility of the parent.

How can we avoid rebellion from happening in our families? Most of us know someone we respect who has had a rebellious child. They seem to be a good parent; they seem to love and serve the Lord, yet the child is a rebel. How can this be?

As we read that section in 1 Timothy 3, we see many tests for the would-be elder. What sort of reputation does he have? Is he the husband of one wife? Does he keep himself from alcohol? Does he know the Scriptures? Is he hospitable? Is he gentle and not quarrelsome? Does he love money? These all address his character. He is to be above reproach in his private life, and that is a qualification for church leadership. As listed earlier, even the behavior of his children are part of his credentials. So we see that his example in the home is critical and a litmus test of whether he is good for the church.

I believe the father’s example and leadership are the first two legs of a three-legged stool that are necessary in raising children who will not rebel. They are vital in the home. Interestingly, I think these two legs are easier than the third leg, even though the third leg is unbelievably easy. However, that third essential aspect is often neglected and left on the shelf. It is available to every Christian and will not cost us a cent. When a crisis comes, it is one of the first things used. Unfortunately, due to it not being used consistently, it is often quite ineffective. It is possibly the greatest true measure of a Christian. Do you know what it is? It’s prayer.

You see, Jesus Christ changes lives. Prayer will, somehow, bring the power of the Lord Jesus into a person’s life to change his heart, as nothing else can. We read in Matthew 17 that when the disciples could not cast out a demon, Jesus said, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). I’m not saying that a rebel has a demon, but I believe this verse teaches that prayer and fasting must be used when the heart is not changing. Whether it is our children or our spouse, Jesus Christ works in hearts.

Years ago I was very troubled over how our sons’ participation in team sports was stealing our family time. I finally told Teri we needed to quit team sports after the season was over. Teri and I both loved to watch the boys play ball, as they were very good. She just couldn’t agree to it. I decided that I would begin to cry out to the Lord to change her heart. Notice I wasn’t asking God to change her heart due to a selfish motive. I wanted to allow more time so we could be in the Bible in the evenings. In a very short amount of time, God changed her heart and the rest is history!

Earnest, intense, ongoing, sincere prayer is, I believe, the missing weapon of many fathers. I think that if our prayer life is what it should be, God will likely reveal problems early enough that they may be “nipped in the bud.”

Dads, do we pray? Do we cry out to the Lord on behalf of our children and wives? Do we know how to pray? Do we love prayer? Can we afford not to?

I believe this “three-legged stool” is why God justly requires obedient children as a qualification for being an elder.

A Dad’s Right

Have you ever had someone owe you something that they refused to give you? It can be pretty frustrating. Perhaps it is even something you really need! Moreover, it is ten times worse if that someone is close enough that you encounter them frequently. This is true, in varying degrees, for every one of us right now. What is it?

I marvel at how the creative genius of God designed the institution of marriage. God placed two opposites together in a lifelong covenant that is designed to represent the relationship of Christ and His bride, the church. The purpose of that union is to bring God glory and raise up godly seed (Malachi 2:15).

Into the man and woman, He placed intense inner needs, which can never be circumvented. Women marry for love and companionship. Men need respect. However, what is the husband to do if he isn’t receiving the respect he needs (Ephesians 5:22-33)?

Have you ever noticed a situation in the news or maybe at work, where either a group of people or an individual feels their/his rights are being violated? They will demand, get angry, petition for new laws, and do just about anything in trying to get this injustice resolved. The end of this militant campaign is that they are the targets of contempt by the others whom they expected to right the wrong. They appear to be a bunch of whiners and complainers.

So, dads, what do we do if we are not receiving the respect we deserve? First off, we obviously don’t turn to another woman. After a while, that other person would realize why our wives don’t respect us, not to mention we would be breaking a covenant. I believe the first thing would be to cry out to God and ask Him why we aren’t being respected. I think the answer will surprise us. We are receiving more than the respect we deserve! It’s true in my life.

Let God show us our failings, bad decisions, and tasks left undone. If He doesn’t show us enough, then we can ask our wives, as I’m sure they can give us some more ideas. The result–we will realize that we don’t deserve the respect God says our wives are to provide. Yes, it is humbling, but it will take the wind out of our sails and the fight out of our speech.

Of the groups or people we observe, the ones who are determined to fulfill their responsibilities and act according to the respect they desire are the ones who will begin to receive it. Maybe this respect is not fully the amount they think they deserve, but who among us is paid what we feel we deserve!

Now what does that have to do with home education? Everything! With our wives taking so much time and emotional energy to teach our children at home for us, they are under great stress. We will have additional responsibilities when we take on home education. Our wives become very discouraged when we neglect our responsibilities. Trust me, I know from personal experience!

Specifically, I believe we should first apply ourselves to what our wives need most, and that is love. Just as we often don’t deserve respect, they won’t deserve the full amount of love God has commanded us to give them. However, that is what is needed. It is ironic that with the additional responsibilities home education brings, our wives could be even less lovable. However, we will never love our wives if we allow ourselves to think about their perceived faults; they will never respect us if they think about ours. We are to give them what God says they need and expect nothing in return.

I believe when we concentrate on our responsibilities, of which the primary one is loving our wife, God is free to open her eyes to respecting us like she never has before. The result: peace at home, mama feeling loved, dad being respected, and the children learning and growing in a healthy environment.

Waiting on God

During our evening family devotion, we are currently reading about God freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage. One main question was brought to mind the other night. Why did God take so long to free His people? Couldn’t He have sent Moses to Pharaoh and said, “We are out of here tomorrow, Pharaoh,” and then had the Israelites march right out?

He could have made Pharaoh powerless to stop them as they left the very next day, no plagues, no miracles, and not a single death. Surely, we have all wondered at times why God chooses to do things in a particular way.

In January, I told my boss I could not do what they were asking me to do. It would violate my conscience as a Christian. I fully expected to be let go. There have been many interactions since then, over this, but nothing has happened yet. I have continued to stand my ground. Two weeks ago, I met with the company president and told him I thought my position ought to be eliminated. No one should be asked to do the things they were requiring of me. The company president gave my boss until the end of the month to resolve the situation. So will it be resolved by then? Only the Lord knows.

However, don’t we all have situations that are similar? They just drag on longer than we feel they ought to, or the final outcome isn’t what we think it should be. Maybe you have chosen a direction for the family, and the “troops” are murmuring and complaining. Certainly Moses knew how that felt!

As we read the account of Moses, it seems there was an important lesson God had for him to learn. The same would be true for each of us as we lead our families. When God gave Moses instructions in the desert, Moses revealed his problem. He said he couldn’t do what God asked because of not being well spoken. Think how ridiculous that is. Moses was telling the sovereign God of the universe that he was unable to do what God asked of him. God, Who knew Moses’ every strength and weakness, and Who knew Moses better than he knew himself, knew Moses could do the task.

I don’t think Moses was just making excuses. If this had been the case, he would have kept coming up with fresh excuses when the first one was eliminated. I also believe God would have dealt with him differently if he had been simply making an excuse. Therefore, it was possible that Moses was telling God about a true shortcoming in his life. However, this reveals whom Moses was trusting. Himself! At this point in this new relationship with the Lord, Moses had not learned to trust that God would work in his life and use His power to accomplish His will.

I believe one of the reasons for the long, drawn-out process of delivering His people from Pharaoh was to teach Moses to rely on God. Moses–and we, as well–must see that God will enable to be accomplished what He instructs to be done. God will never tell us to do something that we are unable to do.

After the Israelite leaders accused Moses and Aaron of making “our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh” (Exodus 5:21), Moses demonstrated the key to our success as fathers. Immediately after he spoke with the leaders of the people, in Exodus 5:22 we see, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said. . . .” Our response must be the same as his response; we must first cry out to our Lord.

When we don’t understand, when we need direction, when we lack the means to accomplish our responsibilities (i.e., to raise up godly children), we must go to Him in prayer. We must pour out our hearts to Him Who enables, Who strengthens, Who gives peace. Moses was transformed into a man who knew God and relied on Him. May that be true for each of us.

Encouragement for Dads

I wonder how many of you dads might actually look at this article. If you are like me, you have a stack of items that you need to take time to read, and this would be one more on “the heap.” However, it is my sincere desire to challenge and benefit you in ways that the other items crying for your time likely will not.

One reason this content will be different is that I truly care about your success as a home-educating father. It is a fact that how well or how poorly you do your job as a home-educating father will have impact on many future generations (assuming normal progression). Either your children will be well educated, responsible, Christian men and women or . . . they won’t! I believe that the primary reason for success or failure of the children is the father. That is why we all need encouragement!

Where do men usually get this type of encouragement? From their parents? Well, maybe sometimes. From their friends? Hopefully, but often not. From their pastor? Occasionally if you are really blessed, as I am, but not usually. From our wives? Sometimes, but unfortunately, that is extremely difficult for them to do without sounding like they are nagging.

Families today need a father who is a leader–not a boss, but a leader. A father leader is more concerned about the members of his family than himself. He is someone who has deep biblical convictions. He is a man who has passion behind his convictions and knows why he chooses a course for his family. Yes, in fact, he is a man who would lay down his life for his family.

I believe one of the most crucial questions a father must answer is, “Do I own total responsibility for raising my children?” It isn’t my wife’s job; she is my helpmeet. She is there to help implement the goals and direction I set for the family. Do we feel the awesome weight of that responsibility? I’m not trying to lay guilt on you, just openly discuss the reality of our responsibility as God designed it. The CEO of a company has others who help him, but all of the responsibility is his. He is the one who answers for the success or failure of the company.

The most popular route for fathers is to become engrossed in our jobs and leave our wives with the “little” things. However, which one will matter on the other side of eternity, whether we got the promotion or raised men and women of God?

God wants men who feel the weight of their responsibility and, therefore, realize the incredible blessing in a wife who will pour out herself into her children. Our wives are one in a million; may we be one-in-a-million fathers!

A Business Lunch

Moms–PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS!! It is for your husbands only.

Friday I was invited to go to lunch with one of my suppliers. If that were you, would you go? Next, let me tell you it was a saleswoman. Would you still go? Mixed lunches are the accepted norm these days and so are close working relationships. Might someone who didn’t participate be looked on as an “old prude”?

Let each one of us ask ourselves whether we believe we have been faithful to our wives. Now let’s imagine our wives asking themselves if they feel we have been faithful to them. Do you think our wives’ answers would match our answers? What if they knew our thoughts; would they change their decision?

Jesus defined adultery as lusting for another woman. So a definition of faithfulness would likely be even narrower than just that of adultery. We can be sure that our wives would rather they are the ones we are spending time with, no matter what the reason. (Shouldn’t that be our feeling as well?) After many observations, I believe that individual (even small-group) time spent with women other than our wives is like playing with fire. I know this statement can evoke some interesting responses, but I am convinced it is true. Let me illustrate this further.

If David, a man after God’s own heart, could fall into the trap of adultery because of being where he shouldn’t have been, then why do we, who are less spiritual, feel we couldn’t fall into a similar trap? Homes are broken and lives damaged all because of what reason? Could it ever be worth that? The idea that we can’t become attached to someone else is a lie from hell, with history bearing witness. It is like playing Russian roulette with six rounds loaded!

Let’s assume we are all moral giants and totally impervious to physical temptations. (I know it’s impossible, but for the sake of my example please stay with me.) In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, we are instructed to abstain from even the appearance of evil. I told the saleswoman I couldn’t go as I have determined not to go to lunch with other women. Before I could continue, she laughed and said she wouldn’t bite and could even bring a male sales engineer along. I explained that with that aside, what if someone who knew Teri and me saw us together? What might they think? She exclaimed, “Wow, do you really mean that?” I said I did. She understood and thought that was great.

I believe God will honor our commitment to taking no chances. Another example. If heroin were legal, would you try it? Why not? Well, one reason is because we know how addicting it can be, and we don’t know how much we have to take to get hooked. So we would be crazy to try it. In that light, how did we fall in love with our wives? For me, I spent time with Teri, she became my friend (and still is), and then I fell in love with her. So why would we expect not to be in danger of becoming attracted to ANY other woman we spent much time with? From David until now, men daily are trapped. Could you be next?

Our wives are home caring for our children. We know they are as bright as, if not brighter than, the women we meet in our vocation. Shouldn’t they be the ones we go to lunch with? If childcare is a problem, then we could go home and let them go out with another homeschooling mom to show them how much we appreciate their ministry to our children.

Men, we must not delight in the company of any woman other than our own wives. Not only are our wives worth our faithfulness and adoration, but also, we are commanded to love them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Let us be men of God, committed to our wives.

The Cost of Training Our Children

What does it cost you to train your children? If asked that, I imagine we would most often think of what our curriculum costs us per year. Certainly, there is a financial aspect to home education, but I’m wondering how much we dads are investing personally in our children. If money is our main investment, will our influence be any greater than a dad whose children go to the government schools? Might our children turn out as bankrupt in character and training as most children these days who are educated outside the home?

In my work, I will encounter many fathers who love their children and yet send them off to school. They feel that is the American way; the job of the schools is to educate the children; dads provide the money and the home. Unfortunately, even if the school is successful in teaching the children facts, that is a far cry from preparing them for life.

Will the memorization of facts prepare a person for life and parenting? I think we would agree it wouldn’t. That is where training comes in, first teaching pertinent facts and then practicing them. We dads have many opportunities to work with our children to reinforce, by practice, the application of what they are learning.

However, all of that takes time. Most of us have heard others recite the popular, self-consoling lie, “I have to give my children quality time, since my job doesn’t allow quantity time.” From what I’ve observed, additional work hours are usually a result of the dad’s desire to get ahead. The extra time is not required. It also can be that there is trouble at home, and it is a convenient escape for Dad to bury himself in his work. It is a matter of priority. Is the proper training of the children most important to the dad, or is it his job? If the job is so demanding on its own, then it’s time to get a new job. God will bless proper priorities, and wrong ones won’t be blessed. Simple!*

Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” That is a constant challenge to me. As the shepherd of my family, am I laying aside my pleasures for the needs of my family? Am I willing to sacrifice my time for myself if there are needs in the family that haven’t been met yet? Do I set the example for my wife in serving my family? For most, work is the easy part, but serving at home and working on character issues are much harder.

I am ashamed of how often I fail regarding the right response to the above questions. However, I serve a God Who daily gives grace. May we be like the Lord Jesus and daily lay down our lives for our families.

*(I’m not referring to families where the dad has to work longer hours just so the mom can stay at home and teach the children. These are families who are content to live in a modest home and drive old cars for the sake of right priorities. I’m referring to others who have made wrong choices with what money they have. Often they drive new cars and buy new homes. I want to differentiate between those who make bad choices and those who are truly in need.)

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Fathers’ Decisions

Surely every one of us dads desire to make good decisions that are best for our family. We are called to be leaders. To be a good leader, we must make good decisions. I expect we have all made some choices we wish we hadn’t made, but what is one of the more important aspects of any decision?

Let’s take a look at Hezekiah, King of Judah. Now here is a man! He became king at age twenty-five, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did” (2 Kings 18:3). It continues in verse 4, “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made. . . .” It says God blessed everything Hezekiah set his hand to do. He was making some very good decisions.

God waited fourteen years before He brought a significant test into Hezekiah’s life. Ten years after Hezekiah rebelled from the control of Assyria, the king of Assyria mobilized his army against the towns of Judah. King Hezekiah sent word to the king of Assyria and confessed his error for rebelling. He said he would pay any sum the king of Assyria demanded. Hezekiah then had to give all the silver from his treasuries and from the temple of the Lord. Plus, he stripped the gold off of the temple doors to satisfy the Assyrian request.

To many, this would seem like a great decision on Hezekiah’s part. The towns of Judah had already been conquered, and it would have seemed like a horrible disaster was about to take place had he resisted the Assyrian king. He averted a terrible situation and kept the peace. What a guy!

But wait! Next we read that the King of Assyria marches against Jerusalem. He tells them his intention is to deport them all to a very nice land with plenty of food. No talk of forced labor, but the evil one never highlights the truth. This time, however, we are told Hezekiah cries out to the Lord. God says He will take care of the situation. Overnight the Angel of the Lord proceeds to completely destroy the Assyrian army without Hezekiah doing anything.

Hezekiah has now made one good and one horrible decision. The first decision was trusting in himself. I’m sure it made good sense to him. Unfortunately, God’s glory on earth was diminished by the treasures being taken and by the gold scraped off the doors. As they entered the temple, the marred surfaces would be a reminder to those worshipping the Lord of the consequences of not seeking God’s will. Man’s solutions are never permanent, as demonstrated by the king of Assyria’s return. The second crisis resulted in God’s glory and praise. As Hezekiah called on the Lord, Judah was delivered, and 185,000 Assyrians were slaughtered.

I think back to decisions I’ve made over the years; there have been some good ones and some bad ones. I don’t recall ever feeling I made a bad decision after carefully seeking God’s will. However, I can give you many examples of bad decisions I made when I did not seek the Lord’s direction. May we put our will aside and seek God’s will for our families. May we avoid the marred doors that remind us of trying to raise godly children in our own strength. May we be the leaders God would have us to be.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Sin in the Children; Sin in the Father

Recently, Teri and I were surprised when two of our boys did not seem to recognize something as sin. To us it was black and white, but they just couldn’t see it. How could that be? They had been taught the right things, yet their conclusion was wrong.

Last week God revealed what had happened. He convicted me that there was an area in my life of significant compromise. I couldn’t believe I had not seen it sooner, but God used a situation and a verse I had just read in my devotion to point it out. Then it was as if a giant spotlight was focused on it, and all doubt was removed. Ugh, I now had to deal with the situation.

While working to set right this area of deceit, I thought about Exodus 20:5, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” When I looked up “visiting,” it seemed to carry more than just the consequences of the sin, but the sin itself. When I rebel against God by choosing sin, I open the door for my children to embrace this sin as well. Now my secret sin is not so secret. Unfortunately, I have seen this demonstrated clearly in our family more times than I wish to think about.

As a way of getting our attention, God allows our sin to be visible in the lives of our children. How this gets my attention! I dislike the sin in my life so much, and then, when confronted with it in my children’s lives, it can be almost unbearable. What a gracious God we serve in that He will do whatever is necessary to prod us away from our sin.

How about you? What sins in your children are particularly annoying to you? Could it be that they are reflecting a sin in your life that hasn’t been dealt with? I have found it is extremely difficult to remove the sin from the life of my child before I have addressed it in my life.

1 Corinthians 11:28, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

Posted in: Dad's Corner

A Dad’s Power and Authority

There probably aren’t too many situations that will call a father to “arms” quicker than when his child is being picked on by a bully. I have only had it happen a few times to one of my children, but it really got my blood boiling.

What is it about power and authority? Those that have it tend to use it. That is why someone once said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If the quote isn’t exact, it is close enough for you to get the point. Those who have power, over time, will tend to use it for their own advantage.

Look at Solomon; he was the wisest man in the whole world. No king had the wisdom that he possessed. You would expect his reign to be picture perfect. Yet that was not the case. He failed to obey God’s Word and then used his power to satisfy his lusts. However, his lusts led his heart toward worshipping false gods.

The power of Solomon’s position allowed him to acquire 700 wives and 300 concubines. Can you imagine that? He used his power to indulge in pleasure against the warning of God’s Word. It was the ruin of his kingdom.

What about dads? As leaders of our families, we have the power and authority to make the decisions. Certainly, we may be tempted to make decisions for our own selfish ends.

Christ, as our example, had absolute power, but He used it only to serve others as directed by the Father. He did not use it for His own selfish pleasure.

It is easy for us dads to be bullies in our own homes. I know we don’t see it that way, but isn’t it possible? Just like the bully, we can have what we want. We can have our way all the time if we so choose. The possibilities are endless: dad’s favorite meals, more money for dad’s clothes, dad’s hobbies, dad’s entertainment, dad’s sports, dad’s choice of restaurant, and on and on it goes.

However, just like Solomon, if we neglect to follow the leading of God’s Word and choose to use our power and authority for our benefit, the consequences will be far reaching in our family.

May we be careful to follow Christ’s example and use our authority to serve and minister to our families. We have been entrusted with the care and nurturing of our families; may we, by God’s grace, be faithful stewards.