Category Archives: Dad’s Corner

Dads, Are You the Head of a Christian Home? – Part 3

Is your home a Christian home? Do you desire to raise godly children? If so, why and how important is it to you? Would we say that it is the burning desire of our hearts? If someone were to ask you what God’s primary purpose for marriage is, what would you tell him? I believe how we answer these questions is key to whether we have a Christian home or not.

“And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth” (Malachi 2:15). We read in Malachi that God’s purpose for marriage was to raise up godly seed, which means children who will bring God honor and glory. So raising godly children is not just a good idea, not just a popular discussion topic at homeschool meetings, not just for the pastor or elders, but it is what God intends to be fruit from every marriage. A Christian home is the necessary environment for such precious fruit.

Last month we saw that when the idols of the world invaded God’s home, the temple, it was no longer a place where His Spirit would dwell. We applied that figuratively to our homes. The next reasonable question is, when does God’s Spirit dwell in our homes? 1 Corinthians 3:11 tells us, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” And then in verse 16 we read, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Jesus Christ is to live in us and to be the foundation for our homes. This is not a matter of simple preference or religious practice. This is the question for fathers to answer: “Is Jesus Christ my Savior and the Lord of my life?” Jesus Christ is the foundation of our life and our home.

We can’t expect godly offspring if we aren’t a child of God ourselves. Becoming a child of God happens when we repent of our sins and place our trust in Christ’s shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins. That takes care of the first part. Unfortunately, many never go beyond and make Christ the Lord of their life. That is often where idols enter. If Jesus Christ isn’t Lord of a man’s life, the man himself will reign over his life. When we are reigning on the throne of our heart, we will fill our life with the “things/idols” of this world. The love for our Lord will not be there.

Our focus, our joy, and our passion is to be the Lord Jesus. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). Then in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Also, read in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

This is a perfect picture of our homes built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and we, as fathers, walking as our Lord Jesus did. This is not talking about outward religious conformity, but a man deeply in love with his Lord and seeking to please Him in every way. It becomes clear that selling out to his Lord is not for the cowardly. It takes a real man!

However, some might say, “Why try? That is impossible. Jesus was perfect, and I’m far from perfect.” Yes, that is true, Jesus was perfect, but He lived His life in submission to the Father. I marvel that even though Jesus is God, He chose to do only what the Father told Him to do or say. “. . . The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Then in John 12:49, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” Jesus gave us the perfect example of Lordship–surrendering one’s will.

Men, we can’t lead our family until we learn to follow our Lord. We have no hope of a Christian home, and resulting godly offspring, unless Jesus Christ dwells in us and is our foundation. He must be our Lord in practice, not just speech. We should seek the best always, and never settle for anything less. When we choose anything but God’s best for our family, we are leading our family astray. Christ chose to follow the Father’s every decision. May we choose what Christ says is best for our family. May we be men of God and provide our children with a Christian home.

P.S. One additional thought. In Malachi 2:15-16 we read, “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” Note in particular where God warns men about divorce. It is a very stern warning about breaking the covenant we made with our wives. God holds us accountable for how we treat our wives. Admittedly these men were divorcing their wives, but we are held to a much higher standard. We are to treat our wives as Christ treated the church. He died for her.

Dads, Are You the Head of a Christian Home? – Part 2

A word of caution before reading on! This month’s Corner is a tough one to share. It is possible there will be some reaction to it. Please don’t shoot the messenger! Take this before the Lord, and if you then feel God has intended this for you, receive it. If, after praying about it, you are convinced it isn’t of the Lord, just ignore it.

I laid a foundation last month by suggesting that God gave families the blueprint for a Christian home. That blueprint was His home on earth–the temple. The temple is a beautiful picture of what a Christian home should be like; we can model our home after His. Of course not literally, but God often uses “types” and “pictures” to help teach us. We can learn much from His home on earth.

First, think about what made God’s temple different from any other building. The temple was just stone, wood, and gold until the glorious Spirit of the living, holy, mighty God came down and filled it. So our house is just another earthly house until God’s Spirit is able to dwell there. (I understand that our body is God’s temple now, but this is just a discussion of types.)

Our homes (and our bodies), as the temple, are to be holy and set apart to the Lord. Isaiah 64:11 says, “Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee. . . .” In 2 Chronicles 3:8 we find, “And he made the most holy house. . . .” I think none would argue that the temple was a holy place.

I have been in many homes where I sensed God’s spirit. My pastor’s home is like that. I also remember an unbeliever from Holland resting comfortably in our living room and saying he felt such a sense of peace, as he had never experienced before.

Now notice Psalms 79:1, which says, “O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled. . . .” Note the temple was defiled by the nations invading it. When the world enters the temple, it is no longer holy; it is defiled, and the Lord will not be there.

We defile our homes by bringing the world and its idols in. So the million-dollar question is, “What are the idols of the world that we shouldn’t bring in?” First, admittedly, anything can become an idol by usurping the supreme place in our heart that belongs to our Lord Jesus. There are necessary “things” such as jobs, food, and sleep that we can’t avoid, but must learn to control them lest they too become idols. However, there are other “things” that the American male has clearly made into idols, but as Christians, we don’t have to have anything to do with them. What are they? I suspect the top four are: team sports (participating or viewing), watching TV, entertainment, and alcohol. You may come up with more, but few would argue that these are very high on the list.

Dads, may we never allow the idols of the world in our homes. The Holy Spirit had some very strong words, which He spoke through James. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Friendship, in the Greek, is defined as only a fondness/friendship. That is far less strong than the word “fan” which many men use to describe themselves. The term “fan” is short for fanatic. God’s Word is really very decisive in this passage. We can’t serve two masters. To evaluate just what we value, we might ask our wives and children to list the top ten things that they see are important to us.

It has been over ten years now since we stopped watching TV. However, I can still remember the conflict the TV presented for me. Just having it upstairs dulled my desire for the Word of God. When we quit watching it, I felt a sense of freedom and renewed desire for His Word.

Dads, we need to live the life we want our children to model. I want my children to see each minute as a precious gift from God, to be used for His glory. That means when I am not working or sleeping, I want to be ministering inside or outside of the home. I want my children to enjoy serving others. If they learn to take joy in blessing others, they will never lack for joy. I can’t tell you the delight it gives me to go to the City Union Mission with my sons and have them all say they really enjoyed going.

May we never settle for second best. Let us always seek God’s best. A Christian home will be different from the world’s homes. Is yours a Christian home?

Dads, Are You the Head of a Christian Home? – Part 1

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Have you noticed how there are so many Christian “this” and Christian “that’s”? There are Christian radio stations, Christian music, Christian businesses, Christian schools, Christian curricula, and Christian you name it! Would you agree there are many things labeled Christian that it becomes an increasing stretch of the imagination as to whether they are any more Christian than the “world”? For example, many so-called Christian songs on the radio sound just like the world’s music. If you doubt it, turn the volume down until you can’t hear the words, and compare it to a secular song. Christians have welcomed the world so much there is little distinction between what most consider Christian and what they would consider the “world.” We must bear in mind that the Lord’s standard for judging is not as fuzzy.

Most of us have known Christian families where the older children have rebelled. People will then say, “I just don’t understand it as he/she was raised in a good Christian home.” Usually, the observation is based on a superficial judgment, and indirectly the Lord is being blamed in that situation. It is almost as if the Lord failed in some way. May it never even be thought! We can be sure that is not the case at all. God is always faithful.

I wonder if you have ever asked yourself just what is a Christian home. “Christian home” isn’t directly mentioned in the Bible, but the Bible does have plenty to say about what a Christian home is. Before we proceed, what do you say? Is your home Christian, yes or no (no lukewarm voting)?

How exciting to see that God’s Word is definitive on every aspect of our lives. Even though our concordance might not list “Christian home” as a selection, the concept is very clearly dealt with.

In 1 Chronicles 17, David is telling Nathan, the prophet, about his concern that God should have a fitting “house.” Then in verse 10, God said through Nathan the prophet, “. . . I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.” Here God ties David’s loving concern for his God to God’s blessing of David. God draws a parallel between His house and David’s house (family). If we want to learn what the basis is for a Christian home, we need only study God’s home on earth–the temple.

We will continue this for the next several months’ Dad’s Corners as there is much practical direction for our homes. Each step of the way I will encourage you to evaluate your home to see if it is really a Christian home or not. There is no middle ground. It is either a home where the Lord Jesus is glorified, or it isn’t. If it is in the middle, it is lukewarm. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

Dads, may we provide a loving, nurturing environment, which is conducive for children becoming mature, equipped, dedicated Christians serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

Guarding Hearts–A Real-Life Situation

“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).

Last week we went to our favorite zoo, which is located in Omaha. It is a special day for everyone, and even our young adults will take a day off work to go with us. This trip was especially a close time as we were in the process of losing our ninth child to miscarriage.

At the end of a wonderful day, we were dropping off the wheelchair that I borrowed to push Teri around. I noticed two documentary videos on Mount Everest in the gift shop. I have a special interest in mountain climbing and thought this would be an excellent addition to our educational video library. It also turned out that one of them was the same footage as was being shown in the Imax Theater. After a little hesitation, I decided to go ahead and purchase them.

When the little ones were in bed, I chose to preview the videos, so we carried the TV and VCR out of the downstairs closet. To my amazement, the opening scene began in a temple where one of the climbers was lighting candles. Ugh! My heart then began to twinge a bit under conviction, and that should have been enough to stop it right there. However, the mental excuses and gymnastics began as I thought of the thirty dollars I had paid for this one. Besides, there probably wouldn’t be any more problems with the video (Sure!).

The story unfolded with occasional remarks about his god, temple footage, and other Eastern religion information. To my shame, I didn’t turn it off, but continued watching it with the three oldest children. I failed those children! I should have stopped it right then and said, “No more, we must turn it off. This isn’t worth compromising our hearts.” However, I wanted to watch it! Therefore, we finished the first video, and we started the second tape. This one was about high-altitude effects on the body. By this time I was feeling quite convicted. Then, out of the blue, the guy being interviewed cursed. That was enough to push me over the edge and turn it off. Why hadn’t I chosen to stop watching it earlier?

In the last few Dad’s Corners, I emphasized the fact that God places all the responsibility for everything that goes on in the home on “dear ole Dad.” The sad thing is that I am often the cause of the problems. When I’m struggling with self-control, I can expect to see lack of self-control in my children. We are the shepherds guarding the access to the sheep pen. It is true that every evil imagination, which is similar to improper appetites, does come from the heart. However, we then can guard whether these appetites are fed or not.

The sad fact was, if I had chosen to stop watching the video earlier, my older children would have seen that their father was very careful to guard his heart and their hearts. They would have seen that, even in a situation where Dad wants to continue, he is man enough to deny himself. That was one of those rare opportunities that don’t come around often. We are teaching our children in everything we do. I showed them that if it is something that interests you, it is okay to continue. I failed!

Life is so full of opportunities to train our children in the way of righteousness. We must see that as our responsibility. We should protect our heart first, and then our children’s. Otherwise we teach them that once you are old enough to be in control, you can use that control for selfish purposes and choose to “enjoy” evil at the expense of righteousness. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

An Unloved Wife

Teri and I have been sharing what we believe God’s Word teaches on how to avoid having rebellious children. In our pastor’s sermon recently, he touched on another cause that I had not considered before. I wish it weren’t so, but all that we have shared points back to the father, and this one is no exception.

It is a very heavy matter to lay so much responsibility on the back of the father, but I believe that is where Scripture puts it. As God would have it, we should each do our own study and prayerfully come to our own conclusions. So I encourage you to open your heart and your Bible, and see if this is another warning about rebellion.

Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

Most would say they are familiar with that verse as a part of being a good husband. However, our dear pastor developed the point that an unloved wife’s bitterness will lead the children into rebellion. It is true, men–unfortunate, but true!

In Proverbs 30:21-23 we read, “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” An unloved wife who does not forgive will become bitter.

I still remember a woman I met roughly ten years ago who had been mistreated and left by her husband. Acrid bitterness dripped from every word she spoke. It had eaten her up and was etched into her jagged-lined face. The encounter was most unpleasant, and it moved me to compassion and sorrow for the pain she was putting herself through.

This woman was an extreme example. However, an unloved wife who has not received God’s grace to forgive her husband for the wrongs he has committed will be bitter toward her husband. Just like the woman I mentioned, bitterness toward a husband cannot be hidden, and those around will sense it. Even worse, it will also infect her children with bitterness toward their father, and that could turn into rebellion.

1 Samuel 20:30 says, “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?”

Have you noticed that Jonathan had a rebellious attitude toward his father? Saul felt that Jonathan’s mother had hard feelings toward him. Now he is accusing Jonathan of it as well. Look at 1 Samuel 14:29 where Jonathan said, “. . . My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.”

The correct response would have been repentance, but Jonathan had a rebellious attitude toward his father, and it came out here. This rebellion wasn’t so severe that Jonathan abandoned his father, but it was there. Jonathan was a “good kid” in many ways, because generally he complied with his father’s orders. However, he did not respect Saul and demonstrated a rebellious attitude.

We are called to love the wife God has given us. If we don’t, we can be sure there will be consequences.

The First Priority

Have you ever wondered how Samson could turn out so poorly when he had seemingly great parents? How could this be? We see a father who desires to raise a child who is pleasing to God, and yet something goes wrong. When grown, this child will be a slave to immorality, which will lead to his being a slave grinding grain for the Philistines. Maybe there are a few morsels of wisdom we fathers can glean from this section of Scripture.

An angel appeared to Manoah’s wife, Samson’s mother. He gave her instructions on how she was to live and how Samson was to be set apart as a Nazirite. A Nazirite was someone who had such a great love for the Lord that he showed his devotion to God in a special way. Then, when Manoah was told about the angel’s message, he prayed and asked God to send the angel back, “. . . teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born” (Judges 13:8).

In verse 9, we read that God hears Manoah’s prayer and sends the angel back. When Manoah speaks to the angel in verse 12, he asks, “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” What training should he receive and what will be his vocation? Good question, but the angel totally ignores it. Amazing! God sends the angel back as a result of Manoah’s prayer, and then the angel doesn’t answer his prayer. Or does he?

What a disappointment! Here he wants to know about the boy, and God (via the angel) is telling Manoah about his and his wife’s responsibility. We have another example of this in the third chapter of John. Nicodemus makes an opening comment to Jesus, but Jesus totally ignores the comments and speaks to him about what He wants Nicodemus to hear.

The angel begins and ends by saying Manoah’s wife must do everything that she has been instructed to do. The overwhelming emphasis of the angel’s message to the parents is–obedience. Note that this is not the child’s obedience, but the parents’. Manoah was to see that his wife obeyed the word from God.

As fathers, just what is our highest priority? Is it our children’s education, socialization, future vocation, or is it our own responsibilities? I believe God’s Word teaches that a father’s primary responsibility is to love the Lord more than anything or anyone else. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

That means we are to be sure we are in fellowship with Him and living for Him. Our example of being sold-out to Christ is far more important than giving our children hours of instruction on how to live the Christian life. Loving our Lord, and walking in obedience to His Word, is our primary responsibility. I believe that is why the Lord instructed Manoah to be sure his wife did what the angel had told her to. Manoah was to be the leader of the home.

So why did Samson fail in achieving God’s best for his life? Certainly, Samson’s choices had a lot to do with it, but I wonder if it was avoidable. There are even hints in Scripture that the parents might have had outward conformity, but I wonder about their relationship with the Lord and Samson. Why do I say that?

In chapter fourteen Samson was interested in a Philistine woman, and he told his parents to get her for his wife. His father protested, but then proceeded to do what Samson wanted, even though Moses had told the Israelites not to intermarry. “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). Here the father was more concerned that his son not be angry with him than about whether the Lord would be angry. He should have said, “Son, I will die before I willingly do what is wrong.”

Don’t be distracted by Judges 14:4 where it says the Lord was using this as an occasion to confront the Philistines. God will even use our sin for His purposes. He chose to use Samson’s problem with lust and lack of obedience to his parents to fulfill his plan. That does not mean that there wasn’t a better way if Samson had not had these problems.

Look at Samson’s response to his father. “. . . Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well” (Judges 14:3). We see that Samson did not love and respect his parents, or he would have said, “Father, you are right. God would not be pleased if I was to marry her.”

Dads, we need first of all to be concerned about our relationship with the Lord and pleasing Him. That begins in our hearts and is visible to those around us. It can’t be mere outward conformity. It must be a walk that comes from a deep love of our Lord, not wanting to displease Him. When our relationship is right with Him, we will be able to win and retain the hearts of our children. If we have our children’s hearts, then they will receive the concerns we share with them. They will be grieved when their path is straying from our example.

In verses 14:6 and 14:9, we are told Samson did something he shouldn’t have as a Nazirite and chose not to tell his parents about it. Our children must feel the freedom, and need, to share with us their failures and wrong desires. How else can God use us in their lives? Samson’s father neglected what was most important and lost his son. Dads, may we not fail in a similar way.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

God’s Direction Through the Dad

What are your goals for your family? Have you written them down? Are they your goals or the Lord’s goals? Without a rudder and compass, not many boats would ever reach the harbor. I think a reasonable analogy would be that our compass should be the Lord’s direction. A good example of this is found with Noah.

In Genesis 6:22, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Now look at Genesis 7:5, “And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.” First, we see that Noah had to have a relationship with God to receive instruction from Him. Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior? The initial step is having Jesus as Savior and, unfortunately, many men never go beyond this point. The second step is for Christ to be our Lord. He must be our boss and commander. His precious blood has bought us, and we are His. That means we do what He tells us to. He will instruct us in how to lead our family.

God gave instruction prior to the flood on how Noah could save his family. God did not tell Noah’s family, but He told Noah what to do. Think about the absurdity of what God said to Noah, and then Noah had to tell his family. They were going to build a boat, and it was going to rain and drown everyone. Does your family love and respect you enough to follow your leadership even when they don’t understand? Noah had many years to prove himself to his family prior to this unique direction from the Lord. Dads, are we leading our family in ways of righteousness, as God would have us? “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). We can’t walk in the ways of the world and expect our family to follow us when, all of the sudden, we interject an occasional righteous direction.

In Genesis 8:13-14, we see that Noah waited for almost sixty days, from the time he saw dry ground, before he left the ark. They had been in the ark roughly ten months when they first saw the ground was dry, and it is incredible that he waited another two months. WHY?

It is the secret of Noah’s success, and it shall be the key to ours as well. Such a simple thing, really, and our success as parents depends on it. It isn’t a matter of how much money we have or how smart we are. The key is revealed in verses 15 and 16, “And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark. . . .”

After being cooped up, under less than optimum circumstances, Noah was waiting on God to tell him when to leave. I expect Noah’s family might have had many suggestions as to when the proper time was to leave! However, he waited on the Lord. Dads, that is exactly what we must do! We should get a word from the Lord for every aspect of raising our children. Dads are the rudders. There will be much pressure, from within and without the family, for the father to change course. The father must know what the heading is and stay true, or there are great possibilities for shipwreck.

Dads must be sure that what the family does is consistent with his goals for them, goals given by the Lord. If God has given you the goal of:

Serving–Do your children know what it is like to serve others? How are you demonstrating serving and training them to serve?

Working–Are they learning how to enjoy working, or do they only know how to be entertained? Must everything be fun, or are they learning some real skills? Are sports, friends, and activities the focus? If so, isn’t that teaching them that life must always be fun, and can’t we expect a generation of couch potatoes and thrill seekers? Was Jesus a “Man of Sorrows” because there was nothing fun to do, or because there were more important things to do?

Worship–Do they know how to worship, or must our children be sent away to Children’s Church? Often Children’s Church is just entertainment with a few Bible stories thrown in. Children aren’t expected to sit still and listen to God’s Word being preached. At what special age does preaching automatically become interesting?

We need to examine where God has called us to go and weed out those things that are distractions from the course. There is great joy in working, ministering, and serving together, and our family will be prepared to face life as God has intended.

Dad, the Spiritual Leader

How comfortable are you with your role as the spiritual leader of your home? Is this something you willingly own as your responsibility? How do you view it compared to your calling to provide for the physical needs of your family?

We can be wonderful providers for our families and yet, after a full life, have each of our children end up in hell or as worldly, lukewarm Christians. That seems to put the issues into perspective, doesn’t it? Have we spiritually reproduced death and carnality, or vibrant offspring of the Lord Jesus?

I remember at one point in my life smugly thinking, “I’m doing what I should as the spiritual leader of my home.” We were homeschooling, the children were in Sunday School, and I was having bedtime devotions (a pretty shallow one, but it counted, didn’t it?) with the children. What else was there?

Think about Moses for a minute, and God’s calling him to lead His people. Moses kept telling the Lord he was not equipped to properly lead the Israelites. Even after God said He would enable Moses for this job, Moses still back-peddled. Finally, in Exodus 4:14-16, “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses,” and God agreed to use Aaron. “And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”

I’m grieved by how few fathers really take the role of being the spiritual leader of their homes seriously. There are either excuses about capabilities and gifts or no real effort beyond going through the basics. God equips those He calls. We must believe that God will equip us to do the job He has given us. He gave Moses signs of his authority, and said Moses was to “be to him instead of God.” Isn’t that an incredible statement? Moses’ actions were to be a picture of God in the flesh.

Is it any wonder so many have poor concepts of God when their fathers were terrible examples? What an awesome responsibility we have as fathers. God intended that we dads help form the God image in the minds of our children. That is one reason the Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father which art in heaven. . . .”

We have no greater responsibility than, as far as we are enabled by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to demonstrate Christ to our families. Christ said if you have seen Me you have seen the Father. His purpose in coming to earth was to reveal the Father. Are we able to fully grasp the seriousness of this calling? Our desire needs to be to live as Christ in full view of our families. We must be crying out to the Lord on behalf of our families, dying to self daily, and if necessary, giving our life for them.

Moses was a wonderful picture of that as he cried out to the Lord for the Israelites. I was greatly challenged by Moses’ response to the Israelites making the golden calf while he was on the mountain. God was ready to kill them all and make Moses into a mighty nation. Yet what did Moses say? In Exodus 32:32 he said, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”

I believe that is referring to the Book of Life where the names of the saved are recorded. I think Moses was demonstrating his willingness to go to hell if it meant the rest of the Israelites might live. Here we have the picture of Christ’s atonement for our sin made as an offering to the Lord. When that sank in, I was challenged to the depth of my heart. Moses was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for those he was called to serve.

May we bring our families before the Lord constantly as Moses did in the Tent of Meeting. May our families see us going to the Lord in prayer as the Israelites saw Moses. May we take our calling as a serious matter of life and death.

God’s Warnings

In Matthew 9:13, Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ question about His associating with tax collectors and sinners with, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. . . .” I believe this provides great insight into the way our Lord deals with us. I see in Scripture that He will orchestrate events in our lives to bring us to a point of repentance and asking for mercy.

Lot is probably an example of all of us at some point in our Christian walk. There has likely been a time when each of us has chosen some degree of compromise, or lack of obedience. I know I prefer to think that my sin is my sin and does not have an effect on my family. Obviously, that is a convenient and incorrect myth!

The reality is that my walk, or lack of it, with Christ has a definite impact on my family. There is no such thing as a private sin that does not have an effect in some way on those I’m called to shepherd. However, God in His grace will try to gently get our attention.

You’ve heard the naval expression “a shot over the bow.” In naval terms, a shot is fired in front of another vessel to warn them they had better change course, or stop for boarding. God works in much the same manner.

Lot’s “shot over the bow” was when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a sinful, wicked place, and he knew it. That is why he didn’t want the angels spending the night in the square. Lot was wrong in choosing to live there. Some might argue he was trying to win the city. However, if you pay attention to what the mob and his sons-in-law said to him, it is obvious he was not winning them to his God, but losing his family.

His compromise cost him his wife, when she longingly looked back. It almost cost him his daughters as he offered them to appease an angry mob. It did cost him his daughters’ virtue as they demonstrated later with their father in the mountains.

Notice that Lot learned something from his warning. He first wanted to go to Zoar, even though he was instructed to flee to the mountains. The angels knew his physical abilities and were not telling him to do something he was not capable of doing. However, for the same reasons he was living in Sodom, he wanted to go to Zoar. It is likely that after seeing the wickedness of the city, he realized he was at risk. He then chose to be obedient and go to the mountains.

God wants us to keep our families out of evil environments. From my observations, it is often the father who places the family at risk. Praise God that He doesn’t immediately chasten us when we disobey. Our Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. However, to offer us mercy, we have to be repentant and seek His forgiveness.

Several years ago, I was convicted that I had said something unkind to a relative. The Lord was telling me to ask forgiveness, but I resisted. One day as Nathan and I were preparing to leave for work, I decided to let the car roll backwards out of the garage while Nathan went back into the house for something. Unfortunately, I did not see that the rear car door was fully open.

As you can imagine, our garage doors are not wide enough to accommodate a Honda Civic, with a door open, passing through without some degree of trauma. The car lurched to a stop, and I looked back to see the door bent backwards. UGH! Even though the furthest thing from my mind was needing to ask forgiveness of the relative, that was the thought that instantly filled my mind.

God has a way of warning and chastening us when He needs to. I believe there was not twenty-four hours’ passage of time before that relationship issue was dealt with. My gracious Lord had said it was time to take care of it!

My own father inadvertently exposed me to wicked things that have cost me greatly. Eventually, it cost him his family. God had sent him a “shot over the bow,” but he ignored it.

How about you? Is there some area of your life that is a compromise God is not pleased with? Is there something that God has warned you about that cries for your repentance and needs a change? If so, don’t delay and take the chance of grave consequences; repent of it today. Your family and the Lord will bless you for it.

Posted in: Dad's Corner

Men of Faith

I delight in associating with and investing in men hungry to know and serve God. Sadly, men of God are quite rare these days. The church and families are in great want of men committed to following the Lord Jesus. So who were men of God in the Bible, and what were some of their qualities?

Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, prophets, and certainly the Apostles were all men of God, just to name a few. What qualities can we observe in their lives?

1. Men committed to obedience and holiness.

Even as a young man, when confronted with having to compromise his convictions, we are told, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank. . .” (Daniel 1:8). (I believe Daniel would have faced death, if necessary, to remain obedient to God’s direction for his life.) He could have said, “I’m in another country now and everyone else is . . . ,” or, “I’m being commanded by my authority to . . . ,” or, “I sure don’t want to make trouble.” He could have justified it by any number of “reasons.” However, as fathers we are to be committed to following through on what God shows us is His will for our family.

2. Men of courage who are committed to prayer.

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). Even when Daniel knew he would face the lion’s den, he went to the Lord in prayer.

3. Men of faith ready to face death.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). Even when the three faced the furnace, they knew God could rescue them. They were willing to die if God chose not to deliver them. YEAH! Can you imagine what our families would be like if we men had this same faith and dedication? Are we willing to die daily to ourselves for our families? Our Lord Jesus set the example.

4. Men who speak only the truth.

“And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass. . .” (1 Samuel 9:6).

“And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth” (1 Kings 17:24). Every word out of our mouth must be true.

5. A man of God results in God being praised.

“And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant” (2 Kings 5:15).

6. Men who are able to see God’s protection.

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servants said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:15-16).

7. Men of God are ever improving their skill and knowledge of the Bible.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If this verse is true, and I believe it is, we must study God’s Word to know how to live and confirm God’s direction for our family. I once knew a man who said he was praying about divorcing his faithful wife. If he had known God’s Word, he would have known that wasn’t an option for him.

There is so much more that could be said, but Jesus Christ is the perfect example. “Dear Father, help us to be like Jesus.”

Posted in: Dad's Corner