Category Archives: General

Protecting Your Family

A good dad is concerned with protecting his family since God has assigned him to be head. As head, Dad is to be aware of what might threaten their physical safety. Ephesians 5:25 calls Dad to even lay down his life for his family as Christ did for His bride the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” 

I’ve known a lot of dads who are focused and concerned with their family’s physical security. However, there are dangers to the family that are of greater importance and often go unnoticed. Are you careful and on guard with what is coming into the minds and souls of your family? Media abounds, and people have their favorites, justifying why it is good for them. However, I’m confident, most are similar to “dumpster diving.” 

I believe if you embrace the truth of 1 Corinthians 10:23, you will not only enjoy safety, but your family will grow in the Lord Jesus Christ. If it edifies, embrace it. If it doesn’t, pitch it. 

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). 

Do you Want a Stable Christian Life?

Are you a professing Christian whose life tends to “fall apart” (meaning no stability) when the storms of life come? Jesus made it clear what you need. 

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock” (Luke 6:46-48).

Note three very key aspects. First, he came. We came to Jesus as repenting hell-bound sinners needing a sin-atoning Savior. That is like a stage 4 cancer patient (a living dead man) who sought a cure and found it. There is no question in his mind that he was cured. For us, no question, either. Jesus is my Savior, and I DAILY depend on Him. 

Next, he hears His Word. Not just simply heard, but hears it (ongoing). Are you reading the Bible every day and hearing biblical preaching? 

Finally he obeys it. The Word must be daily applied to our lives. Knowing but not living it, does no good in stabilizing our lives. Brothers, we are to live it. Then, we can rest assured. We will have stability because we have a sure foundation. 

Aiming Low

Would you use a surgeon who judged his surgeries successful by whether the patient lived or not? Would you fly on an airline where the mechanic’s performance ratings were merely based on the number of planes that didn’t crash? Would you eat at a restaurant where the cook received a pay bonus as long as no one died from his cooking? 

Any thinking person who valued life would be abhorred with the above and rightfully so. Yet, might Christian parents be guilty of something far worse? We all agree that physical life is valuable, but it pales compared to eternal life. Then, might we be justified for a horrific response when Christian parents feel they are successful as long as their children have simply “prayed a little prayer” at some time growing up? 

Sadly, some are willing to accept a child’s profession, without confirming evidence of spiritual fruit over time. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Similar to false prophets who look good on the outside, Jesus tells us how to know if someone is saved. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).   

Grandma’s Lessons: Back to the Basics, Part Four

Mom’s Smile

Once again seated around a dining room table, trying to keep five little children on track with productive homeschool activities, the Lord reminded me of the power of a smile. Sometimes several voices were loudly asking for help or just wanting to tell me a story. I could feel an intensity rising inside me that produced quite a serious face. I wanted, however, to smile at my grandchildren in those moments, knowing that a smile communicates my love for them. It encourages them to listen to me, and draws their hearts to me in the midst of my listening to them, helping them, and teaching them to take turns talking!

The Test

What about you? What do you want your children to remember about their growing up years with you? Will their memories be of a smiling, pleasant mommy or a furrowed-browed, stern-faced one? 

Perhaps you need to do what I once did, many years ago, when my children were young. I did a smile “take-a-look” test. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and experimented with three different faces. For face one, I just talked to myself with a neutral expression. For face two, I looked sternly at myself and discussed something that shouldn’t be done as if correcting a child. That look took me aback quite a bit. I was, to be honest, surprised at the unpleasant change that had occurred between face one and face two. My mind immediately considered what my children must think when they saw me with face two. 

I ended the “take-a-look” test by smiling at my reflection and having a little conversation with myself. Oh, yes! That was much, much better. Steve had motivated that test by encouraging me to smile more. Now I understood. Smiling face three was the face I desired for my family to see.

Automatic

Sometimes your smiling face is simply there. It is the result of cheerful feelings inside as Scripture tells us. “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).

Honestly, though, in the busyness of life, especially life with children, we can lose track of the feelings that generate those smiles. We have so many things to accomplish, children to direct and sometimes correct, we get tired and worn-out. Life is overwhelming, and smiles may be few and far-between. 

When the smiles aren’t automatic, what do you do? I think you pray and ask the Lord to help you put a smile on your face. Then purpose to smile, even when the smiley feelings aren’t there. Determine to make a smile the habit for your face. 

When you do that, do you know what is likely to happen? You will probably begin to have many more smiley feelings inside. There’s just something about the smile on the outside that changes the inside too. That was my experience after the smile “take-a-look” test. When I smiled in the midst of needing to correct a child, my heart was softer toward the child, my words were gentler, and they were more receptive to them. When I smiled in the middle of trying to accomplish three tasks at once or when two lively children were talking at the same time, that overwhelmed, “I can’t handle this” feeling melted away.

Taking Thoughts Captive

And you know what? Twenty years later, as a grandmother facing those same situations, it is just as true. That smile made all the difference – in my heart, and I believe in the hearts of my grandchildren. I love it when the smile comes from the cheerful heart, but if the cheerful heart is lacking, I can choose the smile, knowing that God can use that smile to go deep inside me and generate the cheerful heart. I have come to see it is very much a part of this process: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Putting a smile on when the cheerful feelings aren’t there, is taking my thoughts captive and bringing them into the obedience of Christ. It is the reality of my heart. I am happy, and I am content because of Jesus in my life and the wonderful blessings He daily pours out.  

Try it. I think you will like it!

Dumpster Diving

I couldn’t count how often I have heard someone defend having a TV by saying, “It does have some good programs on it.” To me, that is the equivalent of justifying dumpster diving. I’m confident if I dove deep enough into a dumpster and spent long enough there, I might find something that had some value. However, in the process, I would likely be exposed to much that was disgusting and vile. Also, the aroma of where I had been would go with me.  

I’m confident that most who have a TV would admit they watch things that at the least aren’t edifying and, at the worst, damage their souls (i.e. news). I grieve over dads who squander their time when they could be spending it with their wives and children. On that final Judgement Day, what excuse will you try to give the Lord? 

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). 

Building Up or Tearing Down Your Family

It grieves my heart to hear a dad say he isn’t leading his family in the Word every day. We aren’t to be motivated in a legalistic, checking a box sort of way, but rather to use it as a joyful opportunity to wash/feed your family with the pure living Word of God (Eph. 5:26). It is a daily opportunity to build up while Satan is working to tear down.

God uses the analogy of building a house to a legacy of descendants that will follow the Lord. “And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, …” (1 Kings 11:38).

I love the example in Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls. “As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built” (Nehemiah 4:18). This pictures always having the Word of God ready and at your side while you build. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

“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).

Building a Godly Legacy through a husband’s leadership – Part 3

Many dads have experienced heightened emotions–okay, terror–on handing their car keys to their son for the first time. The combination of the son’s driving ability, attitude, and level of responsibility all might proportionally affect Dad’s emotions. Dad is giving his son the authority to drive the family vehicle, registered in Dad’s name, and hereby Dad might have over-the-top liability should something go very wrong.

God established authority structures on earth and in marriage has given husbands the higher authority as exemplified in Ephesians 5:22-24 and 6:4. Husbands and wives are a team, but Dad leads the team because God has placed him in that role. Therefore, we will answer to God for what we did with the authority He entrusted to us.

Cars and dollars are temporal and will burn one day. However, our children have eternal souls. We will be held accountable for what we have poured into their lives. 

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Building a Godly legacy- Children that will love the Lord

How heavy is your burden for your children and grandchildren that they would be dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus Christ? Not that they would merely spend eternity in heaven and not hell, but that they would love the Lord with all their heart soul mind and strength. The Lord is clear in how we do this.

“… The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might. 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,…” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). 

Notice the first command is to “thou” (you). God’s Word is to have a treasured place in our hearts (Matt 6:21), and we live it out as examples before our children. Then we purposefully teach it to our children at a minimum in our daily family Bible time. Our life affirms what we are teaching them.

A man I was sharing Christ with this week’s most significant problem with Christianity was all the hypocrites. That will be our children’s difficulty, too, if they see Dad as a hypocrite. 

We live it, because “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:17).

Want to be thrilled with your wife’s love?

I didn’t know that a husband and wife could hate each other to that level. Their marriage didn’t get “there” overnight. It took years of unresolved offenses piling up until the “dam” broke loose. They were both to blame, but God held the husband to the greater responsibility. How do I know that? Because God gives husbands greater authority and therefore holds them responsible for its use.

That husband once told me, “But you don’t know my wife.” Likely others might say the same thing about their wives, but they shouldn’t count on the Lord’s sympathy. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus died a horrible death to purchase His bride with His blood. I am commanded by God to love my wife to the extent of dying for her. One thing about a dead man hanging on the cross—he isn’t going to argue or get angry.

Do you want to treasure your wife? Invest in her. The more you invest, the more she feels valued, and the more you will treasure her. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 5:21). Why not invest to the point of being thrilled with your love for her?

(BTW: The dad I mentioned above is dead now due to a serious health problem. Coincidental? I don’t think so. I believe God took him out.)

Are You like Jehu?

Any man who reads his Bible will likely remember Jehu. Elisha anointed Jehu king and gave him instructions from God. Jehu was to eliminate many wicked people from the nation, and Jehu was zealous in his obedience.

 All appeared to be good with Jehu until 2 Kings 10:29-32, where we learn of Jehu’s struggles. Jehu was enslaved with the same thing that also brings many believers down today–idolatry. Do you know you likely struggle with idolatry too? Today our idol appears to be “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). The idols we covet may be food, pleasure, entertainment, sports, beauty, or whatever the idol du jour may be for you.  

Brothers, lay your hearts and lives open before the Lord. Ask Him to examine your life, then repent of whatever your idolatry might be, and follow Him. 

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Colossians 3:5-7).