When the “children” were singing for residents at a nursing home, there was one woman who was a total invalid. She was all curled up in a ball in her bed-style wheel chair and covered with a blanket. She couldn’t move herself and was in constant pain. One foot with a well worn blue striped sock stuck out from under the edge of the blanket. I was brought to tears as I watched her worship the God of creation. Her foot danced before the Lord more beautifully than anything I’ve ever witnessed as it was choreagraphed to the music. I saw her spirit dance in worship of Almighty God even though her body was broken. She could have been bitter over her circumstances, but instead she worshipped.
Are you worshipping your God or complaining? May we lead our families in worshipping, regardless of our circumstances.
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22).
During a recent road trip, my son John began driving early while I was waking up. I thought I would spend some time praying, so I prayed, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Almost the second I prayed that, I was flooded with the concern What if the Lord allows serious things into my life so as to teach me to pray? I felt myself rescinding that prayer about as quickly as I had prayed it. Then, to my shame, the Lord revealed to me that I didn’t trust Him. That was shocking and very disappointing to me.
I didn’t trust Him completely with my life and that He would accomplish His best. When I joined the others up front I shared my new insight with them. It was nothing to be proud of, for sure, but it was so good that God revealed it to me. Over the next few days, I prayed that God would “help my unbelief,” and He did. I was able to pray, “Lord, teach me to pray using whatever means You think best.” I can tell you that, to my joy and delight, He is teaching me to pray.
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).
My heart breaks when I receive e-mails from dads who are in crisis mode. Often, the appearance is that these crises involve problems that likely could have been averted if Dad would rightly lead his family.
I have been sharing Seriously articles with you since March. The feedback has been that they are on target in challenging men as they lead their families. My goal is to keep them short so you will read them. I pray I have earned a level of confidence through what you have been reading in Seriously.
There is so much on my heart that I want you to know so that your family could avoid future heartbreak. I have already written much concerning this in four key books: Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family, Redeeming the Time, and Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son.
Will you allow me to get even more serious with you for a moment? I’m encouraging each one of you to check with your wife and see which of those books you already have. Then order the ones you don’t have, and systematically read them. We have audio versions available for two of them if you struggle with reading time, but please read them all. Be men of action and lead. If you are committed to reading all four, e-mail me so I can pray for you.
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
He is the one who in 1863 proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving and praise for our country. Some will truly make it a special day of proclaiming thanks to our Father in Heaven. Very likely the majority will not. But what about us?
How thankful are we? Do we require a special holiday to voice our gratitude to our Lord and Father? When our family hears us pray, do they know that our thanks come from the very depth of our heart and soul? How often does our family hear us thank our wife for all she does? Do we thank the children for their contributions? Thanking verbally is good, but writing it is even better. May we be good examples for our family in teaching them gratitude. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m working on it.
“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” (Colossians 3:17).
When is the last time you read Song of Solomon? It sets forth quite the love and imagery. The love between a husband and wife is a beautiful gift from God. In the busyness of life, it is easy for the marriage relationship to lose its zest. Husband and wife go about life, manage their responsibilities, but forget the treasure they have in each other.
When is the last time you went away with your precious wife for some special time together? I remember one time in particular many years ago when I surprised Teri with a weekend away from home. She shed tears of joy and relief as the weight of her daily responsibilities was lifted from her shoulders for a few hours. It was a sweet time of talking and pampering her. Truly it was a delight for both of us.
May I encourage you to take your wife away somewhere very special? Show her how grateful you are for who she is and all she does. Most of all, l i s t e n to her heart.
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29).
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
I was at the Paris Nord subway station at peak transit time. With the sea of humanity flowing around me, I was trying to read the board and find my next train. A man spoke to me in English with a heavy French accent, “Where are you going?” I told him and he said, “I will show you the way because I’m going that way myself.” I thanked him and off we went in the direction I was intending to go anyway. We had not walked more than 50 feet when a French policemen stopped me and said, “Come with me.” This was not a request but a command. I quickly diverted my intended course and went with the policeman. After another 50 feet, he stopped me and said, “That man you were with is a known thief and was leading you into a trap where you would have been robbed.”
Today we are bombarded by a host of “voices” from media and “friends” telling us what to do and how to live. Could they be setting traps so that they could rob us of God’s light in our lives and the lives of our families? Are you feeding on God’s Word personally, leading family Bible time every day, and obediently living for Christ Jesus?
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21
P.S. I’m excited to see how God will answer our prayers on Monday the 17th! Thank you for allowing me to pray alongside of so many of you men.
Do you have any challenges that you consider quite serious? Maybe you are struggling to lead daily Family Bible time. How have you sought answers? Have you prayed—I mean really prayed? Have you fasted and humbled yourself before the Lord?
Maybe you have never fasted from food for a day before. Maybe you haven’t had a brother who said he would come alongside you and fast with you. Even though I dislike fasting, I love fasting. I love to see my God reveal His will in response to a problem. There are some fasts in response to serious problems that are much longer than one day, but one day is a great beginning.
I’m excited to do a fast day with some of you brothers who read these Seriously articles. The fast day will be Monday November 17th. If you have a situation that is burdening you, and you are willing to fast over it, I’ll fast with you. Please respond here, if you want to be a part. I’ll email with specifics. Will you join me with other dads who want to see the Lord work in their homes?
“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:17-18).
It takes months to build a house but only a day or two to tear it down and haul it away in a dump truck. It is so much easier to destroy than to build.
What consumes your thoughts—ways to build up and encourage your family and others or ways to tear them down? It takes no depth of character or life in Christ to be a destroyer. It is easy to criticize but harder to build up and encourage. One is fueled by pride (“I am so intelligent, spiritual and righteous, I can put you down”), while the other takes courage, strength, peace and security about “who you are in Christ Jesus.”
Criticism becomes easy. It’s the only thing some people seem to know how to do, and tearing down what others have built makes them feel good. “For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak” (Psalm 59:12). If you are a destroyer, repent—do something profitable.
If you have a destroyer troubling you, don’t give him a second thought. He isn’t worth your time. You have building to do with your time. Pursue the Lord Jesus with all your heart, soul, and mind, and be busy about His business. Be determined to build up your family in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember this Seriously article? Character/Spiritual Link Discovered
Today is evaluation time. A man will do what is important to him. Are you ready to find out what is really important to you? Are your heart and mind set on things above (things that matter for eternity) or things below (provide short-term gratification)?
How many days out of the past seven did you have a quality personal time of reading the Bible and praying in the morning?
How many days did you lead family Bible time?
How much time did you spend with your wife?
How much time did you spend with your children?
How many times have you lusted for other women?
How many times have you deceived or lied?
What did you spend your time on?
The easy choices are seldom, if ever, the best choices.
“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.” Psalm 26:2-5
Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). If we encourage our children to follow our example, will they draw closer to Jesus or farther away? Would they read their Bibles more? Would they be more Christ-like? Would they have a greater concern for the lost?