Have you ever bought anything in response to unsolicited e-mail? I sure haven’t, but someone must have, or they wouldn’t continue sending it. Isn’t it amazing how relentlessly persistent they are? They don’t give up.
When it comes to raising children who will love and serve the Lord Jesus, do we keep at it – no matter what – or do we give up? Unlike many online sales campaigns, raising our children in the Lord is a worthwhile endeavor, but how engaged are we? Are we as persistent as those who send out unsolicited e-mails? Do we give it our all? “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
Please come be encouraged at an Energize conference this fall trip!!
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What is the number one desire of your heart? Oh that for each of us it would be, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).
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It is not where are you headed, but where are you going. An airplane headed due north can actually be traveling to the northwest because of an east wind. The longer the time in route – blown by that easterly wind – the farther that plane heading due north will be from the desired destination. Pilots must be aware of the prevailing wind in route (an external force pushing against them) and purposefully act to compensate for it lest they miss their desired destination.
Dads, too, can experience a great deal of external forces exerting pressure on them. This pressure can come from certain members of the family, from friends and neighbors, from cultural forces. It often comes dressed as “well-meaning” pressure that challenges Dad to make decisions that ultimately would not be in the best interest of his children or the family.
Dad may desire to head “true north” – to have a certain outcome, such as a united, loving, Christ-following family – but make decisions that will bring different results. It takes careful planning and courage to make the decisions that keep the family on course. Are we in the Word daily, following it, and abiding in Christ?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
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What do the following items have in common: a park, a street, a bridge, a bench, a pew, a portion of a highway, and a business?
They often are named after people as a memorial. Beyond a mere name, though, they give no clue as to what the named person was like.
Your name, however, is written on your children’s lives, and your children bear the impression of your life upon them. “… the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). Jesus was speaking very strongly with people who had professed to believe in Him (John 8:31).
What we love and pursue our children will love and pursue as well. May we pursue Jesus Christ with all our hearts. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Are we walking after the Spirit?
In1869 Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA. DNA is God’s unique “blueprint” for each of us. It determines what we will look like – what color eyes and hair we have, our height, our skin tone. Did you know that we have a “character and spiritual DNA,” too? You can get a pretty good picture of a person’s character and spiritual “DNA” simply by studying his choices. Those who are near us and can observe our decisions get a good idea of our true character and spiritual makeup.
A few examples:
- Choosing to spend time with the Lord every day in His Word because we delight in Jesus
- Choosing to lead family Bible time every day because we want to give the family a love for God’s Word
- Choosing to invest time in things that have eternal value because our time on earth is short
- Choosing to team up with our wives to put the children to bed because she works hard all day
- Choosing to get her something she needs to show her our love
- Choosing to make the bed sometimes because she is usually the one to do it
- Choosing to actively disciple our children because we have the spiritual responsibility for them
- Choosing to cater to our own wants and needs because we love ourselves more than we love our wives, our children, or others.
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).
As I was getting out of the elevator on my way back to our hotel room, a member of the hotel staff asked me a question. I couldn’t understand him and asked him to please repeat. He made another attempt, this time slower and with greater emphasis. I still didn’t understand him and asked if he would please repeat it again to me. He did, and I didn’t.
So he tried using one word as a question: “Checkout?” To that I replied, “Yes.” He smiled and we both went our ways. As I walked down the hall, I heard him dialoging in his native language with the housekeeping staff.
I thought about how important it is that we speak the language of those we are called to serve. I wondered how different our level of communication might have been if that fellow spoke English all the time instead of his native tongue. If they constantly spoke English among themselves is it possible they would be better equipped when speaking with the majority of their customers.
I then thought about my role as a father. I am so grateful for the weekly time I spend with each of my children on Sundays. I treasure the one-on-one time when we meet to discuss any problems they might have with me or with others in the family. We also discuss any other topic that is on their hearts. As a result of those meetings, we know each other well and can communicate on a deep level. I treasure my ability to speak on a heart level daily with those in my family.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Can you speak the language of those you are called to serve? It takes effort to (re)learn to speak their language.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
I received a comment protesting our Memorial Day blog post because in it we mentioned the babies who have been aborted. In the post, we mentioned the babies after honoring our fallen military men.
“O, please God, help us!” May we be a broken and praying people over what is happening in our country to innocent babies whose blood is covering our land. Let that weigh more heavily on our hearts than the exact definition of a holiday.
“And shed innocent blood, Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: And the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38).
Driving into our town on a four-lane road, we passed a police car with a prisoner in the back seat cage – like a wild animal in captivity. He was being transported to the state prison, which would be his home for some period of time. How sad.
Many on the “outside” are prisoners, too. They have lost their freedom and are bound to something. I was a 20-year-old in the Air Force stationed in Thailand and made $144 a month. That isn’t much at all even though my room and board were provided. I was a prisoner held hostage by cigarettes. I didn’t even have enough money to support my own habit each month.
Eventually, I came to realize that I was a prisoner. I was not free to be happy and enjoy myself if I didn’t have cigarettes with me. One of the smarter decisions I have made was that I would not be bound by that habit. I determined to break free and was able to do so. Even after I quit smoking, it took five years to be fully free of the desire to smoke. But I am so grateful to be free!
Are you a prisoner bound to something—something in the flesh or in the mind? If so, please seek freedom. Many are slaves to Internet passions that destroy their minds and their families. Others who are not willing to be honest with themselves are bound by some habit, some impure interest, some substance, some ungodly relationship….
The good news is that, if you are saved, the power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to be free. But you must begin the process by choosing it. Will you fly and be free?
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
We dads have many responsibilities that require our time. Too often, however, we let important needs such as discipling our children, spending time with our wife, and leading family Bible time get crowded out by less important, though seemingly more urgent, tasks. We soothe our conscience by telling ourselves, “If only I had more time….”
My own dad was full of “if only’s.” He is gone now, and I am left with memories that would have been much happier and much better if only he had made other choices.
What sort of memories are we leaving our children? Yesterday is past, but tomorrow is a new day. Put off the old “if only’s” and put on the new “I will’s.” Then may we be men of action.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
Respect is something we men crave.
Being respectable means striving to:
- Meet my wife’s and children’s emotional and physical needs
- Following through on my commitments
- Guiding my family spiritually
- Making right choices
- Not being gross
- Being diligent
- Being kind
Impossible? Not when we are in Christ and willing to surrender.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
We are scheduling fall Energize conferences now. Hopefully, you can either host or attend one. Looking forward to meeting many of you.