Have you appreciated the fact that:
- days are 24 hours long – everyday,
- weeks are 7 days – always,
- the sun rises and sets – always predictively?
Can you imagine how difficult life would be if:
- days varied from 16 to 32 hours in no predictable fashion
- weeks might have any number of days without rhythm or reason
- and the sun’s behavior was totally random, came up some days and maybe never set other days?
It is easy to take for granted consistency. Sure some might consider consistency boring. However, consistency makes life much easier and is a huge blessing.
Dad, how dependable are you in the good things that matter? You will consistently:
- go to sleep at the same time
- wake up at the same time
- keep your word
- come home when you committed
- have personal and family Bible time
- help with the children when you are home.
It must be all of the time, consistently! (BTW, It is not a blessing to be consistently late or lazy, nor to be counted on some of the time – the problem is not knowing when.)
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Everything in life is a trade. You exchange something you have for something you want. Your time is the primary currency you begin with. Then you earn income and exchange that for things.
Now consider what will you exchange to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to disciple them in the grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, to give them a love for the Lord and disdain the world? I believe the correct mindset for that trade is EVERYTHING. May we not hold anything back when it comes to our children. What does that mean practically?
It could mean:
- Dad takes a lower paying job so he has more time to work with and disciple his children.
- The family moves across town, or across the state, or across the country.
- The family drives farther to a church because it is likeminded.
- Dad gives up expensive hobbies to have more time and money for the family.
- Dad structures his day so that he has personal and family Bible time every day.
- Dad sees how negative entertainment is and chooses simple family pleasures.
- Ultimately Dad gives up his rights in exchange for the good of his family.
What a heartbreak to observe families losing children where Dad is unwilling to count the cost and give everything he holds dear for the good of his family.
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).
Okay, what did you really think when I encouraged you to have a consistent bedtime/wakeup time every day? Crazy? Extreme? Why would I suggest such a thing?
The answer: Because consistent bedtime/wakeup time is one of the greatest needs in a family. Often Dad is the one who sinks his family’s ship. Mom is desperately trying to get things done, but Dad throws marbles in the cookie batter.
Once bedtime/wakeup time is set, so many other things will fall into place. Simple. Easy. Seriously, you can do it. Try me on this. It is amazing. Be a hero in your family, not a ____.
I’ve heard from some dads who have had the courage to step up and do it. I have a cow horn on my desk I blow for such occasions. Good going, guys. You can show the rest how easy it is.
Here is what one dad wrote. Is this cool or what?
“BT/WT has almost become a habit now. I start to get tired at the same time every night and am normally awake before my alarm now. Thank you. I have noticed a difference in how I well feel and my attitude and thinking throughout the day.”
When I see guys “step-up” like this, I am SO encouraged.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Recently, one of the family attended a funeral visitation. During that time they had opportunity to speak with the grieving widow. She said she was doing quite well, but went on to say, “The hardest thing through all of this is: who is going to love me?” She said that she knew God and her children loved her, but what would take the place of her husband’s love?
I admire that man who so obviously loved his wife. What a heartbreaking reminder his widow’s words are of the need for a wife to be loved. How many wives don’t feel loved even though they have a husband? May we be the men that God has called us to be in loving our wives so that they feel it.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).
How often have you thought, “I can’t do this?” Maybe during struggles in parenting, or marriage, or serving Christ these doubts arise. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t do what God was asking, but God had a different idea. “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7).
If we look at ourselves, yes, of course, we are unable, but we need to look at an all sufficient, all powerful God. It is His grace, His strength and His knowledge that enables.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Have you noticed how other guys sometimes appear to have a far easier time of things than you and I do? His job is easier, nothing breaks at his house, he has a better walk with the Lord, his wife has easier pregnancies, and his children all love the Lord Jesus.
Just like a beautiful butterfly struggles to get out of his cocoon, we can anticipate the Lord using difficulties to mature us. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are told in Genesis chapter five that both Enoch and Noah walked with God. Enoch, though, was taken to be with the Lord in Heaven early in life, while Noah was left on earth to build the ark. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
From an outside perspective, it would seem that Enoch got the best deal. God, however, had a purpose for both men. One’s life looked easy. The other’s didn’t. Isn’t the same true for us? We simply trust that Almighty Sovereign God’s ways are right and just. Amen and amen?
I once heard a description of a football game: fifty thousand people who need exercise watching twenty-two men who desperately need rest.
Have you observed something similar in some churches? There might be several hundred spectators who need spiritual exercise watching a core group who desperately need rest.
Finally, have you also noticed some homes where one person is greatly overworked, while the other family members desperately need to learn what it means to serve?
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).
Three times God clearly told mankind to be fruitful and multiply. He has never taken that command back.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).
“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:7).
No wonder there is such an attack on the innocent, defenseless unborn.
Parents have to decide what they will encourage, discourage, limit, or restrict in their children’s lives as they disciple them in Christ Jesus. It starts with what the child will eat or not eat and over time includes activities and influences. If we do not take a position, our children will often interpret that as a blanket endorsement, which will produce disastrous fruit to be harvested later in the child’s life.
It is not enough to say “no” or “that isn’t according to our standards.” It takes careful, biblical explanations for each member of the family to either own or reject something for life. When so many today, even in the “church,” embrace things that are (at best) not edifying, the peer pressure our children will face to compromise is huge.
We dads first must live the example and disciple our children to look to God’s written Word and to walk in the Spirit. Those two will always be in agreement and never let us down. Our children must own the leading of the Spirit and delight in following Him.
Paraphrasing Andrew Murray: “Teach them to live for giving joy to their heavenly Father and in fear of grieving Him.”
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:4-6)
Some businesses are in trouble. Their current core values are not the ones they began with (i.e., Enron).
Some marriages are in trouble. They loved each other in the beginning.
Some children are in trouble. That wasn’t the way their parents began raising them.
Our country is now in deep trouble. Yet, it was founded on Christian values.
Anything good will receive great amounts of negative pressure to compromise. Even though something begins well, it will usually drift over time. To stay the course year after year, however, takes courage and determination to do the right thing. Good values that are founded upon, must be values that are lived.
Life in Christ will take the same diligence. Satan wants you to compromise. He knows that if you are not in the Word every day, you will drift. If you are not listening to the Spirit and living what you are reading, you will drift. Will you cling to the blessed Lord Jesus, the Anchor of our souls, or will you be tossed to and fro? It comes down to your choice.
Hold fast. Your own life and the lives of your wife and children are far too precious not to.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)