For those who have worked for someone who consistently made poor decisions, you understand how demoralizing poor decisions can be for those who must live with the results. Frankly, quite often Teri and my hearts go out to wives whose husbands would resemble that employer just mentioned. At least with a job, you can look for another one, but that isn’t God’s plan for marriage. (God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16)
Listening to dads share decisions they made and the corresponding fruit they are harvesting often prompts me to ask my favorite question. “So Brother, how’s that working for you?”
It is good to step back and consider the fruit resulting from a previous decision and perhaps re-evaluate. “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35). Over time the fruit will prove the decision.
Evaluate those situations. How did you get there? What might have been your motives in making the decision? Were you just trying to “make the pain go away” or earnestly seeking the Lord’s will, no matter what the personal cost?
“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).
I am confident most of you remember the first car you owned. I don’t even have a photo of mine, but I can see that 57 Chevy clearly in my mind. Back then, I knew nothing about cars, but for some crazy reason, I got it into my head to change out the 6 cylinder automatic for a V8 and 4 speed. It was a great learning opportunity as I poured time, energy, and money into that car.
Having been junked, crushed, melted, and the metal reused, that car is likely a washing machine or something else today. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19). It is so easy to have our hearts pulled to the things that are not eternal.
The Lord has a command for us. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20). Most of our work is simply wood, hay, and stubble, but our wives and children are eternal investments worthy of pouring everything we have into.
I’m so blessed to be able to encourage dads who are serious and committed to their families. I am sure your wife is thankful for a husband like you. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
We each have a need for purpose, which is no surprise since God created us that way. What is your experience with people who know that they know their purpose in Christ and live it? Don’t their days have meaning and direction? Aren’t they energized by it?
If the Lord’s will isn’t our purpose in life, mankind turns to the world. Therefore, may we live and breathe to do the Lord’s will and bring Him glory. “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).
The Lord bought us with the most precious substance, His blood. We are His. He is to be the focus and very purpose of our lives. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Jesus embodies this with the Father.
To focus on His will gives us meaning and direction. He is our leader and the full Authority directing us (BTW, we are commanded to live under the laws of the land). He will use our every minute according to His good and perfect will if we will let Him (read choose it).
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
If your name described you, what would it be?
- Head-in-the-Sand Randy: Other things have his interest not his family.
- Fun-Loving Freddy: Life’s a lark. There are more fun things to do than there is time.
- Daring Dan: No risk is too great as long as there is a huge hit of dopamine.
- Entertainment-Loving Ed: Work’s a drag so why bother.
- Angry Arnold: Everything makes him mad.
- Lazy Larry: “Hey, where’s the remote?”
- Victim Victor: If it goes wrong, it wasn’t his fault.
- Christian: A follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“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).
Teri and I were on our early morning walk and as we crested the hill, I could see the bright lights focused on the US Penitentiary a couple of miles off in the distance. Those lights are on so some homesick inmate making an escape attempt might be visible and convinced to stay longer.
My heart was heavy as I thought of the men locked up behind bars. At some past moment, each inmate made a life-changing decision that cost him a portion of his life. Likely there was something he felt was more important than his future.
No doubt, all rational inmates wish they could have a retake on that moment. Yet when it happened, how many thought about the future cost? (Also, the “moment” can be defined as more than an instant, but a sum of prior decisions.)
The reality is that each of us face decisions every day that can have far reaching consequences. What good habits do we nurture and bad habits diminish? Are we daily feeding ourself and our children the Word of God in family Bible time? Are you daily spending time with your wife and children? Are we men of gratefulness and kindness?
Answers to questions such as these define our “moment” and our family’s futures. Brothers, regrets hurt and go on hurting. I know and so do you. Might we do the right thing each and every day?
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
We were blessed to go to Colorado again this year for family time away. We love being together and experiencing the wonder of God’s creation. One cloudless afternoon, I was overwhelmed with the grandeur and majesty of God’s creation as we walked along the ridge of a mountain. At that moment, the Lord convicted me.
I was awed by the glorious beauty of the creation, but was I breathless over the One Who created it? In reality, the magnificent beauty I was beholding was but rubbish compared to the glory of my God. I desire that my Lord would evoke such deep wonder and emotions at the thought of Him that nothing, absolutely nothing, would compare.
In our flesh, it is easy for us to worship the creation over the Creator. Might we be guilty in a similar way of esteeming other things more highly than the Lord?
Things such as:
Money and what it buys?
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard” (Psalms 19:1-3).
No one wants to be overweight (>60%), indebted (>80%), or addicted. Then why does that describe the majority of adults in the US today? One small, bad choice, then another, and another is how it begins. Those seemingly insignificant choices when chained together become enslaving habits.
How much better to make small, good choices and reinforce them daily, to develop beneficial habits that free rather than enslave? Why not begin today by making good decisions in Bible reading, exercise, healthy eating, frugality, and wise time investment?
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Everyone has a past, and often their past is their future. New choices made in the future will continue to resemble bad choices made in the past unless one confronts those choices and learns to make new decisions.
Your past will either dominate you and be a wall or be steps to facilitate you to new heights. Either we will speak to ourselves victim stories or the truth of God’s Word.
Victim stories cater to our pride. “It wasn’t my fault.” “What what else could I have done?” If embracing God’s truth, we are prepared to receive His grace. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). God encourages (okay commands) us to follow Scripture at every junction.
Even more important is that our example is being impressed upon our children. Will they be victims/losers or conquerors in Christ? (BTW, John the Baptist was a conqueror in Christ.)
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
(Is there someone you should share this with?)
Have you noticed the explanations that come after a problem or disobedience often concentrate on the person’s wonderful intentions? Young or old, the perpetrator will reveal the most altruistic motives for having done it. Good intentions don’t count. The question is: What did we actually do?
Scripture is very clear on a myriad of commands. God calls us to obey Him, and when we don’t, there are consequences. May we dads set the example of obeying our Lord in all He commands us. A great summary is: May we live to please our Lord and fear grieving Him.
Uzzah loved the Lord as evidenced by his desire to not see the ark damaged by falling off the cart. Yet, despite his good intentions, disobedience cost him his life.
“And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:6–7).
Life can turn upside down in an instant. An accident, a cancer diagnosis, or _______. We face obstacles in life. Some are easy, some difficult, and some “impossible.” Our response to these will greatly affect our children’s view of God, because it represents how real our faith in God actually is. Paul said follow me even as I also follow Christ.
I’m thinking of one Brother whose life is ebbing, drip-by-drip, as a bucket with a leak. He requires constant care and suffers greatly.
Another Sister has been through unimaginable health trauma. Her testimony declares the glory of a righteous and merciful God.
May we embrace difficulties that come our way. May we see them as opportunities for God to grow our faith in Him. May we consider that the mighty work God most desires is not the joy from flattening the obstacle, but unshakable faith in Him.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).