We caroled to our neighborhood Sunday night. As the family was caroling, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord. Forty-three years ago there was just Teri and me. Sunday night, all twenty-three of my family – wife, children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law were having a wonderful time showing Jesus’ love to our neighbors.
Are you seeking the Lord as you make decisions? Are you proclaiming God’s mighty works to your family? Stay the course my brothers. Your children are eternal.
“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:2-4).
Most of us have worked with a coworker or for a boss who was ungrateful or hot-tempered. Working together was pretty miserable, wasn’t it?
Can you imagine being married to a person like that? Why is it some husbands think it is okay to be ungrateful, angry, or impatient toward the one they vowed to love until death? Where’s the fear of God?
“And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” (Luke 9:54).
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
What is the cheapest and most expensive thing you have to give? It costs you nothing, yet what you give it to will either reap huge dividends or be a burden if given to harmful things. It is your attention!
If you pay careful attention to your Lord, His Word, your wife, your family and to increasing vocational skills–oh what value you will receive back.
Families are starved for their dad’s attention. In addition to my observations, I recently read how men usually stop increasing their vocational skills after five years of employment. May we give our all to our Lord, our families and our work.
“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).
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).