I’m confident that every parent knows what it feels like when a child is ungrateful or has an entitlement attitude in spite of our best efforts to teach them to have a thankful heart. Don’t you agree that whatever we have given our children is minimal compared to the blessings our God has showered on us? What an awesome and loving God we serve, and oh how blessed we are.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if our children are ungrateful. Then again, maybe it is serious – far beyond our wildest imagination.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).
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).
As a young airman in 1970 stationed in Thailand, I could tell the baht bus I was riding was entering the small town because the smell from the open sewers announced our arrival. Thankfully, it wouldn’t take long to become accustomed to it.
Driving west on I-70, there is a large cattle feed lot from which smells overtake you if there is a southerly breeze. I assume those living near it become used to it.
It is amazing how quickly we adapt to negative things. Sadly, our soul can all-to-quickly adapt to things after our initial repulsion. I’m confident that is why the Lord told the Israelites to destroy things that would be a snare to them as they conquered an idolatrous land.
“The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).
Are we being on guard for things that will ensnare us and our family? At first it may seem harmless, even a bit funny. However, Satan will package it any way he can to get it into our homes and hearts, but evil is still evil. There will be consequences.
Most people have two sets of priorities: the set they think they have and the ones they live by. I find it fascinating to learn their real ones. You can not find out just by asking them. They must be observed.
I think we might surprised ourselves by our real priorities. Simply observe what action or activity bumps another out of its place. The real priority is the one that wins.
I might say that spending time reading my Bible is important. If so, how consistent have I been? What took its place if it didn’t happen. What about family Bible time? What about exercise? What about time with my wife or time with my children? May we each examine ourselves.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
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).
Does this sound like today or what? “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely” (Jeremiah 6:13).
There is such a craving for the things money can buy and if you don’t have the money, companies stand in line to give you credit.
It begins with going to college so “you” can have the good life even if you don’t have the money for college. Young people broker future wages against the “certain” (?) high wages from their degree, presuming the money will be there to pay off the school debt. School debt is more permanent than marriage. You can divorce and lose a spouse, but even bankruptcy doesn’t get rid of school debt. Few (even believers) seem to take their debt seriously.
Why not trust a loving Father to supply all of your needs? He will supply all He agrees with.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). May we dads be an example of being content and working hard.
In 2010 we toured Carlsbad Caverns and in 2011 Yellowstone park. They are both exquisite examples of God’s beautiful creation. Sadly, God was not given any credit – not even the slightest during various guide presentations or on placards.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Was our children’s faith weakened by evolution being given credit instead of Jesus Christ, the God of creation? No, not at all. For almost every day of their lives we have been in the Word together. It’s a special time of reading and sharing as a family. In addition, they have seen God’s Word authenticated in lives and know it to be true.
Sadly, now imagine the confusion so many (most?) children face who are merely taken to church on Sunday and then sit in front of a TV every day of the week? “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Many have it upside down today. When they think of how much something costs, they think in terms of dollars. In reality, they should be thinking in terms of time. We can always get more money, but we only have a limited amount of time. That scarcity makes time invaluable.
Most have heard the expression, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” They usually mean that they are spending their savings themselves, and there won’t be much left for the children after their death.
Here’s another perspective for you to consider. When Dad or Mom don’t invest time in the lives of their children, might they be spending their children’s most crucial inheritance? How prepared your children are for life, their character, their walk with Christ— isn’t that far more important than any amount of dollars they might inherit?
Child-raising years are priceless, and there are no second chances. No amount of money can replace what is lost in the child’s life. You that are heavily investing in your children’s lives are making the best choice. That investment is an inheritance they will benefit from for all eternity.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).
I’m sure you have noticed the trend in ads over the years that when someone is needed to play the part of the uninformed or ignorant, they will use a man, or it will be the dad. They do not need to worry about backlash because it appears to be the politically safe choice these days. My question for you is: Do you think we men have earned this characterization?
If we are wholeheartedly seeking our Lord Jesus and following Him, we may appear peculiar, but we will always be making the wise choices. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:10).