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).
It’s just a stage and he’ll grow out of it.
- We can make these payments.
It’s a choice, not a child.
I can quit anytime.
This won’t hurt me.
- You can’t win if you don’t play.
It’s for the children, and it’s just a harmless fun holiday.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14)?
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).
My heart goes out to the hopeful, wanna-be millionaire who just spent his money that could have had much better uses than on a million to one chance. His hope, and anticipation, suddenly shredded, is replaced by disappointment. “Oh well, next time, surely next time.”
I wonder if many a Christian dad isn’t actually a gambler at heart. Instead of throwing away $5 a week, he’s wagering something of immeasurable, okay eternal value – his children. He’s hopeful his children will turn out well. At least then they won’t be a lifelong burden for him. Of course, he believes he loves them, but what influence he has, is likely negative. He sows seeds of worldly appetites via double-mindedness that will yield a harvest of bad habits and a dismal life in Christ, at best.
I implore you. Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). Don’t be like that dad I just mentioned. Don’t be average. Don’t base your self-approval rating by comparing yourself to today’s Christian dads. Jesus is to be our Lord, and Scripture our admonishment. Pour out your life into serving your Lord and discipling your children.
“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 12:2).
I study people. If I know you, I’m watching. I want to learn from anyone and everyone, and I compare what I observe to Scripture. There are good and bad examples to learn from. This has nothing to do with being judgmental and everything to do with learning.
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding” (Proverbs 24:30). “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:32).
One thing I’ve observed (of many) is that the believer who seeks as much freedom “in Christ,” as he can have, will likely have a dismal and unproductive future because his life is wrapped up in himself. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16)?
If you want a fruitful life in Christ, deny yourself, and take up your cross as you follow Him. Sure doesn’t sound like freedom does it? But it is.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
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).
From a dear (courageous) Brother:
“When our children were toddlers, we discovered that an iPad (supplied with various kid’s games) could be used to occupy the kids during times when we were busy, almost like a short-term babysitter. This became a favorite activity for our children, and even resulted in a routine we called “iPad Time” where each child received a scheduled amount of time to play games on the iPad.
“However, we noticed that this activity had a negative effect on our children; they lost interest and enjoyment in almost everything else. My daughter would even throw a tantrum if we told her she couldn’t play with the iPad. Eventually, my wife and I realized that we weren’t developing healthy appetites in our children and we chose to cut out “iPad Time” altogether.
“For more than two years, our children haven’t used the iPad or our iPhones as an entertainment activity, and they’ve grown much more happy and receptive to our input and instruction since.”
Bad fruit often springs from seeds of good intentions. It is much easier to avoid it, Brothers. If you are already struggling with bad fruit, might it be time for some courage, like this Brother?
“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).
“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17).