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Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 2

When I was six years old, my friend Mark and I had a great idea. We built a flying platform that resembled a freight pallet without any sides on it. We found a rope just the right length to tether it so it wouldn’t go above the top of his house because we figured our parents would be concerned if it went too high. We had one problem that we couldn’t find a solution for, though. We realized that once we got the platform flying at the right height, we didn’t know how we were going to get up on it. We eventually had to abandon the whole idea because we couldn’t move past that obstacle. I wonder if a little boy’s flying platform might be similar to many a man’s idea of self-employment. It is a great idea, but there is no real way of practically working it out.

This is part two of a series of articles, so if you haven’t read the first article, please do so.

I encounter quite a few dads who have been bitten by the bug of wanting to work from home, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since there are a multitude of advantages of self-employment. Often I wonder: Is it because he heard someone speak on home businesses, and he comes away feeling he isn’t leading his family properly unless he comes home? Is it because it has become popular within home-education circles? Perhaps the worst reason: Can it be that Dad has a rebel heart and is fed up with having other people tell him what to do?

I would encourage you that there should be only one reason to come home to work—because the Lord told you to. If a man has placed his faith in Jesus Christ, then he is bought and paid for by His blood and now owned by Him. He is therefore a servant, as Paul calls himself via his introduction in Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). Paul understood that one aspect of his relationship with Jesus was that he was a servant. Servants follow the leading of their masters. Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? If so, then He should be directing your life. It is comforting when things are difficult to be able to say, “We know God led us to begin this; therefore, we trust Him.”

For something as important as beginning a business, it is critical that the Lord direct. It may be something that He puts on a dad’s heart for the future, or it could be that the Lord is saying now is the time. It isn’t just a matter of how God is directing, but exactly when He is directing. We need to know God’s timing.

There can be a host of “signs” indicating this is the time; however, that doesn’t mean it is God’s timing. A man should not only hear God’s still small voice directing on what to do, but also hear when to do it. Timing is a critical factor in business. If it is too early, few want the product, but if it is too late, everyone who would buy already has it. God, the Author of seasons and sine waves, has perfect timing—not too early nor too late. Is God saying now is the time?

Hearing the Lord can be a bit difficult. I would encourage you that unless you have clear direction, take the answer as “no.” Anything less than a concrete “yes” is “no.”

To help discern God’s direction, make sure this is a team effort in your home. You and your wife are a team, one in the Lord, and therefore, all the decisions of life should be looked at and prayed about together. Teri and I love seeking the Lord’s direction daily together. It’s just one more area that we tackle as a team.

A significant factor in determining a family’s readiness for self-employment is the tidiness of that family’s financial house. How much debt load the family is carrying, how much savings they have, and their spending habits have great bearing on how ready they are for self-employment. Debt puts heavy pressure on a family when they are trying to begin a new venture. Sam Walton shared in the book titled Sam Walton, Made in America how every day that he had personal debt he felt the weight of it. Likely, whatever emotional burden you feel now due to debt is nothing compared to the possibility of watching foreclosure come closer and closer until your family must leave your home if the future is wrongly presumed upon. Ideally, we should get our financial house in order, and that means getting out of all debt and putting aside a cash reserve before moving to self-employment.

The family contemplating such a venture should commit the plan to paper. Looking at the plan “face-to-face” in black and white can help move it from excited euphoria to reality. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). It is a good thing to make a plan under the Lord’s direction. Don’t skip this step. Make a plan, and then add a buffer to it. Double the projected time to break even and double the anticipated expenses. This will help add needed cushion.

If Dad quits his job with the intent of beginning a business cold turkey, he is putting the family at great risk if they aren’t prepared financially. Normally, the business takes longer to reach profitability than originally expected.

It is possible that your plan calls for beginning the venture while you are still employed. That can help minimize financial risk, but the impact to your time needs to be carefully weighed. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). There is only so much time in the day, and if you have a full work day, where will the time for the new venture come from? It can only come from time with the family. I have observed men so consumed with their business that they lose their families. I’m confident that God would not lead a family into a business that would result in them losing their children.

In 1997 I was laid off from my corporate job. I had felt the calling on my heart for a family business for several years and had even previously formalized a business and name. I just hadn’t felt it was the Lord’s timing for self-employment. However, being laid off became obvious direction from the Lord that it was time. We had a business in place, and at that time Nathan, my oldest son, was working full-time doing information technology (IT) consulting work in the Kansas City area. We just didn’t know what Christopher, my second son, and I would do.

As we prayed, we felt God leading us into print brokering. Print brokering is basically a middleman between a customer and a wholesale printer—an independent salesman, so to speak. The direction to broker printing didn’t make sense to us because neither Christopher nor I had any experience in it, but we couldn’t shake the strong feeling that God was leading us in that direction. God even provided a Christian brother who was successful at print brokering who said he would spend a day with us giving counsel and sources for wholesale printing. We set out on the adventure.

Christopher and I began pouring all our efforts into developing print customers. Over time we found and satisfied a reasonable number of customers. One customer had a need that we knew was better served by a software program run on a personal computer. We proposed the idea to the company, and we were hired to provide the solution. We then had three areas of business going concurrently: IT consulting, print brokering, and custom software.

As we look back, we see how God used the print brokering to introduce us to the print industry. We learned a great deal during that time that prepared us for years later when the Lord led us to self-publish books. Of course this was no surprise to the One Who is all knowing. That is the beauty of following the Lord. We never could have had the business sense to pursue one area while anticipating God would expand it into two more and then use it in a completely different application.

God also led us into developing software, which is now another area of business for us. Back then, He brought us to a homeschool dad who is an excellent programmer. We worked together for several years, and our customer was very satisfied with our software. Our son Joseph has now stepped into that role as a software developer, allowing that business offering to continue.

We saw the reality of “all things work together for good.” There finally came a time when we needed to license some proprietary software to satisfy our client’s needs, but because of our small size, the mega company who owned the software wouldn’t license it to us. The only thing we could do was suggest that our client work directly with the mega company. At that time, Titus 2 had grown to where it was taking the majority of my time, and it was a struggle to work with software development and Titus 2 concurrently. It then became obvious that I needed to switch full-time to Titus 2 ministry while Christopher would stay full-time with our family corporation. That was possible because we no longer had the software project.

From the very beginning, we saw God’s hand when He directed us down the self-employment path. I was laid off and new employment was required. As we prayed about it as a family, there was clear direction from the Lord toward the type of self-employment. That was fifteen years ago, and while it all looks somewhat different for our business now than it did then, we are so grateful for all God has done.

We will continue this series next month.

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 1

You may also listen to this Corner via February Dad’s Corner Podcast MP3.

We have a good friend who works in the emergency room of a large hospital. He performs initial evaluations on those who come in with psychological problems. He is one of the most calm-spirited people I know, but he says that each shift tries his patience because everyone he sees is violent, angry, or upset.

He shared how common it is for him to be evaluating nineteen and twenty-year-old young men. He asks them if they work, and they say, “No, man. I can’t work. That’s why I’m on disability.” My friend asks more questions concerning not working, and their answers are similar to this. “I’ve tried working, but it just makes me so anxious and uptight that I have to go on pills to calm me down. That’s why I’m here. I need some more pills.”

Most people would think it was wonderful if they didn’t have to work. I suppose that is why the world lives for weekends, vacations, and retirement. However, God has a purpose in man working, and thus His children are to have a different view of work. Work is a gift of God, and we are to rejoice and be thankful for it. “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

We are also called to provide for our families. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). Work is a blessing, however, some work is definitely better than others.

My guess is that most reading this Corner are employed just as I was for twenty years. There are advantages to being employed such as health insurance, vacation days, retirement plans, and someone else making and being responsible for all the company decisions. However, there are also many disadvantages, especially for believers. I will list a few of the major disadvantages that come to mind.

Most often the company’s ethics and policies more closely follow the world’s thinking than Scriptural truth. This may bring a believer into conflict with his authorities. An example would be a believer who is being asked to lie to a customer about why a delivery is late.

  • Corporate-provided health insurance often fund abortions. Large corporations often use profits to support ungodly, wicked movements, causes, and organizations.
  • Employers may require long hours or night-shift work that hinders a dad’s availability of time to lead his family and disciple his children.
  • Employers may require travel sending Dad away from the family for extended periods of time leaving Mom as a single parent.
  • Employers may require moving the family to another city disrupting the family’s church and extended family ties.
  • There is little to no opportunity to train sons and have them work alongside Dad as they get older.


We are called to provide for our families, so what options are there? The other option is self-employment, and it should be seriously considered. The above listed employment disadvantages can be mitigated with self-employment. Are there disadvantages to being self-employed? I’ll list some of the disadvantages below.

  • All responsibilities and functions that occur in a company now are shouldered by one person—you.
  • You might not be required to work long hours, but the temptation or the necessity to do so will be there.
  • Your success or failure depends on you.
  • If you are undisciplined or have a poor work ethic, you will likely be in trouble.
  • You can no longer blame the company’s leadership for problems because that’s you.
  • The temptation is to off-load administrative and bookkeeping tasks to your already overloaded wife.
  • You may have a skill, but you have practically no business experience. (BTW, this is where many get themselves into trouble thinking they need a partner.)
  • It often takes money to start a business. You then make the mistake of borrowing.
  • It often takes time to achieve profitability.
  • It requires confidence.


Is self-employment an idea that is on your heart? If so, prayerfully consider why. Is it because of some of the disadvantages of being employed that I listed above?

There are many good reasons for being self-employed, but let me discuss a bad reason for it. Maybe it is because you aren’t appreciated at work or don’t like someone telling you what to do. From my reading and experience, many businesses are started by men with rebellious attitudes. They are tired of someone bossing them around, and they decide to start their own business to be the one in charge. In that situation, I would say that is a bad reason to begin a business, and it’s likely God won’t bless the endeavor. As believers it is critical that we have God’s direction, blessing, and right attitudes before starting a new venture.

The world has such a disadvantage when it comes to work because it doesn’t have the Lord Jesus to look to for guidance. Frankly, I can’t imagine life without being able to turn to Him to seek His wisdom and direction. One doesn’t have to have a high IQ to be successful, but a good relationship with the One Who is all wisdom is very important. We need to be willing to use what we have then learn, grow, and work. If it is in accordance with His will, God will bless.

That brings up another dynamic that complicates self-employment. Unbelievers don’t have to be concerned about spiritual matters in regard to their business at all, but Christians must. Christians not only have to supply a product or service at a price that customers will purchase, and satisfy the laws of the land, but also please their Lord. Frankly, this “fourth dimension” in business should be the very greatest concern of a believer contemplating a new business. God will either bless the business or hinder it. “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:5) and “Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:17). If you had a choice, what would you choose? Of course, we want God to bless. Therefore, we must obey the One Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.

We will continue this topic next month. Also, we will be having a new session at conferences around the country this year. It’s called “Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World.” This will be a highly practical, roundtable-type session. That means there will be the opportunity to hear real stories from others in your area who either have their own business or are starting one. Even those who are interested in a new venture will have an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice. Come join us in both reading this series and attending a conference.

How’s Work?

I couldn’t give an accurate count of the number of men, through the years, who have blamed their jobs for their not being able to have a daily time in Bible reading and prayer before work. They would say they had to be to work early, stay late, or both. They had to travel, or the job took all of their mental and emotional focus. There was always some “valid” reason why they didn’t have time for their own personal Bible reading and prayer time.

It seemed like the same story was given when it came to not having time for family Bible reading and prayer in the evenings. Dad’s job seemed to be the primary “good” reason for him not leading his family in Bible reading and prayer. There appears to be a Biblical example for these types of statements.

In Genesis 3:12, when Adam was confronted with a wrong choice, he said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Here, the one God had given Adam to care for and protect is the one on whom Adam is blaming his bad decision. A job, which is not much more than a vehicle to provide for the physical needs of the family, becomes the reason why the spiritual needs of the family aren’t being met.

We would do well to remember Jesus’ dialog with Peter in John 21. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Brothers, do we confess to love Jesus? If so, reread the section above. What did Jesus tell us to do if we love Him? Didn’t He indirectly tell us to feed the lambs and the sheep? We are shepherds of the flock that He has given us. Jesus is telling us to feed His sheep that He has entrusted to our care. Could Jesus have been instructing Peter to make sure that the flock was receiving physical food? If so, then it would make the “job excuse” a valid reason, but that isn’t the emphasis as we can see in Acts when Peter began his ministry. Peter’s mission was preaching – not distributing food. When the apostles were accused of neglecting the widows in Acts 6:2-4, they appointed deacons so they would not slight the teaching of God’s Word – spiritual feeding.

Is your family starving to death before your eyes – spiritually starving, that is – because you aren’t feeding them? Who will be to blame for that? No, we can’t blame our boss or someone else. The shepherd is responsible for the condition of his flock. May we be the men whom God has called us to be and feed our flocks.

Job Woes

Teri and I take great delight in observing families. Most often we see physical characteristics that are common between the children and their parents. It may be hair color or facial features. Usually there is something that causes us to say, “I can tell they came from the same ingredients.” It becomes especially obvious the more children there are to compare.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing what God did when He designed the procreation process? The image of the parents is impressed on the children. Many of our physical and even behavioral characteristics become a part of our offspring. There is one family in our church where the father is six foot seven. You ought to see his two sons. One of them has just now surpassed his father. I remember when my sons became taller than me several years ago. It felt very strange and was no small event for them.

I wonder how much each of us resembles our Father in heaven. I’m not referring to mankind in general, even though we were made in His image. I mean those who have been born again by the blood of the Lord Jesus. That transaction made God truly our Father, and we became His offspring.

Jesus evaluated men’s conduct and associated their conduct with their father in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Because the Pharisees would not welcome truth, Jesus stung them with sharp words by calling them the children of Satan. Here were the religious leaders of Israel being called sons of Satan, and Satan was called the father of lies.

We read in Deuteronomy 32:4 about God, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Our Father is a God of truth, and Satan is the father of lies. That puts falsehood and truth in a very black and white light. If Jesus made this distinction and likened those who embraced lies to being in the lineage of Satan, it would seem that born-again believers must endeavor to always speak and live truth.

Recently, Teri and I were watching some videotapes by a well-respected Christian teacher. He referred to a statement he spoke to his child. Then he told the audience with a bit of a wink, “I was lying to him.” One other time, he acknowledged in a lighthearted fashion lying to someone. I must admit my respect for this person took a hit just then. Here he was expecting us to believe he was telling us truth, and at the same time admitting there were circumstances where he chose to lie.

I have no doubt this man endeavors to live by and preach truth; however, we must shun anything false. I believe it damages the reputation of Christ when we don’t. “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me” (Proverbs 30:8). If we want to walk in righteousness we must not lie, as “A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame” (Proverbs 13:5).

I believe that one of the most pungent Bible verses is, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28). Here we see that from God’s perspective, we hate the one we lie to. If we loved him, we would speak truth to him just like our heavenly Father speaks truth always to us.

One of the greatest struggles I have is my desire to be funny. Sometimes the easiest way to get a chuckle is to say something that isn’t true. I know it is wrong, and yet it can create this battle in me as to whether I will say it. Usually, I just “swallow the words,” but there are times, especially if I’m tired, that they will come out. Then after we have all laughed, my spirit convicts me.

The conviction to speak truth is what initially led us to quit Santa Claus at Christmas. We realized that, according to Scripture, we could not love our children and lie to them. Yes, that also meant that the “tooth fairy” and “Easter bunny” were eradicated—never to darken our door again.

It is so easy to get caught up in all of our warm, fuzzy memories of being a child and in not wanting our children to miss out on anything. However, it is my greatest desire that my children would not miss out on having a God-fearing father who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart. If God says I must shun falsehood, then I am not going to justify lying to my children for any reason.

I think what happens is that often we dads can be short-sighted and not patriarchal minded. It is so easy to live for all the fun this world has to offer and lose sight of eternal things. This year I will turn fifty and that seems old, but even if I live to be as old as Silas (a delightful young man of ninety-seven years old), what is that in comparison with eternity? Nothing!

I want my children to think of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead when they think of Easter. Yes, the Bible doesn’t tell us to celebrate “Easter,” but we are told to remember. We choose to “remember” in a more focused way on the day that even unbelievers expect Christians to celebrate. In my opinion, it would be far better not to celebrate Easter at all than to have any part of the “Easter bunny.” It is not truth, and to let something else detract from the most glorious event ever—the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ—is unthinkable. We do celebrate and remember Christ’s resurrection weekly when we worship, but we choose to make Resurrection Sunday a special remembrance.

If we were somehow to find a way to celebrate Easter and spiritualize the “Easter bunny” in some fashion, I believe we would have a situation analogous to Exodus 32. Aaron had just made the golden calf while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving God’s law. After Aaron finished crafting the calf and building an altar for it, he proclaimed, “. . . To morrow is a feast to the LORD” (Exodus 32:5). Aaron announced it was to be a feast to Jehovah, the true God of Israel. Only God knows exactly what was going on in Aaron’s mind, but from the outside it appeared to be incredible double-mindedness. Let’s look at what happened in verse 6 when the things of the world were mixed with the worship of the true God: “And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink. . . .”

That does not sound too bad. They had a very spiritual time with their offerings and then a meal. Then we read on that they “rose up to play.” This was not righteous play. We learn later that they were naked. Whatever Aaron intended led to something very unholy.

Please understand, I’m not saying that families who choose to celebrate Easter and include the “Easter bunny” are guilty of the idolatry we read about. I am not making that judgment in any way. What I am saying is: we can see from Scripture that if we mix truth with something false, the result is negative. Nothing holy will be inspired in the minds of those we are called to bring up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Dads, please understand, I’m not condemning you if you do make a choice different from mine, that isn’t my place. However, it is my prayer that I will challenge you to consider things in a new light and encourage you to love the Lord Jesus more and walk according to His Word. May God be merciful and gracious to you, and may you be the head of many godly generations.

“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

Standing for What Is Right

It is hard to believe I’m actually awake! After twenty years of going away to work, I now have my office in our home. Often I will hear a quiet knocking on the door. I open it, and a little one will come in. After a hug and updating me on the latest news, the child is gone.

Years ago, God put the desire in my heart to work, vocationally, out of our home, but I saw no further direction. So we waited and waited. We would pray, “Lord, we believe You are giving us this desire. We will wait until You show us clearly what to do.” Then, all of a sudden three years ago, we were given the leading to launch a business. What was strange was that I was working full time. I sure didn’t have time to do any real work in a business we would start. There was barely time to put together the paperwork to set it up.

After our oldest son graduated from high school, we were able to have him contract out through our new business. God had us put our business in place prior to our needing it. It was the perfect vehicle for his contracting. However, we felt that wasn’t going to be the only purpose for the business. I still wanted to be home working full time for the business, but I clearly believed God was saying “not now.”

On the twenty-first of January 1997, God led me to take a stand at my job that we thought might cost me that job. Unfortunately, we were not prepared to be without an income, but we knew God would provide if that was His will. To our total amazement, the potential of losing the job dragged on all year. One day I would think I was going to be fired, and the next it would quiet down!

It was such a wonderful time of learning to rest and trust in my Lord Jesus’ care. I can’t remember one night of losing sleep over it. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, or that I had my head in the clouds. There was just peace about it and thankfulness that Christ was dealing with the situation.

The next thing we knew, they were no longer talking about firing me. Now there was talk of laying me off. The funny thing was that this was great news since there would be some financial consideration with a layoff as opposed to being fired. We had been praying, “Lord, just make it clear to us that You really want me to leave.” What could be clearer than to have your employer lay you off? Right?

Then my employer decided to give me a choice between another job and a layoff. This was not according to our plan at all! God was supposed to make it absolutely clear by not giving us any room for a decision. This new twist brought some real earnestness to our prayers. Finally, God gave Teri and me full peace that I was to leave and come home.

I stand in awe of how the Lord has directed over the last year. It would be very easy to laugh as I look up the road ahead. I have told some that I feel like I’m “out of the boat” right now. I find my competitors and other challenges to be the “waves.” However, as long as I keep my eyes on the Lord Jesus, I have real joy and peace.

I know some of you may face similar challenges. My encouragement to you is: don’t be concerned with your perceived consequences to a decision, but look only to the Lord for His direction. That is the only thing that matters and will enable you to be calm in the midst of a storm. If I did not have the clear assurance I’m here because God wants me here, I would be troubled indeed. Our prayer has been and will continue to be, “Lord, what do You want us to do that will bring You the most glory?”

Waiting on God

During our evening family devotion, we are currently reading about God freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage. One main question was brought to mind the other night. Why did God take so long to free His people? Couldn’t He have sent Moses to Pharaoh and said, “We are out of here tomorrow, Pharaoh,” and then had the Israelites march right out?

He could have made Pharaoh powerless to stop them as they left the very next day, no plagues, no miracles, and not a single death. Surely, we have all wondered at times why God chooses to do things in a particular way.

In January, I told my boss I could not do what they were asking me to do. It would violate my conscience as a Christian. I fully expected to be let go. There have been many interactions since then, over this, but nothing has happened yet. I have continued to stand my ground. Two weeks ago, I met with the company president and told him I thought my position ought to be eliminated. No one should be asked to do the things they were requiring of me. The company president gave my boss until the end of the month to resolve the situation. So will it be resolved by then? Only the Lord knows.

However, don’t we all have situations that are similar? They just drag on longer than we feel they ought to, or the final outcome isn’t what we think it should be. Maybe you have chosen a direction for the family, and the “troops” are murmuring and complaining. Certainly Moses knew how that felt!

As we read the account of Moses, it seems there was an important lesson God had for him to learn. The same would be true for each of us as we lead our families. When God gave Moses instructions in the desert, Moses revealed his problem. He said he couldn’t do what God asked because of not being well spoken. Think how ridiculous that is. Moses was telling the sovereign God of the universe that he was unable to do what God asked of him. God, Who knew Moses’ every strength and weakness, and Who knew Moses better than he knew himself, knew Moses could do the task.

I don’t think Moses was just making excuses. If this had been the case, he would have kept coming up with fresh excuses when the first one was eliminated. I also believe God would have dealt with him differently if he had been simply making an excuse. Therefore, it was possible that Moses was telling God about a true shortcoming in his life. However, this reveals whom Moses was trusting. Himself! At this point in this new relationship with the Lord, Moses had not learned to trust that God would work in his life and use His power to accomplish His will.

I believe one of the reasons for the long, drawn-out process of delivering His people from Pharaoh was to teach Moses to rely on God. Moses–and we, as well–must see that God will enable to be accomplished what He instructs to be done. God will never tell us to do something that we are unable to do.

After the Israelite leaders accused Moses and Aaron of making “our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh” (Exodus 5:21), Moses demonstrated the key to our success as fathers. Immediately after he spoke with the leaders of the people, in Exodus 5:22 we see, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said. . . .” Our response must be the same as his response; we must first cry out to our Lord.

When we don’t understand, when we need direction, when we lack the means to accomplish our responsibilities (i.e., to raise up godly children), we must go to Him in prayer. We must pour out our hearts to Him Who enables, Who strengthens, Who gives peace. Moses was transformed into a man who knew God and relied on Him. May that be true for each of us.

A Business Lunch

Moms–PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS!! It is for your husbands only.

Friday I was invited to go to lunch with one of my suppliers. If that were you, would you go? Next, let me tell you it was a saleswoman. Would you still go? Mixed lunches are the accepted norm these days and so are close working relationships. Might someone who didn’t participate be looked on as an “old prude”?

Let each one of us ask ourselves whether we believe we have been faithful to our wives. Now let’s imagine our wives asking themselves if they feel we have been faithful to them. Do you think our wives’ answers would match our answers? What if they knew our thoughts; would they change their decision?

Jesus defined adultery as lusting for another woman. So a definition of faithfulness would likely be even narrower than just that of adultery. We can be sure that our wives would rather they are the ones we are spending time with, no matter what the reason. (Shouldn’t that be our feeling as well?) After many observations, I believe that individual (even small-group) time spent with women other than our wives is like playing with fire. I know this statement can evoke some interesting responses, but I am convinced it is true. Let me illustrate this further.

If David, a man after God’s own heart, could fall into the trap of adultery because of being where he shouldn’t have been, then why do we, who are less spiritual, feel we couldn’t fall into a similar trap? Homes are broken and lives damaged all because of what reason? Could it ever be worth that? The idea that we can’t become attached to someone else is a lie from hell, with history bearing witness. It is like playing Russian roulette with six rounds loaded!

Let’s assume we are all moral giants and totally impervious to physical temptations. (I know it’s impossible, but for the sake of my example please stay with me.) In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, we are instructed to abstain from even the appearance of evil. I told the saleswoman I couldn’t go as I have determined not to go to lunch with other women. Before I could continue, she laughed and said she wouldn’t bite and could even bring a male sales engineer along. I explained that with that aside, what if someone who knew Teri and me saw us together? What might they think? She exclaimed, “Wow, do you really mean that?” I said I did. She understood and thought that was great.

I believe God will honor our commitment to taking no chances. Another example. If heroin were legal, would you try it? Why not? Well, one reason is because we know how addicting it can be, and we don’t know how much we have to take to get hooked. So we would be crazy to try it. In that light, how did we fall in love with our wives? For me, I spent time with Teri, she became my friend (and still is), and then I fell in love with her. So why would we expect not to be in danger of becoming attracted to ANY other woman we spent much time with? From David until now, men daily are trapped. Could you be next?

Our wives are home caring for our children. We know they are as bright as, if not brighter than, the women we meet in our vocation. Shouldn’t they be the ones we go to lunch with? If childcare is a problem, then we could go home and let them go out with another homeschooling mom to show them how much we appreciate their ministry to our children.

Men, we must not delight in the company of any woman other than our own wives. Not only are our wives worth our faithfulness and adoration, but also, we are commanded to love them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Let us be men of God, committed to our wives.

A Man’s True Identity

Have you noticed that as men, we can often relate to others only in terms of what each does for a living? Our job becomes our identity, who we truly are. Isn’t that why the loss of a job can create such a crisis in a man’s life? Certainly, the issue of providing for our family is one that shouldn’t be ignored, but this seems to go beyond that.

Often I hear about divorces that are due to the father being more married to his work than to his wife. Could it be that his identity was wrapped up in his job and not in what it should be? Each one of us might do well to ask the question, “Who am I, really?” If everything I have and currently know is taken from me, am I still someone, or nothing?

There have been times in my life that I have unknowingly had my identity in other things. In Florida I was working eleven hours a day to get ahead in my job. The result was a neglected wife struggling with three young children and a gold (actually solid bronze) bar with the words “Outstanding Performance” on it. Is that something to be proud of or what? Now it is easy to see what a fool I was as I daily see that bar sitting in front of me on my desk. It isn’t displayed as a trophy, but as a sad reminder to prevent me from losing my priorities again. Jobs come and go, but a family is eternal! The precious souls that God entrusts to our care are eternity bound, and as fathers we are powerful influences in their lives.

But the answer is not to have our identity in our family either. Then what happens when there is not peace in the home or a loved one is lost? It is only when our identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ that all these other areas come into proper perspective. You see, I’m the adopted son of God the Father through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

If my identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ, then my identity is steadfast, since nothing can sever my relationship with my Lord (Romans 8). No matter what the circumstances, there can be peace when I am in Christ Jesus. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).