Tag Archives: Godly Legacy

A Godly Legacy – Part 7

This month we conclude the Dad’s Corner series about a godly legacy. If you aren’t up-to-date with these articles, here are the links to the previous ones (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6). Last month, I opened with an analogy comparing fathers to slow, left-lane drivers. The left-lane driver who isn’t passing another vehicle is hindering those behind him who would like to move on. Fathers are called to be the spiritual leaders in their families not a slow, left-lane driver who holds them back.

If a dad is a spiritual left-lane driver, it might be because he is concerned about others talking about him if he appeared to be too spiritual. I can understand that because who enjoys someone else speaking negatively about him? He can see Christians around him who will criticize behind the backs of those who are on fire for Jesus, and this dad doesn’t want people talking about him that way. “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:29-31). We can be sure that Jesus did not like the treatment He received as a result of His obedience to the Father. Yet He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus led the way, and we can be confident that if we are following Him, there will be times of mocking and the discomfort that goes with it. But just like Jesus, we push on in following God while leading our families.

When we are saved, Jesus has purpose for our lives. It isn’t so that we have fire insurance in our pocket, and then we can live like the world, having a great time with no fear of hell. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). When He saves us, He will use us to be salt and light to those who are dying around us. He will use us to glorify the Father. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). It starts in our families. We need to be both salt and light if we want to have a godly legacy who will continue bearing testimony of the only true God and Savior.

I remember one time I accidentally got some salt into a small cut on my hand. Oh, did that hurt! It was painful enough not ever to want to do that again. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13). As we obediently follow the Lord, we will be like salt to others’ lives. For some if their contact with us is more superficial, they may react like one does when salt enters a wound. For others, who may be in a closer relationship with us such as our children, our lives should represent the effect of eating something salty. It makes one thirsty for water. The Lord desires that our children would then be thirsty for the water of the Word. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). Another aspect of salt is that it preserves. If we want to preserve a godly legacy, we must be spiritually salty.

I wonder if often, after all things are considered, Dad isn’t the one himself who is the biggest hindrance to a godly legacy. He has one eye on the world and one eye on heaven. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). That dad may advance in one direction today and another direction tomorrow. He is like a bottle on the waves and will discourage his family. We need to be singly-focued on the Lord Jesus and His direction for our lives. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).

May we have our hearts set on the Lord Jesus. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). We will draw closer to what we are focused on.

I believe it is non-optional that Dad would have his personal time in the Word and lead family Bible time every day if he wants to draw closer to the Lord and leave a godly legacy. If we are going to have the spiritual energy we need, we have to have the breakfast (and dinner) of champions every day. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8). “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” (Hebrews 12:1). If we desire to be obedient to the Lord and leave a godly legacy, we must be committed to the task at hand.

Are we spiritual left-lane drivers? Are we hindering our families from growing in the Lord Jesus? Are we setting a good example by our time in the Word and our obedience to the Lord? Time is passing quickly, and every day we have one day less to impact whether we are leaving a godly legacy or not. May I encourage you to be committed to the task.

A Godly Legacy – Part 6

Driving south from Leavenworth on Highway 7, which is a divided four-lane road with a speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour, I normally expect to see something that I would rather not. Due to the small town nature of Leavenworth, you often don’t have the big-city, fast flowing traffic. You will have some that drive the limit and others who don’t. What is disappointing and quite common is to find a fifty-five-miles-per-hour driver happy and content in the left lane leading a long line of cars who would really prefer to be driving sixty-five-miles-per-hour.

I’ve often wondered what goes through a slow, left-lane driver’s mind? Doesn’t he see the line of cars behind him? Doesn’t he care that it is illegal? Does he have any consideration for others? Is he taking pleasure in keeping others back?

In this Dad’s Corner series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5) we have been discussing leaving a godly legacy.

Do we deeply desire to leave a godly legacy? Do we yearn for children who are dynamic followers of Jesus Christ? If so, what price are we willing to pay? If the answer is “everything!” that is the right answer. Satan will bring along compromises to derail us from raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). A major tactic of his is to cause Dad to be the hindrance to the family’s growth—in essence being a slow, spiritual left-lane driver.

I’ve seen it often where Dad is the one who isn’t growing spiritually and has no (obvious or expressed) interest to even though as the head of the family, he is the one to be the leader. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Sadly, the one in front is no longer a “leader” if he becomes a spiritual hindrance, just like the left-lane drivers who keep others from advancing.

Assuming the slow left-lane driver doesn’t realize he is a hindrance, how do we know if we are the ones holding back our families’ spiritual growth? First, I would encourage you not to trust your feelings in this. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Since the heart is deceitful above all things, saying we don’t feel like we are hindering our family is like asking a liar his opinion as to whether he is a liar.

Therefore the best way to determine whether we are a spiritual left-lane driver is to ask those we might be slowing down. I suggest the first one to speak with is your wife. She will have a great vantage point and usually have some thoughts on the matter. Has she had unfulfilled spiritual desires for the family? Is she being spiritually encouraged by you? Is she being challenged by your spiritual walk? Next you can go to your children and begin asking them questions like the ones you have asked your wife. Have any of the children expressed disappointment about your level of spirituality? There were times when I have asked these kinds of questions of my family, and even though I didn’t always enjoy their responses, God used their feedback to convict me.

With conviction needs to come action. When the Lord points out where we are hindrances to spiritual growth in our families rather than being the leaders God desires us to be, we begin by repenting. Then we cry out to the Lord to help us make the necessary changes. We go to the Word and study areas that will be instrumental in the new direction. We ask our families to hold us accountable for the steps we are taking.

I wonder if another hindrance to many dads today being a spiritual leader of the family is not wanting to be too extreme in their Christian walk because they consider some Christians to be fanatical about Jesus. On the other hand, dads also don’t want to be spiritually cold or to be seen as lost. The natural tendency is then to want to cluster in the middle where they would not be seen as weird, hot, on-fire believers nor as cold, faithless unbelievers. Therefore many appear to be content to be lukewarm. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Regardless, of whether it is uncomfortable or not, we need to be the ones in our family who are exuberant as we follow Jesus so that we can lead our children into a dynamic godly legacy.

Jesus will never direct a person down the wide easy path. It will always be the strait and narrow one. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The road that Jesus takes us along will not be popular. If we want a lot of company and fellowship in this life, we would most likely have to walk the wide path.

As we continue to focus on how we can have a godly legacy, we must choose not to be the slow left-lane driver who holds others back, especially when it is our children who are being spiritually hindered. Instead, in our families, we will be the left-lane driver, who moves into that lane when it is time to pass, keeps his speed up, and then returns to the right lane. He is leading his family by setting the example with a heart fully engaged on the Lord Jesus Christ. He won’t be content to stay in the comfortable middle but rather is pressing on to his destination, which includes that godly legacy. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Next month we will conclude this series on a godly legacy.

A Godly Legacy – Part 5

If you read the note at the beginning of our Corners, you will see that Teri’s new book, Sweet Journey, is available. So, why am I mentioning it here? I feel that we dads have a great responsibility in leading our families. So many ladies are struggling in being the wife, mom, and Christian the Lord wants them to be. They aren’t sure how to fix their problems, and sometimes they spiral into more discouragement. As the saying goes, ‘If Mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy!’ Teri shares from her heart, guiding ladies into a sweeter walk with the Lord. The material in this book is tried and true. Even if your wife doesn’t appear to have any struggles, Sweet Journey will still encourage her. Consider giving your wife this book as an “I love you” gift.

This is the fifth part in the series on important aspects of our lives in order for us to leave a godly legacy. If you haven’t read the previous articles here are links to them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Need we be concerned about reaching the world for Christ when parents can’t even raise children who live for Him? It is one thing to bring children into the world who can function in society, but it is quite another to raise children who will be righteous instruments in the hands of the Lord Jesus and used as He directs. What is the desire of our hearts for our children as the days count down for our departure from this world, and what are we doing to move our desire into reality?

Preparing our children to be a godly legacy involves preparing their bodies, spirits, minds, wills and emotions. This month we will discuss some thoughts on the emotions. We generally think of emotions as good or bad, positive or negative. We might put love and excitement in the category of good emotions but anger and frustration in the bad one. Are we to live according to our emotions? Do they direct the course of our lives or should they our children’s lives?

Perhaps a place to start is with a Scripture that admonishes us to cast down anything that goes against Scripture and the Lord’s leading. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). God gave us emotions—both good and bad ones. However, anytime they are contrary to Scripture, they are to be taken captive and our thoughts are to come into the obedience of Christ.

The angry man in the next verse is ruled by his emotions and is a good example of the potential danger of emotions, especially the negative ones. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25). When left to rule, the negative emotions can get us into trouble because they easily lead us astray from the thoughts, attitudes, and actions the Lord would call us to have. As dads we can’t allow anger in our lives because our children will learn our angry ways, and we will risk our godly legacy.

I remember when Nathan was getting married. He was our first child to be married, and I was so sad at his moving out because of the closeness of the relationship we had with each other. One morning during my Bible time, the Lord prompted my heart with this verse. “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

The Lord convicted me that my sadness was rooted in me being selfish and focusing on myself and not Nathan and his future. I had been letting my negative emotions rule me and my thoughts. I repented of those feelings, took my thoughts captive, and chose to think about Nathan rather than myself. I was then able to rejoice with him, and God gave my heart peace and joy. Negative emotions are powerful and will totally dominate our lives if we let them. Then instead of being an obedient servant of the Lord Jesus, we might find ourselves bound up with hurt, anger, fear, or lust. We are then of little use to the Lord because our focus is on our self, and our life is controlled by emotions.

What about the wonderful, God-given emotion of love? We would consider that a positive emotion, but is it to dominate our lives? The answer might be “yes” if it is love for the Lord Jesus Christ. However if we are talking about love for another person, even that positive emotion must be under the control of the Lord. If it isn’t, we can become too focused on the object of our love whether it is a person, an activity, or something else. If our behavior is dictated by emotions, what about when that emotion is no longer? Does that change our behavior? Consider marriage. I love Teri, and I’m grateful that the emotion is there. However, there have been times when I did not feel the emotion of love for her, and there have been times when that was true of her for me as well. I expect that is the reality for every married couple. Does that mean I treat her differently? Is that grounds for divorce? Of course not! What a shipwreck our lives would be today had we followed our emotions and divorced at a time when the feelings waned.

The Holy Spirit through Paul told us of the type of love a husband is to have for his wife in Ephesians 5:25-31. The Greek word used there for love is agape. Agape is primarily seen in God giving His Son Jesus to redeem fallen man. That was a rational, sacrificial choice of mercy and grace. Whew! That is exactly the foundational kind of love God calls us to in marriage—a love based on choice and reason—not emotion. The beauty of agape love is that as we choose to love a spouse that way, we will find the emotional love follows. As husbands we need to live out godly love in the home for the good of our marriage and as an example for our children.

A person who is emotion-controlled may also struggle with doubting their salvation. Scripture doesn’t tell us that our salvation is based on feeling, but rather that it is based on faith and fact. If people are looking to their emotions, then they will doubt their salvation anytime they don’t feel saved. That sort of person is spiritually unstable and like a bottle tossed on the waves. Our godly legacy is in great danger when our children are looking to emotions rather than believing the truth of God’s Word.

Look closely at the fruit of the Spirit. It does not depend on emotions. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:22-24). The more we dads learn to depend on the Holy Spirit, the greater the spiritual fruit in our lives. Spiritual fruit is a much surer rudder for our lives than emotions. It better equips us to disciple our children in the Lord thereby, yielding a godly legacy.

Preparing our children for life by helping them learn to deal with their emotions is a key aspect in preserving a godly legacy. Just because we experience an emotion does not mean it is to be trusted. We are to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are to pass everything through the grid of Scripture, and it is embraced or thrown out based upon that grid.

This was a difficult topic, and it is certainly not easy to disciple our children in how they should deal with emotions. However, if our desire is a godly legacy, it is just one more thing for us to be aware of and seek the Lord Jesus for His direction and grace.

A Godly Legacy – Part 4

This month we continue the series on leaving a godly legacy to read the previous three months, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The clock is counting down on each of our lives. We don’t know how many days we have left, but it is sure, today we have one day less than we had yesterday. As we raise our children, we have one chance to do something with our lives that will impact theirs, and each of us are at various stages in this race with high stakes.

Likely most have seen the bumper sticker that reads, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” This would seem to represent the hearts of so many today. Think of the number of “toys” men accumulate: big screen TVs, boats, jet skis, motorcycles, airplanes, and race cars, to name just a few. Often these men will purchase their toys with money they don’t have, while planning to use them with time that the Lord would direct differently. I’ve heard some men encouraging others to borrow all they can, enjoy themselves, and let somebody else pay it back once they’re gone. “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again. . .” (Psalms 37:21). That frame of mind would be consistent with the carnal rich man in Luke 12:19. “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” These mentalities make sense for the lost, who will spend eternity in hell because having fun in this life is all they have to look forward to.

Leaving a godly legacy after we are gone involves making ongoing difficult choices right now. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. That is why this month’s topic is so very important—shaping the will, and that begins with ours. Our example will have far greater impact on our children than what we teach. What sort of choices are we making as we lead the family? Are we having an individual Bible time every morning and then praying? Are we leading the family in Bible time every night? Are we worshipping with other believers each week? Is the “beast” (TV) alive in our homes and indoctrinating the souls of the family? Do we have an entertainment and recreation mindset or is our affection set on things above (Colossians 3:2)? What other influences are welcomed into our homes that are pulling the hearts of the family toward the world and ungodly choices? Do we see the connection between our decisions and how the wills of our children are shaped by them?

The decisions that we make and our example will have a powerful effect on training our children to make the right choices. “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). This was referring to church leaders, but a secondary application would be to fathers. We demonstrate to our children an abiding life in Jesus by being joyful and content, following and serving Him versus choosing fun and entertainment. I’m amazed at the strong pull that fun, wild, thrilling things still can exert on my heart that would pull me away from what I need to do with my time. My flesh would love a motorcycle, airplane, jet ski, and sail boat. However, those things take time and money. I have come to appreciate every day, every hour, and every minute that the Lord gives me, and I want to spend them as He directs. I praise God that I see my sons wanting to make right decisions in their lives.

For example, our three remaining sons at home (the two oldest are married) have taken the matter of saving so they can purchase their own homes debt free very seriously. I see them working hard to earn an income and saving all they can by not spending money on foolish things and being careful when they buy clothes and other items. Sure they can be tempted like other young men to throw their money away on fun and exciting things, yet they’re making wise decisions for their future family’s good. If my life was filled with fun and exciting “toys,” you can be sure my sons would be making the same poor choices.

Next to consider is how are we communicating godly decisions to the family. Discussing decisions with our families will not only help everyone get onboard with new direction, but it will also teach them the basis for making similar good choices for their lives in the future.

From the beginning, Satan has deceived man and tempted him to choose against God’s will for his life. Even if he can’t get man to choose wickedness, but rather choose something contrary to God’s leading (read disobedience) he has won. A few of the most critical, milestone decisions children will face that will have great impact on them being a godly legacy are: salvation, future spouse, “higher education,” and vocation. As we disciple our children, the goal is to help them learn to surrender their wills to the Lord Jesus Christ for all decisions. “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). Notice that first we have to confront the will and tell it “no,” and then we surrender to follow Jesus. There are no bad choices when we obediently follow the Lord.

The problem is how difficult it can be to make godly decisions. It seems like there is a tug-of-war between the spirit wanting to do what is right and the flesh wanting to satisfy itself. If the Apostle Paul struggled with this, we can be sure that we will struggle with it and our children will as well. “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:14-19). We can anticipate this war to be both long and tempestuous, but we can make some choices that will help it be victorious.

We must feed the spirit and not the flesh. We must avail ourselves and our families of every opportunity to strengthen the spirit such as: having individual and family Bible times, making right choices even in small decisions, creating positive appetites, and being a part of a local fellowship of believers for weekly worship.

In addition to taking positive steps, we must also have good defenses. We must be on guard against what harmful influences are being allowed into the home because they can create negative appetites. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). The problem is that we often don’t take seriously the threat of the flesh. The world is strewn with the shipwrecked lives of Christians who underestimated the flesh’s power. Remember if Paul struggled, we will be greatly challenged as well.

An appetite is a desire for something that will result in a biasing force when we are trying to make a good decision. It will prejudice our whole decision making process and can possibly even shipwreck it if it is a negative one. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).

People usually don’t plan on creating powerful appetites in their lives. What about the person who smoked his first cigarette or had his first beer or tried drugs for the first time? Do you think he planned to die of lung cancer, be an alcoholic, or a drug addict? What about first experiences with things that are thrilling and exciting? Appetites that are introduced into our lives will be powerful forces with which to reckon. Will we be careful to build good appetites and avoid creating negative ones? “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

We must consider appetites as participants that will join in the tug-of-war in making a right decision. They will start pulling on either the flesh’s or the Spirit’s side. We can’t afford to give the flesh any advantage.

There is a whole chapter in the Keeping Our Children’s Hearts book on this; therefore, with limited space we will not delve any further into these areas.

Time is short, and the task is great. Shaping our children’s wills is of vital importance. Will we do this by modeling for our children the fruit of right choices? Will we be preparing our children for those milestone decisions they will face? Appetites will exert biasing pressure on our choices. We must be careful to avoid negative appetites and cultivate good ones in our children’s lives. May we diligently train the wills of our children so they can make right choices thereby preserving a godly legacy.

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come” (Psalms 71:18).

A Godly Legacy – Part 3

We are continuing the topic of a father’s godly legacy. To read the previous two months, see Part 1, Part 2. How critical is it to us when we are gone that we leave behind children who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? You can tell how important something is to a man by the decisions that he makes. A man will find a way to do what is important to him. No matter how difficult it is, how expensive or how much time it will take, he will do what he considers must be done. The question is just how important is it to us to raise mighty sons and daughters who will love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Our decisions and the life we live will be the proof.

Have you considered how important your role of discipling your children is in determining whether you will leave a godly legacy? We have observed many families where Dad’s responsibility is to bring home the income, and Mom’s is to raise the children. That is fine if they aren’t Christians, but Scripture is clear that Dad is to take the lead in the process of discipling the children. “And, ye fathers . . . bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

If discipling the children was the wife’s responsibility, then it wouldn’t make sense that a bishop/elder’s qualifications were contingent on his having faithful children. “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:1-5). Are we willing to own our responsibility, and how committed are we about raising godly sons and daughters?

Everyone has a spirit, soul, and body; therefore, we need to develop all three in our children if we are to do our job well. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Last month, we discussed preparing our children physically, and this month we will begin to look at disciplining their souls.

The soul is comprised of the mind, will, and emotions of a person. It is what makes us unique and often in Scripture is referred to as the heart of man. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). We have tremendous opportunities to shape the hearts of our children. This month we will look at preparing the treasures of the mind.

Dads desiring a godly legacy understand the need to train their children’s minds in a Christ-focused, virtuous environment. They will pay their property tax bills (much goes to public and charter schools and state colleges) without the “benefit” of having their children’s education funded in order to avoid the godless, promiscuity-promoting, humanistic environment that the state system provides. Families avoiding state-funded education bear the added financial burden to purchase their own curriculum to ensure that God has His place in the knowledge that is shaping their children’s minds.

Sadly, we hear of families who have taken the “bait” of free curriculum or large dollar checks and been enticed to join charter homeschools thinking they are just another way of homeschooling. Since funding is from public money, Dad is signing away his ability to make choices as to how his children are educated. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) reports that some thirty states prohibit the use of Christian curriculum in their charter schools. When enrolling his children in a charter school, Dad is now agreeing to fill his children’s minds with the same humanistic material that the public school children receive. With Jesus thrown out, Dad’s hope of a dynamic godly legacy is questionable at best.

I’ve heard that some are happy to enroll in charter schools with the hidden agenda of using Christian curriculum. Such a plan can be both illegal and a violation of conscience. If an agreement was signed stating that the provided curriculum would be used, to do anything else is wrong. The consequences associated with such a bad plan will be to teach the children that breaking one’s word is acceptable behavior as long as you have what you believe to be a good reason. This sort of corrupt example will produce a legacy of compromise.

Dads, who have a passion for a legacy of men and women of God, desire that their children function well in society by being able to speak, read, and write as ambassadors for Christ. Also, abilities in mathematics, science, and business are important. History is beneficial in understanding how God has worked with mankind following the historical account of Scripture. A knowledge of the wrong social choices man has made and the resulting consequences is important in preventing similar future problems.

Another aspect that shapes our children’s minds is not only what they learn but also how they learn. School is preparation for life, and life consists of work. Whether it is Dad providing for the family or Mom managing the home and teaching the children, life involves work. Work is what we are called to do. “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew word for “dress” means to work. God put man on the earth to work. That is why an essential part of raising our children is that as they transition from childhood to adulthood, they transition from playing to working.

Therefore, it is good that children are accustomed to doing schoolwork (as opposed to “schoolplay”). The older they are, the more they need to know how to apply themselves to the task of learning. God gave us a great example with the Bible. Notice it is not filled with pictures or cartoons but words. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). “Study” in the Greek means to make diligent effort. One of the best preparations for life is to teach our children to study diligently (which requires work) and enjoy it.

During our homeschooling years one of our greatest joys was when one of the children would come to Teri or me exclaiming about things they learned while studying. A tremendous blessing of the children learning to study independently is how they now readily apply themselves to learn new things even after their formal schooling is over. As a result, our children enjoy learning new software, acquiring new skills, working toward certifications, and additionally, the young men love sermon preparation and the ladies doing Bible studies. It is important that our children become lifelong learners. I believe when a person stops learning, they will likely stop growing and begin to shrivel up mentally. Teach your children to work and give them a love for learning. The caution is always to guard our minds and choose to learn only things that do not compromise our convictions.

In addition, we must be cautious to learn in a safe environment. You may want to visit ITonRamp.com, a new website that we launched in May. The goal is to equip young people and parents with new skills through long-distance courses.

In some aspects, twelve years of educating our children seems like a long time, but in reality it is short. There is so much for our children to learn that twelve years goes by quickly. That is why wise parents jealousy guard that time and stay home to concentrate on the children’s learning. Over the twenty years that we have encouraged homeschool families, we have observed that once a homeschooling mom leaves the house with her children for an activity such as a field trip, doctor’s appointment, or errand, little school work is accomplished when they return home. Each day must be seen as a precious resource and every minute used wisely.

Teri and I were shopping for a rug for our bathroom. We stopped into a “rug store” we have driven by many times. Unrequested by us, the salesman began showing us his most costly rugs, which turned out to be handmade. There was one rug roughly three feet by four feet. Every thread was hand inserted and then tied-off in the back. It took two people four months to make that rug. The patience and determination to work day-after-day on such an intricate design was overwhelming to me. We then told him we weren’t interested in paying a lot for something you walk on and would be very satisfied with a synthetic, machine-made rug at a fraction of the price. There’s a time to invest and a time to conserve. The souls of our children, who have been entrusted to our raising in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, are of infinite value. Are we investing in their lives? Are we being faithful stewards?

A Godly Legacy – Part 2

In the family of Andrew Murray, of South Africa, eleven children grew to adult life. Five of the sons became ministers and four of the daughters became ministers’ wives. The next generation had a still more striking record in that ten grandsons became ministers and thirteen became missionaries. The secret of this unusual contribution to the Christian ministry was the Christian home.” John Mott in his biography of Andrew Murray reminds us of the power of a father’s legacy.

Last month we began the topic of a father’s godly legacy. How critical is it to us that we leave behind children who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? You can tell how important something is to a man by the decisions that he makes. A man will find a way to do what is important to him. No matter how difficult it is, he will do what he considers must be done.

God has called the dad to provide for his family. “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). Most men are responsible when it comes to providing for their families. Often there are mornings they are tired and would like to sleep in, yet they get up and go to work. There can be a host of days where there are other things they would rather do; yet they make the right choice and go to work.

Funny, how sometimes others know us better than we know ourselves. They know that we do what is most important to us by observing the decisions we make and the actions we take. We may think something is important to us, but if we aren’t making appropriate decisions and allocating time to accomplish it, we need to face the fact that it really isn’t important to us.

Assuming raising sons and daughters to be mighty in the Lord Jesus is vital for each dad reading this, how might one go about this? Paul tells us the basic “components” of a person. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We see from this verse that a person consists of a body, soul, and spirit. So how might we establish a proper foundation of each area?

First let’s consider how we could prepare our children physically. A body is important because it houses the soul and spirit. If the physical house we live in is in poor repair, we are less effective in life. When the storms come, a leaky roof diverts our attention away from what we could be doing. If the furnace is faulty, we will have to take emergency measures during cold winter storms, and poor drainage may cause our basement to flood. For us to invest time in priorities, our homes must be maintained in good repair.

In a similar way, our health impacts greatly how well we can serve the Lord. If we have no energy or are sickly, we won’t have the stamina to give the Lord full days. Then when we come home from work each evening, we will be too tired to lead family Bible time. As a matter of fact, many dads come home for work and choose to vegetate through the evening.

Proper nutrition and exercise may well mean the difference between suffering lifestyle-related diseases with onerous medical expenses that could be avoided or leading an active productive life. What we feed our children and how their bodies are strengthened will greatly determine how well their bodies will function during their lifetime, and it will set appetites that will help or hinder them throughout their lives.

During the last twenty years, obesity percentages have continued to climb to the point that it is being called a national epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control with roughly one third of all adults being classified as obese. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Americans are sowing to the flesh so effectively that obesity statistics keep rising at alarming rates. Being overweight leads to serious and costly health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Next time you are at the doctor’s office take an informal poll and count how many in the waiting room are overweight versus how many are trim. Every time I’ve done that the results have been consistently shocking.

We have heard some say how manageable diabetes is today, but I don’t believe it. I have personally observed the “fruit” of diabetes in the elderly at our nursing home church. Toes and portions of a foot are cut off in the attempt to stop infection from spreading. Legs are removed up to the knee before the infection is finally stopped. Kidneys fail, and eyesight is lost all due to diabetes.

The best way to deal with diabetes is to prevent it in the first place. A proper diet and exercise are necessary. Parents modeling a healthy lifestyle and then teaching their children the same will ensure that sons and daughters have bodies capable of serving the Lord.

When you observe an overweight parent, notice how common it is see overweight children in the family. I know I have not been a good example of weight control and a balanced diet for my children. However, over the last five years it has been a focus of mine to become a good example and great positive strides have been made in nutrition for our family. If only the bad food didn’t taste so good it would be much easier. But isn’t that true for sin as well? Sin is pleasurable, and therefore must be resisted. Overeating unhealthy food is also pleasurable, and for our health it is good to resist.

Nutrition goes hand-in-hand with exercise, and we can observe from 1 Timothy 4:8 that the physical emphasis is somewhat beneficial when compared with godliness. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Unfortunately, all too often parents think of competitive sports as the answer to a need for exercise. Yet, we have regularly talked to people who mention injuries they have received due to childhood sports’ team activity. Exercise at home together as a family is a much safer way to receive exercise without the heightened risk of injury due to competitive sports. Also, when exercising at home with the family, the child doesn’t have the negative influences of other teammates nor develop the appetite to waste hours and hours watching the sport on TV.

Simple exercises at home are possible and effective. If Dad will work out with the children, there is the added benefit of time well spent together building relationships. As an experiment this winter, we had a three-month fitness challenge on Titus2.com for families. Many who participated commented to us how they greatly enjoyed and benefited from their time invested working out together. Simple habits learned as children will bring lifelong benefits to health. However, it does take effort to begin and maintain exercise programs. If you would be interested in a few introductory exercises that you can do at home as a family, you can go to: February challenge.

I ended up suspending my normal, daily exercise during the last trip. I really didn’t miss the hard work and the time it takes. However, I did miss the benefits of exercise. When I don’t exercise, I feel lethargic and have greater difficulty maintaining my weight. I’ve found it to be one of those necessary aspects of life that has to be a priority for it to happen. Then once it is over, I’m satisfied that I did it and glad to get on with the rest of the day.

Our influence is powerful in the lives of our children. We are sowing appetites in their lives by our example. Medical costs are going to spiral upward through the years, and the healthier a person is, the less he will spend and the higher the quality of his life. A fit person will have more energy with which to minister to his family and serve the Lord. May we teach our children how to maintain their bodies for the glory of the Lord. “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). Next month we will continue this series.

A Godly Legacy – Part 1

A while back I was waiting while some new tires were being mounted on our vehicle. I was looking out the front window of the tire store and observed a man with his two sons loading a Bobcat onto a trailer. The two boys were probably eight and ten years old, and they were dressed in blue jeans and shirts much like their father. At the father’s direction, each boy took a heavy ramp and folded it up with great effort to stow it properly for the drive home. Those little boys worked with all their might against the weight of the ramps in order to get them in the proper position. When they were finally successful, there was a smile of accomplishment and the wiping of their dirty hands on their jeans much like I’d seen their father do.

After the ramps were stowed, they all worked on getting the chains in place and tight so that the Bobcat would not move as they drove. The boys tried tightening the chains, but this job clearly took the strength of their father to lock them in place. Then after Dad tensioned the chains, with a look of satisfaction to each other and a few words that I couldn’t hear, they deemed everything ready for the drive. The boys piled in their side of the pickup while Dad climbed into the driver’s seat. It brought joy to my heart as I observed how those boys followed the example of their dad and how he delighted in those boys. They appeared to take great pleasure in identifying with and following their father. God made mankind with the desire to follow.

God illustrates our tendency to follow by likening us to sheep. “But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock” (Psalms 78:52). God did not design sheep to be bright animals. One general characteristic of sheep is that they follow. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4).

God has created us so that we will follow something. The first question is Whom or what will we dads follow? The next question is are we keenly aware of how our children will be influenced to follow what we are following?

I’ve been reading about King David in 2 Samuel. David so loved the Lord that he wanted to build a temple. The prophet Nathan came and told David the Lord had said for him not to build the temple. This could have been disappointing for David, but Nathan went on to say, “. . . Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house” (2 Samuel 7:11). David wanted to build the Lord a house, and the Lord said in return that He would build David a house (heritage). As I read about David’s response of awe to God’s offer I was impressed by his deep humility and gratefulness to the Lord.

I then contemplated if the Lord, the God of creation, Who could give anything to me, promised me a godly heritage, what would the sincere response from my heart be? If God said that He would give me a line of godly children who would be strong, dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus until He returns would I have David’s response or would I desire wisdom, great riches, or fame?

I wonder how many dads today would consider it a great blessing if the Lord said He would give them a godly heritage. Is it one of the greatest desires of our hearts? It is easy to be distracted by the cares and needs of this world. We must provide for our families, and that can be all too consuming. But where do godly children fit in with our priorities?

I think we can examine our lives to see how important godly offspring is to us. How do we spend our time? We all need to work to provide for our families, but are we looking for opportunities to reduce our work time so we can spend more time with our families or is work a good excuse to be away from home? For most I believe it is far easier to go to work than it is to disciple our children, but raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is difficult and our high calling (Ephesians 6:4).

I know a man who “couldn’t” spend time with his family because of the demands of his job. We then observed him in two succeeding jobs, and there was little surprise when he put the same amount of hours into each one. I know that was the way I was with one of my jobs when we lived in Florida. I could have worked less, but I didn’t want to. My satisfaction was in my job, and that was my priority. I even received a brass bar, which was intended to look like gold, with my name engraved on it for outstanding performance. My brass bar is now a treasure of shame as I reflect back on how my family needed me desperately, but I chose my job over them. A godly heritage was not the priority I should have made it.

Even King David was not the father he should have been. He failed to execute justice with his family and lost sight of how important his example was to his children. Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, he couldn’t assume that just because he had a good relationship with the Lord that his children would all have the same kind of relationship with the Lord. Sadly David set an example that led to Solomon’s abominable sin. David had at least seven wives and ten concubines. Yet, in Deuteronomy 17:17 the king is commanded not to multiply wives unto himself because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. David wrongly desired other women when one wife would have been enough. He set a bad example for Solomon and led Solomon astray. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4).

If our desire is to raise men and women mighty in the Lord Jesus we must choose to invest our time in our children. One thing I have found out about men through the years is a man WILL do what is important to him. With the Lord, there are no excuses, only priorities. We will be held accountable for the decisions we make, regardless of the perceived obstacles we are facing. Raising faithful children will take time. Will we invest in our children?