The Verse for 11/11/11

This past Saturday (November 12) the Men of Steel had a men’s breakfast, about 25 guys came to fellowship and eat together. We discussed the Manger Build and make plans. I was also able to share a verse that I read in November 11, 2011.

So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you…” (1 Kings 11:11)

I see a challenge and a warning in this verse: On the positive side, God was speaking to Solomon even though he was not being obedient (that tells me there is hope for us, since none of us is perfect).

Look at what God says: there is a principle at work here. All Solomon had to do was stay faithful, but he was disobedient instead. The consequence was that the kingdom would be taken away from him and split in two.

As men, husbands and fathers, it is important to allow this verse to permeate our soul. It causes me to ask the question of myself: have I been obedient to what God has called me to do, as a husband and a father? The Courageous movie challenged us to resolve to be all that God wants for us to be, and that “good enough” is not acceptable.

The consequence? Could it be that our disobedience and failure to lead our families will bring about the destruction of our families? Our own little kingdom can be torn away simply because we choose to walk in disobedience. Let’s avoid this unhappy ending by walking in obedience. Be the men of God that He desires for us to be, and our wives and kids deserve. We are in this together. We do not have to walk this path alone.

Stay tuned for a re-launching of the Men of Steel.

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The Meaning of DAD

There’s an old commercial when I was a kids that begged the question, “How do you spell relief?” Take-offs and jokes were a part of most every area in life. I ask today how you would spell “dad,” and what that really means:

D-Depend on God!
Start each day asking God to give you the wisdom and strength to be the best dad you can be. Never sacrifice your family on the altar of work. Yes, God is first in your life, but your family is second, and work is at best, third. This also means stop looking at your phone during dinner or e-mailing while watching TV. My daughter knows when I’m engaged and when I’m just in the room.

A-Always Love Them!
Give your kids a hug and tell them you love them each and every day. No matter what age, hug them and talk to them. Stephen is 24 now and we still hug. Don’t replace authentic love with texting and e-mails. Use your voice and use your arms to convey love. It will reassure them that they are your priority. If you don’t know the love languages of your kids, learn them so you can connect with them through the way God wired them.

D-Devote Your Time!
Kids spell love T-I-M-E, so make time to be with them. While I’m not perfect in this, find a way to give your kids the best part of your day (instead of the leftovers). I like getting up with Bethany before the day gets started, even though she is not a morning person. The hope is that she will remember that I was there each day getting her breakfast and wishing her well as she goes off to school. Don’t wait until the end of the day. It is too easy to slip into busyness and allow other things to suck your day away. Be deliberate in finding ways to give your kids your time.

I hope these reminders help strengthen your relationship with God and your kids. God gives us the gift of fatherhood (Psalm 127:3-5) and we need to fight to be the best we can be.

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The Bible and Fatherhood

The greatest commandment in Scripture is this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). If we go back a couple of verses we read,

“So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life” (Deuteronomy 6:2).

Following Deuteronomy 6:5, we read,

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Israelite history tells us that the father was to be diligent in instructing his children in the ways, works and words of the Lord for their own spiritual development and well-being. The father who was obedient to the commands of Scripture took this task seriously.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

To “train” means the first instruction that a father and mother give to a child, (we would call this, early education). This training is designed to make clear to children the kind of life they are intended to live.

Paul gives a summary of instructions to the father, in both a negative and positive way.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”(Ephesians 6:4).

The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children by severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or incite.” This is done by a wrong spirit and wrong methods—severity, unreasonableness, sternness, harshness, cruel demands, needless restrictions, and selfish insistence upon dictatorial authority. This provocation will produce adverse reactions, like reducing their desire for holiness, or obedience, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. Wise parents seek to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness.

The positive part of Ephesians 6:4 is expressed in a comprehensive direction—educate them, bring them up, develop their conduct in all of life by the instruction and admonition of the Lord. This is the whole process of educating and discipline. The word “admonition” carries the idea of reminding the child of faults (constructively) and duties (responsibilities).

The Christian father is really an instrument in God’s hand. The human father should never present himself as the ultimate authority in determining truth and duty. It is only by making God the teacher and ruler on whose authority everything is done that the goals of instruction can best be attained.

Instruction comes from the Lord, and is learned through Christian experience, and is administered by the parents—primarily the father. Christian discipline and instruction are needed to enable children to grow up with reverence for God, respect for parental authority, knowledge of Christian standards, and habits of self-control.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

A father’s first responsibility is to acquaint his children with the Bible. The father is charged to be faithful in role modeling what children learn about God, which will put them in good standing throughout their lives.

Application: Dads, it is so important for you to lead your children in the way they should go.

  1. While no dad is perfect, the goal for all of us is to take this leadership responsibility to heart. Do not abdicate this task to the mother. While she is a partner is the bringing up of your children, the father has tremendous influence over children.
  2. Is there a need for growth in the area of fatherhood? Study up on our heavenly Father and seek to conform to that image.
  3. Do you need to ask forgiveness for any failure in this area? talk about the need in your family and your desire to be the father your kids need.
  4. Pray and seek God together as a couple. Forgive each other. Encourage one another. You need to be the greatest advocate of your wife and she needs to be your biggest fan and supporter. A man needs respect, so commit now that you will earn it.

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