“The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.” Isaiah 38:19
Where are the faithful fathers? Where can they be found? They can be found in church, on the little league ball fields, building sandcastles at the beach, and on their knees in prayer for their child’s future spouse. They camp in the woods, buy ice cream, go shopping; teach the Bible to middle school youth and coach high school athletes. They can be found in stable societies and in cultures that love Christ. Faithful fathers matter.
Faithful fathers are not a fantasy, but a reality rooted in the fear of the Lord and who care for their children. They are compelled by their heavenly Father to provide a home that nurtures, disciplines, accepts, and loves. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). They research and discover creative ways to win over their child’s heart for Christ.
Faithful fathers are friends with Jesus. They see Him as a model of unselfish service, generous giving, radical responsibility, and the selflessness to put the needs of others before His own needs. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Dedicated dads find strength to carry on from Christ’s affirmation and accolades. They father for the audience of their heavenly Father.
Lastly, faithful fathers lead their children to know, love, and obey their heavenly Father. This is your most vital role as a dad. Children learn from your life how to live, but they need to hear from your lips how to believe. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Tell them the scriptural stories of salvation, sin, forgiveness, and faith. Joseph’s perseverance, Esther’s courage, Moses’ leadership, David’s repentance, and Ruth’s encouragement are examples lived by role models for them to emulate. Ask God for the wisdom and grace to be a faithful father.
“After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22).
How does my heavenly Father love me? How does He want me to love my children?
A few years ago, I was teaching a Sunday School class through the book of 1 Corinthians. In it we learn of both Paul's love for this motley crew and his passion for their pursuit of Christ.
In chapter four he encourages them to think about the various marks of a spiritual father. At this point in time I think it would be good for us to consider these. Keep in mind that the list that Paul uses is defiantly not exhaustive, nor is it just for "spiritual" fathers. Us "regular" dads would be good to take to Paul's words of encouragement here.
A Regular Dad
Paul writes in verse 14, "I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as a my beloved children." He is urging them to move beyond the sin that they have become so comfortable with. How often do you seek a father who would be willing to speak truth into your life? Telling you to leave the sin behind? How often as a father do you do the same to the ones that you love?
As stated above, Paul calls this group of people his "beloved children." There is a genuine care here. There are times in my past where I would find it much easier to shun someone that has disappointed me. Paul's approach to discipline is to love them greatly. I am reminded that because we have been loved greatly, so we are called to love greatly.
Paul continues in verse 15, "though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers." Paul knows that there are a lot of people that are more than willing to give advise. Good advise doesn't do much for us, does it. We need a good teacher. A father can certainly be that for us.
Lives by Example
"I urge you, then, be imitators of me." What a verse. How bold of Paul to state something like this verse. At first glance it may look intimidating for us. We think that we would never be able to say something like that to someone else. Listen here to what Paul is saying; he is not saying that he is perfect and that we need to be perfect like him. That is the furthest thing from the truth. What Paul is saying is that he is a sinner, but regardless of his sin, he continues to find his life hidden with Christ. That statement is true for you and I, dear friend. When we know that, we can boldly say, "be imitators of me." Because we know that our lives are hidden in Christ - and that is where we have all the confidence we need.
In verse 21, Paul writes, "What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in spirit of gentleness?" Proverbs 13:24 says, "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Paul was not afraid of using a "rod" to bring discipline to his children in the church of Corinth. They needed it. To some extent, if Paul did not use it, he would showing them that he hates them. Often times in our lives, as fathers, it may be easier to not bring the "rod" to our children, but in doing so we are communicating hate. God disciplines those He loves and as fathers (spiritual or regular) we need to bring discipline. In some cases, it's a matter of love or hate.
“‘The LORD brought me [wisdom] forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old...Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence” (Proverbs 8:22, 30).
Wisdom predates the creation. Like Jesus, it was with God from the beginning. Wisdom is the Lord’s instrument of creativity and beauty. It stands by His side as a craftsman ever ready to create for the cause of Christ. Indeed, it is from heavenly inspired wisdom that we experience creative earthly results. Wisdom longs for you to look for better ways to complement your calling, by prayerfully engaging the Lord’s limitless resources.
The creative energy of wisdom does not sit still but seeks out other meaningful methods and models. If how you did something in the past is not effective in the present, put it to rest and watch the Holy Spirit reengineer the effort. What will it take for you to let go of control and be creative? The best people leave entrenched environments lacking creativity; however, wise is the leader who invites innovation.
“He [the Lord] has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze” (Exodus 35:31–32).
Furthermore, there is a joy and an anticipation that accompany creativity. You feel fulfilled and significant when you create a product or process that achieves excellent results. Wisdom at work creates a system that rewards creative thinking around relationships and results. Remain creative and live; lose creativity and die. Indeed, intense adversity invites lavish creativity; so be wise, and use hard times to harness ingenuity. Challenge team members to create compelling content rich in substance, affordable in price, and easily accessible.
Above all else, tap into the wisdom and creativity of Christ. Eternity explodes in colorful creativity that birthed the universe. Go to Jesus and seek His mind for new and imaginative thinking. Prayer gives you permission to invent and innovate. Unleash wisdom and experience, the technicolor creativity of Christ. Partner with your Creator, and by faith and wisdom create for the cause of Christ.
“O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions” (Psalm 104:24 NASB).
Prayer: What do I need to stop doing by faith, being more creative with a new and more affordable model?
With the kids out of school, they tend to sleep in a little longer and stay up a little later. The evenings are filled with a lot of "What can I do now?" Without a lot of programming available on network TV, many families have extra time to utilize the DVD player.
Here are a few movie trailers that you may find interesting. Some of these DVDs are available now at Family Christian and some will become available soon.
Filled with action-packed police drama, Courageous is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moving-making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the type of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.
October Baby offers viewers an enjoyable, entertaining, intensely human film about friends hitting the road together and finding more than they bargained for: adventure, romance, truth and the power to forgive. But, this film is even more than that—it tells the story of one young woman’s journey based on numerous stories of abortion survivors. October Baby honestly and evenhandedly invites audiences to explore their own views of life’s value and the importance of their choices.
Travel the Road tells the dramatic story of Tim Scott and Will Decker on an epic year and a half quest to preach the gospel to the end of the earth. From the forbidding Himalayas of Tibet to the sweltering jungles of Cambodia, every step of their real-life adventure is presented in stunning detail. There were no film crews or safety teams to help them along the way as the missionaries themselves captured every frame of footage. Travel the Road is an unscripted, inspiring journey through twenty-five countries that has motivated a generation to action and helped spur a modern day movement for overseas missions.
The follow-up to the Pure Flix hit movie, “The Encounter” increases the intensity and action as a group of damaged individuals face the life-changing decision of accepting Christ -invited by a man claiming to be Jesus Christ himself.
A retiring drug smuggler (MIANO), his drug-addicted wife and his ruthless bodyguard (DANIELS) find themselves trapped by a suspended DEA Special Agent (WHITE) at a Thai resort owned by a troubled former Wall Street investment banker (Hutton) and his wife, who mourn the loss of their only son in a devastating tsunami. It is an explosive mix of personalities. Violence looms, but a mysterious guest, claiming to be Jesus
Christ (MARCHIANO), arrives to offer each of them one final chance at redemption in this inspiring, thought-provoking thriller.
Doctors Paul and Kim Jordan are struggling to find peace in their lives after the tragic loss of their baby's life. Paul (C. Thomas Howell from The Amazing Spider Man, ET) persuades Kim to escape reality and flee to the exquisite islands of Southeast Asia. Paradise becomes a nightmare when he is kidnapped by human traffickers in need of a skilled doctor.
Faced with a fight for survival, Paul finds himself captive alongside the wealthy Malcolm Andrews (John Rhys-Davies from Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings). He quickly realizes there is no hope for his captors dying leader and is forced to examine his eternal fate. With life and death in the balance, Malcolm challenges Paul to stop running from God. Will Paul realize that trust in God is his only hope for escape and reunion with his wife?
What made America great? Find out in this fascinating documentary about liberty, religious freedom and the bedrock of our nation. Follow actor Kirk Cameron as he digs 400 years into our history, tracing the steps of the pilgrims and examining the beliefs that established our nation. What will it take to restore America to all the founding fathers dreamed it could be and secure a 'monumental' future for our children? Discover the true national treasure of America in Monumental.
For these and many other great DVD releases, check out our web page here.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
I struggle with self-reliance. I wrongly assume that unless I make things happen at work or home, it will not get done. Or, I falsely flatter myself that my ability to problem solve is the solution to the professional and personal issues I face. But in reality there are too many “I’s” in this equation. It is not about what I can do, but what Jesus has already done. He is the reliant One. The Lord longs for me to rest in Him, and allow Him to grow His fruit.
Self-reliance is a stumbling block when it short-circuits the Spirit’s work. Impatience takes matters into its own hands and misses out on seeing the power and glory of God at work. We can fire someone in the flesh or we can pray for the Lord to prepare the hearts of all parties, especially our own. We can hire someone in a hurry, or we can follow a process that protects emotions from compromising the work culture with a new employee with competing values. Self-reliance is stunted when there is submission to His authority.
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:24
It is good to be responsible and solve problems, but in a spirit of collaboration, not control. It is astute to plan ahead and make sure details are covered and executed, but with a servant spirit, not a condescending attitude. We are better off when we invite others into our thinking and our feelings of inadequacy. Wise are we, not to project an image of having it all together, rather to admit our weaknesses and confess our mistakes. Health issues, emotional pain, and spiritual emptiness will bring self-reliance to its knees.
Do you depend on the Holy Spirit to lead your life? Are you engrafted into the vine of Christ for your spiritual nourishment? Is God the Father the object of your praise and adoration? Where you focus is what fuels your faith and works. Wholeness comes to your heart when it’s reliant on the riches of God’s grace. Wealth in what counts most is the result of your commitment to Christ. Thus, spurn self-reliance and abide in His assurance.
“Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:8
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me away from self-reliance to total dependency on You.
If anyone knows about possibilities, it’s Mark Schultz. Whether selling out the famed Ryman Auditorium as an indie artist and youth leader, biking 3,500 miles across the U.S. to raise money for widows and orphans, or becoming a platinum-selling artist, award-winning songwriter and 14-time Dove Award nominee, Schultz has made the most of the many gifts God has given him.
All Things Are Possible
Now, with his much-anticipated new studio project, All Things Possible, Mark continues to create very personal songs that showcase his knack for giving voice to the emotions we can’t express on our own. Producers Seth Mosley (Newsboys) and Pete Kipley (MercyMe/Phil Wickham) make the most of this talented musician’s God-given gift for storytelling, making sure the music beautifully complements the spiritual tales he’s telling.
This isn’t just “the next Mark Schultz album,” though. From the first notes, it’s clear that Schultz doesn’t just have a new record label home, he also has a new energy and a fresh perspective after more than a decade in the music business. At the same time, he’s an artist who knows who he is. Songs of encouragement, stories of hurt and healing, and an ever-present reliance on God continue to be unshakeable cornerstones of any music Schultz makes.
While this album marks a new chapter, he’s still the same voice behind hits like “He’s My Son,” “He Will Carry Me” and “Letters from War.” Listening to All Things Possible is like rediscovering an old friend and finding him at his absolute best, anxious to share all that God’s been doing in his life. You won't want to miss it!
Through our partnership with author Boyd Bailey and his Wisdom Hunters daily devotional, we have an awesome opportunity to raise $10,000 for orphans and widows around the world.
How does it work?
1. You sign up for Boyd’s daily Wisdom Hunters email devotional.
2. They donate $1 to the James Fund (up to $10,000!)
3. Lives are changed. Just. Like. That.
Who is The James Fund?
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Family Christian to fulfill the mission of James 1:27 “…to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” They share the love of Jesus by:
• Providing adoption assistance to partner agencies
• Offering hands-on orphan and widow care
• Supporting initiatives that improve quality of life
• Encouraging the church to fulfill God’s commitments to orphans and widows.
Who is Boyd Bailey?
Boyd Bailey from Wisdom Hunters
In 2004, Boyd began emailing reflections from his devotional time to a small group of friends. Today that list of “friends” has grown to over 65,000! He is also the author of Seeking God in the Psalms, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God.
Let’s do this!
Click here to subscribe then recruit your friends to do the same. Working together we’ll reach 10,000 in no time!
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” John 16:12
The Holy Spirit holds back understanding until a disciple’s maturity can handle its ramifications. Too much information can confuse. Thus, through a tender process of gradual illumination, the Spirit of God shows sincere Jesus followers what they need to know and when they need to know it. This is why infant faith does not have the capacity to comprehend like seasoned faith. The Lord gives discernment to those He can trust.
For example, a 10 year old is not prepared to drive a car. Physically and emotionally they are not ready, nor have they practiced and applied their motor skills behind two tons of steel. It is deadly for them and others to give a pre-adolescent an automobile. Similarly, we are at the mercy of our Master Jesus, to give us what we need in His timing. We can sulk in impatience or we can serve in anticipation. But, preparation precedes illumination.
“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” 1 Corinthians 3:2
What lesson is the Lord trying to teach you? Is it grace in a relationship? Is it patience in dealing with a problem? Or, is it trust in Him over a circumstance out of your control? It is futile to move forward without first trusting Him and facing the difficulty. If you attempt to avoid the adversity, He will have a similar lesson for you to learn later. Jesus wants you to grow, and to trust Him before He gives you insight into the next opportunity.
Obedience and trust in Him today is the ticket to becoming more trustworthy to receive additional truth from the Holy Spirit tomorrow. Fear and impatience try to bypass faithfulness in the little things, but these are the bricks of belief that build a bold faith. Whatever you are facing, face it with faith in Jesus to give you just what you need now.
Lastly, look to the Lord’s example of lovingly leading others through a process of discovery. Bear with them, so they can bear the truth when it is appropriate for you to tell. Be a patient teacher in your relationships, by not overwhelming them with so much information and responsibility that they give up. The wise wait to share wisdom until another is ready to receive wisdom. Understanding comes to those who remain faithful.
“With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.” Mark 4:33
Prayer: Heavenly Father, what lesson do I need to learn before you show me the next step?
I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:6
God has been good to us. His goodness is liberal and long lasting. His goodness is far- reaching. It extends to the embarrassment of failure and to the pride of success. His goodness is good. If we could eat the goodness of God it would not only satisfy our hunger, but fill us with trusting delight. Because He is God, He is good. There is nothing that soils the character of our Savior. The salvation we have in Jesus is good. The comfort we have in Christ is good. The wisdom we gain by applying God’s principles is good. His answers to prayer are good. His forgiveness is good. His grace is good. Heaven is good. God is so good to us. We can’t help but exclaim His goodness in praise and adoration. We sing to the Lord because His goodness compels us. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
Gratitude gushes forth from a heart that has been tamed by the goodness of God. God has been good to us. The recognition of His goodness governs our gratitude. To the extent we remember how good God is to us, is the degree of appreciation we apply in our everyday life. His goodness to us draws out gratitude in spades. His goodness invites gratitude. Moreover, He extends His goodness to us personally. It is not just one gigantic, corporate application of goodness to a nation that allows freedom of religion and free enterprise. He applies His goodness to our individual situations, as a mother who prepares a delicious meal for her family. Perhaps He has given us a good job, good health, good sense, a good house, and a good family. It is the grace of God that allows us to experience His goodness. When we linger under the cross of Christ, we encounter the shade of His goodness. As the song says, “God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He’s so good to me.”
Therefore, when we are under the bright light of God’s goodness, any influence of bad is blinded. Gratitude and a bad attitude cannot coexist. Take the time to list the good things the Lord has done for you. Keep your list close by so when you are tempted to complain over trivial issues like traffic, another’s tardiness, waiting in line, or not getting what you want, you can apply gratitude. People worldwide who love Jesus and make one dollar a day do this all the time. They do not allow their circumstances or financial limitations determine their gratitude. They are grateful because of the goodness of God that governs their attitude and actions. Passion may possess an unbridled body, but patience controls a grateful soul. His goodness beckons us to be good.
Goodness gives off goodness. It rubs off on others. God’s goodness infects us so that we can infect others. We are “carriers” for Christ. We are good to others because God has been good to us. Our goodness does not discriminate. We are good to others even when they are undeserving. This is the nature of God’s goodness. Be patient with the one who doesn’t deserve patience. Love the one who’s done nothing to deserve love. Forgive the one who doesn’t deserve forgiveness. This is good. This is what Jesus would do. Receive God’s goodness. Apply it gratefully. He has been so extremely good to us.
Taken from Reading #9 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
Post/Tweet this today: God’s goodness invites our gratitude. #goodness #gratitude
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or pot holes. But the path of a personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.
Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. This however, is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of my life, in place of the “Clean up my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken life, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.
Intimacy with God through brokenness is not unlike what you experience in relationships with people. Hardship and brokenness are meant to allow you to grow closer to other people. A crisis will either drive you further away from someone or closer together. God’s best for you is to make you relationally stronger with one another during a season of brokenness. But brokenness is not a one-time phenomenon. It is an ongoing part of the committed Christian’s life. It’s not as if you swallow this hard pill one time and are set for a lifetime of intimacy with God. Once God has marked you with brokenness, you are positioned for Him to build on this firm foundation. He will still use mini brokenness’s throughout your life. These regular occurrences are bricks of brokenness’s connected together by the cement of his grace.
Over time, a life of brokenness’s becomes a stalwart structure of sanctification designed by God. Your brokenness is meant for your betterment. Indeed, you are much the better when you experience a defining moment of brokenness. It deserves your embrace, rather than your rejection. If you fight brokenness, you delay God’s best. You circumvent intimacy with Christ if you bypass brokenness. Focus your energies on changing yourself, not your circumstances. Christ will handle the circumstances while you adjust your attitude. A life of brokenness’s is an invitation to intimacy. His closeness and salvation are worth this time of brokenness. Don’t buck brokenness. Instead, rely on Him and get to know Him at this deeper level of intimacy. You are much better broken because brokenness leads to intimacy with God.
Taken from June 8th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
Post/Tweet this today: Bricks of brokenness connected together by the cement of God’s grace. #brokenness #grace