Welcome Fathers -

Featured

It seems like no matter where you go in the world, families are in crisis.  When I ponder this, as a father, I realize it is my responsibility to allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform me so that I, in turn, will be the father that God has called me to be. The Bible is not a handbook for parenting.  Scripture is truth that leads me to Jesus and Jesus, in turn, transforms me by his  Holy Spirit. Therefore, as a “son of God” and “heir of the King” I am able, through the power of Christ, to be transformed.

Starting January 1 – Legacy Devotional will send a daily post to encourage and help equip you as a father.  I wrote each entry with you in mind.  Fathers need a lot of encouragement!  Through this blog, you can open the Bible daily and receive strength and direction as you build a legacy of faithfulness in your own homes.

I have linked to The Message Bible as a daily devotional. Once you’ve read the designated chapter along with the Legacy blog-post for the day, make some notes of your own and spend time asking the Lord to transform you through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope you subscribe and journey with me in building a lasting heritage of faith!

~Tim

Protecting Your Family

Sep 26 (10)

God spoke to Joseph on a number of occasions with directives to move along and protect his family.  Joseph learned to tune his ear to the Lord and be led by the dreams he received.  One of the major roles we have as fathers is to protect our children and wives from the enemy.  Once again, television and movies have painted a stereotype of manhood that depicts weak fathers wanting to have a beer, watch a football game, and escape from the one of the main tasks of fathering – the protector!  I like a good football game as much as the next guy, but when football or anything else takes priority over protecting my family I’ve missed the point.

I remember when I was a kid thinking my dad was probably the strongest man in the world.  When he tightened a nut down you could bet you would need a cheater pipe to take it off.  Once we were riding along in the truck and a man pulled up beside us and starting threatening us.  My dad reached over to the glove box and opened it up to expose a pistol.  The guy sped off quickly and never bothered us again.  I am not sure why dad had the gun in the car and if the gun worked or was real, but I do recall feeling very protected and knowing my dad would protect me and keep me from any harm.  There was another incident when dad and I went into a little convenience store near the lake area where we had a cabin.  The guy inside was using some foul language and I said something to him indicating he shouldn’t talk that way.  The man said something like, “I can talk anyway I want this is my store.”  To that my dad told the man he wouldn’t talk like that around his son anymore and if he did, we would take our business elsewhere.  My chest stuck out a little further and a swell of pride came over me when my dad backed me up.  I knew if that man tried to do or say anything, my dad would be on him so quick he wouldn’t know what hit him.  Not all dad’s are going to respond like my dad did, but all dad’s should respond bravely in situations where our children and wives are in potential danger.

From the foundations of the earth, God put in men a need to subdue, rule, and reign the earth.  Our response to danger should be to protect, not to flee.  Your children and wife should have the sense that no matter what happens, dad will protect them.  Make sure your home is secure and teach your girls how to protect themselves.  I sent an article to my girls once that described methods of escape if someone ever attempted to harm them.  I told them if someone ever asked for their wallet, to throw the wallet as far as they could and start running.  Our daughters look to us for protection and if we don’t provide it, someone will come along and be a protector for them that we might not approve of.

The other side of the coin as a protector is protecting our family in the spirit.  If we sense the enemy is out to do damage (and he will) we should be the first ones to pray and do battle on behalf of our wife and children.  Spiritual warfare is not for the faint of heart.  Women are mostly thought of as the “prayer warriors,” but when it comes to protecting the family, fathers should be way out in front here.  If we sense the devil is trying to mess with one of our kids, we should move into action quickly and offensively push back the enemy.  We must tune our ears and senses like Joseph did to the Father and be sensitive to the spirit of the Lord.

~Tim

Leading Your Children to Christ

Love Stroll

The genealogy of Jesus is summarized in our reading today.  “There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and yet another fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Christ” (Matt. 1:17).  The list of Godly leaders is mixed with misfits and those who were not well known, like Obed.  This illustrates for all of us that getting in as one of God’s covenant people simply requires believing.  In other words, Obed was a man who came across the temple because it was left near his home.  Obed must have trusted and believed God’s presence was real and somehow reached out in faith to trust Jehovah.  Rahab was a prostitute, yet when the spies came calling, she pointed out that she believed.  The bottom line for any of us to come to faith in Christ is not our background, it’s our belief.  You and I can’t do anything to earn God’s love.  Just believing is simply too easy and we often miss it.

As a father, our greatest privilege is introducing our children to Jesus Christ.  We can tell them the stories of who Christ is and of his death and resurrection, but our children must believe that the story is true and appropriate his death for them.  I’ve seen a lot of folks try to conform their kids to Christianity but there is no power or true heart expression.  We can’t make our kids Christians.  We can train them to have good character and memorize lots of scriptures, but it is believing in God and his salvation that transforms them.  God help us not to settle for well-behaved kids that look like Christians but never “believe.”

Tell your children your testimony of how you believed and expose them to other people’s stories.  Watch and look for their spirit’s readiness to believe and when they do, celebrate this revelation.  Don’t allow them to believe just because you believe nor obtain some intellectual assent to God.  When they admit they are a sinner, repent for their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ then they become Christians.  You have the opportunity as a dad to lead them to the precious place of knowing Jesus.  You want their names to appear with the host of other saints who have given their lives to Christ.  Preach the gospel to them consistently with your words and your life.  You have the greatest privilege in the world- leading your children to Christ.  It’s a grand day when your child says yes to Jesus!

While coming to faith in Christ is important, discipling your children is just as important.  The great commission says “go ye therefore and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19).  You are the primary discipler of your children.   Don’t give up the role of the chief discipler to anyone else.  No youth pastor, club leader, or school teacher knows your child like you do and can customize his/her discipleship like you can.  Of course, you need a Christian community around you that can assist you in discipling your children, but God has designed the family so that parents are the primary disciplers.  If you are a single father, stay focused on discipling your children.  The rewards are great and the grace of God will give you strength to carry out your responsibility in discipling your children.

~Tim

Trusting God

in god we trust

God tested David and David failed the test.  It may seem like an unkind test for a loving God, but God knew David and knew what it would take to wake him out of any spiritual slump he was in.  David had an opportunity to change his mind when the prophet spoke up, but he carried on with the census anyway and ultimately he had to repent to God for his actions.  What was so wrong with a census anyway?  Anytime people of God start trusting in anything but God, it is nauseating to our Creator.  Jesus’ final work on the cross should lead us as believers to dependence on Christ for anything and everything we need.  David witnessed God bring victory after victory for God’s people.  Remember Gideon?  God would not allow him to fight the Midianites with an army of 32,000 and reduced the fighting men to 300.  Why?  So that the people would not say “look what our armies have done,” but instead would say “look what God has done.”

I can feel my chest rise and my head get a little big when people start complimenting me about my kids.  Like any father, I enjoy hearing how my kids are being a blessing to other people.  When they walk away I am tempted to think, “Well, we’ve done a pretty good job raising our kids.”  What am I doing when I think this?  I am assuming glory that only belongs to God.  I am putting trust in myself and not God.  Don’t get me wrong, we should receive compliments, but we must not place trust in anything but God.  Believe me, your children need to know this.  If you don’t have teens yet, you will understand when you have teens how important it is to train/teach them not to trust in anything but the Lord.  The pressure is so intense on our teens to trust in anything but God.  Good looks, cars, homes, vacation spots, where they attend school, friends – all of these are areas the enemy wants your kids to trust in.  Over and over in the Old Testament we read about the importance of placing trust in God alone.  One of my favorite verses in Psalm is “some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Ps 20:7)

Do your kids see you trusting in things other than God?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you trust in.  I know my tendency is to trust in my employment as my source of income.  Consequently, the Lord has placed me vocationally as a minister in situations where I often was not sure where my next paycheck was coming from.  While I was nervous thinking about how I was going to provide for my family, God has always come through.  He wants me to place zero trust in my paycheck and 100% trust in Him.  When we trust in Him, we get to see God do great things and our kids witness God’s power.  This gives them the hope to trust God in their generation.  If our kids keep their trust focused only on God, then their children will learn this same principle and so on.  Since the beginning of time, God has desired that his people trust in Him alone.  Let us be men of God who put all of our hope and trust in God and raise children who will do the same!

~Tim

Living Dangerously

Shannon Lake hike

In our reading today, we get an idea of the bravery and courage of David’s mighty men.  Several days ago I mentioned the idea that all men aren’t hunters and and that our definition of manhood is too closely wrapped up in modern-day “machoism.”  Today I want to balance the sensitivity of manhood with the bravery and courage of manhood.  David’s men were courageous and dangerous…extremely dangerous.  When it comes to raising sons, any father would without a doubt like their son to be compared to one of David’s mighty men.  Imagine killing 800 men in one day with a sword! Now that is a warrior!  How do we raise up sons that are dangerous?

Fathers play a vital role in calling sons into battle, which means our sons can’t stay under momma’s apron.  You get the picture; company comes over and the little guy runs and hides himself in mom’s dress or apron.  If we allow that little boy to be over nurtured by mom, then most likely when he is approaching his teen years, he will not be courageous.  We have too many young men walking around weak and soft because dads have given themselves to their work and neglected spending time with their boys.  Young boys need dad around to wrestle with, to play basketball with and to throw rocks in the creek with.  The first ingredient to raising courageous boys is to spend time with them.  You can’t expect them to learn courage from the television and from spending all their time with mom.  If your wife is clinging to your boys, talk to her and step up in your responsibility to spend time with them.  The other day I took my five oldest boys who were still at home to the gym.  We lifted weights, ran around the track, and played basketball.  We all piled in the truck sweaty and tired when we were done, but we had great man time.  If you live in the city, get your boys out in the country from time to time.  No you don’t have to hunt, but it would be good for them to learn how to navigate a river, swim in a stream, climb a boulder, or something else that gets them out of their comfort zone.  Take them walking and look for spiders and snakes.  If you don’t like to hunt, consider going with someone who does and let your boys experience the thrill of bagging their own food.  Too many adventure shows and internet games will give your boys a false sense of courage as opposed to the real sense of courage that comes with living a life of adventure.

If your boys see you take risks, then they will inevitably take risks as well.  If you allow them to live “safe” and “easy” lives, they will grow up weak.  If they are mowing the lawn and say they are too tired to finish, challenge them to complete the task.  Volunteer to serve a widow; take your boys with you and push them to serve with excellence.  There are many ways to spend time with your boys, but remember some of this time should involve risks and danger.  If you don’t cultivate risk in a safe environment, your boys will tend to look in the wrong places for danger and excitement.

Have a dangerous day!

~Tim

Gratitude

I Thank God For You

David is coming to the end of his days and reflecting in prayer about his journey.  One confession he makes is, “I haven’t taken God for granted.  Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick.”  As dads we should also make this our plea. David was grateful for the many ways God spared his life and looked out for him.  David knew that without God, he didn’t have a chance.  The realization that is God at work in our life and the gratitude we have towards this realization is monumental in training children.

Recently, I was with a great Christian leader who challenged one of the young men at our lunch to express one thing each day to his children that he appreciated about them.  Everyone around the table was convicted, because honestly, most of us are pretty weak in the area of expressing gratitude.  The young man took the challenge and has attempted to stop each day and realize the great things God is doing in his family and express his gratitude on a regular basis.  I think that is a great challenge for all of us as fathers.  If you are like me, you can always point out ways your children can improve (for example: do the chores better, sit up straighter, have better manners or study harder), but how often do we stop and express our gratitude to God and to our kids?

One of the best ways to learn to express gratitude to our kids is to first learn to see God at work in our family.  David recognized God’s hand of protection and provision.  If we will stop long enough and ask God, “how are you working in my family?” we will probably be overwhelmed with the many various ways God is working.  For instance, my wife and I just returned from a trip away from the children for four days.  God protected our kids while we were gone, he gave us safe travel, and kept everyone fed and happy.  Do you know how much coordination and organization goes in to caring for 10 kids at home with mom and dad gone?  God performed all sorts of wonderful acts while we were out to protect our kids and give them a profitable time.  If I just jumped back into work mode, not stopping to reflect on God’s goodness and to see how He worked on our behalf while Debi and I were gone, I wouldn’t have seen this.

Fathers, I encourage you to take time to reflect and look at the many ways God is moving in your family.  If you are having problems pinpointing ways God is working in your family, be still and quiet and ask the Lord to show you how/what he is doing in your family.  If your kids are fed and have a roof over their heads, then you have many reasons to bless the Lord and thank Him.  If your kids respond to you respectfully and listen to you, then give God praise.  There is usually more ways than we can count that God is demonstrating his love to us and to our children.

~Tim

Discernment

Discernment is a powerful tool God uses to draw us to himself.  David discerned that the famine in the land was God’s way of judging Israel.  David inquired of the Lord and he was given insight on what to do so that the famine would be lifted.

God didn’t create life to be pain-free.  Suffering is a part of our existence.  Nevertheless, if we are suffering, we should go to God for insight and direction.  Remember the Apostle Paul?  He had a “thorn in the flesh” and he sought God on several occasions asking God to remove it.  When God didn’t remove the thorn, he discerned that God was working through this challenge to bring himself glory.  Job is a great example of someone who suffered greatly; yet, he cried out to God for understanding and God gave him discernment to see how he was working in the midst of the trials.

Teach your kids the proper response to suffering.  God is always developing a bigger picture that is often hard for us to see.  When my dad divorced my mom and moved out of our house, I was devastated.  I was a young boy and my dad was like superman to me.  I didn’t understand and was confused about why he would leave us.  Since the divorce, my dad and I have reconciled and have a good relationship and he is repentant for ever divorcing my mom.  Some years later as an adult, God gave me discernment to understand how not having a dad around all the time drove me to Father God much more than many of my other friends.  It’s as if God said,“Since you don’t have an earthly dad in your home, I am going to show you how to relate to me as a Father.”  Wow, that was an awesome revelation!

In addition to this revelation, God gave me surrogate fathers that taught me about fathering, how to study the bible, how to work on my car and so forth.  While I missed a close relationship with my dad, I had the joy and the benefit of other dads reaching out to me.  I would never wish my situation on any young boy, but through God’s grace I was able to reap good benefits from the situation.  Suffering and trials should cause us to pursue the Lord.  If your child is sick with a simple fever or a life long handicap, turn to the Lord and cry out to him for discernment.  God may reveal the reason for the situation or he may not.

The point is, that in pursuing God you discover who God is, his character and his greatness.  That is why we read the Bible- not to just learn a bunch of history about God dealing with his people, but to know God, the author of the Bible.  Suffering should lead us to the Creator for answers, but also for comfort and grace.  Sometimes our suffering is due to our own ignorance.  I have prayed for many people desiring God to heal their body.  There have been a few times I stopped praying for them and asked them about their eating habits.  Could it be that someone who is suffering in their physical body might be suffering because of poor habits (smoking, eating junk food, lack of exercise etc..)?  Of course this is not always the truth, but discernment is needed to understand the root issues.  Don’t let your kids grow up thinking suffering is always a bad or wrong thing.  Suffering can be beneficial to your soul if you discern the Lord’s will in the midst of the suffering.

~Tim

Resisting the Enemy

Be More Human / Mehr Mensch Sein

I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up fighting.  I only fought with my brother and that was usually when I made him mad. As a kid, I don’t remember getting involved in fights at school.  Maybe I was a chicken or maybe I just wanted peace more than war.  There is a lot of violence in the Old Testament.  Remember, God desired Israel to be an influence in the world.  When Israel or her kings resisted God’s plan then wars, killings, and death resulted.  We are told in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:12) that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, etc.  In other words, David and his men faced natural battles in the Old Testament era, but we face spiritual battles in the church age today.  The devil is seeking to destroy Christians and we must have the same fortitude that David did in resisting his enemies.  For us living on this side of the cross, the key is to remember that the devil is a defeated foe.  Of course Satan is still around, but there is no longer a question of whether or not he will overcome Jesus.  That issue was settled at the cross.  As Christians, we must enforce the victory that Jesus won at the cross.  In fact, every time we resist the devil we reinforce the victory of Jesus.  Jesus conquered death and the grave and anytime Satan wants to mess with us, he has to go through Jesus.  God allows Satan to deceive and cause trouble for us (look at Job in the Old Testament), but we have the ability to resist and see things from God’s perspective.

I grew up scared of Satan.  In my mind Satan was still struggling for his piece of the kingdom and the more victories he stacked up, the greater his chance.  However, the bible is clear about Satan’s defeat; in fact we are told that God’s enemies will be made his footstool.  So, how does all this translate to parenting?  Teach your kids to have the right perspective about our enemy, Satan.  Don’t let your children grow up misunderstanding who the devil is and what his role is.  Dig into the scriptures and study for yourself what the bible says about the defeated foe.  Train your children to resist the devil.  The greatest tool Satan has is deception.  If he can get your child to believe a lie, they may struggle with this lie for many years.  The way you resist the devil in this area is to teach your children the truth.  If they know the truth, they will recognize lies and deception when the enemy comes to whisper these things in their ears.  For instance, teach your children that God knitted them in their mother’s womb and that they are fearfully and wonderfully made so that when Satan tries to whisper lies to them about their physical features, they can resist the lies because they know the truth.  In the Old Testament, God’s people had to have battle plans to defeat the enemy; likewise, we must train our children to resist the devil and if they resist the devil he will flee.

~Tim