En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘kind’

A Living and Holy Sacrifice! By Guest Blogger Dave Stallings

Posted by Scott on March 12, 2008

by Dave Stallings

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2).

It’s 5:15 in the morning and I am still awake from the pain in my back from the cancer lesion that was removed from my back yesterday morning. They said that I would experience some pain after the local numbing medication wore off and they were right. I am, indeed, wide awake, and unable to sleep from that experience, however it seems to be yet another opportunity in my life to allow God to be glorified. I cannot, on my own, endure the difficulties that go on in my defective “tent” so I sit here at my laptop, attempting to present my body, as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God…”  and allow Him to minister to my needs even now at another inconvenient time. And as the scripture says, Paul reminds us to NOT be “…conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds”.

I have seen that over the past 3 years now, nothing outshines God in my life, nothing is more important and nothing is capable of “calming” my mind and spirit the way that just thinking of God is able to do. So I think of God a lot in these times. “…being transformed” and “…renewing my mind” makes me think that I am, daily getting closer to God and farther from the securities (or perhaps insecurities) of this world. I seem to be reminded every day, by something that this world is not our home and I am simply just passing through. This is the thought process that helps us shake off the fears of life and know that our God is preparing us for an eternity in the presence of His Glory. Makes me wonder how it is that others can endure some of life’s hardships without His Spirit residing in them.

The passage of scripture goes on to say “…so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT.” It is words from God like that which take me all the way back to the beginning when God created this world for us and He said, upon completion of each event that “it was good” (Genesis 1). Can you look at a “thorn in your flesh” this morning and see that it is good? If you can, then perhaps you are being transformed and renewed in mind and spirit by the only force that can give you true peace. After all, isn’t true peace what we are all looking for in this life? Paul says earlier in Romans that he is “…not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Ro. 1:16). Are you listening close enough to God to have the power to be transformed and renewed, in spite of the difficult and sometimes, near impossible situations in this life? Next Thursday I get the opportunity to have another PET SCAN for the Lymphoma and I really expect the cancer to still be sleeping. I believe that God has done that for me. He can do that for you, too. Take the time, each day to be transformed and renewed, and know that God is the only tool you need.

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix , Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma almost three years ago now and his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”…. His personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhut.org/ and he can be reached by email at mailto:dstallings2@qwest.net
.

www.nowwhut.org

www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com

dstallings2@qwest.net

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The Good Samaritan! by guest blogger David Stallings

Posted by Scott on January 14, 2008

The Good Samaritan

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho , and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.” Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:30-37

This popular parable emphasizes the meaning of neighborliness and the importance of true Christian compassion. Responding to a lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?”,   Jesus makes it clear that any human being in need is our neighbor. By casting one of the Samaritans (men much despised by the Jews) in the role of the compassionate neighbor, Jesus challenges His audience. He seems to be saying: If a Samaritan, whom you consider an outcast, will rescue a Jew in trouble, what a reflection it is on you and your religion if, in indifference, you pass by those in need.

What side of the street are you walking on these days?

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix , Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, Who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma two and a half years ago..his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”….his blog is http://www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com/, his personal testimony can be read at http://www.nowwhataz.org/ and he can be reached by email at mailto:dstallings2@qwest.net.

-Scott Bailey 2008

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Men Delivered From Manifold Troubles!

Posted by Scott on December 13, 2007

Men delivered from Manifold TroublesMy bible gives a sub-title to Psalm 107 and it reads: The Lord Delivers Men from manifold Troubles. Listen to what it says in PS. 107:23-31 “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep.  For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery. They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; So, He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!”

Most of you have read my wife’s email concerning my liver condition and what “appears” to be NEXT for us physically. And I, not unlike my wife, was thinking that “just two more sessions of chemo” then we get a break; then the liver function tests seem to want to prove different. So many of you out there are experiencing similar situations. You are tossed to and fro, like a little life raft out on the magnificent ocean of life. You stagger around as if “drunken” and still your feet remain “steadfast” to the deck of the boat of your life. One wave after another and you continue to get up, dust yourself off, and continue on the mission that God has chosen for you.

Well, nothing has changed here in our lives. We get up, thank God for His grace, and continue on in the direction He has sent us. For my liver function to go from 100k to 1.62 million is very dramatic in man’s eyes; “But God“! Up to and including today, God has provided me with a ministry of such tremendous magnitude and there is nothing that can stop it now. Psalms 46:10 says: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth“. That helps to remind me that NONE of this is “for me”. Be still and know that I am God. I’m here and I’m working it out. Just believe in Me and see the Glory of God.

Are you standing in the boat tonight, swaying to and fro from the treacherous winds of your life, not knowing where to place your next step. Anchor Deep. Stand Still. Remember that He is God! And let Him have His way with your life. You’ll be at more peace when you do. You wonder, “How can you know for sure, Dave”? Well, all I can say is “I’m standing in the boat”!

Be at peace. 

About the Author
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Dave Stallings lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife of 36 years, Barbara, Who also suffers a serious chronic illness, and their dog, Captain Jack…along with their kids and grand kids ! Dave is a semi-retired pastor and loves to blog on his personal web page since being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma two and a half years ago..his motto is “It is what it is and God is not surprised”….his blog is
www.nowwhataz.blogspot.com, his personal testimony can be read at www.nowwhataz.org and he can be reached by email at dstallings2@qwest.net

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Conversion to Christ: The Making of a Christian Hedonist!

Posted by Scott on October 20, 2007

Conversion to Christ: The Making of a Christian Hedonist


By John Piper September 18, 1983


Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Last week we saw that the infinite and overflowing happiness of God is the foundation of Christian Hedonism. God is happy because he takes perfect pleasure in the excellence of his own glory, especially as it is reflected in his divine Son. God is happy because he is sovereign and therefore can overcome every obstacle to his joy. And God’s happiness is the foundation of Christian Hedonism because it spills over in mercy to us. When God calls men and women to himself, it is not out of a deficiency that he needs to fill but out of fullness that he loves to share. We concluded last week by saying that not everyone has an eternal share in God’s joy, because there is a condition that must be met. The condition is that we obey the command: Delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). But many people take more delight in riches and revenge and recreation than they do in God. And so they have no share in God’s saving mercy; they are lost. What they need is conversion to Christ—which is nothing more than the making of a Christian Hedonist. That’s what I want to talk about this morning.

Someone may ask, “If our aim is conversion, why can’t we just say, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved’? Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism?” It’s a good question. Here’s my answer. We live in a superficially Christianized society where thousands of lost people think they do believe in Jesus. In most of my witnessing to unbelievers and nominal Christians, the command, “Believe in Jesus and you shall be saved,” is virtually meaningless. Drunks on the street say they do. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they do. Elderly people who haven’t sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they do. Every stripe of world-loving church attendees say they do. My responsibility as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher of the church is not just to repeat precious biblical sentences, but to speak the truth of those sentences in a way that will prick the conscience of the hearer and help you feel your need for Christ. What I am trying to do is take a neglected and essential teaching of Scripture and make it as pointed as I can in the hope that some hearts will be stabbed broad awake. And therefore I say, when a person is converted to Jesus Christ, that person is made into a Christian Hedonist. Unless a man be born again into a Christian Hedonist, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That’s what I want to try to show from Scripture.

Created by God

Before we can focus on conversion, we need to review the great truths about reality that make conversion necessary. The first truth we have to face as human beings is that God is our Creator to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude for all we have. The best evidence for this is in your own heart and life. Why is it that the judicial sentiment of your own heart automatically passes judgment on a person who snubs you when you have done him a favor? We automatically hold a person guilty who fails to have any gratitude to someone who has shown him great kindness. Why? You know it would be a totally unsatisfying answer to say: I feel that way merely because I got spanked as a child for not saying thank you. We don’t let people off the hook that easily. The quickness with which our hearts judge inconsiderate people bears witness to our true belief: ingrates are guilty!

The real reason for why our hearts respond this way is that we are created in God’s image. Your judicial sentiment, which automatically holds me guilty if I ignore you after you’ve saved my child from drowning, is the voice of God in you. An aspect of the image of God in you is that you involuntarily hold people accountable for ingratitude. Therefore, you know in your heart that there is a God to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude. It would be utterly hypocritical to think that God expects any less gratitude for his gifts than you do for yours. “O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). Therefore, if you will simply own up to the moral standards which you automatically make on your neighbor, you will not be able to escape the fact that the law of God is written on your heart and it says: a creature owes his Creator the affection of gratitude in proportion to his dependence and God’s goodness.

Falling Short in Sin

And that leads to the second great truth which human beings must face: we have not felt, nor do we now, nor will we feel tomorrow the depth and intensity and consistency of gratitude to God which we owe him as our Creator. And we do not even need the Bible to tell us that we are guilty. We know that we have not rendered to God what we demand for ourselves from our neighbor. We know that the judicial sentiment in our heart which holds other people guilty for ingratitude, also bears vivid witness that God holds us guilty for our astonishing ingratitude to him. And if we suppress this witness in our own hearts, the Scriptures make it plain, Romans 1:18–21:

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth . . . For although they knew God they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

When every human being stands before God to give an account of his life, God will not have to use one sentence of Scripture to show people their guilt and fitness for condemnation. He will simply ask them three questions: 1) Was it not clear enough in nature that everything you had was a gift, that as my creature you were dependent on me for life and breath and everything? 2) Did not the judicial sentiment in your own heart always hold other people guilty when they lacked the gratitude they should have had in response to a great kindness? 3) Has your life been filled with the joy of gratitude toward me in proportion to my kindness to you? The case is closed.

Under God’s Wrath

And so the third great truth we have to face is that the wrath of God is upon us because of our ingratitude. Our own judicial sentiment requires that the moral accounts of the universe be settled. We do not allow indignities against our own character to be swept under the rug. How much less God! The righteousness of God means that he must uphold the worth of his glory. When we, by our ingratitude, belittle the worth of God’s glory, the accounts of justice must be settled. A man is worth more than a cat. And therefore you can go to jail for defaming a man’s character, but nobody has ever been convicted of libel against a cat. And God is worth more than a man—infinitely more—and therefore the defamation of his character through manifold marks of our ingratitude brings down a sentence of eternal destruction. The wages of sin is (eternal) death (Romans 6:23).

Christ: The Wrath-Absorber

The most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on the sin of our ingratitude. But there is a fourth great truth that no one can ever learn from nature or from their own consciences, a truth which has to be told to neighbors and preached in churches and carried by missionaries: namely, the good news that God has decreed a way to satisfy the demands of his righteousness without condemning the whole human race. He has taken it upon himself apart from any merit in us to accomplish our salvation. The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the righteousness of God. And what is this wisdom?

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God crucified, is the Wisdom of God, by which the love of God can save sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while uphold and demonstrate the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:25, 26,

God put Christ forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over our former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

How can God exonerate sinners who have been ungrateful for his glory and yet demonstrate his righteous and unswerving commitment to his glory? Answer:

God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)

Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

If the most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the judicial condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on the sin of our ingratitude, then the best news in all the world (the gospel!) is that God was willing to sentence his own Son in our place (Galatians 3:13) and thus demonstrate his righteous allegiance to his own glory and still save sinners like you and me!

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

But not all sinners. Everybody is not saved from God’s wrath just because Christ died for sinners. And this is the fifth great truth we need to hear: there is a condition you have to meet in order to be saved. And I want to try to show as my last point that becoming a Christian Hedonist is an essential part of that condition.

“What must I do to be saved?” is probably the most important question any human can ask. Let’s look for a moment at the different ways God answers that question in his Word. The answer in Acts 16:31 is “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” The answer in John 1:12 is that we must receive Christ: “To all who received him . . . he gave power to become children of God.” The answer in Acts 3:19 is, Repent! That is, turn away from sin. “Repent therefore, and turn again that your sins may be blotted out.” The answer in Hebrews 5:9 is obedience to Christ. “Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” Jesus himself answered the question in a variety of ways. For example, he said in Matthew 18:3 that childlikeness is the condition for salvation:

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

In Mark 8:34, 35 the condition is self-denial, the willingness to lose your earthly life for Christ:

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

In Matthew 10:37 Jesus says the condition is loving him more than anyone else:

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (See 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Timothy 4:8.)

And in Luke 14:33 the condition for salvation is that we be free from the love of our possessions: “Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

These are some of the conditions that the New Testament says we must meet in order to benefit from the death of Christ and be saved. We must believe on him, receive him, turn from our sin, obey him, humble ourselves like little children, and love him more than we love our family, our possessions, or our own life. This is what it means to be converted to Christ. And this alone is the way of life everlasting.

One Condition for Salvation

But what is it that holds all these conditions together? What unites them? What one thing impels a person to do them? I think the answer is given in the little parable of Matthew 13:44:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then from his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This parable describes how a person is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. He discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure. You are converted to Christ when Christ becomes for you a treasure chest of holy joy. The new birth of this holy affection is the common root of all the conditions of salvation. We are born again—converted—when Christ becomes a treasure in whom we find so much delight that trusting him, obeying him, and turning from all that belittles him becomes our normal habit.

Someone may say against Christian Hedonism: “It is possible to make a decision for Christ without the incentive of joy.” I doubt that very much. But the issue this morning is not: “Can you make a decision for Christ without the incentive of joy?” Rather, the issue is: “Should you?” Would it do you any good if you could? Is there any evidence in Scripture that God will accept people who come to him out of any other motive than the desire for joy in him? Someone will say, “Our aim in life should be to please God and not ourselves.” But what pleases God? Hebrews 11:6:

Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

You cannot please God unless you come to him in search of reward.

What did Jesus say to Peter when Peter focused on his sacrificial self-denial and said, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (Matthew 19:27)? Jesus saw the seeds of pride: “We have made the heroic decision to sacrifice for Jesus.” And how did he banish that pride out of Peter’s heart? He said:

There is no one who has left anything for my sake who will not receive a hundredfold . . . now, and in the age to come, eternal life.

Peter if you don’t come to me because I am a greater treasure than all those things you have left, then you don’t come to me at all. You are still in love with your own self-sufficiency. You have not become like a little child basking in the beneficence of his Father. It is pride that wants to be anything more than a little baby branch sucking righteousness, peace, and joy from Christ the vine. The condition of salvation is that you come to Christ in search of reward and that you find in him a treasure chest of holy joy.

To sum up: There are five great truths every human needs to own up to. First, God is our Creator to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude for all we have. Second, none of us feels the depth and intensity and consistency of gratitude which we owe our Creator. Third, we are, therefore, under the condemnation of God’s righteousness. Our own judicial sentiment shows us we are guilty. Fourth, in the death of Jesus Christ for our sins God has made a way to satisfy the demands of his righteousness and yet accomplish salvation for his people. Finally, the condition we must meet to benefit from this great salvation is that we be converted to Christ—and conversion to Christ is what happens when Christ becomes for you a treasure chest of holy joy. Every biblical invitation of the gospel is rooted in the promise of lavish treasure. Christ himself is ample recompense for every sacrifice. The invitation of the gospel is unmistakably hedonistic:

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55:1–3)


© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

-Scott Bailey 2007

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-Do You Have an Ebenezer?

Posted by Scott on October 16, 2007

ebenezer.jpgDo you have an Ebenezer?

ByDana Bailey

www.LivingStones4Moms.com

 

Do you know the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing“?  It has always been one of my favorites, but there was something in the second verse that I just didn’t get, but never really questioned until recently. 

The second verse says, ” Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by they help I’m come…”

So, I wondered what is an “Ebenezer”?  Well, I googled it, found out & was really excited by what I found.

For the rest of this story you can go to Living Stones 4 Moms!

This post is one from my wife’s site.  She is a terrific writer and encourager to moms.  So, dads, if you have a wife that may be discouraged about her mothering role or life in general you can refer her to www.LivingStones4Moms.com and I think she will find refreshing there.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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-How Can We Be Devoted Dads?

Posted by Scott on October 11, 2007

hirrdoca9xxxmscazy4aavcaaxwlqzcain69vncacra3naca8jxed1caihcsrgcayl7zj7ca7ro4wycaxoew2bcat32pwwcaxjg8k8cakl3ggacarnt8o9ca74v9oucat1y04gcaw6gbohcarekypv.jpg   After 17 years of marriage is seems like only a few months have gone by.  My wife and I have 10 children ages 16 down to 1….6 Boys and 4 Girls if you are wondering and my wife birthed each of them one at a time.  Anyway, this Blog Site was produced so that I could write down my thoughts on  daily basis, but also to put together some of what I think are the greatest theologians and preachers of all time and their thoughts along with my own ramblings.  You can simply go to one place and research for hours on hundreds of subjects.  I have been to all the sources I include on the right hand side of this site.  In my devotion to my family, I wanted to make sure I can give accurate biblical advice to my children.  By studying deeply into God’s word and comparing it to what my mentors of the past have said about helps me to grow in my walk with Christ.  This increases the devotion I have for my God, which spills over in a deep devotion for my family and friends. 

In 2 Chronicles 6:14 it tells us:

“…there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth.  You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.”

His unfailing love for us should translate into a wholehearted devotion of our Lord.  This is the least our families deserve from their husbands and dads, don’t you think?  We must remember that our God is all knowing, all powerful, always has existed, always will exist, makes no mistakes, is loving, is kind, is generous, is forgiving, will judge, will discipline, is long-suffering, patient, merciful, counselor, the light of the world, creator, and much more.  I could go no for paragraphs about the attributes of God.  I think you get the picture though.  We serve an absolutely awesome God.

In my own life I have always been seeking a deeper devotion with my Lord.  It seemed like I never could grow to the point that I really wanted to dig that deeply.  However, in the past two to three years, circumstances that the Lord has lead me into have increased my desire to know Him more.  These circumstances were and in some cases still are difficult to go through.  The result is exactly what He intended…a deeper faith that has me thirsting for more of Him.  Part of this transformation is the bible based church He planted us in.  The pastor and men’s leader both preach and teach from God’s word.  It is not based on “feelings” or the “prosperity gospel”.  These men bring to us the richness of God’s word in truth.  It is the truth that also has created the desire to want to know more and more about my God. 

Gentleman, each us will react to crisis in our lives based on what we know and think about our God.  If we have kept our God in a tiny box until the day we think we need Him, our view in that time of crisis will be that our God is not big enough for the task.  On the other hand, though, if we have always known our God to vast, awesome and huge then no matter what crisis may come our way we will trust and know that the God we have encountered over the years can handle anything.  As a matter of fact He already knew this crisis was coming.  He allowed the crisis in our life and to further blow us away, He lead us directly into that crisis. 

“The same God that has lead us into this crisis is the same God that will lead us out of this crisis!”

Rest assure that we are not walking through anything that goes on in our lives alone.  Nothing catches God by surprise.  His mind is far beyond our comprehension.  It is in these moments of crisis that can last an hour or years that create either a well of devotion in us or a complete abandoning of our faith.  These are the times when we and our families find out if we are truly a child of God or simply an imitation follower of God.

So, do your really want to be a devoted dad?  I will encourage you to start reading and meditating on God’s holy word daily.  As it states in Deuteronomy 8:3 (NLT) when speaking of the Israelites

2 “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell.”

As it says here, we should live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  So, unless we are spending that precious time in God’s word, how can we be a devoted dad?  It is impossible! 

Next, take time to out to pray about what God has revealed in His word.  I believe God speaks today through His written word.  So, if we are meditating constantly on His words rather than he newspaper or other secular books we can hear what God is saying to us.  Ever wanted clear direction..this is how we can receive direction.  This will change our perspective as we pray.  It is amazing how small our crisis will become when we spend some time reading and pondering on the scriptures….God dwarfs the crisis in just this way.   

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

28Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

This is not for discussion.  Jesus says to bring our burdens to Him.  His word will encourage us, fill us, and spread His love upon us.  The load we carry as dads and husbands is greater than it has ever been, but Jesus did not specify, He simply told us to bring them to Him.  He understands that we cannot carry these loads.  He understands we are always on the brink of loosing it mentally.  This is why He wants to carry these loads, so we can stay devoted to Him and devoted to our families.

Finally, guys I want to tell you that after these two actions, spend time with your wife first and your children.  Make that time for them.  They all want the man God placed in their life to spend quality time with them.  They do not care one bit if you are making a bunch of money, driving a nice vehicle, moving up the corporate ladder, and anything else.  Your family, men, want you.  They want to know what God is speaking to you on a daily basis.  They want to experience you on a physical and mental level…not via phone or email all the time.  The kids need to be able to touch their dads face, smell his after-shave, experience his loving touches….they need you and I in the flesh.  Our wives, they need our encouragement, to speak with them about what is on our hearts, and minds.  They, too, want to smell us, feel us, and have us there to sleep with at night.  This will finish out the creation of a devoted dad. 

How Not to Be a Strict Father

Consistent discipline is essential to raising kids in the way that they should go. A father who does this will sometimes be called strict. Let me tell you what I don’t mean by a strict father. Strict fathers aren’t mean to their kids.  Strict fathers aren’t aloof from their kids.  Strict fathers are not distant from their kids.  Strict fathers aren’t harsh with their kids.  Strict fathers aren’t physically or verbally abusive to their kids.

On the contrary, appropriately strict fathers love their kids. Strict fathers are affectionate with their wives and children. Strict fathers praise their kids and emotionally support them. Strict fathers are in balance. They balance training and discipline with a host of positive qualities that give their kids a context of unconditional love and acceptance. 

–Steve Farrar

Steve Farrar is the author of ten books, including the best-sellers Point Man and Finishing Strong.  Learn more at SteveFarrar.com

The reality is, guys, that God wants to bring to the top some devoted dads that will brin Him honor and glory.  He would like to see some men that do not care how the world teaches their children, spoils their children or how the world reacts to crisis…men willing to make sacrifices.  God wants men that want to do the right thing always.  Men that will spend time with Him and obey His calling upon their lives.  To be a devoted dad is not easy, but it is the most rewarding part of our lives next to spending eternity with Christ.  In the end what a legacy we can leave our children and grand-children…you know in truth how I have glorified my heavenly Father once I am gone from this earth means more to me than all the money and success this world can offer.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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