A Father’s Resume


LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. – Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV)

I have turned in my resume for different jobs several times over the last two decades.  It has changed because my experiences, skills and technical knowledge have changed.  The resume reflected what I had already lived up to and it was my hope that those hiring would have like what they read.  Father’s have a different kind of resume.

Our children are the living resumes for the world to see. The way they live their lives will reflect how well we are living up to God’s commands.  The psalm above is a description of who we are to be as men, and therefore, fathers.  I have to ask myself if my children’s lives are beginning to reflect the characteristics listed.  Am I striving daily to live up to that kind of standard, or am I satisfied with just getting by?  Do I live a life that cannot be shaken?

My children need a father who seeks God above all else; a father who abides in the sanctuary of His love and righteousness.  They don’t need a best friend or a cool dad. They need someone who will lead them to that sanctuary of God’s love and righteousness.  I have to have more than me in mind in the choices I make, the actions I take and the words that I speak.  They need a Godly man.

Lord, help me be more and more like you every day.  May I be an example of integrity to my children.  Let me lead them to the sanctuary of Your love, grace and righteousness. Amen.

What Would You Do for a Miracle?


When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch.  He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD.  Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm.  Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.”  She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. – 2 Kings 4:32-37

The prophets of the Old Testament were asked to do some odd things in order for God’s power to be released, and this ranks up there in the weird category.  I am not sure how I would feel if an old bearded man in robes came in and lay down on my recently deceased child, but I am sure I would feel grateful and amazed if it brought that child back to life.  It is the idea of “normal” that gets in the way of us experiencing God more than a lot of other distractions in this life.  I would rather be weird and see miracles than normal and expect nothing.

If I expect God to show up to answer prayers, to provide for my needs, to guide and direct my path, then I have to accept how He decides to show up.  You don’t invite the king over and then complain about what mode of transportation he rode in on; just be happy that the king showed up.  This is something I need to grow in and help my children understand.  They need to have an expectation of God’s power working in and through them without an expectation of how He chooses to do so.

God has given us power through His Holy Spirit to heal the sick, cast out demons and, yes, raise the dead, but He has not boxed in the details of how that gets done.  This indicates that we need to be guided and directed by Him on the process.  It provides another opportunity to be dependent solely on Him rather than some legalized system of healing or exorcism.  Are there rules or guidelines? Absolutely, but there is also a lot of room for God to work in those boundaries, and I want my children to experience the freedom to work with God within His will and ways.

Lord, help me be open to the ways You want to work through me to bring Your miracles about in other’s lives.  May my children grow with an expectation of Your power and an adventurous anticipation of how You want to express Your power in and through their lives. Amen.

A King No More


Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel.  And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’  Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”

“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.  The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” – 1 Samuel 15:17-23 (NIV)

Samuel is pretty clear with Saul that his kingship comes from God, not his stature or character.  Samuel is also clear that Saul has forgotten that God is the king above all kings. As his mentor, Samuel is trying to teach Saul that obedience is the true mark of godly authority.  This authority is given to all the subjects of God’s kingdom, but success only comes to those who reciprocate with obedience.

Children go through the same struggles that Saul faced.  They are given responsibility and the authority to carry it out, but they make the mistake of thinking they can reinterpret that responsibility.  They decide to make adjustments and alterations that cater to their own wants and desires.  They make themselves kings and queens and reject the authority placed over them.  This is the common struggle of children.

In the midst of this struggle parents need to step in with the authority God grants them, in obedience to God and with love toward their children.  Unfortunately authority has gotten a bad rap over the past few decades.  Authority corrupts.  Authority holds us down.  Authority makes us slaves.  These all make great sound bites in cheesy rebellion scenes on TV and in the movies, but usually it is the opposite that is true.  We corrupt authority.  We hold authority down from doing what it was given to us to do.  We try to enslave authority to serve our own purposes.  If we can’t learn to exercise authority in obedience to God, how will our children?

Obedience is the engine that drives godly authority.  It is up to us to give the engine fuel by focusing our will on obeying God.  It is up to us to give our children the tools they need to fuel their own engine.  Pray with them.  Read the Word with them.  Worship with them.  Serve with them.  Live out your obedience to God in front of your children and they will not be far behind.

Lord, help us to understand the beauty and necessity of authority.  Help me develop disciplines of obedience in my life so I can lead my children into that same obedience.  Give me the integrity and strength I need to express the authority You grant to the subjects of Your kingdom.  Amen.

Working for the Promise


“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)

Be careful to obey; that is an interesting statement.  In one form or another, I have said the same thing to my children.  “If you would just do what you’re told, you would get to watch TV.”  “You wouldn’t be on a time out if you had listened to Mommy and Daddy.”  God has given the Israelites clear warning with those four words: Be careful to obey.

Unfortunately we don’t live in a world where obedience is as valued as it should be. The rebel is glorified in movies and books.  The charming bad guy with moral ambiguity tinting every word and action is a “romantic” figure.  We have placed the radical dissenter on a cultural pedestal and suffered terribly for it.  Because of this, our children are learning that rules cripple the free spirit and hamper the soul.  Here begins the difficult lesson we must teach our children – if they want to reach the promises of God, they will have to work.

God took the children of Israel to the Promised land, but they had to work for it and under very specific rules.  There were no shortcuts and they could not reach their goal without adhering to God’s commands.  We do a disservice to our children if we don’t bring them through the same process.  Helping them reach the promise God has for their lives is going to take work under some very specific rules.  These rules don’t cripple freedom, they set us free from being ruled by our passions and desires.  These rules don’t hamper the soul, they help clean out the home for the soul to grow strong and true.

Teaching our children to be rule followers, to be obedient, is a tough job.  We have plenty working against us, but we have God on our side.

Lord, help me to be a rule follower.  Continue to teach me the value of obedience.  Give me the patience, perseverance and discipline to teach my children to work for the promise.  Amen.

Love and Obedience


Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NRSV)

At the center of God’s law is love.  It is the great motivator for those who desire holiness before God and wholeness before the mirror.  When we commit ourselves to loving God wholeheartedly, our obedience is fruit on the vine.  The Shemah (the passage above) is a critical turning point in the lives of the Israelites.  They are being reoriented from duty and obligation to love and gratitude.  God is leading them into a different relationship than they had been accustomed to.  Years of slavery had taught them to obey out of fear – fear of punishment, fear of death.  The only fear love provides is the fear of disappointing the object of our love.

It is easy to teach our children to obey out of fear.  We can change the fortunes of their life effectively by cutting off resources or diminishing the size of their world.  At some point we need to move them from this fretful compliance to an obedience rooted in love.  Over time our children should be more afraid of disappointing us than any punishment we might levy against a transgression.  This calls parents to an authority over their children that is rooted in love.

That is the catch.  Our obedience to God is rooted in love because He first loved us.  We cannot lead our children into loving obedience if we do not love first in our authority over them.  Anger, frustration and selfishness can undermine that authority very quickly and our children will either obey us out of fear or rebel out of their own anger, frustration and selfishness.  Handling the authority God has given to us over our children with love is not a magic pill, however.  God’s people still disobeyed after God had blessed them with His love, but God remained unchanged.

A belief in the constancy of God’s love needs to begin with the growing presence of that love in us for our children.  An obedient heart submitted to the will of God is nurtured in the presence of love and discipline.  May we as parents move our children toward wholehearted love and genuine obedience.

Lord, help me to live a life of love and obedience in the presence of my children.  Grow in me the humility and maturity to love my children as you love me.  Lead me constantly forward into Your amazing, relentless love. Amen.

Rules Are Not Made to Be Broken, the Broken Need to Be Ruled


And God spoke all these words:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.” – Exodus 20:1-6 (NIV)

Everyone has a ruler.  We all have something that defines our thoughts and actions.  There is a power or presence or person that holds sway over us in a way that nothing else does.  For the believer, our ruler is God.  This does not mean that we always act as if God rules us, but that we have chosen God as our ruler.  For others, it is their career.  For some, it is their relationships.  Still others are ruled by their passions.  Children have a ruler from the moment they are born: self-interest.

This may seem harsh, but it is reality.  Children are interested in their needs and their needs alone.  They have to learn to share.  They have to learn to consider others.   They need a ruler.  In the home, fathers and mothers are that ruler, setting the tone for their children to understand and accept God as their ruler later on in life.  The people of Israel needed a ruler, and rules, but they were ruled by self-interest.  God had sent them the Ten Commandments, but they wanted a God they could define and rules they could follow without any effort.

God’s rules create boundaries and give shape to things.  They help us make decisions that honor Him and bless those around us.  They bring focus and definition to the fuzziness of a confused and contradictory world.  Rules give us a language that explains the motivation and meaning of our actions.  God’s rules help shape us into the image of His Son.  God’s rules mold us into creatures fit for heaven.

Teaching our children rules helps prepare them for a ruler.  When we teach them how to share, not to lie, or clean up their own mess we are preparing them for God’s commands.  Rules are not to be broken.  Rules mend.  Rules make us whole.  Rules allow us to experience a freedom we can never experience in anarchy and rebellion.

Lord, help me teach your rules to my children in grace and love.  Give me the wisdom to define the boundaries of righteousness to my children as they grow and mature.  Let me set and example by living within your rules each day. Amen.

A Father’s Resume


LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. – Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV)

I have turned in my resume for different jobs several times over the last two decades.  It has changed because my experiences, skills and technical knowledge have changed.  The resume reflected what I had already lived up to and it was my hope that those hiring would have like what they read.  Father’s have a different kind of resume.

Our children are the living resumes for the world to see. The way they live their lives will reflect how well we are living up to God’s commands.  The psalm above is a description of who we are to be as men, and therefore, fathers.  I have to ask myself if my children’s lives are beginning to reflect the characteristics listed.  Am I striving daily to live up to that kind of standard, or am I satisfied with just getting by?  Do I live a life that cannot be shaken?

My children need a father who seeks God above all else; a father who abides in the sanctuary of His love and righteousness.  They don’t need a best friend or a cool dad. They need someone who will lead them to that sanctuary of God’s love and righteousness.  I have to have more than me in mind in the choices I make, the actions I take and the words that I speak.  They need a Godly man.

Lord, help me be more and more like you every day.  May I be an example of integrity to my children.  Let me lead them to the sanctuary of Your love, grace and righteousness. Amen.