Practical Ways to be Reminded of Who God is and How that Affects the Way We Live

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By way of preface, the assumption I am placing on the reader is the fact that ultimately none of these things are possible to accomplish in a God glorifying way without being reborn, regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God. It is Him that moves us with delight in living out Christian Disciplines. Therefore, if you have been born again, here are a few practical steps to as reminders. We need these reminders or “ticklers” to remind us because while we do supernaturally desire God we also do still do have a sin nature and will continue to pursue other stuff over God apart from the Spirit of God.

 

Read your Bible.

While this seems extremely basic, I know that if you’re like me it’s not hard to “get busy” and prioritize “life” over getting into God’s word regularly. This is monumental. We have to immerse ourselves in the word by spending time in it. This could be opening a physical Bible and reading a passage or book. This could mean using a Bible app on your phone. This could be an audio Bible while you commute. For some, it might be following a twitter account that posts daily scripture. While technology certainly has its negative effects, it has also made a positive contribution to our devotional lives as Christians. Use it. Don’t not get in the word because a particular method doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Reading your Bible is paramount for practical steps to be reminded of who God is because it is the Primary source of information from and about Him.

 

Memorize your Bible.

As soon as folks read this subtitle, the natural inclination in your heart is to dodge this. It’s interesting because memorizing things that we delight in is natural, not something we have to work at. Just think about it…if your my age then about a decade ago you had at least about 50 + phone numbers memorized, addresses, directions and all kinds of other detail. Pray that God would give you such a hunger for His word that you would slowly begin to memorize small pieces of Scripture. It is through God’s word, primarily, that the Spirit is going to speak to you. For any small tips, feel free to reach out to me. There’s no magic method, but there are many to try and tailor to the way you’re wired. Therefore, when we memorize Scripture and we are put in circumstances to make a decision the Spirit will move in your heart and mind through God’s word.

 

Pray.

This is one step that I’m positive is constantly overlooked because of pride and/or lack of confidence in who God says He is. Prayer is not to move the hand of God (which is primarily what we see it used for), but it is to align our will with the Father’s will. Prayer is about relationship. If we are in constant and continual prayer (formal and informal) then we are going to be more sensitive to the Spirit and how He is directing our lives and resources.

 

Community.

It is beyond imperative for this to be a reality in every Christian’s life. It is only in small groups of close friends that we are able to allow others to speak into our lives honestly and lovingly. Don’t let this one slide, thinking that it can be “Just me and Jesus.” You need community. You need accountability and you need to give it. Get connected with 2-3 others who you are able to do life with and provide that level of friendship. Make it a priority. You eat so many meals a day and have so many weekends a month. Be intentional to use those times that you already have and repurpose them for your soul wisely as opposed to adding extra on your plate, which would only lead to despair and burn out. This is going to serve you well as you walk with Jesus in faith through this life.

 

Calendar.

Use your calendar. Schedule in times throughout your day to hop on a twitter feed or pull out your Bible. Schedule time in your day to pray and a few minutes of silence and solitude. Schedule time in to do the things that you won’t do unless you actually block time out to do it. Make this a priority once a week or once a month and be diligent in seeing it through and talk to your close friends about it, so that they are able to hold you accountable.

Contentment in the Wrong Context Can Actually be Evil

a holy discontentment

This year, on Christmas morning, my daughter said something that made me reflect on an important reality particularly for me and in general for all Christians.

 

After opening gifts for about 15 minutes my wife and I hit the pause button on our morning gift exchange in order to get some breakfast going. Once we returned to the living room I told both of our kids that another gift would not be opened until all of the trash on the ground (wrapping paper and such) was picked up. “I’ll be your garbage girl,” my daughter joyfully exclaimed. It made sense. She was willing to do whatever she needed in order to pursue the fullness of her satisfaction: opening the rest of her gifts.

 

The truth is that she, nor her brother, are ever that excited about cleaning. In fact, they have an apathetic attitude towards it because they don’t believe at this point in their stage of life that it brings them any joy. The reality is that satisfaction and contentment in their fullness lead to complacency, apathy and the end of pursuit.

 

More popular is the subject of contentment, which is biblical and obviously important. Perhaps more popular because it makes us seem more mature than we really are. So, we cloak ourselves with being “content” in front of others, yet in our hearts we envy so many others for what they have and we don’t. Contentment is an important spiritual discipline, but it is only one side of the coin and should never be over emphasized at the expense of another biblical reality. Maybe just as important as contentment is a holy, or a right, discontentment.

 

A holy discontentment causes us to continue to pursue hard after a deeper level of satisfaction and contentment. After marrying your spouse how hard and consistent is your pursuit for her/him now that you’ve won them in marriage? Now that you’ve received your degree how hard and consistent is your pursuit toward continuing education?

 

Once we are satisfied with what we’ve attained we become complacent and apathetic towards a further pursuit of something we already “have.” Sadly enough this is a reality in our pursuit of God as well. We get comfortable with where we are at with God and become apathetic in our pursuit of Him. I’ve heard more that two dozen times, “I’ve been a Christian for 30 years. I’ve heard it all, but it’s good to be refreshed with the way different preachers preach a passage.” That, my friend, is apathy. We are never to old, to smart or too mature to not grow more in every area of our lives.We have never “heard it all” or have arrived at some place spiritually where we can stop intentionally pursuing God and just passively grow when it’s convenient.

 

Too many Christians all of the sudden reach some status of perceived maturity in some Christian discipline and then become complacent and judgmental towards others who may not be in the place that they are at. Oh, that’s great, you’ve read the Bible 30 times? Well you must be super spiritual. Read it again. Oh, that’s great, you have made over 20 disciples? Well you are the best disciple maker out there! Make more. Oh, that’s great, you give 18 percent of your income to your church? You are so mature and spiritual! Give more. Every Christian, from pastors to non-member, regular attenders of a local church is being sanctified in these different areas of spiritual disciplines and much more. Your status of where you land in any of these areas does not make you any more spiritual or more mature than another person. What is important is that we continue to develop a holy discontentment with where we are at so that we continue to press harder and grow more in every area as opposed to getting comfortable with where we are at.

 

The more satisfied we are with ourselves, we become less satisfied with God because “WE HAVE ATTAINED SUCH A GREAT STATUS.” This holy dissatisfaction causes us to press forward to continue to pursue a higher level of knowing Christ and to find our satisfaction in Him.

 

In addition to developing a holy discontentment is to remove anything in our lives that is hindering our relationship with God. While for some complacency is birthed out of past success or current status, for others it comes from being bound to past hurts and failures. Some are so chained to their past hurts and failures that they have lost their pursuit of God. They have accepted defeat. In both instances, we are called to wage war on and remove anything that hinders us from our relationship with God, which can only truly happen in community for the sake of accountability and encouragement.

 

The apostle Paul would go as far to say that those who do not have a holy discontentment consistently and are satisfied and content with where they stand in their relationship with God are enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:12-21). Meaning, if there is not a continual pursuit that flows from a holy discontentment and your satisfaction is in your won achievements than there may not be a real relationship to begin with.

 

My prayer is that you and I would either begin or continue to develop a holy discontentment in order that we would press in harder towards knowing Christ. Being content and satisfied with where we are in our relationship with God is a dangerous place to be. Moreover, be encouraged. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Lastly, in the coming days I will update this post with a link to the sermon I preached this past Sunday titled A Holy Discontentment from Philippians 3:12-21 where I explain more thoroughly on this topic.

Sermon link:  http://bldg28.com/sermons/28-sermons/

Crux mihi ancora

“Good Dads”

Good Dads

We become “good dads” to our own kids as we seek to treat them as our perfect dad treats us, His sons.

As a dad, I am learning as I go. I’m growing each and every day in my understanding of what it means to be a good steward of this weighty responsibility entrusted to me and also to some of you.

When it comes to parenting my children well, it’s helpful for me to look at the relationship that my dad cultivated with me and recognize the time and effort that he put into being a good dad to his kids. It is the ability to appreciate what he did for me, as well as and more importantly recognizing the way in which God, the Father, relates to His children.

I have included the links to the top 6 “Dad” posts that have had the most traffic on my site. My hope is that you, like me, would be encouraged and challenged. Mihi Crux Ancora

1. 7 THINGS EVERY DAUGHTER NEEDS FROM HER DAD

2. 7 THINGS EVERY SON NEEDS FROM HIS DAD

3. DAD, 10 PRACTICAL WAYS TO LOVE YOUR KIDS

4. 5 THINGS EVERY DAD SHOULD KNOW (SERIES)

5. DADDY, DADDY?

6. 10 TIPS FOR PARENT CHILD DATES

The Bathroom Bill

the bathroom bill

There has been quite the buzz this morning concerning HB 583, also known as the Gender Bathroom Bill. This conversation concerning the bill, initially introduced by Rep. Frank Artiles, has invaded every platform of communication from social media to the morning news, and even morning radio. WTSP published an article titled Gender Bathroom Bill Clears Florida Committee concerning HB 583. It is a bill that would make it illegal for a person to use a bathroom, dressing room or locker room designated for the opposite sex cleared its first hurdle Wednesday.

Rep. Frank Artile
Rep. Frank Artile
Rep. Janet Cruz
Rep. Janet Cruz

Along with several others, House Representative, Rep. Janet Cruz, responds, “This ridiculous legislation seeks to criminalize the transgender community. Are we really going to be known as the state that allowed such a hateful bill become a law?”

This can be a confusing conversation for many. Unfortunately, Christians tend to not have much of a voice regarding political issues. My hope is to communicate a response from a logical perspective from a Christian worldview. Okay, my cards are on the table. I’m a reformed, evangelical, Southern Baptist Pastor. I believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Bible. With that said, my response is not directly addressing the conversation from the viewpoint of being a pastor as much as it will from a contributing citizen of our community, as a husband, as a dad, and as a son.

The underlying issue with this bill, for good or for bad, is the matter of access, or lack thereof. The transgender community is emphasizing their need for equal access to public restrooms, dressing rooms, and locker rooms based on their desired gender as opposed to their biological gender. This is the reason Janet Cruz could refer to the bill with such strong language as “hateful,” as well as claim that it “criminalizes the transgender community.” Others, such as Frank Artiles, are concerned for the privacy and safety of the public. I am tracking with both camps. I understand and sympathize with both agendas.

The question must be asked, “Why would allowing transgender individuals into their personal desired public area affect the privacy or safety of others?” My personal response is that the privacy and safety of the community wouldn’t necessarily be compromised by the transgender community as much as it would be by an imposter. That is, a heterosexual male or female posing as an imposter to be able to gain access into the opposite gender area. In that, I agree with Frank Artiles in the sense that I do not see it fit to allow a biological and heterosexual man into the ladies room – or vice versa –  in order to pursue my daughter, wife or mom. All his or her plea would have to be is, “Well, I am transgender.” I will not support an agenda that allows that to happen.

I frequently use restrooms all over town that allow me to take my 4 year old daughter to the restroom without it being weird, as opposed to dragging her into the Men’s Room. So, there are restrooms that give legal access to any gender at every local mall and large public area. Therefore, if access is the issue, there is no issue at all. Not to mention, the law doesn’t even require that a business have any restroom at all.

HB 583 does not “dehumanize” the transgender community. If anything, it raises awareness to the fact that the answer may be to pass a bill that requires new structures to have 4 types of restrooms – Male, Female, Family, and Transgender or a gender neutral restroom. I would not have any qualms with that besides the fact that it puts the financial burden on companies to provide those accommodations. With that said, there would be no safety and/or privacy issue there.

As a pastor, I would say to the transgender community that I love you and that there is a need for an honest, open, and safe dialogue between us to pursue equality in a pluralistic society. I would welcome that. The answer is not to open up gender specific areas to any Jane or Joe that pulls the transgender card.

7 Reminders When Satan Tries to Steal Your Joy

joy

One of the most gut wrenching biblical texts for me is Luke 4:13, “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him [that is, Jesus] until an opportune time.” It is quite sobering to think that even Jesus was a target for Satan. Naturally, we tend to look at Jesus as some type of super hero guy who didn’t deal with any kind of spiritual warfare, which is completely antithetical to the Scriptures and what we see in them. Why, then, would we think that we would be free from Satan’s tactics to steal, kill, and destroy? So,what can we do?

Satan has declared war on you and your family. He will do anything he can to keep you from trusting in the sovereign hand of God in your life, walking with Christ faithfully and believing that Jesus has already won the victory. I am reminded by this text that Satan is alive and well, and only leaves to come back at the opportune time.

When your day begins to look down, when your week begins to looks bleak and the month begins to look dark, here are 7 reminders for you that have helped me greatly.

Talk to God.

God, the Father, wants to hear from you. He desires you and a relationship with you where you will come to Him with everything. Not because He needs to stay informed, as if He doesn’t already know your thoughts before you think them, but because He desires a relationship with you. As you begin to talk with God about your burdens, He will begin to give you clarity of mind, as well as a confidence to continue to persevere.

Remember the Sovereignty of God.

In all that is happening, there are two BIG promises to remember. God has promised that “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 ESV). In addition, He promised, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV). God didn’t miss His cue to filter this season of warfare for you. In fact, there is purpose in it. Know that God has made plans for you and that His plans cannot be thwarted. He is sovereign over whatever it is that you are going through.

Remember who Jesus is.

Satan has been defeated by and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the life that you and I cannot live, died the death that you and I deserve, and rose so that we can also be raised with Him when God calls. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV). Know that this season that you are in is light and momentary in comparison to the weight of glory. What you see now is transient, but what you cannot see is eternal.

Remember who Satan is not.

Satan is not some ethereal being, he is very real. Satan is not God. Satan is not omnipresent, despite what you may have been taught. Satan is not the victor, but he has been defeated. Satan is not in ultimate control.

Remember the Spirit.

It is completely and utterly impossible for you and me to have any type of victory over Satan and his plans to destroy us apart from the reality, presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is the Spirit of God in us that influences us to believe God, moves us to faithfulness and gives us the strength to persevere. Be confident in the fact that your success in getting through this season has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the Spirit of God in you. Even more, remember Jesus words concerning the Spirit, “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13 ESV). Joy within ourselves? We know from the context of this passage that Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God within us that gives us Joy – not better circumstances. Therefore, in the process of remembering the Spirit of God, you are reminded that Satan cannot steal your joy because your joy comes from the Spirit being within you.

Remember others.

You are not the only one in a trial right now. It is extremely easy to become focused on self in a trial. Remember that there are others who are much worse than you at the moment. What could possibly be worse than what you are going through? How about the 2 billion people in the world who have never heard about Jesus and are far from God. Or the 20,000 people that die each day from either starvation or preventable diseases. Don’t just remember others to make yourself feel better about your personal situation, but remember others as a motivation to stay on mission.

Remember the church.

In the midst of your trial, do not forsake the assembly. Don’t retreat from community, but allow the church to come around you to encourage you, walk with you, pray with you, and keep you accountable during this very “opportune time.”

What Should Christians Think About Sex?

sex

There is one topic of conversation, particularly, that gets Christians acting awkward: sex. Largely, there has been little to no conversations about sex within the church. Subsequently, Christians tend to not really know what to do with it.

There are 3 basic views of sex in our culture today.

 

SEX AS GOD

Sex, for some, has become a religion. By that, I mean sex gives them their identity, their purpose, and their motivation in life. All of who they are is influenced by their sexuality. Everything they do is centered on hunting for those they are attracted to, so that they might have the opportunity to have sex. This person’s life is dominated and ruled by their sexual passions and desire to have sex. When they are unable to physically get sex, they turn to media via their television, dvd’s, cell phones, and tablets.

It’s called, selfish sexuality. The goal for this person is to please themselves by means of sex. Sex rules their life, like a god. Romans 1 talks about how, at that time, even though the people knew that God existed, ruled and reigned over all, they chose to worship what He created instead of Him, the creator. This is still a war that we are battling to this day.

Here are some interesting statistics from Pornography Statistics: Annual Report 2014 by Covenant Eyes. In addition, I would encourage every adult, especially parents, to at least briefly look at these statistics to better prepare your kids.

 

SEX AS GROSS

For others, sex is gross, dirty and evil. This school of thought is rooted all the way back in ancient Greek Philosophy from guys like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. They would say that the physical is bad and that the spiritual is good. Therefore, the body is bad, but the soul is good. Consequently, for them life was just the process of shedding the outer shell (i.e. the body).

So, for them, sex or any type of bodily function was a gross, dirty and evil because it’s association with the physical body. And, believe it or not, this had an vast influence on the early church fathers.

  • Origen (3rd) allegorized the Song of Songs in order to take away the physical implications and castrated himself from a literal view of Matthew 19, “If anything causes you to stumble, cut it off.”
  • Tertulian and Ambrose (4th) preferred extinction to the human race over sexuality.
  • Gregory of Nissa (4th) said that Adam and Eve did not have sex until after the fall and adds that Eve became pregnant from a particular fruit that she ate in the garden.
  • Jerome (4th-5th) threw himself into thorn bushes whenever he would be tempted sexually.
  • At one point then (12th), the Catholic Church forbids priests from marrying and then begins regulating when and where married couples can enjoy sexual freedom.
  • In the Victorian Age (19th), there was an extreme modest view where they would begin to put linens over tables because if men saw the “table legs” they might lust.

While these may seem somewhat odd and extreme, it continues to our own day where for some Christians sex for good pleasure is gross. Various parents, in an effort to encourage their kids to abstain from sex, tell them that “sex is bad, dirty, and not good, so save it for the one person that you marry.” That’s just a weird statement in itself…save the bad and dirty for the one you actually love…

While sex rules over many, it is not God. In addition, sex is not gross. It can be gross, dirty and evil when used out of its intended purpose.

SEX AS A GIFT

For all, God says that sex is a good gift created and given for heterosexual marriage (Genesis 2:24).

Here are several thoughts on a biblical perspective and purpose of sex.

Pleasure – when we investigate the Song of Songs, children are never mentioned once. The whole book focuses on the marital intimacy between a man and a woman.

Children – Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply.” So, out of marital intimacy comes children. Many children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:4).

Oneness – Genesis 2:24 – husband and wife were “one flesh” or “wife will “cleave”. So, through marital intimacy two “become one.”

Comfort – 2 Samuel 12:24 – when a child died a husband and wife were together intimately to comfort one another.

Protection – 1 Cor. 7 – You’ll be highly tempted to sin sexually if you’re not regularly together in an intimate way. So marital intimacy is a safeguard from sinning sexually.

To glorify God – God created our bodies for all of these reasons and when you do those things in the correct context it brings glory to Him. Therefore, marital intimacy brings glory to God in that we are functioning in the purpose for which He intended.

Lastly, here are some other helpful resources for you to enjoy and grow:

A Few Thoughts on Women, Men, Porn, & Sexual Assault by Jefferson Bethke

 

Family, Marriage, Sex, & the Gospel by David Platt

The Heart of the Matter

theheart

The Requirement

Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” and “Blessed are the pure in heart, they will see God.”

So, Jesus is emphatically clear that the heart really matters. Jesus cares a lot about the heart of man. According to Jesus, we are to love God with all our hearts. In addition, if we want to see God, we must have a pure heart.

The Problem

The problem is what we discover in Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin?”

The writer is posing a rhetorical question. The answer is no one can claim that they’ve made their own heart pure. Therefore, if one needs a pure heart to see God the implication is that no one can see God.

The question is, “Why do we do what we do?” “Why do we sin?” “Why are we impure?” Philosophy and religion, both, have attempted to answer this question. Here’s a few samples of what they have said.

  • Sigmen Froyd says, “Primal urges that we’ve picked up through our evolutionary processes.
  • Karl Young, a well noted psychologist, says, “Our problem is ultimately collective unconsciousness we’ve carried on from our racial history.”
  • Carl Rogers , an influential American phycologist, says, “We tend to overlook our goodness and we are impinged upon the culture that compels us to do bad things.”

In essence, “we are victims of genetics or environment, or heritage or upbringing.”

The Bible gives a real different diagnosis. It says that ultimately, we have a sin nature. We know that in Genesis 1 God created and everything was good. Fast forward to Genesis 3 when sin entered into the world through Adam, also known as the fall.

Additionally, the Bible teaches that we have inherited that sin nature from our father Abraham. We have a sin nature. It is not the functional sins in your life that condemn you to hell, those are just indicators that you have a sin nature and are already condemned to hell. You could live a perfect life and still be condemned to hell due to the sin nature that you inherited from Adam, also known as original sin.

When Adam sinned, we were all implicated. One of the great myths today is that we are all individual, autonomous human. We are not. You either have your sin nature from Adam or your righteousness from Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Adam sinned and we are all implicated. This is why the Psalmist was able to say that we are wicked from our mother’s womb and it is rooted all the way down in our heart.

The Safeguard

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.”

Keep an eye on your heart. The picture is that your life is like a river that is flowing from your heart, the spring. Therefore, the problems in your life have to be dealt with upstream. You can modify the river all you want to, but if the source is never addresses, eventually the pollution will come right back.

Therefore, the problems and struggles in your life are indicators of a health issue in your heart. Safeguards are great, but not that answer. They are helpful, but not the answer. If there are things you don’t want in a river, you have to go upstream and find the source of pollution. The affects are downstream, but the problem is upstream. The answer is not behavior modification, it is a heart issue.

History tells us, while not confirmed, that the early church father, Origen, from a literal translation of Matthew 9 castrated himself to keep from sexual temptation. That’s not going to work because it’s a heart issue. In the Victorian Age they began to drape linen over tables because “if men saw the legs of the tables, they might be sexually tempted.” That’s nice – and weird – , but it won’t work.

Jesus echoes the same thing.

Mark 7:20-23 says, “And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-23 ESV)

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to religious people and they had this ideology… “In here, I’m good” “Out there, it’s bad.” So the sin isn’t in me, it’s out there. “I’m a holy good person and the world is filled with evil.” “So as long as I stay away from it I can maintain my purity.”

Religious people tend to think this way “I am pure, the world is evil.” So, for them, the answer is stay away from the world. Jesus says, that’s not the case. He says that the world is not filled with “good people” and “bad people,” but it is filled with bad people who are either repentant or unrepentant.

So it’s not safe “out there”…and it’s not safe “in here.”

The Answer

The Bible, ultimately, says that the answer is regeneration.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

This is a common theme in the O.T. God says this multiple times in Jeremiah. He says “I’ll give you a new what… a new heart.”

This is where Christianity is different than other religions. Other religions are about behavior modification, trying harder. Christianity is about getting a new heart. It’s not just doing better with the old heart…you get a new heart.

“…and a new spirit I will put within you…” So this is a gift of God, a work of God, and an act of God. We call it grace. The new heart has the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and repents of sin.

Does this mean you’re perfect? No, it says a new heart, not a perfect heart. You’re still being sanctified. We still have to deal with the residue from our old sin nature and walk in the Spirit on a daily basis because the devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy.

Here are 14 marks of a new heart just from proverbs…

  1. Faith – 3:5
  2. Desires obedience – 4:4
  3. Is corrective – 5:12
  4. Teachable – 10:8
  5. Contentment – 14:30
  6. Loves wisdom – 15:14
  7. Cheerful – 15:15
  8. Helpful – 15:28
  9. Discerning – 16:21
  10. Persuasive – 16:23
  11. Humble – 18:12
  12. Intelligent – 18:15
  13. Beautiful – 27:19
  14. Repentant – 28:14

7 Things: Recap

recap

As a dad, I am learning as I go. I’m growing each and every day in my understanding of what it means to be a good steward of this weighty responsibility entrusted to me and also to some of you.

It’s helpful for me to look back on the relationship with my dad and recognize the time and effort that he put into being a good dad to his kids. It is the ability to appreciate what he did for me, as well as recognizing the way in which God, the Father, relates to His children. In all of that, here are just a few helpful thoughts concerning the blessing of being a dad.

sons_blog  DAUGHTER_BLOG

7 Things Every Daughter Needs From Her Dad

DAUGHTER_BLOG

She needs you to be involved.

Too many times, dads relegate the task of being involved with “girl things” to mom. Your role to be involved in your kid’s life doesn’t end at the baseball field. Go to her dance class and take pictures. Get excited with her about her new doll and get on the floor to play house. Be involved with your daughter, in her world and on her level.

 

She needs you to demonstrate what a healthy marriage looks like.

She is going to learn much of what she knows about marriage and the relationship between girls and boys from watching you and her mommy. Therefore, demonstrate for her what a healthy marriage looks like. This means leading mom, helping mom, serving mom, loving mom, being affectionate with mom, taking mom on dates, praying with and for mom, being grateful for mom, honoring and celebrating mom.

 

She needs you to support her.

Financially. Get a job and keep it. Show her what it means to support her financially, so that she has that expectation in her future husband. Emotionally. When she decides to step out in faith and make a big decision to pursue something, be her biggest cheerleader. Relationally. Spend time with other families and friends that are good role models for your daughter. Spiritually. Join a bible preaching, mission minded, Jesus centered church that she will be able to connect and grow in.

 

She needs to be able to trust you as a confidant.

Your daughter needs to be able to trust that she can confide in you with things that she wouldn’t tell anyone else. This means that sometimes you might have to ask questions to let her know that you’re interested in knowing what’s going on with her mentally and emotionally. Start early to create an open line of communication between the both of you. This needs to happen early and regularly.

 

She needs your unconditional love.

Your daughter is going to mess up. She is going to make wrong decisions. In those moments, she needs her dad to love her unconditionally. Pull her close and tell her that you love her, even when it is hard to love her. When you love her differently based upon her lifestyle at the moment or by the decisions she is making, you are essentially telling her that your love is conditional and contingent upon her actions. Love your daughter unconditionally.

 

She needs a strong spiritual leader.

You are the pastor of your home. Know that this will look differently for you than others depending on the natural flow of your family life. It is not so important on what this looks like as it is to be sure all of the necessary elements are there. Note that “leading” does NOT necessarily mean that you are the front person – always praying and teaching – but you are leading and teaching them to do those things. Leading means that you are responsible for the spiritual well being of your daughter. The success of your leadership is not measured against how well you do those things, but it is measured against how well those you are leading do those things. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure prayer is happening, bible study is happening, giving is happening, conversations about Jesus and the Gospel are happening, and that mission is happening. Lead your daughter spiritually.

 

She needs you to point her towards Jesus.

Our culture is at war with you for your daughter’s heart. She needs you to guard her heart and to point her continually towards Jesus. She will be pointed in many directions and if she doesn’t have solid direction from dad she will follow someone else that will lead, in your absence.

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7 Things Every Son Needs From His Dad

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He needs you to love his mom.

One of the best things for a son to see is for his dad to love his mom. For him to see that in the home provides a sense of comfort and security and it shows him what is expected of him as he matures and begins to think about marriage.

He needs to see you fail, not just succeed.

Don’t highlight only your strengths in front of your son and hide your weaknesses and failures. Doing that will only provide a sense of despair in his life when he can’t live up to the fabricated standard of perfection that you’ve imaged to him. If you allow him to see you fail, you are then in a more healthy place to model a life of repentance.

He needs you to be present.

Have a healthy presence in your home. Don’t always be gone in the name of “work.” Don’t allow your work schedule to dominate you, but dominate your work. Be around for dinner time, bath time, homework time, etc. Hang out with your son. Even more than family time, plan a day regularly to just have a dude’s date. Use that time to just connect with him. Talk to him. Pray with him. Eat with him. Tell him stories. Ask him questions. Learn your son by being present.

He needs your love regardless of his choices.

Your son is going to make wrong decisions. Even then, love him. Tell him you love him. Talk to him about how he can learn from those wrong decisions. Don’t allow his wrong decisions determine the depth of love you have for him. Love him in his failures as God does you.

He needs you to affirm him.

Speak potential over your son’s life. Tell him “you can do it.” Tell him he’s smart. Tell him he’s doing a good job. Affirm your son often through words of encouragement. Tell him you love him all of the time. You can’t do that enough.

He needs you to discipline him in love.

Don’t allow your son to get off track without disciplining him. A good dad disciplines his children. It is an expression of the father’s love. Note that discipline is different than punishment. Punishment is meant to intend physical, emotional, and/or spiritual pain. Whereas discipline is meant to correct, to teach, to groom, and to redirect. Discipline your son.

He needs you to point him towards Jesus.

More importantly than anything else, your son needs to know Jesus. Therefore, point him towards Jesus by modeling a personal relationship with Jesus in your own life, through the Scriptures, prayer, and everyday life. Talk to him about Jesus in a way that he understands you hold sacred your relationship with Jesus and that your desire is that he could experience the same type of relationship.

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