War on Christmas!

Yeah! A War on Christmas!

As we’re well into the Christmas season I want to address something from my perspective. Now I know many of my friends and readers of this site might not agree with me on this but it is something that I’ve really been examining and exploring lately. If you turn on Fox News this time of year, specifically Bill O’Reilly’s O’Reilly Factor you will see that people are into declaring that there is a War on Christmas.

This comes from stories such as schools not allowing Christmas parties, cities that have had manger scenes for 100 years getting sued and losing and on and on. (Google “War on Christmas”, watch the O’Reilly Factor, or hit up Michelle Bachmann’s Facebook page for further reference)These are legitimate stories and things that we can be concerned with, but I want to be 100% clear when I say there is no “centralized” War on Christmas.

We as Americans can celebrate whatever we want, Jews celebrate Hanukah and people can choose to celebrate or not celebrate this time of year. Just because there is less of a tolerance of Christmas being in the public sphere does not mean us Christians are being persecuted. Just because the clerk at Wal-Mart wishes you a “Happy Holidays” does not mean you have to retort convincingly “Merry Christmas”. You can certainly say “Merry Christmas” but how do you know the person is even celebrating Christmas? It’s inherently arrogant to say that “Well I live in America, everybody should celebrate Christmas, and if they don’t they are out to get Christianity” I don’t understand where this line of thinking comes from. Why do Christians in America feel it is required to be wished “Merry Christmas”?

In the spirit of what Christmas represents I encourage my fellow Christians to adopt an attitude of love and peace. Yeah, Christmas is now a Christian holiday, but it is also a secular holiday. It is not blasphemous to not celebrate Christmas, it is not persecution for the federal/state/local government to not promote Christmas. I get that American Christians feel a little claustrophobic as some liberties and practices that we have taken for granted get threatened but it is not our job to look like morons screaming “WAR ON CHRISTMAS” from September to January every year.

Even if it gets to the point where Christianity is a clear minority to secularism or humanism or whatever that still does not mean that we can legitimately gripe about a “War on Christmas” We will still be able to celebrate Christmas and worship how we like. This goes to a deeper issue about persecution, a little push back against the presence of Christmas in the public sphere does not even compare to what Christians are currently undergoing in Egypt, just Google “Christians in Egypt” if you don’t believe me.

So I would encourage you to reflect on how Jesus would have reacted to a “War on Christmas” every time you feel your precious American Christmas being threatened. What would he say or do?

What To Do When God Says No

You have a request. You take it before the Almighty in desperation and in trust, for you go to Him because He is able to do immeasurably more than all that you can ask or imagine. When your request is answered in the affirmative you know exactly what to do. You thank God for hearing your prayer and for granting your request. When your request is answered in the negative, though, you are not sure what to do. Should you ask why? Should you let discouragement settle in? Should you doubt whether or not God has your back at all?

If you at all pray then you have experienced God saying no. Sometimes God says not yet, but to us that means no. Sometimes God does in fact say no.

So, what should you do when God says no?

What kind of perspective should you have when your prayers are answered with the biggest two letter word known in the English language?

My hope in this post is to use broad strokes as this topic deserves a lot more than what I will be able to offer in a blog post. Hopefully, though, you will be able to gather a healthy perspective on the topic at hand. Without further ado, let’s do this.

Sometimes God Says No Because He Has Something Better In Mind

In John 11 Jesus is presented with an opportunity to heal his good friend, Lazarus. I recommend reading this whole chapter to see the entire account. In the meantime, I’ll give you some bullet points of the chapter.

  • Mary and Martha (Lazarus’ sisters) come to Jesus asking him to heal their sick brother.
  • Jesus does nothing for two days.
  • Jesus decides to go to Bethany to see Lazarus. By this time, Lazarus has been dead for 4 days.
  • Jesus resurrects Lazarus from the dead.
  • Many Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah because of this miracle.

Jesus initially said no to what Mary and Martha asked him to do. He had something better in mind. Instead of healing of sickness, he had resurrecting from the dead in mind. Pretty cool.

God Doesn’t Always Answer With A Yes Because Many Times We Don’t Know What Is Best

When Jesus came on the scene, the Jews had been praying for a deliverer. They were sick of being oppressed by the Roman Empire and were ready to be back to their glory days like when King David ruled. They were asking for the Messiah to be King like David, but God gave them Jesus.

Unfortunately, sometimes we ask God to do something that would be less than best for us, others, or his Kingdom. The Jews wanted deliverance in a physical way and yet God gave them what was best for them, spiritual deliverance.

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God Works Out All Things For Good For Those Who Love Him

I went into much more detail on this promise from Romans 8:28 in a previous post entitled, “Do All Things Work Together For My Good If I Love God?” The promise that is within this verse should contribute greatly to how we understand God’s purposes when he says no. In the end, God works out everything for the good for those who love him.

God’s Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

To claim to know the mind of God is… Well, impossible. Sure, we can know what he has told us through his Word. God works from the perspective of eternity. We work from the perspective of a tiny sliver of time. When we can re-orient our perspective to understand this, we can respond to God’s no with contentment because he must have something different in mind and that should be reassuring.

What To Do When God Says No?

Two things.

First, love God above everything else including what you are praying for. When we go to God in prayer asking him to do something, we are asking him because we know that he has the power to grant that request. The problem comes in when he says no and we react with contempt. When we want God to say yes to our requests more than we want to say yes to God and what he wants, we are engaging in idolatry.

Second, trust that God knows what is best in every situation. When you put your trust fully in the hands of the Almighty, you will be overwhelmed with contentment and peace.

What do you do when God says no?

What Is God’s Will?

Person reading Bible

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One of the most important questions a Christian asks is, what is God’s will for my life? It’s a good question because it shows the devotion to doing what God wants you to do. You may be deciding what major to study, what career to pursue, what person to marry, and a number of other things when this question comes to your mind. I commend you for asking the question. I want to help you answer the question. So, here we go.

What is God’s Will for my life?

Sometimes when asking this question, we get too complicated in what we expect God to answer with. While you may be asking Him what major to pursue, His answer to what He wants you to do may be something unrelated. Or maybe totally related to everything. Yeah, that’s more accurate. While I believe God has specifics in mind for you, I also believe that you must start in a place of simplicity when thinking about God’s will. I don’t say that because it’s easier, but because I believe it is biblical. Here’s why…

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is pretty simple and straightforward. Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus with a heart of gratitude. This focuses you in everything that you do. You can do whatever, just do it in the name of Jesus. Obviously you wouldn’t do something in the name of Jesus that doesn’t conform to His ways. Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus with a heart of gratitude.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Again, simple and straightforward. Whatever you do, do it all to glorify God. Whether you’re having dinner or you’re at work, do everything in a way that would bring God glory. Here’s a statement that can serve as a measuring stick in regards to God’s will for your life: If what you are doing or saying cannot bring God glory, it’s not God’s will for your life.If what you are doing or saying cannot bring God glory, it’s not God’s will for your life.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Paul declares that you are created in Christ Jesus for good works. In fact, the good works in which you were created to do were prepared by God before you existed. He has created you so that you would walk in the good things He has prepared for you. This should be a verse that assures you of this: God has good plans for you. What are those good plans? How will they manifest in your life?

Great questions.

I believe I can answer these questions in a general sense. For specifics, you must pray. Just keep in mind that God’s will for your life may be simpler than you think.

The good plans God has for you are that you would bring Him glory in whatever you do. That begs the question, what brings God glory?

God is glorified when you are obedient to the Great Commission – to make disciples. God is glorified when you live a life of grace and truth. When you choose both grace and truth you are living a life of real love. Without grace, truth is incomplete. Without truth, grace is irrelevant and unneeded. God is glorified when you lay down your preferences and live for Him. God is glorified when you thank Him for what He has done.Without grace, truth is incomplete. Without truth, grace is irrelevant and unneeded.

These good things should manifest in your life every minute of every day.

God may have something specific for you within what has been laid out above, however, keep in mind that God’s will for your life will surely consist of you bringing Him glory every minute of every day.

God’s will for your life will surely consist of you bringing Him glory every minute of every day.

What Is Faith?

Despite the rise of the “nones” (those who don’t identify with any religion), many people still believe in God. Many people also believe in heaven or something like it. Most people would identify with a place in which we will be after death. If you asked these people if they believed that they would go to heaven when they die, most would probably say yes. If you asked them why they believe that they would, many would answer, well I believe in God and I’m a pretty good person.

What Is Faith Really?

Scripture tells us that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8). Seems to be pretty straight forward. The grace of God is what makes it possible for us to be saved and we access that grace through faith in Jesus. To me, this begs the question, what is faith, really? Is it simply an acknowledgement of the existence of God? Is it more like trust, a deeper belief? Or is it something different altogether?

What is faith, really?

I would like to propose to you that a verbal acknowledgement of the existence of God or Jesus Christ is not the faith that Ephesians 2:8 speaks of. Look at what James says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (2:19)! The author of Hebrews gives us a simple definition of faith. Let’s check it out: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). If you continue reading in Hebrews 11, the author points out many people who had great faith. In each instance, they did something by faith. In other words, their faith resulted in something tangible. Their lives were evident of what they believed.

This point can be seen when James says:

Let me explain it this way. Picture yourself walking down a street in a small town and while you are walking, I yell your way from the sidewalk that you shouldn’t continue walking down the road you are on because there is a large cliff you are walking towards. You respond telling me that you believe what I am saying and you don’t want to fall down the cliff. Real faith in what I was saying would cause you to change your direction because of the cliff. The faith that many people have wouldn’t result in anything being different. You would continue to walk down the street and fall to your death because you did not have real faith in what I was telling you.

So, what is faith?

Faith is a belief that results in living a life that takes that belief into account. In fact, faith changes everything. Is your faith merely an acknowledgement of the existence of God or Jesus Christ? Even the demons believe in God. That is not real faith. Faith in Jesus Christ results in life change. It results in a total abandonment of your will and a total adoption of God’s. Faith is not about doing good things, but it naturally results in doing good things. It results in obedience.

Faith is a belief that results in living a life that takes that belief into account.

Truth or Lie? God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle

Don’t worry, God won’t give you more than you can handle. You’ve heard it before, I’m sure. This statement is used often by many. Maybe you have said it to a hurting friend. Maybe someone has said it to you while you were dealing with something. It’s a nice little cliche, but it is truth or is it a lie?

Will God Not Give You More Than You Can HandleTruth or Lie? God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle?

As nice as the statement is, you will… NOT find it in the Bible. Oh, but wait. That one passage says it, you say? Or does it? Let’s look at the often misquoted verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13:

You see, Brandon. It’s right there. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Err, wait. That’s not what it says. Do you see it? It says that you will not be tempted beyond what you can bear. In other words, when you are tempted, there is always a way out of the temptation. This is not the same thing as the critically-acclaimed statement, God won’t give you more than you can handle.

A Lie From the Pits of Hell

Now, as extreme as the heading above is, I do believe it is accurate. Anyone who has actually dealt with hardship, stress, anxiety, etc., will readily admit that the things they were dealing with were too much for them to bear on their own. When we encounter things that bring us to our knees, we must look to the one who is powerful enough and able to make broken things new again.

Why is God won’t give you more than you can handle a lie from the pits of Hell? Let’s think about this together. If everything in life is not more than I can handle what does that mean? For one, it means that I can handle my tendency to sin. You see, if I can handle this tendency, I wouldn’t sin. Therefore, I don’t need a Savior. There’s no need for Jesus now because God won’t give me more than I can handle. Who needs a Savior? Not me, I got this.

Secondly, this cliche implies that hardships and suffering are inherently bad things. When we say that God won’t give you more than you can handle, we are ignoring a blatantly obvious truth from Scripture: suffering has purpose. Romans 5:3-5 says:

James emphatically agrees with Paul (James 1:2-4):

While none of us like to suffer, there seems to be more to it than meets the eye.

Rock Bottom

Many times I have heard someone share their testimony where they talked about some trial or hardship being pivotal in their journey of coming to God. Think about this in your own life. Maybe your story with God started with some kind of rock bottom experience. You were awakened to the reality that you couldn’t handle this thing called, life on your own. You realized that you needed God. You understood that your sin was great, yet His grace was greater! Maybe it took you hitting rock bottom before you looked up to your Creator and Savior.

When we think we can handle everything in our lives, we will not rely on God. Often times, I believe, God uses trials and hardships to awaken us to the reality that we need to rely on Him.

If you are dealing with stress, hardship, anxiety, depression, etc. take some time to be encouraged in God’s word by watching the message I shared with The Crossing about this very topic from Psalm 23:1-3a.

How do you feel about the handling the challenges god gives you?

Holy Spirit in Acts

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts

The book of Acts refers to the Holy Spirit in a number of occasions. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Acts 1:2, 1:5, 1:15, 2:4, 5:3, 5:32, 6:3, 6:5, 6:10, 8:16, 8:17, 8:19, 10:19, 10:44, 10:45, 11:15, 11:16, 11:24, 13:2, 13:4, 13:9, 13:52, 15:8, 15:28, 16:6, 16:7, 19:1, 19:6, 20:22, 20:23, 20:28, 21:4, and 21:11. Given the amount of references to the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, I will concentrate on what is said about the Holy Spirit in chapter 13 specifically.

The Holy Spirit is mentioned four separate times in chapter 13 of the book of Acts. First, the Holy Spirit communicated with the believers on who He wants sent out to spread the gospel. The Holy Spirit convened in the worship time of the believers and called Paul and Barnabas to do the work of the Lord (13:2). Soon after, Paul and Barnabas went out. Luke says that they were “sent on their way by the Holy Spirit” (13:4).

Once Paul and Barnabas are on their journey we see the Holy Spirit give Paul guidance and wisdom to deal with Elymas (13:9). At the end of chapter 13, we see the Holy Spirit again. Luke tells us that the disciples were “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (13:52).

From the synopsis of the Holy Spirit in just chapter 13 we are able to see the pattern and role that the Holy Spirit played throughout the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit was and is a guide to those who follow Christ. Sometimes God calls certain people to do certain things and many times this calling is communicated through the Holy Spirit. Also, the Holy Spirit is a guide for those who submit themselves to Him. The Holy Spirit works through the disciples throughout the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit also works in them to mold them into the people they need to be for God. Lastly, the Holy Spirit is mentioned with joy. The Holy Spirit gives power to those that it dwells in. The power is from God and the close relationship that it represents should be something that brings joy to any believer.

God’s Covenant with Abraham

The covenant that God made with Abraham is one of eternal significance. The promise that God makes with Abraham can be seen throughout the Biblical text. Many other Biblical authors cite the covenant that God made with Abraham as essential in God’s plan of redeeming the human race from its sin problem. From the beginning of time, mankind has been plagued by the problem of sin. God’s solution comes forth through the covenant he makes with Abraham which ultimately leads to Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

The covenant that was made by God with Abraham can be seen in Genesis 12:1-3, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you? (Holy Bible).

There are many aspects to the covenant that is being made with Abraham. The first part is that God tells Abraham that he will be the father of an entire nation. This was ironic for Abraham because at the time, he and his wife Sarah had no children and were past the point in their lives when it was likely to have kids. Abraham is told that he will have a great name and will be a blessing. The last portion of God’s declaration to Abraham is that all people on earth will be blessed through him. This is said to be the solution that God has in mind for mankind’s problem. Two Biblical scholars say this in regards to this passage, “Beginning with Abram’s call in Genesis 12:1-3, the Bible now introduces the solution to the world’s sinful dilemma (Arnold and Beyer 90).

From the moment of promise in Genesis 12, the ancient Hebrews have a hope of redemption by their God. This did not happen, though, until God made the Hebrews into a mighty nation. The beginning of the founding of the nation of Israel can be seen throughout their journey from Egypt to Canaan. Here, God assures Moses that he has not forgotten his covenant:

From the point that God calls Moses to deliver his people out of Egypt and into their land, God’s covenant with Abraham is being fulfilled. God told Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. As the Hebrews begin this journey out of Egypt and into the desert God’s plan of redemption is moving forward.

As the Israelite nation wanders in the wilderness for forty years God is disciplining them and teaching them how to be a nation that follows Him. As Joshua takes the leadership from Moses, the Israelite nation is ready to take the land that God promised them. From the point that the Israelites step foot on the west side of the Jordan river, many of them could have been thinking of Genesis 24:7 where Abraham said, “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’ – he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there? (Holy Bible). Abraham believed God when He promised him that his offspring would have the land he was in. Now, his nation is beginning to take ownership of the land that God has for them.

God has been intentional with His people thus far and that intentionality does not subside. Joshua and the Israelites are successful in taking most of the land of Canaan. The great nation that was promised to Abraham has been given its land and can now begin to build itself into a regional powerhouse for the Lord. It is an understatement to say, “The promises to Abraham became assurance for future generations? (Holman 14). God’s people knew what was told to Abraham and they were witnessing the fruits of that promise with their very eyes.

As Israel moves into a Monarchy, its third king remembers what was told to Abraham when he pens, “May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed? (Holy Bible Psalm 72:17). Solomon is echoing the covenant that God made with Abraham. He understands that this covenant is the foundation for the nation of Israel’s existence. If it were not for the promise that God made to Abraham, Solomon would not be king because there would not be a nation to reign over. This text can go further into pointing to where the blessing of all nations would come through. Ultimately, the Messiah would come through the royal line of David and it is through that same royal line that Solomon speaks of this occurring.

As we have seen thus far, Israel has become a great nation which fulfills part of God’s promise to Abraham. However, we have not seen how exactly God will bless all the people of the earth through Abraham. Throughout the rest of the Old Testament the foreshadowing of this occurring is clearly seen. Isaiah says that “The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance’? (Holy Bible, 19.25). Isaiah declares that God will bless two nations that are responsible for oppressing His people. This would have been a tremendous surprise to the people of Israel when Isaiah declared this. Assyria was the nation that destroyed the northern kingdom and took them into captivity. The nation of Egypt enslaved God’s people before they were a separate nation. For God to say that Egyptians are His people and Assyrians are His handiwork can only be seen through the lens of Genesis 12:3.

Moving forward we will get a clear picture of how, “Through him God had revealed His plan for human salvation? (Holman 14). Jesus was clear that the blessing of Abraham would be for all people. In Matthew 8:11 Jesus says, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven? (Holy Bible). Jesus is expressing the promise to Abraham that all people will be blessed through him. All people will be blessed ultimately through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Jesus’ expression of people coming from the east and the west shows that the Gospel is for all people regardless of their nationality.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection the covenant that God made with Abraham is expressed further in the rest of the New Testament. In the book of Acts Luke records Peter’s words to the Jews when he says, “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed’? (Holy Bible 3.25). John Stott says that “this was a foundation promise of the Old Testament? and in regards to what the blessing is, he says, “It is not forgiveness only, but righteousness? (94). Not only does the blessing of all people include forgiveness of sins, but it includes a level of justification before God that makes every believer right with Him.

The apostle Paul continues the connection between God’s covenant with Abraham and Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. He concentrates mostly on the fact that through Christ, Gentiles are welcomed into the blessing of Abraham. He clearly lays this theology out when he says, “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you’ (Holy Bible, Galatians.3.8). This verse is of great significance because, “According to Paul, the story of Abraham demonstrated that from the beginning God’s people were characterized by faith and reckoned as righteous? which means that “God’s purpose all along has been to bless the nations through Abraham? (Capes, Reeves, Richards 115-116).

Even after God promised Abraham that through him all people would be blessed, there was a major disconnect between the Israelite people and the people outside of their nation. Much of this was because God was protecting them from the pagan gods that were worshipped by the Gentiles. However, everything, as we have seen, changed with Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul breaks this reality down for the Christians in Ephesus, much of whom came to Christ as Gentiles:

Paul is, again, highlighting the promise made to Abraham that all people would be blessed through him. It is through Abraham that Gentiles are blessed. God’s plan of redemption started with Abraham and ended with Jesus Christ on the cross.

As has been seen, the covenant that God made with Abraham is clearly seen throughout the whole Bible. It is partly fulfilled through the Old Testament and completely fulfilled through the New Testament. God built a great nation in the Old Testament and ultimately blessed all people through the New Testament. God’s promise to Abraham did not turn up void. It was a guarantee as soon as it came from God’s mouth.

Sources: Arnold, Bill T. and Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2008. Print.Capes, David B., Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards. Rediscovering Paul. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007 . Print.Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. Print.Holy Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985. Print.Stott, John R.W. The Message of Acts. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990. Print.

My Morning Routine with Jesus

What would a joy filled and purpose filled day look like to you? I believe that you can have that today. How many times have you just gone through the motions at work, looking at the clock every chance you get? How would you like to start looking at your day of work or school or whatever it may be in a new way? Well, if you want your day to be different you might want to change how you start it.

What would it be like if you never let love and faithfulness leave you? I think people would enjoy being around you even more than they already do! Or, maybe they don’t at all enjoy being around you right now but they could start if you allowed love and faithfulness to overwhelm you. How would you like to be a likable person to other people and… are you ready? God! That could change everything for you today, that is if you make some changes.

Have you ever talked about the past and thought of a different way of handling a situation? Hindsight is 20/20, right? Something that may help you to make the right decision the first time is to have sound judgement and discernment. Or, get to know someone who has the gift of discernment. My wife, Sara is amazing at discernment. I have grown to really trust her judgement in situations that call for us to make both big decisions and small decisions. As I continue to see life play out, I see that she has been right most of the time. Usually when we are in a situation that isn’t all too great, it’s because of me. Part of discernment is being able to step back out of your own biases and see the big picture of whatever situation you are in. Oh, and by the way, prayer helps! Having sound judgement and discernment doesn’t happen overnight. Heck, I don’t think I am even close to having it. Work at it and pray.

Everyone likes a generous person. Are you in a position to help someone who needs help? Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it now! It really is that simple.

Lastly, live today for God for He is the only thing worth living for.

Have a happy Wednesday from yours truly.

*All Scripture quoted from the 1984 NIV

Christian Fatherhood

For awhile now, I have dreamed of the day that I can hold a child of my own in my arms. Soon that will happen and I am ecstatic. I am looking forward to the first cry of our baby, the first eye contact I have with him/her and the first time he/she starts to walk.

More so than all of that, I am looking forward to the real “meat” of fatherhood. The everyday occurrences where my son or daughter will learn from me just in what I do and say. We find out in a week and two days whether the baby is a boy or a girl. There are so many things I am looking forward to when it comes to mentoring my little guy or gal.

There are so many studies that are being done and have been done on how much of an influence fathers have on their children. Fatherlessness is a growing commonality in today’s society and the effects are mind blowing. “Fatherless homes produce more than half of all youth suicides, as well as the majority of kids with behavior disorders.” Also, “kids are twenty times more likely to end up in prison if their dad is not involved in their lives” -Source (Used in The Resolution for Men). The reality is that the impact of fathers on their children is so much more than statistics. The impact a father can have on his children can be GREAT or it can be AWFUL.

It is a HUGE responsibility to be a father. Any guy can have a child but it takes a man to be a father. Too many times today there are kids raising kids and this doesn’t just have to do with the age of the dad. Adolescence is being extended into, in some cases, the thirties of many guys. They have no sense of responsibility and maturity. This is a product of culture raising kids and fathers not calling out the man in their sons. The problem will continue if fathers don’t start to see the impact they are making on their children. Further, we need mature men to mentor these kids who don’t have strong fathers who are involved in their lives.

I say all of this because I see the extreme problem in today’s society with fathers not doing what they are supposed to do. I have the knowledge of what not to do as a father but it goes beyond just knowing what not to do. I am so, so excited to be able to be a godly teacher, mentor, and example to my kids. In no way am I trying to claim that I have much figured out in this field but I am a student of this subject. I try to learn as much as I can because I know that it is a major responsibility.

God, you are the example we are to look to in what it means to be a loving father. You show us how to love, how to show grace, how to prioritize our lives so that our children will be raised as you want them to be raised. Being a father is such a gift. Please help us to reflect your love to our children and our future children. Help us to forgive others as we teach our children to forgive, help us to lead them to you, and help us to honor you in our relationship with them. Father, you are amazing and it is by your grace that we can strive to be loving fathers to our children.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

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