Monday, June 22, 2015

A Note to Fathers

"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, and unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets of society." - Billy Graham

Yesterday was Father's Day. Somehow it seems that we tend to make a bigger deal about Mother's Day than Father's Day. In general father's tend to get a bad rap in society. We are constantly hearing about the effects of absent fathers and about how fathers don't take responsibility for their children, are emotionally absent, or are too overbearing and hard on their children. These stories are in movies, tv, music, and on the news. Mothers are constantly praised for the hard work and sacrifice that they put into raising their children while fathers are constantly put down for not being there.

Even fathers who are around tend to be put down. There are constant jokes about what happens when fathers are left to watch the children without mom around. While some of these are funny mostly they seem to have a bad view of the father's capability of watching their own children. It promotes a view that father's should work to pay the bills, be a disciplinarian, but everything else should be left to the mother.

As a father writing to fellow fathers I want to recognize these stereotypes in society and speak against them. I know so many fathers, young and old alike, that are great with their children and I applaud you all. With all of the previous stereotypes there is a tendency to feel that the mother's job is more important than the father's but let me tell you that your job is just as important.

You are the first representative of God that your children will see.

Your daughters will look for a man that treats them like you treat them and their mother.

Your sons will ultimately emulate the way you act in your marriage and as a father.

Father's are the main source of inspiration, encouragement, and challenge for their children.

This is not to downplay the role of the mother. God designed us to have a need for both a father and a mother. One challenges and the other comforts, one inspires and the other nurtures, both provide love and support throughout life. 

When you look at the above list it may seem like that is too big a job to take on but don't be discouraged. It is too big of a job to take on but as God told Paul he also tells us fathers:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthian 12:9

Remember no one, not even your children, asks you to be perfect. You just are asked to be there, to try, to love. And so many of you are! According to the United States Census Bureau 24% of children are raised in a household with only one parent. Well this is sad that means that there are still 76% of children being raised with two parents!

So there are more of you fathers out there than society would like us to believe. Some of you are biological fathers and some of you are stepfathers but either way you are there and in prime position to pour love into the lives of your children. 

Fathers I applaud you!

“What makes Will the best father in the world to me is that he’s there, not just there in a way that’s traditional. The emotional support he offers his children is immeasurable.”
Jada Pinkett Smith
“I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing. But my kids love me. Go figure.”
Louis C.K.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Where is Your Trust?

Where do you place your trust?

It is easy to say that we trust in God but sometimes our actions tell a different story. James said:

Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.
James 2:18b

Our "works", our actions, are evidence as to where our faith is. How we act will show where our trust truly lies. So do your actions show that you have placed your trust in the Lord?

What is your first response when you start to feel sick?

What do you do when you run into financial difficulty?

What happens if your plans don't work out the way you thought they would?

It's easy, and normal, to get discouraged in these situations, however we need to remind ourselves that God is trustworthy. Rather than running immediately to the doctor, the financial planner, or seeking out overtime we should be starting in prayer. It is very possible that through prayer God will lead us to those things but we trust them only because we trust God in them. That is an important distinction to make. There is nothing wrong with doctors, financial planners, or overtime but if we say that our trust is in the Lord we should show it by seeking him first in these situations. 

In this verse David states specifically that "we will remember the name of the Lord our God." The Bible shows us many names of the Lord. By understanding His names we can understand his nature and increase our ability to truly trust in Him. I discussed the names of the Lord in detail in my post Call On the Name of the Lord! 

By knowing God as Jehovah Jireh we can trust him to provide in our time of need.

By knowing God as Jehovah Rapha we can trust when we start to see symptoms of sickness attack our body.

By knowing God as Jehovah Nissi we can trust him in our times of greatest battle.

By knowing God as Jehovah Mekoddishkem we can trust Him to make us holy even in the midst of our sin.

By knowing God as Jehovah Shalom we can trust Him to bring peace in our times of turmoil.

It is through His name that we get to know His character and His power in our lives. That is why the Bible says that His name is a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10) and that if we call on His name we shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

So where have you placed your trust? Will you "remember the name of the Lord our God?"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blog Highlight: Living Fearless

"I had a hard time trying to pick a name for my blog, but I chose "Living Fearless" because that's what God told me to do in high school and ever since then my life has never been the same."
Rebecca Roake - Green means "Go"

I am proud of my cousin Rebecca. She has stepped out of her comfort zone in tremendous ways twice since graduating from high school just a few years ago. First she made the step to leave her home state and follow her pastor to Boise, Idaho to plant a church. It is then that she first started her blog, Living Fearless. She sadly only wrote on it for few months but each post is filled with honesty and conviction. 

Then, last year, she took another huge step of faith and left her home country to do a discipleship training school with YWAM in Byron Bay, Australia. You can read a bit about her experience in her post Curtains Will Rise. She had an amazing experience in her lecture phase and then spent her outreach in Calcutta, India.

Rebecca doesn't post very much at all but when she does post it is powerful and hits you straight in the heart. I encourage you to go Living Fearless and look through her archive. Then don't give up on checking back because when you do catch a new post it will be real, it will be honest, and it will be powerful! Her most recent post, Unbelief, is a great testament to that fact.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Most Important Trait Related to Personal Growth

"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will still be wiser; 
Teach a just man and he will increase in learning."
Proverbs 9:9

In my time in the blogging world I have found that the most popular blogs have something to do with self development. People are constantly looking for ways to better themselves and improve their situation. They want to be able to get that new job, that promotion, or simply "succeed in life". There are a lot of good blogs that give good tips for those people. I wrote about one of them here. Another very popular blog along these lines is

There is a wealth of great information and tips on how to improve yourself and build personal growth and I highly recommend them. However, I believe there is one quality that is the most important thing towards personal growth:

You must be teachable.

In order to have any true growth we must learn to be teachable. That is why Solomon says that the wise become wiser because they are willing to learn from those around them and increase their wisdom. In another proverb he makes his point a little bit stronger:

"Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."
Proverbs 12:1

If you are now willing and able to take correction then Solomon says plainly that you are stupid. It is a stupid thing to not take correction because we are then never able to learn and grow. Also I can tell you from experience as a supervisor, I will put up with a lot of stuff from my employees as long as when I correct you, you listen and learn as evidenced by your changing your actions the next time. I would rather have someone who is inexperienced and uneducated yet teachable then to have someone who has ten years of experience and a masters degree but think they have everything figured out already. 

So if you are serious about self improvement and personal growth take this one step:

Learn to accept correction and listen to instruction.

What do you think is the most important trait towards personal growth?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Do Not Be Afraid; Only Believe!

"It doesn't matter where you are right now; God has moments of 
favor for you too. You may not be able to figure it out, but that's okay. 
That's not your job. Your job is to believe. God's already figured it out."
Joel Osteen - It's Your Time

This particular quote struck a chord with me. We so often have a tendency to attempt to figure everything out on our own. We think that we can plan our lives and work our way into the calling that God has on our life and then when things don't plan out easily we get discouraged. It reminded me of the scripture in Proverbs:

"A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Sometimes we get so busy planning our own way we forget that it is ultimately God's job to direct our steps, to figure it all out. In fact He has it all figured out already we just need to learn to trust Him. 

It's so easy to get discouraged and impatient. It's so easy to think that we should be further than we are or to start questioning whether we missed our opportunity. But even if we did miss an opportunity God is a God of redemption. He wants to redeem the time that you missed! We just need to learn to take to heart the instructions that Jesus gave Jairus:

"Do not be afraid; only believe..."
Luke 8:50

Jairus was already stretched in his faith in believing that Jesus would be able to heal his daughter but before Jesus could even get there he received the report that his daughter had died. At that moment everything seemed hopeless and Jairus could no longer see a way out of his situation and Jesus responds simply "Do not be afraid; only believe..." I find it interesting that Jesus doesn't go into a long message into how he has authority over death. He doesn't start preaching about the power of the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit. He says simply "...only believe...

In other words Jesus is telling Jairus, there is no need for you to understand how it's going to happen just believe that I can take care of this situation. He might be saying the same thing to you. Stop trying to figure out how Jesus is going to turn your situation around and just trust that He will do it! Whatever it is that you are going through Jesus is saying simply:

Do not be afraid; only believe!