I am excited to be able to start the new year with a goal of writing on this blog at least twice a week and making it a part of what we are doing at Elevation. I am also going to be writing to help husbands, fathers, and men to be all that God wants them to be in each of their lives.
So today is kind of a two for one! We have started a series called, “The Vow”. We are talking about the vows that we need to take serious if we are going to be prepared for marriage or to have strength in our current marriages. Because if you are reading this you probably have like me seen the stats or studies that show that half of marriages are not making it for the long haul. And most men are like me where we did not have the best or if any examples of what it means to be a Godly and loving husband. So it is my hope that we can start the conversation where we can give men a place to start when it comes to preparing to be great husbands or help those husbands to grow and get better.
I have been reading through the book of Psalms and there is one that is specific about what it looks like for a husband to spiritually lead his family. We talked about what it looks like to, “Seek the One, to Reflect the One” to our spouses or women that we want to marry in the first message of our series. So read with me Psalm 128:
Psalm 128 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. 1 How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways! 2 You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. 4 That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. 5 May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. 6 May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!
The writer is talking about how it starts first with the fear of the Lord and of the one who is following in the Lords ways. Then it says that we will enjoy the fruit of our work because of who we are following the Lord. But then it show how as we “SEEK THE ONE” it will enable us to “REFLECT THE ONE” to the people in our homes. It is says that the wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home. This shows that as you make Jesus the one in your life and that he grows and shows through you that your wife will flourish, that your home will be better because of the both of you being affected by Jesus and that your HOME will be different because of you both being changed by following the Lord.
It then goes on and talks about the kids! Your kids will be affected by the way that you and your spouse are being changed as you “Seek the One to Reflect the One” as a couple. The future of your family the future of your kids are being lead by the way that you are being lead by Jesus. If we want to be a part of changing the directions of our families legacy’s we do that be following Jesus. It also points out sitting around the table, maybe this week as you, “Seek The One to Reflect the One” you have a conversation around the table with your kids about what you are learning or doing as a follower of Jesus?
But then it talks about seeing Jerusalem prosper and that you may live to enjoy your grandchildren and see Israel have peace. As I studied and read more this is showing that as we “See The One to Reflect the One” that it will lead to change in our community, that we will be a part of the change to generations of people because of the way that we are following Jesus. What you do as a follower of Jesus and as a husband and as a father can be used by God to change the communities that we are in and the generations that are to come after us.
What do you need to do this week to “Seek The One to Reflect the One”? How can you make sure that your wife is flourishing? How are you getting your kids around the table to talk about following Jesus? Take some time to pray and think about this and please feel free to leave a comment and share what you are planning to do.
I was not ready to be a father. (Not like anyone really is. . .) So when we had a daughter then a son and another daughter I knew that I was in the deep end of the pool. So I started doing all that I could to learn about what it meant to be the best father that I possibly could be. I read books, I watched videos, I talked with other fathers with grown children and usually I would ask, “Do you have any children that are in prison?” If they answered no then I would spend time asking them questions about how and what they did as a father. Ultimately it lead me to the parenting statement that my wife and I would use as our goal for our kids, “We wanted them to leave well.” That would mean that when we were going to make decisions about different areas of life. We would ask ourselves, “Is this going to prepare them to leave well?” Now I know some of you might be thinking that this sounds like a horrible statement. Where is the love in this statement? Where is the faith in this statement? Where is . . . you name it! For us we felt like that there was nothing more faithful or loving then to prepare our children to leave the safety of the home well. We made tough decisions that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. We challenged them in areas that we hoped and prayed would prepare them. We disciplined them in ways that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. But most of all we loved and cared for them enough to prepare them to leave well. So what are you doing as a father or as a parent that is preparing your children to leave well?
And just so that you know that I am not talking out of turn. I am proud to say that our oldest is graduating from college this May with a degree in elementary education and seeking to attend possibly for her masters, our son is playing college football where he walked on and earned a scholarship and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, and our youngest plans to run cross country and track at the same college as her older sister and brother where she plans to get a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in physical therapy. (There were bumps along the way, but we are seeing them leave well.)
I recently read an article that was posted by a local news channel on twitter. It disturbed me!
Here is the cliff notes of the story (Read it here). There is a woman who has been a part of a movement of people who are trying to keep a local building from being torn down. So in an effort to save the building from being torn down this woman with the support of the people around here decides to marry the building. Now at first I thought this is interesting. But the more I thought about the more bothered I became that marriage today has become more of a punchline to a joke then a commitment that is to be made between a man and a woman to God.
Michelle and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage in May. I don’t want one the best things in my life, my marriage to my best friend to be a punch line in a joke or a way to save a building from being destroyed. It is my hope that for the many of those of us that have had marriages that are a powerful statement to commitment and to marriage before God will continue to encourage those around us to see marriage as important. It is my hope that as we lead in our homes and in our commuities that people will see the joy that comes from a marriage that is based in God’s love for one another and a commitment to live together through the good and bad is important. Just a little fired up!
What do you think?
Ever have one of those days where you just wish some one would acknowledge that you are doing a good job at whatever it is your doing that day? I mean maybe if you are a stay at home mom, that your husband or kids would just tell you that you are doing awesome and that they love their home. Wouldn’t that be nice? I mean how about husbands that work away from home and are gone for a couple of days, that when you get home you hear from your wife and kids that they missed you and want to be with you. Instead, you get the list of broken things in the home and dad you promised to take me to the store. Don’t you want to be encouraged? How about for those high school and middle school students that are taking on the world in school. That when you get home you hear that you were missed and that is there anything that your parents could do for you while you do the 12 million hours of home work. But instead you hear about the chores that aren’t done or about how you missed one thing on the project and it wasn’t the grade that your parents had hoped for in that class. Don’t you want more encouragement?
I recently was sitting and working away and was kind of having one of those days, where I just wanted to hear I was doing a good job. That things were going well and that even though my emotions were getting the better of me, that God is the one in charge I am not, and today was better than I thought. When I looked up at the huge wipe board in my office and saw this:
There she left me a little note just telling me she loved me. What a great reminder and an encouragement to me. It made the rest of my day just hinking about how my “favorite youngest daughter” loved me. Maybe that is what you need to hear too? Maybe you need to know that from not just the people around you but from God himself. You see God being the great dad that He is even knew that was important. Look at what he said to His son:
Matthew 3:17 (NLT) “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved son, who brings me great joy.”
Guess what you are His kid and you too bring Him joy. So even if you can’t see it on the wipe board in your office know that God loves you and He wants you to lean into Him and hear I Love you, your doing a good job.
Hope that you are encouraged! Maybe this is something you need to share with someone else? Go encourage someone, maybe on their wipe board.
As we head into the month of February we all know that Valentine’s Day is in that month. So with that in mind we decided that it was a great time to talk about relationships, marriage, and all that goes with that. Valentine’s Day is really a day that we celebrate the love and relationships we have and it comes only once a year. What is sad is that may be for some people the most romantic and awesome day they have in the year which is really pathetic! With that in mind we are going through a series called “I Want A New Marriage” what we want people to really see is that the new marriage or relationship that they want is the one that they already have, it just takes some work. I know that we always hear that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, well that is because someone on the other side of the fence put the work into the yard and that is why it looks the way it does.
I thought that we could start out the month by giving people some tools that they can use when it comes to the relationships in their lives. But I want you to realize that the tools are only good if you use them. Here are two books that I have read in the last couple of weeks that I think have great information and practicality in them for relationships.
“Love & War: Finding the marriage that you dreamed of” by John and Stasi Eldredge you can also find the 8 week Devotional for Couples that is great.
“The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” by Gary Chapman it too has a companion book that you can go through as a couple for Bible Study.
“Love & War” is a great book that walks you through their relationship and all that they struggled with to be where they are today. It is a great read if there are things in your marriage and relationship that are keeping you part. “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” is a great book that will actually give you work to do at the end of each chapter that allows you to put into practice what you are learning, if you are not a big reader then this is the one that you will what to get. I hope that this is a help to get things rolling in your relationships and marriages. Even if you are a single person these are great to read because it prepares you to think now about what you will want in your marriage. If you are a single guy then I would encourage you STRONGLY to read these because it will prepare you to be the husband that I guarantee a lady is looking for in her life.
Michelle and I love to listen to Diana Krall when the kids are in bed and we are able to relax and enjoy our time. This is has been one of those areas that we truly knew was important for us to keep for us to be able to be the husband and wife we needed to be. I also believe that it is because we were able to make sure that we had this time that we were able to be better parents. We had time for us to be unified in heart and mind when it came to life and the kids. This may not be your kind of music but I encourage you to find whatever music you and your spouse enjoy turn the music on and then just spend time with the two of you. No matter how many kids you have no matter what ages they are, you need your time together. Because if you don’t have your time together now when your kids are grown up and gone you will have tons of time together and you may not know who you are spending time with.
What kind of music do you and your spouse enjoy listening to while you relax? If you can’t answer that question then you need to find out.
It is amazing to me that everyday we have the capacity to love and to hurt people. We are able to use the hands that the Lord has given to us to hinder or help. I pray that each and everyday that we seek to use our hands to love people to the place where they see Jesus. May we see each day as an opportunity to use our hands to love God and love others.