Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Daily Discipline

We're in that week of in-between, looking forward to beginning anew after such extravagance. I am not one given much to resolutions, not that there are things that could be made better in my life. But resolutions feel like the establishment of a law that begs to be broken, and I'm really not in need of legalism or a sinful nature aroused by a law.

But there is something new being instituted in our family. It was a commitment made by Mike that will benefit all of us. Before I let him tell you about it in his own words, I want to clarify that although Mike asks forgiveness in the letter below, he is the best father I have ever known, loves his children and his wife to near perfection. He sees his own short-comings as glaring; I see them barely. And this is right, because love covers a multitude of sin. (1 Peter 4:8)

So here he is, my first guest blogger, my dear Mike.

:::

December 17, 2010

Dear Children,

2010 Christmas Picture

I cannot begin to say with words what the three of you mean to me and your mom. You are a treasure and a gift from the Lord to us. I feel that the years of your childhood are QUICKLY passing me up and I have a gnawing in my stomach that somehow I have not prepared and equipped you enough or properly to face the great uncertainties of life as well as prepared you for the most important of all tests, and that is to stand before the Lord having done His will. I obviously know I cannot live your life for you, but I am to be the most godly and loving father and the most godly and loving husband to your mom before you. As a matter of fact it is the most important of qualifiers for me to be the pastor of the church. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy and says, "He (the pastor) must manage his own family well. His children should respectfully obey him. (If a man doesn’t know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 1 Timothy 3:4-5.

It is for this reason that I am writing this note to you today. I have decided that I will surrender all to God and devote myself to training and instructing you (even when you do not feel like listening) as well as spending more quality time with you (the little that we have left before you are all grown up and gone from our home). As I am dedicated to training and teaching the flock that the Lord has entrusted to me, even more must I train and instruct my family. For all the times I have failed to meet the standard of Christ before you, I repent and apologize from the heart. Thank you for extending mercy to me and grace in my sin and in my failures to be a godly example and a kind and gentle father. One of the things that is very difficult to accept is that sometimes what I see in you when you fight with each other and argue and yell is a reflection of what you have seen in me. When you do not hunger for God and seek Him is sometimes because I have not hungered for God or sought Him myself. When you do not pray is sometimes because I have failed to pray. "I must run the race to win the prize in Christ Jesus" and leave you an example, a legacy, a pathway to follow. Not a pathway that I have settled with but the pathway of righteousness and truth - which is Christ Himself.

I will begin today, along with what I have shared with you in this note, to send you a verse, a quote, or a thought from my heart each day to your email box. Since I know that you will be checking your email EVERYDAY :) I love you all so much and am so thankful for you. I would keep you by my side forever if I could (even though this is not humanly possible nor is it healthy) but that is the truth. It is because I know my time is short with you and because the Lord has laid this on my heart, that I am with great urgency and fervency giving myself to this wonderful privilege and honor of raising you three in the Lord. Please pray for me because I cannot do this in my own strength, but I know that "with God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26.

So here is your verse for today.

WHAT THE VERSE SAYS:
"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9

WHAT THE VERSE MEANS:
When you see or hear someone do or say something that is not like Jesus you should forgive them because that is what Jesus has done for you. On the other hand, if you go and tell someone about it and repeat what you saw and heard you will cause the person you tell it to to think less of the person who messed up and cause a separation between them. This is not acting in the attitude and Spirit of Christ. What would be best is to pray for that person and then speak with them about it and encourage them to live the way Jesus lived. Show them the same mercy the Lord showed you.

Love you much,
Dad

: : :
Perhaps a "Verse For Today" is something you might want to do with your own family? You don't have to be a trained pastor to pick a verse from scripture, give it a brief, age-appropriate explanation and a challenge or two for living it out. It's a great way to serve the Lord and grow together in Him as a family in 2011.
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