A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR YOUR LIFE
EVERY FATHERS BUSINESS
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
When we are more interested in what is on TV than what Jesus is trying to teach us about living in these last hours, we have proven that our flesh rules our spirit – and this is not the condition He was hoping to find His church when He returns. If we really believe He is ready to come tonight – is the way you are living right now the way you want Him to find you? Are you and I doing what we are supposed to be doing? I am not – and I need to change NOW! This brings me to my point and the reason why I sat down here to write this afternoon. I am not being a light in the darkness – much of the time I am more like a candle under a basket.
People will say, Billy you’re a minister and chaplain, you write articles, books and songs and you can teach, sing and counsel those in need, but I would say these are labors that are “seen” in ministry. There are many of you that like me are also involved with helping lots of people and ministry projects that make genuine differences in people’s lives, but I am not really referring to these noticeable good works and deeds. I am talking about being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit when we come in contact with an individual that needs a touch from Jesus. I’m talking about small things, spontaneous personal acts of love that maybe only one person will know and deeds when no one is watching. I want to become so discerning that I can not only HEAR someone’s heart but what God is saying to DO or SAY that can plant “life” into their soul. I desire to have more divine appointments but He is NOT going to arrange these meetings until I become more interested in being His witness! If we are presuming that evangelists and missionaries are the only ones that have been called to sow the seed of the gospel, then we are exposing our conscience as someone who actually cares very little about speaking into someone’s life. Only when we fall on our face and cry out to God in repentance for these sins of omission will we ever begin to grow in our burden and determination to fulfill the great commission in our network. When we are NOT sensitive to what is happening around us – we become less concerned and less interested in working in HIS harvest fields. It is dangerous to become so absorbed in our affairs and what others can do for us, that we FORGET who we are, who God is and what we have been called to do! It would be (and is) a terrible feeling to realize that we could have made a difference – but chose not to. Selah.
As spiritual leaders and team members that provide ministry on the front lines, I know that some of you have been warriors on the battlefield for many years and have seen wonderful miracles and I am sure you have also witnessed the fleshly side of religion. However, we must learn from the bad things and the mistakes we have made so that we can become BETTER and STRONGER leaders for God’s Kingdom. Do not be discouraged by presuming that all churches and leaders are the same! Each person can be as close to God as they want to be – including us! What will it take for us to develop the (so overly used) phrase called “walking in His Spirit?” For all of the talk we have done about abiding in Him, you would think by now we would at least be demonstrating it every once and awhile.
I want to say how unfortunate it was that as a young man, I did NOT have the spiritual training that I needed. This is not to say that I had bad parents because I had wonderful parents. They worked hard and provided for my every need; in fact I lived a very blessed life. As a child, we usually do not think about the future or things like spiritual development because we just don’t worry about it. We do what we are told, try to have fun and learn that when we disobey we are punished. We adapt to the rules and the routines and figure out how to adjust to life all the while developing our own unique personality. We listen and watch our parents and form many opinions about life from what we see and hear. If we become satisfied with these views and observations we will accept them into our own philosophies and can even become quite rigid about them. (It is a shame that many times we do not even know why). You see, this passing of the “baton” to our children can be good or bad depending on what we plant – but within these generational cycles unless these negative attitudes and errors are corrected (or at least improved) the new generations will continue to suffer in a negative way. Is it the fathers fault? In many ways I must say yes. I realize that everyone has their own free-will and children make their own decisions, however, I am convinced that much of the problems that we see today can be traced back to the type of environment and teaching that was in place in the home when the child was in the developmental learning stages. In my particular life, when it came time to raise my own children, I can see clearly now that I only gave from what I knew – and that is the problem! I knew to take them to church and pray for them but I did not impart to them the “nuts and bolts” of what a Christian is and how to live for God in ALL things. If spiritual AND practical wisdom is explained and LIVED in front of our families, truth becomes imbedded into the heart and soul of the child and in turn the character of Christ becomes manifested. God has promised that if we raise our children in His Word and nurture that Word with love, prayer and demonstration, the conviction of that Word will remain alive within their being. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Yes, my children never gave us any trouble and turned out fine, but if I had been taught more, I could have “planted” so much more.
Do I believe parents need a degree in child psychology to develop and maintain a successful family? No, but being ignorant or ashamed to instruct children in the ways of modesty, humility, love, manners, respect, integrity, prayer, diligence, faith and purity is not God’s idea of child rearing. Is it not the mother’s duty to teach all these things? No, absolutely not! This has been the cause of much of the problems. It is true, the mother does “invest” much nurturing and instruction but children WATCH more than they listen. If the father has the attitude that his part is only to feed and clothe them – he is out in left field! Amen! As children look up to their parents and absorb what they see and hear, these “building materials” are the foundation that is being constructed and will definitely form and affect the way they think and live. The family prayer time has unfortunately gone the way of the dinosaur because Christian fathers do not care, are lazy or too distracted to invest spiritual development within their family. Many will laugh and roll their eyes because of how corny and outdated this sounds but it is actually one of the most important personal times of reflection and meditation that a family can have together. This discipline of communication reaps such a glorious bounty that it is easy to comprehend why Satan hates it so much. Television has been one of the family’s fiercest enemies because it interrupts and steals this precious time of bonding with God’s Holy Spirit and each other. (And no – quality family time is not gathered around the TV allowing Satan to inject his doses of poison into our minds). Again, who is the guilty party for allowing this to happen? The father who has a lust to be entertained is the one to blame because he chooses his flesh rather than preparing his family about how to live the daily Christian life. Am I saying that fathers have failed when children have problems with things like being hooked on drugs, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, arrested for crimes, premarital sex, poverty and welfare, uneducated, unemployed, divorced, laziness, not being born-again or the many other situations that bring disappointment and shame? Well, I have already said that everyone has a free-will to choose their own direction but it is LESS LIKELY to have these dark circumstances if the father has made the investment! I am sure there have been good families that had a rebellious child and a spiritually ignorant family that had a child to break these curses, but generally speaking, across the board, I believe these Biblical principles apply.
A Christian wife, along with being the mother of the children should not only be a “help-mate” in the day to day business affairs within the home but most importantly her husband’s spiritual confidant that shares his intimate visions and bond of love and trust. This is why it is very important for a Christian to marry a Christian as the yoke or covenant must be united as an intertwining of two like-minded hearts. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14) The meaning of “yoked” here has long been associated with the union, vow or bond of marriage. This direct warning from God’s Word has been ignored because people will usually follow their carnality and do whatever they want to do. I see young people all around that are children of Christian parents that do not even consider this holy instruction. I have personally witnessed Christians that married a lost person where the non-Christian not only failed to convert to Christ, but actually had such a strong influence that the Christian drifted “away” from God. This is why it is so dangerous; there is no spiritual unity or vision in common and the divine three corded “braid” of the couple and the Holy Spirit cannot be formed. This connection to God is the highest source of life and makes marriage the most powerful institution on earth. It has nothing to do with how good people get along, how good looking they are or how much people think they are in love – it has everything to do with following the whisper of God’s voice. Without being condemning we realize that not following God in our decisions is one of the consequences of such a high divorce rate.
My heart is broken as I observe the world and see so many broken people. People are perishing from the lack of the knowledge of God’s Word. It is clear to see the difference between children that have been trained and disciplined from strong, loving parents who feared the Lord, and those who were just given life and allowed to grow up on their own. I know that Cheryl and I done the best we knew how at the time but I realize that I should have taken a higher interest in their future and most definitely planted much more of God’s principals into their heart. As the man is the head of the house and should shoulder the responsibility to pray and LEAD his family into God’s Word, into church, a ministry, education and anything that is connected with helping the child reach their full potential. In today’s world of peer pressure and the stress and worries that teenager’s experience, it is important for the father and the mother to be a constant source of encouragement along with tough love. It is true that Cheryl and I did raise our children in church but as I look back on my life now, I can see that many times I was my own worst enemy. I would spend so much time chasing ministry opportunities that I had nothing left to give to my own family. I did not have a balance of work, ministry and family because there was only so much time and I did not have my priorities correct. We should have time with God as our highest love and next we should minister to our wife and children. If our outside interest becomes our “first love” (even ministry) then everything becomes jumbled and out of sync with what God wants to do in everyone’s life. These are decisions that men make and will be held accountable to. Sadly, it is true that many wives and children have actually developed resentment against the ministry because it absorbed and stole away their husband and father, and now those important “life” moments are lost and cannot be replaced. It is good that we want to work for God and “save the world” but we need to know when to go and when to stay. There is no substitute for God’s perfect wisdom and timing.
Do you want to hear from your children someday that you were the “real deal” and LIVED what you taught? More than that, would you not desire to hear one day from the Lord that you were a successful missionary – in your own home?