DAD, BE MORE OPEN AND AFFECTIONATE!

During a leadership seminar on attitudes, a man told Dr. John Maxwell the following story: “From my earliest recollections I do not remember a compliment from my father. His father also thought it unmanly to express affection or even appreciation. My grandfather was a perfectionist who worked hard and expected everyone else to do the same, without any encouragement. And since he was neither positive nor relational, he had a constant turnover in his employees. Because of my background it has been very difficult for me to nurture or encourage my family. This critical and negative attitude has hindered me in life. I’ve raised five children and tried to live as a Christian before them. Sadly, it’s easier for them to recognize my love for God, than my love for them. They’re starved for affection and approval. The tragedy is, they’ve received my bad attitude trait and now I see them passing it down to my precious grandchildren. Never before have I been so aware of ‘catching an attitude.’ Obviously, this wrong attitude has been passed along for five generations. So, it’s time to stop it! Today I make a conscious decision to change. This will not be done overnight,

but it will be done. It will not be accomplished easily, but by God’s grace it will be accomplished!” God told Gideon to tear down his father’s altar and build a proper kind of altar [attitude]. Dad, it’s time to tear down your old attitudes and ways of relating, and start building attitudes that bless your children and honor God.



DAVID’S FIVE “I WILLS”

 

I will sing of mercy and judgment. Psalm 101:1

Notice the five “I wills” of David in Psalm 101:

(1) “I will sing of mercy and judgment ” (v. 1). When dealing with others, some of us are all mercy and no justice; others are all justice and no mercy. God requires both.

(2) “I will behave myself wisely” (v.2). People are more impacted by your behavior than by your beliefs. Your children may not always follow your advice, but count on it, they’ll follow your footsteps. Those not persuaded by your theology, can still be won by your love and lifestyle.

(3) “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (v.2). Charity begins at home. If your family thinks you’re joyless and judgmental, you’ll never attract them to Christ. David prayed, “How I need you help, especially in my own home, where I long to act as I should” (Ps 1Ol:2 TLB).

(4) “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (v.3). Get real. Television is on 7 hours a day in most homes. So ask yourself: “What am I exposing myself and my family to?” What you tolerate, you’ve no right to complain about! You say you’ve no time to read God’s Word and pray. No, the truth is, you don’t have a strong enough desire to.

(5) “I will early destroy all the wicked” (v.8). The Living Bible states, “I will not tolerate anyone who secretly slanders his neighbors; I will not permit conceit and pride. I will make the godly of the land my heroes, and invite them to my home” (Ps 101:5-6 TLB).

Those are 5 “I wills” you should live by.



HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR CALLING? (2)

When God calls you to do something, His call comes in several ways: (1) You feel “moved.” There’s a moment of certainty when God puts His hand upon you, nudging you toward a particular need, usually an unmet one. You know it in

your “knower.” (2) It’s confirmed by others. People will discern that God’s at work in your life. People who know you well, watch; they volunteer comments such as, “You’re at your best when you … ” “You shine when you’re doing that.” (3) You’ll be gifted to do it. There are times when a person starts off with seemingly no specific capacities at all, but this is rare. With a call comes giftedness-that special empowerment God gives to the “callee.” When you’re in your calling you soar in spite of obstacles. And people tend to stand back in amazement. Ever seen Joni Eareckson Tada speaking to an auditorium full of people in wheelchairs? The whole place comes alive when she rolls up to the microphone in her wheelchair. (4) You’ll see results! You’ll change things, touch lives and glorify God. St. Patrick had a dream in which the Irish people were saying, “We appeal to you, Holy Servant Boy, to come and walk among us.” And Patrick responded. He combed the Irish countryside preaching to chiefs and kings. An entire nation began its journey toward Christianity. Now, you may not be called to do that, but you’re called to do something for God. So, find your calling and fulfill it!



HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR CALLING? (1)

Have you read about two builders named Bezalel and Oholiab? God speaks about them: “I have chosen Bezalel … and … filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts … Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab … to help him” (Ex 31:2-6 NIV). And there are other examples where God’s call was not “religious” in a formal

sense, like Nehemiah the wall builder, Daniel the government man in Babylon, Luke the first century physician. So consider this: your job could be your calling! When you demonstrate Christian character there, and use your income to fulfill God’s purposes on earth, you are as called as any minister.

And your past doesn’t disqualify you. Paul wrote, “I was … a blasphemer … and a violent man” (1Ti 1:13 NIV). Happily, God doesn’t consult our past to determine our future. Further- more, God will call you to a job that looks too big for you. Why? So you’ll never forget where your strength and success come from. Calls are not classified ads; you don’t volunteer, you respond! God speaks, He persistently nudges you. In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” All your human accolades and accomplishments will eventually leave you empty. Lasting pleasure, the kind only God provides, comes from knowing you are doing what He’s told you to do. Eventually Eric Liddell became a missionary; so your call can begin one place then take you to another. Whenever you know you’re doing what God has called you to do-you experience a lasting pleasure that simply can’t be found anywhere else!



“OLDER BROTHER” ATTITUDES!

There were two prodigals! The younger brother was guilty of the sins of the flesh; the older was guilty of the sins of the spirit (attitude). When Jesus’ parable closes it’s the older brother, the second prodigal, standing outside the father’s house. When we focus only on our own interests we become like the older brother. We nurture attitudes of jealousy and selfishness. Understand this: Christians who possess no greater cause than themselves, are usually not as happy or fulfilled as those who don’t know Christ yet have a purpose greater than themselves. This older brother attitude has 3 possible results:

(1) It’s possible to be a son yet refuse to act like a brother. Outwardly the older brother was correct, but look at his resentful attitude. A wrong relationship with your brother and sister in Christ always results in a strained relationship with your Heavenly Father.

(2) It’s possible to serve God faithfully yet not be in sync with His will. The elder brother had no idea why their father would rejoice over a disobedient son’s return. Self-centered, judgmental people never “get it.”

(3) It’s possible to be an heir to all your father possesses yet have less joy and liberty than one who possesses nothing. The hired servants were happier than the older brother. They ate, laughed and celebrated while he stood outside demanding his rights. The older brother attitude robbed him of the blessings of his father, the love of his brother, and the joy of the servants. And an older brother attitude will block the flow of God’s blessing in your life too.



EXPERIENCING THE MIRACULOUS

Do whatever he tells you. -John 2:5 NAS

Do you need a miracle? Reread the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Notice what Mary said to the attendants at the wedding reception: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.” Do it, even though:

( 1) You’re not in the right place. They were at a wedding, not a church, when Jesus performed this miracle. Some of our greatest blessings will be at “other places” if we’ll just be sensitive and obedient to God.

(2) You’ve got a lot of problems. They’d run out of wine for their guests. How embarrassing. Too often our problems drive us away from Jesus instead of to Him. Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power instead of our problems.

(3) You’re not being encouraged. When Mary turned to Jesus for help He tested her faith saying, “Dear woman, why

do you involve me … My time has not yet come” (In 2:4 NJV). But she passed the test. Instead of being discouraged Mary laid hold of the possibility of a miracle, believed God and received one.

(4) You haven’t walked with Christ very long. The attendants who obeyed Jesus had just met Him. And His disciples

had just started following Him. Yet they were all expected to obey Him. So are you.

(5) You haven’t yet seen Him work miracles in your life. This was Jesus’ first miracle. They had to obey Him without the faith that comes from a previous track record. That’s always challenging!

(6) You don’t understand the process. Why pour water into empty containers? Answer: give Jesus what you’ve got and He’ll give you back what you need.

That’s how to experience the miraculous!



EXPERIENCING THE MIRACULOUS

Do you need a miracle? Reread the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Notice what Mary said to the attendants at the wedding reception: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.” Do it, even though:

( 1) You’re not in the right place. They were at a wedding, not a church, when Jesus performed this miracle. Some of our greatest blessings will be at “other places” if we’ll just be sensitive and obedient to God.

(2) You’ve got a lot of problems. They’d run out of wine for their guests. How embarrassing. Too often our problems drive us away from Jesus instead of to Him. Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power instead of our problems.

(3) You’re not being encouraged. When Mary turned to Jesus for help He tested her faith saying, “Dear woman, why

do you involve me … My time has not yet come” (In 2:4 NJV). But she passed the test. Instead of being discouraged Mary laid hold of the possibility of a miracle, believed God and received one.

(4) You haven’t walked with Christ very long. The attendants who obeyed Jesus had just met Him. And His disciples

had just started following Him. Yet they were all expected to obey Him. So are you.

(5) You haven’t yet seen Him work miracles in your life. This was Jesus’ first miracle. They had to obey Him without the faith that comes from a previous track record. That’s always challenging!

(6) You don’t understand the process. Why pour water into empty containers? Answer: give Jesus what you’ve got and He’ll give you back what you need.

That’s how to experience the miraculous!



PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST

There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. -Proverbs 30: 11 NIV

Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart transplant surgeon, tells of leaving Minneapolis to return to his wife and children in Cape Town after being gone for months. “I was unprepared for her greeting. ‘Why did you come back?’

There was no longer a smile in her eyes. Oh God, I thought, I’ve made the most horrible mistake of my life. ‘Don’t look so

surprised’ she said. ‘We gave up on you.’ I responded, ‘It was only a little delay. I wrote you about it.’ ‘No, you wrote once to say you weren’t coming home.’ He answered, ‘But we were building aortic valves to save lives.’ ‘No, you were building a family. That is, until you dumped it into my lap,’ she said bitterly. ‘We have ceased to exist for you.’ I wanted to say I’d come home because I love my children and I loved her. I wanted to because I felt it, but what could I say now that would not sound meaningless.”

Dr. James Dobson writes, “A sixth grade teacher in an upper-middle-class neighborhood was shocked to see the results of a creative writing task about their family, assigned to her students. A few of their actual sentences read: I wish my

mother didn’t have a boyfriend .. .I wish I could get straight “A’s” so my father would love me .. .I wish I had one mom and one dad so that kids wouldn’t make fun of me. I have three moms and three dads and they botch up my life.” Parent, wise up. Put your family first or you’ll live to regret it!



PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST

Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart transplant surgeon, tells of leaving Minneapolis to return to his wife and children in Cape Town after being gone for months. “I was unprepared for her greeting. ‘Why did you come back?’

There was no longer a smile in her eyes. Oh God, I thought, I’ve made the most horrible mistake of my life. ‘Don’t look so

surprised’ she said. ‘We gave up on you.’ I responded, ‘It was only a little delay. I wrote you about it.’ ‘No, you wrote once to say you weren’t coming home.’ He answered, ‘But we were building aortic valves to save lives.’ ‘No, you were building a family. That is, until you dumped it into my lap,’ she said bitterly. ‘We have ceased to exist for you.’ I wanted to say I’d come home because I love my children and I loved her. I wanted to because I felt it, but what could I say now that would not sound meaningless.”

Dr. James Dobson writes, “A sixth grade teacher in an upper-middle-class neighborhood was shocked to see the results of a creative writing task about their family, assigned to her students. A few of their actual sentences read: I wish my

mother didn’t have a boyfriend .. .I wish I could get straight “A’s” so my father would love me .. .I wish I had one mom and one dad so that kids wouldn’t make fun of me. I have three moms and three dads and they botch up my life.” Parent, wise up. Put your family first or you’ll live to regret it!



BE A TITUS-ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!

How delightful is a timely word.  – Proverbs 15:23 NAS

Some of the people around you, even successful ones, are dying on the vine for lack of encouragement. Solomon writes, “How delightful is a timely word.” Isn’t that true? It’s delightful to receive a timely word. The Message says, “The right word at the right time-beautiful!” Encouragement brings emotional healing, restores hope by putting the problem into perspective, and makes the day more bearable. Is there someone you know who needs encouragement? A prisoner trying to stay strong in a hostile environment while repaying his debt to society? A divorcee trying to rebuild their life? A bread- winner who’s out of work, worried about their family? A widow who needs companionship? A servant of God laboring in an obscure and difficult ministry? Everyone is snuggling with something-so everyone needs encouragement.

William Barclay writes, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. . .it is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of such dis- couragers. But we have a duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer, has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” Paul writes: “Outside, trouble was on every hand … within us, our hearts were full of dread and fear. Then God who cheers those who are discouraged refreshed us by the arrival of Titus. Not only was his presence a joy, but also the news that he brought” (2 Cor 7:5-7 TLB). So, be a Titus – encourage someone today.




 

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