The Most Powerful Thing a Husband Can Do for His Family

The most powerful thing a husband can do for his family is to get alone with God every day. Notice I didn’t say the most powerful thing a husband can do for his family is to serve them, encourage them, or even to pray for themin particular. What matters is being “a man after God’s own heart” like David was. Let me explain…

Personally, I recommend that every man (every believer, in fact) ought to seek to rise before dawn to spend time with God. I’m not making this a legalistic rule. I realize some work second shift, third shift, or have other obligations that make early morning prayer and Bible time impossible. Barring any of those kinds of reasons, I can’t stress the value of this practice enough.

Waking up and being alone with God before sun up is to rise when our chaotic day to day world is still at rest. Distractions are at a minimum. This naturally helps us to prioritize a “God first” mindset. It may be hard at first, but I believe anyone who commits to this will soon after begin to taste spiritual fruit from it.

How early should we wake up? Whenever is reasonable for your schedule. For me, I naturally enjoy the quiet hours of the early mornings. I’d rather go to bed by 9:30 or 10pm and wake up at 4:30 or 5am to have an hour or more to myself. If you’re not sure when a good time would be, simply ask the Lord to wake you up when He thinks would be a good time. It may take some tinkering, but eventually you’ll figure it out.

For a man to rise before his family is to be the spiritual sentry of his home. He rises early first because he knows the importance to his own spiritual vitality of meeting with his Master and submitting to being transformed by Him daily. He “walks the talk,” proving he really does value the Word of God, meditating on it, and prayer. In His earthly ministry, our Lord rose early to be alone with His Father before the busyness of each day’s ministry to others. If Perfect Jesus sought to be alone with the Father, how much ought we?

As God works in our own hearts, those times with Him are blessed and multiplied in their effectiveness. God changes us and makes us ever more fit for the Master’s use. This plays out in our relationship with our wife: We become more loving, more patient, more of a model, mentor, and leader to her in the things of God.

I know a man who, more than once in his marriage, his wife has commented on the powerful impression it leaves on her when she wakes up in the morning and comes to their living room or into his office and sees him already up and reading my Bible. Let’s be blunt here: If more wives woke up and “caught” their husbands reading their Bibles, less of them would catch them viewing pornography. How wise of the Lord to use everything–even your simple daily Bible reading time–to demonstrate to our wives the single-greatest importance of being submitted to God each new day.

Let’s be blunt here: If more wives woke up and “caught” their husbands reading their Bibles, less of them would catch them viewing pornography.

From there, the concentric circles of influence keep extending outward. If you have children in the home, God will use it in their lives and in your relationships with them. God will use it with your coworkers–they will begin to smell the fragrance of Christ lingering more heavily on you, either as sweet or repulsive, but either way, He will be publicly glorified through your new private routine.

Jesus exalted! In your own life, in your wife’s, in your children, and in the world around you. What a wonderful reason to get out of bed a little earlier tomorrow!

Jesus is My Why

If you asked me up until a month or two ago, I would’ve told you that life’s journeys start and sometimes life’s journeys stop, and sometimes they surprise us by starting again. What I know now is that I was completely wrong.

The truth that I know now is: It’s all one journey. What looks like a hope dashed is only a hope redirected. A journey that looks like it ended abruptly years ago didn’t–not on the Lord’s timetable anyway. Like a layover at a connecting airport, I now know that sometimes the Lord has us waiting somewhere for sometime until, in His wise timing, the next leg of the samejourneycan begin.

That’s what happened with ChristFocusedMarriage.com. CFM was a site and a potential ministry idea I first launched in 2014. It went nowhere, mainly because I didn’t understand how to start a ministry, so I abandoned the idea a short while later.

So why startup CFM as a blog again? I wasn’t planning to at all, actually.

I wanted to come up with a blogging platform and needed a niche. Not a marketing niche, but a focus–what would the blog be about? Who would its target audience be? What did I want to write about? The heart of the question is really: What am I passionate about? As people say nowadays, What is my Why?

I like my job as a real estate agent, but I don’t want to write about it all the time. When I was challenged to write the titles for 10 blog posts I would want to write about, the topics I kept coming back to all had to do with men, Christianmen and the questions and situations we find ourselves in. No other topic was of interest to me enough to write one sample title, let alone 10.

But I knew that writing a blog solely for Christian men would be too limited in scope. That’s when I wondered if my old domain was available. Amazingly, it was!

The question isn’t Why do a thing? but rather Why …Everything?Ultimately, that’s the question each of us has to answer if we are to understand why we do what we do, set the goals that we set, and dream the dreams that we dream…

And to my original question: What Whydo I have that is powerful enough to sustain me and inspire me to write when I won’t feel like writing? Answering that is easy because since I was born again on September 15, 2005, my why for everything I do has never changed: Out of love for what Jesus did for me when he saved me.

Right now I’m writing these words for me–for my own outlet to have something to do that I enjoy. If the Lord sees fit to do more with it, praise Him! If not, and this site again ends up in the digital dustbin, well, praise Him!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Helps for Evangelistic Apathy

Two weeks ago I met Dr. Henry Krabbendam, an 82-year old theologian, professor, and evangelist. He came to speak at our church about evangelism.

During the weekend there was a reception and Q&A with “Dr. K.” at someone’s house. When it came time for the Q&A, we went around the circle, each having a turn to ask a question. My question was deeply personal, one I’ve wanted to ask someone for years. I was a little nervous because 1) I’m still very new to our church and these people are just starting to get to know me, and 2) it wasn’t some polite, underhand pitch softball of a question. It was a fastball, right down the line, with years of history loaded in it, and fired right at my target. I wasn’t trying to hit him; my question was propelled honestly. For a long time I carried this question like a burden. It was a hard question which required a real, concrete answer:

Why it was that in all my years as a Christian, after sharing the gospel with many people in many different settings, I’ve never had one convert? Not even one person say to me, “I’d like to hear more…” No one coming to me and thanking me for showing them Jesus and now they are so thankful they know Him too. Why?

His answer had three main exhortations:

Get on your knees and plead with God for a convert.

Be willing to pay the price.

Don’t give up sharing the gospel.

The next morning in my time with the Lord, I did just that. I got on my knees and prayed for a convert. That next night my wife and I had dinner with Dr. K. We talked about a lot of things. One of the additional exhortations he gave was to pray for a burden; pray to weep for souls. (Something I admitted I don’t have, and don’t do.) This made me ask another blunt question, Do you literally weep for souls? Many preachers and writers talk about weeping, and I’ve wondered if they are using that word as hyperbole or if they really do themselves. Is weeping for souls supposed to be normative for every Christian? Dr. K. received my intensely personal question with grace and candor. He shared that he doesn’t always weep either, but that was proof he, too, needed to pray more earnestly.

I want to have that kind of broken, weeping concern for the spiritual condition of those around me, but I often don’t. But then again, it’s up to the Spirit to give that kind of intense burden, and perhaps He does not give that to every believer. My job is to be faithful in the measure God has entrusted to me, not to focus on straining to produce a kind of fleshly emotionalism. I believe all Christians should evangelize, both out of delight and duty, “in season and out of season.”

When was the last time you shared the full message of the gospel with someone? As I asked two professing believers a few weeks ago, if you had an opportunity to do so, could you even tell someone what the gospel message is? (They admitted they could not.) Incidentally, if you’ve been at a church for any length of time, and months or years later you can’t summarize the message of Christianity in a minute or so, you’re not being property trained and should find a Bible-teaching church immediately.

If you’ve been at a church for any length of time, and months or years later you can’t summarize the message of Christianity in a minute or so, you’re not being property trained and should find a Bible-teaching church immediately.

We don’t need tears to evangelize. But we do need to be able to articulate the points of the gospel. And then we need to pray for the Spirit’s help to step out in faith, over our human fears, and tell others how they can be saved.

God give me a love for people and concern for their spiritual state. Help me, as Dr. K also said, to see people not with my eyes as a man sees (i.e.: see them as black/white, male/female, rich/poor, clean/dirty, safe/suspect, etc.), but to see them as You see them, either saved or lost. There are no other categories. In short: Lord, I repent of my apathy, please let me bear fruits in keeping with repentance.

The Right Reaction to Being Wronged

We’ve all been there…double-over in pain from the sudden stab in the back from a family member, friend, client, or colleague. Why did they do that? How could they hurt me so badly (and not even care!)?

[Note: Months ago I wrote in the previous piece, Action and Reaction, about how I found myself stabbed in the back by someone. In the pain of the moment I stopped to consider my situation and what my response should be. I ended the post saying I would share what I wrote on my whiteboard; this is that post. I hope what helped me helps you. -AR]

We’ve all been there…double-over in pain from the sudden stab in the back from a family member, friend, client, or colleague. Why did they do that? How could they hurt me so badly (and not even care!)?

Since I became a real estate agent I’ve been lied to and back-stabbed more in the past two years than in my 28 years in corporate America. Worse, the other arena where I’ve felt the anguish of the blade has been from professing Christians. Over my 13 years as a Christian I’ve had people who I really loved as brothers or sisters in the Lord say and do unspeakably hurtful things.

I followed David’s example in the Psalms. When David was crushed in spirit he counseled himself: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope inGod; for I shall again praise him, my salvation (Psalm 42:45,11; 43:5).

In the same way, I talked to myself and to the Lord about my hurt. As I did, I wrote the following seven points to remember on my whiteboard:

  • God is sovereign.
  • God has something better.
  • “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” – Joseph
  • “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.” (Far better than whatever I missed out on!)
  • God is using this to sanctify me and make me more like Jesus.
  • What am I supposed to learn from this?
  • “Shall I not also accept difficulty from God?” – Job
  • Jesus lived his entire life as “the Man of Sorrows” (I have no room to complain.)

As believers, we do not get a free pass to self-pity. Also, while the world says, “I just need to vent…” that concept is not biblical; in fact, it’s sinful. Christians are to be led by our minds and hearts, by knowledge, and by faith. We are emotional creatures, to be sure, but we are not to be led by our emotions.

As believers, we do not get a free pass to self-pity. Also, while the world says, “I just need to vent…” that concept is not biblical; in fact, it’s sinful. Christians are to be led by our minds and hearts, by knowledge, and by faith. We are emotional creatures, to be sure, but we are not to be led by our emotions.

What’s most interesting to me as I revisit this list that I’ve had on my whiteboard for months is that, while I was very upset at the time and deeply hurt, now I have no idea what (or who!) it was who hurt me so deeply. And that also is a blessing from the Lord.

Learning to Walk with God: Going Forward by Turning Back

Learning to Walk with God Can Sometimes Means Going Forward by Turning Back

Learning to Follow God

It will take our whole life to learn how to walk with God. Learning to follow God’s leading is to learn to trust and obey. It begins with that dramatic moment when God leads us out in our own personal Exodus at salvation, out of our bondage to sin, into the joy of knowing and following him. And the learning process continues ever so slowly, moment by moment, the rest of our days.

Going Forward…by Going Back

We’ve been looking at the dramatic flight of the Israelites out of Egypt at the Exodus. God has led them through the Wilderness Way and the Dark Way, and now we see he is leading them forward–by going back?! Yes. Let’s consider this together.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon…” Exodus 14:1

Suddenly ejected from Egypt, by now the Israelites have traveled by a longer unusual route, at night with fiery pillar lighting the way, and now they are instructed to turn back so as to appear to be lost. And we know from all the pages which follow, they are only beginning to learn how to walk with God!

graceandpeaceradio.com learning to follow god's leading is to learn to trust and obey

Meanwhile their former captor and his armies are hot on their trail, hunting them down. Just as God said He would (14:4, 8) God intentionally hardened Pharaoh’s heart that he would see their steps as a opportunistic miscalculation whereby to pursue them and exact his revenge.

God, we know, had other plans. In fact, the LORD’s plans were infinitely above the present circumstances in their scope. God’s plans were not just temporal, they were eternal. This wasn’t just about God’s just wrath upon an evil people but about displaying his sovereignty over their gods.

I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. – Exodus 14:4

What about the Israelites? Was it cruel of God to use them to appear confused and thereby to use them to lure Pharaoh to them? Absolutely not. Like a mother bear just feet away from her vulnerable cub, they were not in any real danger at all.

The Illusion of Being in Control

The Israelites were turned back and panic was setting in. Despite God giving them a glimpse into His plan, all they saw was their enemy closing in for the kill. (More about their reaction next time.) Little did they know that in God’s plan they were very much surrounded by Him and still moving forward in God-wrought victory. I’m sure it wasn’t how they would’ve had it if they were in control.

I know that feeling.

Learning to Walk with God Means God’s Will, Not Ours

Learning to walk with God means putting feet to our faith. Believing faith is inseparably joined with a desire for God’s will above ours. When God saves a person, they would much rather stay in their sin and be His enemy than to bow in submission and repentance.

Some may ask, “But how do I trust and obey God?” The Holy Spirit gives saving faith, we can’t believe the Good News of salvation through Christ unless he imparts faith to us. And in that believing faith is the supernatural desire to want what God wants–for us to be saved and reconciled.

From the moment of a person’s new birth, if it is true, there is a desire to always ever want what God wants more than whatever it is we might want, no matter how much. And that, like a tiny sprout, grows into the kind of believing faith that matures to trust and obey the Lord.

Conclusion

The Christian reads this passage and exults in God’s strategic brilliance in orchestrating their rescue (a rescue that was promised 430 years earlier, mind you). We can’t help but rejoice in seeing the wicked cast down, but the best part is seeing God getting the glory due Him. It’s why we should always look forward with hope to that Day when, at long last, the Lamb receives the full reward for His sufferings.