Fathers and Daughters

July 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Parenting | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have three [edit: now four] daughters. My experience with boys is very limited, but from what I can tell there are some big differences between boys and girls. If you are reading this as a father of more than one daughter, you may be able to understand when I say that girls talk a LOT. Counting my wife, I live in a house with four girls and it is a place of NON-STOP talking. During one supper at my house there are probably more words said than I’ve said by myself in the last 25 years.

Another big difference is that girls seem to be a little more emotional than boys. It’s not that boys never cry. I mean, a typical boy might cry a little – if it’s something serious like a broken leg – but only after looking around to make sure no one is watching. But a girl can cry for an hour over losing a button off her dress. And if her big sister sticks her tongue out at her – look out. Your stock in Kleenex just went up thirty points.

Another difference is that girls tend to be more insecure than boys. Chances are, when you had a daughter, you had to learn to spend a lot of time saying things like, “It’s okay, there’s nothing bad in the attic,” or, “don’t worry if they laugh at your hair, I’ll sue everybody in that school.” It’s just a fact of life: Daughters need to be comforted by their fathers.

The Bible has some guidance for how fathers are supposed to love their daughters, and I’m glad Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t say, “Train up a son in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 20:7 doesn’t say, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his sons are blessed after him.” It says, “his children are blessed after him.”

God has given us a great gift in our daughters, and they are fun, but they are not just for our enjoyment. We have a responsibility to do what Proverbs says and train them properly.

Let me encourage you to make regular church attendance an important part of your daughter’s life. If your daughter sees that you make church a priority, she will do the same as she grows older, and the church is a great place for your daughter to experiment with different ways of serving the Lord, and find out which ways suit her best.

Training has to be more than just bringing our daughters to church, though. If we’re spending all our time serving at church ourselves, and just using the church to babysit for us while we do it, we’re making a big mistake. It is important for our daughters to know Bible stories, and the people in the Bible, and Bible verses, and it’s our responsibility as fathers to teach them those things. It’s not enough just to discuss these things at church. Train your daughters at home, too.

It’s hard to find time to spend with our family, period. We may as well admit it. Just earning money to pay for a home and food and clothes takes most of our time. But we have to somehow make the time, to make it a priority, or we’ll miss out on the best times of all. I’ve learned that – with daughters – the talking, the emotions, the insecurity, that’s where you’ll do most of your real training. If you can take the time to listen to all those “and I was like…and she was like… and then I was like…” in all that talking there is valuable information about what your daughter is really thinking. In all that crying and sighing and melodrama over “why do I have to get off the phone and clean my room,” there is something inside that big production that is a signal that will tell you what’s really on your daughter’s heart. Even in her insecurity there is a sign that she might be insecure because of something you’ve done to let her down.

But if we don’t have the patience or make the time to sit through all that and pay close attention, we’re not going to know what’s really on her mind, and in her heart, and what she needs you to do to help her. If we miss out on those things, we’re missing out on the best parts of having a daughter.

Before you can address anybody else’s insecurity, you’ve got to make sure that you are secure in your own heart. I would think that every decent father would want his daughter to be secure in the knowledge that she has a relationship with Jesus and that her place in Heaven is 100% guaranteed.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

II Timothy 3:15 (emphasis added)

There’s no way to have real security without faith in Jesus.

What to Buy for Your Kids

July 23, 2009 at 9:49 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Bible tells us of three things that parents should be for their children:

Be an enforcer.
Be an encourager.
Be an example.

It also tells us three things that parents should do for their children:

Pray for them.
Play with them.
Pay attention to them.

Now, let’s conclude by looking at what parents should buy for their children.

We are not talking about material things, although obviously parents should provide certain material things for their children. We are not even talking about things like paying medical bills, or paying for their education. Those things are good, and I understand that parents want to give their children all the things they didn’t have when they were growing up. But “thou shalt give thy children all the things that thou didst not have” is not a command from Scripture. In fact, the things that your children don’t have – the things that aren’t given to them – the things they have to work for themselves – may just be the very things that God uses to make them the kind of men or women God wants them to be.

The Bible tells us what parents should buy for their children – and what parents should teach children to buy for themselves.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

Now, I know that “the truth” is not really for sale, but what the proverb means is that there are some things worth sacrificing for in this life, and the truth is one of them. I can spend my time as a parent investing in worldly or material things, and my children will learn to do the same. Or, I can invest in eternal things, and “buy” for my children something much more valuable. “Buy the truth and sell it not.”

As one preacher warns, “Do not sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.” Good works done for Christ will last. Everything else is vanity, and will not last.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

From where does wisdom come? It comes from the Lord. Instruction is the obtaining of wisdom, and the application of truth. Understanding comes from knowing God and His Word. These things are so valuable that they are invaluable. They are worth too much to be traded for anything.

When we see a Bible verse like Proverbs 23:23, we can do one of two things. One thing will bring great blessings, and the other thing will bring a great deal of trouble.

We can say, “I know that’s the Bible, and that’s God’s Word, and I see now that what I’m doing is different from what God says. Therefore, I’m wrong, and God is right, and I must change.” This attitude stings, but it brings great blessings.

Or, we can say, “I know that’s what the Bible says, but I’ve got my own way of doing things. Besides, that verse couldn’t be for me because it would be impossible for me to do things differently from the way I’m doing them now. God will just have to understand. My kids are different. My work schedule is an exception. My financial situation is an exception. God will just have to give me a break on this one. I can provide for my kids on my own. They’ll have a place to live, they’ll have nice clothes, something to eat, they’ll be happy.”

By taking this attitude, we cut ourselves off from God’s help.

All parents need to know this about God’s will: God’s will is perfect.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

God will never command us to do something, and then make it impossible for us to do it. He will never ordain something for us in His providence, and hold us accountable for it, unless He has made it so that we can handle it.

Parents will give an account before God of what we did with our children, along with (and possibly even before) giving an account for our time, talent, resources, and even our ministries.

Dad: Are you the most faithful person in your household? Are you the one who insists that your family will not miss church unless it’s absolutely necessary? Are you leading the way in Bible study, in prayer, in worship, in personal holiness?

As a father, on the day of accountability, I will not be able to say, “But Lord, I needed to earn more money to give to missions. I needed to spend more time with my friends – I was trying to get them to come to church.”

If “my” children, who are really “His” children, are lonely, needing affection, needing their father, needing somebody to protect them and keep them from going astray, I will answer to God for that.

When I do anything right as a father, I have to admit that the Holy Spirit gets the credit. But if I mess up, that’s on me. The truth is, I will do more right on accident while being led by the Spirit, than I will do on purpose leaning on my own understanding. However, that is not an excuse for me to just sit back, do my own thing, and trust that the Lord will fill in for me when I’m not on the job, leading my family. God is sovereign, but it may well be that, in His sovereignty, He has ordained me to be the means by which He protects and blesses my children.

The last two verses in the Old Testament are Malachi Chapter 4, Verses 5 and 6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

The next time you’re out in public, take a moment to really look at the kids you see. I know we don’t judge people strictly by their outward appearance, but when you see the wildly spiked, multicolored hair – when you see the bizarre-looking piercings and tatoos – when you truly can’t figure out if some of the kids are boys or girls – see if you do not agree that today the hearts of children are turned away from their fathers like never before. I may be wrong, but I think the devil knows that the great and terrible day of the Lord – the day of the return of Elijah – is getting near. I think he’s doing everything he can to turn children’s hearts away from their parents.

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:26

We must teach our children to keep constant watch on their attitude, actions, and acquaintances.

What to Do for Your Kids

July 6, 2009 at 9:19 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A while back, I pointed out three things from the Bible that parents should be for their children: Be an encourager; be an enforcer; be an example.

This time, I want to talk about three things parents should do for their children.

No. 1: Pray for your kids.

The Bible says to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). I know many times when I ask the Holy Spirit to help me know what to pray for, He brings my children to my mind.

When you pray for your children, pray for their safety.

[A Song of degrees for Solomon.] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Psalm 127:1

I can think of numerous times that God protected my children from danger when I wasn’t around to do it.

Pray for their future. I’m even praying for the four jerks out there somewhere that will want to marry my daughters one day, if it’s God’s will that they get married.

Pray for your children to have wisdom.

No. 2: Play with your kids.

Lectures are good. Bible study devotions are good. But one of the greatest areas of training is just in day to day living. Take some time out – spend time with your children. There should not be a difference between “God time” and “real life” in our families. With God’s help, you can make a Bible lesson out of swimming in a lake, hitting a softball, or teaching a teen-aged child how to drive a car.

I have had the chance to visit with a few people on their death beds. These people did not wish they had worked more overtime. They did not wish they had killed one more deer, or caught a bigger bass. They did not wish they had done a better job mowing their grass to keep up with their neighbors. They wished they had spent more time with their kids.

The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

Psalm 115:14-16

God wants us to enjoy our children. Take the time to play with your kids.

No. 3: Pay attention to your kids.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being too busy for our kids, but even easier to fall into the trap of not having the patience to listen to our kids. “Thanks, Honey, I’ll just stick that coloring sheet in my Bible and look at it later.”

When my patience is being tried by that long story about how Sally said her hair ribbon was yellow when my daughter knew it was really orange, I need to realize that, at that moment, this story is very important to her, and she needs to see that it is important to me, too.

How does God listen when I pray? Is He bored, and wishing I would wrap it up? No, He hears my prayer about finding a parking space just like He hears my prayer that my friend will be healed from cancer.

Dad, it may take fifteen minutes to teach your son how to pull nails with a hammer under your careful supervision, when it would only take you two minutes to do the whole job by yourself. But how excited will your son be the next day, when he tells his friends about it? What will he learn in fifteen minutes about hard work, about being careful, about a dad who’s willing to help him feel like a little man?

What parents should be for their children: Encouragers, Enforcers, Examples.

What parents should do for their children: Pray, Play, and Pay attention.

Next time: What to buy for your kids.

Spending Your Retirement on Your Children

May 20, 2009 at 9:39 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Joshua | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At the age of 85, Caleb, who, along with Joshua, had survived the wilderness wandering in fulfillment of the promise of the Lord, might have felt a desire in his flesh to retire. However, instead of seeking an earthly “retirement plan,” he continued to wholly follow the Lord.

And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

Joshua 14:10-12

Caleb apparently had little desire for physical “rest,” preferring instead the spiritual rest that comes with conquering mountains and overcoming giants in the name of the Lord. Caleb’s faith allowed him to claim valuable property for his family. Even his daughter, no doubt influenced by her father’s Godly leadership, followed his example of faith.

And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.

Joshua 15:18-19

We must never underestimate the effect that our walk with the Lord has on our children.


Entries and comments feeds.