Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2 Chronicles 7:14

which indicates a choice

My people,
those who are chosen by God

who are called
but so often are not listening

by My name,
and no other name

again, there is a choice

humble themselves
realize they are in need of His help

and pray
which they should have been doing all along

and seek My face
actually look for God with open eyes and hearts

and turn from
not a 360 or 270 or 90, but a 180

not anyone else’s

wicked ways,
which are any ways not approved by God

not later, not before, but right then

will I hear
because, unlike us, God is always listening

from heaven
because that is where He listens from

and will
God’s promise

forgive their sins
hallelujah, praise His name

and will
another promise

heal their land
because we, as His people, need our land healed

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In My Grandfather's Day

When I was quite young, my parents got divorced and my father moved 20 miles up the road. To me, that was a very long ways away, and I rarely got to see him. On top of that, my mother decided, with my help, that it would be best if my grandparents raised me, so, at the tender age of six, I was legally adopted, along with my older brother, and moved even further from my father. The visits became even rarer.

Some men just aren’t cut out for the role of dad. Some try, but never reach the level of sacrifice and unselfishness that is required to be a dad. Many don’t even try. I think that was the path my dad took. He just didn’t want to be a father, nor did he want to accept the responsibilities of being one.

But God knew my father’s heart and my need for an honest and loving father figure. So, He tapped my grandfather on the shoulder and put him in my life. And he stepped up to the plate and accepted the assignment of raising both me and my brother. In the voluntary absence of my biological father, my grandfather did a bang-up job. Thank You, Lord, for the best grandfather that ever walked this earth.

Thanks to my grandfather, I feel that I am a much better father and grandfather than I would have been if my biological father had tried to raise me. Why? It would be because my grandfather was cut from the cloth of responsibility and sacrifice. He knew that things had to be done, and he was more than willing to do them, especially when it came to flesh and blood. He was a great man who died far too young.

But before he died, he instilled in me the desire to be the best father and grandfather that I could be. He showed me how to love, how to work, and how to put the needs of others before mine. He was, by far, the greatest man in my life.

When I think about him, I often wonder just where men like him have gone. Once upon a time, our great nation was nearly overrun by men who were willing to accept responsibilities and do what was best for their wives and children. Upstanding Christian fathers were all over the place, and they were willing to not only uphold the standards, set by God, they were willing to live the standards.

In my grandfather’s day, the vast majority of men chose to do whatever was necessary to make their families the best they could be. Today, far too many men run as soon as the going gets tough.

In my grandfather’s day, a man was head of the household, responsible for their protection, their provisions, and their happiness. Today, the man’s role has been reduced to no more than a bumbling buffoon, ruled by his wife, and insignificant in the raising of his children.

In my grandfather’s day, a man was the spiritual leader of his family. He was the first to go to church; the first to teach the Bible to his family, and the first to pray for their needs. Today, most men have a hard time finding the Ten Commandments in the Bible, let alone knowing what they mean or how to use them to set a Christian example.

In my grandfather’s day, a father showed unconditional love for his family. In fact, many men worked themselves to death to take care of their loved ones, and many others gave their lives so that their loved ones could continue to live. In other words, fathers were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for those they loved. Today, very few men seem to be willing to give up a day on the golf course to attend an event their children are involved in.

So, what’s the difference between my grandfather’s day and today? Why have fathers in America changed so much? Have our expectations changed? Has society effectively removed fathers from their position as leader of the family? And what about the fathers who still want to be like the fathers were in my grandfather’s day?

We could blame society, women’s liberation, the liberal movement, or any number of reasons for the decline of the role of American fathers. After all, society no longer recognizes men as men. The women’s lib movement does everything it can to demoralize the male species. And the liberal agenda is so focused on moral relativity that their misguided sense of right and wrong has no room for those they feel have dominated the world for so long. With all of these forces working against fathers, it no wonder we’re no longer the backbone of our families, let alone the backbone of America.

In my grandfather’s day, fathers were fathers. Of course, Christianity was accepted, men and women were different, and children looked up to their parents and to God for guidance. We need to return to the way things were in my grandfather’s day. All fathers need to step up to the plate and be the fathers they were meant to be. Amen.