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Posts Tagged ‘Fatherhood’

On Monday I took our oldest son Gregory (who’s almost 3 now) to Grand Island to take a train ride on a real train. As compared to the little mini train at Stolley Park which he has ridden numerous times.

Eastern view of the Operaton Lifesaver train.

Eastern view of the Operaton Lifesaver train.

Our original plan was Gregory and I would ride the train and Vanessa and Zeke would go shopping. We wanted to take Zeke with us but weren’t sure how long it would take and didn’t want him to get too fussy. As it turns out we ended up taking him anyway and took the ride as a family. This was our first train ride as a family. This was also Vanessa’s as well as the kids very first train ride.

Gregory enjoying the view

Gregory enjoying the view

The whole event was sponsored by Operation Lifesaver to educate people about the dangers of rail crossings. They had a small presentation before we started which was very informative. I have decided that I will be taking the kids to do this again in a few more years when they can understand it a little better, as here in Nebraska we have a lot of railroad crossings and a ton of rail traffic.

Train Route

Train Route

Our route started in downtown Grand Island and through a small town called Campbell and stopping in Central City about 22 miles north-east of Grand Island. The trip to Central City we went backwards and then on our return we went forward, since they don’t turn the train around.

All in all we had a good time, and will probably do this again next year.
Vanessa & Zeke
The Family

We also happened to be riding the train with the Grand Island news crew who were doing a piece for the evening news on Operation Lifesaver. We made the news for about 30 seconds on each broadcast. Gregory made the spotlight and got a nice close up shot.

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Over the last week or so, since our sudden move began, I’ve had a sudden realization, a wake up call. I’ve had the realization that over the last 6 months since I have been in the control room at my job that I’ve gotten way out of shape. Originally when I first started there I would walk anywhere from 3 to 7 miles a day. This I know because I would wear a pedometer to work every day to see how much I was doing. Now that I’m in the control room, I’m lucky if I walk 100 yards all day, besides the walk to and from my car.

Over the last week since I started moving all this furniture, I’ve continually found myself out of breath and tired. Also added to that is the fact that I had just quit smoking about 2 years ago and the excercise I was getting when I first started was taking off most of the weight I put on after I quit smoking. Now I’ve put that back on and few more pounds.

It’s now time for me to wake up and smell the coffee and renew my YMCA membership and get back to the gym. If not just for myself but for my kids, so I can be healthy enough to see them grow up. Not that I have any real control over how long I’ll live or anything but why add another risk factor for my health.

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So far all of my posts have been pretty positive, or about what we should be as Christians. However I think it’s time for a reality check. Every Christian, now matter how long they have been walking with Christ, struggles with something on a daily basis. This is just the nature of being human in a fallen state. Now granted we do have the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we don’t always listen to what the Holy Spirit tells us.

Proverbs 20:9 – Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

I know that I have trouble with my heart everyday. We have to try to be like David, who was a man after God’s own heart. Even David sinned. I think that’s why he wrote this prayer in the Psalms:

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Another thing I struggle with on a daily basis is my anger. I have always had a short temper, for as long as I can remember. Maybe this is because I grew up with so much anger and violence in my family. Maybe it’s just my heart. I don’t know exactly what causes me to anger so easily. It has been easier since I came to Christ, but I still find myself getting angry for little cause at times. This is especially hard and dangerous when you have kids. Children have a tendency to bring out the worst and the best in us. A child can provoke even the most patient man to anger. So much more for us who are easily angered. I have to be extremely careful not to lose my temper around my children, which at times can be extremely difficult. I have to be extremely careful not to end up like my father, who throughout my childhood always seemed angry, and lost his temper at the drop of a hat. I don’t want my children to grow up feeling the way that I felt.

I struggle everyday with reading my bible. Sometimes I let the things of the world distract me from what is really important, God’s Word. This is part of the reason I started this blog. To help keep me focused on what is important. To help me store up treasures in heaven and not on earth.

I struggle with intercessory prayer sometimes. It’s easy to pray for myself. We are all selfish in nature, and it’s easy to pray for ourselves. To pray for others can be difficult unless we are consciously aware of it. One thing I try to do when I pray is to make my prayers for myself the last thing I pray for if at all.

Spending quiet time with God is another thing I have trouble with. We live in such a fast paced world with so much stimulation. It can be hard to just stop everything, all the distractions and to listen for His Word in my heart, to rest in Him.

I struggle with helping my wife around the house sometimes. I have to consciously make myself help her with the housework sometimes. I know my wife appreciates it when I do help her out, especially here lately with her being pregnant and her chronic pain flaring up worse than it has before. This has kind of forced me to help with our son more on my days off as well. This can be hard to do especially after a long night at work.

These are some of the things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I can come up with more, however these are the most common, and hardest things to deal with for me. What do you struggle with in your walk with Christ?

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Over the last year, as my priorities and lifestyle have changed, I’ve begun to compile a list of qualities that I have striven for, and continue to strive for in myself as a Christian father and husband. This list is by no means complete, nor does it encompass all of the traits or qualities we should have as Christians. These are qualities that God has required or expects of us through His Word. The Bible has been and continues to be my primary inspiration, and reference in my walk with Christ and my journey as a father.

  • The love of God above all things. (Deuteronomy 6:5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Mark 12:30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’) The love and worship of God is the most important trait of any Christian. We cannot be in communion with God until we give him the priority that He deserves in our lives. His will and the communication of His will to us is also hinged upon this important quality.
  • The love of others. (Mark 12:31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”) The bible tells us that only second to loving God is the love of our neighbor, or loving all others. This is the perfect example that Christ set before us. He showed love in everything He did, and in all of the things He said. He also went a step further and told us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-45“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Luke 6:27-36“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.)
  • Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. This is more of a sub-category of traits falling under the list of qualities given by Paul in (Galatians 5:22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.)
  • Responsibility. A mature Christian husband and father takes responsibility for his own actions and the actions of his immediate family. We see the opposite of this in Genesis 3, in verses 11-13 we see Adam blaming Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit, and then Eve blames the serpent for deceiving her. Neither of them takes responsibility for their actions. This is the opposite of how God wants us to be. (Genesis 3:11-13And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”) Our first step towards responsibility as Christians is our acknowledgment of our sinful nature and our need for a savior.
  • The desire to train his children in the “admonition of the Lord”. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Proverbs 22:6Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Ephesians 6:4(NKJV)And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.) Our children are not our own, they are simply on loan to us from God. He wants us to train them, and instruct them in His word. He wants us to show them His love through our own actions. We are to guide them as a light guides a traveler on a dark night.
  • Self-control, and self-restraint. (1 Timothy 3:2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,) This particular passage is targeted mainly towards church leaders, deacons and pastors, however these are traits that every Christian man should aspire to whether he is in church leadership or not. This passage tells us that we as Christian men are to be temperate or self-restrained, and self-controlled. We are expected to keep our cool, and to keep a level head. The book of Proverbs tells us that a wise man turns away anger, and keeps himself under control.(Proverbs 29:8Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger. Proverbs 29:11A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.) It also tells us not to be friends with or even associate with one who is easily angered. (Proverbs 22:24Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,) This is one of my struggling points, as I’m sure it is with many Christian men. Having been raised outside of any Christian influence, I learned the ways of the world. Which are fast becoming fraught with anger, hatred and violence. Now that I am walking in the light, I have to relearn all that I’ve known in dealing with my anger and frustration. I struggle with this on a daily basis. There is a great passage that I have learned to help me deal with my anger, it has also helped me to remove the swear/curse words from my vocabulary, which I used all too often before I was saved. (Psalm 19:14May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.)
  • Not an alcoholic. (1 timothy 3:3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 1 timothy 3:8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.) Once again we see two more verses aimed at deacons and pastors from 1 timothy and again I say that these are admirable qualities that all Christian men should aspire to. I have learned from first hand experience and from family/genetics that alcohol is a detriment to society as a whole and is a major cause of many of society’s problems today. If there is ever any doubt as to why we should not drink alcohol(at least to indulgence) we should look at the following verse (Proverbs 23:29-35Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”) I personally have decided that I don’t want or need alcohol or its influence in my household. We as a family do not drink any alcoholic beverages and hope this will set the standard for our children to follow in their adult lives as well.
  • A spiritual leader. Starting with Adam in the garden of Eden, God gave Adam specific commands in leadership as well as a job and responsibility before He formed Eve from Adam’s rib. (Genesis 2:15The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.) This is an indication that God has destined the Christian man to be the spiritual leader of his family. Now this does not mean the woman has any less value or worth. In fact women are equally valuable in God’s sight, there is a clear distinction between the roles. The woman being the helper and man being the leader. (Genesis 2:20b… But for Adam no suitable helper was found.) One way of looking at this is the chain of command in a military unit. The leader is not worth more than his subordinate. However he has the added responsibility and accountability given to him by a higher power. This is the way that God has willed it in His word and I think this is the way we should model it in our families if we are to honor His word, and His will. (Genesis 2:16-17And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”) This command to Adam comes before he created Eve. In it is an expectation that Adam will take God’s message to his wife and his future children. It is our God given responsibility as men to guide our families in the way in which God wants us to go. This means ensuring that everyone spends time in God’s Word, spends time with God alone. We are also responsible for their spiritual education or lack of it as well. A growing problem I see among the church is the expectation that the public schools will give our children the well rounded education that they need. This is a horrible fallacy in which we cannot afford to sacrifice our children to. I think it is painfully clear by the statistics of public education that these institutions are grossly inadequate in what they do. At the same time they are indoctrinating our children into Secular Humanism at an astounding pace. (The Humanist Curriculum, Patriots to Socialism) However despite my bias against public schools, every parent should do solid research about who is educating their children, and what are they teaching them.
  • Not Prideful. Pride is one of the biggest enemies of mankind and of God. Pride is what caused the fall of Satan. (Isaiah 14:12-14How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”, Ezekiel 28:12-18“Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ” ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.) When we take selfish pride in anything, we are opening ourselves to this trap. This is the same trap that Adam and Eve fell for. Self-less pride on the other hand can be a good thing. I am and always will be very proud of my wife and children, not because of anything that I have done, but because of the great blessing they are to me from God. Now this self-less pride could easily become a selfish pride due to the nature of the human heart, so we must always be on our guard against this trap.

I’m sure there are more that I could add to this list, however I cannot think of anymore currently. However if you think of a quality that you think should be on this list by all means leave a comment with your thoughts. If you do however please leave at least one biblical passage to support your thoughts.

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