Monday, March 31, 2014


  Is there something we are missing? When we look at our lives, what are we devoted to? As we look back some 2000 years, we find that when Christ built His church through the teaching of His apostles, there was something very unique going on. Those who received the word that Peter and those apostles spoke that day were responding to the call of God through the death of Jesus. After those 3000 were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:37-47), something was happening within them that created a drive, a desire and want. What is it? They were devoted!
  What do we see today? Little devotion. Salvation doesn't seem to stir us. At times I wonder if we know what it means to be saved? Those early brethren understood they stood condemned and would face the Messiah they had crucified. They knew their sins were great and the release from those sins was monumental. As a result of their being washed pure and clean from all sins and guilt, they were devoted. "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (Acts 2:42) These brethren wanted the apostles teaching and they were devoted in seeking it! Today, there are too many devoted to someone else's teaching. Some devote themselves to things that make them feel good about themselves. Some are devoted to the mega-church ideas, wanting to be part of this new era of church.  Many seem devoted to things that have little to do with the teaching of the apostles but the music is great.
  These first century brethren were devoted to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and prayer! Too many are content with as little as possible. The teaching of the apostles is not thrilling which means fellowship will not be thrilling, much less breaking bread and prayer, it's almost non-existent. Can we see the importance? We need to follow the teaching of the apostles, have our heart set to hear and receive it so we can find what we need to adhere to and what to not pay attention to. It will bind us, strengthen us and stir us to a more intimate time with the Lord and one another. In all this, it led them to a faith of commonness and praising God.
  Salvation is wonderful! Forgiveness is wonderful! It should lead each of us to being devoted! What about you?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"From the Beginning"

  God's plan for Jesus began before the world began. Yes, that's right! "For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you." (I Pet. 1:20) John said it this way: "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." (Rev. 13:8) I've known those who simply will not accept that Jesus was foreknown and slain before and from the foundation of the world. That's sad because they miss God and His purpose!
  Paul takes it one step further: "Who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." (II Tim. 1:9) His purpose and grace granted from eternity! God worked it all out. His purposes, His heart, His grace was revealed in Jesus Christ. We look at our Lord on earth and what do we see? A commitment from the character and heart of God that what He created He was dedicated to. And this commitment began before the world was created and will last until this world is 'uncreated'. Don't doubt God!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Thank You"

  We have all been there. We saw that wonderful movie that moved us in some way or we read a book that really touched our hearts in such a manner that while reading it, we didn't want to put it down but continue to the end. What did we want to do in response to such a movie or book? We wanted to share it! But it goes a little beyond that. If we could find the producer or author, we would love to just tell them "thank you"! Someone gives us something anonymously and we wonder who would give us such a gift. We think, ponder and then we want to search them out just to tell them a heart-felt "thank you"! The joy that is felt is not completed in any case until we express the fullness of our hearts. It is a joy that we didn't create but received and wants to be expressed. 
  But when we come to the worship of God, where is that desire to express what we feel? Sensitive people worship God because they want to praise God and just say "thank you" in honor of what He has done for them. People have difficulties in their lives. Some live hard lives. Is there nothing to say "thank you" for toward God? No health, no home, no water, no food, no friends, no children, no marriage? Nothing at all to express a deep "thank you"? No one to sing, "Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature"? No one to sing, "Love lifted me, when nothing else could help, love lifted me"? Here are songs that apply to everyone without exception but are we so empty that we can't express this to our Father?
  Some people worship out of duty. I was recently told that the reason this individual went to worship was because they had made it a habit to go. A habit? Is that what we have done to ourselves in our relationship with the Lord? Reduced the relationship to a habit? Have we not been touched by this wonderful gift, this blessings from heaven for our salvation? Is it better than the good book or movie? Is it better than receiving that gift from someone? We should be a people who want to say to the heavenly Father, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" When we assemble in the name of the Lord to offer our worship, there is where we express to God, as His children together and are reminded who we are and the great things that the Lord has done for us which leads to "thank you"! Praise, adoration toward God. Not praise and adoration of man nor man's abilities. And then we are struck in the heart as we sing, "My sin, O the bliss of this wonderous thought. My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul." It just doesn't get any better than that. A great big "THANK YOU LORD"! Worship God!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


  When we look closely at the death of Stephen (Acts7), it's rather amazing how he faced adversity from the crowd. As the crowd began stoning him we have these words: "They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them!' Having said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:59-60) How could Stephen react in such  calm way in the face of hatred and death? What kept anxiety and distress from showing up? He had the trusting knowledge that all was well with his soul.
  The Lord God rebuked a sinful nation of His people simply because they paid no attention to the words of the Lord and as a result they forfeited the peace of God that flows like a river (Isa. 48:18)
  The peace of God and security of salvation is not mystical. It comes from one thing: living within the will of the Lord. To know the peace of God you must trust the will of God. We must trust God's promises and walk with Him. Peace is the fruit in your life as you walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
  This all leads us to the idea of being faithful. Faithfulness, like many other Biblical teachings and words, has lost its meaning. We deem faithfulness as someone who attends all the services. When someone attends some of the assemblies we say they are kind of faithful. If someone stops assembling we call them unfaithful. No wonder we find very little comfort and peace from God. We can't understand what faithfulness is. We quote the end of Rev. 2:10: " faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life." But what about the rest of the verse? "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."  Did you get that? Suffering, trials, prison and tribulations. These are life threatening! What does John mean? You must hold on to God and trust in His promises. What does it mean to hold on to God? STAND FIRM IN THE LORD'S SALVATION! Faithfulness is about trusting God's salvation even if it costs you your life!! Jesus is the guarantee.
  Now don't misunderstand me when I spoke of assembling with the saints. That's where we praise our Lord and exhort one another. They are important but to imply that sitting in an assembly means someone is faithful shows how little we understand about faithfulness.
  Over and over we are told: God is faithful! (I Cor. 1:9/10:13) God gives us His promises and I receive them, embrace them and my hope is built on them. That means no matter what comes in this life, my life is secure because He promises!! Faithfulness on my part is not about me doing every thing properly. It's about my trusting Him and leaning on His grace. I don't understand every thing and I sure don't do every thing properly but I do know this, His grace reaches me and trusting in His grace, I trust His promises through His Son. Faithfulness is trusting the faithfulness of God as I live for Him and His will!! We aren't exempt from suffering. We stand in His grace for eternity!

Monday, March 17, 2014


  We call it "salvation". What does that mean? What does that really mean? For years I have known some who were afraid to think they were saved. Others I have heard say one can never know for certain about salvation until they die. What a terrible way to live. John wrote his letter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that the "things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (I John 5:13)
  Salvation is about deliverance and preservation. It is being saved from some impending doom. Salvation cannot be merited. The grounds for salvation is the blood of Christ and nothing else. Salvation is not a badge that is earned and worn but a gift from God. "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness..." (Titus 3:5) Salvation can only be accepted, received and enjoyed but never earned or merited. Salvation is by the grace of God and God initiates grace. Faith is our response to God grace. God formed the blueprint, drew the plan and initiated it through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be saved. It is by the grace of God, your faith in Christ's redeeming work and praising God or your not saved.
  The strongest temptation within the church is to substitute this salvation we have received through Christ Jesus for a 'human-law-works' system. It is very pleasing to us to trust in ourselves, in our good deeds, in our 'I'm there every time the door is open' mind-set turning salvation into a do it yourself plan. We want in some way to trust us! That's why so many are weak and failing. The trust is not in the blood of Jesus, it is us. Too many cannot distinguish between Rom. 3:27-30 where Paul speaks that our acquittal (justification) is not by works and Jam. 2:14-26 where James speaks we are justified by works. People have a hard time realizing that Paul is dealing with salvation initially. James is speaking about the result of salvation received by faith. Two completely different elements.
  The grace of God brings us salvation, with complete 100% trust in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Just take some time and read Acts 2 again but slowly and diligent. When you listen to the message preached that day, try to find any works of human merit involved. The only involvement that day by humans were being held accountable for killing the Messiah they had waited for. People heard the charge, heard the Scriptures and it pierced their heart. The only response? "What shall we do?" Faith was asking, reaching. Peter called their faith to respond but they merited nothing but trusting in Jesus the Lord was their answer. And they received the word, responded as the word said and rejoiced!
  Do you find yourself guilty of something? Do you find yourself doubting you might not have done enough in the eyes of God? The blood of Jesus is the cleansing agent, not doing more. Once the blood of Jesus cleanses only then will you find the power to move forward in serving the Lord (Heb. 9:14). The guilty, human works people can never do enough to feel good enough. It might be today as I did something but then comes the failure and what do they do? Feel insecure, guilty and look to work their way back. No wonder they can never know if they are acceptable before God! No wonder they have little assurance and little joy! It's time to get back to the power of the gospel to save!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Misery Love Company"

  She was an older woman responding to a compliment about how nice she looked. She said, "I may look good on the outside but I have felt terrible on the inside for long time."
  He was a middle aged man and very likeable. One day he revealed, "Some pray that tomorrow may be better but I pray that I won't wake up!"
  The husband was a heavy drinker. When confronted about his drinking he spoke, "It is the only way I have of getting even with my controlling wife!"
  All three people have a common thread: MISERY! The emotional stress on their personal lives and their constant state of living in this stress has created a misery within their being. What causes misery in the lives of people? Sometimes it can be caused by physical illness but as hard as it is for some to accept, most misery is self-induced and self-maintained. Misery has its roots in selfish desires. The more we want something, whatever that may be, the harder it is to accept not getting it.
  She was a young woman and wanted a husband so badly that she attempted suicide when a young man refused to marry her. Her suicide was a fake attempt to get his attention. It didn't matter if he wanted to marry her or not, all that mattered to her was she wanted to be married and was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish that!
  Here's the point. Wrong reactions to what others do to you will always lead you into more pain. Resentments, bitterness, hate and malice are reactions we experience when others have done us wrong. Do you realize when you do or think something that is wrong, especially when it involves others, that you are suppose to feel miserable? This state of mind is described in Rom. 2:14-15 as it involves the conscience. If we are reacting to a situation involving someone else wrongly, it becomes easier and easier for us to become hateful and bitter creating a state of misery within our being. 
  The Scripture points out in Gal. 6:7-8, we have a detailed account of how God operates. God is not fooled and you can't excuse yourself before Him. The Lord God gives to each person what they sow! It's that simple. For one to give in to his own fleshly desires, the harvest he will reap in himself will be corruption!! Corruption is where a person gets better and better in reacting wrongly to situations and less regard for what the Lord wants. In the list of the deeds of the flesh in Gal. 5:19-21, we can see plainly of how and what we sow toward. Our fleshly desires produce these reactions within us and the longer we keep sowing to them, we become more steeped in them and misery begins its reign within. We blame this situation or that person as the cause of our miserable existence while ignoring the real source...YOU. You become more miserable as you become more corrupted.
  God says there is an answer to man's misery and that's to walk by the Spirit. It's not mystical or magical. It is simply yielding to God, listening to Him and following His lead (Gal. 5:16-17). If we would change our minds and give in to God's ways, the product will be wonderful (Gal. 5:22-24). This is God's answer to misery. God wants to help and we have to decide if we want His help. It calls us to humility and faith. When you are in turmoil you have to make a choice. God or my desires? One reaps peace the other loves company! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"The Missing Message"

  Paul made certain that Timothy the preacher understood the direction the Lord wanted things to be done in the church. In fact, the charge was so serious that Paul called Timothy in the presence of God and Jesus Christ the judge of the living and dead to make sure this was heeded. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word..." (II Tim. 4:1-2)  God's word is so easy to quote but it's difficult to preach! It takes pain-staking effort to wrestle with the context of the verses and make proper application. Too many opinions fly rather than God's word. Many have found if they sprinkle a little of God's word on whatever subject they are dealing with, it's preaching the word and the people are happy.
  It has become sad to me that many congregations of the Lord has turned from "preaching the word" as the Lord intended to an entertaining art of communication. The result is the church shifts from believing in the God who charges us into a people of activities with countless programs and committees going to and fro satisfying their own personal desires. "Look around and see what we have to offer!" is our calling card. Busy, busy, busy. And for what? What is accomplished? Are we preaching the word or preaching our word?
  Far too many are becoming religious consumers. They look to the church to meet their needs and when those needs aren't met, they look elsewhere. The emphasis is no longer on preaching the word of God, or seeking God and His Christ but rather on "me, myself and mine." The question arises: what does the church have to offer me and my family? That's what many are looking for.
  In our society truth has vanished. Each person is left to do as they please in their own eyes. It reminds me a lot of what happened in Israel when they lost spiritual leadership. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." That's how the book of Judges ends. Lying is common place and not blinked at. Deception is at it's height. The moral character is so low that hardly anything is looked upon as sinful. From killing babies, to shacking up with one another, to babies out of wedlock, to families destroyed because of sin, to alcohol consumption and drug abuse all of which go against the word of the Lord. It reaches in the church and you can see it in attitudes and laziness while calling themselves "Christian." People bicker and fight, being hateful to one another and little concern for the welfare of brothers and sisters. If anyone will be saved it will be because God has placed a standard before us and we uphold that standard. If the church is going to be Christ's body as Christ intended, it will be from taking His calling seriously. It's called PREACH THE WORD !

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Kingdom Talk"

  I realize the political arena is very volatile. People upset with our government and the tension seems to be growing daily. Many get drawn into this political heat and voice their outright disgust. But there are many who like what they see in our government and become just a upset against those who beat up on "their guy." But what are we missing here? Are things disturbing? Yes!
  Jesus stood before Pilate in their present day political stance. The Roman government was very corrupt. Pilate tried to push his way on Jesus finally demanding an answer about His kingship. The words came: "My kingdom is not of this realm." (John 18:36) Jesus wasn't trying to stop governments while on earth. Jesus wasn't stating He didn't rule the world. Christ does rule. Look at Scriptures like Psalm 2:8-12. Nations are under His control (Eph. 1:19-21). Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth. But Jesus didn't come into His power by fighting against others, threatening them or any type of corruption. Jesus Christ came giving His life and offering peace. While nation leaders use their power to enslave and oppress, Jesus used His power to liberate and deliver. Leaders forced people under their control. Jesus served others to show His kingdom was servant kingdom. Greatness to the Lord of heaven and earth was measured in service. Sinners have difficulty in grasping this. But Jesus washed feet, even the feet of the betrayer!
  The Lord rules heaven and earth. Those that are ruthless and push ungodly behavior will be dealt with no matter what even if there is a freedom to vote or not! When will we learn that we are citizens of His kingdom? Citizens of heaven? Let the Lord rule as He rules in the affairs of man. Let's make certain that we humbly submit to His authority and power to serve others bringing them a gospel that saves. We as His servants need to let Him rule from heaven. We need to be trying to reach others while on this earth with this life changing gospel. It's easy to enter the political arena with our two cents worth but in the end it will be worth nothing. The kingdom of the Lord is about salvation and His servants speak to that. That should give us pause and something to think about. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Israel and the Church"

  As one looks back over they years of Israel wandering in the wilderness, we are amazed at their unbelief and hardness of heart. Not to mention their complaining about something. It makes one wonder if these really were God's people yet we know they were. Why would God put up with such nonsense and rebellion? He didn't! There were heavy casualties because of trying the Lord, idolatry, immorality and grumbling. We sit amazed wondering why they never learned. "If I had seen the plagues of Egypt, watch the waters part over a vast lake so we could walk to the other side, see rocks pour forth rivers of water and food fall from the sky, I sure would believe!" This I have heard said by many in the church today!
  As we look around in our modern era and this people called the church, are we really so far removed from Israel? I'm not sure where the church is today. Many are just wandering about looking for something not knowing what. There are more and more stretches in the borders of the truth, God's children going beyond what is written. There are those who continue to hold to some legalistic ideas of salvation that because they do good things in the name of the Lord, are at every assembly the Lord won't reject them. Immoral behavior surfaces and many just turn a deaf ear to it while embracing unrepentant sins. We have the complainers where they don't like the way something is done or approached. Complainers who try to make the elders look sinful when they aren't. That seems to be a brand mark of such. They voice their hurts or opinions and twist it to make it look sinful to others when it isn't. These things sounds a lot like OT Israel doesn't it?
  Paul reminded the church in I Cor. 10 about the wanderings of Israel and warns them (and us) not to follow suit. The Hebrew writer declares what happened to Israel in Heb. 3-4 and warns the saint about coming up short. We are no different today. Those warnings to Israel, those actions from God to get them to change their hearts are still happening in the church. Just read Rev. 2-3! 
  We need to learn to lean on and trust God! We need to realize with all our heart that it's not about going beyond what is written, just because God's word doesn't say we can't do something but being a people, this new creation (II Cor. 5), a people that present to God pleasing sacrifices, a holy people that proclaim His excellences of the One who called us from darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9-10). Looking back Israel was not just another nation among others. It was a nation chosen by God and God was trying to shape them into His children. A sinful people, selfish people, grumbling people yet God made a covenant with them. The same with the church. The church is Christ's body, those chosen by God and God is trying to shape us into the image of His Son as His children. Sometimes we are sinful, selfish and complain to easily yet God made a covenant with us through Jesus and Jesus mediates that covenant. That alone should affect our behavior and thinking!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"A Lesson On Love"

  The other night while looking through some different channels looking for the right program, you know you've been there, I stopped listening to a TV preacher speaking on the love of God. As I listened for a few minutes, it amazed me how the misuse of Scripture was used to build the God of heaven and earth into an idol! Yes, when people misuse Scripture to speak of Jehovah God they end up making their own idol they adore and worship. There was little understanding of God's love. Most of the lesson I heard was around mush and tears of emotional love which isn't God's love. The cross speaks to that!
  There are two types of love (actually in the Greek there are four but only three are used in Scripture.) but the two types I am referring to is (1) natural love and (2) God's love. They aren't the same. Jesus showed it very plainly: "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." (Luke 6:32) This kind of love does not need fellowship with God and it's where the majority live. Further proof? We love as long as the ones we love show us respect and kindness. The moment someone mistreats us, love it out the window and resentment or retaliation comes to the forefront.
  The love of God is rooted in God, motivated by God, practiced like God even to those who hurt us. To love on this level proves your fellowship and relationship to God. Love is a commitment to the well being of another no matter what they do to you. Love is the fruit of our new birth. Love is eternal life at work in us and one who loves on this level proves they know God (I John 4:7-8). How many have we heard over the years quote Scripture and act religious but when things go awry watch their reactions and how they treat those who they have a problem with.
  The love of God is sacrificial. It is not words spoken or passive. It is a manifested love (I John 4:9). We see it in God's investment in us, when we were His enemy. God wants us to live through Jesus. What does that mean? Love as He loves by sacrifice. Too many over the years have split families and the church by loveless actions. They get upset and off they run. What if God did that?
  We need to learn to love as God loves. No limits, no excuses but sound, sacrificial love on behalf of others. When you find yourself wanting to blast another brother or sister in Christ, you need to look at the cross and see what Jesus has done and feels about them. If His love for you means anything, you will act upon His love for you toward them. And sometimes, when someone is in sin, you need to realize love doesn't embrace their sin. It rebukes in kindness trying to get them to repent but never treats them as an enemy. That's eternal life at work in you! And eternal life loves!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"The Corruption of Sin and the Hand of God"

  Lot looked about the whole land as far as he could see and Abraham asked him to choose where he would like to live. "You take your pick and I'll go the other way!" Abraham spoke. Lot saw the all the valley of the Jordan, well watered and like the "garden of God" and like the land of Egypt (Gen. 13:9). This record of Sodom and Gomorrah was written to teach a lesson. A land that was blessed and beautiful but man's ungodliness pollutes it and it became of land that was cursed and desolate because of sin.
  Man sinned in the garden and a curse came upon creation (Gen. 3:17). As Noah built an ark because of the voice of God calling, man continued in their rebellion and a curse came upon all creation. Now comes Sodom and Gomorrah and their vile living brought a curse on this beautiful valley. Because the sin was so great God could no longer allow anyone to live in the land that was blessed. God rescued Lot!
  Sinful ways always brings corruption to people and destroys. We see it all the time. Look at homes because a husband or wife acts corruptly, giving no heed to God. People trapped in drugs or alcohol abuse and watch their own lives take a turn that is cursed. The body wastes away and is destroyed because of sin.
  God is trying to save man and while man refuses to heed, man's lives take on ways that are less than beauty. Nations come to ruin. Individuals come to ruin. Why? Because God wants man to see that the horror of sin is not pretty and sin is against everything God is for. In all this, from Adam to Noah to Lot and Abraham and on down the line, man needed every time the God of heaven and earth to deliver them from the curse of evil! Man will always be in need of deliverance. Sometimes the things we walk through that are hurtful, if we would only look a little deeper and there we would see God's redemptive hand leading us out of the corruption and into His loving care. Will we see Him? Will we learn?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


  There is nothing more gut-wrenching than having done something treacherous against another. You know that gut-wrenching fear, that sickening you feel when you have to face up to what you had done by telling someone? There aren't many things more painful than that and there aren't many things more painful than someone you love betraying you or you betraying them. The shame screams in the mind. The guilt is so difficult to bear. Have you ever had to tell a loving, devoted mate your betrayal? Have you ever had to tell an adoring parent the shameful and public behavior of a their child? It is the most difficult thing one could ever do.
  We look at David in his treatment of Uriah. David committed adultery with Uriah's wife while Uriah was out protecting the very one that was betraying him. This gallant soldier who stood guard all night at the door steps of David's house, refusing the blessings and comforts of home because of an on-going war and not knowing anything about his kings treachery! Put on the battle front and left with an arrow in his chest for what? TREACHERY!
  Treachery is so hard to take. The woman spent years working on getting her husband complete access to all the benefits of citizenship. They had married in another country and there were things that had to be done to become a U.S. citizen. The letters she had people write. The looking into the laws of the land. They had no money so she worked hard, even nights to pay for some of the things needed. Finally, after 9 years of hard work and labor, all the pieces came together and she and her husband appeared before the courts. All the hard work paid off. His papers were accepted and he was granted full citizenship. The joy she felt and pride for her husband. Nine months after all this, he left her for another woman, much younger and more physically attractive because the years of hard labor cost her some of her beauty. She felt the depth of treachery in her heart as she lay on her bed broken and confused.
  And it started in the garden. God and Adam loved each other, walked with one another and talked with one another. A cherished loving relationship. Sin arrived and Adam had to face his beloved Father with the treachery of sin. Adam & Eve heard God walking that day in the garden approaching knowing they had dealt a blow so vile and hurtful...well, the next time you feel the treachery of a beloved individual, God speaks and says, "Now you know a little of how I felt!" Billions created and billions turned on the Creator. Treachery! People run off smiling, sneering at God's pain when He offers mercy. It's just plain treachery! TREACHERY!

Monday, March 3, 2014

"A Lesson I've Never Forgot"

    Early in my preaching I was everywhere. Everywhere any member of the Lord's body called me and bid me to come. Busy, busy, busy with the Lord's work. I knew this is what I needed to do or so I thought. I would even travel about just to meet some demands. Then two things came to me that forever changed my thinking and approach to my life of work. (To this day I believe the Lord put this in front of my eyes.)
  I came in late one afternoon. Tired from dealing with whatever it was I had to deal with. As I made my way to my chair, here came three little ones running up and jumping in my lap. With random words from everywhere my daughter spoke up, "Let's play daddy!" I immediately responded, "Let daddy rest a bit. He is tired!" Off the three little ones went into their world. It was two or three minutes and my phone rang. My wife said it was for me. I got up and answered (yes the days when we didn't have cell phones). I remember telling the people, "Ok, I'll be right over!" Hanging up the phone I turned around and standing right behind me was my little girl. Her eyes looking, gleaming at me but I could see disappointment in her face. I went that evening to do what I had to do but as I prayed about things, I came home later that evening and committed to the Lord that I would never put others ahead of my family (including my wife) unless it was an absolute emergency. I could say no to my kids but I couldn't say no to another? That hit me hard.
  The second thing came later that week. While visiting in the home of one of the brethren, the family was sharing with me what had happened in their lives. They lost all their children (four to be exact) to the world! Their children were still an important part of their lives as well as their grandchildren. All four children eternally lost and now their own children are leading their grandchildren even further from the Lord and it pained them. I asked looking back if they knew what went wrong. The father looked at me and said, "Busy! Just busy working and going! I took little time to teach and train and now I am responsible for the outcome." It hurt him deeply but too late. My mind went back to looking at the face of my daughter.
  From that day, I have always made certain that behind God I placed my family and their spiritual well being above all other things. It was taking time for them, making sure when we had our family time it was family time. No TV or any other interference. It was us as a family.
  Today, I am very thankful for all my children and their trying to be faithful and train my grandkids to be faithful. Like me, they don't do everything as we would expect but they have a heart for the Lord and His word. Let me leave you with this. If there is only one thing you accomplish on this earth let it be this: train your children to love the Lord with all their heart! And that doesn't come just by taking them to church!! It is something lived before their eyes that they see in you and hear in you. It's putting the Lord before the world. It's teaching to draw from the resources of God rather than the resources of the world. It's life, my life lived in the life of God and it will have effects for generations to come! Who knows, three or four generations down the road, will your family know anything about God and the truth of His word? It depends what you are instilling now!