Isaac, the Promised son

LATER, THE LORD AGAIN appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. At that time Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent. It was during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. 

When Abraham saw them, he ran from his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them. Abraham said, “Sir, if you think well of me, please stay awhile with me, your servant. I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree. I will get some bread for you, so you can regain your strength. Then you may continue your journey.

        The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.”

      Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was He said to her, “Hurry, prepare 20 quarts of fine flour. Make it into loaves of bread.” Then Abraham ran to his cattle. He took one of his best calves and gave it to a servant. The servant hurried to kill the calf and to prepare it for food. Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked. He also gave them milk curds and milk. While the three men ate, he stood under the tree near them.

      The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

      “There in the tent,” said Abraham.

      Then the Lord said, “I will certainly return to you about this time a year from now. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”

      Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah was past the age when women normally have children. So she laughed to herself, “My husband and I are too old to have a baby.”

      Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you at the right time a year from now. And Sarah will have a son.”

A baby for Sarah

The Lord cared for Sarah as he had said He did for her what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant. And she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Everything happened at the time God had said it would. Abraham named his son Isaac. Sarah gave birth to the son of Abraham. Abraham circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded.

      Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child. But I have giving Abraham a son while he is old.”

      Isaac grew and became old enough to eat food At that time Abraham gave a great feast.


(Quoted from Genesis 18:1-14; 21:1-8, International Children’s Bible, New Century Version)

The life everyone ought to choose

God not only created man but also gave him life and everything he needs to sustain it for a well-defined purpose.

 

IMMEASURABLE HIS GREAT love for mankind, God not only created man but also gave him life and everything to sustain it for a well-defined purpose (Eccles. 12:13-14; Eph. 2:10). To guide everyone toward this purpose for which he is accountable, the Almighty Father commanded that His words be written in a book universally known as the Bible. Apostle Paul, one of those sent to preach in his time, declared: “and you remember that ever since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the man who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good work” (II Tim. 3;15-17, Today’s English Version, emphasis ours). And for man to be able to live righteously, Paul gave the first-century Christians this instruction which applies well more today: “In the Lord’s name, then, I say this and warn you: do not live any longer like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless, and whose minds are in the dark. … They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice, and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint” (Eph. 4:17-19, TEV).

Through God’s wisdom, man will be able to live in accordance with the well-defined purpose—serve God, live righteously, and do good works. Likewise, he should not live the way the pagan does—having worthless and dark thoughts, vicious, and grossly indecent. Neither he lives being governed by his human nature. Apostle Paul describes one who live so and the evil of doing such: “What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies, they fight, become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not receive the Kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19, Ibid.).

With the passage of time, this divine purpose has not been respected an God’s instruction on right living has been violated by those who choose to live the pagan or ungodly way. This way of life is globally observable today when moral decadence is among the crises disturbing the world. Many have been culturally conditioned that God’s wisdom which is written in the Holy Scriptures is now obsolete, no longer relevant and responsive to the needs of the time. Veering away from God’s commandments, they have turned to philosophical thoughts prioritizing their worldly or secular concerns such as satisfying first their changing physical, emotional, and social needs as well as other cravings They also have turned from religion to science, technology, medical science, media, academe, and so on for answers to life’s fundamental questions concerning sexuality, marriage, morality, and the like.

 

What influences man’s life today pervasively

Specifically, modern society through secularization, the prevailing social change, has pervasively influenced the world. According to James M. Henslin (1993), a sociologist, secularization occurs when religious influence over life is lessened, both on a society’s institutions and on individuals. It works massively using cultural mechanisms such as media and schools among many others to engineer the promotion of the agenda of social change. Its impact on mankind is reflected by he spread of the culture of materialism, of promiscuity or sexual perversion, of liberalism which makes people even proud of doing what they must be ashamed of, of philosophic arrogance and utter disregard of the sacredness of the Bible, and of relative morality which does not give the distinction between what is morally right what is morally wrong among others.

Working strategically, modern society has succeeded in secularizing even religion. There are churches that have compromised their supposed gatekeeping function to uphold firmly the fundamental biblical teachings on morality and family to social pressures. Like judicial institutions, they have departed from being strictly conservative to being tolerant of marriage and sexual practices that are against the teachings of the Bible to favor liberalism and misleading ideological advocacies. There are countries where divorce and same-sex marriage have been legalized even if God’s laws are being trivialized or outrightly opposed by such. Indeed, man’s attitude toward his Creator, toward his fellowmen, toward his environment, and toward himself has changed radically. He chooses his secular or cultural values to rule over the Christian values taught by the Holy Scriptures in conducting his life.

 

What the Bible foretold long before

To see how people are conducting their lives today, choosing to be ungodly instead of being God-fearing, Apostle Paul warned all: “You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hardheaded and never give in to others, and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends, they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.” (II Tim. 3:1-5, Living Bible). Paul’s graphic statement gives a vivid description of how a person lives the unchristian way.

ON the other hand, those who choose to remain conservative, that is, being biblically oriented in their moral values, uncompromisingly abide by what Christ teaches in conducting their lives. They will neve let waves of changes make them deviate from God’s commandments. No matter how compelling circumstances are, their conviction to follow His will on how to live properly can not be moved.

 

Which way of life to choose

Since everyone is accountable to God to live in accordance with the purpose for which He created man, Apostle John who was among those whom Christ sent to preach the gospel taught explicitly: “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (I John 2:6, LB). The first two things everyone should do to fulfill God’s purpose for creating man—to know his Creator, the Almighty God, to serve and worship Him, and to obey His commandments (Ps. 100:2-3, I John 2:3, Ps. 95:6-7)—are to be a Christian first, which can only be done by entering the Church Of Christ which He built and, second, to live as Christ did.

A good example of who abided by this purpose is Apostle Paul. Named Saul, an accomplished person who lived a privileged life before his conversion into the first-century Church Of Christ to be among the first-century Christians, he chose to give up all his gains and even his own righteousness for the righteousness that comes from God (Phil. 3:7,9).To live as Christ did, Apostle Paul strived to have the attitude that Christ had—was humble and walked the path of obedience to His death on the cross (Phil. 2:5,8)—to let God’s will rule his life that it was no longer h who lived, but it was Christ who lived in him, and to live by faith in the Son of God (Gal. 2:20).

To live righteously, the Scriptures further teach all that they should not be involved in sin, should live the rest of their earthly lives controlled by God’s will, not by human desires (I Pet. 4:1-3, TEV) but be purified from everything that makes body or soul unclean and be completely holy, by living in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1< Ibid.)

 

Warning against a corrupt culture and deceptive philosophy

Witnessing the prevailing Greco-Roman culture—strongly influenced by paganism and the philosophies highly recognized by his society—that was wo ungodly and blasphemous, Apostle Paul warned the Christians: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix our attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Rom. 12:2, The Message). More often than not, man is at the mercy of his society and culture. Good or bad, they work hand in hand. When they drag people to disobey God’s will, such society and culture are corrupt. Deceptively they work, usually subliminally or subtly, that the ignorant or the undiscerning fall victims of their assault.

Apostle Paul pinpointed what is at work behind the deception: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Col. 2:8, New International Version). Today such philosophy can also be in the form of “intellectualism” or “high sounding nonsense founded on men’s ideas of the nature of the world” (The New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips), or “man’s wisdom and deceit, going after the beliefs of men and the theories of the world” (Bible in Basic English). An example of a philosophy that opposes Christian values is relativism which people in the academe such as educators and scholars promoted by using Kuhn’s paradigm shift—a high-sounding idea immensely popular in various domains including theology (Irving Hexham, Concise Dictionary of Religion, 1993).

 

It is definitely a conscious choice

As people across cultures continuously choose to disregard the Bible by merely considering it as a work of literature and it can be interpreted subjectively, to be individualistic, materialistic and hedonistic, to ignore God’s wisdom and prefer to be philosophically arrogant, and to be liberals of almost without restraint, Christians or true servants of God always choose to be God-fearing and to conduct their lives fulfilling the well-defined purpose for which man is created.

Above all of man’s concerns in life, choosing to live in accordance with God’s commandments is the most important decision he ought to make. If he chooses otherwise is the worst. That man is inevitably accountable for whichever decision he makes, the Bible clearly states: “… Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that man was created for. God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret” (Eccles. 12:13-14, TEV).


By CELERINO G. BACLAAN
Photo by Brian Pangilinan

Critical health threats facing the world today: signs of the approaching end of the world

DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), mentioned some frightening events and issues in his remarks to G20 (an international forum for the governments and central bank governors rom 20 major economies) on July 8, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The Bible teaches that such occurrences, likewise, are among the signs that the end of the world is near (Matt. 24:6-8). These are the follows:

“…pandemics of infectious diseases and other threats to health, such as anti-microbial resistance, transcend borders and national interests, so vulnerability for one is vulnerability for all of us. And viruses actually do not know or do not respect borders.”

“pandemics, health emergencies and weak health systems not only cost lives but represent some of the greatest risks to the global economy and security that we face today.”

“… with Spanish flu in 1918: more than 50 million people died.”

“… the SARS outbreak cost the world economy around US$6 billion.”

“… bird flu, MERS, Zika … Cholera, Yellow Fever ae back in force. WHO detects around 3000 signals a month but the world actually knows very few of them.”

“This year, 400 million people, that is 1 out of 17, mostly poor people, women and children around the world remain without access to health care.”


Source: http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2017/g20-summit/en/

 

 

A rising star in the world of pastry

BEING ONE OF AMERICA’S leading pastry chefs, Brother Isaac Carter faces up to a hectic schedule but his strong faith in God dictates to him how to go about his work and what he must truly prioritize. “I always prioritize the worship service. When my schedule’s tight, no matter what, I’ll prioritize where I’m going to attend the worship service before everything else,” he said with conviction.

In his line of work he has to be creative, innovative, and patient with a good eye for detail and a distinct sense of taste because, he said, “In my work there’s a lot of trial and error. If I have an idea for a savory ingredient for a dessert, I try it, but sometimes it doesn’t taste good so I scratch it out. It’s just test, test, test until I get the right texture and flavor.” The end product must not only tickle the palate but must also be visually appealing, since today’s gourmet pastry has become a work of art with highly technical sculpted pieces. Speed is also a must because, he said, “The pressure is on when 10 to 20 tickets are fired all at once and you have to plate it now. No questions asked.”

He is currently one of the pastry chefs at the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. He had worked in various high-end restaurants and hotels in San Francisco and Los Angeles and became the executive chef in a restaurant with a Michelin Star, a hallmark of fine dining quality. “I create the menu. I come up with different seasonal items that are great for dessert. Every time I go out and I see a certain ingredient, I figure out in my mind if that would go well with this and that or use this kind of chocolate. Anywhere I go, if I taste something, something just triggers inside of me. ‘Oh! I can create something with this vegetable, this fruit’,” Brother Isaac enthused. He continues to come up with charming-looking delectable cupcakes, desserts, and stunning special occasion cakes.

This year, he was one of the 15 finalists selected from across America to compete in the U.S. Pastry Competition, the most prestigious pastry competition in the United States, hosted by a leading specialty food importer and distributor. The event took place in the International & Foodservice Show of New York held on March 5, 2017 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Prior to that, he won in “Cupcake Wars”, a competition aired on US television. It was a close battle with three other bakers, but as the program’s host put it: “The judges have been impressed by your unexpected flavors. And your innovative use of cupcake wrappers on your splay has wowed them.”

Brother Isaac is a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in the local congregation of San Leandro, Northwest California Ecclesiastical District. Despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to volunteer to teach his craft to the youth in the Church and to children with special needs in his community.

Brother Isaac’s goal is to open his own ice cream shop. Encouraging him along the way are his parents and his wife. “They’re my biggest supporters,” he quipped, “and the one thing we constantly do is pray. To be successful also takes a lot of sacrifice as you work your way up, really stressful. It’s not easy. I wouldn’t have received all of these blessings without God’s help through prayers.”


By MARIE F. RUIZ

God’s Message Magazine, August 2017

Priest shortage will mean end of regular weekend Masses —Ireland bishop

Warning that vocations crisis is worsening

PUBLISHED RECENTLY ONLINE, a news item expressed the concern of a Catholic bishop over a problem facing the clergy in Ireland hat he sees will gravely impact the laity. The following are excerpts of the news item:

  • Due to he decline in priest numbers, in the Diocese of Kerry in Ireland there were now six parishes out of 53 without a resident priest.
  •  According to Bishop Ray Browne, soon it will not be possible to have a weekend Mass in every church in the diocese.
  •  The lack of resident full-time priests in Kerry’s churches will mean parishioners will have to attend Sunday Mass in neighbouring churches …, the bishop said.
  •  The parish of Knocknagoshel is the latest to be hit by the vocations crisis It has lost its resident priest.
  •  The neighboring diocese of Cork and Ross is also concerned about an ageing and declining cohort of priests.
  •  In Limerick there were 10 parishes in the diocese without a resident priest in active ministry, though four of these had retired priests living in them.
  •  Bishop Brendan Leahy, of Limerick, said that they are facing many challenges due to the decline in vocations.
  •  Diarmuid Hogan of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, believes that in the years ahead parishes will have to be “consolidated with larger congregations at fewer Masses in fewer, larger buildings.”

http://wwwindependent.ie/irish-news/priest-shortage-will-mean-end-of-regular-weekend-masses-bishop-35887774.html

Is the Religious Recession Real?

TWO OF AMERICA’S PROMINENT FAITHS, Catholicism and Protestantism, are sharing a big part in the religious decline in people nowadays. In a survey called “Americas Changing Religious Landscape”, Pew, a research center based in Washington, whose research helps U.S. and international policymakers, civic leaders, educators, and the public at large to understand and address some of the world’s most challenging problems, found that almost every major Christian professing church has been losing members. What is striking is that it is not only young members who are departing from their religious life; rather, every demographic group has seen a drop in people who call themselves Christians. This survey stated; “While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men … the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated—describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”—has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”

“… the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans—roughly seven-in-ten—continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith. But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage point in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014.”

“Of the major subgroups within American Christianity, mainline Protestantism—a tradition that includes the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Churches USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church, among others—appears to have experienced the greatest drop in absolute numbers. In 2007, there were an estimated 41 million mainline Protestant adults in the United States. As of 2014, there are roughly 36 million, a decline of 5 million—although, taking into account the surveys’ combined margins or error, the number of mainline Protestants may have fallen by as few as 7.3 million between 2007 and 2014.”

“Like mainline Protestants, Catholics appear to be declining both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. The new survey indicates there are about 51 million Catholic adults in the U.S. today, roughly 3 million fewer than 2007.”

“More than 85% of American adults were raised Christian, but nearly a quarter of those who were raised Christian no longer identify with Christianity.”


Reference entry: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

Jacob wrestles with an angel

DO YOU KNOW WHY JACOB, son of Isaac, was later renamed “Israel”? Find out by reading this story from the Bible.

 

  That same night Jacob got up … Then a man cam and wrestled with him until just before aybreak. When the man saw that he was not willing the struggle, he hit Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. The man said,

“Let me go; daylight is coming.”

“I won’t unless you bless me, Jacob answered.

“What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he answered.

The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”

Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.

Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel. The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Even today the descendants of Israel deo not eat the muscle which is on the hip joint, because it was on this muscle that Jacob was hit. (Excerpted from Genesis 32:22, 24-32, Today’s English Version)

 

   This account on Jacob’s life illustrates what true servants of God are willing o do to attain His promised blessings. Church of Christ members are exhorted to “earnestly desire the greater gifts” (I Cor. 12:31), among which are the duties and obligations in the Church (Rom. 12:6-7). This, even if they have dangers and endure pain and suffering, the faithful church officers willingly make the sacrifices to fulfill their duties to God. For, it is their faith that nothing they do for the work of the Lord will ever become useless but will result in their receiving the great reward. (I Cor. 15:58; Phil 3:14)

“White Christian America is dying”

Robert P. Jones is the CEO of he Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of the book, The End of White Christian America. In an interview with him by John Sides, an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, regarding his book, Hones spells out the profound social implication of a new reality: America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

 

“Let’s start with a graph from the book … tell us what you see and how you interpret it.

“The chart below reveals just how quickly the proportions of white, non-Hispanic Christians have declined across generations.

“Like an archeological excavation, the chart sorts Americans by religious affiliation and race, stratified by age. It shows the decline of white Christians among each successive generation.

“Today, young adults ages 18 to 29 are less than likely to be white Christians as seniors age 65 and older. Nearly 7 in 10 American seniors (67 percent) are white Christians, compared to fewer than 3 in 10 (29 percent) young adults.

“Although the declining proportion of white Christians is due to large-scale demographic shifts—including immigration patterns and differential birth rates … the other major cause: young adults’ rejection of organized religion. Young adults are three times as likely as seniors to claim no religious affiliation (34 percent versus 11 percent, respectively).

 

“What’s the broader implication of this generational pattern?

“The American religious landscape is being remade, most notably by the decline of the white Protestant majority and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated. These religious transformations have been swift and dramatic, occurring largely within the last four decades …

 

“I think the decline in the ‘white part of White Christian America is well known, given the country’s obviously increasing ethnic diversity. But let’s talk about the ‘Christian’ part and particularly the increasing number of people who aren’t affiliated with any religious tradition. Why are the ranks of the unaffiliated increasing?

“The rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans over the last few decades is one of the most important and dramatic shifts in American religious history. As recently as the 1990s, less than 1 in 10 Americans claimed no religious affiliation …

Looking ahead, there’s no sign that this pattern will fade anytime soon. By 2051, if current trends continue, religiously unaffiliated Americans could comprise as large a percentage of the population as all Protestants combined—a thought that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. …”

Source: The Washington Post: White Christian America is dying,

August 15, 2016

A dad who makes a difference

A father has to work hard to provide his family with all the things they need to survive and, hopefully, thrive in this harsh world. It is tough being a father; a father must always make sure that everyone at home has enough food to eat and clothes to wear, and provides his wife and children with a decent and stable home. He also has to insure that all his children get the best education they can to help them have a bright and prosperous future. A good father does more than those things.

A good dad provides for the spiritual needs

Though it is important to make sure that our children have all the material things they need in this life to live comfortably, we should realize that is not the only thing that should concern us. As fathers, we have an even greater responsibility to them, and that is to help make sure their spiritual needs are provided for; that they are taught the true religion. That is not a personal opinion; that is what the Holy Scriptures teaches:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with loving kindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 Amplified 2015)

The apostles advise the fathers inside the true Church Of Christ that they are to bring up or raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. As fathers, we are not to let our children  grow up without any meaningful parental guidance or instruction. Though there are plenty of books and videos out there on the subject of raising kids, what we should take and hold on to as the ultimate guide or final authority in raising our children are the teachings and instructions of the Lord God, recorded in the Holy Scriptures (III Tim. 3:15-17). If ever the advice offered in a parenting book, video, or online post contradicts the sound or solid advice in the Holy Scriptures, we should choose to—without any hesitation or mental reservation whatsoever—follow and implement what the Scriptures say, for that is surely the right thing to do. A father will not go wrong if he sticks to or does what the Bible says is right.

       We should teach our children the laws of God, as fathers, not only once in a while or when the mood strikes us. We should do this consistently or on a regular basis, at all opportune times:

      “You and your descendants must respect the LORD your God as long as you live. You must obey all His laws and commands that I give you today. Be sure to teach them to your children. Talk about these commands when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:2, 6-7, Easy-To-Read Version)

We should realize, however, that our duty as fathers or parents is not done by simply telling our children what to do or by teaching them God’s will. We should be considerate and understanding with our children, and help them to know and understand the will of God. Be a patient and gentle teacher (II Tim. 2:24-25; I Thess. 2:11-12). We should also supervise or monitor their activities to make sure they are living the right way, that they are upholding a way of life that is consistent with the gospel of God.

Parents are to supervise the activities of the members of their family. We should ask ourselves: Are we doing this? Are we aware who their friends are and the people they hang out with? Is everyone living a lifestyle that conforms to God’s will or teachings? If not, what actions do we take to help them back on the right track? Parental instruction and supervision is vital for the happiness of the family within God’s nation. As dads, we must make sure that such instruction and supervision is done.

 

A good dad upholds biblical principles

The kind of leadership that, we fathers, provide within our home should be one that is firmly based on sound principles. The principles we uphold are a reflection of the things that matter most to us. For members of the Church Of Christ, the nation of God in the Christian era, a principle that they uphold and instill in their children is that—they will serve God. This is what God’s servant, Joshua, a family man himself, declared:

“But if you don’t want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!” (Joshua 24:15, Contemporary English Version)

Joshua said these words when he, as the leader of God’s people, challenged the Israelites to make up their minds about whom they were going to serve: the false gods that others had served before them, or the true God? For this father, his mind was already made up. He led his family in deciding to stand on God’s side and serve only Him. He declared with conviction, “My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!” That principle is what we, as fathers of the Church Of Christ, want to uphold in our life, no matter how turbulent at times life may be; we are ready and willing to lead our wife and children in serving the one true God forever, even if it involves making sacrifices on our part.

To help encourage and convince our family to stand with us in upholding that principle, we should be willing to take the time to relate to them the wonderful things that God has done for us, our family, and the entire nation of God. This was instructed to parents in God’s nation before:

“You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildren as well. …And what makes us greater than other nations? We have God who is close to us and answers our prayers.” (Deut. 4:9, 7, Ibid.)

That is why it is important that we remember the good things that God has done. We are not only talking about the incredible things that God did for His ancient people; we are also talking about the amazing things that He has done for His people today. How greatly has God blessed the Church Of Christ and made it successful in all its endeavors since its establishment in 1914, more than 102 years ago? How wonderfully has He cared for us, the members? This shows how God has been so close to His people. When our children understand this, when they have this firmly embedded in their hearts and minds, it will produce in them an eagerness and enthusiasm to take their stand in the side of serving the one true God. This is what we want to see happen, as good fathers.

It is not enough, though, that our children just know about the one true God. To show that we have taken our stand to serve God we should be filled with determination to lead our wife and children to attend worship services to honor and praise Him for all His goodness.

“The Lord will choose a single place where He is to be worshiped, and there you must bring to Him everything that I have commanded: your sacrifices that are to be burned and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, and those special gifts that you have promised to the LORD. Be joyful there in His presence, together with your children …” (Deut. 12:11-12, Good News Translation)

Good dads in the Church Of Christ always make sure that all the members of their households are fully dedicated to attending the congregational worship service. They see to it that no matter how busy life gets, everyone in the family regularly attends the worship service, to give glory to the Lord God.

 

A good dad defends his wife and children

A good dad is a protector of his family; he does everything he can to keep them safe. For example, he is ready to defend them from bad people who want to hurt or take advantage of them. But, most of all, he will defend his wife and children from anything that could call them to be turned away from God. This is what the Bible says:

“Make sure that no man, woman, family, or tribe standing here today turns from the LORD our God to worship the gods of other nations. This would be like the root that grows to be a bitter and poisonous plant.” (Deut. 29:18, Ibid.)

What causes people to be turned away or separated from God is sin (Isa. 59:2). So, we want to make sure that no one in our family is doing anything that is sinful in the watchful eyes of the Lord God. We want to help our children cultivate in themselves the ability to refuse (or say no) to do anything evil when people, like friends, try to get them to do it. Solomon, a king and a father himself, told his own child:

“My son, should your less honorable peers pressure you to do what is wrong, you should be strong enough not to go along.” (Prov. 1:10, The Voice)

We want to see our children grow and learn to be able to stand on their own feet. We want them to succeed in getting a good education and a gainful job or career that can provide for their needs and their future families. But, most of all, we want them to be spiritually strong as members of the Church Of Christ. But that will happen only when the true word of God, has found a home in them or lives in them. This is what Apostle John wrote:

“I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One. Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world.” (I John 2:14-16, GNT)

 

A good dad and his family will be blessed

As good fathers who diligently and patiently teach the true religion to our household, who lead our wife and children to live a life of obedience and loyalty to the Lord God, we will see Him bless our entire household. We will enjoy happiness and blessings from God even in this life:

“Happy are those who obey the LORD, who live by His commands. Your work will provide for your needs; you will be happy and prosperous. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your home, and your children will be like young olive trees around your table. A man who obeys the LORD will surely be blessed like this.” (Ps. 128:1-4, Ibid.)

But that is not all. For the ultimate happiness or blessing that awaits a family that has been taught the true religion—where the father has done his duty to make sure his family has learned and abides by the true word of God—is the reward of salvation and everlasting life in the Holy City (Rev. 21:1-4, 14).

If we and our whole family have served God loyally all the days of our lives and, thus, make it to the Holy City, then what more can we say? As imperfect and flawed as we are as men, we have done our job as a father and could ask for nothing more. So, let us be the father that God wants us to be.


By JOHNNY J. MARTIN