Steadfast Provider – Rock in the Storm – Faithful Father Series

Steadfast Provider

As a father we provide for our children in many ways. It is east to think, ‘Well they have a roof over their head, food in their belly, and clothes on their bodies. I’m doing alright.’ and to a certain extent that is true but the logic is flawed. We provide more than tangible things for our children and must do so in a steadfast manner. Consider Matthew 7:9-11 where Jesus is speaking about how a father would not callously mistreat his children. A child asking for bread would get such, and not a stone in its place! Jesus confronts the iniquity of man directly in Matthew 7:11 where he is speaking to his following including the apostles and calls them evil, he does not mean this harshly but that in comparison to the perfection of the Father, man is evil. Yet he is not berating them but cautioning them out of love. Telling them that even an evil man knows how to do good  for his children because he has the child’s best interest at heart sometimes at least. Finally Jesus compares this action to God and how we should be like him giving in abundance to our children in a loving manner and not one done in anger.

The Christian who is steadfast, unmovable in the Word, goes forward to a discharge of his known duties, no matter what his feelings may be.

C.E. Orr

Jesus showed us that God wants us to be givers, not takers. This is important because a steadfast provider is not one that gives to get something in return. They give freely, with no expectation or reward. Christ laid down his live, giving an ultimate sacrifice so that humanity could take the chance to redeem through salvation and living as Jesus did. In 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul is writing to Timothy about his ministry at the church in Ephesus and cautions the church about the treatment of their relatives especially household members. Paul states it outright and it is true, to not provide for your relatives, especially members in your home is a blatant denial of the faith you profess. Paul goes on to say that this violation of duty is worse than an unbeliever of Christ, and I agree!

Being a parent is a lot of work. I’ve come to know this over the time that I met my wife and her children. It’s been four years and I have had ups and downs learning to be a father and that the world is not black and white but full of many gray areas. It is our duty to educate our children about these things in life so that they are not easily swayed by duplicitous individuals. The call for steadfastness does go beyond provisions and lessons you actively teach because children are super observant. How many times have you used a bad habit and your children have emulated it? Yeah, me too. It does happen and so it is clear that how you act in times of difficulty also teaches them good and bad behaviors. Living as Christ did is hard and does require a steadfast will to continue on in the face of adversity.

I posted recently about spending a month or more in prayer because I was trying to create a better connection with God. Not because I was afraid that God was not listening or had forgotten about me. It was because I wanted my kids to understand several important things about prayer. First, prayer is nothing you should be embarrassed about. Second, prayer works, it is that simple. Next, prayer can be done any where, any time. Last, and most importantly, it provides a direct communication to God which is so very key to being a Christian. My family has reaped the rewards of that, my children make no fuss about praying at a restaurant and do so loudly…I am sure some patrons would say too loudly but hey, my kids love Jesus and that is what matters. They pray at night and we read stories from the Bible every night.

I don’t always feel like doing those things, praying, reading Bible stories or even reading the Bible on a personal level. That is a flaw of mine and it is because of the same reason others give, I don’t feel like I have enough time to get things done. It is often said Satan’s greatest victory is convincing man he does not exist. I would argue his second greatest victory especially in the modern world, is preying on humanities drive to be greater as a means to disconnect Christians from God for worldly pursuits. The world moves fast and we may feel like we do not have the time but we have to be intentional in creating the time. This behavior, this intenationalist attitude, is the point, being steadfast in spite of my feelings and emotions. My desire to be this way is directly influenced by Jesus, consider, he knew he would be beaten and betrayed, he knew he would be disgraced and he knew that he would be crucified and slain for being a dissident. Yet he was not swayed and carried through with his Father’s design.

Steadfast Providing is more than food and a roof over your families head. It is cultivating a relationship with and teaching about Jesus with your family. Steadfastness is continuing to do these things and intentionally laying out lessons even if life just seems to suck sometimes, it can and it will. Jesus didn’t give up, to live like him means you should not either. Lean on your spouse and support one another. Marriage was designed to be a mutually beneficial connection that is blessed by God, use that grace to your advantage.

This is the last portion of the Faithful Father Series and I hope that it has touched you positively in some way and had encouraged you to a father who is a living example of Christ, that teaches the truth to your children while guarding them and leading them in a manner that raises them to respect authority instead of hate it. All of that has to come with being a compassionate friend to your spouse and children. Fulfilling those duties will go a long way to ensuring you have been a steadfast provider of your family. Times will be difficult but hold fast to the confession of your faith and the rewards you receive would humble any earthly king.

Racism: Religion and Science Agree, It’s Wrong

Racism

This is a bit of an armchair article so you are welcome to take it with a grain of salt, or a mountain. I can not in good conscience write for a site that believes 100% in God and all he is then ignore the injustice that has occurred in Charlottesville. I’ll approach this from a Biblical point of view and from a scientific one. I think that addressing both is important because there are people in the world that base their racism on religion and those that do so with science.

Defining Race

The best way to define race is to look at a dictionary isn’t it? The dictionary breaks the word ‘race’ in to different parts since it is a word that has multiple uses. Race from an anthropological standpoint is a socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture:

Defining Racism

The word racism is a two-part word. The first is race as listed above and then an ‘ism’ which is a distinctive philosophy. To practice racism is to have a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

Religion and Racism

God hates racism. Why? It is a sin and God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Let’s address something up front because I’ve read and saw videos of racial supremacists using the Bible as a means to justify racism. There is a belief that Jews in the Bible were placed above other groups of people by God and that God has then created racism so that means racism is righteous. So how did that belief get started? Glad you asked.

In the Bible the line of Seth can be traced entirely from Adam to Seth to Noah (Genesis 5:1-32) and then from Noah to Abraham (Genesis 11:1-32). We know that God had saved Noah to save humanity. Then Abraham was to be the father of nations (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham was the father of Jacob who God called Israel (Genesis 32:38). The nation of Israel were from the sons of Jacob which numbered 12. Whew!

I know that is a lot of ancestry condensed but at this point God declares the nation of Israel as his chosen nation. So if God has chosen ‘us’ it must mean we are ‘better’ than others right? They couldn’t be more wrong. God’s selection of Israel was a call to evangelize the world. To take a nation of faithful people and place them in service to the world. To bring that world closer to God. God did not elevate Jews above Gentiles, instead they were called in to his service so that Gentiles could find redemption with God.

It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve said it before, man really knows how to choke on important things. Over and over we are given great gifts by God and we have a tendency to pervert it. Over time the nation of Israel became elitist and instead of spreading God’s word it began to harbor it. So God did something incredibly selfless and sent Jesus, his Son to spread the truth of his desire for humanity. In Acts 17:26 there is no clearer statement than “He made from one man every nation of mankind” to signify God’s view that race classification is a man-made mechanism to deny others equality.

Jesus came to speak to the heart of the Jews and show them that God wanted every person to be part of his kingdom. Not just the descendants of the twelve tribes but all the people that spread across the world regardless of their language, skin color or other physical traits. That was the message Christ gave to his apostles, it was the great commission, and you know what? Humanity understood it more, not perfectly obviously but it took the death of Christ to get the point across.

You cannot call yourself a Christian and oppress people because they are darker or lighter than you, or if they have almond-shaped eyes versus round. It literally goes against what Jesus says Christianity is about. Racism is wrong from a non-secular standpoint. What does science say?

Science and Racism

The science part I will keep brief if only because we are still exploring our genetic heritage through the Human Genome Project but we have made some headway in to what makes us who we are on a micro-level. We know from school that humans have 46 chromosomes which is 23 from each parent. How many of those chromosomes are different between each race? None. Not a single one.

Guess how much of those 46 chromosomes make up your outward appearance? It’s about .01 or 1% of your makeup. That’s right. We fight about 1% of who we are.

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one

Dr.J. Craig Venter, head of the Celera Genomics Corporation

Race is such a terrible means to classify humans that on a geneticists level they don’t use it. They did at one time because we did not understand genetics the way we do now. It’s just like the belief that certain parts of our tongue can only taste different things. For a long time this was taught in schools in fact the image below shows exactly what I am describing. What we found out is we were wrong and that the tongue tastes all types in all parts of it. There are no hot spots for taste and textbooks changed. Kids are educated based on new knowledge and adults find out their world has been altered.

Taste

The difference is that we can see the things we classify as racial traits such as high cheekbones in Native Americans, Wide noses in Aboriginals, Almond shaped eyes in Asians and so on. That 1% that we can visualize matters to us so much we are willing to incite rage, kill, burn and loot clusters of people who share the same heritage. Yet science has proven we are all the same race, human. Where we come from doesn’t matter. We are all still human.

Conclusion

I think we slayed two dangerous dragons here today or at least made a good foundation to help others combat it. Racism is not Biblical. In fact it is the complete opposite. God created man and from him, man has grown and spread across the world. Man caused the idea of elevation of one people over another because their heritage was different. Society created a label called ‘race’ to categorize this belief that there was a difference between these groups of people.

Science has done the ‘evidence’ part of our equation and provided us concrete evidence that genetically we are 99% the same. If we can accept the world is round, the tongue is all one taster and that the Baltimore Ravens are the best football team ever (okay maybe not the last one) I wholeheartedly feel we can do away with the term race and start appreciating others for their heritage.

So you know who I am? I’m God’s child. I’m human. I’m a mutt and happy to be one. I am content to serve humanity and share what God does want and that is everyone. Hold Fast Christian and weather the storms that small groups claiming our faith cause. Ignore the slights and instead purposefully seek to help anyone in need of God’s love.

Finding Your Core Values

Core Values

Ask yourself, “What really matters to me?”

It sounds like a simple question but it’s far deeper if you pause and give it the attention it really deserves. I promised in my last article about what others say about you that these exercises could be used in a secular manner because we all have values. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or any other religion you have values that you use every single day. They guide your decisions and help you decide what matters most. Every single person has a different set of values or a different priority of them.

What is a value?

A value is a trait that you hold close. It is something you value and something you base who you are on. It is your standard of behavior and defines how you act on or react to situations.

What kind of values are there?

There are all kinds. Here is a lot. I do mean a lot.

[su_accordion][su_accordion] [su_spoiler title=”Values 1″ style=”fancy”] Abundance Acceptance Accessibility Accomplishment Accountability Accuracy Achievement Acknowledgement Activeness Adaptability Adoration Adroitness Advancement Adventure Affection Affluence Aggressiveness Agility Alertness Altruism Amazement Ambition Amusement Anticipation Appreciation Approachability Approval Art Articulacy Artistry Assertiveness Assurance Attentiveness Attractiveness Audacity Availability Awareness Awe Balance Beauty Beingthebest Belonging Benevolence Bliss Boldness Bravery Brilliance Buoyancy Calmness Camaraderie Candor Capability Care Carefulness Celebrity Certainty Challenge Change Charity Charm Chastity Cheerfulness Clarity Cleanliness Clear-mindedness Cleverness Closeness Comfort Commitment Community Compassion Competence Competition Completion Composure Concentration Confidence Conformity Congruency Connection Consciousness Conservation Consistency Contentment Continuity Contribution Control Conviction Conviviality Coolness Cooperation Cordiality Correctness Country Courage Courtesy Craftiness Creativity Credibility Cunning Curiosity Daring Decisiveness Decorum Deference Delight Dependability Depth Desire Determination Devotion Devoutness Dexterity Dignity Diligence Direction Directness Discipline Discovery Discretion Diversity Dominance Dreaming Drive Duty Dynamism Eagerness Ease Economy Ecstasy Education Effectiveness Efficiency Elation Elegance Empathy Encouragement Endurance Energy Enjoyment Entertainment Enthusiasm Environmentalism Ethics Euphoria Excellence Excitement Exhilaration Expectancy Expediency [/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Values 2″ style=”fancy”]Experience Expertise Exploration Expressiveness Extravagance Extroversion Exuberance Fairness Faith Fame Family Fascination Fashion Fearlessness Ferocity Fidelity Fierceness Financialindependence Firmness Fitness Flexibility Flow Fluency Focus Fortitude Frankness Freedom Friendliness Friendship Frugality Fun Gallantry Generosity Gentility Giving Grace Gratitude Gregariousness Growth Guidance Happiness Harmony Health Heart Helpfulness Heroism Holiness Honesty Honor Hopefulness Hospitality Humility Humor Hygiene Imagination Impact Impartiality Independence Individuality Industry Influence Ingenuity Inquisitiveness Insightfulness Inspiration Integrity Intellect Intelligence Intensity Intimacy Intrepidness Introspection Introversion Intuition Intuitiveness Inventiveness Investing Involvement Joy Judiciousness Justice Keenness Kindness Knowledge Leadership Learning Liberation Liberty Lightness Liveliness Logic Longevity Love Loyalty Majesty Makingadifference Marriage Mastery Maturity Meaning Meekness Mellowness Meticulousness Mindfulness Modesty Motivation Mysteriousness Nature Neatness Nerve Noncomformity Obedience Open-mindedness Openness Optimism Order Organization Originality Outdoors Outlandishness Outrageousness Partnership Patience Passion Peace Perceptiveness Perfection Perkiness Perseverance Persistence Persuasiveness Philanthropy Piety Playfulness Pleasantness Pleasure Poise Polish Popularity Potency Power Practicality Pragmatism Precision Preparedness Presence Pride Privacy Proactivity Professionalism[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Values 3″ style=”fancy”]Prosperity Prudence Punctuality Purity Rationality Realism Reason Reasonableness Recognition Recreation Refinement Reflection Relaxation Reliability Relief Religiousness Reputation Resilience Resolution Resolve Resourcefulness Respect Responsibility Rest Restraint Reverence Richness Rigor Sacredness Sacrifice Sagacity Saintliness Sanguinity Satisfaction Science Security Self-control Selflessness Self-reliance Self-respect Sensitivity Sensuality Serenity Service Sexiness Sexuality Sharing Shrewdness Significance Silence Silliness Simplicity Sincerity Skillfulness Solidarity Solitude Sophistication Soundness Speed Spirit Spirituality Spontaneity Spunk Stability Status Stealth Stillness Strength Structure Success Support Supremacy Surprise Sympathy Synergy Teaching Teamwork Temperance Thankfulness Thoroughness Thoughtfulness Thrift Tidiness Timeliness Traditionalism Tranquility Transcendence Trust Trustworthiness Truth Understanding Unflappability Uniqueness Unity Usefulness Utility Valor Variety Victory Vigor Virtue Vision Vitality Vivacity Volunteering Warmheartedness Warmth Watchfulness Wealth Willfulness Willingness Winning Wisdom Wittiness Wonder Worthiness Youthfulness Zeal[/su_spoiler][/su_accordion]

Values are what you make them but we want meaningful values. In fact the goal is your top five values.

How to Find your Values

Finding your values is a journey of self-reflection and one that should be taken with the heaviest of hearts. This is extremely serious because you are looking at the most basic part of you. This isn’t the what you do after you think about it for five days values. These are the things that you know instinctively to matter to you. The bible cautions us in Proverbs 10:9 to walk in integrity. So too should your search for your core values be done in integrity because this honesty will give you truth of self.

My recommendation and the exercise I have done in the past is to write down a list of 15-20 values you feel are what means the most to you. Then go somewhere alone, a place where you have quiet and peace. Reflect, pray if you pray, guidance from God will come. Scratch off a few that really aren’t that important in the sense that others take precedence. Just keep pairing it down until you have 10. Then leave it be. That is to say live your life for the next two weeks emulating these 10 values. Which are you making use of the most? Those should be your top five values.

If you haven’t discovered those 5 after two weeks then again go off to someplace you can focus and center yourself and repeat the process.

It is important to point out that values can change over time and so this is not a one time exercise but a lifetime commitment to being better. Christ gave us an amazing image of what we should be. For the Christian man we should be trying to be like Him. For the non-Christian I want to invite you to take a step, ask God what is it you can do for him. He has already done everything for us by giving his son. When you take a step, even a small one towards God it can be a leap that you never thought would happen.

Live your life by the things that matter most not the things that we get hung up on that are not God-centered.

Who Do Men Say That I Am?

Who Do Men Say That I Am?

Often times I am arrogant in the sense that I don’t care what people think of me. It can be a good and a bad thing to have that outlook. Jesus once asked his disciples [Mark 8:27-29] “Who do men say that I am?” and they answered him in several ways. He then asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter was the only disciple to answer him, “You are the Christ.

I should be better at being like Him. We as men all should. We are looked up to in our families and expected to be many things. This is not to short change our better half because they have the same expectations but this site is focused on the Christian man and his struggles. Who do people say that you are when you aren’t around? Does that thought not enter your mind?

It should, but it should not preoccupy it. We have one chance to make the greatest impact we can before we are taken home. Making decisions can be hard because of the “what-ifs” which are doubts that we have. They manifest themselves in all sorts of ways but we are going to cover some things we can do, and go over some tools we have and do not even realize it, that can help us combat these doubts.

To help break this down I want to do it in a series because this is going deep my friends. I want to touch on things that are personal to me, personal to you and personal to who men think you are. One of the beautiful things about humanity is our diversity thanks to the freedom of choice that God has given us. That means that there are certain values we hold close to us that are different from each other. We find friends who hold similar values but are usually not exact in the importance or order of those values. That is completely acceptable and we should celebrate our friends diversity from our own. What are your core values?

Core Values

What things do you consider the most important parts of who you are? What do you value the highest? In a way this will be a secular activity because we are going to assume that your faith is secured and that it has the highest value. I want to examine what you value outside of God. Is it family? Is it goodwill? Loyalty? Trust? God gives us the capacity to value all of these things but which ones matter most?

Pray on this and prepare yourself because we will go off the diving board in the next article. Let’s swim deep and then challenge ourselves and swim deeper. Rip off the mask and open yourself to God, to yourself, to your faith and let God show you the things you value most. Then we can defend ourselves against the enemy and the doubt he causes.

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