Specifics Guidelines For The Enjoyment Of Successful Parenting
I prayed for my discipline and insight, and finally integrate the insights of the Bible, my experiences with people, and my own life.
I retired as a Civil Engineer after 40 years and I believe it is enough for me and it is about time to earn treasure in heaven. Now, as an ordained pastor and chaplain, I must obey God of my calling and destiny. I would be less than candid or honestly if I did not confess my concern that someday my own children (3 Gentlemen and 1 Lady) especially my wife of 40 years of marriage will read this post, then look back and compare its principles with what they see as my failure. The older they grow (including my 7 grandchildren), the more I see how easy it would be for me to end up labeling myself an effective father. That drives or forces me to go away each time I think about it. But I am going to see these posts started on Father’s Day message from wife Christie and through every day because I believe in what it teaches. I think and believe many men need to realize that none of us is alone in this pursuit of being the kind of husbands and fathers that God wants and our wives and families need. Before I share to all you men (I think women will also profit by the principles which are applicable to their own parental experience) these principles with God’s wisdom, let me share some passages herewith below.
In the Bible, book of James 1:17 NLT says, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
So, how can we keep from falling into temptation? The way is found in a close relationship with God and the application of His word to daily life. This pattern will lead us to see clearly that every good and perfect gift is from above. In contrast to the view that God sends evil, James points out here that whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above. We can be assured that God always wills the best for us – not good things today and bad things tomorrow. God’s character is always trustworthy and reliable – He never changes or casts shifting shadows (Malachi 3:6). Nothing can block God’s goodness from reaching us. He is undaunted by our inconsistencies and unfaithfulness.
In the Bible, the book of Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
“In the same way” that a light shines from a stand, Lord Jesus Christ’s disciples must let their light shine before others by letting their “good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Our Lord Jesus made it clear that there would be no mistaking the source of a believer’s good works. The believer’s light shines not for himself but to reflect the light back to the Father and so direct people to Him.
In Matthew 7:9-11 says, “9 “You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?”
If sinful people would not think of giving a child a stone that looked like a loaf of bread or a dangerous snake instead of a fish, then how much more will a holy God acknowledge and answer our requests? In these words, our Lord Jesus revealed the heart of God the Father. God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy; His followers don’t have to beg or grovel when they come with their requests. He is a loving Father who understands, cares, comforts, and willingly gives good gifts to those who ask Him. If humans can be kind, imagine how kind God can be.
Life is short. Some of my older and younger co-engineers and/or colleagues extended their retirements to earn or gain more money in their plan of retirements. Unfortunately, all of them died before they retire.
In the book of Romans in the Bible, Romans 1:17 NLT says, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
The message of the Good News tells us how we, sinners as we are, can be made right in God’s sight. It tells how God, who is righteous, can vindicate sinful people. Righteousness is an aspect of God’s character, His standard of behavior, and a description of all that He wishes to give to us. Our righteousness begins because of God’s faithfulness to His promises; it moves on in our response of faith and is a continuing process through life. Thus it is accomplished from start to finish by faith. Faith – unconditional trust – is the appointed way of receiving God’s righteousness. Faith in what? Faith in the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself, taking the punishment we deserved, and, in exchange, making us righteous before God. By trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ, our relationship with God is made right both for now and for eternity.
To nail my point, let me quote from Habakkuk 2:4, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Righteousness by faith was not a new idea; it is found in the writings of the prophets, with which the Jewish believers would be familiar. This expression means that Christians will live because of God’s faithfulness and because of their response of faith in God; as a result, they will have eternal life and experience fullness in life.
- Faith is personal trust in God.
- Faith is the source of the believer’s new life in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Faith justifies us, saves us, and gives us new life and a new lifestyle.
Well, I had always taught our children and reminded my families about faith vs fear. All of them officers and being disciplined in the US military, performance under stress is one test of effective leadership. It may also be the proof of accomplishment when it comes to evaluating the quality of a father. Everybody needs improvement. Few fathers will have their leadership-effectiveness tested so dramatically and/or so suddenly. For most men, the test will come in small doses over a long period of living. But the test comes to all, and sooner or later the judgment is rendered. Fatherhood is more than a biological function. It is also a process of what I call effective leadership. Inside the perimeters of the family, it is the father who is required to create delicate conditions in which a child grows to be a man or woman, to attain the fullness of all that human potential that God has designed. Where those conditions do not exist, growth is retarded, and human beings fall far short of the heavenly objectives.
I understand why we have this young people who are involved in a crowd which hears no charismatic spokesman becomes a mob spreading fear, lies and deception from behind the scenes of evil spirits. Families without fathers who are effective leaders face constant trouble, just like other groups where leadership is in a vacuum.
The Bible presents a view on effective fathers when it calls a married man the leader of his home. Both the Old and the New Testaments provide descriptions and commandments which leave no questions about who is to be the head of the home and family. To be sure, the responsibility for the growth of a family (especially growth in spiritual good health) is equally shared with wife and mother. When family leadership is effective, there is a sense of order and poise or confident composure.
Perhaps the place to begin a definition of effective leadership is with the recognition that there is need for order in family relationships before God and the surrounding community. I believe that nobody could control what is going on now in our country. This is a spiritual battle and families should know, learn, and how to wear and use the Armor of God (read Ephesians 6:10-18), have faith and trust God to help and overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word as an offensive weapon.
Let me share to all you men (I think women will also profit by the principles which are applicable to their own parental experience) these following principles with God’s wisdom:
These principles came from the book entitled, “The Effective Father” by GORDON MACDONALD, Copyright @ 1977 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
- FIRST PRINCIPLE – If I am an effective father … it is because I have deliberately set as one of my life’s highest priorities the creation of conditions in my home that will stimulate my children to grow to their full human potential. It Is Not A Phony War – We are against these ideologies and spiritual battles brought to our country from different cultures. Our country is founded in Judeo- Christian core of values. In Proverbs 4:3-4 NLT says, “For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s only child. 4 My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live.” Accept The Mandate – Responsibility. There is a price to pay and it is paid right up front, at the beginning of a child’s life. The price is letting God shape me to be a man who belongs to Him and His way of doing things, His way not our way.
- SECOND PRINCIPLE – If I am effective father … it is because I have devoted myself to become an instrument and model of human experience to my children. Setting The Pace; Beating The Tempo – Families need effective leadership not only because individuals tend to be rebellious toward meaningful and costly relationships, but because lives desperately need to be shaped and prepared for the day when the faster and more serious race of life is on. Remember the movie, “One Night With The King”, in the book of Esther. A practical approach to the kind of pacesetting we’re talking about may be through two (2) words that marked Mordecai’s relationship to Esther: initiate and motivate. A Fountain of Life – The First Way an effective father sets pace is by talking. Esther learned that when Mordecai talked, the voice was worth listening to. Having heard, she acted, and everyone scored: the king, Mordecai, Esther, the Jews, and God. Words have an awesome impact. They can build, or they can destroy. Blessing and curse comes from our mouth. In the book of James 3:9-10 NLT says, “9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” How strange that the tongue is able to speak praises to our Lord and Father at one time, and then it breaks out into curses against other people. We should have the same attitude of respect for fellow human beings as we have for God, because they are created in His image. Yet we have this horrible, double-sided tongue, so that blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Some people think that the only restraint against foul talk, calling people names, and bad language is social disapproval. But God’s word condemns it. James says that the reason we should not curse people is because they have been made in God’s likeness. We should not use any word or name that reduces them to anything less than their full stature as God’s created beings. No Day Is Ever Wasted – At this point of discussion about life in the family classroom, it seems wise to distinguish between attitudes and values and abilities and performance. The first pair are more often taught by lifestyle – something we’ll look at later on. The second – abilities and performance – are more deliberately taught through positive planning of family experience. This will come in one of the ministry of the Home Fellowship Churches in helping families to establish their Family’s Purpose and Mission Statement. Fragile: Handle With Care – In Ephesians 6:4 NLT says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Parental discipline should help children learn, not exasperate and make them angry. In Colossians 3:21, Paul gave the same advice, adding that if children are disciplined in unloving and irresponsible ways, they may become discouraged and resentful. In families of Paul’s day, the father had full legal rights over his children and often ran his household with rigid control. In Jewish families, the fathers were responsible for the education of the children. Paul did not have to establish the fathers’ authority; rather, his aim was to set the limits on harsh treatment. Parenting is not easy – it takes lots of patience to raise children in a loving, Christ-honoring manner. But frustration and anger should not be causes for discipline. Parents can remove the exasperating effect of their discipline by avoiding nagging, labeling, criticizing, or dominating. Don’t goad or prick or drive your children into resenting you. Paul wrote specifically to fathers because, in that culture, fathers were the absolute head of the home, with complete control and authority. For Paul to say that they needed to treat their children as human beings and consider their feelings was revolutionary. As our Lord Jesus Christ changed the way husbands and wives related, so He changed the way parents and children related. Parents ought not to provoke their children, and neither should they abandon their responsibility to guide, correct, and discipline them. Parents still have a job to do for their children – to bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. The words “bring up” imply nourishing and cherishing. “Discipline” includes punishment for wrongdoing combined with persistent love (see Proverbs 13:24; 22:6, 15; 23:14), all as part of the “instruction” of a child. Because many slaves and owners had become Christians, the early church had to deal straightforwardly with the question of master/slave relations. Masters and slaves had to learn how to live together in Christian households. They were to be treated equally in the church. In Paul’s day, women, children, and slaves had few rights. In the church, however, they had freedoms that society denied them. Wear Shoes You Want Filled – In 2 Timothy 3:10-11 NLT says, “10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra – but the Lord rescued me from all of it.” After strongly denouncing the false teachers and their foolishness, Paul turned his attention back to Timothy, who could look at Paul as an example of living out the opposite characteristics of those described in verses 2 Timothy 2-9. That Timothy “knew” about all the activities and characteristics listed here and in verse 11 does not necessarily mean he was an eyewitness. Some of the persecutions mentioned in verse 11 happened before Paul had met Timothy. But Timothy had heard about some of these situations; however, undoubtedly he knew others from personal experience. Paul’s words here are not proud; rather, they are a testimony to the truth of the Gospel and God’s faithfulness, meant to encourage young Timothy. Paul was also using himself as a model for what Timothy should be doing in his leadership role in Ephesus. Timothy knew the content of Paul’s teaching; it was the truth as opposed to the false teachers’ lies, myths, and godless arguments. Timothy had been privileged to hear Paul teach many times, to many audiences, on a variety of topics. Paul’s teaching would be of no value if it did not impact his life – but it did, as the following characteristics reveal. Timothy knew how Paul lived. This phrase refers to Paul’s manner of life, his general behavior. Timothy had lived and traveled with Paul; he had seen Paul happy, sad, angry, and worried; he had watched Paul handle difficult people and problems; he had seen him study and had heard him pray. Paul’s way of life should have been a shining example to Timothy. Timothy knew Paul’s purpose in life, his central mission, his chief aim. Traveling with the tireless missionary must have quickly convinced Timothy of Paul’s single-minded focus on his mission. Paul never took that calling lightly. Timothy knew Paul’s faith, love, and patient endurance. Paul called on Timothy to exhibit these qualities, for they are basic Christian virtues (2 Timothy 6:11). The word endurance can also be translated “steadfastness,” referring to a person’s ability to remain strong under pressure. Paul expected Timothy to model these same character traits in Ephesus. In verse 11, Paul mentioned persecution and suffering to contrast his experience with that of the pleasure-seeking false teachers. These persecutions occurred during the first missionary journey. Paul had met Timothy at the beginning of his second missionary journey, but Timothy certainly had heard about these experiences. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, Paul had summarized his lifetime of persecutions and sufferings for the sake of the Gospel. In Antioch (in Pisidia), the Jews stirred up some people and Paul was driven out (Acts 13:50). In Iconium, they were mistreated and stoned (Acts 14:4-6). In Lystra, Timothy’s hometown, Paul had been stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead (Acts 14:19). At times, Paul had been miraculously delivered (as in Philippi, see Acts 16:25-26); at other times, Paul had to suffer through the persecution (as with the stoning in Lystra). To be delivered through persecution and suffering does not necessarily mean escaping from it; Paul knew that God would deliver him as often as needed until Paul’s work on earth was done. Indeed, Paul suffered in prison and certainly realized that he would be called on to face the ultimate persecution – death. Paul trusted God that his time had come, that his work was completed, and that he would see his Savior face-to-face. One of my favorite role or function as a Civil Engineer is planning/modeling the infrastructure before we start designing and prepare construction plans. The importance of modeling a lifestyle demands time and opportunity. Sometimes, we have to create experiences (scenario in engineering modeling) that will jam the family together where learning can take place such as brain-storming of drafting the Family’s Purpose and Mission Statement. No Busy Signals Here – Among the dimensions of effective fatherhood, we have to include the indispensable ingredient of approachability – that one can communicate with Dad without strenuous effort and that when he’s engaged in family dialogue, he will be open, responsive (not reactive), and concerned. In Psalm 61:1 NLT says, “O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!” Approachability demands flexible response, not only in creative moments, but when things go sour also, effective listening, too.
- THIRD PRINCIPLE – If I am effective father … it is because I have sharpened my sensitivity to my family’s needs, committed my inner being to God’s laws, and fixed a foresightful eye on opportunities and hazards ahead. I want to make sure that every family experience builds my children up and matures them. Life In White Water – The biblical prototype of foresightful leadership comes straight from the relationship between our Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples. Family leadership begins with a father who knows the stress-capacities of his children. This kind of information does not come simply by comparing our children with ourselves as we were at their age. Rather, it comes from studying them and watching them in action. Each one is entirely different in responses and ideals. Being in white water with a craft whose limits of stress are unknown is disastrous. The same is true in the family, but the stakes are even higher. These three (3) emotional struggles – insecurity, puberty, and peer-orientation are just samples of the kinds of struggles for which a foresightful father must prepare himself as the years pass. But the list does not stop there. Foresightful leadership requires a certain sensitivity to youthful fatigue. Respect for truth is something that should be established at the very beginning of childhood. It was an issue that God said was important when He first confronted Israel with His plan of righteous living. There are other basic laws for family relationships, and one of them is respect for those in authority – essentially one’s elders and those who fill special offices in our society. There are people to whom all of us must submit: teachers, policemen and other law enforcement personnel, spiritual leaders, etc. Don’t confuse respect for authority with inability to disagree; there’s a difference. What we are talking about is the early childhood teaching that there is no place in the home for sarcasm, ridicule, unrestrained anger, or questioning the right of those in authority over us to make judgments which will prevail. The foresightful father will establish this principle early in the life of the family. He must emphasize the children’s total respect for their mother, for example. He makes it plain that behavior which undermines the role of those in authority is unthinkable and will not be tolerated. If he means what he says, disrespect simply will not happen. Obedience is a third law which springs from the first two. A father sets obedience as a high priority in his children’s lives because he knows there are potential moments when automatic obedience may be the thing which saves a life. If obedience has been given a high priority in the earliest years, it will become less and less necessary for a parent to restrict his children through sheer command in the later years. They will have been given a basic order of life upon which they can build independently as they mature.
- FOURTH PRINCIPLE – If I am an effective father … it is because I am filling my children’s lives with perspectives and patterns which produce wisdom; I am lovingly purging their lives of unwholesome influences and tendencies that impede their progress toward maturity. To Raise A Great Cathedral – It seems like in God’s perspective; we need to participate in the shaping of lives. In Proverbs 8:35 NLT says, “For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” In Proverbs 3:21-26 NLT says, “21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, 22 for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. 23 They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. 24 You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. 25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” The wise person learns self-control. He makes decisions based on long-range perspective. He is sensitive to the real issues of human and heavenly relationship. He understands the purpose of his life and how to use the materials of creation to achieve that purpose in accordance to God’s perfect will.
- FIFTH PRINCIPLE – If I am an effective father … it is because I accept and affirm my children for who they are, appreciate them for what they are accomplishing, and cover them with affection with prayers because they are mine. Please Show Me That You Care – In 1 Peter 5:7 NLT says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” This verse explains what it means for believers to humble themselves (1 Peter 5:6). It is not negative and reactive; believers are not abandoned to the arbitrary will of God. Rather, it is positive and active: Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. Peter explained that the believers who continued to carry their worries, anxieties, stresses, and daily struggles by themselves showed that they had not trusted God fully. It takes humility, however, to turn everything (literally, “throw your anxieties”) over to God and trust that He cares. God is not indifferent; He knows what He’s doing in our lives. Sometimes we think that struggles caused by our own sin and foolishness are not God’s concern. But when we turn to God in repentance, He will bear the weight even of those struggles. Letting God have your anxieties calls for action, not passivity. Don’t submit to circumstances, but to the Lord who controls circumstances. Peter wanted the believers facing persecution and suffering to remember to give their troubles to God and that He cared. Father can show his children that he cares by God’s example as stated above in these passages.
- SIXTH PRINCIPLE – If I am an effective father … it is because I am aware that I always live on the edge of ineffectiveness and must continually reach out to God for wisdom, knowledge, skills, courage and strength to accomplish my task. The Sour Hour – The Ineffective Father > In Hebrews 12:5-11 NLT says. “5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
Difficult times may come as a result of God’s discipline. In fact, discipline is so important that the writer explains it as the normal experience of believers. The believers should have remembered the words of Proverbs 3:11-12, which say, My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes those He accepts as His children. He cares about us enough to help us mature. Like a loving father, He wants us to stay away from what would hurt us and to move along the path toward maturity. Sometimes that involves discipline.
I thank God for allowing me to be a chaplain in the American Legion Post 447 and District 10, and as founder/pastor of the Home fellowship Churches, and as an author/writer of Xulon Press. I thank God for my wife Christie of 40 years of marriage on May 21, 2020 who always supported my 40 years of civil engineering career, and now, with the ministries God had called me on His right time and right location. I am thankful for all my children for their understanding.
God has everything under His control but we need to let Him also in total control of our lives and our families. First and foremost, let Him lead us in the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Words.