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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
         11
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

Five Ways to Be an Essential Dad

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We have heard many things deemed essential or non-essential recently in our society. 

We certainly appreciate many of these essential professions—health care, first responders, food, transportation, and more.

Yet, one essential life role that is too often overlooked is that of being a father. As a dad of four, I can tell you that this role is not only essential, but it is also rewarding. 

I agree with the words of George Herbert: “One father is worth more than a hundred schoolmasters.” There are many people who can influence our kids, but a father’s influence—for good or for bad—is more weighty than many others combined.

Ephesians 6:4 teaches fathers both the negative and positive ways they should use their essential, weighty role: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” 

There are more ways to provoke a child to anger than the obvious moments of irritation. When a father is angry, abusive, or absent, it creates wounds, often unseen, in the heart of a child that can lead to deep-rooted anger. I believe much of the rage in our society today is due to fathers who have provoked their children in these ways.

But Ephesians 6:4 doesn’t only tell fathers what not to do; it also instructs us in what to do: “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

Dads, think about these five ways you can nurture your child instead of provoking him or her:

1. Live a consistent life at home and church.

Your children do not expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be real. The inconsistency when a parent pretends to be one thing at church and then pulls the mask off at home and becomes someone else will discourage a child more than just about anything else. 

Consistency in a dad brings security to the heart of a child. You can’t be a perfect dad or a perfect Christian, but you can be a growing dad and a growing Christian.


You can’t be a perfect dad or a perfect Christian, but you can be a growing dad and a growing Christian.
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2. Give quality time.

Time is our most valuable commodity, and when we give it to our children, we show them that they are valuable to us. 

Giving quality time doesn’t have to be done in weekend marathons of activity. It should be regular and purposeful. You give quality time by having family devotions each night, taking an occasional family day, planning your family vacations, and looking for small teaching moments throughout the week. 


Time is our most valuable commodity, and when we give it to our children, we show them that they are valuable to us.
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3. Place a priority on relationships over rules.

Rules are necessary; relationships are essential. And rules without a relationship lead to rebellion. 

So yes, set family rules. To not do so communicates a lack of interest and love. But if you find yourself spending all your time enforcing rules, step back and consider how you can spend more time building the relationship. 


If you find yourself spending all your time as a dad enforcing rules, step back and consider how you can spend more time building your relationship.
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4. Communicate your love.

You know that the long hours you work for your family are a demonstration of love, but your children don’t understand that. You must verbalize your love. 

Leave notes before you go on a business trip. Send a random text to your teen in the middle of the day. Pick up a surprise “just because” gift. Most of all, tell them specifically, “I love you.”


You know that the long hours you work for your family are a demonstration of love, but your children don’t understand that. You must verbalize your love.
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5. Surround your child with godly influences.

Over the course of eighteen years, there will be many influences in your children’s lives. The best way to make sure those influences are helpful to your children is to put them in environments where the influences are godly and reinforcing of your values. In particular, surround them with influences who are positive about Christ and His work in the local church. 

If God has given you the privilege of fatherhood, don’t lightly esteem that role. You are essential in the life of your child.


If God has given you the privilege of fatherhood, don’t lightly esteem that role. You are essential in the life of your child.
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