I am a father.

I have six children and love every one of them.

Being president of the United States couldn’t be a better job than this. The next generation has been entrusted to my care. They need protection, provision, and love. They need discipline and training. I’m happy to do these things.

I am a father.

God has given me the duty and privilege of telling my children about Him. I love to share the Scriptures with them, to tell them about the Creator. I love sharing with them about what Christ has done for them.

Ephesians six explains my job description – raise my children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. That’s it – simple, yet glorious.

I love my job. My greatest joy is telling my children about the Lord. What greater joy, and what greater job could there be?

I am a father.

Being a father is difficult at times. It’s filled with joy, but I can’t deny the truth. There are times when I’m exhausted and find it difficult to love my children the way I should. But, it’s my job and I keep at it.

Life would be easier if my wife and I lived alone. But, it wouldn’t be filled with little feet, tiny hugs, and small wonders. These moments make the job worthwhile. They make me smile. My children light up my life.

I am a father.

Some nights are restless. My two little ones crawl into my bed and squeeze me to the edge. I cling, half asleep, to the little space they assign to me. If I move too fast I’ll likely fall to the carpet.

My back hurts when I wake for work. But I look at those little ones in bed with my wife, all three sleeping peacefully, and I am again filled with joy.

But my back hurts. And I’m tired. I have a full day of work ahead of me. After work I have other duties. I don’t have time to do all the things I need to do. Do I have time to spend with the kids?

I must find the time. The job isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. God helps me each day.

I am a father.

I really don’t know what I’m doing. Not that I’ve just discovered this, but the reality if fresh. How is any father to know what to do? The job description is wonderful, but it doesn’t come with a manual. Lord, help me.

What am I to do when my children reach driving age, working age, dating age? Is there a dating age? What passage of Scripture can help me with this question?

I know Scripture is sufficient and gives me all I need to accomplish what God has called me to do, but the answers aren’t sitting on the surface. Lord, teach me your Word, teach me to be a good father.

This job is difficult. My kids have questions I can’t answer, they have needs I can’t meet, they have problems I can’t solve.

They wear me out.

I am a father.

The good news about this job is that I don’t do it alone. I am a father, but I also have a Father. God is my Father and my help. He gave me the job, He gave me the kids, and He gives me the strength each day to succeed.

The thing my children need most isn’t me, their father. They need God the Father to be their Father.

Part of my job, the most important part, is to point them toward God, to proclaim to them the excellencies of Christ. Union with Christ will answer their deepest questions, it will meet their greatest needs, it will solve their greatest problems.

I have a Father. The thing my children need most is the thing I also need most – to draw close to their Father.

My job description comes from Him. My job description is Him. My job is to be like Christ. And it’s impossible. Without God I cannot be the father I need to be. But with God’s help, I can be a good father to my children. With God’s help, I can rise each day with joy and energy. With God’s help I can succeed.

I have a Father. My Father is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My Father is Creator of the universe. My Father knows what I need and what my children need each moment of each day. Because of this I can be a good father. He is my comfort, my strength, my joy.

I have a Father.

I have the best job description in the world. I love what I do. I wake each day with purpose.

What a joy! What a job!

I am a father.

 

by David West

Need a little activity to occupy the kids while you wrap gifts?

Here is a Christmas crossword puzzle which you can print.

(You might even have fun with it yourself.)

Christmas Crossword

     I was born loving words. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been writing stories. One evening I was writing a story. It was about slaves and kings and tyrants and heroes. The characters consisted of mermaids, talking animals, and even mutated creatures. It was altogether very exciting. But as I wrote about these mutated creatures I didn’t feel quite right about it. I wondered about my story. It had a good plot, yes, good characters and smashing dialogue, but all that mattered little if it wasn’t what my Lord wanted. It was garbage if it did not glorify God. So, I poured myself into a prayer. I asked God, “Is it wrong to write about such things?” Then I said, “I will think about it and I will wait for You to answer. I will read my devotions, then I will get ready for bed.”

     So, I went to my room, sat on the rug and opened my ‘Our Daily Bread’ booklet. It said to read Leviticus 19:9-18. I read one extra verse, but not intentionally– my eyes just skipped down and read verse 19, before I knew it.

“You must keep my statutes. You must not allow two kinds of animals to breed…” (Leviticus 19:19)

In less than two minutes I had my answer.  God cares about the smallest of details; even things we consider too trivial to pray about. We often go through the day, encumbered by small problems, but we don’t bring them to the Lord because we think we can handle them ourselves. Yet God wants us to tell every thought.

“…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (1 Corinth. 10:5)

Let’s include God in every detail. He loves it when we do so.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”   (Psalm 37:23)

About Sarah Kozycz: I was born loving words, and ever since I can remember, I’ve been writing stories. Now, I am more than dabbling in the art of authorship. Over five years spent with my family as missionaries in Paraguay, South America has given me a broader outlook on life. It also strengthened my love for stories, words, and people.

The other night I sat in a pew watching three of my childrendavid-jane-sarah-1978-bible-character-day perform in a musical. They were dressed as if they were living in first century Bethlehem. The story was fictional but was set within the larger story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. I enjoyed watching my kids sing and act, and they enjoyed performing.

Normally I’m not a big fan of musicals, but I’m a big fan of my children and love to watch them perform. As I watched them the other night, I was particularly moved to joy. I wondered why? What was it about watching them sing and act while dressed in Bible costumes which resonated inside me?

I recall my own days of acting out scenes from Scripture. The Christian school I attended sponsored a “Bible Costume Day” each year. Students came dressed up as Bible characters. Prizes were given for the best costume and for acting out scenes from Bible stories.

(I’m on the left in this picture and eight years old)

My middle name is David (I’ve always been known by my middle name) and my friend in school had the middle name Jonathan. Guess what story we acted out one year? That’s right – the story of Jonathan and David. My friend pretended to shoot arrows and I pretended to be hidden behind some rocks. We were friends in real life playing the role of two friends found in Scripture.

Another year I went to school dressed like Aaron the high priest. My mom was creative that year and my costume won a prize. I wore a tunic to school that day but I wasn’t embarrassed; we were all doing it. Our principal was tall and acted out the role of Zacchaeus one year. We had Sycamore trees lining an area of grass at the school and he climbed up into one of them. I don’t recall what he did once he was in the tree, but it was all great fun.

It was more than just fun, it was reinforcement. Acting out Bible stories, dressing in priestly garb, and watching my school principal up in a tree, kept the Bible stories at the front and center of my life. At school, home, and church there was a cohesive narrative, a unity. I was being taught that Bible stories weren’t for church only. The stories were also reinforced at home and at school. Scripture was talked about constantly when I was young and this was helpful for me.

I want the same for my children. I want them to know God and His Word. I want them constantly surrounded by Scripture. Whether at the dinner table, during the school day at home, in choir, and, of course, at church.

All this was going through my mind as I sat watching my children sing and act. I enjoyed the show, but also, and even more so, I appreciated the reinforcement. Bible stories are becoming a part of the fabric of their lives. They are learning them in various ways and from various people.

While watching them perform the other night in Bible costume, God opened my eyes and allowed me to see Him at work. He has allowed me to live in a place where my children are surrounded by Biblical themes. The things I’m teaching them at home are being reinforced in many places and in various ways. Because of this I am eternally grateful.

by David West

Unfortunately, the 2017 Homeschool Conference has been cancelled this year. If you require more information please send us an email. 

At the age of thirteen Ayn Rand wrote in her diary, “Today I decided to become an atheist.”

Those words stand in stark contrast to those written in the front of Wayne Grudem’s book “Systematic Theology”.

Grudem says thanks to “my Baptist pastor, who awakened in me a love for systematic theology by teaching a class on Christian doctrine when I was thirteen years old.”

As I considered this contrast I was struck (not by the two very different experiences) but by the age thirteen. Children are capable of thinking through issues and forming conclusions at young ages. Not only are they capable, but they’re forming opinions about ultimate issues anyway, whether we realize it or not.They won’t have fully developed views and they will get many things wrong, but they are forming opinions nevertheless. It’s our job to help them through this process. It’s our job to help them arrive at conclusions grounded in Scripture. We don’t need to hide from other philosophies but must help our children know how to understand opposing worldviews.

To be prepared for life, children need to understand the dominant philosophy of the culture around them. The world is filled with materialist and naturalist – those who believe only in the natural world and reject anything supernatural. These people mock Christian beliefs, pass laws which suppress Christian morality, and think Christians are strange. We shouldn’t be surprised by this; Jesus warned His disciples about the hatred of the world (John 15).

We need to prepare our children for this antagonism. At the same time, we don’t want them to fear the world or it’s ideas. We want them to pursue the world with the love of Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Our children won’t be able to share God’s truth if they don’t know it intimately. And they won’t be effective at reaching the lost if they don’t understand what motivates the world.

How does a non-Christian think? What is the unsaved person seeking? Why do they hate Christ?

To help our children understand the world around them is a tricky endeavor. The world is a cesspool and we don’t it’s filth rubbing off on our children. But children rub up against the world even in the most sheltered home. There is no escape, only wisdom and discernment.

truth-lies-picture

As I teach my children about Christ, the big issues of life, and the world around them, one subject has recently grabbed my attention more than others – the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin was wrong about origins, but his theory, and its descendants and offshoots, permeate our culture. I can’t keep my children from this theory – it’s in books, on television, and basically everywhere – but I can prepare them to face it wisely.

Creation Science has always interested me and I’ve read several books on the topic, but I’d never read much by evolutionist. Now that I have, I’m glad I did.  In an effort to prepare my children to face the world, I’ve finally read Darwin myself. Then after “On The Origin of Species” I read a book by one of today’s leading atheist. It’s fascinating to see things from the perspective of an unbeliever.

Charles Darwin had a powerful mind and asked a lot of good questions. Unfortunately he arrived at the wrong answers. Reading his book reminded me of God’s common grace. The ability to think and reason and do scientific experiments are all possible because God gave us minds to use as we explore His world. But as Christians we realize our minds are fallen (Genesis 3) and we have rejected God as Creator (Romans 1). This was Darwin’s problem. His view of origins was tainted by his fallenness.

This year my teen girls are reading several apologetic books. We are discussing them together in an effort to see the truth of God’s Word in contrast to the folly of the world. I helping them think about the big issues of life through the lens of Scripture. Of course I don’t have all the answers. But I’m the dad and this is my job. It’s my job to teach them about Christ and about the world God has called them to live in. It’s my job to be a faithful dad and by God’s grace my children will be Grudem teens rather than Rand teens.

Gray Lodge is a 9,200 acre expanse of protected wetlands offering trails, bird-watching, fishing and hunting.

greylodge-1

We will meet at the trail head (parking lot #14) at 9:30 am on Wednesday, November 16th. We will be taking a self-guided tour, so there is no limit on the number of people allowed to join us. There is a $5 day pass fee for everyone over the age of 16.

Address: 3207 Rutherford Rd, Gridley, CA 95948

If you are interested in joining us please call Kristen at 530.301.4856

 

Sunday morning, I read the book of Esther before going to church. I looked at what was next on my reading plan, and opened my Bible. Esther was only ten chapters so I read the entire thing before getting ready to leave for church.

That morning, unknown to me ahead of time, the teaching was from the book of Esther. God is never mentioned by name in the book, but He is there throughout the story.

Esther was written for a Jewish audience and those to whom is was written would have seen the hand of God behind the curtains of circumstances without being explicitly told. The Jews are a people who had served God, then forgotten God, served God, then forgotten God. Or better, rejected God and served other gods. But their history and culture, even when Esther was written, was of a people who had been given promises from God and had seen God work. They knew of the God who controls circumstances and keeps promises: the story of Esther was one more evidence of His sovereignty.

The story of Esther served the Jews in antiquity and can serve us still today. As I read through the story in one sitting it was obvious to me that God was at work. The story is amazing. I can’t go through it all, and I’m assuming you already know the story. If you don’t, then you need to read it.

bible-pic

Haman wishes the Jews to be annihilated. But because Esther is queen she is in a position to stop this plot and save the Jews.

Here are a few highlights to show God controlling circumstances:

  1. Queen Vashti refuses to come at the king’s command (Why? Why on this occasion?)
  2. Esther is chosen from among many women to be queen. (What are the odds?)
  3. Mordecai learns of a plot to assassinate the king (How? Why was this made known to him?)
  4. The king couldn’t sleep. He asks someone to read to him. He reads the story of Mordecai uncovering a plot to kill the king as the chronicles are read. (What are the odds of this? Surely there were many other things to read? And many stories in the chronicles? How did the reader happen to get to this story that night?)
  5. As the King is asking if Mordecai had ever been rewarding, who should walk in? Haman! (Why at that moment? Are you kidding me?)
  6. Haman hated Mordecai and was planning to hang him. Now he is to lead Mordecai through the city and proclaim the King’s favor upon Mordecai. (So many servants of the King and his court, but he chooses Haman for this tasks? What irony? What sovereignty? Who but the King of Kings could organize this?)
  7. Esther is given favor from the king when she walks into the court uninvited.

Each detail is a link in the chain which finally binds the reader to the fact that God controls circumstances.

God is still in control of circumstances today. I told my wife recently as she was headed into surgery to remember the story of Esther and that every little detail was in the hands of God.

God controls circumstances and keeps promises. In the end, the Jews were not exterminated, and they continued to flourish. Their history wasn’t all roses from that point on but God preserved them because He had promised to bring a Messiah to the world through them.

God had promises to keep and He will keep them. He is able to move on King’s sleep patterns, control what histories are read, control the timing of a man walking in to visit the king, and on and on.

What promises has he given to you? Be encouraged – He is still in the business of keeping His promises!