Dad Will Fix It

Dads want to protect, provide and “fix things.” But what can fathers do when there are things they cannot fix?

From time-to-time during his childhood, Christopher would get himself into trouble, as sons do. There was always a certain look on his face as he would say, “Dad…?”

I would respond, “What’s wrong, Topher?” And I was always able to somehow fix it.

That’s what dads do—we fix things.

Sure, we are there to encourage and nurture, but moms do that so much better. Dads want to protect, provide, and “fix things.”

But I cannot “fix” this. I cannot bring him back.

I can do everything in my power to help his wife, his daughter, and his baby to come, and I will. But I cannot help Christopher at all.

Then again, he really does not need Dad’s help this time. He is now with his heavenly Father who, needless to say, is doing a much better job than his earthly one could ever do.

He is “fixed.”

I was always concerned about Christopher’s safety and security (as I am with all of my family). He is now more safe and secure than he has ever been, in the “everlasting arms.”

The fact of the matter is, I am the one that needs the help now. I am looking to God, my Heavenly Father, and effectively saying, “Dad…?”

His reply? “What’s wrong, Greg?”

He cries when I do

It is actually a source of comfort to me to know that Jesus weeps. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus, and He weeps with me and every person who has ever had a loved one leave them through death.

It breaks His heart, just as it breaks ours.

Scripture also reminds us that God keeps our “tears in a bottle:”

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

When Christopher and I were in an antiquities store in Jerusalem this year on our Israel tour, we came across what is known as a “tear bottle.” It dates back 2,000 years, and it was a beautiful blue color.

The man who ran the shop said the Romans kept their tears in these bottles. So we took a photo of it, and I told Christopher about the passage I just quoted.

Now I have my own tear bottle. Not on earth, but in heaven.

Why

 

by Greg Laurie
Go to Jesus with your frustrations, anguish, and questions. Call out to Him. Just make sure you listen to His response!

Why?

When tragedy hits us, we often ask the question, “Why?” How can we avoid it? Throughout the book of Job, Job asks “Why?” many times.

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with asking God, “Why?,” as long as we don’t get the idea that God somehow owes us an answer. Frankly, God does not owe you or me an explanation.

Yet we may still wonder, “Why?”

But let me ask you this, if the Lord did tell you why things happen the way they do, would that ease your pain or heal your broken heart? I don’t think so. In fact, it would raise even more questions.

God says, “My ways are above your ways, and my thoughts above yours…” We live on promises, not explanations, so we shouldn’t spend too much time asking God why.

I, too, have asked, “Why?” Why did God take my son and not me? He was only 33 years old, with so much promise. He was a loving husband and father. He was a much-loved son and brother and friend to many. He was walking with God and serving Him.

Why? I don’t know. That is my answer.

Chuck Smith told me recently that we should never trade what you don’t know for what you do know.

So what do I know?

  • I know God loves me.
  • I know God loves my son, my wife, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter, and my other son.
  • I know God can make good things come out of bad.

So I will stand on what I know, instead of what I don’t know.

In his commentary on the book of Job, Chuck Swindoll wrote:

“God never promised He would inform us all about His plan ahead of time; He’s just promised He has one. Ultimately, it’s for our good and His glory. He knows–we don’t. That’s why we shrug and admit, ‘I don’t know.’

But I do know this: The death of His Son was not in vain; Christ died for you; and if you believe in Him, He will forgive your sins, and you will go to live with Him forever. You’ll have heaven and all the blessings of it, I do know that.”

It’s a tough journey, getting there. Full of confusion, struggle, and shrugs, followed by a lot of “I don’t knows.” But when the heavens open and we’re there, hey, there will be no more shrugs, and you’ll be able to say, “Now I know!”

Secret things

We could ask the question, “Why?” about many people in the Bible. Why take Stephen at such a young age as a martyr? Later, we read of James being beheaded while Peter is spared.

Why? I don’t know. It was God’s plan. His mysterious, at times frustrating, unknowable plan.

The Bible says, “The secret things belong to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV).

Poor old Job did not know how his life would turn out. All he knew was that one day things were delightful and the next day they were dreadful.

He lost his home, his health, and, worst of all, his children. He had not read the last chapter of his book, so he did not know God would bless him later.

Oh sure, his health would return, his possessions would multiply, but the children he lost were not replaced, so still there was great pain.

Sometimes, when a child has died, people will ask if you have any other children and say, “Well, at least you still have your other kids.” But every child is precious and irreplaceable and dear, whether you have two children or 20.

An eternal perspective

In John 11, after the unexpected death of her brother, Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” (John 11:21 NKJV)

Martha was saying to  Jesus, ”Unfair, foul, not right!” But she still cried out to Jesus.

That is what we must do as well. Go to Jesus with your frustrations, anguish, and questions. Call out to Him. Just make sure you listen to His response!

Jesus did not correct Martha for making this statement. Rather, He sought to get Martha back to an eternal perspective here.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NKJV)

Death is not the end. Jesus has overcome it.

Friendship

By Lysa Terkeurst

I was talking to my friend, the Gourmet Chef, today. I call her that because she’s always making something wonderful!  Two weeks ago it was Baklava. Last week, chocolate covered cherries. I thought those were only made in factories!  And, today, she was making something fancy with molasses. I said, “Oh yeah, I’ve got a tube of that!”

Obviously, my talents lie outside the kitchen. Sometimes I feel inadequate when I struggle in an area where others are gifted.  But I’ve learned to stop beating myself up!  I get advice from those who naturally excel in areas where I don’t.  And, when I discover something I’m good at, I can help someone else.  Isn’t that the beauty of friendship?  My friend, the Gourmet, often asks for my help with public speaking. And she’s taught me that Molasses comes in a jar and there are some yummy things that can be made with it.

How Important

By Jackie Coleman

Let’s look at the options:

1. Being romantic just to get sex will be seen as manipulative.
2. Hinting at your desires will most likely push her further away.
3. Not doing anything about it will make you resentful.

Fortunately, there’s a better option, and that’s to talk to her!

But before you do, take some time to understand exactly what sex means to you. Dr. Michael Sytsma, co-founder of the Institute for Sexual Wholeness, sums up the science behind sex; with orgasm, oxytocin and prolactin levels increase in males, helping them to feel connected and relaxed. Furthermore, at the basic emotional level, guys need to feel wanted, loved, and desired. All of which is to say, sex is central to a man’s confidence and well-being. The only problem: she probably doesn’t understand this. Thanks in part to Hollywood and mainstream sitcoms, in your wife’s mind, you may seem, as Shaunti describes, like “one giant sex gland with no emotions attached.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

This is where the breakdown in communication typically begins. Most men do not fully understand what sex means to them, and therefore cannot communicate their desires. And many women believe “he just wants more sex,” and miss the fact that for men, sex is more about feeling desired than about the physical act. To get beyond this, Dr. Sytsma suggests taking your wife to a neutral place where sex isn’t an option (sit in a coffee shop, go on a long walk, etc.), and talk to her about what intimacy means to you. Plan out in advance what you hope to say, and go with the attitude that you’ll work through the issues together.

When you go out, let her know that you would like to talk about what sex means to you and the benefits that a fulfilling sex life would bring the both of you. For some ideas on what to say, read the list below to discover what many men have shared about sex. Let this list be a springboard for your own thoughts:

  • When it comes to sex, it is important to me that you are engaged and satisfied. Seventy-five percent of the men in Shaunti’s survey said “No, I will not be sexually satisfied if my wife offers all the sex I want but does it reluctantly or simply to accommodate my sexual needs.” That’s how important it is to me that you are content with our sex life.
  • Having a regular, mutually enjoyable sex life makes me feel loved and desired, just like talking and being held makes you feel loved.
  • I may make advances at times that seem to be the furthest from a ‘sexual’ time, but that’s because making love is a comfort to me, just like being in my arms is a comfort to you.
  • I feel more alive and confident in general when our sex life is working for both of us.
  • The confidence you feel when you look great in a certain outfit, is the same confidence you give me when our sex life is working.
  • When sex is repeatedly NOT a priority to you, I want to withdraw. This makes me feel just like you would feel if I stopped talking to you.
  • When you say “no” to sex, I do take it personally and it hurts me—it’s not just about having more sex.
  • When you desire sex, and especially when you initiate sex with me, it gives me a surge of confidence and power even the next day in my work.

Understand that men and women were created with physiological differences. Men typically have an assertive drive, which means they pursue sex. Women, on the other hand, have a receptive drive, so they enjoy and receive sex, but rarely initiate. Talk through the differences and brainstorm about potential solutions.

One possibility may be to help her feel close not only in the bedroom, but also elsewhere. Pursue her in non-sexual ways (notes, date nights, midday calls, etc.), give her warm-up time before sex, flirt with her throughout the day, and create a context of closeness and emotional security. Understand that some women with young children find that they are physically exhausted by the end of a day. Help her to plan ahead for a nap on a certain day of the week, so she can feel more rested, or wait until the weekend when she can get caught up on her sleep.

For her to understand you better, explain that if you don’t feel desired, it affects all areas of your life. A survey done for the book For Women Only, supports this idea: more than three out of four men claim that sex gives them confidence, a greater sense of well-being, and satisfaction in life. By understanding the male’s emotional need, she’ll see her own potential to help her husband gain the confidence he needs to face the world.

So, your efforts in putting together a romantic candlelight feast may result in the desired after-dinner activity for one night. But a meaningful discussion could benefit you both—and could lead to many nights of satisfying romance.

 

Pray For

By Marriane Jordan Ellis

Redeemed Girl sat down with founder, Marian Jordan Ellis, and ask her a few questions about all things love, dating and marriage. This one is on praying for our husbands.

Blake:           

So… MJ, you’ve tweeted before how the Lord answered your prayers for your husband. Why don’t you share with us how you prayed?

Marian:           

During my long stint as a single woman, I had plenty of time to dream and pray about the type of man I hoped the Lord would provide. There were seasons that I prayed the same five specific requests over and over again. Then there was a season when I threw my hands up in the air and said, “God, don’t give me what I want, give me your best.” Honestly, God answered both prayers. I can look back on those five essentials and know the Lord honored my request. Sure, not as fast as I wanted, but in His time, He answered my prayer. But bigger than my vision for what I thought I needed in a mate, God answered my ultimate prayer of surrender: “Don’t give me what I want, give me your best.”

As much as Justin is everything I prayed for, he is hundreds of things I would never have even thought to ask for… he is better. The prayer of surrender to God’s will proved to be the better prayer. Jesus knew what we both needed and was gracious to give us His best.

Blake:           

Inquiring minds naturally would like to know… what were those five essentials that you prayed for your husband?

Marian:

Glad you asked! This list arose from various life circumstances that led me to ask the Lord for very specific things.

  1. I prayed for a man who would love Jesus more than anything else in this world.
  2. I prayed for a man who would be a ministry partner.
  3. I prayed for someone who would love my family.
  4. I prayed for a man who would love me the way God created and wired me.
  5. This last one was a selfish non-essential (but I prayed it anyways), as
    a 5’11” woman… I prayed for my husband to be taller than me!

Blake:

Amen to #5!
So… I’ve heard various opinions from Christian leaders on whether or not single girls should pray for their husbands. Obviously you fall into the camp that believes we should pray. Can you share with our readers your perspective on prayer?

Marian:

Absolutely! I’d love to share my thoughts on this subject.

First of all, I see in scripture that God wants us to bring our prayers and petitions to Him by faith believing that He can provide. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18Prayer and faith go hand in hand. By faith, I bring the unmet desires and longings of my heart to the Lord… for He alone can answer. Prayer looks to God as our Provider. Therefore the result of the answered prayer is praise! And if you’ve ever seen my wedding photos, you’ll see a girl who is in full-blown Jesus worship for the way God answered and provided.

Second of all, the biggest reason I believe we should pray is due to spiritual warfare. Yep, I said spiritual warfare. During my single years, I noticed that there is a war against marriage. It’s pretty easy to recognize that our enemy (Satan) hates marriage because it is such a picture of Jesus and the church. But the war against marriage begins long before two people walk down the aisle.

It dawned on me one night as I looked around the room at dozens of beautiful single women in their 30’s and 40’s, that there is a problem: where are all the godly single men? How could we have godly Christian marriages if we don’t have godly Christian men for all of these amazing single Christian women? I believe that spiritual warfare includes all the various ways the enemy keeps men and women from marriage.

I’ll never forget driving down the interstate in Houston, Texas and the Lord prompting me to start a prayer group for single women. Simultaneously, the Lord was leading my friend Keri to start a similar group. Our prayer groups began with one purpose: to pray for the men of our generation and to fight in prayer for our future marriages. Not only was it great community, it also proved to be a time of deep intercession. Just as Jesus praised the persistent widow for her faithful prayers, I believe the Lord’s heart was moved by our faith. We got on our knees and interceded for men as we asked God to move mountains and answer the cry of our hearts.

Although my prayers weren’t answered overnight, I can honestly say I owe my marriage to that prayer group. While many of my friends are still waiting, it’s a joy to share that this weekend I had the honor of standing with Justin in my friend Keri’s wedding and witnessing how the Lord graciously answered her prayers.

Blake:

Keri looks gorgeous in the photos. It’s always so encouraging to hear how the Lord answers and provides. I have a feeling some prayer groups will be beginning!

Marian:

One of my favorite statements is, “You have not because you ask not.” (Matthew 7:7; James 4:3) I believe God wants us to bring our need to Him so that we can see Him answer it. In the act of prayer and dependence, our faith grows.

Blake:

Marian, thanks so much for sharing such practical thoughts on prayer. What a huge blessing it is to watch you and Justin as y’all serve and glorify the Lord together.

Take It

By Bayless Conley

The seventh and final key to regaining your cutting edge is found in verse 7 of 2 Kings 6, the passage we have been looking at over the last several days.  Here is what that verse says, Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.”  So he reached out his hand and took it.

The sixth key was something that only God could do, and that is to make the ax head float; that is, to restore your cutting edge.

Now we see what we must do in response.  You and I must receive what God is offering. Unless you take hold of what God is offering, your spiritual edge will never be restored.

Perhaps as we look at how to restore your spiritual edge, God has been speaking to you.  Maybe you have come to realize that you are not where you should be in your relationship with God.

Maybe you have lost that sensitivity.  Maybe you have lost your cutting edge.  I am telling you, you can reach out and take what God is doing to restore your cutting edge.

I want to challenge you to take some time today to search your heart. If you have lost your cutting edge, stop swinging an empty handle and just going through the motions.

Be honest and admit you have lost that edge, determine where it fell, look to the Master, listen to His voice, take responsibility, know that the cross of Christ is completely sufficient to restore you, and then take hold of what God is doing to restore your edge.

God can work that miracle in your life if you will only do your part!

Change

By David Mainse

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 20-21

Key Verses: 2 Samuel 21:1, 14b

Now there was famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.”…So they performed all that the king had commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.

No battle tanks in today’s reading, just swords and spears, but people are people, until transformed by the indwelling Jesus. Our key verses point out that God answered prayer for people 3,000 years ago. He still answers prayer today. Samuel was dead. Nathan the prophet did not show up with a Word from God. It appears that the political and military leaders did their own thing. It’s important that we don’t blame God for the mess Israel was in. Even so today, it’s our fault that the world is so badly messed up. It’s the story of fallen humanity. A humanity given free will by God needs to turn around, repent, and find God’s will. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that if we humble ourselves and pray, God will forgive our sins and heal our land.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I humble myself in Your presence. I seek Your face as You told David’s son Solomon to do. I turn away from all wickedness, repenting with deep sorrow. I claim Your promise of forgiveness and healing. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In the book, Rome’s Last Citizen, Cato, is called the “mortal enemy of Caesar.” The story covers the decades prior to the coming of Jesus. It describes a history of evil greater than that of Israel in King David’s time. Rome’s constitution, before the Caesar dynasty, sounded good on paper. However, in reality, the leaders manipulated the constitution for their own self-centered purposes. In 1968, I visited the Soviet Union. I read carefully their constitution. It was filled with high ideals that appeared similar to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Under that constitution, Lenin and Stalin murdered millions of people. What evil there is in human hearts. My consistent longing, whether reading the history of Rome or the Soviet constitution or today’s reading about Israel, is “O Jesus, only You can change the human heart. Only your indwelling presence can enable me to live up to God’s standards of moral behavior, truly loving my neighbor as myself.”