As a father, I think of the question, "What kind of man do you want to be, raise, or encourage my daughters to marry?," from several different perspectives. I ask myself if I'm the type of man God wants me to be. I ask the Lord for help for my wife and I to raise our sons to be godly men. I have already been praying about the men who will one day get brave and ask permission to marry my daughters.
Is there an answer to this question in the Scriptures? What does God's word tell us about the kind of men he's called us to be, raise, or encourage our daughters to marry?
When you look through the Scriptures, you'll find two different forms of fear mentioned. One kind of fear is healthy and good. The other is a detriment to our life and faith.
The healthy kind of fear that is spoken of in the Scriptures is the "fear of God." When the word fear is being used in that context, it's speaking about "reverence" or "awe." The fear of God is a healthy respect for God that acknowledges His great power and authority. We're encouraged to live in, or practice that kind of fear because it's healthy.
The other kind of fear that's spoken of in Scripture is an unhealthy terror or dread related to people or circumstances that we don't have the ability to control. That's not a healthy fear to live in, because it influences us to forget about God's sovereign ability to work out His will in all kinds of circumstances. That kind of fear produces anxiety in our lives because it makes us think we have to try to bring under control the kind of things that only God can control.
With that in mind, how can we give up the pattern of living with unhealthy fear? What do we need to know and what do we need to practice in order to live a life of faith, not fear?
When was the first time you heard about the concept of adoption? For me, it was during a friend's birthday party in elementary school. I was informed by someone there that one of our friends had been adopted. I didn't know much about what adoption was, but I was told that I wasn't supposed to repeat that information. It was almost as if adoption was something scandalous, when really it's something beautiful.
Adoption is a biblical concept that is spoken well of in the Scriptures. There are four examples of adoption in God's word that stand out to me right away...
One of the greatest gifts the Lord has blessed us with is the ability to come before Him and seek His intervention on our behalf through prayer. Through prayer, we're invited to enter into His presence, humbly admit our need for Him, and joyfully acknowledge our reliance on Him.
Even though prayer is a wonderful gift, many people admit that they don't include it as often as they would like in their daily routine. Sometimes we get busy. Sometimes we get distracted. Other times it may feel like there are more pressing needs in our lives than prayer.
But prayer is something the Lord wants us to practice. He wants us to access His power, wisdom, and guidance as we face the stresses, struggles, and surprises of our daily schedules. But when should we be praying? What is the best time to pray? Consider what James says in Chapter 5 of his letter...
Who do you love? Who has the Lord placed in your life that gives you a glimpse of His love and His heart? Is your church family on the list? What kind of role has Christ designed them to play in your life?
What kind of culture are you cultivating in your life? Are you surrounding yourself with things that contribute toward your growth in Christ, or are you primarily focusing on lesser things that divert you from His mission for you?
Is creating a culture of spiritual growth something you'd like to do? What does God's word tell us about that kind of activity? What needs to be present if we're going to cultivate that kind of mindset or environment?
Who do you love? What kind of risks are you taking when you love someone? Why is loving others sometimes a dangerous thing to do?
Scripture teaches us that out of our love for Christ, we're called to actively love others with the love He supplies us, but that's not always an easy thing to do. Take a look at what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write about the subject...
What would you change about your life? What would you like to remain the same?
During the course of our lives, we're granted all kinds of experiences. Some of those experiences are welcomed and enjoyed, while others tend to stretch and test our faith.
In the midst of all of this, the Lord invites us to be grateful. What does His word tell us about how to begin to gratefully accept what He grants us? Consider some of the principles outlined in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10...
How often do you think about how you look? Is that thought constantly on your mind? To what degree does the desire to look good impact the decisions you make?
Most people want to look good, to one degree or another. But the truth of the matter is, life doesn't center around how we look. The goal of our lives is to give God glory, not seek it for ourselves.
Look at some of the principles we're shown in 2 Corinthians 11:16-33...