THE HUSBAND'S PART!
The Holy Scriptures place much emphasis on fathers being the primary teachers and channels to lead their families to the Word of God and prayer.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the original patriarchs of Israel, built many altars and called upon the Lord along with their families. The altars were used to make sacrifice for their sins and to make offerings of peace and thanksgiving to the Lord. At their altars they made or renewed vows to God, as well as petitioning God for blessing and protection. Read the following Scriptures:
Abraham: Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4; 13:18; 15:9-18.
Isaac: Genesis 26:25.
Jacob: Genesis 28:18; 31:54; 33:20; 35:1-7, 14.
It is important to mention these instances of altar building by the biblical fathers. They are the prototypes of fatherhood for all future generations. We should not call ourselves Bible-believing fathers if we do not incorporate some form of altar building, coupled with calling upon God, as they did.
We notice that the blessing of God came upon these foundational fathers in accordance to their dependence on God, who alone could help them to be the fathers God intended them to be. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still calling for godly fathers who will build family altars to offer up their devotions to God. Godly fathers are, and always have been, the great need of the world.
Psalm 11:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man that fears the Lord, that delights greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed." God-fearing fathers provide the building materials from which godly nations are built.
When you cut to the chase and get down to basics, the real reason why western nations are being weakened and corrupted is because Christian fathers have allowed their family altars to be broken down. We read in 1 Kings 18:30, "Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me, And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down." After crying out to the Lord, verse 38 says, "Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice..." We need the family altar to be repaired in homes all over the nation in order for the fire of God to fall again.
Because fathers have left daily Bible instruction and family prayer out of their fatherhood, we now suffer the consequences of a greatly weakened and diluted Christianity that cannot in any way be compared to the early church. One only has to consider the 50 percent divorce average amongst Christians and the 47 percent of Christian homes that are adversely affected by pornography, plus the media, immoral movies and Internet and the state education.
GOD'S ORIGINAL PLAN HAS NOT CHANGED
The following Scriptures reveal God's plan for fathers. It is the same plan for today as when God revealed His truths.
Genesis 18:17-19, "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from "Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."
Abraham was the example of teaching and commanding his children in the ways of the Lord. Consequently he received the blessings God had promised to him. In the light of this Scripture, can we expect the blessings of God to come upon our families if we do not act as Abraham did and take up our fatherhood responsibilities?
Psalm 78:1-9, "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth... which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their heart on God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellions generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle."
Ephraim's future generations failed in the day of battle because their fathers failed to teach their children.
Isaiah 38:19 says, "The father to the children shall make known thy truth."
Ephesians 6:4, "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
The families that daily hear their father encouraging them from the Scriptures, coupled with prayer, will discover the release of the Holy Spirit to bring forth the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
CATCH THE VISION
Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." We cannot issue an edict to restore family devotions to Christian families for laws tend to produce bondage and legalism. Instead, fathers need to catch the vision of a fruitful harvest. They need the revelation that daily family devotions are a life-giving principle that gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to bring forth a harvest of fruit. It should not be a legalistic drudgery of doing what's right for the sake of it. That kind of attitude does not please God.
For example, it would be a difficult and weary task to dig up ground and plant a garden if you did not have a vision of the final harvest. Dreaming of all the home-grown fruit and vegetables you and your family will enjoy makes the digging, fertilizing and sowing easier and more meaningful, as well as the feeling of accomplishment and ensuing health that will spring forth in your family. This vision makes gardening a life-giving principle rather than a wearisome chore.
The same principle applies to Family Devotions. Father, you are sowing seeds of the Word of God and watering them with prayer. In due time, you will reap an abundant harvest through the divine power of the Holy Spirit, in the same way God causes the garden seeds to grow. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
It is an eternal law that, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (1 Corinthians 9:6)
THE MISSING KEY
Father's are the missing key. It is a terrible experience to lose the key to your car or house. Many times I have fiddled with wire clothes hangers and other contraptions for an hour or so to try and break into my own car in a public car park. Onlookers stare curiously and all the while I keep thinking, "If only I had the key!" What a relief, when finally, after fervent prayer and sheer determination, I hear that little click as the lock releases!
God wants to unlock families everywhere in order to bring forth a great harvest of righteousness, but many times the key is missing. Instead, fathers are using keys of "doing their own thing", unlocking TVs or lust on the computer. Many fathers fail to realize that they are God's most valuable keys to unlock the doors to the hearts and lives of their children in order to reap a great harvest of righteousness.
Most of our western Christian families have very little, if any, daily sowing of the seeds of God's truth into the lives of their family. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has very limited opportunity to bring forth a harvest of righteousness. Most fathers leave the sowing to a mere 30 minutes on Sunday. After all, this is why we pay the pastor, right? Wrong!
Let's get it straight. God holds fathers responsible for the Scriptural training of their children. It is time to face the facts and stop making lame excuses!
God will never fail to make known His presence when you come together as a family. Think of the opportunity you have to receive answers to prayer as you agree together in prayer. Think of all the unanswered prayers you do not receive if you are not gathering in unity as a family.
Matthew 18:19-20 says, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
THE FATHER'S RESPONSIBILITY
It needs the father and mother together to make Family Devotions happen. The following are the father's responsibilities:
1. TAKE LEADERSHIP
The father needs to take the leadership in the daily Family Devotions by taking the initiative. He should read the Word of God to his family before anyone leaves the table.
2. REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE
It is as the father sees the importance and relevance of Family Devotions that he will be motivated to make it happen.
3. UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS
The father needs a revelation of the benefits of Family Devotions such as God's protection, provision and presence that will come to the family.
4. ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES
The father needs to understand the consequences that result from not having Family Devotions such as a spiritually weakened family where the world, the flesh and the devil reign. Instead of the Word of God and prayer, TV, the media and computers fill the gap.
5. TWO PRINCIPLES
The two aspects of family devotions are 1) praying together (each member of the family praying), and 2) the father sharing the Scriptures. If fathers are not familiar with what or where to read from the Word, they could use THE DAILY LIGHT which has a morning and evening reading from the Scriptures for every day of the year. This is what we use each day and find it a great blessing.
6. EVERY MEMBER PRESENT
Make sure everyone in the family is involved. No lame excuses accepted.
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keep Family Devotions simple and short. Keep them positive and edifying. Each one in the family should pray sincere short prayers.
8. A HUMBLE SPIRIT
Do not use this time to show off your own knowledge, preach or condemn any member of your family. Instead, ask your children questions as you read the Scriptures. This is important to know whether they understand what they hear.
9. NUMBER ONE PRIORITY
Fathers need to make Family Devotions a Number One priority by readjusting their schedules to be home for this most important time of the day. If father cannot be at the morning devotion, the wife could take his place. Or if the father is away, the wife or older son could conduct Family Devotions.
10. EXERCISE DISCPLINE
Fathers must exercise discipline in this habit, otherwise the enemy will quickly snatch it away from them. The weakening of the family begins as a result of missed devotions to God, who alone gives us all our daily needs.
Primm Springs, Tennessee, USA
Wives can refer to Family Devotions, THE WIFE'S PART.
To get ideas on how to use THE DAILY LIGHT in your Family Devotions, go to the article, HOW DO WE USE THE DAILY LIGHT? You will find it under Articles >> Bible In The Home >> How Do We Use The Daily Light?