The Family Shepherd

/The Family Shepherd
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Fighting for Unity: 12 Practices that Lead to Family (and Church) Harmony

Where two or three are gathered… there is conflict waiting to happen. So reads the back of Peacemaking for Families. But we can create a home culture where peacemaking is practiced. In fact I would argue that we should fight for unity.

I originally put the following list together for life together in the church. But as you will see, it also applies to the family as well. These are things to practice in our family and teach others. I cover much of this in Chapter 13 of The Disciple-Making Parent.

1. Pray for unity. Jesus is praying this way. In John 17 he prays that the Father would protect us from the evil one and sanctify us by the word. Then he prays, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you loved me.” Jesus prayed and is praying for the unity of his people. It is a witness to the world.

2. Forbear in small matters. (Ephesians 4:2, Col 3:13). To bear with or forbear means to overlook small things that will not change. Faultfinding is a real and common sin (see Jude 16). Replace it with thanksgiving and forbearance based on how much God has overlooked with you.

Charles Spurgeon said,  “We have all our own angles and edges, and these are apt to come into contact with others. We are all pieces of one puzzle, and shall fit in with each other one day, and make a complete whole; yet just now we seem misshapen and unfitting. Our corners need to be rounded. Sometimes they are chipped off by collision with somebody else; and that is not comfortable for the person with whom we collide. Like pebbles in the river of the water of life, we are wearing each other round and smooth, as the living current brings us into communion: everybody is polishing and being polished, and in the process it is inevitable that some present inconvenience should be sustained; but nobody must mind it, for it is part of a great process by which we shall all come into proper shape, and be made meet for endless fellowship.”

3. Get the log out of your eye first. (Matt 7:3-5). Are you demanding perfection of yourself or are you excusing your own sin? Can you point out the speck in your family member’s eye and miss your own? Be the first to ask forgiveness. Here is a penetrating quote from In Paradise Lost, Milton wrote regarding Adam and Eve’s relationship, post-Fall. I’m guilty. Are you?

“Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,
And of thir vain contest appeer’d no end.”

4. Forgive true offenses. Jesus placed forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer as a daily need (Matthew 6:12). There are things we must mark as forgiven based on how much we have been forgiven.

C. S. Lewis comments on the need for family forgiveness: “It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.”

Commands to All Three Parties – Offended, Offender, Observer
The next three commands are vital for unity. When there is a conflict there are often three parties who know about it. The offended, the offender, and third parties. Jesus speaks to all three parties by giving them some responsibility.

5. Resolve you will move toward hard conversations with pleasant words when someone sins against you.
Mt 18: 15 may be one of the the most violated verses of church and family life. “If your brother sins against you, go to him.” Do not go to other people. Do not let it simmer. Do not avoid conflict. If it is serious enough that you cannot over look, then Jesus commands you to go. The purpose is not to win the battle but to win your brother or sister back to the Lord or back to you. Make sure you practice this and are teaching your children this.

A simple way to start the conversation for something you have observed is this.

“I’ve noticed that you ___________ . Can you help me understand what’s going on? I am concerned about it.”

6. Resolve you will not let relationships whither when you feel someone pulling back. If we accidentally offend someone and we feel the relationship start to whither, Jesus commands us to go. Matt 5:23 – “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.” Again, if we feel some distancing themselves from us, we may need to ask them about it.

7. Resolve that you will be a peacemaker not a gossip. Unfortunately too often, the parties involved in a conflict will not or cannot work it out on their own. Inevitably they end up talking with someone else. Jesus even gives a command to us when we are the third party. Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matt 5:9) Once we know about a conflict we can either calm it by urging the person to overlook it or work to see that they resolve it biblically. You might say something like, “Let’s go see your friend about this and see if we can work it out.”

Final Principles
8. Understand the difference between “good gossip” and bad gossip. Bad gossip seeks to tear down someone’s reputation by talking about them behind their back. This is not equivalent to “good gossip.” “Good gossip” is talking to a legitimate spiritual authority to seek resolution. It is not gossip to seek coaching from a spiritual leader. There are times we need to talk with spiritual authorities for help in the home.

9. Adjust your expectations and assumptions. Come ready to give to a sinful group of people – whether church or family. Agape love gives in spite of the attractiveness of the recipient Jean Vanier’s quote on community applies to our families as well: “Too many people come into community to find something, to belong to a dynamic group, to find a life which approaches the ideal. If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed.”

10. Discern the level of the issue. Mark Dever in the Compelling Community differentiates between several levels of issues. Some are issues of truth. But even these do not all have the same weight. Clear and Important issues are historically seen as essential to the gospel and gospel preservation. On these unity is secondary. However on other issues they may be either not clear or not important. Al Mohlers article on Theological Triage is particularly helpful here. A similar principle applies to issues of practice. There are practices that are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Most church and family squabbles are around third level issues.

11. Resolve to submit to mistakes on unimportant matters. Many times we balk at submitting. But all of us, men and women, boys and girls, church leaders, church members, employees, employers. are called to submit to others at times. Submission by its definition is doing what we don’t want to do. It is consciously (and happily) yielding to a decision we disagree with. This came home to me clearly a few years ago. On a church road trip to an event, the leader of our caravan insisted that if we drove through NYC we would not hit traffic. I resisted preferring the more prudent route around the city. Ultimately I did yield. And we did hit traffic. But at that point, it did not matter to my spirit. I had submitted to our caravan leader. We can teach our children to learn appropriate submission which is by definition doing what we don’t want to do.

12. Don’t mistake niceness for unity. Too many Christians say nice things to each other while conflicts go unresolved. Niceness is antithetical to Christian love. Paul confronted Peter. We are commanded to admonish each other.  We pursue holiness together and sometimes that means speaking to each other and listening to each other.

A Baker’s Dozen – One More
As leaders realize that our job is to calm conflicts that are unimportant and create conflicts that are important. Whether parents or church leaders, our sheep will squabble. We need to teach them to see issues correctly. Most conflicts in family and church are over unimportant issues. Our job as shepherds is to calm those. Help everyone symmpathize with the other person, seeing things from the other point of view.

On the other hand, as spiritual shepherds our job is to lead sheep to change. And none of us like change. So part of our job will be to lead our family and our church members to embrace change that God requires of his people.

Unity is important to our family and church. Unity is not lack of conflict but rather handling it biblically. Let’s pray that our families and churches will honor the Lord in this area.

 

 

The Family Shepherd|

My Family, My Growth: Five Characteristics of Godly Repentance

 

Children are God-given sanctification tools in our lives.

God gives us little children that we might nurture, train, and instruct them (Ephesians 6:4). But in that process of shepherding their souls, God also intends that we should grow. In fact, our children are one of God’s primary sanctification tools in our lives.

They will stress us and demand upon us beyond what we think we can handle. They will shine a floodlight on idols of our heart. But the reason God shines that floodlight is not to condemn us but so that we might mature and grow.

The first step in that spiritual growth involves repentance. Five hundred years ago, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg, he began with this, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Christian maturity happens by repentance.
But it has been my observation that Christians often forget this command and habit to repent. Especially in the home, it is easy to blame-shift, overlook, or excuse our sin. Perhaps we have had a hard day or we have been given a particularly difficult situation in our family. And so we excuse ourselves.

Growth in Christlikeness will never happen as we excuse our sin.

Five Principles
Instead, Christians who grow the most put these five truths in practice:

1. Godly repentance understands God’s standard. Jesus has rescued us from the law by giving us his forgiveness and righteousness by faith. But then he send us right back to those commands to know how to please him. And by the power of the Spirit I can follow his commands. They are not burdensome.

2. Godly repentance involves self-awareness of falling short of that standard. I want to be aware of those times that I do not walk by the Spirit in obedience. Some times that awareness will come by my own self-reflection. At other times, it will come because someone points it out to me. Just asking myself, “Did I handle that situation like Jesus would? Did I handle it perfectly (Matt. 5:48)?” helps me see any way that I fell short. Asking these questions also helps me take responsibility for unintentional actions that affect others.

3. Godly repentance does not excuse that falling short for any reason. Once I realize a standard I am supposed to walk by and how I am off that standard, then my tendency will be to excuse my sin or blame others. After all, we might  say to ourselves, “I am only human.” “I think I am doing pretty well with having to live with a husband like mine.” “You don’t know the background I have grown up in.” But no temptation comes in my life beyond what I can bear and the Lord does provide a door of escape (1 Cor 10:13).

4. Godly repentance involves motivation to please God no matter what others do. Since I am not excusing my sin, I am focusing on pleasing Christ. I can’t control others, but I can walk in the Spirit now. No matter how tough things may get in my home, I want to please Christ. I live with the final judgment in mind. I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You walked well through that trial I gave you.”

5. Godly repentance involves a focus on myself first and foremost. Finally, as a corollary of #4, godly repentance means I focus on myself. This does not mean I will excuse the sin of others. Perhaps there needs to be a conversation about some issues. I will not smooth over sin that needs to be talked about. But I realize that the only person I can control is myself.

Repentance is absolutely crucial to growing to become a mature Christian. God is working in my family life to show me areas I can grow.
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Painful Love and Forgiveness

Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Our families will never be perfect. We will sin against each other and be sinned against. Relationships invariably involve pain. That is the way of love. How we choose to react to that pain will depend on our perspective.

C. S. Lewis makes clear that the choice is between loving and having a hard heart.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

And when your heart is wrung out, to use his words, what are you to do? Forgive. In fact, part of the reason God put you in this marriage (or family) is so that you can learn forgiveness. Forgiveness is a skill we need to teach our children (and ourselves). Jean Vanier had this to say:

Too many people come into community to find something, to belong to a dynamic group, to find a life which approaches the ideal. If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed.”  ~~ Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

Put these thoughts together and you realize that to love is to open yourself up to pain. But to refuse to love is to harden your heart. And it is only when we are wounded that we can learn the grace of forgiveness. When we learn the grace of forgiveness, we have learned a little more of the costly love of God in Christ. And we have become a little more like Christ.

Are you hurting from loving someone? Do you realize that God is helping you discover the mystery of forgiveness?

 

 

How We Handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy

 

We are past this stage in our parenting but I thought it might be interesting to post how we handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

This issue is not at the heart of the gospel (Romans 14:4, 17). I was brought up on Santa until age six. That Christmas Eve night we were driving home from my grandmother’s house. As I looked out at all the homes in my city, I just knew that there was no way Santa could visit every house in the world in one night. And I am following the Lord today.

However, anytime we talk to our children about someone who knows if we are sleeping or awake (omniscience) and who knows if we’ve been good or bad and expect us to be good, then we ought to think beyond the surface.

In addition, there is the subtle danger of learning about two invisible people – Jesus and Santa. When you find out later one is not real then……   As the caption on the poster reads, “Children one day you will learn everything about Santa Claus. On that day, remember everything that the adults have told you about Jesus.”

 

 

agnosticismsanta

 

With that in mind, our hard and fast rule was we will never ever lie to our children (or anyone else). Never. When I tell them the truth about things they cannot see, I do not want them to have any doubts about the truthfulness of their Dad or Mom. I want them to have complete trust in our integrity.

So how did our family handle Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy?

1. We never took our children to talk with Santa (or the EB). No Christmas cards in his lap.

2. We never brought Santa up in conversation. If the children brought it up, then we would talk about it.

3. We used passive language. “Christmas is coming. There will be presents under the tree.” “Put your tooth under your pillow and there will be some money there the next morning.” There was something a little more fun with the passive voice. We didn’t say Santa will bring presents. We didn’t say we will bring presents. We said, “There will be some presents.” Mysterious. Teasing.

4. Because we used passive language, by the time they asked who these dressed up men were, they could also handle the trust of the truth. “Some children believe that Santa brings their presents. We don’t want to spoil Christmas for them. This is our secret.”

5. When asked by another adult or child what they hoped Santa would bring, we told them simply to reply with what they wanted for Christmas. They still had some times when they had the deer-in-the-headlights look. We just repeated the question, “Honey, tell Mrs. Smith what you want for Christmas.”

6. We resolved not to be Christmas haters. As a family we enjoyed The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Elf, The Polar Express. We had great fun with the secular aspects of the holiday.

7. We wanted the focus to remain on Jesus, even as we added a little fun to life with presents or chocolate eggs.

These principles served our family well and we still had great fun.

In fact, on a couple of nights the “tooth fairy” slipped in his duties. The tooth was still under the pillow the next morning. So one of my daughters wrote a note to remind the “tooth fairy.” With a twinkle in her eye, she handed the note to me and said, “Dad, could you give this note to the tooth fairy? She forgot to come by last night.” And she quickly turned to walk away with a knowing smile.

Christmas time is here. Let’s honor the Savior in it.

 

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Chronological Scripture Readings for the Passion Week

Christians often use this week to remind themselves of the events of the last week of Christ’s life. Indeed Scripture devotes a disproportionate amount of space to this final week. Perhaps you could use the following traditional placement of the events for your devotional thoughts this week.

Click here to print the schedule.

Saturday
John 12:2-11
(see also Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 4:3-9)

Sunday – Official Presentation of Jesus to Israel
Luke 19:29-44
Matthew 21:11-17
(see also Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19)

Monday – Cleansing of the Temple
Mark 11:12-18
John 12:20-50

Tuesday AM – Official Challenge of Christ’s Authority
Mark 11:19-25
Matthew 21:23-23:39 (see Mark 12:1-40, Luke 20)
Mark 12:41-44 – The Poor Widow

Tuesday PM – Prophesies Based on Jewish Rejection
Matthew 24:1-25:46

Wednesday – The Plot to Kill Jesus
Matthew 26:1-16

Thursday – The Last Supper
Luke 22:7-16
John 13:1-38
Luke 22:17-20
John 14:1-17:26

10:30 PM- 1:00AM – Gethsemane
Matthew 26:30-46

Friday AM
2-3AM – Arrest
John 18:2-12
Matthew 26:47-56

2:30 AM – First Jewish Phase: Annas
John 18:13-24

3-4:30 AM – Second Jewish Phase: Caiaphas
Matthew 26:57-68

4:30 AM – Peter’s Denials
Matthew 26:69-75

5-5:45 AM Third Jewish Phase: Sanhedrin
Luke 22:66-71
Matthew 27:3-10

6:00 -9:00AM – First Roman Phase: Pilate
John 18:28-38

6:00 -9:00AM – Second Roman Phase: Herod
Luke 23:6-12 – Herod

6:00 -9:00AM – Third Roman Phase: Pilate
Matthew 27:15-26
John 18:39-19:16

Matthew 27:27-32 – Torture and Travel to Execution
Luke 23:26-33a

9:00-12:00 Noon – Crucifixion Part 1:
Matthew 27:35-44
John 19:18-27

Luke 23:33b-43

Friday PM
12 Noon to 3 PM – Crucifixion Part 2: Darkness Covers
Matthew 27:45-56
John 19:28-30
Luke 23:46
Matthew 27:51-56

3-5 PM – Piercing of Side and Disposal of the Body
John 19:31-42
Mark 15:42-45
Luke 23:55-56

Saturday
Matthew 27:62-66 – Securing of the Tomb

Sunday AM
Matthew 28:1-8 – Appearance in the Garden
Luke 24:12
John 20:3-10
John 20:11-18
Matthew 28:9-15

Sunday Afternoon
Luke 24:13-35 – Appearance on the Road

Sunday PM
Luke 24:36-43 – Appearance to the Ten Apostles
John 20:19-25

 

Family Devotions|

Three Truths to Defeat the Comparison Virus

Three Truths to Defeat the Comparison Virus

 

The Foolishness of Comparing
But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Comparison with others is a basic fact of life. We look at others and judge ourselves inferior in money, beauty, intelligence, ministry, career, or family. As a result, we feel insecure. Or we see that we are succeeding in some of those areas and feel reassured.

Much of advertising is built on this unconscious activity of comparing ourselves. Isn’t the comparison of our perfect Facebook or Instagram lives one reason that anxiety is on the rise? Though men are not immune from this temptation, mothers in particular can feel this heavy, unconscious burden of comparison running in their minds.

In the verse above, God speaks into this rising anxiety and calls it foolish. When we are comparing ourselves with others, God says we are not seeing things from his perspective.

What exactly would God say to us? What perspective does it take to be wise?

Defeating the Comparison Virus
I can discern at least three truths to help with the virus of comparing ourselves to others.

1. None of us measures up. There really is only one standard that matters—how we stand before God. He tells us that each and everyone of us fall short of his glory (Romans 3:23). We fall short of his glorious intention for us as individuals and we fall short of entering his glorious presence. When we place our faith in Christ and are adopted as his child, we are accepted. We are loved. Now we do measure up, not because of what we do but because what his Son has done.

Ultimately we live for an audience of One. Now that I am accepted in the Son, only one thing matters – pleasing my Father. It is his smile only that I live for.

2. We each have a different number of gifts, talents, and resources. Jesus tells us the parable of the talents and the parable of the minas (Matt 25:14ff, Luke 19:12ff). In each story, the point is similar. The master entrusts different resources to different servants. And he rewards each based on their faithfulness with what they have been entrusted not what the other person has. For example the one with five talents earns five more and is commended. The one with three earns three more and is commended. He was not expected to earn five. He started with less, returned less, but was still rewarded as faithful.

Similarly, God doesn’t create us with equal talents and abilities. And I only have to be faithful with what I have not what I don’t have. If I have been given three talents I should not feel insecure around the one with five talents nor superior to the one with one talent.

3. We each have different calls on our lives. In John 21, Jesus reinstates Peter but informs him that when he is older he will glorify him in a martyr’s death. Peter immediately points to the Apostle John and asks about him.

What is that but comparison? Jesus responds to Peter, “What is that to you. You follow me.” Church history records that John did die a natural death while Peter died a martyr’s death. Peter learned that Jesus calls each of us to follow him. As the Sovereign Lord he has the right to dish out different circumstances on life’s journey. For example, one person may be called to endure poor health while another never suffers.

Driving These Truths Deep Into My Soul
God drove these truths deep into my soul when, as a young pastor, I realized I was not producing the results of my mentor. I could not physically work as many hours as he worked nor could I mobilize men the way he could. Was I a failure?

No, as I realized the three truths above I gained a healthier view of myself and a healthier walk. What would I do?

I would be the best Chap Bettis I could be. Given my unique “fingerprint,” what was God calling me to do?

I began to internalize: first, I am an unworthy servant (Luke 17). I need a Savior and I will strive after holiness no matter what others do. Second. I have a unique gift set and will give an account for that. I’m a three talent person and need to invest well to produce three more. And third, Jesus has the right to call me to unique circumstances that he doesn’t call others to. I will glorify him in those circumstances without jealousy of others.

Comparison for Excellence Only
I still cast a side glance to see at what others are doing. But this comparison is to help me strive after excellence, not to settle my identity and worth.

Moms and Dads, are your homes unsettled because of an foolish comparison to others? Are you tossed by the anxiety of the age? Turn off the social media and live to please your Savior. Stop comparing yourself with someone else.

You live to please the Lord. It is only his smile that counts.

The Family Shepherd|

This is About That

Hi Friends,

Attending a wedding today.
This 3 minute video will be shown at the beginning by our church leadership.
You can watch the whole thing in preview mode without buying it.

I highly recommend it for your family and to discuss.
Do we really understand the gospel in this way?
Do we really value marriage because of what it illustrates?

Beautiful!

Marriage|

Living the Gospel at Home

Living the gospel at home is a key concept beneath The Disciple-Making Parent.
tap_dmp_cover_final

Listen to a recent talk outlining this concept.  I would love to see what our homes, churches, and seminaries would look like if we understood this concept.

In it we talk about:
1. Your nearest neighbor.
2. What God is doing in your heart at home.
3. Practical suggestions for living out the gospel at home.

The Family Shepherd|

Qualities of a Godly Elder and Man

Family PrayerJason Helopoulos has a good article on qualities of a great elder.

Could we say qualities of a great man? Young men are you listening? Young ladies are these in your prayer journal? Moms and Dads, you might consider printing down and sharing with your children. Or praying over this list.

Theological, but Fiercely Practical: He will know the scriptures and revel in the doctrine and theology of God’s holy Word. And at the same time, he will know how to apply those truths of Scripture to the lives he is privileged to serve.

Leader, but a Willing Follower:  He doesn’t wear a sign that announces he is a leader. He isn’t loud and demands that people follow, they just do.

Dignified, but Wonderfully Approachable:  He is serious about the Christian faith. He knows that life is short and he does not waste it.

Listener, but Wisely Vocal: He is slow to speak and quick to listen. But when he speaks, men listen.

Courageous, but Pastorally Winsome:  He does not shy away from the hard discussions, the difficult conflicts, or the trying personalities of the church. He isn’t looking for conflict, but he also won’t run from it.

Dogmatic, but Flexible: He is a rock on the non-negotiables. He will not be moved from the teaching of the Scriptures. However, he is flexible and able to concede points to others when he is proven wrong or the issue is not of extreme importance.

Gifted, but Knowingly Humble:  He is aware of how the Lord has gifted him for service in the church. In turn, he is also keenly aware of the gifts which he does not possess.

Officer, but Servant First:  He has a mantle upon his shoulders. There is responsibility and privilege.

Churchly, but a Lover of Men: He loves the church as a body and he loves men.

Loyal, but a Thoughtful Exhorter:  He is not a fault finder. However, when it is necessary, he is willing to challenge his pastors and fellow elders appropriately. He does not follow blindly.

DMPMay God raise up young men like this for our churches!

Consider ordering The Disciple-Making Parent to learn how we can train young men to be like this for the church. In it, you will learn how to disciple your young men through example, the Word, taking ground for Christ, and much more!

Marriage, Parenting|

Stability in Times of Uncertainty

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and lifted up. Isaiah 6:1

He shall be called… Everlasting Father. Isaiah 9:6

We crave stability.

In the 1940’s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third and fourth term as a U.S. president. George Washington had set the unwritten precedent that a president should serve only two terms.

How was the precedent of 150 years so easily overturned?

America was traversing the uncertainty of the Great Depression and World War II.  When all around is uncertain, it was comforting to look to the stability of our leaders. The comfort of stability was greater than precedent.

We want leaders we can have confidence in.

Isaiah must have deeply felt this uncertainty when he learned that Uzziah died. The king, whose name means the Lord is my strength, had reigned for 52 years. Under him, Israel had regained some of its former prosperity, rebuilt and rearmored its military.

But now he was gone. And the future was cloudy.

It was during that time of uncertainty that God gave Isaiah a vision of Jesus (Isaiah 6:1, John 12:41) seated on the throne, majestic, powerful, and surrounded with praise.

Jesus had been on the throne all the time but now Isaiah saw it.

When we face times of uncertainty, we need to remember that though we crave stable, trustworthy human leaders – all will fail. Ultimately, Jesus is that Fatherly leader we crave. This comforting role of Jesus is what Isaiah refers to when he says the titles of the Messiah will be: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus is the Everlasting Father, a much better FDR and Uzziah put together.

And just as we crave stable leadership, so do our children. As our children navigate their uncertain world, rocked by changes, we have a high calling to be the steady rock. But let us remember we are merely a shadow of the true leader. Jesus is the one who brings true stability.

Let this calling drive us to our knees. And let us also make sure we point our children to the Everlasting Father – the all wise king on the throne – Jesus.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus who is a personal, strong and steady ruler in these days of uncertainty. Help me to reflect this emotional and spiritual stability to my children as his undershepherd.