Aroma

Will Howell
Godly Daddy Contributor

Have you ever had that moment when a smell triggered a memory? I was just sitting here with a cup of coffee and a flood of memories came back to me. I can remember us getting into out Granddaddy and Mammaw’s van to travel across the country and the smell of coffee filled the air as they began to take off. I can still see his old, silver thermos between the seat in the front and his beige coffee cup sitting in the cup holder.

It was here I flashed over to my aunt Judy’s house. I was sipping my coffee and looked over at the book I am reading and it just reminded me of all the times I would go over to her house and sleep in that loft on Friday night.

In just a short time, we will have our nostrils filled once again with the smells of Thanksgiving. That brings me back to the days when we kids would get to Granddaddy and Mammaw’s house for lunch. All of us would gather in the kitchen around that huge island. Someone would inevitably ask my Dad to pray for the food. Following suit, all the kids would run in and get their plates to eat and the parents would talk for a bit until the chaos died down. I know it was then that Mammaw felt that her hard work paid off. Until this day, I know that she enjoys watching her family come together and enjoy a great meal. It is an aroma I won’t soon forget.

Just those thoughts alone brought back good memories. I was reminded of Paul who wrote to the churches in Corinth, “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” 1 Corinthians 2:15. Our lives are an aroma that is spread all over the world and it is pleasing to God. All throughout the Old Testament, we read how there were sacrifices and each of them had aromas that were “pleasing to the Lord.” Our lives are a sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord. What have you and I done to make our lives pleasing to God?

As we lead our families to the cross, my prayer is that our lives will be a pleasing sacrifice and a sweet aroma unto the Lord.As we gather today with Thanksgiving, may we remember that our lives are being a pleasing aroma to the Lord be spread to all those in our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving!


It is Finished

Will Howell
Godly Daddy Contributor

As a parent, we have a lot of opportunities to teach our children patience and trust. Either that or they teach us that patience and trust. I will say either way, we learn that at the end of the day, God has it all at hand and He will complete the work He started. The other day, Maleah was having a full fledge meltdown. When she’s tired, the world is against her in her eyes. She apparently was tired because everyone and everything was wrong in the world. There was a point where she wanted to finish a project and had asked Sara to help her with it. Sara let her know that it was already done. Maleah started throwing this big fit that she needed to get it done. Sara tried to reason with her that it had already been finished.

It drove home the point for me. So often we, as believers, strive to be perfect for God and to work for our salvation. The problem is that it has already been finished. In Hebrews 10:14, we read “For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. “ When you and I decide that we want to work it out on our own, we are in essence telling Christ that His sacrifice and blood were not enough for our redemption so that means it is all up to us. Friend, if Jesus died for your sins there is no point in going around the mountain over and over again to get His approval that you are forgiven.

Today, I want to encourage you to take this lesson and go with it. YOU cannot do enough to make it right with God. HE makes it right; YOU make the decision to follow HIM. He’s not surprised with your shortcomings as a parent, as an employee, as a Christian, or as a man/woman.


Veterans Day

This post is an original post by our Godly Daddy Contributor, Chris Miller, who is an Army Veteran that serves along with us. This post was posted on July 4th. Thank you Veterans for your service. I hope this blesses you!

 

 

The Flag Outside My Father's House
The Flag Outside My Father’s House (Photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS)

by Chris Miller
Godly Daddy Contributor

Hello Godly Daddy community. Being that I’m new to most of you, I would like to start this article by introducing myself. My name is Chris Miller, and I have been married for 11 years and have a 4 year old daughter, Zoe, and a nearly two year old daughter, Eden. I spent 8 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves which consisted of a few deployments and one tour in Iraq. Now I am the President and Founder of a startup Missions organization called Endless Opportunities Worldwide that seeks to help people and teams go on short term mission trips all over the world.

With it being the 4th of July, the day of our nation’s declaration of independence, I can’t think of a better subject to write about than being a patriot, and for the purpose of this audience, how that relates to being a dad. Due to my background, that is something that I meditate on quite frequently. Being a patriot and being a dad (along with being a Christian and a husband) are some of the most important roles one can have in life. The challenge is keeping them in order of importance.

When I was in the Army, I constantly saw the perils of military service during an era of war. Last time I checked, the divorce rate in the military is close to 75%, and it was very clear why. The first six years we were married, I was living in another state or another country for 3 years! If that is not enough stress to put on a marriage, both husband and wife had an infinite amount of pressure to go out and “party” with the other people in the same situation. I had to make daily decisions to do the right thing for my marriage, even if it meant missing out on having fun with my Army buddies. Without a strong conviction from God, it would have been nearly impossible to survive for 3 years of daily attacks by the enemy. Another area I came across frequently, especially as a Squad Leader, was soldiers that put being a patriot or soldier first in their lives, before everything else. I always tried to counsel them that their families are more important. If we are fighting for our country and risking our lives, but at the same time losing our family, then we really aren’t fighting for our country???

When I think about our Founding Fathers and the thousands of men and boys that made up the Revolutionary Army, and why they fought against the British, and essentially impossible odds, the main reason was their families. Most of the military at that time was completely voluntary, so they chose to sacrifice their lives so that their wives and children could enjoy freedom and have a chance at prosperity. When comparing that to what I was seeing, it seemed counter-productive to serve our country at the cost of our families.

I realize that not everyone served in the military, but I think the principle is universal. As husbands and fathers, are we more like the men of the Revolution or more like our prevalent culture? Are we willing to sacrifice and lay our lives down for our family, or are we always thinking about what we want and what we can do or what thing we can buy next? Please think about the difference for a minute and reflect on where you might need to improve in this area. No matter what you are pursuing in your life, please remember always and forever, what do I gain if I lose my family, or lose a close relationship with my kids or wife. I am always struggling to find that balance, but just trying to attain that goal puts me ahead of the game these days.


Love Isn’t Always Convenient

by Chris Miller
Godly Daddy Contributor
Guys…fellow Godly Daddy’s both past, present, and future…we have bought in to our cultures lies about us.  We are told that men are less emotional than women.  That real men don’t cry.  That we keep our feelings on the inside and don’t talk about how we feel.  While I understand that there are fundamental differences in men and women, both biologically and emotionally, I think that much of this has been fed to us by society and we have bought into it, much to the detriment of our relationships with our families.
I was recently at a conference for disabled veterans, and heard a fellow vet speak about living, coping, and thriving despite having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I think vets get an even higher level of scrutiny for being angry, irritable, tired, frustrated, confrontational, etc than other men, but it’s the same excuses that many of us men use.  “That’s just the way I am”, we tell ourselves, or, “That is how my dad was”, or, “Feelings are for women”. But the challenge that this vet put forward to other vets living with mental issues was astounding.  In fact, I can’t believe that I have never heard any pastor, preacher, speaker, men’s group, or women’s group for that matter say what I heard this normal vet say. It shook me to my core and made me evaluate the ways in which I interact with my wife and kids and my parents and siblings.  It wasn’t that what he said was profound or deep, to the contrary, it was simple and easy to ingest.  And I believe that if we as Godly men can think like this in our family life that it will change the closeness we have with our wives and children and at the same time start a new trend for the next generation in how they express their feelings and emotions. I have two daughters and I hope that the men they marry can act like this.  If I have a son some day, I hope to teach him this simple principle for his wife and kids. So here it is.
When we are angry or mad or frustrated or hurt, we don’t have any problem expressing our feelings and finding the words (many time unkind, mean, hurtful, profane words) to tell our wives and kids and family and friends and strangers.  We stay mad for minutes or hours or days because someone cut us off in traffic or one of the kids broke my favorite coffee mug or my wife recorded over the Cardinals World Series game with Love it or List it on HGTV. We yell and throw things or punch a wall, and it all seems instinctive and natural.  We have told our wives that we aren’t emotional beings like they are and men just don’t know how to express their feelings, but we have no problem expressing our negative feelings???  Are those not feelings just the same as positive ones???  Are they in a different class because they are easy or natural??? Or have we just been using that as an excuse to neglect our positive feelings.  If we can so quickly access and express negative feelings, then why can’t we so quickly access and express positive words and feelings when something good happens?  Why is it so hard to tell our wives that we love them (and not when we want or are having sex)?  Why is it so hard to hug our wives and kids and tell them that we are proud of them.  Tell them that we appreciate all that they do for us and mean to us.  Tell them that we wouldn’t be who we are today if it weren’t for them.  Why is it so hard to tell our wives that they look beautiful and that dinner tasted really good and that the house look amazing?  Why is it hard to be forgiving and uplifting when they don’t look their best and the food doesn’t taste good and the house isn’t clean? Why is it hard to hold our wives in our arms when she is crying because she didn’t get a promotion at work and just tell her that she deserved it and will get the next one and we love her regardless of her accomplishments?  Why is it hard to hold our daughters in our arms when they are crying because a boy broke up with them? Or our sons when they won’t stop fighting and breaking stuff?
Lots of questions, and I’m not sure of all the answers, but I know that God wants me to be that man.  God wants me to be kind and loving and gentle. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul says “ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Guys, please, get this deep in your heart and through our hard heads.  Let us strive and practice using positive emotions so that we are even better known for being loving that we are for being angry and aloof.  I can only imagine how this concept will impact my family.  I hope it can for you as well.

We are called to encourage one another

By Jeff Rushing
Godly Daddy contributor

Do you know someone who needs to be encouraged?

As Junior Asparagus said on “VeggieTales,” their life should be a party but the hot dog fell out of their bun?

There is a Peanuts cartoon that showed Lucy in her psychiatrist booth, giving advice to a bummed out Charlie Brown as usual for five cents. She tells him, “Life, Charlie Brown, is like a deck chair on a cruise ship. Passengers open up these canvas deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they’ve been. Other people face their chairs forward. They want to see where they’re going. On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?”

Charlie Brown, instead of thinking about how things used to be or will be, sighs, “I’ve never been able to get one unfolded.”

Earlier this year I took over as the teacher of my Sunday School Life Group class.

It is a humbling experience, especially when you make what you think is an amazing Biblical point, only to be met with silence and stares.

I would put in an “applause” sign, but then that would mean that I’ve forgotten that it’s not about me.

At least three times a week I wonder how I can keep the privilege without being seen as a raging hypocrite or at least a terrible example, whether it is:

A. When I am making Cooper cry after sending him to his room for copping an attitude with Darling Valerie, or

B. When I just want to lay my weary head on the floor and go to sleep, right after I scrub the poop off the floor that Penny wiped on it (“because I wanted to”), or

C. When Darling Valerie has to get onto me because I am stuck on No. 1 of my six-page Honey Do List, currently renamed the Honey Doesn’t Have The Energy To Do Jack Squat List.

In many Bible stories we relate a lot to David, his triumphs and his failures. But when it comes down to it, the reality is that we are more likely to be Uriah. We serve someone in a higher authority, we try to stay true to our values, and sometimes we end up with the short end of the stick.

If not for the encouragement of my church’s education minister, Brother Joseph, I would never have even imagined I could teach a class of full-fledged adult Christians who have probably been going to church far longer than I have, won trophies for Bible Drill as kids and are active in missions and discipling. But Bro. Joseph knew that I needed to, and could, take that step of faith.

It’s that kind of encouragement that we all need. It’s when we are doing this that we show what Jesus called the new commandment in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you, love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

That can be tough when you’re dealing with adults who should generally know better and take responsibility for their actions. When it comes to our kids, encouragement comes naturally. It’s hard to fault a three-year-old for throwing a tantrum, so you forgive quickly and love unconditionally or you will never be able to take enough Calgon baths to sing of the mercies of the Lord.

But if you’re looking for that kind of love for everyone then the Bible makes it clear that if we abide in Christ then you will naturally bear the fruits of the spirit, love will flow and you’ll be the light on the hill.

As believers were are to encourage one another. To do so glorifies Jesus. Peter tells us that “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:8-19)

Key word there: Grumbling. How easy is it to be as stiff-necked as the Israelites, murmuring under our breaths as if God doesn’t know what’s in our hearts?!

I made it a point recently to be better at encouraging after a co-worker made an offhand remark who accidentally made it clear that I was not following Hebrews 3:13 to “encourage each other daily.”

In a joking Facebook post my co-worker said something about me being bitter while working and I thought, “Wait, I come across as bitter?” I mean, sure, there was that time recently when I was literally banging my head on the desk, and the time I slightly exaggerated that things were going so bad that I was going to stab myself in the knee just to feel something real, and OK that all happened within 15 minutes, so yeah, I could work on my attitude.

Even when everything is a little crazy I don’t want to be seen as angry or unhappy, so I decided to take the initiative to be more positive and encouraging. It’s a work in progress, of course, and even more difficult at home.

What I realized that first week at work is that the more encouraging I was, the more positive my job became. It was easier to deal with setbacks, and if I was treating people in an upbeat manner they reacted to that.

Now, the next challenge is to transfer that to my home life, and to be able to generate a joyful attitude even when Penny has thrown Cooper’s shoes into the toilet, or Cooper throws a tantrum because I told him we wouldn’t get ice cream at Chick-fil-A later after he threw a tantrum for not getting it last time for throwing a tantrum.

If you have felt lately like you are crashing and burning, I implore you to watch this interview with Texas high school running back Apollos Hester, who seems to have a clear grasp of what it means to have an inspirational attitude. Here’s what he tells the reporter at the end:

“It’s a mindset, yes ma’am, Hey, you can do anything you put your mind to. Never give up on your dreams. Keep smiling. No matter what you’re going through, you fall down, just get up. If you can’t get up, your friends are there to help you up, your mama’s there, your daddy’s there, God’s there, hey I’m there to help you up, you’re there!”

You know that poem “Footprints in the Sand,” hanging in every grandmother’s bathroom? It says, in part, “During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

There’s a cartoon playing off of “Footprints” that shows a set of footprints next to two lines in the sand and Jesus saying, “Over there is when I dragged you for a while.”

Can you think of at least one way you can be used by God to carry (or drag) someone through difficult times by encouraging them in the faith this week? Whom do you know who needs a call, a visit, an email, and your prayers? Make it so!


I Try Not to be Cynical

I try not to be cynical. It is not something that I want to do. The old adage “if you don’t believe anything good will ever happen, you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t” kind of rings a lot in my life. Naturally, I am a negative person. I have to force myself to believe that there are good things that happen in life. I have to make a concerted effort to be a positive person. The coffee mug could be half full of coffee and I will think “well…I am almost out of coffee….” But seriously, over the years I have certainly developed this toxic gift that I am constantly working on. I don’t want to be cynical, but you guys out there in the real world make it really hard for me not to be. When someone has been working their whole career to get ahead just to be left behind constantly, it is easy for that person to believe in the old adage that I mentioned earlier. When our finances continue to hit a brick all, it is hard for me to be glad for the guy who was able to pay his house off and start his own business from scratch without borrowing a penny. I digress. My hope is that I can become as successful as Abraham Lincoln….without all the failures…

Time Line of Failures of Abraham Lincoln

1832- Defeated for State Legislature

1833- Failed in Business

1835-Lost his Fiancé

1836- Nervous Breakdown

1838- Defeated for Speaker

1843- Defeated for Nomination for Congress

1848- Lost Re-nomination

1849- Rejected for Land Officer

1854- Defeated for US Senate

1856- Defeated for Nomination for Vice President

1858- Defeated again for US Senate

1860-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Time Line Source – http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/failures.htm. Retrieved 10.01.14.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NLT

I was surprised that this article did not mention that Lincoln had lost two of his four sons to death while they were children and one while he was in the White House. Not to mention that his wife was clinically insane. Lincoln had a lot of opportunity to develop an attitude that was toxic. It would have been easy for him to become cynical. It is easy to think only good things happen to certain people and the rest of us are left behind to remove the manure. It is important that we have our eyes set upon greater things and better things. I am not proclaiming some message of weird witchcraft. But I am saying that the Bible verse from Proverbs 23:7 which reads “As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you are thinking doom and gloom, do not be surprised if you get doom and gloom. If you think your kids are hoodlums, do not be shocked when they are arrested for disorderly conduct…okay, that may be a stretch. But do not be shocked if they grow up causing trouble. If we can get our minds around this, what power would we have as men of God? Amazing!


He Who Is Faithful

It is amazing. The simple the knowledge that God is faithful. He is not faithless. He is faith-full, meaning He is full of faith. He is not One who leaves us hanging in the balance, yet He is the One who helps us to become more than we could ever imagine. When we are weak, He makes us stronger.

Those words above are great, awesome words. They might even inspire you and bring you to a place of hope. Let me be transparent with you for just a moment. Eight years ago, I might have written those words and spoke those words, but I would not have lived out those words. I was rattled with anxiety, fear, worry, etc. I often wondered if TV cameras were following me around to get ideas for the show Monk. This show is based around a detective who is OCD and had fears about every single thing. That was me. There was a perpetual recording device that was replaying every single action that I had ever done in my life (good and bad) and it wore me out watching it.

I still battled with this recorder from time to time. I often wonder if it will ever truly go away. As a parent, I have had to be careful with this. It is easy for you and me as parents to replay every single action to our children that they have done wrong. It’s even easier to for us to keep account of it until the end of all eternity. We will bring it up just make a point. We will use it like a wet noodle making sure that our every single thought revolved around it.

Here’s the thing that I had to learn about that recorder as a parent; it does me no good to have it on. I believe that if we turned off the recorder that our children would have a better life. They wouldn’t wonder if we were mad at them. They wouldn’t coward back in fear because they did something wrong. Now, I don’t want it to be an instrument to condone sin, that’s not it at all. But it does mean that my kids will not have to go along in life wondering if Dad remembers something that I did 25 years ago. I know people that live that way and they wonder why they are sick all the time because their bodies are on replay mode all the time. Turn the tape player off, Dad. It’s time to unwind. It’s time to relax. It’s time to quit trying to find the rewind button. It’s time to move forward. I have to work on this too, friend. It’s not something that comes naturally. It is something that comes from the Holy Spirit to help.

 

“I am the Lord, and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6


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