The 5 W’s

Many of  you have heard me quote the poem, The 5 Watches, from time to time over the past eight years of being involved with Lance and this blog.  Lance and I do believe that Character, Integrity, Honor, Courage, Honesty, Gentleness, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness and Self-Control are important to being a Legacy Dad.  It is important because that is the call of the disciple priorof Christ.

Many of us, do to the the lack of time, over-commitments, laziness and/or fill in your blank: _________________, do not always measure up to these demands and some may even feel overwhelmed by the God’s call for our lives.  I think if we are honest and really reflect back, I would believe that a majority of us would realize the answer:  It’s not because God couldn’t do this for us, rather, because we got in the way – we tried to do it on our own.  That is, to say, that we gave him a little of our day (our schedule, our sin, and our lives) but we didn’t give it all to him.

The poem that I often quote is this:

Watch your thoughts,

for they become words.

Watch your words,

for they become actions.

Watch your actions,

for they become habits.

Watch your habits,

for they become your character.

Watch your character,

for it becomes your destiny.

How about the 5 W’s of the Christian Walk:

  • Who do we worship?  (God or god(s) defined as idols that take our attention from who we should worship:  God
  • What do our lives tell others what our priorities our?
  • Where does our faith belong (where is it currently?  do you have faith in God?)
  • When do we believe God (does he really mean His will be done, His abundant life for us?)
  • Why should we serve God His way and not ours (not when we want, not how we want, but instead reading His word and serving Him the way that He requires in all of our lives)

by faithWhat can we do to change our perspective our religion?  When I say our religion, I am defining it as this:  Our religion is that which is what we only take away from reading the Bible (meaning if there is somethings that convicts us or causes us the desire to repent and we ignore that part).  Our religion being defined as we are allowing ourselves to serve both the world (and our own special interests) and God instead of serving him in all that we do.  Our religion being defined as when it is convenient for to serve Him and others instead of when He wants us to serve.

Pure religion in the eyes of the Father is that which looks after widows and orphans and turns away from the ways of this world.  God’s religion is for us to Trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, to lean not on our own understanding, but to acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  And He will make our paths straight.

What about you?

Blessings,

Dante

 

Why do bad things happen….?

why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-blog-postSo I was sending this work email this morning, after men’s group, and fell upon this video of a woman who has sadly lost her battle (on earth) to cancer.    This video struck me in so many different ways that I do not have enough time in the day to post on this topic.  That being said, I have shared before that I have had malignant melanoma and there was a time when I almost lost my wife (two years in a row).  I understand pain and loss and the fear of death.  Let’s just say that I have spent a lot of time in the book of Job and in prayer during these trials and tribulations.

I have been hurt and I have been angry and I have asked why do these things:

  • Why is there cancer?
  • Why is there evil in the world?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Why is there so much pain?
  • Why do we face trials and tribulations?
  • Why, Lord, Why?

I cannot pretend to sit here and tell you, the readers, why do bad things happen.  Nor will I ever try to explain your life situation to you without walking through it with you, without being in the trenches with you and/or sharing life with you.  Here is the video that struck me today:

Two of the most hardest things that I had to endure in my life were:

1)  When I received a phone call from the doctor that said I had malignant melanoma.  I just about dropped the phone on the floor of the vehicle and thought to myself, why God?  My wife and I had our son, who at the time was 10 months old and my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child while this was happening.  The concern from the doctor was my age and the fact that I had malignant cancer at my age.  By the grace of God, my cancer was detected early and I have been cancer free now for over 9 years

2) When our three kids were 1, 3 and 4 years of age, my wife almost went into renal failure and was losing muscle tissue daily.  The doctors knew the effect, but to this day we still do not know the cause.  We went to a top tier hospital the second year of the two years that this happened and even they could not diagnose the cause.  We did learn to be cautious around fevers and so on, but to this day she has been healthy since those days.  The first year that this happened, my wife was in the hospital for 6 days.  That was the most sobering and scariest time in my life.  I wrestled, I prayed and I argued with God (all through this process he was patient and kind and waited for me to trust, obey and surrender to his will).  The idea that I was going to be a widower with three kids 5 and under was almost too much for my soul to bear.  This too passed and God is faithful!

What have I learned through these two heart-wrenching trials (tribulation) was to trust God no matter what.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, BUT Blessed be His name.  He is faithful and just and he does have plans for each and everyone of our lives.

I hate evil.  I hate cancer.  I hate what is contrary to the will of God.

I love God, I love the Son and I love the Holy Spirit.  I love those who even persecute me!  Is it hard to forgive and forget (at times)?  Yes, of course, I am human and broken and sinful.  Is it possible to love who God calls us to love?  Through His Spirit and trusting His will – it is!

I believe that God gives each and everyone of us a story for us to go unto the world and tell the good news.  Does He promise us peace and tranquility throughout this journey?  Of course not!  Does he promise us an abundant life through Him?  Yes He does!

For the joy of the Lord is our strength!

Where is your joy?  In good season, in trial and through tribulation?

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen!

Blessings,

Dante

 

What is good about good habits?

Phrases like “creatures of habit”, “practice makes perfect”, and so on, should continue to highlight the theme in our daily walks and biblical discipleship.  All throughout the Bible we read about a God who takes the time to invest in ordinary men and does extraordinary things with them.  Does He need us to do his will?  Of course not!  Does He desire to use us for His good?  Of course!  Words like grace and mercy and justification and honor and integrity and courage should all be words that describe you as a legacy dad, as a man of God, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

There is a poem that I like from Frank Outlaw that goes like this:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

HabitLoopAdaptationIf accept this poem as true in human nature, then we have to be careful and watch our habits because that could shape our character.  That being said, I was surfing the internet and found this chart (inset to the right) that I really liked.  The reason why I like this is because you can apply it to just about every aspect of our life:

Physical:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Sleep Healthy
  • excercise
  • Laugh
  • Love
  • and be social (God desires us to be in community)

Mental:

  • Exercise the Brain by reading and writing
  • Healthy Sleep
  • Have accountability in your life (to keep you on the road of healthy thoughts)
  • Avoid sin
  • Laugh

Spiritual:

  • Read the word daily
  • Pray continuously
  • Have accountability in your life (true accountability – not just a social hour of patting each other on the back)
  • Listen to preaching and teaching of the Word
  • Sing Songs, Hymns and Spiritual songs (with reckless abandon and act is no one else is watching but our Lord)

As a men’s ministry leader, elder, legacy dad and husband and father, I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I witness men getting out of healthy habits (routines) and how they are able to slip back into sin so quickly.  Or other men, who shoot up so strong in their faith and yet fade away when temptations or anger sets in.  Or men that have marriages that are barely holding on and instead of letting go and letting God they hold on tight to mediocrity?  Honestly, sometimes this can be frustrating, and if I am really honest about this, then the frustrating part becomes when I realize that the very thing that annoys me about them – really annoys me because I can identify with that – meaning I can shift and fade quickly as well.

Jesus put it like this in Scripture:

Matthew 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears,[a] let him hear.”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.[b] 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Some may come to the Judgement Seat of Christ and say, “Lord, Lord” and Jesus will reply depart from me, I never knew you.  Scripture is clear that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Don’t misunderstand this reference because someone who is truly saved (born again) is always saved (Once saved, always saved – Read John for this one).   Immediately upon salvation, the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us and promises to us gifts of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self-Control….

We are called to examine ourselves to see if we are still in the faith?  Or if we ever were?  Are you?  Is your life-bearing the Fruit of the Spirit?

What if you are not?  What if you are in the same rut, sin, shame every day?    If you are not and all you see is the fruit of the Sinful nature, then pray and ask God to call you to be His (Read Romans 10).

If you are, but are slipping backward or finding yourself along the thorns of life, the rocks of life and or just away from the good soil, then try this on for size:

Cue:

  • Wake up an hour earlier
  • Wait on the Lord
  • Be patient and quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

Routine:

  • Read the Bible daily
  • Meditate on the word
  • Join a men’s group
  • Have accountability in your life
  • Get involved with your family (put the phones, computers, video games and alcohol down)
  • Start serving at your church

Reward:

  • Try this for 6 months (same cue, same routine) and email me (dante@legacydad.com) to tell me your reward.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

What should the top 6 + 1 priorities be?

Earlier last week, I posted What are your top 6 priorities?  I listed, in any order:  Family, community, work, church, friends and God.  One other person, that I respect, amended this list and added Self.  I asked you to do some honest work on assessing this in your life with your spouse and yourself and what you thought that the Bible would say about this list.

priorAs a result, I am listing the following order of what I believe the Bible tells us that our priorities should be:

  1. God – Jesus said, when asked by the leaders of Israels time, what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength (and the second, to love our neigbhor as our self.)
  2. Self – some may argue with this one, but I would like to contend the following verses:  1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 3 John 1:2, Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 5:7-9.  Our bodies are a temple to God (His Holy Spirit resides in each of us that are born again).  How can we help others when we are not well?  How can we show Christ in us, when we do not treat our bodies, mind and soul with this respect that God calls us to be.
  3. Family – as legacy dads we are called to be prophets, priests and kings of our household.  Ephesians 5 tells us to love our wives as Christ loves the church.  Colossians 3 gives us important details about the family:  Love our wives and do not be harsh with them, do not embitter our children.  Deuteronomy 6 tells of how we are to raise our children.  Family is our direct mission field.
  4. Friends – we are to love our neighbor as our self.  Who is your neighbor and why are we called to take care of our friends?  Our life should model Christ and point our friends to church.
  5. Church – can really be included under friends.  In church, we are called to corporate worship and to listen to the reading of scripture.  We are called be the body (working together) to go and reach the disconnected growing the connected and making disciples.
  6. Work – King Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, tells us that life is but a mist.  We are to work hard, enjoy life and to give all that we have to our maker.  Without him in our life – it is pointless.  Colossians 4 tells us how to approach work and to realize who we are working for.
  7. Community – lining up #1 – #6 gives us the importance of our mission field in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations.  Mathew 28 gives us the Lord’s commission – The Great Commission.

humilityThis is my two sense (cents).

Blessings,

Dante

Why I do a daddy-daughter(s) dance…

For the past several years in February of each year I have the pleasure to take my two daughters to the ball (aka “Daddy Daughter Dance”).  This past year was a blast because I went with a really good friend (who I just came back from vacation with – adults only) and really enjoyed our time getting to know each other and building our friendship.  We both decided on vacation to step up the dinner to a fancy place – and our girls really enjoyed themselves as did we.

10997701_804122766289849_6290549389971137351_oWe took pictures, the girls ate cake, drank juice and had candy along the night and would not stop dancing with their dads throughout the entire night.  I think it is really important for dads to date their daughters for many reasons.  I think it is important to treat their mother the way that you want them to be treated.  I think, as Legacy Dads we could not have a more challenging task then to raise our kids to know the truth (owning the word of God and having a relationship with Jesus) along with life skills.

So hear are the top 10 reasons why you should date your daughters:

  1. They need to learn how a man should treat a woman (with respect and adoration)
  2. They need to have our time (not just quality but as much quantity, hugs, kisses and full attention we can give them (men – put your stupid phones away when you date them)
  3. Teach them how to dance (if you don’t make it up, woman love a man who doesn’t care what others think when they are having a good time)
  4. Show them how to open a door for them and to pull out their seats before they sit down (Chivalry in my house is well and alive)
  5. Hugs and Kisses and Butterfly Kisses, as well
  6. Because when you are intentional with the love that they so crave from you (as dad) you will see a glimmer of hope and awe in their eyes – see the picture for proof)
  7. They are watching you, your walk, your talk, your integrity and your relationship with God (is your faith real)
  8. Do not be afraid to chase their hearts (pursue their hopes and dreams and listen to what they are saying
  9. To give them the sense of security (dad is in control)\
  10. To show them the love of God

Life is precious and before you know it – they will be gone

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

blog-pursuit-of-happinessThe unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

These men were standing together against tyranny and against a form of government that no longer cared about the inalienable rights of individuals as highlighted in red above.  They stood together against a far superior force and military that for any other reason would be overwhelmed if it had not been for God allowing these men to form a nation:  The United States of America.

This post is not about the rich culture of American History and the men that made this such a great nation.  Not every founding father was a professing christian and had a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we read in Romans 8, that that doesn’t matter because God will use who He chooses to use for His good and purpose.  I am so thankful to be a part of this country and to be able to be free to speak and to worship and to read the Bible in public venues without fear of persecution or condemnation.  Clearly, some of you may be thinking that this government is so far away from the original statements laid before in this wonderful Declaration, but we have seen this before.  Communists trying overthrow our government through media channels, Nazis infiltrating very aspects of our society and some other modern day Governments that so desperately crave to destroy the very essence of Freedom.

There is a lot that is wrong with this world and even in our country, but remember this, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3.  No matter how we hope that legislators and rulers and bosses and so on can get the very essence of God’s word to promote justice and freedom and the belief for each and everyone of us to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we will always find those that want to stunt this thought and have plans of their own.  Plans that our contrary to the word of God and to the very statutes of our creator.

These founding fathers understood the most important lesson in life:  There is a Creator and every knee will bow and tongue will confess.  So what does that mean for you and I?  Simply put, why should each one of us act differently then the world?  Why should we be humble, teachable and respectful of others?  Why should we love the Lord God with all of our heart, mind, body and soul and secondly why should we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Because Jesus told us that these are the two most important commands to follow (because all the others hinge on this).

What rights do we have as legacy dads:

  • To love God
  • To read his word daily
  • To pray often
  • To be loved by Him
  • To love our wives unconditionally (Read 1 Peter 3:7)
  • To love our children unconditionally
  • To pursue our happiness (honoring God all the way)
  • To be humble in all circumstances
  • To trust and obey (for there is no other way)
  • To Submit to God’s will for our lives (this brings us His plans and His freedoms for our lives)

What if these are not the case in my life?  What if my life is bearing more sinful nature stuff then the fruit of the Spirit? What should I do, Dante? Lance?  Where can I turn?  How can I right this wrong?  How can I turn this ship around?  How can I take this dead marriage back to life?  YOU CAN’T, BUT  GOD CAN MAKE NEW THINGS AND RAISE THE DEAD TO LIFE!!!

Right now, if this speaks to you:

  • Pray, ask God to reveal His will for your life (note:  If you are not reading the Bible, then you will not get this request)
  • Get involved with other men (in a bible study, in an accountability group – true accountability)
  • Love unconditionally
  • If there is more deeper issues (scars, hurts, wrongs) get profession biblical help

Wait on God & Trust Him.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

TOP 10 THINGS THAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL

As I continue to get older (and older) I have come to the realization that most older people (those that learn from their lives and continue to learn) have a wealth of knowledge if we could just take the time to engage them and chat with them and build relationship with them.  A dear old friend of mine used to say to me that there is only two things in life that we can control and that is: 1) Our attitudes and 2) how we handle the situation that God brings to us.
top-10-mistakesThis brings me to my top 10 list of things that you can’t control:

  1. Those around us – We cannot force our will on others nor control them for the outlook that we want
  2. The way that God made us – Each of us have been faithfully and wonderfully made.  God loves us all and has made each one of us unique in our own special ways
  3. Our family – We get to choose our friends (not our family) but God calls us to love our family and to show them the love of Christ
  4. Those who we work with and work for – (obviously if you are a boss, or company owner you have influence) if you yield to scripture and follow its teaching, whether you are an owner, a peon or somewhere in the middle or upper middle, you cannot control those around you nor the situations that they present you with
  5. The choices we have made (in the past) – we are accountable to decisions and actions that we have taken and we cannot control the outcome of those decisions if we made decisions that are contrary to God’s will for our lives
  6. The consequences of our past – God’s way brings the abundant life, the world’s way brings consequences to sin (as for me and my house we will choose to serve the Lord)
  7. What other people know that we don’t – unless they want to share with us, we cannot control what they want to share or don’t want to share
  8. What the future will bring (or won’t) – Read Roman’s 8 (God is in control)
  9. What others think of us – Who is your identity in? The world or in Christ?
  10. Whether or not others like us (or want to love us) – this is huge, because this impacts #1 through #9 and how we are around others.  If you have lived long enough on this earth you will find that not everyone will like you (people are different) and you will find that some may even hate you.  Is your identity in them or in Christ?

What we can control:

Our attitudes – how we react to positive and negative influences (and people) in our lives

How we handle the situation that God brings to us – From James 1 (NIV) 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.  26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Don’t just hear the words (of the Bible) do what they say (as we are required to do as disciples of Christ).

Blessings,

Dante

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s on the sin of lust

Hebrews 12:1-  (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The following is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Temptation:

calls a man“In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce.  With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh.  All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled.  The flesh burns and is in flames.  It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, our love of fame and power, or greed for money…”

“At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real.  The only reality is the devil.  Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…  The lust thus aroused  envelopes the mind and will of a man in deepest darkness.  The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.  The questions present themselves as, ” Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” And, ” Is it really not permitted me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?'”