A Father’s Role – Chapter One
The writer is describing a young child who is being taught specifically by his father even though it refers to the mother as the boy being her pride and joy. The implication is that the father has the dominant position of training up his son. He is taking the needed time to teach him life lessons, inserting them deep into his inner being.
In this picture, we see a clear one on one conversation taking place and a depth as the two relate one to the other. It is not a couple of stolen moments in between video games or accompanied by background music or television. This is intentional quality time with the goal of expressing how to live successfully. In today’s world, it is called the Family Altar or Family Devotions, and, it is during this time that the father warns his son to internalize his words with all seriousness, because they are the golden nuggets that will work to grant him sure success.
Chapter 4 goes on to say that, “nothing you possess can be compared to wisdom and understanding” and to deviate even an inch from those two attributes is forbidden, because they are the needed elements to guard your life and even give you a moral compass (wisdom keeps her eye on you.)
This particular father further admonishes his son to embrace wisdom and understanding in a way that doesn’t let go, because it’s those things that will make his life glorious and even add years to it.
Perhaps the most telling advice of the father is found in verse 23 where he says “Keep vigilant, watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” This father knows that his son will need to check his heart often and well, because that is the place where we are so easily lured and tricked. It is from that place that good or evil is birthed, nurtured and matured. If this boy, especially at a tender age, can understand the nature of the heart and its proclivity to be deceived, he is on his way to skillful understand of how to make the right choices. His eyes will be straight ahead, and he will be able to ignore all the distractions which would pull at his heart and urge him to take the most pleasurable path but one which can result in swift destruction. In the end, he is told to “leave evil in the dust.”
I am especially taken by the role of the father in this scripture, because society has usually tasked the mother with teaching the child and being the more hands-on parent who gives guidance and instruction, but Proverbs 4:3 actually places that role on the father and suggests that he is to be the one who imparts the valuable life lessons, imploring his son to listen well to all that is being said. In fact, the father is said to drill him, and the child is expected to commit these truths to memory.
The scripture does not go into specifics about when all this is supposed to take place, but there is a sense that it happens daily and is a regular part of the father/son interaction as the child grows to maturity, so there is an assumption that this is referring to the family devotional time.
What is equally interesting is the fact that the mother is only referred to as the one who is delighted by her child, being her pride and joy. Could it be simply due to the fact that this special father/son (and others in the family) instructional time is already paying off, causing the mother to enjoy the fruit of an obedient, disciplined and well-trained child?
In truth, I don’t think there is anything more attractive to a mother and a wife than seeing her husband taking time with their child, guiding and instructing him on how to live well. It is clearly a sign of proper priority setting, investing valuable time on your greatest asset and seeing it pay off before your eyes.
It is one blessed woman who has chosen the type of husband who will understand the value of pouring godly character and advice into his child.
But it is also the wise husband and father who understands that his greatest legacy is his child, and, while two parents are needed, it is the authority figure, the leader of the family and the protector who can have the most influence on the outcome of a child.
It is a well-known fact that often, due to the lack of the love and appreciation displayed by a father, that a daughter feels undervalued, unloved and, often, all too quickly gets involved with the first man who shows her any kind of affection and attention.
The unique role of a father is to let his daughter know that she is beautiful, precious and special so that she will properly evaluate her self-worth and avoid giving herself to the first taker. It is the confidence which is derived from that special relationship which only a father can give a child – a surety that will build up her image and security that only someone truly worthy is the individual for whom they should wait to be a lifelong partner.
A mother can and should also create that sense of value in the life of her child, but no one can take the place of a father as the perfect model of a selfless, nurturing rock to whom each family members totally and completely trusts.
And where does this wonderful role model get his own inspiration? It is only from a personal committed walk with his own heavenly father – the One who has shown grace, compassion and generosity to him, thereby enabling and equipping him to bestow it upon his own family.
Of course, this is the ideal world. Most fathers are overwhelmed trying to make a living in a world where even two breadwinners are insufficient to make ends meet. After working long and tiring hours, so many men have little or no energy left at the end of the day and are simply looking to unwind by throwing themselves in front of the t.v. As the father becomes unavailable, kids find their own amusement choices, and each retreat to their own corners of the house with the minimal of interaction.
It’s, therefore, no wonder that children are being raised without the needed instruction or moral clarity of their fathers. The effects of this lopsided and non-existent parenting is being profoundly felt and even rocking our culture with rebellion, violence and anarchy in a way that hasn’t been seen throughout our time.
What is missing? Clearly, the needed input and molding of a loving and dedicated father who sets aside time each day to instill and equip his children with the spiritual, moral and ethical armor which will serve them well all their lives and cause them to walk towards a path of wholeness, total well-being and blessing, both to themselves and others.
If you are not doing this, it’s not too late. Figure out what works best for you, take the needed time each day and be that guide and that caregiver who understands the value of those who will follow in his footsteps. Give them what they will need to have a blessed life, avoid disasters and the type of deception which will steal productive and useful years that could have been a wonderful contribution to those around them. Don’t waste any more time. Start today and be consistent.
Tip: Use a more modern version of the scripture (The Message Bible) so that it is understandable, clear and relevant to your kids’ world. Have a discussion of what each scripture means. Try to find practical advice within the text to incorporate and integrate into your daily lives. Make it a fun, interesting and lively time to which your children will look forward rather than a boring, obligatory slot of time which they must endure for the sake of your feeling you’ve done your duty.
This article originally appeared on Makor HaTikvah, June 14, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Cookie is the former managing director of Makor HaTikvah Messianic School in Jerusalem.
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The true essence of prayer
My favorite days are the ones that begin with me waking up already thinking about G-D. Those days, when the transition between sleeping and being awake (that almost dreamlike state), is filled with songs of praise and conversations with the Creator.
It was a morning like that in which I realized one of the most important truths about my faith experience.
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of sleeping is the few minutes just before my eyes open. I say “few minutes,” but the truth is I am not sure how long these moments, minutes, or even hours take. I just know that it seems to be a blending, or merging, of time. In my mind and thoughts, I see an accumulation of years of events. Sometimes these events involved my wife or my children or any of the other members of my family, both those living and those who have entered the World to Come. Sometimes these scenes are of experiences, like the births of my children or grandchildren. Other times, they may be memories of my time in the Navy and those I served with. I am sure most of those reading this have had these same kinds of memory experiences that seem to take place just before waking up.
Two of these experiences became books that I wrote. The first became a novel called Transient Singularity. The second became a Bible study book called With me in Paradise. But, this article is not about either of those experiences, but one I recently had in which, while I was in the middle of that ethereal semi-dreamlike state, I realized something that had never dawned on me before. In my mind, I was seeing a video-like stream of every miraculous event that has taken place in my life, both since I became a believer in Yeshua and even those before. During these moments, I was reminded of the uncountable miracles that G-D has worked and weaved throughout my life and I realized for the first time that not one of these miracles happened in a way that I expected.
That is not to say that I didn’t expect miracles to happen. My life has been filled to overflowing with miracles. Yet, somehow in the middle of simply being thankful for the supernatural blessings that have taken place in my life, I never really stopped to evaluate the actual miracles themselves. That morning laying in my bed in that time between awake and asleep, G-D lead me through a road map of His miraculous intervention into my life. It was almost as if I was in one of those intelligence headquarters with large screen monitors on every wall. As I looked around, I saw two screens side by side that were playing events from my life. One screen showed my plans for G-D’s supernatural intervention and the other showed His actual intervention. Not once in any of those experiences did G-D choose my plan to bring about a miracle. No, each and every time His intervention was both unexpected and far better than anything outcome that I could have imagined or planned.
We see this over and over in the Scriptures, yet for some reason I never put two and two together before in this way. I have known and quoted Isaiah 55:8-9 many, many times:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Yet for some reason even though I mentally knew this truth, it wasn’t until I was shown the evidence in this dream-state that I understood. G-D isn’t looking for us to direct Him what to do in our prayers, “Do this! Do that! Give this! Heal that!”
No. G-D simply wants us to submit our situations into His hands. That is what true prayer is. Prayer isn’t telling G-D what we want Him to do because He doesn’t know or needs our advice and instructions. Prayer is realizing that He already knows what to do. Prayer is not to remind G-D; it is to remind us.
I learned that the reason I was surprised by the unexpected way G-D worked miraculously in my life was because I was spending so much time telling Him what I wanted, so when He didn’t do things the way I planned and instructed Him to do them, I was surprised by the unexpected outcome.
One of my new goals is to never again be surprised by the unexpected miracles that G-D works in my life because it is my goal to never again try to plan the outcome for Him.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
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My book – Lifted Up – available on Amazon
We are very excited about the launching of my new book: “Lifted Up”. It is now available on Amazon as a book and in Kindle edition. Here is the introduction that appears when you go to Amazon to order it. We hope you will read the book and pass it on to whomever you know who would be blessed to read it.
Eddie Santoro was excited with all that was going on in his life as pastor of a thriving and growing congregation in the heart of the city of Jerusalem. Feeling fulfilled and full of energy, he and his wife Jackie were thrilled to be spiritual parents—even spiritual grandparents—to so many in these days. Then suddenly, three years ago, deadly cancer exploded in his brain. The doctors declared a certain and quick death. But God declared life! And Eddie not only survived, he was transformed and prepared to overcome the next battle.
LIFTED UP is more than the incredible account of Eddie Santoro’s trials and victory over multiple cancers, it is the inspirational testimony of being lifted up and transformed. It is the story of learning how to overcome through the power of love and the Word of God.
In this book, you will discover the truth of this same overcoming power that you can apply in your life. Trials and tribulations are difficult to face, but the authority and power that is ours through our faith and our love of Yeshua knows no boundary. In every situation, Jesus is the victor! As you read and apply these truths, your life will be also be transformed and victory will be yours.
We thank you for helping me spread the news of the availability of the book.
Please keep me in prayer this week as we get the results of the MRI on Wednesday, June 20. We will be sending out another update then to let you all know the news.
This article originally appeared in Zion’s Glory Update, June 15, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Eddie and his wife, Jackie, are senior leaders of Ahavat Yeshua Messianic Congregation in Jerusalem and also serve in positions of senior leadership in Revive Israel.
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A calling of separation
What do you think about when you hear the name Sampson? Many of us, when we think about Sampson, think about a strong, talented guy who fell asleep on the lap of the wrong girl. The next think he knew, he was blind and weak and grinding wheat for his enemies to eat. This is not the destiny God had planned for him. But he was indeed gifted.
When we take a deeper look at Sampson’s life we see that his relationship with Delilah was not the first thing that caused him to become defiled, but the last. See, Sampson was called by God to be a Nazarite. A Nazarite could not partake in anything that came from the vine. Not from the seed, not from the skin not even vinegar that was made from wine. A Nazarite could not come into contact with any dead thing not even for the sake of burying a close relative. Coming into contact with the dead would defile the Nazarite and the vow would be broken. The last thing that separated a Nazarite was that they could not cut their hair. Having long hair was a visible sign that a man had taken a Nazarite vow and many times, it was only for a period of time.
Early on in Sampson’s life, he was confronted by a lion which he ripped apart with the strength that God had given him. But later on, he passed by that same way and he saw that some bees had built a hive in the carcass of the lion and there was honey. Sampson was hungry, so he ate that honey from inside the dead lion and he broke his vow.
Then, he took a philistine girl to be his wife. He celebrated his marriage for one whole week and there were thirty Philistines who celebrated with them. Now, the Bible doesn’t say that he drank wine during the ceremony, but it was customary for a person to drink wine in celebrations and it is hard to imagine that the Philistine’s would have understood that Sampson could not enjoy a drink of wine because of a vow he had made.
Then, years later, Sampson broke his final Nazarite vow when he gave Delilah the secret to his strength and she cut his hair while he slept in her lap. When he awoke to her cries that his enemies were upon him, he thought he go out as always in the strength of the Lord and take on his enemies but the Lord had departed from him. And his shaven head was a visible sign that his anointing has come to an end.
“The Philistine’s took him and put out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters and he became a grinder in the prison”– Judges 16:21.
In the end, what is it we can learn from Sampson’s life? Here was a guy who had giftings and a calling and an anointing to deliver the children of Israel from the hand of their oppressor. But he did not value the calling to be visibly separate from those around him and it ended up causing his blindness and his early death.
God has a calling on our lives as well and we have to recognize that His calling is contingent on our separation from the world around us. We cannot live like the world and walk in God’s anointing- it will not work. So, choose this day the calling of God in your life. Make a commitment to not fulfill the short term satisfactions of this life but to enter into the eternal satisfaction of knowing that you have been a good and faithful servant.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, June 11, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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Commentary on Parashat Korach
It is interesting to note that some of the men leading the rebellion alongside Korah were the descendants of Reuben. Recall that Reuben was the oldest of Jacob’s sons, which meant that people looked up to him and revered him as the first-born. Coming from this line surely carried some prestige, especially considering how important the first-born male was to the Hebrew culture of that time! During this time in the desert, perhaps they found themselves somewhat humiliated by being put “under” Moses and Aaron. Wounded pride can lead us to do desperate things if not surrendered to the Lord…
In questioning the authority and position of Moses and Aaron, Korah and his crew were in essence questioning God’s authority; they questioned His right to put those whom He chose in the specific tasks that He desired. Basically, no one was satisfied with the roles that God had chosen! Moses recognized this rebellious spirit within the Levites and challenged it when he said in verse 9:
…is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them.
Their pride, jealousy, and greed blinded them to what God had given them, which brought about dissatisfaction; they allowed their flesh to take over, desiring more and more, which led them to question God Himself. Their sin was rooted in their pride and rebellious attitude towards the Lord.
On the other hand, we see Moses’s humility when he falls on his face before the Lord (verse 4), making himself low, and grieving for this shameful act. Moses knew very well that he was in such a high position only because of the Lord, and not at all because of himself. Moses also demonstrated the way to handle such situations, not by taking matters into his own hands, but rather allowing God to deal with it:
And Moses said, “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing.”
At the end of the chapter, we see the severe consequences of rebelling against God. The earth “opened its mouth and swallowed them [Korah and crew] and all that belonged to them.” Not only that, but the Scriptures tell us that they, “…went alive into She’ol” which is the Hebrew word for the place of eternal separation from the Father, where there is much suffering.
My dear brothers and sisters, as we have already learned, Moses is a picture of someone greater to come. Moses was a mediator between the people of Israel and God. As we learned from this story, men questioned Moses’ authority. In fact, those very men ended up in She’ol and suffered eternal separation from God. The correlation between Moses and Messiah Yeshua is undeniable!
This is a timely reminder to keep humble hearts before the Lord, and always seek His perspective. Our lives will be richer because of it!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.