Family Ties

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Good morning, Church. It’s good to see everybody out this morning. Thank you for being here and choosing to worship with us here at Alpine Bible Church. Thankful that you’re here. I’ve met many visitors this morning and thankful that you’re here and chosen to to give Alpine Bible a try and hope that you find it a warm and welcome place to to worship and and that you might hear from God today. That’s that’s our goal always and first and foremost. So thank you. So we’ve been in a series here. We just started last week, the family series. I guess I should have said welcome family, right? Because our church is family and that’s what God has has desired for his church and for us as family. Is the marriage, the institution of the marriage for us to be unified and family. And so we’re just talking about these that concept the next several weeks. And as Pastor Nathaniel touched on last week, we’ve laid the foundation of what the institution of marriage and the family, what God’s designed for that and his purpose and intention for that. And so today, we’re just going to kind of get into the practicality of that, work that out. What does it mean to work towards unity within the family? And this morning, we’re going to be getting into Psalm 128. So if you have your Bible with you, go ahead and turn to your Bible, to Psalm 128. But as you turn there, think about it.

We have lots of people or means in which we can get advice on raising up a family. Right. Just a quick Google search will do that. In fact, I did that last night. And listen to this wise advice given by Erma Bombeck. She was a columnist a few years ago, a newspaper columnist. She said this. It’s very wise. Take take a very I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms, and that sign says, check out time is in 18 years. Right. So that’s pretty good, right? No. All right. And I found another one. This one isn’t about raising children, per se, but I just thought it was funny I wanted to share with you. Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children. That’s pretty good. I like that one. That gives me my excuse of why I’m insane most of the time. Right. But. That’s all fun and games. But but what? We’re here, and I hope you’re here this morning to find out about what Scripture says. What does the Lord say about family and building unity within the family and the importance of that? And so that’s what we’re kind of going to dig in to this morning. And in Psalm 128, we have this psalm and the psalmist paints this picture of a family that is walking in the fear of the Lord and is blessed.

So Psalm 128 says this. There it is. Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord. Who walks in his ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy. And it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house. Your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold. Thus, shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. And so we see this picture painted to us by the psalmist of this family. All right. And so we’re just going to this morning kind of dig into this and understand this what what the psalmist is trying to say, what God through his inspired writer, is saying to us and what we can glean from it. And the key to this Psalm. And if you see in your notes, in your handouts, you’ll see that the topic of fear of the Lord is mentioned quite often in Scripture. And so it’s an important concept that we we need to grasp and understand as we strive to glorify God in our families and understand what does it mean. And there’s lots of different definitions. I’m sure if we ask everybody in this room, we’re all going to come up with several different definitions. But we just want to discuss like a working definition today what that means. If it’s key to having a blessed family to walking and there’s contentment and peace and joy and the family, according to the psalmist, the fear of the Lord.

What does that mean? That’s what we’re going to try to get in today. And what I first want to do is make sure we understand what it’s not. All right. I have a my dad is a he was a love to hike growing up. He was every weekend was going out in the mountains in Sierra Nevadas. And after I graduated high school, he went and moved to Colorado and he hiked all the 14,000 foot peaks. He just he loved to hike. And he had a hiking buddy named Don. And Don was a very educated man. He had a PhD. And I think a couple of he’s just really, really smart guy. And so during these long hikes, you know, multi day hikes and stuff, they had a lot of time to talk. And that’s that’s good man bonding and all that stuff. Right. But they got to be able to talk just beyond the small talk. They got to talk about things that matter. And one of their conversations one day while they were hiking came across, you know, this man is very educated and he’s like, you know, tells my dad, you know, I’ve studied every world religion and I’ve examined them up and down with my reason. And and I have concluded that there is no God. I’m an atheist. And so they had that conversation. And and I think my dad would lean towards agnostic, atheist, you know, after I came to know the Lord, I had an opportunity to share my faith with him.

And he pretty much shut that door pretty quickly. Didn’t really want to talk about it, right. And so he was kind of leaning in that, as far as I knew, was what he projected. That’s that’s what where he stood. But one day I think it was the next summer they were hiking up into the Sierra Nevadas, up above Timberline. And if you don’t know what that means, that’s that’s there’s a point in the elevation where the tree stopped growing. Right? You get up towards the peak, there’s no trees, there’s no protection, there’s no vegetation really, that’s up above timberline. So they were hiking up above there and everything was fine. And all of a sudden this big old thunder cloud rolls in and lightning just starts going off all around them. My dad said there was so much like electricity in the air, like their hair was standing up in the back of their heads and it was crazy and there was no place for protection. And so they they just they had nothing to do other than just crouch down as low as they can. And they said they were just so fearful that they were shaking and they were just kind of looking at each other, just waiting for the bolt to come that was going to take them out.

Right. But my dad’s story and thankfully that didn’t happen. But my dad’s story is, is that they’re looking at each other, just kind of shaking, just going, wow, we might die here. My my dad’s friend Don says, Pat, you know, I’m starting to rethink this atheist thing. That imminent time, that near death experience brought him to the faith. The fact that I wonder if I’m wrong. What if there is a creator? What if there is an absolute moral being and who I am held accountable to? Right. And he was on the precipice of potential death and he was driven to that point. Is that the fear of the Lord? Well, what is it? Well, what it’s not is the fear of the Lord is not something that paralyzes us. Okay. As believers and followers of Christ, the fear of the Lord shouldn’t be something that stifles us and makes us fearful of what God’s going to do and punish us and chastise us with. That’s not the fear of the Lord. Scripture speaks about and we have an example of that here in excuse me in Matthew 25 says Then he who received the one talent. This is the parable of the talents. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this. There’s three individuals. The Lord comes. Their Lord comes and they He distributes talents to each of them and says, Now go out and and increase my my investment here.

And so the first two go out and they leverage those talents and they provide an increase for their Lord. But this last one has a different outcome. He says. Then he who received the one talent came and said, Lord, I need you to be a hard man reaping where you have not sown and gathering, where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid. And I went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours? And of course, his lord was not happy with him. The other two got. Well done. My good and faithful servant. This one did not. He was judged for his disobedience and his command. But that’s not the fear of the Lord. This guy was so afraid of his Lord that he shrunk down. That’s not what the fear of the Lord is in Scripture of what He calls us to be. And we get a picture of what it truly is here in Jeremiah. Jeremiah is a prophet in the Old Testament. He’s a parallel with Habakkuk. We just got out of a series of looking into Habakkuk, right? And it’s this time of judgment on the children of Israel and the Old Testament and God sending his prophets to warn that impending invasion is coming by the Chaldeans and Jeremiah is part of that. But in as the story of God’s redemption story has always shown us, that there’s always promise of hope in the future and restoration, even in the midst of judgment.

And the Prophet Jeremiah is speaking of this promised future restoration here in this passage. But look at what he says here. He says, They shall be my people and I will be their God. Then I will give them one heart and one way that they may fear me forever for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from doing them good. But I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from me. The fear of the Lord that is found in Scripture is a fear that will drive you to God, not away from him. It is cause you to be responsible and reach out and responsible action, not breed idleness in our lives. It will cause you to reach out to him and. And not pull in and and be afraid in that response. Just a couple months ago, Pastor Nathaniel gave that great illustration, I think, of what the fear of the Lord looks like. He said he was as a kid and on the East Coast in Florida or somewhere he was involved. It was in the middle of a hurricane and there was wind and destruction going out all about him. Right. But all of a sudden it became really calm and he found himself in the eye of the hurricane.

And so he went out and he was just like, wow, it’s completely calm, what’s going on? But what he noticed was all the birds were there. All the birds knew in this hurricane, they instinctively knew not to flee or stay out into the destruction, but they knew to flee towards the center, to pursue, go in towards the center. And that’s what the fear of the Lord is. We understand His holiness and justness. And what we do is we don’t flee from him, but we run to him for safety and protection. And shelter. That’s the fear of the Lord that is given in Scripture. And according to Psalm 128, if we desire to have a family that glorifies God and has these marks of contentment and unity and joy, we must start with this key of the fear of the Lord. So what does that mean to us today? What is the fear of the Lord mean, practically speaking, to us? I as a biblical counselor, I deal with this because it’s such a key aspect. And again, it mentioned the fear of the Lord is mentioned so many times in Scripture. It’s very key for us to understand and and work with this this phrase and understand what it means. And so the working definition that I have for you this morning is this To have the fear of the Lord is to have an ever increasing realization that God does not just play a part within our environment.

He’s not just a portion or a part or on a particular day. He’s not part of that, just a portion of the environments we live. Rather, he is our environment. In which we live. What do I mean by that? God is our environment in which we live. The definition of the environment is the surroundings or conditions in which a person or people live and operate. The surroundings or conditions in which a people live and operate. What is the fear of the Lord? It’s the ever increasing understanding that God is our environment. And where do I get this from? Well, Scripture, of course. Scripture declares that we are to do all things for the glory of God. Here in Colossians, chapter one, the Apostle Paul writes. And describes for us. Our savior. God and flesh who chose to enter his creation, to come and die as a man, being 100% God in our account for all who believe that we might be reconciled and saved and restored to our Creator. Paul writes this An amazing passage and description of our Savior. In verse 15, he says, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn, over all creation. For by him, all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. Powers. All things were created through him and for him.

It’s for the glory of God is what this creation is all about, and that is the environment in which us as Christ followers, must come to, to a better and increasing understanding of what we’re about. And specifically, as we’re talking today, what are our families about? Our families are a means in which we find ourselves in and the environment in which we can glorify God. Our families are created to glorify God, and that is what he desires us to do. John Piper has that famous saying, right. God is glorified when we are most satisfied in him. And so as we begin to understand the fear of the Lord, the ever increasing awareness that God is our environment, it was created for His glory. As we begin to pursue that and live that as the Psalm 128 indicates, right, we are beginning to cooperate with what our original design is all about. And in that we find joy and peace and mutual respect and unity and all those things because we’re cooperating with the spirit. The salvation story is not just a ticket to heaven. It is a beginning in which God desires to do a work within us to transform and restore our brokenness inside of ourselves and in the brokenness and restoration of relationships around us that he might be glorified in that. That’s the gospel. And an amazing thing. So the fear of the Lord working definition for us to be applicable is that it’s all about God and His glory.

And we have an A, we have a choice to live for him and for His glory and to pursue those things in the fear and the ever increasing awareness of he’s our reality. And as we do that, we glorify him. And that’s what God desires from us. So as we get back to Psalm 128, we kind of dive in what this psalm is all about. Psalm 128, verse three says, Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine. In the very heart of your house. Your children are like olive plants all around your table. All right. So that’s kind of. Different language, Right. What does he mean by that? Well, the first thing I want to do before we get into the olive plants and what that entails. The first thing I want to point your attention to this morning is this Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house. According to God’s scripture, mothers play a vital and important role in our homes. Look at the description he’s painting of the mother. The very heart of the house. The vine in which provides sustenance to the family. It is so important for us to understand, and especially as men, to understand the vital role that our wives play in our family. And we need to support them in that. And I must admit, as husbands and I know as our children, we don’t acknowledge you mothers and the vital role that you play.

Right. Look at that. She provides she’s the heart of the home. She provides sustenance, such a very important role. And we don’t acknowledge that. But I’m just here today to tell you that your father in heaven does. He understands the vital role you as mothers play. And as fathers, we we should strive to support our mothers in that right. It’s paints this picture, this scripture, along with others, paints this picture of complementarianism, right? It’s the idea that we are completely equal, both male and female. But God has a chosen role and function. We have different functions and roles in the family. We have other scriptures that declare that the husband should be the spiritual leader of the home. Yet we have this picture that shows that mother, the mom is the central hub, the heart of the home, and it’s complementarian. It’s one flesh working together to pursue God and the fear of God. And as we cooperate with God’s description here and we see our roles and we faithfully pursue them, and as we pursue our Lord, this picture of someone 28 begins to work ourselves out in our home and in our families. All right. And again, we notice here in the third verse that says, notice children are likened to olive plants. It’s kind of weird. What does that mean? Well, it’s because we’re kind of disconnected from the historical writing of the time.

In the biblical times, the olive plant was a very valuable asset, right? If you just look in the Bible alone, the olive plant was used for food. It was used for illumination. The oil was put in lamps. It was used for consecration of religious workers, cosmetic purposes, medicinal purposes, religious ceremonies and a commodity of exchange. And so too, the Old Testament reader. It was very well understood what was being said here about the olive plant. It’s a very valuable asset. God. God. Holds our children as very valuable and they’re very valuable assets that he’s given to us. And so that’s what the psalmist is painting here. We are to view our children as valuable to God. And notice also that he says they’re all of plants. They’re not all of branches. We think of the family tree and we have one big tree and the branches are all sticking off from the main trunk. Right? And then our children are hanging off. But according to the psalmist here, he’s showing us that they’re plants of themselves. They they exist in and of themselves. There’s going to come a day when those plants will be planted in their own orchard and will begin to bear fruit on their own away from us. And that is the picture that God is showing us, that the end game, the end game is for our children to leave and to sprout roots in their own orchard and begin to produce fruit to the glory of God.

And so as we coalesce around the table, we are striving to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord with the end game and knowing that one day they will be out on their own bearing fruit. I notice further. The psalmist is showing us that it’s these families, these olive plants are sitting around your table. This text says. Right. What does that paint for us? It’s a picture of unity and contentment in the family. When he says your children are sitting around your table. The implication is, is that you’re there. You’re at the table. Your present. You’re connected with your family just as the mother is the the vine that provides a sustenance. So should the dead. It’s a picture of unity and contentment. And that’s what God desires for us. We must be present. My mom made this very stark reality in my life just Friday. She helps us out on Fridays. When my wife works, she’ll come home and come to our house and meet my children as they get off the school bus. And she’ll kind of take care of the homework and stuff while I’m at work and she’ll fix dinner and just about the time dinner is ready, I’ll come home because I just just kind of happens that way. I don’t know. And right. So I come in Friday night and I walk into the house, Dinner’s ready.

And Mom’s my mom’s dishing out the plates and getting everybody around the table, and one of the kids grabs the plate and starts walking away. And she’s like, No, no, no, no. You’re a family. You need to eat as a family. I’m like, Yeah, yeah. We need to eat as a family. Spiritual leader of the home. Right, Right. It was a good reminder for me. And thinking back, I know where that comes from. Growing up, my dad never sat at the table. He never had we never had those those family times that the around sitting around the dinner table exchanging, you know, conversation and all that stuff, he was always off eating. And I know that kind of annoyed her. Right. And so it was just a good reminder what it means. You need to be connected there, sitting around your table. You need to be present in your family. So why is this unity so important? Well, it’s because Scripture declares it to be so. This is John chapter 17. This is our our Lord and savior on the eve of his crucifixion. And he’s praying to the father. And he’s not only praying for the disciples, but as we enter into to verse 20 here, we see that he’s praying for all believers. Right. And so we can get a glimpse of what Jesus, our Lord finds really important because he’s praying to the Father on our behalf.

And so what does he find important? I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who believe in me through their word. That they all may be one. As you father are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us. That the world may believe that you sent me. And the glory which you gave me. I have given them that they may be one just as we are one. And I in them and you and me that they may be made perfect in one. And that the world may know that you have sent me. And I’ve loved them as you have loved me. So what is the differentiating characteristic that Christ is praying for that will show the world that we’re different, that our mark is different? It’s unity. We may be one. And God desires our families to be one and unified. And that doesn’t happen in and of itself. It doesn’t happen in the natural state because of the fall. That doesn’t happen in the church setting. God’s desire for us is to be unified. But we have to work at it. Right. That’s what he desires. And what is this unity look like in the reality and the practical playing out of this unified? We know that God desires for it. Christ is praying it for us. What does it look like? Well, the apostle Paul kind of gives us a picture of what that looks like.

Here in Colossians, chapter three says. But above all, these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection and let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which you are also called. Here we are again. You were also called in one body and be thankful. Now, notice this. He’s he’s he’s describing, I think, this this picture of God being our environment and the increasing reality in our own lives of understanding that that’s true. God is our environment. So he says, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, Singing with Grace in your hearts to the Lord. In verse 17 says, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks to God, the Father through him. So I hope you can see what Paul’s stressing is, is that we must see the pursuit of God’s glory in our family. He’s talking with the church. But if you’ll read on in verse 18, he immediately goes in to the roles of the family members. Right. And so it’s this unity is supposed to be shown in love and and giving of forgiving one another and putting on meekness as the scriptures passages before verse 14 talk about that is what Unity looks like. But. That’s the hardest part, right? We’re given this example of perfect unity.

But we all know if we’re honest, that’s not reality in our lives. We had this video start at the beginning of my sermon. Right. Picture perfect. All these beautiful families and we can all get gussied up and look real good and we can pose and have that perfect picture taken of our family. But in reality, we’re all in process, are we not? And so as I move on to these next slides, I just want to reaffirm and make sure you understand that this transformation process, that the restoration of the gospel is the source in which we tap into, in which we live in the fear of the Lord, in which our hearts are transformed and which our bodies or our our families are transformed. It’s this wonderful news of grace, unmerited favor extended to us. By our Father through Jesus Christ. Unmerited salvation is not gained by our merit, but is a gift given to us by God. The hardest thing for Legalists like me, is to then understand that transformation and into towards the holiness and all those things are not done in my own power, but continue on in the enabling grace that God bestows to His believers. It’s transformation from the inside out. And so as I share this list of things that we need to do, there are ideas that might encourage you as we close today that I might encourage you to to work towards unity and build bonds in your family.

Understand, it’s through the power of grace given to us. And it’s not doing these things. I don’t want you to be beat down and say, I got to do better. I got to know. Turn to the Lord. Remember the key, the fear of the Lord ever increasing reality that God is not only an environment, but He’s given us means in which we can overcome the old self and be renewed in the new creature of Christ as declared in the Scripture. So what does it look like? Building bonds. The first and most important, I think, is working on communication. Healthy communication. Okay. Ephesians Chapter four says this Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth. But what is good and necessary for edification that it may impart grace to the hearers and that crazy if we had that just as like a banner in the middle of our home, like that’s what we stood for, that no word would be used to tear down. But every word that comes out of our mouth is used to build up and to edify. That we are not to use our words to slay people because they have hurt us and hurt them in return and retaliate. But we use them to speak grace to them. That’s what God desires from our words as Christ’s followers and in the family. And if we play that in the middle of our home.

I know my family for sure would be drastically different. And so I’m asking by God’s grace, that that will be more evident. An ever increasing reality in my home and my family. And so other things getting beyond small talk. Again, alluding to the fact that you need to be present. We need to talk about more than just the weather and the food and what they ate at the cafeteria that day. But what’s going on in their hearts? What’s their troubles? What’s those things? And so sometimes we have to actively just shut the iPhone off and the TV off and be present for our families that we can get beyond the small talk. May we have a thing at our house? We do. A lot of times at the dinner table. We call it the highs and lows. And we go around the table and we tell each other everyone gets to tell us the high of their day and the low that they experienced that day. But that’s a great provides and a great insight into the hearts of our children, what they’re struggling with. And so we’re getting trying to get beyond the small talk when we do that and we’re trying to get real and authentic and what’s going on. And that builds bonds in the family, avoiding overtalk Again, words are used to build up and edify, not to tear down. We can’t dominate the conversation and be talking and and what I say goes.

That’s not the picture that’s painted for us. We need to become good listeners. James Chapter 119 says, Be quick to hear and slow to speak. Right to have healthy communication. We need to learn to listen. I’ve been guilty of that, where my daughter is talking to me, but I’m checking out my Facebook page at the same time by listening. She sees that what’s more important in her eyes, my Facebook or her? What’s going on in her life. We must learn to be good listeners and working to build trust with one another. So important, we’re getting in to the teenage years and in our household of our children are. And honestly, we’re scared to death. Right. It’s it’s it’s a new chapter for us. But what we’re trying to do is develop this bond and relationship of trust with one another. And so our discipline no longer is you’ve violated the rule. Therefore, here’s your consequence. We’re trying to we understand that eventually they’re going to be out of our house. And and as they grow, the goal is to give them more and more trust and more and more freedom. They want freedom. Do they not? Right. But they’re their own plants. And so as they progressively get older, we need to give them more freedom. But what we’re trying to establish now is that the freedom only comes when we have a trusting relationship with one another.

And so when you are dishonest with us, it means that we have a trust issue now. And I know you want freedom. And if you really want freedom, you need to have a trusting relationship with your parents. We need to know what’s going on with you and vice versa. And so they see the bigger picture now. All right. If I’m in this trusting relationship with my parents, that’s when the freedoms will come. We must work on building trust with one another. It’d be nice just to be able to keep them protected for the rest of their lives. That’d be great. But that’s not what God is calling us to do as parents. And that’s just a few other ones. Building bonds, building family unity with Christ at the center. So important for us as Christ followers to understand it’s it’s about the glory of God. And with that, the case, Christ should be at the center of all things. Commitment to Christ should bring the family not only to Christ but to each other. And that’s the amazing thing. I’ve seen it work in my own family and other families that I’ve counseled as we all in the family pursue a unified path to try to worship God and keep him at the center and then working on that vertical relationship. The horizontal relationships between us just are so much easier. Because Christ is being pursued. Christ is our environment in that.

And so the bickering and all those things, yes, they’re still there, but Christ must be at the center. And so as you begin to that, you build a bond with Christ as we pursue him, but we also build a bond with one another as we’re walking together in pursuit of him worshiping God as a family and your home as well as in church. What are you doing to put Christ at the center? Is it just church or are there other times in which worship the worshiping of God is happening? Making the Bible not your feelings. The standard for personal and family living right so much easier when everyone’s playing under the same rule book. And everyone is putting themselves under the authority of Scripture and the authority of our Creator as a means in which we can know how we’re supposed to live and treat one another, praying regularly for every member of your family and your family as a whole. These are all ways in which you can build unity within your family. I have many more, and at the end of the last slide here, you’re going to be able to see email address, Alpine Bible counseling at if you desire more resources as far as building unity and bonds, feel free to reach out to me. If you see me here after the service or at the email, send me an email. I’ll be more than happy to give those to you.

But just in closing, let’s remember the key passage in Psalm 128. Thus, shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord? What does that mean to you? An ever increasing reality. It should mean or hopefully it will mean an ever increasing reality that God is our environment and our environment exists to glorify Him. You know, my my dad, like I said, he wasn’t very religious. And honestly, growing up, he had a really hard time expressing his feelings. I know he loved us, but we couldn’t get beyond the small talk. He was he was there in other ways. He was there at every football game. Didn’t miss a one or all three of us boys and all those things. But we, we, you know, we we crave that. I remember craving that as a child to have a deeper relationship. You know, the birds and the bees conversation never happened. Those those other things that a child needs never really happened with my father. And about a year and a half ago, we lost him to cancer. And. It was a very sad time, but there was also a blessing mixed in the midst because when he found out he got sick, he became radically transformed in his views of his creator. He knew for a fact that he had an imminent date with his creator. And that changed him drastically. He was in the hospital in Houston and he got up and went down to the chapel and he he asked for a Bible.

He’s never picked up a Bible from his own accord in his life. Right. And the Gideons gave him this one. My mom gave this to me. The Gideons had these for for them. And they’re in the chapel in the hospital. Thank God for the Gideons. But my dad picked us up and he he began to read. He began to seek after God. He began to understand that he was created and he was going to be held accountable. And he began to pursue him. And so what I see in that is a gracious gift given to my father of the fear of the Lord. He was not cowering or didn’t get hardened towards God. Begin to pursue God and begin to seek him and begin to desire to understand him. And I’m so grateful for that. And I hope he found him. I hope the Lord found him. And I and I have confidence that he has. And you know that the last couple of weeks, just before he died, we thought it was going to be like the next day. So my mom called, said this time. And so we just had this this very sweet time where we flew in because we thought he was just had hours, if not days. But when we came, he rebounded. He, you know, God gave him that this, this gracious time where he he was he was better for a little bit.

You know, his kids were here and the next thing you know, he’s waking me up. He’s like, let’s go for a walk. Right. My dad, the hiker, he he wanted to hike. And it was just the sweetest thing because it was there was no extended family. It was just us five again, just my brothers and my mom and my dad. And it was some of the sweetest time because of this transformation that has happened. He knew he his time was limited. He wanted to spend that time with his kids and his wife. He didn’t want to talk about the weather anymore. Conversations during those next few days were much more meaningful. Nothing was left unsaid. And I’m so grateful for that. Dad ate at the table with us and we had dinner. Probably the most precious thing is we were just in the living room and he just stopped and he said, Let’s pray. He led us in family prayer. It’s never happened. And I’m convinced it was a gracious gift to the fear of the Lord given to my father by God, the Father. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that that wonders what life would have been like if that was the the norm instead of just that short, precious time. What what would be different if we had that opportunity? And I can’t go there for long because that’s not the reality.

I’m thankful for those that precious time that we had and we were able to to be that family unit that I know my brothers always longed for and I long for, for that short amount of time. But I can’t dwell there. What I can do is take that as a lesson. I have children now. I have been given the responsibility to be the Father. God has called me to be to them, to be their. To be present. And the reality that, my God, my dad was able to get that precious gift and we had that time. That was a gracious gift given to my father. But the reality is, is none of us here today are guaranteed tomorrow. And so if God gives me the grace to live another day, what am I going to do? What am I going to live for? Am I going to live in the ever increasing reality that God is in our environment and He desires me to glorify Him in the ways I treat my family and raise them up and lead them. Mom, if you’re here today, God desires that you would glorify him by being the heart of the family and the sustenance in which the hub in which the family unit runs most days. Glorify him in that.

Family Matters

Family Feud, Part 1