parenting

End-of-Life Regrets.

 

Now King David was old and advanced in years. And although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm. Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king and be in his service. Let her lie in your arms, that my lord the king may be warm.” So they sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The young woman was very beautiful, and she was of service to the king and attended to him, but the king knew her not.

Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest. And they followed Adonijah and helped him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and Nathan the prophet and Shimei and Rei and David's mighty men were not with Adonijah.

Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or Solomon his brother. – 1 Kings 1:1-10 ESV

In the Hebrew Bible, the books of 1 and 2 Kings were one book and were considered by the ancients to be a continuation of the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew text, compiled sometime around 250 B.C., the single book of the Kingdoms, as it was known, was divided into two books and called 3 Kingdoms and 4 Kingdoms. They considered our 1 and 2 Samuel to be 1 and 2 Kingdoms. Hundreds of years later, with Jerome’s Vulgate (Latin) translation of the Hebrews text, the books were changed to 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. But in spite of all the name changes, the common belief remained the same: The books of 1 and 2 Kings were closely clinked to the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, continuing the narrative that began with King Saul and ended with King David. 

With the opening of 1 Kings, we fast-forward and find David advanced in years. He is in poor health and requires round-the-clock nursing care. Long gone are the days of battle. David would no longer accompany his mighty men as they faced the enemies of Israel. Like every other human being, David was facing the inevitable reality of old age and death. This once-great leader was now weak and coming to the end of his long and very fruitful life.

The author provides us with an interesting piece of information that, at first glance, seems superfluous and unnecessary.

…no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm. So his advisers told him, “Let us find a young virgin to wait on you and look after you, my lord. She will lie in your arms and keep you warm.” – 1 Kings 1:1-2 NLT

These seems like an odd treatment for David’s condition, but it was actually quite common in those days. To keep an elderly person warm, they would place a healthy person in bed with them. The body heat of the younger person, trapped under the blankets, would provide the warmth the elderly person’s body could no longer produce. So, we should not automatically see this as something odd or as an indication that something sexual was going on. In fact, the text tells us that, while the girl was very beautiful, “the king had no sexual relations with her” (1 King 1:4 NLT). But it is hard not to make the connection between this period of David’s life and the earlier years when his sexual drive had gotten him into trouble. We know well the story of David and Bathsheba. But we should also remember that David had many wives. His love for women would cause him great trouble throughout his lifetime. But now, at the end of his life, David spends his days lying in bed with a young, beautiful woman, receiving no pleasure from her, other than the warmth of her body.  

But it is not only David’s physical powers that have diminished. As king, his old age and incapacity are going to weaken his ability to rule. Everyone knows that his days are numbered, and there will be those who see this as an opportunity to seize the throne for themselves. One such individual was Adonijah the son of Haggith. Adonijah, whose name means “Yahweh is Lord”, was David’s fourth son, born to him by Haggith, one of David’s many wives. Adonijah was not in line to be the natural successor to the throne, but that did not stop him from coveting the position and the power that came with it. Taking a page out of the playbook of his older, deceased brother, Absalom, Adonijah “provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him” (1 Kings 1:5 NLT). That is exactly what Absalom had done when he was preparing to take the kingship from David years earlier.

Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. – 2 Samuel 15:1 NLT

Adonijah decided the best way to become the next king was to act like one. And like his former older sibling, Adonijah was handsome. He had seen how far Absalom had gotten on his good looks and kingly image, so he saw no reason not to try. And the text provides us an important insight into Adonijah’s upbringing. “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?’” (1 Kings 1:6 NLT). Once again, we see David’s failure to discipline his children coming back to haunt him. David had been a great military ruler, but had neglected to lay down any laws at home. He was a reluctant disciplinarian who let his children get away with murder, both literally and figuratively. Adonijah had seen how David had dealt with Absalom’s murder of Amnon. David had done nothing. David had even allowed Absalom to return home from exile, refusing to discipline him in any way for what he had done. And David’s lack of discipline had led Absalom to rebel against him, forcing David to flee Jerusalem and give up his kingdom. David’s kingdom had been restored to him only when Joab had killed Absalom. So Adonijah, who had been raised in this atmosphere of unrestrained freedom and license, saw no reason not to take what he coveted. He was not used to being told no. He was accustomed to getting what he wanted. And he coveted the crown.

So, Adonijah began to gather together the group who would assist him in his coup. Among them would be Joab, David’s military commander, and Abiathar the priest. These two individuals probably saw this as an opportunity to secure their positions. Joab, who had disobeyed David and killed Absalom, knew he was not on David’s good side and would probably be demoted if Solomon became king. Abiathar had stood by and watched as David had given Zadok, another priest, increasing prominence in his administration. These two men, among others, cast their allegiance with Adonijah.

Adonijah held a banquet, inviting all his brothers, except Solomon, as well as all the royal officials of Judah. For obvious reasons, David’s mighty men were left off the invitation list. This banquet was designed to win over as many of David’s former allies as possible. Like Absalom, Adonijah was playing a carefully crafted public relations game, where he was gaining favor with all those who could help him gain the throne. And all of this should remind us of the warning given to David after his affair with Bathsheba.

The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. – 2 Samuel 12:7-10 NLT

Even in the closing days of David’s life, the prophecy would find itself being fulfilled. Yet another one of David’s sons would attempt to take the throne from him. Adonijah didn’t care that Solomon had been chosen by God to be the next king of Israel. He wanted the throne for himself. And all of David’s other sons, except for Solomon, would join Adonijah in his attempted coup. David, the man after God’s own heart, had raised a palace full of children who seemed to have no heart for God. Only Solomon would give evidence of having been raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and this was most likely due to his mother, Bathsheba, not his father. Like most men, who find themselves late in life, facing the prospect of their own death, David would long to leave a legacy of godly children. He would give his kingdom to know that his sons and daughters were godly and that his love for God would be carried on by his progeny. But David had already lost three sons due to sin and rebellion. Now he was facing the prospect of watching yet another son rebel against the expressed will of God and face the consequences. David would be remembered as a great king. But it isn’t hard to imagine that he would have preferred to have been remembered as a great father.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

An Unexpected Outcome.

Proverbs 19

“Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are an embarrassment and a public disgrace.” – Proverbs 19:26 NLT

A rebellious child. Nobody plans for one. But they also don't just happen. At the same time, there is no magic elixir or five-step strategy that will guarantee you won't have one. While we must do all we can to discipline our children while they are young and attempt to raise them in a godly atmosphere, there is no assurance that our children will never stray, never disappoint us or never become an embarrassment and a public disgrace. While our children are young and pliable, we must do all we can to teach them the truth of God's Word and model for them the life of wisdom and righteousness that God desires. But as our children grow older, they also grow increasingly more independent, until they reach that inevitable point at which they must determine and decide their own faith and what they are going to do with all that they have been taught. What happens at that point has as much to do with their personality and the way they're wired than anything else. Two children raised in the same home by the same parents and under the same set of rules can turn out completely different from one another – solely based on their personality profile.

Every day, countless parents ask the pain-filled, guilt-ridden questions, "Where did we go wrong?" "What could we have done differently?" "How could we have prevented this from happening?" No doubt, there are always answers to those questions. There are inevitably some things we could have done differently, better, or not at all. None of us are perfect parents. We make mistakes. We sin against our children. We overlook some sins in our children and overreact to others. We are inconsistent and non-perfect parents. But there are those times when our children turn out differently than we had hoped our dreamed, not so much because of our shortcomings as parents, but because of choices our children have made along the way. That is why Solomon cries out to his sons to listen to his instruction. He begs them to listen to what he is trying to tell them about wisdom and the life of righteousness. "If you stop listening to my instructions, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge" (Proverbs 19:27 NLT). "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life" (Proverbs 19:20 NLT).

But ultimately, every child must come to the point where they begin making their own choices and deciding what it is they believe. They must choose to listen to all that they have been taught and begin obeying it, not because they have to, but because they want to. Their faith must become a choice of the will, not an act of submission to their parents' wishes. Watching your son or daughter choose to reject the faith you have tried to instill in them is a painful thing to endure. It is gut-wrenching. The word "mistreat" in this verse is probably a poor choice to convey the thought behind the original Hebrew word. It means, "to devastate, ruin or violently destroy." This pictures a son or daughter who does some serious damage to their father. It could be financially, physically or even just emotionally. They devastate their father. Their actions bring him down, knocking the props out from under him. And they end up chasing or driving away their own mother. They want nothing to do with her. And as a result, they become an embarrassment and a public disgrace to their parents. How difficult it is to have to watch your children live ungodly lives in front of all who know you. Their lifestyle is in plain view of all and a constant reminder of what you could easily interpret as your own failure as a parent.

But at the end of the day, we must place our children in the hands of God. We are stewards, and not their saviors. We cannot make our children godly. We cannot make them righteous. All we can do is teach them the truth of God's Word and model for them the life of faith and godliness. But ultimately, they will have to choose for themselves. They are free-will creatures who must one day choose God and accept His will for their lives. Many do, but some do not. Like the father of the prodigal son in scripture, we must continue to pray for them, looking for their ultimate return. We must turn them over to God and ask Him to do what only He can do. Only He can soften their heart and convict them of their rebellion. Because their sin, while painful to us as parents, is ultimately against God, not us. They are rejecting Him, not us. And only God can restore them to a right relationship with Himself. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Father, parenting can be a blessing, but it can also be hard work. There are times when it is difficult and things don't turn out quite like we expected or wanted. Give us the faith to trust You even when things look dark and our children appear to have rejected us. Help us to recognize that their rebellion is against You and only You can restore them. Give us faith to trust You with the lives of our children, even when they don't turn out the way we planned. Amen.

Father Versus Friend.

Proverbs 19

“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” – Proverbs 19:18 NLT

As the father of six children, I know a fair amount about raising kids. Notice I didn't say I knew a lot about raising kids WELL. In thirty-plus years of parenting, I have made my fair share of mistakes, and I continue to make them. But one of the most significant battles I have faced as a father is the temptation to try and be my children's best friend, rather than their father. Here's how it looks. Any time I have let slide some less-than-acceptable behavior because I didn't want to run the risk of making them mad at me, I have traded in being a father for being a friend. When I have refused to punish their actions because I wanted to avoid the confrontation, I have made friendship more important than fatherhood. And every time I have made being a friend to my kids the driving factor in our relationship, I have done them a disservice. My kids don't need me to be their best buddy, they need me to be their dad. And sometimes that role requires me to discipline and train them. Turning a blind eye to their behavior is not love, it's a form of child abuse. When I do it, I am allowing them to act in such a way that is unacceptable and potentially harmful to their future. The Proverbs call us to discipline our children while there is still hope. In other words, there is a window of opportunity in which we can instill into our kids the kind of discipline that will ultimately manifest itself in self-discipline. We are called to teach and train them. We are commanded to encourage them and, at times, admonish them. The desire to have them like me is a dangerous one. It seems so worthwhile and right. But how many times have we sacrificed their future well-being because we refused to teach them the consequences of their actions? That kind of parenting can ruin their lives. It makes them selfish and self-centered. It teaches them that the world revolves around them. It encourages them to become self-focused children who grow up to become self-absorbed, narcissistic adults.

Coddling and caving into our kids now will only ruin them later. We are called to be their parents, not their best friends. That doesn't mean we don't have to worry about whether our children like us or not. But it does mean that we may have to run the risk of making them angry at times in order to help make them godly. Giving in to their every whim is not good for them, but simply bad parenting. Over the years, I have often found myself refusing to discipline my children just because I didn't want to be unpopular. I have stayed quiet when I should have spoken up. I have looked the other way when I have should have pointed out what I saw. I have avoided when I should have confronted. Parenting is a long-term commitment. If we focus on short-term gains, not only will we lose, so will our children. We need to view what we do as an investment that pays future dividends, not a quick-fix remedy that makes our kids happy for the moment. When we parent that way we aren't doing our kids any favors. While our children may not appreciate our discipline now, a day is coming when they will look back and recognize our efforts with gratitude not regret.

Father, help me be faithful to remain firm in my role as the disciplinarian of my kids. Don't let me sacrifice the long-term goals for short-term gains. But also make sure I always discipline in love, not anger. Amen.

The True Joy of Parenting.

Proverbs 23

"The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy..” – Proverbs 23:24-25 NLT

Having been blessed with six wonderful children, Julie and I can say from experience that parenting is filled with all kinds of joy. We have experienced so much laughter and shared so many memories. And we continue to do so, even as they each grow older and move out from under our wings. Our children have made us laugh and smile. They have brought us so much happiness over the last 30-plus years that it seems that the time has literally flown by. But the older I get, the more I realize that the greatest joy any child can bring their parent is to turn out well. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, we want to see our children succeed in life. We want to see them as mature, healthy, whole adults. But as a parent who loves Christ, I know that the standard for success is not up to me. It has little to do with degree plans, career paths, car models or the neighborhood my child ends up living in. No, I know that the measure of success has much more to do with the heart, and it directly tied to their relationship with God. As a 57-year-old father of six, I am far less interested that my children make a lot of money, live in beautiful homes, or make six-figure incomes. While the world may say that is the measure of success, I have seen far too many individuals who have all that and more, live miserable, unhappy lives. They have achieved worldly success and missed out on what was truly important. Which is why Solomon says, "The father of godly children has cause for joy" (Proverbs 23:24a NLT). That man has a reason to rejoice. His children have turned out well. They have chosen to seek after and serve God. And as a result, they are wise. Solomon qualifies what a godly child looks like. "What a pleasure to have children who are wise" (Proverbs 23:24b NLT). You see, godliness and wisdom go hand in hand, because wisdom is a gift from God. Over in Proverbs 2, Solomon makes it clear, "For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest" (Proverbs 2:6-6 NLT). A wise child is one who has sought God. He has recognized that true wisdom is only available from one place, God. He has learned to make the pursuit of godly wisdom his highest priority. And he learned it from watching his own parents. He has grown up in a home where his parents sought the wisdom of God on a daily basis and lived it out in their daily lives. It was a full-time pastime for them. And it resulted in wisdom. Because as they sought the wisdom of God FROM God, He placed it directly into their hearts. "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy" (Proverbs 2:10 NLT). God places His wisdom into our hearts and gives us the capacity to live wisely. We end up making wise, godly choices. We parent more wisely. We model marriage in front of our kids more wisely. We reveal a dependency on God that shows our children that this life is only lived in His strength and according to His terms, not ours.

As a parent, I long to see each of my children living wise, godly lives. While I want them to enjoy financial success, I know that it cannot bring them joy. No career will ever really fulfill them. No spouse will ever make them truly happy. If they lack the wisdom of God that allows them to see life through His eyes. So like Solomon, I plead with my children, "give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways" (Proverbs 23:26 NLT). But even as I type those words, I shudder, because it makes me realize how dangerous it is to invite your own children to follow YOUR ways. If they do as you do, will they end up wise? If they follow your example, will they become godly? Parenting is a great privilege and it carries tremendous responsibility. As the old saying goes, when it comes to raising children, "More is caught than taught." They are constantly watching us, evaluating us, and copying our behavior. My wife has a favorite saying she has used over the years, and it is usually directed at me when my behavior has been less than appropriate in front of our children. She simple says, "What parents do in moderation, children do to excess." In other words, those little acts of selfishness, indiscretion, inappropriateness, and ungodliness are lived out in the lives of our kids, but usually with a certain lack of discernment. They take it to the next level. They model our actions and end up living unwise, ungodly lives. So if I want to be the father of godly children, I must be a godly father. If I want to have wise children, I must pursue the wisdom of God and live it out in my home. Children are a blessing. Godly children are a joy. But they don't just happen. It takes a constant pursuit of and dependence upon God.

Father, I so want to see my children living wise and godly lives as adults. I want them completely reliant upon You for all that they do. I have made a lot of mistakes over the years. I have not always modeled godliness well. But thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. Help me to use the time I have left to model the life of wisdom and godliness well, because we are never really done parenting. Amen.

The Pleasure and Pain of Parenting.

Proverbs 10

"A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother." – Proverbs 10:1 NLT

Parenting is hard work. It is not for the feint of heart or the weak of back. It requires incredible energy and fortitude, limitless endurance, boundless courage, and a certain degree of blind faith. Raising children is a huge responsibility that can intimidate the bravest of souls. It can make the strong weak in the knees and turn the most confident of men into sniveling, teary-eyed basket cases. But all the same, there is nothing more gratifying than to watch your children grow and mature, making the most of the gifts and abilities God has given them. It is a blessing to pour into their lives and see God use you in His grand scheme to mold them into the likeness of His Son. It does not always go well or even quite like you had imagined or dreamed. There are setbacks and heartaches along the way. Children have a mind and a will of their own, and their not afraid to use either one. They can be loving and frustrating. They can warm our hearts and try our patience. They can bring a smile to our faces and a tear to our eye – all within just a few minutes time span.

It seems that Solomon knew well the joys and sorrows of parenting. He talked about it a lot. And he dealt regularly with the topic of the foolish child. Here in verse one of Proverbs 10 he describes two different children. One is wise and the other is foolish. He says the wise child brings joy to his father. He makes him proud. But a foolish child makes his mother sad. He brings her to her knees in prayer and despair. The specific Hebrew word Solomon uses for fool is kecîyl and it means fool, stupid fellow or dullard. This is a very specific kind of fool. He is not talking about the simple fool, that child-like fool who, because of his young age, doesn't know how to make good choices and lacks good judgment. No, Solomon is describing that individual who is stubborn, arrogant, and set in his or her ways. They reject the discipline of their parents and all authorities in their lives. They seem determined to make wrong choices. They are sensual fools, driven by their passions and obsessed with immediate gratification. They can't deny themselves anything and lack the common sense to know better. These kind of children don't just happen, they get this way over time. They are that innocent, young boy who one day turns out to be that insolent, rebellious teenager whose parents barely recognize him. He is lazy, unreliable, unteachable, and will ultimately be destroyed for his lack of common sense (Proverbs 10:21). They actually enjoy doing wrong (Proverbs 10:23), and make light of sin (Proverbs 10:10). What mother wouldn't cry over a child like that?

So how do we keep our children from becoming sensual fools? The easy answer is that we expose them to the wisdom of God. We teach them the truth of God's Word. We model what it means to fear God and honor Him with our actions. But in the end, their is no guarantee that our children will turn out perfectly. Proverb 22:6 says, "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." But that is not a promise. It is a proverb or wise saying. It is not a guarantee from God that our children will turn out well if we do out part. There are too many examples of train-wrecked lives to prove that not true. It is a calling to do our part as parents. We have a God-given responsibility to teach our children well, to point them to Christ and to model Christlikeness in front of them. But when it is all said and done, they each have a will of their own. They will each have to develop a faith of their own. They may make wrong choices. They may choose a different path. They may become a sensual fool and bring tears to the eyes of their mother. We can't make godly children. Only God can do that. So with all our effort at parenting, we must never forget that we need God's help. He alone can make our children wise. He alone can keep them on the right path. It is their relationship with God through Jesus Christ that will make them wise, not us. We have a part to play, but it is ultimately up to God. Turn them over to Him early in their lives. Place them in His hands for safe keeping. Do your job. Love on them. Teach them. Discipline them. But entrust them to God for their future well-being.

Father, thank You that I am not alone in this parenting thing. You have always been there for me. Any good in my children is totally due to You. I praise You for Your faithfulness to my family. You have each of my kids in Your hands. You will see them through. You have a plan for each of them and that plan will be perfectly fulfilled. Help me to trust You as I play my role as a father in their lives. Amen

The Key To A Strong, Healthy Family.

 

Proverbs 24

“A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through common sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.” – Proverbs 24:3-4 NLT

You can read countless books on parenting. You can attend any of a number of seminars on the topic. You can get parenting advice, both good and bad, from all kinds of people. They'll tell you about the importance of communication, the need for consistent discipline, the danger of a home without rules, but the damage that can be done if your home is too strict. Everyone has opinions. Everyone is ready to give their advice. But there are few who truly know the secret to having a healthy, thriving family – except Solomon. The word he uses for "house" in this passage can be translated "family" and is probably best seen as a metaphor for establishing a strong, vibrant home life, not about building a structure. We all know that a well-built home is no guarantee of a healthy, whole family. There are many beautiful homes in the best of neighborhoods filled with children who despise their parents, husbands and wives who have fallen out of love long ago, and where domestic bliss is nowhere to be found. No, Solomon is not giving us construction tips, but the key to a healthy family. And this advice applies not only to our biological family, but to our spiritual family as well. The church, the body of Christ, is also a family. As believers, we are all members of the family of God and are His children. And just like our biological family, the family of God can become dysfunctional and unhealthy if we ignore the counsel of Solomon.

He tells us a home, a family is built by wisdom. Which reminds me of Solomon's advice found in the very first chapter of his book: "Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God" (Proverbs 1:7 MSG). This is a paraphrase from The Message, but I find it paints a very accurate description of what it means to "fear the Lord." To fear the Lord is to recognize that He is God and we are not. It is to understand that He is the source of all wisdom, not us. It is to humble ourselves under His mighty power, recognizing our own weakness. The key to gaining wisdom is starting with God. It is focusing all of our attention on Him and making Him the center of our lives. This is true when it comes to our homes or families. He has to be number one. Not our kids. Not our careers. Not our marriages. Not our own selfish wills and self-centered desires. We must start with God. Our homes must be built on Him. He must be the foundation on which we construct our families. Marriage is difficult. Raising kids is a real challenge. Having a healthy family in the world in which we live is next to impossible – unless you do it with God's help. Only He can give us the wisdom we need, the good sense we require, the knowledge life demands, and the outcome we desire.

But God can't be an add-on or an afterthought. He must be the focus of our families. We must make His Word a daily part of our lives and the manual by which we parent. Our kids must see that we not only believe in God, but that we obey Him. They must see that our faith is real and that it lives itself out in real life. Solomon tells us that if we begin with God, if we turn to God, He will gives us wisdom, good sense and knowledge. And as a result, our homes will be filled with "all sorts of precious riches and valuables" (Proverbs 24:4 NLT). This is not a promise of financial success, but a reminder that living God's way produces treasures that are priceless and not of this world. We will experience His peace even when our kids rebel, endurance when our marriage is less than perfect, patience when life becomes difficult, and a growing awareness of the presence of God that is more valuable than anything money can buy.

Father, I want to build my home on You. I can't do this without You. And I know because I have tried far too many times. I want to start with You. I want to continue with You. I want to end with You. Amen.