My first best friend was my dad. He was wise and kind, absent mindedly brilliant, punny, and an excellent listener. He had this marvelous grin that would light his entire face and crinkle the skin round his eyes. He loved coffee, maps and books. He loved his grandkids. Most importantly, he loved the Lord.
And almost four years ago, he went home to Christ.
I miss him every day, but I am blessed to still have some of his words. The following is a sermon he preached. Of course, I heard this sermon not in the pulpit but in the ordinary, daily interactions of our lives together. Today, I thought I’d share it with you.
May we each leave behind a legacy that helps point others to God and His truth.
Ten Things I Will Tell My Daughter
Sometimes we are apt to wonder if the Bible has any “practical” guidance for our lives. “Sure,” we might say, “the Bible can tell me about religious things – sin, and salvation and all that, but can it help me to be more popular at school, or how to get a date with the girl I really like?”
Of course there is no Biblical book called,
The “Acts of Popularity,” or
“Letter to the Teenagers.”
(2 Timothy 3:16,17) “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
But you would be amazed at the good information the Bible gives:
“Thoroughly equipped for every good work” – in other words, you will have all the tools, and the skills to live the life you should!
So, here are ten things I am, and will be telling my daughter.
1.You Cannot (Substantially) Change the Way You Look
(Matthew 6:25-27) “Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life?
Worry will not result in becoming more beautiful – in fact, it’ll put a frown on your face, and worry lines round your eyes before your time!
But there is something you can change – your personality! (The Bible says, your heart)
2. But You Can Change The Way You Treat Others.
(Matthew 7:12) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”
You say, “I don’t know what to do! I would love to be charming, and win everybody’s hearts.” The rule is simple. Ask yourself how you would like to be treated. Would I like to be:
– forgiven when I make a mistake?
– Be greeted warmly when I was the stranger to a party?
– Complimented on the way I look/did a thing?
– Helped when I’m having difficulties
– Someone to listen to when I’m in trouble?
Then treat others that way!
Would I like to:
– Be giggled about, and gossiped over?
– Be mocked and lampooned by friends for some flaw
– Be ignored at a party
– Be rejected when I make a mistake, and never forgiven?
3. I Can Help You Be a More Pleasant Person to Be Around, But You Must Understand That Popularity Has a Price. Sometimes That Price is Too High To Pay.
(Acts 5:29) But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’”
“We must obey God rather than men.”
(I remember the teenagers class where we spent hours discussing what we should do if our parents told us to do something that was against God’s word. “Son, you must take drugs,” or “Honey, why don’t you start shooting everybody you dislike in the knee-caps.” Of course we should have been discussing whether to obey our peers, what was “cool”, or God.)
It’s nice to be popular, but sometimes the price is too high.
a) Who is the most like the “Man?” The kid who goes along with every evil thing the crowd says to do, or the one who stands for conviction?
b) You will be surprised; when one person stands for what is right, he will find that others suddenly find the courage to say “no,” too.
4. There Is More to A Person Than Appearance
(1 Samuel 16:6,7) “When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.’”
God looks on the inside, the heart, or character. Notice that Jesus did not just love those people who wore “cool” shoes, or who drove the nicest cars. Jesus did not just love those who had the best and latest computer games. He loved everyone, and what is more, he was smart enough to see what was inside. You have wonderful qualities on the inside. Other people do, too.
(A word to adults. Sometimes our kids learn these lessons from us. We must ensure that we value people because of the content of their character, and not the brand name of their clothing!!!)
5. Manners Count
(Proverbs 11:22) Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, is a beautiful woman without discretion.”
“Discretion” – a synonym for “etiquette.”
Young ladies do not use profanity; young men do not burp at the table. Young ladies say please and thank you. Young men stand and give a seat to a lady (even an old one!!).
(Leviticus 19:32) “You shall stand up before the grey head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Stand when an older person enters, greet him respectfully, listen to what he has to say respectfully.
Notice that respect for the elderly is placed alongside respect for God Himself – “I am the Lord!”
6. Choose Good Friends, and Choose Good Romantic Partners
(Amos 3:3) “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to meet?”
Ask yourself these questions:
* Can you “walk” together to church?
* Can you “walk” together to youth activities?
* Does he want to “walk” to activities that are unsavory, questionable?
(Matthew 10:37) “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus says that we are to love him more than blood family. If that is true, how much more so friends who do live Christian lives, and boyfriends?
7. Parents Are People, Too
And you need to know what God has told them to do. He requires that they train us in the Lord, discipline us, and teach us what is right. God holds them responsible for that!
(Proverbs 3:11,12) “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves the one whom he loves, as a father in whose son he delights.”
(1 Samuel 3:12-13) “On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.”
Eli was condemned for “not restraining” his sons.
You’ve got to understand that Christian parents have no choice!
8. Parents Are Human, and Make Mistakes
Yeah, Stan, we already know that!
(1 John 1:8) “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
When we were little children, our mom was the most beautiful woman in the world, and our dad was the strongest man. But upon becoming teenagers, we have a little more information! We see that our parents make mistakes, sin. Some young people become disillusioned, and a little self-righteous. But part of becoming mature is learning that everybody makes mistakes.
9. Show Responsibility, and You Will Be Given More
(Luke 16:10) “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
You can show you are responsible by doing many things. Here are a few;
i) Clean up after yourself. Put the coffee mugs in the sink, and throw the socks in the laundry basket.
ii) Get your homework done on time, and without being asked.
iii) Be honest about who you are with, and where.
iv) When you must change locations, or if you are late, phone your parents and explain.
v) Bring your friends home to meet your parents. You can’t? Is it because you know, deep down, that this person would be objectionable? Does this tell you something?
10) Your Parents Love You, More Than Words Can Say
(Hosea 11:1-3) “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burnt offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with chords of kindness, with the hands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.”
A broken hearted God. And remember the father in the prodigal son. Parents fall short of God’s perfect love. But they do love you.
I loved this compilation. Very meaningful, inspiring and a great guide on how to journey through this pilgrim life.
He was such a great friend with tons of wisdom, miss him every day!