The Cats in the Cradle


Recently while running the dial on Sirius XM, I heard a song from my teen years sung by Harry Chapin entitled “The Cats in the Cradle.”

This heartbreaking song tells of a father and son who can’t schedule time to be with each other, and it serves as a warning against putting one’s career before family. The verses start out with a natural harmony and depict the tale of a father with his newborn son. Although dad gets the necessities of child rearing accomplished, he doesn’t allow himself to put in quality time with his son because of his career. Initially, this seems like no big deal because of his hectic and oblivious life working and paying bills.

The recurring verse has the son saying, “I’m gonna be like you Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you…”

Over time, both father and son grow into a switching of life roles. The father realizes his son’s ambitions of college, grades, and driving, and wants to spend more time with him, yet slowly grasps the reality that now his son has no time for such things. In the last verse, Chapin illustrates that the son is all grown up with a fast-paced job and kids of his own. In a glaring twist of roles, we see that the son now has no time to spend with his father. With a heavy heart, dad realizes that his boy has become just like him.  (

Dads, indeed, your sons are watching and learning you.

Making a connection with yesterday’s blogpost, may I ask you dads, are your sons growing up to be just like you when it comes to your relationship with God?

Will they sing in church like you do?

Will they open their Bible and take notes whenever the Word of God is preached like you do?

Will they be totally engaged in worship on Sundays like you are?

Will they be a man of prayer just like you?

Will they be a ready witness for Christ as you are?

Will they know the Word of God like you do?

Will they have the Word memorized like you do?

Will they be a surrendered servant for Christ just like you?

Will stand and testify of God’s grace, faithfulness and love like you do?

Will they be diligent to add to their original faith because you are?

Will they give diligence to make their calling and election sure because you do?

Will they?

Men, we must be all-out, surrendered men of God like Christ, Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Daniel, Paul, Barnabas, Peter, etc. Not only for the glory of God but for the sakes of our sons who are watching and taking their cues from us.

“The cats in the cradle,” and he will soon be gone.  Will he be just like you?

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Train up a child in the way he should go. (Proverbs 22:6a)

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (Proverbs 23:24)

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)

Men, Your Daughters Are Watching You

Father Daughter 1                 father daughter 2

To balance the scales in reference to yesterday’s post, may I, from my heart, challenge dads to consider their impact upon their daughters?

God graciously lent us three daughters to raise for His glory.  He saw fit to take our middle daughter before she ever experienced the outside world of sin.  She was stillborn twenty-nine years ago.  What a reunion awaits us in Glory when our family will be together again for all eternity!

In spite of all the trials, bumps, mistakes, tears, miscalculations, and naivety of raising two girls, I assure you that the blessings far outweigh all the aforementioned.   We are richly blessed!  But . . . it takes hard work, time in the Word, and MUCH PRAYER!!!

So with that said, men, may I ask . . . what are your daughters learning from you by your example and through your instruction?

May I strongly encourage you to go back through yesterday’s list and replace all the boy/son references to girl/daughter?

And let’s add the following.

  1. Men, do you want your daughters to marry a man like you? They are watching how you treat their mother, how you honor or dishonor her and what you say about and to her.  They hear your vocal tones, your words of endearment or criticism as well as your body actions.  Men, do you seat your wife at the table, open the car door for her, send her loving texts, bring her flowers, buy her a new dress, etc.?
  2. Men, do you “date” your daughters? Some of the best times of my life have been spent at a gas station eating a donut with my oldest daughter . . . an every Friday morning school day routine when she was in junior high, attending a Southern Gospel concert together, driving through the night to deliver a package to a plant in Chicago, etc.  And then, there was the joy of a Starbucks chat with my youngest or the meal date before heading off to college or a meal date with both girls when they were in college, or a trip to Dairy Queen.  Men, you need to date your wife and your daughters.
  3. Men, your daughters need time with you because they need your security, your listening ear, your loving heart, your connection with their lives. If they don’t get it from you . . . then they will seek it from some fella at school or on the internet.
  4. Men, do you encourage your daughters; do you affirm them? (Ephesians 6:4)
  5. Do you show them unconditional love? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
  6. Dads, in an absolutely appropriate way, do you still hold your daughters, hug them, kiss them on the cheek, and express your love for them?
  7. Do you treat your daughters with respect or talk down to them?
  8. Do you bring them flowers every-once-in-awhile?

To my two daughters who are now married, how blessed to be your dad!!  My heart is full when you and your husbands are able to visit and we gather around our table or sit in our living room, to hear the laughter, quote our Andy lines, share our joys and heartaches, laugh at each other and just be family.  How awesome to see you continue to grow in your relationships with God and your husbands!!

Accomplishing anything good as a father is ONLY by the grace of God and His sovereign leadership.

Men, your daughters are watching you.

Here are two recommend links that offer further insight:

Why Daughters Need Their Dads

Dads and the Daughters They Love

A Parent’s Best Gift


Let’s go back to the Sears Christmas Wish Book I mentioned yesterday.  So many memories..

Here’s a few of them:

Wow! A banana seat bicycle!  Pop a wheelie!
Can you taste it?
This was serious right here!!

How many times I would pour over the pages of the catalog, mark what I wanted, then proceed to my mom and dad and say, “You know what I want for Christmas?”  And how many times did I hear them say, “We can’t afford that.”

What could they afford?  The same thing that every parent can afford—time.

When I survey Scripture, I see God’s instructions to parents taking time not money.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

  • To train, discipline (which is teaching, instructing, and correcting) and nurturing takes time.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

  • Often children get into trouble because they are just crying out for someone to pay them some attention. They want to know where you will draw the line.  It takes time to teach what is right, what is wrong, what to do to stay right, and what will happen if we choose to go our own way.

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

  • Please note again the meaning of discipline and the need to take time to be diligent to fulfill the complete picture of discipline/discipleship. If a child does need a spanking, it should not be a quick strike out of anger, but a time of loving correction and training.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9        And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

  • Once again, you cannot teach, train and disciple on the run. It is your lifestyle.  It takes time.

Parents, your greatest investment on this earth will be your children.  They don’t need you to buy them things to make up for where you have failed.  They need your love, attention, character-training, and fun times.  They need you to teach them the Word of God.  They need to hear how you came to salvation.  They need you to pray with them.  They need you to make spiritual applications of life with them throughout the day.  They need you to teach them how to work, how to eat, how to be hospitable, how to serve others, how to talk, how to be a blessing to others, how to make their beds, how to get up and make the day count, how to cook, how to do life in general by the grace of God.

They need you.  They need you every day.

Parents, this Christmas, rather than spending so much money, spend a lot of your time.  Give your children something that will eclipse that banana-seat bicycle.  Give them the best gift—your time; give them you.

School Cancelled Again?!?!?!?!

Odessa Waters Video

Odessa has become a star via her daily video rants and raves.  She is a hoot!  After viewing this video and reading many posts on Facebook, I have to ask parents, “Why did you have children in the first place?”  Let me get right to the point, and with a saddened and concerned heart.  Is it really that bad for your children to be home from school for several days?

Here’s several reasons why it is a blessing to have your children home from school due to the weather:

  • These are valuable opportunities for you to instruct your children in the Word of God, to pray with them, to sing with them, and to go over their Sunday School lesson with them.
  • These are precious opportunities to do crafts, teach them how to bake cookies (and eat them!), help do some spring cleaning, and/or rearrange the furniture in their room.
  • These are fun opportunities to play outdoors. Go sledding. Make snow cream.  Roll in the snow and make a snow angel.  Build a snowman.  Take a bunch of photos. Make a ton of memories.
  • These are priceless opportunities for you to give your children your undivided attention. Many of their behavioral problems are due to you be so preoccupied with your phone or ipad.  Turn them off. Listen and talk to your children.  Ask questions.
  • These are treasurable opportunities for you to influence your children, watch them learn, and see them grow rather than the daycare worker or school teacher seeing all the “firsts” and telling you about it later on.
  • These are beloved opportunities to pretend. Build a blanket fort and camp out. Eat your lunch under the tent; maybe even sleep there with your pretend fire glowing through the night.   Or, for supper, pretend you own a restaurant and teach your children how to set a table, serve others, and act at a restaurant.  Or, pretend you are having church and let your children preach, lead singing, receive the offering, etc.

There’s one important aspect to the success of these precious opportunities—-PLANNING.  Yes, it’s a whole lot easier to watch Frozen for the 1,237th time or to spend hours mindlessly surfing Facebook or the internet while your children “get on your very last nerve!”  Let me say, I understand children can be rambunctious and parade their old sin nature for all to see, but most of their misbehavior is a lack of loving, caring, patient training and discipline that needs to come from you.

So, don’t squander these awesome opportunities because you are not getting to do what you want to do.  Serve your children.  Love them.  Teach them. Hold them.  They will be gone before you know it.  God gave you children to enjoy and edify, not to endure.

Say, what do you have planned for tomorrow if you hear that school has been cancelled?   (Btw, you and your kids should be so disappointed that school is back in session because of the cool plans you have made!!)

Friday’s Findings

As always, here’s a list of links found through the week that may be of help to you to instruct, encourage, strengthen and/or bring a chuckle to your day.

The Needed Couples Retreat – Here’s some thoughts about the need for couples retreats as well as addressing some possible objections.  Anyone recognize the water falls?

What the Election Reveals About Us – An excellent post in view of Tuesday’s national elections.

Doing Hard Things – Every older teen and college & career guy/gal needs to read this.  Excellent, biblical advice for our day!   I linked this during the week on my Facebook page.  Parents, make sure you read it and your teens read it.  Perhaps, read it together at supper.

Why Every Christian Needs a Church Home

The Manhunt – One of my favorite Andy Griffith episodes.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  I am truly grateful that you take the time to do so.  These writing and links are from my heart.  If I can encourage you, point you to Christ, help you, strengthen you, or just put a smile on your face, this blog has been successful.  Thanks for reading!!

Friday’s Findings

Why I Stand With the Five Houston PastorsPaul Chappell’s spot-on post about the sermons subpoena in Houston.

Christian Guide for Reading the NewsZach Franklin gives us a redemptive way to read to all the bad news in the world in print and through social media.

Millennials Want Something Real, Not Just Hashtags and Twitter

Why You May Be Tempted To Neglect Your ChurchEncouragement and insight on the need of getting back on the team!

Five Bad Substitutes For DisciplineExcellent counsel for parents!

Red Skelton’s Pledge of AllegianceA classic.  I remember watching him when I was young.

Friday’s Findings

The goal of each Friday on my blog is to share a potpourri of links I’ve found to feed your soul, encourage your heart, bring a smile to your face, and cause you to rejoice.

What Will Your Kids Remember About You?  Parents, especially Moms, will need this one as you come to the end of your week.  A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:12). A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Be Yourself In Prayer  This is an extremely practical, well-written help for all believers as we engage in the best work.  Remember, prayer is only beneficial and accepted before God the Father when you go through the only advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John 2:1). Our goal is not pray perfect prayers, but to simply talk to our Heavenly Father through the Perfect One, Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Share your heart, your burden, your praise, and let the Perfect One handled your prayers perfectly (Psalm 18:30). His ears are open to our cry (Psalm 34:15).

Marriage Takes More Than LoveA quick read with three practical helps for marriage.

Fall Foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains  This is one of the most spectacular times of the year as God paints His creation with colors from His perfect paintbrush along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Enjoy the pics!

The Zipper StoryEnjoy!



Wal-Mart is not. Ball practice is not. Homework is not. Family gatherings are not. Working at McDonald’s is not. But . . . church sure is! Or at least that’s what it appears to be. When I hear the excuses parents make for not faithfully attending church, youth activities, Sunday School, ministry opportunities, regular services, I begin to wonder, “Is church contaminated with something?”

Look at the following written by Mary Louise Kitsen, “Generations of Excuses,” found in the Good News Broadcaster.

  • our baby Timmy’s birth
  • Timmy’s just a baby
  • Timmy always catches a cold in the nursery
  • Timmy’s too noisy and too active
  • Timmy can’t get along with the other children
  • the birth of Timmy’s baby sister, Sally
  • Sally’s just a baby
  • Sally always catches a cold in the nursery
  • Sally’s too noisy and too active
  • Sally can’t get along with the other children
  • we’re all so busy that Sunday is our only day as a family
  • my husband’s boss wants to golf with him on Sundays
  • I work during the week and Sunday is my only day to relax
  • Timmy’s soccer games are on Sundays
  • Timmy thinks going to youth group is dumb
  • Timmy’s married now, and you know how it is with newlyweds!
  • Timmy’s baby’s birth
  • Timmy’s baby is too noisy, too active, might catch a cold in the nursery . . .

Many parents don’t mind exposing their children to the germs at the grocery store, because after all you must eat. Or exposing their children to the other children at school, because after all they must get an education. Or exposing their children to the “clean world” of McDonald’s, because after all they must get a job. No excuses are uttered here for these temporal endeavors. BUT, exposure to eternal, life-changing truths, people who preach and teach the Truth, activities that help children hear the Gospel and eventually understand salvation, summer camp that enriches the lives of children spiritually, the local church which is the body of Christ, now we had better be careful! There must be something about those eternal things, so we make excuses to protect them! (By the way, my favorite line at the door on Sunday morning as folks are leaving is, “We probably won’t be back tonight for church.” Oh really????)

What excuses are you using to keep your children from being impacted by Truth? What excuses are you using that your children are learning and will use someday as well?

Luke 14:25-26    Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Thou Shalts of Digital Media

It’s the world we live in. The Jetson’s have moved from TV cartoons to reality. The internet has changed our lives. Who would have thought that a cellphone would have such possibilities? Let me be quick to say that my wife and I own and use our smartphones all the time.   For many of us, it is our office away from our office. Seems like everywhere you go, people young and old are using their cellphones to text, talk, search the internet, find directions, get information, etc.  I even use mine in the pulpit and class.

Speaking of youth, gazillions of kids and teens have cellphones. They are attached to them like an appendage. The point of this blog post today is to join up with a parent who has attempted to guide and give some discipline to her children concerning their digital media. Parents, our children and teens need your help in all areas of life including the proper use of their digital media. I believe you will find Susan Maushart’s “The Ten Commandments For Using Modern Media” to be helpful.

  1. Thou shalt not fear boredom
  2. Thou shalt not “multitask” (not until thy kingdom come, thy homework be done)
  3. Thou shalt not WILF (WILF describes the “What Was I Looking For” phenomenon of using Google to look for one thing, and then burning two hours hunting down random and unimportant facts)
  4. Thou shalt not text and drive (or talk, or sleep)
  5. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath a screen-free day
  6. Thou shalt keep thy bedroom a media-free zone
  7. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s upgrade
  8. Thou shalt set thy accounts to “Private”
  9. Thou shalt bring no media to thy dinner
  10. Thou shalt bring no dinner to thy media.

Friday’s Findings

As we close out this week, I’m sharing some links/blogs that have impacted me this week.  I believe they will be of encouragement to you.


Christ’s Body: The Mission of the Church —Watch as Jason Ormiston delivers a message that all believers need to hear.  (Bob Jones University Chapel, September 24, 2014)

  • You would also be greatly edified by listening to Dr. Steve Pettit’s messages on Walking in the Spirit.

How I Learned to Win Souls — You will find this practical post by a dear man of God, Dr. Don Sisk, to be a rich blessing in obedience to the Great Commission.  One other feather in his cap is the fact that he is a UK Wildcat fan! 😉

Parenting – Have We Lost Our Way?— How grateful that we have the blessed opportunity to support this family on the mission field.  Here are some very timely questions that need to be answered in regards to modern-day parenting.  If you are a parent, please read and answer with genuine honesty and transparency.  Here is hope for you.

Are You Leeching the Local Church? — Enough said.

Eliminating and Concentrating — Help for busy ladies!