This may catch some by surprise, but Satan is alive and well and is quite busy at work in the world these days.  I know we don’t talk too much of Satan in our churches these days, but the Bible has plenty to say about him, and you can rest assured, it is not your imagination, there are times when really bad things happen such as the various human accidents that can result in harm that Satan had a hand in.  Or he is also busy at work trying to deceive us and get us into negative, warped thinking about ourselves, God, the world, or people around us. 

From Ephesians 6:12:  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Also, we are warned in 1 Peter 5:8:  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

You can rest assured that Satan despises those of us who belong to God's family, saved by Jesus, and that he will stop at nothing to make our lives miserable, to trap us in sin, or to take all power and spiritual effectiveness out of our lives by deceiving us into various lies, to lead us down paths of error through our own sin or through our negative, distorted thinking, to break up our relationships, to stop us from doing things God's way, and to stop us from experiencing the fullness of joy in the "abundant life" that God has planned for us. 

From the Spiritual Warfare article on

#1 Deception: To deceive somebody means to make another person believe a lie or something that is not true. When the enemy sends deception your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error. Strongholds are built through deception. A stronghold is formed when deception takes hold in a person's mind. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that stems from believing something that is not true.

From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God's Word was not true. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17.

#2 Temptation: Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us, "You won't surely die!", then he makes the fruit on the forbidden tree look good to us. Since Eve accepted Satan's deception (his lie), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin, because she allowed herself to first be deceived. Temptation is when we are enticed or encouraged to sin in one way or another.

Often people will be so drawn…[into sin]…when the enemy tries to convince them that it is all harmless and fun, when it's not harmless at all, but an open door to the devil.

When the enemy tempts you, he's showing you the worm [i.e. as in a worm enticing a fish]... but behind that worm is a hook. The Word of God helps you see the hook behind the worm.

#3 Accusations: The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He is known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past, and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past.

I have seen Satan at work in my family and in the lives of people around me.  Many times, he will use deception to embellish our struggles and our emotional issues to make things seem much worse than they really are.  This is how he works through deception, placing negative thoughts in our minds, mixing fact with fiction, to make us believe that things are insurmountable or hopeless.  He wants to sap away our courage, our joy, our love for one another, and he wants to destroy our work for God (bearing spiritual fruit as our developing spiritual character turns into works on God’s behalf and works in His name done for other people).  Just as I can see the hand of God in certain “coincidences” that line up with my prayers or the prayers of others or what I know to be the work of God, I can also see the hand of Satan in many of our trials or difficulties in life.  And it is at the moments that we are most effective for God that Satan starts throwing everything at us to stop our spiritual work, stop our spiritual development, or to break up our relationships.     

I have seen his work in my own family as he has embellished many of our obstacles making them seem much larger than they really are trying to make us lose hope, and his lies have even caused us to doubt our own self-worth.  I know that he used that last tool of self-worth or self-confidence against me during my bouts with PTSD as I began to doubt the value of my own life on this earth.   When we think that way, you can rest assured that Satan or his demon followers have had a hand in deceiving us.  But they can only gain victory if we succumb to or believe in their lies.  If we resist, they can have no power over us.  And when we are weak in our flesh, unable to generate the courage or wisdom to resist and fight back, we need only to ask God for spiritual strength, courage, wisdom, and power, and He will answer, giving us the victory against all odds, giving us that little extra boost, that little extra infusion of His Spirit within us, that puts us beyond the reach of Satan.  God is infinitely more powerful than Satan, and He is boundlessly wise, so if we look up to Him for our answers and for our power, we cannot fail. If we keep our eyes on the Savior and do things His way, we will “walk on the water,” but if we start believing Satan’s lies, deception, and negativity, then we will start to sink into the waves just as Peter did

We should never let Satan attack us in the belief that we have no value or that we are of less value than others.  Every single one of us has tremendous value to God, the world, and to people around us who love us.  Moreover, God loves us with an infinite love and has made us infinitely unique.  Each of us is a walking miracle of God’s own creative mind and hand.  Each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” in our unique talents, perspective, and personality.   And each of us has a unique mission on this earth to fulfill, a mission that no one else can fulfill, all a part of His grand plans for our individual lives and for humanity.  Never forget that you have infinite worth in God’s eyes and that He cherishes you very much. 

Having dreams and chasing after them is so important.  At various points in our lives, we all have dreams that we hope to pursue, but the most common time in life to have dreams is when we are in our youth.  That period of life is usually so full of dreams as all things seem to be possible when you are just beginning to really experience life and just beginning to see the things that are possible for you.  Moreover, when you are young and full of youthful energy, enthusiasm, and hope, it seems as if you can overcome virtually any obstacle.   And, of course, that time in life is the time in which you can set the foundation or the initial life-path that will lead to great things.  All that is necessary is the willingness to work hard and the commitment to the dream, assuming that God is in it, and assuming that you are including God in the process.  God can help you get past the points of difficulties on the way to your dreams, giving you victories in many of the things that you dream about.  Additionally, God can give you the courage and the wisdom to overcome those points of difficulty that you cannot foresee in your youthful inexperience.

And there will be difficulties.  That is a given.  But it is always important to remember for all difficulties and troubles in life, that nothing is as bad as it originally appears to be.  When we first face obstacles in life, they can seem to be insurmountable at first when our strength and courage have yet to be “tried in the fire.”  And Satan is often busy at work trying to make problems seem bigger than they really are so that you give up, before the final push that overcomes the monumental obstacle.  But it is so easy to become discouraged by the complex problems of life.  These problems can so easily befuddle you, making you focus your energy on the wrong things or sapping away you courage, bit by bit.  This is what Galations 6:9 is referring to when it says:  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

God promises in this verse that we will reap whatever we sow, whether it is to the flesh, to selfishness, to pride, etc. or whether it is to the spirit, to sacrificial love, to the betterment of others.  Our dreams can be part of the spiritual sowing when we are in the center of God’s will and when we make Him a part of our dreams and ensure that our dreams are ones that fit within the purpose of God’s greater plan for humanity.  For instance, if you have a talent such as painting or singing or even repairing cars or cooking, such skills and talents can easily fit within God’s greater plan for the betterment of humanity since all skills and talents are necessary for a well-rounded community or church, etc.  The way God works and the way He creates us individually, there is room at the table for every single one of us and our unique personalities and talents.  God is very generous and is infinitely creative in designing each one of us.   We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” regardless of our abilities or lack of abilities, etc.  Each of us, regardless of our circumstances, talents, challenges, has a unique mission for this world which is indispensable for God’s greater plans for humanity.  God “does not make junk” as some wise person has said. 

I pray that you will find your unique contribution to the world and that you will have courage to pursue your dreams with God's help. 
The first job I ever worked, I had at the age of 13.  I was bussing tables, mopping floors, washing dishes and anything else that my boss thought needed doing around the restaurant, including perhaps policing up trash around the parking lot of the restaurant.   I would work for a few hours after school in the evenings and then for several hours on Saturday.  Back then, like many places of business in that part of Georgia, we were closed on Sundays.  This job was my first real chance at earning my own money, money which I could spend any way I chose.  The job also introduced me to something I would be doing the rest of my life, working.  I didn’t mind the work, and there were many aspects of it that I found enjoyable.  The people were always, for the most part enjoyable, whether it was my co-workers, who became good friends, or the various interesting people who would come into the restaurant.  There was always something interesting going on at work or something interesting to talk about with my co-workers or the customers.  So work was, for the most part, actually fun. 

For people of the world, work is often looked upon as a drudgery, something unpleasant that you are forced to do, something to be avoided.  But work gives us an opportunity to develop our character and build upon our skill sets.  It keeps us busy so that we don’t have opportunity to get into trouble, or it keeps us from developing bad habits such as laziness.  In short, it makes us into better people.  Work was always part of God’s plan from all indications in the Bible.  In the very beginning, before the fall, Adam was busy naming all the animals, and it looks like God had Adam doing something tending to the plants or animals around the Garden of Eden.  It was only after the fall that work apparently became difficult.  From that moment, we would earn our living by the sweat of our brow, indicating that work was now to be difficult, which it apparently was not before the fall.  Also, our work from that point on would be against various obstacles, so there would always be resistance that would keep work from ever being easy.

But work is still necessary for us to develop our character and for us to do something useful to work out our place in this world.   Each of us comes with unique talents and a unique perspective, so there is something special that we each bring to this world that no one else can quite bring to the world, so each of us is a part of God’s greater plan for humanity.   Moreover, for the Christian, work is our chance to show the world something about who we are as Christians and something about who our God is.   In all the things that we do in this world, whether work or hobbies, or whatever our hand finds to do, we are always acting as God’s ambassadors, communicating something to the world about the Awesome God that we serve.  Additionally, our work is to be done as if we are working directly for God.  So we should always approach work as an opportunity to show God how much we love Him and to try to give something back to Him in appreciation for all that He does for us on a daily basis.

I pray that you will find joy in your work and that you will be able to witness to the world of the Mighty God you serve as well as finding a chance to show Him how much you love Him by the excellence that you put into your work.  

While it is important to maintain consistency in the application of rules and the distribution of privileges to siblings, there may be different privileges that will be given to the older children as they become big enough, smart enough, or mature enough to handle the greater responsibility that comes with the new privileges without harm to themselves or others.  But this is part of growing up and part of the training process that parents put children through, preparing them for the adult world, step-by-step rather than simply shoving them out of the nest at a certain age expecting them to fly or die.  Moreover, each child should get the same privileges when they meet that gateway or threshold so that they know there is an established and consistent rule.  Believe me, they will be keeping up with this and will recognize any inconsistency.  If there is a change in family conditions, change in family capabilities with increased financial or other resources, or even a change in philosophy as you have grown in wisdom and now see things differently, necessitating a change in the rules applied to the children, such changes can be handled with relative ease if you can give a rational explanation of why the rules changed and an explanation of why the changed rule still fits with your foundational principles. 

But if you are only dealing with changes in privileges for the child who is growing older, for each time that they meet a new gateway or threshold and gain a significant new privilege, there should be a conversation about why you are giving them more latitude.  You should explain that you have seen them handle other smaller responsibilities such as chores around the house consistently such that you know you can trust them to handle this added privilege or increased responsibility now.  Additionally, there certainly should be age-appropriate privileges that are withheld from smaller children which are gradually given to older children such as the type of movies they can watch or being allowed to stay up later and eventually managing their own bed times so long as their sleep is adequate to keep them alert enough during the day for their schooling, jobs, and other responsibilities.  If you see that the new privilege is not being handled optimally, you have only to point this out, but doing so in a constructive, non-judgmental (as much as possible), and kind way such that you maintain the child’s dignity.   Other age-limited privileges might be being allowed to stay home alone, being trusted to watch over younger siblings, being trusted to babysit other smaller children in the neighborhood, or being trusted for unsupervised activity out of sight or away from home. 

Despite the change in responsibility and maturity of your child, however, there are still some activities that should always be handled very carefully regardless of age, such as your children being alone with a child of the opposite sex whether older or younger than your child.  Children can so easily get into sexual mischief due to their natural curiosity about these things.  Knowing the danger, parents should very carefully supervise or restrict the conditions under which any activity occurs between your child and a child of the opposite sex until they are old enough to handle the adult responsibilities that might come out of more serious relationships.  It is not so much that you don’t trust them, but rather, you should understand human nature by now, having lived into adulthood and having observed and experienced countless human behaviors.  Furthermore, knowing human nature, you should also know that humans, especially small ones, can make huge errors in judgment with some pretty serious issues such as sexuality or safety, with the error in judgment resulting in serious consequences.

I pray God’s wisdom in abundance for you so that you can set fair and appropriate rules for your children and that you have the wisdom to know when to increase privileges and responsibilities that you bestow upon them.
Inconsistency in rules or inconsistency in privilege (having a favorite child who gets more or gets to do more) simply gives opportunity for resentment which will give way to mischief or strife down the road as children in their immaturity and simplified moral world might try to “re-balance” the scales of justice.  You most definitely want to maintain peace and civility between your children so that they can weather the difficulties of childhood and the challenges of getting along with someone that they see every day and live with.  But if you can keep the peace between them as they grow, they will be close friends once they reach the older teenage years.  Believe me, it can be done if you put in the effort.  It is working with our children.  They all get along and enjoy one another’s company.  We have allowed no roots of bitterness to take hold between them by our own unequal treatment of them.  Children are very attuned for these things and will notice when there is unequal treatment very quickly. 

If there is a reason for what appears to be unequal treatment at the time, and an equal gift or privilege is coming to the second child later one, it is good to point that out at the time so that they will know you love them equally and put a high value on their feelings, their well-being, and their self-esteem.  Moreover, if there is anything that children can pick up on quickly, hypocrisy is definitely one of those things they’ll notice.  So, parents should, as they say, “practice what they preach.”  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good example is probably worth a million words.  The big moral principles of the household should apply to everyone, including the parents, and parents should be willing to admit fault when they have run afoul of the family rules.  There is no shame in admitting error.  It takes courage and dignity to confess to one’s own frailties and errors.  We all make mistakes.  The important point is what we do with the mistakes that are made. 

Our reaction to our own errors speak volumes of libraries, a loudspeaker, an amplifier, testifying that our moral values are true and that we are not just giving “lip service” to what we believe.  Parents should be completely open and honest with children, including willing confession when you’ve made a mistake.  Everyone makes mistakes, and when an adult in the house errs, it does not negate the importance of the rule, but rather, it opens up a teachable moment about complete honesty, humility, and the fact that everyone makes mistakes and must learn from time-to-time.  But the big moral principles of the household should be consistent and should apply to all rather than having one set of moral rules for children and a completely different set of moral rules for the adults in the family, or inconsistent/different moral rules among the children favoring one child over another creating an unjust situation which they will quickly recognize. 

Moreover, children will pick up on the situational irony of differing treatment or inconsistent application of rules very quickly, and they will conclude from those situations, regardless of what you say to try to cover up or explain away the situation, that there really aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, but rather morality can be made up as you go without any connection to higher moral principles (such as in the Bible).  Additionally, they will recognize the real morality behind these variable and inconsistent rules, which is the morality of power, the morality of “might makes right.”  Whoever is strongest gets to set the rules.  This is a dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest moral system.  Such a system quickly devolves into constant power struggles and bickering within and among family members and even between parents and children.  This is most definitely not a situation you want because it is complete and utter chaos.  It is moral anarchy.

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that God will grant you wisdom to discern what is right, wisdom to teach your children, and the power, wisdom, and courage to be a consistent role model to your children as well as to others all around you.  Being a good role model will bring glory to God as people will see that your beliefs are genuine, and this will give God opportunity to work on their hearts. 

This is my second posting today, but as a military veteran, I would be remiss in my duties if I did not honor our veterans and war dead on Memorial Day. You may have heard the saying that "some gave all, but all gave some." It is a great honor to serve this amazing country, and all those who have served, securing the blessings of Liberty, whether they gave some, whether they gave all, or whether they gave what Abraham Lincoln called the "last full measure of devotion," every contribution is honorable and worthy of celebration. I am honored to have served this country for 23 active duty years and to have served a combat tour in Iraq. I still bear the psychological and emotional scars from my service and probably will until I go to meet My Glorious Savior for my final reward. I thank all my brothers and sisters in arms who have contributed to the defense of liberty for our great country, past and present. You should stand proud today and be blessed that you answered the call to serve your country. May God bless America!
As noted in the previous day’s postings, parents need to spend much time with their children since parenting is a grave responsibility and not a hobby as some treat it.  Time spent with the children is necessary to prove that you love them, which they need to know from your words and deeds, and this time spent with them is necessary for the moral training of them which you are responsible for (Deuteronomy 6:7).  Although most of you already know this fact without my writing of it, but these Old Testament teachings are just as applicable to us as they were to the Israelites.  Granted, we are under a new dispensation through Jesus rather than the harsh rule of the law.  But then the Bible also tells us,  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Therefore, all Scripture, whether from the Old or the New Testament is valid for teaching us the right way to live.  

Also, Jesus taught, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”  (Matthew 5:17-19).  Jesus’ new law of grace sets us free from the harsh rule of the law, not because those rules no longer apply, but rather because Jesus’ First Coming to be the sacrificial lamb made possible the one-on-one relationships that all Christians saved by Jesus have, which comes with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whether we are aware of it or not.  Suffice it to say that all those old moral teachings still have validity in helping us to understand how to live a life walking in daily fellowship with God, but with His Indwelling Spirit, we now permanently have the power to live out those moral teachings.

And we should lean on and draw from the power of the Holy Spirit to help us to be the type of parents which our children need.  We can’t do it under our own power.  If we try to do these things without God’s help, we will most likely fail or do it the wrong way.  So, as with all things, it is best to start with God in prayer before we do anything else.  But once we start with His Spiritual Power, we should also remember that all His Law is founded upon love.  So all of our moral teachings to our children and all of our family rules should be founded on love and have a known purpose connected to love.  Moreover, the Love of God, which we emulate in all actions within the home, is a consistent, persistent, and orderly love.  So all family rules should be consistent, persistently applied, fairly and evenly applied, and should bring order and peace to the home, especially in each of the interactions and relationships among family members.  In order to accomplish these purposes, family rules should be clear, concise, applicable to all (even parents), and based upon the principle of love.  That foundational principle of love should ensure that all rules allow fairness and equal treatment and respect for every single family member. 

I pray that you will all be filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish family interactions under the Law of Love. 

I have added a “buy me a cup of coffee” button on my website, so that, if you feel blessed by my postings, you can do this simple act which goes through Paypal’s secure system, and help offset the costs of running my website. 

As noted in yesterday’s posting, parents must be available consistently throughout the day during the hours that they are with you and not in school or at their various activities.  It is in these moments that you spend time with them, even if it is just watching television together, that you have an opportunity to communicate your moral values to them.  You can make a comment about the moral situations observed on the television, or if you are out-and-about in the community, you can comment on moral situations that you see occur in these public places.  For example, you and your child may both observe a person acting deceitfully or selfishly.  When you see such things, and the child sees as well, you can comment on what should have happened, and you can even teach the child where the lesson comes from in the Bible (perhaps the Golden Rule or one of the Ten Commandments or the two greatest commandments to love God and love other people on behalf of God). 

Another way to reinforce the moral code of the household is when conflict arises between siblings.  At these moments, you must remind them that they don’t hate each other, so they should treat each other respectfully.  And you can point out that, in a conflict, there is usually wrong on both sides (both could have handled the situation better, resulting in a better outcome, regardless of who started the problem).  These situations give an opportunity for the child to build positive relationship skills in handling a conflict between their sibling and others, and they become self-policing at a certain point.  You may also be required to step back and allow them to settle their own arguments without you intervening, once they have been trained with the right techniques.  They need to fly solo with you watching over, saying nothing, to ensure that all goes right.  But once you have trained them in proper conflict resolution and observed them successfully practice it a few times, then you can leave them to their own devices during future conflicts, letting them work it out as they build their conflict resolution and overall social interaction skills. 

Believe me, it works; it just takes effort, patience, and consistency on your part to calmly and rationally teach them what went wrong in their interaction and how they could do it better next time.  Perhaps you can even make them role-play to practice on the spot the very words they should have used and will use the next time there is conflict.  This role-play practicing of the right words is one of the best reinforcing and training tools to teach children and ensure that the lesson sticks.  We have used these techniques in our family, and now our children are all well into their teens and are very good friends with each other and enjoy each other’s company.  Since my wife and I did the due diligence in training them to treat each other respectfully when they were much younger, they never did anything that would leave a lasting scar of resentment or a root of bitterness between them, and thereby damaging their relationships for many years into the future.  But it is these early lessons that root deeper into their hearts, minds, and spirits and stick with them most consistently.  This is what Proverbs 22:6 is referring to in “training up a child in the way he should go.”

I pray that you will be filled with God’s Wisdom and Patience in guiding peaceful relationships within your home. 

In our kitchen hangs a print which I bought at the local Walmart.  The print contains some pretty good rules for happy, healthy, and successful living.  The heading states “House Rules.”  And the rules are as follows:  Hug often; Be nice and play fair; Help each other; Use your manners; Do your best; Forgive quickly; Be generous; Use kind words; Try new things; Laugh every day; Respect others; Be yourself; and Never give up.” 

I don’t know what the source of these rules are, but most of them I can pin down to a Judeo-Christian morality that can be found in the Bible.  You might boil all these down to “Live life to the fullest,” (i.e. carpe diem or Ecclesiastes 9:10) “Do all things based in love,” (this encompasses the “Golden rule” and the two greatest commandments)  and “Be all that you can be” (the old Army ad slogan or Colossians 3:23-24).  In any case, they are pretty good rules to live by.  The important thing is to have a life that is lived deliberately by a moral code, and the best, most consistent moral codes that I’ve discovered are to be found in the Bible.  If we do not live deliberately and consistently by a moral code, and if we do not remind ourselves daily about the right rules for living, we tend to let them slip away.  This human weakness in forgetting morality if not constantly reminded of it is addressed in Deuteronomy 4:9: “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren…”

Not only should we remind ourselves of the best moral rules, but we should also constantly teach them to the next generation or they will be forgotten quickly.  This is what happened to the Israelites of the Bible time and time again, and this is what has happened to our own nation as we have forgotten in the last generation about the God that blessed us and made us a great country.  The important things must always be reinforced constantly to ensure that they will remain in the forefront of our consciences and in the habits of our hearts and minds.  There should be a persistent conversation about morality in the various situations we encounter throughout the day with our children.  This constant moral discussion is what is referenced in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:  “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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.”

More about this tomorrow.  I pray that you will be consistent in your walk with God, being a good example of loving, righteous Christian morality and that you will have wisdom and opportunity to teach those around you about what you believe from the Bible.   

In 1 Corinthians 11:3, we are taught that “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”  Also, in Ephesians 5:23, we are told, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”  Additionally, as God is passing judgment on Adam and Eve for the original sin, He tells Eve in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over you.”  So, the husband should be the leader in the home, but he should be leading in the style of Christ over the church, a servant-leader, who loved and cherished the church. 

Jesus did not demand that His church wait on Him hand-and-foot, nor give him the first serving at a meal.  Jesus was not a dictator, not the “king of the castle” as many men (heads of households) have styled themselves.  Additionally, a servant-leader, just like Jesus, puts the needs of his family members first, before his own needs, and he leads them with a sacrificial love just as Jesus did, attending to the needs of all his family members, protecting them, providing for them, honoring and cherishing them, spending time with them, leading and teaching them.    Jesus did not demand a “special chair” or the first cut of the meat or to be served first in social gatherings, etc.  Jesus always led with Agape love in everything that He did, serving all those around Him.  He set the example in love that He expects us, His spiritual children, to follow.  So, this example of loving service is how the father in the family should style himself.  The most important lessons I learned about being a servant-leader were in the military.  I was taught by a good leader that “the troops eat first.”  He meant that, when it came to food, mail delivery, best places to sit, getting served at the chow hall, getting food in field training, getting quartered for sleep, getting served at various agencies, you put the younger troops ahead of yourself and make sure that they are taken care of before my personal needs are met.  I always did that with the troops who worked for me, whether they were privates, sergeants, warrant officers, lieutenants, captains, or majors.  I always put them and their needs ahead of my own, serving them sacrificially just as my Lord Jesus would have done.   

The great thing is that God’s ways always work out right, so my servant-leader style was very successful everywhere I practiced it, accomplishing the mission every time, getting the very best effort out of my troops, winning not only their obedience and respect, but also winning their hearts as they discovered that I was out for their best interest.  I styled myself as a servant-leader, using the role of father as a template to define how I treated my troops.  I would always ask myself how a loving father would treat his children, and the answers to that question became the actions I took with my subordinate troops in whatever job I had.  I always treated them respectfully and kindly.  I always respected their opinions and took those opinions into account with my decisions.  I looked out for their best interest as much as possible.  I supported them in their work and other endeavors outside of the workplace, encouraging them on the job, praising their good work so that they would know their importance to the overall team and organization, giving them latitude to accomplish the task at hand in their own way or style so long as the end result of mission accomplishment was met.  And I treated all of them equally, not playing favorites, honoring and respecting them all the same.


    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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