Faith of a Father

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; – Hebrews 10:23


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Arrows of Faith – Launched

faith of a family facebook ad

I like the idea of symbolism.  I like the idea of having a tangible item to remind me of an important spiritual message.  By having something visible, it is not only a reminder to me but also a potential opportunity to be a catalyst for conversations with others.

About 5 years ago I was really struck by the passage in Psalm 127:4 that says, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.”  At my oldest daughter’s high school graduation, I spoke about this passage of Scripture and gave my daughter a store bought arrow and quiver signifying that we were launching her out into the world.  To be honest, a black 32 inch arrow with blue fake feathers really didn’t impress me.   So, over these last five years I started slowing developing an idea in my head.

This store bought arrow and plastic quiver really wasn’t what I had in mind as a display piece symbolizing Psalm 127:4.  I could tell it would be just too big for most rooms, and well, it just looked cheap and “store bought”.  I came up with the idea of having a shorter arrow displayed in a quiver, accompanied with a picture frame to display a photo of our children.  I couldn’t find the types of short arrows that I wanted, nor a quiver to fit them so I began the search on how to make the arrows using authentic arrow shafts, feathers, sinew, and tips.  I had a pretty good idea of how to make a quiver out of leather and lacing, I was able to located a supplier for the picture frame and found a local engraver to assist with the engraving of the names on each individual arrow.  Through trial and error and numerous variations of each product, I believe that I have designed a product that I hope many will enjoy for years to come.

It is my desire that these products will be something cherished by parents and children alike.  I trust that you will consider these as a reminder of the awesome responsibility that we as parents have in rearing our children.  As I said in a recent post, we as parents are launching our children into the next generation, into a generation or even generations that we ourselves may never experience.

Take a few minutes to review our “Arrows of Faith” and visit our new website:   www.faithofafamily.com   Please feel free to share the link with your friends.

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How many children should you have?

large family

As I come to the end of this short series, I’d like to make a few comments about verse five of Psalm 127.

 “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

As I mentioned earlier on in this series, it is not my place to tell anyone how many children they ought to have, this is a decision between each couple and God.  God knows each circumstance and what is best for each family. It may be two, five, ten or zero.  As a Christian I do believe we should seek God’s will for our family size and not be swayed by the world or even good intentioned but busy-bodied Christians.

Even prior to us being married, my wife to be, Sherry, had repeatedly said over and over again that she wanted a lot of children.  After a difficult delivery with our third child, the doctors told us that it would be too dangerous for Sherry to have any more children and that there was a good probability that Sherry could die from another child’s birth.  Ten months later our fourth child was born and several more years later our fifth child.  In God’s wisdom, additional children are not to be.  So although I respect those who have many more children than even our family, having a large family is not a “competition”.  Nor is it necessarily an indication of a family’s commitment to the Scriptures or a greater love for children but it may just be God’s plan for those particular families.

Having said this, let’s review the beginning of the verse we are discussing:  “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:” As we know arrows are what is placed into a quiver and the previous verses referred to our children as our arrows.  I like to call them “arrows of faith” because they can be a reflection of our faith as we train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The Bible is telling us that it is a joyful thing to have a lot of children.

So here are some benefits of having a full quiver, whatever the Lord’s definition of a full quiver is for your family:

  1.  A full quiver can bring much laughter and fun to a home.  Yes, this can be so with a small family, but imagine a family with a household filled with children varying in personalities and spiritual gifts.  As a family, there are times when many if not all of us just sit in the living room together and laugh with (and sometimes at) each other.  We enjoy each other’s company (usually) and find it hard if on those rare occasions we cannot travel on a vacation together.  Laughing is a part of our family fun.  Although I must say even as the more “reserved” one in the family, I can have an occasional crazy outburst.
  2. Having a full quiver means numerous siblings.  Of course this is obvious.  When there is an only child, best friends must be chosen very carefully from outside the home.  Let me ask, can there be any better best friends then siblings?  I don’t think so.  We live in a transient time and often times families are required to move due to a job or other reasons.  One of the big concerns for parents is how will the move affect the child or children.  When your children are best friends with each other, this definitely can help during the transition of the move. Again, how great is it when our children can have their own siblings as their best friend !
  3. Having a full quiver can bring security in our old age.  As families, God’s design is for the parents to care for their children, and when the parents are old, the children should care for their parents, as much as physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually possible.  While we would all love to grow old and have a perfect relationship with our children, we are all human and at times can get a little cranky and annoying and not always the most pleasant to be around. One parent with a slew of kids said to me, “It’s great having a bunch of kids.  When we get old and need a place to stay, we’ll have many homes to stay at so we won’t be a burden on any one of our kids.” I guess that is what you call retirement planning.
  4. As the world continues to battle against the family, they often will use the idea of over population to encourage smaller sized families.  According to a 2007 Gallup poll, 60% of the thousands polled believe the ideal family size is four or less, two parents and two or less children.  About 33% of those polled believed the number of children per family should be greater than two.  Only 2% indicated that five or more children was a good family size.  I say all this to say, although I have no statistical evidence only anecdotal, it would appear that if the world tends to discourage the idea of having many children, I look at Christians that are having large families as an opportunity to have greater influence in our communities and around the world as our Christian population grows.  The key is not only do we need to rear “Arrows of Faith” and prepare to launch them into the next generation but also to be a godly influence to those around us right now.  America isn’t lost, and I see a great opportunity for us as Christians to be influencers in our nation, but we must first start within our own families and from there spread a godly influence outward.  I have said it before but I’ll say it again here.  It is important to vote godly influencers into political office, but it is not as important who sits in seat of the White House as it is who sits in the seat of our own hearts.

I am sure that other points could be made, but let me end with this:  I like symbolism.  I like the idea of having something tangible that can remind us of some important truth and that is why in the near future I will be launching a new project offering something that can be a visual reminder that our children are “Arrows of Faith” and that as parents it is our responsibility to prepare to launch these arrows into the next generation!

Stay tuned as I fine tune some details and launch this project.


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Launching Faithful Arrows into the World

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Psalm 127:3-5

 “Children are compared to “arrows”. Now, we know that sticks are not by nature arrows; they do not grow so, but they are made so; by nature they are knotty and rugged, but by art they are made smooth and handsome. So children by nature are rugged and untoward, but by education are refined and reformed, made pliable to the divine will and pleasure.” –George Swinnock, 1627-1673, nonconformist, puritan, pastor

As I have read a number of commentaries on these verses, I have found that most writers (such as Matthew Henry and Charles Spurgeon – The Treasury of David), discussed that the arrows (children) are for the defense of the family and protection for the parents in their old age.  Although I would not disagree with these godly men, I believe that there is much more to the analogy of our children being arrows then just for defense and protection.  I believe there is another aspect that I would like to discuss here.

Unlike swords, clubs, lances or knives, arrows are not used for close combat.  Archers were able to reach great distances with their arrows, and with skill used these arrows to hit targets that they themselves could not physically reach.

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In 1983, Harry Drake held the “foot held” flight record of 1 mile 268 yards.

The Bible is clear that our Christian life is a battle (Ephesians 6) and that 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.”  Like arrows sent to hit targets the archer cannot reach, our children, when prepared, are to be sent out to do great damage to Satan’s kingdom that we as parents will never reach.  The ultimate goal of any Christian should be to glorify God.  This is why I believe that it is important that we take the saplings we are given and instruct them in the ways of the Lord, to mold them into the SHAPE that God has for them (not how we want them to be).  So that one day, when we shoot them from our homes and into the future, into a time and place where we will never go, that they will be ready to take flight, fly true and hit the mark that God has intended for them.

Each of our children is a miracle, given to us by God for a purpose, to glorify God in a way that we cannot.  As the arrow is not designed to sit in a quiver and never be used but is to be shaped and prepared for a purposed launch, so must our children be shaped into a mighty weapon of faith to be launched into the next generation that the enemy mentioned in Ephesians chapter six might be damaged, and God glorified.

Parents, how are your arrows being shaped?  Are we preparing our children to walk in the ways of God, so that in His timing,  they might be launched, and might fly straight, true to God’s Word and be a mighty weapon for God?  What are you doing today, what am I doing that might enable our children to be prepared for their launching into the next generation?

 “Well doth David call children “arrows”; for if they be well bred, they shoot at their parents’ enemies; and if they be evil bred, they shoot at their parents.” –Henry Smith. 1560-1591,regarded as the most popular puritan preacher of the Elizabethan London.


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SHAPE of Arrowheads

arrowhead

The third and final part of the arrow I’d like to discuss is the broadhead, otherwise known as the arrowhead or point of the arrow.  Of course the purpose of the arrowhead is to penetrate the target and depending on the target, it will depend on what shape of arrowhead is used for the task. And so it is with our children, depending on their “SHAPE”, God will use each child in His way to further His kingdom.

The Bible likens the Christian life to a war against Satan and the evil in this world.  Like an archer using the wrong arrow at the wrong time, we as parents with extensive prayer, Scripture study, seeking God’s wisdom and direction, need to help guide our children to His purposes, not ours.

Ephesians 6:11-12  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  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.

Some arrowheads are used to go deep within the target and can do massive damage.  Other arrowheads are used for a precision attack.  There are even some arrowheads called blunts that are not sharp at all and are used on birds and small game as not to destroy the flesh of the animal.  There are many purposes for arrows, and each arrow is crafted by the Fletcher for a purpose.  So regardless of your child’s shape, God has a mighty purpose for their life.  It is up to us as parents to help each child learn their shape.  As parents, it is our responsibility to know our children and to understand their shape, or who they are.  If we do not know and understand our children then we are doing a disservice to them.

If each child is an arrow, what kind of arrowhead are they?  I’m glad you asked.  The following information is not original with my father in law, Pastor Larry Brodie, but it is information that he has shared many times over the years with many people and groups.

Take a look at each letter and make a list for each:

 S = Spiritual gift(s))

Rom.  12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

1Pe 4:10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

What is your spiritual gift(s)?

H = Heart beat for the Lord; passions for life and ministry

Mt 6:21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What is your heartbeat?

 A = Ability (skills and ability, “God given” and “learned”)

Mt 25:15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

What are your skills and abilities?

 P = Personality traits

1Cor.12: 6  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  14  For the body is not one member, but many. . . 18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

What are your personality traits?

E = Experiences in life, especially painful ones

Rom. 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  2 Cor. 1: 3-4 – Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

What are your significant experiences?

Why not take a few minutes and before considering your child(ren), go through and answer these questions for yourself.  If you have older children, maybe use this as an opportunity for each child to reflect on themselves and make some notes.  This would be a great discussion for the family.

As you will find through this exercise, each of our children, each of us are uniquely different.  As parents, we must be careful not to press our children into a future path of our wants, desires and even our pride over what God has planned for them.  I am reminded of the recent TV shows about child beauty pageants and how mothers live out vicariously through their daughters live, or how fathers try to live out their dreams through their sons on the sports teams.  Of course as solid Christians we would say we would never do that, but do we?  How often do we as parent “expect” our children to go to college or pressure our children down a particular career path or “ministry” path because of our own desires and even our own pride?  Are we trying to launch an arrow in a direction and at a target for our own purposes and desires or are we willing to search out God’s desires, learn and understand our children’s shape (type of arrowhead) and encourage each child to pursue God’s will for their life?  Dad, Mom, are we willing to give God complete control over our children’s lives or are we trying to deceive ourselves into believing we know what is best?  Father knows best, the question is, are we willing to surrender the future of our children to our Heavenly Father?


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Directing your Arrows

As we continue in our series of Psalm 127:3-5, I want to comment on two more parts of the arrow before we move on to the next topic of discussion for these verses.

The use of feathers or other materials on an arrow is for aerodynamic stability and is call fletching.  Without this stability, the arrow’s path will be less directed and therefore less likely to hit the intended target.  Each feather is referred to as a fletch.   Like the shaft, historically each fletch is made of natural products, in this case feathers, although now days synthetic feathers are often used.  Each feather or fletch can be attached with either a silk thread or some form of glue.  At the fletcher’s choosing, they may decide to put each fletch on the arrow at an angle to create a spin to assist in accuracy when shot.

Continuing with the analogy of our children as arrows, as the fletching helps to provide stability in flight and accuracy, so Biblical laws and principles provide to our children stability and accuracy in their lives.  An arrow can be shot without fletching or with one feather attached, but it’s accuracy is then forced.  And so it is with children, rules without principles bring forced obedience and likely rebellion.

I have seen over my many years how Christian parents often claim to understand the importance of God’s Word in the lives of their children and begin to set all kinds of rules for them to follow.  These parents often fail to understand the difference between two small prepositions, on and in and how this works out in the lives of their children.  Putting God’s Word onto someone’s life typically demands their compliance and is often viewed as a burden and rebellion will usually ensue.  But learning your child’s heart and then teaching and instilling God’s Word into their life encourages them to accept God’s Word for themselves and then it becomes their own values and own beliefs.  Learning the whys (principles) brings the arrow (child) balance.  Ephesians 6:1 talks about children obeying their parents, but verse 2 discusses honor.  The two must go together.  I believe that while compliance to rules can be forced, honor has to come from a belief in the heart.

Do you remember the story of the little boy that was told by the teacher to sit down?  As he was sitting he said to his teacher, “I’m sitting down on the outside but I’m still standing up on the inside.” He complied but his attitude was still sinful.  I’m reminded of a saying we have used in our home.  “Obedience without honor is disobedience.”

We have all heard the comment that character based on principles are who you are when no one else is watching.  Here’s my take on the difference between rules (laws) and principles:  “Rules (laws) are made to be obeyed, Principles are made to be lived by.”

How does all this relate to feathers on an arrow?  Like feathers being used to bring stability and accuracy to an arrow, the rules and principles that we as parents instill into our children very well may direct them the rest of their lives.  If we are not teaching our children God’s laws and His principles and only teach the law (rules), our children will not understand the whys and will take direction from the world in an attempt to provide stability to their life, therefore our children need to be grounded in the fully Truth of the Word of God.

Joshua 1:8  “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Psalm 119:105 , “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

2 Timothy 3:16,17  “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 might be throughly furnished unto all good works.”

 So how are we doing?  Are we providing Godly direction to our children’s lives?  Are we forcing obedience (law) without honor (principle)?  Are we giving them one feather and expecting them to follow rules without principles?  What can you and I do this week to improve our influence in the direction of our children’s lives?

I hope these posts have been a blessing to you, even in a small way.  Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.


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How’s Your View?


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Psalm 127:3-5

3  “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  4  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  5  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”  

I have been captivated by these passages for some time now.  As I have thought about them, there are many rabbit trails that could be taken but after hours of writing and deleting, I decided to keep my comments on these verses pretty simple.  Today, let’s focus on verse three.

 “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

The Bible tells us that our children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord.  As I think about the word heritage, I think of something that is passed from one generation to another.  At times this can refer to possessions that are past on and at other times is can be something more intangible such as a history or maybe character traits, values or beliefs.  But we should also think of the word heritage in the context of the future, the heritage that we are now building.  The greatest impact someone can have on the world is not what they leave for the next generation, but who they leave to the next generation.  Our legacy should not be based on things we leave behind, but who we leave behind when our life ends being raptured into heaven.

I am deeply troubled by that attitude that so many have for children these days.  We can look out into society and see lack of value placed on children, from legalizing abortions, to the poor educational system, from the way many discipline their children or the lack thereof.  Of course the list could go on and on. And while I am troubled with our nation in general with its view on children, I am also trouble with the view that we in the church take regarding our children.

We talk about how important our children are yet every chance we get, we send them off to worship, play and study with other people.  While some of this is not bad, in my view, based on my understanding of the Scriptures, these times should be the exception and controlled and not the norm for a family.

It is unfortunate, but even the church has fallen into the trap of “population control” and often going as far as telling God when and how many children WE are going to have.  How arrogant. Should we tell God how He should bless us? Many Christian parents won’t admit it, but often, out of selfishness and pride, we begin allow the world’s philosophy to affect our view of children and we begin to view them as an inconvenience instead of a blessing.

It is not my desire to suggest or tell people how many children I think couples should have, that is definitely between them and the Lord.  Nor will I, or should I judge anyone or imply that a certain number of children is godlier than another number. God’s plan for the Duggars is as different for them as it is for us, the Schnarrs, which again, His plan for us is much different than His plan for your family.  Regardless of “the number”, each child is a reward and a blessing from God, even the unexpected child, or the disabled or challenged child.  God has a plan and a purpose for each and every child conceived.  I know of couples who would give anything to have children but God has had another plan for their lives, and I have seen other families with numerous children yet have taken these gifts for granted.  The point I want to make today is, if children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord, how do we really view our children?  Do we point them in the right direction along the way, take them to Sunday School, drop them off at youth group, and just hope for the best?  Or do we contemplate on a regular basis the responsibility that God has given to us as parents and make corrections as needed?

I think most Christian parents that are continuously living in light of God’s Word would heartily agree and state children are a heritage and a reward from God.  But let me follow up with this topic, have you, have I, really sat down lately and contemplated the thought of who God has given to us to teach and shape, have we really contemplated the value He has placed on our children?  I know that for most, our intent is to view, act, and respond to our children in light if this verse, but I also know that the daily events of our lives and the pressures of this world so easily distract us from following through on our intent.

Far too often due to my pride, I have been more concerned about how my children look on my “display shelf” in the home or at church and how they are positioned in the world for all to see, than being concerned with how God wants to shape them for His glory.  It is too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day mechanics of parenting struggling to accomplish immediate needs that we have forgotten to take the time to step back and marvel at who God has given to us to parent.  Have we gotten too involved in routine tasks that we have failed to plan how we will shape the life or lives that God has given us?  God hasn’t given us children to parent haphazardly and then fling them into the world at a certain age, He has given us someone that, by His grace, and using us as their parents, can be shaped into something much more powerful for His purpose.  Are we taking the time to regularly regroup and view our children as God has intended us to view them?  Or are we getting caught up in the day to day mechanics of parenting and we need to press the reset button?