Ten Lessons I Learned from My Father

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

1) When things don’t go the way they should, God always makes them turn for good.

Romans 8:28 was as prominent as John 3:16 in our home. “God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

2) God can be trusted.

He never murmured at the providence of God, not even when God took my mother at age 56. “In God I have put my trust, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11).

3) People are lost and need to be saved through faith in Jesus.

He was an evangelist. His absence from home two-thirds of my life meant one main thing. Hell is real and terrible and Jesus is a great Savior.

4) Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume that you will have it tomorrow and don’t waste it today.

“It is appointed unto men once to die, after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “Boast not yourself of tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

5) A merry heart does good like a medicine and Christ is the great heart-Satisfier.

He is the happiest man I have ever known. In a sermon called “Saved, Safe and Satisfied,” he said, “He is God. When you fully trust Him you have all that God is and all that God has. You cannot be otherwise than satisfied with the perfect fullness of Christ.”

6) A Christian is a great Doer not a great Don’ter.

We were fundamentalists without the attitude. We had our lists of things. But that wasn’t the main thing. God was the main thing. And he was worth everything.

7) The Christian life is supernatural.

Christian living is not possible without the Holy Sprit, and he comes in answer to prayer. There is not a night in my memory that our family did not pray together when I was growing up.

8) Bible doctrine is important, but don’t beat people up with it.

He groaned over schools and grandmothers who split what the Bible holds together: “Speak the truth in love.” Truth and love. A good marriage. Keep it together, Son.

9) Respect your mother.

If you wanted to see Daddy angry, let me sass my mother. “Honor her” is what God commands. And Daddy knew the price she paid to let him go away.

10) Be who God made you to be, and not somebody else.

If you are short, form a ball team called “Small Potatoes But Hard to Peel.” He never pressured me to be a pastor. Seek the will of God above all, Son. And be what God made you to be.

With deepest thanks,