VIDEO 2021 Father’s Must Be Watchmen: Life is a Battleground Not a Playground

January 1, 2021  by Shane Idleman

Our ministry often receives email correspondence from desperate wives and mothers. They often read something like this, “I’m at a loss. My ‘Christian’ husband is verbally and physically abusive. Ironically, he thinks that I’m the problem; he sees no need to change. He’ll quote Scriptures about submission while yelling and cursing. His anger is also destroying our children. A home once filled with laughter and joy is now filled with fear and depression. We walk on eggshells and cherish the times when he is gone. He also loves his porn more than his family. I can no longer bear it. I’m not dying inside; I have died.”

We are in desperate need of genuine leadership—broken, humble men—men who are not afraid to admit that they need God; men who are more worried about prayer than about status and recognition; men who petition God rather than position themselves. The state of the family today is disheartening. Men have largely forsaken their God-given role as spiritual leaders in their homes…that, no one can deny. For example:

  • Bible reading and prayer are called fanatical while working twelve hours a day is called success.
  • We build our career and neglect our marriage.
  • Corporate executives are praised and family men frowned upon.
  • We’ve increased our wealth but decreased our values.
  • We search the heavens for answers and turn from the One who created them.
  • Pride is considered an asset and humility a liability.
  • We know more about our favorite athletes than our wives and our children.
  • We’d rather be seen leaving a bar than leaving a church.
  • We praise our favorite team yet fall asleep in church.

Men, you’re not called to be a passive, weak, indecisive partner—you’re called to protect, lead, and guard your family. You are to initiate prayer, defend your wife, shepherd your children, and make your home a holy sanctuary not a breeding ground for Satan. You’re called to fight the enemy, not flee from him.

I’m tired of weak, passive men who never contend, stand, or fight for anything worth dying for. Our nation is looking for character, our wives are looking for leaders, and our kids are looking for fathers.

Men, STOP the silly video games, get off of Facebook, kill your porn habit, tell your ungodly friends to hit the road. You’re called to lead, love, and die, if necessary, for your family.We are the reason that the nation is deteriorating. We are the reason the family is breaking down. We must stop blaming everything from God to the government; we are the stench in the nostrils of a righteous, holy, pure God. Dads…wake up! Life is a battleground, not a playground!

I can hear it now, “Shane, you’re being too hard on the guys. Back off.” Really. Step into my world for a moment. Recall the email that opened this article. Sadly, this is not an isolated situation; it’s happens all the time. After re-reading it, you tell me if this message is too strong.

Men who are hurting their families don’t need to be encouraged and coddled; they often need to be confronted and challenged. Then encouragement can take place. Change is difficult if we always encourage but rarely challenge, and coddle but not confront. Unless a man is lovingly confronted, repentance will not take place, and his family will ultimately pay the price.

How many of our wives could say similar things? Many years ago, I stumbled across a journal entry from my wife that broke my heart, but first I felt betrayed and angry. She wrote, “I married a man who doesn’t care about my dreams and goals in life. I’ve learned to live with this since separation isn’t an option, but I will not allow him to do this to our kids.”

I was very angry because the truth hurts. But I began to realize that she was absolutely correct. I was a controlling man with no regard for the dreams, ambitions, and goals of my family. Granted, I was not mean-spirited about their dreams, but I was controlling. I’m embarrassed that I use to think things like, “That’s stupid, immature, and ridiculous; why would you want to do that?” I felt terrible and asked for forgiveness. I realized that I was breaking the spirit of my family; controlling and manipulating because of pride, and how things would make me look.

That experience was a turning point—I now encourage my family versus discourage their dreams. I’m writing this, not to compare situations, but to illustrate the fact that God often uses confrontation and exposure to break us.

While dads jockey for position, build reputations, chase careers, and so on, it’s often mothers who pray, petition, nurture, care for, and lead. Granted, there are men who, through no fault of their own, experience failure in their home, but for the large majority, there is a critical need for spiritual leadership. Repentance is the first step. Knowledge is knowing that we need to repent, but wisdom is doing it. The power in the Word of God is found in the application. James 1:22 reminds us that we can deceive ourselves if we “know” what to do but fail to do it. Are you living in deception…knowing but not doing?

Men, our families would rather “see” a sermon than “hear” one: “The lectures that you give may be very wise and true, but I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do. For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give, but there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live” (Edgar A. Guest; I’d Rather See A Sermon).

WATCH: Fathers Are Watchmen – short clip to motivate:

VIDEO The Battle is the Lord’s


When battle rages, it is hard to keep still. The battle fronts are action-packed, and being still makes one a liable target- or so we think. However, when one stands grounded, when one is still, it is difficult to be pushed and shoved compared to when one is in motion. When ‘the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord’ (Exodus 14:10). They also complained to Moses saying, ‘It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this desert!’ (v12). When facing battle, some get disheartened, but when God calls one to a battle, there is no retreat nor surrender. There is not even looking back because God says woe to those ‘who go down to Egypt without consulting me’ (Isaiah 30:2). Moses, knowing too well that the guiding hand of the Lord was upon them in their journey urges the Israelites;

‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still’ ~ Exodus 14:13-14

What followed was that ‘during the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving’ (v24-25). The Egyptians, with their horses and six hundred best chariots quickly realized they were not fighting man. They said, ‘Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them’ (v25). But it was too late. ‘The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen- the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived’ (v28). This is because, when the battle is the Lord’s, He can be the only winner, for He always wins. Victory belongs to Him. ‘The Lord is a warrior’ (15:v3) and so in battle, ‘he pursues them and moves on unscathed’ (Isaiah 41:3). God says, ‘No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’ (43:v13).

When two armies of the Maobites and Ammonites came to make war with Jehoshaphat King of Judah, he enquired of the Lord asking for the next step saying, ‘For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you’ (2 Chronicles 20:12). Again, God spoke through Jahaziel the prophet saying, ‘Do not be discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s . . . You will not have to fight this battleTake up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord will give you’ (v15,17).

They indeed saw the deliverance of the Lord, for the next day, ‘Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army’ (v21). While they were singing and praising God, the Lord, the Man of War Himself took over. ‘The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped destroy one another’ (v23). When the men of Judah reached the battle front, ‘they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped’ (v24). On that day, the men of Judah realized that ‘power and might are in your (God’s) hand, and no one can withstand you’ (v6).

The Christian life is packed with battles. It is a watchful life. Battles threaten to erupt from all sides. And so sometimes it is hard to keep still. Even in the small battles, God commands us to be still to a point that, ‘If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matthew 5:39). In essence, one is to keep still and not engage in human warfare, and in the human way. When the time came and Jesus was arrested, He did not resist. Judas the Betrayer came with ‘a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people’ (26:v47).

When Judas signalled the men to arrest the man he would kiss, and finally kissed the Messiah, Jesus tells him, ‘Friend, do what you came for’ (v50). One of Jesus’s companions however did not know that the battle belonged to God and so, ‘reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear’ (v51). When Jesus saw that, he admonished him, ‘Put your sword back in its place, for all who live by the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?’ (v52-53).

In this survival-for-the-fittest world we live in, some Christians forget that the battle is the Lord’s. That’s why they wage war the way the world wages war. They get ‘involved in foolish and ignorant arguments that only start fights’ (2 Timothy 2:3). Paul writes to Titus urging him to ‘avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless’ (Titus 3:9-10). Those who forget that the battle is the Lord’s are easily beguiled in taking up a worldly view and approach to things, yet God says, ‘Do not call conspiracy everything they call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread’ (Isaiah 8: 12-13).

When it comes to spiritual matters, many people forget that the battle is the Lord’s, that ‘salvation belongs to our God’ (Revelation 7:10). So they try to strive and make their way to God by human efforts, not knowing that God says, ‘I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies’ (Amos 5:21). Again He says, ‘Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me . . . I cannot bear your evil assemblies . . . They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them’ (Isaiah 1:13,14). The more we try to merit salvation by our deeds and not by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, God says; ‘Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labour is only fuel to the fire, that nations exhaust themselves for nothing?’ (Habakkuk 2:13).

God intends that, ‘in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength’ (Isaiah 30:15). Like to Martha, Jesus asks us to be still and stand our ground, by allowing Him to take on our battles as we linger and praise in His presence. ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:41-42).

Christians ought to shift their focus from the battle to the God who saves. So Paul writes, ‘Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after having done all, stand’ (Ephesians 6:11-13).

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts’ ~ Zechariah 4:6

‘Be still and know that I am GodI will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth’ ~ Psalms 46:10

‘Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ ~ John 11:40

Take Ground In Your Battleground


September 20, 2019 by Discerning Dad

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37 (NIV).

“Where does the time go?” It seems the older you get, the more you think this statement and hear it from others. As a child, time did not seem to move fast enough. As an adult, the days turn to weeks and before you know it, ten years seem to have come and gone. Even on a smaller scale, I may be completely busy but at the end of the week, I have no clue what I actually accomplished.

The Bible gives us warnings about using our time wisely. Ephesians 5:15 (NIV) says, “Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
How do we use our time wisely as Christians? What plans should we make, how should we act and live our life? What is the legacy we are passing on to our children? What will others say about you at your job if you were gone tomorrow? Are you impacting the culture around you or are you being impacted by it?

Each of us has a sphere of influence. This sphere of influence as Christians revolves around three main areas: our family and friends, our job, and our church. Your specific sphere of influence is different than mine. You have a dynamic opportunity to impact certain people or industries that other people do not have. You have a God-given responsibility to positively impact your family regardless of the role you play in it.

Think about your job. If you dread going to work, you clock in and count the minutes until you get to leave, it does not have to be that way. Whether you are in the right job or not is a different topic. The Bible says we should do all things as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23). Whether you are one of hundreds or one of three, you have a role to play in how you interact with people around you and what your witness is for Jesus without possibly ever telling anyone that you are a Christian. God may be waiting to use you as a vessel for His will and purposes in your workplace, if you let Him.

We like to compare our influence with other people. We may feel that we are not as valued if we do not have the scope of influence that other people have. Pastors may look at congregation size, social media users look at followers, parents look at number of children, whatever the case you cannot compare yourself with other people in an effort to minimize your impact. If you are a close friend with one person, you have influence on that person!

The Bible says we are in a fight not against flesh and blood but against spirits and powers of this dark world (Eph. 6:12). To ignore this is setting us up for failure. Someone who wants to be a conscientious objector in this battle will lead to them being a casualty of war. How can we be proactive and not reactive in this battle? How can we use the influence we have to fight this battle for Jesus? We have to take ground in our battleground.
What does it mean when I say “take ground in your battleground?” I am referring to you being an active participant in how God wants to move in daily life, by listening to the Holy Spirit for promptings on how to act and speak. It’s important to be strategic on the goals you have for you and your family and move towards those goals with actionable steps. Some families have a “family mission statement” which outlines what their vision is for the family and goals they want to achieve.

Taking ground was a key component of trench warfare in World War I. Each side dug into the ground in order to hold their current area, but also to put themselves in a position to see what the enemy was doing and advance when the opportunity would arise. Taking ground was a meticulous process that required great patience. An army needed to defend their position and be aware of their enemy, not doing so would leave them vulnerable to attack.

Satan wants to take ground wherever he can before his time is up, especially in the family. Just look at the attacks on the structure of the family in the culture today. If he can take out the unity of the family, the dynamics of family cohesiveness, the leadership of parental units, and the influence of Christian families on the culture, that is a victory for the enemy. Do not let that happen in your family!

Do not discount the importance of prayer; it is our MAIN weapon in this fight! Come up with a plan that is unique to your situation and sphere of influence on how you will take ground for Jesus. This may include: praying over your building before you start work, reading the Bible on break, having family devotions once a week, volunteering at church and being a part of the prayer for the ministries and pastors. Whatever the plan, it is important know what it is in advance, have it written out, and be in unison with your spouse (if applicable).

It’s been said that the best offense is a good defense. Do not wait for a life-changing event to come and take you out mentally, spiritually, and physically. Practice today in the small steps outlined here so that you will be ready on that day!

Take ground in your family for Jesus!
Take ground in your work for Jesus!
Take ground in your LIFE for Jesus!

Don’t wait for someone else to do it… and don’t wait until life has passed you by…

Discerning Reflection: What are my areas of influence and how can I take ground for Jesus in them? Do I have a strategic plan of how I want to defend my areas of influence?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your Word and for giving us insight into how to fight our enemy. Thank you for being with us if we follow your path. Help me seek you each day and have the strength to make the tough decisions you may call me to. Amen.

Tim Ferrara
Discerning Dad

Take Ground in your Battleground

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