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We Guard What We Cherish

Courage Shepherding Fatherhood

Source: "What Robs Men of Courage? Men today need to step up to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers," by Dennis Rainey, published by Washington Coalition of Men's Ministries

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Contributed By: Warren Koolson | Date Posted: 2024-07-04

Scripture: Ephesians 6:13 ; 1 Corinthians 16:13

Author: Dennis Rainey / Illustration Exchange


Every day, 24 hours a day, since the 1930s, the sentries of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary (badgeholders, as they are called) have honored their command to protect and defend that tomb. Regardless of circumstances, they have been ordered to hold their watch, and never abandon their post. Yet, on September 19, 2003, as Hurricane Isabel barraged the Nation's Capital with driving rain and nearly 100mph winds, the sentitels charged with guarding that sacred space were granted permission, for the first time in its history, to stand down to seek shelter.Yet that was not a permission they were willing to act on. NBC news reported at that time:

“They told us that. But that’s not what’s going to happen,” said Sgt. Christopher Holmes, standing vigil on overnight duty. “That’s never an option for us. It went in one ear and right out the other.” ...

With the fierce storm bearing down Thursday night, cemetery officials decided to let the guards move indoors if they felt they were in danger. Cemetery Superintendent John Metzler said he believed it was the first time they have been allowed to do so.

“We certainly didn’t want to put these guards in jeopardy unnecessarily,” Metzler said. ...

Holmes’ group was on duty for 24 hours, from 6 a.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday. They took turns patrolling the tomb in hourly shifts. ...

“Once you become a badgeholder, it’s like you’ll do whatever you have to do to guard the unknowns,” [Staff Sgt. Alfred] Lanier said. “For one, it’s my job. And for two, that’s just how much respect I myself have for the unknowns. That’s just something we cherish.

Famed Christian author and speaker, Dennis Rainey, had this to add:

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the East Coast of the United States, lashing North Carolina and Virginia, then moving northward all the way to Canada, leaving 16 dead and cutting power to six million homes. The edges of the hurricane passed through Washington, D.C., prompting the president and members of Congress to find safer quarters.

That was not the case at Arlington National Cemetery, where guards have relentlessly stood vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns every hour of every day since July 1, 1937. When the hurricane hit, the soldiers remained at their posts even though they were given permission to seek shelter.

That’s what a soldier does. He acknowledges the storm, but he doesn’t give in to it. He stands firm. As a friend told me, 'If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living—my wife and children?'

Like these soldiers, we are called to stand and do our duty while staring down the very storms that seek to rob us of courage, taunting and tempting us to neglect our duty and abandon our posts. ...


We ALL have an obligation to stand firm in the storms of life. Yet how much greater is that obligation for husbands and fathers to stand guard over the welfare (physical, spiritual, and emotional) of their families, and for pastors and shepherds to stand guard over the welfare of their flocks?!

As Rainey's friend so aptly said, 'If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living—my wife and children?' And indeed, pastors, of your congregations. 

As Sgt. Lanier suggested, we guard what "we cherish."

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13).

As faithful followers of Christ, and as Christian leaders — husbands, fathers, shepherds, we must:


"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV).


"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Peter5:1-4, ESV).


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

Fearless Fatherhood

Fear Fatherhood Love (Divine)

Source: National Center for Fathering, "The Power of 'I Love You" From Dad"

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Chris Huff | Date Posted: 2024-02-26

Scripture: Psalms 34:4 ; 1 John 4:18

Author: Chris Huff


Sometimes we can fear showing even very simple, clear acts of love. Many fathers rarely tell their children that they love them. The National Center for Fathering reports, from the informal surveying of fathers that only about 3-4% of fathers tell their children that they love them on a consistent basis. It’s not that they don’t love their children, they do, and they often desperately want to tell their children that they love them. But they don’t because they’re afraid of how their children might respond.

According to the Center:

Our words—or sometimes our lack of words—can either bless or discourage our children for their entire lives. And we’ve heard all the excuses: 'They know how much I love them.' 'I don’t want my son to get a big head.' 'It just isn’t what we do in our family.' But those are just excuses. If we know how much it benefits our children, there’s really no reason we shouldn’t say it.

Fear often causes us to shrink back from doing what we know we "ought" to do, causing us to lean into excuses.

But the Center assures us:

... [T]hose three words, spoken with sincerity and backed up by behavior, can demonstrate support, encouragement, tenderness, and caring as much as anything else we do as fathers.


Scripture is replete with our Heavenly Father's proclamation of love for us.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him (1 John 3:1, NIV).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NIV).

We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19, NIV).

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Roman 8:37-39, ESV).

In shrinking back or retreating in fear from expressing that love to others, especially our own children, we are retreating from our obligation — and even privilege — to love others just as God has loved us!

And that’s really where genuine change can occur in our lives. Because as we begin to rest in God’s love for us, we find that all of our fears begin to fade away. It says in Psalm 34: "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears."

In fact, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18, NIV).

Don't rob your child of knowing the your love for them. Follow the Lord's example to proclaim that love boldly, loudly, and often!

The Love of a Father

Fatherhood Love (Human) Love (Divine)

Source: My Father's Story

Contributed By: Tim Turner | Date Posted: 2023-08-07

Scripture: Matthew 7:11 ; John 4:14

Author: Tim Turner


My father grew up in the Depression era in a leaky and cold house.  He said, in winter months, he could sometimes have snow in his bedroom. The house was not well insulated, so the wind could bring a chill. Though the conditions were difficult, he never questioned the loved of his father.

One frigid night, my father woke up and was thirsty.  He called out to his dad and asked him for some water. They did not have running water in the house, so my grandfather had to go outside in the cold to get a cup of water. My dad could hear the floor creaking as my grandfather stepped through the dark house. He heard the door open and the ice breaking as my grandfather got the water from a bucket that had frozen over.

As my grandfather brought the cup of water to my dad's bedside, my dad said he had never felt so loved as he did in that moment. His father had sacrificed his own comfort to satisfy my dad's thirst. What a great example of a father's love.


Our heavenly Father has done this for us. He knows what we need and He provides for us even better than our earthly fathers can.

But the greatest lesson is this. He has loved us to the point of His own personal sacrifice.  Jesus left the comforts of heaven to come down to this dark world to satisfy our deepest thirst. He came so that we would never thirst again.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. ... whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:11, 14, NIV).

Saving Up to Pay for Adoption

Adoption Fatherhood God the Father

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-07-30

Scripture: Galatians 4:5 ; Romans 9:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Strong Hands Soothe Fear

Fear Fatherhood Confidence

Contributed By: Ben Kurz | Date Posted: 2019-11-25

Scripture: Psalms 23:4 ; Isaiah 41:10

Author: Ben Kurz

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From "Daddy" to "Dad"

Dependence on God Fatherhood Parenting

Contributed By: STIRLING BERRY | Date Posted: 2018-08-13

Scripture: Romans 8:15 ; Galatians 4:6


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Fatherhood Quotes (Part 2)

Fatherhood Quotes Fatherhood Parenting

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-07

Author: Various

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My Name Is Null

God the Father Parenting Fatherhood

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-06-08

Scripture: John 15:9 ; John 17:23

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Championship Fathering

Fatherhood Commitment Accountability

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-08-09

Scripture: Joshua 24:15

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Jenner Kids Unsure About Father's Day

Fatherhood Worship Sexuality

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-08

Scripture: Psalms 86:12 ; John 4:23

Author: Illustration Exchange

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