Cover photo credit Roy Luck
By Del Duduit
We make them every day – hundreds of them.
Most decisions we don’t think much about – like that third cup of coffee in the morning. It’s a necessity.
A couple of years ago, I made the choice to begin a writing journey that I believe was from God. For years, I wanted to do something for the Lord, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.
It all fell into place once I realized and accepted the challenge.
My wife Angie and I decided to take our children to church when they were born. This was never up for debate. When the church was open, we were there with our boys, and we will never regret it.
For some parents, this might be a struggle, and kids can be quite convincing when they want to try to get out of doing things.
But they lived in our house and had to abide by our rules. One of those commandments was to attend the House of God on a regular basis. No questions. No excuses. No exceptions – not even during the Super Bowl.
Next week my latest book, Dugout Devotions II: Inspirations from MLB’s Best, hits the market. One of the chapters includes my interview with Houston Astros sensational second baseman Jose Altuve. I spent some time with the 2017 American League MVP in Cleveland during the All-Star Game, and we discussed how choices influenced his life.
Don’t let his small stature fool you. He is the shortest player in the big leagues at 5-feet, six inches tall. But his awards make him 10-feet tall and bulletproof.
Here is a portion of chapter 2 of my book.
“My faith and my relationship with God just doesn’t happen because I am successful. It just doesn’t work that way,” he said. “And I know that’s easy for me to say because I’m playing in the majors, but I have gone through my share of struggles. But those don’t stand out. What does stand out is that my mom and dad made sure we followed God. They lived the life and we followed because we saw how God took care of our family.”
Jose was raised in a Christian family who all believed Jesus is the Son of God and that the only way to Heaven was to accept Him as the Savior.
When he is on the road, Jose goes to chapel every Sunday, and he finds encouragement and strength in numbers.
“It’s the way I was raised – to go to church and honor God,” he said. “I have to stay focused on what He wants for me and what the Bible says. A lot of us go to chapel together, and it’s real. We talk to each other about how good God is to us, and it’s something we all need.”
Through all the bad times, but mostly good ones, Jose has stayed true to the way he was raised.
He reads the Word of God and prays each day.
“It’s what gives me strength,” he said. “It’s the main thing in my life.”
To Jose, the relationship he has with the Lord is real.
“I really, really believe it,” he added. “My faith is so important to me. I never want to step away from it, and I have no interest to know what life without God would be like.”
The one sentence that was powerful to me was “My mom and dad made sure we followed God.” Now, his parents did not make the decision to follow God for their son. That was his choice. But he made the decision because he was exposed to the love of God on a regular basis.
Not every situation is perfect. But parents must do the right thing by taking their kids to church as much as possible and living a godly example in front of them.
Will every child accept Jesus into their heart who is raised in church? Unfortunately, no. We are blessed that our kids made the right choice, and both later also accepted the call to be preachers of God’s Word. But we have friends who did everything we did, but their children chose a different path.
However, God calls parents to provide a solid Biblical foundation. And then you have to release them into God’s hands.
Rebellion is real, and I have heard instances where children bully their parents. That Is sad, and the adults must find a way to take control and lead their family.
Was I the perfect father? No. I made a lot of mistakes and still do. But Angie and I took them to church twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday, and to revivals, Bible School, and church camp. This was the right decision for the long-haul.
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You can never blame anyone else for your decisions. If you choose to stop reading the Bible or praying, it’s no one else’s fault but your own. If you ever come to the place where you consider turning your back on God, remember what Jose said. “I never want to step away from it…” That’s because it works.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22: 6
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It’s a simple concept that the world rejects.
Go to church. Raise your family in the church. Make the right decisions.
I wish we all would do this. Life would be so much worthwhile and easier.
You can pre-order Dugout Devotions II here.
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Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of C.Y.L.E. Agency.