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December 11, 2018, 12:00 PM

The Challenge of Parenting

I’m not certain that I qualify to be a parent. My wife and I only have one child. Those with only one child have two advantages over those parents with two or more children.

1) When something is misplaced or a mess is made they always know who did it

2) Time spent with one child is much easier to make than when multiple children are part of the family.

I didn’t know how to be a father or husband. Most men don’t however some men start families with at least an idea of how to be a good husband and father based upon the example their father sets. My father was an abuser of women physically, verbally, and emotionally. He encouraged me to run away from my mother and then turned me over to the California foster care system. He had no time, patience, or kind words for me. But then Jesus turned my life around when I was 22 and placed me among a church full of men that were examples of how a godly man should treat his wife and children. It has been my earnest desire to honor their example and to please the Lord Jesus Christ.

My wife has been a godly example from her youth and is the finest Christian lady that I know. She has labored beside me in the kingdom of God and in life. As a mother, she is caring, thoughtful, and hard working. Thankfully she has imparted much of her traits to our daughter also.

The years have passed and my daughter continues to live joyously for the Lord Jesus. I better understand the words of the apostle John when he said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). There is no guarantee that our children will live for God. I have seen children that have had safe, godly, and fun family environments choose the ways of a sinful world when they reach adulthood. I have also seen children raised in some of the worst of life’s environments but they made up their minds to live for Jesus at young ages and have done so. Serving God happily and faithfully is a matter of a willing heart! Yet, it is true that the way a child is raised often has the greatest influence upon their spiritual, social, emotional, and physical development.

At some point it dawned on me that our daughter would one day look for a young man (God forbid that he look at her!!!!) to marry. I began to pray that God would help me to model (a small replica of the real thing) for her what to look for in a young man. I wanted her to have a love for God, so the basics of Bible reading, prayer, fasting, tithing, church attendance, and a continuous sense of the presence of God was purposefully established in our family by my wife and I.

Somewhere in my early studies about fatherhood and then, as a minister responsible for the spiritual development of other children, young people, and adults; I came across research that linked both the emotional happiness and depression of the majority of women with the type of relationship they had with their father before becoming teen agers. Waiting until children are teen agers to have a meaningful relationship is parental suicide. Invest in children when they are young and it will return as they become older. I asked my daughter for her thoughts and suggestions of things we had done together that had helped her and that might be a help to other fathers desiring to help their daughters and sons lead happy, fulfilling, and Christ centered lives.

  • We often went (still do as possible) for a weekly date
  • Bike rides
  • Snowball fights
  • You always allowed me to ask you anything – even about boys and answered honestly. You did not act shocked or get angry. If the subject matter was to mature for my age, you used the following anecdote: “Some subjects are like heavy suitcases and you are too young to carry them right now. Let dad carry them for you and the time will come when you will be big enough to carry them on your own.”
  • When working at home he never made work seem more important than me
  • Didn’t correct in anger; I was sent to my room and corrected later
  • Encouraged Bible times: I would write a Bible question at night and dad would have a written answer for me in the morning.
  • Tried to be at all major events: graduations, birthdays
  • Encouraged me and pushed me to work for something if I wanted it and to do my best.
  • Gave me my space but made sure I knew that he was there if needed
  • Praying with me in church – Dad always said parents need to “Keep your hands on your kiddos!”
  • Walking the aisles together during church prayer time
  • You did not answer phone calls when we were eating together. It always made mom and I feel like we were important and had your attention.
  • We have prayed together almost every night since I was four years old – even over the telephone.

Maybe some of these ideas can be a help to you and yours. No matter where you are in the development of your family it’s never too late to try. Be patient, laugh, cry, and above all - pray together. Jesus Christ is the glue that holds everything together.

P.S. If you might be interested in more thoughts on parenting or this blog has been a blessing to you, please leave a comment below. 

Special Thanks to my friend and fellow minister, Pastor Rick McGuffey, for encouraging me to write along these lines.


02-14-2019 at 7:45 PM
Dennis Johnson
I'm proud of you,for i know Jesus changed your life and turned you around. God bless you.
12-12-2018 at 6:45 AM
Harlan Morgan
Thank you for these insights!
12-12-2018 at 1:21 AM
Peter Connell
I sure did enjoy reading this post - and Cassie’s recollections were an excellent part of it. She’s a great girl, and your good parenting is in large part responsible for that. Many good points made here - and the suitcase analogy was perfect. I’ll remember and use that. Instruction on good parenting is a critical need in our day. Keep writing!
12-11-2018 at 12:23 PM
Great reading as always. Thank you!
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October 6, 2018, 12:00 AM

The Will of God

“What is the will of God for me?” That’s a question most people have asked themselves. The desire to know the will of God for the immediate and the future and yet, unable to recognize it, has caused many to make serious mistakes and even question the Divine purpose for their lives. Others have recognized the will of God for their lives, did not like it and decided to live according to their own will. 

Someone aptly stated, “To know the will of God is to do the present work at hand.” To me, that means that if I will do what I know  pleases God right now, the will of God for my life will unfold accordingly. The apostle Paul gave the saints in Ephesus an outline of how to find and stay in the will of God. Here’s the principles found in Ephesians 5:17-21(KJV):

  • Understand God’s will by rejecting worldly wisdom and foolishness and embracing His Word that brings wisdom and knowledge.
  • Be filled with the Spirit. We must both live and walk in the Spirit. Yesterday’s experience cannot sustain today’s needs. The joy of the Lord gives us strength to do His will!
  • Singing aloud the scriptures and spiritual songs of the Lord that should abound in your heart. The songs and words that we sing and say reveal what we allow most into our thoughts and hearts. To know His will we must meditate upon, speak of, and sing about God’s will as revealed in His Word.
  • Living a lifestyle of thankfulness to Jesus Christ for all things. Not a lifestyle of complaining, drudgery, and laziness but living an abundant life found in the presence of the Lord Jesus!
  • Being submitted to others in the fear of God. Remember Jesus was/is God manifested in the flesh. He submitted himself to others while on earth. Am I better than Jesus? Not if I fear God! There is no greater honor than to live a life of submitted service/ministry to others that brings glory to God.

If we will follow these five principles, we will accomplish the will of God for our lives whatever the will of God may be and wherever it may lead us. Here's a peom that brings hope and a challenge to all those that desire God's will in and for their lives.

The Will of God

The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Source Unknown



10-17-2018 at 8:08 AM
Brent Crosswhite
Ouch! Submit! Indeed it is very much part of doing the will of God in our lives!Thanks, this is very good instructions in righteousness, which is far deeper than just mere information. Spiritual growth material!
10-08-2018 at 4:51 PM
Arthur Law III
Great blog entry Bro. Savala. Aside from the obvious wisdom the entry possesses, it’s depth comes from the fact that you have lived it. Powerful and full of sustenance are the words you’ve poured out of experience. Thank you for sharing a proven path.
Bro. Law
10-07-2018 at 8:32 AM
Kevin McElroy
Very good. Something that caught my attention was at the beginning of the blog. Statement “ if I will do what I know pleases God right now, the will of God for my life will unfold accordingly,” is principled living. This is a walk of faith. We’re not always going to know what is coming next, but if we live according to that principle, it enables God to unfold his will & for us to flourish in his will.
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June 4, 2018, 6:44 PM

The Man In The Arena

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." ~ U.S. President (T.R.) Theodore Roosevelt


~ How easy it is to judge the motives and actions of others when we are not in the midst of the fight. Just as those who have never been involved in combat ‘know’ what they would have done under the circumstances. They are quick to judge the actions of men and women whose lives and the lives of others reside in a few split seconds of action. Or those who have never parented who ‘know’ what they would do with everybody’s children but their own.

So it is with those who do not serve the Lord Jesus,or try serve Him half-heartedly. These have worldly views often based upon bitter and hateful emotions and text books written by those that resist the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Let the voices that speak into your life be those of people that have lived in the arena of life while serving God with all their heart. Those that know about worldly pressures that battle the mind, backslidden family members that laugh, sickness that brings the body low and yet, live joyfully and fully unto the Lord Jesus!   Give me someone who knows what it is like to be in the arena and not merely sitting ringside betting money on the outcome. 


“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit”

Ecclesiastes 7:8

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Romans 8:37


06-13-2018 at 10:17 PM
Kevin L. Nix
06-05-2018 at 3:42 PM
Andrew Masley
Brother Savala thank you for the reminder that we should not stand on the outside as critics but rather be the one who is in the ring fighting. God bless you.
06-05-2018 at 3:18 PM
David Boyd
Thank you, my Friend for such an encouraging word. God less you as you bless others.
06-05-2018 at 10:59 AM
Keith Nix
Excellent, my brother! Thanks for writing this.
06-05-2018 at 10:32 AM
Rick McGuffey
I enjoy reading this blog. Post are thoughtful, easy to understand, and immediately applicable to real life. Thank you.
06-05-2018 at 7:01 AM
Scott Kitchens
Very good blog, and so very true!
06-04-2018 at 6:18 PM
Peter Connell
Great post! And the word “great” is not an exaggeration.
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May 22, 2018, 12:00 AM

Time For A Change

There's an old sea story about a ship's Captain who inspected his sailors, and afterward told the first mate that the stench of the crew was horrible. The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change their underclothes regularly. The first mate responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”The first mate went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced, “The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underclothes. Pittman, you change with Jones, Leroy, you change with Witkowski, and Brown you change with Schultz.” (Anonymous)

The Moral of the Story: Someone may come along and promise “Change”, but you often end up with the same old smell. 


~ Here are a few thoughts I have taken from this humorous but poignant story.

  • I will never change what I allow myself to tolerate. You know, like making excuses for being late to work, church, and other important events. Idenitfy bad habits and make up your mind to change them. Remember, a double minded person is unstable in all of their ways (James 1:8).
  • Achieving excellence is attainable right now; it is the maintenance of excellence that is so difficult. Start small and increase your efforts. Praying 10 minutes a day equals 1 hour and 10 minutes a week. That's 52.8 hours in a year or 2.2 days of prayer. The same principle applies to anything you desire to learn (music, langauge, business, et al) and begin to excel in.  
  • Change always requires a degree of sacrifice. Do it with joy for the end result.  

True change is a transformation of the habits of one’s mind. It is a mixture of a person's will embracing the will of God, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). ~ JPS



05-23-2018 at 12:46 PM
Brian Enochs
Wow, thanks for sharing! : )
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January 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

What Motivates Your Habits

“The chains of habit are to light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Warren Buffet

   Habits are powerful patterns of thought that affect both the shape and health of the brain. More importantly, habits reveal our spiritual condition. It is possible for all sinful and emotionally debilitating habits to be broken. Now, don’t let some of the scientific terminology scare you from reading. It’s important to understand that science is catching up with principles that God placed into action thousands of years ago with words that everyone can easily understand. Dr. Caroline Leaf wrote, in her outstanding book, The Switched on Brain (2013), “This scientific power of our mind to modify the brain is called epigenetics, and spiritually it is as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). The way the brain changes as a result of the mental activity is scientifically called neuroplasticity. And spiritually, it is the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1) (p.56).

   This is absolutely wonderful to me! Through obedience to the Word of God (Bible) and becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17), the former habits of our mind can be brought into captivity and our minds are transformed with new habits of a Christ centered mind. It has been proven that the human brain can rewire itself as one Harvard study documented, “…the formation of habits affects the physical properties of the brain. For instance, a subset of neurons in the brain called mirror neurons, fire when an action takes place actions take place and when the same action is observed in others" (Humor, Laughter, and Those Aha Moments. 2010, Spring).

   Basically, what one sees and listens to produces a desire in the brain of the observer to act out (mirror) what they see and hear. This begins a transformation of their minds for good or evil. Just as laughter often produces laughter in the physical mind, the ‘mirror neurons’ of the spiritual mind respond accordingly. The Christian strives to imitate Spiritual habits that Jesus Christ left for us to follow and create new ones that coincide with Biblical principles (1 Pet. 2:21). Consequently, the spiritual motivation for the change of habits only occurs through repentance and submission of the human spirit to Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

   Conversely, carnal motivation leads to the pride of self will or addictive-like habits. For instance, a person might stop the habit of smoking because they do not want to die and yet, they continue cursing.  The motive behind the changed activity is not to please God (spiritual formation) but to live longer and accomplish more of what the self-will desires. The ability of some to ‘kick a habit’ often compels them to be prideful of their accomplishments and to become contemptuous of others who cannot or will not change similar habits or addictions.

   People that become addicted to drugs, pornography, gambling, and such like are according to Duhigg, C. (2011), “Moving from ‘wanting’ to an obsessive craving can cause people to act in self-destructive ways even if it jeopardizes personal reputations, family relationships, and financial security" (p.50). This is the condition of the world and even some that claim to be Christians.

   The psalmist David begged God to test him so that his heart and thoughts would be known (Ps. 139:23), and Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). The testing of the heart-soul-mind by the Word of God and the Spirit of God reveals the spiritual motive of the thoughts and habits performed by the body.

   In summary, habits reflect the spiritual imaginations and thoughts of each person.  This is called the ability to be self-determinate and according to Wilson Ed.D., N.J. (2003), “Choosing to start, or accept, the process of bringing spiritual form out of one’s potential is an act of the will and requires courage-courage to act, to decide, to choose, to emerge” (p.79). “Jesus said unto him, If thou can believe, all things are possible to them that believe” (Mark 9:23). These words were spoken to a terrified father that was tired of spiritual habits of the mind that controlled his child. The mental condition of the boy was such that he could not speak or hear and was controlled by the demonic spirit. But the words of Jesus were stronger than the mental instability caused by spiritual darkness.  

   Once a person has been born again and begins to choose to change self-destructive habits of the mind and spirit through the power of God that works in them, all expectations of what was initially asked or thought can be exceeded(Ephesians 3:20). Therefore, all past failures, emotional baggage, and sinful nature means nothing to God. What matters most to Him is that we will allow Him to transform us by receiving the Holy Ghost and allowing our minds to be transformed by His Word, the ministry, and personal devotion to Jesus Christ. And that, is exciting!


Duhigg, C. (2011). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. New York, New York: Random House.

Humor, Laughter, and Those Aha Moments. (2010, Spring). On The Brain, 16(2), 1-3. Retrieved from

Leaf, Dr., C. (2013). Switch On Your Brain. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

Wilson Ed.D., N.J. (2003). Ultimate Leadership Volume 1: The Defining Moment. Sacramento, California: Reach Worldwid, Inc.


06-13-2018 at 10:21 PM
Kevin L. Nix
So good!!
02-04-2018 at 3:38 PM
Brent Crosswhite
Great words! One man said the mind is like a wild horse that has to be restrained by the will that is in cooperation with the Spirit. Thanks, Bro. Savala!
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