What is a father?

 

Tomorrow we honor our fathers—men both young and old who have earned this distinguished title. Being a father is more than just being a Daddy or passing down DNA. The task of fatherhood is a great sacrifice, as all true fathers can attest.

Fathers have a huge responsibility in rearing the children God has granted them. Loving, nurturing, teaching and disciplining are some of the ways of a being a good father. Sometimes the role is easy and sometimes the job gets tough.

There is much instruction and wisdom to be found in God’s word on how to parent. Some verses stand out: “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it” – Proverbs 22:6 and “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” – Ephesians 6:4. Just as the Lord has compassion on his children, fathers are instructed to have the same.

Being a father brings great reward and often heartache as well. Just imagine the pain of our Lord when His children go astray. Though the beauty to be found in all of it is to remember that children are a gift from God and truly belong to Him first. Earthly fathers are merely stewards.

In the role of fatherhood, Christ needs to be the model with the Bible as our instruction manual. The work is taxing yet it should be done as with all things for the glory of God.

Happy Father’s Day to all of our wonderful fathers!

 

 

Pledges, oaths and flip flopping

Has someone ever disappointed you or others for not honoring a pledge? Even so much as swearing an oath and then not following through on it? God’s word in Matthew speaks to this:

Matthew 5:33-37 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

While we have witnessed some not adhering to their oaths or pledges, as children of God, we need to set the bar higher. As Christians, our lives (and words) reflect the nature of God and we are viewed by the world through them. Basically, our lives are a reflection of Jesus and his instructions say to commit to a “yes” or a “no” in your dealings.

To be a flip-flopper can be misconstrued as being dishonest and undependable. Isn’t a Christian supposed to be true to his word, the world asks?  If not, the impression of dishonesty arises and can taint our Christian witness. Why should anyone believe our word about God’s truths, if we ourselves are not true to our own word? When others observe us following through on our word, it speaks to the Christ in us. May the Holy Spirit guide your words today…

 

Got love?

In speaking with a brother in Christ recently after reading his monthly newsletter where the topic was LOVE, he mentioned how he can best love others and it was by first loving himself. His words got me to thinking.

The world speaks about love. It’s all we seem to talk about as it’s all about love, right? How we feel… about love, loving ourselves, loving others, and how much we love to love.

While reading the newsletter, it seemed he got swayed into the world’s view of love, which is:  I cannot love others until I love myself first.

What?

My take: If we accept ourselves as God sees us once we are saved (when God only sees the righteousness of Christ in us from that point on), then we are on the right track to loving others and that is what we are commanded to do.

So what if we don’t like/love ourselves on any particular day due to a bad mood, sickness, reminders of the past that haunt and taunt us, or any other variable, etc. Do these things preclude us from loving others? If we are relying on ourselves, yes. But we have the loving Holy Spirit inside of us. Otherwise, wouldn’t our flesh hold us back during those trying times. Is that what God means to love? Just love when you feel like it?

Only what’s done in the Lord’s strength is valuable. It’s not about you and I loving ourselves. The love comes from the Jesus in us. The outward show of his spirit inside. Galations 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me…”

Striving to like or love ourselves after we’re saved is a vain and futile waste. Just what would it take to love yourself… and for how long, if you found it?

Frankly, if God sacrificed his life for us, it should be enough. It’s not our place to put God’s love and acceptance for us  below our own love and acceptance of ourselves. It begs the question:  Is God’s account of us not enough? Are we the ones loving or is it God’s love we’re sharing with others through his Holy Spirit?  Is it about us or is it about God?

On building bridges… and walls

It seems the Pope–all comfy in the fortress of the Vatican–has a few words for America–specifically, our President upon his first visit.

“We should build bridges… not walls” is the message Pope Francis is giving.

I would dare to contradict the man with all due respect and venture to say he’s a Communist and a short-sighted one as well.

Mr. Pope, America has built bridges. We are the country that has helped, supported, undergirded, and basically opened our doors for the world to enter. We are the role model for the globe and an example of what true freedom and liberty are all about, but for us not to have any borders, boundaries or legality in our immigration process, it is akin to indulgence which leads to a wanton disregard for the exact freedoms we wish to uphold.

 

Something to Cherish

America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is a concept our founding fathers brought forth on this continent that all men should be free. Their acknowledgement of our Creator as being the one who bestowed our lives to us all equally has paved the way for America to be a free nation.

On this coming Memorial Day—the time when we give honor to the thousands of men who sacrificed so much for our freedom–we acknowledge the sacrifice of the men who fought to maintain it.

There’s one other who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can be free. Jesus himself. The price He paid for his sacrifice was his life. Because we as a people sinned from the beginning, God provided an escape for the damnation that sin caused. Messiah Jesus “The Anointed One” came to take our place in death and to bear all of our sin so we can be free.

Consider the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus and those of our Vets this Memorial Day and pray that God will allow our nation to continue as the founding fathers designed it to be.

May God continue to bless America.