For a long time this use to not be a very happy holiday for me. Up until a year or 2 ago, I did not have a good relationship with my dad. I resented him for a long time for not being the father that I so desperately needed while I was growing up. Sometimes we can forget how impressionable children can be and how important a man's role as a "father" truly is.
In Pastor Gary's sermon today, he mentioned a statistic that really caught my attention. He said (paraphasing) that:
-- if a father & mother worship together in church with their children, the children will be 80% more likely to worship God consistantly as an adult.
-- if only a mother worships in church with her children, the children will be 30% more likely to worship God consistantly as an adult.
-- if only a father worships in church with his children, the children will be 70% more likely to worship God consistantly as an adult.
Amazing that it's only a 10% difference from from both parents to just a dad! That's a significants that should not be overlooked.
For all of you men who are reading this, those who do or do not have kids, I beg of you, for your children or future children's sake, please surrender yourself to Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can mold you and shape you into the man that He desires to raise His precious masterpieces that He has placed in your care.
You may not realize this, but when you become a parent, a father, YOU are responsible for demonstrating to your children the character of GOD. Your children will base their view on who God is by your words and actions. Their mom will have some impact, but ultimately it will come down to YOU.
Think about that for a moment... what kind of God will they believe in?
Is God someone who rarely or never keeps his promises?
Is God someone who only cares about himself and not about anyone else?
Is God someone who is mean or says hurtful things?
Is God someone who is distant and uninterested in what you like to do?
Is God someone who is selfish and blows up whenever he doesn't get his own way?
Is God someone who picks favorites and you never know if you are on his good list?
Is God someone who is too busy and is never available to spend time with you?
Is God someone who is never satisfied... no matter what you do, you'll never be good enough for him?
Is God someone who will never let you forget when you've messed up?
Is God someone whose love has conditions?
The answers above (in case you were wondering) are all NO!
So, begin now to become a man after God's own heart. God will bless you for being salt and light to your children, and for those of you who do not have children (guess what?) you can still demonstrate the love of Christ (who is the visible image of the invisible God) to others around you: co-workers, significant other, parents, friends, etc.
It took me a long time and God's unfathomable grace to make me see that may dad is far from perfect, but I have already seen a wonderful change in him. He is not the same person that he was 2 years ago. Oh, he still have a very long way to go (don't we all?) but I can see the hand of God moving in his heart and life. I do continue to pray that he will surrender his life completely to the Lordship of Christ, so that our Heavenly Father can bless him with the awesome plans that I know He has for him.
Soemthimes we forget that God does not force Himself on us. We can choose to live our lives by our own rules (and ultimately fail) or we can submit to God by doing things His way (and become holy). Proverbs is chuck full of the wisodm and benfits of living life by God's standard.
Thank you for choosing me and making me your child. Thank you for being my perfect Heavenly Father. God, Your love for me is beyond my comprehension, but yet You offer it freely, without condition. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love, a 1 Corinthians 13 love. You knew me before I was in my mother's womb. You were the craftsman who knit me together and made every part of me, designed to your perfect specification. Every day of my life is already written in Your book. You can number the hairs on my head and know my every thought before I even think it. Oh, Lord, I am especially grateful for Your promise that there is nowhere I can go and nothing can do that will ever separate me from Your love through Christ Jesus my Lord.
Let me life be a voice for You, and let my life be a praise to You.
I love you! Happy Father's Day.