I had the privilege of receiving an amazing message from Pastor Rick at Palm Valley Church in Mission, Texas this past Sunday. Usually Father’s Day messages tend to be about how today’s dads are not doing a great job. Many times in the media and in society dads are depicted as stupid, inept, or absent in their families lives. Contrary to conventional thought Pastor Rick shared some great thoughts on just how much fathers have the ability to speak truth and love into their children.
Fathers have a tremendous influence on us and on shaping who we become as adults by their words and actions. As children we yearn for their love and approval in all we do. Our father’s moments of interaction with us become records we play and replay over and over again in our mind throughout our lives. Words are powerful and a child’s spirit can be either built up by dad’s encouragement or broken when he speaks untruth and negativity.
Four Phrases from Dad that need to be the Top Recording in His Child’s Mind
- “I love you!” A child has to know they are loved by dad. They need to hear it. That love has to be expressed unconditionally, (not limited by conditions; absolutely), and irrationally, (without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason). It must confirm who they are and backed with action. Everyone receives love differently. Some require the spoken words accompanied by quality time spent together. Others need physical affection through touch and to some love is demonstrated through the giving of tangible gifts.
- “I’m Sorry!” When dad makes a mistake he must admit it and ask for forgiveness. There is no room for side stepping truth or making excuses. Dad, let your child know you are not perfect. Humility brings freshness and hope to relationships. Dads need to model repentance through their words and actions.
- “I believe in you!” Your child’s self worth is formed by your affirmation in the smallest of things. Affirmation motivates your child to try harder. Affirmation empowers your child and it influences their lives by creating in them strong and healthy self-images. Tell them “You’re Awesome!” Acknowledge even their smallest victories and successes. As they grow and mature they will replay that record repeatedly whenever faced with a difficult life challenges.
- “I’m praying for you!” Dads let your child know that you are praying for them. Let them know that you pray for their future, their education, their friendships, and their future spouse. They need to hear your words, your prayers, and your open conversation with God. If they hear you talking to God they will talk to God and they will know that their life is important because, “dad prays for me!”
Here are three generations of men I love dearly. Grandpa Doug has passed his legacy of love to Andrew who became a new father on June 5, 2015.
Scripture: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the lord. Proverbs 18:22 NIV
Observation: This proverb says it clearly. I can’t add to or take away from it.
Application: I must understand and appreciate the wife that God has given me. I sure don’t deserve her. One more evidence to me that God loves me unconditionally.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me Laurie. Help me to be worthy of her. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV
Observation: This proverb instructs that the arrogant fail and fall.
Application: Take it from me, arrogant people get humbled. It’s not a source of pride for me to admit but I’ve dealt with this myself. I pray for humility from God so that he never has to humble me again.
Prayer: Father, help me to be humble and consider others before myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O Lord. Psalm 69:6 NIV
Observation: The Psalmist is crying to the Lord to not be the cause of disgrace for him or other believers.
Application: That is my prayer, to not be the cause of disgrace for God or his church. I owe it to my God, my wife, my children, my church and my coworkers to be consistent in my words and my actions. If I fail that I bring shame upon myself for hypocrisy. That hypocrisy is transferred to all believers; the church is harmed and God’s commission is stymied. We have seen in the recent past how the sins of Christians, specifically famous church leaders, has translated into a “Christ-bashing fest.” I can think of no greater insult to the Lord than to bring shame upon him and his church because of my sin. I pray that I never bring shame to either the Lord or fellow believers.
Prayer: Father, help me to live out the truth that I proclaim. Don’t let me ever be the cause of shame for you or the church. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Leviticus 19:1,2 NIV
Observation: God is Holy.
Application: I’ve read through Leviticus and I’ve not really been expecting to get any good instruction from the book. For the most part it’s a book of “dont’s.” Yesterday I had an occasion to sit and talk awhile with my lead pastor and his wife about our daily reading; we are all reading the same passages daily as a church. We laughed about some of the “silly” do’s and dont’s in Leviticus. I know that much of the book is written to keep the Israelites from harm but I’ve thought it’s a bunch of antiquated rules that no longer apply…or so I thought. After we had some light-hearted talk about the book my lead pastor became serious. He told us that because God is Holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin or imperfection. It’s impossible for Him and imperfection to exist together. It can’t happen. Leviticus is a book given by God to man to make it possible for us imperfect beings to fellowship with Him. Whoa, the boring, sometimes almost laughable book of the bible was written for a noble purpose, to bring King and subject together. The Levitical list is specific and detailed and it leaves no room for error. Unfortunately we, man, don’t have the ability to adhere to the vast list of regulations. God saw that and so He sent us Christ to bridge the gap between himself and us. Christ’s blood covers our inability to be perfect, it covers our sin. Now, we too can have fellowship with God. Today God verified my lead pastor’s words and showed me in the first two passages of verse 19 why Leviticus was written. It was written because we are sinful and God is Holy. It’s a book that is a reminder of how much God loves us. He sent Christ to accomplish the “unaccomplishable” and make it possible for us to be with God.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing me how much you love me through the book of Leviticus. Thank you for Christ who covers my failings and allows me to come into fellowship with you. I love you. Amen
Scripture: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided…” Exodus 14:21 NIV
Observation: The exodus of Israel from Egypt is recounted.
Application: As I read today I had to laugh. This passage gave me a very simple truth. Let me explain. When I was a young man I used to watch a program entitled “In Search Of.” Modern cable TV being what it is today there are numerous programs similar to “In Search Of.” All of these science programs try to explain life to the viewer. “In Search Of” was always trying to explain away biblical facts and these modern versions of that program do it with a vengeance. I remember seeing a program one time recently where the host went to meteorologists, geographers, historians, and “biblical scholars,” to try to explain how in the wide world of science the exodus through the sea could have possibly occurred. They had stars aligning, earthquakes occurring, and global warming (before it was cool) evaporating oceans, all as theories as to how it could have possibly happened but they over-looked the obvious. I just saw it today and it is a scientific answer to their question. “…the lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.” Exodus 14:21b NIV There you have it, plain and simple but they couldn’t see the truth. They were so busy looking for their version of truth that they didn’t trust what was right in front of them. God by his word created science to push the water back with air pressure. The ground dried out and Israel was able to pass through!
Prayer: Father, you are amazingly simple sometimes. You are so simple that we brilliant humans can’t believe it. Thank you Lord! Amen
Scripture: My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
“Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:9-13
Observation: The Song of Solomon is a guide to marriage. Throughout it’s chapters and verses it tells not only of the proper courtship between two people but it’s gives a daily account of their marriage, “until death do us part.” In the above scripture the Lord tells us how when we marry the proper man. He is our protector and as he loves the Lord and loves the woman that the Lord has blessed him with he builds a confidence in her that allows her to let the past go and look forward in Christ. She then becomes fruit bearing in her relationship with the Lord.
Application: Doug is the young stag my heart searched for most of my life. In our father’s mercy and grace he gave me a Christ-driven man. He’s full of integrity, passion for truth and love according to Christ’s values. Through Doug’s love for me, my winter is passing. The woman who was lost to sin has found the freedom to face her sin and ask forgiveness. The barren soil has seedlings growing which will burst forth with beautiful flowers and a sweet loving fragrance.
Prayer: Thank you Lord! You are the God of Mercy and Grace. Even a sinner like me can receive the love and forgiveness I never thought possible. Thank you for giving Doug the ability to see me through your eyes. Bless him Lord. Let me honor him with my love and friendship each and everyday! Amen
Have a great day! Thank you,
Scripture: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:17&18 NIV
Observation: Paul is teaching the Gentiles that they, through the Jews, are part of God’s kingdom. Paul reminds the Gentiles and us that without God’s Chosen, Christianity wouldn’t be possible. The Jews are the root onto which we are grafted. We aren’t Christians without them. We aren’t better than them, we are just saved through Christ. We need to love the Jewish people. We need to protect them and we need to share Christ with them.
Application: We must pray for the Jewish people and we must share Christ with them.
Prayer: Father, please help me to be a good steward of your blessings. The Jews are special to you and they are responsible for my Christianity. Don’t ever let me take them for granted. When given the opportunity allow me to witness of Christ’s sacrifice. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ Mark 7:7 NIV
Observation: Jesus tells the Pharisees that their concern about his disciples eating without ceremonially washing first is hollow.
Application: Do I worship the Lord or do I try to follow the rules? My desire is to love the Lord with all of my heart but I fear that sometimes I settle for doing “A, B, C and D” instead. My Lord would prefer my deep love which leads to my following the rules as opposed to my following the rules to show the world that I’m a “Christian.” God deserves all of me not–just the surface.
Prayer: Father, help me to be completely yours. Your deserve that! I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding. Psalms 119:25-32
Observation: Depression and sin go hand in hand for the believer. Recently I found myself in this state. David, who the Lord proclaimed to have a “Heart for God,” suffered from the same. The Lord loved David yet that didn’t keep him from sin. However, in this bit of scripture we see David finds and shares the answer to fighting depression and sin. God’s precepts, his ways, and God’s Word will keep sin at bay and bring us out of darkness. “Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.” We must go to his Word continually seeking, learning, and asking allowing Him to set us free. Speaking freely with our Lord for he already knows our sin and pain. We must acknowledge it to him before he can begin to repair us.
Application: Get back to it! Read His Word everyday and listen to worship music each day, do whatever it take to keep the Lord in sight and out in front leading you. Take captive any thought or action that don’t line up with the Lord and his ways. Relief will come so don’t give up! Use church and other Christians as accountability in your life.
Prayer: Thank you for sharing David with me. His love for you and your love and forgiveness of him keeps me going. Thank you for putting so much honesty and truth in the Bible. Thank you for showing me my sin can be forgiven and I can receive your grace and a fresh start. Lord continue to guide me and help me overcome the darkness within me. Amen