A Good Father

In anticipation of Father’s Day, I decided to do a little Biblical research on the subject of “fathers”. Being the details person that I am, I normally start by tallying up how many times a particular word occurs in the the Bible. Not surprisingly we find an extremely high number of occurrences of the word “father” throughout God’s Holy Word.

The word “father” occurs a total of 843 times throughout the entire Bible. 530 of those times in the Old Testament and 313 in the New. Of those 313 times in our New Testament, the word “father” appears 213 times in the four books of the Gospels out of the 27 books of the New Testament which accounts for approximately two-thirds of the incidences. Finally, of the 213 times the word “father” appears in the Gospels, 107 of those times (one more than half) occurs in the Gospel of John alone.

The Gospel of John gives us a very unique insight into the life and relationship of God the Father to Jesus, His only begotten Son. Offered here are a few verses to meditate upon this Father’s Day to help us achieve the best possible understanding of the most perfect father/child relationship there has ever been.

In John 1:14 it is recorded, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” A good father possesses a type of glory that his child can bask in and be proud of. A special type of parental glory that imparts truth and mercy to his child so that the child may, in learning by example, demonstrate truth and mercy to others.

John 3:35 Jesus said, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” Jesus knew innately that He was deeply loved by His Father. Good fathers should always let their children know how much they dearly love them from their youngest to their oldest of their days together.

John 5:20 again Jesus says that He is loved by His Father and more, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; …” There were no secrets in the workings and will of the Father to His Son. A good father will share, confide, divulge and confess the sincerity of his feelings and his own humanity to his children in order to forge trust and confidence between them.

John 8:29 our Lord said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” A good father will let his children know that regardless of what happens in life, nothing could ever stop him from loving them. To the best of his ability he should instill the desire in a child to try to please him, but not out of fear of punishment or failure or selfish pride but out of a perfect love that casts out all fear and fashions a life of service in love.

John 10:30 the Master make a profound statement when He said, “I and My Father are one.” This affirmation is the epitome of a complete physical, mental and spiritual relationship between a father and child. A relationship so intense and full that the measure of which can only be described as the “Two are One”. One in essence. One in Spirit. One in truth. We will only be able to begin to appreciate such a relationship once we are with our Lord in Heaven to meet Him and the Father face to face.

Now I am certain that you many be thinking to yourself, “I can never be that good of a father.” and each of us would be correct to reason so for none of us have lived perfect lives but merely have done the best we could as we grow up while our children grew up. Still, by meditating on these examples perhaps we can improve the parental track record with our children regardless if they are five or fifty years old.

One last verse in parting if I may, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23. Is now the hour we will all begin worshiping the Father in spirit and truth and thereby become better fathers ourselves. I pray so.

Happy Father’s Day!



The Favorite Thing About My Mom

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:31)

This Mothers’ Day we thought we would do something a little special to commemorate our mothers.  Most likely our mom was the first person to love us, to hold us, to sacrifice for us, to teach us, and to kiss our boo-boo’s!  We’ve compiled a list of things that our folks thought about those most special women in our lives, and perhaps some of those most memorable times spent with them!

  • At my 50th birthday party we played musical chairs.  It came down to my mother and me.  I ended up in the last chair with my mom in my lap.  She declared that she had won!  (PH)
  • I am third of six boys, no sisters.  As one could imagine, we all got into a lot of mischief growing up.  My mom gave out most of the “whippin’s” but I always knew she still loved us.  She had us in church whenever the doors were open, and that’s where I found Jesus and where I found my bride.  (MN)
  • I loved her laugh and her beautiful smile.  (DT)
  • I have been blessed to have not only one mom but two!  I am thankful for these women who have treated me as their own and more than filled the role of “mom” in my life.  My step “into my heart” mom and my mother-in-love have shown me that a child isn’t always born of the womb, but sometimes of the heart.  (DN)
  • There are two things that I love most about my mom:  that she loves hard and that she prays without ceasing.  When she loves a person, she loves deeply and she loves forever!  Also, she prays incessantly. She’s been my prayer warrior my whole life, and I’m so thankful that she’s my mom!  (AG)
  • Too numerous.  My special moments now are my visits and our phone calls. (DP)
  • My mom took me to church where I met my Savior and my mate.  If she had not, my eternal and temporal life would have been probably drastically different.   Thank you, Mom!  (NN)
  • She is truthful, funny, and she’s awesome! (TE)
  • So much I could say — She was my best friend, I could tell her anything and she held it in her heart.  God blessed me with a wonderful God-loving mother.  (BJM)
  • A Virtuous Mother – Pro 28 – So blessed with so many memories.  A “mama’s girl.”  (LW)
  • Arrow Creek Fishing, Yellow Jackets – 150 to the head and 175-200 to the body.  My mom raked the bees off (not one sting!).  Wet tobacco saved my life. Thanks mom!  (GP)
  • She is honest, and she is helpful, and she comes when I need her.  (JB)
  • The most thing I love and remember about my grandmother by the way was like a mom to me.  The time we stayed up ’til midnight talking while I brushed her hair, painted her nails, and rubbed her feet and back.  We stayed up watching The Golden Girls, The Nanny, and Law and Order.  (SF)
  • My mother is a very selfless person.  She is the mother of ten children and always puts the needs of others before herself.  She is a very willing volunteer and a very loving person.  (ZL)
  • Some of the many memories I cherish of my mom are when I was playing sports and she would cheer louder than anyone else. No matter where on the field I was, I heard her encouragement; no matter how badly we were losing, I knew exactly who my biggest fan was. Even in defeat, I knew I had the unconditional love and support of an amazing mom.  (AN)
  • My mom was a Christian woman and taught her children the same values she had.  She was loving, kind, and just to everyone.  She had no favorites, but treated everyone special and loving.  My mom’s good in ways that every step she took brought her closer to her God.  (KH)
  • My most memorable moment with my mom is birth.  I wouldn’t give my mom up for the world!  My favorite moments with my mom are when we get to spend time alone together whenever she is not cleaning, working, gardening or sleeping.  (CH)
  • My favorite thing about my mom is her kisses. (FN)
  • She’s nice, and kind, and she gives me nice stuff.  She loves me very much.  (JN)
  • She always puts my wants, needs, and my dreams above her own.  Often sacrifices her own desires for me.  I am truly blessed.  (LG)
  • My mother made sure I knew right from wrong.  Her teaching method was three pronged.   Many times she used physical reinforcement, – more often she taught by instruction, – but most often she gave instruction by example.  (KT)


When to keep your mouth shut!

I don’t remember where I came across this.  A copy has been hanging in my office for probably 20 years or more.  There’s no by-line or signature.  I quite often have visitors to my office comment on this list, and they always find one or two that they resonate with.  Over the years I’ve found quite a few myself.  I’ve often read through them just remind myself of the truth of James 3:5, Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

At work or at home or wherever we go, we do need to guard our tongue.  Our Christian testimony is at stake.  I’ve often heard it said that we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.  I think it’s good advice to take all of these principles to heart.

 

Don’t open your mouth …

  • In the heat of anger: Pro 14:17.
  • When you don’t have all the facts: Pro 18:13.
  • When you haven’t verified the story: Deut 17:6.
  • If your words will offend a weaker brother or sister: 1 Cor 8:11.
  • If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends or family: 1 Pet 2:21-23.
  • When you are tempted to make light of holy things: Ecc 5:2.
  • When you are tempted to joke about sin: Pro 14:9.
  • If you would be ashamed of your words later: Pro 8:8.
  • If your words would convey the wrong impression: Pro 17:27.
  • If the issue is none of your business: Pro 14:10.
  • When you are tempted to tell an outright lie: Pro 4:24.
  • If your words would damage someone else’s reputation: Pro 16:27.
  • If your words will damage a friendship: Pro 16:28.
  • When you are feeling critical: Jam 3:9.
  • If you can’t say it without screaming it: Pro 25:28.
  • When it is time to listen: Pro 13:1.
  • If you may have to eat your words later: Pro 18:21.
  • If you have already said it more than one time (Then it becomes nagging): Pro 19:13.
  • When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person: Pro 24:24.
  • When you are supposed to be working instead: Pro 14:23.

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Pro 21:23.



A Heritage of Faith

Without a doubt, of all the people any of us have known, our mothers have been the person that has had the most direct influence on our lives.  For most of us, that has been a precious and wonderful thing; a holy treasure that we each value richly all our days.  She was the first to hold us, the first to love us, and the first to teach us.

Read more…



GIGG – Growing In God’s Grace Testimonies

GIGG

Here are some of the verbatim testimonies from our service on April 6.  We trust they are an encouragement to you, and if you have not participated in the GIGG Bible study, that you will join our ladies for the next series!

 

Nancy

I counted it a privilege to walk through the pages of his word.  In this Bible study we learned about true belief or true faith.  You can say I believe that light is on but do you really know until you see the brightness of it that it’s on?   You can say you believe you’re breathing, but do you believe it until you stop and don’t breath?  You know we take so many things for granted. Read more…



Second Mile Revival – March 23-26

The theme for our Spring Revival is taken from Matthew 5:41, where Jesus teaches us the principle of going the second mile.  Simply put, this is doing more than is required, thus we have named our Revival the Second Mile Revival, asking everyone to go the second mile in our Revival effort.

First let’s go the second mile in prayer for our Revival.  We are asking our folks to pray daily for our Revival and our Evangelist, Rev. Pat Hall and for me, your Pastor.  I believe this to be a very important time in the ministry of our Church. Prayer must under gird all that we do for Christ and His Kingdom.

Second, we are asking each one to attend every service of the Revival.  In our fast paced, busy society this may mean some will have to go the second mile in their effort to meet this goal.

Third, we are asking folks to go the second mile in inviting and “compelling” people to come to our Revival. (Luke 14:23)  On March 2 we passed out Revival Commitment cards and so far after just one Sunday, folks have committed to go the second mile to try their best to bring 60 people to our meeting.  If you have not yet received your Revival Commitment card, please see me or one of our ushers, and we’ll make sure you get one.

Again, let’s go the second mile in our Revival effort!



The Love of God

During the month of February we traditionally look back at the first time Cupid flung his arrow at us, remembering that special time when we first fell in love with our sweetheart.  Isn’t it amazing the sometimes happenstance way that couples meet?  For some, an almost random series of events bring two people together, and they just connect.  And sometimes like in my case, two people know each other for years – go to school together, go to Church together, never giving a second thought about one another.  But then one magical day it’s like blinders fall off, and you are love-struck!

God’s love is not like this.  According to Jeremiah 1:5, God knew us personally before we even existed. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee… “  Even back in the beginning of time, God knew us and he loved us.  God loves with a broader love than even we could love him.

Also, God loves us with a deeper love than we could ever love him.  We love our sweetheart based on our affection for one another, or based on the kindness we show one another.  And the strength of our love can vary to a degree based on how kind – or unkind – we are to one another day by day.  But God’s love is always stronger than this. John 15:13 says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  That’s how strongly God loves us.  It doesn’t vary based on our kindness to him.  It doesn’t change when we are unloving to him.  He knew our faults and our failures but still loved us enough to die on a cross for us.  That’s a deeper love than we could ever give back to him.

Couples give up on each other so easy these days.  I believe many couples today go into a marriage with the attitude of “well, if it doesn’t work out like I expected, I’ll just leave!”  Guess what – it never works out like you expected!  Marriages have good days and bad, up days and down – and even sideways days!   But statistics bear out the fact that when couples base their life on the Word of God, with Christ in the center of their marriage, and attend church faithfully, they almost always stay together to the end.  Yes, it still takes an attitude of sticktoitiveness. (is that a word?)  But this is easier when your priorities are in order.  Love God first, then your mate, then others.  Jesus demonstrated this love to the world.  He loved those who challenged him, and those who persecuted and reviled and beat him.  He loved even those who crucified him.  But they didn’t take his life, he freely gave his life to save us.  That’s a stronger love than we can ever have for him, or for one another in this life.

God’s love is a model to the world.  He loves us broader.  He loves us deeper.  He loves us stronger than we could ever understand in this life, much less match in our own life.  The love of God’s Son is the model for us all.  A sacrificial love that we should strive to demonstrate in our own relationships.  Jesus said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).  Let us all work to show the love of Christ in our daily lives, not only to our sweetheart or our family, but also to a world that needs Christ more than ever.



There Is A Season

Sometimes it is the simplest, most obvious thoughts that are actually the most profound. In the section that is referred to as the Poetry or Wisdom Books of the Bible (Job through Song of Solomon), there is a jewel of a chapter in the book of Ecclesiastes. It is Chapter 3, a well known series of verses that are often repeated in poetry, prose and song.

 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The title header for that chapter in my Bible reads, “Everything Has Its Time”. To me that is a significant truth. We often say that God’s will shall be done “in His own time” and that is true. We are told to wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31), and we should. But God has also decreed that there will be times and seasons (Genesis 1:14) to provide us a sense of stability and certainty, comfortingly assuring us that He is still in control.

February is one of those seasons that “Has Its Time”. It is not a well celebrated month. Groundhog Day serves its amusing purpose as a momentary diversion to “predict” the weather, good or ill, for the coming weeks. And I’m not sure who came up with putting Valentine’s Day in February but to me this month just does not inspire a season of romance which is best left to the springtime. Finally, there is President’s Day which observes the birthday of the first President of the United States, George Washington.

Yes, February is not one of the more favored months of the secular year. Its climate is often cold, snowy, wet and dirty.  Yet it is as important as any of the rest.

Continuing on to Ecclesiastes 3:2 we are told that there is “A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;” February is an important part of the natural order God has placed in motion, a time when those things that have died lie dormant awaiting the Spring to bring forth new life by way of planting “precious” seeds in the earth for future harvest. In like manner, we as Christians are to take this season of opportunity to spread the seed of His Gospel (Luke 8:11), watering it with our tears (Psalm 126:6), cultivating it with our good deeds (Matthew 5:16) and looking confidently forward to the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38) so we may glorify our Father in Heaven by bringing forth much fruit (John 15:8). Just as with the natural order there is a spiritual order as well.

Finally, let us also reflect that it is during the winter when life tends to slow down a little, when the Lord provides for us a pause to “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2), so that we may receive His promise that, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (verse 3). The promise that if we take delight in His Word we shall bring forth fruit in the appropriate season.

Yes, to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Prepare to us this month to glorify God just as any other.



1: Share your Faith with Others!

It is a new year.  A time when many of us carefully reflect on our lives; our past, present and future.  We look where we have made some good and some not so good decisions and we commit to do better.  Most of the time our pledges center around ourselves, to lose weight, exercise more or try to come up with a better budget.  Perhaps this year would be a good year to look beyond ourselves and focus more on others.  Yes, we can aspire to be kinder, more patient and more generous with our resources.  But how about considering a change we can affect that will have an eternal impact?   Read more…



2: Support a Missionary

Just as our Lord Jesus Christ was ascending to heaven, he spoke to the disciples and charged them, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20).  Question is, to whom was this commandment given?  Read more…