The Challenge of a Godly Father!
I want to start with a story as told by the late D. James Kennedy
A young woman brought her fiancé home … to meet her parents.
After dinner, …. her mother asked the father to find out about the young man, …… so, the father invited the fiancée to his study … for a drink.
“So, what are your plans?” the father asked.
“I am a Torah scholar”, … he replied.
“A Torah scholar… Hmmm”, the father says.
“Admirable, … but what will you do to provide a nice home … for my daughter to live in, … as she is accustomed to?”
“I will study”, … the young man replied, …. “and God will provide for us.”
“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” asks the father.
“I will concentrate on my studies”, the young man replied, “God will provide for us.”
“And children?” asked the father. “How will you support your children?”
“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replied the fiancée.
The conversation proceeds like this, … and each time the father asked a question, … the young man stated that God will provide.
Later, the mother asked: “How did it go, Honey?”
The father answered: “He has no job and no plans, …. but the good news is …. he thinks I’m God.”
Well, our spouses and our children will readily affirm that we as husbands and fathers maybe fall just a little short of God.
Men you must understand your role as a leader, as Father, as a man of God is critical to our world today and the enemy knows it and wants to do whatever he can to stop you from being a Father God’s way
Today is Father’s Day, … and let me wish a “Blessed Father’s Day” … to all the fathers and grandfathers … who are here today.
Indeed … It is Father’s Day, … and the very first national celebration of this day …. was on June 19, 1924, … via a proclamation … of President Calvin Coolidge.
But it all came about … due to the efforts of a woman named … “Sonora” Smart Dodd. Sonora was sitting in church in 1909 … listening to a Mother’s Day sermon …. when the idea of Father’s Day … first came to mind. Having been raised by her father, … after her mother’s death, …. Sonora wanted her father to know … how special he was to her. For all his sacrifices …. for being, …. in her eyes, so courageous, … so self-less, … and so loving.
Through her efforts, … in 1924 …. President Coolidge … designated the 3rd Sunday of June … as “Father’s Day.”
And our nation has been celebrating it … ever since.
Some stats that show the importance of a Father
85% of all men in prison grew up in a Fatherless home
Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school
twice as likely to end up in jail
4 times more likely to need help for behavioral or emotional problems
75% of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers come from Fatherless homes
3 out of 4 teen suicides take place in a home where the Father has been absent
Father presence is the answer to the number of men in prison, high school drop out, chemical abuse and teen suicide
If you are a single mom or a mom with an unbelieving or committed husband if your children connect with a Father figure in the church they will continue to be believers even after college
And most men even those who may have had a poor or harmful experience with their own father, want to be a good father to their children.
But to be a good father you need a model, an example that you can pattern yourself after.
Where do you find such an example? Where do you look for such a father?
Is there such a thing … as a perfect father?
The answer is Yes, …. Let us see what we can learn about being a father by looking at God the Father, …. the perfect Father.
God the Father … loves His children.
There are many scriptures … that speak to God’s love for His children.
Let us look at two:
From 1 John 4:19
We love each other because he loved us first.
And again, in Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
- God did not wait for us to meet His expectations.
- He did not wait for us to make Him proud.
- He did not wait for us to measure up to His standards.
- He simply loved us and He loved us first. (and the most)
- God’s love for us is complete, it is constant, and it is in His very nature.
- We cannot earn it. We cannot escape it. We cannot erase it.
He may be angry when we disobey Him, saddened when we stray from Him, sorrowful when we sin against Him, yet He will never, ever stop loving us.
Take Heart … For Nothing Can separate us from the Love of God.
As Father’s can we strive to do the same?
Hear God’s promise….
Romans 8:38, 39
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yes, … God loves His children …. and as fathers …. And as grandfathers … We also should portray this complete love … to our children … and to our grandchildren.
God the Father loves His Children and He is also quick to encourage His children.
I learned that … the hard way.
As a father, you want the best for your children, you want them to succeed.
To succeed at everything, they do.
Amanda … our first born worked hard to get good grades is extremely focused.
When she was told there was something that she could not accomplish.
Well, she would press on and do whatever it took to make it happen.
She took everything very literally so I would say things to her in a joking mode and sometimes she would feel she was failing me and it would hurt her and Paige would have to remind me, it would crush my heart so I would need to go apologize and remind her how proud I always am of her.
When she was young, she was so very easy to correct, all I needed to do would be was to express disappointment and she would repent and be broken-hearted…as much as it broke our hearts to see her brokenness, we knew it was necessary to help her to develop her skills and talents to become the woman of God she is today
I tried this same approach with our son.
Christopher, …. is brilliant also, but he took life very casually it seemed that good grades came more easily to him.
Nothing seemed to ever faze him…bad things would happen and he would let it roll off of his back but that was true also of discipline, nothing seemed to faze him, when he needed corrected but we had to find a way as hard as it was to discipline him so he would grow to be the man of God he needed to be
God disciplines us because he loves us because without discipline, we can never grow in our gifts we will stray to the right and the left and never succeed in our calling, it is a way of showing real love because it protects them from harm and reminds them of what is expected of them.
Along with discipline we encouraged them to get involved with things that piqued their interest; Basketball, volleyball, photography, construction, world travel, music
We believed in them and because we did, we loved them enough to encourage their desires as well as to discipline
Each child is different.
Both needed encouragement and discipline to become who they are called to be. When they are young, they don’t see it but through proper encouragement they become and fulfill dreams
I had to be a light of encouragement.
God speaks of encouragement throughout the Scriptures.
He encouraged Moses … at the burning bush when He told him to deliver the nation of Israel.
He encouraged Joshua …… as Joshua set out to conquer the Promised Land.
He not only encouraged them with His words, but with His presence, and His assistance.
Remember God’s words to Joshua:
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
God encouraged Joshua and in turn the people to move forward and receive the blessing.
Sadly, many parents and grandparents, even those that call themselves followers of the Christ, are more prone to send messages laced with criticism …. than with encouragement.
We need to encourage our children with our presence, our support but also giving them God’s word and keeping them in church….7-8 hours a day they are bombarded by the world, in school and they need the encouragement of fellowship too.
Ladies and gentlemen, It, is so important to watch our words.
In the letter to the church in Ephesus the apostle Paul challenges us…
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
God the Father Loves His Children…. He Encourages His Children and Lastly, God disciplines His children.
Recently I heard a story about triplets, 3 young boys who got along pretty well.
They saw everything alike. They were loyal to each other.
If one got into trouble, they would not tell on the other. A neighbor asked the father, “How in the world do you know which one to punish?” He said, “It’s easy. I just send all three to bed without their supper. And the next morning I spank the one with the black eye.”
Now I don’t necessarily share his method of determining the guilty party. But this I do know: Our God is good. Our God is a loving father. …. He is a perfect father.
His intentions and his actions are never evil, they are never unloving.
Yet, He disciplines His children.
He does not discipline in spite of His goodness, …. He disciplines, because of His goodness.
He does not discipline in spite of His love, …. He disciplines, because of His love.
The Bible shares this truth:
Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.
The writer of Hebrews agrees
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
In the light of God’s love, encouragement, and discipline, …. we father’s must understand that it is our responsibility, to bring our children up in; the training and instruction of the Lord. We must read to them the word of God we must pray with them we must lead in the things of God it is not our wives job but ours
Acknowledging and worshiping God ought to be ingrained in us.
Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
To pass on from one generation to the next the instructions of God so that they will not be stiff necked and rebellious.
We are to pass on the rich heritage of the faith to our children.
And to their children’s children from one generation to another.
In Ephesians and again in Colossians – Paul shares the word that he received from the Lord concerning children and their parents.
He writes: Ephesians 6:1-3
Children, obey your parents in the Lord …. for this is right. Honor your mother and father …. which is the first Commandment with a promise …. that it may go right with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.
Then Paul says:
Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
These words are truly inspired.
Do not provoke, do not exasperate your children.
That is ….
- do not break your promises
- do not neglect them
- or mindlessly indulge their every whim
… so that they lose all respect for you.
Stretch them, yes, push them a little yes, encourage them always, discourage them never except in doing wrong. Dream with them!
Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
The best thing that we can all do for our children and grandchildren, is for each one of us to be personally right with God, to walk in the way of the Lord. To never be satisfied but to continually seek, to be transformed into the image of Christ.
May we all finish this race, this marathon of life ….
And may we finish it well.
And when we make it to heaven,
May we hear Jesus say ; “Well done good and faithful servant, you have accomplished everything I have asked you to do!”
You have fought the good fight you have finished the race. you have kept the faith”
You have been a great Father!
If you want a further encouragement how to be a better Father here is an article from manhoodjourney.org
FOR NOTES ONLINE ONLY
The ten (10) greatest fatherhood challenges we must face.
#1 Allocating limited time across all of my roles.
Dads wear a lot of hats. We know this. We spread our time across many roles. How do we do it all? How do we manage being a husband, father, employee, leader, volunteer…the list doesn’t end. We have so many jobs that every part of our lives feels like work.
How dads said it:
- “Creating time in my day to love my wife and my kids as well as they need to be loved…. time with each one of them because they all have different needs at the different stages of life.”
- “Work and home life balance. I’m away more than I’d like to be. In order to provide for my family, my daily presence is often a mere couple of hours. I’m striving to make those hours quality hours spent together, being fully present.”
- “Time. I feel like my wife and I have so much to do. We love each other but are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work required to raise our boys and successfully manage other aspects of our lives.”
#2 Not enough time each day.
Most dads say they don’t have enough time in the day. We’re busy little bees wearing our busyness like a badge of honor. No dad says, “Gee, I have all of this time leftover in my day. What should I do with all of the excesses?!” What are we to do when 24 hours in a day just doesn’t cut it?
How dads said it:
- “Spending biblical time with my kids. Seems like I am running in circles with kids’ activities, work commitments, volunteer commitments.”
- “Not having dedicated time for one-on-one engagement often with my children.”
- “Time and giving my all when I’m exhausted.”
#3 Improving communications.
Many dads told us they struggled to find common ground and connect with their children. They wrestle with how to communicate and want to improve in this area. Even so, reading through a number of their responses sounds like they are on the verge of giving up.
How dads said it:
- “Being consistent and taking the time to really talk and pray and study Scripture with my kids.”
- “Connecting with my teenager. Teaching the kids a biblical world view without exasperating them.”
- “Staying connected to my 19-year-old.”
#4 Unsure where to begin.
Many dads told us they simply weren’t sure where to start—for various reasons. One dad was brutally honest when he revealed his struggle with being motivated. Ever been in a rut like him? One where you come home from a long day at work and plop down on the sofa and watch TV until bed? Then it’s time to start over. And the cycle continues. Yeah, me neither. Seriously, it was eye-opening to learn how many dads struggle with uncertainty around where and how to start.
How dads said it:
- “Motivation. Get out of a rut. It’s easy to just come home, sit on the couch, and watch TV.”
- “I’m unsure where to start. I didn’t have anyone growing up to be a dad to me.”
- “I don’t know how to lead my children and wife.”
#5 Setting the right example.
If you’re not sure where to start, then another problem becomes knowing how to set the right example. Did you have a good example growing up? Do you have a mentor? How do you even know what to do? Many dads struggle with setting the right example.
How dads said it:
- “Facing the reality that I’m not trying to save my failing 25-year marriage, not setting an example for my 3 sons, not treating my wife with the respect she deserves and needs; not respecting myself, my health…spiritually and physically.”
- “Not being a good example to my boys or being someone that they do not look up to.”
- “I’m a new Christian myself.”
This was found throughout responses in a variety of ways. It’s one thing to not know where to start. Knowing is half the battle. But, once you have the skills and know what to do—are you actually doing it? So many dads revealed they struggle with doing what they know is right to do. The devil is a roaring lion, brother, seeking whom he may devour.
How dads said it:
- “Have I become my own worst enemy and I believe my child is too far gone.”
- “Worried that it’s too late and not worth starting now.”
- “How to teach them when God hasn’t been a topic as they grew up.”
#7 Anger and impatience.
Anger is a major issue with dads. Whether you struggle with numbers 1-6 on this list or not, odds are good you’re pissed off by now. You’re probably mad at me, mad at this list, mad at yourself—mad at everything. Here are a few examples of how the issue of anger and impatience came out in dads’ responses.
How dads said it:
- “Speaking without yelling.”
- “Being a consistent patient dad, putting my children’s needs before my wants.”
- “Keeping my cool with the kids. They can’t seem to stop pushing the boundaries!”
#8 Being intentional and focused.
Intentionality and focus drive a ton of issues dads face. It’s one thing to know what do to as a dad. Then, for the few who actually start doing the right things as leaders in their homes, how do they remain focused and committed to doing what God calls them to. When does it become a lifestyle? Read and see if any of these sound like you.
How dads said it:
- “I don’t want to be distracted by work or other issues and not give my son the attention he deserves. I want him to know he is loved always.”
- “Relating to each of my kids uniquely, in a manner that speaks to them and their specific needs.”
- “Feeling disconnected as my kids get older. To be effective now I need to pray more effectively and change up how I used to do things.”
Most of the issues dad’s face end up being a problem in leadership. But, as you read these, you’ll notice in their own words how they said this particular challenge. Maybe you’ve not been given a great example of leadership from your dad. But, God still calls YOU to lead in your role as husband and father. Maybe reading the responses below with make something click in you. Does one of the replies resonate with you?
How dads said it:
- “Getting the kids to church and sticking with it.”
- “For someone who never had a father to lead me, I want to make sure that I’m leading my son in the right direction.”
- “I’m not the leader my family desires, needs, or deserves.”
#10 Finding common ground.
Most dads say they struggle with communication. Finding common ground was a prominent theme in dad’s responses. Dad simply can’t connect. Maybe they never connected. Or, maybe they haven’t connected since the kids were younger. Try as you may, your words end up as lectures, and the harder you try to connect—the deeper the chasm grows between you and your child.
How dads said it:
- “As my kids get older (14 & 16) and are less interested in us, I find it difficult to find ways to spend time together.”
- “I don’t get video games. Not sure how to engage with my son without trying to turn him into me.”
- “Understanding my teenage daughter.”