Thanks, Dad

PMUSA ONLYnStephen MankowskinJim Gallopn9/21/08nRidgway COnRedsn610-PMMARAP8014

Before you rush out to hunt down a last minute gift for Father’s Day, consider spending that time and energy on composing a message of appreciation to your father.

Feel free to exceed 140 characters — in fact, use a piece of paper.

One look at the headlines and we’re reminded of the consequences of a society that has lost the understanding of fatherhood. The book of Proverbs paints a word picture of the regal nature of fatherhood as it was intended to be. “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

With each of the 23 years that I have had the awesome privilege of being a father, my understanding of the responsibilities and challenges of what it really means to be a father has grown exponentially.

With that understanding has come a much deeper love and appreciation for my own father. (I should add that my love and appreciation for my father-in-law has also grown especially since my girls started turning 18!)

I am so grateful for a dad who successfully balanced advancing a career and shepherding a family. For a father who, once he accepted Christ, was all in and so were we. For a father who taught me the value of hard work, honesty, commitment, patriotism, public service, laughter, and what it meant to be a gentleman.

I am thankful for a dad who supported me and encouraged me, even on those rare occasions when, from his perspective, the decision I was making didn’t make sense — he not only trusted me, he stood with me.

There is only one thing that I think my dad was wrong about: Epoxy glue doesn’t actually fix everything!

Dad — Happy Father’s Day, I love you!

by Tony Perkins

Following the Father’s Example

Ephesians 6:1-4

Do you have a strong relationship with your children? The way we initially think about God has much to do with how we were parented—especially by our father. What image of the Lord are you portraying?

Many men struggle in their role as dads because their own fathers were either absent—physically or emotionally—or poor examples. But regardless of what a person experienced in the past, the best thing any parent can do is imitate God the Father. Yet how do we know who He really is?

We get our best glimpse of what the heavenly Father is like by looking at His Son. Speaking with the disciples, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me . . . He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:6, 14:9). Not only is Christ our path to relationship with God; He is also the way we come to know the Father’s true character.

When we look at Jesus’ life, what do we see? He was merciful, patient, gentle, compassionate, kind, and full of goodness toward all people (Matthew 9:10-13). The Savior healed the sick, provided for needs, and offered forgiveness—regardless of the offense (Matthew 14:14-21; Luke 23:34). But in love, He didn’t hesitate to discipline others when correction was required.

More than a solid education or material possessions, your child’s greatest need is a role model of devotion to God through prayer, Bible reading, and holy living. If you make knowing and following the heavenly Father your first priority, you won’t have to worry about what kind of parent you will be.

Sin and the Christian God

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12)

A Christian has no desire for his past life of sin. As we see in our text, we should “flee these things” and “lay hold on eternal life,” putting off whatever is old and instead putting on what is new. The second verse of our study hymn “Higher Ground” expresses this as well.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

One of the most precious promises of Christianity can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, where we see that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We are told that we can put our old habits of sin behind us and live a new life in victory over sin and death. No longer can sin reign over us—we can live in victory. Even doubts and fears can be dismissed from our presence. Our God has promised throughout His Scriptures: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

There is no need to be anywhere else. My prayer and my aim is to walk where He leads and be where He wants me to be. Only while there can we be assured of higher ground with Him. JDM

Wonder and Awesome Fear

And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. —Exodus 34:8

I have said it before and I will say it again: This low concept of God is our spiritual problem today. Mankind has succeeded quite well in reducing God to a pitiful nothing!

The God of the modern context is no God at all. He is simply a glorified chairman of the board, a kind of big businessman dealing in souls. The God portrayed in much of our church life today commands very little respect.

We must get back to the Bible and to the ministration of God’s Spirit to regain a high and holy concept of God. Oh, this awesome, terrible God, the dread of Isaac! This God who made Isaiah cry out, “I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). This God who drove Daniel to his knees in honor and respect.

To know the Creator and the God of all the universe is to revere Him. It is to bow down before Him in wonder and awesome fear.

Lord, I’m struck this morning with a sense of awe in Your presence. I bow before You in “wonder and awesome fear.” Amen.

Poets Admire Nature: Prophets Look to the Creator

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. Galatians 4:8

It is possible to spend a lifetime admiring God’s handiwork without acknowledging the presence of the God whose handiwork it is. Nature cannot lift men to God nor serve as a ladder by which he may climb into the divine bosom. The heavens and the earth were intended to be a semi-transparent veil through which moral intelligences might see the glory of God (Ps. 119:1-6; Rom. 1:19, 20), but for sin-blinded men this veil has become opaque. They see the creation but do not see through it to the Creator; or what glimpses they do have are dim and out of focus.

With what joy the Christian turns from even the purest nature poets to the prophets and psalmists of the Scriptures. These saw God first; they rose by the power of faith to the throne of the Majesty on high and observed the created world from above.

Their love of natural objects was deep and intense, but they loved them not for their own sakes but for the sake of Him who created them. They walked through the world as through the garden of God. Everything reminded them of Him. They saw His power in the stormy wind and tempest; they heard His voice in the thunder; the mountains told them of His strength and the rocks reminded them that He was their hiding place!

The nature poets are enamored of natural objects; the inspired writers are God-enamored men. That is the difference, and it is a vitally important one!

God Understands Us

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 JOHN 4:16

We should revel in the joy of believing that God is the sum of all patience and the true essence of kindly good will!

Because He is what He is, we please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything—and loves us still!

The God who desires our fellowship and communion is not hard to please, although He may be hard to satisfy. He expects from us only what He has Himself supplied. When He must chasten us, He even does this with a smile—the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is!

This is the best of good news: God loves us for ourselves. He values our love more than He values galaxies of newly created worlds.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust!

Dear Lord, Your love for me—and for all people in the world—is incredible.
Thank You, that even when I fail, You are my greatest Supporter.