VIDEO “Father and Son”

June 19, 2009

 

It is amazing how children are often so perceptive to situations that merit extra attention. It helps to become attuned to their reactions as they often provide the most brutally honest of truths.

“Father and Son” tries to capture the innocence of age. The relationship between a father and son is universal, infinite. The boy grows up, but the man should never cease to be a boy. And that is the biggest lesson any father will learn – every father was, is a son. Whether a son becomes a father, and what kind of father, it sometimes takes a look in the mirror to be reminded.

Released in celebration of Father’s Day 2009, this film begs us to take an extra hour each day and learn a lesson or two from the ones who seem so different but are yet so close to us. In today’s age of routine and mechanic anonymity, we must always ask ourselves: did we grow up just a little too much? Leave the cellphone behind for one day and spend it with the family.

A Perfect Father

The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. Proverbs 20:7

My father once admitted to me, “When you were growing up, I was gone a lot.”

I don’t remember that. Besides working his full-time job, he was gone some evenings to direct choir practice at church, and he occasionally traveled for a week or two with a men’s quartet. But for all the significant (and many small) moments of my life—he was there.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness that I can always count on.

For instance, when I was eight, I had a tiny part in an afternoon play at school. All the mothers came, but only one dad—mine. In many little ways, he has always let my sisters and me know that we are important to him and that he loves us. And seeing him tenderly caring for my mom in the last few years of her life taught me exactly what unselfish love looks like. Dad isn’t perfect, but he’s always been a dad who gives me a good glimpse of my heavenly Father. And ideally, that’s what a Christian dad should do.

At times earthly fathers disappoint or hurt their children. But our Father in heaven is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Ps. 103:8). When a dad who loves the Lord corrects, comforts, instructs, and provides for the needs of his children, he models for them our perfect Father in heaven.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness that I can always count on. Please help me to live today in a way that leaves behind a legacy of faithfulness and love.

A life lived for Christ is the best inheritance we can leave our children.

By Cindy Hess Kasper 

INSIGHT:Proverbs 20:7 challenges parents to model righteousness. In contrast to earthly parents who may disappoint, however, our heavenly Father loves us perfectly. Psalm 103 describes God’s loving character and asks the reader to remember the gracious benefits He gives His people—forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, and compassion (vv. 3–5). These benefits are rooted in God’s character described in verse 8: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” This verse reminds the reader of God’s own description of His character in Exodus 34:6: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Ask God to help you model His faithful love to others.

Teaching Our Children to Pray

Luke 11:1-4

Because of pressing needs and full schedules, parents sometimes neglect teaching important spiritual lessons. It can be tempting to assume that the children will learn in Sunday school to pray and read the Bible. But the truth is, God has given parents the job of training their sons and daughters in spiritual matters.

After listening to Jesus pray, His disciples recognized that they had much to learn and asked Him to teach them how to pray. In the same way, we can motivate our children and help them develop a prayer life that will endure. It’s not enough to tell them to pray; they need an example. We must be willing to let them see and hear us as we talk to our heavenly Father.

When we bring our concerns to the Lord as a family, our children learn that God answers prayer. He’s our provider, protector, and guide. Seeing how the Lord responds to our requests will motivate our children to take all their concerns to Him as well.

Children also need to understand that prayer is not just a list of requests but a conversation that builds a relationship with the Lord. When they hear us praise and exalt Him, they’ll realize praying should be God-focused rather than self-centered. And as they observe us reading the Bible and letting it guide our requests, they’ll learn to pray according to God’s will.

Whether you have children or not, realizing that others learn about the Lord through your prayers may tempt you to feel inadequate. However, instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, let them motivate you to go to the Scriptures and learn from your heavenly Father how to pray.

Our Father of Spirits

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9)

In these days when parents are urged by special interest and political groups not to discipline their children, and children’s rights are championed at the expense of parental authority, it is comforting to read in Scripture that the normal response to parental discipline is reverence. Thankfully, even most secular “experts” today recognize the child’s need for parental guidelines, reinforced by physical discipline as appropriate.

But this passage is primarily discussing the role of chastening father that God plays in the lives of His spiritual children. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord . . . for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. . . . But if ye be without chastisement . . . then are ye . . . not sons” (vv. 5-8). This discipline is “for our profit” (v. 10) and “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (v. 11) in our lives. The natural response should be both “reverence” and “subjection” (v. 9).

In our text, God is identified as the “Father of spirits,” reminding us that God is Creator. “The LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1). He who created all things, including the spiritual side of mankind (Colossians 1:16), recreated each spirit at the time of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; etc.). His wise and timely chastening is “for our profit” and has as its goal “that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

On this day of special honor for fathers, let us not forget to honor our heavenly Father. JDM

“Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Joshua 22:1-6, 10-20

Joshua 22:1-3

It is simple justice to give praise wherever it is deserved. There is a notion abroad, that to commend is dangerous, but wise men of old did not think so. While faultfinding is so abundant, it is refreshing to meet with a man who can speak in praise of his fellows. It is not so very common for men to be thoroughly true to their engagements, and when they are so, they ought to have it mentioned to their honour.

Joshua 22:4, 5

Having praised them, Joshua now directs them to their further duty. The terms of his exhortation deserve careful notice. They were to do the commandment—their religion must be practical; they were to love the Lord—their service must be hearty and sincere; they were to walk in all his ways—their obedience must be universal; they were to cleave to him—it must be persevering. Many excellent graces make up a. believers obedience, and the lack of any one will grievously mar it. Who but the Spirit of God can produce all these good things in fallen man?

Joshua 22:6, 10

Not a wise thing, because not commanded of

God, and very liable both to be misunderstood by others, and misused by themselves.

Joshua 22:12

A departure from God by setting up another altar in opposition to that of the tabernacle was apprehended, and right zealously the loyal spirit of Israel resolved to nip the evil in the bud. Was there not, however, rather too great sharpness of temper in talking so speedily of civil war?

Joshua 22:13, 14

We should hear before we judge. Israel did not rush into strife, but sent prudent men to see how the case really stood, and what their brethren had to say.

Joshua 22:16

Here they stated the case and the cause of their anger. Had their suspicions been correct their anger would have needed no further justification.

Joshua 22:17, 18

They here shew that the sin of a part might bring evil upon the whole community, and therefore they meant to stamp out the evil before it spread further.

Joshua 22:19

With true generosity they offer them a possession on their own side of Jordan, if their position across the river had driven them into setting up another altar. To enable a man to correct an error without great loss to himself is a great help towards getting him right. The pleading of the tribes with their brethren was very practical, earnest, decided, and generous.

Joshua 22:20

This judgment was fresh in their memories, and therefore, they finished their argument with it. They feared that their brethren were about to do very wrong, and to bring upon all Israel much mischief, and therefore they spoke warmly. O that we were all zealous to prevent sin in the family, and in ourselves, God still chastens those he has chosen, and though in this life the wicked may go unpunished, his own children shall not be left without chastisement. Let us walk humbly and jealously before the Lord.

 

To God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, three in one,

Be honour, praise, and glory given

By all on earth, and all in heaven.

 


Our ears have heard, O glorious God,

What work thou did’st of old;

And how the heathen felt thy rod

Our fathers oft have told.

 

‘Twas not thy people’s arm or sword,

But only thy right hand,

Which scatter’d all the race abhorr’d,

And gave thy tribes their land.

 

In thee alone we make our boasts,

And glory all day long,

Arise at once, thou Lord of hosts,

And fill our mouth with song.

 


Let us, with a gladsome mind,

Praise the Lord, for he is kind:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

 

He his chosen race did bless

In the wasteful wilderness:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

 

He hath, with a piteous eye,

Look’d upon our misery:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

 


My name is entered on the list,

I’ve plighted hand and word,

To fight to death for Jesus Christ,

And conquer for my Lord.

 

And I will prove my vow sincere,

If he my helper be;

Nor all his foemen will I fear,

Since he upholdeth me.

 


May the grace of Christ our Saviour,

And the Father’s boundless love,

With the Holy Spirit’s favour,

Rest upon us from above;

 

Thus may we abide in union

With each other and the Lord;

And possess, in sweet communion,

Joys which earth cannot afford.

 


Jesus thy perfect love reveal,

My Alpha and Omega be,

And I thy blessed words shall feel

And witness them fulfill’d in me:

 

“Nothing hath fail’d of all the good,

My Saviour hath performed the whole,”

Firm to his promise he hath stood

I witness this with all my soul.

 

The Essential Attitude for Success!

1 Corinthians 4:1

We live in a world that loves to take it easy. We want instant results—and we want them right now. Technology has made almost everything instantly accessible. Our entire Western lifestyle is centered around making things as easy, fast, effortless, and painless as possible.

The younger generation is so accustomed to getting everything they want that they don’t understand there is a price to pay for true success. But whether they like it or not, the fact remains: True greatness, great achievements, and real success won’t float to them on clouds that suddenly materialize above their heads. If anyone wants to achieve something great and significant, he or she will have to put a lot of hard work and effort into making it happen.

Let’s take the apostle Paul as an example. I recently read a report that made this claim: Apart from Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul more dramatically affected Western civilization than any other man in human history. Paul achieved incredible feats with his life. His epistles have impacted world history and leaders, and what he accomplished in his life and ministry remains legendary. So let’s look at this famous Christian leader and ask:

  • How did Paul live his life?
  • What kind of attitude did he possess regarding his life mission?
  • What attitude did he possess that enabled him to dramatically affect his world?

In First Corinthians 4:1, Paul wrote, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” I believe that some very important answers to the questions above are found in this interesting statement that Paul himself wrote.

In this verse, Paul calls himself a “minister.” This is the Greek word huperetas, a vivid term that conveys the essential attitude necessary to get a job done— especially the work of the ministry. However, this word doesn’t apply only to ministry. It also denotes the essential attitude a person must possess to become successful in any sphere of life.

Interestingly, this word huperetas, translated “ministers” here, was used in classical Greek society to describe low-class criminals. The first time I studied this Greek word, it seemed so odd that Paul would use this word to describe himself and his attitude toward the ministry. I wondered:

  • Why would Paul use such a word?
  • Is he using this word as a picture to make a point to us?

After a lot of digging into the original Greek, I found out exactly why Paul used this word. He was a successful man who understood what it took to get a job done—and no word more vividly explains this work ethic than the Greek word huperetas.

Originally this word described the very lowest class of criminals. These criminals were so low, so detestable, and so contemptible that they were outcast and removed from society. Often they were assigned to the bottom galleys of huge shipping vessels, where they literally became the engines of those huge ships.

And the harsh assignment given to these criminals wasn’t temporary either. They were sentenced to live the rest of their lives in the darkness below the deck—endlessly rowing, rowing, and rowing. Their entire existence was devoted to keeping that ship moving toward its ultimate destination! These huperetas were officially called “under-rowers” because they lived and rowed down in the bottom of the ship. Day after day, their job was to heave those massive oars forward and backward, pushing them through the water to make the ship move through the sea.

This is the same word the apostle Paul uses to describe the attitude that is necessary to do what God has called us to do! God has called us to take our place in His plan—to grab hold of an oar, so to speak, and begin to serve Him practically in some way. We are to keep rowing, rowing, rowing, and rowing, doing our part and fulfilling what He has asked us to do.

Some people tend to sit and watch as achievers reach out to do the impossible. But if you are going to join the ranks of those achievers, you’ll have to do more than just sit around and talk about it. You’ll need to say yes to what the Lord is urging you to do.

And remember, these huperetas who rowed the boat didn’t quickly finish their assignment of rowing; it was their responsibility for a lifetime. In the same way, we need to realize that the secret dream God has put in our hearts probably won’t be achieved quickly either. It may be an assignment that will last for the rest of our lives. It takes hard work and a lifelong commitment for us to achieve the great things that God wants to do through you and me!

I heartily recommend that you mentally prepare yourself for a long-term stint at doing what God is calling you to do. It will almost certainly take unbelievable strength and energy to move that vision from the realm of dreams to the realm of reality. So jump into the bottom of the boat; take your place on the rowers’ bench; and begin to row with all your might! With each step of obedience you take and each day of faithfulness you live, you will come closer to the desired destination—the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plans and purposes for your life.

We may live in a world that loves to take it easy and that delights in instant results. But in order to achieve the true greatness God desires for us, we will have to be determined, committed, and willing to do anything necessary to accomplish what He has for us.

No, real success doesn’t float to you on clouds that suddenly materialize above your head. Therefore, I encourage you to make the decision to start putting a lot of hard work and effort into making your assignment successful. It’s going to take every ounce of strength you have to make your dream come to pass, so you might as well resolve to get started today!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am determining in my heart today to jump into the bottom of the boat, grab an oar, and start rowing with all my might. Doing the minimum is never going to get me where I need to go, so right now I am making the choice to put all my energies forward to achieve what You have planned for me. Help me to be faithful, steadfast, unmoving, and unflinching in the face of opposition. Help me to tell my flesh to be silent when it tries to scream out that I’m doing too much! I choose to crucify the flesh and press forward with all the strength You give me. As I do this, I believe that You will make my dreams come to pass!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I will see the fulfillment of the dream God has put in my heart. I am a hard worker, willing to do whatever it takes, and I have made a long-term commitment to achieve all that God wants to do through me! It will almost certainly take unbelievable strength and energy to move that vision from the realm of dreams to the realm of reality, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! With God’s Spirit working in me, I will see the fulfillment of my dreams!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. If you keep operating at your current level of production, will you reach the goals God has given for your life?
  2. Be honest! Has your desire to have things “easy” been a hindrance to you? Has your desire for “creature comforts” overpowered your desire to reach your goal regardless of the price you must pay or how long it takes?
  3. If you continue at your present momentum, will you dramatically affect your world and environment as the apostle Paul affected his? If not, what changes do you need to make in your thinking to become a great achiever?

 

Impact!

I live 14 stories above two busy crossroads. From time-to-time I will hear the screech of tires… silence… and then IMPACT!

 

IMPACT! Isn’t that the effect we are to have with the Gospel upon our lost friends. But the IMPACT is to be primarily through the power of example: Salt that penetrates, and light that illuminates from our life to theirs. (Matthew 5:13, 16)

 

Paul told the Philippians, “I have given you a pattern” by which to live. (Philippians 3:17) That is, he had left an impression, a stamp, or imprint upon them. He had IMPACTED their lives by the power of his godly example.

 

I am reminded of missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s prayer, “Lord, make my life a crossroads in the life of every person I meet.

 

Years ago I played racquetball each week with a professional man who had given scant attention to spiritual matters. He did however pride himself on his self-control. Yet, occasionally in the course of a heated contest he would “lose it” by cursing or throwing his racquet across the court.

 

I can remember praying on numerous occasions during those intense moments of competition, Lord, help me to exhibit your love and character on this court. Help me to keep my cool.”

 

One day, after six months of intense competition, he asked if we might study the Scriptures together. Today he is a committed follower of Christ. Again, the power of example. IMPACT.

 

QUESTION: If it is true that the non-verbals do in fact speak more loudly than the verbals, what messages are you sending to your lost friends? To your children?

  • Messages of anger… greed… pride… and self-centeredness?
  • Or of brokenness… kindness, humility, servanthood, and dependence upon God?

How you answer that question spells the difference as to whether you are penetrating and illuminating them with the Gospel, or impeding them from the Gospel.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: