VIDEO Imperfect Fathers – Struggle and Confidence

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” Luke 15:11-12 (NIV)

All fathers are a work in process — none perfect, no not one. Boy, do I still feel this — even though my oldest child is 33-years-old! I prayed Rebekah (our first child) would have extra patience, since I was always practicing on her. Many times trial and error (she might say terror!) was my approach to fatherhood. I often questioned myself, “Was I too strict?” “Did I balance firmness with fun?” Fortunately, God filled the gaps of my inadequacies. His grace became our family’s relational glue. My imperfection as a father keeps me dependent on my heavenly Father.

Jesus describes a man with two sons. So, we know from the outset this dad, like the rest of us, was a flawed father. No doubt he tried to do the best with what he had. But the pressure of raising two very different boys was real and raw. One day, he faced the challenge of how to respond to the disrespectful demand of his youngest son. The dad decided to give both boys their inheritance, knowing they might not be ready. The younger squandered his stuff and the oldest grew self-righteous. What looked like a major parenting blunder — turned out to be a decision that brought the youngest back to God. Imperfect fathers trust the Lord to bring about His perfect plan.

“For a son dishonors his father… But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:6-7 (NIV)

Do you feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities as a dad? The day in and day out energy it takes to love and lead your little ones takes much more out of you than you ever imagined. One thing is for certain: you can’t be your best without learning from the best. Alone you may be a better father than some, but with the help of others you can become a better dad than most. So, invite three other dads for coffee and discuss books and scripture about parenting. Set the tone by being vulnerable about your own insecurities. Imperfect fathers learn from imperfect fathers.

Above all, as imperfect earthly fathers we lean into our perfect heavenly Father. He takes our best efforts and carries out His will. He takes our mistakes and teaches us humility. He takes our weaknesses and makes us strong in Him. Our imperfections are not an excuse to plateau as a parent. We keep learning. We ask forgiveness from our child. We pray with our child. We play with our child. When we are honest about our fears and struggles we create an environment of open communication. Fathers fail when they quit, but they succeed when they stay engaged with their child and with Christ. Fatherhood is not for the faint of heart, but it is for a heart of faith.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father keep me in the process of receiving your perfect love and grace.

Related ReadingsProverbs 23:24Proverbs 30:11Luke 11:111 Corinthians 4:15Ephesians 6:4

Copyright © 2016 Boyd Bailey. Used by permission from Boyd Bailey at wisdomhunters.com.

https://www1.cbn.com/devotions/imperfect-fathers


Micah 7:1-20 – Struggle and Confidence

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Words that Wound

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

 

“Skinny bones, skinny bones,” the boy taunted. “Stick,” another chimed. In return, I could have chanted “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But even as a little girl, I knew the popular rhyme wasn’t true. Unkind, thoughtless words did hurt—sometimes badly, leaving wounds that went deeper and lasted much longer than a welt from a stone or stick.

Hannah certainly knew the sting of thoughtless words. Her husband, Elkanah, loved her, but she had no children, while his second wife, Peninnah, had many. In a culture where a woman’s worth was often based on having children, Peninnah made Hannah’s pain worse by continually “provoking her” for being childless. She kept it up until Hannah wept and couldn’t eat (1 Samuel 1:6–7).

And Elkanah probably meant well, but his thoughtless response, “Hannah, why are you weeping? . . . Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (v. 8) was still hurtful.

Like Hannah, many of us have been left reeling in the wake of hurtful words. And some of us have likely reacted to our own wounds by lashing out and hurting others with our words. But all of us can run to our loving and compassionate God for strength and healing (Psalm 27:5, 12–14). He lovingly rejoices over us—speaking words of love and grace.

By Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When have you been hurt by unkind words? What helped you to heal? Who needs to hear your grace-filled words?

Loving Father, thank You for the healing and hope we find in You! Help us to bring our hurts to You—and always to be mindful of the words we say. Give us the wisdom and patience to think before speaking.

Unity in the Body

Ephesians 4:1-6

The church of Jesus Christ is truly unique: It is composed of people from countless backgrounds, who have a variety of opinions on many different topics—yet they are one in Christ. As believers indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we all belong to God’s family and have a special relationship with one another. We are spiritual brothers and sisters who are called by our heavenly Father to live in harmony.

Unity in the church occurs when God’s children live in submission to the Holy Spirit and let Him control their attitudes, emotions, words, and actions. When the Spirit rules each one, the goal becomes to please Him in our interactions with others instead of demanding our own way. This is necessary if we hope to “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (Eph. 4:1).

Some Christians try to function independently because that’s easier than living in humility, gentleness, and patience with fellow believers. But we need each other. The fellowship of believers is an important part of God’s design for our spiritual growth.

Unity in the church requires a willingness to yield to each other for the sake of our spiritual family. This kind of self-sacrifice is fueled by genuine love, which unselfishly acts for the good of another (agape in Greek). It’s the glue that keeps the body of Christ together and enables us to live in harmony (Col. 3:14). When we hold tightly to God’s words and are knitted together in love, we honor Jesus Christ and have a strong defense against divisions and factions.

Watchers

“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

Who are these mysterious “watchers” who are so concerned that we know that “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1), sometimes even including the “basest of men”? They are mentioned in the Bible only here in the fourth chapter of Daniel (see also vv. 13, 23), all three times evidently synonymous with “the holy ones,” beings who come down from heaven. Such phrases could apply only to angels, created to serve the Lord and the “heirs of salvation” (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14).

The word is used here in reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision and period of insanity. Although it is used nowhere else in the Bible, it occurs frequently in such apocryphal books as Jubilees and Enoch, where it refers both to God’s holy angels and to the fallen angels, who have direct interest in people on Earth as they “watch” them—even on occasion directly controlling events that affect them.

In any case, the Bible does indicate that “the angels desire to look into” the outworking of the gospel in the hearts of men (1 Peter 1:12), and that “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). Children, as well as adult believers, also seem to have guardian angels who “watch” them (Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:9-15).

This is a mysterious subject because we cannot see these “watchers,” but we at least need to know they are there. In fact, we can praise God that “the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7). HMM

What Good Is It Really?

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

—Isaiah 6:3

If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from cigarettes, a better job and nicer cottage….

What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship—an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them?

We need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle, sage, prophet, saint and reformer. When we put God back where He belongs, we will instinctively and automatically move up again; the whole spiral of our religious direction will be upward.   AOG194-195

Lord, I do indeed pray that You might “raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people.” Amen.

 

Lying lips are abomination to the Lord

Lying lips are abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight.—Proverbs 12:22.

Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor—for we are members one of another.—Ephesians 4:25.

 

It seems to me, that the shortest way to check the darker forms of deceit is to set watch more scrupulous against those which have mingled, unregarded and unchastised, with the current of our life. Do not let us lie at all. Do not think of one falsity as harmless, and another as slight, and another as unintended. Cast them all aside; they may be light and accidental j but they are an ugly soot from the smoke of the pit, for all that o, and it is better that our hearts should be swept clean of them, without over care as to which is largest or blackest. Speaking truth is like writing fair, and comes only by practice; it is less a matter of will than of habit, and I doubt if any occasion can be trivial which permits the practice and formation of such a habit.

John Ruskin.

 

If you tell the truth, you have infinite power supporting you; but if not, you have infinite power against you.

Charles George Gordon.

 

Home Blessings Are Extended

“The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.” Ps. 128:5

This is a promise to the God-fearing man who walks in the ways of holiness with earnest heed. He shall have domestic blessedness; his wife and children shall be a source of great home happiness. But then as a member of the church he desires to see the cause prosper, for he is as much concerned for the Lord’s house as for his own. When the Lord builds our house, it is but fitting that we should desire to see the Lord’s house builded. Our goods are not truly good unless we promote by them the good of the Lord’s chosen church.

Yes, you shall get a blessing when you go up to the assemblies of Zion; you shall be instructed, enlivened, and comforted, where prayer and praise ascend, and testimony is borne to the Great Sacrifice. “The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion.”

Nor shall you alone be profited; the church itself shall prosper; believers shall be multiplied, and their holy work shall be crowned with success. Certain gracious men have this promise fulfilled to them as long as they live. Alas! when they die the cause often flags. Let us be among those who bring good things to Jerusalem all their days. Lord, of thy mercy make us such! Amen.