VIDEO The Real Deal Dad: Authentic Dadhood

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Galatians 4:6

We all have one; many of us are one—a father, that is. As we honor the fathers in our lives this weekend, it’s a good time to ask: What is an authentic father like? Books are available on the subject, but is there one infallible source by which to evaluate fatherhood?

Not even the Bible says, “These are the traits of a good father.” We have something else, however. We have the example of our divine Father, our Heavenly Father, who is the spiritual Father to all who believe. And “all” includes today’s dads. The Bible makes a clear point of saying we have been adopted into God’s family, the head of which is God the Father. So we do have a perfect example of the traits of an authentic father: God Himself. There are many traits of God revealed in Scripture, but how about the traits manifested by God the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Dads, the more you know and spend time with your Heavenly Father, the more like Him you will become.

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Billy Graham


Galatians 4 lesson by Dr. Bob Utley

Bigger than Our Problems

Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you. Job 40:15

What do you imagine dinosaurs looked like when they were alive? Big teeth? Scaly skin? Long tails? Artist Karen Carr recreates these extinct creatures in large murals. One of her panoramas is over twenty feet tall and sixty feet long. Because of its size, it required a crew of experts to install it in sections where it resides in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

It would be hard to stand in front of this mural without feeling dwarfed by the dinosaurs. I get a similar sensation when I read God’s description of the powerful animal called “Behemoth” (Job 40:15). This big guy munched grass like an ox and had a tail the size of a tree trunk. His bones were like iron pipes. He lumbered through the hills grazing, stopping occasionally to relax at the local swamp. When floodwaters surged, Behemoth never raised an eyebrow.

No one could tame this incredible creature—except its Maker (v. 19). God reminded Job of this truth during a time when Job’s problems had cast ominous shadows over his life. Grief, bewilderment, and frustration filled his field of vision until he began to question God. But God’s response helped Job see the real size of things. God was bigger than all his issues and powerful enough to handle problems that Job couldn’t resolve on his own. In the end, Job conceded, “I know that you can do all things” (42:2).

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

Which is bigger, your worst problem or the God who made everything? How does your view of God affect the way in which you handle problems?

Dear God, I believe You can help me with the things I’m facing today. Help me to be open to Your power and goodness when I feel overwhelmed by trouble.

Experiencing Loneliness

Hebrews 13:1-6

All of us feel lonely from time to time, perhaps because of ill health, a busy work schedule, or moving for a new job or school. When that happens, we find it harder to reach out to friends. Our mind starts telling us no one’s interested in our thoughts or feelings, and we build walls around our heart that let few people in. The more we withdraw, the worse we feel.

But it’s important to distinguish between loneliness and aloneness, because believers are never truly alone. Yes, everyone feels isolated at some point, but God never intended for us to live disconnected from one another (Gen. 2:18). Ever since creation, He planned for us to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him and with others. First, He established a personal relationship with Adam and then provided him with Eve. Note the order: Intimacy with God precedes intimacy with anyone else.

In the absence of a personal relationship with the Lord, loneliness prevails, and the only way to be connected to the Father is by trusting Jesus as Savior (John 14:6). When we do that, we receive His peace (John 14:27) and the promise that He’ll always be with us (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5). Believers are forever His children and never truly alone.

The Greatest Name

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-10)

While the role of the Lord Jesus appears somewhat subdued in the Old Testament, it dominates the New Testament. The Hebrew equivalent of “Jesus” appears only 13 times as “saviour.” The Greek text explodes with over 960 verses either recording statements made by Jesus or proclaiming Him as Lord and King.

King David declared: “Blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory” (Psalm 72:19). And, of course, the great “name” passage in Isaiah 9:6 amplifies the many aspects of the “child” whose “name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

But Jesus prefers “Son of man.” That title is used 89 times, while “Son of God” is used 53 times. The majestic name of “Lord of lords, and King of kings” is used only three times in the New Testament, twice in the closing book (Revelation 17:14 and 19:16) and once in Paul’s moving benediction: “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Since the New Testament emphasizes the ultimate kingship of our Lord Jesus, we can understand that the dominant name cited nearly 250 times in the Old Testament (“LORD of hosts”) refers to the Ruler of heaven, the Lord Jesus (Malachi 3:17). HMM III

Only Believe

Mark 5:21-43

THERE is much comfort for us in the healing of the woman with the issue of blood (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56) which is so interwoven with the healing of Jairus’ daughter that we give here the scripture including both. This poor woman had the double aggravation of being ill and having spent all on doctors in vain, a circumstance familiar to many of us. Doubtless her faith was rather crude and perhaps mixed with some superstition, but it was such faith as she had, and she used it. The Word does not stress the quality of it (except to say that a little will work wonders, Matt. 17:20) but the object of faith, and since Christ was the object here, the blessing followed—as it always does.

Our Lord called her back to make it clear that she had been healed through no magical virtue of His but because of her faith. “According to your faith be it unto you,” He declared long ago, but still we do not believe it; we try roundabout methods to secure what comes only by believing.

This was made clear in this same passage in the case of Jairus. He had summoned Jesus to help his daughter who was at the point of death. While our Lord dealt with the woman, someone came from Jairus’ house saying, “Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” Ah, that is always the attitude of this poor world. “My case is hopeless; why pray?” But our Lord answered, “Be not afraid, only believe.” Would that we could hear Him today in the moment when all seems lost, when fondest hopes have perished, when dearest ones lie dead, saying still as still He does, “Be not afraid, only believe.” No matter what your circumstance, keep your confidence in Him and He will do what is for the best. There come so many times when, through the voice of others, the evil one says, “What is the use in calling on the Lord? It is a dead prospect; why trouble Him any further?” But there never was a situation in which faith is not the victory. He may not raise our dead as He did then, but He will raise them one day; and there is no occasion to be afraid, for we know that all things work together for good to them who are His.

So He went on into this “impossible” situation, and when He declared the maid not dead but only asleep, they laughed Him to scorn. Still the world laughs at Him as He moves among our “impossible” situations, our sorrows and broken hopes. “What good does it to trust in Jesus? What can He do for you?” But every day those who trust Him know that He still works His wonders if we only believe.

Is There an Answer?

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel.—Psalm 73:23-24

A devoted Christian man I knew married a widow who had a teenage son. The son was deeply rebellious, and the man, now his stepfather, grew very resentful toward him. One night, while the mother was away, they shared the same bedroom, and the man woke up in the middle of the night, finding himself trying to push the young man out of the bedroom window. Another push, and he would have fallen and been seriously injured. What had happened? The man told me that he had gone to sleep that night with a great bitterness in his heart toward his stepson. The subconscious mind is very receptive at the moment one drops into sleep, and the resentment his subconscious mind received precipitated an act which would have horrified him when conscious.

A little girl said, “I want to be good, but I don’t want to be obedient.” Her conscious mind wanted her to be known as good, but her subconscious mind, where self-centeredness was the driving urge, did not want to obey anything except itself. The minister who preaches full surrender to God yet yearns to be praised and complimented is suffering from a division between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The person who works hard at helping others but does it to meet some inner need rather than truly giving himself to the needs of others is inwardly divided. The question is: can the subconscious be reached by the Holy Spirit? With all my heart, I say it can. In the Holy Spirit, we are provided with a divine presence that redeems and unifies the whole personality.

Prayer

Father, I am tired of inward division that threatens to tear me apart. Tame these wild horses within me that I might know Your perfect peace in every part of my being. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Jms 1; Rm 7:22-23, 8:6; Isa 26:3; Php 4:8

What makes a man unstable?

What brings stability and peace?

Our Alpha and Omega

Rev. 22:13

This magnificent title of our Lord comes to us in his final words to man as recorded in the last chapter of the Bible. Three times in this final chapter he declares, “I am coming soon!” (Rev. 22:20). The title, “Alpha and Omega,” gives credibility and authority to the stupendous promise of His return. Deity alone could make such a claim as this title asserts.

Alpha and Omega are words for the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Their meaning is explicit in the amplification Jesus Himself gives. He is the Alpha, the Beginning, the First. What a staggering claim! First—before the empires of Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome. First—before the eons of time spoken of by geologists. First—before the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Pleiades.

He is the Omega, the End, the Last. What a blessed assurance.

“Father Time” is looked on as both a tyrant and a friend. Time will write wrinkles in our faces, turn our hair white (if it doesn’t take it away altogether) and rob us of our vigor. But time can also be a corrector of errors, a confirmer of truth, a healer of sorrows and our best tutor. Our seemingly long history on earth represents only an episode in eternity.

But Jesus has no beginning nor ending. He is eternal. Even our calendars pay homage to His superiority over time.

There is another intriguing dimension to this title. The alphabet represents absolute wholeness, completeness. It is an inexhaustible resource for all of us to tap. The same 26 letters used by Shakespeare to write immortal lines have been used by lovers to express their feelings, by judges to pass sentences, by presidents to issue proclamations, by a parent to guide a child. Jesus Christ as our Alpha and Omega is our resource and inspiration for the whole realm of life and communication.

As our Alpha and Omega, He is also the Lord of our beginnings and endings. He is there at the thresholds of our lives—birth, growing up, when the young person goes off to college, at the marriage altar, at the start of a career, when the first child comes—all our important beginnings.

He is there in our endings—when we leave home, at the completion of a task, the end of a stay, leaving a place and friends behind, loss of a loved one, retirement, death.

We take comfort and courage from this title, with its assurance that our times are in the hands of the Eternal, our life becomes complete in Him and He is the Lord of our beginnings and endings.

Henry Gariepy, Portraits of Christ