Archive for the “Fathers” Category

One of my favorite movies is Guess Who with Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana, Bernie Mac and Judith Scott. It’s a 2005 remake of the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy & Sidney Poitier.

In Guess Who, Theresa brings her boyfriend Simon home to meet her parents. Theresa and her parents are black. Theresa neglects to tell her parents that Simon is white, complicating all the relationships. Overriding the issue of race is Theresa’s father’s distrust of Simon. After a dinner ruckus that many consider the funniest part of the movie, Theresa goes to her father to talk. Every time I watch this scene I am stunned by its strength and truth. It is a perfect message for Father’s Day.

Theresa confesses to her father that she is afraid to marry a white man. She loves him and he’s a wonderful guy, but she’s experienced hateful words and looks when they are in public and she is afraid. Here’s the interchange that impacted me so strongly:

Theresa: I need you to tell me that it’s OK to be with him.
Her Father: Baby, me telling you it’s OK is not going to change the world.
Theresa: But it would change my world. Daddy, it’ll change my world if I know you’re behind us.

“But it would change my world.” Somehow, knowing that we have our father’s support, approval and blessing changes our world. Knowing that we have someone behind us gives us courage to face the battles in front of us.

Yesterday I was organizing some old photos and I came across the envelope that holds all the memorabilia associated with my father’s death. I don’t think I’ve looked through it since my dad died a few years ago, and I didn’t go looking for it yesterday – God’s timing sure is interesting, isn’t it? One of the things in the envelope was the printed version of his online guestbook. I read all the entries, and here’s part of my husband’s entry:

“Hey there, old man!” That’s how Pat and I always greeted each other. My father died of cancer when I was 12 years old. For the last 29 years, Pat Parks was as close to being a father to me as anyone. I always felt like he had my back. He wasn’t one to hover over us, but I  always knew that he was watching out for me…I look forward to seeing him again – on the Other Side – and saying, “Hey there, old man!” (emphasis mine)

Dads – let your kids know that you have their backs. Don’t hover, but let them know you are behind them – cheering, encouraging and backing up in a fight when necessary. (And be sure to tell your daughters how smart and beautiful they are!)

The wonderful thing about being a child of God, is that He is a perfect Father. Whether our earthly fathers were supportive or not, we can stand with confidence and face the battles in front of us because He always has our backs. He promised He would. And we can bank on that.

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-30

5bfor he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5b-6

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      For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
                        Isaiah 9:6  (NIV)

I’ve been meditating on the titles given to Jesus in the above passage for the last few days: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

We are so blessed to serve a God worthy of these paradoxical titles. I say paradoxical, because I wouldn’t expect the “Mighty God” to also be a “Wonderful Counselor.” The Mighty God upholds me with his strength and power. The Mighty God goes to battle on my behalf. The Mighty God rides in on a white horse as a “conqueror bent on conquest” (Rev 6:2). Read what Revelation 19:11-16 says about my Mighty God, Jesus:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Are you pumped? I am! Not because I desire war and bloodshed, but because my God is MIGHTY – He is POWERFUL – and He will some day bring justice to this world. Praise God that He has made a way for me to escape His wrath. It’s what Christmas is all about.

Here’s the paradox – that the mighty God described in Revelation is also a Wonderful Counselor! It boggles my mind a bit to think that someone with the mighty power of God is also compassionate enough to be the Prince of Peace. Yet Jesus gave us the following invitation and description of himself in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Now that’s the Prince of Peace – One who lifts my burdens, who enables me to rest when I am weary, and One who gives not just physical rest, but rest for my soul. He takes the bits and pieces that are at war within me and brings peace to them. I am so grateful.

The Mighty God is also gentle and humble in heart. He was born to humble beginnings – wrapped in clothes and placed in a manger, visited by shepherds. Of course He was also born to fanfare fitting for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – An angel announced His birth to the shepherds and then “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel” to sing praises to God (Luke 2:12).

Isaiah 9 also calls Him Wonderful Counselor and Everlasting Father. The word used for counselor means to advise well or reflexively deliberate or resolve – more like a legal counselor than a psychological counselor. Jesus is our true advocate and gives wisdom that is beyond what we can know from this world. And He is our forever God, not our “here today, gone tomorrow” God. Not only is the wisdom He gives appropriate for us today, but is wisdom for all time. It is the wisdom of a father who sees, understands and knows all things. Our earthly fathers may have tried to impart wisdom in us, but it was wisdom that came from their limited life and understanding of life. That didn’t make it bad. It just didn’t make it infallible – without error. God’s advice has no errors and He will never die. He is our everlasting father.

As I contemplated these many aspects of Jesus, the question that formed in my mind was this: Do I allow God to be these things for me? He is these things, but do I let Him be those things for me?

Do I allow Jesus to be my Mighty God when I need a defender of justice, or do I push for my own justice?

Do I seek Jesus’ face when my burden is heavy and my soul needs rest or do I push on to other things or escape into television or computer games?

Do I seek and follow God’s counsel or do I rely on my own wisdom or the opinions of others?

When I need a father – whether for protection, provision, advice, relationship or comfort – do I turn to my heavenly Father or do I try to find a substitute here on earth?

Ultimately the question that God asked me was this: Am I sufficient? Do you allow Me to meet all your needs?

May I encourage you to be challenged by the same questions? Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is he that in your life? Are you allowing Jesus to meet all your needs? He has the power, the time, the ability, and the desire. Let Him in today.

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As we worshiped our Father God in church on Father’s Day, what occurred to me was that what every little girl really wants (and needs) is the approval of her father. Every little girl wants to know that her Daddy is proud of her. Maybe every little boy needs that, too. I don’t know, but I imagine it’s true.

One thing that revolutionized my spiritual life a number of years ago was developing the strong understanding that God DELIGHTS in me — that I am His delight! Wow! He doesn’t just love me, He enjoys me.

I’m so happy and blessed to have the approval of my Heavenly Father.

I’m also blessed to have had the approval of my earthly father…I just didn’t understand that all the time. I had to become an adult (and not a young adult) before I began to understand my Dad. My aunt said it best in her comments about Dad in his guest book — Dad never hesitated to let us know when he thought we were messing up — that was for our own good, of course.

So Dads — don’t hesitate to show your daughters how much you love and approve of them.

And everyone — God is infinitely delighted in you! That’s worthy of celebration!

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