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Father's Day

1 Thes. 2:11

 

"just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children" NASB 
 

What if I could tell you that there was a way to guarantee that your children will be: 

  • •5 times less likely to commit suicide;
  • •32 times less likely to run away;
  • •20 times less likely to have behavioral disorders;
  • •14 times less likely to commit rape;
  • •9 times less likely to drop out of high school;
  • •10 times less likely to abuse chemical substances;
  • •and 9 times less likely to end up in state-operated institutions?
Would you be interested in finding out the secret? Here it is-THE PRESENCE OF A FATHER IN THE HOME. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
The presence of a Father in the home makes a tremendous difference in a child's future. According to a recent Gallup Father's Day Poll, 40% of men between the ages of 18-49 feel that their father was their greatest parental influence as compared to just 23% of men over 50.(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

I don't know if the difference is because of the people's age or the times they've been living in. I tend to believe it is the times. My gut tells me that fathers are spending more time with their children and are more actively involved in their upbringing than they used to be. And that involvement is paying off.

The message is clear-the presence of a father in the home makes a positive difference in a child's life. That is also the tone set in scripture. The Bible assumes the positive influence of the father. Jesus taught us to refer to God as "Our Father who are in heaven . . ." By Jesus' question in Matthew 7:9 we see that he assumed that a Father will always have a child's best interest at heart. He asked: "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?" In our text today, Paul was looking for an analogy to compare his work to and the analogy he chose was the father/child relationship. He used three words to describe the father's role, "exhorting (advise earnestly) and encouraging (give hope or confidence, to stimulate) and imploring (request earnestly)." All three of those words imply an intensity. We advise, we motivate and we give instruction, and we do all those things with intensity, because we know their importance.

Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." There are two commands in this text, one is negative, the other positive. On the negative side, we are not to exasperate our children. In other words, our discipline cannot crush their spirit or demean them. It is a thin line, that most of us have crossed. It is the difference between encouragement and discouragement. 

Sometimes, I believe it is OK to take some time off from instructing our children and simply enjoy them. In his book, Being a Good Dad When You Didn't Have One, Tim Wesemann gives his readers a two-word piece of advice: "Lighten up!" He says that adults laugh an average of 15 times a day while children laugh 400 times. "Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose 385 laughs a day! That's a great loss!" Wesemann says, "Maybe we need not only the faith of a child but the funny bone of one as well." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Eccles. 3:4 does say that there is "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance." (NASB) Our relationship doesn't have to be intense all the time, sometimes it can be an opportunity just to enjoy the people our children are.

There is also a positive command here. Something fathers are to do. It is God's will for Fathers to train and instruct their children in the ways of the Lord.

When David Brannon looked back on the 22 years of preparing his daughter for her wedding day, a couple of things stood out. David found it hard to imagine that the little girl, who once had ringlets in her hair, was now a high school music teacher about to become the wife of a Youth Pastor. 

David says the second thing that stood out was the thrill of knowing that his daughter had come so far by God's instruction. He says, "Only God could have touched her heart to receive salvation. Only the Holy Spirit could direct her in the right paths. Only God's teaching was flawless." David knew his daughter had learned to listen to the wise instruction of the Lord.

(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

David discovered what many parents realize. No matter how much they work to get their child ready for the challenges of life, none of it matters without the "training and admonition of the Lord." God's training, augmented by the example of a loving parent, is the basis for training that lasts a lifetime.

The things that my father taught me as a child, in many ways, define who I am today. I learned to honor the Lord and serve Him by the words and the actions of my father. I learned the value and the rewards of hard work from my father. I learned that the most important thing a man has in life is his integrity from my father. Even the little things, like my love for Baseball came from my Dad. His instruction continues to this day. Sometimes I ask his opinion about something, but most of the time I don't have to. I already know what he'd say.

Don't get me wrong, my Dad isn't perfect. He has his faults like everyone else. During my late adolescent years I had some anger toward my Dad. I don't remember what the issues were and I couldn't tell you whether they were legitimate or not. You know how when you are ten your Dad can do no wrong and when you're eighteen he can do no right? Well, that's where I was at the time. I talked to my oldest brother about it and he gave me some of the best advice I've ever received. He reminded me about the sacrifices Dad had made for me and the things he'd done for me over the years-things I'd taken for granted, then he told me to write Dad a letter and thank him for what he'd done. At first, I was upset with Tim, because I didn't think he'd really listened to my complaints, but then I decided to do what he said, and I wrote the letter. Funny thing, I can still remember what I wrote in the letter that day, but I can't remember why I was mad at him. 

At this stage of my life, it doesn't really matter. On the whole, I've got to say that my Dad did right by me. He taught me well, and I owe him more than I could ever repay. I hope you heard me say, it wasn't just what he said that made the difference, but also the way he's lived.

That's what impressed Pastor Mark about his Dad-the way he lived, and the way he died. Pastor Mark (Yu Chao) watched his father die for his faith during China's Cultural Revolution. The Red Guard arrested his father for preaching the gospel and beat him within an inch of his life. The guards made Mark and his son watch as they tortured him, breaking several of his bones, and covering him in his own blood.

At a cemetery, they had a mock trial where they accused Mark's Dad of being an "enemy of the state," but gave him the opportunity to live if he would recant his faith. "We offer you this precious chance for life," they said. "Choose wisely."

Mark's father responded, "You can cut my head off and you can spill my blood, but I will never forsake Jesus Christ! He has been faithful to me and has blessed me for many years and nothing you do can ever make me renounce my loving Friend and Savior!"

The guards rushed him and beat him to death to the dismay of the crowd. Looking back on the event, Mark said, "Because of the example of my father, who was willing to endure to the very end, great fruit has resulted. In Shandong province today I, his son, still follow Christ, as do my own son and my grandson. Three generations have followed the Lord, and we hope many more generations to come will, also!" (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

When all is said and done, we children must forgive our fathers where they fail us and if we are wise, we will learn from their mistakes. We must also be grateful for where they succeeded. And learn the lessons they taught us in word and in deed.

 

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