Sitting in a class the other week, trying to get input from a group of 13 year olds on the phrase “Live simply, so that others can simply live!” I was met with blank faces who couldn’t quite get their head around how they could live more simply and in the process allow others to live. Continue reading
Sitting staring at the warm glow from my plastic Christmas tree frosted with twinkly lights, I’m reminded of my Christmas’s as a young boy, all of which seem like a life time ago. The distant memories of my childhood festivities still linger in my mind like a sweet flavour that refuses to release its grip from your taste buds long after the treat has gone, such wonderful memories! My experiences as a child are quite different to the ones I look forward to now, yet at the same time a gentle theme connects the two.
I remember growing up, we didn’t have a silly plastic tree, oh no sir! We had the real McCoy, well at least as real as I’ve experienced in the warm climates of Africa, but it was real! Every spiky prickly leaf is unmistakably etched into my mind and the various scars that adorn my arms. We never had fir trees we had hypodermic needle trees! We’d need to move the thing indoors which if you’re wondering was similar to hugging a cactus and moving it from room to room. But when the starship prickles finally landed in our family room and after band aids and anti itch cream were applied, it was a moment of sheer jubilation.
To stand alongside, to encourage, to motivate, to protect, to provide. to love and to watch complete the race. Beautiful.
So tonight my wife and I went to watch a movie, something simple, something funny, some time alone, except for the 100 or so other people there, but regardless it was great. Granny was looking after our little one so we took the opportunity to get out and do something we don’t often do. We laughed, had some coffee, ate some chips. Good times:)
As we were walking to the car, I saw her out of the corner of my eye, my first thought, please don’t follow us, but as you know with a first thought like that, she did. She walked right up to us as we were getting into the car.
I’ve had the privilege recently of sitting with some amazing young people and hearing their hearts, hearing where they are at, where they’d like to be at and just generally being allowed to listen to them sharing.
So much of what I hear seems to connect with their confusion of who God is, what He wants and how we should connect the two. I must say that for most of my life I struggled with this, to be honest, I still have days now, where I struggle with understanding Him and what He wants for my life. But for certain, one thing that God has solidified in my heart, chiselled into my very soul, is that He wants me to be a father, a husband and a man, and those are things He holds close to His heart. After all, He is a Father, he lives as a husband to his bride and he was a man!
Well, here we go with part 2 of the purpose of a Father. Everyday it seems I fall in my pursuit of perfection as a Dad, but do you know what? That’s fine, I know whose I am and I know I am a new creation, righteous, cleansed and with these truths at my side I will press on forgetting all the mistakes that lie behind me. I will keep pursuing my Fathers heart in this area, and I believe the last eight purposes are well connected with Gods heart for Fathering.
Again, this is not a fully comprehensive list, but it’s a good start, a good measuring tool with which to gauge where you are as a father, and where you feel God wants you to be.
Here we go, the Purpose of a Father is:
- To create a place of safety.
- To set the atmosphere.
- To love his children’s Mom.
- To pray for his wife, children and marriage.
- To set the example that you must live what you speak.
- To raise warrior princes and beautiful princesses.
- To set the example of what God intended relations to be.
- To create focus.
What must it have been like, to exist as God no less, and watch as your son was being beaten, mocked, abused, jeered at, hated, spat on, thrown away, tortured and then murdered? Yes murdered.
The definition: The unlawful, intentional killing of another human being with the intent to kill.
Unlawful, because, He broke no laws, he was and is sinless, he had to be, otherwise He would not have measured up to being a perfect sacrifice.
Human being? Well he had to be, you can’t kill God, and He needed to die to be offered as a sacrifice and regain the authority for us as a man that Adam lost as a man when he disobeyed in the Garden.
I look at my son, when he sleeps, when he’s playing, crying, laughing, sitting, standing and every moment in between, and I am filled with love, it overpowers me, it permeates my being and drips from my pores. How did God watch as His Son was put to death, for a group of people that for the most part, would never truly appreciate the sacrifice? I shudder when my son bumps his head, what was God’s expression when Jesus was whipped, spat on and brutally tortured?
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of connecting with a young man with a great passion for Jesus. As he spoke of his journey and how he has come to where he is now I was filled with compassion for him and many like him.
One of the challenges glaringly apparent in the world today is the freedom by which the term Father is banded about.
Let me give you my definition:
To the Man who lavishes, unsparingly, his love, his time, his wealth, his heart, his life, his hopes and dreams. To the Man who stands and watches over, who guards and gives counsel, who catches tears and brings correction. To the Man who loves the Mother of his child, who raises her up, who encourages and honours her. To the Man who guides and provides, who laughs and cries, who picks up when there’s failure and raises up on shoulders when there is victory. To this Man shall we award the mark of a father. Through his sacrifice, shall the sons and daughters be set free to run ahead and lay claim to riches the Man only dreamt about.
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Yesterday, I saw an email about 2 little children living in abject poverty. Nothing new I suppose, but my heart broke, I looked into the 3 year old girls eyes and saw my own child, I looked at her dirt covered feet and saw my own child, I saw her quivering lips and saw my own child. Her expression seemed to cry out, with a need that echoed thoughout my world, her cry was that she be loved, that she be protected, that she had a place to bury her head when afraid and know that no matter what, she was safe.