Lessons from Dad
Purity 449 06/19/2021 Purity 449 Podcast
Today’s photo of yours truly on the night of my prom posing with my dad in his NY Naval Militia T-Shirt comes to us from across the decades from the distant and simpler times of June 1990. And yes, that is a devil tattoo on my dad’s arm…
I normally share various views of the great outdoors that my friends have posted on social media but because tomorrow is Father’s Day, I decided to share a photo of the creation of God that “brought me into this world” and more than once probably thought about “taking me out”.
While the two subjects pictured here have both had epic journeys through life and haven’t always made the best decisions, they both know the love of God and the love of one another.
You don’t get to pick your family and while my relationship with my dad hasn’t always been perfect I can honestly say that I never doubted his love from my brothers and me although in the turmoil of raising four boys into men we may have questioned his wisdom and tactics.
Life is complicated and I could talk about negative aspects about my father and what transpired in the past but through my faith in Christ I have sought my father’s forgiveness and have forgiven him for any offenses in the past.
So instead of sharing stories about our personal failings and differences that may have caused issues in the past, I thought I would thank my father for his example and the lessons they taught me. Thanks, Dad! My father taught me to:
· Be a provider: For most of my life, my father was a correctional officer for New York State. Both my parents had work ethics and they passed that down to us. We weren’t blessed with familial wealth. Everything we had was because of my mother and father’s commitment to provide for us. My father often worked double shifts, late hours, and holidays, including Christmas. My father taught me that men work and sacrifice for their families.
The first story was “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”, a prison escape story that opened my 13-year-old eyes to the brutal realities of life behind bars and what it was like to keep hope alive in the darkest of circumstances.
Different Seasons also contained: “The Body” a story about four teenage boys who seek to find a lost boy and it tells of that transitional period of adolescence and friendship that I was living in. You might know the story as “Stand by Me” as they made it into a film starring River Phoenix and Will Wheaton.
That book opened a window to life I didn’t know existed and I learned a lot from it. It made me a lifelong Stephen King fan, taught me the value of reading for entertainment and for education, and gave me a desire to become a writer. So I owe my dad for my love of reading. Also my dad is partially responsible for my expressing myself through the written word that I try to use to encourage others.
· Be a problem solver: While I can testify that there have been times that I was the problem, my father’s example taught me to be a problem solver. He wasn’t the most skilled craftsman, but my dad would fix or install things around the house. He also was the one who would literally bail us out when we got into trouble.
Ironically, my dad was somewhat of a gruff guy who expected you to do what he said and who was someone you definitively didn’t want to put to the test, but whenever you got in trouble he would surprise you with his compassion and patience. You would expect him to blow up, but he would be cool as a cucumber and show mercy. Even after I had started a family of my own, my go to response was to call my father when I ran into a crisis.
There are more lessons my father taught me because of his example but the point behind all of this is that everything I learned from my father was motivated by his love for us.
So although your relationship with your father might be complicated, if he played any positive role in your life at all be thankful for it and try to honor him in someway tomorrow.
For those whose fathers weren’t fathers at all, I’m sorry. I would like to assure you though that there is a Heavenly Father who loves you. Even though that biological contributor you would be forced to call your father didn’t do right by you, your Heavenly Father is sovereign over all things and any of the love that you received from other men or women in this world flowed directly from Him to you.
If you can’t or aren’t ready to honor your earthly father, I would encourage you to continue or to establish a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ so you can experience His presence and the abundant love He has for you. If you turn to God, He will meet you with open arms and give you the strength, wisdom, and love that no earthly father could.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Luke 2:11 (NKJV)
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Today’s verse is probably known to some as the Linus verse, as it has been recited by our blanket carrying friend in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” every year since 1965.
I guess the Lord is in a festive season as of late as we just had Luke 2:12 randomly drawn as the verse of the day a couple of days ago. But I also think we can use today’s verse to highlight our Father’s Day celebration too.
It was the Father who sent the Son to earth to save us. Christ was a gift of love and sacrifice. Christ was also the revelation of God’s plan for mankind.
In a world full of confusion and various beliefs, God the Father made it clear what He expects men who want a relationship with Him to do, they are to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord in Savior.
No matter what people say they believe, they must answer the Jesus question.
Is Jesus the Messiah and do you place your faith in Him for your salvation?
No matter how light and peaceful or dark and demonic you decided to be in your thoughts, attitudes, and actions in this world, when you come to the end of your life your eternal destiny will hinge on how you answer that question.
God the Father has given us the gift of His beloved Son out of His great love for us. To live, we must accept it and we must share it.
So on this Father’s Day weekend, remind those you see that no matter what gifts we give or receive this weekend, our Heavenly Father has a gift for all of us that leads to everlasting life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 3.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support His work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Believing the Truth About Others
A pastor asked me, "How can I get out of my church?"
"Why do you want out?" I asked. "What's wrong with your church?"
"I've got a bunch of losers in my church."
"Losers? I wonder if they are really losers or if they just see themselves as losers because that's how you see them."
He reluctantly agreed that it was probably the latter. He was right, because there are no losers in the kingdom of God—none whatsoever. How can children of God be losers when they have already gained eternal life? As important as it is for you to believe in your true identity as a child of God, it is equally important that you perceive other Christians for who they are in Christ and treat them accordingly. I believe that the greatest determinant for how we treat people is how we perceive them. If we view people as losers we will begin to treat them that way. If, however, we believe our brothers and sisters in Christ are redeemed saints, we will treat them as saints and they will be greatly helped in behaving as saints.
Studies have shown that, in the average home, for every positive statement, a child receives 10 negative statements. The school environment is only slightly better; students hear seven negative statements from their teachers for every one positive statement. No wonder so many children are growing up thinking they are losers. Parents and teachers are conveying what they believe every day to their children and students.
These studies go on to point out that it takes four positive statements to negate the effect of one negative statement. You probably verify that finding every time you wear a new suit or dress. Some of your friends may say, "Oh, what a good looking outfit." It only takes one comment such as "It's really not you" to send you scurrying back to the store for a refund. We affect others significantly by what we say about them, and what we say is determined by what we believe about them.
The New Testament clearly states that we are saints who sin. Children of God who say they don't sin are called liars (see 1 John 1:8). We are not to judge one another; instead, we are called to accept other believers as children of God, and to build up each other.
If we could memorize just one verse from the New Testament, put it into practice and never violate it, I believe we would resolve half the problems in our homes and churches. The verse is Ephes. 4:29: "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Isn't it amazing that you and I have the power to give grace to others through the proper use of our words? If we said nothing to put others down, and only built up others as Ephes. 4:29 commands, we would be part of God's construction crew in the church instead of members of Satan's wrecking crew.
Relating to God
When I was in the eighth grade, we had a program called Religious Day Instruction. Every Tuesday afternoon the afternoon classes were shortened so we could go to the church of our choice for the last hour. It wasn't forced religion; students could choose to go to study hall, but I went to the church of my mother's choice. One nice fall day, I decided to skip Religious Day Instruction. I played in the park, and came back in time to catch the bus for my ride home to the farm. I thought I had gotten away with it, but I did not!
The next day the principal called me in and chewed me out. Then he said, "I have arranged for you to be home Thursday and Friday." I was shocked. Suspended from school for two days for skipping Religious Day Instruction? I was not looking forward to seeing my parents, and the ride home was miserable. I thought about playing sick for two days, or hiding in the woods when I should have been in school. I couldn't do it, and I knew I had to face my authority figures. I went to my mother because I knew there would be some mercy there.
"Mom," I said, "I got suspended from school for two days for skipping Religious Day Instruction."
At first she was shocked, then she smiled and said, "Oh, Neil, I forgot to tell you. We called the school to see if you could stay home Thursday and Friday to help us pick corn."
Now if I had known that, would I have dreaded seeing my parents? Would the school-bus ride home have been miserable? Of course not, but I didn't know that staying home Thursday and Friday was already justified. That is how many Christians live their lives. They live their lives as though they are walking on glass. They can't make any mistakes because if they do, the hammer of God will fall on them.
Dear Christian reader, the hammer fell. It fell on Christ. He died "once for all" our sins (Romans 6:10). We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God. We are saints in the hands of a loving God who has called us to "draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22). "For through Him [Christ] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father" (Ephes. 2:18); "in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him" (Ephes. 3:12).
Some Christian leaders believe we should emphasize the sinful side of our human nature as a motivation to live righteously. I respectfully disagree. How can we motivate by guilt when, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)? How can we motivate by fear when, "God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (2 Tim. 1:7)? I believe we ought to tell believers the truth about who they are in Christ and motivate them to live accordingly. To illustrate this truth, let me share the following testimony sent to me by a missionary who read the first edition of this book:
Though I have been a Christian for many years, I never understood God's forgiveness and my spiritual inheritance. I have been struggling for years with a particular sin. I was in Bible college when I began this horrible practice. I never thought this living hell would ever end. I would have killed myself had I not thought that was a sin. I felt God had turned His back on me and I was doomed to hell because I couldn't overcome this sin. I hated myself. I felt like such a failure.
The Lord led me to purchase your book Victory over the Darkness. I feel like a new Christian, like I've just been born again. My eyes are now open to God's love, and I realize that I am a saint who has chosen to sin. I can finally say I am free, free of Satan's bondage and aware of the lies he has been feeding me.
I would confess to God and beg His forgiveness when I sinned, but the next time I fell deeper into Satan's grasp because I couldn't accept God's forgiveness and I couldn't forgive myself. I always thought the answer lied in drawing closer to God, but I went to Him in confusion, believing I was a sinner who couldn't be loved. No more! Through the Scriptures and the way you presented them to me, I am no longer a defeated Christian. I now know I am alive in Christ and dead to sin and a slave of righteousness. I now live by faith according to what God said is true. Sin has no power over me, Satan has lost his grip on me.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship