Family is everything, unless Jesus is

Michael J. Fox is quoted as saying, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Mr. Fox is not alone, this is a common refrain among many.

Family is important. Some disregard, ignore, or abuse their family. Many give themselves over to their work, their hobbies, or their friends at the expense of their children or spouse. Many of the most successful people have chosen business over family. Continue reading “Family is everything, unless Jesus is”

A faithful father listens

Talking to people can be a bit of a chore but talking to a child is always a delight.

My grandchildren talk to me about their pets, their toys, their schoolwork and it’s never boring. My eyes never leave their faces, and my ears never turn away from their voices.

In prayer, God’s attention never wavers. He is intently interested in everything we have to say even when we might bore people. Continue reading “A faithful father listens”

Being a father

I love being a father.

If every bit of progress of my children isn’t imprinted on film or memory card, it is in my mind as fresh as the day it happened. Those memories include when each of our three children walked, when they learned to ride a bicycle, and graduated from college. Sure, there have been trials and difficulties but the joys outweigh them all.

Each child has repeatedly assured us of their love for their mother and me. I know their love is genuine because they show it often. Continue reading “Being a father”

Home

In the April 2017 edition of Reader’s Digest, former Major League Baseball manager Rich Donnelly wrote, “Baseball is similar to life. You start out at home and get a little older (first base). Then, in adulthood, you’re the furthest from home you’ve ever been (second base). You get older and wiser (third base) and see home plate. Then, you realize that where you want to be is where you already were.”

As Jesus stood before the threshold of death on the cross, he told his disciples they could not go with him (John 13:36). Ever the brash one, Peter took exception. He told the Master that he would follow him anywhere and even give his own life for the Lord. Jesus knew what he said had caused his disciples to become apprehensive. Continue reading “Home”

The father of us all

Abraham is one of the great characters in the Bible.

Living in Ur of the Chaldees, one of the modern cities of his day, God called him to leave to go some place else – God would show him where. And Abraham left, along with his wife, nephew and father. Other siblings and their family joined them in Haran and there Terah, his father, died. Continue reading “The father of us all”

Father in Heaven

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by Mike Benson

I will speak for me. I probably need to spend more time thinking about what I’m actually saying in my private prayers.

“Father in heaven…”

If I am not very careful, the phrase may constitute little more than a thoughtless, repetitive habit.

Strangely enough, I don’t talk to my earthly father that way, but I tend to do so with my heavenly Father. Does he ever get weary of my redundancy?

What am I really saying when I articulate the words, “Father in heaven…”?

First, “Father” means I am a member of God’s family.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

Just as a suit which I put on envelops me and identifies my appearance, my immersion in water (Romans 6:3-4; cf. 1 Peter 3:20-21) was the culminating act of faith by which God added me to his spiritual household (1 Timothy 3:15) and identified me as his kin.

Second, “Father” means I am a recipient of God’s special provision.

“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:9-11)?

If I, as an earthly father, endeavor to meet the dietary needs and requests of my child, how much more (cf. Ephesians 3:20) will my heavenly Father accommodate the requirements (cf. Philippians 4:19; James 1:17) of my life (cf. Psalm 37:25)?

Third, “Father” means I am the beneficiary of God’s loving discipline.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6; cf. Proverbs 3:11-12).

Because God is my Father in heaven, he, on occasion disciplines me for my long term good (cf. Hebrews 12:9-11). He wields the rod (Psalm 89:32; Proverbs 22:15) of pain and corrects me as an expression of his special relationship (Hebrews 12:8) with  me.

“Father in heaven…”

The phrase ought to be more than some rote recital of words. It should be an indelible imprint on my heart–that I have a Father who…

  • takes me in as his own
  • gives me all that I need
  • chastens me to help me mature.

Legacy

He never made the front page of the local newspaper or saw his name in lights. No one ever wore his name on the back of a jersey or read a book he had penned. His final days weren’t in a grand, sprawling mansion and there was never enough money in his checking account.

However, a young man from central Arkansas who at twenty-seven was told that he had a terminal illness, made a lasting impression on a teenage girl. I know because a few days ago and thirty years after my father’s death, she wrote a beautiful note about him.

You can imagine my surprise this week when I read a message from the woman who had been a teen at the small country church where my father preached. She told of the way he had influenced her and after all these years, still thinks of him from time to time. I appreciate her taking the time to remind me of what a good man he was.

My father wasn’t a youth minister but that didn’t keep him from spending time with the youth in the congregation where he preached in the early 70s.  He loved kids and took a vested interest in their lives.

The influence he made on people of all ages has lasted through the ages and I’m confident it will continue through eternity. My father’s legacy was one of deep love and abounding faith.

What are you leaving behind? Is it a life of faith like those in Hebrews 11 who never surrendered to their trials? Are you fighting life’s battles with dignity and grace? Are you watching what you say and how you say it? Are you taking the time to encourage a brother or sister?

Leave a legacy of love and encouragement to your friends and family and remember, the greatest legacy isn’t engraved on monuments but lovingly written on hearts.