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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - May 23, 2007

  • 2007 May 23
  • COMMENTS
 

JOY OF A WORD FILLED FAMILY SERIES

 

How to be a Father of the Word

 

 

FATHERS HAVE A BIG CHALLENGE

One of the questions I often ask men who have raise children is, "Would you do it any differently?" I listen carefully and try to learn from those ahead of me in their earthly pilgrimages. Do you know what? The changes they often share are so easy to implement even today. No matter where you are in the parenting process. One father summed it up this way.  He said,

"My family's all grown, and the kids are all gone.  But, if I had to do it all over again, this is what I'd do:

·        I would love my wife more in front of my children.

·        I would laugh with my children more--at our mistakes and our joys.

·        I would listen more, even to the littlest child.

·        I would be more honest about my own weaknesses, never pretending perfection.

·        I would pray differently for my family--instead of focusing on them, I'd focus on me.

·        I would do more things together with my children.

·        I would encourage them more and bestow more praise.

·        I would pay more attention to little things, like deeds and words of thoughtfulness.

·        And then, finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family; every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day I would use to direct them to God."

This explains why Charlie Shedd made one of his original promises to his tiny son, Peter:

I hope that I will be able to make knowing God natural to you.  It is natural.  In fact, I think this relationship with God is the only thing that is one hundred percent natural.  We will pray together until it is easy for you to put your arms on the windowsill of heaven and look into the face of God.

Before I put you back in your crib, I want to tell you something Philip said.

We had been out in the country for a ride.  It was evening and we ran out of gas.  We were walking along after we had been to the farmhouse, and I was carrying a can of gas.  Philip was only four.  He was playing along, throwing rocks at the telephone poles, picking flowers, and then, all of a sudden it got dark.  Sometimes night comes all at once in the country.  Philip came over, put his little hand in mine and said, "Take my hand, Daddy.  I might get lost."

Peter, there is a hand reaching to you from the heart of the universe.  If you will lay your hand in the hand of God and walk with Him, you will never ever get lost.

SO WHAT ARE WE MISSING TODAY?

In a study conducted several years ago, sociologists Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, of Harvard University, identified several crucial factors in the development of juvenile delinquents.  They created a test that can, with about 90 percent accuracy, predict future delinquency of children 5-6 years old.  They listed four necessary factors in preventing juvenile delinquency. 

·         First, the father’s discipline must be firm, fair, and consistent. 

·         Second, the mother must know where her children are and what they are doing at all times, and be with them as much as possible. 

·         Third, the children need to see affection demonstrated between their parents, and from their parents to them. 

·         And fourth, the family must spend time together as a unit.

In a similar report, but from a Christian perspective, Dr. Paul D. Meier, a Christian psychiatrist, wrote that the key to right parent-child relationships could be summed up in five things:

(1)   Parents’ love for each other and for the children;

(2)   Discipline;

(3)   Consistency;

(4)   A good parental example; and

(5)   A man at the head of the home.

KNOWING GOD AS THE PERFECT FATHER

The perfect Father would be the one who knows everything about you and still loves you; who is always on your side; who is big enough for anything; and who never lets you down. Of course that is the description God's Word gives of the ONLY perfect Father in God's Word. We all have met Him. Jesus introduced us to God as Our perfect Father:

First Jesus says we need to notice our seeing father. Jesus calls Him Our Father who sees all of our secrets. That means He is watching; He “knows everything and still loves us". What a comfort to have God as our Perfect Father. He is on your side .

Matthew 6:4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Secondly, our Perfect Father is our constant resource. We are to draw upon your supplying father. Have you met and entered into communion with our Father of mercy. Oh how much He loves you and is supremely “on your side”.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

Thirdly, this Perfect Father Jesus introduced us to is powerful. He is saying trust in your strong father. The Name of the Lord as Father of spirits means He is strong. To put that down to earth for us, He is “big enough for anything”.

Hebrews 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Finally Jesus has introduced us to our Perfect Father who won't ever let us down, leave us or change into something less than perfection. We are to constantly go back and rest on Him. That means we are to hope IN OUR secure father. The name of the Lord as our Father of lights communicates the incredible truth that God is changeless. Our Lord is unfailing. To say it in daily talk, He is the Father who will “never let you down”.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

The perfect Father would be the one who knows everything about you and still loves you; who is always on your side; who is big enough for anything; and who never lets you down. So how do we who re so imperfect perform one of the most difficult tasks in life?

We start by seeing our Perfect Father as He is, and then we start in the power of His Spirit to emulate Him. God is the model. God alone is Perfect. We are imperfect and sometimes failing students of the Perfect Father. But even if we fail at times, we can always point our families to their Perfect Father, right?

OUR PATTERN IS GOD'S WORD

So what should we look for? Good habits that show up in the great dads of God's Word! The first great dad we will see is Job.  From his life we need to grab and copy his habit of prayer. And by the power of God's Spirit start making it characteristic of your life!

The Book of Job is perhaps the oldest book in the world. It is also perhaps the clearest view into the spirit world, the spiritual side of parenting and the cosmic proportion of conflicts we face as we parent and lead as dads.

v     HABIT NUMBER ONE: PRAYER JOB PRAYED

What is the key truth about the Good Dad Job? JOB PRAYED

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

Can we learn something about how to parent our families from Job's like? Yes, some powerful habits he had. There are five distinct elements of Job's parenting habits. You may want to even note these in your Bibles.

First, Job prayerfully followed the life of his children. Note the words, "when the days of feasting".

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

He knew what was going on in his children's lives. He knew their cycle of house visits, parties, get-togethers and so on. He was in touch on a daily basis with where they were and where they were headed. He followed his children around in his heart because he had a godly concern and love for them. ARE YOU FOLLOWING YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES? You and I will never pray effectively for those who are not regularly on our hearts.

Secondly, Job prayerfully sought the personal consecration of each member of his family.

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

Note the words, "Job would send and sanctify them". This speaks of his high priestly role at the head of his family. He went to God seeking their purity before the Lord. In a practical way dads, it is you that needs to know your boys and girls and seek their sanctification. It is you that needs to tell them when they are out of line, immodest, heading toward sin and so on! And as dads we are also husbands. We are as Paul said in Ephesians 5, to seek our wife's sanctification through God's Word! A godly dad will know his children and wife's spiritual status and be prayerfully caring about their growth toward Christ-likeness. DO YOU CARE FOR YOUR DAUGHTERS AND SONS AND WIFE’S CONSECRATION?

In the middle of v. 5 we see another truth. Job prayerfully offered himself to God as an intercessor for his family.

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

It wasn’t talk it was work! HAVE YOU OFFERED YOURSELF TO GOD AS AN INTERCESSOR? Prayer is much like holding something for someone you love. You just make sure that you guard it.

Next, Job prayerfully looked at his family from God’s perspective. Note the words “in their hearts”. He was so vitally concerned about their inner spiritual life that he cried out to God for them. HAVE YOU started doing this, DADS?

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

Job was so aware of the constant pressure of the world, the flesh and the devil. He wanted pure children, holy families and strong worshipers of God Almighty. So he was looking over the lives of his family members trying to see them from the inside out. What a challenge, what an opportunity, what an encouragement this can be dads. Sometimes we just need to look at them, as they will be instead of only as they are. Remember God says we are seated with Christ. That is our future glorified condition. And He relates to us on that basis. Never overlooking sin, but always seeing us, as we shall be by His grace.

Finally, Job prayerfully persisted. He was a great dad because he kept on. It wasn't just when they were little. He prayed through their growing years and never stopped. You know the key to success in any endeavor is to get started and not quit.

Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. (NKJV)

“Continually” He started following their lives. He started to offer prayers for his family as their intercessor.  and wouldn’t stop. He was ready for the unexpected death of his children. He prepared them for it every day! HAVE YOU STARTED? KEEP ON! QUIT? GET STARTED!

Fathers of the Word will be like Job who interceded prayerfully for His family. Job 1:5 - WOW.  Do you see how serious this dad was?  Job had five objectives:

Followed:  Knew what was going on in his kids’ lives “cycle” - knew daughters at home invited out to sons.

Cared:  Sought their personal lives to be consecrated “sent and consecrate”, examined and cleansed.

Offered:  Personally stood as priest of his family offering atoning sacrifices for sin in general.

Looked:  He was not only concerned about externals, he was vitally concerned about the heart!  “In hearts”

Persisted:  Continually did so with spiritual persistence, “continually”.

A Godly father in tune with the Scriptures will: know his children deeply, personally and directly; get involved in making sure they keep pure; stands ready to seek their repentance and restoration; looks at heart attitudes; and won’t stop!

So, Fathers of the Word will be like Job who was involved prayerfully with his family.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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