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Friday, June 15, 2012
Red and White Petunias in a Hanging Cone basket in front of our home. As summer is just around the corner our flowers are maturing and adding lovely splashes of color here and there.
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"Godly Fathers - An Endangered Species"
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
Our friend Bill and his son Zach, who was a toddler at the time, were enjoying the outdoors when Bill got distracted for a moment. He looked back at Zach and saw a worm hanging out of his mouth. He quickly removed the worm and by his actions showed his son that earthworms are not acceptable as people food!
It is unlikely, due to Zach's young age, that he will recall the specific lesson but it certainly was part of a father's formative discipline and instruction, one of many thousands that Zach will learn through his childhood. Scripturally, fathers have a very specific commission in this regard: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
This coming Sunday is Father's Day here in the USA which provides a good opportunity to honor our fathers (Exodus 20:12) and issue a challenge to them. Today I primarily issue a challenge and reminder.
Several years ago I saw a bumper sticker that caught my attention with a powerful message. It stated, "Godly parents – An Endangered Species". Now that would also be a good title for a Father's Day sermon! (The sign to the left is illustrative.)
A decreasing number of fathers consider bringing their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord as a major priority in life. We need to see an increase in godly fathers!
"Bring them up" is in the present imperative meaning this is a command to be carried out as the father's lifestyle or habitual practice. In a sense, he should always (even when he is old and gray) be teaching them the wisdom God has taught him.
"Of the Lord" indicates the primacy of Biblical and spiritual training. We have lots of duties in regard to the discipline and instruction of our children. We teach them how to tie their shoes, hold dinnerware properly, say "thank you" and scores of other lessons. These are all important.
But of utmost importance is "the discipline and instruction of the Lord." This is training children Biblically and spiritually.
Our hearts are very encouraged by those fathers who heed this Biblical commission. I have in mind a father who daily gathers his family for Bible reading and prayer. Another father, although a busy man, makes a point to spend quality time with his children daily, making room in his schedule for special memorable events. Our photo shows an Amish friend spending quality time with his young son, whom he had brought to work with him, a wonderful practice in the Amish culture.
There is an urgent need for godly parents to take the responsibility of raising their children according to Biblical standards. Today our call is primarily to fathers. This will require sacrifice and perseverance, most especially at times when it seems no fruit comes from our labor. But hold onto God's Word and this reassuring promise through the apostle Paul, "..our labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the Psalmist wrote that you "set the lonely in families". It is a joy and privilege to love and to be loved, to care for others and to be cared for. Today we especially pray for our readers who are fathers attempting to raise young children in the ways of the Lord. May their walk and talk be exemplary and reflect that which is taught in Your Word. Grant them wisdom and endurance as they undergo the testings common to fathers who train and discipline their children to live responsibly, respectfully, and obediently toward the teachings within Your Word. May they equip their children with the example and teachings needed for their present life, for their adult years and for their life eternal. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
James Montgomery Boice offers the following thoughts for those parents who have done the right thing and yet still have seen the child grow up rebellious... "Yet I must say a word on the matter of the child’s own responsibility, as I promised. Children are their own people, and they have their own set of responsibilities both before God and others. Consequently, although they may be taught wisely and raised morally and that instruction be supported by parental example, they nevertheless sometimes do go astray, and that is not necessarily the parents’ fault. The first example of child-rearing in the Bible should teach us that. We know that Adam and Eve were a sinful man and woman after the Fall, as we all are. But they were undoubtedly model parents nonetheless. They were highly intelligent and knew God intimately. Moreover, they are numbered in the godly line of the age before the Flood, the line which contained such outstanding spiritual giants as Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah. There is no question but that they raised their children to know and honor God. Yet in spite of this their first child, Cain, turned out to be a murderer. Why? The Bible says it was the result of the outworkings of his own sinful heart. So I say to parents: If your child has abandoned the Lord and is living a worldly life, it is not necessarily your fault. It may be, but not necessarily. Do not abandon hope. God has called many such children. Your duty is to continue to live as Christians and pray for your child regularly. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). (Boice, J.M.: Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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