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Friday, June 14, 2013

Brooksyne's family February 1960
Brooksyne's family in February 1960 (two older siblings missing from photo).
Her father is holding her.

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"Godly Fathers"

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart" (Colossians 3:21). "For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12). "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

This coming Lord's Day is also "Father's Day" here in the U.S.A. and many other countries as well. Here in America Mother's Day began in 1870 and became official in 1914 while Father's Day only became official, in 1972 when we were both in high school, t
hough it was celebrated "unofficially" for many years before that date. Both of our fathers have gone to be with the Lord. Both were men who loved their children and worked hard to provide for their families. My dad was a big man of relatively few words while Brooksyne's dad was a colorful man who always had something to say.

Many years ago Ester and Brooksyne had the opportunity to recognize the fathers in our congregation during our Worship Service. Ester shared a brief history of how the Father's Day Celebration came about and then she shared an acrostic for FATHER that she and Brooksyne wrote together. Perhaps our Daily Encouragement readers will appreciate the following thoughts:

F -  He's a friend who forgives often.
A – He is affectionate and accepting of his children.
T – He trains and teaches his children to obey and love God.
H – He hears his children's hearts and attempts to meet their needs.
E – He earns a living to provide for his family and is a good example to his children.
R – He remembers his children regularly in prayer!

Paul never mentions his own father in any of his writings recorded in the New Testament and actually gives very little explicit teaching on fatherhood. Yet in the daily Scripture verses we can glean several characteristics of godly fathers. In fact we give thanks to God that we saw these characteristics in our own fathers.

1) Godly fathers do not exasperate their children. Other versions state, "provoke," or "embitter".
The point is that children who grow up being continually (present tense) provoked in unseemly ways will become disheartened. See below for a study note regarding how we might exasperate our children.

2) Godly fathers bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
  Bible teacher Albert Barnes wisely warns us that if a father does not teach his children truth, others will teach them error. This responsibility is clearly prescribed in the law, "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:6,7).

3) Godly fathers encourage and comfort their children. Of course both parents have these duties and in many ways we may associate receiving loving words of comfort more with our mothers. It's harder for both of us to recall comforting words or compassionate gestures from our dads, though Brooksyne recalls her father's act of love each time one of the children in her family were really sick (remember the days of measles, mumps and even one of her siblings had polio.) They were quite poor so pop and ice cream were rarities and the rationing quite small since there were seven to divide it among. But when one child fell sick her dad would bring home a six pack of gingerale or seven-up and a half gallon of vanilla ice cream to be given exclusively to the sick child until they recovered. (As you can imagine the other children were quite envious of the sick child during those times they received such pampering from their dad.)

4) Godly fathers urge their children to live their lives worthy of God, that is, in a manner pleasing to the Lord. They do so by teaching and by example. My dad came to earnest faith later in life, really after I left home so I can’t recall many spiritual lessons as I was growing up. He was skillful in air conditioning installation and service and was knowledgeable in many other areas as well. I recall going to work with him in the hot Kansas City summers and observing his faithfulness, responsibility, integrity, and hard work in caring and providing for his family. Biblically this is certainly a component in living a life "worthy of God" and is so needed today.

5) Godly fathers provide for their families. We realize how archaic and even politically incorrect this notion is increasingly sounding, but the Bible teaches and it has been the case in virtually all cultures through all of history that the father has a primary role in providing for his family, being the "breadwinner". Both of us were raised by hardworking fathers who had a strong work ethic and faithfully provided for their families.

Two final challenges:

1) Children (both minor and grown): Do you see these characteristics in your own father? We realize there are those who cannot identify with this kind of father figure and a message like this may have a painful component. What a joy that we can all look to our heavenly Father, who is faithful!

But there are many others who've been blessed by such a relationship with their earthly father. If possible, why don't you personally honor your father by recalling some instances when this happened and share it with him in person, by telephone, through a written letter or a personal tribute.

2) Fathers, consider your own life in regard to these points. How do you measure up? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may words of encouragement, comfort, instruction, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will be upon their households.  We pray this in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Teaching note regarding exasperate:

Bible teacher John
MacArthur elaborates in ways we may exasperate our children.

(1) Overprotection--never allowing them any liberty, strict rules about everything. They do not trust their kids and the child despairs and can lead to rebellion. Parents must communicate that they trust.

(2) By showing favoritism, often unwittingly.

(3) By depreciating their worth. Many children are convinced that what they do and feel is not important. One way to decrease worth is by not LISTENING. These children may give up trying to communicate and become discouraged, shy, and withdrawn.

(4) By setting unrealistic goals--by never rewarding them. Nothing is enough so they never get full approval. Are you trying to make them into a person they are NOT? Some kids become so frustrated that they commit suicide.

(5) By failing to show affection (verbally & physically).

(6) By not providing for their legitimate needs.

(7) By lack of standards (the opposite of overprotection). These children are left to their own. They cannot handle that freedom and begin to feel insecure & unloved.

(8) By destructive criticism. "A child learns what he lives. If he lives with criticism he does not learn responsibility. He learns to condemn himself and to find fault with others. He learns to doubt his own judgment, to disparage his own ability, and to distrust the intentions of others. And above all, he learns to live with continual expectation of impending doom." Parents should seek to create in the home a positive, constructive environment.

(9) By neglect. David was indifferent to Absalom (and he failed to discipline Adonijah see 1Kings 1:6 who was put to death by his younger brother Solomon for probable treason).

(10) By excessive discipline. Never discipline in anger.

Some old family photos

Stephen's family around 1963
I (Stephen) suppose I am about 7 in this photo (front center) standing beside my little sister Genelle, who probably wouldn't be posing this way if she knew the photo would be used on the internet fifty years later. Although the cell phone had not yet been invented my older brother Pat (right) looks like he was pretending that he had one. My oldest brother Mike is between my grandma (far left) and Mom in the center.

Stephen's family January 1966
This photo has us four children along with our maternal grandparents taken in January 1966. Dad, whom we were unable to locate in many photos, is off to the side beside our old Chevy truck. (Editor's note: I've seen Stephen's smirk a few times "all grown up".  Looks like Genelle is telling the photographer how to shoot the photo.)

Ester with Stephen's dad
Here's a photo of my Dad when Ester was a baby.

 Ester with Brooksyne's dad
Here's one taken several years later with Brooksyne's dad.

They are both enjoying a lollipop!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Do You Even Know Me Anymore"  Video  Mark Schultz

"Through The Eyes of My Father"  Video   Brianna Haynes

"Red Robin"  Video Clark Richard

"Father's Love"  Video    Gary Valenciano.

"Daddy's Home"  Video 

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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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