Heavenly Father’s Day

This coming Sunday we will be observing Father’s Day. How do you feel about that day? For some of you, it will be a time to get together with your family and celebrate dads. While others of you may try to forget that the day even exists. Are positive or negative images reflected within your mind when you think about your biological father? Will you feel lonely on Sunday because this will be the first Father’s Day that you do not have your dad beside you? Or, maybe you are excited because this year will be your first opportunity to celebrate fatherhood with the birth of a baby. Personal circumstances and experiences affect our outlook towards Father’s Day.

Our relationship with our earthly father not only affects our attitude towards Father’s Day, but it also can influence our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father. If you feel like you cannot trust your biological father, it may be hard for you to trust your Heavenly Father. However, no earthly father’s feelings or actions can compare to the holiness of God. Our Heavenly Father invites us into a relationship with Him that is more rewarding than we can ever imagine. A healthy understanding of God as our Heavenly Father is essential to having this relationship with Him. Allow me to help you get better acquainted with your Heavenly Father by creating for you a portrait of your Heavenly Father’s heart through a few specific scriptures.

And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
II Corinthians 6:18

God is love.
I John 4:8

the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
I John 3:1

Love is patient, love is kind
I Corinthians 13:4

The LORD is like a father to His children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13 NLT

your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:8

Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

We must remember that earthly fathers will disappoint us at some point in time. Only our Heavenly Father is perfect. May we fulfill Ephesians 3:`4-5 that says,I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it name.” Whether or not you are able to celebrate Father’s Day with your earthly father, I want to encourage you to celebrate Father’s Day with your Heavenly Father because in Psalm 68:5 God promises that He will be, A father of the fatherless.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Left click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.

The MVP Award for Fathers

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When we see the letters MVP, we usually think of it being the acronym for Most Valuable Player, an award given to a team member who contributes significantly to winning a game of a particular sport. However, years ago our son gave the MVP mug pictured above to his dad recognizing him as being his Most Valuable Pop. Life could be described as a game involving teamwork between fathers and sons, so it is appropriate to think of nominating someone for the Most Valuable Pop award. Father’s Day seems to be an appropriate time to confer this type of honorary distinction. Sons and daughters, would you nominate your father for an MVP award this Father’s Day? Dads, do you feel like you qualify for an MVP award?

Wade Boggs, a third baseman who played baseball primarily for the Boston Red Sox, never received an award that specifically noted him as being an MVP for baseball. However, he did receive the American League Silver Slugger Award eight times and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. I would consider him an MVP sportsman as a Most Valuable Player. Based upon how Boggs described the relationship he had with his father, I believe he could have nominated his father for an MVP award as Most Valuable Pop. Boggs has been quoted as saying, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. You taught me the game and you taught me how to play it right.” I like the differentiation Boggs makes between a father and a dad. Most every male has the potential to become a father but unless time and love is invested into the relationship, the role of dad will not be fulfilled.

I do not mean it disrespectfully when I suggest that our Heavenly Father could be the recipient of the MVP of Most Valuable Pop award. “Abba Father” is a significant Aramaic name for God that portrays how He relates to people. It can be translated as “Daddy.” Abba, like the name Pop, signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his dad. Jesus says in Mark 14:36, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” When Jesus calls His Heavenly Father by the name Abba, He is having a private conversation with Dad. When Jesus wholeheartedly surrenders His will to the will of God, I believe He is nominating His Father for the MVP award. Jesus has confidence and trust in who His Heavenly Father truly is. Now let’s think about what Romans 8:15 says about us as children of God, The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Being a child of God gives each of us the right to truly call Him “Abba Father” and honor our Heavenly Father with the MVP award of Most Valuable Pop. Galatians 4:6 says, Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

This Sunday we will take time to recognize all men in the role of fatherhood. The MVP award of Most Valuable Pop is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a dad. Happy Father’s Day to all who answer to a name such as Abba, Dad, Pop, etc.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Father’s Responsibility and a Son’s Response

 

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footprints-in-sandThis Sunday we will be celebrating Father’s Day, a time to honor and thank our dads for their place within our lives. Today I want to take time to challenge both fathers and sons. I have my Bible in hand as I begin this undertaking. My goal is to show the responsibility placed upon fathers and the response expected by sons.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
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
(the Father’s responsibility)
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.
Proverbs 13:1
(the Son’s response)

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when
he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
(the Father’s responsibility)
 Listen to your father who gave you life.
Proverbs 23:22
(the Son’s response)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but
bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4
(the Father’s responsibility)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR
YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment
with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU,
AND

THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
Ephesians 6:1-3

(the Son’s response)

These scriptures place a heavy responsibility upon our fathers. However, dads do not need to rely solely upon their own power to successfully fulfill their role. The primary responsibility of all dads is to follow the example of their Heavenly Father. In order for fathers to fulfill their responsibility as fathers and teach their sons to respond correctly, they must respond to the instructions of their Heavenly Father. Proverbs 3:11-12 sums up this concept well. In verse 11, “My son” refers to an earthly father being told how he is to respond to his Heavenly Father’s instructions. God as the Heavenly Father is setting an example for fathers on earth. Listen to the following words.

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke, because the
Lord disciplines those he loves.
Proverbs 3:11-12
(earthly Father‘s and Son‘s response)

What is the outcome of this type of Father/Son relationship? Once again I go to scripture to find the answer.

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who
fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Proverbs 23:24
(the Father’s responsibility)
The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are
his children after him!

Proverbs 20:7
(the Son’s response)
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the
hearts of children to their fathers.
Malachi 4:6
(our Heavenly Father’s responsibility)


These are beautiful promises! They are the fulfillment of the Father/Son relationship as the Lord designed it. How is it possible for the Lord to bring about this rapport? Listen again to God’s Word.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

Psalm 103:13
(earthly Father’s and Heavenly Father’s responsibility)


When claiming this promise, we must be aware that the Lord’s compassion is not always a warm fuzzy type of love. Sometimes discipline is a form a love as stated by the writer of Hebrews.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.
For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Hebrews 12:7
(our Heavenly Father’s responsibility)

Discipline your son, for there is hope.
Proverbs 19:18
(the Father’s responsibility)

Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path.
Proverbs 23:19
(the Son’s response)

Unfortunately, we live in a society today that often minimizes the role of fathers.  However, we need to remember that according to God, our Heavenly Father, fathers are extremely important in the development of their sons and daughtersThe Bible illustrates the correlation between our earthly fathers and God our heavenly father. With this in mind, let us take time Sunday to be obedient to one more verse of scripture.

Honor your father … so that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God is giving you.

Exodus 20:12
(the Son’s response)
(Our response!)

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

Author’s Note: I have only used the terms “father” and “son” because this blog highlights Father’s Day. Feminine references are equally applicable in many of the instances.

My Farmer Father

 

father-and-son-mfKnow therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,
keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

 A farmer reflects an accurate father image of our Heavenly Father. With this coming Sunday being Father’s Day, my thoughts turn towards my biological father. He was a Nebraska farmer through and through. The land he farmed was originally homesteaded by my great-grandfather when he immigrated from Ireland. The farm was passed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, to my father, and now is possessed by me. The land is farmed by my dad’s step grandson with the help of Dad’s step great grandsons. This is quite a heritage! However, my dad has passed on an even greater heritage than this ground. My dad was well-grounded in his faith in God and he has passed that on to me as well. Yes, I know God has no grandchildren and I am a child of God because of my own choice, but Dad was a positive influence to help me find my own faith. Like my Heavenly Father, my dad was loving and influenced multiple generations in multiple ways. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

field-mfBut the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word
and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop,
yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Matthew 13:223

 I am reminded of the parable of the sower recorded in Matthew 13:3-8 with the parable explanation in Matthew 13:18-23. As Dad planted seed in the soil of his fields, some crops would produce better yields than others depending upon such factors as the amounts of rainfall and insect invasions. The soil condition was affected by the plowing and cultivating of the land as well as the amounts of fertilizer applied. Dad was also a diligent father who took excellent care of his family financially and spiritually. Dad planted corn and soy bean seeds into the soil to produce crops that he could sell to provide for Mom and me. He also sowed
imperishable seeds of God’s Word into my soul to provide for spiritual growth. He was an excellent farmer of faith as well as a farmer of fields. Because of his agricultural background, he knew the condition of the soil was important for him to plant crops that would produce high yields. Because of his spiritual background, he knew the condition of the heart was important for God’s seed to produce lives yielded to Him.  Prayer was the tool he utilized to cultivate the soil of my heart. My father’s faith reflected the “good soil” referred to in the Parable of the Sower. He not only passed on to me the “good soil” of the farm land but also the “good soil” of the soul where faith grows. I am very thankful to him for that. Yes, there is value in the land I now own but I place a higher value upon my faith in Christ. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

book-for-wisdomListen, my son, to your father’s instruction….
let the wise listen and add to their learning….
Proverbs 1:8&5

 God has imparted many words of wisdom to me through scripture, especially Proverbs which is known as the book of wisdom. As I reflect upon Proverbs 1:8, I see how “your father’s instruction” can refer to both my biological father and my Heavenly Father. My dad often sowed seeds of wisdom into my life. After he retired, I remember his telling me that he liked to rent the farm by shares which meant the renter got a certain percentage of the income and the landlord got a certain percentage. He felt this was the fairest way to do business because if it was a good year both participants received a good income but if it was a bad year both parties experienced a decrease in income. However, he went on to say that he could understand why “some women” who owned farms preferred cash rent which meant the renter paid the landlord a set price regardless of the yearly yield. Overall, it was fair because the good and the bad years usually balanced out. I agreed with his comments. Years later when I became the owner of the farm, I understood the viewpoint of cash rent that he shared with me was wisdom for me. Essentially, Dad was releasing me from the hands on decisions of a landlord and giving me his permission to use cash rent in my dealings with the farm. This has been a blessing to me regarding how I now handle farm business. My father has blessed me with financial wisdom as well as spiritual wisdom. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.

shoes-combatHonor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:`12

 My dad wore work boots when he was in the field. Consequently, I honor him with this image because they remind me of him. I also realize his shoes are not easy for me to fill, but I will follow in his footsteps.  In Romans 4:12, Paul refers to Abraham as being the father of those who walk in the footsteps of the faith.  I am blessed to be able to say that as I walkout my faith today I am walking in the footsteps of my father, Howard McKeag. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father. My Reader, thank you for allowing me to share my reflections of my Farmer Father with you. Now, how do you want to honor your father on Father’s Day? Your dad’s shoes probably look very different from those of my dad, but that is the way it should be. Each father is unique. No matter what his occupation, he can still leave for you footsteps of faith that exemplify our Heavenly Father.

 Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers!

 Joyfully,
Cheryl
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