Jun 212015

Father's DayDavid, accomplished poet,brave warrior, brilliant military leader, was a failure! Yeah, you heard me! Father’s day and I’m starting a rant? We’ll, let’s take stock.

Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maakah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, Bathsheba. That’s a list of David’s named wives! There were many more that are not named in the Bible. Let’s remind ourselves of God’s plan for families.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 NIV.

This oft-quoted text is a hanging sentence! It starts with “That is why”. In other versions, “For this reason”. What reason? What why? As usual, context is everything. Let’s try this text again.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:20-24 NIV.

Ah yes. God made two from one, and His plan was for two to become one again. This is where it all starts, guys. Let’s see what happens with David, distracted and unfaithful husband, weak and permissive father.

Bathsheba, wife of a decorated officer. David had an affair with her, covered it up and murdered her husband. Her first son died in infancy,her second son was Solomon.
Amnon, David’s firstborn, from his second wife Ahinoam, raped his half sister Tamar, sister of Absalom who was the third son and son of Maakah, a foreigner. Absalom had Amnon murdured to avenge his sister. Absalom staged a military coup and was murdered by Joab, David’s general.

Adonijah, the fourth son, born by David’s fourth wife, staged a political takeover.

Here’s what the Bible says about Adonijah.

His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom. 1 Kings 1:6 NIV.

Solomon, second son of Bathsheba and seventh named son of David was put on the throne by a bedridden David to compete with Adonijah. Solomon had Adonijah executed, had hundreds of wives,  and supported idol worship including child sacrifice.

What a mess! I wonder what David’s Father’s Day was like? The Bible has a lot to say about the role of fathers and their effect on families and society.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Heb. 12.7 NIV.

The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him! Prov. 20.7 NIV.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 NIV.

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26 NIV.

A Science Daily article states- “A father’s love contributes as much — and sometimes more — to a child’s development as does a mother’s love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.”

I challenge wives and mothers- Celebrate the wins in your husband’s life at work or home, big or small. Find ways to encourage even the smallest right direction or good course correction we make.

I’m a sucker for my wife or daughters [and some others] when they say, “I need a strong, tall man to…”  Ladies, use that power for good...

Fathers, I challenge you, and me this Father’s Day –  Accept the powerful and eternal effect you have on your children, young or grown.

Let your children see your faith.
Let your children see your struggle.
Let your children see you treat women with honor, respect, and care.
Let your children see you love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it.
Let your children experience discipline in its truest sense- disciplemaking- helping them to follow the course you set.
Let your children see you model strength, grace, acceptance, and fierce, unstoppable love.

Whether you have children or not, whether your family is split, recombined, or nonexistant, God has a father role for you somewhere in your circle of influence.

This Father’s Day, men, don’t just enjoy whatever gifts and attention you receive, take some time in thought and prayer to consider your influence on the children all around you, in your family or not. You are the single most powerful human factor in their lives and for their salvation. Step Up!

-excerpted from sermon given June 12,2015.

Jun 072015

302941__vintage-tea-party_pFaith was 6 years old. It was Sunday morning and she had a plan. She was going to have the tea party to end all tea parties in the back yard! She started gathering her play tea set together. Mom was folding clothes in the back bedroom. Dad walked through the kitchen as she was looking through drawers for something extra fancy. Excitedly, she started to pull a bright, white lace tablecloth from one drawer. That would be just the thing to make her tea party the fanciest ever! “I wouldn’t do that, Faith,” Dad said as he headed out to the garage, “That is Mom’s favorite. It is very special to her. She’ll be very upset when it gets dirty in the back yard.”

Faith heard the door shut. She paused a moment, then pulled the tablecloth out of the drawer and took it with her.

What fun she had! She served Koolaid tea to herself and her dolls. She made nice, round mud cookies, carefully letting them dry before putting two by each teacup. Hours later, she pulled the tablecloth from the table and took it  to the kitchen to put  it back in the drawer.

“Whaaaaa! What are those brown circles all over my favorite tablecloth!” Mom hollered,”and what about those pink drops all over it! Faith! AARGH!”

Dad heard the commotion over the sound of the saw in the garage. Shutting off the saw, he went out the side door and went to the back yard and sat down on the ground behind a very large oak tree. A minute later, he hear hiccuping sobs and running bare feet coming across the yard. Dad pulled her onto his lab and wrapped his arms around her.

“Mom… was crying,” she said between sobs,  “she was…so… sad! How… did you know … it would get…  dirty? Why were you… sitting… back here when I… came… out?

“I know things about little girls,” Dad said, as he pulled her closer. “I know things about Moms, too. Faith, I hoped that you would trust me to know what’s best for you, and what will keep you safe and happy. Can you trust me now?” he asked gently.

“I trust you, Dad,” Faith said as she buried her face in his shoulder. She listened and smiled as he whispered in her ear how much he loved her. She nodded her head as he told her what she needed to do to make things right with Mom.

That evening, Faith slouched in her chair during family worship. She rolled her eyes as Dad read something from the book of Daniel.

“Time of distress.. sleep in the dust…a time, times, and half a time….sacrifice, 1290 days…” Dad read. She rolled her eyes. Dad looked up from the Bible with a questioning look.

“Dad, that stuff is so weird. Can’t you just read a story? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” she complained.

“Faith, come sit in my lap for a minute.” As she settled in, Dad continued,”Do you remember what I said to you this afternoon about trusting me?” Faith nodded. “God knows things about little girls, and about Moms and Dads, too. He knows what will happen in the future, much more that your Dad does. Even if you don’t understand yet what all those confusing words mean, what you need to know is….God is saying that He loves you, He knows what will happen next, and we can trust Him.”

“Let’s trust Him, Dad,” Faith said as she settled in for a long hug.

-shared as a children’s story in Ukiah yesterday.

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