Grace Of A Father

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 NIV

 

Today is a day we in Western culture set aside to honor and celebrate fathers.  Many good fathers have a multitude of traits worth celebrating. Today I would like to focus on the trait of grace.

Grace defined by thefreedictionary.com is “A disposition to be generous or helpful, goodwill. Or a favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence; a temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.”

How often you extend grace? How often do you receive grace from others?

The story of the prodigal son reminds us of how deep grace can run, when extended from a loved one.

The prodigal son was a selfish, thoughtless child who wanted his independence, and wanted it now.  No waiting for his inheritance. He had the audacity to request it now, and amazingly, his father granted his wish.

After his son ran off and squandered everything he’d been given, he found himself friendless, homeless, and hungry.  He realized his father’s servants were better off than he was.  He experienced a change in heart.  He decided to humbly head home, asking for a position among the servants.

While he was still outside earshot, his father caught sight of his long-lost son returning.  Immediately he went, calling out preparations and excitement to all surrounding him.  He was happy to have his son back, period.  He did not know the current state of his heart.  He did not know the plans in his mind.  He knew that the son he loved had finally returned.

He was extending grace.

How many fathers in the same situation might have turned their backs, saying, “you got your chance, and you lost it.  Live with your choices.”

But this dad didn’t. This dad showed the grace of God by welcoming his son back with open arms.

Parenting isn’t easy.  Most dads shoulder the financial responsibility of raising a family.  They work jobs they hate.  They hear complaints from their bosses, complaints from their wives, and complaints from their kids.  And for the really involved dad who attends the Parent/Teacher conference or sports practice, they often hear negative things there too.

Yet, there are a few good men who continually model the grace of Jesus. They refuse to see everything in a negative light.  While it is prudent to allow our children to experience the consequences of their actions, it is also godly to extend grace.

The prodigal son returned home with a changed heart.  All that his father offered him upon his return, he knew he did not deserve. He saw how his dad loved him.  And in turn, he glimpsed just how greatly his heavenly Father loved him.

To the fathers out there doing their best to provide for a family, and teach their kids about the grace of God, a roaring THANK YOU!

Today’s families need your example.

The world, who is always watching, also needs your example.

And you need to hear that your actions are seen.

Your words are heard.

And your heartbeat for Jesus is felt.

Thank you, fathers of grace, for extending not only the grace of God, but His love to a hurting world.

Reflections:

How has extended grace impacted me?

How has the grace I have extended impacted others?

Prayer:

Dear Lord, Thank You so much for the grace You have extended to me.  May I recall it as I plow through my days, with the hurts and complaints vying for my attention.  May my words and actions honor You and my heart mimic Yours. Amen.

Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, June 29 for the next post.

Father’s Day: A Thank You to Men of Integrity

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” I Corinthians 16:13

Today in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day. While much of the time it’s the mother who receives accolades for raising the children, I know I could not do it without my husband. I know many, many women who feel the same way!

Dads everywhere, we want to publicly thank you!

Thank you for dragging yourself out of bed everyday to work and support your family.  Whether you log in long hours in construction, home late and wearily dropping into bed as the sun sets in the evening, or if you are the businessman leaving for yet another business trip, you are working hard at the work you’ve been given to do, and you do it without complaining to support your family. Thank you!

Thank you for spending those precious moments with the kids in the evenings.  When your little preschooler wants to ask just one more question before being tucked into bed, and you patiently answer, aware that these moments will not last forever.  When your tween needs a playmate and you stop what you’re doing to play the Wii or cards with this child who isn’t really a child much more, you are building much more than a new high score.  That person is realizing his importance as a human to someone paramount in his life. When you teach your teenager how to drive, not only are you imparting a necessary life skill, but you can so easily reaffirm who that new driver is as a person, encouraging her in all challenges in life, (and also saving the mother from much stress!)

Thank you for doing those little things that often go unnoticed.: taking out the trash, unloading the dishwasher on the weekends, planning for a financial future. Helping around the house, even with one small task is a great reminder to your wife that she’s not alone in accomplishing these never-ending household chores, and builds her appreciation of you!

Thank you, men of integrity, who choose to look at all women respectfully.  And when women don’t make proper choices, you treat her respectfully anyway, refusing to let your mind and your eye wander. Not only does your wife appreciate this more than you can imagine, but your daughters understand how women should be treated. Other girls you influence, girls at church, your kids’ friends, the neighborhood children, all note how you respond to others.  The silent message you are sending is screaming one of integrity; Thank you!

Thank you, husbands of faith, who lead their families in times of thoughtful conversations, helping each member to search for and draw closer to God. You take your God-given responsibility seriously, and do not shrink from it. Without your leadership, we would not be recognizable as the people we are today.

Thank you, husbands who keep your marriage vows, and still search out romance with the woman you married, treating her like you did when you were dating.  The years go by, and work and children consume your thoughts and your time, but a standing ovation to the men who still carve out creative dates with the woman they chose so long ago!

Children are a blessing, and marriage is a gift.  Yet our world does not always applaud you for all you do, all the temptations you must refuse to keep you faith and your family intact. Above all, we want to publicly thank the men of integrity who put their faith first, allowing it to set their operating standards.  We love you and we thank you!

 

Reflections for this week:

How can I encourage any men in my life?

How can I show appreciation to my father and/or my husband?

Commit to praying for your father and/or your husband.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for giving us earthly fathers to help us understand who You are. Please strengthen our fathers, drawing each closer to You so that he in turn can lead his family to You.  Please bless these men and their efforts, in decision-making for their families, in the work they do to support their families, and in their own spiritual lives. They can not teach what they do not know, Lord, so please draw each closer to You. Thank you for our fathers, Amen.

 

Thank you for reading!  Please return by Monday, June 23 for the next post.