by Richard A. Cox, Jr. the author "I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development"
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the more valuable assets in our society.” Billy Graham
These days the concept of the family is under attack and the role of the father is made light of. Show your support for fatherhood by loving, celebrating and honoring our fathers. Father’s day for some is filled with mixed emotions. Some of you grew up with a father and others your father was absent from your household. I want you to focus this year on celebrating the goodness of fatherhood by not only honor fathers but all men who are fathers, father figures, stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends. However, remember the greatest father of them all is God the Father.
Did you know how Father’s day originated? A woman name Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Her father, Henry Jackson Smart, had raised Sonora after her mother died and she wanted him to know how special he was to her. Her father was born in June, so she chose that month to celebrate fathers. The first Father’s day was observed on June 19, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.
Father’s day was established to celebrate the many contributions and sacrifices fathers make daily for the family. For a Christian father it matters to him how he educates, and guides his children to Jesus Christ. He wants to be a faithful Christian role model for his family. In Ephesians 6:4(AMP) it says, “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” Christian fathers strive to raise their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. God desires children to be nurtured by fathers who love Him. That’s why we should celebrate Fathers for being a good provider for his family. Remember this Father’s day, it’s not all about giving a gift to your father he might simply enjoy hearing you say, “I love you Daddy!”
In Ephesians 6:1-3(NIV) it says “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 livelong on the earth.” This honor involves you showing love, respect and appreciation to God for the parents He has given to you. Father’s Day is your opportunity to celebrate your father and father figures for their love, support, encouragement, guidance and protection.
Father’s day is where you stop and reflect on the fond memories of your father. As a young child you might have said, “Daddy can do anything!””As a teenager you might have said, “Oh, that man! He’s hopelessly out of date.” As a young adult you might remember saying “Why don’t we get Dad’s opinion before we do anything.” Your father might have passed and you might have said, “I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. “ Our cherished memories about our Fathers are the reason we take the time each year to celebrate him.
Remember Christian fathers are those beacons of light faithfully serving in your homes, communities and churches. In Matthew 5:16 (KJV), it declares, “Let your light so shine before men , that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Christian fathers take every opportunity to encourage, to warn, to teach, to counsel, and to model the Christian life for you. Celebrate and thank God for blessing your father and special men who have a fathering spirit in your lives. Enjoy the quality time you get to spend with your father this year on his special day.
What Makes A Dad
God took the strength of a mountain, The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun, The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature, The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages, The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring, The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity, The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities, When there was nothing more to
add, He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it…Dad
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How, in the Hell?
Every unbeliever that dies an unbeliever will find themselves in a literal hell. Every person whether we are a believer or unbeliever has experienced or will experience their own figurative hell – situations and/or conditions we all go through or have gone through that were so painstaking, tumultuous and discomforting that we likened them to hell.
The question I present in this article is, “How, in the hell, do we praise and worship God?” Is there some equation or formula that enables one believer to retain the praises of God while another, going through the same thing, looses their praise?
Scripture is one of the places we will find the strength and inspiration to draw from the examples of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone through a figurative hell and yet shined in the midst of it holding on to their praise. David had his ordeal with Saul and in the midst of it says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalms 34:1). David did nothing and said nothing that deserved him the pursuit for his life. He was just being who God made him to be, a shepherd boy ordained to be king of Israel.
It can seem that the flames of our hell are intensified when we didn’t contribute to the cause of the fire. Not that they are, but it seems to be because when innocence is attacked the attack bears a stronger offense. And what about the hell we catch for standing up for what is right. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood for God and didn’t bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue and were thrown into a fiery furnace. There response was, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18 NLT). We also draw strength and inspiration from our fellow brothers/sisters that have impacted our present era such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood up for civil rights and didn’t bow to the immoral and uncivilized treatment of white supremacists. He and others like him had a hell to go through for standing for what is right.
So what is it that empowers these men and women alike to praise a God that is so good even when they are surrounded and directly impacted by all that’s bad? Before I answer the question I want to venture down another road, the road of those who have caused their own hell and yet still have managed to retain a worship and praise. We’ve ALL been there.....in the belly of a figurative hell and as we look around as we look up and down we are ultimately compelled to look nowhere else but in the mirror. We find ourselves in situations and conditions where we are our own authors. Remember Jonah.........but in the belly of the whale he capitulated and prayed, “...I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone” (Jonah 2:9 NLT). Jonah authored his own hell by being disobedient, but he also authored his own deliverance by praise. God will get you out of even what you have put yourself in!
It is the degree of love for and faith in the Almighty God which empowers a continual praise and worship from a saint of God catching and/or going through hell. No equation, except for that which is comprised of the degree of your relationship (love and faith) with God. David loved and had unspeakable faith in God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved and had faith in God. In one breath they say, “He will rescue us from your power...” and in another breath they say, “But even if he doesn’t....we will never serve your gods...” This may appear to be a contradiction of their faith because at one time they proclaim that he will rescue them and at another time they entertain the possibility that he might not rescue them. Actually, they have faith that he will, but also there is realization that it may not be in the way expected, but despite what He does they still have faith and their love seals the deal to make it known that it is Him we will serve no matter what. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. continued to preach despite the continued threats to him and his family’s life and the bombings of his house. He continued to proclaim love and racial equality in a time where racial tension ran high. And what is it that kept him praising and worshiping and doing the will of God? His love for and faith in God. Indubitably we can say there has been a change to this nation as a result of his influence and others like him.
Saints it is the degree of your faith that preserves your praise in hell, it is the degree of your love for God that preserves your worship in hell, it is your Praise and Worship that God uses to preserve you in hell.
Come hell or high water PRAISE HIM, WORSHIP HIM, PRAISE HIM!
“...the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!”
- Daniel 3:27 NLT
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth”
- Psalms 34:1 KJV
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