Nov. 12, 2018.
Our Father in Heaven.
And just to be clear; having a Dad who isn’t fathering; is just as bad or worst than not having one. The foundation of fatherhood cannot be understated and is why more than prostrating to a seemingly distant God; we cry; “Abba, Father”! - Gal. 4:6. God established since the beginning that all would have this hope in Him as the Father. Because no matter how much we plow through this life; building, securing and defending our lack of need for love. Deep down behind every facade of forced smiles; stick walls and quirky remarks; all children long to hear words that give the recognition of belonging, acknowledging and endorsing their very existence and identity that only a father can give. Why only a father? Because he alone represents the seed and trunk of that heritage foundation that as children; build from and grow into their own dependence, yet always pointing back to the father’s trunk; just like any branch of a tree does. Children cannot escape a father’s presence and even his absence. Now, I am not negating what mothers bring to the table; but most if not all troubled children can be linked to an absent father. There is just something that fatherhood comes with that motherhood can’t duplicate and complete. Whether it is because of tradition, culture or just a natural impression a father gives; a father brings with him that sense of stability, strength, and protection. A mirror for children to look to especially when their shadow has no clear definition. The lack of proper and effective fatherhood for decades has been the root cause of many disillusioned and directionless children that have affected future generations of children; even yet to be born; giving support to as stated, “(God) visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generation” - Ex. 34:7.
Now, before many see a punitive God as a vigilante looking to punish a father’s children long after that father has died, would be to not know the heart and integrity of the Father. God only visits the iniquity by seeing the iniquities that have been prolonged in generations because no one in that lineage has corrected the unrighteousness, because of the lack of knowledge; wisdom and understanding required to be a father. And as long as no one changes the thinking of each successive generation; the iniquities continue as a norm and so does the curse. This is no different than blood wars between two opposing clans, where generations later, no one remembers or knows the real reason they are fighting and killing each other. Someone has to ask the question and repent! This is why God instituted the commandments, statutes, and ordinances to be the measure against all and any kind of sin. It is why in Leviticus, God painstaking issues guidelines on procedures regarding sin and the different types of offerings to redeem offenders and making one clean for acceptance into the cloister of the Jewish people. What people do not understand and it provides an essential difference from the Old and New Testament is that the Blood of Jesus provides not only the eternal sacrificial covering for past, present and future sin; but it also gives the necessary authority to combat and overcome sin and its nature. The Old Testament peoples did not have that available to them and because performing the law became more of a show than a sincere need to remain in obedience; the curse prevailed despite any ceremony to receive pardon and God’s promises. When God promises peace and prosperity there are conditions and reflects not only His omnipotence but also His authority as our Father. He is only taking up His responsibility of His seeds on the Earth just as a father ought to within his purview.
If you are a father; this prayer is a direct reflection of one’s family where the rules, guidelines, and criteria are put in place to have a peaceful, prosperous and fulfilled family life. No Earthly person and especially a father want to be taken for granted, disrespected and marginalized by his children. And as part of fatherhood; we ought to set the stage to measure, record and adjudicate the actions of disobedience and challenge to the rule of authority. God, the Father has done the same thing. Consider the following.
Our Father, Who is in Heaven, hallowed is your name.- Jesus provides a simple and effective prayer. - Matt. 6:9. The first verse establishes the Father’s Throne and each successive verse adds and builds on this and is dependent on the first. Now; why isn’t Jesus starting this prayer with; “Our God, who is in Heaven”? Especially since He just dictated the Sermon on the Mount and conditions of becoming and staying Holy - Matt. 5 and 6. In all these declarations; Jesus makes reference to the Father; not God, who will be disappointed and reward unrighteous behavior. Because the Father wants a relationship based on respect, love and reverence; and not on fear. Isn’t that what all fathers truly want from their kids? With obedience; a healthy condition can be and is developed but with disobedience; the result is strife, hated and envy.
Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.- The Father is not interested in an immature, inexperienced and ignorant child. This is because as the title of a late 60’s sitcom states; “Father knows best”. This is like saying, abide and implement the Father’s eternal experience of living and peace and prosperity will be possible. Learn, imitate and appreciate the Father’s way for His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are the assurance of receiving the best of His Kingdom. Children that trust blindly their father’s direction in obedience are more likely to succeed in life developing sound character because their father’s experience support and provide them with a proven foundation for any new experience that comes their way as stated, “Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old he will not depart from it”. - Prob. 22:6. This is not a method but a mindset of dealing with life for the scenario of circumstances may vary with the same aspects of fear of something externally or internally. When a father builds character in their children; this will carry them through most if not all challenges that they face long after they have departed from the father. The Father’s love and hope for us are so far reaching that He sent as stated, “His only begotten Son” - Jn. 3:16; to demonstrate the obedient son of man so that we would have the confidence in His ways of His Kingdom and copy it here on Earth and in each one of our lives.
How did Jesus avoid the curse? He looked to His Father. And because He willingly paid the price for the curse; we as the Body now have a clear line of fatherhood with the Father. Many in the Body accept that having weak Christians in the church is an act of compassion. But Jesus never did this often being harder on those in the Faith than on those outside the church. As fathers, we also do this regardless of Christianity. We are harder on those who are of our blood than those who are not. This is because our blood as it were, carries our name and is a reflection of our perspective on many issues of the world. As fathers, our offsprings are a legacy of our character. I find this humorous at times, as my daughter who is coming into her own with the Word recently told me that she avoids taking the pulpit because she knows that she will be harder on those within the church than those outside it. She is developing the heart of the Father that being luke-warm is not the place to be when it comes to His household. She often tests me also in my Christian walk and has become a good sounding board for it because I have done as much as an Earthly father can do and now she looks to our Heavenly Father for her personal Christian walk. For as children of the Father, we also test Him for His promises.
Test God? What do you think we do every time we stand on and confess His Word? Every father who understands their role knows that without testing by their children there is no true foundation or credibility to the leadership of fatherhood they provide. For the children are actually testing our words and ultimately our actions or reactions. For children often copy what they see not what they are told. This is the same with our Father in Heaven. Now to be clear; we are not talking about being a disrespectful smart aleck child but the normal process of allowing a child to test the boundaries as it were to establish the clear-cut authority which leads to the building of the child's personal confidence, and skills that they will need as independents. God essentially tested Adam and Eve with the tree of knowledge and He commands us to do the same including the tithe stating, “Test Me in this” - Mal. 3:10. Testing actually builds trust and strengthens the Body’s resolve in Faith of overcoming trials and tribulations. Because God allows the testing; we are able to grow and mature in taking up our cross and seek to do greater things than Jesus and for the Father’s Kingdom. Although we are heirs by Grace; we still have to earn the right to inherit aspects of God’s Kingdom. This is no different than a wise father who provides scenarios and goals for his children to teach them responsibility, discipline, and power. The Father’s goal for maturing us is not by chance and in today’s twisted psychology of raising children, it is more needed than ever to be definitive in the molding a child’s body, mind, and spirit.
In today’s scenarios; a father’s action that abuses his wife or children; will more than likely be repeated in their sons; with daughters invariable being attracted to men who also came from abusive fathers and homes. The iniquities of the father are reflected in future generations. A brother in Christ who has had issues with pornography more than likely had a father who looked at pornography and had an unrighteous view of women. The curse of this sin will continue in this brother until he or others lead him into a confrontation of this pornography spirit with the intent to overcome it with the Blood and the Word, respectively. Sooner or later someone has to break any and all forms of the curse, just as the Father would and have. As Christians; we have the Father for anything that would mislead us away from His promise of peace and prosperity.
As Christian fathers, we ought to look at the Father’s way of developing our children. His way; is by example! The saying;”actions speak louder than words” is the Father’s foundations in all that He does. Not because He is God, but because He is the Father! Why? As God, He doesn’t have to explain to us or justify His actions. But by His Word; He has to demonstrate their integrity. He has made it higher than His name and as fathers when we don’t fulfill our words to our children; their faith in us dwindles with each broken promise. This would also happen if the Father’s Word is nothing more than broken promises; which would lead us into faithlessness rather than having the God kind of Faith. The Father relishes an opportunity to fulfill His Word to us. Then why isn’t His Word fulfilled all the time? There are several reasons for this and is particular to the individual’s circumstances that surround one of His promises. In simple terms as stated; "The Lord weighs the motives" - Prob. 16:2. The Lord’s Prayer gives us the clue and reason for unfulfilled hope in the Father’s Word.
God could have dealt with sin and it's father as any final authority and supreme judge would by laying down and implementing punitive judgment on the offending criminals. We see this in the world’s judicial world systems. But this would have set a precedent for the sentencing on those who are precious to His heart and Throne which was reflected with the Old Testament laws. So God; the Father allowed His heart to overshadow His omnipotence and by this reflects His long-suffering love for not only His Kingdom but more importantly for His image; so that they may come to the deep understanding as stated centuries ago and is still relevant and valued today, “I will a Father to you and you My sons and daughters” - 2 Cor. 6:18. To become heirs of His everlasting Kingdom and not slaves to it as stated; “As long as an heir acts like a child, he is a slave, although he has a kingdom - Gal. 4:1. Our Father reflects what we want a father to be. And ultimately; the Father has set these examples of His deep abiding love with a higher thinking; integrity and unbiased justice for all who are His children. He does it with compassion; willing to lead, teach and protect so that his children will look to him; becoming His eye of joy and reflection of His character and will.
Flush it Out - We cry; Abba, Father!
Give us this day our daily bread - When we imitate Jesus, all our needs are met including the critical protection and deliverance from evil and the father of sin. Here bread is not referring to the physical need of the body but the Word that feeds, sustains and employs God’s Grace that insulates us against our lack of knowledge or rather the immaturity of our thinking and actions. Jesus is foreshadowing to the apostles that He will become as stated, “I am the bread of life” - Jn. 6:35. Did you notice receiving this bread is to be daily? This reflects the requirement and need of a relationship; especially an intimate one with the Father through Jesus; the Word. In other words; we remind the Father; our God of His Word for Him to remember His promises to us, which is in keeping with God’s direction to Joshua to meditate on the Word in order for his way to be made prosperous. - Jos. 1:8.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. - Now; some may question the religious concept that God allows temptations as a way to test our love and loyalty for Him; with the phrase; “and lead us not into temptation”. That God purposefully put sin in our lives so that we fail in our Christian walk. This would contradict the personage and character of God as stated, “For God is love” - 1 Jn. 4:8 and "What has light to do with darkness" - 2 Cor. 6:14. A father who understands the responsibility that comes with his procreation knows to ridicule their child just for mockery actually destroys any effort to have their child love and respect their fatherhood. God, the Father knows this also and is why as stated, “Fathers do not provoke, aggravate or exasperate your child” - Col. 3:21. Here the connotation of the phrase, “lead us not” implies the absence of the Father. That without His constant influence and direction only temptation will arise with the result of sin; because on our own; we do not know which path will keep us Righteous before Him. A child requires constant supervision because of their lack of experience and immaturity. A father as a part of his fatherhood observes the child ready to step in to guide the child for their safety and benefit. If the father ignores this overwatch; it is more likely harm will come to that child. The deliberate or abandonment of the father’s watch in different forms of care or rather his leadership is what causes all children to be lost, often paying the price for their father’s unrighteousness. The “lead us not” verse can be said as, “do not abandon us to sin”; which affirms the preceding verse of "deliver us from evil".
Whether you accept it or not; there is a Father who cares for you. And any father worth his weight in gold can only come to the realization that fatherhood is more than producing children. Whatever the reason; many fathers abandon their responsibility for the children they fathered. These reasons can never supplant the impact of not having a parent who is a father. For it is paramount that a father exists in the lives of their children. Before continuing; I must give credit to those Moms who decided and developed meaningful relationships with their children despite the void left by the fathers. Yet, a mother alone cannot complete the circle for raising any self-assured child, especially in this world. God established it this way just as His Throne consist mainly of His person and the Word, in Jesus; so does a parental hierarchy does ideally with a mother and a father. Two opposites; yet the same that completes authority, balance, and a tree of life for the natural ebbs and flows of growth.
ChristnMe @ 2013