Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Heavenly Daddy

Many years ago as a youth group leader, I made a comment. It wasn't even something I planned to say. It just came out. I had been hanging around teenagers enough to understand the relationship (or lack of) between parents and teens a bit better. A lot of them have pretty good relationships with their parents....up until they hit puberty or a bit after. Then the teen starts to put some distance between himself/herself and the parents. Sometimes the parents are not ready to give them the freedom they think they deserve. (Think rewards without the responsibilities!) Mostly, rightfully so, but it was difficult to get teens to see that.

One night I made the comment that the Bible talks about God being our "Heavenly Father". Sometimes, especially if you don't have the greatest relationship with your earthly dad that reference can be a barrier of someone getting to know God better.

Afterwards, one of the girls came up and said she was glad I had said that as that is how she felt. She didn't have a good relationship with her dad. I didn't know that when I said it. I'm almost positive now that I'm older that she is not the only one that had a bad relationship or no dad in the picture.

I have realized that we carry a bit of our parents around with us. Both the good and the bad. The bad can be a bit more difficult to let go. Things our parents said to us when we were younger can rumble around in our head and pop up when we're dealing with a similar situation with our own children. If we're not careful, some of that comes out even though we swore to ourselves we'd never do/say that with our kids.

As a kid, it is hard to understand that our parents don't know everything. We expect them to. We are born right in the middle of their income earning years. They may be dealing with us and their own parents. They may not have had the best relationship with their own parents. As a teen, it is hard to realize that in most cases, our parents are trying to do the best they can with what they know....or learn along the way.

Bad dads is not a new concept. There are even bad fathers IN the Bible. There was a man that messed up even before he became a father (Adam). There was a father that played favorites (Jacob with Joseph). There was a man who became a father by messing around with another man's wife and sending that man purposely into war to be killed (David). The Bible is a genealogy of fathers, of Kings, and Kings that were fathers. Some were good, not all were.

If we can bring ourselves to get past the issues with our human fathers, God gives us the opportunity to be adopted into His family with a perfect Father. For some, it may be quite a stretch to get to that point. I just submit to you to be willing to open your heart a little. I'm not promising it will be easy or perfect. I am promising it is worth getting to know a Heavenly Daddy that has been waiting for you with open arms.

Psalm 68:5 (NIV) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 103:8-19 (NIV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

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

Romans 8:14-17 (NIV) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 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.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.   

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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