June 17, 2016
“…To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Luke 1:17)
When the Old Testament prophet Malachi prophesied the birth of John the Baptist, he predicted he would prepare the way of the Messiah by exhorting fathers to prioritize their relationships with their children. The challenging truth by application is that the way of the Lord in the lives of children is prepared when fathers are faithful in their responsibility toward their children.
One example of this reality is when our Lord taught His disciples how to pray, He instructed us to address God as “Our Father.” What images come into our minds when we address God in this way? Our relationships to our earthly fathers can strongly influence the way we perceive our heavenly Father.
As a pastor I’ve had parishioners say to me in private, “When I address God as my father I experience a spiritual short circuit.” When asked to tell about their earthly father I often heard a story about a very dysfunctional father/child relationship.
Professional Christian clinical psychologists and psychiatrists strongly reinforce the hard reality of the profound influence fathers have in the lives of their children. The profound truth that was focused when the life and ministry of John the Baptist was profiled is confirmed in millions of lives every day.
As we in America call this Sunday “Father’s Day,” may the vision statement that was prophesied for John the Baptist raise awareness in all of us who are fathers of the solemn mission objective we have been assigned by God when He made us fathers.
Dick Woodward, 20 June 2010
January 7, 2014
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7 NKJV)
Have you discovered that parenting is emphasized in the Bible? The Bible mentions mothers more than 300 times. Since God assigns the spiritual nurture of children primarily to fathers, the Bible mentions fathers more than 1,400 times. Children are mentioned just under 6,000 times, which shows how important they are to God.
This teaching method of Moses in Deuteronomy rests on four foundations. The first one is responsibility. Moses gives the responsibility for the education of children to parents. There are 8,760 hours in a year. Since children receive about thirty minutes of instruction in the average Sunday school class, if that is their only source of spiritual education, they are only spending .02% (one-fifth of one percent) of their time being spiritually nurtured. If you send them to a Christian School they still spend 87.3% of their time with you. Can you see why Moses gave this responsibility to parents?
The second foundation is revelation. We are to teach the revealed Word of God to our children. The third foundation is relationship. You cannot apply this teaching method without having a relationship with your children. The fourth foundation is reality. These words must dwell in your heart and life before you teach them to your children. Your children will remember your example far more than your teaching.
Is your parenting built squarely on these four solid foundations?