Father’s Day Worship

ImageIn college I was pressured to declare a major.  What did I want to do with my life?  I had no idea.  I took a course called “Interpersonal Relationships” and while taking it, my heart jumped as I soaked in every minute of the course (minus the tests, of course).  Shortly after, I declared my major to be Family Studies.  What was the rationale behind this?

I enjoyed the class and I had learned how to make better relationships.  This course helped me get what I really wanted.  It helped me have good relationships… so that people would like me.  Of course, it is only natural that I declare Family Studies to be my major as, I thought to myself, “I want to be a good husband and father.”  Why was this important?  So that my wife would one day say, “You’re the best husband ever” and then my kids would say, “Dad, you’re the best.”  What did I really want?  I wanted their worship.

I thank God that He revealed these sinful motives of my heart throughout the course of my walk with Him.  There is no one worthy of our worship than the Father above.  In my pride and arrogance, I was determined to take what I did not deserve.  Yet now, more than anything, I hope my children and wife worship The Father (and not me).

There is only One who is worthy of our Worship.  This Father’s Day, give thanks to the Heavenly Father for all that He has given to you out of His love for you, especially His Son, Jesus Christ.  Give honor to your earthly father, too.

P.S.  Thanks, Dad, for raising me well and being a good role model.  You’re awesome!

Kid’s Day?

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  In May there was Mother’s Day.  On both of these holidays, my kids asked me, “How come there isn’t a Kid’s Day?” I laughed inside knowing I asked my parents this same question when I was a kid. And so I answered, “Well, you get a birthday and Christmas and you get way more gifts than mom and dad…so those are your days.” I think my parents answered me the same way, but I have since repressed such disappointing answers.  (Interestingly, there is a Children’s Day in Bulgaria…but don’t tell my kids that.  They’ll want to move there.)  In truth, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day isn’t about the gifts, per se, it’s about expressing appreciation to a mom or dad who sacrificed through the many years of service for you. It’s the expression of appreciation for their hard work, their love, and their commitment in your life so that you will be successful. One probably could not count the number of ways love has been expressed or shown from loving parents.  Though we know not all parents have been as sacrificial in love.  Many have experienced just the opposite from a mother or father who caused harm physically or emotionally.

And for those out there whose mothers or fathers left them, abused them, or treated them poorly, I want to remind you of one verse:  Psalm 27:10 – Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”  You, oh blog reader, are cherished, loved, and received by God.  “Received“…now there’s an interesting word.  To be “received” by God is to be accepted by Him.  Can God truly accept me after all I have done wrong?  Can God really receive me even though I turn from Him and do my own thing?  When I did wrong at home, my parents turned from me, ignored me, and treated me harshly…Wouldn’t God do the same?  Isn’t that what I deserve?

The love of the Father is so great that His love pierced the depths of our sin.  Our punishment, that is, what we deserved, was taken by Jesus Christ.  He accepted our burden by being treated harshly for our sake so that we would not be treated harshly.  Now, because of Christ’s death on the cross (and resurrection), we can be “received” by God.  Our sins have fallen upon Christ and Christ’s righteousness rests on us.  Now, through faith in Christ, we are acceptable.  We are righteous.  We are His.

As a parent, there are times when it is so easy to look only at our children’s behaviors, stating disappointments or corrections while forgetting to emphasize that our children are acceptable to us as they are.  Christ’s death was for them, too.  We must not neglect to share with our children their need for a savior.  We must not neglect to share that they are acceptable to God through Christ and that they are acceptable to us as they are because our love is greater than their sins (as God’s love is greater than ours).

Well, there won’t be any National Kid’s Day soon.  They’ll keep asking, and we’ll keep telling them the same thing.  But truth be told, kids don’t need a Kid’s Day.  What they do need is your love and God’s love for them through the cross.  They are loved and accepted by God (just like you)…and this is something to celebrate!

Every Day Yours

Have you ever received a card for your birthday, anniversary, or Mother’s / Father’s Day that said, “Celebrate! It’s Your Day!”?  Or perhaps someone you loved told you that this special day is your day and you can do whatever you want.  You want to rest?  Go ahead.  You want to see a movie?  Great, let’s go.  You want your favorite dinner?  Fine, I’ll make it for you.  This day is yours, so what would you do?

I woke up with an agenda of things to do today and places to be…and of course, a schedule to do them.  No sooner when we out the door did we (my boys and I) meet our Arch Nemesis, Bus 134.  The bus that makes a bunch of stops that makes us late.  The bus driver’s patience was greater than mine, as she waited about a minute for the child to first get out of their house and casually walk to the bus, being oblivious to the fact that I am waiting.  (On a side note, since when does the bus have to wait for the children?  Shouldn’t the children be waiting for the bus?!  When I was a kid…..I digress.)  After these stops and getting stopped by a few crossing guards and then realizing I left my laptop at home, I just shook my head saying, “Fred, this is not your day.”  As I said this, I immediately had another thought prompted by the Spirit. “No, this is the Lord’s day.”

When the day was my day with my schedule and my agenda, these inconveniences and my forgetfulness (of my laptop) would lead to my anger at the child for being late, the bus driver for not holding the child accountable for being late, and myself for running a tad behind and for forgetting my laptop.  But when the day shifted in my mind and heart to being His day, everything that occurred was viewed in a different light.

In my day, nothing happened in my timing.  In God’s day, all things happen in His timing.  When this day was designed by me and nothing worked, I became impatient and angry.  But when I began to see the day as designed by God, the impatience and anger subsided as the truth of His goodness, His love, and His promises overshadowed my ego-centric world.  My forgetfulness was part of His design for my day.  I then experience a freedom from self-deprecation and anger towards others and instead have hope that this day, when viewed as His day, will instead be held in esteem as it is written and given as a gift by Him.  By God’s grace, the shift was made in my heart from a me-centered day to a God-centered day.  If only this shift was made every day!

Friends, in your mind and heart, dedicate this day to the Lord.  See it as His day for you…to teach you, to love you, to train you, and sustain you.  Talk to Him, “Lord, help me to make every day yours.”  You won’t regret it!