Tony’s ministry is to men in prison and those recently released from incarceration. He is fondly called, “Dad” by dozens of these guys. When we talk about the choices (usually involving illegal drugs) that got them tangled up with the legal system, there is another factor common to many, if not most, of these young men – the man who impregnated their mother failed to be a father. They grew up without guidance, without male affection, without the discipline that a loving Dad provides.
It is hard for me to even imagine what life without an engaged and loving father is like. My Dad was always involved, always there, unafraid to show affection, not reluctant to tell me that I needed to shape up! The earliest memories in my life are of my father who took me with him to his work when I was a toddler allowing me to share adventures galore as I moved among his peers. When I was about five he seemed like a god, unafraid and powerful. As I grew up, Dad became more human to me, a real man. When I entered the ministry, sharing the life calling he had embraced, I would call him to ask “What do you think about this?” Sometimes my call was just to hear him say, “I love you, son” feeling the uniquely valued affirmation of my father.
I have a second Father Whose love is an even more powerful influence in my life. He is a constant Presence, the Source to Whom I turn for daily needs, a Friend for all times, and the One from who I take my identity and purpose in life. Time has only enhanced my love for Him. You can know Him, too! Jesus came was to bring us home to our Father. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13, NIV) Later John wrote “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1, NIV) Take a few moments to think that over!
Are you living in the love of your Abba (your heavenly Father)? Here’s what God says about YOU “…you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” (Romans 8:15-17, NLT) He offers us a relationship full of love, where He is not a remote deity, but rather our “Abba!” (An Aramaic expression of familiarity. He is our Dad!)
There is no need to tough it out alone. Reach out to your Father, committing your way to Him, seeking His guidance.
Do not stumble through life unsure, confused, alone, and afraid. Your Father has wisdom for the asking!
The best affirmation ever comes from the Father who knows you best and loves you most.
A loving earthly father enjoys his children. (I know that well for life is at its best when my own children come home for a few days.) The Father loves us to worship and adore Him. If you let them, the pressures of life, the many responsibilities that come your way will pull you away from the richest relationship possible.
Here is the word from the Word – “When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.”(Ephesians 3:14-16, NLT)
This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget,
And though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let the heavens ring,
God reigns let the earth be glad.