My son, Sean, works hard at being a good father! He prioritizes family time, puts his kids first and stays engaged emotionally with them. And, in that he is blessings his children with advantages in life. Moms are wonderful and I applaud those women who love and care for kids heroically.

But, it is a fact that children who have a loving, involved Dad are doubly blessed.  Being fatherless can make a child insecure and that insecurity can become a seed bed from which self-destructive behaviors grow. Kids without a true father are more likely to live in poverty, to grow into crime, to abuse drugs and alcohol, and to drop out of school. We need to strengthen families, to help parents make their relationship strong so that children can reap the benefits.

Jesus reminds us that we have a Father.  In His prayer, He begins, “Our Father in Heaven…”  What a profound revelation. Of all the names and titles of God, Jesus reveals Him first as Father. Isaiah does the same. “O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8, NIV)  Do you know Him as father, or do you see Him as King, or Boss, or Judge, or Source?

The wonder of our faith is that God is relational, knowing us, caring for us. When we believe that He is a good Father, we are ready to spiritually grow into maturity, able to trust Him, and thus to find rest in our turbulent world.  Many who worship the Lord call Him “Father” but they do not love Him as such. Perhaps this is related to being ‘fathered’ poorly or not having an earthly father. Perhaps it is because of an abusive father. Or perhaps we just fail to understand what it means to trust His Fathering love.

I often use the word, “Abba” when I pray, a word that Paul uses for God. Less formal, indicating a close relationship, it’s like calling God, “Dad.”  Here is the passage-  “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.” (Romans 8:15-16, NLT)  I grew up with a strong father who I naturally called, “Dad.” But, I grew into another relationship with my father-in-law over time. Bob went from being just another man and it became natural to call him, “Dad,” too. Similarly, we can grow from God, our Father, to God, our Abba.

Jesus begins by teaching us to pray to “Our Father in heaven.”   In Matthew 7, He amplifies that thought – “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:9-11, NLT) I hope you feel His care, that you are able to lean on Him without wondering if He will show up or care!

There is one more part of fathering that I want us to think about for a moment before we go today . In a solid parental relationship, it is not all ‘bless you, wonderful child.’ Parents show love by providing appropriate boundaries and discipline. Earthly Dads don’t always get it right. I know that some of the ‘discipline’ of my children happened less for their correction and more because they frustrated me or because I was fatigued and/or impatient.

Our Abba never acts because He is in a bad mood.  He will discipline us, sometimes sternly when needed, but always for our best.  Here is the truth –  “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” (Hebrews 12:7-9, NIV)

When you read of the Father-heart of God in the Holy Scripture, ask the Spirit to reveal the depth of Abba’s love to you.  That is one of the most healing truths in all of the Word.  Know this – God is not the dreaded Authority Figure who is watching for your failure so He can punish you.  He is the Waiting Father, whose grace is amazing, whose mercy is deep and wide, and who acts always for your ultimate good. When that is settled into your heart and mind, you will pray with faith, live with peace, and find richer relationships in this world that rest in the security of your intimate love of the Father.

Our word from the Word is the prayer that Jesus taught us-
“Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and
forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13, NLT)


Good, Good Father

(a worshipful presentation of this song by HouseFires)

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

 You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

 I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

 You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

 Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

 You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are

And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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