Faithful Father

Imagine being Joseph.  His fiancee runs off to visit her cousin.  She’s gone for three months.  And when she returns, she breaks his heart.  Oh.  She isn’t dumping him.  She tells him she’s pregnant.  Makes a man wonder what his girl has been doing for those three months she was visiting her so-called cousin.  He knows without a doubt that the baby isn’t his.  Because they haven’t.

She says the baby’s father is God.  How is a man supposed to believe that?  Can he trust her?  After all, they’re engaged.  Not married.  Should he just break up with her and move on?   Even though they aren’t married, breaking up would still signal a divorce.  Because he knew.  He knew if he agreed to marry her, the people of their village would spread the rumors.  Oh.  That couple.  They didn’t wait until they married.   But they can’t prove they were waiting.  Because now there is a baby on the way.

What if God asked the impossible of you?  Would you be willing?  If God asks you to move out of your comfort zone, would you?  How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go, even if it is God who’s doing the asking?

The baby wasn’t his.  He knew it.  She knew it.  Did everyone else know it? He wanted to divorce her.  Quietly.  Not make more of a public spectacle of her than she already was.  He could.  You know. 

But the dream was so real.  The angel was right there.  Marry her.  He said.  She speaks the truth.  She has been faithful.  This child is God’s.  Name him Jesus.  Joseph actually heard from God in a dream.  So he did it.  He married her.  Knowing what everyone would say.  


What is impossible with man is possible with God.  Luke 18:27


This man.  Joseph.  His betrothed was carrying the Son of God.  How was he to be a father to God?  He wasn’t qualified.  He was just a carpenter.  How could he do this?  Would this child want to become a carpenter?  If he and Mary were fortunate enough to have their own sons, how would they compare?  Would others be able to tell the difference between God’s son and Joseph’s sons?

How is one to be faithful when the world says to run the other way?

Joseph didn’t know God’s plan.  Joseph didn’t know that God’s Son was to be born in the lineage of King David.  Joseph was in that lineage.  God’s plan worked out perfectly.  No.   Joseph wasn’t the biological father, but he fulfilled the plan God had laid out for him.

Oh.  It wasn’t Joseph’s place to be in the spotlight.  He didn’t have the leading role.  But support roles provide stability and depth for the leading role.  It wasn’t his birth that was announced to the shepherds.  It wasn’t his death on the cross.  His role may seem small, but really.  His role was father.  Role model.  Family leader.  Bread winner.  Not much is written about him, but words aren’t enough.  He did everything by being faithful to God’s plan.  What seemed impossible for him was made possible through God’s purpose and leading.  

Sure.  Joseph doubted at first.  He even considered saying no.  But when that angel appeared in the dream, he realized this was God at work.  God was fulfilling the promise and prophesies that had been passed down for so long.  And Joseph was part of the plan.  God was using Joseph to raise this God child.  

Oh.  My role may not be as leader.  I may be the supporting role in a much bigger plan.   There are times I don’t feel worthy of the role I’m playing in God’s plan.  There are times I would choose to step aside.  But God who calls is also faithful.  If he calls, he equips.  And in that equipping and following the plan, I find that God is so much more than a word so often used in vain by many.  God makes the impossible possible.  All I must do is believe and trust.  And obey.

The God I Know

Oh.  Heavenly Father, God and Creator of the Universe.  You knew me before I was born.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  You numbered my days before I breathed my first breath.  You alone decided I would be born, and you alone will decide when my days are complete.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You.

You alone planned my days.  You know my accomplishments.  You know my failures.  You love me in my most lovely days, and you love me when I’m less than lovely.

You go before me and you follow me.  You surround me with your presence.  You work for me.  You fight for me.  Your heavenly armies follow me.  I can never escape from your Spirit.  Your hand guides me.  Your strength supports me.  You equip me for your work.  I am never far from your thoughts.

You search me.  You know my thoughts.  You read my mind.  You hear my words.  You test me.  You know my anxious thoughts.  Yet you still love me.  You won’t turn away when I call.

You are the first and the last.  The alpha and the omega.  The beginning and the end.  You never had a beginning and you’ll never end.  You are always.  You are eternal.  You are everlasting.

Oh.  You are three in one.  God, you are the Father.  Jesus Christ, you are the Son.  Holy Spirit, you are my Guide.  All of you complete the never-ending circle of the one and only God.  There are no limits to what you can do.  You are powerful.  You are able to do anything and everything.   At any time.

You are the God of peace.  You are kind.  Compassionate.  Loving.  Generous.  You meet all my needs and provide me with blessings.  Your grace is free and undeserved.  Your mercies are new every day.


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Revelation 22:13


Your ways are beyond understanding. You are a good good Father. You know best.  You love unconditionally.  You love the lovely and the unlovely.  You are merciful and yet you’re just. You will repay and you will punish.  But oh.  Your blessings are unfathomable. Your love is endless.  Your grace is unearned.

You love everyone. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in your sight.  The lame. The blind. The sick.  The homeless.  The rich.  The poor.  The thief.  The artist.  The CEO.  The hourly worker.  You love those who are hurting. You love those who have hurt others.  You love the honest.  You love the liar.  You do not discriminate.

You allow Satan to tempt and trick your people.  You allow wars and disease and famine.  You allow untimely deaths and accidents.  Job loss.  Destruction.  Horrible crimes.  You could stop these, yet you don’t.  You allow nature to take its course.  You allow the sun to rise and set every single day.  You allow mankind to choose you or not to choose you.  You’ve given us a free will to live our lives as we see fit.  With you.  or without you.  And through it all, you love us.  No matter what we choose.

You offer forgiveness.  No questions asked.  You stand waiting for us to choose you over everything else we hold dear.  You offer eternal life.  You offer a heavenly reward.  You gave your Son.  For everyone.

Your work is never left undone. You finish everything you start.  You work thoroughly and perfectly.  You are the Master Creator, creating works of art for your pleasure and purpose.  You are the Master Carpenter, building an eternal home for those who follow your ways.

Through everything, you never change. The good. The bad. The ugly. You’re constant. You speak only the truth. You don’t lie. You keep your promises. In your own time.  Because for you a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day.  Time is nothing to you. Yet you created time.  In those 7 days, you created day and night.  Dark and light. Sun and moon.  Sea and land.  Food and flower.  Creature and man.

You are the final Judge.  You will have the last say about how I’ve lived my life.  You alone will decide if I am worthy to enter heaven’s gates.  Oh.  I’m unworthy.  But you alone, God, will determine my eternity.

You correct me when I’m wrong.  You counsel me when I need guidance.  You challenge me to trust you when I’m out of my comfort zone.  You carry me through the most difficult of times.

God, you are fair.  You judge and punish as you see fit.   You are impartial.  You decide who will rise and who will fall.  You allow rain to fall on the just and on the unjust.  You have enemies, but you fight cleanly and fairly.

God, you never change.  You’re always right.  You have the final say in all matters.  No one is better than you.  You alone determine the outcome of all events.  You alone are God.  You are the only God.  The one and only God.  All knees will bow to you at some unknown time.  All lips will confess you as Lord at the appointed time.

Bless your holy name.  Amen.

 

Good Good Father

I’ve heard it said that a person’s view of God is based on their relationship with their dad.  I’ve always had a respectful view of God.  I trust him.  I love him.  He is the authority.  Let me tell you why that is my impression of God.

My dad was always in charge.  He was the leader of our family.  He was the provider.  The authoritarian.  He was a tease.  He had a great sense of humor.  He had a great work ethic.  He loved his work.  He loved his family.  He helped those in need.

My dad  provided everything I needed.  No.  He didn’t give me everything I wanted.  But I never went hungry.  I was always clothed.  He built our home.  I was warm when I needed to be.  I was cool when I needed to be.

My dad taught me to work.  Whether I liked it or not, my dad handed out chores for his kids to do.  Mowing the lawn.  Weeding the garden.  Cleaning the hog house.  Working on the farm.

I saw my dad spending time with God every day.  He would read his Bible before breakfast.  He would lead our family in devotions every night before bed.  He would pray for us.  He would pray with us.  My dad made sure his family spent time in God’s word every day.

My dad was always present.  He was available when we needed him.  Oh.  He worked hard.  He worked long hours.  But he always took a Sabbath to rest and restore his spirit.  He was in a noisy environment a lot of the day, so he wanted peace and quiet at home.  That wasn’t easy with seven kids.  But we knew that once he walked in the door, the piano practice time was over.  The radio was turned off.  He wanted to hear himself think.

My dad was a disciplinarian.  When we did wrong.  And we did.  He disciplined us.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it taught us to respect authority and trust his leadership.

Oh.  My dad wasn’t perfect.  But he was honest.  He was a powerful influence in my life.  He took his faith seriously.  He had a library of Bible commentaries, Christian books and Bibles to study as he prepared to teach his Sunday School class each week.

My dad is the man I measured all other men by.  He set the standard high.

He was a good good father.


The Lord is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails.          Psalm 103:8

I think of God.  My heavenly Father.  He is the giver of life.  He is the lover of my soul.  He provides for all my needs.

My heavenly Father allows me to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but he calms my fear of evil.  My God is so wise that He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  When I am fearful, he alone is my source of strength and resilience.

Oh.  He disciplines me.  When I disobey, he teaches me how to be more like Him.  When I don’t spend enough time with Him, He calls me back.

The thing about God.  He is perfect.  He knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He provides at just the right time.  He does no wrong.  He cannot.  He will not.

My God is always with me.  I can’t move without him knowing it.  Oh.  He can see everything I do.   He hears every word I speak.  He reads my every thought.  He never leaves my side.  He is always available anytime I call out to him.  He fights for me.  He works on my behalf.

God shows me favor.  At times, I feel as if I’m his favorite child.  He showers me with blessings that I don’t deserve.  He loves me unconditionally.  No matter what I do, He never gives up on me.  He will not stop loving me.

He is the God I measure all other gods by.  May I never waver in the God I serve.

He is a good good Father.

 

 

 

So Close to Eternity

Today on Father’s Day, I think of two men.  Two men who never knew each other.    Different values.  Different lifestyles.  Different beliefs.  Different worlds.  They both were fathers.  That appears to be their only common ground.  I don’t know why the first man even comes to mind.  But he does.

I remember when Saddam Hussein was killed.  Some witnesses videotaped his death.  His hanging.  I saw parts of the video on the news.  It was graphic.  It was disturbing.  It was unsettling.  He died.  People wanted confirmation that he was gone.  There it was.  Ugly and haunting.

He seemed so calm in the last moments of his life.  He wasn’t fighting his captors.  He was as a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Quiet.  Reserved.  Defeated.

I wonder if he had been drugged.  I wonder what he was thinking.  When they opened his cell door for the last time, did he know he was going to his death?  Did he know that in just a few short minutes he would be in eternity?  A never-ending place where he would reap the rewards or punishment for his life on earth.  Did he know?  Was he ready to meet his Maker?

If he knew, what was he thinking?  Did he try to make peace with God?  Did he ask forgiveness for the atrocities he had committed?  Did he shake his fist at God and curse him?  Did he believe in God? What were his final thoughts?

It isn’t mine to know.  It isn’t mine to judge.

The Lord knows the thoughts of man.  Psalm 94:11

I remember another man’s death.  I wasn’t with my dad when he breathed his last breath, but my sisters were there.  He had been on hospice for 3 months.  During those final months and days, my dad exhibited peace and contentment.  He knew he was dying.  He knew he was going to heaven.

Some days he would want to hold your hand and tell you that he loved you over and over.  Other days, tears would roll down his face.  At times, he would look up to the corner of the room with a far-off look.  He was seeing a place he had only read and heard about.  Heaven.  He would sometimes see people.  Others who had gone before him.  He would call them by name.

He had said he was waiting for my  mom.  He never wanted her to be alone.  He waited for her.  In those final three months of his life, he portrayed a sacrificial love for the woman he had pledged his life to 60 years earlier.  He kept his vow.  Till death us do part.

His heart was weak.  His body was frail.  His voice was soft.

His love was strong.  His faith was sure.  His eternity was secure.

During his final days, he would reach with outstretched hand to heaven.  Trying to touch it.  Wanting to enter those pearly gates.  As the end drew near, he would lie there with his eyes closed.  No longer speaking.  Not in this world.  Not in the next.  Hovering between two worlds with a smile on his face.  He was seeing heaven.

He had made peace with his life.  He had waited for his beloved to go before him.  He was ready to meet his Maker.

His last words.  So close.  So close.