Father Wounds!

I have the unique opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with men, students and families. There are so many things that I come across because of this. It could be porn addiction, other sexual sin issues, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, etc. It could also be issues of performance based acceptance or looking for identity in money or materialism. Underneath all of that, there seems to be one wound.

It is the father wound. Fathers have such a great opportunity to influence their children. The bottom line is that influence can be negative or positive. Unfortunately, too often today that influence is negative.

Scripture talks about the role of fathers in the lives of their children. Exodus 20 tells us that God will discipline children up to 3 or 4 generations because of the sin of the father. In that same chapter it tells us that God will bless up to 1,000 generations for those who love Him and obey His commands.

How can I be the father who helps pass this blessing down to my children? I think there are several things I can look at:

  • Deal with unresolved pain or anger from my past
  • Confess to God and to my children where I have fallen short
  • Experience my identity as being only in Christ (not my job, not a sports team, not porn, etc.)
  • Have a plan to relationally connect and spiritually invest in my children and carry that out

How do I do this?  I admit that I am powerless and I bring my weary and burdened self to Jesus.

Why would I want to do this?  I do it because I love my kids, and I have the capacity to love them because I let God love me first.  I cannot impart what I do not possess.  1 John 4 tells us that we love because He first loved us.  The love that God has for me is incredible.  Zephaniah 3 tells me that He delights in me!

This is a call to myself, to fathers, to let God’s love penetrate our hearts so we pursue our kids the way God pursues us!  May we model for them a heart that loves Him and obeys His commands.  May we reach out to those who are not our children as well.  We cannot replace their dad, but we can point them to our Daddy in Heaven.

God, help me know and experience your love so I can love those around me, and as a father, deeply love my kids.

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Hope for Now and for Eternity

I must confess that I will get by with a little help on this blog post. The help comes in the form of my 14 year old daughter. She wrote a poem that really inspired me, and I wanted to share it. It reads:

Hope for Eternity

When death comes knocking on your door,
Child, do not be afraid;
For you have Christ within you,
And hope for everlasting days!

When my daughter showed this to me, I just loved it. Let’s be honest. Part of me loved it because it was written by my daughter, and it thrills my heart to see her write stuff like that. The other part of me loved it because of the truth it contains. We don’t talk about heaven very much any more. We live in a world where we can order our food and 30 seconds later have it given to us. Heaven is not like that. There is no immediate gratification. Heaven is what is to come and is what we as believers in Christ long for.

I think the immediate gratification issue also plays such a big part in our world regarding so many things that we run to other than Christ. We are not getting what we want from Christ right now so we run to performance, achievement, food, alcohol, porn, etc. As you probably know at this point, I am passionate about tearing down the idol of internet pornography. So let’s take porn as our example.

We get hurt, we become angry, or we are overwhelmed with fear. The natural tendency is to escape from those negative emotions. Porn is such an easy idol for us to bow down to. Instantly, our hurt, our anger, and our fear go away as we bow down to porn. Here is the problem. As soon as we are done bowing down, we go right back to facing our hurt, anger, and fear only to now be dealing with guilt and shame as well.

As I read my daughter’s poem, I was reminded that Christ wants me to take all my negative emotion to Him. Matthew 11:28 teaches me to take my weariness and my burdens to Him. As I do that, He gives me rest. He does it in this life for sure, and it is in heaven that I experience this rest face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).

We have hope!!!! So as part of the body of Christ, I implore myself, I implore us, as God’s children, to remember that Christ is in us and that we will be with Him for all of eternity. Nothing else brings hope like this. Being with Jesus now and with Him for all of eternity is our only hope!!!!

We are at war!

I have been reminded recently that we are at war. Ephesians 6 tells us that we are not at war with that which has flesh and blood, but we are at war against the spiritual forces of this dark world. The forces of darkness rage war against God, His Kingdom, and His people.

John 10 tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. 1 Peter 5 tells us that the devil wants to devour, and Revelation 12 describes Satan as the one who makes accusation against those who follow Christ.

What do we do with this? The reality is that this can be very overwhelming. Knowing someone is waging war against us, trying to destroy/devour us, and even making false accusations against us can produce fear in our hearts. I think God is okay with me admitting I am overwhelmed by this or even at times afraid of it, and I think he wants us to take our feelings of fear and being overwhelmed to Him.

When we take it to Him, we can experience the truth that He is greater than Satan. We can know that He fights and wages war on our behalf. We can live in the reality of putting on His armor to fight in the middle of the battle! As we stand firm, we can lift our eyes to the Hills and see that our help in the midst of war comes from the Lord!

So let us stand firm!