Being Dad: A Shepherd

I wrote pages of thoughts about fathers. What does it mean to be a good dad, a bad dad, or an M.I.A.? The thoughts may have been many, but would they make a father pause and think, maybe make a change? I couldn’t really come up with a comfort zone in my thinking, what makes me feel I have the answers? We do have the answer book in scripture. By following what we read about a father’s instructions in Proverbs, we can also read through biblical accounts of fathers in the Old Testament, which are examples of how to, or how not to father children to live extraordinary lives. and that is what I suggest, read those accounts. In nearly every account, Bible fathers weren’t good at fathering, perhaps lack of knowing “how to,” performing the same mistakes of their fathers, expecting different results.

One character was named Eli. He had two sons, and they were priests like Eli. Eli knew his sons were bad, fornicating with the young females who served at the temple, doing as they pleased with the sacrifices, disobedient to the laws. They were what we would consider bullies, using their ministry to please themselves. When Samuel came to live with Eli in the temple, God gave Samuel a dream telling him what would happen to Eli and his sons if they didn’t turn from their evil ways. Eli knew about the dream, and asked Samuel to tell him what is was all about:

“What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best,” 1 Sam.3:17-18 ( you can read the entire account in 1 Sam.1-2)

Eli refused to discipline his sons. Hearing what God said from Samuel’s dream, he responds, “oh well, go ahead God, have at it.” I think Eli was fearful of what his sons would do to him if he had them removed from their position. In short, they died, Eli died, and their posterity was removed from the earth. Discipline is a must for a father. Ignoring a child’s bad behavior is wronging the child, or children in ways that are nearly un-reversible. You must discipline, but you must do so in love, or out of a heart of love for your child and their future. That is not using physical, or verbal abuse. It is shepherding your child, steering the course of their life.

The Shepherd of our souls, Jesus, gave man a whole different picture of God as Father. The people of his day didn’t like Jesus calling God his father, that to them, was blasphemy. But Jesus wanted you and I to see God for what He really is…love. He could have consumed Eli and his sons without warning, but even these bullies, He loved and warned them. The beauty of God as Father, knowing that the Almighty Creator wants to be “Abba” to all people everywhere, is astoundingly unthinkable. This revelation of Him is rejected by even the believers who want to see Father as Judge only, fueled by traditional knowledge, and by our darkened understanding. Abba, (daddy), wants us to crawl into His lap like a child in adoration of His multi-faceted character of grace, mercy, and love. He desires to grant us our needs, even our wants, because we are brought near to Him again by the blood of Christ.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.” Eph.5:1 NLT

As I stated, I had pages written about dads, that may be just my opinion, not so printable. Being a good dad may not be easy to “ace.” If we take accounts from scripture, real truth, we can improve our ability to father are children with good discipline, not abuse, but by boundaries. Through the Word, we can learn to teach our young, listen to their needs, and lead by example. Devour the scripture, hunger for direction from God in rearing children. above all, thirst for a relationship with Abba, He will direct every step you take in His love.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

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Fatherless Day

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I am thankful to be able to celebrate another year with my dear father, and count it a real blessing to have him with us at 82…he looks younger than me. Many friends have lost their parents over the past few years, and I really hope they take the time to remember their dad by saying happy Father’s Day to dads they know.
Many people in America, and the number steadily grows, have no dad to share the holiday with. It isn’t because their dad is in heaven, its because they have no clue who their dad is, or he bolted on them when they were born or very young.
In an article dated 12/1/2006, the Washington Times reported that 36.8% of children born in the US were illegitimate. In 1960, that number was 5.3%…and the people thought that was outrageous. A more recent article on the website, discoverthenetworks.org,  site subtitled, “a guide to the political left, entitled the article, “Breakdown of the Black Family,” stated that the black community had an illegitimacy rate of 70-80%…!!! This is tragic! White and hispanic communities do not fare much better!
When a young man becomes fully aware that he has fathered a child, and walks away from that child, determining to have nothing more to do with their young, for whatever reason, he may be sentencing that child to live in utter poverty, to face imprisonment, have psycological problems, and send his posterity on a downhill slide that it may never recover from.
Both of the above articles mentioned noted that the young children from the loins of these fleeing fathers” face more possibilities of living in poverty, placed in prison, with all sorts of other pathologies and problems. Babies having babies is the best way to describe this problem.
There is another entirely different problem in fatherhood this country faces, well actually more than one, but this is a blog, not a book. There are children who have their father at home their entire life, but he is merely a household decoration more than a father. His best advice to his children, “do as I say not as I do.” Are you kidding me? That is how you teach your young? They fully expect their wife, or the church, or their public schools to instruct the children the way to live.
The children want their father’s attention and love, but he’s busy…the game is on right now. The first 7 chapters of Proverbs give you all the instruction you need, on how to raise your children by emphatic, practically pleading to them, about what to watch for in life. In chapter 1vs. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father… and each of the next six chapters start that way. But in chapter 4, read it all, make your children wise.
“Hear my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding, vs.1, Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth!” vs.5
This father is teaching, and imploring his child the way of living. If you take the time to read these chapters, it may change your child’s future, and your future Father’s Day will be viewed as a day they truly honor their father. Of course, you don’t have to stay around, be a man, and raise your sons and daughters. You can let them be a statistic of illegitimacy. You don’t have to instruct your children, you can go dig them out of the barrooms later on when they are spending the money to feed their children a few years from now. Or you may have the pleasure of seeing them through the glass in a nice federal pen…at least they have food.
Think these things through. Pray for those who are fatherless. Think about how often you sat down with your little ones, and talked about life, and the importance of family, about integrity, and justice, and their importance to you. You can teach them how to play sports anytime, but today, teach them about God, about Jesus, love, etc. and if you bailed on your child, make it right, find a way, ask God to help you do so.
Happy Father’s Day, thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith