Friday, June 25, 2010

Encouragement: Persevering Until We Find Love

Today I heard news of a supermodel committing suicide in India because of her failed love. There are so many such unreported incidents happening al over the world. Unfortunately, many in the name of love are taking their lives and causing great pain and sorrow to their family, etc. True Love never leads to tragedy but a joyful and hopeful future.

"Please love me!" Isn't this the whispered cry of our hearts? We all long for the security that love brings, but finding such love can be very difficult. "Yet we need to be in community with loving, faithful godly people in order to preserve our spiritual gains."

Ruth in the OT history was a young woman who had loved and lost and then persevered until she found love again. (Ruth 2:4-18). She lost her beloved husband and was left unprotected for a time. So she followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign land and was forced to gather leftover grain from the harvested fields just to stay alive. Though Ruth was was not aware of it, the man who owned the fields was a relative who could , if he chose to, marry Ruth and fulfill her needs for love and protection.Naomi told her to go to the threshing floor where this man, Boaz, was sleeping and curl up at his feet. Culturally, this displayed a request to be taken care of. Boaz was quite happy to find Ruth there, and later he married her, providing the love and provision she had lost and now longed for.

In Christ, we will find all the love and security we truly needas well, for He cares for us very much. We can be sure that when we "curl up" at the feet of Jesus, He will be glad to find us there. He will provide for us, protect us, and love us. We also need to venture toward developing healthy love relationships with people in God's family.It may be scary to say, "please love me," but its worth the risk. No matter how we may have loved and lost, God wants us to move into a community that is bound together by His love. Amen.

Be Encouraged

A.Othniel
(www.aothniel.net)

Letter # 25 (27. 6. 2010)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Encouragement: So Why Are Dads Important?-A Fathers' Day Special

Happy Father’s Day! For many of you Fathers’ Day is not easy. Some of you had bad relationships with your fathers. A few of you may not have known your Dad – even if you lived with him. A preacher dad says, " I didn’t know my father, even though we lived in the same home for 20 years". For some of you this is a good day, with warm memories. If this is a _statistically_ average group, only 2-3 men out of a hundred, when teenagers, spent more quality time with your fathers than with your mothers. We are a generation of under-fathered sons.

And for those who had abusive or violent fathers, God-as-father is a problematical concept. In New York a Presbyterian pastor told that they had to change the Lord’s Prayer. Most of the fathers were cruel or absent, and the person who reminded them most of a loving God was their grandmothers. So the prayer said: God in heaven, who is loving like a grandmother…’

Being a Dad isn’t easy these days. But being a Mum isn’t easy either. Being a kid isn’t easy – or a teenager, or married, or single, or being middle-aged, or a senior… Life _is_ difficult!

Are Dads necessary? Some in the context of the current IVF debate don’t think so.

But the facts are in: there’s a wall-full of books from researchers and the Men’s Movement about ‘Absent Fathers Lost Sons/Daughters’. Where fathers are emotionally disengaged from their kids those children feel a deep emptiness within. And where Dads are cruel or abusive, the damage in the victim’s lives is awful!

The story of the Prodigal Son (or, as the real hero is the Dad, probably it should be called the Parable of the Waiting Father, as Helmut Thielicke suggests; perhaps even better: The Parable of the Two Sons) is the ‘greatest short story ever told’ (and re-told).

Every person on this planet has to come to terms with four relationships – self, things, others, and God. This story is about all four.

One of the key teachings of Jesus was that acceptance precedes repentance. Acceptance in this case came before confession. As the old saying has it: ‘Those who are seeking God have already been found by him.’ One of the most beautiful aspects of the gospel is that God loves you before you change, as you change, or whether you change or not. Do you believe that?

By the way, I’m glad the boy met the father before he met his older brother, eh?

Dad called for the ring, the robe – perhaps the one the boy once wore – the fatted calf and the shoes. Shoes are for sons (servants or slaves often did not wear shoes).

When you take responsibility for failing as a Dad there are some things you’ve got to remember: [1] You can’t change the past, but you ask forgiveness for the past, and move on; [2] you don’t have to carry destructive guilt about the past: that will kill you; but you’d better know the difference between good guilt and bad guilt; [3] you can do what you can to heal relationships in the present.

SO WHY ARE DADS IMPORTANT?

For one thing they fill young teenagers’ emotional tanks – both boys and girls. Was it a Chinese sage who said ‘The wise person learns from others’ mistakes before they make their own’? The children can learn a lot from a father, from his knowledge and experience. Children need a model-head, leader, mentor,protector,lover like nobody else. Dads can love their kids unconditionally and accept them without preconditions. Thats what was the greatest lesson Jesus taught from the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Children someone to disciple them, to be tough, to be strict, to keep them in the right way and to demonstrate the love of the heavenly Father. God placed children n the family of both father and mother as children need both tenderness and toughness. A single mother fails here to provide the father's role to the kids.

Today, there might be a party in heaven over prodigal sons and daughters and fathers and mothers coming come – to be forgiven, and restored to the family.

CONCLUSION: Dads, Grandfathers, Dads-to-be: here's a prayer for you.

Lord, bless these men: some of them delight in their fathering; for others it’s hard, perhaps very hard, and they’re wounded. Hear our confession of sin, of failure, of ignorance. Help us – all of us – to forgive our own fathers for their faults and failings. But Lord, we are not responsible for them, but for ourselves. Help these Dads to love their children’s mother. May they be good priests in their homes, leading their children to a living faith in the living God. And when the Great Day comes and we stand before you, our king and our judge, may we hear you say, ‘Well done, good and faithful father. Your children have delighted in you and you are eternally blessed.’ Amen.

Psalm 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; (NIV)

Proverbs 23:22
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old. (NIV)

Be Encouraged

A.Othniel
(www.aothniel.net)

Letter # 24 (20. 6. 2010)