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Father’s Day

Over the weekend, I reflected on our family vacation. A couple of thoughts came to mind that I would like to share. My nephews have turned out to be good Dads. All my nephews have children now and to see them interacting with their kids is very heart-warming. Throughout the week, I observed the interactions with father and son, and fathers and daughters. Right now, we have an abundance of little girls. The girls’ interaction with their Dads is a little different than the father and son relationship. The father interacted more robust with tossing the son about, while the girls were handled with greater care. But in all, love was very obvious toward their little ones.

I saw the Dads taking care of the children’s needs. When cries were prevalent, Dad was there to soothe the hurt. When falls happened, the Dads scooped up their child into a tender embrace. When words were exchanged, Dad came to solve the issue. There was discipline as well. The smack on the rear got the offenders attention. Discipline isn’t showing a lack of love for the child but a matter of training those young children. Regardless of the offense, their Dad still loved them just the same. The Dad would open his arms to his child, and the child would come running. Kisses and hugs were in abundance.

What I saw in those moments of a Dad loving a child reminded me of my relationship with my own Dad. My Dad will turn 89 this month. He isn’t the same as he was twenty years ago. Age has crept in and robbed him of strength and vitality. His interactions with me are different today as well. I still feel his love toward me even though his actions are different. We don’t have meaningful conversations anymore. He isn’t able to play golf with me now. It was one of the ways we spent time together. Now, we spend time sitting in front of a TV; or in the case of the beach house, we sat on the porch and watched the clouds go by. It’s different now. We can’t get the years back. It’s different, but the love isn’t. I love him just as he is today.

As I watched my nephews and been in a father/daughter relationship all my life; I have a good idea who God is as a Father. I know what it’s like to have a loving Dad. But even in my Dad’s love there is imperfection. There isn’t the perfect love that my heavenly Father has for me. I really can’t comprehend the perfect love that my heavenly Father has; I have a good idea because of my earthy Dad. But my heavenly Father loves over and beyond anything that I could imagine.

When the boys took care of their children, I saw how God interacts with us. When we hurt, He comes to comfort us. When we fall, He comes to pick us up. When our feelings get hurt, He speaks tenderly toward us. And when we do wrong, He comes to discipline us to correct us for our overall good. It is all done out of love. And when we please Him, He showers us in blessings too numerable to count.

God’s reflection is evident in my nephews’ actions toward their children. It makes me awestruck at God’s love for humanity. We wonder at times where God is when tragedy strikes. But God is still on His throne, still loving us, and still waiting on us to respond to Him. Tragedy happens because we live in a sinful world. It doesn’t mean that God has turned His back on us. He still loves us as a Father loves a child. Our defiant behavior will not be ignored for long before our loving Father will get our attention. Sometimes it takes a smack on the rear; sometimes it’s just a rebuke with words. But it never is done out of a lack of love.

I love the picture Luke painted of a prodigal son returning to his Father’s house (found in Luke 15). There wasn’t a day that the Father was not looking for the son to return. The moment the son was in view, the Father waited no longer; he ran toward his son. The Father wrapped him in the finest robe and put a ring on his finger. The son was restored to the family. God is the Father waiting for our hearts to turn toward Him. He is waiting to lavish us in His love. On this Father’s Day, remember God’s love for you. If you are a prodigal, it’s never too late to return to your Father’s house. He is waiting to wrap His arms around you and love you like you have never experienced before!

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:10-12


The Prodigal

Ever since I came back to the Lord in 1993, I recognize myself in the Prodigal Son (story found in Luke 15). I have often thought what if I had never returned. What if I had stayed on the outside of the Kingdom without returning to my Father’s house? There are no what ifs now. I have been fully embraced by my Father. I might have turned around, but God came running toward me. He initiated the hug (the Love) I received. I didn’t have to do anything, but receive His grace and mercy. He could have given me everything I deserved. I could have stayed in the servant’s quarters. I could have been forced to hard labor for my morsels of food. But God said, “No, you are my child!” God gave me His mercy and offered me His best. He clothed me in righteousness, even though I didn’t feel righteous. He offered me a ring to put on my finger; the ring of intention – the one where I will be His bride at the huge wedding feast. I am His beloved. What amazing grace!

When I was reading this story one morning, I felt such gratitude. I felt gratitude for the story representing God’s love for us even when we are in the dark places away from Him. I felt His love while as the Father waits with anticipation of the son’s return. He watched and waited for the first glimpse of his son. I also pictured Jesus returning to heaven after His death and resurrection. Do you think there was a celebration in the throne room that wonderful day? Do you see the angels celebrating around the throne that Jesus returned to them in His full glory? I can see it. I can see a great party when all those who call on Jesus as Savior return for the greatest celebration that will ever occur. But why wait until then to celebrate? Why aren’t we more joyful today? We have been given so much grace and mercy. We have been given joy through His unfailing love! Why aren’t we sharing the Good News that others who are far away can experience this too?

I don’t know about you, but I was never good enough to go to heaven on my own accord. I just don’t have that much goodness in me. I was given a book a couple of weeks ago about “How good is good enough?” by Andy Stanley. I read it and was so encouraged by the fact I don’t have to wonder if I made the quota of good deeds. Jesus did it all for me. I can rest in the assurance of His saving power that everything I ever did paled in comparison to what He did for me. The only goodness that is in me today is the goodness that Jesus gave to me through His death and resurrection. There is a mighty celebration going on today, and it’s in my heart filled with everlasting joy! Praise God for all the blessings that flow from His love, grace and mercy!

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

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