Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Sailing a ship in stormy weather can be hazardous unless the captain has the knowledge and expertise. High winds and enormous waves can cause the ship to sink or shipwreck. Many a vessel has been lost due to treacherous seas. Like the tempest at sea, we are living in a troubled world. However, Jesus said "...in the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33) Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy, "...in the last days perilous times will come." (2 Tim. 3:1) Listening to the news we can see that we live in very dangerous, risky and unpredictable days. One who does not have the Lord as his Savior, is generally fearful and fretful. Jesus is our lighthouse, illuminating the path to safety. Through His direction and knowledge from His Word there is hope. (Heb. 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to who be glory forever and ever. Amen") In light of the fact of circumstances we face, let's see how our Great Shepherd is characteristic of the lighthouse to us....
Psalms 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd;" Making Jesus the ruler of your life, places Him as your protector, and watcher of your life. A lighthouse is guidance to safety. Surrendering to Him, just like sheep do to a shepherd, allows Him to be a guide of security. Sheep know the shepherds voice and where He leads they follow, unlike goats that question and butt everything that comes against them. (John 10:4)
"I shall not want." Phil. 4:19 says, "He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." As your Shepherd, He's going to make sure you have provision for every necessity. His supply is satisfying if we follow Him, as a ship that follows the light from the lighthouse. The Bible also tells us, He will give us the desires of our heart as long as we are delighting in Him. (Ps. 37:4) In the place of every need is supply.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;" When sheep lie down it means they are satisfied and content. Because we are in His presence there is fullness of joy we can rest untroubled as well as at peace, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8 & Ps.16:11) Even in the midst of a stormy sea the beacon shines to give us confidence and peace.
"He leads me beside the still waters." We can be sure He's leading us to a place of refreshment and tranquility. When we delight in His Word, as we meditate day and night will place us by the rivers of water which provides sustenance. Therefore, keeping us refreshed and prosperous, quenching our thirst. (Ps. 1:1-3 & Jer. 17:3)
"He restores my soul;" God forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases. (Ps. 103:3) Regardless of how much we mess up, when we repent He forgives. Because of His infinite mercy and grace we are restored. The Holy Spirit gently signals us during times of struggles to escort us to the sanctuary for redemption.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." We can depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) He will usher us in the right direction and in safety. His Name is the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. Ps. 32:8 God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Keeping our vision focused on Him assures traveling in a sheltered course.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Life is full of tribulations and temptations. One thing for sure, is we are going to the other side of the problem. But we must remember not to set up camp in depression or sorrow. We are more than an overcomer through Him. Especially when storms are raging, there's trust in His guidance. Pro. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
"I will fear no evil, for You are with me;" Paul wrote, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) As long as we abide in the presence of the All Mighty God, we remain in His protection and fear will not affect us. (Ps. 91) Relying on the promise of His faithfulness to never leave or forsake us brings courage and strength. (Deu. 31:6-8) Just like the light signaling lost ships gives hope.
"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." God's Word is the instruction we need to get us through our life. In Ps. 119:105, it says, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That means it will point us in the right direction daily and for things to come. If we refer to the Bible everyday, it will teach, correct, and admonish us in living. (2 Ti. 3:16)
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" God is on our side. He will contend with those who contend with us. Although there are enemies, we will not just survive, but feast in the midst of them. We come out on top of situations because of Him. Ps. 18:3 says, we can call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us from our enemies. Our trust and faith in Him, will bring peace with any adversary. (Pr. 16:17)
"You anoint my head with oil;" The anointing of oil upon the head is symbolic of blessing, protection and empowerment. We are sanctified and set apart for Him. (1 Cor. 6:11) We are chosen to proclaim the praises of God. (1 Peter 2:9)
"My cup runs over." Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, overflowing, much more than is expected or needed. This is the blessing that spills over. We are blessed!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;" As long as we remain faithful to God's Word, we shall be in His mercy. Ps. 65:11 says, God crowns the year with His goodness, and richness overflows wherever He is. Steadfastly abiding in the Word and His presence guarantees goodness and mercy.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." We have guarantee of our place for eternity when Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior. This is a promise of security in eternity.
We want to encourage you to mediate on this scripture and let it become a reality in your heart. Realize that through the Word, God has given us guidance for anything we may face. He encourages us with the promises of provision, protection, healing, blessing, and His benefits. Our failure to recognize these, believe and trust Him, and receive it, puts us at risk in these insecure days. Don't shipwreck because you reject faith and a good conscience. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and sail through to the shore. You can do all things through Him, who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)
Phillipians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Only 5 more days till the new year! 2014! It's really hard to believe that we have already gone through this year. If you were to analyze this last year, would you do anything different? Perhaps you could ask yourself, are you completely satisfied with it's outcome? Is this where you saw yourself at the beginning of 2013?
Maybe the question we should be asking ourself, is what am I willing to change in 2014 to make it a better year? Yes, that's what we call 'resolutions'. New Year's resolutions! Sometimes we keep them, sometimes we don't. Many of us get weary half way through and just give up. It could be because we don't keep the vision before us. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it." Which gives the implication that we should keep the target of God's direction before us daily. So that as we go about our everyday business, we won't loose sight of our purpose OR His plan! We must determine what kind of 'resolutions' will help guide us towards that 'mark for the prize'?
'Resolutions', I just imagine most of you don't even like the sound of that word. It means we must have an intention, a determination, a resolve or the commitment. Commitment today is a term that's taken lightly, in marriage, in the job force, or in our relationship with God. If we don't like how something is proceeding, we toss in the towel. We give up, making all kinds of excuses why 'it' didn't work! "My spouse didn't understand me.", "My boss didn't recognize my talents.", or "God just doesn't answer me." Setting new resolutions, means we must take responsibility for ourself! Something in us has to change. We are only responsible to change one person! Ourself! No matter how hard you try, you're not going to change your spouse, nor are you going to transform your boss, and your most definitely not changing God. He is the same today, yesterday and forever! His Word remains forever.
Being able to start a new year, is like getting a brand new clean sheet of paper to write on. It's like a blank canvas. No mistakes, no messes, just a clean sheet of paper. Ready to start fresh. It's like letting all the past be past, knowing that what we've learned we can apply to the new days ahead. And just perhaps, we won't make the same errors. If we take the plans for the future, look at ourself and say, "What can I do different today, to insure a different tomorrow?" Smiling a little more, Praying a lot more, be increasingly kinder, giving beyond normal expectations or just doing something a little bit better than yesterday. It won't be long and you'll be able to see a change in your life. You'll be happier, healthier, and perhaps slight more wealthier. (Wealth is not always measured by money)
Let the New Year begin.... "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14
Believing for something, a financial increase, healing for the body, a restored relationship, even peace of mind, takes faith. It just depends where you place your faith. Some people place their faith in 'the worst thing that could happen'. These are the ones who believe that if anything bad can happen, it'll happen to them. Others, because of experienced faith, put their trust and belief in God, knowing that things are subject to change. The real problem with FAITH is, it must be consistent and people give up too soon. Since we live in a fast paced society, generally people believe situations should change NOW! And if it doesn't happen today or tomorrow, or even by next Friday, then they guess it's just not going to happen. As a result they draw back and cease believing, saying in their heart, "things will be this way always. I guess this was the way it was meant to be".
Hebrews 10: 38 says, "Now the just shall live by faith. But if anyone draws back. My soul has no pleasure in him." We all know that faith pleases God.
It is my firm belief and experience that to obtain, one must remain persistent reaching past unbelief and doubts. It's that never give up attitude, believing in the Word of God no matter what. We see this type of conviction displayed in athletes and people that have defeated overwhelming disabilities. And for the most part, we applaud them, with never the thought to apply that kind of certainty to our faith for our circumstance.
Abraham, when faced with the option of drawing back from faith, continued in hope believing that what God promised He would do. He was strong in faith, and he did not meditate on his predicament. Although he knew he and Sarah, in the law of nature, could not bring forth a son, he did not waver! Abraham remained committed in faith and gave glory to God for his son, whom he didn't see at that time. Now that's what I call confidence and persistence! Of course we know the rest of the story - Isaac was born!
It came to light yesterday, that when faced with believing for a particular situation to change, that it would be easy to give up. But you know what? I chose to extend my faith. Being fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is able to perform. Nothing, not circumstance, not pain, not anyones conversation can change my belief in the Word. No matter the hardship or difficulty I will not allow it to sway my faith. I am continually giving glory to God for the answer of His Word for my situation!
The challenges for most come in the fact that past incidents seem to outweigh trust or belief in God. Perhaps you've recently experienced a tragic fatality, a great financial loss, or a dreadful doctors report. As terrible as any of these may be the one thing I've realized is, that during any extreme severe situation we need the love of our Father God to help us get past the hurt and pain. (Romans 8:35-39)
Let me encourage you today, that with any circumstance you're addressing, remain determined to receive your answer from God. Resist becoming weary of waiting. Block the cries of defeat! "Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised." Heb. 10:35-36 amp. Remember FAITH tirelessly and determinedly stands by and never lets go of the things for which we hope! Then be relentless in giving glory to God for the answer to your faith.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."