Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day

This goes out as a wish to all fathers: may the Lord God richly bless you as you seek to lead your children to walk closer to Him. I have been a father for 30 years and therefore feel I have some experience which I can gather from. I also have an earthly father who passed on to his reward about 18 months ago who had a tremendous influence on my life. I lived at home only 17 years and because my parents were missionaries to Korea, I rarely spent more than a couple weeks with them since then, so the influence of my father was packed in those early formative years.

As a father, I have tried to pattern myself after my father. He was a godly man and a good father. On a trip to California last year, I was in a conversation with a couple other Christian men. We were talking about our fathers and I was struck by the fact that both of them considered their fathers as cruel, one of them telling me that I was unusual in the fact that I had a father worth emulating. I hope that is not the case, but the fact remains that all of us have rebelled against God and chosen a path of wickedness and only as we allow God to change our hearts can we become worthy parents. There is much that can be said about fathers loving their children. The example that we see in our heavenly Father is one we ought to follow.

Something my father told me when I was newly married was that he didn’t remember spanking me after I was 7 or 8 years old. All I remembered was a lot of spankings because I was pretty much a brat when I was little! He said he didn’t need to spank me at that age because the discipline had started very early and had been very consistent. I tried that with my own children and it worked! I didn’t always discipline in love nor was I always consistent, but with hard work and prayer on my part, and mercy and grace on God’s part, I have four wonderful children that I have given to God. I believe they will carry on what they have been taught to the next generation. I think that too little and too late discipline has produced not necessarily little brats, but spoiled children that then are on the receiving end of punishment and often abuse by parents that are wondering what happened to the cute little kids they once were. Now it is not always the fault of the parents when children stray. They have their own will. Then we, as fathers are obligated to never give up, but to forgive for all the hurt they may cause and attempt to show the patience and love of God as we pray and draw them back.

Dads, this Sunday is your day. I trust that your children will reciprocate the love that you show them. May they honor you as you raise them to love the Lord your God. And as we show love and honor to our fathers, may we especially show love and honor to our eternal Father.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Your Majesty

A couple years ago, as a deacon, it was my privilege once a month to welcome the congregation at the beginning of the Sunday morning service and then open with prayer. One Sunday morning I began the prayer with, ‘Your Majesty.’ I know that is a little odd, but I did receive several compliments about the prayer, although I am not fishing for platitudes when I pray. After all, prayer is conversing with our holy God.

Under religious viewpoint on my Facebook, I have ‘serving King Jesus.’ My personal view concerning the Kingdom of God is not that we are to be bringing in the Kingdom, because the Kingdom is already here. Although the Kingdom does not consist of any land here on earth, nor is the King present physically, He has many subjects who not only serve Him, but also worship their King. Being of the pre-millennial persuasion, I believe that King Jesus will return seven years after the Rapture and set up a kingdom on earth. But that doesn’t stop me from believing that the kingdom He was referring to in the parables in Matt. 13 is one which is here on earth now.

All of this is just the introduction to comments about Jesus the Messiah. Many people have the mistaken belief that Jesus had a first and last name, Jesus Christ. Actually the word Christos is the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah. Messiah may be translated as ‘Anointed One’ and throughout the Old Testament God was developing the doctrine of the coming Savior/King. Because of the difficulty in understanding prophecy, many Jews mistakenly believed that the Messiah would come to set up an earthly kingdom. They did believe correctly that the Messiah was the Son of God. It was the whole rationale behind their desire for a death sentence – Jesus in so many words admitted that He was the Messiah (Matt. 26:64).

Since He has already paid the penalty for our sins, Jesus is now in Heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father. He is the King of kings and when we refer to Jesus Christ, let us be conscious of what we are saying. Every time the word Christ is used, it should remind us that He is the Anointed One – the coming King, but also the present King. I love the Jewish Yeshua-ha-Mosshiach, Jesus the Messiah! I may have butchered the spelling, but let’s all love and serve our great and good King, our wonderful Jesus Christ!