What happened to the practice of a father blessing his children? When I say “bless”, I don’t mean the act of bestowing material goods. I mean blessing in a similar sense that we use the word “anoint” in the biblical context.
In the Bible, we see several instances where a father gives his children a blessing, and this would include an affirmation of who they are and what the father is praying they will become.
Today, we live in a society that would reject this concept on many levels. The current prevailing conversation about the growth of a child centers on the child exploring who they are and forming their own identity. There is nothing wrong with allowing a child to grow and discover what occupation they want to be involved in, but this is not the same as the concept of identity. This task can be confusing and even discouraging for a young person. Perhaps, they are not supposed to do this alone.
The biblical imagery of the father’s blessing shows that the father is instrumental in calling the spiritual identity out of the child as if they were calling upon a militia in hiding to join the battle. A father or father figure’s affirmation in this area is vital, because he is the one who is tasked with recognizing what is not easily seen in this young life.
Today, I want to make known the blessings I have for my children in the form of short letters:
Your name means, “God Heals”. You have such a competitive, and powerful spirit and I have recognized that you also have a compassionate heart. You are my boy, and I love you. Heal the broken. Clothe the naked. Feed the less fortunate. Become a hero to the hurting. You were made, just like the king in scripture who also bears your name, to bring people back to God. You have a huge job ahead of you, and I bless you in the name of Jesus. Grow into who you were made to be. I am so proud of who you already are and how you are a champion for the less fortunate. Fall in love with God’s word. Continue to fight for what is right. Serve the church. Give generously. Share your testimony of how God will show you His miracles. Never stop doing good.
You are my little princess. You were made to glorify God with your body, mind, and spirit. You are too gorgeous for your own good, and this fact will give you great power and impact on the world around you. Always remember that you are perfect. Reject the devil’s lies. He doesn’t stand a chance against you as long as you remain in Christ. I have recognized in you the power you possess in your prayers. So, I am calling out this gift in you. In the name of Jesus, I am blessing you in this area. Continue to grow as a mighty prayer warrior. Someday, you will be sought out for this quality and people will specifically ask you to intercede for them. Your words, and your connection to God will change the outcome of lives that are represented on your prayer list. People will sense God’s presence when they are around you. Even though you are little, you have impressed me with your desire to be nurturing, kind, and loving. Don’t forget who you are and, most of all, whose you are. Daddy loves you.
Kids need direction and affirmation for who they are. They are brand new explorers of this world, and without a tour guide, they will become lost. If you are reading this today, will you allow me to bless you too?
In the name of Jesus, I am calling out the spirit that made you who you are and who God wants you to be. Love each other. Stand for what is right. Pray for your enemies. Remember your value. Don’t forget who you are and whose you are…
That’s all I got…
Love you all.
My son loves when I tell him a story before he goes to bed. I like to think it is because he thinks I am an excellent story teller, but the truth is he simply knows that he can stay up for those last few minutes if I tell him one.
Sometimes, it is a story from his Children’s Bible, and other times it is more of a biographical tale of something that happened when I was a child. Lately, I have made up children’s stories. They usually have a hidden lesson. He loves it when I make them up.
Two nights ago, I made up a story that was loosely based on another story I heard when I was young. You may have heard a similar version, but the story was about a man who prayed and asked God to make him strong. This man prayed and prayed because he was a weak man who really wanted supernatural strength. He desired to be a superhero (my boy loved that prayer). Everyday, God told this man to go outside and push on the same large boulder. This boulder was immovable, and each day this man became more and more frustrated because he could not move it. He questioned what the point was if it could not be moved. He was also frustrated because he had to walk a long way through the woods to get to this boulder. Daily, his body would ache as he attempted to push this rock. He would wake up every morning sore and dreading the next attempt. He continued to obey, though.
After 3 months of this strenuous routine, this man became angry with God and decided to stop praying for this transformation. He believed God was good, and that He could do anything…he was just tired of praying. He pledged to God, however, that he would do it one more time. So, he began his trek through the woods to find the large boulder.
He was halfway to his destination when he heard a weak cry for help. He moved around to see where the cry was coming from and he noticed it became louder near a large hole in the ground. He looked in the hole and saw a little boy who had fell and was hurt. The man reached down and easily pulled the boy to safety. The man soon realized that his months of pushing made him stronger than he ever was. God had answered his prayer. He was a hero.
Sometimes we feel so helpless that we forget that God is working in our lives. We focus on our inadequacies. It is His strength, mercy, and power that matter…not our might or understanding.
Never stop praying. Even when it seems like the object in front of you seems immovable. Perhaps God is changing you while you are praying for the situation to change. Keep pushing.
Love you all.
Just accept it now. On all of your checks, occupational paperwork, and other important documentation, you are going to write 2015 for approximately 4 weeks. If you are lucky, you will cease this trend before February, but let’s just all agree that there is grace for those who do this. Don’t worry. You will learn to correct this mistake.
You will also go to the gym religiously until February 19th and then life will make it harder to commit. Okay, so I may not be giving humanity enough credit, but whatever our fate may be in 2016, it is vital to look back on the previous year to reflect on the lessons that we learned. For me, there could be a hundred pages filled with nuggets of wisdom I have gained. Today, I want to talk about just 7 of them.
These are 7 Lessons I learned in 2015:
I don’t have to understand God’s plan
This lesson is a hard one for many believers to accept. We often think that, in order for God’s plan to be holy, beneficial, and redemptive then it has to pass through our mental and emotional filter. The fact is God has an amazing and powerful plan for each one of us, and the more we fight Him on this, the less joy we get out of the process. We must learn to trust even when it doesn’t make sense.
God is not my helper
When I see the bumper sticker, “God is my co-pilot”, I have want to ask why. The reason for this popular cliché is probably because humanity has a tendency to want to be in control. Scripture tells us that God does not belong in the passenger’s seat, or even in the driver’s seat (sorry Carrie Underwood), but He is the road, the signs, the car, the engine and the fuel. My prayer life has changed from, “God, please help” to, “Lord, please guide”. I have learned that God desires for me to be ready for His will not impose mine upon Him.
People don’t want to just hear about Jesus…
I could be the best preacher in the country, but if my spiritual walk does not match the words that are coming out of my mouth then I am a fraud. People don’t want to just hear about Jesus; they want to see Him in action. This is not only in my life that is lived outside of the church doors, but also in the life I live in private.
I can’t do life on my own
When we feel hurt, afraid, or disappointed it is easy to tell ourselves the lie that we can do better on our own. We think the remedy for alleviating all hurt is isolation. When this line of thinking is embraced, we see things like addiction, self abuse, and depression talk full hold. God made us for His glory, but His glory can be seen in the context of community and pouring into the lives of others…or allowing others to pour into us.
Often we are the only obstacle in our spiritual growth
I can’t tell you how many people I have ministered to that had no desire to grow, but only the desire to be served. This may seem harsh but there has to come a point where we start to own our mistakes, faults, and the scars of our past and seek to overcome the hurdles. Sure, there is grace and mercy available for all, and there are none that lack a certain level of brokenness, but we can’t stay there. As a Christ-following community we must understand what it means to love, and serve, but to also allow people to be stretched in their faith. Pain can be our biggest catalyst for growth. In my experience, I have realized that sometimes I don’t allow myself to grow, because what I am doing is still Godly, and it is also comfortable. I stand in my own way.
Prayer works even when it doesn’t work
I am fortunate enough to have been born into a legacy of believers that has seen the power of prayer. This doesn’t mean, however, that I do not become discouraged when God does not answer when I expect Him to. What if God plans to answer our prayer, but it is not imperative that we have a hand in it? Think about Moses. Moses’ prayer was that his people would be set free, and given their own homeland just as God promised. The Lord honored this prayer in His timing, and the people inherited a land that was fertile, rich, and accommodating. Moses, though, did not get to experience it. It may be hard to hear, and maybe you will see the answer, but God’s plans are bigger than your wants, fears, and even dreams. It could also be that God is waiting for you to let go of the outcome. Keep praying, but surrender to whatever the answer may be. Don’t let your feelings dictate your prayers.
My contentment is my responsibility
I cannot rely on other people, situations, or outcomes to control my level of contentment. This posture is one that stems from a decision in my own heart and mind. As Christians, this lesson can be a tempting one to disregard. Sometimes, when something looks discouraging, we tend to equate that with “God’s leading” and thus avoid any more hurt. In all actuality, He could have a completely different purpose for allowing you to go through it. Personal growth, of course is the goal when faced with difficulty, but perhaps the goal is also the growth of someone else.
Trust God’s agenda.
As you anticipate what 2016 will bring, look for lessons you can reflect on. Don’t just survive.
Love you all
“Sometimes, I hear people talk about the different men and women of the Old Testament, and there is a hint of jealousy. They may say it, or just insinuate it, but here’s what they communicate…’What would it have been like to hear God’s voice and see him move in such powerful ways? I wish it was the same for us as it was for those whose stories we read about in scripture.
When I get to heaven I can’t wait to ask David, Elijah, or Moses what it was like.’ But I think it will be just the opposite in heaven. Before we can ask David what it was like to slay a giant, to win the battles, he’ll say, Tell me what it was like on earth to have the Holy Spirit inside of you, giving you strength when you are weak. We might say to Elijah, What was it like to call down fire from heaven before the prophets of Baal and to raise that boy from the dead? And I think Elijah might say, yeah, he actually ended up dying again. You tell me what it’s like to have God living inside of you. What was it like to live life on earth with the Holy Spirit giving you joy when you’re depressed or giving you the power to overcome that sin in your life? We might say to Moses, What was it like to follow the cloud by day and the fire by night? What was it like to meet with God on that Mountain? And Moses might say, I had to climb that mountain to meet with God. You tell me what it was like to have him dwell in you everyday. What was it like to have the Holy Spirit giving you directions when you didn’t know what to do or where to go?”
–Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus Christ, Kyle Idleman
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.- Genesis 1:3
I can remember many times in which I would venture out to my grandpa’s workshop when I was a child. He had barrels full of different types of wood, nails, saws, and everything else that could get a little boy in trouble. Often I would began building something and after about an hour….I would figure out what I was going to make. Usually, I would start nailing and then see what the creation looked like, and start making it look more like what I wanted it to eventually become. I can’t even count how many times I set out to make a pinewood derby car, and ended up with half a box. The fact is….I would often get tired of nailing and cutting so I would leave the creation on the bench and leave. My grandparents didn’t care though…it would keep us kids out of the house for a few hours.
God never gets tired of creating. Many humans are under the impression that creation stopped on the 6th day in the book of Genesis. The Bible indicates that God is constantly refining, rebuilding, recreating, and transforming things all around us….and within us. New babies are knit together in the womb everyday. New land is being formed and built under the surface of the ocean on a regular basis. Even the death of a tree implies life only a couple seasons away.
We often think that our problems are too cumbersome for God to handle. Or, perhaps we believe that God is too busy to hear our cry. Truth be told, God did not sit down in a workshop and fashion all of creation. He simply spoke. All matter that exists as of this moment was spoken into being by God. God’s plan is perfect and timely, yet it is born from the sound of His voice. His desire is to continue creation within us. With just a word….God can create light from the darkness that we are stumbling through.
We can find comfort in the power gentleness that is found in our Creator.
I was discouraged to say the least. Resting on a rock in the coolness of the night, I began to pray and look at the vast ocean of stars above my head. What was my purpose? Why was I here? I knew that God had more for me to do and experience but I was getting old. Much of my discouragement came from the fact that I knew I was getting old, and I had no sons to take care of my estate after my death. Call me old fashioned, but I just really thought it was important to pass on my possessions to the next generation.
As I rested and prayed, God revealed to me that I would be the father of many. I immediately thought of my age and my energy level. Even if this was true….how? My wife was past the age in which she could conceive a child (not to mention the lack of desire to take part in the “creative process”). I laugh about it now, because God has always been faithful to his word and I tend to listen to my fears. I was scared, confused and thought God was having a mental breakdown and needed a vacation. He promised me that day with a blood covenant of various animals. I suppose God knew something I didn’t know….like always.
Fast forward: God did what he said he would do. I found out, not only was God referring to my own blood line, but the promise He made also extended to people who embraced His son (very clever). Now, I have the opportunity to watch this story play out and I have made a couple observations about my “children”.
The one observation I can personally relate to has to do with God’s provision. Generation after generation has made the same mistake. No matter how many time God provides, we think that it was all a coincidence and God couldn’t possible do it again. We all know not to take God for granted, but this sentiment is taken so far to the extreme to the point where we don’t grant God the opportunity to show His power.
Finally, my children fail to remember that God can make future impossibilities a current reality. In the process our lives are changed and our capacity for deeper faith is increased. It is a difficult process to embrace, but pays infinite dividends if we choose to allow God to work.
Children, sometime soon, look into the sky and notice all the stars and realize something very important. God’s blessings are not limited and He hasn’t even scratched the surface with you.