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Son? Daughter? Me?

     Maybe you’ve read this verse before – John 1:10-13. Maybe not. Regardless, it’s quite a big deal and I’m publicly admitting I’ve glossed over it a few times hoping it would just go away so I wouldn’t have to be moved by it.

     You may have had the perfect dad growing up. Mine was often… “busy”. My older siblings had a different relationship with him. But by the time marriage #2 and child #6 came around, he was spread a bit too thin to give me the time and attention a kid like me was craving. So, reading about being a son gave me a bit of the same fear you get after you fall off a bike and get gravel in your knee and the doctor says “okay, time to go inside and clean this thing up…”

     This might sting. And, you might have to deal with some past hurt in order to heal fully and walk right again.

     Eventually, I did. I had some great opportunities over the past decade and a half to engage with my dad about what was “missing” from my childhood and experiencing his death a year and a half ag. My perspective has markedly shifted. Gone are many of the illusions I’ve had that God, as perfect Heavenly Father, was just a bigger version of an imperfect earthly father. Today, I understand “sonship” more clearly.

     Last week, I was reading Proverbs 2. Couldn’t get past the first two words: “My son…”

     How do you do when you read that? Today, I read it in light of the fact that every morning, I deserve to have a bottomless bucket of God’s wrath poured out on me all day long. Yet, He poured it out on Jesus instead. Do you consider the fact that despite all of your failures, foibles, and shortcomings, God – perfect, holy, righteous Elohim reaches out to you both in the Spirit and in the word to leave you notes of encouragement, wisdom, protection, even love? Have you considered that the Lord of everything that is, was, and is yet to come has taken the necessary steps to reveal himself to mankind, inspire errant men to write down His inerrant truth, and preserve and protect it to this day so that you and I can read the whole story (so far) of His pursuit of a traitor race that He loves and bids us call Him “Abba [Daddy], Father” (Romans 8:15)?

     Maybe you had a great, “available”, fully present Dad who offered you encouragement and love at every step – that’s great! You’ve been truly blessed. But, like all men, your Dad was still flawed – imagine what it will be like when we see Jesus face to face and He presents us to our perfect Heavenly Father!

     I pray today that we all begin to pick up Proverbs differently. In fact, that we pick up the bible differently, and own the fact that God calls us sons and daughters of the Most High even though without Christ we are nothing more than “objects of wrath” (Romans 9:22, Ephesians 2:3).

     Read on, sons and daughters. Let us walk on, as children of light.

in Christ,

AP

Maintaining Momentum – Forgetting Father’s Day?

Note:
Today’s post is longer than a minute. I won’t apologize. If you take the break required to watch the linked video and still read the whole post, we’re into about 7 or 8 minutes. If you only have a minute today, bookmark this and come back to it when you have four more minutes to watch and three more to read.

     Normally the week leading up to Christmas, I notice how cheery people are. Even some who wouldn’t consider themselves “church people” are wishing others well and forgiving things they’d otherwise harp on for days. It’s around that time I wish what you probably wish – “can’t we have the Christmas Spirit all year long?”

     But, we forget. Don’t we?

     We forget so quickly, that even a day after Veteran’s Day or Mother’s Day, we’re back to ignoring the vets or taking the Moms for granted again. This year, I’m going to prolong Father’s Day not because I’m a father, but because there is something about the Lord we need to remember “all year long”:


He invites us to call Him “Father”… not for a day, but for always.
I’ve got no verse for you today. Just read the Old Testament. Look at how many times “remember” and “Lord” appear together.

     Let me tell you a story to illustrate this.

     A son is wheelchair bound. Cerebral palsy – can’t talk, walk, etc., but through technology, can communicate via computer. Google “Team Hoyt” or “Rick & Dick Hoyt” when you can.

     The point for today is this: the son can’t run, bike, or swim, but His dad can – and at his son’s urging, went into training in his late 50s to do a 5K, and eventually a triathlon. This means he puts his crippled son in a raft and swims with son in tow, gets out of the water and onto a bike carrying his son in a seat on the bike, then runs, pushing a wheelchair that carries his son. For an Iron Man race, it’s a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run – hard enough for one man to do on his own, but somehow this dad does them all for two.

     Father’s Day is a week behind us. Christmas is months away. Both can call us to reflect on our relationship with God in a unique and personal way. I’m not here to bother the single guys with thoughts of what it will be like, or isn’t yet like, to be a dad. I’m not here to challenge dads to “try harder”. My hope is that you’ll watch the video above and meditate on a couple of questions:

Q: What does the son really bring to the table when it comes to running an Iron Man Triathlon?
A: Could it be the same thing that you and I bring to the table when it comes to living righteously?

     It’s been said that the only thing we bring to the equation of our salvation is our need for a Savior. What do you think? Some of us suffer from the “liability of ability”: the more gifted we are the more we think we made it all happen. This only leads to self reliance. Smaller package than what God desires for us.

     In reality, we’re beggars telling other beggars where to get some bread. We’re quadriplegics being dragged, carried and pushed across the finish line of life. My favorite moment in this video is toward the end of the run where the son appears to be egging the crowd on as if to say “Look at my Dad! Give it up for my Dad!!!” His dad carried himself and his son through every mile of the race. What has God carried you through?

Humbled… How about you?

     What if it can be Father’s Day everyday, beneath the wings of the Father of all creation who loves us enough to reach out to us even we are enemies of the cross? For the rest of the year, can we do better than the “Christmas Spirit”? Can we have the Father’s Day Spirit all year long? Can we all, everyday, just shout “Look at my Dad!”?

Much love,

AP