Monday, February 05, 2007

Black History Month and Family

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.”
(Proverbs 12:14)

Black History Month is upon us. It is a time to reflect and celebrate the significant contributions that people of color have made toward the betterment of this nation known as America. This month, I celebrate family, that is, the value and importance of family in the midst of our deteriorating society. In this issue, I call out to men, and women, to celebrate family and its positive impact. Here is my story:
“Daddy, daddy, welcome home!” are the words that I hear almost everyday from my sons as I arrive home from a hard day’s work. “Glad to see you, Daddy!” they say with such joy and tenderness of heart. I cannot explain in words how proud that makes me feel. Nor can I write about the shear delight as I see their little faces twinkle as I enter the door each day. “How was your day, son?” I ask each of them. “Good, Daddy,” they utter back with such confidence. What a precious way to end my day!
As a Christian man, father, husband, author and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am on a mission to inspire, encourage, and challenge everyone within my sphere of influence. My mission in life is to reinforce why it is important to glorify God, the one who created us. God birthed us into this world for specific reasons: (a) To do His will and, at the same time, (b) To fulfill our purpose. Fatherhood falls in line with our purpose. Quite frankly, fatherhood, is in line with the purpose for all men, whether you actually father a child or not. Our lifestyles are the examples that the youth of this world observe to distinguish between right and wrong. Since they cannot see an invisible God, our role is to make God clear and visible through our lifestyles.
Father is a noun, and derives from the Greek word patēr, meaning “a nourisher, protector, and upholder.” This word, in its singular form, as written in The Holy Bible, is used 963 times! Other forms of this word include:
§ fathers – 522 times,
§ father’s - 146 times,
§ fathers’ – 10 times, and
§ fatherless – 41times.
Further, there are 254 references to the Heavenly Father (God Almighty) throughout the Scriptures.
The biblical definition of father is: A nourisher, a protector, and an upholder.
A Nourisher
This means to supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth, to cherish or keep alive, and to strengthen or promote.
A Protector
This means to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, or insult, to cover, to shield, and to provide.
An Upholder
This means to support or defend, to lift upward, support, or raise, and to keep up or keep from sinking.
Abba is a biblical word for “‘Daddy.’” It is an ancient Aramaic word and considered a peculiar term for Father-God, used by Jesus Himself. All three New Testament references are specific to God and shows that God is a loving, approachable Father:
a. “And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).

Here, Jesus addresses God with the household term for Father. This was unheard of in Palestinian Judaism at that time. It points to Jesus’ unique relationship to God. So it is with the natural father. Because of the unique relationship that we have with the children that we have fathered, they should feel comfortable enough to approach us at any time, in any situation. Do you create an environment in which you children can approach you? Care for your children as God cares for us – His children.

b. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

Abba becomes the intimate name that is only used by believers, in terms of our relationship with our Heavenly Father-God. The Holy Spirit places the believer as a son in God’s family. Abba denotes the intimacy of the believer’s relation to God. When our children call us “‘Daddy,’” they are expressing a natural intimacy towards their natural father.
Biblically, there is no difference between the love that a father has towards his child, whether they become our children by natural birth or through adoption. We became children of God through the Spirit of adoption. Likewise, through the natural process of adoption, our children become ours. Either way, our ordained role as a father requires that we take proper stewardship over these precious little ones with unconditional love.

c. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

Again, every child of God was divinely given the Holy Spirit the moment we were adopted by God. Abba represents the term by which the father was called in the affectionate intimacy of the family. The Spirit gives us an awareness that God is our Father.

The Word of God is consistent throughout The Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Fathers are called to protect, nourish, and uphold. When we fulfill this role, our children will indeed feel comfortable in our presence, know that they can approach us, will not be ashamed to cry on our shoulders, and will ask of us their hearts’ desire, knowing that their father will respond with the truth. Be a father as God intended for you to be. God will surely smile upon you and the blessings upon your family will come through you as their conduit and as the head of your household. YOU ARE A FATHER. Love your ordained role and be fulfilled while doing it! What a precious word to hear: Daddy.

Excerpt: Blended Families: An Anthology © 2006 & Give God the Glory! The Godly Family Life, Chapter Four © 2005, both by Kevin Wayne Johnson