Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Father's Plans for Us

History of Father’s Day
          Father’s Day was first suggested by Sonora Dodd in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Her father raised her alone because her mother had died when she was young. Single fathers were pretty much unheard of in those days. When a mother died, single fathers either quickly remarried or gave their children to relatives to raise. But Sonora’s dad did not do either and instead raised her alone.
          When others were celebrating Mother’s Day, she could not take part since she did not have a mother. She wanted a similar event to honor fathers so she could express her deep love to the father who worked so hard to raise her alone.
          She originally planned to celebrate the day on June 6 but the ministers in town who had agreed to help her with the project needed extra time to prepare special Father’s Day sermons so they selected the 3rd Sunday of June.
          We still celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June each year. Mrs. Dodd died in 1978 but was pleased that Father’s Day had become a national celebration before her death.
          Like Mrs. Dodd, we should all appreciate our fathers, or if we did not know our father, then the man who was/is the “father figure” in our lives.
          It is not easy being a dad or a father figure.
We should appreciate our fathers, or the father figures in our lives, because modern fatherhood is in trouble.
          The American family is falling apart.
          The divorce rate is approaching 50%.
          1/3 of all children in the U.S. live in homes without a father present.
          A growing number of children have no meaningful relationship with their father.
          Children, especially boys, who do not have a good male role model have a higher risk for engaging in self-destructive behaviors.
          Children, especially boys, who live in a home where the father does not attend church, are significantly less likely to attend church themselves as adults.
          Children who did not bond well with their earthly father have significantly more difficulty accepting the concept of a loving heavenly Father.
          Children abused by a male have almost overwhelming difficulties accepting the love of a heavenly Father.

Psalm 40:5 - LORD my God, You have done many things— Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told.
          Perhaps we had a great earthly father figure. Perhaps our earthly father figure may not have been all that we wanted him to be. But our heavenly Father has always been working behind the scenes and has big plans for our lives.
          Though we may wonder where God is when we go through difficult times in life, He is always working behind the scenes. When we look back, we often see His hand more clearly than when we were going through the actual experiences.
          Though we may never understand ALL of God’s plans, if we want to have a healthy view of our heavenly Father, it might help us to know at least some of His plans for us. There are at least three plans that the heavenly Father has for each person here.
John 1:12-13 - But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
          The first plan God wants for us is that we become one of His special children.
          Though all people are God’s children in a general sense, God has given special rights to people who have trusted Christ as Savior and developed a personal relationship with Him. Those who receive God as Father are given the RIGHT to be called his children.
          Though it would be great if everyone accepted His fatherhood, many have rejected Him. We accept the fatherhood of God through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
          Those who receive His fatherhood become his special children and discover a relationship with the ultimate father figure in the universe. Regardless of our relationship with our earthly father, God wants to fill the void in our lives as our heavenly Father.
          We may feel that we are unworthy to be one of God’s special children. Notice the passage says that we become His children because He desires it, not because we deserve it. God looked at all the billions of people on this planet and chose us to have a personal relationship with. Because God chose us, He did something inside of us to open our hearts and minds so we could come to know and understand Him.
          Have we responded to the call of God and embraced Him as our Heavenly Father? If not, we should make Him our Father on this Father’s Day by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.
          The second plan God has for us is that He wants us to prosper and have a good life.
          That does not mean we will all be rich and live in mansions, it means that our lives will be filled with the things that make life worth living. But there is a condition to this plan being fulfilled in our lives. God says that if we study the Bible and carefully follow its instructions, THEN we will have a prosperous and successful future.
          Numerous researchers have shown that following biblical principles leads to a more successful life.
          Scientists have now proven that prayer speeds healing after surgery and during treatments for cancer.
          There are a number of healthy diets on the market that are derived from Biblical principles.
          A number of relationship gurus draw their advice from the Bible.
          Financial planners agree that following the principles of saving and generosity found in the Bible is GREAT personal financial advice.
          A Christian businessmen’s group has proven that applying Christian principles to business increases profits.
          This does not mean that we will never have struggles or difficulties in life. It means that God will work through our struggles and difficulties to turn them into opportunities for prosperity and success.
Galatians 3:8 - Now the Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed in you.
          The third plan God has for us is that He wants to bless the world through us!
          Though the promise of the Messiah was first given to the Jews, God knew all along that the Gentiles would get to be in on the blessing.
          Now we get to take the blessings God has given us and share them with the world.
          We live in a self-centered world and Christians need to go against the self-centered culture around us and live in a way that blesses others.
          This is not just a “group thing.” God has a part for each individual to play in making the world a better place.
This summer my youngest son Jonas is in Haiti. He is investing 74 days in sharing the love of Christ with orphans. Though he is not yet a father, he is displaying the Father’s heart of love to children who have no father.
          Spending a summer in Haiti may not be what God’s plan is for me, or for you, but God does have a plan for each of us that includes being a blessing to someone else.
          Are we working with God to make the world a better place or still just living for ourselves?
          Are we willing to step outside our comfort zone and let God use us to change the world?
We may not know ALL of God the Father’s plans for our lives, but we do know that God’s plans for us include:
          The first plan God wants for us is that we become one of His special children.
          The second plan God has for us is that He wants us to prosper and have a good life.
          The third plan God has for us is that He wants to bless the world through us!
Are we following God’s plans for our lives?

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