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In this Issue

Fathers and Fatherhood


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Fathers and Fatherhood

The burden I have relating to section is very real. I’ve no wish to simply alienate people by what I write, but neither do I want to water down its message just to avoid criticism, because then there would no point in writing it. Truly the fear of man is a snare; so after some soul-searching this is result.

This critique is directed particularly at the role of fathers and their responsibility in the home. I realise many fine books have already been written on this subject; but I believe that what I am saying here has something fresh to add to what has already been said. Many Godly mothers have stood in the breech for their families because their husband was an unbeliever, and we are indebted to God for them, but it was not God’s intention that they should carry the burden because the father was absent or had abdicated his role. When we take stock of the homes in our society today we can see the sorry state that many are in. The statistics for Christian homes fare little better than the homes of the so called unconverted. This state of affairs is inexcusable. The blain for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the fathers.

We live in a toxic society:
Toxin is poison secreted by a microbe causing some particular disease (Oxford dictionary).
One in two marriages fail, and where children are involved the consequences are inestimable. Presently 150 million children go to bed every night in America in a home where only one natural parent is present, and that number is rising. In Australia it’s over two million.

Vast numbers of homes are dysfunctional. Sexual violation, substance abuse, and gambling are common practice in homes throughout the country. Millions cannot function without anti depressants in western societies. Most will never come off these drugs. They are hooked on them for the rest of their lives. Millions of others have uncontrollable addictions that drive them to commit violent crimes against the elderly in particular who are powerless to protect themselves. The consequences of their vile attacks are immeasurable. These impoverishing addictions drive to suicide, and an early grave. These problems include unwanted pregnancies, child abuse, violence and murder. In Australia and New Zealand we are constantly hearing reports of mothers and fathers spitefully murdering their own children. This is a sign of the last days, where Paul said people would be without natural affection.

As it takes several auxiliary bodies such as doctors, lawyers, ministers, parents and police, to try and prop up each evil condition; the situation is hopeless. Because of the enormity of the problem there are simply not enough helpers, or financial support to make a difference. As the state of affairs reaches critical mass govt agencies are at wits end searching for answers that elude them, and they will continue to do so unless we have a national moral revolution. That is not likely to ever happen.

Countless young children live in extremely dangerous homes in neighbourhoods all around us. Yes, that’s right, their homes are a war zone, and they are always the victims. The suffering and abuse that many endure is horrendous. After living the first years of their lives in homes such as these, their brains and emotions have been wired for every kind of violent, anti-social and moral malfunction imaginable.

Then we must ask ourselves, that if these statistics for broken marriages is the same among Christians, what percentage of all these other stats apply? The answer is they are much higher than we are prepared to admit. A physician told me that 25% of those that come into his surgery for consultation are suffering from life threatening ailments; and the percentage is rising. We may be living longer, but what is the quality of these lives? He went on to say that Christian patients were coming to his practice wanting prescription drugs for what was essentially a spiritual disorder. You can mask spiritual problems, and you can’t cure them with chemicals.

Those of us who have put on Christ will immediately say ‘the reason is plain’ they do not know the Lord. It’s not that simple, because in spite that many Christian homes are a war zone.

Blessings and cursing:
The curse without a reason will not come laments the writer of proverbs.
Proverbs 26:2. “As the sparrow in her wandering; as the swallow in her flying; so the curse that is causeless will not come”.

First the natural and then the spiritual: let us see how this applies to the way the new millennium (spin doctors) treat their patients in their pews? They serve up a diet of fuzzy feel good rhetoric, with lashings of funky music, and a casual attitude to alcohol and sex. Why; because they want to keep those seats filled. Many live defeated lives at home with families that are totally dysfunctional.

Dawson Trotman’s excellent book “Born to reproduce” gave birth to the Navigators movement.
The principle behind Navigators was predicated on Timothy 2:2. “The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
We see this taking place between Paul and his faithful son in Christ Timothy.
Timothy had a good heritage, which was passed down to him through his mother and grandmother.
John and Charles Wesley’s remarkable Mother did likewise.
Jeremiah asks the rhetorical question when he said in Ch 8:22. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is the health of the daughter of my people not recovered?
The culprit as always is sin. A sin is the result of disobedience.
The divorce rate among Christians is identical to the population at large, and the consequences paid for by the children are immeasurable.
The absentee father is the major cause for the many ills that plague society. Christian homes are no different. Many children live in a home where one marriage partner is not their natural parent. I the stranger that wins the mothers affection is mostly hated vehemently.

Society in the main has handed responsibility for the training of their children over to the school; the government; and in the case of Christians it’s given to the Sunday school teachers at the church...
Do we have a case to answer? The evidence all around us seems to imply strongly that we do. Every father needs to humbly look to himself, and refresh his memory with regard to his role in his home.
He needs to repent and seek forgiveness and act decisively. In restoration every man built over against his own house. Nehemiah 3:28-30. There will be no lasting spiritual benefit or change until it begins in your home.

Where are the watchmen over their homes? Isaiah 62:6.
A little slumber, a little sleep and like an armed man our want came.
The condition of many Christian homes is tragic. Their excuses for failure are legion. Things just seemed to sneak up on them according to them that they didn’t really approve of, but gradually accepted and then learned to live with. We fathers need to be honest with regard to our culpability in this wicked state of affairs. Thank God it’s never too late to act and ask God for help. He is the repairer of the breach and the restorer of paths to dwell in.
We needed to do more than lift up our hands in Church. We did it for years but where were our children when we were doing it; and more to the point where are they today?

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord, and when we do, we will find He is faithful to forgive us and help us to do something about it.
You can start standing by proxy for each of your children before the Lord; and begin to cry out to God daily as Job did! Job didn’t wait until his children turned their back on God; he instructed them and prayed for them continuously.

Job 1:1-5: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. He was without sin and upright, fearing God and keeping himself far from evil. And he had seven sons and three daughters. And of cattle he had seven thousand sheep and goats, and three thousand camels, and a thousand oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great number of servants. And the man was greater than any of the sons of the east. His sons regularly went to one another's houses, and every one on his day gave a feast: and at these times they sent for their three sisters to take part in their feasts with them. And at the end of their days of feasting, Job sent and made them clean, getting up early in the morning and offering burned offerings for them all. For, Job said, it may be that my sons have done wrong and said evil of God in their hearts. And Job did this continually whenever the feasts came round.

To all the victims of parents that failed them the psalmist says:
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up Psalm 27:10. Yes that’s right, He will gather you up and take you in.
To the fatherless He will become your protector, provider and constant companion.
To the widow He will be your husband.
The Old Testament closes with the most a solemn call to fatherhood. It is a prophetic promise to all future generations that has both positive and negative consequences. We will need to get our act together if we are to be blessed and not cursed.

Malachi 4:5-6.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse".

Turn the hearts of the Fathers to their children
Turn the hearts of the children to their Dads
Turn the hearts of the Family to each other
Turn the hearts of the children to the Lord

We need to understand that the father’s role is paramount in the mind of God. We cannot move forward until we acknowledge this.

Where are all the children?
Every Christian generation seems to be trying to reach its youth. In many cases they are the offspring of Christian homes that failed to raise their children for Christ.
Since we are His offspring we must look to our heavenly Father in all things.
Our Father in Heaven is omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent.
He is the flawless Father.
His position is unassailable.
Conversely we were flawed in every way through the fall.
God intervened, redeemed us, and began the process of re-generation in us. Since we became His property He has provided everything necessary for our growth and maturation into full sonship.
John 1:12 To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Abraham offered his son to God in an act of obedience.
And God gave Isaac back to father Abraham to raise Him up for Himself.
Many have given away that which they had no right to give.
They have given up their children for a religious dream.
Some fathers handed their responsibility over to their wife.
While some couples went to the mission field and gave their offspring to a Christian Institution to raise so they could devote themselves to saving the heathen.
How misguided can you get?
What does it profit a man if he takes the Gospel to a nation, and loses his family in the process?
What have we sacrificed to pursue our ministry?
Have we neglected our first responsibility to serve a vile institution called “church”?
They taught us that loyalty to church activities was akin to serving God.
They said God requires us to respond to our church’s efforts to fulfil the “Great Commission”.

The Shepherding movement in the US and the House church movement in Britain in 80’s and 90’s were manipulative and controlling to the extreme. Are you committed to me said the pastor? Like a fool I said yes, instead of asking him by what authority did he ask me to make that kind of a commitment to him.

When you should have been at home with your wife and children, praying with them, and tucking them into bed, you were immersed in setting up a pilot program that some American religious spin doctor claimed would enrich your life and reach the youth of your city for God; all the while your own children were ignored.

Perhaps you went prayer walking around your neighbourhood because you heard George Otis Jr waffle on about it; this inspired your pastor to get you all out at night to do likewise. Or perhaps you snuck out one dark night to the stake out the gates of your city for God like Captain Frank Damazio of Bible Temple Portland Oregon.
This isn’t the end of this subject; I’m just warming up to it.
Yes you’ll hear more you can be certain of that.
To coin a phrase “have a happy day” and you will if you turn you life over completely to Christ.

 
For more material on Kingdom living view
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Shaun Kearney
en engape!