Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hearts of the Fathers and the Children

Malachi 4:1-6  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  (2)  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (3)  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.  (4)  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  (5)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  (6)  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. 

My dad is the hardest worker I  know. While growing up, he worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs just to support his wife and 5 children. I get my work ethic from him. He was dependable and always at his jobs. I don't ever remember my dad being home for a sick day. I remember my mom piling us up in the old Station wagon ,on many occasions, and we would travel to our Dad's job to bring him that day's supper. It was sad , growing up, that my dad was always at work. We did not get to really know him very well. Oh he would try to do stuff with us on the weekends, and I will forever cherish those moments. Those moments of football playing, wrestling on the ground, and just sitting around watching TV with my dad. My dad did not grow up with a presence of a father in his life. His dad divorced his mom and remarried. He had another family that he spent time with but never had a relationship with my dad and his brother. This caused Dad to struggle at times being a father to us children, but he fought hard to be the best Dad he could be. My dad would always hug us and kiss us on the forehead. I always remember my dad's kiss on the forehead. I guess it was an Italian thing, but it is something that sticks with you. I always tried to do the same with my children and still do.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 15. Mom and I moved down to Florida while Dad and my two youngest siblings stayed in South Carolina. I did not have my Dad during my teenage years when I needed him the most. We would talk on the phone but I could never really tell him how I felt. It was not his fault or anyone's fault. It was just how I felt at the time. I always felt like my mom and dad divorced because of me. I was the only Christian in my household at the time of their divorce, although they both claimed to be Christians, they would later admit that Jesus was not in them. I remember giving them both advice on how to have a marriage for God and it falling on death ears.  I use to feel like I failed them both, and it was my fault they could  not stay together. There is a pain that children go through when their two parents divorce. Their whole world comes crashing at the time and their security is broken. If you have never been through it; you can never fully understand. For me the absence of my Dad in my  teenage years turned me closer to my heavenly Father. My life with my Heavenly Dad grew immensely and profoundly. Daddy God filled in the gaps of my life, and I am forever grateful. I am the man I am today because of my Dad and my heavenly Dad. Plus the many male mentors and influences that the Lord has brought to my life over the years like Glenn Barry ( my spiritual dad at the time),Ron Bolin ( my Youth Pastor whom I wish I could find), Randy Honeycut, ), Leon Bible( my old Pastor and teacher), Bobby Taylor ( Rob Taylor's Dad),Micah Baldwin ( my Boss ), Pappy Grimes ( my Drill Sargent in boot camp), Sheldon( wonderful Christian brother in San Antonio who took me to church), Fernando Impang, Ulyses Carnice, Philbert Herinques ( my apostle friend who is now with the Lord. I miss him so much. He truly was a great friend and brother in the Lord. [ crying now]) and many more past, present and future.

Right now my dad does not speak to me for whatever reason. I have tried to talk with him. All I can get from him are texts on the phone. Hey I take what I can get. I know it will change and God will restore.  I never wanted to be one of those people who used their up bringing as a cop out to sin. I have ministered to countless of people over the years who have these cop outs in life. " My dad did not talk to me growing up so that is why I sleep around with other women." " Mom and dad made me go to church that is why I don't go now." " My parents use to make me eat my veggies so that is why I watch porn on the internet."  I know these are silly sounding but I have heard these cop outs many times. Why do we focus on the wrong that people do to us or thing they do to us?  My parents did not beat me nor do any thing bad to us siblings, but they were not the best parents in the world. They made mistakes. Mom would make us stay outside as kids and many times lock the screen door. Something I laugh at now. Dad would often be seen as the enforcer growing up because Mom did not like to correct us as children. Dad would come home and be the judge, juror and executioner. I have bad memories but I CHOOSE to allow the good and the bad to shape my character in life.You know what? The bad memories are a part of who we are as well. It is what you do with it that matters the most. I also always try to put my feet in my mom and dad's shoes and look at things with a different perspective. I know they did not have a great up bringing and they did the best they could with us children. This is what the Lord is doing in this hour. He is turning the hearts of the children to their parents.

There is an absence of fathers today both in the natural and spiritual realm. We all need that fatherly influence. That is why mentors and spiritual fathers are so important in the life of the church. The passage above speaks of the Last Days. and what the Lord is going to do in this hour. I believe the Lord is calling the family to reunite and to stand firmer together like never before. The days are getting harder and the world of sin is growing at a faster pace. It will be the heart of the fathers being imparted to the children which will allow the message of Christ to spread further throughout the nations. This a natural and a spiritual truth that we must hold onto. God is calling old men to be mentors to the younger. He is calling for fathers to reach out to their children and for the children to reach out to their parents.  This MESSAGE is so important for the world to hear. It is life changing, and it is powerful.  There is a power which comes through fathering in the  natural and the spiritual.

As leaders within the body of Christ, we need to be open to the concept of spiritual fathering young men and women in faith. We should be willing to teach them the values of the Gospel and the values of relationships among each other. We are called to give them foundative truths and to help direct them to their destinies in God. This type of spiritual fathering takes time and commitment. It is costly but the reward is worth it. We get to produce sons and daughters of the faith which seek whole heartedly for the things of God. Paul the Apostle wrote to the church of Corinth this spiritual truth.

1Corinthians 4:15  For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

What are we birthing through and for the gospel?  As leaders, what are we producing for the kingdom? Are we willing to take the Gospel to the next level in our lives?

Christ is returning whether the world believes it to be true or not. Truth does not stop being truth just because you don't follow it anymore. It still carries on. The awakening of natural and spiritual fathering is not a new concept but the Lord is renewing it within our hearts for such a time as this. We must be about our Father's business. Who are we influencing? Who are we life changing? Paul said he birthed the gospel among the Corinthian Christians. He took spiritual fathering very seriously. The presenting of the Gospel takes on a greater impact when done through Holy Spirit. It is time to change the way we present the gospel and mentor others.  There is a spiritual leading that our God is calling us too. He is calling us to produce memories that are embedded in the ones we lead.  I am excited for what our Lord is doing in this hour. May he get all the Glory and the honor.

Blessings,

Johnny



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