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Posts Tagged ‘Son’

Love and Lead

Scripture: Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. John 5:19-20 (NKJV)

Observation: Jesus had just healed the man, at the Pool of Bethesda, who had been there for thirty-eight years waiting and hoping for a miracle. Jesus simply asked him if he wanted to be made well, but the man’s response shows his hopelessness – I don’t have anyone to put me in the water, and somebody always gets there first. Instead of expecting him to perform any kind of act in order to receive healing, Jesus told him to get up, pick up his bed, and walk, and immediately the man did as was told and was healed as he had hoped for many years.
It’s interesting that when the Jews saw him, knowing he had been infirm for thirty-eight years, they did not marvel at this glorious miracle but instead focused on the breaking of their tradition! They were more ready to condemn this person who hadn’t been able to walk almost his entire life for walking and carrying his bed on the Sabbath than they were to rejoice and celebrate the fact he was walking at all!
Looking for the guilty party, the one who would dare “break” the Sabbath by healing this man, they found out it was Jesus and “began to persecute Him” and to try to “kill Him” (John 5:16). In response Jesus told them He was simply doing what His Father always does. The words of our text for today are part of His words to the Jews.

Application: The relationship between God the Father and Jesus is unique to them – the triune God. But in His humanity, Jesus lived His life in such a way as to teach about how fathers and children, and particularly fathers and sons, can and should have a close relationship based on mutual love, respect, and obedience. Two important lessons we as fathers must learn from these words of Jesus:
1. Fathers must lead, and we must lead by example, not just command with words. Jesus said He did, “What He (the Son) sees the Father do.” Children watch every action and hear every word of their father and imitate them. For a child, their father is this giant whose example they want to emulate, and whose love and recognition they crave, and their way to seek for their attention is through copying what they see their fathers do. It makes them feel “grown up’ and “mature” to do as their fathers do.
In explaining the words of Exodus 34:7 [“ visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation”], Ellen White writes: “God did not mean in this threatening that the children should be compelled to suffer for their parents’ sins, but that the example of the parents would be imitated by the children. If the children of wicked parents should serve God and do righteousness, he would reward their right-doing. But the effects of a sinful life are often inherited by the children. They follow in the footsteps of their parents. Sinful example has its influence from father to son, to the third and fourth generations. If parents indulge in depraved appetites, they will, in almost every case, see the same acted over in their children. The children will develop characters similar to those of their parents; and unless they are renewed by grace, and overcome, they are truly unfortunate. If parents are continually rebellious, and inclined to disobey God, their children will generally imitate their example. Godly parents, who instruct their children by precept and example in the ways of righteousness, will generally see their children following in their footsteps. The example of God-fearing parents will be imitated by their children, and their children’s children will imitate the right example their parents have set before them; and thus the influence is seen from generation to generation.” (1 Spirit of Prophecy 257-258)
2. Not only does Jesus do what He sees the Father do, but the Father also loves the Son. So it isn’t enough to show our children what to do, we must love them. It may sound unusual to tell fathers they must love their children when it should be natural for them to do so. And yet, there are fathers who did not experience that love in their own homes and therefore don’t know what that type of love is and how to express it to their children. Lovelessness can go through many generations! But so can love!
So, fathers, add these two ingredients to your relationship with your children: Love them and lead them by example.

Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You for loving us and leading us. Help us to learn what You want to show us and teach us, and help us to imitate You so that we may love and lead our own children, who are really Your children too, that the may not only follow us but ultimately that they may follow You, their Loving, Eternal, Perfect father.

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Obedient to His Parents

Scripture: Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:51-52 NIV)

Observation: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but some time after His life was threatened by Herod and he and His family fled to Egypt for a time. Once the threat passed, Jesus’ family moved back to the town where His mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, had been living just prior to Jesus’ birth. As a result, Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a town which evidently didn’t enjoy a very good reputation so that as He began His ministry Nathanael, who would become one of His disciples, expressed what a well-know saying: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
And yet, in the midst of a place that was less than ideal to raise a family, Joseph and Mary raised the Son of God as their own and saw grow up obedient to them and to Him.

Application: Joseph and Mary took the responsibility of raising God’s Son as their very own very seriously. They could not take any chances that the corrupting influences of Nazareth would mar His life and character and diligently devoted their lives to giving Him the very best education, that which is based solely on the Word of God. At the same time, they raised Him to trust and obey them for they knew that in so doing He would grow up to trust and obey His Heavenly Father.
As parents, we reflect God to our children. Obedience to us is not an option but to their ultimate benefit. And yet that obedience cannot be exacted through threats and demands.
I love these description of the early life of Jesus: “Jesus lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son” (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.72).
For children and youth, the life and not just the death of Jesus should be an example and an object of admiration. White writes: “His faithful obedience to His parents until He was thirty years of age is a pattern for youth to imitate more than the Jesus in Gethsemane and upon Calvary” (Ellen G. White, Lift Him Up, p.33).

Prayer: Father, may we as parents reflect faithfully the image of Christ so that as we teach our children to obey they grow uo to obey and trust You, their Heavenly Father.

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I Love You, My Child

Scripture: And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22 NKJV)
(See also Matthew 3:17 and Mark 1:11)

Observation: Jesus has come to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. While Jesus did not need to be baptized – He had not sinned – He wanted to establish a pattern and give an example for all who have sinned. John agrees to baptize Jesus and as Jesus comes up out of the water the Trinity come together as a special revelation to all gathered there – Jesus is coming up from the water, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descend on Jesus, and the Father speaks words of love and affirmation (our text).

Application: No one would deny the power of words to destroy, words that unfortunately are repeated in many homes, by many parents. “You’ll never amount to anything!” “I wish I had never had you!” “Why can’t you ever do anything right?”
Children repeat the words, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words will never hurt me.” While they may try to convince themselves that whatever their friends say about them does not hurt them, the truth is that children’s minds and hearts are soft and fragile and even the smallest criticism or harsh words have a great impact in their hearts and minds.
At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus received words of affirmation from His Father. His Father, Our Father, told Him three very important things which we should transmit to our children:

1. “You are MY beloved Son”: Those words are loaded with meaning! “You are mine!” “By being born of me you have within you a part of me!” “We are forever united biologically and emotionally!” If you have adopted a child you can say “I chose you! You are mine! And if I had to do it over again I would choose you all over again!”
2. “You are BELOVED Son”: We must remind our children daily, often “I love YOU!” “Nothing you can ever do will make me love you any less or stop loving you!”
3. “In YOU I am WELL-PLEASED”: Jesus heard words of affirmation from His Father, and our children need to hear words of affirmation from us. “I am so proud of you!” “You are awesome!”
Ellen White wrote: “It is a parent’s duty to speak right words. . . . Day by day parents should learn in the school of Christ lessons from One that loves them. Then the story of God’s everlasting love will be repeated in the home school to the tender flock. Thus, before reason is fully developed, children may catch a right spirit from their parents” (Child Guidance, p.26)

Prayer: Father, help me to affirm my children and confirm in their hearing and through my actions that I love them and that You love them. Help me to build them up, encourage them, and strengthen them. Help me to reflect Your love to them so that they will not only love me, but that they may also love You.

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Scripture: (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV)  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. {12} “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Observation: After the death of her husband and their sons, Naomi returned to her home land.  While Orpah, one of her daughters-in-law went back to her own home and family, Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, chose to travel with Naomi and settle in Naomi’s home land, be forever part of her family, and to fully accept and worship her God.  While they lived together Ruth was devoted to the care of Naomi and her attitude, actions, and devotion to service did not go unnoticed.  In fact, Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s, noticed Ruth’s care and indirectly made provision to help them.  It is in this setting that we read Boaz commending Ruth in our text for today.

Application: The close relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth is special but by no means unique.  Many mothers-in-law have been have been specially loving, supportive, and kind to their sons or daughters-in-law, and in some cases they have had a closer relationship than with their own children.  The same has been the case with daughters or sons-in-law toward their spouse’ parents.
I borrow the title today from a book by Christian psychologist H. Norman Wright he speaks about this relationship which could be most damaging to a couple’s relationship or a tremendous blessing to all.  For some reason, mothers-in-law have one of the worse reputations – in some cases probably well-deserved, but in most it is probably totally unwarranted.
One way to change the negative dynamics is to make every effort to learn from the other person.  My wife and my mother had a very good relationship in spite of a language barrier, and I credit both for it.  My wife was always very kind and respectful of my mother, and she learned from her many of the things that I like and  have since been cooking for me some of my favorite dishes.  My mother was more than willing to share that information with Pam, but she also was careful not to usurp Pam’s place as the lady of the home and the one who holds first place in my life.  In addition, both of them also were very generous with the time that I was able to spend with each and that we spent together.
So those are three very simple things that anyone can do to have the best of relationships with their in-laws: 1. Make every effort to learn from the other – family history, tradition, customs, recipes, etc.;
2. Show respect for the other person’s position in their own home.
3. Watch carefully the time spent with each, giving preference to your spouse first while not neglecting time with your own parents.

Prayer: Father, may we all be blessed with a loving, supportive relationship with our in-laws, whether they are our parents-in-law or our children-in-law, that we may have the type of relationships that will be uplifting to everyone in the family.

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