Wow, A Blessed Father’s Day to all the dads and if your dad is no longer with us, I pray that you will walk down memory lane and enjoy revisiting some of the good times you had together. We are all, at some level imprinted with the lives of our dads. So my message today is “Give Them Something To Talk About”! And it comes from a very controversial time in one father’s life… I wrote a poem a while back titled “What is Man”…. It seems to issue a challenge to all dads and all of us…on this Father’s day… it says…
“God’s glorious plan works through our hands, though angels heed his call. For what is man that You are mindful of Him, or consider him at all. The mystery demands that we understand or it makes no rhyme or reason. For the serpent knows that redemption flows, in the second Adam’s season. For Hehas chosen us, made from dust, to break the destroyer’s power. Lord stir us up, and wake us up, in this time and in this hour. To hinder Hell, and fill the realms of heaven to overflowing, by the simple seeds of truth and love, that we His men are sowing. So pick up your cross and lift it high, for the vic-tory is won, and on that day not far away, You’ll hear Him say “Well Done”.
So, as I mentioned, this message title, Give them something to talk about…. Is extracted from the bible account of a Dad who certainly could be voted as the best dad ever, since he was chosen by the Heavenly Father to be papa to His earthly son, Jesus.
Eyebrows were raised, his as well, through this discovery that the woman he loved and was engaged to, now was pregnant, even though he had honored her virginity, and it really gave every one something to talk about…. And there was a lot of tongue wagging, and the buzz was abuzz, about this young couple. It really lit up the grape vine with some juicy morsels….a lot of “what if’s” were swirling around the village….God must have winked as He really gave them something to talk about. Matthew’s gospel gives us some insight into why Joseph was chosen as the earthly father figure in the life of Jesus.
Matthew 1: 18 “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after Joseph had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus”.
This tells me that God chose a man who was open to the will of the Father in his life. When everyone was trying to blast their relationship out of the water, He stayed open to the God shaped outcome, even though he couldn’t wrap his head around it.
We can see here that Joseph did not find it strange to hear from God ... I believe the Spirit is saying that righteous dads expect to hear from God!
They will not act, even in times when they are overwhelmed by all the world is throwing at them, until they get the Father’sperspective about it. When God appeared to Joseph in a dream he heard it with his spirit, not just his head… He didn’t mark it up to the pizza he had for dinner… and
the way he responded tells us he was accustomed to hearing from God.
He didn’t stop praying, until God had a chance to speak. How often do we pray one way prayers without giving God a chance to really speak back into our lives…
I’m wondering perhaps if the reason many folks don’t hear from God, is because they don’t like what He’s saying…..Judas sat at the table, he heard what all the others heard, he saw the miracles, he was part of the inner circle, but his heart was somewhere else… He had his own agenda, He marched to the beat of another drum….The truth that c1ame to set him free only hardened him in his rebellion and his secret agenda….
2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”
The only human conclusion Joseph or anyone could come to when a young lady gets pregnant out of wedlock, is immediately that God impregnated her…..RIGHT?………NOT!!!
I mean, if I came home and my wife said to me at 77 years old, “I’m pregnant”…. I must tell you, my mind WOULD NOT immediately go to the fact that God Did It! I would really need to hear from heaven!! Peace came to Joseph, by hearing God, not from the natural mind. My son David was coming home from Southeastern college in Lakeland. He figured he would arrive at about 10 pm, and about 1am, we began to pray… God showed me the rear end of his car and then him eating a cheeseburger. I turned to Winnie and said, ‘he’s OK, there’s trouble with the rear end and he’s eating a cheeseburger”. Finally he called at 1:30 am, and said something happened to the rear end, and he was sitting at a deacon’s home in South Bay, eating a cheeseburger! The deacon had been at a wedding and saw him broken down….
I can almost hear God saying “Let’s give them something to talk about”!
But even though there was no natural explanation… Joseph obeyed God!
If you hear God, you may have to say “I’m sorry”… or “I was wrong”… Anyone ever have a hard time with that…. (I DO!!) But because it’s hard, if God says do it, the challenge is, will you go against your own feelings, or natural mind, and do what God is saying into your spirit?!!! Which voice will win out… in the contest of wills! Do you routinely hear from God, and would you recognize His voice if He spoke to you today? If our children see and hear, that we are following God’s instructions, and they see the difference it makes in our lives in the thick of it all…. They will learn to seek God for their own lives… They are watching and listening….whether we think they are or not…. A down home country preacher had a teenage son, and he felt it was getting time for the boy give some thought to what profession he would be choosing in life. Like many young men, he hadn’t thought much about what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
One day, while the son was at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his desk, four objects: a Bible,- a silver dollar,- a bottle of whisky and- a Playboy magazine
I'll just hide behind the door", the preacher said to himself", and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasing narcissist."
The preacher waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the desk, and noticed the objects setting there. With curiosity, he looked them over, then he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired that month's Centerfold. "Lord have mercy on us all", the old preacher whispered in dispair, "he's gonna be a Politician"
Well, God needs some Godly politicians too….if they can put down the other items on the desk…and grab the bible…. Amen..
When God told Gideon to go up against the vast army of Midianites, the first thing he had to overcome was his own self image and the low estimate he had of himself. He heard God, but doing it was another thing!
Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat (at night) in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Even after Gideon obeyed, it wasn’t very encouraging… He could only gather 32,000 men against the Midianites, then God told him to have all those who were afraid to go home, that left 10,000. Then God said that’s too many, so he gave them the drinking water test, and that left 300 men against 135,000 enemy soldiers.
Size matters with our God, because He wants the glory that is due unto Him…..when David slays Goliath, When Daniel survives the lions, When Esther wins over Haman, and when Elijah defeats the 6000 prophets of Baal… God got all the honor and glory, and everyone knew it’s not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord!!!
God is looking for a people, through whom He can get all the glory!!!
Notice what the response from Joseph is, as soon as he awakens from sleep and this dream he was given, (No matter what everyone was saying, or what the grapevine was busy smearing)
it says "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son..."
There is no hesitation, he was a man used to doing what God asks of him.
Obeying God was normal ... not abnormal for this man, how about us today? Our children need to see us delight ourselves in the Lord if we ever hope for them to see their relationship with God as a positive thing and not just as a duty or obligation! The voice of God will birth His new thing in the earth through His people…. It will impregnate you with new hope, faith, inspiration, dreams, visions, and ability….
And here’s some deeper thought for you to ponder this morning….
It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.
Some men only want to shine, but others cast a shadow on their children that touches generations.
If you’re not building your dreams, you’re probably building someone else’s.
Too many men are looking for the right person instead of being the right person
They may not remember everything you said, but they will never forget how special you made them feel.
Joseph was a father to Jesus in every way ... when the life of Jesus was threatened, God again spoke to Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. I find it interesting that because God knew that whatever it took, Joseph would obey, he financed the trip to Egypt, by sending wise men from the east, to present them with gold, frankincense and myrrh, to cover the cost, when Jesus was just around 2 years old, which would have been close to the time they had to flee…Those wise men had to have left months before, in order to arrive at exactly the right time.
Oh, how many times has His provision been sent forth, before we cried out and it was on the way before we knew we had a need!
Joseph had his priorities correct: God first, and everything else after that….isn’t that what He tells us?...
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (doing the right thing by Him) and all these things will be added unto you.”
God wanted His only son, to be raised by a man who would always do the right thing, even when it went contrary to the world and the flesh….
Joseph was careful to recognize God's ownership of this child in his care and that he was just a steward of this gift into his life ... and as soon as Jesus was 8 days old they brought him to the temple to be dedicated.
This was more than just dedicating the baby, it was also accepting responsibility as a parent to recognize God's ownership of the child and as a parent to live before their children as an example of Godliness.
So, Baby dedications are not just cute ceremonies, and they are not just about the baby, it is as much about the dedication of the parents in this new journey, as it is about the baby being dedicated to God.
I think of the famous story of Babe Ruth and the umpire who called him out on his 3rd strike ... Babe Ruth got into a heated argument with the umpire while the entire crowd of 40,000 people cheered the Babe on. Ruth told the umpire, "There's 40,000 people here who know that the last one was a ball, you tomato head!" The umpire replied with confidence, "Maybe so, Babe, but mine is the only opinion that counts ... you're outa here!"
No matter what the world says, or your spouse, or your kids, or your boss, the only opinion that ultimately counts is God's! It is He, that we will stand before and give an account for what we did with what He gave us…
Clarence Kelland said “My father didn’t just tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Jean Paul Richter….. “The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home, are eventually heard by the world”
Frank A. Clark ….“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he intended for himself to be.”
“Build me children, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when they are weak and brave enough to face themselves when they are afraid. Who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.“Build me children whose good intentions will not take the place of good deeds, and who will know You, oh God… the foundation stone of all knowledge. “Build me children whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, who will master themselves before they seek to master others… who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
“And after all these things are theirs add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so they may always be serious, yet never take themselves too seriously. Give them humility, so they may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom and the meekness of true strength. “Then I, their father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain’.”
–That was the prayer of Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur
Jesus, the son of God, the son of man, represents the full scope of our humanity. What it means to be who we are created to be. And we discover our full potential and our Divine destiny when God is placed at the center of our lives. And everything else, every other relationship—including spouse, children and parents—thrive and succeed as they revolve around that orbit of consecration.
You may recall the words of Jesus when He became separated from his parents at 12 years of age, when they finally found Him, He said “I must be about my Father’s business”….
What a goal, what a marker to shoot for in our lives… To be so fixed and anchored to what is pleasing to the Father, and so directed of Him, that we could rise above our emotional baggage, our past hurts and injuries and injustices… our likes and dislikes and set patterns…. Our attachments to people and things…. that we could “be about our Father’s business”
As Christian men and women, is that not the highest goal and loftiest aspiration of any life.
We are all children of the same divine parent. Our vocation, our purpose, and our destiny is to have our lives be a witness to the love, power, and presence of God. Parenthood itself is our Father’sbusiness. And that business is, like Mary and Joseph, to help our children connect with the answer to their spiritual hunger, to find their own destiny with God at the center of all things. To discover their place. Even if it means some struggle and inconvenience in our own journey. It is in seeking Him first that we find our own true identities…To help them uncover their gifts and apply them in the pursuit of their God given purpose….
Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name”….Hallowed means (To be greatly revered and honored, dedicated, honored, sanctified, blessed, consecrated, andanointed)
Before everything else, God is a Father. All that He does He does as Father. That is who He is. He creates as a Father and he rules as a loving, just and merciful Father. It is only when we see that God rules His creation as a kind and loving Father that we will be inspired by the destiny He plans for each of us as His children.Hallowed be His Name!
It’s a Father’s plans to sustain us, provide for us, oversee the best for us, to protect, comfort and nourish His image in us. To know that the life and image of our Father, has been deposited in us, so that we are more than flesh and blood, but the dreams, and hopes, the potential and sum total of what He embedded in us. Things that can only be measured by eternity’s scales. Hallowed be His Name!
The whole of us is far more than our parts and what is in us, is far more than what has poured forth from us this far…. We are more than what is against us, we are more than any flaw or weakness we may see in us. You see, the Father has gone before us to prepare what’s ahead of us and prepare us for it. That’s why Father God, calls us more than conquerors, because He has won the battles and now He gives the victory unto us….
Because He lives, I live through His life, because He overcame, I overcome in His triumph. That’s what a Father does, He goes before and prepares for His children to come….Hallowed be His Name!
See His footprints, follow His steps, He has prepared the way for you… This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles, This is how I fight my battles… It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You. It may look like I'm surrounded, But I'm surrounded by You……
Oh, Yes, The Father has you surrounded right now! For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of wickedness in high places…. Thank God, Jesus has met all of these powers and forces head on and triumphed gloriously, so we may stand in His triumph and keep moving forward. Every place that we have jurisdiction, we have delegated authority. The term “Dad” is a description of jurisdiction, as well as husband, grandfather, great grandfather, son, uncle, nephew, cousin, etc. these all connect us to areas we can access through authority by jurisdiction….They are legal entitlements where we have been given influence… (does that make sense)? So as we pray together over these men, we are agreeing together and releasing their God given authority in all of these spheres of influence! In all their assignments….