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How We Perceive God
How We Perceive God
Intro: Father's Day is our opportunity to honor our Dad's. God in His wisdom created the family unit and placed men in charge of developing and protecting the family unit. The role is critical to those entrusted to his care, namely wife and children. Unfortunately, most men never read the Scriptures concerning the role of men. Most men struggle trying to figure out what they should do and how they should do it. Because men generally struggle with their role, they create confusion in the minds of their wives and children as to the image of a heavenly Father. The very idea of a heavenly Father has produced many different perceptions of what He would be like. Not everyone has the same picture of God the Father. We view or shape our idea of what God is like based upon our own personal experiences with those we meet, primarily our own Father and men in general.
If your father was distant, impersonal and uncaring, and he wouldn't intervene for you, you may see God as having the same characteristics. As a result, you feel that you are unworthy of God's intervention in your life. You find it difficult to draw close to God because you see Him as disinterested in your need and wants.
If your father was a pushy man who was inconsiderate of you, or who violated and used you, you may see God in the same way. You probably feel cheap or worthless in God's eyes, and perhaps feel that you deserve to be taken advantage of by others. You may feel that God will force you, not ask you to do things you don't want to do.
If your father was like a drill sergeant, demanding more and more from you with no expression of satisfaction, or burning with anger with no tolerance for mistakes, you may have cast God in his image. You likely feel that God will not accept you unless you meet His demands, which seem unattainable. This perception may have driven you to become a perfectionist.
If your father was a weakling, and you couldn't depend on him to help you or defend you, your image of God may be that of a weakling. You may feel that you are unworthy of God's comfort and support, or that He is unable to help you.
If your father was overly critical and constantly came down hard on you, or if he didn't believe in you or your capabilities and discouraged you from trying, you may perceive God in the same way. You do not feel as if you're worth God's respect or trust. You may even see yourself as a continual failure, deserving all the criticism you receive.
In contrast to the negative perceptions many women have about God, let me give you several positive character qualities of a father. Notice how these qualities, if they existed in your father, have positively influenced your perception of God. If you father was patient, you are more likely to see God as
patient and available for you. You feel that you are worth God's time and concern. You feel important to God and that He is personally involved in every aspect of your life.
If your father was kind, you probably see God acting kindly and graciously on your behalf. You feel that you are worth God's help and intervention. You feel God's love for you deeply and you're convinced that He wants to relate to you personally.
If your father was a giving man, you may perceive God as someone who gives to you and supports you. You feel that you are worth God's support and encouragement. You believe that God will give you what is best for you, and you respond by giving of yourself to others.
If your father accepted you, you tend to see God accepting you regardless of what you do. God does not dump on you or reject you when you struggle but understands and encourages you. You can accept yourself even when you blow it or do not perform up to your potential.
If your father protected you, you probably perceive God as your protector in life. You feel that you are worthy of being under His care and you rest in His security.
H. Norman Wright, Always Daddy's Girl, Regal Books, 1989, pp. 193-195
Men have a unique opportunity to paint a picture of God, to be a positive force in the lives of their family to see God in the proper light.
A teacher was telling the story of Jonah to her six-year-old vacation Bible school class, and the children fell into a discussion about how they would manage to escape if swallowed like Jonah. "I'd start a fire in the whale's stomach, and he'd cough me out!" declared one fellow, no doubt remembering the scene from Pinocchio.
"I'd stomp on his tongue till he spit me out," said another. The suggestions grew wilder by the minute. Suddenly, a thoughtful little girl spoke up: "I'd call my daddy and wait till he got me out." Now there's a young lady who is very fortunate. She has learned to trust her Dad.
There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, p. 13.
A positive and continuous relationship to one's father has been found to be associated with a good self-concept, higher self- esteem, higher self-confidence in personal and social interaction, higher moral maturity, reduced rates of unwed teen pregnancy, greater internal control and higher career aspirations. Fathers who are affectionate, nurturing and actively involved in child-rearing are more likely to have well- adjusted children.
Dr. George Rekers, Homemade, vol. 11
T.S. The Role of the Father is clear, critical, and commanded by God.
I. Men are Called by God to Exhibit-he is to be an example to others.
1. I Tim 4:12- A Dad is to be an example of what a believer should be in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith and purity.
2. Titus 2:6-8 –He is to show a pattern of good works, uncorrupted doctrine, gravity, sincerity and sound speech.
II. Men are Called by God to Shoulder Responsibility-To be the head.
1. Head of his wife….. Gen.3:16- to rule over his wife
I Cor. 11:3-16-chain of command; the order of authority.
Eph 5:22-23; 6:4-Head of the wife as Christ is head of the church
2. Head of his children… Prov 4:1 Fathers are to instruct their children, encourage them, protect them, love them.
3. Head of church……… I Tim 2:12-not to permit the wife to usurp authority
I Cor 14:35-the husband is the teacher of his wife
4. Head of Government… Isa 3:12- sign of God’s judgment is when women
III. Men are Called of God to reproduce himself-To be Protector/Lover
1. Of the human race Gen1:28; 9:1 multiply and fill the earth
2. Of his wife Eph 5:25-33
a. He must give himself for her-vs 25-27
b. He must love her as much as he loves himself vs 28-33
3. Of his children
a. Nurture them by training and discipline Eph. 6:4
b. Admonish them by counseling Eph 6:4
c. Do not provoke them to wrath. Literally we are not to take the wind out of their sails. Eph 6:4
IV. Men are Called of God to Work- To be the Provider
1. Provide food with difficulty all his life Gen 3:17-19
2. If he doesn’t provide for his own family, he is worse than an unbeliever.
I Tim 5:8
There is no love without forgiveness and no forgiveness without love. They are the two sides of the same coin.
James W. Moore tells about a little boy who got into trouble one day some years ago. His name was David Leroy. He grew up in a small town near the Sabine River in Louisiana. His dad, who owned the grocery store in that little town, had saved money for years, and the family had just purchased a brand new 1928 Buick. It was their prize possession.
Even though David Leroy was only eleven years old at the time, he loved to drive the car around in the yard. He would move it from one shady spot to the next in the yard of the old home place.
One morning, David Leroy's mother announced that she needed to take some clothes to the cleaners. "I'll move the car around front for you, Mom," said David Leroy, and then, quick as a flash, he was out the door before his mom could protest.
David Leroy was so excited as he rushed to bring the car out that he forgot to close the car door, and as he backed out, the open door smacked against the garage, the door ripped completely off and fell with a sickening thud to the ground!
Can you imagine? David Leroy had knocked the door off their brand new 1928 Buick! His mother was not happy!
David Leroy's dad arrived home just in time for supper. David Leroy chose not to eat that night. Somehow, he just didn't have any appetite! Rather, he stood sheepishly out of sight, just outside the door of the kitchen, and listened as his mother told his dad what had happened.
David Leroy was braced and ready, expecting the worst; but to his amazement, he was surprised by his father's response: "Well, you're right, Ruby. The car is precious to me, but not as precious as David Leroy. Just as you said, he didn't mean to do it. He was trying to help. We can get the car fixed. The main thing is that no one got hurt. He's our son, and he must feel awful right about now. We just need to love him through this."
You might like to know what happened to David Leroy. He grew up to become one of the great preachers of America, Dr. D.L. Dykes.
When Dr. Dykes reminisces today about that episode, he says: "Mom interceded for me, and Dad forgave me. The way my parents responded that day touched me more deeply than I could ever describe. I learned from them that day something of what God
is like. I learned from them that day the meaning of grace “and it is, indeed, amazing."(6) Do your children know about amazing grace because they have experienced it in your family?
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