The Power of a Dream

 
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In Voorhees Pastor Rick continued the roller coaster ride of Joseph (Genesis 45: 1-8).  He was a favored son then a slave.  He was the second in command, and then thrown in jail.  Applying his goodness and gifts made jail tolerable, and then he was abandoned by the one he helped.  By controlling his attitude Joseph eventually worked his way back and was more powerful than before.  At that point he had to face two realizations:  his original dream was now a reality, and would he maximize it’s potential by forgiving his brothers?  When God’s dreams intersects with your actions good will come from evil if you do the right thing.  Forgiveness is a necessary soul liberator.

As we went through the series on Joseph some parts of the story pointed back to his father, Jacob.  His favoritism and pampering didn’t exactly do his son any favor, yet Joseph’s values, character and integrity came from somewhere.  It’s appropriate to project a dad’s influence this Father’s Day 2018.

What makes an outstanding father?  Who had a better father than Jesus?  Yet when we follow Jesus’ story he was born and lived meagerly and died by torture.   His Heavenly Father had the power to take this cup away from Him but didn’t.  Father God allowed Jesus to live His destiny.  The wisest Father of all knew that an offspring must live a unique life of integrity.

The influence of the parent and faith can be seen in the actions of the child. Joseph was flexible enough to handle his challenges.  Joseph had the ability to turn a tricky situation into a positive experience for him and others.

I had a good father for most of my younger years before things went sour. The culprit was the inability of my father to follow the roots then wings nature of parenting.  My life was only a success if I lived it his way.  Don’t teach a child to think if you don’t want him/her to use their unique, God given gifts.

Pastor Rick’s story paralleled my own in many ways.  As he said “forgiveness happens between the one who has been hurt and God. Reconciliation is possible but not always possible or necessary.”   It took me a long time to understand that concept.  Longer still to realize that our heavenly Father cannot do everything He wants to do in your life until you forgive those who wronged you.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing great fathers many of whom are members of Hope. What these men have in common are the same traits that make a good community of faith.  They shared their time, talents and resources.  They were compassionate without being enabling.  They practiced what they preached, showing by example what it was to work hard, have faith and love others especially the child’s mother.  They demonstrate humility and integrity.

Of course, every father is capable of mistakes.  I tend to believe the men with a practicing faith are less likely to fall into the pitfalls of overindulgence.  Men of faith, who participate in small groups, have others to hold them accountable.  

Good fathers offer unconditional love but know that does not mean total acceptance of wrong, unsafe or immoral behavior.  You can hate the sin but love the sinner. Good fathers offer financial support but insist that a child become self-sufficient.  Good fathers aren’t insulted if a child thinks differently.

Jacob cared for all his children.  His passion for his youngest was understandable. To fulfill God’s dreams for this family, Joseph had to start by forgiving his brothers.

On this Father’s Day two challenges for you:

1.    Tell your father all the positive traits that have guided and lead you into your future.  The best gift a man can receive is to know that Kingdom work will progress partially because of his effort.

2.    Forgive his humanness.  Remember forgiveness is a pact between you and God.  It’s your soul that needs to be liberated.   “Being a Christian is excusing the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  C. S. Lewis

 

Jim Randazzo

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