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Growing up, I was blessed to have two dads. My parents divorced when I was two years old, and a few years later, my mom remarried. I'm sure I confused people quite often because I affectionately called both of them dad. In addition, I was also close to my granddad. Now that I'm a Christian and have a relationship with my Heavenly Father, I feel privileged to have an understanding of loving and respecting more than one father-figure in my life. I don't mean to say that there's any who are equal to our Heavenly Father, but sadly, people often struggle in their relationship with God if they've had an absentee-dad or one who was less than ideal. And because of this, they also struggle with Father's Day. I once read an article that said Hallmark gave free cards to inmates on Mother's and Father's Day. Whereas they always ran out on Mother's Day, only a small, small percentage of cards were actually used by inmates for Father's Day. This says a lot about our generation. But regardless of upbringing, Jesus made a statement to Mary after His resurrection that should encourage all of us. "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God'" (John 20:17). From that day forward, no child has ever been an orphan. Jesus bridged the gap and gave all of us an open relationship with OUR FATHER GOD. And in a great show of love, even before we came to this revelation, our Heavenly Father put people in our lives to reflect Him and His love for us. Maybe it was a teacher or a coach; maybe the father-figure was the grocery store owner who always asked how you were doing. Perhaps God showed Himself to you through a pastor or Sunday school leader. And yet, there may be some reading this who are still thinking, I didn't have that in my life. I understand. The devil has been a great counterfeiter for centuries. He has had an obsession with perverting everything good that God is—including the image of father. All I know for sure is, God has worked very hard to make sure you found Him—through a real dad, a stepdad, a grandfather, or simply an obedient man. "A father of the fatherless… is God in His holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5). An unknown author once said: A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall, but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes, but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail. I have to agree. I've had all of these—but none through just one. And now I see that my Heavenly Father was there all along, speaking through and using many to mold me. So on this Father's Day (and every Father's Day), I am grateful to Him—and all He used. I hope you are too. Originally posted here: http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/Devotions/delay-fathersday.aspx

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1 Sarah R = "Consider also that Jesus taught us to pray to "Our Father." We take this for granted now that we can come before God that way but it is because of Jesus that we are able to address God so personally and directly. Jesus paved the way."
2 Sarah R = "Before Jesus' death and resurrection, the temple where people worshiped God had huge veils or curtains separating the place for God's presence dwelt from the people. If they were to enter His presence they would die, because they were sinful and He is Holy. When Jesus died, however, the veil was torn - from top to bottom. This symbolized that through Jesus' death God's presence was available to all."In [Jesus] and through him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." - Ephesians 3:12See also: The Holy of Holies and the Veil"
3 Sarah R = "This is especially true for those who have had abusive fathers. A father's love should never hurt. The Bible says that God disciplines His children, but He does not do so to hurt us, but to teach us and help us grow. God's love is true, unconditional love. Even if your earthly father was not able to provide that for you, you can find a father's love in God."