Happy Fathers Day

Dave Quak with son Josiah and daughter MilaniThe Provider, protector, the leader. The role of a father is so important in the home of any family, for both the mother and the children. Fathering a family doesn’t come easy, even more so now with less and less fathers in the home, with added financial pressures and expectations, and a topsy-turvy world view of what a father is and is not.

Thankfully the relationship between God and His children (us) gives us great hope for the future, as it not only provides a great example of what a Father/child relationship is supposed to look like, but God also provides the power through His Spirit to enable dads to become the role-models to their children that they need to be. Although we have a very high percentage of broken families and absent fathers in our society, (and many mothers do an excellent job raising children on their own), we need not give up hope for the future of our nations homes because God is able to restore the family unit- restoration is His business after all! Fathers day reminds us that although many families make-do without a dad in the home, that the ideal for any family is to have two parents in a flourishing relationship guiding their children in the ways of God. We need to pray for Fathers!

Fathers day is a challenging day in many aspects, it brings attention to the great chasm between how things should be and how things are. It is a challenge to younger men to think about their future, what kind of dad they are going to be? But it is also a great challenge to young women, what kind of guy do I want to have raising my children?

Today we take time out to honour the men who chose to stick around, to the Fathers who work their fingers to the bone for their childrens best interests, to the guys who take the time to love their children and take time to teach them all important life lessons about God, love, family, work and such things. We also honour the guys who stepped in and stepped up where the biological father did not, and the spiritual fathers who may not even have biological children of their own, but give of their lives to mentor younger crew. We also honour the mums who took up the huge responsibility of raising children where a father was absent, and we pray that God will continue to do as He always has and be a “father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5).

Above all, today we honour God, the perfect Father. How blessed we are that God choses to adopt us as His children, despite the fact that we can be rebellious, stubborn, pig-headed children. How great the Fathers love for us is! Happy Fathers Day!

Prayer (Matthew 6)

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Fathers Day

As I determine to raise my children in the “ways of the Lord,” I often seek out advice from wonderful parents about lessons they have learned (so I can do it the easy way). I also like to ask kids about their upbringing too, to see what impacts them the most as they are affected by the choices of their parents. I have been blessed to have been raised in a Christian home, and as Father’s Day approaches I remember some valuable lessons my parents lived out that changed my life for the better…

  1. God comes first always, for everyone. I saw a faith in God each and every day in the lives of my parents. A bible was always on the kitchen table and my parents were both actively involved in the church. This faith in Jesus was a reliable solid foundation to our family which gave me a lot of stability going into life.
  2. Love was not performance based. I was told constantly that no matter how I performed that it was more important that I tried wholeheartedly, and enjoyed it. This helped give me freedom to try and fail or try without fear and succeed.
  3. Dad provided so mum could minister at home. My dad pulled some long hard hours over the years and that was so that we could have a mum around. Unlike many other kids we had a Mum would welcome us home from school, teach us to bake, who could come to our sports days, drive us to after-school activities and be in our lives. We weren’t always financially flourishing, but the price was worth it. Mum was not idle with her time at home either, from being on the PTA to teaching Religion, helping at Sunday school, to helping kids read, I don’t know how she had the energy with 4 kids (and kept a clean house!)
  4. For quite a while we had a weekly “memory verse” which we got a bag of lollies for memorising. (As we rarely got junk food this was a real treat). It was fun for us to learn the verses and know whole sections of the bible, but then to also get rewarded for it was awesome. It helped develop in me a real love for the word of God.
  5. My parents were always really honest with how they were feeling and what they believed, and it wasn’t used to manipulate or be harsh, but to teach and guide. I remember mum asking me one day with genuine love and concern “when you die one day and get to the gates of heaven and someone asks you why you should enter, please know and say that it is only by Jesus dying on the cross.”  It hit me, and God really impressed it on my heart. Another time we had to draw a picture for school about what Easter means to you and I drew chocolate galore. After seeing it mum sat me down and with concern (but without condemnation) asked why I hadn’t drawn Jesus. This question plagued me and helped me receive teaching from the Holy Spirit to understand how Easter is all about Jesus, how everything is all about Him and nothing can come before Him. On a non-spiritual level my parents would not burden us with financial worries but would let us know that we need to be good stewards with our money, because “it doesn’t grow on trees” after all.
  6. We were healthy. Healthy meals, active lifestyle. I didn’t always appreciate my steak and veg but taking whole days to ride to the Library (which was ages away) or go swimming at a creek are memories that stick with me. I don’t know if it was just because we had one car, but we seemed to walk, run or ride everywhere and we played sport at home and in clubs every afternoon and weekend. It’s not very spiritual but our TV time was limited (and we had awful internet access) which meant we developed as people- we read, we played games, we went out and about and lived- I appreciate this decision by my parents as it meant we weren’t as influenced by media as other kids, and we grew healthy and with strong imaginations.
  7. Education was important. The only computer games we played were educational, our punishment was writing out sheets of words, if our teachers weren’t thorough enough mum didn’t complain, she taught us herself. It was only just recently I learned that my mum actually doesn’t really enjoy reading herself, but she gave us every opportunity to learn to love reading anyway, which has been a real blessing in my life.
  8. Church was something that was non-negotiable but was flexible. If there was an important swimming meet I would go to that, but with less important ones I would miss Sunday morning because going to church was priority. Mum told me the story once of an elite athlete who wouldn’t compete on Sundays and God prospered Him for it and it helped me put sport in perspective. As I was older and rebelled against going to church with my parents, they allowed me to go to another church of my choice which I loved.
  9. My parents were both Sunday school teachers at different stages and did a great job at bringing the word of God to life and getting us involved. I loved getting involved in helping teach classes (especially when it meant I could be dressed up as a beaten Samaritan or dead Lazarus coming to life!).
  10. My Parents were not afraid to say no. Although sometimes it may have been better had they said yes, there was a lot of good to come from their ability to stand up for what was right- even if it meant that we would be broken hearted and angry.

So as Fathers Day approaches I thank God for my parents, and the gift they are to me. I pray for my own family as we navigate the parenthood path, and I pray for families who are missing a Father, either physically or spiritually. I pray that they will receive what they need from God Himself this Sunday- He is a perfect Father, praise Him! J