Thoughts for Father's Day

This Sunday is celebrated as Father's Day.  It is one day a year in which we give honor to our Dads.  When I was a boy growing up, fathers were heroes to many of us.  Even the mainstream entertainment industry prided itself on programs that depicted the father-figure as being the problem-solver, the efficient provider, and the head of the home.  I remember such programs as "My Three Sons," one of the first television shows depicting a single-parent home.  Its star, Fred MacMurray, was the mainstay in a home filled with three growing boys.  And there was the very popular television program "Father Knows Best."  And, even his own way, Fred Flintstone was hailed as a dad whose focus was upon his family. 


But in recent decades, the role of father has come upon hard times.  We live in a world of absentee fathers.  In a recent article written by Willie Richardson and posted at: www.patriotpost.us/articles/63578-dads-make-the-difference, the following statistics are quoted:  "According to the U.S. Census, 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.  An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father."  One out of every three children in America today is living in a home where their biological father is not present.  And, sadly, in many of those homes mom is trying to fill the role of dad as well.  Richardson writes, "Dads are dads because they carry the seed.  Moms are moms because they carry the egg.  The absence of a father can't be filled by a mother.  If a mother spends her energy trying to be the dad, she has not strength to mother properly.  We were created to fulfill our God-given roles, not compete for the opposite parent's position. ... If we want to change this patriarchal epidemic, then it must start with our boys being trained early.  Boys are being raised by porn and rebellious music all within an effeminate society that tells them that being tender is more important than being tough.  Men have to come to the understanding that to be great dads we need both toughness and tenderness."


Richardson writes, "Dads are responsible for imparting confidence, courage, and character in their children.  The presence of the father is needed.  There is no present that can replace his time, love, and passion."


I love the way that the writer concludes his article: "The relationship to your earthly father is a direct connection and link to your relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Your earthly father is the first impression you get of God our Father.  Many children in America have an absentee dad, so they believe God is truant as well.  The godless youth culture we see is a direct reflection of apathetic, antagonistic, and alcoholic dads.  Dads make THE difference!  I wish all dads understood their worth to the children."


Oh the memories I treasure of my dad.  He was my best friend.  He was the one I turned to when I was uncertain what direction to take.  Even when I became a father myself, I would turn to my dad for advice.  I wanted to tap into that reservoir of wisdom that was his.  My dad has been gone for 13 years now, and I still miss him.  Oh the times I wish I could just phone him in heaven - not sure of his number, but confident that somehow I would get through - and just hear his voice and gain that wisdom. 


So, dads, if you are doing your best in sharing yourself with your children, I salute you.  If you are not doing that, let me challenge you to step-up-to-the-plate and begin this weekend. Become that person who will make a difference in the lives of your sons and daughters. 


Now to go in a totally opposite direction - sadly, I might add.  I read an article written by Raymond Ibrahim, a person whose expertise in all things Muslim has greatly helped me in my understanding of them.  The article can be found at: www.raymondibrahim.com/2019/06/07/the-jidhad-on-the-christian-cross.  He writes, "A 37-year old Muslim migrant in Rome was recently arrested for homicide after he stabbed a Christian man in the throat for wearing a crucifix around his neck.  'Religious hate' is cited as an 'aggravating factor' in the crime.  This is hardly the first 'religious hate' crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy.  Among others, a Muslim boy of African origin picked on, insulted, and eventually beat a 12-year-old girl during school because she too was wearing a crucifix.  The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering phenomenon - one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam's innate hostility to Christianity.


"For starters, not only is the cross the quintessential symbol of Christianity - for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism - but it symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims.  As Professor Sidney Griffith explains, 'The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross.'  Accordingly, 'the Christian practice of venerating the cross ... often aroused the disdain of Muslims,' so that from the start of the Muslim conquests of Christian lands there was an ongoing 'campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross.'"


Ibrahim continues in his article with example after example, both from history and from current events, of how Muslims around the world have attacked the cross.  He concludes, "The jihad on the cross began with Muhammad, was carried out by early caliphs, and continues to this day by the jihadis of the world, not to mention the occasional 'everyday' Muslim." 


Friends, the cross is under attack, not only within the Muslim world, but in our world as well.  Yet this should not surprise us as Jesus, the one who died upon that cross, told His disciples, and therefore to us as well, that the world will hate us because the world hated Him first.  And I only believe that this hatred toward the things of God will only increase as we get closer to the time of the coming of Jesus.  Oh let's watch for His coming!

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