I Will Lift My Eyes

By Bob Pittenger

What a beautiful song by Bebo Norman!

I absolutely love the lyrics in the chorus,  “I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can’t climb. I will lift my eyes to the Calmer of the oceans raging wild. I will lift my eyes to the Healer of the hurt I hold inside. I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You.

I hope this uplifting song leads you in worshipping our God, Savior, and Lord!

 

 

I’m Going to be a Dad?

In my office, on the wall above my computer monitor, is a present my wife gave me for Father’s Day 2005. It is a picture frame with thirteen pictures of me and William. It starts with a picture of me holding him the day he was born and is followed by another picture taken on the same day each month. The final picture is, of course, me holding him on his first birthday. On my book shelves I have several other pictures of him—graduating preschool, his school photos from kindergarten, first, and second grade.  In just a few seconds, I can see all seven years of his life.

Sometimes I just can’t think or study anymore, so I take a break to rest my weary mind. It is during those breaks that I recall all the wonderful memories I have had with William over the last seven years. I think about how much he has grown physically, all that he has learned educationally, and how he is maturing spiritually. Without a doubt, I am a proud father. I love my son with every ounce of my being, and I make sure he is confident of that love. I want him to know my love for him doesn’t change when I am frustrated at his disobedience, when I am disciplining him for his actions, and most especially when we are separated from one another. I want him to understand that my love is unconditional, and nothing—I mean nothing—will ever separate him from my love, ever.

Most of us have seen too many children literally fighting for the affections of their parents. When they do not get it, they go elsewhere in search of love and acceptance, and it is guaranteed they will find it somewhere. It was this thought which woke me up from a deep sleep shortly before William was born. I sat straight up in the bed with one thought racing through my mind, “What if I’m not a good dad?” I found myself gripped with fear and anxiety. What did I know about being a parent? I was thirty-nine years old and should be getting ready to be a grandpa not a dad! Needless to say, I wasn’t able to clear my mind or go back to sleep, so I quietly knelt down beside the bed so as to not wake my wife, and I began to pray.

That night, I prayed for everything. I prayed for my son’s health, protection, salvation, his spiritual calling, and even his future wife. I remember asking God to give him a heart that burns with a passion to live a godly life, tell others about Jesus, and meet the needs of the hurting. And then I prayed something I had never said before, “Father, I guess I’m asking you to give me a son like Jesus. A son who loves you, obeys you, seeks to glorify you in all he does.” To be honest, the words came out before I thought them through, so I stopped praying to contemplate what I had just asked for.

Up to that point, praying had eased my fear and anxiety; however, that last line had rekindled the fire of anxiety and put one thought in my fearful mind, “If he is to grow up like Jesus, he needs a father like Jesus’ Father, and I’m not GOD!” With that dark storm cloud of fear hovering over me I cried out, “God, please help me be a good dad!” Immediately a thought rushed into my mind, “Give him Jesus!” Give him the unconditional love of Christ, teach the commands of Christ, show him the love, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness of Christ, and most of all, live the life of Christ as an example for him.

That dark night of the soul has become a bright beacon on days when I just don’t feel like I’m getting the job done. It is a bright lighthouse shining in the darkness—lighting the way for me to avoid the dangerous rocks of doubt and depression. It is a memory that reminds me that my son doesn’t have to be perfect, nor does his father! Why? Because Jesus is perfect and He is in control of our lives!

Following A Legend

My grandfather died in 1952 when my father was just nine years old. He only had a dad for nine years! I have been blessed with my father for over fifty-one years. For a  man who only had a fatherly example for nine years, he has been the best dad for which I could ever have asked.

He taught me the importance of keeping my word, working hard, taking care of my family, and most importantly about loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. He has tried to live his life in such a way that in him I can see what my Father in heaven is really like. No I don’t think my dad is perfect; however, he has always pointed me to the one Father who is.

Now as a father I am trying to set the same example for my son. I want him to see in me a mere reflection of his Father in heaven. I want my life to demonstrate God’s love, mercy, grace, compassion, righteousness, and justice. I want to be to him what my father was to me, and what his father was to him, and ultimately what God the Father was to His Son.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, but especially to those who reflect the image of our Father in heaven.

To Any Daddy

There are little eyes upon you, and they’re watching night and day,

There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say;

There are little hands all eager to do everything you do,

And a little boy who’s dreaming of the day he’ll be like you.

You’re the little fellow’s idol, you’re the wisest of the wise;

In his little mind about you no suspicions ever rise;

He believes in you devoutly, holds that all you say and do

He will say and do in your way when he’s grown up like you.

There’s a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you’re always right,

And his ears are always open and he watches day and night,

You are setting an example every day in all you do,

For the little boy who’s waiting to grow up to be like you.

Source: Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes, pg 203

A Father’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, can you forgive me for hurting my children?

I came from a poor background so I thought that a big house would make my children feel important. I didn’t realize that all it takes is my love.

I thought money would bring them happiness, but all it did was make them think that things were more important than people.

I thought spanking them would make them tough so that they could defend themselves. All it did was stop me from seeking wisdom so that I could discipline and teach them.

I thought that leaving them alone would make them independent. All it did was force my one son to be the father to my second son.

I thought that by smoothing over all of the family problems I was keeping peace. All I was teaching them was to run rather than lead.

I thought that by pretending to be the perfect family in public that I was bringing them respectability. All I was teaching them was to live a lie and keep the secret.

I thought that all I had to do to be a father was make money, stay at home and supply all their material needs. All I taught them was that there is more to being a dad. The problem is they will have to guess what being a dad really is.

And Dear God,

I hope you can read this prayer. My tears have smudged a lot of words.

From “Stories for the Heart” by Alice Gray (Multnomah, 169).

Can You See Me Now? (Part 3)

Over the last few days we have seen how God reveals Himself through creation as well as through His Holy Word.  Today, we are going to look at a few ways God not only revealed His personal nature to us but how He demonstrated it for all to see.

In Hebrews 1:1 we are told “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son [Jesus].”  It is in the life of Jesus that we get a perfect picture of what God the Father is like.  Colossians 1:3 says Jesus “is the image of the invisible God,” while Hebrews 1:3 tells us Jesus is the “brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of His person.”  Jesus made it clear in John 14:9 that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father.  Therefore, when reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus, we are getting a perfect representation of the Father in heaven.

When we examine the life of Jesus, we are immediately drawn to His concern for all people.  It didn’t matter if He was approached by a Roman centurion, Samaritan, tax collector, lawyer, rich man, or poor man He always had time to answer their questions and share with them their deepest need.  He didn’t let someone’s social standing or checkbook balance determine their importance.  Every person counted regardless of their ethnic background.

He was also concerned for people who were considered dirty by first century standards. Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch a leper, heal those that were sick from various diseases, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to those who were mute, restore the strength of those who were crippled, provide food for the poor, and love those considered to be unlovely.  He didn’t recoil from anyone regardless of their condition.  He reached out past their affliction, all the way to their heart, and healed them from the inside out.  After all, it is the sick who need a doctor, and Jesus came as the great Physician to heal the hearts of the spiritually sick.

Jesus also came to teach us God’s expectations.  He taught us that all of life is to be lived by loving the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself.  He set the example of loving others and putting them first.  He told us He did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  We demonstrate our love for our Father in heaven, whom we have not seen, by loving our neighbor who we have seen.  As we have already said, Jesus demonstrated this kind of love.

In Jesus we see the Father.  We see His compassion, unconditional love, passion to know us and be known by us, forgiveness for even the most vile human being.  In Jesus, God reveals His nature, character, integrity, righteousness, and holiness.  Jesus is the exact representation of the Father in heaven.

For some, God seems like an uncaring creator who allows us to suffer way too often. For others, God is our grandfather in the sky who spoils us by giving us everything we want.  Neither of these views of God are true. He loves you and came to earth in the form of Jesus so that we could know exactly what He is like.  If you really want to know more about God, then start reading one chapter a day from the Gospels.  Work your way through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament over the next ninety days.  While you are reading, pay careful attention to Jesus.  Ask Him to reveal His nature that you might know Him better.

Can You See Me Now? (Part 2)

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time.  It has been translated into more than 2,000 languages.  You can find it on cell phones, computers, coffee tables, fireplace mantles, as well as a microfilm copy which was taken to the moon on Apollo 14.  It has been carved in stone, written on animal hide, papyrus, paper, and I have even seen a chapter tattooed on someone’s back.  Needless to say, the Bible is a very popular book to people all around the world.

Unlike other popular books, people do not purchase a Bible to be entertained.  The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself.  It is within the pages of the 66 books of the Bible that we find out about God–His love, mercy, compassion, patience, grace, forgiveness, power, beauty, majesty, and so much more.  Page after page we see the Creator reaching out to draw His creation into a loving relationship with Him.  The Bible teaches us the commands of God, not that we can live up to them, that we might see His holiness and righteousness and realize our need for His forgiveness.  We see His hand of provision, protection, and providence constantly before us tenderly caring for His precious children.

Too often in my life I have performed my daily Bible readings and crossed that off my list of things to do for that day.  I have been so busy reading the book of God that I have missed the God of the book.  Through a series of events this became crystal clear to me, so I decided I must change.  Now, before I begin reading the Bible I ask Jesus to reveal Himself to me in Scripture.  As I read I want to see more of Christ that I might know Him more.

As you take time to read your Bible today please ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you.  Ask to see His character, integrity, honesty, holiness, righteousness, mercy, compassion, grace and other attributes.  Don’t read the Bible to see if you are measuring up. Read the Bible to see Christ and the worship Him!