A Father’s Influence

Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Father’s Influence

Read | Malachi 4:5-6

Have you ever wondered why a priority of Elijah’s ministry in the last days involves restoring the relationship  between fathers and children (v. 6)? Perhaps it’s because the father has a powerful role, both in the development of emotional  health in his offspring, and in the shaping of their perceptions about God. By his example, a dad can either draw his children to the Lord or push them away.

Sometimes the easiest way to understand  this is to look at negative paternal examples:

  • The angry, unpredictable father instills fear in his children and teaches them that God is a tyrant who lashes out unexpectedly.
  • A critical, demanding dad makes his kids feel inadequate. They see God as a strict taskmaster who’s never pleased.
  • The uninvolved or absent father sends  the message that his children are unimportant, and both he and God are too busy for them.
  • A macho dad’s tough, uncaring nature  leads his children to feel unloved and conclude that the Lord doesn’t love them  either.
  • A fault-finding or abusive father conveys that his child is worthless and God is full of condemnation.

But a man with Christlike character provides children with a healthy emotional connection, not only to their  earthly dad, but also to their heavenly Father.

Think  about how your earthly father helped to shape your perception of God. The Bible  will reveal whether your understanding of Him is rooted in truth or error. If  you were blessed with a father who demonstrated the love and compassion of God,  take the time to thank Him for this priceless blessing.

Malachi 4

The Great Day of God [NKJV]

1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. 3You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts.

4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”  [NASB]

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