The Blessing of Dad is Life Giving.

The blessing of a father to a son brings life.
The blessing of a father to a son brings life.

“Dad.”

What do you think of when you think about your dad? We all have a father. Some were better than others in how they did “dadding.” If you had a “bad” dad, my heart breaks for you.

To be fair, most of parenting is trial and error. As I look back on how I parented my kids I want to say to them as Tim Kimmel says: “Forgive me for being such an idiot!”

We are in a sweet season of talking about “family” at our church. This past weekend we camped out on a conversation about our earthly fathers and how it makes sense that most of us men learned how to be a dad by watching our own fathers. We learned the good stuff and the bad stuff by being first-hand recipients.

I think it’s ironic that just about every man I know who swore they would never say the things to their children that their dad said to them, have broken that vow. “Turn that music down!” “That friend of yours is no good for you.” “When I was your age, we respected our elders…” And the list goes on and on.

My relationship with my own dad was really pretty good. I knew that he loved me no matter what I did. Yes, he was too busy to come to all of my special events, but now that I’ve been a dad for over 20 years I can understand why. He died way too young and I never really had an adult-to-adult relationship with him.

And while I can’t remember a specific time when he blessed me, I know that he was proud of me and he was happy about the faith and life decisions I had made by the time I was 22, the year he died.

But there are many men I know today that did not have that kind of relationship with their dad. Some dads were downright mean. Some told their sons that they would never amount to anything. Some were ambivalent or absent. To these men who rarely, or never, heard positive words from their earthly father let me speak these words from our heavenly Father:

“I know you.” Psalm 139

“I have great plans for you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29

“I will never leave you.” Deuteronomy 31

“I will never reject you.” Psalm 94

“I will never abandon you.”  Hebrews 13

“I will not break my promises to you.” Psalm 89

“I will bless you and your family.” Genesis 12

“I do not condemn you.” Romans 8

“I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43

“I take great delight in you.” Zephaniah 3

“I love you.” John 3

You know, in the Old Testament culture, and still in the Jewish family today, the father places his hands on his child’s head and speaks a blessing over them every Friday night as part of the celebration of the Sabbath.  No matter what has happened between them during the week, at that moment, the Father and the Son are connected by a blessing.

Our Heavenly Father want to bless you. Receive God’s blessings, men.  He loves you more than you know. Let that sink into your heart and give you life.

And then, pass His blessings on to your children and your children’s children.  And if you don’t know how to pass along the blessings, just honestly say the words above to your children that God has already said to you.

It will touch their heart. It will touch yours as well. It will bring life to you, to your children, to your family.

 (c) 2103. Rich Ronald.

Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Jacob

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

We are all blessed, not so we can hang on to the blessing but, rather, so that we may bless others.

Jacob is the third father of the Patriarchs of the Faith. Remember Rebekah, the wife of Isaac? The Word says that Rebekah had twins as a result of the fervent prayer of her husband. The first born was Esau, but the second, who was born at the same time was Jacob…which means “heel” because he was grabbing on to the heel of his older brother as they were born.

Twice Jacob does what he must in order to gain the edge over his brother. Esau was a wilderness man. He loved hunting and the outdoors. Jacob not so much. But all his growing up years Jacob was jealous of the birthright of his older brother.  Genesis 25 tells the story.  One day Esau came in from the field and saw that Jacob was cooking stew.  The hunter asked for some and Jacob would only give him something to eat if Esau would give Jacob his birthright as a first born.  Esau shrugged off the importance of being the first born, and because he was very hungry, gave away his rights.  Some have suggested that Jacob stole the birthright or tricked him.  That was the first step in getting what he wanted.

Later, with their father old and blind and dying, Jacob tricked his father into giving his blessing, something that was deeply significant in the Ancient Days.  Isaac indeed blessed his sons… but gave the blessing of the first born, to the second born, and the blessing of the second born to the first born. And there was nothing Esau could do about it, because earlier he had given away his birthright for a bowl of soup. And, so there is a parallel in this generation similar to that of the generation of Isaac and his half brother Ishmael.

The blessing Jacob receives:

Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,

And of the fatness of the earth,

And an abundance of grain and new wine; 

May peoples serve you,

And nations bow down to you;

Be master of your brothers,

And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.

Cursed be those who curse you,

And blessed be those who bless you.”

                        Genesis 27:28-29 (NIV)

Continue reading “Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Jacob”

Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Abraham

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

Abraham was called “Friend of God.” You too are God’s friend!

The story of Abraham begins at the end of Genesis 11.  He was the son of Terah, who Scripture tells us was at a minimum an idol worshipper, possibly a man who made his living as an idol maker. He lived in Ur, a thriving metropolis, a place full of the excitement of a city.  And it is on this stage where we hear God’s call.

Genesis 12:1-3 (The Message):

God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.

 I’ll make you a great nation 

      and bless you. 

   I’ll make you famous; 

      you’ll be a blessing. 

   I’ll bless those who bless you; 

      those who curse you I’ll curse. 

   All the families of the Earth 

      will be blessed through you.”

 And then, verse 4: “So Abram went.”

Just like that.  He left the only city he ever knew.  He took his things and his wife and left.  And he journeyed through the wildernesses of the land of Canaan.

And next, verse 7:

God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him.

First, have you noticed that Abram, and a lot of the people of the Old Testament, built altars to God… to worship Him… to acknowledge that God moved supernaturally in their life at a certain point? I believe it is important to remember to do that regularly. If we do nothing else when we go to a church building on Sunday morning, my prayer is that the time spent there is a time of remembering and thanksgiving — worship!

Continue reading “Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Abraham”

Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Caleb

A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.

Setting the table for your children’s success will certainly mean lending a helping hand.

The next father I want us to look at is Caleb.  You may recall it was Joshua, Caleb and ten others who Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land.  Ten reported that the Promised Land was a land full of giants and that the Hebrews could never conquer the land.  Caleb believed God’s word and told Moses, “yes, the land is full of giants, but our God is bigger and we can defeat them.”  (Numbers 13:30 paraphrase.)

So, Caleb and Joshua were the only two to be given God’s blessing to cross the Jordan River and enter the Land of their Inheritance.

Fast forward now some years and look in the book of Judges, Chapter 1.  Caleb has seen the giants in Caanan up close.  They are “Nephilim” — half breeds — children of fallen angels and women.  They are giants. And the land that Joshua gave Caleb had four known Nephilim cities. Caleb and Joshua had fought hard and long and defeated three of the four, but in his old age he needed help to defeat the last of these villages, Kiriath Sepher.

So, Caleb offered a challenge:  To the man who would defeat this enemy village, he would give his daughter in marriage.  You might think that offering his daughter’s hand would be something of a prize or property. However, Caleb was smart.  You see, he was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.  He would rid the region of the cities of giants, and gain a God-fearing warrior husband for his daughter at the same time.  He loved his daughter and only wanted a good husband for her.

Continue reading “Lessons from the Fathers’ Hearts: Caleb”

Advent Day 17, the Gift of Family

December 17, 2011

The Gift of Family

This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians. 

Did you know that researchers have found that people who are married have a better life?  Yes, it’s true!  Many may find holes in the data to support their own experience, however, if you are married there is a strong likelihood that you will live a longer life, have a better financial picture, and enjoy better mental health and greater safety than those who are not married.[1]

From my perspective, this data supports God’s perfect plan all along.  Today’s Gift from Ephesians is the Gift of Family. 

Here’s how The Message describes the key relationship of wives and husbands, beginning in Ephesians 5:22:

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

Paul’s definition of marriage is the way God would like it to be for us.  That’s the way it CAN be.  It’s not just a pipe dream or an awesome goal.  With the Holy Spirit in us and encouraging us daily, it CAN be that way. 

A good marriage takes a lot of hard work… a good family life even more work.  It is understandable to say that you may feel like you’ve put out all the hard work you can muster at your job and that there just isn’t enough time or energy to put in the hard work to make your marriage in the way God intended. I get that.

Someone once said that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition, in that each spouse does 50% of the work.  No, marriage is a 100-100 proposition.  Both the husband and the wife are to pour 100% of their energies into making it work.

One could drone on and on about what makes a good marriage and what makes a bad marriage, quoting wedding vows and divorce statistics.

It’s not that simple.  Life is complex.  It is complicated as a single adult.  It’s more challenging as a couple.  And it gets really interesting when that couple adds some children into that life.  But what a gift your family can be!  What a joy our children are!  Especially when we take the time to see them as God does.

Billy Graham says “Children will invariably talk, eat, walk, think, respond, and act like their parents. Give them a target to shoot at. Give them a goal to work toward. Give them a pattern that they can see clearly, and you give them something that gold and silver cannot buy.”[2]

Marriage, and family, is a great gift!  When you have a little more time this Season, read Ephesians 5:22 through 6:4 and ponder how you can be a better parent, or a better child, in your family.  Ask God to give you His grace and His eyes to see your family members the way He does.  That is a wonderful gift!

Father God, thank you for the gift of my family.  Let me see the members of my family the way you do.  Use me to bring your peace and your grace and your love to my family this Season.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2011. Rich Ronald


[1] The Case for Marriage, by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, 2001, Broadway Press.

[2] Billy Graham, The Hour of Decision, 1958