A short devotion for 21st June

Father’s Day

Call to worship

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. Psalm 103:13

Prayer of Praise

Sovereign God, we come to you on this Father’s Day, giving thanks for everything that fathers mean and have meant to us, but rejoicing, above all, in your fatherly care for all. With grateful hearts, we bring you praise and commit ourselves again to your service. Father of all, we worship you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Father God, we come before you as your children acknowledging that our behaviour is not what you would expect from us who are made in your image.
We come before you to ask for your forgiveness and seek your guidance that we will become the children you want us to be, asking this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, Amen.

Bible Reading

  • Colossians 1:15-20

Message

The text is taken from Colossians 1:15-20

Introduction

The late Jim Reeves use to sing this song: ‘Your five year old face is a dirty disgrace, but you love me, daddy. You wake me at dawn, when I want to sleep on, but you love me, daddy. And you’re so hard to scold, cause your my five year old, because you love me, daddy.

My late father was blessed with a wonderful son….. His name was Reginald Roy. Reg followed my dear old dad in that he was a baker by trade got married and had three children, two girls and a boy. I was the black sheep of the family a bit like the prodigal son. I left home and went overseas, all be it to train as a missionary, then to sea in the Merchant Navy and in between a short time in the Army for good measure.

Steve Ramsden and Matty Ramsden you may never heard of unless you are into Road Racing. They are a father and son racing team and have competed Sidecar events on the famous Isle of Man TT circuit, getting over speeds of 111 miles an hour. They had never won a race on this circuit, but they work as a team.

Matthew in his Gospel tells us that James and John were in a fishing boat with their father Zebedee preparing their nets, again father and sons working together.

Henry the 8th had a son, Edward the 6th who was a Protestant, sadly he died young.

During the Second World War the 26th President of the United States had a son, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr he landed with his men on Utah Beach on D Day even though he was an ill man. General Roosevelt died a month after the landings and his buried in the American War Cemetery, Colleville sur Mer and was for his leadership on D Day was awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for bravery.

Perhaps one of the most famous sons in the Old Testament second only to his father was Solomon. (1Kings 1:28-46 & 3:5, 9 & 12) God said to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon replied, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” So God said, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”

Most of us here today can look back to our dear dads. My dad was only 55 when the Lord took him home; Doreen’s too was very young.

Last thing at night my dad would come to our bedroom and sit on the side of the bed and read the Bible to us before we went to sleep or he hoped we would go to sleep!

In our reading today from the Old Testament we are introduced to a father-son relationship between Abraham and Isaac. Before we go any further let us not forget that Abraham had two sons, the first one was Ishmael who was born to his servant Hagar, and the second son was the son of Promise whom Sarah bore in her old age, Isaac. God promised Hagar concerning her son, “I will make him into a great nation.” (Gen. 21:18) After having been told by God that He would make of Abraham a great nation and Sarah, “She will be the mother of nations; kings of people will come from her.” (Gen. 17:16) Don’t forget this was a woman in her 90s. In verse 21 of chapter 17 we read, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you this time next year.” In Genesis 22 we have moved away from and expecting mother, passed the time of Isaac’s birth, and we are brought face to face with Abraham the proud dad with his son, Isaac. The one who was to be Abraham’s heir and the one that God had promised Abraham would be father of many nations. We hear the voice of God calling to this dear old man and He is asking him to sacrifice his one and only son. The pride of his life the joy of his heart and what was the old man’s response to the call of God? If we stop for a moment and ask ourselves the question, how would we have responded? Would we have argued, “But Lord you promised that my son would be the first born of many nations, how can this going to be if I offer him in sacrifice to you? No, that was not the response of this old man; it was simply, “Here I am.” What did God ask this dear old dad to do, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” What was Abraham’s response? Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When the boy enquired of his father “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Just as the knife was about to plunge down into the boys heart the Lord shouted to Abraham “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

After all said and done, how did Isaac recover from this ordeal? Did he suffer for years to come at the thought of his father about to bring the knife down to sacrifice him to God? Did he understand his old man’s love and obedience to God? What did he think about God testing his dear old dad.

We know that because of his obedience to God That He promised, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” Are we willing to let our sons and daughters obey the call of God and go where He lead them? Are we willing to leave our young ones with their families and follow the Lord?

God was willing to do just that with His one and only Son. Only this time He did sacrifice the Son. Look at what Isaiah wrote in chapter 53. Why? For God was pleased to have all the fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col. 1:20)

A famous lawyer lay dying and with the assistance of a fried was trying to prepare his last Will and Testament. He had taken seriously ill in the midst of a brilliant career, and the doctors held out no hope for him. His little daughter was playing around the room at the time not knowing what was happening, except that she heard her father giving away large sums of money. She asked, “Daddy, why are you giving all your money away?” “Oh my dear, I am going to a place where I won’t need any money.” “But daddy, are you sure you have a home in that place where you are going?” The father turned his head away as the tears rolled down his cheeks. He had prepared for everything, but had no home in Heaven. Make sure, by trusting the Saviour, that you have a home beyond the skies. (Taken from Young People’s Daily Readings by Noel Grant)

The hymn writer put it this way:

God sent His Son they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior live!

Can we call God Father? Is He waiting to welcome us home?

Prayers of Intercession

Father God, we pray today for those entrusted with the responsibility of fatherhood, all who have the duty and privilege of raising children. Grant them love, insight and devotion. Father of all, hear our prayer.

We pray for fathers whose marriage has broken down, separated from their children, seeing them only occasionally. We pray for all stepfathers who will fill the role that once was theirs. Grant them commitment, dedication and sensitivity. Father of all, hear our prayer.

We pray for children abused by their fathers, emotionally scarred for life, struggling to come to terms with their experience, haunted by an image of fear rather than love. Grant them healing, peace and courage to face the future. Father of all, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have lost their fathers, whether as children or as adults, each carrying a sense of loss. Grant your strength, your comfort and hope. Father of all, hear our prayer.

Father God, we lift before you today all fathers and their children. Enfold them in your love and surround them with your fatherly care today and every day. Father of all, hear our prayer. Through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessing

May the blessing of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit be with you all this day and remain with you always.
Amen