Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 20- God Loves Like a -Grand- Father
February 4 2011 by Joel Stephens, pastor, Westfield Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Hosea 11:1-11

I must confess that compassion is not one of my spiritual gifts. Just ask my kids.

They’d be the first to tell you that their dad constantly disobeys James’ admonition to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

It seems that I make a habit out of getting all three of those backwards. I can’t stand to be idle, so I usually (way) over-schedule myself; which of course puts me in a stressed disposition. I use my two-mile to-do list as an excuse as to why I seldom take the time to hear my children out.

They come to ask me a question, and I usually assume that it’s not important.

My previously mentioned bad humor, compounded by what I perceive to be a useless interruption on the part of one of my four children, tempts me to bark at them like a junkyard dog. I rarely resist this temptation and the yelling ensues.

Do I even need to mention that when I yell, I do so angrily?

I’ve battled this sin (and that’s what it is) for 12 years, ever since I became a dad.

I’m simply bent toward condescending criticism, rather than compassion. I thoughtlessly criticize the errors they make with harsh words, while nodding in silent approval when they get it right.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my children. I would give my life for theirs gladly.

Besides their mom, there is no one on this earth that means more to me than them. But my lack of compassion certainly fails to communicate my love for them.

When I snap at them, the cords of fellowship snap between us.

I have a real fear that my children will grow up to be yellers like me. But my worst fear is that they will glean a skewed image of their heavenly Father based upon the all-too-obvious flaws in their earthly father.

My heavenly Father is always quick to listen to whatever is on my mind. My heavenly Father always speaks wise, healing words. Sure, my heavenly Father gets angry with me, but not quickly. He simply overflows with compassion.

Maybe you had a dad like me. Maybe your image of God is distorted because your dad didn’t live out His character in front of you.

My prayer for you is the same as for my children: may God help you to see beyond your earthly father’s failings so that you may see the perfect fatherly compassion of God.

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2/4/2011 5:04:00 AM by Joel Stephens, pastor, Westfield Baptist Church | with 0 comments




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