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Summary: What makes a great Dad according to scripture.

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Iliff and Saltillo UM churches

June 15, 2003

Father’s Day

“A Great Dad”

Psalm 103:1-13

INTRODUCTION: Today is Father’s Day. Anyone can be a father but it takes a special person to be a Dad. The title for today’s message is a “A Great Dad.” Just what are the characteristics of a great Dad? Dads come in all sizes and shapes. Some have dark hair, some gray and some no hair at all. Some are extroverts and some introverts. They come with different hobbies and interests and different careers. Some like to fish, hunt, ride motorcycles, and some like to build things. Dads come from many different directions in their thinking about things as well.

STORY: One young father was standing in front of the hospital nursery looking in at his newborn son who was asleep. The mother walked up behind him and was so touched by the scene. She finally tiptoed up to him and slipped her arm through his and said, “Hon, what are you thinking about?”

He replied, “I just can’t understand how they’re able to make a crib like that for $89.95.” (Steve Malone--sermon central).

Although fathers are interesting creatures, here are some things you will never hear them say:

1. “Well, how ‘bout that? I’m lost! Looks like we’ll have to stop and ask for directions.”

2. “I noticed that all your friends have a certain hostile attitude. I like that!”

3. “No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring. Now quit your belly-aching and let’s go to the mall!”

4. Whaddya wanna go and get a job for? I make plenty of money for you to spend.”

5. “Here’s a credit card and the keys to my new car. Go CRAZY!!”

Let’s see what we can get out of today’s scripture that applies to fathers today.

1. God’s Compassion: Psalm 103:13 says, “as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

The Message Bible says, “As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.”

Does your picture of your father or mother resemble the picture of God as described in verse 13? That he is compassionate and understanding toward us because he knows that we are made of mud? He understands our frailties. Another translation says that God is tender and sympathetic toward us like a father is toward his children. Sometimes we don’t picture God as someone like this who makes allowances for our frailties realizing that we are not going to do everything perfectly or have all the right answers for everything.

STORY: A man related how he had always had an uneasy relationship with God every time he prayed. He always pictured God as a stern, unpleasant figure who was always displeased with him. One day while he was shaving, he felt prompted to visualize what he felt about God.

In his mind’s eye he saw a majestic man seated on an impressive throne, robed in white with white hair and a stern, harsh look in his eyes. As he watched in wonder, the seated figure rose from his throne and walked over toward him.

Worried, he shrank back. But the figure came down to him and wrapped his arms around him. That one vision changed his entire attitude and helped him to realize how much God really loved him as a Father.

I think this story describes the word compassion.

None of us come from perfect homes. Many people today don’t remember their earthly father as understanding or compassionate. Some fathers may have been harsh, stern task masters. And some fathers may have been working all the time and didn’t pay much attention to their children. Others may not have been there at all.

One father said, “My prayer is that God will bless my children in spite of me and my blundering efforts.”

A stepfather asked for prayer. He said, “I am struggling with my stepson who I’m trying to love, but he will just not respond. It’s brought tension to the whole family. I’ve done everything I can think of.”

Maybe you have had some experiences like that. Divine compassion is that quality by which God as the Heavenly Father empathizes with human frailties.

A great Dad realizes that children are “made of mud” and makes allowances for less than perfect attitudes and actions. God’s love and compassion toward us is an example to Dads today. Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children. Instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” This means a great Dad will treat children fairly and not wear them out, nag at them, make them hostile. Don’t punish unfairly but be reasonable. Great dads follow the example of God as a father who realizes that we are “made of mud” and his grace makes allowances for these frailties. He is not the stern task master frowning on us just waiting to punish us unfairly.

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