Recently, Pastor Bradford Smith published an article that (like the father above) presented such a scene of salvation that it would not be ignored. Therefore, I have provided his full article and associated photos (including the photo above).
The Power of a Godly Father
We’ve been duped and distracted. This is all a ruse, ancillary and sensational window-dressing. Our culture wars on gender, abortion, the militant LGBT lobby, drag-queen children, Christian bakers, free speech (religious and otherwise), gun control—mere skirmishes to a broader conflict. There is a full-scale assault upon the bastion of a righteous nation, the godly father.
These issues distract and divide depreciating biblical masculinity as an archaic concept, symbolic of a by-gone patriarchy. Meanwhile, our nation systematically castrates our men. We demonize masculinity, suppressing the slightest hints of masculine aggression in young boys. With few godly examples to emulate, young men go one of two routes, submit to being neutered and become a hollowed out shell of a man immersed in pornography, maybe video games, or lash out in the oppression of women. These days, the cultural ideal for manhood has become the homosexual man, one who possesses the capacity but not the propensity to reproduce, to father. You see, Satan knows all too well the power of a godly father.
Father to the Church
God calls godly men to lead His church. (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) He commissions elders to lead, guide, shepherd, and protect His people. The church elder must be the husband of one wife, literally a one-woman-man. He must be of reputable character, and he must manage and lead his household well, his wife and his children. (1 Timothy 3:5) He must be a godly father. (God nowhere restricts single or childless men from service.)
That he manages his home well indicates how he might manage the household of God. If he cannot manage his own home, how can he be trusted with such a responsibility? As God likens His church to a household, godly men are the fathers of the Church.
Yet, most men sit content in their excess as idle and flaccid caricatures of what God has called them to be. They flee the feminized Church in droves, leaving any practice of spirituality to their wives, further emasculating the Church. Entire denominations ignore the authority of Scripture and ordain female clergy. Women are left holding the bag, so to speak.
Sunday is my day to sleep in, or…
The game’s on, or…
I don’t really want to be preached at this morning…
This is not what God intended in His revealed will. God looks to godly men, to godly fathers, to lead His church in taking the Gospel to the nations. God dispatches godly fathers to lead the assault against the very gates of hell, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set them free. (Matthew 16:18, Luke 4:18)
This is the power of a godly father.
Father to His Children
What a man does in his home is equally as important, if not more important than what he does in public, or in the church. The family is the building block of the church, the foundation of a godly nation. Few things indicate the condition of a nation more so than the state of its families.
And few things display the power of a godly father more than his role in the family. God entrusted the future of the Church to godly fathers, that they would minister to their families. This is a great Gospel issue and you may not evade this call.
Children inherit the faith of their parents. Really, they inherit the faith of their fathers. Dads, God is calling you to father. Men, God is calling you to father.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. (Psalm 127:4-5)
The Lord has equipped us with two great weapons for this cutthroat spiritual battle. He has given us the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17) The Word of God is a weapon in the hand of a warrior. But He has filled our quiver with arrows, our children. Our sons, our children, are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. The Bible and our children—the weapons of a godly father. Would you put the sword of the Spirit into the hands of your sons?
This is the power of a godly father.
Reality confronts as most fathers abdicate the responsibility to make disciples of their sons, either leaving it to the Church or neglecting it altogether. This is a great Gospel issue. Most Christians convert before the age of 18. There are very few adult converts. If a young man leaves home before conversion, chances are he will die one day in his sin.
The religious practices of the father, above everything else, determine the future religious practices of the child. From a 1994 Swiss study, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful the wife’s devotion, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper.
Secular psychology concurs. From Freud, a child’s psychological representation of his father is intimately connected to his understanding of God. Once a child is disappointed in or loses respect for his earthly father, belief in a heavenly father becomes impossible. The younger a man, the more likely he is to have a poor relationship with his father. Though the correlation is not firmly established, the younger man is also less likely to believe in God.
Here is the power of a godly father, the power to make disciples of all the nations…starting with his own sons.
Fathers to the Fatherless
Let us consider those who have no father?
It is a fact that orphans suffer. System kids who ‘graduate’ the system at 18 not having been adopted have only despair to look forward to. Statistically, most of them will fail at life. Incarceration, addiction, homelessness, poverty, children out of wedlock: this is the likely future of those never adopted. Every year, our nation generates thousands of new adults who will always struggle.
Those raised by a single mother struggle nearly as much. A disproportionate number of prisoners in our nation’s penal system come from single mother homes. The presence of an active father yields better students, higher achievement, college, higher income, fewer mental and social issues. Yet, the ranks of the fatherless grows daily as more and more men walk, abandoning their responsibility to father. It is the children who suffer.
Most of all though, who will teach them about Christ? This is the true issue as each year we populate the ranks of adulthood with thousands of those least likely to ever believe. This is a great Gospel issue and in this, we see the potential power of a godly man. Perhaps God knew what He was doing when He ordained that a man leave his mother and father and ‘cleave’ to the woman in the bonds of marriage.
The orphans, the fatherless, they live desperate for the love and commitment of a godly father. Selflessly, thousands of godly fathers nationwide answer the call to stand in the gap and say, “I will be that man.”
This is the power of a godly father.
Fathers to the Nation
Our nation yearns desperately for the leadership of strong and steady men, men of God, committed men, serious in their faith and with their families. Our nation desperately needs godly fathers to step forward and declare that which God has ordained.
The godly father would never stand by as our nation silently slaughters our babies in the womb.
The godly father would never stand silent as orphans languish in their affliction.
The godly father could not tolerate our collective national drift from godliness.
Perhaps you or I could be that man. I pray that God would raise up a generation of such men, that He would show His power in the commitment of godly fathers.
A Visual Analysis of the Graphics Chosen by Pastor Bradford Smith
One of the things that drew me into this article was the graphics. Therefore, as a complement to Pastor Smith’s eye for illustrating images, I would like to point out all of the things that these pictures add to the message that Pastor Smith sought to share on fatherhood.
First, we have a father and son likely at a major league baseball game. A bat comes flying and almost eveybody looks out for their own well being. The man and woman in front of the son duck so low as to almost be out of the frame of the picture. Even the man two rows behind the son has his arms drawn up defensively around his chest. Fortunately the father stretches out his protective arm (and, for that, likely receives a nasty bruise or worse). Conversely (until the father protectively swung his arm in front of the boy), the son had kept his face buried in his iPhone and would have received a disabling blow to the brain had his father’s arm not intervened. Still, since the son raised his head to put his nose on the same level as the bat and since dad’s arm cannot absorb all of the kinetic force of the bat, we can only guess at how appreciative the boy remained after the capturing of this photo. Still, in the light of this protective model of fatherhood, the following verses should illuminate further God’s plan for using fathers to protect others.
Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ (Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NASB)
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB)
As we consider the soaked back of the dad, first consider the slightly wet legs of the son. You see, as the two walked together, the father adjusted his hold on the umbrella so that neither would get wet. Problem was, that did not work. In the end, dad ended up as you see him: drenched from head to foot while son was mostly dry (except for some dampness around the feet). As with many other parents before him, this father sacrificed his comfort, his leather briefcase and shoes, and, possibly, his health for the sake of his son. To prove God’s concern that we follow in these steps, the following verses model our responsibility to care.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NASB)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6 NASB)
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:13 NASB)
His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. (Job 1:4-5 NASB)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:21 NASB)
I’ve seen these guys at prayer breakfasts, deacons meetings, and volunteer events at the church’s food pantry. They have been seen with saws in hand while working on some widow’s house, with a ladle serving scrambled eggs to the homeless in the park, and with a ratchet wrench in hand while standing over a single mom’s shuddering car. Often, these guys come to the prayer meeting wearing blue jeans and baseball caps because they will be painting rooms in the shelter less than an hour after the prayers have been offered. Needless to say, these guys do not just walk the walk, but also pray the prayer and so much more. Likewise, the following verses show God’s direction for fathers to father the church.
Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. (Psalm 82:3 NASB)
shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (1 Peter 5:2 NASB)
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 NASB)
For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:7-9 NASB)
In this age of Planned Parenthood, the blessing of birth seems to have slipped from the West’s collective consciousness. However, this blessing has always been at the forefront of God’s mind and that of His servant. In the case of the work-worn father of this grad, his body shows evidence of long hours of strenuous work and deprivation. Obviously, he either doesn’t own shoes or he has gotten so accustomed to going barefoot in the dust that he would rather have his son’s graduation photo taken like this. In contrast, his son stands tall and wears the full uniform of graduation: a cap and gown with shirt, tie, slacks, and loafers. Although you cannot minimize the academic work the son completed, you also cannot slight the contributions of the father. You can only recognize the part both play as the son respects the father and the father supports the son. Nonetheless, looking to the following Bible verses will confirm the value God places on children.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5 NASB)
“Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.“ (Mark 9:37 NASB)
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14 NASB)
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10 NASB)
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 NASB)
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:1-6 NASB)
Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. (John 16:21 NASB)
Although I have seen Bikers for Christ and have taught a number of young school-age kids (anywhere from second to fourth graders, as needed by the director of Sunday School); however, these two have not been together during my observation. Mostly, this just proves that I am not omniscient. But the one omniscient God has seen the marginalized. He cares about the prisoners. He cares about the orphans and widows. Looking at the following verses will prove these interests of God in first the prisoner and then the orphan and widow.
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:17-19 NASB)
‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:9-10 NASB)
Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9 NASB)
You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. (Exodus 22:22 NASB)
He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18 NASB)
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29 NASB)
“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17 NASB)
“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 24:19 NASB)
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. (Deuteronomy 26:12-13 NASB)
Because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper. (Job 29:12 NASB)
You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan. (Psalm 10:14 NASB)
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (Psalm 10:18 NASB)
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation. (Psalm 68:5 NASB)
Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. (Psalm 82:3 NASB)
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked. (Psalm 146:9 NASB)
Do not move the ancient boundary
Or go into the fields of the fatherless, (Proverbs 23:10 NASB)
if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, (Jeremiah 7:6 NASB)
“Assyria will not save us,
We will not ride on horses;
Nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’
To the work of our hands;
For in You the orphan finds mercy. (Hosea 14:3 NASB)
and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’ (Zechariah 7:10 NASB)
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4 NASB)
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27 NASB)
Although Pastor Bradford Smith‘s article calls the reader to action on items already made central by previous calls to action and Biblical verses, the photograph here does something even more central. It calls the Christian to focus on the Lion of Judah (Christ, as revealed in Revelation 5:5). By centering ourselves on Christ, we will be drawn to act in ways that will benefit both Christ and His kingdom. Therefore, we will find ourselves the least of these as we serve and focus on Him.
and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5 NASB)
The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NASB)
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15 NASB)