Monday, June 16, 2014

Lessons from an old leather belt

6. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8.  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10.  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11.  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. ~ Hebrews 12:6-11
 "This is going to hurt you more than it's going to hurt me."
Boy, that was a big lie I thought to myself. Dad is getting pleasure out of whipping me with that old leather belt. I can tell by the way he jingles the buckle when he takes it off and by the way he snaps the leather making a loud cracking sound as he approaches me. Oh sure, I deserved to be punished, I had done something wrong again but is a whipping really necessary?

Of course that was my way of thinking when I was an 8-years old getting into mischief and being caught. My dad had some kind of 6th sense when it came to figuring out who had done the dirty deeds around the house.

I was born in 1966 and was a child of the 70's. It was a carefree time and I lived in the country away from all of the attractions of the city. I was more drawn to creeks, barns, woods, and dogs than anything else in the world. I didn't realize back then how lucky I was to grow up in a Christian home. Both of my parents were Christians and they made sure that we went to Church when the doors were open. There was no discussion or choices to be made, we went and that was final. I would have had to been running a high fever or severely bleeding to be able to stay out of Church. In my small way of thinking, I felt I was being punished by being raised this way.

"When I grow up I'm going to do whatever I want to do and nobody can tell me otherwise." Little did I know that when I would grow up the things I wanted to do were the things my parents raised me to do.

Now that I'm a grown man with a wife and three children, I can look back on those days of my childhood and just smile. I never heard my father raise his voice to my mother, he never cursed, he never struck her out of anger, he never abandoned us. He was a solid rock and still is. The lessons he taught me from the strap of that old leather belt are precious to me now. If I could go back in time I wouldn't change a single thing (well except I think I would try not to be so mischievous.)

I had the joy of preaching a message this past Sunday on Father's Day. There was my dad sitting in the congregation on the 5th pew from the front, right beside my mother. I used my life lessons from dad throughout my sermon in illustrations. It wasn't really until I was preaching that I realized how much in common my earthly father has with my Heavenly Father. Oh, I know he wouldn't think so but I can't imagine having a better dad. I just hope I can be half of the man that he has been during his lifetime.

Give this message a listen and see if you can relate your father with the Heavenly Father: 

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