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Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In the classic story ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Dorothy and her three traveling companions take a trip to see the ‘wonderful Wizard of Oz’. Each of them has a need that no one else has been able to meet. Each of them is scared, discouraged and in a seemingly hopeless situation. Their only hope is the wizard.

Once they get to Oz they find out that the wizard is almost impossible to meet with and, at first, they are turned away. When they are allowed a visit, they are terrified to come into his presence. His throne room is full of flames and terror. His voice is scary and gruff. Once they make their urgent requests known he finally agrees to give them their wishes, but only if they risk their lives doing something that meant certain death.

You know the story. They get the broom from the wicked witch and, upon returning to the wizard, discover that the so-called wizard is really nothing more than a bumbling old man with no special powers except to talk a good line.

While we all realize that ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is nothing more than a fantasy, in our more honest times we have to admit that we view God more like the wizard when we are in our time of need. We view him as unapproachable, fearful, powerful and demanding our very souls. Other times we view him as a bumbling old man that is really only interested in saving his own skin and living a life of prestige and power.

It’s time to get over the ‘Wizard of Oz’ mentality in our Christian lives! As Christ followers the writer to the Hebrews gives us a completely different view of who God is and our position before him. First of all we have the right to enter the Throne of Grace. Throne implies absolute and complete power. But this throne isn’t a throne full of flames, smoke and fear. It’s a throne of grace. Grace doesn’t require anything of us but to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness. No witches broom to sacrifice. No life-threatening or personality destroying actions to gain admittance. We don’t need to clean ourselves up. We can enter this throne room just as we are: selfish, rebellious, angry, afraid, battered, bruised and addicted. No matter where you are, what you’ve done or how you got to where you are you are qualified to enter the very throne room of the Creator God. AWESOME!

Secondly we enter the throne room with confidence. Why? Because as our Father, God welcomes us as his children. He isn’t a father that is too preoccupied with the game on TV, the yard work, his own status or anything else. His one and only concern is to hear you, comfort you, guide you and forgive you. He isn’t interested in making you something you are not; He’s interested in making you the best you can be!

Lastly, when we come before Him we find mercy and grace. He won’t accuse us. He won’t say ‘I told you so’. He won’t demand you jump through a bunch of hoops. It’s absolutely amazing! He knows our need before we even get to the throne room. He isn’t concerned about who is at fault or how many times you’ve stumbled, strayed or rebelled. He’s only interested in making you the best you can be so you can live a life of freedom from the affects of the pain we all encounter.

Get rid of the “Wizard of Oz” mentality in your life as a Christ-follower. When you pray and read His Word remember that you are coming into a room full of love, forgiveness, understanding and healing. God loves you and wants nothing more than to show you the grace and mercy you need to live life to its fullest.

PRAYER: Holy God. I confess to you that often times I see you more as the fearful or bumbling wizard of Oz. I’m ashamed of what I’ve done, angry at you for not doing what I wanted you to do and doubt your ability to take care of me. I’ve gone off on my own journey to find fulfillment and run aground. Please help me to realize what it means to come into your presence. Help me to come with confidence to You so that I can experience the grace and mercy that is already mine because of my faith in Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.

Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2

A tree is known by its fruit. If you walk up to an apple tree there is little chance you will find an orange! Peach trees will not deliver grapefruit! Cherry trees make lousy pear trees. It is both humbling and exciting to realize that according to scripture, just as trees produce fruit according to their heritage, fathers have a huge effect on the way their children turn out.

While it is true that there are some exceptions, in most cases the faith a father exhibits will eventually be shown in the lives of his children. A man that holds tightly to the word of God and builds a relationship with Jesus Christ will have a much better chance to see his children follow in the heritage of faith he leaves behind.

The Psalmist clearly states that the man who ‘finds great delight’ in what God has to say will see his children greatly bless the land. As fathers, each of us is responsible to make sure we are in God’s word daily and praying regularly and specifically for our families. Our children need male role models to show them the importance of daily communication with God. Healthy physical relationships will not happen unless we have first taken care of building a healthy spiritual relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

While Psalm 112 is clear about the necessity of following God’s word for the sake of our children, it is interesting to ‘see’ what isn’t mentioned. There is no mention of the importance of forcing our children to follow a certain set of religious dogmas and/or traditions. In fact, there is no mention of us forcing our children to do anything. The implication is that they learn the importance of walking with God by our example, by the words we speak and the way we treat others, especially their mother.

Another thing that isn’t mentioned here is that we as parents, especially fathers here, are not responsible for making sure our children conform to the mold we have determined they should follow. Our mission as fathers is to provide as many healthy experiences for our children as possible so that they can develop healthy, well rounded lives through diverse experiences.

Being a successful father has nothing to do with the job you have, the amount of money you make, the church you attend or the number of toys in your yard. Being a successful father is measured simply by the relationship you have with God and how that plays out in the lives of your children.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for being the ultimate example of fatherhood for me. I confess to you that I’ve let my relationship with you slip and as a result I’ve put my children in danger of spiritual harm. Forgive me for my apathy and distractions. Empower me to draw close to you so that my children will see an example of You in my life through love, grace and patience with them and others. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 (NLT)

One of the reasons we, as parents, can at times become exasperated with our children is that we fear they will make the same harmful decisions we made when we were young. It’s as if, as we are growing up, there is this voice inside of us saying, “My kid will never do this!” We enter adult life with all sorts of dreams about what we can  become.  Before long we find ourselves as parents and realize it’s too late to make those dreams on our own. To compensate for our own shortcomings we resolve that our children will not travel down the same detour in life. They will have a better life.

The Psalmist likens God to a loving father who is tender and compassionate. When we read that comparison we may see an image in our mind of a father holding an infant or walking hand in hand with a child down a quiet, softly lit forest path while flowers bloom and birds sing cheerfully in the trees. Then reality sets in and we come back to consciousness just as our teenager enters the house and announces he wrecked the car!

It’s humbling to realize that our reaction to this event is what shows our child what God is like. When we hear the statement “God is like our father.” What images come to mind? Do you see love and compassion or anger and coldness? When you think of God as your father, how does he talk to you? Does he talk with sarcasm and criticism or acceptance and encouragement?

It’s not surprising in our society that people have a misconception of what God is like.  We are all wired to see our fathers as reflections of what God is like. The unfortunate fact is that fathers are human. No one, not even Jesus Christ, had a father that was perfect in every way. As a result we can see God the way our fathers were, sometimes angry, aloof, insensitive, selfish, and apathetic or the like.

  • Earthly fathers may fail us, but your Heavenly Father NEVER WILL;
  • Earthly fathers may leave us, but your Heavenly Father promises to always be with you;
  • Earthly fathers break promises, but your Heavenly Father always does what He says He’ll do;
  • Earthly fathers may become preoccupied, but your Heavenly Father always has you at the center of his attention;
  • Earthly fathers may be disappointed in us; your Heavenly Father is always proud of who you are, even when you fail!
  • Earthly fathers may become angry with us, your Heavenly Fathers anger is reserved for the actions of sin and the enemy of our souls;
  • Earthy father’s may cheat, your Heavenly Father remains faithful to what is right.
  • Earthly fathers may forget, your Heavenly Father never forgets you. He doesn’t forget birthdays or ball games or special event of your life.
  • Earthly fathers may put work ahead of you, your Heavenly Father always has you in first place in His mind.

If you are struggling today with the wounds left by an earthly father who left you scarred emotionally or physically please realize your Heavenly Father longs to show you a true and loving relationship through His son Jesus christ. If you read the list above and realize how wonderful your earthly father really is thank God (and your dad) for being the man that he is.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that I say you are my ‘Father’ way to flippantly without realizing what that really means. I thank you for who you are as my Heavenly Father and for always being there to lift me up, encourage me, guide me and forgive me. I pray you would help me to be a parent and child that shows others how loving you are. Amen.

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