THE MYSTICAL ORDER OF SPIRITUAL BAPTIST INC (2012)
FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND APOSTOLIC HEAD
Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg
WHERE EVERY GOOD FATHER REMEMBERS
Today is a very special day that all fathers can be proud and grateful for a special day dedicated to us. Many mothers are included since they were left alone with the children and no help from the man supposed to be called father. However, we cannot let one bad egg spoil the crate, but my encouragement is for all real fathers to rise above your failures and move in a positive direction. As we begin this special day here is my message to you.
Maybe he gets crabby sometimes. Maybe he could tell you things a little more gently. Perhaps he even blames and scolds you unfairly once in a while. But think of all the times when you did something wrong and got away with it. You’re still far ahead of the game. And don’t think your father is angry or grouchy every time he looks or talks in a serious way; maybe he’s really worrying about you, and with good reason. The next time he gives you a good going-over, take it like a good soldier who has made a mistake. Don’t ever go away with a grudge in your heart against your father — a grudge that won’t wear off for three or four days. You don’t have to put a halo on your father’s head or wings upon his shoulders to get the right picture of him. But remember that he is not just the man who provides the home in which you live, the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the money you spend.
He is your father!
Father gets little enough in return for all he does and gives. Love from his children? Certainly! But love packed in little packages and so tightly wrapped that poor father wears himself out looking for the speck of love that is tossed to him. And it’s a rare day when he has to get out an umbrella to protect himself against the showers of thanks that are rained upon him. But he keeps on working and providing and giving. He is satisfied with the happiness he provides for his family. I like that. Father gets a lot of ole talk and too little credit. So it is good to have a day when we pause to honor our fathers. However, we would waste our precious time if we allow it to evolve into sloppy, sentimentalism about fatherhood. Instead, I would like to share a word from the wise King Solomon having to do with fatherhood.
The Bible has a lot to say about fathers. There is no way in which we can deal with all of it. So today I’ll focus on two verses: Proverbs 3:11-12. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
The implications in these verses can help you and me confront who we are as fathers. These could be reduced to a statement of fact for consideration. It would be something like this: The good father is the one who is disciplined and disciplining. Let us remember some of the implications which undergird this statement.
Every father is also a child.
The wise king addresses his words of counsel by saying, “My son…..” Let us never forget that we are children no matter how old we get. Think about that. You are always a child. You have an earthly father. You have a heavenly Father. You and I did not just appear full-grown. We are the products of the human reproductive process. Without an earthly father you would not exist. And without a heavenly Father, who started the whole creative process, you would not be alive today. This is so basic that it almost goes without saying. However, it is one of the most easily forgotten facts. There is something within you and me that rebels against authority. You and I want autonomy. We would just as soon not have to keep tipping our hats to our earthly parents and our heavenly Parent. Why not? Because it is humbling.
Deep within each of us is a desire to consider ourselves self-made. Perhaps it is the youth who comes from poverty circumstances. With the right combination of breaks and hard work, he gets an education, is established in a vocation, and is labeled a success. He becomes part of the “super star syndrome.” Articles are written about him. He makes it to the top. Little attention is given to the earthly parents who gave him his start. He may tip his hat in appreciation as he receives his award for what he has accomplished.
On the other extreme, there is the wealthy heir. He has inherited the family fortune. All his life he works hard to convince the world that he is someone in his own right. He may do it by trying to achieve in an area in which his father had no particular expertise. Or he may do it by developing a whole new value system in which he walks away from the fortune to live an alternative life-style. Some even squander the fortune in their frenzied endeavor to establish their own autonomy. You can read all about this in the story of the prodigal son. Most of us do not fit into these various extremes. We are somewhere in the middle. Yet we are just as determined to prove ourselves. In all of our efforts, as good as they may be, let us never forget that we are products of earthly fathers and mothers, and we have a heavenly Father to whom we are responsible. The Scriptures teach that every good and every perfect gift we have comes from Him. It is a humbling thought.
At the same time, it is a liberating concept. We are in relationship, whether we want to be or not, with the divine personality who entitles us to every breath we breathe. He, with one switch on the cosmic control board, can cut off our existence. It is an awesome thought. We try to repress it. Nonetheless, it is true. We are children, dependent upon His mercy, dependent upon His love, and dependent upon His daily provision. We need to remember that.
As fathers who are children, we need continuing wisdom.
Today’s text is set in the larger context of the entire third chapter of Proverbs. This chapter has, as its central theme, your and my need for wisdom. You and I are exhorted to seek wisdom. (Proverbs 3:1-18).
Is there any quality which gives more dignity to a father than wisdom? Those of us who acknowledge the fact that we are children of both earthly parents and a heavenly Father are much more readily able to find wisdom than those of us who are boldly proclaiming our autonomy. Wisdom comes only to the person who is humble, who acknowledges his need, who is willing to bow his knee before a higher sovereign. Living with respect and obedience to your spiritual father and leader of this Mystical Order.
Remember Solomon? His father, David, had just died. Humble before God, Solomon went to the altar. He took his offerings. In the night God appeared to him and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” Solomon acknowledged God’s love toward his own father, David, and acknowledged the fact that God had made him king in his father’s place. And then Solomon made this request: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). This was a selfless act of courage and love. Today it appears like the opposite. Where is the humility with grace? Where is the spirit of Solomon seeking the leadership of Almighty God?
God answered, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12). This is the act of a father, yes your Heavenly Father.
God rewarded Solomon for wanting the right things. Granted, we have a problem understanding Solomon’s later life. How could a person of such wisdom do so many wrong things? Perhaps instead of presenting a problem, it illustrates the fact that we can willfully go against what we know is right and, in spite of God’s gift of wisdom, mess up our lives. This underlines a very important fact. You and I must live in the daily appropriation of God’s wisdom. It is a gift that you and I need to steward (a person who looks after the passengers on a ship etc).
A man who is a fool can, with God’s help, become a man of wisdom. A youth gifted with God’s wisdom can, by self-centered and autonomous pride, develop into a middle-aged or elderly fool.
Wisdom comes through the discipline of our heavenly Father.
God is the source of wisdom. All wisdom ultimately comes from Him and is enabled by Him. One of His key methods to give you wisdom is to do it through discipline. A careful study of the Bible will reveal that discipline is closely associated with two parental practices.
The first of these is instruction. This involves training and knowledge. If we were to look at this in athletic terms, we could compare it to what will begin this summer for the various professional sporting teams. They will check into training camps. There will be several major emphases to the instruction which the coaches will give at the beginning of this season. We have the world cup football season as an example, or even cricket in the Caribbean. The coaches instruct players as to what they are to do in certain situations. They are to memorize the plays and the strategies discussed. You just don’t go out there and do what you feel like doing. You are instructed by a trained and knowledgeable coach. You are told that if you do what you should do, there will be a desirable result (winnings). You are instructed as to how to use your head. Instruction involves knowledge. Instruction involves training. Instruction involves practice. Instruction is one part of discipline.
God has given us His Word. He instructs us as to what it is to be His person. He describes His game plan. He tells of our rebellion against His will for us. He alerts us to His provision as He became a man in Jesus Christ to die for our sins. He alerts us to His Holy Spirit’s presence in our life. He challenges us to a Spirit-controlled life. And we are called to daily practice. We learn our lessons daily, right in the middle of life. Everyday is a training and practice experience. Yet, only those that are willing to learn will accomplish the art of the game.
That’s what makes this second dimension of discipline all the more difficult. Not only is there instruction. A biblical understanding of discipline will show that combined with instruction is reproof and correction. All through the Bible we see God’s “rod of discipline” in dealing with His people. He takes corrective measures not to crush His children, but to train them in the ways in which they should develop. Some of our young people are taking training or instructions to become start and professionals at what they do at great pain. What pain! Pain is part of correction. Reproof is part of discipline. God cares enough to grade our efforts! Part of discipline is what we call “chastisement.” God could leave the training wheels on forever to protect us from the pain of falling down. What good parent would do that? I would rather fall off the bike a few times and find my balance than go through life protected from the exhilaration of vulnerability. The major problem today is many people want to run without learning how to creep. The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way he should go. New born babes desire milk because they are not able to eat solid food. The Bible tells us new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow. Are we willing to learn the word of God fathers?
I look around today and see children beating their parents and even in the churches, where they congregate to destroy the very existence of the Leaders that have placed them in position with intent to raise them in the fear of the Lord. Their shoes became too big for their feet and so the head is swollen so big that it cannot fit on their shoulders. A true father walks in the instructions of the Word of God. In this Mystical Order there is a plan and rules to train our members to make you better citizens for the Kingdom and the world at large.
God warns against two natural responses to His discipline.
On the one hand, we are warned, “… do not despise the Lord’s discipline….” We have seen this in children. There is that occasional child who despises parental authority. That child steels his will against the rod. He hardens his heart against the parent’s discipline. He refuses to accept the instruction. He pretends not to feel the pain. We have seen this ugly sight. Hallelujah, we do not have to look far to see the rejection of instructions. Fathers that despise Authority will sooner or later see the results of their actions in the lives of their children. I ask the question today “Where is the example for our children? Remember the question the pigs asked their mother. The answer is astounding and as you get older you will understand this message today.
God urges us not to despise His discipline. Expect it. Realize that a disciplined life will have pain. There will be those corrections. Don’t snap back at Him. Don’t dare Him. Don’t refuse to be guided. Open your life to His discipline. Don’t despise it. How much more can I emphasize the plan of God for us? I am only human that have surrender to the will of God for Him to use me. I believe that I am a very humble father and my daughter is the product of this act of humility. Today I am so proud of you that I smile to myself of who you are and what you are doing to be the child your mother and I raised you to demonstrate. You make me proud and you are the result of following instructions.
On the other hand, He warns us to “… not resent His rebuke….” In another translation it is better said, urging us to “… not grow weary of His rebuke.” Even as there are those who harden themselves against the Lord, there are those who faint by the way. They collapse under life’s pressure, but with a little help the rebound. They are like the gymnast who dislocates a shoulder or breaks an ankle. He gives up, never experiencing the satisfaction which comes from a well-executed routine. Perhaps you are growing weary. You are discouraged. You are beaten down. You can’t handle much more. God’s discipline is not designed to knock us out. No not even to knock us down in church. This leads us to another implication.
Only a father who delights in a child takes time to give adequate discipline.
Let’s look at our text once again. It reads: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12).
Look again to the Scriptures and you will see constant comparisons between God’s relationship with us as His children and us in our relationship with our children. Discipline dare not be viewed as a yelling, screaming, beating affair. God doesn’t practice child abuse. We have all seen a parent grab a child by the arm, picking this helpless little one up, kicking him or slapping him in the face. That is not discipline. That is lack of discipline. “That is not authority. This is lack of authority. That is not an adult. That is a child. That is not control. That is lack of control. I know this today because I went through that process. Yet, that form of discipline helped me to be the person I am today. What would I change yesterday that I am not doing today? By knowing the God today makes a lot of difference in my life. It can make that difference in your life to, if you will allow Him to take control of your life. I want to thank God for The Mystical Order and my Spiritual Father and Leader Sir Dr. Darrindel Hoyte-Johnson for his teaching and aiding me with knowledge which I am able to pass on in my daily emails. The bond between him and the children of Starlight of Israel Healing Faith Temple and especially our brother Troy Phillip. I look at that relationship and the discipline very often and see how instructions are executed for the good of the man.
In contrast, God is talking about a loving direction. It is an instruction and reproof which emerges from a sensitive and deep care. Delighting in a child doesn’t mean spoiling the child. Let us look at the gardener and learn a thing or two. How the soil is prepared for the season. A time to plant and that calls for preparation and instructions. You must be a disciplined gardener to prepare the soil properly in order to reap a good crop. By now you will know where I am taking this conversation and what we can learn from it in this hour. There are the good disciplined gardener and the non disciplined who takes short cuts but want to reap the good of the land. After planting you have to care for the seeds and that means watering if it is too dry, pulling the weeds carefully and in some case fertilizing the seedlings. You may have to build a fence around the garden to keep out the animals and so it is with our children and their father. So it is with a father who delights in a child. It takes time to give adequate discipline. A father who knows best loves his children enough to go through the pain of executing his God-given authority and discipline. Do you love your children that much? Are you willing to turn this responsibility over to a cold, hard world which will do the job for you — but with much less care and very little love?
The only person able to adequately discipline is one who lives responsibly under adequate discipline.
A responsible person must be accountable to someone. The father who knows best is subject to a Father who knows best. This is a restatement of our basic thesis: fathering is never easy. There is no human father who can properly wield authority who is unwilling to live under authority. A father who knows best is willing to be disciplined by a heavenly Father. He is willing to live under this authority. He is willing to model this before his children. Are you? The father who knows best is disciplined and disciplining. We teach him to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven.” We tell him that God is our heavenly Father. In his mind he muses, “God is like my father? I’m not so sure my father really cares about me. He’s always away from home, watching television, reading the newspaper. Besides, he isn’t very nice to my mother. He’s not even fair. I don’t think I like God.”
Listen to me, brethren. Am I the kind of father I should be, that is what God is like! Where I am not so hot, I hope you’ll learn the all-important process of contrast. Wherever the Bible says that God is like a father, you can understand it means that God is like a perfect father. You know I’m not perfect, but I’m going to keep on trying. I want you to know that I know I’ve got a long way to go. I will never stop trying to be the good child and a better father. As long as there is life in my body and there is The Mystical Order my journey will continue to that perfect place of rest.
This is pretty good advice for both fathers and mothers, isn’t it? Although today we have spoken in relationship to God as Father, we need to remember that He is more than that. He is also One who comforts as a mother. Jesus referred to God as Spirit. He has both the feminine and masculine characteristics of the finest parents, while being so much more than Parent. Today’s words are also for mothers as well as fathers, as we are called to acknowledge to our children how we live accountable to God and ask their forgiveness wherein we have failed. Perhaps today you need to give, as I do, a little speech by phone, letter, or personal conversation to one of your children whose understanding of God has been damaged by how we have lived. And, before you do that, perhaps you may need to talk to your heavenly Parent, receiving anew His grace, love and forgiveness.
May Almighty God grant you joy, peace, love, wisdom, understanding so you can follow instructions and when tempted to do wrong , ask Him to make you strong.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY